Disclaimer: The West Wing and all it's characters, storylines and paraphanalia belong to Aaron Sorkin. This story is only for the amusement of the fans of West Wing and the deranged author. Any similarity to persons real or otherwise is unintended and...well...sorta eerie. No copyright infringement is intended. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.???Technical term covering whatever legalese I may have forgotten.

COMING IN SIDEWAYS

by

Nyx

Teaser:

FADE IN:

INT. JOSH'S OFFICE -- EARLY MORNING

Josh enters and drops his bookbag and coat on a chair, grabs some coffee and settles behind his desk. Donna enters, carrying a packet of papers and looking defensive.

DONNA
You know that old saying?

JOSH
What?

DONNA
The old saying.

JOSH
What old saying?

DONNA
Don't kill the messenger.

JOSH
Donna, should I know what we're talking about?

DONNA
It's not my fault.

JOSH
(confused)
What?

DONNA
It's not my fault.

JOSH
What are you talking about?

DONNA
A package came from Congressmen Wick's office. The messenger said it was urgent and you should see it as soon as you got in.

JOSH
You read it?

DONNA
Well, I knew you had a staff meeting first thing, so I thought I should make certain it was really urgent.

JOSH
Okay.
(pause)
So?

DONNA
So?

JOSH
Is it?

DONNA
Is it what, Josh?

JOSH
Urgent.

DONNA
I'm giving to you.

JOSH
Right.

DONNA
(handing him the package)
And it's not my fault.

Josh opens the packet and begins reading as Donna exits. His eyes widen as he reads.

JOSH
Donna!

Donna appears in the doorway.

DONNA
It's not my fault.

JOSH
Just...
(calming down)
Find Toby.

CUT TO:

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE JOSH'S OFFICE -- A FEW MINUTES LATER

Josh exits his office.

JOSH
Donna.

Donna walks over from her desk.

DONNA
Toby's in his office.

Josh nods and heads toward Toby's office. Donna follows.

DONNA (CONT'D)
So, is this gonna ruin the party?

JOSH
What party?

DONNA
The budget party.

JOSH
(incredulous)
The BUDGET party?

DONNA
Yeah.

JOSH
Donna, what are you talking about?

DONNA
The budget party. We have one every year. It's tradition.

JOSH
This is only our second year in office.

DONNA
Well, we had one last year.

They are now almost across the lobby. Josh stops and regards his assistant.

JOSH
One year does not make a tradition.

DONNA
A tradition has to start somewhere.

JOSH
(exasperated)
Go back to work.

DONNA
It was a fun party.

JOSH
Go!

Donna pouts as she heads back to her office. Josh shakes his head and continues on into the communications area.

CUT TO:

INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Toby has just hung up his coat as Josh enters.

JOSH
I need a minute.

TOBY
We have a staff meeting.

JOSH
(closing the door)
Yeah.

Toby goes to his desk, looking for a file in a stack on the corner.

TOBY
We have a staff meeting in like, two minutes.

JOSH
Yeah.

TOBY
Josh, we...
(pauses as he notices Josh's expression)
What is it?

JOSH
There's a rider on the budget.

TOBY
Can't be.

JOSH
(hands him the rider)
There is.

Toby takes it and begins reading. Stunned would be a charitable definition of his expression.

TOBY
This is...

JOSH
Just wait. You haven't gotten to page two yet.

FADE OUT:

ACT I:

FADE IN:

INT. OVAL OFFICE -- 20 MINUTES LATER

Potus, Leo and CJ are sitting and waiting, while Potus hosts the latest round of guess the inane trivia.

POTUS
Who planned the city of Washington D.C. Leo?

Leo has his face buried in papers and looks up confused upon hearing his name.

LEO
What?

POTUS
Who developed the plans for the layout of Washington D.C.?

LEO
An architect?

POTUS
Wrong. CJ?

Sam enters.

CJ
Pierre Charles L'Enfant. He was a French army engineer.

SAM
And I thought the President and I were the only geeks in the building.
(to Potus)
No offense, sir.

POTUS
None taken.

CJ
You are the only geeks in the building. He asked that one at Zoe's birthday party last month.

POTUS
I did?

CJ
Yes, sir. But, it's was a very fascinating bit of trivia both times, sir.

POTUS
Very good, CJ.
(to Sam)
Where are they?

Sam walks over and joins Leo on a couch.

SAM
Toby's office.

POTUS
They do know we have a staff meeting.

SAM
I mentioned it. Through the door.

POTUS
What are they doing?

SAM
I don't really know, sir.

POTUS
You didn't think to ask?

SAM
I knocked again.

LEO
And?

SAM
Toby told me to go away.

LEO
We can start without them.

Josh and Toby choose this moment to enter.

POTUS
Nice of you boys to join us.

TOBY
Sorry, sir.

POTUS
(noticing their expressions)
What?

JOSH
There's this thing.

POTUS
What thing?

TOBY
A rider on the budget.

POTUS
Can't be.

TOBY
There is.

LEO
Guys, you know how many hands it would have to go through before...
Unless...

JOSH
Yeah.

CJ
Senator Vale?

TOBY
Budget committee chairman.

LEO
(sighing)
Had to be.

POTUS
Don't tell me. He wants to take foreign policy away from the federal government and let the states each make their own.

TOBY
Actually, that would be better.

POTUS
(to Leo)
Why did I get up this morning?

LEO
Charlie made you.

POTUS
Right.
(to Toby and Josh)
What is it?

Josh and Toby exchange a pained look, each hoping the other will speak first.

LEO
Guys?

Josh and Toby shift uncomfortably.

LEO (CONT'D)
(impatiently)
Josh, speak.

SAM
(looking up at Josh)
Woof?

LEO
Sam!

SAM
Sorry, Leo.

LEO
Josh, what's going on?

JOSH
Well, it's...Oh hell, I'll just read it to you.
(flipping to page two)
In that population growth represents the greatest threat to national security and the well-being of the citizens, this proposal outlines procedures to enact the following measures. One, visas are required of all foreign visitors with the exception of our NATO allies. Two, all illegal immigrants will be immediately deported to their country of origin. Three, no further immigration proceedings will be initiated beginning on the date of passage of this proposal.

Audible groans are heard from around the room at this point.

TOBY
Wait. It gets better. These last three should be included in an epic called "The Fall of Modern Democracy".

JOSH
(continuing)
Four, anyone currently seeking citizenship and not having taken the oath of allegiance by July four of this year will be denied citizenship and immediately deported to their country of origin.

LEO
July fourth?

SAM
Is this guy an idiot? People are gonna want to crucify him for that alone.

POTUS
Go on, Josh.

JOSH
Five, any children born solely of foreign citizens in or on U.S. territories will not be granted U.S. Citizenship. Six, any foreign citizen marrying a U.S. Citizen after July four of this year, will not be granted U.S. Citizenship, but will be granted a visa to remain valid as long as the marriage is maintained. Any children of said union will be offered U.S. protection and must upon their eighteenth birthday choose a country of citizenship.
(looking up)
From there it goes into the specifics of each point and talks about enforcement.

TOBY
Toward the back are data and statistics supporting his premise.

SAM
His premise that population growth is a threat to national security and the well-being of U.S. Citizens.

JOSH
Yeah. He goes into this thing about resources, including food, being limited and how the population growth, much of which is due to immigration, would strain this limit in the next decade or so if it isn't stopped.

LEO
And he actually has evidence to support this lunacy?

JOSH
Well, we haven't actually had time to read all the way through that part yet.

TOBY
It seems to be mainly based on the increase in food production being less than the growth in population. Statistics for the last few years.

POTUS
All right. Toby, I want you to gather together some experts to look at the data and see if it's even remotely plausible. Josh, find Senator Vale and get him here.

JOSH
I've already put out some calls, sir.

POTUS
Stay on it.

JOSH
Yes, sir.

Toby and Josh exit.

LEO
Even if Vale is right, this is never gonna pass.

POTUS
Even if Vale is right, we can't LET it pass.

CJ
But if the budget doesn't pass...

POTUS
I know.

LEO
Do you have a press conference scheduled for this morning?

CJ
At 11:00.

LEO
There gonna be all over this.

CJ
I'll just tell them that we haven't had a chance to look through it yet and we'll have more for them later.

POTUS
Right. What else do we have today?


SAM
The national guard has been sent in to help battle the wildfires in Montana, but they're still out of control.

CUT TO:
INT. CJ'S OFFICE -- LATE MORNING

CJ is sitting at her desk, talking on the phone.

CJ
Are you sure he's there?
(pauses, listening)
When did he borrow the keys?
(pauses, listening)
Three days ago? Listen, Dad...

A knock is heard at the door, which opens to reveal Danny. CJ holds up a hand to keep him quiet while she listens to the response on the phone.

CJ (CONT'D)
Don't worry...Yes, I promise. I'll take care of it.

She hangs up and Danny enters the office.

DANNY
Problem?

CJ
Not, really. Did you want something?

DANNY
You didn't answer my question.

CJ
Your question?

DANNY
At the press conference.

CJ
What question?

DANNY
I asked if the President was going to be speaking to Senator Vale.

CJ
I don't know.

DANNY
You don't know or you won't tell me.

CJ
What did I just say?

DANNY
You don't know.

CJ
Right.

DANNY
Okay.

A pause as Danny remains staring at the press secretary.

CJ
Was there something else?

DANNY
Who was on the phone?

CJ
Go away.

DANNY
Okay.

Danny exits. CJ checks her watch and then reaches for the phone again.

CUT TO:

INT. TOBY'S OFFICE -- EARLY AFTERNOON

Josh is sitting on the couch and Toby is seated in a chair facing him.

JOSH
So, I was out on this lake for three hours in this rowboat with her, and it was only...

TOBY
Josh?

JOSH
Yeah?

TOBY
Why are you telling me this?

JOSH
It's a good story.

Toby gives him a look.

TOBY
Have you found the Senator yet?

JOSH
No, nobody can find him. Even his own people don't know where he is.

TOBY
Have you told the President?

JOSH
I'm still waiting on a couple of calls.

TOBY
So, you're avoiding telling him.

JOSH
Yeah.

TOBY
Okay.

Donna enters carrying a sheet of paper.

DONNA
Josh. What are you doing in here?

JOSH
Talking to Toby.

DONNA
You're not hiding from me?

JOSH
Donna, why would I be hiding from you?

DONNA
You said this morning that all I do is bring you problems.

JOSH
I was kidding.

DONNA
You were?

JOSH
Yeah, of course.

DONNA
'Cause you sounded serious.

JOSH
I wasn't.

DONNA
You're sure?

JOSH
Donatella Moss, you are the light of my life. You are my inspiration.

DONNA
Well, now you're just making fun of me.

JOSH
Yes.
(noticing the paper she's carrying)
What's that?

DONNA
It just came in.
(pauses)
And it's not my fault.

JOSH
(groaning)
If it isn't about someone having a healthy baby or universal peace breaking out, leave it on my desk.

DONNA
You'll lose it on your desk.

JOSH
God, I hope so.

Donna pauses, gaging Josh's mood.

DONNA
(hesitantly)
You really should see this.

JOSH
What is it?

DONNA
Three Nicaraguans stole an airplane and crashed it in Louisiana.

JOSH
They stole a plane from Louisiana?

DONNA
No, from Nicaragua.


JOSH
And they crashed it in Louisiana?

DONNA
Apparently, they didn't know how to fly.

TOBY
Sounds more like they didn't know how to land.

JOSH
Why does all this stuff come to me? 
Why doesn't Toby get any of this?

DONNA
He's the Communications director and you're the Deputy Chief-of-Staff.

JOSH
Oh...yeah.
(looking at Toby)

Any chance you'd like to switch jobs?

TOBY
No?

JOSH
(sighing)
Yeah, I didn't think so.

FADE OUT:

ACT II:

FADE IN:

INT. LEO'S OFFICE -- HALF AN HOUR LATER

The staff is all gathered around. Josh, Sam and CJ are on the couch with the other three facing them from the chairs.

LEO
All the way from Nicaragua?

JOSH
Apparently.

TOBY
The Nicaraguan government is demanding their return.

LEO
Naturally.

SAM
You gotta admit, their timing is perfect.
(to Josh)
You don't suppose they have surveillance equipment in here, do you?

JOSH
The Nicaraguans?

SAM
Yeah.

JOSH
(with a straight face)
Absolutely.

LEO
CJ, do you have the information on Senator Vale?

CJ
(brandishing a file)
Right here.

Potus enters from his office. Everyone jumps to their feet. A chorus of "Good afternoon, Mr. President" is heard.

POTUS
Good afternoon everyone. Where are we?

LEO
CJ was about to brief us on Senator Vale.

POTUS
Let's here it.

They all sit.

CJ
(reading)
William Sebastian Vale. Born in Grand Teton, Wyoming to Benjamin and Lila Vale. Now, thirty-one years old, he graduated high school at twelve. He graduated college three years later with a BA in political science. Completed law school one year later and took the bar two weeks after he graduated. His score was unbelievable. He went to work as an intern for Governor Gaither in Wyoming and by the time he was twenty he was the Governor's deputy chief-of-staff. The Governor won a Senate seat and Vale came with him to Washington, now as a political consultant. When he was twenty-four, Vale ran for the House and was elected with seventy two percent of the vote. He was re-elected twice and in his third term, he announced his candidacy for a seat on the Senate. He was elected 
November 1998, ousting Senator Frankfort an incumbent of seventeen years. Within eight months he was placed on the Budget Committee. When Senator Anderson, the hair of the committee was stricken with heart trouble roughly ten months later, July of last year, he resigned his seat and Vale was named as the new chair of he committee. Which he has been for about six months now. He was nominated for he position by the majority leader.

JOSH
He got his law degree when he was sixteen?

CJ
And passed the bar.

LEO
And he's always played to the far right.

TOBY
He's as far right as you can get without being called a fanatic.

CJ
Actually, from his records, he was more middle of the road when he began as a Congressman. It was during his second term, that his views began to shift.

POTUS
Any indication of why?

CJ
No, sir.

SAM
So, how does this help us?

CJ
It doesn't.

POTUS
It hopefully gives us some insight into a young man who's trying to turn the government on it's ear. What else do you have?

SAM
Well, there's that things with the Nicaraguans.

POTUS
The Nicaraguans?

LEO
We're still working on that one, Mr. President. We'll have more for you on that at the staff meeting at 4:00 PM. That's all for now.

Potus nods and gets up, causing a wave to occur as everyone jumps up. Potus pauses at the door and looks back at Josh.

POTUS
Josh? Where is Senator Vale?

JOSH
I don't know, sir. Nobody knows. It's like he fell off the face of the planet. I'm about ready to sic the FBI on him.

POTUS
Do it.

JOSH
Sir, I was kidding.

POTUS
Well, I'm not! I want him here, Josh. I wanted him here five hours ago. I want him in the Oval office, where I can have the secret service shoot him for me. So find him!

JOSH
(stunned)
Yes, sir.

Potus starts to exit again and then looks back once more at his deputy chief-of-staff.

POTUS
(softly)
As soon as you can, Josh.


JOSH
(smiling)
Yes, sir.

Potus exits to the Oval Office.

CUT TO:

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE JOSH'S OFFICE -- LATE AFTERNOON

CJ is walking toward her office. She glances into Josh's office as she walks by and stops when she sees him slam the phone down.

CJ
(from the doorway)
No luck?

JOSH
Only bad. The FBI, CIA and secret service have had no luck. His car's been at his apartment since last night, but no sign of Vale. They've talked to his friends, his father, who's the only family he has left and all of his staff. No one has seen him. No one has talked to him since yesterday. The President's going to have me hung.

CJ
He has to turn up before the vote.

JOSH
If he's smart, he won't. From the sound of it, the senate majority leader is out for blood.

CJ
At least he's not out for your blood.

JOSH
No, the President's got that covered. You have another press conference?

CJ
In a few minutes.

JOSH
What are you going to tell them?

CJ
That we have experts looking over the data and we'll know more later.

JOSH
They're going to want to know about Vale. They have to have heard he's missing by now.

CJ
We're looking into that and we'll let you know when we know.

JOSH
Good answer.

CJ
Vague is becoming my standard answer. I was at a restaurant a few days ago and the waiter asked how I wanted my steak. I said somewhere between charcoal and raw.

Josh laughs.

CJ (CONT'D)
(turning toward her office)
Good luck.

JOSH
You too.

CUT TO:

INT. CJ'S OFFICE -- EARLY EVENING

CJ is typing on the computer. Carol enters.

CAROL
Do you need anything else?

CJ
No, the lid's on. Go home.

CAROL
What about you?

CJ
I'm almost gone.

Carol nods and exits. CJ continues typing what we see is an e-mail to Carol. She hits send and then gets up, grabs her bag and leaves.

CUT TO:

INT. CJ'S CAR -- MIDNIGHT

CJ is driving on a winding two lane road. The clock on the dash says 11:54. Snow begins falling leaving specks of water on the windshield.

CJ
(muttering)
Wonderful. Now I have one more reason to kill you.

CUT TO:

EXT. BALCONY OUTSIDE OVAL OFFICE -- MIDNIGHT

Potus stands shivering in the wind as snow begins drifting down from the heavens. He stares out over the city, lost in thought. Leo exits from the Oval Office and joins his friend at the railing. They stand together in silence for a moment, watching the snow come down.

POTUS
First snowfall.

LEO
Yeah.

Another pause.

POTUS
Everyone's gone?

LEO
Yeah. I ordered Josh home about ten minutes ago. He's convinced you're going to hang him if he doesn't find Vale before the vote day after tomorrow.

POTUS
I'd rather hang Vale.

LEO
You should go to bed.

POTUS
You too.

LEO
After you, Mr. President.

Potus glares at his friend, but heads off down the balcony toward the residence. Leo watches him go for a moment, then sighs and heads back in through the Oval Office.

CUT TO:

EXT. CABIN IN THE MOUNTAINS -- 1:30 AM

CJ pulls up in a car and quickly heads for the door. She opens it and enters... 

CUT TO:


INT. CABIN, MAIN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS

A large room, with the only light coming from the fireplace. She closes the door behind her and peers into the darkness.

CJ
Sebe?

Hands grab her from behind. She cries out softly in surprise.

FADE OUT:

Act III:

FADE IN:

INT. CABIN, MAIN ROOM -- EARLY MORNING

CJ elbows the one holding her and hears a soft cry of pain.

SEBE
Hey! Take it easy.

CJ turns and sees Senator William Sebastian Vale. She punches him hard in the shoulder.

CJ
Take it easy? You scared me half to death. Yet one more reason for me to kill you. Like I don't have enough already.

SEBE
(grinning)
It's good to see you too, Clyde.

CJ
Sebe, do you have any idea how many people want your head severed from your body right now?

SEBE
At a guess...every politician in D.C.?

CJ
Every politician, their staff, the news media and the citizens of the entire country.

SEBE
(smiling serenely)
Ah, well. You must be hungry. I made spaghetti for dinner. I'll heat you up some.

Sebe heads off toward the kitchen.

CJ
(exasperated)
Sebe!

He pauses at the doorway.

SEBE
Clyde?

CJ
We need to talk about this.

SEBE
(wags his finger at her)
You should never lecture on an empty stomach.

Sebe disappears into the kitchen before she can reply.

INT. CABIN MAIN ROOM -- ABOUT AN HOUR LATER

CJ and Sebe are leaning back against the couch in front of the fire. A plate lies nearby showing signs of tomato sauce. They occasionally take a sip from wine glasses as they talk.

SEBE
I know you've been mad at me, Clyde.

CJ
What happened to you during your second term, Sebe? Suddenly you swung so far right, I couldn't even see you anymore.

SEBE
I learned the game.

CJ
The game?

SEBE
The political game. It's an insane way of doing business, much less running a country, but you have to play if you want to get anything done. You have to play, because everyone else is playing and you get shoved to the sidelines if you don't.

CJ
You didn't used to be such a cynic.

SEBE
I didn't used to be a politician.

CJ reaches over to him and brushes away a strand of hair that's fallen into his eyes.

CJ
You need a haircut.

SEBE
Top of my list of things to do right now.

CJ laughs.

CJ
I could never stay mad at you, little brother.

SEBE
You haven't talked to me in three years.

CJ
You've been avoiding me.

SEBE
Yes.
(pauses)
You look tired. You should get some sleep.

CJ
What about you?

SEBE
I'm going to Silver Canyon.

CJ
It's a three hour hike.

SEBE
I want to see the sunrise.

CJ
I'll come with you.

SEBE
You should sleep.

CJ
I can sleep, while you're driving us back to town tomorrow morning.

SEBE
Afternoon. I don't want to hit town 'til after dark.

CJ
I am gonna be so fired when I get back.

SEBE
You should go in the morning, Clyde. I really don't want you dragged into the middle of this.

CJ
You're gonna need me when you face the President.

SEBE
I'll manage.

CJ
I'm going to be there for you.

SEBE
I can explain myself to the President.

CJ
You haven't even explained yourself to me yet.

SEBE
You'll be there?

CJ
Of, course.

SEBE
Then you'll hear the explanation.

CJ
Do you like, go out of your way to find ways to irritate me?

SEBE
It isn't necessary.

CJ
It isn't?

SEBE
(smiling serenely)
It's an innate gift.

CUT TO:

INT. OVAL OFFICE -- EARLY MORNING

Potus and the staff (minus CJ) is seated.


JOSH
Carol said CJ was going to be a little late today.

LEO
When's the first press conference scheduled?

JOSH
Not 'til 11:00.

POTUS
All right. What else do we have this morning?

LEO
Josh gave Sam the Nicaraguan thing.

SAM
Yeah. I'm supposed to get a call from the Nicaraguan ambassador this afternoon. I'll have more later today.

POTUS

Okay. Josh?

JOSH
Sir, I think the senator has buried himself in hole somewhere. We're not going to find him until he's ready to be found.

SAM
What about the others?

JOSH
I was gonna save that for this afternoon.

SAM
Why?

JOSH
Because they haven't been missing all that long and, well, because I don't have anything.

POTUS
Would you two care to let the rest of us in on this conversation.

JOSH
I really don't have much yet, sir.

TOBY
The other Senators?

JOSH
How'd you know about that?

TOBY
I hear things.

POTUS
Hey, guys, remember me? The President? The one you're supposed to explain things to?

JOSH
Sorry, Sir.

SAM
Apparently the majority leader and several other key republicans disappeared. No one has been able to locate them since last night.

JOSH
But, on the upside, at least they're all republicans.

POTUS
How many?

JOSH
Seven that we know of.

SAM
Eight, counting senator Vale.

POTUS
What, are the UFO's going after politicians now?

TOBY
Well, as long as they're only taking republican's...

CUT TO:

EXT. CLIFF OVERLOOKING SILVER CANYON -- EARLY MORNING

CJ and Sebe sit on the edge of the cliff as the sunrise lights up the sky with pink and orange.

SEBE
This is my favorite spot.

CJ
You told me that the first time I brought you here. You were eleven.

SEBE
It hasn't changed.

CJ
But you have. That rider you put on the budget was horrible. You want to cut us off from the rest of the world.

Sebe pauses, looking out over the canyon before responding.

SEBE
What I want...You know Clyde? For all my wisdom, I've never been able to understand why this country feels the need to look after the whole world. 
Yes, we're the only remaining world power, but look at our history. From that we certainly can't claim any moral superiority. Luck superiority maybe.

CJ
I don't know, Sebe. I suppose...I suppose it is BECAUSE of our history. 
Brief as it is, our history is filled with war, slavery, desecration, annihilation. Maybe it's because all the sins of our ancestors have fallen onto us. That's a lot of guilt to carry around. On top of that, add the guilt for being born in a place where freedom is cherished and the land is rich with food and resources, while elsewhere multitudes starve in virtual wastelands. All that guilt would be enough to turn Hannibal Lechter into Ghandi.

SEBE
(softly)
Care more for your brother than for yourself.

CJ
But care more for your children than your brother.

SEBE
(smiling)
For therein lies the future.

A pause as they return their gazes to the vista before them.

CJ
I always wondered where your mother got that quote from.

SEBE
I'm not sure. I've tried to find it, but never could.
(smiling)
She probably made it up.

CJ
We should head back.

SEBE
Yes. You need some sleep. And I need to contemplate the next few days.

CJ
I meant back to D.C.

Sebe gets a worried expression on his face and tries to hide it.

SEBE
This afternoon. I'll go back with you this afternoon.

CJ
Another half day isn't going to make this better.

SEBE
Or worse. And it may turn the majority leader's murderous rage into a calm fury. The vote isn't until tomorrow afternoon. We have time yet.

CUT TO:

INT. SAM'S OFFICE -- MIDDAY

Sam is sitting at his desk typing when his phone rings. He finishes the sentence he's typing before grabbing the phone.

SAM
(into the receiver)
Sam Seaborn.

CJ (V.O.)
Sam? It's CJ.

SAM
CJ? Where are you? You missed your press conference. You've never missed a press conference. Well, except for that root canal thing. The President's been bouncing back and forth between anger and worry.

CUT TO:

INT. CABIN MAIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS

CJ is staring out the window while talking to Sam. Noise can be heard coming from the kitchen.

CJ
I know, Sam. It couldn't be helped. I need you to tell the President I'll be back tonight and I'll explain everything then. Carol can cover the briefing this afternoon.

SAM (V.O.)
CJ. The President's about to sic the FBI on you.

CJ
Well, stop him.

SAM (V.O.)
(objecting)
CJ.

CJ
Remember Baton Rouge, Sam?

CUT TO:

INT. SAM'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Sam gets a guilty look on his face.

SAM
(quickly)
No problem. I'll talk to the President. Of course, it would help if I could tell him where you are.

CJ (V.O.)
Tonight, Sam.

The phone clicks. Sam stares at the receiver for a moment before replacing it in the cradle. He sighs and returns to his typing.

CUT TO:

INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

The President is standing in front of his desk with Leo nearby. Josh and Sam are over by the chairs and Toby seems to be wandering aimlessly around the room.

TOBY
She just said tonight?

SAM
Yeah. She said she'd explain when she arrived.

LEO
It had better be a damn good explanation.

POTUS
You do realize it's night already, Sam?

SAM
Yes, Sir.

POTUS
If she doesn't show up soon, I'll send the whole U.S. Marine Corps out to find her.

SAM
She specifically asked me to ask you not to do that, Sir.

TOBY
(angry)
And suppose someone was holding a gun to her head and forcing her to say that? Did that ever occur to you, Sam?

SAM
She sounded fine.

TOBY
Fine? What does fine sound like, Sam?

SAM
It sounds...fine.

JOSH
Toby, if CJ was in trouble, she wouldn't have called Sam. She'd have called a phone they could trace.

SAM
They can't trace my phone?

JOSH
Well, yeah, I guess they could. But calls on the President's phone are always traced.

POTUS
They are?

JOSH
Yes, Sir.

POTUS
Leo?

LEO
Yes, Sir.

POTUS
I didn't know that.

LEO
It was in the security briefing we got when you took office.

POTUS
Was I there?

LEO
Yes, Sir.

POTUS
Was I awake?

TOBY
Apparently not...Sir.

LEO
Sam, you spoke with the Nicaraguan Ambassador?

SAM
Yes. They are demanding the return of the three Nicaraguans.

POTUS
You told us that this morning.

SAM
Right. Apparently, the three are fugitives from the Nicaraguan Police. They were fleeing arrest when they stole the plane.

TOBY
Is it true or is that just what they're saying?

SAM
According to the CIA they were fleeing Nicaraguan troops.

POTUS
What were they arrested for?

SAM
The ambassador wouldn't say. The CIA thinks they're rebel fighters.

POTUS
Guerrillas.

SAM
Yes.

TOBY
Washington was a guerrilla fighter.

LEO
What do the three Nicaraguans say?

SAM
They are requesting asylum on political grounds.

TOBY
We should grant it.

SAM
Toby, they stole a plane.

TOBY
To escape.

SAM
It's a felony.

TOBY
Breathing is a felony in Nicaragua.

SAM
Yeah. But even here, it's a felony. It's grand theft...plane.

JOSH
We can't grant them asylum.

TOBY
We have to.

JOSH
No we don't.

TOBY
Its the right thing to do.

JOSH
Yes. And I can see tomorrow's headlines. White House gives aid to guerrillas.

TOBY
They're freedom fighters.

JOSH
The headline will say guerrillas.

TOBY
The headline would be wrong.

JOSH
Do they use guerrilla tactics?

TOBY
So what if they do?

JOSH
Then the word is accurate.

TOBY
The minute men used guerrilla tactics.

JOSH
Yes.

TOBY
We should grant them asylum.

JOSH
Toby, do you know what the word guerrilla means to the average American.

TOBY
It refers to a certain type of warfare.

JOSH
Yes. But to the American people, it's synonymous with terrorist. They were fleeing the lawful government, whether we like them or not. And they stole a plane.

SAM
Grand theft plane.

Toby gives Sam an evil look.

JOSH
We cannot grant them asylum.

LEO
Josh's right, Toby.

TOBY
This is wrong.

LEO
Yes.

TOBY
They were fleeing from tyranny and they came here. Here! Because there is belief in the world that there is a better place. That there is safety to be found here. It gives hope to people who have no reason to hope. People who are being ground down under the heels of the powerful and the corrupt.

POTUS
We all agree with you, Toby. But under these circumstances and with the evidence we have, we have to return them to the Nicaraguans.

TOBY
It's wrong.

POTUS
Yes.

The door opens and Mrs. Landingham enters.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Sir, CJ is here.

POTUS
Now?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
She's been here for about ten minutes, but she heard talking and didn't want to interrupt.

POTUS
We're done.

TOBY
(objecting)
Sir.

POTUS
We're done, Toby.
(to Mrs. Landingham)
Send in CJ.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yes, sir.

She exits and is replaced a moment later by CJ who hovers uncertainly in the door.

POTUS
CJ, where the hell have you been? I was about ready to call out the Marines.

CJ
I'm sorry, Mr. President. I...I had to go find someone.

POTUS
Find someone?

CJ
Yes, sir.

CJ motions to someone to enter. Sebe enters and CJ closes the door behind him as they move forward to stand next to Toby.

CJ (CONT'D)
Mr. President, Senator Vale.

Surprised looks encompass the room.

FADE OUT:

ACT IV:

FADE IN:

INT. OVAL OFFICE -- LATE NIGHT

The staff is staring at the new arrivals with mixed emotions.

POTUS
Where did you find him?

CJ
I don't really think that's important, Sir.

POTUS
CJ...

SEBE
(interrupting)
Mr. President.

POTUS
Senator?

SEBE
(bowing)
I come humbly before you Sir, seeking asylum.

JOSH
(softly to Sam)
I'm beginning to think he should be IN an asylum.

Sam and Josh stifle a laugh as Potus and Leo give them a dark look.

LEO
Asylum from what?

SEBE
Ah...I have become the enemy of all that is good and right. I am certain blood will be drawn ere I am allowed to speak.

POTUS
That's something I've been wanting to talk to you about.

SEBE
You, Sir and all other powers that be.

TOBY
Why don't you hide behind your majority leader?


SEBE
The prey doesn't hide behind the predator. Although, I suppose there could be a certain advantage to staying behind the one who hunts you.

LEO
Senator, no offense, but you gotta expect everyone to be pissed as hell at you right now. The parties have been fighting over the new budget for months.

TOBY
A budget everyone finally agreed on and you managed to squelch in one instant.

SEBE
Ah.

POTUS
Why should we hide you from your own party leader?

SEBE
(softly)
Aside from the contract he undoubtedly has on me by now, I can't think of a reason.

TOBY
A contract?

SEBE
Yes.

TOBY
What is this? Miami Vice?

POTUS
Senator, the majority leader may very well have a contract out on your career, but I hardly think your life is in danger.

SEBE
Perhaps.

CJ
(warningly)
Sebe...

TOBY
Sebe?

CJ
(muttering to Toby)
Never mind.

POTUS
Senator, you know how long it took to work out the new budget.

SEBE
I was there.

POTUS
And you know if it isn't passed, the federal government grinds to a halt in about ten days.

SEBE
So it will.

TOBY
That's why you did it. Attached that horrendous document to the budget.

SEBE
My fate kind sir, is in your hands and still I say...yes.

TOBY
You knew this was the one thing almost everyone in the Senate and in the House wanted to pass.

SEBE
I did.

LEO
So you added it thinking you could actually get this abomination passed?

SEBE
A foolish man, I will admit to being. A stupid one, I am not.

JOSH
You knew it would never pass. Neither the Senate nor the House would ever let a thing like that through.

SEBE
Of course, they wouldn't.

POTUS
Then why?

SEBE
Sir, did you read the rider and the report that went with it?

POTUS
I did.

SEBE
And you checked the evidence and the numbers.

POTUS
Yes.

SEBE
And how many Senators and Congressmen do you think did the same?

CJ
Almost all of them, probably.

SEBE
I'd be surprised if they didn't. Mr. President, on another bill, that rider would have been mostly ignored. It would just give many an excuse to vote against something they weren't certain they believed in anyway. But on the budget...

SAM
They have no choice. The budget is too important for them not to take it seriously.

TOBY
And you think this is an appropriate thing for a Senator to do?

SEBE
Sometimes you have to come in sideways to move the ball.

POTUS
Senator, do you believe in that legislation you laid out?

SEBE
(softly)
Honest to God, sir, I wish I didn't. But the evidence is real.

POTUS
The methods you put forth are a bit extreme.

SEBE
Perhaps. It was meant to garner attention. On the other hand, my methods may be too little too late. Sir, it's a noble thing to give food to your neighbor who's hungry. But at the expense of your own children? Americans are our children, Sir. We are responsible for their welfare. They elected us to represent them. 
Not to represent the rest of the world. You are the most powerful man in the world, Mr. President. But not even you can fix everything. No one can. The next big war isn't going to be fought over religion or race or even politics. It is going to be fought over food and water. The most basic necessities of life. Necessities the planet is already in short supply of. Check the numbers again if you will, Sir. But we are only breaking even now and the way the population's growing, we won't be able to maintain it for long if we don't find solutions. 
There are hard choices ahead, Mr. President. I thought it was about time we started to understand that.

Everyone stands stunned for a moment as Sebe's words sink in. Finally, Potus finds his voice.

POTUS
Senator Vale...

SEBE
(smiling)
Will, is fine, Sir.

TOBY
(mocking)
Not Sebe?

SEBE
Only Clyde can get away with that, friend Toby.

TOBY
(to CJ)
Clyde?

CJ
Leave me alone.

POTUS
Will, I respect what you're saying. I just think there have to be better answers than barricading ourselves inside our borders.

SEBE
I sincerely hope you are right, Sir.

POTUS
Now, I know we don't agree on much, but I need a favor.

SEBE
Actually, Sir. I think we agree on more than you know.

LEO
You're position has been pretty far to the right.

SEBE
My party has painted me to the right, because it suited their needs. I went along for my own reasons.

JOSH
To get the chair of the budget committee.

SEBE
(smiling serenely)
I'm the youngest ever to have it.

TOBY
Did you get a prize with that?

SEBE
I may not like the game, friend, but I have gotten very good at it.

POTUS
Will, we need the budget to go through.

SEBE
I know.

POTUS
I need you to pull the rider.

SEBE
Yes.

POTUS
You'll do it?

SEBE
The vote is tomorrow afternoon. I will go in the morning and shred it myself. Let the powers that be ponder my insanity for one more night.

Potus regards him for a moment and then nods sharply.

POTUS
(calling)
Charlie!

Charlie enters from Mrs. Landingham's office.

CHARLIE
Yes, sir?

POTUS
Charlie, the senator is staying here tonight. Have Mrs. Landingham call housekeeping and have a room made up. Then you can show him the way there.

CHARLIE
Yes, sir.

SEBE
Clyde is right, sir. You are a good man.

CJ blushes slightly as the others regard her curiously.

CHARLIE
This way, Senator.

SEBE
(bowing)
Thank you, Mr. President.

Sebe follows Charlie to the door and then pauses.

SEBE (CONT'D)
Mr. President?

POTUS
Will?

SEBE
Since I am doing you this for you, I'd like to ask a favor in return.

TOBY
You're unbelievable.

SEBE
Am I?

TOBY
You do realize you are in the White House, don't you?

SEBE
The ovalness of the room gave it away.

TOBY
And you know, no one knows you're here.

SEBE
You know I'm here.

TOBY
No one who LIKES you, knows you're here.

SEBE
Right now, if everyone in D.C. knew I was here, that statement would be true.

TOBY
So we could kill you and no one would ever know or care.

SEBE
Ah. But then who else could remove the rider in time for the vote tomorrow?

POTUS
What's the favor?

SEBE
I have a bill I will be bringing before the House in about a month. I'd like your support.

CJ
Sebe!
(to Potus)
Sir, do you have anything hard I can beat him upside the head with?

POTUS
(grinning)
I'm sure we could find something. Maybe the secret service...
(to Sebe)
What's the bill?

TOBY
(objecting)
Sir!

SEBE
Relax, friend Toby. You'll like this.

TOBY
I am not your friend.

SEBE
Everyone is my friend. Some just haven't figured that out yet.

TOBY
I guess I'm one of those, then.

SEBE
Those Nicaraguans you were arguing about?

TOBY
How do you know about that?

SEBE
I was outside with Clyde. It was a fairly loud argument.

TOBY
What about them?

SEBE
You should have them examined. If they were in custody for any length of time, they were probably beaten. Any sign of abuse could give you a humanitarian reason to keep them here.

Toby stares at him in amazement.

POTUS
Will? What's the bill?

SEBE
It's a bill disallowing riders on bills.

Sebe slips out of the room with Charlie before anyone can react. Potus starts laughing quietly and is soon joined by the rest, except Toby who is unilaterally glaring at everyone.

POTUS
All right, Clyde. What's the deal between you and the young Senator from the great state of Wyoming.

CJ
(uneasily)
I don't really think that's important, Sir.

POTUS
Come on CJ. We're all friends here. How'd you know where to find him?

CJ
He was at my father's hunting cabin.

TOBY
The room cringes in anticipation.

JOSH
I didn't think you went in for beasts of burden.

CJ
It's nothing like that.

SAM
No video?

LEO
Will you three shut up? Go on, CJ.

CJ
He's my brother...half-brother.

Stunned silence embraces the room.

CJ (CONT'D)
(tired)
It's a long story. But it is safe to assume, I'd rather no one else knew about it.

TOBY
Why?

CJ
It would be embarrassing to my father.

JOSH
The Baptist minister.

CJ
Yes.

TOBY
Your father's a Baptist minister?

CJ
Yes.

SAM
CJ, I thought you were Catholic.

CJ
I am, Sam.

SAM
Then how...?

CJ
My mother was Catholic.

TOBY
Your mother was Catholic and your father is a Baptist minister.

CJ
They had an arrangement.

TOBY
Now there's a conversation that deserved to be recorded.

POTUS
CJ, he wasn't serious about the majority leader was he?

CJ
Sebe has a rather odd sense of humor, Sir. I wouldn't worry about it.

JOSH
Yeah, maybe.

POTUS
Josh?

JOSH
Uh...I was just remembering a couple of years ago. There was some talk of the leader and the mob. It all got squashed pretty quickly though.

SAM
And you've got to admit, old Will was looking pretty relieved when you told him he was staying here tonight, Sir.

JOSH
The White House being the only place you'd be sure to be safe from the mob?

SAM
Except maybe for Sinatra.

TOBY
Sam! Sinatra had no connection to the mob.

SAM
(humoring Toby)
Right.

LEO
Guys! CJ, did anyone see you with Vale?

CJ
Well, he hid on the way here. He gets dramatic sometimes.

JOSH
Sometimes?

Josh shuts up at a look from Leo.

CJ
After we arrived, I suppose any of the night guards could have seen us.

LEO
Or anyone hanging around near the parking lot.

CJ
I didn't see anyone, but I suppose so.

POTUS
CJ. I think you'd better stay here tonight as well.

CJ
Sir, you don't really believe this do you?

POTUS
I don't know, CJ. But to be safe...

LEO
You'll stay here tonight. Housekeeping can make up another room.

POTUS
And tomorrow, brother Will and I are going to have breakfast together and talk.

JOSH
Sir? Maybe the secret service should escort him to the hill in the morning.

POTUS
Good idea.

TOBY
And me.

POTUS
Toby?

TOBY
I want to see him tear it up.

CJ
Sir. I know Will's been a pain is the ass, but he is my little brother. His I.Q. is off the chart, he's wiser than Solomon although his judgement is in question, and if you can get past the tap dance, he is incredibly caring and compassionate. If he is in real trouble, whatever it takes, I will be there for him. I just wanted you to know that.

POTUS
If this is true, I promise you CJ, we will do whatever we can for him. You know, it's odd, CJ. When he got here I really just wanted to strangle him, but now...

CJ
Now you kind of like him?

POTUS
Yeah.

CJ
He does that.

POTUS
All right everyone. It's late. Go home and we will pick up here tomorrow. I can assume you all know none of this is to be discussed to anyone?

JOSH
Who'd believe us?

Everyone laughs as they file out of the room. Before CJ can exit, Potus takes her arm and holds her back. He waits a moment for the others to clear the room.

POTUS
CJ.

CJ
Yes, Sir?

POTUS
Don't ever scare me like that again.

CJ
I'm sorry, Sir. It won't happen again.

POTUS
(nodding)
All right.

Potus puts her arm in his and walks her out.

FADE OUT:
FIN

 

 

 

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