The President sat in the
situation room sucking on a Marlboro Light at on April 30th; he wasn’t a smoker. National
Security Administration Director Dave Parish was seated to his left, biting his
fingernails in tune with the hum of the computers, while Joint Chief of Staff
General MacDermot stood at the end of the table
peering up at the large blue screen of the continents. MacDermot
turned and looked at the President, who had just lit another cigarette.
“We have satellite confirmation
of military movement in several parts of the world.” He paused and looked at
the map of the world before continuing with a sense of urgency in his voice. “Poland
reports artillery and tank attacks on Lublin
in the south, and air attacks on Bialystok
in the north. Six tank divisions have been mobilized from Belarus
and are within 60 miles of Warsaw.”
“Commence Operation Pickoff,” the
President ordered, stubbing out his cigarette. “We are officially in World War
Hangman realized that Reaper I
was only 85% operational as he put on his flight suit. He picked up the phone
next to his locker and called the tower for status.
“Reaper I is 85% operational due
to a deficiency in the Pro Defense System,” the tower replied. “Sir, are you
aware that Reaper II is in the Warminster hangar?”
“Yes, have an escort drive me to
Warminster,” Hangman ordered, returning to his pre-flight preparations. It’s
unbelievable that I know the status of the planes without physically seeing
them; what will they think of next? Hangman said aloud, as he concentrated on
Reaper II. The plane was 100% operational and ready to fly. I better start the
pre-flight count down now to make up for the 20-minute transfer time, Hangman
thought, as a marine knocked on the door and advised the car was waiting.
As Hangman climbed in the cockpit
of Reaper II, he decided DEITY would now be known as D. Take us down to an
altitude of 175,000 feet with a southeast heading D, he thought. The plane
quickly changed direction and adjusted its altitude to the command. “Right on
schedule,” Hangman said aloud.
“Yes you are,” a voice responded.
The notion that D spoke back to him made Hangman jump.
“Hangman, Hangman are you there? Code name Lefty.”
Hangman suddenly realized that it was General Carlton, his lifeline. Lefty, Hangman
thought, for Phillies Hall of Fame Pitcher Steve
Carlton. The Air Force certainly did its homework, Carlton
was his childhood hero and baseball provided comfort for him in times of
“Hangman here, over,” Stark
replied, looking at the clock on his heads-up display.
“Hangman, keep to course and
remember the lines we’ll use throughout the operation are totally secure. My
job is to be another set of eyes and ears. You, better than anyone, know our
ability to track events around the world. I’ll try to help wherever I can.”
“You mean you can see almost
everything I can see?” Hangman countered.
DEITY has some very advanced features,” Lefty conceded.
“Roger that. It’ll be nice to
have you along for the training mission, Lefty.” While Hangman was getting
comfortable handling two conversations at once, Lefty tossed the ace pilot a
“Hangman,” Lefty called in his
“Eight, 16, 77,
“Eight, 16, 77,
“Roger that. The Hangman flies
“Okay, we’ve got all the
authenticating code words out of the way. Are you looking at your HUD?” Lefty
“Roger. You’re aware how D works,
I can pull up a lot of information here,” Hangman answered.
“Roger that Hangman. Are the
targets in line of priority?”
“Roger that Lefty. The system
shows 96 offensive targets. D has picked up another 24 for a total of 120
missile sites, all non-nuclear,” Hangman reported.
“Roger that. We’re seeing the
additional 24 sites now. Are you in position?” Lefty asked.
“I’m 25 miles south of Key
West looking at Havana.
I just passed the aircraft carrier Enterprise
and a few of our cruisers, but they didn’t pick me up,” Hangman reported.
“On my mark of go, go, go.
Repeat, mission on my mark of go, go, go,” Lefty instructed.
“Roger that. I’ll maintain
altitude and heading and await your mark,” Hangman replied.
“You’re mission is primarily
defensive. Take out what you can, but defense is the first priority.”
“You know D will give me my
orders. To this point they’ve coincided with your instructions, but if there’s
a conflict I will act on D’s command.”
“That’s understood,” Lefty
“Okay D, pick eight targets that
will cause the most havoc and estimate the required TNT equivalent laser
charges. Eight targets, then defensive,” Hangman ordered. He looked at the list
of targets on the heads-up display. Eight surface-to-air missile sites were
go, go,” Lefty shouted at exactly 1600 hours.
Fire, Hangman thought. A second
later he had confirmation from D that all eight targets were destroyed. Pick
World War III is no longer a
threat; it’s a reality. The Equitable Distribution Society of the World has
invaded the United States
and is prepared to launch a full-scale nuclear attack to prevent the U.S.
from achieving global domination through capitalism. The United States and its
allies are not willing to succumb to the proposed new world order and the
President of the EDSW finds himself battling technologically advanced weapons,
while the President of the United States battles mental illness. A Skunk Works
project created a futuristic aircraft it labeled, The Reaper. Will this
plane and its pilot be able to overcome the 200:1 manpower advantage of the
EDSW, or will the U.S.
be forced to join the EDSW?
About the Author
Robert J. Kelly is originally
from South Philadelphia and currently resides in Horsham,
Pennsylvania.He retired in 1996, after a successful career
as a financial consultant, to begin his second novel.When not expressing his imagination on paper,
Mr. Kelly enjoys wine collecting, golf, travel, and spending time with his
playful Maltese, “Radisson.”