The richest man in the world wants to celebrate the July 4th holiday as never before. In a bid to get into the record books, a global fireworks show is staged from orbit. Satellites drop pyrotechnics into the atmosphere, thrilling everyone from the Arctic to the Antarctic with their rich colors and massive explosions in every time zone.
The next day, people around the globe begin to lose their sight. Governments crumble, society degenerates, and infrastructure falls into chaos. Humanity finds itself stumbling in the dark and losing all hope.
A few fortunate individuals retain their vision. Attempting to deal with the growing despair around them, they come together to discover the true purpose and origin of the affliction. They race to find a cure before the world is subjugated under an invading power.
Keith Hurst’s secure telephone rang, waking him from a sound sleep. He opened his eyes and looked at the LED clock on his nightstand. It said 3:12. As national security advisor to the president of the United States, middle-of-the-night calls were common. His staff did their best to filter out the less important matters until his morning brief, but there were times when an emergency forced sleep into second place.
Hurst grabbed the handset by the second ring. He had to wait for the encryption to handshake before he could say, “Hurst.”
“Good morning, sir. This is the night watch officer. We have several NSA intercepts from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia all placing their militaries on high alert. We’ve had sporadic reports of multiple air, car, and rail accidents, resulting in thousands of deaths. Many radio and television stations have gone off the air in those countries.”
Hurst snapped on his bedside light and sat up. “Accidents? Do we know the cause?”
“No, sir. The strange thing is, NSA claims many of the foreign military units that were signaled never acknowledged the alert. There also appears to be a major communication disruption with U.S. CENTCOM units in Afghanistan and our embassies in the aforementioned countries.”
“Are the comms being hacked, or is there some sort of natural phenomenon like sunspot interference?” Concerned about the call, Hurst looked at the empty space beside him. His wife had left him several years before, directly because of the election campaign and the late-night calls.
“No, sir. Not that we can see. The circuits are up, and the phones are ringing, but no one is answering.”
Hurst swung his legs out of bed. Has someone come up with a way to simultaneously disrupt communications with American bases, embassies, and headquarters, or is this some sort of terrorist attack? “Does NRO have anything on overhead imagery?”
“No, sir. No major troop movements in the CENTCOM area. In fact, NRO reports minimal movement overall.”
“I’ll be in the office in thirty-five minutes. I’ll want everyone in for an early brief for the president. Get the joint chiefs and SECDEF up to speed. Warn the Secret Service that we may be moving POTUS with short notice. If this is an attack, I want to stay ahead of it. See if we can get drone surveillance of any U.S. bases in Afghanistan ASAP. We need answers.”
Hurst hung up and hit the bedside crash button to summon his protection detail. This was no time for subtlety. He needed to be in the White House as soon as humanly possible.
About The Author:
Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. His novels have been praised for their realism and have sold in fourteen countries, winning multiple international awards.
“I don’t incorporate overt sex, profanity, or extreme violence in any of my writing. I prefer the story to be the main focus and want my novels to be accessible by all.” -SJ Parkinson
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