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Going Public
The press conference was worse than Nicholas expected. Fresh off Nikolai Brandon's public ego masturbation, the questions were brutal. The press didn't want to listen to proposals for common sense legislation, they wanted a witch hunt. Guess this is what it feels like on the other side,
Nicholas thought. He was nursing his third drink of the night in the back seat of a government car. He took another sip.

Ever since the terror attack in the 2030's, all major government officials in the line of succession had to be escorted at all times. Two secret service agents sat in the front. Nicholas couldn't deny the humor in it all. He'd spent years as a kingmaker, politicians at his beck and call. Building up people's careers and shattering others. He'd been the fox, and now he was meeting the wolves. They didn't care about any higher ideals of some mythical fourth estate. They wanted ratings, and blood always sent those sky high.

A pothole in the road almost made Nicholas drop his glass, but he didn't. Evie,
he thought. She sent him a message after the conference was over. She wanted to meet, to discuss old times. It wasn't long ago she'd come by asking for advice, and help. He couldn't help her directly, but he tore down every democrat in her way. He wondered what his dead sister's best friend wanted now.

"Mr. Secretary," the voice came from the driver up front. "An office building up ahead is on fire and the road's closed. We're changing the route."

Bad press,
Nicholas thought. That's it.
He downed the drink and looked up at the rear view mirror, his eyes meeting the driver's. "No, it's not. Find us a place to park. You two are about to see why I just got the position."

"What are you going to do, Secretary?" There wasn't fear in the agent's voice, or much curiosity, either. He sounded resigned, more than anything. Which was good. Nicholas knew he was going to like this one.

"Something I've never done before, that's going to make my case better than any words I can come up with."
The car came to a stop in front of the road block. "But I'll need those badges of yours to get through."

They got out, and the agents flashed their badges at the cop directing traffic away from the road block. He hadn't expected to see a cabinet secretary try to come through on foot, so it wasn't hard for the agents to make him stand aside.

The fire was ugly, and cutting through the middle of the building. Nicholas could see people hanging out the windows from the upper floors. The zoning restrictions on building heights went away when they rebuilt D.C., and that wasn't good for the people trapped above the fire. Ladder trucks reached as high as they could, but it wasn't enough.

Nicholas seized the power, a violent mental battle for control that he'd narrowed down to a science. In the blink of an eye he held the force of a hurricane. Sending out tendrils of water and air, he weaved a net and sent it through the building. In the Navy, everyone had to know how to fight fires. Fuel, air, heat, and a chemical reaction were the four pillars that held the whole thing up.

Nicholas couldn't take the fuel, and taking the air away wouldn't stop the fire for good unless he suffocated everyone in the building. So, instead, he felt out. The strands were like his fingers, and when they found the flames he felt it. Methodically, he wrapped his net around every spot of flame in the building and snuffed it out, freezing the fire away.

By the time he finished, Nicholas realized that all eyes were on him. The firefighters had stopped spraying water, and the people in the windows stopped shouting for help. His two agents were standing next to him, hands in their coat pockets. Probably ready to draw in case someone thought he was the anti-Christ. No,
he thought, That's Brandon.

Nicholas used the power like a megaphone, projecting his voice. "I'm the new Secretary of Powers, Nicholas Trano,"
he began. "Some of you probably saw me on the news tonight. All I want to say right now is this. Nikolai Brandon thinks he's a god; he's not. He's just a human being like any of us. He's had the power to stop things like this for decades, and he waited until he could show it off and build himself a cult. This is a tool, like anything else. If you'll all let me, I'm going to make sure we can do the most good with it."

For a moment, nobody around seemed to know how to respond. Nicholas was sincerely hoping he hadn't disastrously miscalculated when the first one started clapping.

Edited by Nick Trano, Aug 24 2016, 01:24 AM.

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