“Delayed?” I asked. “What do you mean delayed?”
“I mean the meeting is not going to take place yet.”
I sighed. “Yes, thank you, I know. I mean why is it delayed?”
The Dominite man gave me a look, but I weathered it. I was just happy he wasn’t obviously modified by the toy maker. As far as I could tell, he was completely human. He wore a nice black suit and said he was from Necessarius. I hadn’t seen any of the other ambassadors or their people yet. Well, I had seen them during the procession, but I hadn’t actually met with any of them.
“There is a minor issue that needs to be resolved,” the man said. “Until that happens, several of the delegates will be distracted. It is best to simply wait.”
“How long will it be?”
“Unclear. Perhaps a few hours.”
“I thought Butler was good about being on time,” I said.
“He is. Unfortunately, he is not here, and we are not as experienced in dealing with unexpected emergencies.”
I sighed, and nodded in dismissal. He bowed and left.
I was sitting in the conference room in the UN building. It was supposed to be filled with delegates from all nations and Domina City, but instead it was just me.
I still didn’t know how the UN would react to Domina City. Most of the representatives liked me, but mostly because I acted like a fun idiot. They could usually get whatever they wanted out of me. So what did they want in this situation? Did they want Domina to remain under American jurisdiction, or did they want it to become a free country? Either one would set a difficult precedent.
I groaned and leaned my forehead against the oak table. This had been easier when we were fighting. Body modification and superpowers were weird, but at least I understood them more than politics. I had spent most of my life reading comic books. I knew how all that worked.
The door opened, then shut quietly. “Mister President?”
“Miss Silk,” I said, my voice muffled. I refused to raise my head from the desk. “The meeting has been delayed.”
“Yes, I heard. Unavoidable circumstances, I am afraid.”
I waved my hand, still not raising my head. “I don’t even know what the circumstances are. The Necessarius guy—”
“Sure, Necessarian. He wouldn’t even tell me what was happening!” I sighed. That made my lips brush the desk more, and I got the taste of oak in my mouth. Or the varnish, I guess. “I should have pushed him harder.”
“As I understand it, the situation involves an escaped fugitive.”
I sat up.
I didn’t wonder how Silk had heard that. She had her ways. Sometimes she was a better spy than anyone the CIA gave me. She was good enough that I had ordered a triple-strength background check on her, but no one had found any discrepancies.
Where was I? Oh right, sitting up!
“A Dominite fugitive on US soil,” I said. “That sounds like the sort of thing they should have warned us about.”
“Most likely, sir,” Silk said.
“Can we use that in the negotiations?”
“Perhaps. It depends on whether they catch her, how they do it, and whether they share that information without being prompted.”
“Right,” I said. “Politics.”
Silk smiled. “You’re a politician, sir.”
“Not by choice.” I sighed. “Okay. We probably should avoid pissing off the people with superpowers.” We didn’t know the extent of those powers, which was why I was being careful. Hopefully we could tease out more details. Then we’d know when it was safe to piss them off. “We’ll delay as they asked. No snide comments or anything. But make sure you put ‘talk about fugitive’ on the list.”
I leaned back in my chair. “What else is on the agenda for today?”
She adjusted her glasses. “Well, the UK wanted to talk to you about trade tariffs, but I think they’re just trying to dodge the proper channels because they know you’ll be easier to convince.”
I sighed. Politics.
Why did I even take this job?
Behind the scene (scene 302)
Short, yes, but it’s important to show what Martinez is up to. Besides, it breaks up the scenes nicely.