That a bunker was buried nearly a mile under the White House was no big secret. The President is the most important person in the entirety of the United States. Of course a bunker would be built, too deep to be affected by nukes. Too well fortified to be attacked. And it had served that purpose well. Up until four years ago. When President Mallard took office the bunker had been repurposed. Now it was a prison.
“Or at least it was supposed to be.” I mumbled.
“What was that son?” The President asked.
“Nothing sir.” I responded. “Just commenting on the condition of the place.”
“Ah, yes.” He said, straightening his already perfectly placed tie. “I suppose she made a bit of a mess this time.”
A mess was an understatement. We walked through a long narrow corridor, the few lights that still worked blinking in and out making for a disorienting effect. Every twenty feet we came upon blast doors that had been peeled open like a sideways sardine can. I whispered a brief thank you to whatever god might be listening, grateful that no physical staff worked inside the bunker. Everything from cooking, cleaning, laundry and more was taken care of by robots. And judging by the scrap parts scattered through the hall they were going to need replacing.
“How did this happen Mr. President? I thought the entire reason she was kept sedated was to prevent this from happening.”
“Please, Charles, call me Mallard. It’s just us down here, no need for formalities. I’m afraid you won’t like the answer to my question.”
“I’m damn sure I won’t like the answer Mallard.” I said, voice empty of all the emotions I was feeling. “But I know how this conversation ends, you want me to bring her back.” He nodded, refusing to meet my eyes. “Then I deserve to know how you lost her.”
“Well...” He started, touching the tie once again. “It’s the drugs Charles, they’re not working anymore.”
I stopped walking and the President stopped beside me. There was no point in continuing to the living quarters. If nothing was holding her back then everything would have been destroyed. Everything. “The drugs were really our only hope at containing her Mallard.” I said, voice soft. No wonder he was so nervous, we both knew what this meant.
Behind us, rubble from the ceiling fell, kicking up dust. For long moments I received no response. I could tell Mallard was gathering himself, we had known each other almost our whole lives. So I stayed quiet.
Finally he spoke. “She’s taken them, Charles. I called you as soon as I found out, but it’s already happening again. She picked a small group this time, mostly young men.”
I sighed, more than anyone I was familiar with the way she operated. And in a way I agreed with her. She was doing the world a favor, whether the rest of us liked it or not.
She would start off with a threat everyone could get behind, in this case a small terrorist group. But then she would execute them, publicly, painfully. Then whoever came after her. Which would eventually include the government. Because you can’t have a rogue Super running around your country killing everyone that carried a weapon.
“Without the drugs Mallard...” I started. “I can’t restrain her, you know that.”
“I know that, Charles. And I’m sorry that I’ve asked this of you. But there is no other choice. The World Council was very clear what would happen if she ever got loose again. They would take it out on our country, to make the lesson stick.” He spat the last word. “No matter my attachments, I can’t choose her life over millions.”
My voice went hard, my eyes emptied. “I raised her too, Mr. President.”
He turned away, unable to meet my gaze. “I know, but you’re the only one who can stop her. And may God save us all if you fail.”