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Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 17

Josh's Hospital Room (a few minutes later)

"Donna, may I talk with him for a moment?" Jed asked as he entered the room.

"Of course, sir. Josh, I'll be back later the President wants to talk to you." Donna said softly.

"I'll only be a few minutes, I promise." Jed said as he watched Donna lay a tender kiss on Josh's forehead.

"He's awake now, so I'm sure he'll appreciate your company." Donna said and then left the room.

"She really cares about you Josh." Jed commented as he sat down in the chair Donna had vacated.

"Yes." Josh croaked back hoarsely.

"You know many other people would've given up by now if they were in your same position, but I think I can see why you haven't given up yet." Jed commented slowly.

"Why?" Josh tried to ask, but his voice was too faded out to hear.

"Because you're in love." Jed replied after reading Josh's lips.

"Yes." Josh stated and this time no sound at all came out.

"Does she know that?" Jed inquired softly.

"I hope so." Josh mouthed.

"Josh, I wanted to tell you that I am going back to Jerusalem. Sam and Toby are writing the speech of their lives right now. The terrorists blew up the other hospital that you were at which is why we had to move you here. But I am not about to let them win. I came here to help with the peace process and I intend to do just that." Jed stated.
"I'm glad we came." Josh mouthed.

"You're glad we came?" Jed asked, incredulously.

"Yes." Came Josh's mouthed reply.

"But you were almost killed by them. You were safer in D.C." Jed replied.

"I almost died there too." Josh mouthed slowly.

"I just meant that you have every right to be upset, even more than the rest of us do. But you are glad you came?" Jed asked.

"I serve at the pleasure of the President." Josh said, his voice suddenly a low whisper.

"That's true, and believe me your time is not up yet. Thank you Josh for believing in me and in this. Please try and rest up now. We need you Josh." Jed replied nearly in tears.

Waiting Room (A few hours later)

"Okay we think we have finished the speech." Sam said as they came back into the room.

"Let me read it." Leo asked, and Toby handed him a copy.

"I guess I should go now then." Jed replied.

"Do you really have to go alone?" C.J. asked quietly.

"I just thought that none of the rest of you would want to go." Jed replied slowly.

"Before we went to write the speech you told us to use the voice of Josh. He was the only one who believed in this at first. He would want to be standing there with you." Sam stated quietly.

"You all want to go back then I take it?" Jed asked as he looked at the faces of his senior staff.

"Yes." They all replied in unison.

"We will stay here with Josh. Go on." Abbey said as she gestured to herself and Charlie and Zoey.

"Make us proud Daddy." Zoey said as she gave her father a kiss.

Jerusalem, Israel -Somewhere else in the city (same time)

"Rashad have you heard that the stupid Americans aren't done yet. The President is going to come back and address the nation." Abdul laughed.

"Yeah, people are gathering already. It was a mess trying to get back here." Rashad answered.

"I say that we kill him and that way they will no that we mean business." Abdul replied.

"We can't kill the President." Amir protested.

"Why not?" Abdul challenged.

"Because we will be signing our own death warrants." Amir replied.

"I think we did that after we blew up the hospital." Rashad suggested.

"If we are going to die, we might as well go out with a bang." Abdul stated laughing softly as his own stupid joke.

The main square in Jerusalem- Several hours later

A large crowd had gathered to hear the speech that the President of the United States was going to give. People of both groups were there, crowding in the square. They anxiously awaited any news on the peace process. A process they had all secretly started to believe in.

Jed arrived and went up to the stage. He was surrounded by the members of his senior staff and by the leaders of both groups. The sea of people in front of him was a nerving sight, but also a welcomed one. The more people who listened to his message the better.
So after taking a deep breath he began.

"I stand here in front of you all today, not as the President of the United States, but as someone with a purpose, the purpose of finding peace. I have seen first hand how the violence has been tearing apart your region, and I have seen first hand how the lives of many can be destroyed by the actions of a small few.

"A member of my staff is fighting for his life and the reasons that he was nearly killed were because he believed in the peace process and was going to help with it. And because of the simple fact that he was Jewish. But he hasn't given up his fight yet. By some miracle he's still holding on. I know that the peace summit was named for him, but that doesn't mean anything if no process is made here.

"When I told him that I was going to come here and give you this speech he told me to tell you that he was glad he came. He was lying there in his hospital bed barely able to breath and in enormous pain from all of his injuries but he said that he was glad he came. Part of me thinks he was glad that he could help jumpstart the peace process. But the other part of me knows that he truly believes this region is in need of peace.

"I know that none of you were alive when this feud originally started and that unless we do something now, more innocent lives are going to be lost. Take yesterday for an example. A hospital was blown up with Israelis and Palestinian's alike inside. The terrorists weren't concerned about killing their own kind. They wanted to kill to make a point that they were in control. But let's show them that they aren't in control.

"I know that you are fighting over religious and ethnic differences that go back a long, long time. But in America people of all different colors, religions, and ethnic groups live side by side, and while it might not always be perfect harmony, they still for the most part try and live in peace. It shouldn't matter who your neighbor is, or what religion they practice. But to kill them or to be killed for those beliefs isn't doing any good. The problems don't get any better that way they only get worse.

"I know that asking you to put aside years of hatred and violence isn't going to be easy. But I also know that many of you are fed up with what has been going on around you and have been powerless to stop it. I am trying to urge you to unite for the common goal of peace.

"The senseless killing needs to end with the hospital bombing before the whole city of Jerusalem is destroyed, and once that is destroyed what's to stop them from destroying the rest of the country? And if they succeed in doing that, there will be nothing left to fight for. Everything that you the people in this country have worked for will be destroyed.

"One voice isn't loud enough, neither is two or three, but the voices of many are the voices that get heard. If you are tired of the violence and are ready to accept the challenge of peace rise up now and let your voice be heard.

"I know that many of you have lost a family member or someone else that you have held dear to you because of the other side. But just think that those people on the other side have lost a family member or a loved one of their own because of your side.

"This game of revenge can go on forever if you let it, or it can stop right now. I'm not saying that peace is an easy thing, and I'm not saying that you should totally forgive every wrong that the other side has done to you. But just remember that both sides have battle scars and that both sides have the same basic goal. And that goal is to have a little land of their own where they can live in peace.

"But they don't need a separate country to accomplish this. There is enough space for both sides to coexist, if you let there be. But it is up to all of you, on whether or not there is. If you believe in this than rise up and let your voices be heard. Silence only means that the violence will continue and that more innocent lives are going to be lost." Jed stated.

Just as he was finishing up his speech the terrorists arrive to crash the party. Some of the members of the crowd saw this and they began to shout, "We want peace, we want peace. We all can live side by side." Pretty soon the rest of the crowd had joined in the chant.

They aimed their shouts at the terrorists and the terrorists realized that they were overpowered so they dropped their guns and were promptly arrested by the proper authorities.

"We did it guys." Jed whispered as they watched the crowd begin to hug one another.

"Now Josh's ego is going to get even bigger." Toby grumbled.

"Yeah but I think we owe him at least that much." Sam replied and they all laughed.



Bargaining Chips - Epilogue



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