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Chapter Fifty-Two

Current day, 11:58 PM,

Charlotte Amalie,

U.S. Virgin Islands, The Caribbean

Annalisa watched the seconds tick away in her luxuriously extravagant hotel room. The feeds of several news services streamed realtime on her trio of monitors and flatscreen television mounted to the wall. 11:59:57, 58, 59...then nothing.

“What!?!!” she exclaimed. “Where is my beautiful mushroom cloud?”


The woman nearly leapt from her skin as the hotel room door and doorframe exploded. Splintering wood ejected into the air in reaction to the impact of a heavy battering ram slamming into their surfaces.

“What is the meaning of this?” the woman shouted angrily. “Stand down, you idiots!”

“Annalisa Moore you are under arrest for treason against the United States!” yelled a man in black assault gear. The room quickly filled with more agents in black, all training their weapons on their former boss. “Do not move!”

Annalisa foolishly reached for the emergency wipe button on the side of her laptop, only to catch the butt of a rifle to her temple.

Current Day, 12:05 AM,

President Taylor’s Personal Ranch, South Dakota

President Carlton Taylor sat back in his leather recliner and stared at the clock resting on the mantle above his fireplace. “It’s over, Carlton, admit it,” he muttered under his breath. Nothing had been reported regarding his or anyone else’s involvement in this conspiracy, as of yet, nevertheless he knew it was over. He lifted his glass of scotch and took a swig, realizing the worst part of this outcome was that the cesspool of Washington, D.C. still unfortunately remained intact. The brilliant CIA Director, Annalisa Moore and her supposedly foolproof plan to literally clean the swamp, failed...and failed spectacularly.


The startled man slowly lifted the handset to his ear. “Um, hello? Oh, it’s you, General Secretary Ziyang. Yes, Liu it appears we might have experienced a slight setback...”

“Slight setback, Carlton? Are you intoxicated?”

“Getting there...”

“Mr. President, my agents are reporting that your vice president has already assumed the Presidency of the United States.”

“I know,” Carlton said looking over at the bodies of two Secret Service agents lying lifeless on the cabin floor, blood slowly pooling around their heads.

"I am also receiving confirmation that an apparent CIA assault team was spotted dragging the former CIA Director from a hotel room in the Caribbean. This appears to be much more than a minor setback, Carlton. It is catastrophic failure and one that will ultimately cost me my life, maybe even yours.”

“U.S. Presidents never go to jail. No matter what they do...you should know that, Liu.”

“Well, my friend, for your sake, I hope that is accurate. Nevertheless, let this be our final goodbye. I must go and begin making arrangements for my family’s safety while I still can. You should do the same. Good luck, Carlton.”

“Same to you, General Secretary.”


Carlton lifted his drink and emptied it of its contents. He stared through the clear crystalline object at the dead bodies and then angrily threw the glass across the room, where it shattered against the log cabin wall, generating hundreds of glittering shards.

The former president exhaled, lifted his Colt revolver to his mouth, and pulled the hammer back. “Screw it.”

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