18:46 April 15, 2054 (GMT‑5)
Arlington Nationwide Cemetery
That evening in her condo Julia Hunt ordered in sushi and watched the protection of Slake’s botched press convention on her lounge couch. Days later, Slake’s panicked responses to the questions on Castro’s demise continued to air, and so they appeared even worse on the information.
Hunt raised a bit of salmon sashimi between two chopsticks as she learn the chyron for the subsequent story: Castro Post-mortem Leaked on Widespread Sense Confirms Foul Play and White Home Lies. She dropped the fish onto her lap.
Information of the withheld post-mortem exploded. On each channel the prime-time anchors flashed printed copies of the report back to the digicam. They learn complete sections aloud, describing the size of the marble-sized mass of cells inexplicably lodged in Castro’s aorta and the excerpted transcript of the post-mortem itself, by which the chief internist concluded, “This will’t be the identical coronary heart.”
Throughout the hour, Truthers flooded the streets in cities across the nation. As Hunt scrolled the channels, a information crew in Lafayette Park was conducting interviews with the rising mass of protesters, one in all whom she acknowledged; it was the person within the wheelchair she’d met on the Metro. She had considered him usually. Now she discovered his identification: retired gunnery sergeant Joseph William Sherman III. Beneath his identify on the display screen had been the phrases Truther Volunteer Organizer. She positioned his identify in a search engine and discovered that he’d misplaced his legs within the Spratly Islands and that the Chinese language nuclear assault on San Diego had killed his spouse and three daughters, who’d lived at close by Camp Pendleton. Hunt may hear in Sherman’s voice how deeply he resented a president who whereas alive flaunted constitutional norms by clinging to energy for an tried fourth time period and whose successor, Smith, now flaunted norms once more by withholding an post-mortem and refusing to be clear about his predecessor’s demise.
“Level your digicam right here,” mentioned Sherman, thumbing towards his lacking legs. “I sacrificed these for my nation, and also you’re going to mislead me … you’re going to mislead all of us.” He gestured expansively to a cluster of Truthers who’d positioned him at their middle, the core of them veterans, sporting outdated navy fatigues adorned with medals that dangled from their chest pockets. “It’s a lie that Smith is the authentic president when he so clearly had a hand in killing Castro. Is that this what America has turn into? Dreamers drunk on energy led by a dictator-president. Lies to the numerous as long as it offers energy to the few.” Sherman held the digicam’s focus together with his insistent blue eyes.
His tone was so resolved, the correspondent felt compelled to reply him. In a meek voice, she mentioned, “I don’t know.”
“In fact you don’t.” Sherman leaned into the digicam. “President Smith,” he started, “you’re illegitimate. You can see that on a regular basis Individuals—we patriots who demand the reality about your crimes and the excesses of the Dreamers—won’t be led by a thief, by somebody who stole the presidency. We served our nation earlier than, and we’ll serve it once more. And don’t even consider attempting to position your predecessor in Arlington’s hallowed floor.” Sherman swiveled round, turning his again to the digicam, and wheeled himself away.
The information minimize to industrial.
Julia Hunt rested her head towards the arm of her couch, her eyes nonetheless glued to the display screen. Weeks of exhaustion swept over her. Whereas she waited for this system to return, she fell right into a black wilderness of sleep. Deep into this sleep, within the early hours of the morning, she started to dream: Right here, within the dream, she is asleep in her girlhood bed room and is woken earlier than daybreak by a noise, the sound of one thing hitting the ground. Her environment are acquainted, the adobe ranch home in New Mexico the place Sarah Hunt had raised her. Sporting her nightgown, she fastidiously shuts the door behind her and steps into the darkish hall. At its far finish a single band of sunshine escapes from the bottom of one other door. She begins to stroll down the hall. The tiles are cool beneath her naked toes. As she attracts nearer, she will be able to hear what seems like a battle.