Please see notes and disclaimers in earlier parts.

Thank you, as always, to those gracious readers who send feedback. I've added in a few things you just might like....

Part 7

Sam opened the envelope slowly. He didn't recognize the return address. His face was blank as he looked at the contents, but his voice rose in frustration a moment later when he threw them on the desk.

"Remember how I said there wasn't a direct paper trail to the President showing knowledge of the research programs? It seems there really is such a trail. That's the minutes of a security briefing from six months ago that the President attended. It detailed the status of the program and its stated objectives. And just for fun she also sent me a picture of us from college."

Sam closed his eyes and pressed his hand against the throbbing ache starting to form behind his eyes. He realized there was a limit to how long he could survive on coffee and sugar. But he really didn't have a choice right now. He took a deep breath and put his game face back in place.

CJ leaned down to pick up the picture. A much younger Sam smiled into the camera as a pretty young blond fed him pizza from her spot on his lap.

"Damn." CJ swore softly and dropped the picture again. "Now what do we do?"

"We take this to Leo."

"What are you taking to me?" Leo growled from the door.

Sam gestured to the papers and the photo on his desk. Leo perused them quickly and swore softly for a few minutes. He too, was having a bad day.

"Sam, this is big trouble."

"I do know that. What's the next step?"

"I'll hand these over to the people at the agency and the task force we've set up. We need you and the other legal geeks to see what this means to us. But right now you need to get the hell out of here and get a few hours of sleep. When this hits the press you'll be their favorite target. I'm sending some Secret Service guys with you now anyway. Wait here a few minutes."

Sam opened his mouth to protest, but Leo silenced him with a hand. "Don't even try to argue. Just go. Or I'll have them drag you out. CJ, I need you to find out if the Press has any scent on this yet."

Leo didn't wait for a response. He scooped up the envelope and strode back down the hall. A moment later they leaned out when they heard a crash and saw the trash can Leo just kicked spiral across the hall and hit a desk.

After he dropped the envelope off, Leo headed to the Residence as promised. He found Bartlet throwing back a shot of his favorite bourbon and munching a chocolate bar.

"Put down the chocolate, Jed. Abby will kill you if she finds out. You know it wires you worse than coffee."

Bartlet turned and smiled at his friend as he took another bite. "What are you, the Candy Police?"

"Not even close. Have a seat, Mr. President."

Bartlet tossed Leo another candy bar and sat down in the chair across from him. They'd started another hour in this endless night.




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