Chapter 2:

Chapter 2 "Damage Control"

America Stranded In A Fantasy World

 “Damage Control”

June 16th, 2040: United States White House

“Good morning Mister President.” His secretary smiled at a worse for wear John, running on nothing but a couple hours of sleep and caffeine.

“Morning, what’s on the agenda?”

“Well your advisors are all in the oval office waiting to debrief you on a whole range of topics, the press is requesting or I should say demanding, a conference at your earliest convenience. The internet is buzzing with all sorts of news and conversations.” The two began walking down the hall.

“Oh? What are they saying?” John perked up hearing that the internet was back up finally. He knew better than anyone that if it was down longer than a few days, riots would have started.

“Most are talking about the sudden country-wide blackout but there are a few forums and threads talking about how the night sky has changed completely, missing constellations and much more. People are already starting to catch on, Sir.” John simply sighed, putting his head down. This was slipping away from them faster than expected.

“John! I need a moment.” Harold called from a corner office, waving him in. Shooing off his secretary, the two stood alone in a conference room. “What’s up?”

“I took the liberty of attempting contact with our embassies and… Well, it’s something all right.” Harold took a deep breath, leaving John even more confused.

“All foreign workers inside of them just vanished. But what's more worrisome and quite honestly terrifying is what the camera caught. In the final frames where the workers are, something round and dark appears underneath them. The terrifying part is what some cameras caught on the last frame.” Harold pulled out a photo from his suit, handing it to John whose eyes looked ready to leave his head.

“By God, what the hell is that?” John stared at the photo. Opaque black hands reached from the dark mass suggesting that they were pulled in. “Have the CIA and the FBI look into this.”

“They already are, and so far have nothing to show. Whatever did this, probably is responsible for us not being on earth anymore.” Harold watched as John blinked a few times before responding. “I--wa--What?”

“Our worst fears have been realized, unfortunately. NASA along with our own observations have concluded that the alignment for the stars is all off. Even the moon, though at a glance it looks the same, with a telescope you can spot the differences. We are not on Earth anymore John.” Harold’s voice grew cold, making John shift uncomfortably.

“Who else knows about this?” John tightened his expression, the gravity of the situation hitting both like a freight train.

“In the interest of the country, everyone who needs to know, including your advisors that you are about to speak with...good luck.” Harold simply smiled, handing John another cup of coffee before walking him out of the office. “If you need me just ask. I’ll be in my office.”

Taking a moment to collect himself, John tightened his posture and made his way towards the oval office. Already he could hear them arguing over what course of action to take for whatever policy they were yelling about. Opening the door the room immediately fell silent as he took his seat.

“Please proceed.” Taking a large swig of his coffee he prepared himself for the hail storm.

“Mister President, I highly advise that we close all banks and freeze the markets. If the people--”

“Are you seriously advocating keeping people away from their money in the midst of a crisis?” The two advisors locked eyes, both not giving an inch.

“Sir, if we have a run on the banks they will collapse, I trust I don’t need to explain further on why.” He shifted his gaze back to John who simply just sighed, rubbing his head.

“I have to agree, have all banks close but leave ATMs and credit open, the American people need some way to buy food. But we can’t freeze the stock market, however, I want it to be watched and have the federal bank set the interest rate to near or at zero. We are going to be hemorrhaging money for a while but, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. Now, Hana. What’s the situation with NASA?” A blonde woman stepped forward.

“NASA along with what government-controlled satellites are back online are working around the clock to create the map that Vice President Harold along with Joint Chief Edward requested but it’s taking some time, this world is bigger than earth and this could take several days to be completed. So far no foreign satellites have been detected, Earth or otherwise.” John simply nodded, before calling up the next advisor an older man pushed to the front, holding a large file.

“On the topic of this world, Mister President, this whole situation is quite frankly, lunacy! People are questioning why all flights have been grounded, no commercial vessels leaving port, increased military activity, why no one can contact anyone outside of US soil. We have to address the nation before--”

“And what good will that do!” A younger gentleman stepped forward. “Do you seriously believe the public will believe this if we tell them? Even we are still trying to wrap our heads around this whole thing. If we tell the public there will be anarchy! Entire religions will have their foundations rupture and call the coming of the apocalypse. Militias will start forming and barricading entire streets or even towns and cities. Martial law can only do so much before the legitimacy of this government is called into question and what then?” The older man simply held up his file in response.

“That’s why I have brought this. Mister President, this file holds every religious group, cult, and militia that will be a cause for concern once we tell the public about this.” Slamming the bulky file onto his desk, John flicked around the pages, most of the groups he already knew quite well.

“Alright, we already have the national guard on standby if anything gets out of hand. Anything else about the doomsday cults or can we get to the real problems?” John raised an eyebrow, the older man simply stepped back, allowing a woman with black hair to take his place.

“Yes, Mister President. Last year we consumed nearly twenty-two million barrels of crude oil while only extracting a meager six million barrels. Our reserves are fifty million barrels which should last nearly four years of annual consumption with rationing. Basically, we need to increase our production and fast if we want to keep this country from falling apart.” She took a deep breath, seeing John’s eyes widen at the numbers.

Christ… Alright, work with the big oil companies and go prospecting in the former territory of Canada and Mexico. From what we can gather, the territories look familiar so have them start drilling in pre-drilled areas. If lady luck is on our side we should get a bone here.” The lady nodded, walking off to do just that. “Alright, what’s next?”

“Mister President, on the topic of the economy, our supply chains are scrambled all to hell. Even with us moving production stateside for the past twenty years it still is nowhere close to what we need to support the nation at large. Namely machinery, electrical machinery, a multitude of vehicles, minerals, pharmaceuticals and much more. Forgive my bluntness Mister President but, if we don’t do something about this, you will most likely be the last President of the United States…” John simply downed the rest of his coffee, this is just one nightmare after another.

“Start putting together a factory and production bill for congress. This is something the States will have to do, our job is national security. If anyone gives you grief, send them to me or Harold, understood?” Before John could ask for the next question his desk phone rang. “What is it?”

“Sir, we have a situation regarding the transfer, you are needed in the war room right away.” Edwards' voice sounded more hoarse than usual, just how much ordering has he done?

“Alright, I’m on my way. Looks like I am needed elsewhere, if it’s a pressing issue talk to Harold. Godspeed everyone.” Everyone who was sitting down immediately stood up as John started a brisk walk to the war room. There everyone from the previous night was discussing around the glass table.

“Did any of you get sleep?” Trying to raise the morale of the room John cracked a joke, causing some of the officials to smile or laugh.

“Well Mister President, how exactly is one supposed to sleep soundly with a crisis like this?” Edward stood up, walking over to John and they shook hands. “I hope you could get some rest, Sir.” John couldn't help but smirk.

“If you count three hours as sleep then I suppose I did. Now, where are we with making contact with our bases?” John started pacing around the room, mainly to keep himself awake.

“We’ve hit a bit of a roadblock with that. Turns out not all our bases were brought here, Namely ones stationed outside US soil.” Edwards pointed to the massive screen, a display of base names showed with a little over half grayed out.

“Then how did Ramstein get here?” John questioned. Before Edward could answer, John took a shot in the dark. “Only our major bases got brought over, didn’t they?”

“You would be half correct Sir. It seems that whatever brought us here, decided to only bring some of our larger bases. Thule Airbase, Yokota Airbase, Camp Fuji, Guantanamo Bay and Naval Station Harold E. Holt, just to name a few. Many however we have failed to communicate with but that's…” Edward trailed off, leaving John with a concerned look.

“We have received...emergency beacons from over ten-thousand satellite radios, we would have gotten more if the system didn’t crash.” John’s eyes widened at the realization.

“So you're saying that even though the bases didn't make it, the troops did?” John’s face became whitewashed with Edward nodding. Stabilizing himself on the table John lowered his head. “...How many?” His voice grew deep.

“Roughly four hundred thousand, Sir.” Edward Stated. Everyone at the table stayed silent, reflecting on the situation. John’s face turned red, his hands turning into fists.

Goddammit!” Was all he shouted at the top of his lungs. Any exhaustion he had was now replaced with sheer rage. “Edwards!” John snapped his head to him, causing Edward to stand at attention.

“As acting President of the United States, I hereby authorize you to use whatever means necessary to bring our soldiers home. Do I make myself clear?” Getting within inches of Edward's face he barked his order. For his part, Edward didn't even flinch.

“Sir yes sir!” Edward roared back, turning to the other generals at the table who were already at attention. “I want a message sent out to every sat phone we have a connection with, stating to hold your ground! Get in contact with the navy and air force and start planning rescue missions.” Edwards and the generals wasted no time putting together the largest rescue operation in America's history.

“Steven, How’s the intelligence gathering?” John focuses his fury on the head of the CIA.

“Slow sir, but we are making headway. Satellite imagery suggests that we have been placed on a continent similar to North America along with Hawaii, however, we are still trying to establish contact with them.” Steven hated how in the dark they were, he felt exposed.

“Anything on the inhabitants of this world?” Steven slid a file across the table to answer John's question. Flipping through the pages John saw a multitude of different humanoids taken from recon flights performed by the few outside bases.

“Only the basics. Thanks to the rather daring pilots at Ramstein, we know that whatever kingdom they have landed themselves in works on something similar to the feudal system. Their technological level being equivalent to the medieval age, strangely no gunpowder weapons have been spotted but a plethora of other unknowns.” Using a remote Steven changed the wall display to dozens of pictures showing large creatures equipped with some form of metal armor, wooden staffs with some having glowing gems of varying sizes and colors, even a few easily identifiable dragons and wyverns. “I’ve already taken the liberty of discussing the security concerns of these with the Joint Chiefs; they aren't worried about the dragons and...whatever that living tank is. It’s the glowing gem sticks they're worried about. No doubt it’s something magical by design, of what caliber we don’t know. With your permission, I would like to send a team to borrow some of them.” A smile crept across Steven's face.

“Granted, and have them bring anything else back that looks to be of importance, but, have the team equipped with every alert system we have. I don’t need one of them dropping dead from radiation poisoning within minutes of being there. ” Steven simply nodded, leaving the war room with a smile, all that was left was the Chief of Navy.

“Marshal, what's the situation with our vessels?” John braced himself, this was going to be a rough one.

“Sir, as soon as the first satellite came back online I had an automated message for all vessels to return to the nearest American harbor. I can confirm three hundred and twenty-five vessels along with all our SSBNs and over half of our SSNs have received and confirmed, the rest I don’t know if they even heard the message yet.” Marshal stated.

“So little over half our fleet is returning home, great. Keep trying with the rest, if we don’t receive contact within the next three days send a search and rescue team to their last known location, coordinate with Edwards to create a path to search for ships and land troops if we don’t have the resources to split. Anything else I should be aware of?” Marshal handed him a file containing papers filled with information.

“USS Florida has found itself outside the port of a foreign city. This is an extensive report they have created while monitoring the area upon my request, sir.” Standing at parade rest Marshal watched John scan through the file. Appeared to be medieval in design, large stone walls with towers placed in certain areas. Naval vessel traffic is heavy, the majority of ships appearing to be mercantile in design along with a few military vessels.

“How long can they stay there before resupply?” John questioned

“Fully loaded, one hundred days sir, but I would guess the crew has around sixty days.”

“Have them continue reconnaissance until they reach bingo on supplies.” Nodding to Marshal, John took the two files, placing them under his right arm he left them to strategize.

Marching across the White House to the presidential room, John threw open the door before, using what little composure he had left he quietly shut the door behind him to not alert anyone. Glancing at the files he didn't hesitate in throwing them across the room. Falling against the wall he slid to the floor with tears finally forming in his eyes.

“Why? Why must I be the one to deal with this...this madness?” John muttered, pulling his legs towards his chest, his mind refusing to form any cohesive thought. The million-dollar question no one had bothered to answer yet; Just who or what brought them here, and why? None of this made any logical sense even if you bent the rules of the universe as we understand it. This was supposed to be impossible and yet, here is the United goddamn States, stuck on a foreign world. For what purpose? Some god that got bored and wanted to spice things up?

Raising his head, John’s watery vision met two paintings hung on the wall, two paintings that he personally had chosen. George Washington, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Conqueror and The Protector. Picking himself off the floor John walked over to the paintings, the two portraits stared back at John, seemingly judging his soul. Running his figures over the golden nameplate John's mind began working again; along with his anger and fury. In only twenty-four hours the country was at its knees. It didn't take an expert in economics to know that America was dying, be it a rapid death or a slow collapse. The two paintings continued to judge John.

“I will not fail this nation. We are the shining city on top of the hill, and I would rather die trying to save it than watch it fall. No matter the cost, the United States will survive this, and give whatever did this hell to pay.” Seemingly talking to the past presidents, John straightened his posture before marching out the door, this time with one goal. The survival of his country and everything she stands for.