Jo Sef’s long time friend, Illy Ore, had become a renegade reporter of sorts who prided himself for “telling it like it is.” He stated how regretful and tragic the recent developments were. He encouraged the public to wait until all the evidence was in before passing judgment regarding Jo Sef’s guilt or innocence. Nevertheless he voiced his concern that Jo Sef had not come forward and turned himself in to the Lawkeepers in order to publicly answer the charges leveled against him. Illy Ore then matter-of-factly pointed out that the election must surely now come down to a choice between Charismatic Leader and Ay Bud. He himself was opposed to “opting out” and was also for personal responsibility but any citizen who supported Jo Sef must surely now see that Jo Sef was no longer a viable contender for the honor of Leader of The Dimension of Barbarik.
Roti Art, Jo Sef’s gleefully vociferous childhood chum, had become hugely popular on a discussion circuit called “Enter Into Barbarik” and had even been honored with an Excellence in Bloviating award. In his best award winning voice he declared that Ay Bud had obviously been the only true choice all along anyway. He said that Jo Sef had always been a flake and a noncandidate. Like Illy Ore, Roti Art agreed with Jo Sef on the matter of
stopping the practice of opting out. In fact, Roti Art actually agreed
with most of what Jo Sef stood for. So much so that many of
Jo Sef’s supporters had even thought that Roti Art would come to
Jo Sef’s defense but they thought wrong. Roti Art announced his
endorsement of Ay Bud who would after all appoint a council to
look into the matter of the of the UA’s.
Len Bek, Jo Sef’s lifelong friend in The Dimension of
Barbarik, his most trusted advisor and closest confidant simply pointed out that although he believed in Jo Sef's innocence, the citizens
who suspected that the bombing was a bogus banner event were certainly just crazy conspiracy nuts.
While the search for Jo Sef was underway the Final Consensus went forward as scheduled. Many of Jo Sef’s supporters were suspicious
and did not believe the charges leveled against Jo Sef and voted for him still.
Many were so confused that they did not vote at all. Many of his supporters,
fearing that Jo Sef had lost all chance of winning, voted for Ay Bud instead
who was after all the best of what was left.
In the end, even with the charges pending against
him, Jo Sef received 19% of the votes of the Citizens in the
Final Consensus. Ay Bud got 40% and Charismatic Leader was voted
in for one more term by 41% of the vote. In his victory speech
he declared that he would not rest until Jo Sef of the True Believers
was apprehended and brought to justice. Charismatic Leader appointed
Eno Demra, his Chief Law Enforcer, to personally oversee the
Relief House terrorism investigation.
That is how it came to be that Jo Sef of the True Believers did not become Valiant Leader of The Dimension of Barbarik after all. That is how a dream held onto for five times a thousand days died. And that is how Jo Sef instead began the life of a hunted fugitive.
The terrorist acts against the Relief Houses continued on an intermittent basis after the first incident. Charismatic Leader always expressed his outrage and profound grief after each tragedy.
He denounced the monstrous and senseless acts of violence perpetrated
against the Relief Houses and would recommit each time to using
everything in his power to bring the fugitive, Jo Sef, to justice.
The number of “procedures” performed at the Relief Houses had been reduced significantly since the bombings had begun. It appeared that citizens considering “opting out” were not so sure that they wanted to put their own lives in jeopardy in order to have the procedure done. The miracle pill was still being produced
but the price had become much higher because the supply of raw
material was significantly smaller.
There were scattered rumors of sightings of the notorious and elusive Jo Sef as day after day came and went. The majority of the citizens of Barbarik eventually came to believe that indeed Jo Sef was guilty, otherwise why would so much time have lapsed without
him coming forward to deny the charges? Any citizen who thought
otherwise would not declare it in public, for anyone still showing
support for Jo Sef of the True Believers came under close scrutiny
and relentless investigation. Jo Sef’s parents and siblings
and their families had defiantly and steadfastly proclaimed
Jo Sef’s innocence and were truly persecuted because of
it. Eventually they left their homes and possessions behind,
never to be heard from again. The True Believers were ridiculed more
than ever before and treated with malice and contempt.
All things taken into consideration, life was not adequately tolerable for all the citizens of The Dimension of Barbarik after Jo Sef went into hiding.