Kidnapped Nation - Sample
The moonless but starry night provided perfect cover as the dark SUV pulled up to the single metal bar that served as a gate to the facility. Streetlights were non-existent in this “neck of the woods.” Only the straying light from a passing vehicle’s headlamps had a chance of revealing the two men who emerged from the late model Ford Expedition, whose driver had used night vision goggles for the last mile.
“Got it,” said the younger of the two as he snapped the padlock with a pair of bolt cutters.
Together they swung open the gate. Then the older used his cell phone to broadcast a message to the group waiting for his word. He waved the driver through the gate and met him by the driver’s window.
“Go on up to the main building. You know what to look for, right?”
“Yessir. We’ll get ‘er done.”
“Good. Check it out and then start setting up.”
The SUV, lights still extinguished, crept along the narrow, paved road and disappeared around a bend, hidden by tall pines. The man returned to a spot near the entrance where he could see the road as it stretched out both north and south. He turned to the younger.
“Go ahead and close the gate. Stay close by. We need to move folks in as quickly as they get here. We have three hours before dawn.”
Over the next two hours a ragtag caravan, of sorts, arrived at staggered times. Each arrival was noted by a preset signal with the headlights. Only two cars passed by that did not belong.
The assortment of pickup trucks, SUVs, and older sedans would not have appeared out of place for this remote location. Even the generator in the bed of one pickup and the small fuel tanker were typical for the traffic expected along that rural highway. What would seem strange to the locals was the wide collection of states represented by the license plates on those vehicles. Besides the locals from Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were well represented, too. Even one vehicle from each of the Dakotas arrived.
The western states were under siege. These people, men and women, intended to get word of that siege out to the rest of the country . . . before it was too late.
As each vehicle moved into the area around the main building, a team of men removed those license plates. Only the plates of the Expedition and a Chevy Tahoe were left in place.
“Got ’em all?” asked the older man, as the last of
the vehicles lost its obvious means of identifying the owner. “We expect they’ll be using drones to watch us within two days. Don’t want to make it
easy for them to ID any of us.”
“We have them, except for yours and Adam’s.”
Their leader nodded. “That works. They’ll know who I am soon enough.”
They would indeed. The Feds who would soon descend upon this place already knew the name Simon Slattery. They didn’t yet know he’d left his ranch in Nevada to lead this protest over land seizures by the federal government, and to support two local ranchers whom the Bureau of Land Management had targeted and were now in jail on what Slattery saw as the latest in trumped up charges against private landowners.
He walked over to a small group of men talking around the camp lantern one of them had set on his lowered tailgate. He glanced from face to face and saw serious commitment. But then, he knew that about each of them. They’d already driven hundreds of miles to participate in what Slattery hoped would remain a peaceful protest. Should the Feds turn it otherwise, he also knew each man was willing to become a martyr for the cause.
Yet, he knew that saying you’d die for the cause was easy to say and not so easy to accept if you felt the burn of lead in your chest. He prayed that none of them would take on that level of engagement.
“Hanson, no rush, but take Brandy and secure the southern access road. Use that beat up Fairlane we nearly had to tow here to block the road and then take up a suitable observation location. You’ll have company sometime tomorrow I’m sure. The Feds will make sure they have eyes on that road.”
He turned to two of the others. “Buddy, you guys take that hay trailer and block the main road in. We need something we can move in and out of position easily, and that should work. And find two people to man the fire tower. Make sure they have binoculars. They need to be in place by the time the sun rises.” He paused and looked around. The lone security light over the main building illuminated the area well. Most of the people who had joined him that night took advantage of it to perform their initial tasks.
“Any of you guys see the electrician from Montana? Forget his name.”
“Helped him position the generator near the meter box. I think he joined Comer and Thompson. Looking for an active alarm system before someone
accesses the building.”
Slattery nodded. He loved that these guys knew the plan and took the initiative. They made it that much easier for him.
“Good. We should be ready come morning.” He smiled. “BLM staff is in for one hell of a surprise.”
To most western landowners, their biggest enemy wasn’t some foreign-born terrorist allowed into the country by the politically-correct crowd in Washington. Their enemy had become Washington itself. Ranches that had been in their families for generations had become targets for the government, which used the Bureau of Land Management to push those families off their land under the guise of protecting the environment. The real goal wasn’t hard to see. The government elites wanted full control of the resources under those lands to pass on to their cronies in Big Business. The Edmond Ranch was the latest target . . . after the U.S. Geological Survey discovered oil, natural gas, and uranium in the valley.
“Hi. My name is Brad . . . and I’m a terrorist.”
The scene panned out to show Bradley Graham sitting in a circle with eleven others, an image reminiscent of Alcoholics Anonymous or any other twelve-step program. But this was no rehab meeting.
“You see, I’m a conservative, Bible-believing, patriotic American. I am pro-life, pro-freedom, prodemocracy, and pro-jobs. And because I’m pro-jobs, I’m also pro-business because that’s where jobs come from. I believe that you must be self-reliant, hardworking, and sometimes sacrificial to become successful. And I believe in American Exceptionalism because it is this God-given political experiment called the United States of America, a republic based on liberty, equality, and individualism that allows you to reach for the stars and strive for your dreams. For these beliefs, our government and the United States
military now label me a terrorist.”
The camera zoomed out further to reveal armed soldiers surrounding and guarding the seated group.
The ad continued.
“Where do you stand?”
Brad stood up and the camera zoomed in for a close-up.
“I’m Brad Graham and I’m running for President under the banner of the American Party. Do you believe in America? If so, join us. Support the American Party and vote the American Party. It’s time to Take Back America!”
Lynch Cully, the American Party’s Chief of Security, stood behind the scenes in the studio and watched the production, amazed at what they required to produce a 30-second spot. They’d been there all afternoon, and Lynch had lost count at the twentieth take.
Brad wandered from talking with the director to a refreshment table someone had just set up, and then to Lynch. He carried two bottles of water and extended one toward Lynch.
“So, how’d that one look? This is tiring.”
Lynch shrugged and took the water being offered to him. “No wonder feature movies cost so much to make. This is just a simple scene without any action and you’re the only one talking. I can only imagine what it takes to produce a minute
from an action movie.”
His boss raised his brow. “And . . .”
Lynch didn’t catch on for a second. “Oh. You looked great and you nailed the words. Again. You had your part down after five takes. There’s always something else that requires a retake.”
Lynch saw the director look up from his monitor with a scowl on his face. Lynch had seen that look a dozen times already.
“Uh-oh, boss. Get ready to do it again.”
Brad sighed, and his shoulders sagged. “What now?”
The director began to yell. “Who put that refreshment table there? It’s reflecting in the backdrop windows. Somebody move it!” He looked toward Brad and gave him a ‘Sorry’ look. “Okay, folks. One more time.”
Lynch’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He retrieved it and walked toward the back of the studio. “One minute.”
He needed to find a place to talk without disturbing the next shoot. He stepped outside, knowing that in a moment he’d be locked out as the studio began to record again. His security men, Mack Gilmore and Tony Tornatore, sitting in the SUV, jumped up as if expecting the boss next. He waved them down.
“This is Cully. Sorry, had to leave the sound stage. What’s up?”
“No problem, Mr. Cully. Mr. McGonagle told me you’d be there and I could reach you at this number. This is Thomas McWhorter, with the Oregon campaign office. I was told to call you directly if the situation out here began to heat up. Well, it decided to boil over about fifteen minutes ago. The local authorities called in the FBI.”
Lynch glanced at this watch. Oregon was two hours behind them and the earliest they could get there would be around midnight.
“I got a call from Lacy Edmond. She denies that they’re involved with the protest, but she’s asking to talk with Mr. Graham.”
Lynch asked for a few more details and hung up. He needed to alert Brad. He turned and found the door locked.
Amy Gibbs paced between her front room and dining area. She’d had a long day that consisted of teaching six continuing education classes to the flight nurses and paramedics at MedAir Evac Services, where she worked as the director of education. In addition, she’d had to deal with a stubborn bureaucrat about their upcoming accreditation. She had looked forward to the end of the day and talking with her fiancé, Richard Nichols.
But now? She felt like throwing her phone against the wall, but that would be counterproductive and potentially expensive. Besides, the phone wasn’t the problem. The man on the other end was.
“Grrrrrrr,” she uttered to the otherwise empty room. She checked her watch for the fourth time. “He said five minutes . . . ten minutes ago. He is . . . slowly . . . driving me . . . mad.” Now she was talking to herself as well. Three minutes later, the phone rang.
“Richard, that’s enough!”
A familiar male voice on the other end said, “Umm, more trouble in paradise?”
Amy rolled eyes and sighed. “Dad. I thought it
“Let me guess.”
She shook her head and sat on the near end of the couch.
“I know it’s probably not my place to say anything, but you two need to get your act together. Either you move there, as I’ve suggested before, or you get a clear commitment from him as to how long he plans to stay in D.C. and resolve yourself to wait it out. Without the bickering.”
Amy felt as if she’d had this conversation before. A few times.
“I know. You’re right. You’ve told me the same thing already, but he’s not committing. I don’t want to move to Virginia or Maryland if he’s planning on coming back here once the election is over. And he’s not —”
Her phone signaled another call coming in.
“Dad, that’s Richard. Can I call you back?”
“Sure, just called to see if you wanted to come over for dinner tomorrow. Your brothers and their families are coming, too.”
Her phone buzzed again.
“Sure. I’ll call you back for details. Bye.”
She signed off and switched to the call coming in.
“Hello.” She wondered if she sounded frosty enough, or had her father’s call softened her tone.
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry. I know that seems like the number one word in my vocabulary right now, but my job is, like, 24/7 now that we’re just weeks away from the election. I can’t guarantee how long I can talk this time either.”
That did it. Now she felt the ice returning.
“How long we can talk? We didn’t get past hello before you broke off the first call this evening. Let’s see, on the second call twenty minutes after the first interruption, we lasted to your telling me your day was swamped and I just started to tell you I managed to get some flight time. The third call? Oh yeah. It consisted of ‘call you in five minutes.’ That was fifteen minutes ago. Should I set a timer?”
“Amy, look, it’s my job and the nature of the season we’re in. I can’t stop the interruptions. It seems like there’s always something, some fire to put out.”
“Well, there might indeed always be something, but it’s up to you whether you let it interrupt you or not. You do have that option. If this is the priority I get as a fiancée, I’m questioning what I’ll get as a wife. To me, it’s God, family, job. Not the reverse.”
She wanted to hang up on him, but she’d been raised to be better than that. Throwing her phone against the wall remained an option, however.
He said nothing for what seemed like forever. Finally, he replied, “I . . . You’re right. I need to work on priorities. Right after the election.” His voice took on a pleading tone. “Look, if I don’t do the job they expect of me, I’ll lose it. I love this job. And it will support a family well. Even if you choose not to work. Even if we live here, near the capital.”
That caught her off-guard. This was the first time Richard had mentioned living near Washington. She had never accepted the possibility that to marry Richard would actually lead to leaving St. Louis and her family. That had always been something off in Never-Never Land as having a remote chance of happening, but now he brought the Crocodile right to her doorstep.
“Are . . . are you saying you want to live there, even after the election?”
“Maybe. Uh, sure. I’ve really grown to like the area. The countryside’s beautiful. The ocean is close. History surrounds everything here. Yeah, I could see living here. I haven’t had time to really explore the area, but what little I have, I’ve enjoyed. I think you’d like it here.”
If my family was there, she thought.
“Besides, if Graham wins, and his poll numbers keep rising, there’s a great chance I’ll have a job at the White House. If he doesn’t, I’ve been getting feelers from other conservative groups here that might offer me a position.”
Amy didn’t know what to say. The Crocodile he’d brought to her door was no longer there. It was in her living room, sitting next to her on the couch, and she could hear time ticking away in its belly.
Richard hung up with Amy, feeling guilty that he hadn’t been totally forthright with her. Yes, his job as Chief Social Media Strategist for the American Party focused now on the Bradley Graham campaign, as its first ever presidential candidate. As a conservative, Graham continued to fight against the Washington “Establishment” and the mainstream media with their liberal, progressive bias. Republican or Democrat, it made no real difference to their end game. That made Richard’s job all the more difficult, and he was on-call 24/7. He remained truthful about the demands of his job.
Still, he should have told Amy he was looking for a house, to buy, not rent. He wanted to tell her. He almost got the words out, but she’d been so upset he didn’t want to . . . well, he’d already overturned the apple cart. He didn’t need to scatter the apples further. In the ideal world, talking about a house purchase should be done in person. But who lived in the ideal world? Not him. If he found a house, he’d make sure to get her involved.
He stepped to the curb and opened the door of the waiting SUV. As he climbed in, he looked at the trim, middle-aged, brunette woman sitting in the driver’s seat. She looked just like the images on her billboards that sat strategically located around the metro area.
“Ms. Walther, thank you for working with me and being flexible about the time.”
“Very pleased to do so. I’m used to it. Very few people here have typical nine-to-five jobs. Besides, Summer Stanton speaks highly of you.”
That comment caught Richard a bit off-guard. He and the redheaded journalist had found themselves as targets of a blackmailer just months earlier. That had been a curious “match up,” as their ideologies at the time were, and still were, polar opposites—like James Carville and Mary Matalin with their affiliations reversed.
The woman nodded. “It seems you and Mr. Graham made something of an impression on her. You can even see it in her reporting. The venom toward your candidate is gone.”
In reflection, Richard had to admit that he had noticed that, too. He just hadn’t paid that much attention to it. Yet, as he thought about it, while her work still tilted left and pushed the progressive agenda, she no longer spoke harshly of his boss. He studied the woman next to him.
“May I ask you a personal question?”
She raised one brow and looked him directly in the eye. “If it’s about politics, no. I work with people on both sides of the aisle and I never share my own beliefs or how I stand on issues.”
He could understand that. “No, not that. Are you personal friends with Ms. Stanton? Is she the reason
you took me on as a client?”
She smiled. “That I’ll answer. Yes, and yes. I sold her the condo where she used to live and then the home where she now lives. We’ve become friends. We have lunch together, oh, easily twice a month. And we’re often at the same social events . . . events on both sides of the aisle, mind you. She mentioned that should you ever call me, not that she expected you to do so . . . but, should you call, she asked that I take you on. You have to realize that most people I work with are in, shall I say, higher tax brackets than you.”
“Actually, I do realize that. I wondered why you agreed to work with me.”
“Well, now you know. Shall we proceed?”
“My tax bracket, as you put it, isn’t going to be a problem, is it?”
“Nonsense. Real estate is real estate. We all have the same multiple listing service. Plus, I might know of some sweet deals the other
realtors don’t have access to. So, let’s go.”
The Director sat at his desk fiddling with his pen as he read the latest brief about the situation in the Middle East. Using his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, he had convinced it to work with The Assembly, not against it. He still had to compartmentalize them away from the factions of Hamas and Hezbollah they already utilized, but the Brotherhood’s acceptance of The Assembly placed him one step closer to controlling the peace process. Could a second Nobel Peace Prize be within his grasp?
If only he could make inroads within the leadership of ISIS, or IS, as he preferred to call it. While he supported the creation of a caliphate, the barbarism of IS created a major PR problem, to put it mildly. The time would come soon enough, under the control of The Assembly, to rid the world of undesirables, to work toward the mandate of U.N. Agenda 21 to more than halve the world’s population.
He initialed off on the brief and picked up the next item. A knock at his door caught his attention.
“Sir, I have one item that requires your immediate attention, and another that you might find of interest.”
His secretary walked up to his desk and placed one piece of paper before him. He laid the papers in his hand back on the desk and picked up the single sheet. She turned and left the office as he began to scan the paper.
“FOR IMMEDIATE REVIEW—Armed protesters have taken over the buildings and property of the . . .”
He finished reading the short, but detailed, briefing. The FBI had already dispatched agents to contain the protesters while negotiating their surrender. They had learned from the 1985 MOVE bombing by Philadelphia police, Ruby Ridge in 1992, and the incident with the Branch Davidians near Waco a year later to take their time and try to end the standoff peacefully. IS had its PR issues; the FBI had its own.
Yet, he had a different concern. The group behind the protests persisted in bringing to light the government’s continued “land grab,” as they termed it, in the western states. They could not understand the need for sustainability of the world’s natural resources. What they saw as a “land grab” was the government protecting the resources there. This, too, was well described in the Agenda 21 report. However, the U.N. and The Assembly needed to continue the implementation of Agenda 21 without public scrutiny. These self-branded patriots threatened that secrecy.
He would need to take time to mull over this turn of events. With luck, the protest would stall, the organizers could be prosecuted and jailed, and the public interest in their case would wane.
The Director stood and stretched. He walked to the windows of his office and looked out over the bleak adjacent garden as the gardeners made their final preparations for winter. Dead wood pruned. Seasonal plants removed. Mulch and weed preventer applied. Some saw only the starkness of winter coming, but the gardeners prepared for the emergence of new growth and the beauty of the coming spring.
He saw world events in the same light. While some saw their preparations for a new world order as dark and foreboding, he preferred to focus on the emergence of a beautiful new era for mankind—an era of enlightenment and humanity reaching new heights, a time for leaving behind the superstitions of religion and of man’s fulfilling its evolutionary destiny.
He lifted the paper in his hand and flipped it over to read the FYI section. He smiled. Finally, some good news, he thought. The American Party had refused to move its headquarters to Washington, where the “movers and shakers” could begin to influence them, bring them into sync with reality. The party had, however, opened an office here. Karolus Karling, the previous director before his untimely and unexpected “suicide,” had tried to blackmail Richard Nichols into working for them. That had failed. Yet, Nichols remained in their sights as the most easily influenced member of the party’s upper echelon. Unlike Karling, he would not get directly involved. The Director would leave him in the capable hands of Maggie Walther.
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Kidnapped Nation – Copyright © 2017 by Braxton DeGarmo. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Braxton DeGarmo.
Paperback/eBook Edition Publication Date: April, 2017
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-943509-23-2
EBook (mobi): 978-1-943509-24-9
EBook (epub): 978-1-943509-25-6
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogs are products of the author’s imagination and are not construed to be real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The use of real places and companies is done to add a sense of reality, but the circumstances surrounding such use is also fictional. The employees of such companies, their actions, and their comments are fiction and should not be construed as implied or explicit endorsements by or the beliefs of said companies. The use of public figures, such as politicians, is also done for the purpose of realism. Actions or comments attributed to them may be fiction, but may also come from public records, such as their own writings.
Cover design by Rocking Book Covers
This book is dedicated to those families that have lost their homes and their land to the aggressive tactics of the federal government.
As always, I again want to acknowledge and thank my dear wife, Paula, for her valuable proofreading skills, help and encouragement. Many thanks as well to Lenda Selph for her expert proofreading.
I’d also like to give a shout out to the staff at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area—a.k.a. Busch Wildlife—for their assistance with information on the area. This area is truly a gem for those who enjoy the outdoors.
Finally, a big thank you to my editor, Patrick LoBrutto, whose suggestions always improve my books. I think you, the reader, will appreciate the final result.
There’s a good chance that you’ve already heard about the armed protest at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in January, 2016. It was one of the latest incidents in what has been termed the Sagebrush Rebellion, a movement that began in the 1970s by landowners in the western states who wish to see reduced federal control over the territory in the 13 western states.
Since over 50% of the U.S. population lives in the Eastern Time Zone, most people have no idea what it means to have the federal government own or control the majority of the land within their state . . . or to be subject to the federal government’s strong-arm tactics when it wants your land for the mineral rights. This story highlights what it’s like to be a victim of such tactics by our government, using the Malheur protest as one premise for the story. I hope the story opens your eyes to these practices by our government, as well as entertains you.