Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Futuristic
Date Published: January 2018
When Kelvin Hanson is dishonorably discharged from his naval captaincy he doesn’t connect the events to the accession of new President Diego Silva. But as he researches further he finds that Silva isn’t as he appears. Determined to rid the nation of a corrupt president, Hanson plots to assassinate him, but someone else gets there first.
Ashlee Townsend, head of the non-profit Freedom Group is equally determined to get to Silva, and is as surprised as Hanson when someone pips her to the post. Still reeling from the President’s assassination, Hanson and Townsend join forces as a military dictatorship takes over the country.
As rumors of terrorist plots and Mexican invasions fly, Hanson’s journalist wife sets the story straight, finding that it was the military themselves that assassinated Silva. As the truth comes out, California secedes from the Union, and Hanson and Townsend find themselves fleeing to Sacramento to head up a rebellion force.
Reuniting the states under a democratically elected President means war. And while Hanson heads up the rebel forces, his wife Kishanna deals with propaganda and information, and Ashlee becomes the center of yet another assassination plot.
This time, however, things go differently. And with a dead dictator, the threat of civil war crumbles. The governor of California becomes the interim President, and Hanson decides to throw his hat into the ring for the coming election. Democracy triumphs, and the United States is united once more.
About the Author
Perhaps you wouldn’t characterize the Finance Manager of your local automobile dealership as an Amazon best-selling author—until you get to know T.T. Michael. He has worked for the past decade at a Toyota Dealership in Illinois, but he is in the driver’s seat as the writer of, Fire War, a political thriller set in the year 2076. See what happens when the United States, Canada, and Mexico all join forces to make one super country. See more about him and his book Fire War at www.ttmichael.com
The absurdly large clock above the television clicked as its minute hand pushed past six. A little after half past midnight. The room was smaller than he’d imagined. Not his choice, but that of his ultra-efficient campaign manager. Not that there were that many places in Wyoming large enough to hold the small crowd that currently surrounded him. The air smelled of sweat and fear and elation, a bitter, sour smell that reminded him of the taste left in his mouth after eating only candy for hours. He was half listening to the chatter around him, the other half of his attention on the television screen.
It was odd, he thought, to be sitting down, to be inactive. For the last few months he felt that he hadn’t slept, had barely eaten, had done nothing but smile until his face ached and shake hands and speak and then smile again. And now nothing. The speech was written. The campaigning was done. There was just a vast empty swath of nothingness, and all he could do was sit and wait. This wasn’t quite as odd, however, as seeing his name flash up constantly on the TV screen.
Diego Silva. Billionaire, businessman, father, candidate. But still, always, the big-eared, buck-toothed kid of a single mom who’d raised him on rice and beans and not much else. Maria Silva was gone now. Pancreatic cancer a decade ago. It was a shame, really—she’d have been good for a slew of photo shoots, and probably a daytime TV interview or two. Silva grunted as he shifted position on the couch, his full belly pressing against the Armani belt on his slate-gray pants.
“It’ll be in soon.”
Mike Callahan perched on the edge of the sofa. His wiry body was like a coiled spring, ready to jump up at a moment’s notice. But Silva knew Callahan well enough to see the man was exhausted, close to the edge. Not that it mattered now. After the next few hours, Callahan could snap like a twig if he wanted to. His job would be done by then. One way or the other.
“What will?” Silva asked, not turning his eyes away from the television.
Silva eyed the clock thoughtfully as the minute hand clicked again, then nodded. Vigo County, Indiana, had voted for every US presidential election winner since Eisenhower. The seemingly prescient county was his good luck charm. Silva had been quite clear on his orders. He wanted no disturbance from interns running in every few minutes, trickling down results that hadn’t been fully counted. Not until after Vigo County had announced. Once he knew that, he’d know. Everything else would just be noise, would be air inflating the balloon until it exploded. One way or the other.
Silva shook his head. His stomach was already sour from too many cups. And God forbid he’d be taking a piss when the result did come in. Thinking of hearing the news as he stood up against a bleach-smelling urinal, dick in hand, made him grin.
“It’s not a guarantee; you can’t afford to make Vigo the be-all and end-all,” Callahan said, turning bright blue eyes to him. “I’ve said it before, Silva, and I’ll say it again: there has never, ever been a candidate with your ratings. Ever. You’ve broken the damn polls. You’ve had the counters checking and double checking their math, convinced they’d fucked up. Whether you get Vigo or not . . .”
He trailed off. Silva grunted again. Callahan was confident, but not quite confident enough that he was willing to jinx the whole thing by saying it out loud. A good old Boston boy, Callahan’s accent had grated on Silva’s ears when they first met. Then he’d ceased to notice it. Only now did those flat vowels again bother him. But he didn’t respond. Had no time to respond.
“Mr. Candidate, sir.”
She was tall and blonde and big breasted, just as he’d liked them when he was a kid. That flawless white all-American girl with enough fat on her bones to have curves. The ideal. Almost as hot as his first wife. Almost, he thought, studying the snub nose sprinkled with light freckles. A slim strip of white paper was trembling in her hand, and Silva nodded at Callahan to take it.
The campaign manager looked at the black print, dismissed the girl, turned to Silva.
“Vigo,” was all he said.
And Silva knew, knew as he’d always known he’d know. His heart hammered in his chest but he didn’t let it show. In a corner of the room on blue plastic chairs, his two sons were playing poker, oblivious and uncaring as to what was happening around them. His two daughters were nowhere to be seen, but they were around somewhere. Sitting alone, her eyes downturned, demure and silent, Min-Seo, his wife, could have been asleep. He had a flash of gratitude that he’d made such a good choice. Neither of his previous wives would have been silent. Both would have been screeching, complaining, thrusting themselves into the midst of things, eager to be the center of attention.
Callahan was talking; the noise level was growing. The television screen blinked as an infographic appeared. Kentucky had declared. Indiana too. The US map filled the screen, the two states bright, bold blue.
Silva felt Callahan clap him on the shoulder, felt, rather than heard, the cheers around him. He looked again at petite, quiet Min-Seo, her eyes now turned to him. She gave a small smile, unsure, and he gave a short, sharp nod in response. And he saw the weight settle on her shoulders. He hated that she was smarter than he, but knew it to be true, though he’d never even hinted that he knew. But now he was glad. Glad because she’d be a far finer First Lady than either of his ex-wives.
President. He allowed himself a smile and stood, turning to face the others in the room, lifting his hands in a sign of victory.
“The numbers aren’t all in yet, Silva,” Callahan warned him in his ear.
But Silva didn’t care. He knew now that he’d won the lot, and he accepted the cheers and congratulations, allowing them to wash over him. He’d done the impossible. The first non-politician, the first non-military man to hold the presidency of the United States. And the first Hispanic leader.
“All right, all right, calm it down.”
Callahan’s voice was a hell of a lot louder than his small frame indicated.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, people.”
There was grumbling, but the motley assortment of interns, advisers, family members, and hangers on quieted. Callahan turned and began giving orders.
“I want the unofficial numbers from West Virginia, and why the hell hasn’t Vermont reported in yet?” he barked at the same blonde girl who’d brought the news of Vigo County. “Hey,” he said, noticing Silva walking away. “Where are you going?”
His tone irked Silva. Like Callahan had any control over what he was going to do now. The man knew every detail about his life, every minute indiscretion. Hell, he knew every place his hands had been, every dime he’d stolen, every lie he’d told. Part and parcel, Callahan had told him when they had first met.
“I can’t cover up something I don’t know about,” he’d said. “And that means I need to know you better than you know yourself. I don’t give a fuck how small, how irrelevant, how minor something is—I need to know.”
Silva had looked him in the eye, debating whether or not to bluff, determined that this man wouldn’t know half the things little Diego had done to get to the top.
“Don’t bother,” Callahan had said in a bored voice. “I’ll find out anyway. And don’t kid yourself. No one’s clean. No one. I could dig up dirt on the pope himself if I had to. And if I can do it, so can anyone else. You get a choice. Trust me to hide your failings, or trust the press not to find them. Up to you.”
And if Silva had had any doubt, if there had been a moment of indecision, Callahan had sealed both their fates with his next words.
“They call me the kingmaker,” he said quietly. “The kingmaker.”
Silva had almost laughed, but then he hadn’t because Callahan had been serious. And because the tiny Irishman had never worked on a losing campaign. In thirty-five years of politics he had never backed a losing horse. Not once. And Silva knew that. Hell, it was the reason he’d chosen the man. If he was having anyone, it would be the best. And Michael Callahan was the best.
Now Silva surveyed his campaign manager for a moment. His time was almost here. But not quite. As much as the guy pissed him off, now wasn’t the time to do anything about it. So he shrugged.
“Just hitting the can,” he said.
But Callahan wasn’t listening anymore. He was back to giving orders, and Silva walked away from him, ignoring those who called out to him, leaving the room.
The bathroom was cool and quiet after the waiting room, and Silva took his time washing his hands. Despite all the coffee, he didn’t have to piss. When his hands were thoroughly clean, he looked up, examining himself. All he’d wanted to do was look at himself in the mirror. He wanted to know if he looked like a president yet. If he had that aura of greatness and power. But all he saw was little Diego, Maria Silva’s son with his teeth fixed up and his ears pinned back and his expensive suit and blue tie.
Fuck it. He smoothed back his black hair. The jet would be on standby. It was time to go. He’d been firm on the fact that he would break with tradition. Wyoming might be his home state as far as politics was concerned, but Washington was where he belonged. And Washington was where he would accept the presidency. Little Diego looked back at him from the mirror. No. President-Elect of the United States Diego Silva looked back at him from the mirror. It was time to get out of Wyoming for good.
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