No one in the executive Office Building thought twice about it when Carter retuned for work. No one there really knew who he was anyway. But when he took the long walk through the tunnels into the White House and strode towards the President's office the stares and dropped jaws formed an invisible force which he had to work to overcome. He engaged none of their looks. As he approached the President's office a Secret Service agent stepped in front of him.
"I'm sorry, sir – appointment only," was all the agent said trying to hide the bewilderment he clearly felt.
"You know doggone well that I am on the unlimited access list, Brown," was Carter's reply emphasizing that he knew who he was talking to and that he therefore had every right to be there.
"Sir, the person whose ID you are wearing has been reported dead. That makes you a likely imposter."
Carter was tempted to take a swing at Agent Brown, but thought better of it, knowing it would only bring every other agent in the building in his direction. Instead, with his hands plainly in sight, Carter leaned into the agent's ear and whispered, "My feed to the security brief is down, I must go in."
Brown could no longer hide his emotions and he started to stutter, "Bu…bu…but how?" The President's personal detail knew of Carter's activities. They had to, but they were the only ones who knew. No imposter would know about it.
"Need to know," was Carter's only response as the agent opened the door to the President's office and granted Carter access.
As Carter entered the room, the President looked up from the papers he was reviewing and as if it were the most natural thing in the world. "David, it's good to see you alive and well."
Carter could not help but wonder how much of what he was about to tell the President, the guy already knew, but he plowed ahead. He told the President the whole story, in a precise, concise and military fashion. That is until he came to Amy's death.
As he told the President about how heroically Amy had died, his narrative slowed noticeably. His voice quavered, but he managed not to break down completely. Once he was through that portion if the story, he returned to his proficient reporting norm.
When he got to the part about how he murdered the terrorist criminal he was at his most succinct. He reported the facts in extremely precise detail, almost as if he were reading a criminal indictment.
When he finished his story he added but one personal comment, "Mr. President, I have committed criminal acts. I deliberately and with forethought used torture to extract information. I then murdered the man I tortured. My sorrow over Amy is no excuse. Revenge does not justify murder. I request you call the FBI, have them send some agents over here to arrest me. I should be executed in accordance with federal law and provisions of military justice."
At this, the President stood up and walked over to Carter, put his arm around him and escorted him to the couch and they sat down together.
"First of all," began the President, "job well done. You prevented a major terrorist incident, one that would have had consequences far more catastrophic than any in history. You're a hero, regardless of how you accomplished it. By the way, I've been expecting you – no one else could have pulled off that stunt in the Kiev airport."
"Secondly, I miss her too. Our relationship may not have been public, but that did not mean I did not love her dearly, as I can see you did, too." With that, a tear formed in Carter's left eye and gently began to roll down his cheek. His lip started to quiver, but he rapidly brought that under control. The two men sat there quietly for what seemed like an eternity, sharing their despair in that undemonstrative manner that men of action have.
"Finally," continued the President, "as to having you arrested…It's pretty hard to put a dead man on trial, let alone execute him. I think I have a better idea."