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June 23, 2001 7:05am

Presidential Address to Nation, Impeachment

LIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, PRESIDENT CHARLES B. SMITH ADDRESSES HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIRMEN DECISION TO PROCEEDE WITH IMPEACHMENT. The President opened his address by acknowledging the charges brought before him, which he claimed, have fallen nowhere near impeachable offenses as clearly defined by the Constitution. He went on to add, that [his] vow to the American Public to protect American citizens from threats both foreign and domestic will remain unshakeable. Mr. Smith briefly referenced the Phoenix Shootings arguing that, those who dont believe the enemy is already among us, are only deceiving themselves. I shall not allow our Country to be torn apart from within. This was a line used earlier in his carrier and during his presidential campaign, and has been used by Texas Governor George W. Bush to highlight Smiths, growing instability. One of a growing number of Republicans shying away from the Presidents wings, Gov. Bush went on to add, one of the important things about history, is to remember the true history. If Mr. Smith wants to claim he opened fire on terrorist, and not a bunch [of] college studentswere gonna have to remember the true history of that. Concluding his address to the nation, Mr. Smith dismissed claims of incorrectly assessing the situation in Phoenix, instead, encouraging the public to, focus on what is truly important to this country; continuing the fight for truth, justice, and liberty. Officially, Mr. Smith has been charged with High Crimes for abuse of power and conspiracy to mobilize National Guard Troops against US Civilians. The Judiciary Committee is expected to send a resolution of impeachment to the House by the end of the week. - A.B. Fowler NPR MORNING NEWS TRANSCRIPT

Chapter 17 June 23rd, 2001 Marshal hadnt been a fan of questions lately, but there was one he despised more so than all others What next? He kept himself busy, inspecting the perimeter of the abandoned barn, checking for cracks, weakness, and walls that needed defending more than others. The solid concrete floor was absent of cracks, but plentiful in dust. There were two tractors in the back that over the years had been slowly gutted and amputated for spare parts. Only the bones remained. In the southeast corner, rusted stairs led up to an incomplete loft. The stairs creaked under his boots, and the railing detached as soon as he touched it. Clanging metal rang throughout the building. You want to maybe keep it down? Marshal suddenly remembered that Allison was still waiting by the entrance of the barn straddling the motorcycle. He aimed his flashlight towards the girl whose arms draped over the handlebars, and head still hung down to the ground. Sorry, Marshal replied, walking back down the steps. We can stow our gear up in the loft. We should probably figure out- I have to find my mom. I dont think I dont think that we can- I didnt say we. I said, I have to find my mom. How do you plan on doing that? Allison lifted her head up, glaring at Marshal, I Maybe Ill just go back and ask your dad what he did with her?

Well, that would be really stupid. Stepping over the bike and pushing it over, Allison marched up to Marshal, this morning I stole a motorcycle, ran away from the cops, and helped YOU get to this stupid barn. I got enough brains and guts to beat the information out of your giant dad if I have to! Marshal kept walking past Allison; he didnt have time for this. There was work to be done. First, I dont think youd be able to beat my dad. Second well, you cant beat my dad, so there is no second. Marshal felt a hand grab his shoulder and pull him backwards onto the ground. The impact on the cold concrete barely had enough time to register to Marshal before Allison jumped on top of him. He quickly put his arms up to defend himself. Her fists struck wildly: ineffective, but continuous. Hed had enough. Grabbing her by the wrists, Marshal pulled her hand across her chest, and in a quick movement rolled Allison over onto her back. Get off of me! she screamed. Im sick and tired of fighting, the boy screamed back. Were on the same team, remember? Marshal waited for Allison to stop struggling. Eventually, her arms relaxed. Marshal released his grip and stood up. He offered his hand to help Allison to her feet. She declined. Pushing up off the ground, Allison walked past Marshal, past the bike, and out the door. She continued out into the cold morning air, the gravel crunching beneath her feet,

and the stars shining brightly against the void above. Allison picked up the pace, when she heard more gravel crunching behind her. Allison, wait, the Scout called after her. Allison froze in her tracks. It wasnt because some boy told her too, but the ice water pumping through her veins, the frozen diamond in the center of her chest, and mostly that the young girl realized that when she heard that name called, she didnt know who that was anymore.

Marshal watched Allison fall to the ground, not crying, not moving: just waiting.

Allison remained still as the boys feet crunched away from her, back towards the barn. Same story, different day: different person. Hed probably figured that all the trouble of being with her wasnt worth it after all. Maybe Marshal was right. Why bother rescuing someone who didnt want you in the first place? Then the footsteps came back, jogging, and stopped beside her.

Marshal draped the duvet over Allison. Her hands grabbed at the sides, pulling the blanket tightly around her. Sitting down beside her, Marshal took a minute to breathe in where they were. It wasnt just some barn beside a gutted farmhouse in the middle of a field. It wasnt some plane state, in a country whose ideals Marshal only had a vague understanding of. He had found himself in a new beginning. It was terrifying. A new beginning meant, despite all of the achievements, and badges, and tasks hed completed up to this point, he felt hed have to reinvent himself from scratch. Or worse, he never really had a self to begin with.

It felt like the last twelve years were a false start. He felt cheated. Im sorry. Doesnt quite cover it does it, said Allison, her breath visible, hanging in the air as she spoke. It really doesnt. Marshal took a second to seal his eyes shut. Something would have to stay closed if he was going to open up. I lost my mom too. He heard Allison turn towards him, the rocks beneath them scrapping together, how did you loose your mom? Breathing in, and breathing out; the doctors dont know what happened. No one knows. It was getting harder to keep everything in. Breath in, release; they said it was as if something simply reached inside her, and shut her off. Im S-- my mom and I never did find out what happened to my dad. Marshal opened up his eyes to see Allison obscured by the salt water pooling up around his eyelids; I couldnt save her. No one could. The people you need most in your life, sometimes they just dont come back.

Allison felt uncomfortable under the impossibly soft blanket. She felt selfish for using something she never asked for. Slowly, Alison let the duvet drop from her shoulder. The cold stung at her bare arms, Goosebumps quickly rising up over her skin. Still, the cold felt better than the guilt from wanting to die in front of a boy who had already lost someone. Then Marshal took hold of the blanket, sliding closer, not touching, but in the space where Allison could fell the heat from his arms: that space between. Draping the

blanket over his right shoulder, they sat there together watching a brighter shade of grey invade the darkness of the early morning sky. You came back. What? Marshal asked keeping his head forward, focused on the service road. When they kicked you out of the Y, you came back. You came to me though. I meant you came back you didnt leave without me. Youre still here. Marshal glanced at Allison. Starring at her was almost exactly like starring at the sun. He looked back down at the ground, his eyes still stinging from holding back tears. I dont theres really no one else left. If you had a chance to save your mom Yes. Allison pulled the blanket back up over her shoulders; okay. Okay, Marshal replied. --It only took a few seconds to feel the cold, and the sensation of sleeping on a bed of nails. Opening his eyes, he saw the morning mist hanging over the empty field. The sun was slacking off, its warmth absent. The warm rays werent the only absence though. Marshal woke up alone. Panic hit hard. Leaving the blanket behind, Marshal ran as fast as he could to the barn. Nearly slipping on the gravel driveway, he flew open the door tumbling backwards as Allison stood before him. Holding the two tin bowls hed packed, Allison knelt down beside him. What are you doing? Marshal panted out.

Its breakfast. Allison held out a bowl full of Pops cereal, gonna be weird without milk though. Marshal got back on his feet and motioned for Allison to follow. Reaching his pack, Marshal took out a bottle of honey, and a three ounce container of cinnamon. He liberally squeezed the honey over Allisons bowl, and shook out a few healthy dashes of cinnamon. Try that. The amount of contentment on Allisons face after taking a spoonful was a sufficient substitute for words.

After theyd finished their bowls, it was Allison who raised Marshals least favorite question, so what next? He had always had a plan. Lack of a good nights sleep, did nothing to help in constructing an answer. Marshal did remember that he still genuinely wanted to fly. That desire had an element of truth that didnt seem manufactured by empty words or vague rhetoric. In this moment, hed polish, hed refine that desire see how much worth was in that truth. Well need a forge. Forage, like for food? Its like an oven for bending metal. Well need to build one before we make a- Im talking about saving my mom.

Yeah, but first we need to find out where she is, and then wed need a way to get her out. We build the jet, we find your mom, and we go. Thats the plan. Where do we go? We go Marshal stopped himself. He had to focus on the task at hand, one task at a time. First task: construction. Away from here is good enough. --When the safety of night had returned, Marshal and Allison mounted the bike and headed out for their first mission. Theyd need furnace cement to line the basin of their forge, and a shop vacuum. Fortunately, both of those items were less than two miles away from them. Riding south down Ferguson Road, Marshal held onto Allison as they headed towards Ms. Garners office building. The industrial park was unlit, silent, abandoned; their task should be simple. They circled the building, making sure no cars, and no people were left inside. The coast was clear. They parked the bike in some shrubs, obscured from the road, the parking lot, and anyone that didnt know where to look. This place looks familiar, Allison whispered. I used to work here, Marshal whispered back. He reached into his jean pocket and pulled out a key. So did I, Allison replied. Marshal raised and eyebrow at Allison then turned his attention back to the door. The glass door opened with ease, but a persistent high-pitched beeping rang throughout the building.

What the hell is that? Allison spoke with a tinge of panic. Quite, its just the alarm, Marshal hushed as he opened a panel to the left of the door. His fingers quickly tapped at the keyboard, and the beeping subsided. They didnt have enough time to let the defining silence and emptiness of the building overtake them. They had to work fast. Come on, upstairs. I know where to go, Allison snapped. They raced each other up the carpeted spiral staircase, and continued down the hall to room two-nineteen. When did you work here, Marshal asked as he opened the door to the office. About a year- Allison was silenced by Marshals hand covering her mouth. Something was snoring like a chainsaw in the back of the room. The two thieves eyes meet. Allison motioned for Marshal to remove his hand. He complied. Marshal also began to back out of the room, but was encouraged by Allison to stay. Their silent tug of war in the door frame was interrupted by a sudden gruff voice; whos not in my countrynot here Frozen in the doorway, Marshal and Allison starred on at the still sleeping hulk of a man sprawled out on the couch. Raising her arms, Allison shrugged, like there was nothing to be worried about. Taking a breath Marshal grabbed Allison by the hand and led her into the room. Every nerve was stretched as they made their way to the far end of the room where the shop vacuum lay. Theyd have to lift it up to carry it out, as Marshal remembered that the back wheels squeaked something awful, and the front ones didnt work at all. It was only about thirty inches high, and light enough that one of them needed to carry it, but it was easier with two if only one of them wasnt distracted.

Marshal tapped Allison on the shoulder, and she shot him back a fuming glare. He raised his eyebrows which were supposed to say to Allison, whats your problem? She started gesturing wildly with her fists at the man asleep on the couch. Marshal hadnt the time to translate what she was miming, but as his eyes adjusted to the light, he recognized the sleeping beast as Tom. Marshal tried again, pointing to his watch and the vacuum. All he got in return was another glare. Hed officially run out of patience, gathering up the vacuum and hose himself and making his way back to the door. He felt Allison tug at his shoulder, nearly making him drop the vacuum. What is your problem? Marshal mouthed. That asshole tried to- Allison was cut short as the office door swung loose from its prop and slammed shut. The two were in mid dash for the door when they heard a grizzly, what in the unholy shit is going on here? Marshal quickly spun around, and with all his might threw the vacuum at Tom. A few expletives escaped Toms mouth before he rolled over cold from the couch and on to the floor. Now quit dicking around and help me get this vacuum out of here, alright? Marshal said shaking. Allison was still frozen, her eyes wide starring at Marshal. Lets go! Allison nodded and ran back to collect the vacuum with Marshal. They had each grabbed a handle when Tom began to stir again. Marshal dropped the vacuum down on his head once more for good measure.

Running down the hall with their steal, they made their way down the spiral staircase and towards the exit. Nearly at the door, Allison suddenly let go of her side of the vacuum and began to run in the opposite direction. What the hell are you doing? Marshal called after her. She didnt respond. Leaving the vacuum, Marshal ran after the girl down the hall to the cafeteria. Standing by the door, Marshal didnt need to hear an explanation. He simply jammed his key into the lock and opened the door.

Moments later, Allison and Marshal had their vacuum, a backpack full of food, and now a bag of furnace cement from the supply shed on the side of the building. Nearly back to the bike, the two thieves dropped to the ground as they heard a car slowly rolling up through the parking lot. He called the cops, Allison breathed out. Hes not even supposed to be living in there. Theyll probably take him in. If they take him in, hell tell em about us. Allison had a point, but there wasnt anything Marshal could do about it at the moment. The two kept still lying in the grass, watching the patrol car roll up to the entrance. It idled by the doorway, shining its spotlight on the front door. Allison tugged at Marshals shoulder, but the Scout remained still. Eventually, the patrol car dimmed its light, and drove on. Marshal waited until the black-and-white turned the corner into the next lot. Alright, lets go.

Hauling their take through the grass back to the motorcycle proved difficult with the bag slipping off the top of the vacuum and onto the ground every twelve steps. Eventually, they made it back and Marshal used the rope from his pack to secure the Vacuum on the back of the bike. What are you doing? Allison asked impatiently. We cant fit all this stuff on the back and you too. I know. You drive this back, Ill go by foot. What do you mean, youll go by foot? Its only two and a half miles on the road, and a mile and a half if I cut across the field. Itll take me ten minutes tops. Youre not walking a mile and a half back to the barn. Im not walking, Im running. Allison laughed and started walking the bike down into the ravine towards the field. Marshal took hold of one of the handle bars. What are you doing? Im walking back to the barn. Dont be stupid, you dont have to walk. Allison punched Marshal in the arm, I aint stupid. Okay, Marshal said pulling the bike opposite Allison. Okay, the girl replied. --Forty-five minutes later, the two rouges arrived back at the barn, hauling their plunder inside and shutting the steal door behind them. They were both exhausted, but adrenaline kept pumping, pushing them to stay awake.

Marshal rolled the vacuum and cement over to the basin he had found in the back of the room. His hands were shaking, and eyes were heavy, he could barely lift the bag of cement up. In fact, the mass of the bag compared to the light-headed boy seemed to be pulling him in, pulling down. Despite collapsing on top of the bag, Marshal still fought to stay awake. What are you doing? Allison almost laughed out. I need to line the first basin with cement. Ill need to get enough water to You need to sleep. Cant sleep. Have to finish. You are finished. Go to sleep. No. Nothing is ever really finished.

Allison stood over Marshal, watching him try and drag his sleep-deprived body towards the basin with the bag of cement. It was amusing enough to continue watching, but sad enough that she was compelled to help temporarily put him out of his misery. Making her way up and back down from the loft, Allison returned to Marshal carrying the bag with the giant comforter stuffed inside. She found Marshal lying on the recently swept concrete floor out cold and using the bag of cement as a pillow. As she spread out the blanket beside Marshal, Allison considered what she was going to do about her name. What would happen if she werent anyones daughter? What else was would she be? Would her name matter?

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