Buck Williams had the stunned look of someone who had just hit him in the back of his head with a shovel, just before falling unconscious. He staggered once and fell back into the padded chair across from Chloe's desk.
The Antichrist's desk.
"No... no," he moaned once. "Chloe.... you can't do this."
"I can, and I have." Her voice softened. "Buck, the God you worship is a monster. He took away almost everyone I cared about, causing untold misery and heartbreak. Billions dead. People suffering everywhere. And they're all suffering because God loves them so much?" She snorted. There are only two possibilities. Either your picture of the way God is, is very wrong or... and this is what causes me to really shudder... it is right on the money. Such a God, I can't possible believe in, let alone worship. In fact, the right thing to do is to use every ounce of energy in thwarting his will."
She got to her feet and stared out the huge windows overlooking Manhattan. "There is some supernatural force at work here. But to call it God..."
"You can't change the End Times, Chloe."
She smirked and turned to him. "Can't I? I've access to a time machine of sorts. Your 'End Times' checklist. All I have to do is figure out what I'm supposed to do... then do my damndest to make sure that doesn't happen. No rebuilt temple. No New Babylon. Of course there's not much I can do about earthquakes and such. But if I know they're coming I can get ready for them. And people will applaud my foresight and be more receptive to my message."
"A God that requires worship is not worthy of it. A God that uses bullying tactics and threats is not worthy of it." Her voice raised in volume and became shrill. "A God that uses the same methods of persuasion as a third world dictator or a Mafia boss... IS.. NOT... WORTHY... OF IT!" She slammed her palm down on the desk."
"Chloe, I ... I don't want to see you go to hell."
She closed her eyes and composed herself. "I've no desire to, but it's too late. Really, is there anything in your Prophesy that allows the Antichrist to repent? Wouldn't take it if it was offered, anyway." Her breath hitched once. "I did... I do love you, Buck."
"I love you too! This is why this doesn't make any sense!"
She ignored him. "But... this is bigger than both of us. You must choose now. Me.. or your merciful God."
"You know the answer to that."
She nodded slowly a single tear falling down her face. She wiped it away her face setting into hardened stone. "I thought as much. Please don't get in my way, Cameron. It won't be pleasant for either of us." She turned and faced the window again.
A long silence. Then she heard him get up, open and close the office door. She fought for several minutes to force her emotions under control.
Her intercom buzzed. "Madam Secretary? Dr. Phillips is on line one."
"Thank you." She turned around and hit the blinking light. "You have something for me?"
"Ah... Madam Secretary... I have the results of the... err.... tests."
She inwardly sighed. Getting a straight answer out of anyone was almost impossible, because everyone would prefer to give her what she wanted to hear, rather than speak plainly. Truth was a rare mineral that she had to sift out of vast sands of bullshit.
"And...?" She threw a great deal of impatience into her voice.
"Well it is... ah... positive." His hesitation wasn't really his fault, for he had no idea whether this would be good or bad news for her. "It would be best if you started a regimen of vitamin supplements and be back to see me in a few weeks."
"Thank you, That will be all." She disconnected the line abruptly, sat down and pinched the bridge of her nose.
Pregnant. Well that certainly complicated things.