Some of my friends are skeptical. When I tell them that the 2012 presidential election will determine whether the United States of America continues to be a free country, they tell me our freedom isn’t even threatened.
I explain the threat in my novel, Full Asylum, in which I portray a future where America is no longer free. Government has become involved in every corner of our lives, and storm troopers called “CREEPS” are standing by to kick in our doors if we don’t fall in line. In this excerpt, I describe how we got to that point. It shows what happens when an economy fails to recover and politicians look for someone to blame. The setting is familiar to fans of the James Bond series — it’s the scene where the secret agent goes to his boss to get his orders:
“Good morning, sir,” said Dunn.|
“Good morning, Beta Eleven,” said Alpha One. He sat at his massive oak desk in front of a painting of a fox hunt. “Sit down.”
Dunn sat in one of the leather wingback chairs in front of the desk. A small gentleman moldered in the other one. “You know Sir Brandon Pringle, Chancellor of the Exchequer,” Alpha One said.
“Chancellor,” said Dunn. Sir Brandon grunted.
“What do you know about economic sabotage?” Alpha One asked Dunn.
“It’s a new category of crime since the Financial Crises,” Dunn replied. “The Americans call it E.S. Individual saboteurs are referred to as sabos. After the Third Financial Meltdown, the G-20 powers responded with appropriate measures to expand the money supply and re-regulate out-of-control markets. Although there were some initial signs of their effectiveness, in the long run, the global economy did not improve. Eventually, governments around the world realized the reason. Their political opponents deliberately harmed their efforts: scared off investors, cut jobs, and even committed acts of vandalism.
“The sabo threat is particularly severe in the United States, where Congress responded by passing the Federal Economic Sabotage Act. The act, also called FESA, gave the government the powers necessary to combat the problem. One provision of the act prohibited criticism of government economic policy. There was a constitutional challenge to this, but the Supreme Court upheld the provision on the basis of the governmental interest in safeguarding the integrity of interstate commerce.
“To enforce the law, the government created an elite civilian military unit. The Coordinated Response Emergency Economic Protection Squad reports directly to the attorney general. Although its acronym should be pronounced CREE-TWO-P-S, certain elements of the public have taken to calling the unit members CREEPS, and this pronunciation has, regrettably, caught on. This new force has made significant inroads against the sabos; however, it has not been able to eradicate them entirely. I think that’s all, sir.”
“Yesterday afternoon,” said Sir Brandon, “the Advanced Missile Corporation filed for bankruptcy. Seventy-eight thousand people around the world are filing for unemployment compensation as we speak, fifteen thousand of them in England.”
Alpha One pressed a button on his desk. The fox hunt painting slid into the wall, revealing a large flat panel display. On the screen a photo sprang into view. It depicted a short, middle-aged woman in a fashionable red and black business suit. She had short dark hair and large dark eyes and was smoking a cigarette in a long black holder. Sir Brandon continued, “Iona Klimt, head of Klimt Defensive Software Corporation—KDS. Born in Soviet Russia, 1967. Emigrated to the US in the 1980s during the last days of the Cold War. Estimated net worth: 12.6 billion dollars.”
The picture morphed to an office park. There was a pond with a fountain and two green glass buildings. “KDS headquarters. Just outside Washington, DC. The company is…was…Advanced Missile’s largest competitor.”
“Iona Klimt is one of the leaders of the information revolution,” said Dunn. “Do we suspect she is engaged in economic sabotage?”
“That’s for you to find out,” said Alpha One. “You leave for America as soon as you draw your equipment from Double-G Branch. That’s all, Beta Eleven.”
To find out what happens when Dunn comes face-to-face with Iona Klimt, check out Full Asylum on Amazon.com.