Veidt aches the next day. Despite his dismissal of Dan, Nite-Owl still had a wonderful right hook. One of his teeth is loose. He prods it with his tongue as he gives a speech on his company's relief effort. It's important for him to be associated with the preternatural handling of the disaster, with safety, with hope. As he steps away from the podium, he sees the memorial erected at the edge of the crater.
It's names. Names enough to wrap around ground zero. The cameras catch his tears as he reads the names of Andrew Aaloone, Karen Aalund, Allen Aamold. He doesn't even have to fake them.
New York's senator was killed in the blast. Veidt just has to mention he's interested and they practically shanghai him. There are accusations of price-gouging, of favoritism. Newspapers reveal that he's actually been operating at less of a profit than the outfit in LA. His legend grows. In the re-election campaign, he sends out free Ozymandias action figures to his supporters. His win gives landslide a new picture in the dictionary. The only ones who vote against him are those who believe in Rorschach's journal, and everyone knows they're insane.
In private moments, between running an international corporation and repairing a shattered state, he commits the names of his sacrifice to memory. He's just into the Bs now.
The mayor of New York is competent and even righteous when he can afford to be. He reflects Veidt's glory like the moon reflects the sun. They have dinner and the conversation swings to Nixon's term running down. Neither of them think four more years of the Nixon Doctrine would be anything but a hindrance. Veidt asks what the other man will do when someone else is mayor. And he thinks of Pierre Dupont, and André Dupree, and…
Veidt votes for the repeal of the Keene Act. As does the rest of America. He wears his old costume to the ball welcoming the heroes back. He shakes the hands of the new generation and they look at him with adoring eyes. They want to become him. The thought of them, with their preschool morals and their primary colors, wanting to emulate him… it's good for a dark chuckle.
Dan and Laurie stay at the opposite end of the room from him. They'll have children soon. He never expected a thank you.
Vicky Field. Eleven years old.
He gets married. She's a trustworthy woman, ambitious, and they look like the proud parents of a master race when photographed together. After the honeymoon, Veidt announces his campaign for president. They call him and the former mayor of New York the dream team for their handling of the eastern seaboard disaster. Their commercials place Nixon in the reliquary of Cold War foolishness and ask 'is it time for a change?'
Mary Gaston, Patrick Gassbender…
He is more than a man, more than a hero. He is a messiah. When the electorial map comes out, it is solid purple.
Eddie Jones, Fred Jones, Gina Jones.
He decommissions thousands of warheads on either side of the Iron Curtain. He outlaws whaling. He preserves forests. He puts Big Oil out of business and replaces it with clean blue energy and no one listens to the conspiracy nuts who screams this proves Rorschach right.
Amedeo Malagia, Peggy Malec…
He is reelected. He drops manna on Africa, he fixes social security, he sets up a training program for superheroes.
Stephanie Reynard, 86. Celebrating her birthday.
He writes his memoirs. The Karnak chapter surprises him with its brevity. Was it really so easy? Does he really have that little to say?
In twenty-three hundred years, the time-lock will expire and that chapter will finally be published. He will be seen through the same onus of history as his inspiration, who also wept when he had no more worlds to conquers. Veidt wonders if Alexander ever conquered himself.
Millions to save billions. It was the only choice. Dan and Laurie saw that, didn't they? History would see it.
He thinks of calling them, sending a signal through the satellites he's put in the sky and down to the telephones he's put in men's pockets, but he knows they wouldn't want to talk to him.
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair," Adrian Veidt says to no one but himself.
He puts the gun under his chin and pulls the trigger.