Vice Presidents

City Sewers
Sea City, Locus Apepi
September 9, 2016
5:40 PM PST

"Why are we meeting down here?" Gadgeteer said, using his BAKPAK to keep himself suspended out of the strangely clean water.

"I thought you knew?" Feeney responded, standing knee deep in H2O. "Alex, what do you know about this?"

"Nothing, just as I planned." a voice said from the darkness. Rau emerged from behind a pillar, eating her trademark 'Chinese' takeout.

"Oh boy…" Alex sighed, carefully turning around to look at Rau. "Ew, eating in a sewer? Don't you know that's unsanitary?"

"Remember when I said you have two duties, do not disobey me, and fight for the preservation of Creation, in that order? I have a command that you must follow to fulfil both. Have you heard the news about the American political candidates? Selma Parson and Donner Butch?" Rau said, pausing several times to shovel in more food.

"I don't really keep up with the evil politics of this world, noble or mortal." Gadgeteer told her.

"I'm voting for Donner, lesser of two evils unless there's a better candidate." Alex said, reaching for his phone in his pocket.

"I wasn't expecting our straight man to vote for a wildcard." Feeney said, surprised.

"Well your points are moot. There's a debate happening in Missouri in two days. I need them both dead." Rau told them bluntly.

Alex looked up from his phone and raised an eyebrow at Rau. "Do you want them shaken or stirred? Why exactly do we need to kill off Presidential candidates?"

"That's for me to know and you to assume they're under the influence of Excrucians." Rau told them. "Now if you'll excuse me I have some other things to attend to." She then sunk downwards into the water until she had completely disappeared in the murky flow.

"Okay, that was creepy." Feeney said. "Is it just me, or does Rau have some plan that we're not being informed of?"

Draconic Studios HQ
St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America
September 11, 2016
1:40 PM CST

"Yes, I know the NX is still unannounced. No, I don't care. If Nintendo wants me to continue funneling money into their console-portable hybrid, they'd better tell me how it works. I can get behind an Android-powered device, and if it's just another console then I can afford a few million, but don't you think for one second that they're getting a penny for a vague concept." Alex Chaser said over his smartphone in his office. "I'll be stopping by Nintendo's Japanese offices on the 14th. For your sake, try to have something ready by then." he told the executive on the other end, and hung up. Secretly controlling the video games industry had its perks, but it was still work.

Alex selected the contact for 'Facebook' and almost immediately got a response. "Zuckerburg! I see your investment in Oculus doesn't appear to be paying off. Ready to reconsider? No? Well, I'm sure Valve and HTC won't be quite so- Ah, so you are willing to negotiate. Alright, I ask for 10% of your shares, and in return I'll work my magic. Let me know when you're ready to meet." Alex then ended that call as well.

"Hey, bigshot. We've got a mission, remember?" a young voice said from behind Alex. The game dev tycoon accidentally hung up as he spun around in his chair in shock to see Gadgeteer and Feeney climbing in through the open window. For a company that held the hidden pursestrings of an entire entertainment medium, Draconic Studios was fairly unassuming. The company's offices were on the second story of an older building in downtown St. Louis and most people thought it was struggling just to turn a profit.

"What the hell are you two doing here?!" Alex asked, astounded.

"You'd be surprised how easy it is to fit in that massive suitcase of yours." Feeney pointed out.

"Okay, then why the hell are you two doing here?" Alex questioned them.

"We have a pair of political careers to bring to a screeching halt, and Shocker would just tip off security." Feeney responded.

"Shocker?" Alex asked.

"He named his gun." Gadgeteer explained.

"Look, I'm swamped right now. Star Citizen needs a blessing to impress everyone again at CitizenCon, the NX is looking like it could be just another Wii U, VR market penetration has stalled, Watch_dogs 2 sales are low thanks to the failure of the first game, YouTube is dying and thus putting the entire Let's Play community at risk, and that's before I get into the sorry state that literature is in! The most promising book that's currently being written is basically a rehash of the plot from a TV show that was on in the 90's, and it's being written by you and me!" Alex complained.

"I wouldn't say the most promising. I mean, Magic 2.0 and the Please Don't Tell My Parents I… series at least are better than- Never mind. Unfortunately, the K.I.D. never used lethal weapons." Gadgeteer told him. "So unless you want the news to be all over the mysterious foam projectiles which suffocated both Presidential candidates, we need you to buy a gun."

Suddenly the intercom came on, and Alex's secretary spoke, unaware of Feeney and Gadgeteer's presence. "Mr. Chaser, there's a woman here to see you."

Alex sighed and pressed the button on the desk phone. "Tell her I'm not available right now. I'll reschedule for her later."

"She says it's urgent, and that a Ms. Rau sent her?" the secretary continued.

Alex raised an eyebrow. "Fair enough. Send her in."

A woman who was quite clearly a living human-sized replica of the Statue of Liberty entered the room. "Well, hello there. I'm Lady Liberty, Saint of Democracy."

"I assume you're here for reasons related to our scheduled assassination attempts?" Alex said.

"Exactly. Rau has asked for my assistance, since I too have obvious reasons for wanting those corrupt maniacs removed from running." Lady Liberty explained.

"So where exactly are the two… targets… right now?" Alex asked.

"There was a 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York early this morning, for the 15 years that have passed since then." Lady Liberty told them. "They're en-route from LaGuardia in their private jets. The media is even fabricating a whole narrative around who cares enough about the ceremony to get to the debate location last. If it wasn't for the fact that neither of them actually gave a shit, they'd never get here."

"Which airstrip? Do we have enough time to get them en-route?" Alex said, planning ahead. He quickly grabbed his coat to head out the door.

"No need for that." Lady Liberty said, and produced a skeleton key from a fold of her dress. She pointed it at the electronic lock on Alex's office, and the door opened to reveal a chamber built in Neo-Classical architecture. They entered the beautiful, well-lit area, and the door behind them closed and faded out of existence. She then pointed the key at mid-air, and a door faded into being. On the other side was a street in a different city.

Chevron Gas Station
San Antonio, Texas, United States of America
September 11, 2016
1:49 PM CST

A gun shop was clearly located across from them as they stepped out of what had been the door to a gas station. "The Key to America provides me easy travel between two seperate doors. Unfortunately, despite the many other democracies of this world, it only works in the 48 Contiguous States, in Alaska, on the Hawaiian Islands, in an American territory, in certain parts of Antarctica, and used to work on the Moon until the flag faded to white. Damn that Power of Radiation, ruining a perfectly good flag." Lady Liberty grumbled. "Gun shop should be over there, across the street. It's dangerous to go alone, take this." she said, handing him an ID and gun owner's permit. "It comes in handy being able to control the government of any democratic nation. That identity is 100% legitimate, so you now have a spare identity. Grab a sniper rifle and let's go hunt some thieving politicians."

Alex burst into laughter. "Oh, man! That is way to vague, Ms. Liberty…"

"I'd rephrase, but you get the point." Lady Liberty shook her head.

Doug's Gun Shop
San Antonio, Texas, United States of America
September 11, 2016
1:52 PM CST

"Hi, I'm Doug. Welcome to my shop." the clerk greeted Alex as he walked in, causing the little bell attached to the doorframe to jingle. "What can I do ya for?"

"Yeah, have you got any sniper rifles?" Alex asked.

"No can do." Doug told him. "They're only available to the army and the cops."

"…I see." Alex frowned. "Never mind. I was obviously misinformed by my friend. That's the last time I take advice from someone who's probably never even owned a gun!"

"Not a problem. Anything else I can help you with?" Doug asked.

"Can you check this gun owner's permit for validity? I think it might have expired since I got it." Alex said, handing him the paper.

Doug leaned in and looked closely. "Everything's in order, Mister…"

"Grey. Josh Grey." Alex said, remembering the fake but legitimately registered ID. "I'll be on my way then."

Chevron Gas Station
San Antonio, Texas, United States of America
September 11, 2016
1:57 PM CST

Lady Liberty, Gadgeteer and Feeney were leaning against the Gas Station's convenience store, drinking slushies they had bought after Feeney pointed the Shocker at an ATM to make it spit out cash, when Alex showed up looking annoyed. "What's the big idea?! You can't own sniper rifles! It's one of the few types of guns that they reserve for government use!" he snapped at their temporary ally.

"I'm not the Power of Guns! How do you expect me to know what weapons are legal in a given country?" Lady Liberty defended.

"You're the Power of Video Games! Can't you just create a sniper rifle from Call of Duty?" Gadgeteer suggested.

"That piece of trash that stains Video Games with unoriginality? I would rather die!" Alex said defiantly.

"Fine, then Team Fortress 2 or something! We've got like 3 minutes before the debate starts!" Gadgeteer complained.

Lady Liberty used her key, and once again stepped back into the chamber between doors. Alex sighed, summoned a 'Machina' sniper rifle with a Miracle, and followed Feeney and Gadgeteer inside.

1 Memorial Drive
St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America
September 11, 2016
2:00 PM CST

The door to the roof of an office tower opened up, and immediately several Secret Service members turned to face it, guns drawn. "You are in a restricted area! On the ground, now!" one of them shouted. The door continued to swing open, but nobody was on the other side. "Check the stairwell." As they moved to cover the door that should have been locked, a bullet shot was heard in their communications link, followed by crippling feedback. They winced in pain, and suddenly several well-placed shots hit them. However, instead of wounds, they glanced at the spots where a small amount of pressure had been felt to find foam darts. Just as rapidly as they had been fired, the darts exploded into a ball of solidified foam, encasing and immobilising them as it hardened around their suits and stuck to the cement rooftop. Finally a strange sound, like an animal call run through an 8-bit filter, was heard, and a fine mist of Spore dust blanketed the Secret Service agents, causing them to fall asleep.

"Good job, Parasect." Alex said, and recalled it into a Pokéball. The small capsule then disappeared from existence as its Miracle was halted, though the Spore remaned in effect. Alex quickly drew the Machina and headed to the edge of the roof.

Below, between the pillars of the Gateway Arch, was the debate platform. Selma Parson and Donner Butch were being led away in separate directions already, in a rush. Alex swallowed, dismissed his conscience, and aimed once. A slight "poom" was heard as the Machina railgun fired, and Mrs. Parson dropped to the ground, half her skull gone. Alex aimed again. He pulled the trigger. "Poom", and Mr. Butch dropped dead, a hole going right through him from his right shoulder to the left side of his chest, blood pouring out of his heart.

Chills went through Alex's spine. Had he really just done that? No wonder Gadgeteer had been so concerned back in Iniesta. What was worse is that Gadgeteer had used a "non-lethal" weapon, and accidentally killed someone. Alex, however, had just committed first-degree murder. How was he going to live with himself after this?

"Alex, let's go! They're coming up the stairs!" Feeney shouted. Alex snapped out of it and turned to follow his Familia and Liberty for a relatively clean getaway.

Unit 196-89, Floor 196, Sky City 1000
Sea City, Locus Apepi
September 11, 2016
7:20 PM PST

Alex, Feeney and Gadgeteer sat down in the futuristic living room of Alex's condo. Alex took out the Dragon Gear out of his pocket. The device had once been the SilverGear 3Dual before it was miraculously upgraded for being an anchor. He tapped an icon on its touch screen, and the TV turned on.

“My fellow Americans, today is a tragic day for our great nation.” the President of the USA said. “On the 15th anniversary of the worst attack to hit our country since WWII, we have lost both of the presidential candidates for my successor. My aides are pressuring me to institute Martial Law, but I am here to assure you I will not take such a drastic step, because it is dangerous to our civil liberties, and wholly unnecessary. I cannot release the information yet, but we have determined the terrorist group responsible for this travesty. They are already in custody and will be punished for their crimes. That said, this is an unusual set of circumstances we now find ourselves in. While I can assure you I did not do so lightly, I have had no choice but to approve a maximum of a one-year extension to my second Presidential term to allow the political parties to find new candidates with which to replace me. We will do our best to ensure this happens in a timely manner, and if all goes well I will be out of office long before the 1 year period has passed.”

Alex changed the channel, as a sinking feeling was felt in his stomach. “I think I'm going to go to bed. You two can let yourselves out, right?”

“Not yet, you three.” a voice said from behind them. They all turned to see Rau leaning on the doorway to the kitchen, munching on her Chinese takeout.

“I don't get it. What did this accomplish?” Gadgeteer asked her. “I've looked into you, or tried to. Nobody is willing to talk about what your MO is for some reason. All I know is you're a Magister of the Dark. Those two jerks you had Alex kill? They would have easily brought about events that would lead to mankind being its own downfall. Getting rid of them is so counterproductive that it makes no sense!”

Rau seemed to ignore the question. “Good job, you three. I figure you deserve that much for successfully pulling off the actual mission.”

“Thank you, but Gadgeteer has a point. As a Power aligned with the Dark, I am curious about the purpose of the exercise.” Feeney said.

“Do any of you know why the Dark invented Money?” Rau asked. “It is literally Time. The distillation of human life into meaningless metal circles. Meaningless scraps of paper. Meaningless electronic signals. Meaningless numbers. Human life is Time. Time is Money. The reverse, however, is not true, and so people give up their days without thinking that they cannot convert their Money back into Time. It is one of the Dark's oldest and most successful endeavours. The Light took the approach that Knowledge is Power. That is their Money equivalent. All information that a man creates and acquires is Power. Some use it for great evil, others for great good. Some simply defend their little ordinary lives with it. Regardless, it gives them control over their fates. Knowledge is Power, and Power is Control. Where there is Control, Chaos is driven away. That is why the Light uses Power, because it needs to use that power against mortality. With all that in mind, have you ever wondered what would happen if the Light turned Money against the Dark?”

“I know that Butch guy, Rau. I was going to vote for him, as painful as the decision was. He was an arrogant idiot who inherited his fortune and ran businesses into the ground, the last person you would want to use to turn Money against the Dark. If Time is Money, he would do nothing but waste it. Not give it back to the people! Parson was even worse, she lived for using money for the Dark.” Alex told her. “Your argument is bullshit, and you know it. I can take a hint, though. We'll quit poking around your agenda.”

“I have one more thing to say before I make my leave.” Rau said. “I had to spend two hours coming up with a fake explanation for what I had you do. While Gadgeteer's foam darts decayed completely by the time the Secret Service agents you put to sleep woke up, Lord Entropy has vastly more resources than mortals. You're just lucky that Liberty's plan to get you caught by having you buy a gun she could get the serial number off of failed because she knew nothing about guns. The password is 'Fishing Ships'. Ask that before you fall for one of Lord Entropy's spies again, you idiots.” With that, she walked into the kitchen and disappeared behind where a support column only a half-foot wide stood as part of the doorway to the open kitchen.

“Oh, f***.” Alex said, annoyed.

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