7 Days - Three Sides To Every Story




To read previously published chapters, click here...

Patrick Lee’s debut novel, The Breach, is the beginning of a series featuring Travis Chase, a man caught up in the chain of events surrounding the world’s most violently kept secret. Patrick’s website is

www.patrickleefiction.com.


 

Three Sides To Every Story

Nick saw the car just ahead, parked under an elm on Jefferson Drive. He and Ashleigh picked up their pace as they covered the last fifty yards to it.

Charlie Miles sat at the wheel, a silhouette in the near-darkness. He'd waited here while the two of them had gone to find Becktel in his hideaway office. Now Miles saw them coming, and Nick heard a soft thunk as the car's locks disengaged. Ashleigh opened the rear passenger door and Nick followed her through it, leaving Miles alone up front.

"Drive," Nick said, and gave directions to the place he had in mind: another cheap motel like the one he'd checked into earlier. Dirty, random, anonymous—safe.

Miles pulled away from the curb and took a left onto 3rd Street. The Capitol Dome slid by on the right; to the left, the broad swath of the National Mall slipped past.

Nick stared at the back of Miles's head and thought of the videotape he'd seen just days earlier. Women bound to tables, pleading for their lives, only to be executed while their husbands were made to watch. Miles had obviously played some role in those abductions and murders—after all, he'd known exactly where Ashleigh was being held when he'd staged his mock-rescue of her.

How involved was this guy? Neck deep? Waist deep?

Either way, he couldn't be trusted. Unfortunately, there was no real choice but to work with him for now: he had the connections the two of them needed. He also had the same enemies they had, and there was a kind of bleak reliability in that. It would do. For now.

"You get what you wanted?" Miles said.

Nick felt the shape of the USB drive in his pocket. "Yep. Every file."

Nick's laptop was in the gym bag at his feet, but he made no move to turn it on and upload what he'd copied from Senator Becktel's computer. There was something pressing harder on his mind just now: the words he'd seen on Becktel's monitor while the download was in progress.

Popov wants action.

The Brethren want the Apocalypse.

Putin wants Little Big Boy.

"We need to sort out who exactly we're up against here," Nick said. "Who and what. After all I've seen in these past few days, here's my read on it: there are three separate entities moving toward the same objective: control of some weapon system called Little Big Boy." He ticked off the three players on his fingertips: "Senator Becktel wants it, Putin wants it, and the Brethren want it."

"Are we assuming my father is acting independently?" Ashleigh said. "Given his real past... his origin... isn't it possible that he's just serving Putin's ends at this point?"

"Neither scenario is good," Nick said. "Let's just consider both to be plausible until we know more."

Up front, Miles cocked his head. "What are you saying about Becktel? He's working with the Russians?"

"Strictly speaking," Ashleigh said, "he is Russian."

In the rearview mirror, Nick saw Miles's eyebrows knit together. Saw the man's gaze darting back and forth, not over the traffic ahead but over some logical terrain in his own mind: a landscape of rivalries and double-crosses, of power and all its less-than-scrupulous suitors. He looked like a wolf who'd just learned of some new dynamic among the pack's leadership, assessing possible impacts on his own standing.

"Interesting," he said at last.

"The name Popov mean anything to you?" Nick aksed.

Miles expelled a breath that was almost a laugh. "I should've guessed," he said. "The son of a bitch. If Becktel really is still working for the Russians, Popov is his handler. Bank on it. But, like you said, even if the Senator is on their team, he might still be playing his own game. Maybe he has his own ideas for Little Big Boy."

"Why do you say that?" Ashleigh said.

"Because there's one thing that sets Senator Becktel apart from everyone else in this game: Putin, Popov, the Brethren, the three of us... we all know that Little Big Boy is a weapon of some kind. We know it has some relation to nukes, and we know that it's somehow related to the PRIMROSE system of radiation sensors. But that's all we know. We don't know what

Little Big Boy actually is, or what it does. But Becktel does, which is a hell of an upper hand to have and not take advantage of. Especially for a man like him."

For a long moment they all rode in silence. No one could argue against that point.

Nick's hand returned unconsciously to the USB drive.

"It's time we had that advantage ourselves," Nick said.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

They reached the motel five minutes later, checked into two adjacent rooms on the second level, and gathered in the one Nick and Ashleigh had taken. It could've doubled for the place Nick had stayed in earlier, right down to the constellation of drop-burns on the ragged carpet.

Nick took the laptop from his gym bag, opened it on the bed and, within a few minutes, had the USB drive's contents uploaded to it. Then the three of them went through the files one by one, opening each of them and scanning them closely, no matter how innocuous they looked. It was an old trick to bury sensitive information deep inside an otherwise-boring document.

Their shovels hit pay dirt on the seventh file. It was a JPEG image, an optical scan of a memo with the Defense Secretary's letterhead at the top. It was almost entirely redacted, not with magic marker like in the old days, but with digital processing. Neat black rectangles, maybe right out of Microsoft Paint, had been dragged to cover all but one paragraph in the middle of the document:

The Secretary would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss security measures surrounding LBB (formerly Whiskey 7). This is

a matter of some urgency.

Nick heard Miles's breath catch, and then the man's hand shot to the computer screen. His fingertip traced an underline below the words LBB (formerly Whiskey 7).

"L-B-B," Miles whispered. "Little Big Boy... Whiskey Seven. Holy hell..."

He stood upright and paced to the window overlooking the parking lot, plowing his hands through his hair. Nick and Ashleigh watched him, trading a quick look between themselves.

"I know what it is," Miles said. "I've known all this time, and didn't even realize."

"Tell us," Ashleigh said.

For a moment, Miles didn't reply.

Then, still looking away over the sodium-lit sprawl, he nodded.

"Early in my career I did a stint with DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. I did security and monitoring for a special division designated Engineering Unit W, though everyone just called it Whiskey. Probably the scariest people I ever met. A dozen engineers, not one of them able to hold a conversation like a human being. None of them had a wife or kids, or even a friend in the world. These men had all faked their deaths—as if they had lives to start with—to come and work for DARPA, designing things that weren't even possible to build."

"What would be the point of that?" Ashleigh said.

Miles turned from the window. "I should've said, ‘things that weren't possible to build yet.' Whiskey's role was to design ahead of present technology. Develop weapons that would only become feasible ten or fifteen years down the road, with predicted advances in computing power, scaling-down of chip sizes, all that stuff. Project Seven seemed like the least realistic thing Whiskey ever came up with—on any timeline."

"What was it?" Nick said. "What is it?"

Miles paced. Somewhere out in the night, a car horn blared. Voices yelled, laughed.

"At a glance, it's a missile," Miles said. "Man-portable. Hell, it's probably child-portable. It's about the size of the tube inside a roll of paper towels. It flies just above the ground, fast as a .30-06 bullet, and then it kicks out a little drag chute and sets down right beside its target, soft as if it fell off a couch."

"And then what?" Ashleigh asked, not sure she wanted to hear the answer.

"It opens and releases its payload,

which is the part I thought could never

be built." He stopped pacing and stared at them. "The payload is a swarm of remote aircraft, each one about the size of an apple seed. They communicate wirelessly with each other, and with a chip inside the rocket casing. The rocket, in turn, communicates with the operator, who controls the device from a wireless terminal with a range of 10 miles. That person directs the swarm to enter the target through air ducts, wiring ports, plumbing or any other available opening."

Miles shook his head. "Nope, only one kind. A nuclear missile silo."

Nick felt his pulse begin to press against his eardrums. He thought he could guess the rest of what Miles would say.

Miles saw his expression and nodded. "The swarm takes control of the nuke. Seeks out the key access points in the arming electronics, hacks in within a few minutes. At that point, the remote operator who fired the little rocket has full command of the silo."

"When you say the swarm controls the nuke," Ashleigh said, "you mean the remote operator could actually launch the damn thing?"

"Not only launch it, but re-target it to any coordinates he chooses. He could also detonate it right there in the silo, or just fry all the circuitry and render the nuke useless. The last option is probably what the guys at Whiskey had in mind. Use it against some upstart nuclear power like Pakistan or North Korea. Send in teams of Force Recon marines to stake out every silo in the country, and then in one coordinated night, eliminate their entire arsenal."

Nick thought about it. His eyes went to the laptop, and the one paragraph that hadn't been redacted.

"Becktel helped the Defense Secretary establish security for Little Big Boy," Nick said. "Which means he knows the security inside and out. If he decides to make a move to get control of the system... he can probably do it. God knows what he has in mind for this technology."

"Or what Putin or The Brethren would do," Ashleigh said, "when and if they learn its capability. This could get out of control. Rapidly."

"Right," Miles replied, "and there's one more thing: PRIMROSE is useless against this. Think about it…our network of radiation sensors have to be pre-programmed with the locations of our current nukes, otherwise there'd be constant alerts."

Before Nick could reply, his phone rang. He took it out and checked the display.

Koleson Fletcher.

Nick answered, then listened for several seconds as Fletcher spoke. He'd just arrived at the White House, having recovered from Miles's tazing a half an hour earlier. And there'd been news waiting for him when he reached his office. Lots of it. Nick remained silent while he relayed it, and then they ended the call.

He glanced at Miles and then Ashleigh.

"Russian military forces worldwide just stepped up to a heightened level of readiness," Nick said. "The president is about to move us to DEFCON 3 in response. So we can drop the future tense. Whatever this thing is, it's already happening."



<< Return to the October 2010 Index

 

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck blasted the Democrats — and anyone else on the left — who have been so eager to open our southern U.S. border for the past several months, but also willing to turn a blind eye to the Cuban people in need of help today.

"While we are welcoming people from any country, all over the world, without any kind of information, and setting them into our country, putting them on American planes paid for by American taxpayers," Glenn began. "And our Coast Guard Cutters are turning these [Cuban] people away. Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Glenn said that he's "sick and tired" of hearing about "brave" leftist activists like Colin Kaepernick, who protest the America flag while wearing Che Guevara and Fidel Castro t-shirts. Meanwhile, the Cuban people are risking their lives by taking to the sea to escape their oppressive regime and come to America.

"Anybody who glorifies Che doesn't know their ass from their elbow. You can't call them a human rights activist. You're protesting the American flag, because you so deeply believe in the right to be free? And yet, you wear a Che T-shirt?" Glenn said.

Glenn went on to argue that, even though the left has "bastardized" the meaning of our country, he still believes America is the best nation on Earth. In fact, he'd give up his citizenship "in a heartbeat" if another country could prove to be better, more noble, and more free. But no other nation exists like ours, he said, which is why it's so imperative we fight for freedom here, in Cuba, and around the world.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

There's a new "reality" spreading, and the mere act of questioning it has become incredibly dangerous, Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Abigail Shrier told Glenn on the most recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast."

Shrier's book, "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," exposes the radical gender activism that — like critical race theory — has overtaken our children's schools and culture. But even worse, she warned, it could end your parental rights for good.

Shrier made it clear she is by no means "anti-trans," but simply speaking up against the extremes of this new "reality" has made her enemy No. 1 to many activists. Her book has been bashed so hard by the Left that Target has stopped selling it twice, Amazon once banned ads for it, and the American Booksellers Association even called sending it to others "a serious, violent incident."

In the clip below, Shrier explained why she believes "there may be no hope for the public school system."

"You have teachers behaving like activists across the country who have no interest in actually teaching. They believe their job is to remake your child," she asserted. "We're seeing so much evidence of that, I think it's fair to say that it may be too deeply rooted in the ideology being taught in public school. I'm not sure that the public school system is redeemable at this point."

Watch the video clip below for more or find the full podcast with Abigail Shrier here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

What is actually in Texas' new GOP-led voting bill? Nearly every Texas House Democrat fled the state to block its passage, calling it racist and oppressive, and President Joe Biden backed them as well.

But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to set the record straight and call out the lies: All of these claims are "completely false." He also explained his promise to "arrest" the Texas House Democrats when they return to the Lone Star State.

"What is in the bill is completely different than what they're saying, what Kamala Harris is saying, what President Biden is saying. What's in the bill actually increases the number of hours that people have to vote in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas, we have at least 12 days of early voting, and we are adding hours to those days. And on top of that, we are giving people time off from work to be able to vote. Bottom line, we're making it easier to vote in the state of Texas," Gov Abbott explained.

"In comparison, Delaware — the state that President Biden votes in — has exactly zero hours of early voting," he added. "That said, there is one thing that we're doing in the state of Texas, and that is we're making sure we tighten the reins on mail-in ballots that can lead to voter fraud. And it's not me saying that. It's a federal judge, appointed by Barack Obama, in Corpus Christi, Texas, who wrote in a legal opinion that voter fraud occurs, quote, in abundance as it concerns mail-in ballots. We know. Texans know. There is fraud in mail-in ballots in the state of Texas. It must be fixed. That's one thing we're trying to do. That being said, all these claims that we're denying people the right to vote and yada, yada, yada, are completely false."

Abbott went on to discuss the much-debated voter ID laws in Texas and to explain why Democrats insist on calling basic voter ID requirements "racist."

"When Democrats do not have truth on their side, they resort to one single word and that is 'racism' ... Texas implemented voter ID almost a decade ago, and when we went through that fight, what word did they use? Racism," he said. "Guess what? After Texas imposed voter ID requirements in the state of Texas, there have been more people voting and more people of color who went to vote. Voting didn't get harder. It got easier and more abundant in the state of Texas. And so, once again, Democrats have absolutely no legal standing, other than to say, 'racism.'"

Glenn asked Gov. Abbott to explain his pledge to "arrest" the Democratic lawmakers that fled once they return to Texas.

"Let me explain how this works. So, whenever there is a break of quorum, which is what is happening now — meaning there is not a sufficient number of people who are showing up to the Texas House of Representatives for the Texas House to engage in business. Whenever there's a quorum break like that, the House issues what's called a 'call on the House.' And when that happens, the sergeant-at-arms is authorized to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to — you can call it arrest, apprehend, whatever you want to call it — any of the members who are not in the Texas House of Representatives and bring them to the Texas House where they will be 'cabined' with no ability to leave the Texas House chamber, without a permission slip from the speaker."

Watch the video clip below for more details:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.