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First published in Amazing Oct 1963

The human stand-by for the President of the United States (a job held by the supercomputer Unicephalon 40-D) is a union post, and when the current stand-by dies, union officials choose layabout Max Fischer as his successor.

No one expects Unicephalon 40-D to fail, because it never has, but that’s before an army of aliens attacks, knocking out Unicephalon and promoting Fischer to Commander-and-Chief.

Fischer bungles the job, and news clown Jim Briskin claims Fischer isn’t legally President since he was never elected. Briskin then pushes for an election and announces his own candidacy. As Fischer moves to have the FBI silence Briskin, Unicephalon returns to power, declares war with the aliens and puts an end to these presidential shenanigans.

Cast of characters

  • Jim Briskin – everyone’s favorite news clown. Briskin also makes a bid for the Presidency in The Crack in Space.
  • Unicephalon 40-D – supercomputer / President of the United States
  • Maximilian Fischer – union member chosen to be the next stand-by POTUS
  • General Tompkins – chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Leon Lait – Fischer’s cousin and Attorney General while Fischer is in charge