What Wu could not determine--despite the fleet of computer bugs the Geek Squad "Chimera" had deployed for him all over Washington--was whether the GOP Congress was already preparing maneuvers to oust Trump and install Mike Pence. Various campaigns were underway concerning the Electoral College, and more than a few Electors had resigned or hired bodyguards, but that game could still not be called. The rumors of quick impeachment hearings also could not be confirmed. The problem was, despite an almost universal loathing of Trump in DC, there was no consensus on what could or should be done about it. Even Condoleezza Rice and the Heurich Society were playing a long game rather than attacking Trump directly. Wu was now neglecting everything else to determine what was coming next, and had every spy he could muster deployed.
This included Angela de la Paz--who, though aware from the Dreamtime visit that Trump had no soul, still did not feel inclined to kill him. "Charles, the world's had a lot of greedy leaders, and even had a lot of evil leaders. I cannot intervene willy-nilly. I need to use my gift as it was intended."
"People are committing hate crimes in his name!" Charles Wu replied.
"Is that's what's really bothering you?"
"He mouths off against nuclear-powered China because of a red carpet fetish!"
"You have sold nuclear secrets yourself!"
"I have never sold nuclear secrets!"
Angela looked up from her Lauriol Plaza enchilada in surprise. "But you always said--"
"I always said what served me best! But now...." He paused to drain his beer glass.
"Now you worry about your daughter's future," Angela said. Her employer looked at her without answering. "I'm worried, too," she said. "But I'm not sure I'm the one to fix it. I'm waiting for a vision."
Also waiting for a vision was Glenn Michael Beckmann. The Hunter-Gatherer Society was in complete disarray--in a mass of confusion about whether to support or oppose Donald Trump. Their secret president, Sarah Palin, had endorsed him months ago, but then just attacked his Indiana HVAC deal as sinful crony capitalism! Bill O'Reilly was for Trump, then against Trump, then for Trump, then against Trump. The babes at Fox were sending confusing signals. The CB trucker chatter had never been more profanity-laced, and it was all about Hamilton's compromise for the Electoral College! What did that mean?
Then a sign finally appeared: a distraught father emailed the Beckmann's Bad Asses security firm for assistance in retrieving his daughter. "She ran away because of her stepdad, that piece of shit! And I think I finally traced her!"
Two hours later, Beckmann was armed to the hilt, eager to shoot up a bunch of hippies in the rowhouse they were approaching. (He had already jumped to the conclusion that Brittani had joined a cult.) "Stay behind me!" whispered Beckmann.
"Like Hell I will!" declared Brittani's father, Randy "Bubba" Blaylock. "I only hired you for back-up!" Bubba kicked in the back door without knocking, and stormed in with his shotgun aimed in front of him. Beckmann cursed the loss of the element of surprise but followed his client in.
They landed in the kitchen, where a pot of chili was cooling off on the stove and dirty dishes were soaking in the sink. "Slow down!" whispered Beckmann, who was surprised not to be hearing some type of Sunday night fruity guitar sing-a-long from the living room.
"Clear!" shouted Bubba, who always saw soldiers saying that in the movies. "Clear!" he shouted again from the living room.
"Doesn't look like a cult lives here," said Beckmann. Then they heard it: sounds coming from the basement. "Wait!" hissed Beckmann, but Bubba had already shoved Beckmann aside me to run through the door leading down to the basement. Beckmann heard shouts and raced down the stairs.
"You son of a bitch!" Bubba was screaming at Kevin "Monkey" Mundy, who had dropped to his knees with his hands in the air. "I'm gonna kill you!"
Bubba turned to look at his daughter, locked up like an animal in a cage, then turned back to knock out Monkey with the butt of his gun. He ran over to the cage, where Beckmann was already pounding at the lock with his genuine imitation Thor hammer.
"There's a key!" exclaimed Brittani, pointing her father to the hook. And then she was free.
"What happened?" asked Beckmann, a little disappointed no mouth-to-mouth resuscitation had been required.
After Brittani told them some of the story (she didn't want them to think she sounded crazy!), her father marched over to the now awake and moaning Monkey and started bashing his head against the floor repeatedly.
"Daddy, no! Let's just go!"
"Just go? Not until we take everything this bastard has, starting with this!"
"Daddy, no! It's evil!"
But it was too late: Bubba had pulled the shiny, gold, cursed Rolex off Monkey's wrist and put it on his own. "Look who's a fine gentleman now, sweet pea!"
Out on the river, Marcos Vazquez trained his Coast Guard cutter floodlight on the mysterious oily sheen that had arrived in Washington and which had already been sampled by EPA scientists. But this is only the surface, he thought, knowing Ardua of the Potomac lurked below him. The demon is back.
An anxious Coalition reunites without Angela.