Wednesday, April 4, 301 AP.

Backstage in Rovens

In his press conference, General Keralski told the awaiting jackals that he and the President had had a "constructive conversation" during which the President declared his "unwavering gratitude" for the General's "decisive" action, and accepted that his regime had indeed made errors, which would "immediately be corrected".

Only ten minutes beforehand, the General stood there, in the President's office, resplendent in the same military green uniform he'd worn the night he announced his support for the PIMR government. The President was ranting, screaming, insinuating.

"President", he at last spoke. "I have told you where I was at the time, and why it took me so many hours to attend to the national emergency. As soon as I was aware of the action required, I performed it."

"Yes, yes, I know, General. You're a national hero, or so the papers are saying."

The President, thin and wirey build, with a planting of receding black hair on his head, would never have been a good soldier even if he had served, the General considered. Even when he yells, he is unintimidating.

"But, General, I find your story so unbelieveable... well, I am speechless."

"You want my resignation, President?"

"I think I do, General. For if you are inciting your men to military coups, and spending thirty hours considering whether you will support it, I have little other choice." The President flopped back into the expensive leather chair imported from Morania. He was obviously feeling very... very Presidential today, thought Keralski, and he felt disappointed to have to shatter the illusion.

"President? You do not want my resignation."

"Oh? And why is that?"

"President, there are obviously too many men within the military who want to see your leadership unseated." He had his attention now. "I, on the other hand, supported you."

"I am", he continued, "your most loyal and unequivocal supporter. I saved you, President. If I had wanted to betray you, it would be I sitting in that plush leather chair right now." He allowed that to settle in the President's mind.

"But, I did not."

The President's eyes were wide open, and he sat upright in the chair.

"You cannot sack me, President, because the next General may fulfill Colonel Zegannin's desire, and neither of us want that." Now, he thought, the changes. "So, I would strongly recommend that your investigation into crimes against humanity... should procede with caution. Perhaps even slowly. This would assist me with the development of a loyalty toward this regime in the military, President. I would also reconsider the policy of integrating communists into the military. The democrats, perhaps. But not the communists. Consider this, President, the military is your friend. You do not treat with disrespect your friends."

"I think you'll agree with my position on these matters."

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)