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S. K. Smith - The Commander and the Chief
Native Americans and Brits search for the truth behind a missing American patriot.
Admiral Quinn’s widow, Nova Orlovic, has many doubts about US President Lincoln Todd’s version of her husband’s death. Suspecting a cover-up, the “Chief” as Nova is known goes on the warpath against the Todd Administration. She forms her own search and recovery expedition with help from Lord Frederick Wise, a man of many talents.
With Wise’s long reaching connections, Nova assembles a team of Brits to get to the bottom of it, among them Commander Reginald Barrett. During their expedition, the Commander and the Chief annoy each other until mutual respect bonds them. But when they stumble upon evidence that could take down the powerful, will they manage to make it out alive?
Rest in Peace, Admiral Quinn
“Our memorial coverage continues as America mourns Admiral Connor Quinn … astronaut, war hero, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor as well as the Alfred Peace Prize. …”
In a somber voice, the reporter described the scene from Washington D.C. Inside the rotunda of the White House, the camera focused on a large mahogany coffin draped in an American flag. A bush-sized bouquet of red and white roses, tied up with red, white, and blue striped ribbon, stood at the foot of the casket. Meanwhile, Marines in full dress kept vigil over the deceased.
Mourners circled their fallen hero behind the black velvet ropes, hanging from brass stanchions, as they passed paintings on the wall from scenes in American history. Text of breaking news scrolled at the bottom of the screen. Info-bites were punctuated by the Washington News Network logo - WNN across a bust of George Washington.
A Marine guarded the entry point by a flagpole. He saluted, then unhooked the rope to allow three VIPs to approach the casket.
“And coming into our view is Admiral Quinn’s widow … Dr. Nova Orlovic,” the narration continued. “She pauses … and lingers for a final goodbye to her husband.”
The curvaceous widow in a form fitting black dress bowed her head. Covering her face was a mesh veil, dotted with black knots, draped over her raven hair that was tied back in a bun. Her burgundy lips mouthed a prayer. She sighed, then patted the end of the coffin.
“And following Dr. Orlovic is President Lincoln Todd with First Lady Wanda Todd. The President and the First Lady, likewise, are pausing at the casket. President Todd is now bowing his head … paying his last respects. It is clear Admiral Quinn was dear to him … a close advisor and longtime personal friend.”
The camera zoomed in. Tall, broad shouldered, Lincoln Todd filled the screen. He put a hand over his heart and heaved his chest. His dark gray suit complimented his wavy charcoal hair. And his charisma eclipsed the First Lady in his shadow.
Wanda Todd moved into view wearing a frumpy looking jacket and black hat shaped like a bell lampshade. She blinked rapidly while she pushed aside her flaxen locks from her eyes. Then she nudged her husband to move on.
The President inched forward, glancing at a camera. He wiped tears from his ruddy cheeks and quivered his lower lip. With a tear-stained hand, he touched the shoulder of Dr. Nova Orlovic.
The widow turned around. Her eyes and mouth snapped open as she met the President’s embrace. Another camera caught the President’s hand slipping down her backside and squeezing her derriere while a red-faced Wanda Todd glared at the spectacle.
* * *
The scene froze. The President’s hand stayed on the widow’s firm buttocks. The First Lady’s stare remained fixed.
The camera zoomed out from this image displayed on a monitor inside a television studio. The Fly-Over News logo – FON emblazoned on an eagle spreading its wings across the USA – appeared at the bottom of the screen. Talk show host Jose Romero, dressed in his trademark smoker’s jacket, gaped at the scene. Then the older, yet still handsome, Latino lifted a corner of his mouth, skewing his trim, graying beard.
With a hint of a Spanish accent, Jose said, “So we caught you in an illegal crossing on live TV, Mr. President – hands roaming south of the border onto the forbidden territory of a widow’s backside. No? But see that look on your own woman’s face? You definitely will have ICE to deal with now.”
The studio audience tittered in total agreement.
Jose’s smirk morphed to a more sober look as he opened up his hands to his viewers. “May I say that all of us at Fly-Over News extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Admiral Connor Quinn. But seriously, Mr. President, groping a grief stricken widow in front of your wife – not to mention the entire country – is that anyway to treat a lady? Yes, Admiral Quinn was a friend of yours. But like so many of your friends, he came to a mysterious, untimely end. No?”
The camera zoomed in as Jose wagged his head. “We all have heard what the major media outlets have reported, my friends. Admiral Quinn’s death was a tragic accident. And tragedies unfortunately do happen, even to America’s best. Yet will we ever find out what really happened to Admiral Connor Quinn from this current regime in the White House?”
“No way, Jose!” The studio audience chanted the show’s mantra.
Jose wiggled his thick, gray eyebrows. “We have better odds of finding the Lost City of Gold than finding the truth from the Todd Administration, don’t we, my friends?”
The camera swept many faces in the studio audience. Meanwhile, the bumper music played, but ended on a discord.
“So on this note we end this hour of Jose Romero, where we say, ‘no way, Jose,’ to government propaganda.” The host waved to his applauding fans. “Up next – Diogenes News as Rusty Wheeler searches for the honest truth without the liberal bias.”
* * *
“Bloody Americans,” Lord Frederick Wise said in a posh British accent.
With a twitch of his trim brown mustache, he pressed the off button on the remote control. Jose Romero’s image disintegrated into the blackness of the flat screen until it only showed Wise’s reflection.
The middle-aged Englishman popped out the memory card from the TV monitor and slipped it into his wallet. Then he secured his wallet back inside his navy blue jacket and snapped his leather briefcase shut. He pulled out his mobile phone to check the time.
Lord Wise had a plane to catch. He planned to show this segment to his client, Dr. Nova Orlovic, during their transatlantic flight to London.
The video clip was old news. Though Admiral Quinn’s memorial had been eight months ago, Wise was sure it would be painful for Nova to watch, again. But he wished her to preview what he had intended to show to her prospective agents.