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  1. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    How could I make this scenario more realistic?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeX, Nov 25, 2016.

    There's been a nuclear war. The President of the United States survives, and gives a speech to the nation by radio in the aftermath. America needs a hero - and the President chooses to tell America the story of their Vice President, who sacrificed his life to save the President's youngest daughter.

    It's the details of that story that are hanging me up. I originally came up with the idea a couple months ago, but now that I look back on it, I have some concerns. Here's the gist of it, taken from the speech:

    At face value, there is nothing factually wrong with this. There is no law prohibiting the POTUS and VP from flying together. In an emergency scenario where every second counts, it is plausible that they may board the same aircraft.

    Logically, however, it doesn't add up. First of all, one of the reasons the POTUS and VP don't fly together is to ensure continuity of government - surely a nuclear war would be the time to keep that in mind. I think I may have a hard time selling a counter idea to readers. Second, Marine One never flies alone. It's always escorted by two to five "decoy" helicopters. Knowing that, a reader who sees the excerpt quoted above would think "Why didn't he just get in one of the other helicopters?"

    I really want to keep this story, but I have to find a way to make it work. I'm stumped and am curious what ideas others might have?

    Here's the basic elements I want to keep:

    - The Vice President must die

    - The VP must knowingly act in a way that jeopardizes his own survival while ensuring that of the POTUS's daughter

    - The situation requires that the VP would have definitely survived if he had acted differently

    Other than those general ideas, I'm open to any suggestions for how I could modify this scenario in any way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Nuke hits close/at the white house after they have evacuated, and he couldn't outrun the blast.
    Though this is considering that he has mere minutes to live before impact.
    To be kind in the circumstance he would be vaporized by the intense heat and be dead
    before he knew what happened. Other than that you can't really pull much off.
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I'm having vague thoughts of both the VP and Caitlyn being injured, but the VP hides his injury while the medical personnel focus on Caitlyn. That's all I've got.
     
  4. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    My biggest problem with the helicopter idea is that, according to this image, the presidential fleet helicopters have 11 passenger seats. In standard formation, that would be at least 33 to 55 passengers total. Would it be plausible that all those seats could be filled by people from the White House in just a few minutes, thus leaving the VP no option but to choose between himself and Caitlyn?
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Also, I find myself wondering if the Secret Service would allow him to make that choice. I seem to recall that when it comes to the safety of the people they're protecting, they don't necessarily take orders that oppose that safety. That's why I think that he might need to hide his injury.
     
  6. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    I imagine the Secret Service would object. But, then again, if they have all these helicopters loaded up with the First Family and White House staff and key Cabinet officials, I don't think the argument would last long when there's nukes due to land in a few minutes. If he just runs away, I don't think they'd hold the choppers for him.

    I dunno, just my guess.
     
  7. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Procedure has the VP and the Prez intentionally in two different locations so if we lose say the Prez's chopper, we don't lose them both.
    Other than that, it's okay I guess.
     
  8. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    That's what that lag was...hmmmm.
     
  9. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    I changed it so that there is an unspecified amount of helicopters. I added an extra layer of heroism by having the VP run back and forth between the choppers and the White House to help evacuate people, thus filling the chopper. Then the SS arrives with the daughter and he puts her in the last seat instead of himself.

    I mean, now that I think about it, there's so many people working in the WH, surely we can find 33 to 55 people to stuff in the choppers, right?
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    But the VP has a duty to stay alive in order to lead the country, so is he being a hero by sacrificing himself for someone lower on the hierarchy? For a child, sure, but for a random staffer?

    Maybe he could volunteer to be evacuated by a different method (by car, or whatever) and it could come out later that he knew this method was less likely to be successful?
     
  11. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    What if one of the helicopters was experiencing a breakdown upon landing and loading, with the VP opting to stay with the malfunctioning helo. This opens up another can of worms, in that why would the first family be split between helos to begin with? But it addresses the other helos and willingness to give up a seat. The helo obviously never takes off. The VP might have some background in helos and would've recognized the malfunction wasn't something that would be fixed immediately.

    Or maybe the other helo had to make an emergency landing nearby while en route, but might be able to get back into the air, and he opts for that.

    Maybe one of those will give you something to work with, and you can iron out the other problems the scenario creates.
     
  12. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    lol The VP would be a hero if given the choice to shoot down one of two choppers, the villain shot down his. Of course he'd be a hero! He died for the cause! Spin doctors...never forget the spin doctors. Public image rarely has to do with truth.
     
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  13. Ryan Elder

    Ryan Elder Banned

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    Wouldn't the American people not care to hear this story after a nuclear war? The people might be thinking "millions of lives have just been lost to nukes! Who care's about your daughter, what about everyone else who died! Boo hoo for you!."

    It just sounds like the story is going to make people jealous that the President is talking about his own daughter being saved, when so many others have died in nuclear war. Unless I am reading it wrong, or missing something?
     
  14. ShannonH

    ShannonH Member Supporter

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    How about the VP didn't perform any thrilling heroics. He just got incinerated like many others.

    America still needs a hero, so the President fabricates a story of how the VP gave his life for someone else, exemplifying the acts of selflessness that will be needed as the country re-builds.
     
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  15. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    There's an idea. It's always possible that it's just spin and propaganda.

    Yeah, he would opt for a car instead - which, as anyone who remembers 9/11 knows, would mean almost certain death because traffic simply does not move in DC when there's an emergency. It's worth a shot, at least.

    Mechanical failure, there's an idea that crossed my mind too - could be one of the choppers was due for maintenance that day that was never completed. Or damage of some kind, like maybe a rotor blade clips a tree on landing and causes the chopper to go down later in flight.

    No, you're not really missing anything, you're just seeing it differently, which is okay. There's always two sides. The focus of the story is not such much on the president's daughter, but more on the selfless actions of the VP, exemplifying the selflessness and heroism that would be needed from the people in the days to come. Nonetheless, you are right, there are bound to be many people who will take a more cynical view.
     
  16. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, I'm also having trouble with the concept that the VP or president would act selfishly in the case of nuclear war. Sacrificing themselves would not be an issue, but to do so to save one specific individual seems far fetched. Is the president's daughter important in some way?

    I couldn't see Joe Biden worrying about Sasha and Malia if Russian ICBMs are inbound.

    Another problem is that we can see the missiles coming. The fastest delivery system to the USA is from a submarine. A Soviet sub could hit Washington in about 15 minutes, but the second the rockets get in the air, our satellites will spot them. If the sub got any closer, we'd detect those too so there is a minimum launch distance.
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Generally speaking in an emergency Marine 1 takes the president to kneecap (the national airborne command post), Marine 2 would take the VP to air force 1 whilst other marine choppers would take the presidents family to airforce 1 from whereever they are so the SS wouldnt 'arive' with the presidents daughter

    Also a Blackhawk can easily lift with more than 11 passengers so in the circumstance you outline giving up his seat wouldnt work - they'd just bundle people in and take off seated or not

    also the idea of the VP running backwards and forwards organising the evacuation is badly flawed, there's no way that would be permitted (Plus there's a fall out shelter under the white house for staffers and so on)

    To be honest your whole scenario is so implausible i'd suggest binning it - not least because if 'america needs a hero' there would be numerous people who died doing their jobs to get others away to focus on , secret service agents, marines, cops, and so on
     
  18. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Can you unwrap this another level and tell us why you need it? Because I'm increasingly thinking that those three facts may not be achievable--at least not in a way that people would really care about this particular act of heroism. How does this need fit into the overall plot? Does the hero have to be the VP? Does the thing about the VP have to be heroism? Does the thing have to be about the POTUS's daughter? Does the country as a whole have to care? Which of these are optional?

    For example, if it doesn't have to be about the POTUS's daughter, and instead the VP somehow saved a bunch of people, the country is more likely to care. If the person who saved people doesn't have to be the VP, then that person would have more freedom of movement. And so on.

    Edited to add: An example that also has holes, big holes, but is a demonstration: Let's say that a military officer who could have escaped the edge of the blast zone instead threw away that opportunity in order to hurry to an NIH site where research specimens of dreadful diseases are stored, to destroy them before the likely breakup of that building in the edge of the blast, so that the country wouldn't have to deal with plague and smallpox along with the nuclear aftermath.

    That would be something that a hero did for the entire country, and a much bigger batch of heroism.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  19. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    Why does it have to be the VP, as opposed to, say, a Cabinet member?
    Making it someone high in the chain of succession (VP, Speaker of the House, etc.) just adds complications, since the Marines and Secret Service are going to do their damnedest to ensure those people's survival.

    I'd go with the Attorney General myself. It's anti-stereotypical of a lawyer to sacrifice themselves for anyone.
     
  20. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Agreed, I wouldn't see that coming.

    The expectation would for it to be someone who's a seasoned military man, who would have little reservations about heading into danger to extract soldiers or civilians. High enough rank that he can make his own orders, but not high enough rank that he's bound by his duty to the state to protect his own life first.
     
  21. mg357

    mg357 Active Member

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    I have a thought what if their is some sort of last minute evacuation situation at the white house and the VP volunteers to help with it. and while helping with this their is a secondary explosion and he dies in it.
     
  22. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    If there were a nuclear war and things played out like that (the only surprise would be to the general public, uppers would have known for awhile it was probably coming. P & VP would have been separated)-
    so there is an attack in progress and is at the white house (guess), you have to ask yourself some questions.

    Is there another way out of the wh? DC is a warren of mazes underground to protect politicians.

    Why would a pomp type of tradition/protocol be followed? There most likely would be no presidential helicopter or fleets, but they may be used as decoy. Too fat and slow to save anyone.
    Most likely what would happen is the Air Force would arrive with a small chopper to quickly move the family.
    If the VP gets left off, it would be there. Limited space.

    Maybe the VP has to beat and kill staff that are trying to get on the small chopper?
     
  23. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    That's more or less what I went with. The helicopters land, and the VP runs back and forth between the choppers and the WH, helping evacuate the building and load people on the choppers. Then the SS arrives with the daughter*, the VP puts the daughter on a chopper, and continues trying to evacuate the WH while simply ignoring himself.

    (*I'm making the assumption that the school she goes to is very close by, like within a couple blocks of the WH, to make taking her there feasible)

    Interesting points, @ChickenFreak , @EnginEsq , and @newjerseyrunner - I suppose it doesn't have to be the VP. I just wanted the VP dead for story's sake, added complications and such for more drama, but I can still kill him off while making the "hero" someone else that may be more likely to act in the way I described. I'll look into it. The Attorney-General is a possibility, and I also have a host of Cabinet members to choose from.

    Really, @ChickenFreak , now that you mention it, all I really "need" is a story of unprecedented heroism. My inspiration here is the real-life story of the passengers of UA93 on 9/11. What I want is a heroic story of similar caliber. I want it to be something deeply personal to the President himself, so that he will be personally inspired and indebted, which will show in his handling of the aftermath - something that really affects him, so that he is changed some way by the hero's actions. I figure that someone sacrificing their life to save his family would be just the sort of thing to do that. I chose the VP because he's a big public figure that everyone in the country knows about - I don't feel that the Attorney-General or the WH Chief of Staff or a Cabinet member would have the same impact on the American public. And I chose the POTUS's youngest daughter because America always has a soft spot for children, and for many parents across the country it may be something they can relate to in some way.

    Then, of course, as @ShannonH hinted at, there's always the possibility that it's all just one big lie fabricated by the President and there was no heroism. Or perhaps the real hero was someone else, and the President claimed it was the VP for the exact reason I just said (national recognition). Who knows? There's several directions I could go with this.
     
  24. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I think the affect on the American people is not defined by the job, but the individual. If Pat Toomey performed such an action, it'd be on the evening news. If Bernie Sanders did it, the news would lose their mind for a month. They have the exact same job. Your expendable character could simply be a very popular politician who's close to the president personally.
     
  25. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    The problem for me is that these staffers are all expendable. Nobody would save them, and they are expected to lay down their lives for P&VP.
    Remember, this is the president, not royalty. A few years ago he was folding his own clothes, washing his own car, shopping, etc. He wasn't raised with a staff helping him. He doesn't expect a staff to go with him. He is a self made man (in his mind at least).

    If you want the nation caught off guard, even the feds, it would be a series of dirty bombs.
     

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