Chapter Thirty-seven

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O'Brien opened the door for Apocalypse, Kita, and the other Angels. The press corps gathered on the Rose Garden lawn. Behind them, official White House camera crews provided a live stream for the networks. The Angels exited the portico and gathered on the steps behind the podium.

Nemesis and Sapper wore their parade uniforms for their branch of service. Aspen changed into a traditional white assassin qipao with her hair pulled back with two combs. Apocalypse wore a fashionable white business suit with a flag on her lapel and a red, white, and blue bow in her hair.

The Angels debated what Kita should wear. A business suit didn't seem right, and her suggestion of jeans and her jacket was deemed too casual. She offered to wear her qipao, but it looked too foreign and dark. Apocalypse settled on the military uniform from the casket receiving ceremony. It's generic, and I have nothing to put on it, except my nametag and the Emperor's Seal. I guess that's one thing no one else has.

"You girls will stand on these steps," said Apocalypse. "If anyone asks you're honored guests for your role in the military mission. Kita, you'll stand to one side until I introduce you. We'll take a few questions and then go back inside. Ok?"

"Yes, Your Highness," said Nemesis with a teasing smile.

"Shut up," Apocalypse laughed. "Ok, here we go," as she put on a serious face.

Kita took up her position a few feet from the podium. When she was set, Apocalypse stepped up to the mic.

"Good afternoon. I would like to begin with a moment of silence for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines that died securing our freedom two days ago." Apocalypse paused. "Thank you. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

"Today, I announce that the Empire of the United States faces a new enemy, the Illuminati. They threaten our interests around the world and have for almost five decades. Our strike two days ago was our first at the Illuminati aboard. We attacked a critical command and control node off the coast of Japan.

"Two weeks ago, we discovered the Illuminati operating on Imperial soil. We have acted swiftly and decisively to eliminate the threat here at home and have detected no further Illuminati activity in the EUS. Government agencies and police stand ready to repel any intrusion, while our intelligence agencies and military work tirelessly to thwart them abroad. They will be found and destroyed. Our freedom and our way of life are secure.

"My duty as Princess is to protect the country and I will. To prove my commitment, I accompanied our forces as a medic. I helped care for the wounded under fire and after the battle. We must do our duty to preserve freedom and protect our country. I am no different from any other citizen. I will fulfill my obligations, and I urge all Americans to fulfill theirs. If we stand together and all citizens do their duty, we cannot be defeated. The Empire is strong, and I will fight to keep it that way. There are no short cuts to victory. We will fight the enemy and win. We are the greatest nation on Earth, and no one can stand against the might of our empire."

Kita kept her face neutral. Apocalypse's reveal was more than she would have given, but she never had a nation to answer to. The speech was good—for prepared remarks—it still rang hollow and lacked conviction and passion. It did hit all the right patriotic propaganda.

Apocalypse's mood shifted as she smiled. "As many of you have seen in the news I have recently met someone special. She comes from the small town of Reading, Cali. Attended Reading High School, and after her father died ran the family business, Reading Auto Parts and Salvage. I met her on a trip to Cali and was taken by her tenacity, bravery, and commitment. She showed me what I had been missing after years of unsuccessfully finding my Prince Charming.

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