House of Koldus
by Honey Bear
*House of Cards Seasons 1 and 2 Spoilers Below*
Black screen “Mugdown Presents” fades into an intro parodying “House of Cards” with time lapses of various A&M buildings. During the intro credits, the names of actual student senators and political figures appear on screen. Last shot is the Academic Building at night with the title “HOUSE of KOLDUS” and an upside-down TAMU flag.
(Shot of Koldus exterior. It is late in the afternoon. Camera follows a young reporter into Koldus as she tries to get a politician’s attention.)
Zoe Barnes: Mr. Underwood. Mr. Underwood!
(Frank continues his path ignoring the exasperated reporter.)
Zoe Barnes: Mr. Underwood, a quote for the Battalion?
(Frank continues ignoring the reporter.)
Zoe Barnes: Mr. Underwood, your constituents have no idea what’s going on and I’m starting to believe your campaign team is even more clueless. Please, if I could get just a word from you, a quote would go a long way.
Frank Underwood: (while still walking) It’s President Underwood now. Or Student Body President Underwood if you feel so inclined.
Zoe Barnes: Not until after the recount.
Frank Underwood: (dismissively) My staff and I are quite confident that the recount will come back exactly the same. This whole business is pure nonsense.
Zoe Barnes: 5 for Yell seems to disagree. Care to share what makes you so confident?
Frank Underwood: (visibly annoyed) Look, Miss-
Zoe Barnes: -Barnes.
Frank Underwood: -Barnes. I’d like to go back to celebrate with my staff and this is starting to turn into a rather aggressive line of questioning. May I ask what makes you so confident the results will come back different?
Zoe Barnes: Nothing. There’s turmoil in the senate and chaos across the campus. The people have a right to know what’s going on. These are just the questions an unbiased journalist should be asking. Your answer, Mr. Underwood?
(Frank rolls his eyes at the camera and then turns back to Zoe.)
Frank Underwood: There's no such thing as an unbiased journalist, Miss Barnes. You either have the decency to pretend you don't have a political agenda, or you write for The Good Bull.
(Frank enters a room where his staff is celebrating, shutting the door on Zoe.)
(Inside the party room, Frank has begun smiling and shaking hands with various members of his team. Doug Stamper appears next to him with a clipboard.)
Doug Stamper: (speaking in a brief and quiet voice) Kyle Kelly’s on board, but I can’t get Reid to budge.
Frank Underwood: That’s unusual. Reid always backs Kyle. Trouble in paradise?
Doug Stamper: Not quite. The two still seem to be on good terms.
Frank Underwood: Why do you say that?
Doug Stamper: They still have plans tonight to play Trivia Crack together.
Frank Underwood: A ploy then?
Doug Stamper: I believe so.
Frank Underwood: But why would they split the power of the machine?
Doug Stamper: I’m not sure. But I plan to find out.
(Doug turns starting to walk away.)
Frank Underwood: I’ll have my phone on me.
(Doug now leaves. Frank steps towards the camera talking to the audience as he works through his thoughts.)
Frank Underwood: Every machine has a purpose, a well-defined, easily predictable purpose, and that purpose can only be fulfilled when every gear, every cog works in perfect unison. But what happens when the machine turns in opposite directions?
(Meechum walks up in a corps uniform. Frank snaps out of his thought-daze, breaking eye contact with the camera and turning to face Meechum.)
Frank Underwood: Ah, Meechum. I was just about to find you.
Edward Meechum: Hello, sir. I should congratulate you.
Frank Underwood: Thank you, but not yet, Meechum. I still have work to do.
(Frank gets a text from Doug.)
Doug Stamper text: “Murtha’s making his move.”
(Frank turns to Meechum.)
Frank Underwood: Meechum, do you remember what I told you when you started this job?
Edward Meechum: That I would be a rock. I absorb nothing, say nothing, and nothing breaks me.
Frank Underwood: Good. Let’s take a walk.
(Meechum and Frank leave the party.)
(Murtha and Benigno meet. They are inside All Faiths Chapel. The sun has now gone down and the chapel is dark with the exception of a few candles that are starting to flicker low. Murtha sits in the pew behind Benigno talking to him, but not making eye contact.)
Michael Murtha: Joseph.
Joseph Benigno: Michael.
Michael Murtha: Thank you for meeting with me.
Joseph Benigno: Why’d you bring me out here? No one uses this building.
Michael Murtha: Exactly. I know how to get the upperhand on Frank.
Joseph Benigno: (intrigued) How?
Michael Murtha: He thinks I’m working for him.
Joseph Benigno: What does he want?
Michael Murtha: He stacked the votes.
Joseph Benigno: Everyone knows that. That’s why 5 demanded the recount.
Michael Murtha: 5 for Yell’s working for Frank too.
Joseph Benigno: Hold up. Why would Frank call a recount on himself?
Michael Murtha: He knew simply stacking the votes would be questioned, so he wanted to make sure that when the votes were recounted, it was on his own terms.
Joseph Benigno: That brings me back to my original question: why are you telling me this? Why didn’t you team up with Isaiah?
Michael Murtha: I did. Isaiah was supposed to secure the minority vote. Then, when the timing was right, he was supposed to drop out of the race and endorse me as SBP. With the minority vote in my pocket, I would have had enough support to take on anyone. Even you.
Joseph Benigno: ...but something went wrong.
Michael Murtha: The time came for him to drop, but instead, he stayed in the race. He got the ridiculous notion he could actually compete. Tsau flew too close to the sun, and now he’s surprised he’s been burnt. And if it weren’t for Frank, you’re the candidate who would have actually won the election. The campus knows a Machine candidate when they see one. You have the most pull. If you lead the charge against Frank, the student body will rally behind you. I’m not a fan of yours, but I’m even less of a fan of Frank’s.
Joseph Benigno: You expect me to just believe that? If you work for Frank as you claim, how am I supposed to trust you?
Michael Murtha: I don’t. I just need you to believe that I’m not stupid enough to think Frank would actually make a better SBP than you.
Joseph Benigno: The problem still stands though: we have no proof.
Michael Murtha: You have no proof. I do. I work for Frank. Together we can bring him down.
(Murtha stands up, genuflects, and before turning away, drops a small but thick envelope in the collection basket sitting at the end of Benigno’s pew. Murtha shoots off a text as he walks out of the chapel.)
Michael Murtha text: “Benigno has the proof.”
(Benigno opens the envelope and after mumbling a quick prayer walks out of the chapel. However, the camera stays on the door. After a long moment, we don’t see him, but we hear Frank’s voice.)
Frank Underwood: There’s nothing sadder than a man scrambling to cling to what little power he has. To an ambitious man, power is the light at the end of the tunnel. It consumes all thought, hope, and desire. He is so focused on the light, he fails to even glance at the darkness.
(Frank steps out of the shadows walking towards the camera to close-up. Frank now fills the frame.)
Frank Underwood: But darkness is where the true power lies.
To be continued...
This is the first part of a two-part series. Click HERE to read the shocking conclusion to HOUSE of KOLDUS!