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November 2, 2020 

Vibora Bay, Florida 

The last stop of the Cahill re-election campaign 

 

Joanna, Judith, and Jerusha Cahill sat together in the rented bedroom of the First Family, each of the three girls - no, young women, looking at each other with nervous expressions. It had been four years since they'd sat together in a room like this one, four years that had been a lifetime for them all. Joanna was halfway through the college she'd just been thinking about on their last election night, about to head out and teach a generation of Oklahoma kindergarteners - Jerusha had turned from a pretty-too-fast teen into a sullen young woman who their mother just about kept under lock and key to keep her from sneaking off and drinking with some of her prep school friends. And what did I become? asked Judith, reaching up and patting the short haircut that had made her stand out from her sisters at first. They looked very much alike, tan skin and jet black hair, with big eyes and a wide smile. 

 

"Ah'm not going to do it anymore," she was finishing. "It's ruining all our lives, it's damn near ruined our family, and for that matter Ah don't think it's very Christian." 

 

"...what about that school?" asked Jerusha suddenly, shooting a hooded glance at her older sister. "That secret hero school that we're not supposed to know about, wherever it is. Aren't you gonna blow their cover?" 

 

"No," said Judy, shaking her head, "No, that's....that's all been taken care of. They're going to be ready when it happens, because they've been planning for this day for a long time coming." 

 

"What about you?" asked Joanna, ever the sympathetic older sister. "What's going to happen?" 

"Ah'm a little too old to spank," said Judy softly. "And it took me a long time to realize that Mama and Daddy aren't podunk people in a little podunk town anymore. They're the First Lady and the President of the United States, and if they cut me off because Ah have superpowers, the whole world'll shun 'em. And you know how they feel about their reputation."

 

Oh Lord Jesus! she thought as her sisters exchanged looks that said they knew all too well. know you told us to honor our father and mother and I do - I do it ever day. But this cup should not have been given to me, not by people who are supposed to love and care for me. 

 

"It's a little late now, though, don't you think?" asked Jerusha. "A lot of votes have already been cast, and it doesn't matter if you change everybody's mind if they've already done it." 

 

"It's not about politics, " said Judy softly. "Ah don't...Ah don't want people to think Ah did it because Ah'm a secret liberal, or not a Christian anymore, or anything like that. It's about our family, and what our family is supposed to mean to each other." She put her hand on the King James Bible in the middle of their triangle and said, "That's why Ah couldn't do it until you all were here. Because this is your lives, your futures, Ah might be changing - and Ah'm not going to throw it all away for what's easier for me. What should Ah do?" 

 

Joanna looked from her younger sister to her youngest, then said, "...you're right. It's not fair. Lots of things aren't fair that we have to live with. Have you prayed about it?" 

 

"Every night for the last year," Judy admitted, taking her sister's hand. "And Ah don't know if this is exactly what God wants me to do - but Ah know he doesn't want me to live a lie either." 

 

"Hell, let's do it," said Jerusha suddenly, defiantly. "Mama and Daddy think their secrets are so great, let 'em see what it's like to be the ones who don't have any power. Let them..." She looked away, hands on her lap curled like claws for a moment. "Whatever you're doing. I'm with you." 

 

Joanna let out a breath and said, "Me too." She put her hand on Judy's, right on the Bible, and said, "You are my sister, and I love you. Ah let mah pride in who we were and in being godly people keep me from seeing how important that was. Ah am so sorry Ah haven't been there for you these last two years." Tears stood out in her eyes as she said, "Even if it's hard, it can't be as hard as what you've been living with." 


Jerusha put her hand on her sister's too, and Judy realized they both were crying - and realized that her eyes were glowing as rainbow colors washed over her vision. She was about to panic, thinking she was going to lose control of her powers again, until a glowing rainbow drop fell from her eyes onto their linked hands. "Oh my Lord," she said softly, "Ah'm crying! Ah'm actually crying!" And then they embraced, and wept, and for the first time in a long time the Cahill sisters were truly reunited. 

 

 

Later that night, when Judy was alone in her own room, a quick knock told her which agent was at her door. "Come in, uh, Agent Tran." Ashley came in, a red wig over her dyed hair, and gave her a small smile. "Hey. How are you doing?" 

 

"Ah've been better," Judy admitted, her voice still a little shaky from earlier that evening. "How about you?" 

 

"It's a quiet night," said Ashley as she walked over and sat next to her on the bed. "Vibora's a lot less crazy than Freedom, but then most places are." She folded her hands on her lap and looked at Judy before saying, "Are you going to do it?" 

 

"Tomorrow night," said Judy softly. "When everyone's here, and when everyone's watching. Ah don't want anyone to misunderstand why it happened." 

 

"Okay. Okay..." Ashley reached over and put an arm around her, then another, hugging her tight. "I'll do what I can to make it work. But this is going to change things, you know. Even if you do go back to Claremont for the rest of the year." 

 

"And be the First Daughter's secret dimensional twin?" asked Judy with a smirk. "Well Ah've had to tell dumber stories than that..." She laughed softly, then said, "You're not going to get in trouble, are you?" 

 

"Well I think if the United States government wants to throw me overboard, they know a lot of people are coming in the water with me," said Ashley dryly. "As for the Secret Service specifically, well...maybe there's more to life than this." She looked around the room, her gesture seeming to take in the whole place, then back at Judy. "I learned that from my sister." 
 

"Do you remember back when we first started?" asked Judy, looking down at the palm of her hand, which was indeed glowing faintly in the darkness. "Ah was so scared, being around those superkids all the time, and they were all so different than me. Ah was like a...caterpillar afraid of all the butterflies. Afraid of who Ah could be, if Ah stayed there long enough." 

 

"Maybe Claremont helped you find out you were a hero," said Ashley, "but that was always there inside you." She sighed, and looked away. "This whole thing, it...should never have happened. We should have let you spread your wings the moment we found them. It's my fault too." 

 

"No, Ashley, no," said Judy, "You...you did what Ah wanted, you let me keep my secrets, so that Ah could be a normal teenager for just a little while longer. You were the only person there who actually listened to me. The real me. It's not your fault." They held each other for a while, Ashley profoundly glad for the locked door, and then disengaged. 

 

"Well. You've inspired me," she said lightly, wiping away a few tears of her own. "This Christmas, I'm going to tell my mom, and my stepdad, and my whole family that I'm queer. If you're going to live your truth, I need to start living mine. Like I said before..." She slipped her hand in Judy's and said, "I'm with you. To the end of the line." 

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Election Night 2

November 2, 2020 

Later that evening, after the polls have closed in California

Post Theme

 

Micah. Pan. Danica. Lulu. Davyd. Mia. 

 

The Raven. Charlie. Callie. Legatus. Lady Liberty.  

 

Benny. Adam. Abby. Veronica. Leroy

 

Ashley.

 

Judy stared at her reflection in the mirror and blinked back tears. Just be brave, she thought, just be brave like them. The girl in the mirror didn't look like she was upset, black hair perfectly coiffed, black dress a perfect match of Christian modesty and elegant grace, a simple gold cross around her neck. But then Judy had learned from when she was a little girl about how to hold back her upset, how to make sure everyone knew she was good, and loyal, and would hide what wasn't right - she reached up and clutched the cross she wore around her neck. 

 

Not anymore. 

 

 

Just as he had on Election Night four years earlier, President JT Cahill stood in a private room in a luxury hotel, with his family as he waited for election results to come in from what had been a hard-fought campaign against a surprisingly difficult moment. They were in a mockup of the family room in the White House, letting viewers at home get an image of the President as husband and father awaiting his rewards after a long day of hard work, mostly trying to lure the always-tricky swing state of Florida to his side by a reminder of the heroic effort the Cahill administration had put in after a series of hurricanes had struck the state. 

 

A Fox News crew was there, moving from face to face as they interviewed the Cahill family, live as election results came in - election results Judy could feel right down to her bones as a corona of radio signals passed through the hotel. The votes were almost all in now, it was just a matter of counting them. The crew moved first to her parents where they sat together on the couch, her father joking about how "Ah think we'll be the ones eating the good turkey this Thanksgiving," her mother speaking through a thin-lipped smile that God was in control, just as he always was. Then Joanna smiled and said, with a look at her younger sister, "The whole family's been praying tonight. And Ah think our prayers will be answered." 

 

And then the camera crews came to Judith Claudia Cahill; the ill girl, whose mysterious illness had made her the object of public prayer for the last four years, the homeschooled one, the quiet one, the one who didn't have her younger sister's good looks or her older sister's quick wit. When the blonde reporter gave Judy the microphone and asked, "And how about you, Miss Cahill, what do you think about tonight?" 

 

"Ah...Ah do have something to say." There was a carefully memorized script about how she hoped all the little children watching were learning that America was the freest nation on Earth, but she had decided it could wait just a little.

 

Judy stared at the camera and reached out, feeling the signals that it fed, and reached out to them with her mind, feeding them with her power, making them her own. And when she spoke, she blazed to glorious life on live international television and said in a voice made resonant by the energy that had replaced her lungs, her vocal cords, but not her soul - 

 

"Mah fellow Americans - "

 

It was a short, simple speech - shorter even than the Gettysburg Address, another famous piece of near-Presidential oratory. 

 

"Mah name is Judith Claudia Cahill, and Ah have superpowers. Because of mah secret heritage from an alien race, Ah can control the electromagnetic spectrum. Mah parents have known this for two years, but they made the choice to keep it from you because they were afraid of scandal. But Ah can no longer live this un-Christian lie before the eyes of the world. Mama, Daddy, Ah'm sorry," she said, turning to her parents who were on their feet, wide-eyed and white-faced, "But you taught me to do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with mah God, and Ah can no longer live a lie. Ah love you, and Ah love mah family. And if you're hearing this message," she added, her voice breaking into more channels now thanks to the vast number of transmitters present in the same hotel as the President on Election Night, "Ah want you to know that you don't have to be afraid of who you are or - what you're going to be. We're all different people in this country but we are bound together by what we have in common. Your life matters. Your love is pure. Your family is sacred."  If her voice broke on that one, in great grief, an energy being didn't shed tears and there was nothing to stop her from continuing "You are not illegal and you are not a sin. God loves you; and so do I." Light filled the room now, glorious and terrible enough that on some cameras all that came through was the audio track, her voice punctuating every track. "This has been Judith. Claudia. Cahill. And Ah will be back!

 

And then, in one last flash of light, she disappeared off the stage - and the networks hung on the image of the shellshocked First Family (and the fiercely applauding First Daughters) before the cut to a very surprised anchor desk. 

 

Seeking a second term in the White House, President JT Cahill won a narrow plurality of the popular vote but lost the key swing states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan - and with them the election. 

 

Note: Feel free to post your character's reaction to the above two posts below, if you think it would be story-worthy! 

 

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A Perfect Family 

An undisclosed location in New Orleans 

 

When Judy could see the world again, Ashley was there in the small apartment she'd rented and secured for the occasion - and without a word, the two women embraced for a long time. When they released, Ashley put her hands on Judy's fever-warm shoulders and said simply, "I am so proud of you, honey." Her phone was frantically buzzing, but for the moment they both ignored it. "Are you okay?" she asked, trying to get some feeling out of the wide-eyed look on Judy's tan face. 

 

"Ah'm...Ah'm okay," said Judy, though she wasn't at all sure she meant it. "It's like Ah...Ah stepped off the board, and Ah'm just waiting to hit the water now. The scary part is over." Now her phone was buzzing too, and she winced just a little. "Well that's Jerusha. Ah guess Ah'd better take that...and you should take that too," she said, nodding to the frantically dancing phone on Ashley's hip. 

 

"Okay. I lit some candles in the bedroom, and there's soft music cued up on the CD player." It was less stressful for Judy to listen like that, sometimes, when there really was just the music and no Bluetooth signals coming with it. "I love you, kiddo," she said softly as she saw Judy sit down on the couch - then took out her phone for what proved to be a very long conversation with first her immediate supervisor, and then the President of the United States... 

 

 

 

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