A MOMENT YEARS IN THE MAKING.
The interior of the Nocturn, at 1115hrs on what the press had dubbed 9/25, may as well have personified hell’s central courtyard.
Francis Stewart studied all ten representatives of the Covenant of Joshua on his holoscreen while flames rose behind him from a makeshift fireplace.
His Magnificence folded his hands as his opening remarks commenced. “Blessed members, we are gathered on this most unprecedented point in our nation’s history.”
Stewart paused and took an elongated sigh, amplifying the magnitude of the message he was poised to deliver. He then maleficiently grinned, masking his reddened eyes.
“We have waited a long, long time for this moment,” he went on with a soft yet portentously pronounced tone. “It has been planned and organized since the original Divinity Day. In short order, our purpose shall become realized. George Fetisov took the bait. Now, the citizens of this country will get behind us and relinquish their phony peace or death illusions. I’ve already received unanimous consent from the SAA to declare war on New Alaska, and I have every intention of invoking the second indentation to carry out the high schoolers’ draft.”
Then, as a final symbolic gesture, Stewart stood up, and leaned his palms against the desk, and positioned his nose a few inches in front of the holographic screen. “My friends,” he continued, “the moment has come to implement Plan Zero. We shall turn the Divine Republic of Freedom into what we intended it to be: the country of law, order, and devotion, without questions.”
Stewart and the entire Covenant began a round of thunderous applause, after which he raised his arms skyward.
“God’s work will be fulfilled, and Joshua’s martyrdom shall never, ever be in vain!”
“AMEN!” they shouted.
Except for one.
Richard Bruce slouched back in his chair, arms folded in revulsion, to which His Magnificence detected.
“Mr. Bruce!” he exclaimed, “I trust there are no objections to your task?”
A frown remained on Richard’s face. The indignation he suppressed was akin to a volcano about to erupt. To maintain professionalism in that moment for him was impractical, for he felt nothing he could say would resonate with someone he once considered a friend.
So, Richard did the only thing he believed he could do.
He shut off his screen.
Stewart chuckled and muttered “okay” underneath his breath.
“Well, folks,” he quipped, “Mr. Bruce has tendered his resignation from the Covenant! He will be dealt with swiftly… along with a few other dissidents within my ranks.”
Stewart refolded his hands and sat.
“Now, friends,” he continued, “time to discuss our first plans for implementation. Mr. Leonard and Mr. Rogers?”
“We’ll trickle down details of Project Miracle when the moment is appropriate,” Rogers replied. “For now, we shall focus on canonizing the victims of the attacks and promoting the insurgence.”
“On my monologue tonight,” Leonard added, “I will make a call to arms to those not eligible to for drafting; old Endgame heroes, patriots, anyone able-bodied enough to fight the New Alaskans. And I will emphasize that any dissent against the war will receive swift and harsh shaming.”
“Excellent,” Stewart replied. “Agent A?”
“Plain-clothed Divine Cloaked Force agents will deployed in the DelMar district immediately, Your Magnificence,” A’s robotic voice replied. “They will monitor all potential Third violation activity and prepare for protests and other dissenting.”
“Good,” Stewart replied, “and your prospect?”
“My prospect will be ready to lead Marine Battalion 401 as soon as you give word, sir. They have no reservations about leading the DRF as minister of defense.”
“We’ll designate the job for him after the war. Thank you. Mr. Rockie?”
“Work on my next album will begin immediately. It will be the most pro-Freedomian album ever created, and with a blank check provided by Freedom Records, we will ensure the public will discuss it.”
“Superb. Agent B?”
“My prospect’s Harvard application has been fast-tracked. She will begin classes next month. Her dissertation on the pros of the society we are trying to implement and the cons of democracy and the threats to law and order is in progress.”
“By the time it’s completed, the 14th indentation will be law and no one will dare disagree with this dissertation’s message. NOR will brand it as ‘controversial’, but their whining will cease. For good! Mr. Minor, please prepare tomorrow’s SAA session to discuss the 14th, and issue the communique about my decision to invoke the 2nd regarding the draft.”
“Yes, your magnificence,” Minor gleefully replied.
“Agent Y, is your prospect prepared for drafting?”
“I guarantee it, your Magnificence.”
“Splendid. Agent X, please prepare to distribute the draft notice communiques to all pre-selected draftees, and prepare the fallout zone for training.”
“Yes, your Magnificence.”
Stewart then leaned forward again toward X.
“Finally,” he declared in a growl, “as soon as we ratify the 14th, Mr. Bruce will be our first target. Is that understood?”
“Thy bidding will be done.”