They tried once before. Seven Days in May told the story of the far-right's first attempt to take over the U.S. government. Now Jon Land, author of 10 Gold Medal lead titles, tells the story of their second try. With devastating credibility, Land creates the chilling scenario of the White House under siege. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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March 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Day of the Delphi by Jon Land
Day of the Delphi
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 1994; 10:00 P.M.
Clifton Jardine, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, looked up from the final page of the report before him.
"How many copies of this are there, Mr. Daniels?"
"You're reading the only one," Tom Daniels replied, his voice high and slightly strained. "I typed it myself."
"By Olivetti. Sorry for the typos."
Daniels was forty and had joined the Company straight out of college. Since then he had served effectively in a number of foreign bureaus before returning home to assume the mundane role of assistant deputy director of intelligence. It was a token promotion and one that would allow the Company to bury him in the bureaucracy he seemed best suited for. Nothing about him bode well for future advancement, especially his appearance. Tall and lanky, his plain suits were invariably ill-fitting. He wore his hair slicked down against its natural wave; his glasses were the photosensitive variety, but they never seemed to lighten sufficiently indoors, cloaking any expression his eyes might have shown. His voice was high and squeaky. Clifton Jardine could never recall meeting a man of less charisma. Daniels inspired no degree of confidence whatsoever, but the report the director was shuffling through again now spoke for itself.
"You'll note that the appendix details the specific travel itineraries of the subjects, sir."
Jardine looked up from the pages. "Subjects or suspects, Mr. Daniels?"
"The latter, by my interpretation."
Jardine found the proper page in the appendix and spoke as he studied it. "For men like this, extensive travel is hardly unusual."
"Again, sir, you should note that each of them visited the same eight countries over a six-month period. And the people they met with there ..."
"By your own admission, you're not certain of that. No hard data."
"I wouldn't expect there would be. The point is, we can place them together in this country five times over the past six months." Daniels paused. "My report includes their backgrounds, their dossiers, what they had been a part of."
"Emphasis on had, Mr. Daniels. Tense becomes crucial here."
"It never stopped, sir. It redefined itself and kept pursuing its agenda underground."
"And suddenly it resurfaces. Why now, Mr. Daniels?"
"Dodd, sir. He was the missing variable and the most important one."
"An assertion totally lacking in hard evidence."
"No, only indications. But they're strong, irrefutable." Daniels took a deep breath. "Dodd's the one who will finally allow them to bring this off."
"Bring what off exactly?" the director charged without giving him a chance to answer. "Your report seems to skirt that issue."
Tom Daniels took a deep breath. "The overthrow of the United States government."
The room became heavy with silence. Clifton Jardine's eyes blazed across his desk, all at once uncertain.
"Then those foreign meetings--"
"The same agenda, by all indications, is being pursued across the globe. Maybe the United States isn't enough for them anymore. Maybe watching events unfold dramatically in other countries is what finally brought them back." Danielspaused and removed his glasses to let his eyes meet the director's. "Maybe, in fact, they caused those events."
"And you're confident the timetable you suggest is accurate?"
"Yes, sir, I am."
Jardine digested this information, then rose, a clear signal for Daniels to take his leave. "You were right to bring this to me, Mr. Daniels. When the response team is in place, I'll make sure you liase."
Daniels stood up, but made no move for the door. "Sir, if I may ..."
"The fact is that the individuals mentioned in my report have been around longer than we have, longer than anyone in government has. We have no idea of how far or deep their sphere of influence extends."
Jardine's features flared. The notion that an underling with a token title could intimate such a thing was unthinkable. "Mr. Daniels, are you suggesting that my own people are not to be trusted?"
"I'm suggesting only that an operation of this scale involves too many people to be certain of them all, and under the circumstances, I'm sure you agree we must be certain."
"You have something to propose as an alternative, I assume," Jardine responded grudgingly.
"The smaller we keep the scale of our response, the better our chances of finding out how the subjects of my report intend to accomplish their goal."
"How small, Mr. Daniels?"
Jardine fanned the report's pages. "I see no inclusion of names of possible candidates in this."
"Because there's only one who is suitable, and I didn't want to be logged pulling his file from the flagged pile."
"Who are we talking about, Mr. Daniels?"
"Blaine McCracken, sir."
Jardine's response was to sit back in his chair andsqueeze its arms. "A strange choice, considering your past history with him."
"Not when you consider McCracken is expendable, denounceable, and highly mobile."
"You know his background. Nobody's fought for this country harder than McCracken. No one's proven himself more often in situations comparable to the one we're facing now."
"Your analysis, Mr. Daniels, would seem to indicate there is nothing comparable."
"Granted, sir. McCracken has faced his share of madmen and psychopaths, but never anything like this. We could be talking about the end of government as we have come to know it in the United States. And it's already begun. The indications are there."
"You really believe they can pull this off, don't you?"
"They think they can."
"That's not what I asked you."
"But that's the answer that matters. Because by all rights, what they're planning to do is impossible. The mechanisms, the levels, the built-in protections of our government--they know about them as clearly as we do, clearer even. That can only mean they've found a way to transcend all of that."
"An awful lot to transcend."
"They're planning something that makes it all possible, sir, something that we aren't considering because we can't. And unless we find out what it is, how they intend to pull this off, we won't be able to stop them."
"But McCracken will ..."
"It's what he does, sir."
" ... because he's highly mobile."
"If he uncovers the how, that might be enough."
Jardine tapped his fingers atop the lone copy of Daniels's report. "Given your past dealings with him, what makes you think he'll listen to you?"
"He won't be able to pass up the meeting, sir, for that very reason."
"You'll want to run him yourself, then."
"No one runs Blaine McCracken, sir. But if you mean liase, yes. As I said, the fewer people involved in this, the better."
"He won't trust you, Mr. Daniels."
"That's what I'm counting on, sir. I don't want him to trust me or anyone else totally. It'll be enough if he believes."
Jardine lifted the report from his desk uneasily, as if portions of it were hot. "I'll want to be kept informed of every step," he said finally.
"Of course, sir."
"When you reach McCracken, I'll want to know."
"When the meet is set, I'll want to know."
"I understand, sir."
"And one more thing, Tom. Knock off the sir business. It's Cliff from now on." Jardine tried for a smile and failed. "With the secret the two of us are sharing, we should at least be on a first-name basis."