The President led Carter out of his working office and into the Oval Office. They walked to the fireplace and the President fiddled with a few books on the mantle. The fireplace rose like some sort of unbelievably elaborate overhead door, revealing the interior of an elevator car.
"After you," said the President waving Carter into the car. The descent took forever. They were going deep. After a while, the President looked at Carter and shrugged, “"Cold War era bomb shelter."
When they reached the bottom, the doors spread to reveal a very extensive complex. "I've expanded it a little," said the President. The end of the long hallway was a video wall – it featured images of the World Trade Center before, during, and after. At the top of the wall, in plain, bold lettering it read "The Twin Towers Network". At the bottom, in script it said "Numquam obliviscaris." The President, noting the puzzled look on Carter's face, said, “Never Forget.”
They walked down the hall a bit, stepped into a conference room and sat down. "David, you've been a key part of all of this from the very beginning," was how the President began what was obviously a prepared presentation. "I know you learned from Amy that I have been recruiting 'friends' that I can rely on to cut through the crap to get the job done. This complex is the center of that network of friends and now I'd like you to meet a few more of them."
For the next hour-and-a-half, Carter received briefings on all the activities of the network from about four individuals. Carter was amazed. This was no typical government organization. The complex they were in was the only facility solely dedicated to this network, and the four people he has just met were the only employees. All they did was recruit reliable people in industry, military, and intelligence and make sure information got where it was needed. It was pretty much like his own job, but on a far grander scale. The first presenter was the Administrative Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He mentioned something about "netwar realized."
The last presenter handled the industrial area. He knew what was being developed by whom and when it should come on line. His briefing included a detailed account of the suit Amy wore and how it worked. As the presentation ended, Carter heard, "But things have advanced a generation or two since Amy’s suit was developed, and that is where you come in."
Carter looked over at the President, bemused.
"David, you have been part of this effort form the beginning, even if you didn’t know it – a vital part. But now I want you to become the point man. I have been waiting for somebody to show they had what it takes and your actions recently have done just that."
The presenter, who Carter suddenly remembered was named Fred Goldman, started to mumble under his breath, "We have the technology, we can…"
The President tossed Goldman a look that said "Knock It Off" louder than it could ever be verbalized. He then continued and explained to Carter that the suit Amy wore could now be implanted within a person's body. He also said that that technology combined with internal computer system implants that were developed a few years earlier could make Carter a one man special ops team with organic intelligence capability.
"Sounds like you want to turn me into Captain America," says Carter.
"Hell of a lot better than the bionic man," responds the President, casting a withering look Goldman’s way.
Carter sat pensively for a moment. "I'm dead, right?"
"Oh yeah," said Goldman a little too enthusiastically, causing the President to get that look again. Clearly Goldman was really good at his job, but a little too silly for the President's taste.
Since Amy died, Carter felt like the fire in his belly had been completely extinguished. It wasn't even smoking. But as he sat there and thought about it, he could feel it ignite, just a kindling at first, but the more he thought the warmer the fire became and the brighter the light it shed.
Finally, he stuck out his hand to the President and said, "As long as I don't have to wear some goofy bright spandex thing."
The President laughed as he took Carter's hand warmly. Goldman just wondered why Carter got to be the funny guy.