High Priest Daniel
Narr: It had been a busy few months for the Flashpack.
With Slimer finally beaten and the 56th Amendment passed, Jimmy could finally
get his campaign
into full swing. The first debate was only weeks away, but thankfully
Jimmy and the ‘pack had been planning his campaign before the Amendment was
even passed. It was a bright cheery morning and most of the ‘pack was
gathered in the large conference room that Slotter had deemed Campaign
Headquarters. Jimmy, Slotter, Molly, and Keane, and Max sat around one of
the tables discussing
their latest campaign idea.
Molly: It took some work, but I think we’ve actually got it.
Keane: Yeah, I’m a little surprised to hear myself say this, but I
think you might actually be able to have America as your Vice President.
Molly: (slightly scolding) Keane!
Keane: Well come on, it’s kind of a longshot, isn’t it? Do we
even know if it’s legal yet?
Slotter: There’s no law against it, and I think it’s a fantastic
idea. So what have you got?
Molly: May we present the Singh-Keane 5000.
Keane: I still say it should be the Keane-Singh 5000.
Molly: We had this argument. That sounds silly.
Max: Why don’t you explain it to us and work out the name thing later.
Molly: Well this is the mainframe.
Keane: And this is one of the hand held devices. We’ll make enough
of these that there can be one per household.
Molly: They’re essentially polling devices, with this added feature.
Narr: Molly fired up the mainframe and Keane pressed a few buttons on her
handheld device and handed it to Slotter.
Max: Hey! This is great! News archives, government documents…
Jimmy: …The Constitution, bills before Congress…this is amazing!
Molly: Since every citizen is now a government official, they’ll have
direct access to important government information through their handheld devices.
Keane: They’ll also have access to the news, but everything is sorted
into specific archives so people can distinguish what’s in the media
from what’s really going on in the White House.
Narr: Furtrace had been in the corner of the room playing with one of his
birthday presents that the ‘pack had surprised him with at their small
celebration the night before. One would think that the magic dust of the Pixi-Bugs
from the atmosphere of Phosphora might have held the magic user’s attention.
But instead he had spent the morning flipping around the floor of the conference
room with his spell pouch-shaped bag of catnip. It seemed that something about
the Singh-Keane 5000, or maybe the mention of the White House, had triggered
Furtrace’s "run around the perimeter of the room as fast as possible" reflex.
He took a few laps around the room, jumped up onto the conference table, and
started rolling around on it.
Slotter: Are you alright, little man?
Furtrace: (totally nuts) Who you callin’ little? I can play the fiddle!
Hey diddle diddle I’ve got a furry little middle!
Narr: Apparently something had triggered his rhyming reflex as well.
Jimmy: Hey Furtrace? I don’t mean to be rude, but we’re having
kind of an important meeting.
Furtrace: Meeting? What a fleeting meeting! I’d rather be eating!
Narr: Molly took a more aggressive approach, and pushed the catman back onto
Molly: Away from the expensive equipment, furball!
Narr: Furtrace scampered out of the room and started running all through
the halls. He nearly fell down the stairs and slid out onto the floor below
Campaign Headquarters. He started scampering about singing nonsense –
Furtrace: Doo doo doo doo doo!!
Narr: - When he ran head first into Drallus’s feet as she came out
of her room, looking a little flustered.
Drallus: Ah! Stupid feline. What are you doing?
Furtrace: Doing! (rhymes with boing)
Drallus: (pronouncing it for him) Do-ing. What are you do-ing?
Furtrace: (sobering up a little, cause Drallus is SMOKIN’, he snickers) Just playing with my birthday presents.
Drallus: Well I hope you’re only playing with one of them. I’d
hate to see what you’d do with that highly dangerous pixi dust when
you were in this state.
Drallus: Yes, Washington. Now get off my feet, you weirdo.
Furtrace: Oops, sorry. Where are you going?
Drallus: (a little suspect) Oh, uh…just, just the bathroom. And then
I guess I’ll see what the ‘pack is up to.
Furtrace: They’re in the conference room. (beat) You weren’t
talking to your boyfriend were you?
Drallus: What!? I don’t have a boyfriend, you silly fiend.
Furtrace: Just checking. You look a little distracted.
Furtrace: (calling after her) You still look beautiful though!
Narr: But Drallus had already walked off down the hall, presumably to find
the little girls’ room, so Furtrace resumed his reckless scampering
about Flashpoint. A few minutes later Drallus poked her head into the campaign
Keane: See, and then they’d press these buttons to-
Jimmy: Hey, Drallus! Come see what the girls have done!
Drallus: They figured it out, huh?
Jimmy: Yeah! This is a mainframe that holds all kinds of government archives.
With these handheld devices, citizens can access this information. Then they
can give me their opinion as a collective vice president. They were just explaining
how that works.
Narr: Drallus pulled up a chair at the conference table.
Keane: Whenever you want to get the Vice President’s input on an issue,
you put it in the mainframe as a poll question. That question will appear
on everyone’s handheld.
Molly: They have a certain amount of time to make sure they read up on the
issue, and they use these buttons to vote. Those votes get compiled in the
mainframe and you get a readout with the averaged results. That’s the
Vice President’s vote.
Max: Wow, it seems perfect!
Jimmy: I don’t know how to thank you girls!
Drallus: So we have an electronic Vice President?
Slotter: It’s not like we’d have a robot in the White House,
Drallus. People are still giving their own opinions.
Drallus: And what if people don’t? How do you know that you actually
have a majority opinion of the country?
Jimmy: Well we certainly can’t force people to vote. But I think that
I can inspire them enough to want to participate in their own government.
When they hear me in the debates they’ll see what I mean. We really
can change the country, and this won’t even involve them leaving their
homes! The people have the potential to make a difference, they just need
an encouraging hand to guide them.
Slotter: And it’s words like that that are going to put you in office,
Drallus: I don’t know, this is sounding an awful lot like the Presitron
Max: Oh, don’t even joke about that! You heard Slotter, we’re
not putting a robot in office, just a really smart computer. Nothing wrong
with a really smart computer.
Drallus: Still, I think this has scandal potential.
Slotter: That’s just about how we represent it in the media, and that’s
where I come in.
Drallus: Well, all right.
Keane: Enough of this Negative Nebula stuff. How about some breakfast?
Slotter: Oh yeah, we wanted to try that recipe!
Molly: What’s this?
Slotter: When we were on Phosphora Keane and I hit up the Glowing Market.
We got some luminescent eggs and produce. We thought we’d try some Phospora
Max: That sounds delicious. Need a hand?
Keane: I think we’ll be okay. Too many cooks and all that.
Narr: The ‘pack had a great glowing breakfast, and a great two months
after. With one debate per month, Jimmy was holding his own and the polls
were looking sunny. He and Marsh were both very popular candidates, but the
Flashpack was sure that Jimmy had a chance. It was now about a week before
the final debate, and the ‘pack was in the Flashpoint Dining Room munching
on Shrimp Cocktail and recounting the strong and weak points from the last
debate, when Furtrace raced into the room.
Furtrace: Why are you not in the conference room?!
Max: We don’t live there, Furtrace. Why don’t you have some shrimp
Furtrace: Don’t mind if I do!
Narr: Furtrace hopped up on the dining room table and scooped a shrimp off
of the serving plate. He sat on his hind legs chewing on his shrimp.
Drallus: Can’t you use a chair like the rest of us?
Slotter: Did you want something, Furtrace?
Furtrace: Oh yeah! You guys should come watch the news.
Jimmy: Why, what’s up?
Furtrace: Well, see, you’re bigger than I am.
Keane: (impatient) So?
Furtrace: So you’re not going to like what you hear, and if someone
ends up breaking something I’d rather it not be me.
Max: Let’s go see what he’s talking about.
Narr: The Flashpack headed to the conference room and Furtrace followed,
half a shrimp hanging out the side of his mouth. Slotter turned on one of
the TVs and found the news. The woman being interviewed was Susan Blane, a
political columnist for the Cosmic Times.
Blane: As far as I can tell, this is a political move by Smitty and his people.
Newscaster: What makes you say that?
Blane: Well clearly Smitty is jealous that he lost the nomination to a child.
I’d be shaking in my shoes too if a fifteen-year-old were more qualified
Newscaster: So you’re saying this is out of spite?
Blane: If Smitty can’t be in office, no republican will.
Newscaster: Well, that’s quite…quite a point of view. We’ll
be back in a few minutes to continue this conversation with Ms. Blane, and
we’ll have Senator Marsh, the Democratic candidate here to talk with
us about this some more.
Jimmy: See what else there is.
Narr: Slotter changed the channel.
Wally O’Roark: (ranting) Frankly, I’m surprised that this didn’t
come out earlier in the campaign! To think that American citizens have been
blindly loving the Flashpack for all these years when they have done such…reprehensible
things… I mean, the Flashpack has done some great things for mankind,
I’m not going to knock them. As superheroes they might be the best around…but
as people, as human beings, they have a long way to go. I have with me a special
guest, the High Priest Daniel, who wants to talk about the Crenshaw Affair.
Daniel: Thank you, Wally. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Wally: Thanks for being here. Now, you have some sort of a different spin
on the Crenshaw Affair?
Daniel: Well, it’s not really a different spin, I’d just like
to present my point of view on my area of expertise. (chuckle)
Wally: The religious aspect?
Daniel: That’s right. I don’t think we can doubt that the Flashpack’s
actions surrounding the death of one of their purportedly dearest members
were reprehensible. But what no one has even touched on yet is that Julie
Crenshaw died a monotheist.
Wally: (totally taken aback) Wait…say that again?
Daniel: It’s true.
Wally: Folks at home, I hope you’re hearing this. We have a High Priest
and renowned scholar telling us here today that Julie Crenshaw, former well-respected
member of the Flashpack, believed in one single god. Tell us about this!
Daniel: Well, everyone knows about Zimmer, our last monotheistic planet-
Wally: Are you saying Julie was Zimmerian?
Daniel: Oh, no, no, she was Earthling all right. But you may remember years
ago when the Flashpack intervened in a war on Zimmer’s behalf?
Wally: Of course, the Mormonians’ attempt at religious cleansing. Not
that I’m advocating the obliteration of an entire planet, but the Zimmerians
really need to get with the times.
Daniel: Well, during their stay, Ms. Crenshaw spoke with some of the Zimmerians.
It’s still not clear what exactly made her feel so strongly, but she
came back to Earth a monotheist and remained that way until the day she died.
Wally: And how do you know all this?
Daniel: (bashful chuckle) Oh, no, it wouldn’t be gentlemanly of me
to reveal my sources.
Wally: Well in any case, there you have it, folks: the darker side of the
Flashpack. Superheroes who support monotheism among their ranks, and then
leave their friends to die. Who better to run the country?
Molly: (sobbing) Oh, gods, turn this off.
Slotter: Molly, I know this is hard, but I think we need to watch this some
more. We need to know just how badly we’re being hurt here. Jimmy, I
think it’s time for a jam session. Pronto.
Narr: How will the Flashpack combat this possibly fatal and very personal
blow? Is Smitty trying to ruin them, or is something else afoot? Tune in next
week for "With a Little Help."