EXECUTIVE ORDER #17,342 ~ 0001 HOURS, JANUARY 1

  Stuart, Florida “Zup, Billy? “Did you see it, man? All those cool army trucks?” “No. Where?” “The fairgrounds. I’m on my bike. There must be a hundred. They’re still coming.” “No way.” “Yeah, way. You gotta get down here and see for yourself.”   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   Cedar Rapids, Iowa   Sitting in his office, Dan was daydreaming—woolgathering his grandmother would have said. The smartphone on his desk began to vibrate. He kept the sound off, a courtesy to his cubical mates. Yawning, he picked up the phone and looked at the screen. There was a text from his girlfriend. SARAH: “Military trucks driving past.” DAN: “What? How many?” SARAH: “I quit counting. WTF?” DAN: “What kind?” SARAH: “Big ones what do I know.” DAN: “What direction?” SARAH: “Looking. Somebody got out of one. OMG, looking up at me. They are all turning in at—” DAN: “What?” Dan tried to call Sarah. Voicemail, he sighed. After several more tries, Dan disconnected. It doesn’t make any sense. Finally, he took a jacket off the hanger. Trying not to be concerned, Dan knew Sarah wasn’t given to speculation. Something about the text ending the way it did was…

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EXECUTIVE ORDER #17,342

EXECUTIVE ORDER #17,342 By Chuck Waldron   FAKE? IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE, RIGHT?       Stuart, Florida “Zup, Billy? “Did you see all those cool army trucks?” “No. Where?” “At the fairgrounds. I’m on my bike. There must be a hundred. They’re still coming.” “No way.” “Way. You gotta get down here and see for yourself.”   ɸ ɸ ɸ ɸ ɸ   Cedar Rapids, Iowa Sitting in his office, Dan was daydreaming, woolgathering his grandmother would have said. The smartphone on his desk began to vibrate, keeping the sound off, a courtesy to his cubical mates. Yawning, he picked up the phone. There was a text notification. SARAH: “Military trucks driving past.” DAN: “What? How many?” SARAH: “I quit counting. WTF?” DAN: “What kind?” SARAH: Mostly big ones. DAN: “What direction?” SARAH: “Just looked. Somebody got out of one of the trucks. OMG, looking up at me. They are all turning in at …” DAN: “What?” Trying several times, Dan turned off his phone. It didn’t make any sense. Finally, he took a jacket off the hanger. Trying not to be concerned, Dan knew Sarah wasn’t given to speculation. Something about the text ending the way it…

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TERROR, TREPIDATION, TURMOIL, TURBULENCE, TORONTO

Shameless alliteration, I know. Those aren’t words often associated with the setting for The CleanSweep Conspiracy I could never wish harm to the city, but my devious side led me to write a story where Toronto felt terror, trepidation, turmoil, and turbulence. Bombs explode. Rioting becomes commonplace, and something like martial law is implemented. It gets worse when a ruthless billionaire intends to shape a city to his viewpoint.   In my story, ordinary people try to make things right again. Matt Tremain is a blogger wondering if anyone even notices. Carling is a career cop who avoids headlines. A reporter is well-respected, but facing a conspiracy? Those ordinary people finally decide to act, knowing consequence may be deadly. I don’t apologize for the destruction of Toronto. It’s only a story, right? This can’t happen in a city like Toronto. Indeed, no billionaires are plotting to erode our society in Toronto, Canada or the United States. Privacy? The next time you’re shopping look up for any dark glass camera pods. Confidentiality? The next time you do an online search. Smartphone? What about information our sim cards are transmitting? Government listening in? The CleanSweep Conspiracy is just a story. Nothing like…

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The CleanSweep Conspiracy

How many civil rights are you willing to give up for safety? In the aftermath of devastating riots, investigative blogger Matt Tremain thinks his city may have surrendered too much.     Chapter 1 UNEXPECTED EVENTS   So far, it had been an ordinary day. It was a Thursday morning, his least favorite day of the week, when he walked into Le Rôti Français, a popular coffeehouse in Yorkville. A caffeinated menu filled an entire wall. He tried to ignore the TV mounted on the wall behind the service counter. Ever since the riots, there had been little news other than continuous coverage of the destruction. Action 21 News was the only station back on the air, and they had been airing commercial-free, nonstop updates about the rioting. Many, like Matt, were beginning to feel anesthetized by the recurrent stories and images. Walking through the door, Matthew Tremain noticed a woman watching him—or, rather, noticing his slight limp. The limp was evident but not prominent. A speed bump in his DNA’s double helix had caused one leg to be a bit shorter than the other. It was that way the day he was born, and it was still that way…

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