The President fixed Mr. Smith with an icy stare. He turned to his Chief of Staff and did the thing with the eyebrows.
“Mr. President,” began the Chief of Staff,” they refuse to register. There is nothing in the global treaties going into effect Friday night that will let us to do anything for them. We can’t allocate them any resources, they’re not registered.”
The President thought for a moment, clearly lost for words. Mr. Smith shuffled uncomfortably. The Chief of Staff was really eager for the President to get on the waiting helicopter.
“The people in that camp are Christians,” said the President.
The Chief of Staff sagged slightly. He had known that this was going to be a tough conversation, which was why he had scheduled it when they were on the run to get somewhere. “Yes, Mr. President, we are aware of that.”
“Those people believe in prophesy from the Bible, they believe that the WMU tattoo is the mark of the beast. They believe that their very lives depend on not taking that tattoo. We must respect that. Freedom of religion is a founding principle of this nation. I shouldn’t have to remind you about the 1st Amendment.”
“Of course not Mr. President. Revelation 13:16-18, the number of the beast, 666. We are all aware of the issue here.”
Mr. Smith jumped in, “Mr. President, this is not a matter of religious freedom. This is simply a matter of convenience and opportunity. In the long run, it is much better if we simply make the problem go away.”
The President was not impressed, “What about Revelation 14:9-10? Those people believe that, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.'”
The Chief of Staff shrugged.
“They believe that by refusing to take the mark of the beast they will be entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life, and live for eternity in heaven.”
The Chief of Staff nodded.
“I am shocked that you can call massacring a community of 150,000 Christians, with robot droids or whatever, convenient! Convenient? I sure,” he caught himself, gave a wry smile, recomposed himself, “do you have a time line? When is this going to happen?”
The Chief of Staff got the little group moving again before speaking, “We can be ready, in place, in 1 week. We don’t have to go right at the WMU deadline, but things are going to get more complicated the longer we wait. Now we have got to get you on Marine 1!”
The President allowed himself to be bustled through the rotor wind to the helicopter then he turned to shout at the little group, “We’re going to discuss this when I get back from New York, understand?”
The Chief of Staff and Mr. Smith nodded. They scurried back indoors as the rotor wind increased and the helicopter took off. Mr. Smith looked at the Chief of Staff who was brushing the front of his suit with his hands.
“That could have gone a lot better.”
The Chief of Staff looked at him, “You kidding, that was perfect.” He winked.