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Mr. President   By: (1922-)

Mr. President by Stephen Arr

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction November 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Mr. President


Illustrated by DICK FRANCIS

He had been overwhelmingly elected. Messages of sympathy poured in, but they couldn't help ... nothing could.

George Wong stood pale and silent by the video screen, listening to the election returns, a long stemmed glass of champagne clutched forgotten in his trembling right hand.

The announcer droned on: " latest returns from Venus, with half of the election districts reporting, give three billion four hundred and ninety six million votes for Wong, against one billion, four hundred million for Thompson, one billion one hundred million for Miccio, and nine hundred million for Kau. These results, added to the almost complete returns from Earth and the first fragmentary reports from Mars, clearly indicate a landslide vote for Wong as the next President of the Solar Union. The two billion votes from Ganymede and Callisto, which will be received early tomorrow morning, cannot appreciably affect the results. The battle for the twenty five Vice Presidents is less clear. It is certain that Thompson, Miccio, Kau, Singh, and DuLavier will all be among those elected, but in what order is not yet...."

Wong leaned over and snapped the video off. His shoulders sagged. He leaned against the console as though too tired to move, a slight, narrow shouldered man with a very high forehead and thin receding black hair. His large, sad, almond shaped eyes and yellow tinted skin indicated that there was a good deal of Asiatic in the mixed blood that flowed through his veins.

"I'm sorry, truly sorry," Michael Thompson said sympathetically, placing a friendly arm across the narrow shoulders of the successful candidate. They were alone in the living room of the hotel suite in New Geneva, which they had shared for the campaign. "The people chose well. After the wonderful job you did in organizing the colonization of Io and Europa, you were the logical man. And then you do have the fantastic Responsibility Quotient of 9.6 out of 10. Anyway," he added with a weary shrug, "don't feel too bad it looks as though I'll be First Vice President."

A brief ghost of a smile crossed George Wong's face. "We who are about to die salute you," he said, lifting his glass in a bitter toast to the blank video screen.

Thompson, the man who was to be First Vice President, silently joined him.

"At least," Wong sighed, putting his empty glass down on the video, "I don't have a family. Look at poor Kau. At Miccio. With wives and children, how they must have suffered when they learned they had been drafted by the conventions.... Well, I guess there's nothing else to do but to go to bed and wait until they come for me in the morning. Good night, Michael."

"Good night, George," Michael Thompson said. He turned toward his own room. "I am sorry," he said again.

Wong had already eaten breakfast and was dressed in an inconspicuous tweed suit for the inauguration when the chimes sounded, telling him that they were at the door. Slowly, he walked to the door and opened it.

"Good morning, Mr. President," the man outside said cheerily, flashing his famous grin. George Wong immediately recognized Al Grimm, the man who had been personal secretary to sixty three Presidents. He was one of the vast army of civil servants who kept the wheels of government turning smoothly until Presidents were able to make the decisions that would create policy.

"Good morning, Al," George Wong said. "I am afraid I'll have to place myself completely in your hands for these first few days. Do we go to the Executive Mansion for the inauguration now?"

"Yes, sir... Continue reading book >>

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