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LONE STAR RISING Copyright Š 2017 Kurt Winans All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher. This book is a work off fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published by Open Window an imprint of BHC Press Library of Congress Control Number: 2017945140 ISBN-13: 978-1-946848-38-3 ISBN-10: 1-946848-38-7 Visit the author at: www.bhcpress.com


ALSO BY KURT WINANS TO THE REPUBLIC Fractured Nation (Book One)

THE NEW WORLD Pilgrimage (Book One)

Second Moon (Book Two)

Evolution Shift (Book Three)

TRAVEL BOOKS College Football’s American Road Trip


chapter one

NEW YEAR'S MORNING

P

resident Jordan Harwell had briefly taken part in the obligatory New Year’s Eve celebration at the White House with family members and a few close friends, but he needed to paste a false smile on his face while doing so. The attempt to showcase his more relaxed and festive side for those around him was a nice gesture, even if it lacked sincerity. Most within the room understood that the heavy weight on the Presidents heart and mind exceeded what any of his predecessors may have experienced during the first thirty minutes of a new calendar year. A somber mood was justifiably in order for the man, but was in no way a reflection upon the actions of those currently in his presence. Instead the focus of his troublesome state was centered on an event that would take place very shortly, and there was nothing that he, or anyone else, could do to stop it. After being gently reminded by a staff member when the time reached twelve thirty, President Harwell excused himself from the State Dining Room and made his way toward the oval office. Faithful as always, his longtime personal secretary Mrs. Dawson was waiting 9


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for him in the outer office. In spite of the late hour, she had insisted on being present to assist in any way possible when the hour of inconceivable change would occur, and neither the President nor his Chief of Staff Christopher Westin could change her mind. At that same instant, the countdown of minutes as opposed to hours, days, months or years of waiting for 2027 neared its completion within the Tillman mansion and the surrounding grounds. That grand party to usher in the new Republic of Texas was in full swing, but before Samuel Tillman could relax and revel in the current moment, he had first addressed the pressing business of the night. During a conversation a few hours earlier with two of his guests, numbers three and seven, Samuel had been assured that the necessary personnel were in route from the various staging areas to what would become their duty stations. In anticipation of what an easily predictable President Harwell and his Washington D.C. brain trust would attempt during the transitional moment of midnight central standard time, Texas would be prepared with a counter move. Having moved into the oval office with Mrs. Dawson mere strides behind, President Harwell was soon joined by Christopher Westin and the Director of Homeland Security. When the latter of the two arrived at twelve fifty, the President asked, “Is everything ready to go Director?” “Yes Mr. President. I should receive a call of verification within five minutes after midnight in Texas.” Via the global media, the internet, or by the time honored traditional form of face to face human communication, the separation of Texas was not even close to being secretive information. Therefore a simple plan was developed in Washington D.C., and if Texas really wanted to go through with their declaration of independence from the United States, then they would begin by dealing with a potentially huge challenge in the very first moments of their existence as a new Republic. By decree from President Harwell, as delivered through the Director currently in the oval office with him, all personnel from the 10


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United States Customs and Border Patrol were to abandon their posts along the various crossing points of the Rio Grande River that defined the border between Mexico and the United States. It was believed that with no authoritative presence along the border to halt it, a flood of illegal immigrants would enter Texas during the upcoming hours and days before the new government could respond to the action. Any problems that might develop as a result of that supposed onslaught were of no concern to the United States. On paper the plan seemed like a good idea, and those in Washington felt that they could catch Texas napping while in a celebratory mood. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. With the necessary funding to thwart such a plan having been assured weeks before from Samuel and number three, the commanding general of the Texas National Guard had his subordinate officers move superior numbers of troops to within fifty yards of all the established border crossings. In a choreographed maneuver from Brownsville and McAllen at the southern tip, to Laredo, Eagle Pass, and Del Rio further to the northwest, the troops arrived at said positions less than five minutes before midnight. Much further to the west, beyond the region of Big Bend National Park, the same was true at the more remote crossing in Presidio. The only portion of the state where the troops wouldn’t achieve that last minute element of surprise would be in the extreme western tip near El Paso, as the synchronized arrival would be early. With that small chunk of Texas being within the Mountain Time zone, the first of what was hoped would be many treaties between the Republic of Texas and the United States had been agreed upon. The terms of that quickly drawn up treaty stated that no portion of Texas would separate from the United States until the year of 2027 began, so the transition wouldn’t take place for another hour. Nevertheless, the troops in that region would be ready to assume their new posts when the time came. There were no illusions within the ranks of stopping those who would use desolate locations for illegal entry throughout the coming hours and days, but then again, it wasn’t a major concern. In that 11


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regard, the border patrol agents in the process of abandoning their posts hadn’t always been effective either. No, the point of this maneuver was larger in scope. Texas wanted to show the United States that it was prepared to defend her borders, southern or otherwise. As the clock struck midnight and the male and female border agents moved away from their posts, superior numbers took their place. Then when the time reached five minutes after one in the oval office, the Director of Homeland Security received the first of many calls. What he heard was not good news, and he braced himself before delivering it to President Harwell. After turning toward his boss, he said, “Sir, I’m afraid the results are not as we would have hoped.” “What do you mean Director?” “They must have seen our plan coming, because Texas National Guard troops were ready to step into position as our agents abandoned their posts.” “What? Did they do that at all of the crossings?” “I have no confirmation of that yet sir, but it would seem logical that if Texas was prepared for our plan at one crossing, then they were prepared at all the others as well.” At the Tillman mansion north of Crockett Texas, the commanding general of the Texas National Guard was in the quietest place he could find. With use of the latest burn phone given to him by number twenty-three, he dialed the number for the officer in charge of the Brownsville crossing. After hearing the good news from him and conferring with several officers at each of the other locations, he rejoined the party to locate Samuel. Then he said, “You were right number two. Harwell had the Customs and Border Patrol agents abandon their posts. It’s a good thing that we were ready for that.” Looking at his old friend with a wry smile, he replied, “Well, up to this point Harwell has been predictable with his actions, but things may not be as easy in the future. Now is everything secure?” “Yes it is. None of my officers reported having any trouble with the outgoing agents, and we have successfully assumed control of all 12


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border crossings with the exception of those near El Paso. If the events of a short time ago are any indication, we will have those secured as well in less than an hour.” “That’s good news. As usual, you have done exceptionally well number seven. I don’t know how the organization would have been able to accomplish some of our objectives throughout the past year without your efforts.” “That’s kind of you to say number two.” “Not at all number seven, you deserve thanks. Now please let me refill your glass so that you can rejoin the celebration.”

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chapter two

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

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wenty minutes earlier, but seven time zones to the east from Washington D.C. and those present within the oval office, the first sunrise of 2027 had already occurred. Having completed his customary breakfast and the morning briefing with those officers of his senior staff, Rear Admiral Anthony Rutherford stood at zero seven forty-five hours and stated, “Alright gentlemen, thank you for the excellent work while preparing your respective departments for the upcoming mission. Now everyone report to their duty stations, and let’s begin the New Year with extra sharp focus. Our country is counting on us, along with other factions of our military forces, to deliver the most powerful of messages.” As the various department heads stood and snapped to attention, one of them stated loudly, “This is for Annapolis admiral. We won’t let you down.” “Thank you commander. I feel the same way, and I want everyone here to rest assured that I have complete confidence in each of you. Now all of you with the exception of Captain Wilkes are dismissed.” 14


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Throughout the previous several days, a force of twenty United States naval vessels including both surface ships and perimeter patrolling submarines had made their way from previous duty stations within the Atlantic Ocean toward the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Now located in a highly unstable region roughly fifty nautical miles southeast of the Cyprus port city of Limassol, each vessel remained on high alert status. Although the long standing allied forces of the United Kingdom could provide emergency assistance from two military bases on Cyprus, it was doubtful that if hostile action from a nearby Middle Eastern faction was taken that such aid would make much of a difference. In spite of good intentions by the British, and those of mostly non-effective NATO forces, the reality of the moment was that the protection of the fourth fleet while in such hostile waters would fall squarely upon the shoulders of the fourth fleet. Adding a level of difficulty to their tenuous safety was a complete inability to remain undetected, as regardless of the armada’s attempts to be stealthy in their repositioning, there were two hugely significant factors working against them. First was the overall size of the task force, as the ships were much larger than a simple flotilla of rowboats. Unfortunately that made them easily visible from a distance of several miles in clear conditions. Second were the various advancements within the satellite and information technology sectors which had occurred throughout the previous half century, as those sources of intelligence could be readily accessed as a means for locating the fleet even during the absolute worst of atmospheric conditions. The result of those combined factors was that virtually every friend or foe of the United States who was paying attention knew that the American navy had increased their military presence within the region. Therefore all that remained as any level of mystery on this first day of the New Year was two-fold. What were the intentions of the repositioned vessels? And once that had been determined, could anything be done to alter that intent? Aboard the massive aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, which had been named in honor of the United States forty-first Presi15


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dent, thousands of officers and enlisted personnel waited impatiently at their various duty stations for the appropriate time to finally arrive. As the commander of the multi-ship task force which surrounded the last of the Nimitz class supercarriers to be commissioned, Rear Admiral Rutherford strode confidently through a bulkhead hatch and heard, “Attention on deck, admiral on the bridge.” With all of the men and women snapped to attention, he glanced around the bridge for a few seconds before stating, “Stand at ease, and return to your duty stations.” Throughout the next several minutes the stern yet fair admiral viewed the actions of his bridge personnel, and understood their collective desire to get on with the task before them. Although he shared their passion in the need to punish those who had viciously attacked America less than two months prior, the admiral sat calmly in his chair while demonstrating a restraint which was required for the moment. As a third generation career naval officer who like his father and grandfather had graduated from Annapolis, Tony Rutherford had spent many years following the orders of his superiors. The current situation would be no different, as he hadn’t earned the two stars on his shoulder boards by playing the role of a rogue officer. Rear Admiral Rutherford had always preached that there would be no room within his vast command for sailors or marines to run amuck, as they would all adhere to navy regulations and the chain of command if they wished to advance in responsibility and rank. Accordingly, in spite of his personal desire to have the Syrians punished without delay, the admiral needed to set an example for his subordinates by continuing to oversee all task force operations by the book. In this particular instance, that meant waiting just a few more minutes before he would give the order to unleash a powerful assault on various targets within Syria. Glancing at his old wristwatch to see that the moment was nearly at hand, Tony Rutherford flashed back for added motivation to happy memories that involved his younger sister Maria and her only 16


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daughter. Years before Maria had given him the wristwatch upon his promotion to Lieutenant Commander, and when he began to wear it again in her honor some seven weeks prior to the current date, he made a solemn vow. His promise to her memory was that he would wear no other timepiece until she had been properly avenged. Maria, along with her husband and their daughter, had been killed on Saturday the fourteenth of November during the terrorist attack upon Annapolis. That well-orchestrated act of violence had taken the parents by way of grenade and concrete fragments, while their daughter Heather had been mowed down by automatic weapon fire along with many of her fellow Annapolis Midshipmen. What cut at Tony Rutherford’s heart the most beyond the loss of his three family members was that his niece Heather was just beginning what would have been a promising career and life. At the time of her murder Heather was a mere six months away from becoming a fourth generation graduate of Annapolis within the family tree, and her uncle Tony could not have been more proud of her even if she were his own daughter. The admiral’s focus upon the moment at hand was then re-established when a young junior officer arrived from the nearby communications center and called out, “Begging the admirals pardon sir, but we have just received a coded message.” Swiveling his command chair in the direction of the announcement, Admiral Rutherford replied, “Thank you ensign, bring it here please.” “Sir. Yes sir.” After reaching for the dispatch and then visually scanning the content, the admiral checked his wristwatch again to see that is was now zero eight hundred hours. After a quick glance and accompanying nod in the direction of Captain Wilkes, Admiral Rutherford said loudly to the entire bridge crew, “The time is now upon us, and we have received our go code from the President via the situation room. I say again, the go code for the mission has been transmitted and received.” 17


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As the commanding officer of the carrier itself, Captain Wilkes then moved forward a stride from his nearby position and asked, “Your orders admiral?” “Order the entire task force to raise the new colors immediately by directive from the President, and inform them that we are commencing with flight and attack operations.”

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chapter three

SEVEN SQUARED

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or the first time since 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii had become the most recent additions to the united collective of states, a need arose to design and unveil an updated version of the American flag for the nation’s citizens and the remainder of the world. Now in spite of his deepest personal desire to avoid the circumstances which would facilitate such an act, President Jordan Harwell had been pushed into a corner that neither he nor most of the world’s population could have expected during his administration. With no alternative option to explore at the present time, he had been forced to put forth a Presidential decree calling for Congress to approve a replacement for the outdated fifty-star symbol of the United States without undue delay. Throughout the quickly moved upon process there was never the slightest discussion to alter the flags seven stripes of red and six stripes of white, as those horizontal runners would continue to represent the nations original thirteen colonies. However the arrangement of white 19


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stars within the blue upper left hand corner of the emblem would need to be altered. Although several design options for the new flag were brought forth, only a handful of the concepts were seriously considered. Two such possibilities were to simply remove one of the stars within the current field, as doing so would leave the required forty-nine in place. Those variations would position a vacant space in either the bottom right corner of the field, or as near to the center as possible. Ultimately those designs were dismissed from consideration, as each option left a glaring hole in the star field which would amplify a perception to the world that one state had weakened the country by breaking off from the others. A separate design called for a simple flip of how the horizontal rows of stars would be presented. Instead of alternating five rows of six with four rows of five to attain a total of fifty, there would be five rows of five and four rows of six to reach forty-nine. Such a design would present a cleaner look without a glaring hole in the pattern, and to most casual observers, the flag would appear to be nearly the same as the outdated version. Of the three designs that would surely be the best option, but there was a fourth design which presented an intriguing possibility to explore. If the blue portion of the flag were to be stretched vertically to impede upon the fourth white stripe from the top, then a completely different star pattern could be employed. By incorporating the area of an eighth horizontal stripe the blue field would become nearly square in shape, and as a result, seven rows of seven stars could be placed upon it to present a strong symmetrical look. The design containing prime numbered rows of stars was visually appealing to the eye, while also showing the world that the United States was capable of embracing change to her structure with some level of dignity. Upon realizing that there was a need to expedite the process, a call for an online vote of Congress during their holiday recess was proposed by the President. Then by way of a vast majority, the members approved both the design proposal and budget allocation for mass production of the flag with haste. 20


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Upon hearing the news, President Harwell then further decreed that at the moment which coincided with the birth of 2027 in the central time zone the new flag would be raised and flown over every government building or facility throughout the forty-nine states without exception. Such a move would also include every United States embassy, the active military bases, or vessels of any kind throughout the remainder of the globe, and a posture of duty toward their parent nation would compel those responsible for the transition to act with expedience. Following the mandated decree, Admiral Rutherford had ordered that all ships and submarines of the task force under his immediate command would raise the new flag at the precisely stated moment. It was further expected and understood that all public buildings and schools within the United States or her territories would follow suit in short order. However with their respective closures based on the New Year’s Day holiday having fallen on a Friday, there was a belief and general forgiveness that the majority of those locations would not implement the change until perhaps as late as Monday January fourth. Then from a civilian standpoint what members of the general population did with flags at their respective dwellings remained, as had always been the case, their own personal business. 21


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In spite of that sometimes forgotten basic personal right to freedom of expression, Jordan Harwell hoped that those who still believed in the future of the country and its solidarity would also fly the new flag at their earliest convenience. The notable exception to those actions of the night and coming days would be that of any representative facility of the United States located within the former state of Texas. In their case, which included everything from internal revenue offices to veteran’s administration buildings or field offices of initialed federal agencies such as the DEA or FBI, the old flag would be lowered without replacement. Because a large portion of those aforementioned complexes which did not adhere to a twenty-four hour duty clock had been vacated at the close of business on Thursday December thirty-first, their respective flag poles stood without a symbol for several hours before the time of transition. That was in stark opposition to those such as the border patrol stations who had remained on post until the final moment of 2026, as each location to fall within that category had lowered their flag only when their duty on Texas soil was no longer called for. As to active military bases within Texas, their flags remained defiantly in place. The United States government hoped that they would be allowed to maintain those operational bases in similar fashion to others located on foreign soil throughout the globe, but that course of action, which could be considered by some to be a fantasy, had yet to be determined. Texas of course maintained a different viewpoint to that position, and now that they had officially become an independent republic with the hour at hand, the matter would become a major discussion topic with regard to various treaties between the neighboring countries. Upon the roof of the White House in Washington D.C., four members of the United States Marine Corps had fulfilled the requirements of their duty at precisely one o’clock in the morning under the watchful eye of their commanding officer. After one pair of enlisted personnel handled the movements of lowering the old flag and unclip22


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ping it from the lanyard for precise and respectful folding, the second pair then stepped in and quickly raised the new symbol of America over the residence of the nation’s elected leader. Those actions of changing out a tattered old glory upon the rooftop with a pristine replacement had been done on countless occasions throughout the years to be sure, but on this particular occasion, the ceremony was also recorded on film for history’s sake. As a marine detachment of several men and women moved through the entirety of the White House to swap out the old flags for new, the President had most justifiably become preoccupied with thoughts of a different magnitude. He was faced with the proceedings which were taking place along the former border between the United States and Mexico, as well as the verbal report from his Director of Homeland Security which had brought them to bear. Additionally, President Harwell had put forth an order to initiate a naval and aerial bombardment from the eastern Mediterranean upon Syria. He was fully aware that perhaps several hours would pass before any reports as to the level of success or failure of that large scale operation would reach him, but that didn’t relieve him of the concern which he felt over how the events would unfold. Based on the imposed weight of all that swirled about within his mind, the President had completely forgotten about his decree and that a detail of marines were due to arrive in his office within minutes. Then as if on cue, a young marine officer entered the oval without being officially announced, snapped to attention, and said, “Excuse me Mr. President, but I have a detail here to change out your personal flag sir.” Startled by the young man who had abruptly come through the door, and while also momentarily lacking complete comprehension of the intended message, President Harwell turned toward the uniformed officer and looked him over. Then he sternly replied, “Lieutenant, what are you doing in the oval office without an escorted 23


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announcement by a member of my staff? We are very busy and you shouldn’t interrupt us.” “Yes sir Mr. President, and please pardon me for the interruption. But per your direct orders sir, my men and I are here to change out your flag.” “Change out my flag?” “Yes sir.” The room fell silent as President Harwell seemed to be confused while contemplating not only the action, but why it should be carried out at such an inopportune moment. Then when clarity of his decree suddenly returned to him, the President stood and faced the flag located behind his desk. All others within the room followed his lead, and only then did he reply with, “Certainly lieutenant. Please proceed with your duty, and provide the old flag with all the necessary respect that is accorded.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kurt possesses a spirit of adventure, which drives his thirst for experiencing new places and activities. He maintains a love for the great outdoors, and enjoys traveling whenever his schedule permits. One of his favorite activities is hiking in the clean mountain air, where the tranquil locations provide him with an opportunity to develop characters and storylines for his books. Kurt currently resides in Northern Nevada, where he and his wife have lived for more than a decade.


Profile for BHC Press

Lone Star Rising by Kurt Winans (To The Republic # 2)  

Imprint: BHC Press/Open Window Genre: Political Thriller Release Date: 7/17/2017 Book Description: As a nation divides, a new threat surface...

Lone Star Rising by Kurt Winans (To The Republic # 2)  

Imprint: BHC Press/Open Window Genre: Political Thriller Release Date: 7/17/2017 Book Description: As a nation divides, a new threat surface...

Profile for bhcpress

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