Knockout: USA vs. Militia

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Acclaim for Ian Slater

"As impelling a storyteller as you're likely to encounter."
--CLIVE CUSSLER

WORLD WAR III
"Superior to the Tom Clancy genre . . . and the military aspect far more realistic."
--The Spectator

MacARTHUR MUST DIE
"A most satisfying what-if thriller . . . The plot [is] a full-speed-ahead page-turner. . . . Flashy, fast fun."
--New York Daily News

"Searing suspense . . . [A] rousing, splendidly told adventure."
--Los Angeles Times

"Taughtly written, this novel is loaded with scenes that will have you grasping the book so tightly your knuckles will turn white. . . . The final scene is a climactic hair-raising thriller."
--West Coast Review of Books

SEA GOLD
"A first-rate, crisply told adventure story."
--Toronto Globe and Mail

"Thrilling, fast-paced . . . Sea Gold combines a high sense of adventure with excellent character and story development. . . . An out-and-out winner."
--Hamilton Spectator

"Full of furious action."
--Quill and Quire

AIR GLOW RED
"Provides page-turning thrills that should leave even the steadiest hands shaking."
--The Toronto Star

"One of the top suspense writers in North America. His plots are intelligent, well thought out, and have the eerie specter of reality hanging over them like a rain cloud on the horizon."
--The Hamilton Spectator

"One of the most riveting chase sequences in recent fiction."
--Midland Free Press

FIRESPILL
"In the right place at the right time with the right story."
--MacLean's

"A good, powerful, readable, terrifying, inescapable story."
--Vancouver Sun

"An excellent book . . . There's something for everyone in the plot."
--Canadian Book Review Annual

ORWELL: THE ROAD TO AIRSTRIP ONE
"It is doubtful that any book provides a better foundation for a full understanding of Orwell's unique and troubling vision."
--The Washington Post

"The best introduction I know of to the life and ideas of George Orwell, [written] with insight, intelligence, and imagination."
--PETER STANSKY
Author of From William Morris to Sergeant Pepper: Studies in the Radical Domestic

"Penetrating and illuminating--one of the few treatments of Orwell which is at once completely informed and freshly intelligent."
--ROBERT CONQUEST
Author of Reflections of a Ravaged Century

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449005590
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/27/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Read an Excerpt

THE MAN’S VOICE was calm, measured. “Is this the White House?”

“Yes, sir. How may I direct your call?”

“You’ll do.”

“Sir. How may I direct your call?”

The man shook his head. He was in a phone booth on the I-5 above Seattle, watching the line of traffic branching off toward Anacortes, the terminal for the ferry run to the San Juan Islands off Washington State.

“Sir, how may I direct your call?”

“To the President.”

“Sir, I can’t—”

“Now listen to me. You tell the son of a bitch that he’s to release everyone at Camp Fairchild within twenty-four hours or the USMC is going to blow something up.”

“Sir, could you repeat—”

Of course, NSA—No Such Agency—would now be taping him. He’d have to cut it short. Even so, he wasn’t at all flustered. “The USMC,” he told the receptionist, “is the United States Militia Corps, and that’s twenty-four hours from now.” He hung up and drove over to the mall at Burlington for a coffee and a sugar-soaked Cinabon roll. He prided himself on keeping in shape—everyone in his unit did—but he believed in rewards too, and he had been planning this for a long time, ever since the government inquiry came out with what he considered whitewash hogwash about Waco, saying the Federals had done nothing wrong. Uh-huh, they only used tanks against women and kids before they incinerated them.

Twenty-four hours after the phone call, no one at Fairchild, where the Feds held all the militia who’d run afoul of the law, had been released. They probably thought he was a nut case.

CHAPTER ONE

Everett, Washington State

EVERYONE IN THE crowd of visitors, most of them American, was excited, impatient to start the tour of the Boeing plant. And why shouldn’t they be? Since 1916, Boeing had made the biggest and the best, everything from the Model 40 which had carried the U.S. mail and two passengers—“load permitting”—to the ubiquitous B-52 bomber; the Saturn booster that had launched Armstrong to the moon; the ever popular Air Force One; the International Space Station in ’98; and, for the millennium, the magical tilt-rotor Osprey, which performed either as a standard prop plane or helicopter. And sitting on the test runway, not far from the tour center, was one of the new generation of 737s, the world’s largest digital state-of-the-art completely computer-designed twin jet airliner. A band struck up the national anthem of Thailand amid a cluster of suits, sunglasses, and ribbons as Boeing’s latest effort was ceremoniously handed over to its new owners.

Mel Haley and Pete Rainor had bought tickets for the eleven a.m. tour. It was now ten-fifty and like most of the other tourists, they were biding their time looking at the exhibits in the tour center. Rainor stared at the big grainy black-and-white blowup of the massive Flying Boats Boeing had built just before the Second World War, when airfields were scarce, which quickly changed with the onset of war, dooming the flying palaces. “Every passenger,” Rainor said, “had his own bed. Can you believe it?”

“What—oh, yeah,” Mel said, wondering whether he had enough time to run across the parking lot to the washroom. Rainor had told him there were none on the tour. He heard a woman behind the ticket counter trying to explain to a group of Japanese that no one under four-foot-two or cameras were allowed on the tour. Rainor told Mel he’d better decide about the washroom because the eleven a.m. tour would soon be called to the theater for a ten minute time-lapse film of how a Boeing 737 was constructed. After that they’d board the bus and go to the Everett Building, which would be about another ten minutes. And then they’d go through the long tunnel to the big freight elevator capable of holding an entire busload of tourists at one time.

Rainor’s attention was fixed on a photo of the Flying Boat’s flight deck. “Enormous,” he told Mel, but his companion was preoccupied with his bladder. It was the excitement, he guessed. He’d always wanted to go on a tour of the Boeing factory at Everett. Hell, just the building alone was worth seeing, the largest by volume in the world.

“How many football fields did you say it would hold?” Mel asked, trying to put the washroom out of mind.

“I didn’t,” Rainor said. “You must’ve read it somewhere.”

Mel shrugged. He was more a soccer than a football fan anyway. “I’m gonna ask the guide how many soccer fields it covers.”

“Don’t you ask him anything,” Rainor advised.

Mel nodded. Rainor had a point. It wasn’t that Mel thought Rainor was inherently smarter, but he had done all the homework, and besides, Mel knew he was a relative newcomer. He hailed from the wet west side of the Olympic Peninsula, from down near La Push, where it rained fourteen feet a year. He’d tried to make a living as a fisherman, but had joined the militia because of the Supreme Court ruling that said he couldn’t fish for salmon but the local Mi’kmaq Indians could, and that they could kill whales “for ceremonial reasons,” when anyone else would have been jailed for doing the same thing. It was just like some soft-assed liberal judge in Washington, D.C., to side with the Indians, he thought, because they claimed they were the first inhabitants of North America and had been exploited. Who wasn’t? he wondered. And anyway, he wanted them to bring that guy out from the vault in Oregon—the corpse that anthropologists said had Caucasian features and thereby predated the Indians’ occupancy of the North American continent. But oh no, the Indians had made a big stink, and together with the soft-assed liberals, had made sure the guy was shoved away in a vault.

“ ’Cause,” Mel opined, “if it’s proven the Indians weren’t here first, there goes their claims for being First Nations and all that bullshit. An end to the federal handouts. Then the sons of bitches might have to live like the rest of us.” His favorite No Trespassing sign against the Feds, Indians, and everybody else was one he’d seen on the Oregon side of the Columbia River that said simply: “Keep the Fuck Out!” A free man on his land, unafraid of the government. That’s how it should be, and if you found any goddamn arrowheads on your property, you should throw them in the river before the goddamn government declared your place a midden—“a sacred site”—and sent out some goddamn medicine man to help the Feds expropriate it as a “heritage site.”

Mel didn’t take in much of the time-lapse film on the construction of the 737 because now that the tour—or rather, the introduction to it—had begun, he was getting nervous. There was a sense that there was no turning back. The only thing he remembered about the movie was how fragile the huge jumbo seemed when you saw it not as a finished, solid-looking object, but as an arrangement of so many individual pieces.

When the lights came back on, one of the guides, a snappily dressed young blonde in her early twenties, gave a short spiel about safety in the plant. “You’ll be seeing a lot of signs saying FOD—anyone know what that means? Yes, that’s right, ‘Foreign Objects Debris.’ The planes you’ll see cost millions of dollars to make, and we don’t want anything to get into these planes that shouldn’t be there. You might be flying on one of them someday, and you don’t want anything in there that shouldn’t be there. Right?” Ripple of laughter. “Which is why Boeing doesn’t permit any cameras or bags, etcetera, which might accidentally fall down onto the assembly floor from the viewing level.”

“Yeah, right,” said a paunchy, golf-shirted tourist in shorts sitting next to Rainor. “Wouldn’t be because they don’t want you taking photos, would it? Trade secrets?”

Pete smiled but said nothing. Now the pert blonde was dividing the theater audience of a hundred into two busloads according to the color of their tickets. “Mind your step, and when you return, remember the gift shop near the entrance to the parking area.”

“I’m gonna get a bunch of ’em Boeing pens with the reading light at the tip,” said a teenage boy next to Mel. “They’re cool, man.”

“You be frugal,” his mother said. “Got a ways to go yet.”

“What’s frugal mean?”

“It means,” the golf shirt said, “be careful. Don’t blow it all at once.”

“Don’t look at him,” Rainor hissed at Mel. “Anonymous, remember. Stay focused.”

“Watch your step, sir,” the driver advised Rainor, who, following his own advice, kept his head down, looking at the step stool, not at the driver. Mel followed suit.

A middle-aged man took over as guide on the ten minute drive past security toward the Everett plant’s main factory building. “. . . immense structure covers 98.3 acres . . . seventy-five football fields and 911 basketball courts, 2.33 miles of pedestrian tunnels. Now, when we alight from the bus we’ll descend a flight of stairs then turn left into one of these tunnels. It’s one-third of a mile long, or half a kilometer for some of you folks. Please keep to your right because other tour groups’ll be coming out on your left. And don’t be surprised if you see some strange characters in this tunnel—they’re joggers. Boeing encourages its workers to stay fit—by the way, women earn the same pay as the men here.” There was a smatter of applause. “And the tunnels are an ideal workout for joggers—particularly up here in the Northwest where, as you might have heard, it rains a little in the winter. Just stay well to the side of the tunnel, otherwise these joggers’ll run right over you. Last year we lost about six tourists that way . . . no, just kidding, folks.”

A sarcastic “Ha! Ha!” came from the frugal kid.

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