9-11/Phase 2: Operation Golden State

The Story 

Terrorism.

The newest face of war.

Long gone were the days of proud rows and columns of soldiers, bugles and drums and proud banners marching into cannon fire.  Guerrilla warfare changed that.

A  handful of men armed with box cutters changed that, when they took down the World Trade Center and a wing of the Pentagon.

And now from deeper into the criminal shadows would arise the next fear in disguise.  It wouldn’t matter how rich their opponents were.  Or how powerful their weapons were.  Or how high tech their security was.

Every nation had its vulnerability.

For Americans—it was that cherished Peace they took for granted.

They were about to have their vulnerability tested……

…  …once again on their own home turf.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9-11/Phase 2: Operation Golden State 

by loujen haxm’Yor 

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to the Peacemakers

________________________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Trial Run

Best part of the morning.  Suzi took a bite of her doughnut.  She fingered out a little of the exposed filling and felt it disappear behind very satisfied lips.  Being the first one into work and stationed closest to the reception desk meant first dibs on whatever goodies were brought in.  Sometimes it was bagels.  Sometimes cookies.  Sometimes croissants.  Today it was two dozen high cholesterol specials from the Kiwi Grove Bakery.  She gave her favorite Bavarian cream a dunk into her coffee, took another bite and settled back.

With one stroke she activated the monitor in front of her.  “Dispatch to Jimmy.  Wake up, pretty boy.”

“Happy Monday, Suzi.  Sounds like you’re eating again.”

“Got that right.  Lucky for me my boyfriend likes fat girls.”

“Yeah… well… I could say something, but ___”

“Oh, have a little courage, Jimmy.”  Suzi was laughing.  “More cushion for the pushin.  Right?”

Jimmy was silent.  But smiling.  Suzi made everyone smile.

“Okay, pretty boy.  What’s your twenty?”

“Just crossing the 8.  So far it looks like an easy cruise.  But you know that already.”

Jimmy’s location was verified on Suzi’s monitor.  Most of the drivers had resented the installment of GPS systems on their trucks.  However, problems had arisen when drivers, who finished too early too often, cost the company tons of wage hours with their extra recreational time.

“Keep up the good work, Jimmy.  Dispatch out.”

Suzi made at least twenty such calls that day.  She wasn’t surprised that no one butted in on their conversation.  The trucking company was finishing up on its first year experiment, whereby multiple contacts could be made on a single app.  Despite this, most other drivers knew that Jimmy was all work and not much of a talker.  Which is why she called him first.

Laurie Pratt poked her head into Suzi’s office.

“Thanks for the doughnuts, boss.”

“How’s everything?”

“As always.  Produce on its way.  Right on schedule.”

Laurie turned to the people in the room behind her.  She gave them an emphatic—Thumbs up!

It was lunchtime when Jimmy opened the rear doors of his rig.  “Anyone hungry?”

Junk Mail

“There he is.  Our favorite mailman.  The blue glove crusader.  Three o’clock.  Right on time.  With another ton of nothing to hand me.  How are ya doin, Ron?”

“Doing good.  At least it’s cooler today.”  Ron reached out and handed Sergio a one-inch stack of ads and an envelope addressed to him regarding free cremation services.

“Well.  No bills is good news.”  Sergio shook his head, while taking notice of all the bulk mail in Ron’s possession.  “You have to hand out this same stuff to everyone in this neighborhood everyday.  Don’t know how you deal with it all.”

“Hey.  With all the hints at future cutbacks, I don’t complain anymore.  I just look at it as job security.  Easy money.  And Post Office money is good.  So are the Neilies.”  Ron went over and picked up a bagged flyer lying in the driveway, then gave it to Sergio.  “Otherwise, all your junk mail will arrive like this some day.”

“Guess you’re right.  Got a notice about some free bottled water on the way.  Should get it next week.”

“Yeah?  Well, I ain’t bringin it, thank goodness.  This outlet junk weighs enough.”

“Got that right.  Thanks for the mail, buddy.  And have a great weekend.”

“You too, Sergio.”

Sergio’s wife walked through the living room and glanced over at him.  “Don’t throw anything out yet.  I wanna check the coupons and Saver Weekly.”

“I’m tellin ya, Monica.  It’s the same stuff from yesterday… and all the days before.”

“Just leave it on the table.  I’ll go through it later.  Last week the store at the top of the hill had some great prices on avocados, corn and bananas.  They might have another flyer.”

Sergio glanced at the first advertisement.  Gosh, honey.  You’re right.  “With the fuel prices for big rigs, I don’t know how anyone can give discounts.”  Well, I know we don’t need this.  He put the contents of the one envelope through the shredder.

“Hey, dad!  Look at this!”  Carina, his teenage daughter, was amazed at the commercial she was seeing on the tube.  “A cell phone that actually projects the menus and apps in the air.  How cool is that?  And they go on sale tomorrow.”

“Good thing we already got phones that work good enough, Miss Non-Working Student.”

“But, Dad.  There’s a great trade in for the old phones.”

“It would have to be really great.”  Just what we need.  Better phones to lose.

Right afterwards he heard the radio station KCool announce the date for the early morning movie premier of the anticipated  sequel to Fenmare’s Light.  A pair of free tickets would be given out daily to those listeners who responded first to the broadcast of the movie’s currently popular theme song.  Europe had already set the record for opening day attendance.  Next Thursday—it  would be America’s turn.

Bargain Day 

Vogue Valley Mall.

Normally a typical Saturday.  Overflowing parking lots with the silent road rage over the next available parking spaces.  Shoppers and window shoppers.  Movie goers.  Fast food appetites.  Hawkers hoping to nab a potential walk-in for their products or an enticing massage.  Guys checking out girls and vice versa.

But the real eye catcher were the two lines of customers that went on forever.  It began sometime in the early dark morning.

First there was the wait to get into 3 Wishes Cellular.  The supply line of crunched bodies rivaled the lines at the most popular rides at the county’s major theme parks.  Everyone just had to stroke their fingers over the new Magic Lamp phones.

And if that wasn’t enough, just across the walkway was another popular queue.  Online printouts were clutched like gold.  They guaranteed the holders a chance to purchase the AP Show.  It was a super entertainment system—not only with an optional flat screen, but with a total video projection filling whatever room it occupied.  Despite the opening day discounts, Audience Participation was going to make a killing in sales.  Adding to the fire was a one-time-use, early screening app for the movie Fenmare’s Light, made available only to today’s buyers.

With both companies offering this Saturday’s specials, the madness would be mirrored at every one of 3 Wishes and AP outlets throughout California’s malls.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

“I can’t believe we won tickets!”

I won tickets.”  Carina’s boyfriend was just as excited as she was.  But he was driving… and had to stay alert.

“Yeah, ya did, Phil.  Boy!  Look at all this traffic!  And we’re way early.  Four o’clock.  This can’t be work people too.”

“Carina.  Everyone’s gonna be way early.  First ones in line get the best seats.  Doesn’t matter.  At least we’ll be in.  And by the way… Five o’clock is a prime starting time for a lot of workers.”

Phil wasn’t choosy.  He pulled his monster-wheels pickup into the first empty parking spot.  He and Carina held hands while they ran towards the theater area.  Although the line was already a couple of hundred yards long, they managed big smiles.  There was a small percentage of people dressed up in barbarian fantasy costumes—mostly home-made.  And all ticket holders were guaranteed seats.

Barely within their visions were the 3 Wishes and AP stores.  Hard to believe that just last week the news coverage showed mobs of customers pressing their doors.  Now there was only the normal Doors open at 10 a.m. silence.

At 5:15 there was an eruption of applause and cheers.  The doors to the Vogue Valley Cinema were being unlocked.  First course of action was that special seat.  Popcorn or whatever could wait.  The next applause would happen at six o’clock.

Rush hour had gotten denser over the years.  Especially in San Diego.  People were really torqued when traffic lights were first installed at the freeway entrance ramps.  But what else could be done.  Two cars per green was better than not moving at all and resulting in a four-hundred-square-mile parking lot.

By 6:45 Sergio and Monica were merging their black SUV onto the 15 North and heading for their jobs.  He’d drop her off at the bank, then continue on to the taco shop.  Nice that their workplaces were in a convenient loop.  Saved on using one car… and expensive California fuel.

“Kids must be having a good time by now.”

Monica had a different concern.  “Yeah.  But look at how many kids are missing school today.  And not just here in San Diego.  And you’re gonna be one man short with Phil gone.  And your place is always so busy.”

“Ah.  It’s only one day.  The teachers will understand when they see all this on the news.  And Neil and I can rough it for today.  It’ll be just like a sick day for Phil.”

“Well, maybe.  I just hope Carina doesn’t have any tests or papers due today.”

As they passed the football stadium, they bragged about the strength of this season’s team.  How maybe this year would be the year.  Especially since last week, when they creamed the defending Super Bowl champs on their own turf.

“What do you got in that bag of yours?  Looks fuller than usual.”

Monica pulled out the bottled water sample and checked out the label.  “Trevi Font.  Brings back memories of the fountains in Rome.  That was a great vacation.  Let’s see…  Two liters.  Pretty good size for a freebee.  I’ll put it in the fridge at work.  Try it at break time.”

Suddenly they heard a crash.  Then another.  One about a quarter mile in front of them.  Another on the southbound lanes just before the stadium exit behind them.  Both involved big rigs.  Both trucks jackknifing across the lanes, one of them rolling over.

“What the heck is this?”  Once a delivery driver, Sergio’s vision began searching for a detour out.  “Dammit!  It’s gonna be a bitch trying to make the next exit.  What’s that?  Balboa?”

“Sergio!  What are you doing?”  Monica hated it when her husband would get into what she considered his reckless mode—driving like a delivery driver.

“Gotta try something, honey.”  I don’t care if it is illegal.  “Otherwise, we could be here for hours.”

His mind flashed a few years back to when some vehicle crashed into a telephone pole in Sorrento Valley and toppled it across some train tracks.  There was an incredible domino effect.  Traffic for twenty miles in every direction eventually came to a halt.  Some drivers were stuck in one spot for almost four hours.  But not Sergio.  He forced his four-wheel-drive up and over an iceplant hillside and through a cemetery.  He made his sincere apologies, while crossing near or over the grave sites.  But he was the first one to make it to work.  Two hours ahead of the next fellow employee.

“It’s hard to make out but… are those people coming out of the truck.”

Monica pointed to the big rig in front of them.  The rear doors had opened up and men began piling out in a hurry.  At first, all of them seemed to disappear behind the truck, whose outstretched frame affected all the lanes.  Soon some of them ran towards the Balboa Avenue exit.  The rest curiously aligned themselves either along the landscaped right side of the 15 or along the center divide.  But they made sure to distance themselves from the rig.

Monica reached under her seat and grabbed their hiking binoculars.

“O my God!”

She cried out as soon as she noticed the ski masks, the camouflaged uniforms and…

“Sergio!  They got guns!  They all got guns!”

“What the ____?

That’s when the earth and sky erupted.  Along with the tractor trailer and any vehicles within a hundred yards of it.  Then the gradual laceration of windshields, polymetal and rubber waiting in line.

It was too surreal.  No time for anyone to react.  From the location of one black SUV all anyone could do was scream—even a speechless scream—while their eyes remain transfixed on the fireball ahead of them.

The second blast was just as terrifying.  The fuse had been the overturned rig in the southbound side.  Adding to the melee was the gunfire that followed and what appeared to be rockets crisscrossing at low level and into the stunned freeway parking lot.

Cursing to himself, Sergio turned towards his right and floored the gas pedal.  He forced his vehicle across two lanes, each time ramming between a set of front and rear bumpers.  Jumping the curb, he turned right and sped over the iceplant against the flow of traffic.  Monica, who was in tears, simply held her breath.  Her fingers were digging into her wrists.  This time she was trusting—no, encouraging— her husband’s driving decision.  Despite all the explosions, the gunfire, the cracking sounds inflicted upon the SUV, the cries of the wounded and dying— he never lost his concentration.  His goal was the wrong side of the Aero Drive ramp.  He was feeding his adrenalin to his engine… for another illegal steep climb.  This time to safety.

Breaking News.

It was all over the national airwaves.  The eyes in the sky were live broadcasting from San Ysidro to Yreka.  The scenes were identical.  Big rigs every so many miles causing multiple collisions along the main north and south arteries, then exploding.  Uniformed terrorists, blocking exit ramps and delivering bullets and rockets and grenades into the frozen traffic.  And before the police and military choppers could arrive, they discarded their outer disguises, fled in all directions and blended with the everyday citizens of California.

The celebration was short-lived.  The revelry for Fenmare’s Light was smothered by the burnt air and black smoke drifting in from less than a mile away.  The mall’s overhead directory, advertising and up-to-date news monitors were displaying the statewide tragedy.  It was just too incredible.

Shocked by what they were seeing, the movie goers joined in with the rest of the mall population and activated their cell phones.

“Mom and dad left me a message.  Oh, Phil!  It’s in Crisis Mode!”  Carina was fumbling just trying to touch the Reply app.

Less than  half a ring tone later her dad’s face was staring at her.

“Carina!  Finally!  Are you and Phil okay?”

“Yes!”  She had to shout over all the commotion.  “Dad!  What the hell’s going on?  It’s really crazy out here.”

“Carina, give the phone to your boyfriend.”

She wanted to interrupt.  But her dad was emphatic and calmly repeated, “Please give the phone to Phil.”  And she complied.

“Mister Gonzalez?”

Sergio broke in quickly.  “Phil.  Just listen to me very carefully and don’t ask any questions.  By now you know—or may not know—but there’s been an attack on some of the California freeways.  When you leave the mall, work your way towards Texas Street.  Use all the back roads that I’ve showed you.”  Phil was impatient and tried to get a word in.  But Sergio cut him off.  “Just listen!  Don’t talk!  Now stay away from all the freeways completely.  Even if they look okay and everyone’s travelling smoothly.  Back roads only.  Go now!”

“But Mister Gonzalez.  What if I can’t get out of the mall?  It’s really nuts here.”

“Phil.  You see how I drive sometimes?  That’s what you do.  Only worse!  Get my daughter and yourself back here—whatever it takes.  Don’t worry about your pickup’s paint job… or anybody else’s.  Now kick it in the ass!”  And he hung up.  God be with you.

Phil pocketed the phone.

“But I want to talk to mom and dad.”

Phil squeezed his girlfriend’s shoulders and looked straight into her eyes.  “Look, Carina.  We’ve gotta get out of here.  I’ll explain after we get to the car.  C’mon.  We gotta run.”

“But…”

“Can’t talk now.  Run!”

Fortunately, most of Vogue Valley Mall were engrossed with either their cell phones or the news monitors or the distant smoke and sirens of emergency vehicles and police.  But there was still a small mob of traffic trying to exit the parking lots.  Phil remembered Sergio’s orders.  He took advantage of the widest space between two cars waiting their turn and broke between them.

“ Are you crazy?”

He was deaf to Carina’s outcries.  He jumped the next curve of perimeter bushes and drove the sidewalk towards the nearby overpass.  Since no one was obeying traffic signals, he promptly broke between two more sets of vehicles.  With one side of his wheels riding the overpass curb, he scraped against the adjacent lane of cars and made his way to Camino del Rio South.  But the left turn that he normally would take—everyone else wanted.  Today was not a normal day.  So he headed straight ahead into the nearest business parking lot.  From their he headed eastward, crashing through all the landscaping—from the hotels to the burger joints to the used car lots and even the church.

Carina kept her hands over eyes.  She was crying and praying silently.

“I think we’re okay now.”

It seemed like forever.  Carina looked up to see they were just leaving the North Park area and heading into East San Diego.

“Phil.  You know you’re gonna get arrested for what you just did?”

“It’s okay, babe.”  He sounded confident.  “No one’s getting tickets or arrested for anything like this.  Not today.  Once we get on College, it’ll be smooth sailing to Spring Valley.”

All the while they had forgotten to turn on the radiopod, usually an automatic upon entering Phil’s truck.  By the time they remembered, they were pulling into Carina’s driveway.

Sergio and Monica and a house full of relatives and friends met the lovebirds at the door.  There were hardy hugs from everyone.  So much, that Carina and Phil were almost out of breath.

Sergio looked at Phil’s truck and gave him an extra squeeze.  “You did good, my friend.”  Then he looked at his daughter in her tearful mom’s arms.  “Real good.  More than I could ever imagine.  Thank you.  And don’t worry.  When all this blows over, I’m gonna get your truck fixed up.”

“Oh, that’s okay, Mister Gonzalez.  I’ll take care ____”

“No.”  Sergio put a finger over Phil’s lips.  “You did like I told you.  And you and Carina are here.  Safe and sound.”  He held his arm around him while they entered the house.  “And from now on, you call me Sergio.”

As was typical in most of the world, every room in the house— including the bathroom— had some sort of tv.  Most of the young people never left for anywhere without their video pads.  And every room in the Gonzalez house, even the backyard, was packed with viewers.  Since the fall of the Twin Towers, most of the really major disasters were weather-related.  However, today… even a super hurricane would have been a welcome event.

The face of war had evolved into the worst scenario.  Terrorism.  Long gone were the days of rows and columns of soldiers, bugles and drums and proud banners marching into cannon fire.  The French and Indian War had demonstrated the invaluable tactics of guerrilla warfare.  This was later confirmed in Viet Nam, where the invader tried coping with the hit-and-run enemy on his home turf.  Perhaps it might be oversimplified to say that a handful of men armed with box cutters took down the World Trade Center and destroyed a wing of the Pentagon.  But to put it simply: that’s what happened.  Dying for one’s country took on an even deeper meaning for the terrorist.  And his oftentimes religious and sacrificial heroics made it practically impossible for a trained military defender—never mind the average citizen—to be prepared against such tactics.

Every television channel was covering the horrible crime on America’s west coast.  As one news chopper was panning Vogue Valley, a horrendous explosion emerged from the local mall.

Carina yelled out.  “Oh, my God!  We were just there!”

Phil went over and put his finger on the blast area.  There was a hundred foot wide crater that had funneled to the lower level parking lot.  “That’s where 3 Wishes and AP are… were.  Holy crap!”

Many who saw the sneak preview of Fenmare’s Light, as well as the early mall shoppers, did not want to contend with the multitude of cars trying to rush out to their homes.  So they stuck around, waiting for things to ease up.  At eleven o’clock many of them suddenly became casualties of an undeclared war.  Vogue Valley Mall was now looking more like a war zone.  And so was every shopping center wherever 3 Wishes and Audience Participation outlets were located.

Carina went over and hugged her boyfriend for the upteenth time.  “Oh, Phil.  I’m sorry if I sounded mad about your driving.  But whatever you did… you saved us.”

“It’s okay, babe.  It’s okay.”

As the Gonzalez household gawked with the rest of the nation at the news reports, another explosion was heard—and felt—this time rocking their own neighborhood.  They all ran outside to see other concerned citizens, some of them screaming and  running up Ashmore.  When they rounded their corner, they saw the burning wreckage of a neighbor’s house across the street.  A compact car, surprised by the deafening noise and flying debris, had crashed into another parked car.

“O my God!  Eric’s place!”

Sergio and some of his friends ran to help out.  Then they heard a blast from two blocks up the hill.  Another house was being blown up, sending fragments of its structure everywhere.  Then another thud—this one farther away—followed by the telltale smoke.

Monica was nervously scratching her forearms.  Like so many others, she wondered aloud, “Is someone dropping bombs on us?”  She looked to the sky.  But there were no signs of aircraft.

Sirens began flooding the residential streets.  Luckily one firetruck showed up and stopped right in front of what was Eric’s house  It wasn’t long before the news and police choppers were circling overhead.

Back inside her house, Carina began piecing things together.  “Hey, everyone!  Look what they’re saying.  It’s all the AP stores that are blowing up.”  Then she reminded her parents how their neighbor Eric recently purchased the new AP Show.

Phil pulled out his cell phone and tapped the police app.  “That’s probably what’s going on.  Dammit!  All the lines are jammed.  They need to know about the AP connection.”

But Monica’s sister was sure that the police… the government… were already aware of this.  “Hey!  If you figured it out, Carina, so have they.”

“My God.  What else can happen?”

Neighbors watched as the firemen trained their hoses on the burning rubble.  They became grief-stricken at the sight of Eric’s lifeless body being stretchered to the other side of the street.  No sooner had the stretcher touched the sidewalk, when there was a gunshot.  Or something that sounded like a gunshot.

Someone screamed, “Beverly!”  People gathered around a young girl kneeling over her sister, whose face was covered in blood.  Some of her fingers were missing from her right hand, which was also mangled with blood.

The girls’ parents forced themselves through the crowd.  “What happened?  Beverly?”

Beverly’s father used his handkerchief to wipe some of the blood away.  He spoke in Spanish to his daughter.  But there was no answer.  She had no pulse.

“Amber.”  The mother was gently rubbing her daughter’s head and arms and legs.  She was searching for any signs of injury.  “Amber, are you okay?”

Her face covered with tears, Amber looked over at her dead sister.  “She was just trying to call her boyfriend.  And her phone…  It just blew up.  It was brand new.  One of those Magic Lamps.”

It wasn’t long before the news reports announced the connections between 3 Wishes and AP to today’s terrorist attacks.  The popular new phones and theater systems were rigged with time bombs.  Their creators and sales personnel took advantage of the discounts and perps to flood the California market.  They were well aware of the cell phone and television usage once the freeway rampage had erupted.  Even after hearing the news, there were still some disbelievers or those who just plain forgot about the warnings.  Activating their Magic Lamps would be their final misfortune.

Aftershocks

On Saturday the official cleanup began.  The major north-to-south freeways had resembled something out of a science fiction movie.  As if the mother of all tornadoes had chiseled its way through the entire length of the state.  It was too early to report even a ball park death toll.  So far the hospitals and emergency centers had counted over 165,000 statewide.  The surviving injured was measureless.  Until all the rubble of the affected malls, vehicles, homes and apartments could be sifted through then bulldozed away, the predictions were of the worst possible scenario.

Thousands of business and traffic cameras were scrutinized for whatever clues might lead to the terrorists’ identities.  The Pentagon hoped and prayed that their satellite time lapse feeds from the past week would produce something positive.  More than a needle in a haystack compared to the Marathon bombings a year ago.

With their best geeks at their computer stations— a few needles were found.  Several photos of exploded big rigs were able to be backtracked to their sources.  Usually to some commercial district side street not remotely associated with the terrorist central.  But in some cases the drivers’ places of origin were traced.  Some were single family homes.  Some were apartments.  Whatever the case, an investigation of these origins could lead to an arrest… and more pieces of this horrendous puzzle.

“What?  She’s got it too?  “Monica’s concern had her family turning their attention from the television to her.  “No.  Everyone’s okay here.  Look.  Lots of fluids.  Keep her warm.  She might even sweat it out.  Okay?  Bye, Wayne.  We love you too.”

She swiped off her phone and shook her head.  “Now my sister’s got the flu… or whatever it is.”

“Aunt Paulina?”  Carina was as surprised as everyone.  “We just saw her.”

“I know.”  The grief in Monica’s face was intensified by more unpleasant news.  An outbreak of an unknown virus, which began just days ago.

By chance, more coverage of this outbreak was now arriving on the tube as a news alert.  Cramps, vomiting, dehydration and even internal bleeding.  These symptoms were being reported statewide.  However, the new warning bore elements of biological warfare.  Not the flu.  It was hours later that a positive connection was made between the virus and Trevi Font bottled water samples delivered to residential areas.

Sad and depressed, Monica recalled giving her sister their free sample to take home.  Paulina was the first and only one to drink from that bottle on Thursday and commented on how good it tasted.

Once again the universal question was recycled.  “What else can go wrong?”

And once again news alerts would introduce another epidemic.

Although mild compared to the past days’ previous misdeeds, its effects were more widespread.  Sergio went over to his wife.  Her lips were folded inwardly as she stared at her forearms.  Last night, hesitant at first, Monica had showed him the mysterious rashes on her arms.  He had thought that her scratching was merely nerves.  Today they learned that she had joined millions of others, who came down with a subtle case of hives.  Enough to put the fear of God into anyone.  Especially after all that had happened.  Luckily the generic brands of allergy pills were able to control and clear up the unwanted skin eruptions… in most cases.  An unlucky population of the infected had suffered complications involving loss of breath.

It was a human anatomy professor who discovered the source of the rashes.  Andrea Greenfield, who was also infected, remembered some incidents from a former class.  Those students, who did not heed her advise on wearing protective gloves and aprons during their animal dissections, suffered the fate of a flare up of hives.  Exposure to old school formaldehyde. Their healing was prolonged because of their interactions with other objects, including their school books.  She quickly got the word out about the junk mail, which she and a medical colleague had intensively tested.

In less than a week the FDA began their own exhausting efforts to examine the most easily tamperable items at all the major food chains.  Their suspicions arose to this level— mostly because of the big rigs.  Meats, fresh vegetables and fruits, frozen foods.  There were sporadic contaminations everywhere.  Probably induced with deadly syringes.  The remaining forty-nine states banded together and did their best in providing aid.  Through the government’s efforts and civilian donations, the new millennium breadlines were short-lived.

Emails, blogs and disguised videos originating from countless libraries flooded the internet—all at the same time.  They bragged in celebration of their victorious assault of the west coast.

The video data collected from hundreds of thousands of cell phones, security cameras and satellite trackings did produce a large number of suspects.  Most of them were well prepared in case of an arrest… in the uniform of a suicide bomber.  Those who survived to be brought into custody said little or nothing… and eventually succumbed to torture.

The face of the war had evolved another notch.  Just as the fall of the World Trade Center bonded New Yorkers, so did America and her true allies embrace in the sorrow of Californians and in the rebuilding of their lives.  In five years the Golden State would be new again.  The big issue : When and where would the next storm be?

Only a year old.  That was the new Kiwi Grove library.  Updated with all the bells and whistles that were sci-fi a memory ago.  Plenty of open data stations.  Sitting at one was a woman wearing a name tag, which identified her as a nurse at one of San Diego’s special animal clinics.  She scanned her flash drive through the hovering app.  A coded formula for converting cytotoxic pills for canines into a clear liquid form was uploaded and sent.  She was hopeful that in a couple of weeks she would be generously rewarded for her idea.

Knowing that a more relaxed normalcy had returned to his town, Ron the mailman donned his Post Office blue with a smile.  “Won’t be needing these anymore.  Lone Star boys will handle that one.”  Christmas 2016.  Now that’ll be a real Trail of Lights!

And he tossed the last box of his blue chemotherapy gloves into the trash.

The End

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4 thoughts on “9-11/Phase 2: Operation Golden State

    1. loujenhaxmyor Post author

      Hi, Dennis.
      Thanx for checking out my 9-11 Page. Occasionally I venture outside my sci/fantasy genre, especially when a topic just keeps nudging me.
      Have a wonderful day!
      loujen

      Reply

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