STRATAGEM Chapter 32

STRATAGEM by Joshua Graham THIRTY-TWO PREVIOUS CHAPTER   THE MORNING OF THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON, DC   PRIMARY STOOD ALONE in the situation room surrounded by a fleet of television screens on the wall and multiple computer monitors below them. Inhabiting the body of President Mercer felt more and more natural, though the neuropathway latency […]

read more


STRATAGEM by Joshua Graham

“ARE YOU SURE?” Derek said, staring down to the clearing at the foot of the hill, a void between the surrounding trees in the middle of nowhere. Mom’s claim of an entrance to the safe house down there seemed completely ridiculous. A cool breeze rushed through the branches and the moon took shelter behind the clouds. It served only to obscure that space more.

“I need to check.” Gun ready and pointed, Mom made her way down the hill again. “Find some cover nearby and stay out of sight until I come back.”

“Wait, what?” Derek followed with Paige and Hulk in tow. “You’re not serious?”

Too focused to notice, Mom continued down the path until she stopped at a tree, reached behind it, and made something click. That’s when she noticed them standing behind her. She glanced over to the open panel in the tree trunk. “Good. Doesn’t look like anyone’s actually gotten through.”

“No clue, Mom.”

The ground opened up next to her feet like a miniature nuclear silo. It was the cold breeze blowing into his face that alerted him to his jaw hanging open. “Are you kidding me? This is something out of a sci-fi movie.”

“Says the fiction writer,” Mom said, climbing down the ladder inside the hatch.

“You see? Now that doesn’t make any—”

“Come on, Paige,” she said, gesturing with her hands to come down the ladder with her. “Derek, carry Hulk as you come down next.”

“Carry Hulk?” He looked down to see the chonky beast staring down the entrance, tail whipping about. “How am I supposed to do that?”

“Under your arm, like a football.” Her face vanished.

read more


STRATAGEM by Joshua Graham PREVIOUS CHAPTER THIRTY   ONE DAY EARLIER THE OVAL OFFICE THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON DC   FACES. STRANGE AND LIMITED. With only two eyes, smooth skin with some facial hair, human cases looked peculiar, despite their somewhat logical design. Primary sat at the desk considering each of them in the different […]

read more

STRATAGEM Chapter 29

“HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM,” one of the two armed men in security uniforms said.

Blake complied without resistance.

“If this is your idea of cashing in on a favor,” Sabine said to Blake, putting her hands up and behind her head, “Don’t do me any.”

“Don’t worry,” he said, his voice strangely calm. “Everything will be okay.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Quiet!” the second guard said. He pointed his shotgun toward the path ahead. “Now walk. Not another word.”

They followed a trail through the woods for about seven or eight minutes and came to a wide-open space. From the paved runway and the small tower with a 360-degree panoramic view at the top, Sabine could instantly tell.

“An airfield?”

“Exactly where we’re supposed to be,” Blake whispered. “I’ll do the talking, okay?”

She nodded.

A rude nudge between her shoulder blades alerted her.

“Keep moving,” the guard said, urging her and Blake toward the control tower and adjoining building in the distance.

She remained silent for the rest of the way. Not so bad compared to the stiffness in her shoulders from keeping her hands on her head. Blake seemed to know what he was doing, but it took more to trust him now than when he was guiding a shuttle through atmospheric re-entry and nailing the landing.

After about five minutes, they arrived at the edge of the tarmac, then walked about fifty meters to the control tower entrance. One of the guards opened the door, held it open with his foot, and kept his weapon trained.

“Go,” the other guard said.

Inside, the dark corridor concealed the figure of the person who stepped out of the shadows and into the dimly lit foyer. His grizzled mug and oily hair testified to his hygiene—or lack thereof. Sabine had sensed presence well before he’d come in view.

The man lowered his glasses and peered over its rim at Blake.

read more

STRATAGEM Chapter 28

BLAKE STRUCK AN ADJACENT PARKED CAR as he pulled out of the carport. He spun the steering wheel, let out a pained grunt.

That was when Sabine saw the blood. “You’ve been hit!”

“It just grazed me,” Blake said and raced out of the parking lot, wheels screeching.

The Camry lurched, throwing her shoulder into the passenger side window.

Another set of gunshots rang out behind them.

A loud metallic pop rapped against the trunk.

Sabine winced and ducked.

Once Blake turned the car onto the open street, he sped off pushing the speedometer past 60 MPH. “Are they following us?”

Sabine looked back.

Nothing but the empty street, overhead lamps casting an amber mist over the entire area. “I don’t see anyone. We’ve got a  decent lead.”

Blake’s window opened. “Pass me my laptop bag?”

“What?” She reached over the put its carrying strap in his free hand, which also held his phone.

Without hesitation, he took it and tossed it and the phone out the window.

“Wait—what are you doing?” Sabine said, turning her head to watch the bag and phone fall flat on the asphalt like roadkill.

He held out his hand. “Phone, electronics?”

She shook her head. “I wasn’t expecting a prison break.”

“Good. Can’t have anything electronic on us. They’ll use it to track us.”

“I can’t believe they’d shoot at us—they’re just base security.”

“Not necessarily.”

Sabine gave him an incredulous look. “Them too?”

“We have to assume they’re like Lucy and Jon.”

“At the very least, they’re under their orders.” Blake turned away from the freeway ramp and drove toward a residential neighborhood.

Sabine pointed back. “You missed the freeway entrance.”

read more

next postsprevious posts