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Welcome to the Club

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There's a card waiting for them after the wedding, mixed in with all the "Congratulations" cards and a few "Thanks for saving our lives (and the world), here's a couple grand for the honeymoon" cards. Sarah flips it over. “Do we know anybody named Gates?” she asks Max.

“I think my mom may have had some second cousins named Gates,” he says. “Or one of the interns a couple desks down from Dana is named Gates—no, actually I think his name was Gaines. Or there’s the historians, the ones who stole the Declaration of Independence a few decades back.”


The card is signed “BG & AC-G,” which would seem to be the historians. “Welcome to the club,” the inside reads, over a picture of George Washington.

“What club?” Sarah says. She looks over the card closely, but doesn’t see any other writing.

“Try lemon juice,” Max says. “And heat.”

She stares at him, puzzled. “If random strangers wanted me to use lemon juice on their card, wouldn’t they have indicated that in some way?”

“That’s how they found the message on the back of the Declaration. It’s kind of their ‘thing’.”

She sighs and takes the card into the kitchen.


It turns out they’re referring to the “kidnapping the president” club. It’s the most exclusive club Sarah’s ever belonged to, though it doesn’t seem in the best of taste considering her employer.

“Except for the Secret Service keeping an eye on you all the time, life won’t be nearly as different as you might expect,” the indistinct brown writing reads. “And maybe you’ll even miss out on that, considering your connections. P.S. Ask the President to show you page 47 of his book.”

She’ll pass. Things are messy enough without asking the president they just kidnapped for a favor.


That’s all the card says. It doesn’t even wish them congratulations on their marriage, or thanks for saving the world. And it definitely doesn’t have any sort of gift. But considering that the near-geostorm just destroyed Mount Rushmore and Philadelphia, the historians probably aren’t feeling very giving—or particularly flush with cash. Sarah wonders where the treasures they’d found were stored. Hopefully not in Orlando.

She tosses the card in the “doesn’t require a reply, but we might if we if we find time” pile. Hopefully none of the other cards have hidden messages, or they’ll be here all day.