Jeb Jackson paced the war room far below the Pentagon. Half of the city below him was waterlogged and partially evacuated but the war room was built to withstand a nuclear war.
Even so, the TV pictures made him clench his fists and pace with more vigor. He had been the leader of the free world for two decades. He liked to boast about how a mere glance from his neon blue eyes could start or end a war. He had even succeeded where others had failed in building the Mexican wall, although his promise to force Mexico to pay had ended up being a sleight of hand. For years, he had stood as firmly and unbending as his greatest legacy against the idiotic notion of climate change. Now he was grasping for another explanation for the events that had left much of the east coast under water.
Down in the war room the operations staff were pored over a giant wooden map of the United States . There were colored blocks that they were pushing inland on poles, each representing 500,000 people at a time.
“So…” Jackson exclaimed loudly to the room and to nobody in particular. He saw them stiffen at his arrival and look around for a spokesman. Finally General Portius Nordstrom rose to his full height of 6ft 3, his nose imperious like an Eagle’s beak.
“Mister President we have an unprecedented migration from east to west. Evacuations are under way in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hampton Roads and Boston and New York are also clearing out. We are seeing a mass migration of 14 million people, give or take a few thousand to mountainous areas with little infrastructure. We are looking at a human catastrophe.”
The President glared at him. He was not fond of hyperbole which was not something he had come to expect from Nordstrom.
“It’s not as if this is not something we are unprepared for,” he proclaimed.
The chiefs of staff looked at him blankly, causing the President to let out an impatient snort.
“How many internment camps do we have?”
“It was 453 at the last count Mr. President,” piped up Lee Martial, one of the President’s favorite technocrats.
“Right. I know many are half empty,” snapped back the President in a manner of someone who had been teed up. “As for those that are occupied we need to dispense with the foreigners and take in our folks. Of course ,we aren’t talking about the Hilton here. Not that I’m a fan of the Hilton anyhow.
Remember that Hilton in Lima, Frank? Goddam awful.”
Frank nodded miserably from the sidelines.
The President continued. “We have a food aid operation underway from the Mid-West but they are some way off. We have a few airlifts. But you don’t need me to tell you about the scale of the logistics here. We’ve still got all these whining people from down south who are going on about it being too hot. I’m from Nebraska. If we got a hot day we were as happy as pigs in shit. I don’t know what’s wrong with people these days.”
Frank turned away to the screens with their images of horizontal trees, power lines flat against the howling winds and rivers spilling their polluted ooze onto streets. Jeb “Jackboots” Jackson had been in power for 20 years. It was now a criminal offense to mention the Constitution. But for all of his tough rhetoric and efforts to build a new society, people were still whining. The pitch has risen to a screech and now that the scream was out, it would be hard to bottle it up again.