Latest Installment – Prologue through Chapter 5

THE NASSAU DIRECTIVES

A Thriller

By Lewis Perdue

COPYRIGHT 2016 BY LEWIS PERDUE — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

PROLOGUE

Laguna Nigel, California.

Muzzle flashes freeze-framed a midnight killing field.

On a gnarled ribbon of beach wedged between sheer cliffs and chest-high breakers, slugs closed in on a running man.

A hundred feet above, a tuxedo-clad man watched the chase from the Hesse Corporation’s observation deck. He braced himself against the railing, elbows locked, low-light Swarowski binoculars at his his eyes following the drama as it moved toward his left. He focused on the faint glow from the running man’s right hand.

You fool! You of all people should remember that 911 has orders never to send civilian police here.

The chase had begun at the foot of the corporation’s beach access stairway …

Where is the dossier?

… and was about to end.

How did you get into the vault? What did you expect to accomplish?

The running man ran out of beach where the sheer cliffs marched into the Pacific.

Seven long strides into the surf, his face dimly illuminated by the phone screen he held close to his eyes.

Powerful flashlights converged.

He stumbled. Fell. Held the screen above the roiling waves that churned with lead.

Miraculously, the man evaded the deadly metal swarm, regained his balance.

The tuxedoed man lowered the glasses and let them rest against his chest, hung by the leather neck strap. He shook his head at the evening’s events. Never in his tenure as founder and chairman of the Hesse Corporation had such a thing as this happened. Never, in fact, in the think tank’s history.

As a think tank, Hesse was not as well known as the Rand Corporation or Battelle. The Hesse Corporation’s distinguished board of directors liked it that way. The secret studies Hesse created for its government and private-sector patrons were classified at levels higher than any standard the government had ever created.

But never had they ever produced a document as overwhelmingly important as the one that had initiated this night’s violence: The Nassau Directives. Ironically, the directives had been developed  by the hunted man down on the beach. He had single-handedly created a plan to save the republic.

And he would pay for that with his life.

The Nassau Directives: three surprisingly simple proceedings that would drastically alter the face of America and improve its quality of life for generations. The Directives would success where all the hundreds of billions spent by the government on the “war on drugs” had failed.

Everything the U.S. military and law enforcement had thrown at the cartels had done nothing more than chop off a few of the hydra’s heads. Heavily armed Mexican drug gangs had all but taken over the government, assassinating even the highest law-enforcement officials at will. The few honest police chiefs who survived eventually fled to the U.S. and sought asylum. The Mexican drug lords openly recruited members with posters and banners hung over busy streets.

In Colombia, newer, smarter, richer and more dangerous organizations emerged to replace the cartels smashed in Cali and Medellin. They formed alliances with their counterparts in Mexico, Venezuela, Burma, Thailand, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Bulgaria and Turkey. Using the latest in technology, modern business management techniques and readily available armament they formed global organizations capable of subverting and overpowering smaller nation-states. The ability of  powerful, well-funded crime syndicates to co-opt sovereign governments meant that votes in the United Nations were increasingly cast by globalized organized crime bosses.

Desperation had driven the U.S. government into insanely improbable schemes, ridiculous in their conception, suicidal in their incompetent execution. The spectre of failure somehow blessed these global Hail Mary passes a degree of supremely undeserved rationality. The attempts were many,  but few of these delusional anti-narcotics efforts ever leaked into the public’s attention. But when some did come to light — like Operation Fast and Furious — it exposed the extent to which the government had run out of ideas, sanity and patience. Fast and Furious’s covert — and illegal — operation to sell powerful weapons to the Mexican drug cartels in order to track the pipeline was just the faintest tip of a mostly successful cover-up that kept the vast extent of its operations hidden from Congress and the American public.

But Fast and Furious brought reality home to the very highest levels of the American power structure: The war on drugs was lost. Cartel money and its threats of violence had penetrated Congress, the federal agencies and was corrupting law enforcement and American society at every level, just as it had in Mexico and all-too-many other countries.

Only a powerful, innovative, bold plan — The Nassau Directives — could keep America from being one more narco-nation ruled by grotesque violence and fear.

When the third  and final directive had run completely its course, there would be no more market and that meant no more windfall profits for growers, processors, smugglers, money launderers, wholesalers and pushers.

No more drug billions to corrupt governments and finance terrorists.

Maniacal gunfire down on the beach brought the tuxedoed man’s attention back to the violence below. He raised the binoculars. Through the fine, expensive optics, he saw that one of the hunted man’s pants legs had been torn away. Blood flooded into the surf. Still, the man fled desperately.

It would be over in moments, the tuxedoed man thought with satisfaction, the last of his troubles with a brilliant — but ultimately expendable — troublemaker.

Why did you do this?You knew you’d never get out of this alive.

A wedge of pale light broke his concentration. It spilled out on the deck’s marble tiling. The tuxedoed man turned toward the source and spotted a man’s familiar silhouette, lit cigarette in hand making his way toward the guardrail. He stopped next to tuxedoed man and gazed down at the beach.

The director turned, nodded to the man he had taught at Harvard law school – an extraordinary student who had ridden a wave of voter naievity to an unimagined greatness that far exceeded his experience, intelligence or abilities: the President of the United States.

“I heard the gunshots, from my suite,” the President said without alarm or judgment.

Harvard professor, Nobel Peace Prize, leader of the free world and frequent guest at the Hesse Corporation’s palatial guest quarters.

He took a drag on his cigarette. The glow illuminated a tall, lean man with a permanently arrogant expression and a way of always looking down his nose at you even when he was trying to show his toothiest, most winning campaign smile.

The director looked at him. “Couldn’t be helped. He sneaked in somehow. Security called me; I left the celebration, came here, caught him red-handed.”

“Police?” The President asked as he motioned for the binoculars.

The tuxedoed man shook his head. “They know better.”

The President nodded noncommittally. “Actually, I first thought might be someone with an itchy trigger finger on the New Year’s fireworks.” He raised the binoculars to his eyes.

On the beach, flashlights nailed the hunted man. Well-aimed slugs followed, slammed into the man’s back, lifted him off his feet, hammered him facedown on the sand.

The man in the suit lay still.

Lavish red froth bubbled from a grievous wound below the man’s right shoulder. His torso heaved spasmodically. A winded, lung-shot man struggling to pull his last breaths.

The shots stopped. The President scanned the beach and caught sight of the two hunters, sprinting toward their wounded prey. “What’s that in his hand?”

“Apparently a phone.”

“Why?”

“Why do we cling to anything at all as we die?”

“Photo of a beloved?”

“Why wonder?”

Miraculously, the wounded man sprang to his feet then and lunged into the surf. Gunshots quickly picked up his trail, stitched a ragged line of red splotches between his shoulder blades. He shuddered, took a last close look at the phone.

The next shot entered the back of the man’s neck and severed his spinal cord. He pitched forward, arms outstretched to embrace the next life.

The President nodded thoughtfully as he handed the binoculars back to the director.

The sky lit up then. First with a small Roman candle, Then the dull thudding bombardment of the professional performance up in Laguna Beach.

“Happy New Year,” the President said.

The director cast a brief look down at the beach then smiled.

“Yes. Yes it is. Happy New Year to you too.”

 

 


Continue reading “Latest Installment – Prologue through Chapter 5”

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