DRAGON'S FURY - BREATH OF FIRE
OFFICIAL WEB SITE


FIRST FREE EXCERPT

Presidential Elections 2004 - From Chapter One


November 3, 2004, 10:00 local

Politburo

Beijing, China

 

The figure seated at the head of the table had not moved for the better part of an hour. The only detectable motion came from the flickering lights cast by the two-dozen television monitors on the wall on the opposite side of the room as they danced across his features. President Jien Zenim still personified the “new” China of his creation. Having risen through the ranks, having been the “mayor” of the Capital, having beguiled and wooed the West with the promise of wealth and influence, it was as if he had been born to rule. As a result, Jien Zenim was long used to wealth and power, and he was in possession of both right now.

 

He whispered a few words into the microphone attached to the tiny headset he wore, and there was discernible motion in the darkness along the side of the great conference room. A few seconds later, a navy-blue suited aide appeared by the Chairman’s side.

 

“Tea.”-Said Jien Zenim.

 

The aide rushed away and moments later the rustle of curtains was heard as the aide returned with a cup of tea. President Jien’s preference was Earl Grey tea over the local fare; a taste acquired while attending Oxford years ago. Only his most trusted advisors knew of the secret “passions” the President had for things from the West. Earl Grey tea was not the only one.

 

On the screens, all of the major U.S. networks were covering the same story. It was always like that on Presidential election night. But this time, the East Coast voting booths would close in an hour, and results would not start coming in until four hours later. The timeworn tradition of exit polling had been one of the casualties of the 2000 Presidential election. As a result, the media was directed by law to only report the official State Board of Elections results. Those results would not be released until after the last precinct shut down in the West. The pundits on the screens sat and made empty talk while doing a re-hash of the two major contender’s campaigns.

 

A soft, electronic chime drew the President’s attention to the arm of the soft, custom-made Natuzzi chair. He pressed a button and spoke into the microphone with flawless English.

 

“Good evening, David - how are Jennie and the kids?”

 

“Fine, Jien! Everyone’s great. And your family?”- the voice on the other end of the line was perhaps one of the best known and trusted voices in America. It was a voice millions heard nightly coming from their televisions, a face they associated with every major news story reported for the last two decades. Some called him “The Conscience of America” for his rousing and thought provoking commentaries.

 

“Fine, David, thanks for asking. So, do you have money on the Packers again this year, or are you finally getting smart?”

 

The two men laughed.

 

“No, Mr. President. As you know, I’ve decided to back a winner for a change.”

 

Jien Zenim’s face registered a hint of repugnance. There were few things he detested quite as much as a traitor; but, they certainly had their uses. And the higher placed the better for Jien’s needs. If you promised them money, they take it in the belief that it will make them more powerful in the “new” world, and help them maintain a certain lifestyle. They never realized that money would mean very little in the wake of “The Time of the Three Wisdoms”, at least not for them. They could not fathom that in the one world to come, only power mattered; and that the power of the largest army in the history of the world was Jien’s to command, and all of their money would bow to that power.

 

“The Time of the Three Wisdoms” was the campaign Jien had designed many years ago to prepare the Chinese people for the coming conflict. It consisted of:

 

1. “All men and women are equal.”

2. “All share equally in the bounty of a working and industrious society.”

3. “One goal, one thought, one people for World peace.”

 

He couldn’t believe that these methods still worked. Even after all these years, the “Chairman Mao” method of propaganda was still the best way to manipulate the “people” into action, even if the message had changed somewhat. That Mao’s propaganda had been so effective in manipulating the masses to the near bankruptcy that the People’s Republic had experienced was a testament to the success of those methods … but not as great a testament as the near bankruptcy had been to the failed Maoist economic policies themselves. That’s why the message had to change, and that’s where Jien had been able to change things … and he wasn’t finished yet, not nearly so. As the Americans might say, “he was only just beginning.”

 

He spoke again.

 

“So, David, what do you hear?”

 

“Jien, it looks like our projections were right on the money, so to speak. In a few hours we are going to be calling it for the old man, and by a wide margin. Unlike the last election, this one left no doubt about the winner. The General got almost three votes to every one of hers … it’s a landslide. The Right is in ecstasy over the victory. After the surprising announcement by President Bush that he would not seek re-election, they are calling General Weisskopf’s entire campaign a “Phoenix-like” come back from the brink of disaster.”

 

Jien mused on this. After that Presidential announcement by Bush late last spring, the television pundits played nightly dirges for the GOP, and the written media hinted at scandals and vices as possible reasons for the decision. In fact, Jien’s deepest moles had a part in the misinformation that contributed to the sitting American President not running for a second term. On the heels of this, they had all quietly laughed at the old General of Desert Storm fame when he announced he would be coming out of retirement to run for the Presidency so late in the race. They were not laughing now.

 

It was an unexpected complication for Jien, and he was not pleased. He never was when things didn’t go as planned. It had reminded him of his displeasure and unease when bin Laden had prematurely attacked America in 2001. Like then, through the last summer, Jien had experienced growing concern and anxiety as the General gained support, and the Right rallied around him like moths to a flame.

 

In the past, it had never really made any difference to him who actually won the American election because, as far as he was concerned, all of them were weak … though Bush had surprised him with his successful prosecution of the “War on terror”. Actually, that had also relieved him, because it allowed him to further develop and prepare the greater plan. But this man, Weisskopf, he was something else again. He commanded the great respect of the American troops. And so now there was going to be a real Warrior in the White House when the plan which had been set in motion so many years ago, entered into its final stages.

 

“Mr. President, we believe that the incident with his opponent’s husband won the election for the General. I know that the Senator probably wished her husband had been struck dumb when he made that insulting remark about the General’s age. We really believe that the General’s response to that was the key. The last thing any one of us expected was for old Weisskopf to challenge him, over an open microphone to a wrestling match, “I’ll take your sorry butt on anytime you’re game” will go down in history as the most effective campaign challenge of all times. When you add to this his selection of the first African-American as a VP candidate, Alan Reeves … well it turned into quite the coup.”

 

Jien could not stomach any more of this at the moment, so he politely ended the conversation by saying,

 

“Well, David, I have a meeting to prepare for. Thanks for the call. As always, your views, advice and information are most helpful. Say hello to Jennie for me. And happy Thanksgiving if we don’t get to talk before then. Tell her I miss her oysters and wild rice stuffing.”

 

Jien Zenim had visited the United States on many occasions after the 1978 recognition of the PRC by the Carter administration. Some of those visits had helped set the stage for the unbelievable influence the People’s Republic had developed in Washington DC during the 1990’s. During one of those trips, he had been a Thanksgiving Day guest of David’s. It was then that Jien acquired another of his western “passions”: American cooking. Thanksgiving day, the Chairman would have his chefs prepare a turkey dinner with full trimmings, including Jennie’s famed oysters and wild rice stuffing.

 

“I will pass the compliment on Mr. President. Thank you again, and goodbye.” -the line went dead.

 

Jien stared at the television screens for a few more seconds and then spoke to those sitting in the darkness.

 

“Gentlemen, what are your impressions about the new President?”

 

The room lights came on behind the President, and illuminated twenty men seated around the great conference table. Some were wearing western-style suits, the rest military uniforms. A surprising number were relatively young and in their early to mid-fifties. One by one, they spoke into their headset microphones or read from prepared reports.

 

“His experience in foreign affairs appears relatively light as he handled strictly the military operations of Desert Storm while the head of their Joint Chiefs and the former President’s father handled the foreign affairs and cemented their coalition. We believe his statements regarding his intentions with the American’s relationship with us are principally geared at solidifying his conservative base. It is unlikely that the American congress and business community will allow him to go too far at this time. Remember, in 2001 with the EP-3 incident, the efforts to develop and maintain any kind of boycott or more severe trade policies against us were just so much chaff in the wind. They have no stomach for it. ”

 

“As to his health, for a man of 70 years he is in remarkably good health. He still carries out an exercise regimen each day and appears very alert…”

 

Chairman Jien stood up abruptly and turned to face the members of the politburo over whom he presided, many handpicked from among his most trusted and committed allies. His face remained impassive, but there was a deadly look in his eyes. Some members of the politburo shrank back into their seats preparing themselves for one of the Chairman’s infrequent flares of temper.

 

“You tell me no more than what I can see for myself on WNN!! I want more! Find leverage, find influence which we can use on this American General. He may potentially be an adversary of great virtue and strength, but we shall see if we cannot “convince” him to recognize the inevitability of what is coming.”

 

“So, our plans go forward. Our official economic alliance with India will be announced in April, and this will certainly give his new administration something to think about. In the meantime, please arrange an official conversation between myself and the new American president as soon after his inauguration as possible.”



ORDER BREATH OF FIRE TODAY!

Back to DRAGON'S FURY - BREATH OF FIRE Home Page