Jennifer Goes to Washington
Jennifer was hoping the Capitol Building would look like a fortress: barricades, patrols, gun barrels tracking anyone who came near, that kind of thing. But it didnt. It looked like a museum having an open day. A thin chain-link fence separated the grounds from the road, and on the grass and steps beyond, people in suits carried nothing more dangerous than clipboards and briefcases. Jennifer began to feel sure that in the next few days, US Alliance was going to crack this place open like an egg.
There were three agents at the gate, who inspected her Government ID briefly and without interest. Go on through.
Dont you want to know my business?
The guard looked at her. Not really.
You mean anyone with a passable Government ID can walk in here for any reason?
Its a Government building, maam. Government people are meant to come here.
She sighed. It had been a long flight and she really needed to take a shower. Im here to see Mark Government, Field Operations. Can you please let him know Im here?
Field Operations is in the East Wing, section four, the guard said. Im sure youll find it.
She started walking up the path. Calvin and Billy fell in beside her.
This is a really nice place, Billy said finally. I really like it.
Shut up, she said. They trotted up the stairs in silence and entered the Capitol Building. It was light and well-maintained inside, with wood-paneled walls and paintings of past Presidents. But there were eight receptionists, all dealing with a phone or someone waiting or both, and she could smell their desperation from here.
There were small, tasteful signs to the East Wing and she followed them to a room marked Field Operations. Inside were four P.A.s in a single room, each staffing a desk beside a door. Jennifer spotted Marks name on one of the doors. Jennifer and Calvin Government, Field Agents, Melbourne, Australia Office, here to see Mark.
You have an appointment? a woman said.
Not exactly. But I spoke to him two days ago.
She flipped open a book. Hows next Tuesday?
Thats really not good enough, Jennifer said. I need to see him now.
The P.A. had rimmed glasses; now she titled her head to look over them. Jennifer, Im not sure if the news reached the Melbourne office yet, but weve had a rough few days. Mark cant drop what hes doing because you knock on the door.
I dont think you understand
She leaned forward and rested her knuckles on the desk. Do you see this kid with me? He tried to kill the President in London. He works for the people did kill the President, and Ive already protected him from an NRA assassination attempt. You understand?
This kid here? the woman said.
And something else, Jennifer said, louder. I dont know if this news has reached Washington D.C. yet, but somebody is hauling heavy artillery up to Arlington Cemetery.
Well thats probably us.
Is it? Do you know for sure?
Its probably us or one of the other departments. Now I really think
Whats the matter with you people? she shouted. You want to wait until the shells start falling? Why is US Alliance moving into Washington and the Government is sitting on its ass?
The room fell silent. Mark Governments door opened. He was older than she expected. Hello, he said. You must be Jennifer.