The conservative media, desperate to report as little real news as possible, had a field day with the story about Shego. The lawsuit against Kim had just enough hint of lurid sex for the morally upright to demand they see more of the ‘horrible’ story.
In one of her interviews from her squalid Havana apartment Shego sighed deeply and expressed the wish she could return home, “… but I know I'd have to pay for my crimes,” she rubbed her hand over her stomach, “and I couldn't bear to be separated from my baby.”
Ratings for the interview were astronomical, and planted the idea Shego wanted in the listeners’ minds. Calls for a presidential pardon began almost immediately.
People Shego had helped during her brief stint as a hero were interviewed on the national news. Team Go received enough media attention to flatter even Mego, and while he hated talking about his sister it kept the cameras on him. He became the family spokesman for giving Shego another chance. Members of Congress were deluged with mail demanding Shego be helped.
With polls showing the American public firmly on the side of a pardon politicians began to express their shock that a former American hero would be forced to give birth in a third world country. (None of them mentioned the fact that lack of national health care meant the US had the highest infant mortality rate in the industrial world and that a higher percentage of babies born in Cuba survived to adulthood.) The junior senator from her home state of Illinois, eager for publicity for his own presidential campaign, appeared with Mego in a few interviews.
At a White House staff meeting the President's brain suggested a pardon would be a good idea.
“But I'm a law and order President, aren't I?”
“As long as it doesn't involve crimes by your own administration or big business, yes.”
“So why would I pardon her again?”
Karl sighed and tried to find words small enough for the President of the US to understand, “It detracts public, the people's, the voters’ attention, care, concerns away from you.”
“Oh… And why do I want that again?”
“Well, the mission was not accomplished in Iraq, our educational policy gets a failing grade, world opinion of the US is hitting the crapper, the housing market has hit the skids, and the dollar is looking shaky.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Not at all. Your friends in the oil industry just had the biggest profits in the history of the world, the gap between the super rich and poor is now the greatest it's ever been since the Depression, and it's been almost two years since the Vice President shot anyone.”
“Oh, good. Everything's fine then.” It was an extraordinarily good day for the President of the US and a thought entered his head, “Hey, and if I pardon her people will see me as a mercifier, right?”
“Yes, Mr. President,” Karl assured him, “everyone will see you as a mercifier. There's a baseball game on the TV, why don't you watch it? I'll let you know how your meeting comes out.”
After extracting the President of the US from the coat closet in the Oval Office and ushering him out the proper door Karl got on the phone, “Condi? Got a job for you. … No, this one can be done. … Yeah, be nice to have something work out right. … Look, I'll send you the details on my Republican National Committee email account -- it's easier for me to claim I've deleted them by accident.”
The majority of Shego's known crimes had been committed in the US. That made it relatively easy to exert the tiny bit of diplomatic pressure necessary for other countries to drop charges as well. It helped that the story was beginning to pick up some coverage by the world media. The BBC had yet to dignify the story with a word, but the Sun had offered either Shego or Kim an astronomical sum if they would agree to appear topless on page three. Both women declined the offer.
The public's attention was focused more on Shego herself than the lawsuit, which the vast majority of Americans regarded as an attention-grabbing hoax. Still, the image of an American hero in Cuban exile stirred patriotic sympathy. The increased demands for a pardon came at a price for Shego: increased demands for interviews.
The level of media attention was beginning to fray Shego's nerves. Years spent as a villain meant she didn't like a high profile, but she knew it was necessary for her to reach her goal. The bigger problem was that the constant interviews -- all needing to be given cheerfully -- meant she had to stay in the dump. She missed the amenities of her luxury suite, but she was becoming better known around town and didn't want to take the risk of being observed moving from one residence to the other. With the changes her body was going through she wasn't able to slip in and out of windows the way she used to. She resolved to grit her teeth and stay in the dump until her plan fell apart or succeeded.
On a positive note, she was taking on a slightly haggard look in her interviews. Fans in the US noticed and the calls for a pardon only intensified
Finally, as the cameras rolled during an interview, the personality (it wasn't clear if she could be called a reporter) asked, “Shego?”
“If I could tell you, and our viewers, right now that you had a full pardon for your past crimes and could return to the US, what would you say?”
Shego closed her eyes and effected a wan smile, “I'd say, please don't tease me with hypothetical questions like that.”
“Well, Shego, it's true. The State Department knew we had this interview set up and allowed us to be the first to break the news publicly. Shego, you should be coming home tomorrow!”
The smile which lit up the pale woman's face was genuine, “Kelly, that would be the answer to a lot of prayers.” Technically it wasn't a lie. Shego had given up prayer years ago, but there must have been someone praying for her to get the pardon.
“Now, Shego, we're still negotiating with the State Department for special permission. But we are hoping to have permission to send a charter flight from Miami to Havana tomorrow to bring you home. And it looks like your brother, Hego, will come to escort you!”
Shego was careful not to take the smile off her lips. You had to accept the bad news along with the good.