Archangels Prologue – Hope
The White House
The Oval Office of the White House had never buzzed more with life than it did now. The anticipation and apprehension of the coming phone call weighed on the minds of every man and women that were situated in that room, especially on the mind of one man.
President Samuel Olsen studied a folder and a photo of his family before him. Several days before, he had received a call from a man named Darien Grant, who demanded one of the most absurd and shocking requests he had ever heard of. And now, ever since that phone call, a dreadful decision consumed his thoughts.
Maintaining his coolness and repertoire, President Olsen's eyes drew to the ringing phone beside him. He could feel the eyes of all in the room penetrate him as he motioned toward the phone. Everyone knew who was on the other line, everyone knew the stakes, but they did not know what President Olsen's decision had come to, for it was one that whatever the choice, the results would be the same.
The phone rang several more times before the President answered.
"Have you come to a decision, Mr. President?" Darien Grant's sinister voice penetrated the President's soul as he spoke through the receiver.
"I have." President Olsen clenched his jaws.
"Well then, what have you decided?" Olsen could feel the evil smile emerge on Darien's lips.
"You know very well what my decision is. It hasn't changed since the first time we talked."
"I see…so it is your intention to doom the people of your country?"
The President clenched his jaws harder.
"Do not presume that I will not initiate Crimson, Mr. President. I intend to do what I say." Darien continued.
"Your demands are outrageous!" The President demonstrated an outburst that his staff had never seen before, "I will not sacrifice this country for your own selfish agenda!"
"You are trying my patience!" Darien's voice turned sinister, "My demands are simple and hardly outrageous. They are real and I will unleash Crimson if they are not met!"
"Your threats will not scare me out of my duty as a protector of my people! You will not gain control over this country! I will not allow it!" The President turned to his best friend, the Vice President, and nodded his head.
Understanding the nod, the Vice President turned to the Secretary of Defense.
"Do it, Richard!" The Vice President instructed.
The Secretary of Defense immediately picked up his phone. "Get the air strike ready. This is a direct order from the President of the United States." He then proceeded to give the appropriate codes.
The Vice President turned back to face his friend. "It's done."
"You cannot stop what is meant to be mine, Mr. President."
"I will stop you."
A laugh was heard on Darien's end. "Do you honestly think that your pitiful air strike will stop me?"
Olsen's eyes drew back in surprise. He remained silent.
"Really now, did you think that I had not anticipated your every move? You cannot stop me. No one can. You had your chance, Mr. President."
"Wait, no!" The President pleaded. "Leave them out of this. For God's sake, where is your compassion?"
"Where was the compassion for my wife? Tell me that! You and the world will soon know the meaning of sacrifice." Darien hung up the phone and the President found himself staring at the dead receiver.
"Mr. President?" The Vice President looked at his boss intently. No response. "Sam?" He attempted to gain the President's attention once more, "What do you want to do?"
The President made a heavy sigh. "Evacuate the White House. We have no idea how much damage Crimson can do; I want to make sure that you all are safe. Heather," he turned to his secretary, "get me the news crew. It is time I warn the American people."
"Yes, Mr. President." Heather rushed out of the room to complete her task.
"Charles?" President Olsen turned to face the Vice President.
"Yes?" came the response.
"I want you to do me a favor."
"Protect my family. Protect this country."
"What are you talking about?"
"I won't be going with you. I don't know how much time we have before Crimson is launched. I must warn the people."
"No. Please, I must do this. This is my last order as President of the United States. Please, Charles, do this for me."
Vice President Charles nodded his head in painful compliance. "Your orders will take place."
"Thank you." He nodded to the rest of his staff to leave for the appropriate evacuation location. He looked at Charles once more and made a rather forced smile. "Keep the hope alive, Charles; it will be the only thing that will save us all in the end."
"Mr. President, the News crew is here." Heather popped in again.
"Hope?" Charles looked at his friend curiously.
"Hope." He replied back with a warm smile.
Los Angeles, CA.
"Hey! Get back here!" A young woman shouted after her ten-year-old brother. "I swear Dylan! When I get my hands on you…!"
Dylan laughed uncontrollably as he skidded across the dinning room floor. "Come and get it!" He giggled as he headed towards the kitchen.
"Give it back! I need my phone!"
"Come and get it! Come and get it!"
"Hehehe…it's not like he's going to call you!"
"Shut up and get back here!"
"No!" Dylan quickened his pace.
"HEY! QUIT MESSING AROUND!" Dylan's brother appeared at the main doorway, carrying two fresh boxes of pizza.
Dylan immediately halted. His face red from running and his mouth sore from smiling. "PIZZA!" Dylan shrieked with glee.
"Thank you!" Their sister came panting from the kitchen. "Give me that!" She snatched back her cell phone.
"Hehehehe." Dylan rushed over to grab the pizza from his brother.
"Uh uh." He raised the boxes high in the air. "Now what did I say about annoying Natalie?"
"Uhhh…" Dylan frowned and thought for a moment. "I dunno…I forgot."
Natalie smiled, thinking that Dylan was about to get a lecture.
"Well…I'll remind you." The older brother placed the pizzas down and kneeled down to Dylan. "You have to do it with me!"
Natalie's smile evaporated as she bolted toward her room. "Scott! No!" She laughed as he and Dylan jumped her from behind. They all began to wrestle on the floor when they heard the door slam shut.
"What is going on here?" A confused father and mother stared down at their children. The children all stopped and stared at each other sheepishly. "Funny, I thought you were college students." A grin was placed on their parents' faces.
Scott and Natalie glanced at each other, then at Dylan.
"Am I a college student too?" Dylan glanced up at his father.
"Not for another 8 years or so." Their mother smiled.
"We were just playing around." Natalie stood up and helped Dylan to his feet.
"You're home early." Scott rose to his feet and brushed back his bangs.
"The freeways weren't as bad as we had predicted." Their father responded as he headed toward the kitchen.
"We actually snuck out of the opera early. Your father fell asleep and was snoring loudly." Their mother placed her coat into the hallway closet.
Natalie smirked at her father, who shrugged and grinned.
"So what's for dinner? Hmm? I think I smell pizza!" He rubbed his hands together and motioned toward the pizza boxes.
"That was good!" Dylan smacked his lips together as he finished his last piece of pizza.
"Yeah, thanks for the pizza Scott." Natalie expressed her thanks.
"You're welcome." Scott grinned as he headed over to the television.
"Why are you two thanking him? I gave him the money to pay for these." Their father made a playful frown.
"Well, he went and got it!" Dylan smirked.
"Humph. I feel used."
"Haha. Don't worry Dad, we still love you."
"How about we go out for ice cream? I think that new ice cream parlor opened."
"Oooo! Yeah, yeah!" Dylan jumped out of his chair with excitement. "Ice cream!"
"Are you sure you want to do that?" Their mother asked her husband with concern. "It's already late and…"
"Honey, we haven't spent much time with them and Scott and Natalie are going back to school soon. I want to spend as much time as we can together." Her husband gave her a charming smile. "What do you guys say?" He asked his children.
"Sure." Natalie replied as she cleaned up the dinner table.
"Yeah, yeah!" Dylan jumped up and down.
"Fine with me, but it'll have to be quick. I'm going out with Ben tonight."
"This late?" Their mother inquired.
"Just for an hour or so, mom. I promise I won't be out too late."
"Honey, he's 24. I don't think he needs a 12:00 o'clock curfew…"
"Okay, but take a jacket with you…it's starting to get cold these days."
"Yes, Mom." Scott agreed absentmindedly as he scanned the television channels.
"Okay. Let's go then." Their dad got up from his chair and began to head out of the door. The two youngest children and their mother quickly followed.
"Hey, Scott, let's go." Natalie motioned toward the door.
"Yeah, I'm coming." He shut off the television right as the President of the United States appeared onto the screen.
"Dad, he's taking too long!" Natalie whined outside the ice cream parlor.
"You know Dylan. He wants to sample every flavor before he gets something."
"Can't you make him go faster?" She mumbled impatiently.
"Scott is inside for a reason. Be patient." He walked over to his wife who was sitting on a nearby bench.
"Ugh…fine." Natalie sighed. She gazed through the ice cream parlor's window and watched Dylan sample a pink flavored ice cream. Suddenly she felt her phone vibrate. Her face lit up quickly as she thought she knew who was on the other line. She took out her phone and stared at the caller id, which read Princess. Her face dropped slightly, but she still retained a smile. "Hey, Tammy!"
"Hey! How's your break?"
"Good. I'm just chilling with my family right now."
"Good, good. I'm with my family too. We just finished dinner at Flemings. Annie needed to go to the bathroom, so we're all just sitting here waiting. I wonder what's taking her so long…hey, it looks like USC made the finals again..." Tammy informed her friend.
"That's cool. I hope she didn't fall into the toilet." Natalie responded with a laugh. "Yeah, I know. USC is going to win the championship this time…I can feel it!"
"Whatever…they're going to get creamed by OSU!"
"Whatever!" Natalie rolled her eyes.
"Oh, hey, speaking of OSU, have you spoken with Diane or Michele yet?" Tammy asked.
"Um, yeah, yesterday….well Diane called and Michele seems to be loathing Alabama at the moment…"
"Umm yeah…did Diane tell you anything…in particular?"
"She might have…depends….what did she tell you?" Natalie raised a quizzical eyebrow.
"Well…umm…she said that she thinks that she might be…well…uh…"
Natalie started to laugh. "Yeah, she told me that she and Nate might be expecting! Crazy, right?"
"Yes! Thank you! I thought I was the only one. It's so weird to have married friends, let alone having them getting pregnant!" Tammy squealed.
"I know, right? Natalie smiled. "Oh, have you spoken to Sara or Melina?"
"Well I talked to Sara this afternoon. Meli and I hung out last night. They're both doing good."
"Hey…what's that?" Tammy's attention drifted.
"What is it?" Natalie asked.
"Oh, um the President is on the TV. Oh man! Can you hear this?" Tammy asked.
"No, what's going on?"
Natalie never did hear Tammy's response, for her attention had been drawn to the screams of the people around her. She glanced around in panic as she tried to figure out what was going on. Her brothers had begun to emerge from the ice cream parlor and her parents seemed to be trying to reach them, but the crowds of people were running against them. Natalie could barely hear her Father yell "Run!" as he pointed to the sky. She quickly looked up and the last thing she saw was a bright, bluish white, light come at her, followed by a flow of intense and painful burning sensations throughout her body.
And then it was dark.