Click for Printer Friendly Version

A Night in the PEOC

by: dgabler (Send Feedback)

Chapters: 001 Word Count: 3006
Rating: YTEEN
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Jed Bartlet, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg, Leo McGarry, Ron Butterfield, Will Bailey, Nancy McNally
Category(ies): General
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Episode(s): 4-20 Evidence of Things Not Seen
Summary: After the West Wing is crashed following shots being fired at
the Press Room, Bartlet is rushed to the Presidential
Emergency Operations Center for a long night.

Chapters: 1

After the West Wing is crashed, Butterfield and another Secret Service agent approach the President.

Butterfield: Mr. President. Come with me. You are being evacuated.
Bartlet: That’s not necessary. Those attacks have nothing to do with each other and especially don’t connect with anything going on here. Leo, tell him.
Leo: Sir, we just cannot take any chances.
Butterfield: We have to follow protocol, sir.
Leo: We’ll get Russia on the phone for you down there.
Bartlet: No. I’m not going there. This doesn’t require that.
Butterfield: Sir, come with me now.

Butterfield hurries the President out of the Oval Office, through the mansion, and through the East Wing before arriving at the East Wing elevator.

Bartlet: Are we really going to the PEOC, Ron?
Butterfield: Yes sir. Any perceived attack on the White House, the West Wing especially, when coupled with foreign attacks calls for the PEOC.
Bartlet: We’re working on a very important phone call. I need to deal with the Russian president tonight, or he will be very unhappy with me.
Butterfield: Sir, everything you need is down there. Except for natural light and a view of the monument, you won’t even know you’re out of the Oval.

After the walk-and-talk, the two arrive at the unassuming East Wing elevator.

Bartlet: Luckily, this isn’t a real attack because the Leader of the Free World just had to walk a city block to get to an elevator.
Butterfield: Eagle is on the ship. (Speaking into his wrist)

Back in the Oval Office, the Secret Service has moved everyone out of the Oval Office and into the conference room to keep everyone away from the windows.

Leo: No one panic. These type of things happen all the time.
Josh: We’ve been here for three years. We’ve already been shot at. Successfully. I’d said it’s okay to panic.
Leo: We’re in the most protected building on Earth.
Toby: It has to be somewhat serious if they just whisked the President away like that.
Leo: They’re just taking their precautions.
Will: Well, where are we supposed to go? I know we’re not exactly the leaders of the free world, but I’d hope we’re a little more important than just being relegated to the conference room.
CJ: Exactly, we can’t just sit here. What are we supposed to do?
Secret Service Agent: Orders will be coming soon. We need to secure the President first and foremost.


The elevator comes to a rest after a long and slow ride into the depths of the earth under the East Wing. The two step off the elevator and look at two large wooden doors with the presidential seal carved into each one. Butterfield enters a code into the wall just to the left of the doors and speaks the code “Versailles” into the machine. The door clicks and Butterfield opens it for the President. The two step inside.


Butterfield: Mr. President. This is very serious. The FBI has just informed me that there are planned attacks in the capital tonight. The field agents will secure your family and will call you before any decisions are made about their safety. Per protocol, the Chief of Staff and the Press Secretary will join you here soon.
Bartlet: Get my family secured and call me. Have helicopters ready to get them to the closest military base.
Butterfield: Yes, sir. I’ll be in contact with you soon.
Bartlet: What about the rest of the staff? Where will they go? Bring them down here.
Butterfield: I’m sorry sir, but I can’t allow that. There’s strict protocol on who’s to be down here. Oxygen, food, water and other supplies are all rationed for a specific amount of people. We’ll keep them safe.

Butterfield shuts the door, and Bartlet begins walking around the PEOC looking at the ancient structure.

Leo: Is the Vice President done yet?
Toby: I have no clue.
Leo: If he isn’t, they need to get him off the stage and on his way to somewhere safe.
CJ: All that will do is get everyone riled up. My press room will find out, and we’ll have to answer to them.
Butterfield: (enters the room looking shocked) Mr. McGarry and Ms. Cregg, come with me.

Butterfield takes them to the West Wing elevator and presses an odd combination of the first and second floor buttons before inserting his key. The elevator jolts free from its resting place and begins downward.

CJ: Where are we going?
Butterfield: We need to get you two into the PEOC with the President.
CJ: What about the others? Leo, we can’t just leave them. What if this is actually serious?
Leo: They have strict rules for how we handle these situations. Let Ron do his job.
CJ: These strict rules leave behind valuable people. You’re right. What if this is serious, and we need to govern from down here for several days?
Leo: The President and I will handle all of the issues with help from the Cabinet from a remote location. We’ll be in touch with everyone else. If they deem it too serious, they’ll be taken to another DC bunker.
CJ: There’s more.
Leo: Yes, CJ. This city is like an iceberg.

The elevator comes to a halt and the doors open and reveal a long white tunnel that appears no different than that of an abandoned office building.

Leo: I’ve never been on this end. How does this connect Ron?
Butterfield: This tunnel connects the East Wing, West Wing, and the mansion via their main elevators.
CJ: Why haven’t we been here? Shouldn’t we know how to do this evacuation?
Butterfield: Probably. When I took over the President’s detail, we ran through this once with agents serving as you two and the President.
CJ: Shouldn’t we have been there instead?
Butterfield: Probably
CJ: What will be done about the press, Ron?
Butterfield: How many are still in the building?
CJ: Just a couple stragglers.
Butterfield: They will be evacuated into a secure inner room of the mansion hopefully before they get any word that anything serious may be happening.
CJ: Well, that’s just going to make them angrier on Monday.
Leo: It’s planned this way to make sure there is a Monday. If the press was able to publish everything that’s going on when the West Wing crashes, every nut in the metro area would be here with a gun trying to overthrow the government.

After walking briskly through the tunnel, Butterfield enters the code, speaks the password, and opens the door. President Bartlet is sitting at the end of a blue couch.

Bartlet: Get them there immediately. If this is serious, I need them.
Leo: What was that all about?
Bartlet: Secret Service isn’t allowing the Cabinet to come to the White House. They’re taking them to the Pentagon.
Leo: That’s probably for the better. If there is a real threat here, the Pentagon will be the best place to keep contact with them.
CJ: Why isn’t there room down here for the Cabinet? Even if they could make it here, we wouldn’t be allowed to have them.
Leo: It wasn’t originally planned for. This, other than the technology, hasn’t changed much since Roosevelt built it.
CJ: Well, that’s just lovely. Who would want the President of the United States to have a state-of-the-art bunker, anyways?
Bartlet: I can’t even get cable down here. When I brought Abbey and Zoey down here two years ago, no television worked? I figured it was fixed by now, but no.
CJ: Mr. President? You checked if there was cable?
Bartlet: Nothing better to do. The phones in my office don’t work. That one (pointing at the phone beside him) was the only one I could get a dial tone on.
Butterfield: (Speaking into his wrist) Agent Watkins. I need you to bring the highest-ranking tech guy down here. We have a problem.


Butterfield leaves again and begins walking through the tunnel to the West Wing elevator. As he sees Watkins and a tech guy coming, he puts up his hand to stop them for a second.

Butterfield: We’re having major problems with the technology. The President only has one working phone, and it isn’t a secure line. If that’s not working, I doubt the video calling system is working either. Without that, we have major problems and might have to take him to the Pentagon through the tunnels.
Tech guy: I will get it working, but they really need to update this place. I’ve been down here several times trying to get everything running.
Butterfield: Just get it done. The President needs it.

As he arrives at the West Wing elevator, Butterfield gets word through his headset that there has been a shooting at the Chinatown Metro station. He breaks into a full sprint towards back to the PEOC. Watkins and the tech guy just get inside the PEOC.

Watkins: Mr. President. This is Sean, and he’s going to get your communications’ systems repaired.
Bartlet: That would certainly be helpful. Does he know why we’re in the PEOC?
Watkins: No, sir.
Leo: Sean, we need three secure lines, a direct video communications feed with the Pentagon’s situation room, and also one to the West Wing sit room. That is where Ron’s taking everyone else, right?
Watkins: Everyone with code clearance will be set up in the sit room.
Sean: I will get right to work.

Sean heads to the PEOC’s situation room and begins working on three of the phones.

Bartlet: I can’t get a hold of Abbey or any of my daughters because of these damn phones.
Leo: This is just going to blow over. We’re just following protocol. We’ll be upstairs soon enough.
Bartlet: Everything has been so unorganized. It’s just unacceptable. CJ, we need to work on keeping this out of the press. The people don’t need to know about it.
Leo: It’ll just make them worry and wonder if we’re neglecting other areas of the government.
CJ: Don’t you think alerting them about this will raise public concern?

Butterfield comes in the door out of breath.

Butterfield: Mr. President. A gunman just opened fire in the Chinatown Metro station. We need to get as much of the line of succession here.
Bartlet: Get Hoynes in the air. He should be finished up speaking in Phoenix.
Leo: Alert the Marine base in Yuma.
Sean (from the other room): Mr. President, I have a direct feed with the Pentagon set up.

On the screen is National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally.

McNally: Sir, everyone else is almost here.
Bartlet: That’s good Nancy. I need you to get Hoynes to Yuma. Establish contact with him from the Pentagon.
Leo: We need to get the President Pro Tempore and Secretary of State here as well.
McNally: No, Leo. They need to go to the bunkers under the capitol and the state department. If they are at home, get them in the air to Andrews.
Bartlet: I spoke to Berryhill a few hours ago. He should still be at the State Department. Get him underground. All of our communications are down.
McNally: Yes, sir. You stay safe there, and we’ll get through this.

Butterfield leaves the PEOC and heads to a small Secret Service room in the hallway outside of the PEOC. After hearing shocking news, he returns to the PEOC.

Butterfield: Mr. President. A backpack with several guns has been found at the Metro Center metro station.
Bartlet: (runs into the situation room) Nancy, shut down the Metro. Both of the stations that connect to the tunnel system are potentially under attack. Also, this is a bad time to tell you that the evacuation metro system is currently under construction.
Nancy: Ron, I cannot suggest you evacuating the President by any means.
Butterfield: No ma’am, we believe we are under attack. The PEOC is now fully crashed.
Bartlet: What does that mean?
Butterfield: No one will leave or enter until the situation has been cleared.
Leo: How are we going to maintain contact with the West Wing?
Butterfield: For now, we aren’t. Sean should have it fixed soon. If not, we’ll have to work through Dr. McNally.
Bartlet: Ron, I need you to send agents to secure the tunnels.
Butterfield: (talking into his wrist) I need four agents to report to the tunnels and secure both the path to Metro Center and Chinatown.

The connection with McNally breaks up, and the PEOC is crashed.

Bartlet: I need to go to the situation room and manage this.
Butterfield: Mr. President, I cannot let you do that. We are crashed and no one will be going anywhere.
Bartlet: No one is in control up there.
Butterfield: Sir, I cannot endanger you for this. We have no reason to believe that this is a foreign attack.
Bartlet: Then, I need your headpiece (as he takes it and puts it on)
Bartlet: First, this is the President. The highest-ranking agent on duty is now in charge up there. I have taken Ron’s headpiece for communication purposes. Whomever the agents in the situation room are, I need you to give your headpieces to Toby and Josh.
Bartlet: (after establishing that Toby and Josh are on the headset) I need you two to tell Nancy that we have no communications from the PEOC. She needs to coordinate this with the DC police and Secret Service.
Josh: Sir, Nancy will handle this, and we’ll talk everything through with you first.

The policemen and secret service around the White House all come closer to the building to protect it from any attacks above. Underneath the ground, several Secret Service members clear the tunnels and prove that there is no threat upon the White House.

With the original White House shooter under custody, McNally receives word from the FBI that all threats have been eliminated.

McNally: Josh. Since the President and Leo are crashed in the PEOC, you’re my point man. We’ve just received the all clear.
Josh: What happened?
McNally: Just a terrible sequence of events. The attacks overseas are simply a coincidence. They aren’t connected to any terrorist groups or even anything anti-American that we can tell.
Josh: What should we do about the President?
McNally: Let him know that we’re clear. Then, ask for Ron. Leave it up to him whether they can leave tonight.

The President sits around the conference room table playing cards with CJ and Leo.

Bartlet: We really need to get this place up-to-date.
CJ: How does that work? Does the entire nation know we’re doing it?
Leo: No, we’ll definitely hide the construction as some form of steam pipe, heating, air conditioning repair.
Bartlet: But, they’ll all wonder what we’re building down here. As long as it’s not official, it’s okay.
Leo: Sir, I think we’ll be good with appropriations to get that money. It’s long overdue, and all we have to do is point at tonight.
Josh: (speaking through the headset) Mr. President. Nancy just got off the phone with the FBI. All of the shooters are in custody and nothing is being connected to foreign threats. We’re no longer crashed, but everyone’s being encouraged to spend the night in their offices.
Bartlet: (after telling everyone in the PEOC what has happened) Thanks Josh. We’ll be up to talk. Everyone can stay somewhere in the residence tonight.
Josh: Actually, I need you to put Ron back on before you come up.
Bartlet: I know you don’t want me back, but you do realize that there’s no one above me that you can go to to complain.
Josh: Yes, sir. I just need to speak to Ron.

Bartlet exchanges the headset with Butterfield.

Butterfield: Yes, Josh, I’m on.
Josh: Nancy wants you to make the decision on the President. Everything is clear up here.
Butterfield: I think we’re going to stay here for the night.
Josh: Okay, we’ll see everyone tomorrow.

Butterfield tells everyone the plan. The President is very disappointed but realizes that he cannot override Butterfield in this situation. He eventually gives in, and the group settles in to sleep in the PEOC.

The President wakes up to any empty PEOC. A note is slipped under his door.

“Mr. President. We tried waking you, but you were sleeping very heavy. Leo felt it was best to let you sleep. It was a stressful night. We’ll see you upstairs when you wake up. –CJ”

Bartlet walks around the PEOC, and it really begins to hit him just how old this bunker is. He wonders aloud about its safety and whether it can still stand a missile attack. When he gets back to the Oval Office, he calls Leo in and says that the day will be spent trying to secure the funds to build a new PEOC under the West Wing.

Then, Bartlet calls Butterfield into the Oval Office.

Bartlet: Ron, I’m very impressed with the way you handled everything last night.
Butterfield: Thank you, sir, but we were very unprepared.
Bartlet: That’s as much on me and my administration as it is you. We’re going to spend the next few days getting appropriations for a new PEOC under the West Wing. I’m going to get the tunnel system fixed, better communications, and finally some damn cable. I would really appreciate if you would work to make it safe and easy to access.
Butterfield: It would be an honor, Mr. President.

Chapters: 1

<< Back

Send Feedback

National Library