July 2, 1947-Corona,
It was a storm that would forever change the course of human destiny. The small, curly-haired boy sat in anticipation on the edge of an old, olive-colored, chair. From his seat in front of a large, living room window, he peered out into the night, gazing in awe at the fierce displays of lightning, which frequently appeared in stark contrast to the blackness of the dark, western sky. Many of the vengeful flashes reached for the ground, while other, multi-forked lightning bolts stretched across the sinister sky as far as the eye could see. Henry's parents had long ago abandoned any hope of keeping the curious boy away from the window completely during such storms, so they had struck a compromise…the six-year old would sit in a chair well away from the window, yet close enough that he still maintained a commanding view.
While Henry took in the fabulous fireworks that lit up the night sky outside their home, his parents went about their daily routine, seemingly oblivious to the commotion outside. His father sat back in his recliner and quietly read War of the Worlds, while his mother busily worked to finish a sweater she’d been knitting for over a month.
“Wow!” Henry yelled out, pointing towards the window. “That one had like five forks, and it was huge!” The boy’s eyes lit up, wide with wonder as a thunderous boom reverberated throughout the house. Jake Summers looked at his son and smiled, fondly remembering a time when, many years earlier, he had been the little boy sitting by a window, wondering at the awesome, raw power of nature on display.
The flashes of lightning and the booming thunder continued to intensify as Henry watched the ferocious storm come closer and closer. Two hundred yards away from the house, several trees stood on top of a tall hill. The boy watched closely in anticipation, expecting that the lightning would at any moment strike one of them.
Suddenly, he saw it; an object, lit up by the abundant lightning that surrounded it, that seemed to be floating quietly above the tree line. In the brief seconds during which it had been illuminated, the object had appeared to be a round, metallic craft of some sort. The lightning quickly disappeared, however, immediately plunging the sky back into darkness so that he could not be certain what he had seen. He continued looking toward the tree line, hoping to catch another glimpse of the object during the next flash of lightning.
Suddenly, there was another huge flash. BANG! The loud noise sounded like a small explosion. All three of them had heard it, and Jake Summers wasted no time getting over to the window, followed closely by his wife. By the time he arrived next to little Henry, however, the darkness had once more enveloped everything.
“Henry, what happened? Did you see anything?”
“Yes, sir! I was watching, waiting to see if the lightning was going to strike any of them trees on that hill over there, when the lightning lit up the sky all around, and I saw something over the tops of the trees. I was trying to see it better when lightning struck again and hit it! I was—”
BOOM. A second explosion suddenly echoed through the night, except this one shook the house violently.
“Henry, listen to me, this is important. This ‘object’ you saw, was it an airplane? If it was, that sound we heard just now could have been the plane crashing; somebody could have been hurt! Was it an airplane, son?”
“No—maybe—I’m not sure, Dad. Whatever it was, it was big, really, really, big! It didn’t really look like an airplane though; it looked more like one of those flying saucer things the guy in the papers said he saw last week.”
“Okay, son, thank you.” Jake then turned to his wife. “I’ve got to go see if anyone’s hurt, sweetheart, in case it was a plane. I should be back in a little while.”
“Please don’t go out there, Jake!” his wife pleaded. “That’s a terrible storm out there tonight. It’s one of the worst that we’ve had in years!” Jake stood next to the window for several moments and looked out, saying nothing for several minutes.
“Look out there, you see?" he asked finally. "The storm’s already passed over us.” Another flash of lightning flashed in the distance, followed several seconds later by distant thunder. “Well, almost. Listen, Liz, I’ll be fine. If anyone survived the crash, we need to try to help them.”
Elizabeth Summers looked out the window and listened for several moments before replying. “Okay, Jake, I think you might be right. It sounds like the storm’s nearly passed.”
Jake picked up his keys and walked towards the door, with little Henry following close behind.
“Take me with you, Daddy, please! I’ve never seen an airplane up close before, please!”
“No, Henry. If a plane has crashed and people are hurt, I don’t want you to see anything bad.”
“Please, Daddy, please!” Jake and Elizabeth exchanged glances, knowing that Jake was right; they had no idea what to expect out there. Yet, the boy was getting older and Jake might need his help. Besides, he wanted to try to find a way to appease the boy’s excitement.
“Tell you what, Henry, why don’t you and your mother both come with me? If someone is injured out there, maybe her training as a nurse will come in handy. But I insist that regardless of what we find, you stay put in the truck and do exactly what we tell you. Can you do that, Henry?”
“Yes, sir, I will, I promise!” Henry turned to his mother, preparing his most pitiful, pleading face, the one with the really sad eyes. “Can we go Mommy, please?” She looked at her husband with a grimace, before looking back at Henry. She let out a sigh and smiled.
“Yeah, okay, Henry. It sounds like the lightning’s stopped completely now. Let’s go check it out. Remember though, you must stay in the truck like your father said, and you will do exactly as we tell you, no complaining or whining, understood?”
“Yes, ma’am!” answered Henry, already bouncing toward the door.
The small family had a difficult time finding the spot where the craft had crashed to the Earth. They drove all around the hill with the trees, but it was still dark out, and the rain made visibility poor. They circled the area several times and were about to give up their search when they suddenly spotted a series of flashing, multi-colored lights off in the distance, coming from behind another hill. The location was several miles from where Henry had seen something just before it was struck by lightning.
As they made their way toward the lights, the object slowly came into view. Two things soon became evident to Jake Summers. First, whatever the thing was that had crashed near his home, it was enormous, much larger than he had expected. He had thought Henry might be exaggerating, but he could now see that his son had not told the half of it. Second, the craft was definitely not an airplane, but more like what Henry had described; one of the flying saucers he had recently read about in the newspaper.
Jake decided to try to find a better vantage point, and to look for survivors. He suspected that the craft could be an experimental, military aircraft of some sort. After a few minutes, they finally arrived at a spot that overlooked the large field where the craft had crashed. Jake drove up to the edge of the field where they could get the best view. All three of them sat there, speechless. They were surprised to see that not one craft, but two, had crashed in the large field. The larger craft, the one they had seen first, appeared to be out of commission, but still mostly intact. The second, smaller craft had sustained heavy damage and now lay in many pieces. Before them, spread out over the landscape as far as the eye could see, was metallic-looking wreckage. A large section of the smaller, badly damaged craft lay intact in the field a hundred yards from them. Brush was burning in orange flames all around the crash site. About that time the clouds began to part and a full moon revealed itself, bathing the entire scene with enough light that they could now clearly see the reflective, metallic substance, which was strewn all over the field.
“We’ve got to get back to the house and call the army base in
Jake said, pointing to something on the ground close by. Henry looked around on
the ground, following his father’s finger until he saw it. His eyes widened
when he saw, less than twenty-five yards from them, what appeared to be a
small, dead person lying lifeless on the ground. What caused the most
excitement, however, was the fact that once he'd drawn closer to it, he could
see clearly that it wasn’t human.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes…”
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address
Present Day-Fort Meade,
“This is a special Cox News Alert. If you are just now joining us this morning, we have some important, late-breaking news this hour. Last night, Cox News learned from an anonymous source within the U.S. Cyber Command in
Fort Meade, Maryland that two major cyber attacks took place
yesterday against the United
States. Less than one hour ago, we contacted
Cyber Command and they were able to confirm for Cox News that two attacks did
indeed occur, although officials there refused to elaborate. Both cyber attacks
are strongly suspected to have been state-sponsored attacks.
“According to the source, one of yesterday's assaults was launched against a specific group of computers at the United States Department of Defense. The DOD attack specifically targeted a electronic listing that contained the location of all intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites situated across the
United States, along with a listing
of all United States Navy ships that regularly carry nuclear armaments. This
incursion has already been described by some, as the worst breach of military
security since the Cold War
“In the second attack, which occurred at exactly the same time as the first, the attackers broke into a computer system at the U.S. Department of Energy and stole detailed data, plans, and schematics for the facilities and the computer systems at no fewer than fifty nuclear power plants scattered across the country. That means the intruders now have detailed information on nearly half of the hundred or so nuclear power plants built across the
from Seattle down to Florida. With the data they stole, the
people or entity responsible could conceivably shut down nuclear power plants,
damage systems, trigger false alarms, and possibly even cause some or all of
the reactors in a plant to melt down.
“While Cyber Command refused to provide any specifics about the attacks, our source told us that yesterday's cyber attacks against the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy were later traced back to locations inside of the People's Republic of
While the Chinese government vehemently denies having anything to do with
yesterday's attacks and offers to do what it can to help bring the perpetuators
to justice, it seems clear to everyone at Cyber Command that these are only
“Indeed, yesterday's cyber attacks will be added to a long list of successful incursions against government and civilian agencies within the
States over the last decade that have been
attributed to the Chinese. Recent cyber attacks have become increasingly
effective, and sources within the intelligence community as well as the military have become very concerned about the
possible theft of top secret data on subjects ranging from advanced weapons
technologies and military battle plans, to data on the civilian power grid,
water systems, and transportation systems.
“To add to the growing concern over yesterday's attacks, there has been a persistent rumor circulating around the Internet over recent months warning the United States that China's People’s Liberation Army’s agency for cyber warfare, the Online Blue Army, has been busy stealing sensitive U.S. military data for quite some time in preparation for what could be a massive, preemptive strike against the United States. The Online Blue Army has allegedly been seeking data related to high tech, cutting-edge weapons technology like the futuristic rail-gun and assorted particle beam weapons.
“According to the warning, the Online Blue Army recently began gathering intel on the U.S. civilian infrastructure as well so that in the event of a war between China and the United States, by crippling the U.S. civilian infrastructure, the Online Blue Army would make winning an all out war against America a much simpler task. When asked to speculate about whether the Chinese could indeed be preparing to launch a preemptive strike in an all-out military campaign against America, two military analysts we talked to suggested it would make sense for the Chinese to prepare such a plan, even if they never intended to implement it. The analysts pointed out that whether over the long-running dispute regarding
or the struggle for regional and global influence, particularly in the Pacific
Rim, the United States and China
often find themselves at odds with one another.
“Regardless of whether
China is planning a preemptive attack or not,
analysts have begun warning the government and the American people that any
future conflicts with other nation states like China will be fought on two major
fronts, on the battlefield and in
“This is definitely something we will be keeping our eye on, and we will bring you breaking news as it happens.
“In other news… a tragic story this morning about a teenage boy, who was accidentally shot to death last night by his own father. The boy’s father, a Vietnamese immigrant, had been living in fear after hearing and reading about the growing violence and mayhem being committed in his neighborhood by Mexican gangs. As a precaution, he had positioned a shotgun next to his bed in the event of a home invasion. His son, who the father did not know had snuck out through a window earlier last night to see his girlfriend, had decided to re-enter through the front door after the parents had gone to bed. The boy inadvertently triggered the door alarm upon reentering the home. The father, awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of the alarm, heard someone entering the house and, fearing a home invasion, fired at the supposed intruder, instantly killing his son instead…” CLICK.
“All of you, get into the closet—now!” the man yelled, trying desperately to push the door closed. The wind lifted small items in the living area off the floor until they began whipping around the room, knocking down pictures and breaking glass, making it very difficult for Christian Seekers to close the front door. With a sudden burst of energy, he slammed his body into the door just enough for it to latch.
“It’s almost here; it’s nearly on top of us! Quick, Eliza, take these!” he hollered, tossing cushions from the sofa and the chairs toward his wife. She hurriedly packed them into the closet under the stairs.
“Christian, what are you doing? Get in here now! Can’t you hear that roar? It’s just outside!” Eliza yelled at him, her eyes wide with fear.
“I will, honey, just hold on. We need at least one mattress to protect the children. I’ll be right back!”
“Christian!” she yelled after him, but to no avail. He had already run to the staircase and was shooting up the stairs. Eliza began grabbing the cushions and tossing them to her older children who were already packed tightly together inside the small closet. She was afraid; more than that, she was terrified for her husband, but her children needed her too. The growing roar outside of their home had grown deafening, and told her that the monstrous tornado had arrived. Just as she got them situated inside of the small closet, she heard the windows shatter all over the house. Her ears popped, and everything around her seemed to be shaking or flying throughout the house.
“Christian!” she screamed, doubting he could even hear her over the deafening noise. Her heart started pounding as the roof began bouncing violently up and down. “Christian!” she screamed again, much louder this time. Suddenly the closet door jerked open and a mattress was shoved inside, nearly knocking her over.
“I’m here honey, I’m okay,” he said, cramming the mattress into the closet and setting it on top of the kids. “Oh, no,” he whispered. The mattress would not fit into the closet and still allow him to get inside and close the door.
“Christian, look!” screamed Eliza, pointing upwards.
Her husband looked up just as the roof lifted up and flew off the house. Above them swirled an enormous cloud of dirt and debris, which stretched up into the sky as far as he could see. Christian looked back into the closet at the frightened faces on his children, then back at his wife. They both knew there was not enough room in the closet, and there was no time to take the mattress out; nor was there time for goodbyes. Looking into his wife’s eyes, he managed a brief warm smile, conveying with a simple look, in a brief speck of time, the thoughts and feelings that take a lifetime to form and to share. He then slammed the door of the closet shut, just as the house imploded.
The Chicken Hawk
Six months later…
The chicken hawk sat motionless, as if made of stone instead of flesh, carefully studying its prey. Perched high up near the top of a towering poplar tree that stood next to Earl Seeker’s house, the hungry raptor studied the activity on the ground far below him. Around the cluster of bird feeders erected a hundred feet below, a number of
chickadees gorged themselves on the lavish banquet provided by the feeders. The
predator perched high above them watched and waited, still looking over the
menu, trying to decide.
Unaware of the presence of the hungry hawk, Jessie Seekers sat on the porch of her grandfather’s home, watching the chickadees dart to and fro, moving with ease between and around the feeders, which stood atop several poles about four feet high.
“You want to know something, sweetheart?” asked her grandfather, who had crept up silently behind her.
He had startled her, so she involuntarily jerked away a little before relaxing and then smiling. Jessie nodded, saying nothing, causing her grandfather to grimace slightly at the silent response. To him it felt like an eternity since he had last heard his granddaughter’s sweet voice. He looked back up at the small birds fluttering around the feeders.
“Can you tell me what kind of birds they are?” he asked, pointing toward the host of restless tenants that fluttered all around the yard. He waited patiently for her to answer, while maintaining a healthy dose of lowered expectations. The entire family had suffered a great trauma and felt a tremendous sense of loss, but it was hardest on the children, who had lost their father only six months earlier. He sighed, stroked his gray beard, and smiled softly when the girl simply nodded again instead of answering.
“You always have been such a bright girl, Jessie! You’re absolutely correct, they are
Carolina chickadees. But
can you tell me who named them that?” he asked, gently pulling her to him so
she could sit on his lap after he sat down. The girl shook her head. “They were
named by a fellow named John James Audubon, who lived over 200 years ago, not
long after the Revolutionary War; now isn’t that something?” he asked the girl,
who now beamed brightly as she studied the beautiful birds in more detail.
The door opened suddenly and Rachel stepped out onto the porch, joining her sister and their grandfather on the porch. She sat down close to Jessie, trying to follow her little sister’s fixed gaze.
“What are you both so fascinated with, Jessie?” she asked, wrapping an arm around her little sister.
“She’s watching the little chickadees eat at the feeders,” said the grandfather, answering for his youngest granddaughter while checking on the flurry of activity around the feeders. “She’s been watching them for a while; it seems that she’s taken to them.” He stopped watching the chickadees and turned to face his eldest granddaughter. “So, Rachel, how have you been, and how’s school? Aren’t you supposed to be graduating from high school in a few years?”
“Yes, Grandpa, I graduate next year.”
Her grandfather beamed proudly. “Well, isn’t that something—my little granddaughter, Rachel, leaving the nest and going off to college. That’s just wonderful, sweetheart, I’m so proud of you!”
“Thank you, Grandpa.”
“Do you know what you want to do yet when you get out of college?”
“No, I’m not sure yet. I’ve thought about law school, but I can’t decide.”
“Law school? There have certainly been times when I needed a lawyer around. Do you suppose you might be my lawyer should I ever need one?”
Rachel smiled at the question. “Sure, Grandpa.”
They sat there for a moment, watching the others.
“How are the others holding up, Rachel?” he asked her, with a furrowed brow. Rachel grimaced slightly.
“Well, you know that Jessie still won’t talk. Hopefully that will change since she’s going to turn thirteen next month, and will be starting seventh grade when school starts the following week.”
“Yeah, I noticed she was still not talking,” her grandfather answered, with a trace of sadness in his voice. “What about Michael and Eli—are the boys hanging in there okay?”
“Yes, sir, all things considered. Michael’s taken it pretty hard; you know he and Dad were pretty close.”
“Yes, I know,” he answered solemnly. “And Eli?”
“I’m really not sure about Eli, Grandpa. He doesn’t talk about it, but sometimes when he gets mad about something, I think it might be related to what happened. I don’t know.”
“What about school?”
“Michael is fifteen so he’ll start tenth grade when school starts back. Eli’s five so he’ll be starting kindergarten.”
Her grandfather turned to smile at Rachel. “I’m very impressed, Rachel, with the way you’ve stepped up and helped with the others. I know your mother’s taken it pretty hard as well, and with her working so much, the others have really needed you. I couldn’t be prouder of you!” he added, reaching over to give her a hug. After embracing her for several moments, he stood up. “I have to run to the store, sweetheart, to pick up some milk and bread, along with a few other things for dinner. Would you mind keeping an eye on your sister and your brothers for a while, just until I get back?”
“Sure, Grandpa, of course not; no problem,” Rachel answered. “Will you be gone long?”
Her grandfather grimaced for a moment as he struggled to rise from his chair; the arthritis in his knees once more reminded him who was in charge.
“No, not too long, sweetheart,” he answered once up on his feet. “I have a couple of other errands I need to run as well while I’m out if that’s alright, but I should be back in a few hours. You’ll be okay until then won’t you? I can wait until your mother gets here if I need to,” he added.
“There’s no need to do that, Grandpa, that’s okay. Don’t worry about us; we’ll be just fine. You just go ahead and run your errands, and take your time,” she answered.
He nodded his head, turned, and walked down the three steps to his front yard. Rachel and Jessie each smiled and waved goodbye to the elderly man as he made his way toward his truck. He smiled warmly at them as he slowly climbed in, fastened his seatbelt, and waved goodbye once more before driving off.
Jessie watched as their grandfather drove away. Their father had been his only son, so they looked a lot alike, the age difference notwithstanding. Their grandfather’s home, located an hour from the closest large city, had served as a place of refuge for the children, a place where they could relax and feel close to their father again. They had frequently visited the elderly man when their father was still alive. Since his passing, and with their mother working now, they had been spending more and more time with their grandfather, especially during the summer months and on weekends.
Jessie’s face tightened as she struggled in vain to hold back the tears; images of her father flooded her mind. She recalled the many vacations they’d had together at the beach, sharing presents at Christmas time, and holding his hand as they enjoyed one of their many long walks together. The memories of her father came flooding back, filling her mind. Suddenly she could hear his voice as clearly as if he were standing next to her, and she could feel his arms wrapped around her, as they so often were when he was still alive.
Rachel glanced down at her little sister, expecting to find her still engrossed in the chickadees. Instead, she saw Jessie was crying. Rachel pulled her close and held her tightly, gently running her hand along the back of the little girl’s head.
“You miss him, don’t you, Jessie?” asked Rachel. The younger girl cast her older sister a sad and despondent look. Turning back to watch the chickadees as they continued to feed, she just nodded in reply, trying in vain to take her mind off her father.
“That’s okay, Jessie. I think that’s what we should be doing now, thinking of Daddy, missing him. That way we’ll never forget him and he’ll always be with us; don’t you agree?” asked Rachel. Jessie shrugged her shoulders before nodding in response moments later.
“Hey, are you two okay?” Their brother Michael opened the screen door behind them and stepped out onto the porch. “What’s going on; is something wrong?” he asked after seeing Jessie crying.
“No, we’re okay,” answered Rachel, mouthing the word ‘Dad.’ Michael just nodded his head in an understanding manner. After all, hadn’t such tears from each of them been a common sight over the last six months?
“Where’s Mommy,” asked little Eli, coming up from behind his big brother, Michael.
“Mom had to work today, remember?”
“Oh, that’s right. Where’s Grandpa?” the inquisitive five-year-old asked.
“That’s a good question, Eli. Where is Grandpa, Rachel? He was here just a few minutes ago,” echoed Michael.
“He had some errands. He said that he’d be back in a few hours,” she answered.
Jessie was still watching the chickadees jockey for position all around the feeders when she suddenly picked up some movement out of the corner of her eye. A blur had appeared seemingly out of nowhere and was rapidly moving toward them. She quickly raised her hand and pointed to the sky. The same chicken hawk that had been perched high up in the top of the tree had finally decided to make his move when he saw the chickadees cluster tightly around the feeders. It leapt from the branch and made for the unsuspecting chickadees like a dive-bomber. Silently it raced toward its prey, as if already tasting its next meal in its mouth as it neared the feeders. The predator was closing in on one of the larger chickadees, extending its talons so it could snatch its prey and fly back to its nest. Then—it disappeared.
The four children, all of whom had located the hawk in the sky when Jessie pointed in its direction, stared in disbelief. The bird of prey had mysteriously and inexplicably vanished, as if it had suddenly been blinked out of existence.
“Michael, did you see that?” Rachel asked him after several moments, as if she doubted what she had just witnessed.
“Yeah,” he replied, “I think so. That is, if you just saw a bird disappear into thin air.”
“That’s exactly what I saw!” Rachel then turned to Jessie. “What about you, Jessie. Did you just see a bird disappear too?” Her little sister nodded vigorously in response.
All four children continued staring toward where the chicken hawk had vanished, as if by doing so the mystery would be revealed. One by one, they began to notice something strange about the location where the bird had disappeared. Floating above the ground, just beyond the bird feeders, was…something. It was difficult to see outside in the bright noonday sun, let alone make out what it was they were looking at, but they could all see it. There was a distortion of some kind into which the bird had flown; a shimmering, vertical wave of energy, similar to what happens when the heat of the sun bears down on the pavement in the summer. Michael studied the glistening phenomenon, which resembled a very thin pool of clear water, except that it stood vertically instead of horizontally and at times, was nearly impossible to see. He puzzled over the bizarre anomaly, which twinkled slightly in the light of the sun.
“What do you think, Michael? What in the world is that thing—and what happened to the bird?” Rachel asked him, looking to her brother for some clarity, her eyes wide with fear.
“How should I know?” asked Michael, “You’re the one that’s going to college next year. I’m just a musician, remember? Whatever it is though, it’s freaky!”
Rachel stood up, fixated by the beauty and radiance that emanated from the unusual glimmer. She forced herself to look away from it long enough to make sure everyone was safe. Michael stood to her left. On the other side of Michael stood little Eli, his face peering at the glimmer through the railings on the porch. Rachel then turned to find Jessie, and recoiled in horror at what she saw. Her little sister had already left the porch and was nearly at the glimmer.
“Jessie, get away from that thing, do you hear me?” she screamed, leaping from the porch and onto the grass without even touching the stairs. She raced across the yard and toward the glistening pool, followed closely by Michael, who held tightly to Eli’s hand, even as the smaller boy struggled to keep up. By this time, Rachel had closed the gap between her and Jessie, but the younger sister had already made it to the glimmer. Jessie reached out her hand toward the shimmering wall that stood in the middle of her grandfather’s back yard, and touched it just as Rachel, Michael, and Eli arrived behind her. As soon as she reached Jessie, Rachel turned and looked back toward the house for a moment, just as the house, the yard, and the bright blue sky somehow melted away into darkness.
Chapter 25-The False Prophet
I watched on television as the man known as Simon Faust arrived at the White House dedication in a long black limousine. He had a large entourage with him, all of whom wore a shirt or a badge with a picture of Abe Addon, wearing an insultingly fake smile, and the words ―Friends of Addon‖ printed in large red, white, and blue letters underneath. One of the press cameras suddenly zoomed in for a close-up of Faust, and I felt a chill run down my spine. As he walked toward the platform, Faust stared into the camera and smiled. Somehow, it felt as if he were looking directly at me, through the lens of the camera. As he paused for the photo op, it was easy enough to see that the man had the same unsettling look, the same intense cold stare, and the same disarmingly warm smile that Abe Addon had. I began to understand the connection between the two men. Faust had been the driving force behind the Friends of Addon movement that had swept the globe. It was simply too much of a coincidence that a man that shared the same unnatural qualities as Addon, would also be the leader of a movement that had gained him an international following. Tirelessly traveling the globe, Faust had relentlessly peddled the suggestion to the masses of humanity that they should look at Addon not only as the President of the United States, but as the world‘s spiritual leader as well. Furthermore, he frequently suggested that Addon was something more than a man. I wondered what secrets he shared with Addon.
As Faust approached the lectern, I turned up the volume, wanting to listen to what he had to say.
"Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears!‖ he said. "Oops, how impolitic of me! That speech has already been given, by Marc Antony about Julius Caesar! "
That smile again. That chilling smile, even as he tried to elicit laughter. It made my skin crawl. Predictably, the crowd erupted with laughter and applause as excitement rippled throughout the gathering.
"Pardon me; I am afraid I am getting ahead of myself. Let me ask you, why are we here today? Why are you here today? I will tell you why. We are here to dedicate this effigy, this statue, as a monument to a very remarkable man, the man who most of us gathered here today believe to be our savior. This man, if I dare call him that is the best, brightest, most intelligent, most caring, wisest, bravest, most spiritual, and most discerning man on the planet! He is indisputably most worthy to be praised, worthy to be followed, and worthy to be worshipped! I am referring of course, to President Abe Addon!"
The crowd burst into yet another fervent round of applause as Faust paused for a moment. By this time I could clearly see that the man, the creature, possessed the same supernatural charisma, the same unearthly influence over the masses, as Addon. There could no longer be any doubt; Simon Faust was one of them.
"This magnificent statue of our wonderful and gracious leader is but a small token indeed, a most modest gesture, of the deep and boundless affection and adulation that we have for the magnanimous Abe Addon. "
I began feeling as if I would vomit. The crowd at the ceremony, however, was eating it up, eagerly buying into everything Faust was selling.
"For the first time in human history, we have a leader that can and will make certain that all of you get what you deserve," Faust continued. "He is a leader that cares about you and me. We at the Friends of Addon believe that everyone should love and worship Addon as much as we do, because he truly deserves it. " He turned to look down and behind where he was standing. I could now make out a stairway that approached the platform from behind where Faust was standing.
"And now, I present to you, our benevolent spiritual leader, our President, and our lord, Abe Addon. "
Addon appeared from behind the platform and ascended to the lectern. He waved and smiled before shaking hands with Faust. The audience once more erupted with an ear-bursting roar of applause that lasted over five minutes, ending only when Addon motioned to everyone to stop. Seeing the two of them up on stage together was unbearable. I felt my nausea coming back.
"Thank you, thank you, everyone. " The crowd exploded with applause, which continued until Addon finally motioned for the crowd to quiet down. You know, when Simon Faust first called my office and told members of my staff that the Friends of Addon wanted to erect a large statue of me here, on the White House grounds, I did have some reservations. But looking at this incredible piece of work now, well, I just cannot seem to recall what those reservations were! " The crowd started laughing and the applause started up once more, until Addon again motioned to the crowd to quiet down. "This incredible, wonderful statue, it is such an honor. I…"
A crackling sound suddenly reverberated through the crisp morning air, as a rifle cartridge struck Addon in the back of the skull, close to the Sagittal suture, before exiting from his forehead, leaving a large, unsightly, and gaping hole, in the middle of his forehead. Addon stood there briefly for several seconds, until his knees began to wobble and he collapsed out-of-sight behind the lectern. The crowd let out an almost simultaneous gasp. The Secret Service leapt into action, and like a colony of ants moving together in unison, they quickly identified and executed the assassin on the spot.
Some in the crowd began crying, others moaning, others screaming hysterically, creating a surreal landscape, until a man in the crowd yelled out, "Shhh… everyone quiet down! Listen!"
The crowd abruptly quieted to a whisper, as everyone listened intently for whatever it was that the man in the crowd was calling attention to. Suddenly, sounds of groaning and movement were heard coming from behind the podium. To everyone‘s shock and amazement, a hand unexpectedly appeared on the
podium, followed by a second. Slowly, Addon‘s head appeared from behind the podium, as he lifted himself up from behind the fixture. In front of the international media, as well as the endless throngs of followers in attendance, Abe Addon slowly stood up, the wound still clearly visible, and a steady flow of blood streaming from his forehead and down his cheek. With the entire world watching, the blood flow slowed to a trickle before stopping altogether and drying up. I watched along with the rest of the world as the large gaping wound began to close, before disappearing completely. The crowd grew so quiet that one could nearly hear a pin drop.
Watching the scene unfold, I could not help but admire his acting prowess. There was no doubt about it;
had nothing on Abe Addon. Hollywood
Simon Faust looked around at the assorted gathering of men, women, and children, many with their mouths still hanging open. The silence among the throng of people created an eerie atmosphere. Faust slowly turned towards Abe Addon, and smiled. Addon looked back at Faust and smiled thinly, before waving to the crowd. It was Faust‘s cue.
"Ladies and gentlemen, have you ever seen anything like this before? Have you? Did you see what just happened? The blood of this man is still splattered all over the stage, and yet, he lives! Not only does he live, he healed himself before your very eyes! Why, Abe Adon is not just a man! It‘s not possible for a man to live after being fatally wounded in the head as he was, in front of the entire world! Did you see the way the wound healed while we watched, did you? No man can do that! Why, to do something like that, he must be something more than a mere man. Perhaps he is a… dare I say it? I do dare. Is it possible, that Abe Addon is not just a man, but rather, a god?‖
Faust stopped speaking for a moment as he looked around; assessing the temperature of the crowd, listening to the buzz in the crowd that started when he‘d finished speaking. Incredibly, some in the crowd began nodding their heads in response to the question Faust had just put to the gathering, agreeing that maybe, just maybe, Abe Addon was indeed a god. Others voiced considerable skepticism, suggesting it was some kind of a trick. Faust looked over at Addon, who flashed a brief look of irritation at him. Faust, however, turned back to face the gathering and continued.
"Why, ladies and gentlemen, given what we have just seen, if someone were to do nothing more than to simply invoke his name, I believe that this statue of Abe Addon, this image of him, would soon come to life, in front of you and in front of the whole world! Even those of you that still have doubts must agree that if this did occur, it must be a sign that Abe Addon truly is a god, and should, therefore, be worshipped like one!"
A number of people began nodding their heads in agreement. Even a large burly man, one of the staunchest of the naysayers in the crowd, after looking at Addon, and then at the large statue, looked back at Faust.
"If President Addon can make that hunk of metal come to life, I would agree, he would have to be a deity. "
"Very well then, sir, let‘s give it a try, and see what happens then, hmm?"
Just then, the camera did a close up and I caught what looked like Faust winking at Addon, who stood by with his arms crossed, looking magnanimous. Faust walked over to the statue, and making several grand gestures and sweeping motions, began speaking to the statue.
"Oh image of our most glorious and wonderful spiritual leader, image of him who suffered a fatal wound and yet lived, healed in front of the whole world. If Abe Addon is indeed something more than a man, if indeed he is a god, as I believe he must be, then I invoke his name, the name of Abe Addon, and I command you, Oh statue, though made of nothing more than metal, to take a breath, and to come to life this very moment."
Once more, an eerie silence fell over the crowd as they waited to see what, if anything would happen next. For some time (I believe it was merely for dramatic effect), nothing happened. Then, just as some in the crowd began shaking their heads, someone yelled out something.
"Hey, did you see that, I saw its eyes blink!"
A middle-aged woman in the crowd who was close to the statue cried out, "I just saw its hand move!"
Then, slowly, the statue began moving to face Addon, slowly raising its massive hands into the air, before kneeling down and bowing to Addon.
"Look at that everyone, he has made the impossible possible. Abe Addon has breathed life into this lifeless hunk of metal! Can there still be any doubt, any doubt at all, that you should follow this living statue‘s example, and bow down to worship Abe Addon, and serve him?"
The camera began panning the crowd, looking for a response to the challenge. A young college aged man in his twenties stepped forward.
"I believe Abe Addon is a god!" he yelled, before getting down on his knees facing Addon, who simply looked upon the young man and smiled, nodding in a pontificating, patronizing manner. Others began following suit, dropping to their knees before Addon, worshipping him. All the while, Addon looked into the camera and flashed a not-so-subtle smile.
I flicked off the television, and considered what I had seen. This was certain going to pose a challenge. Some had already been quietly proclaiming Addon to be something more than a man, but they had been confined to a small but growing minority. After what I had just witnessed however, I had no doubt that the minority was quickly going to become a vast majority. Recovering from a rifle shot to the head, and bringing an enormous metal statue to life, it was like something out of a bad
Hollywood movie. The seemingly
miraculous healing and the statue, coupled with his powerful supernatural
influence, would exponentially increase his power and his hold on the people.
Only those that faithfully followed the Lord Jesus Christ remained unmoved by
the power displayed by Addon, though I suspected that even many of the faithful
were frightened by it.
Lara and Samuel had gone out to run a few errands so I decided to walk next door to discuss what I had seen with Moe. I walked out into the fresh night air, hoping that they had not gone to bed. It was only ten o‘clock but I knew that they sometimes went to bed early. I was about to knock on the door when I heard raised voices coming from inside the home. It sounded as if Moe and Doris were in the midst of some kind of an argument. I wheeled to turn around and leave when I suddenly heard my name mentioned. Embarrassed yet curious, I stopped for a moment to listen.
"I will not!" Moe insisted. "How could I ever say anything like that to him? John March is my friend, my brother, and my partner in this mission."
"Partner? I thought you were the one that just said that you felt like the redheaded stepchild in this relationship, that he had 'taken over‘, acting as if he were the ‗boss‘."
"I didn‘t say it like that,
Doris, and you know
"Well, you might as well have, Moe. Listen, I‘m your wife, I've known you for almost five decades. Did you think I couldn‘t tell that something has been wrong for a while now? "
"It‘s just that, well, he‘s so young Doris, young enough to be my son. Now it seems like he‘s the one in charge. He does most of the talking, and he makes most of the decisions. I feel like I should be doing more, that‘s all."
"Well if you ask me, Moe, I think you should walk right over to his place right now and tell him what‘s on your mind. Tell him that you didn‘t move all the way around the world to
just to follow him around like some puppy dog. I don‘t think you have it in
you, Moe!" Israel
"Alright then woman, I‘ll show you that I can…‖ Suddenly, the door flew open and I found myself staring at a suddenly confused, humiliated, and guilt-ridden Moe. He looked down for the longest time, and when he finally raised his eyes to meet mine, he spoke quietly.
"John, listen, I…" He stopped speaking as I turned around, stepped off his porch, and walked towards my house. I‘m certain that he stood on his porch and watched me until I disappeared inside.
Chapter 19-The First Map
Valde Era Lux Lucis Via (Where the Great Lady Lights the Way)
Julius looked over at Brother Francis. The priest had obviously never done much
horseback riding before, and he was now paying a price for it on the journey to the
mero. He had been told that the mero they were travelling to was one of the largest
meros in the known lands; there were certain to be dangers at every turn. If they acted
with great stealth as they approached the mero, and with haste, perhaps their presence
would be undetected by the inhabitants of the mero. In addition to their safety, the
clansman was also concerned about their ability to locate the monastery in the midst of
such a large mero; it could take days, perhaps even weeks to find it. It was not the
danger to his own life that bothered Julius. As a clansman, he was well trained and
prepared to die. He wondered how he was supposed to keep the priest alive against
such difficult odds.
Julius estimated that the trip would take them at least several more days. Though
not as aged as Lord Sarkoth or even Brother Sebastian, Julius determine that Brother
Francis was easily old enough to be his father. He would therefore show an even
greater respect to Brother Francis than he would have otherwise, not only because he
was associated with the Church, an entity that Lord Sarkoth had deemed a friend to the
Clan, and not just because he was a priest, but because he was his elder. Julius was a
proud, traditional man, and a proud warrior. He respected the code, he breathed the
code, and he lived by it.
“Brother Francis, we have made excellent progress today. Perhaps we should stop
here for the night to camp.” He almost laughed aloud when he saw the expression of
relief on the face of Brother Francis.
“Very good my son, if you feel that is best, of course.” Brother Francis got off the
horse. “I am grateful, my young friend, and I thank you for your kind mercies,” he said
to Julius while rubbing his posterior. “We are both grateful to you my son,” he added.
Both of them burst out laughing.
After they had rested for a short while, Brother Francis noticed the faces of the
warriors that had accompanied them on the journey. They appeared to be a solemn lot,
a very serious group of men. He turned to face his companion.
“Clansman Julius, may we talk for a few moments?”
The warrior turned to Brother Francis, and sat down on the ground next to him at
“Yes, Brother Francis, what can I do for you?”
“I am curious about something, about the Warrior Clan. I know that the Holy
Father has a relationship with Lord Sarkoth, but other than the short time I was at the
Enclave, and our time together on this trip, I have spent little time with clansmen, so I
know next to nothing about you. Don’t get me wrong, you are an impressive group of
people; fiercely loyal, dedicated, and as committed to rebuilding civilization as we are.
What I am curious about is your religious beliefs. Do you believe in God? Do you have
any religion at all?”
“I suppose we are like any group of people… no two members believe exactly the
same thing. There are a number of clansmen that worship the Christian God, and
certainly Lord Sarkoth does nothing to discourage this practice. Some clansmen find
peace in the creative arts, learning the ancient art of calligraphy, or writing poetry,
while others prefer to simply meditate. Since the time of The Great Collapse and the
founding of the Clan, we have all been focused on perfecting our fighting skills in order
to survive, and to help teach others how to survive. As you know, we also value and
understand the need for civilization to once again flourish and thrive in our world.
Throughout this Dark Age, we have done what we could to preserve knowledge of the
“That is incredible. Do you maintain libraries? Are warriors taught to read and
write as well?” asked Francis.
“We have books Brother, and everyone learns the basics of how to read and write.
Extensive reading however, is a luxury that we can ill-afford during these difficult and
trying days. We have collected books when possible and practical to do so, but most
were burned during the Great Collapse or since by urbas, who care nothing whatsoever
for learning or knowledge. They seek only to prey on others, to take what they want
from whomever they want. They are a vicious, unprincipled lot.”
“But they are human beings, Julius. You talk about them as if they are animals, not
“They may have been men once, long ago, Brother, but now, they are nothing but
murderers, thieves, and worse. They hold no value for life, no morals.”
“Perhaps that is only because they do not know God, and his great love for them.”
Julius was starting to get agitated with the priest. “Well, I can tell you what would
happen to you Brother, if you decided to go and tell them about your God. They would
take you, strip your clothes off of you, and kill you for fun!”
“If that is God’s will for me Julius, then so be it. It is one of our primary callings.”
“Then it is my hope that you are not called to do so during this trip Brother, for it is
my duty to keep you alive, even at the cost of my life, and the lives of those that travel
The priest frowned. To put his own life at risk was one thing; to put the lives of the
young warriors that traveled with him at risk was something altogether different.
“Don’t fret my young friend. Unless God directs me otherwise, it is fully my intent
to complete our objective and find the map.”
“Good, I'm glad to hear it, Brother,” answered Julius. He had been a bit harsh with
the priest, and despite Francis' naïveté, he liked the priest. “Forgive me Brother, I did
not mean to snap at you, but you do not know these urba the way I do. I have seen
them murder innocent men, women, and children, with no hesitation whatsoever. They
may indeed be human beings, and perhaps one day they will learn of this God of yours,
and become better people for it. Until then however, I will kill any urba who crosses
paths with me.” He then turned without saying another word and lay down to sleep.
He dreamed of battle that night.
Early the next morning, several of the clansmen woke up and immediately set off in
search of firewood while others went looking for game. A short time later, there was a
blazing fire started, with several hares cooking over it. Brother Francis awoke to the
tantalizing aroma of breakfast. He stood up and walked toward the fire, where Julius
stood cooking a hare.
“Good Morning, Brother Francis.”
“Good Morning, Clansman Julius.”
“Would you care for some breakfast?”
“Yes, thank you my dear friend, you are a saint”
Julius handed him some rabbit meat, for which Francis bowed his head, gave
thanks, and then quickly consumed. They had not eaten since the morning of the day
before, and he was famished.
“So how much further do we have to go, Brother?” asked Julius.
“I would say we have another two days journey. We should begin to see the mero
“But how is that possible,” asked Julius, “if we are still another day out?”
“This mero has many very tall buildings in it that were built during the Golden
Age. Some of them are so tall they touch the sky. They should be visible from some
“Truly, the Ancients were a remarkable people,” remarked the warrior.
“Yes, they were,” the priest replied, “but keep in mind they had their faults. Just
look around you and you will see their legacy.”
“Tell me something, Brother, what else do you know about this Oracle, and why is
it so important that we find it?”
“I tell you what,” Brother Francis replied, “how about we get started, and then I
will tell you what I know on the way,” he said, as he worked to finish his breakfast
before collecting his things.
“Very good, I will tell the rest to get packed up and ready to go.”
Julius went around to the other men, informing them that it was time to break
camp. Brother Francis watched Julius as he spoke to the men, each of whom seemed to
have great respect for him. The clansman seemed to consider each man his equal,
though he outranked them all. Francis had been told that Julius was almost an elder
himself, and that he had long been one of the most dependable and trustworthy of all
the clansmen, among a group who were themselves, dependable and trustworthy.
Brother Francis decided that he liked this man, Julius, and his respect for the Clan as a
whole grew daily. He began praying that all of the Clan would convert to Christianity
one day. Perhaps once they had found the Oracle, he would make it his mission to serve
among the Clan as a missionary, if the Church permitted him to do so. He was
pondering this when he noticed a tense expression on the face of his traveling
“What's wrong, Julius?” he asked.
“One of our men is missing, Brother. He was on watch early this morning. One of
our men thinks he saw the missing clansman, Chung, leave camp to investigate
something earlier, but he's not certain. We are forming a search party now to look for
“What can I do to help?” asked Brother Francis.
“I appreciate the offer, Brother, but you would be the most help to us by remaining
here with several of my men while we search. We could move more quickly and cover
more ground without you. If you came with us I would be concerned for your safety,
which would hamper my search effort.”
“Very well, replied Brother Francis. I will stay here as you request. If you need
more help in the search, please do not hesitate to ask.” Julius nodded as he and the
others left the camp and spread out, looking for their missing brother.
They had been gone for no more than an hour when Brother Francis saw them
returning to camp. Each man wore a sad, angry look as they drew closer. When they
arrived back at the camp, he saw the reason why. One of the larger men was carrying a
man's body slung over his shoulder.
“Is he…” Francis started to ask.
One of the men replied. “Yes, Brother, he is dead. He was murdered no more than
six hours ago. It looks like he took at least four of the attackers with him before he was
killed however. They overwhelmed him with sheer numbers.”
“But who?” Francis started to ask.
Julius came over to tell him the rest.
“The dead attackers looked like urbas, Brother, but there was something different
about them. They were wearing some strange markings on their clothing. We took this
from one of the dead attackers before we left to bring Chung's body back to camp. Each
of them was wearing this same design on their clothing. Have you ever seen anything
like this?” he asked, holding out the patch of cloth for the priest to examine.
Francis looked over the insignia and shook his head.
“No, I haven’t. Any idea who they were and what they were doing here? We are
not even close to the mero yet.”
Julius shook his head and grimaced.
“No Brother, I don’t know for sure, but I have my suspicions. If they bear out, we
must be extremely cautious on our way to the mero, and doubly so as we return, if we
return, from the mero.”
Francis gave Julius a perplexed look. “What do you mean Julius, what are you
Julius thought for a few moments whether he should give Brother Francis a straight
answer, before deciding he had to trust the priest.
“We have had a spy among the urbas that follow Kraken for some time. Not too
long ago, we learned that Kraken's army is becoming better organized. There are
rumors among Kraken’s men that he recently formed an elite personal guard that
reports directly to Kraken and are not part of his regular army.”
Amir Nouri sat back down in the large, comfortable office chair
as he hung up the phone and breathed a long sigh of relief. He
had spent the entire evening in his office, waiting to hear the
outcome. It had been an extremely risky proposition for him
from the very beginning; and he had taken considerable risk in
undertaking the mission. Had the mission failed, it could have
easily proven disastrous not just for him, but for his entire country
as well. After all, he had just committed an act or war against
the most powerful nation on the planet. Poking a stick at a caged
lion was one thing, letting the lion out of the cage was an entirely
different matter altogether.
Amir let out a heavy sigh and shook his head. It was a miracle
that they had successfully stolen the device from the Americans.
The mission had experienced numerous brushes with failure
since the very beginning. The plot had nearly been exposed
early on after an American spy, who had successfully infiltrated
the top–secret IRGC (Pasdaran) covert operations group, had
learned about the plans to steal the weapon. Only his unexpected
murder by one of his own American Army Rangers over some
lewd advances and comments directed at the Ranger’s wife, had
spared the plot from discovery. Fortunately, the spy had died
before sharing the information about the plot with anyone. The
American spy’s libido and foul mouth had prevented the mission’s
ultimate failure, sparing Amir and the rest of the group
from execution at the hands of the Supreme Leader.
A large smile then slowly crept over his face as he began to
relish the moment. Despite the many setbacks, his people had
not failed; they had in fact succeeded in stealing a most powerful
weapon, right out from under the noses of the American
military. It was a great victory for him no matter the outcome of
future events. He slid down into the large chair until it seemed
as if it would swallow him. At six–foot–two, he was a big man
for an Iranian. Although gray hair had appeared long ago, at
fifty–five, he was still considered very young for someone in his
Nouri paused to reflect on the curious series of events that
had brought him to this point. He had experienced no small
amount of consternation when the Supreme Leader unexpectedly
paid him a surprise visit the year before. It was in fact
almost completely unheard of that the supreme leader would
visit any government official so far beneath him. He met only
with the country’s top leadership. On the rare occasions that the
Supreme Leader had made such unexpected visits, it had invariably
spelled trouble for the man that received him.
When he suddenly showed up that hot summer’s day at his
office, he brought a sobering message. He had chosen Nouri to
undertake a great mission; he was to find a way to strike at the
heart of the
offered no explicit United States of America
instructions regarding how he should do it, preferring to leave it
to his discretion, only that he expected results. There had been a
sense of urgency in his voice as he stressed that he had come to
deliver the message himself to ensure that nothing was lost along
the way. Nouri was to find a way to punish
the Great Satan humiliated or better yet, destroyed. They had to
pay a price for attacking and blaspheming the Supreme Leader,
calling him a petty dictator, and for their transgressions against
, and against
Islam all over the world. Nouri Iranian
was given exactly one year, no more, to accomplish the objective
or his life would be forfeit. As the head of the General Ministry
of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, it would be his responsibility
to execute the attack against the evil forces of American
It had been only by sheer coincidence that the means and
opportunity to meet the Supreme Leader’s demands had fallen
squarely into his hands. By a strange twist of fate, one of Nouri’s
assistants had a relative in
relative that had been America
working on some type of top–secret military weapon. It was
not so unusual for such information to find its way to Nouri’s
ears, especially given his position within the government. When
his assistant had first mentioned something about the weapon,
Nouri had laughed it off, assuming it just an idle tale. However,
with the one–year deadline rapidly approaching, Nouri
was grasping at straws. He had started asking for more specifics
about the cousin and what it was that he was working on for the
Americans. After speaking with some of the top government
research scientists that dealt with electromagnetic theory, Nouri
gradually had became convinced that the cousin’s stories were
indeed true. He spent weeks searching for the leverage against
the cousin that he would need to make it happen, but he was
eventually rewarded for his efforts. He had permitted his assistant’s,
brother, Abdul, to handle the theft of the weapon. The
brother’s terrorist connections had often proven useful to Nouri.
Now, at last, everything was finally coming together. From
the moment his assistant had first made him aware of the top–
secret experiment that the Americans had been working on,
he knew such a weapon could be the means to achieve the end
that he had been instructed to accomplish. They would not only
humiliate the American dogs, they would crush them.
Now that he had received word that the device was in transit,
he needed to confirm that the rocket was ready for launch.
He had already notified the other world governments that they
planned to launch a “communications” satellite into space. They
would launch the “satellite” the moment the device arrived at the
launch site. They would have to activate the device immediately
once it was in position, as the Americans would surely retaliate
as soon as they linked the theft of the device to his government.
Nouri knew that there would unquestionably be a military
response. While their allies in the Russian government had been
able to keep the Americans at arms length for decades, it was
doubtful that an American response to such a hostile action on
their part would be anything they could help with. They would
be on their own this time.
Nouri contacted the man he had placed in charge of the
launch site to ensure that they were ready. “General Sadr, I need
to know the exact status of the launch. … Excellent, I expect the
package to be here within the next two hours. Be prepared to
get it onboard and ready as soon as you receive it. You will have
no more than one hour to install the weapon, understand? We
will have only a one–hour window before we must launch. Do
you understand? … excellent. I know, and I understand the
challenges, General. You must however understand how critical it
is that we move with all expediency. If we are not successful in
achieving our objective, we can expect a swift and determined
retaliation by the Americans. We have no choice now but to
proceed according to plan for the glory of Allah, and for our
Supreme Leader. We have already crossed beyond the point of
no return. We execute our plan and crush the Great Satan, or we
perish, there is no other option. Very good then, General, I will
make certain that our man is onsite in time to ensure the package
is installed correctly. May Allah be praised! Goodbye.”
Amir paused for a few moments before calling for his
“expert” on the device. A young man walked into his office a few
“Hello, Ali. I trust that you have been enjoying your stay in
your beautiful native country.”
“Is my family safe?” he asked.
“Yes, of course your family is safe, at least for the moment.
Unfortunately, however, I cannot tell you for how long this will
remain so. The Americans will soon learn of what has happened
to their precious weapon. They will martial their full resources
and launch an attack against our noble republic. I recommend
that if you ever want to see your family alive again, you should
work quickly to install the device as soon as it arrives at the
launch site. You must work as quickly and accurately as possible
to prepare it. We must not miss our launch window, if we
are going to activate it as it passes over
Ali, the life, or death, of your wife, your children, your family,
and the rest of your countrymen, now rests solely in your hands,
not mine. Look at the bright side my friend, if you are successful,
you will be celebrated as a national hero among our people for
many generations to come, the man that brought down the
Great Satan! May Allah be praised!”
“May Allah be praised,” Ali offered weakly. Nouri pressed a
button and several Revolutionary Guards came into the office.
Escort our friend here to the launch site. Let nothing deter you.
Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir,” they answered.
“Now go, Ali. May Allah be with you.”
As he watched them leave his office, Nouri was confident
that he could now depend on Ali to install the EMP device.
After all, he had just given him plenty of motivation, which
happened to also be the truth. He just hoped that it would be
His phone rang.
“Really, that is excellent news my friend! Please get it to
the launch vehicle immediately. A technician of mine named
Ali will be arriving to install the device any minute now. Please
ensure that the device is onboard when he arrives and that he
has everything he needs. Keep a close eye on our friend while he
does his work, just in case … ”
Nouri felt his stomach tighten He wondered if this was how
Khrushchev felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The launch of
this EMP weapon was going to change everything. He and his
people would be victorious over the Great Satan, or they would
end up as radioactive ash after the Americans went nuclear.
Either way, it appeared that the protracted struggle with the
West was about to end. The great
Empire was about to
rise again, or fall forever.
Sometime later, the phone rang again.
“Hello? Yes, sir. All is going as planned. I am having the
device installed now even as we speak. The rocket is ready for
launch immediately after the installation is complete. Yes, sir.
May Allah be praised!”
A minute later, the phone rang yet once more.
“Very well, I understand. Are you certain that the installation
has been done exactly as I instructed, in accordance with
all of the instructions that I provided? Very well then. You do
understand that we will not get another opportunity to strike at
the Americans? Very well then, you have a go, you are cleared to
launch. May Allah be with us.”
Nouri walked over to the cabinet and took out a glass and a
bottle. It was his favorite brand of whiskey. The irony was not
lost on him that his favorite brand came from the very same
country that he was now preparing to destroy. To him, the whole
business with the Americans was regrettable. Like many in his
country, he liked the Americans. He was a victim of his times and
of his leaders. He would do what he had to, what was required
of him, and accept whatever came from it. Perhaps, one day, his
people would make peace with
the many years America
of hostility with the West.
He looked out of his window and watched as the rocket
lifted off and then raced toward the sky. With a successful
launch, the weapon was now on its way to its rendezvous with
destiny. According to General Sadr, they would have to wait
approximately four hours before the satellite would be in position.
Nouri hoped that the diplomats would be able to buy him
the time he needed. Once the Americans learned that the device
was missing, they would be devoting all of their resources to
finding it, and there could be little doubt that
the Americans’ short list of suspects. Furthermore, they would
certainly be watching the launch closely as they always did to
assess any threat, it would only be a matter of time before the CIA
or NSA put the pieces together, linking the missing EMP
weapon with the Iranian satellite launch, with the Americans
showing up at their doorstep soon after. In addition to a retaliatory
strike, the Americans would certainly attempt to destroy
the device in space before it was ever in position to fire. There
were many risks with an effort like this, but the payoff, if they
were successful was just too enormous to pass up. There was a
knock on the door. It was his assistant, Habib.
“Yes, Habib, what is it?”
“We have been contacted by the American State Department.
They are demanding we return their EMP device to them,
immediately, or they would consider it an act of war and act
accordingly.” Nouri considered the news for a few moments.
“Well then, that is good news isn’t it? It sounds like the
Americans suspect we have something to do with the missing
device, but they do not yet have enough evidence to act. What
has our response been?”
“The standard denial, sir. The minister of foreign affairs has
told the Americans that we have no knowledge of any stolen
EMP device. In fact, he asked why the Americans would create
such a device to begin with.”
Nouri stroked his moustache, as he was prone to do when he
pondering weighty matters.
“Good, good. This will not last long, but it should buy us
some time. What of any American military movement?”
“They are in the process of moving aircraft carriers into the
of NATO. It sounds like the Americans are moving their
military into position to attack us.”
“We must act quickly, Habib. Contact the president and
the Supreme Leader. Let me know when you have them on the
phone. We must receive authorization to act the moment we are