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Bettmann's muffled protests grew weaker and weaker with each vial of blood that was drained from his body, and the room beyond his eyes began to grow dimmer and dimmer. Then, when his legs had long stopped kicking and bucking behind her, his tablemate was over his middle section and massaging him back to life.

Bradford Bettmann heard her reassure him even as he struggled for consciousness against the loss of blood. She paused long enough in her motions to rip the duct tape off his lips and stubble, and his only response was to stare at the ceiling and mutter, "Thank you, God!"

Chapter I

Twenty Years Later

"...preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."

President Ronald Goodall lowered his left hand to the cheering roar of the crowd, removed his right hand from the Bible, and shook the hand of the Chief Justice of the United States before stepping aside to make room for his vice president. A second oath was administered, and then President Goodall shook hands with his number two man to the backdrop of more cheering before approaching the rostrum set up on the front steps of the newly dedicated Capitol building.

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