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South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe

The two black SUVs wound there way along the shore of Lake Tahoe, the namesake of the Tahoe Republic, heading for the President's official residence at Dragonsholm, secluded away in the pristine Emerald Bay. The six officials in the SUVs, the leaders of the General Assembly, had arrived in South Lake Tahoe only an hour before. Snow was falling here, high in the mountains that split the republic in half, even though across Tahoe the first blooms were appearing on trees and the first of spring flowers were pushing their way up through the fertile soil.

The lake was shrouded in fog and snow and the SUVs dove slowly, finally arriving at a small parking lot a few hundred feet above the lake. On a clear day, one could look down across the lake here at the head of Emerald Bay, taking in the stunning views, but today the lake reflected the mood of all those arriving for this meeting: cold.

Stepping out of the SUVs, the officials were lead to a small gate in a low stone wall. A guard checked their names and faces against a databank inside the stone gatehouse, before the thick wooden gate was opened up and they were allowed through. A man in a thick jacket and cloak stood on the otherside, bowing at the sight of the six men walking through the gate. Shivering, one of the men, Representative James O'Reilly (L-AZ) asked, "I hope you don't mean for us to walk all the way down to there, it is freezing...literally."

"There is only two ways to reach Dragonsholm, sir, by foot or by boat. Come, we must go."

O'Reilly began opening his mouth again but was silenced with a look by a senior senator who whispered in his ear, "This is tradition, regardless of the weather. Only the President's personal vehicle is allowed onto the grounds."

Sighing, they began walking down the steep path towards the great manor house that was Dragonsholm, the traditional residence of the Taoiseach (although for most of Tahoe's history, the Executive Mansion in Cruachan served that purpose). Fifteen minutes later, they stepped into the warm entrance hall of the manorhouse. Once again, the cloaked man spoke, "Make yourself warm and comfortable. An Taoiseach will see you in a few minutes once you have warmed up. You have a lot of work ahead of yourself."

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The men were escorted down a hallway, the glass windows facing the central courtyard were frosty with the cold. At the end of the hallway, they turned and walked up a spiral staircase at the corner tower. Going up the stairs, they came out into an office overlooking the lake and rest of the compound. Windows and bookshelves took up all the walls, and a stout desk sat in the middle of the office on wood panneled floor. Otherwise, the room was fairly spartan. At the desk sat the Taoiseach. A tall man, about six feet five inches with dark reddish brown hair and broad shoulders, he easily dominated the room.

"Welcome to Dragonsholm, gentlemen" said the Taoiseach as he stood up, "Let us have a brief discussion here before we go back downstairs and meet with the cabinet. I understand you wished to speak with me alone, anyway."

"An Taoiseach, an honor" bowed the leader of the party, Senator Ronan Doyle (L-CA) "You know why we are here."

"Yes, please, speak candidly with me."

"Very well, An Taoiseach. Put simply, we find the inaction on the current crisis in San Francisco and Los Angeles unacceptable. I know it has been your policy to not involve the government in the economy, and we do not wish to debate that with you. You know this is a bipartisan group here, of course, and I already agreed with them I would do no such thing. But, An Taoiseach, this has gone above and beyond free markets. We MUST prepare a comprehensive aid strategy immediately. I have here the signatures of 84% of the members of Parliament who agree with me and promise to vote in the affirmative for any aid package we agree upon."

As the Taoiseach began to speak, Senator Thorsson spoke up, "An Taoiseach, I have always been a great supporter of you, you know that. I have never desired to see socialist involvement in our free market, but this goes beyond free markets like Senator Doyle said. Our government caused the disaster wreaked upon the cities, not the market, and our government MUST work to fix this problem."

The Taoiseach sighed. He had internally promised not to get involved in what he saw as socialism...but 84% of the members of Parliament...that number couldn't be ignored. Nor could similar numbers calling for action in public opinion polls....or the lowest approval rating for him since his term began...

Looking up, he began to explain his plan. The senators and representatives began listening...smiling as they did so.

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The senators and representatives came out of the board room, leaving the Cabinet and Taoiseach behind them.

"Well, that was rather surprising. I never suspected he...they...would be willing to spend so much time and money reinvesting in the devestated areas."

There was work now to be done.

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Massive construction works have begun in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with over 50,000 workers swarming the sites, clearing debris and beginning to prepare the land for reconstruction. The Government has authorized full loans to all businesses and homes destroyed in the attacks provided the land in question is redeveloped at equal or greater value than its previous value.

The new cities will be much better planned to ease traffic, be pedestrian friendly and contain bunkers for every citizen capable of surviving without contact for at least two months.

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