a short story by Daniel Dunn


July 2nd, 2017  12:07pm EDT | Las Vegas, NV

Doug Westland, a fireman for that Las Vegas  Fire & Rescue Dept. had just carried out his seventh victim from the MGM Grand Hotel, one of two that had just experienced a massive explosion in the main casino. The Bellagio, just up Las Vegas Blvd., was also in distress as there was a bomb that exploded in the casino and another in the central core of the guest room structure. The total death count could not be known yet but experts say it would measure in the thousands. The fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest times in Vegas and it was assumed to be a terrorist strike, simply by nature of multiple, simultaneous events. No group had yet claimed responsibility, but it is believed to be the results of an effort by homegrown, domestic terrorists. Doug sat down on a curb exhausted from the effort, feeling a bit woozy from the smoke he inhaled during his effort. "I knew this was going to happen here someday", he thought to himself, wondering in the back of his mind why it hadn't happened already.


July 2nd, 2017  1:30pm EDT - White House  +1 hour

The White House situation room was busting with activity when President Trump entered with a scowl as he sat down and asked for the details. Secretary of Defense Cal Adams, a veteran of the Viet Nam era, had just pulled a summary off the secure fax from Las Vegas FBI office with what details were available on the bombings. "Sir, this is clearly a terrorist act but we don't yet know who is behind it"   the General reported to the President. "It has to be ISIS, those bastards" Trump said. "We knew Omar Ali Hahibe has been somewhere on the West Coast for a month. How he got in, we don’t know… probably through Mexico. We need to accelerate construction of that wall and need to determine who did this fast... we need to respond, bigly, very bigly. I have to take care of some important business with my son, we'll meet back here in two hours".


July 3rd, 2017  3:35pm EDT | The White House + 3 hours

President Trump entered the oval office and asked that the others be seated. Present on the room were General Joe Votel of the Central Command, Gen. Curt Scaporratti of the European Command Sec. of Homeland Security Joe Apaio, Sec. of Interior Sara Palin and Vice President Corker. "General Votel,
what do you have for us" President Trump asked"… "Well, ISIS has taken responsibility for the
bombings and we've confirmed the information through external sources. "What's the casualty
stats", the President asked. "They don't know yet, they're still dealing with the search and rescue" said
the General. "I saw a Muslim out my back window one time near my house and I thought he was going to shoot my dogs, I scared him off with a broom" Sara chimed in. "Thank you for that valuable input Sara, but we need to focus on the problem at hand". They've said this is just the beginning, Intel says that there are seven top ISIS leaders assembled at Al Mayadin in Syria, just West of the Iraq border. They're either there to celebrate their victory in Las Vegas or plan the next event. I suspect the latter.

"Then we have to hit them and hit them hard, Nuke 'em," President Trump responded. Sir, the location in question is very close the Iranian border. A detonation will spread latent radiation across Northern Iraq and well into Iran's capital, Tehran. Prevailing winds at this moment are from the West and depending on when we launch, affected countries would have to be considered in the equation. Variations in wind could have it affecting Pakistan, and India, possibly Saudi Arabia and even Egypt This could cause serious destabilization and each party's potential response in this situation would also have to be considered and even then, they're guesses at best. Pakistan has Nuclear capability and at this point, despite the Iran deal, we believe they now have limited range Nuclear capability too. "I don't care about that. I'm the most powerful man in the world. I'll deal with that when the time comes.. one thing at a time. Bring the football."


July 4th, 2017  3:01am Doha Time | Somewhere over the Easter Mediterranean +9 hours

Captain Deke Russell signed as he saw the SATCOM unit flash and ding. His B2B Stealth Bomber designation Reach7, had departed Al Udeis Air Base in Qatar five hours ago at the request of Central command with no specific orders other than "Standard Patrol". This was a very uncommon order, in that never in the past had he and three other B2s been ordered airborne at 9:00pm to stay aloft until further notice for a standard patrol. After 14 hours they would need airborne refueling but Captain Russell assumed their patrol mission would be terminated after 8 hours, which was the norm.

It read;

       EEFECTIVE 170704:0500Z TO 170704:0700Z
       PROCEED TO COORDINATES 34.8021° N, 38.9968° E.

"Randy… you're not gonna believe this one. We’ve been tasked to drop a nuke somewhere" Captain Rustle said to his co-pilot. The message did not contain the name of the drop-point and standard orders were not to look it up. The powers at be felt it was better to not have the pilots know the exact drop point, for reasons of conscious that could impede their will to do so. After the fact, it would be know to them and the world. Randy plugged the co-ordinates into the inertial navigation system and the GPS, establishing dual navigational references to the drop point. It showed 55 minutes to
the drop zone.

Device 7117 was a low yield device had a total destruction circumference of approximately four square miles, with a radiation footprint of four times that, depending on the wind direction. Downwind population would suffer latent effects of radiation depending on many variables such as wind, temperature, air pressure, etc.. The device was just about the size of the one dropped on Hiroshima at the conclusion of WWII. They crew followed their orders.


July 4th, 2017  4:09am Doha Time +11 hours

"I can't believe we just did that shit!", Randy said to his Captain. "I know, I'm a bit freaked myself… lets just get home... I'm sure we'll be on the ground for at least a week for quote a while for psych eval" the Captain responded.


July 4th, 2017  3:20am DST - Shahrokhi Air Base, Iran +13 hours

"Asqatat alwilayat almuttahidat faqat qunbulatan nawawiatan ealaa suria" ("The US just dropped a nuclear bomb on Syria"), Supreme Leader Ali Khameni of Iran told his General Hossein Dehghan. "They struck in the middle of the night when people were sleeping. Thousands of Syrians were killed and the radiation is probably crossing our border already. "What should we do?" the General asked. "I know exactly what we should do" the Supreme Leader responded". This is the kind of opportunity we've been waiting for" he continued.. "Contact our operatives in Israel and tell them operation Ayatollah is a go. Make sure you route the message indirectly and very secure. No one can know where it came from" said the Leader.


July 6th, 2014 - Jerusalem, Israel

Kalim Acbar was 25 years old and was of Iranian and Jewish descent, an unusual combination, but his allegiance has always been to the State of Iran where he was raised. Many years ago went to military school in Tehran and trained to be intelligence officer and weapons expert. Over the span of his 6 years living in Jerusalem, he built a decent life as a computer programmer for a local software firm. He often received messages from his trainer in Iran, Amir Ravashan, over the Internet, who kept him up to date on the local events his former home town of Amol. It was a congenial relationship and Kalim had always wondered why he was asked to emigrate to Israel. He was told that it was to learn the ways of the local culture.


July 6th, 2017 - 4:00pm DST

Kalim had just opened his inbox and saw a message from his friend in Iran that simply said "click here". Complying, Kalim was taken to a page that asked him to enter the name of his oldest brother, once done he was them asked to enter the name of the street just East of the one he grew up on. "This is very strange" Kalim thought. "Is this a game of some sort"? After entering the requested information, Kalim was taken to a page that had a single paragraph about allegiance to Iran and how he should always remain loyal to his home country. Lastly,  a box would be arriving that would have something in it for him and to be home between Noon and 6:00pm on July 7th.


July 7th, 2017 - 3:22pm DST

Kalim was watching his favorite game show on TV when a knock came at the door. He put down his bottle of soda and walk over to open the door. He answered and no one was there. Looking down, he noticed a small box. As he picked it up he noticed a young local boy he'd seen around the market dash away. Kali took the box in, setting it on the table and proceeded to open it up. Inside he found three items, a key, what was apparently an airline ticket and a note inside a gray, business sized envelope.  The note instructed Kali to go to a storage locker just outside the city, about 3 miles away and enter the locker with the key provided at 4:00am on July 8th, no sooner, no later and there he will find further instructions. The note instructed him not to tell anyone and that this was a matter of high level Iranian National security.


July 8th, 2017 - 2:54am DST

As Kali arrived at the locker in the Mat Share neighborhood, he noticed the security gate was opened.
Not giving it a second thought, it was the middle of the night, no one was around, and someone must have neglected to close it before going home earlier in the day. He proceeded to find locker number 118 which he found on the West side of the complex facing an open field.

As Kalim turned the key to the lock on the door of the locker, he wondered what could possibly be inside. Raising the sliding door up there was a blue, older Audi vehicle with a cross hanging from the rearview mirror. Hanging from a string in the middle of the locker door entry there was a pair of surgical glove with the note, "Please don these gloves". He did so, stepped inside and lowered the door back down is his original instructions indicated. As he opened the door to the car he noticed a note taped to the steering wheel. Without getting in the car he reached for the note and read;


      We are asking you to contribute to Iranian interests and causes by completing the following instructions;

1. Drive to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Sham'ul Bait St. Enter the public lot and locate a Blue Volkswagen Jetta, plate # 3456-697. Replace it with the car you are driving and drive the Volkswagen to the location in step 2.

 2. Proceed to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel-Aviv, it is an hour drive from you location at that the Medical Center. Use the ticket that came with the first note. Enclosed here is an alternate passport with a different name and your own photo and a work Visa. Please memorize every bit of information on it. You will be asked and if you fail any answer you will be further scrutinized. Take the cell phone on the seat here with you. You should arrive at the airport at 5:30am, giving you time to go through the departure processes.

 3. Your flight departs as indicated at 7:15am and it will take you to the United States. Your purpose for entering is you have a job with Delta Midwest Industries as a programmer. They have the name on your passport at the company, should they check. The hour will be late in the US so they cannot. On arrival in Chicago,  call 312-555-0978 and you will receive more information and assistance in getting settled.

Do not worry about your possessions left in Jerusalem, as there will be a significant sum of money waiting for you to start your new life in the US.

 5. Now comes the most difficult part for me. Know that I am your friend and this next directive is one given to me by people that need your services and that I must obey for the same reasons you do.

Should you decide not to participate, your family here in Iran will pay the price and I will not provide you details regarding that. You will be also be added to a "special list" of people that are considered enemies of the State of Iran. I urge you to act in favor of these instructions.

Your friend always,



July 8th, 2017 - 7:05am DST - Jerusalem

As British Airways Flight 162 to London was climbing out of Tel-Aviv, Kalim  could not help but ponder what he had just done. There was, of course, no doubt in his mind that he had just planted an explosive device at the location he had gone to with the Audi, probably on a timer or remote activator that someone else would trigger at the designated time. He would have never done such a terrible thing, even for his native Iran, but his friend Amir made it pretty clear that both he and his family would probably be executed should he choose not to participate. A long night, he settled in for the five hour flight to London, where he would be connecting to his flight to the US two hours after arrival.


July 8th, 2017 - 12:25pm GMT - Jerusalem

As Kahlim sat in the British Airways well appointed VIP lounge, he appreciated the fact that his friend Amir back in Iran had provided him with a first class ticket and the privileges of the preferred passenger accommodations at Heathrow. As he laid back in the lack easy chair, feet up and head back he feel in and out of a light snooze. Suddenly, the television that had been playing a local English soap opera broke into "We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you a special report". Then came a period of silence and the screen froze, obviously a technical error commonly seen when broadcast signals get re-routed in specials situations. Khalim had a sick feeling in his stomach. He knew what this report would be about. Panic set in and the silence seemed to last minutes, although the reporter returned within about 20 seconds as the screen and sound went live again. The reporter spoke "We and the entire world are in shock as a report of a Nuclear explosion in Israel has occurred. Precise details are not known, but initial reports indicate that it happened somewhere near Jerusalem. Experts have suggested a mishap at a their military's alleged secret Nuclear facility, or as many fear this could be the result of a terrorist attack. We will keep you informed as more details come in. This is Lyse Doucet for BBC World News". The network then resumed the original program

The panic Kahlim felt turned into something greater. He became nauseous and hurried to the Men's nearby restroom to evacuate his stomach. He splashed water on his face repeatedly as he tried to force his mind to process the event that he had just initiated. He had thought that at worst, the conventional bomb he thought he'd planted would hurt some students in the parking lot and perhaps a few random bystanders but not much else. It had briefly occurred to him to him when placed
the package as requested, why such a relatively isolated location was chosen. Terrorists always go for areas of high density population, where here? At the time he was glad about that.


In the subsequent weeks, other major incidents by various newly emboldened terrorist groups whose actions evolved from the mayhem. Oil fields were set ablaze in Iraq and Syria, various countries such as Russia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia were taking strong positions based on how the events affected their respective homelands. Israel was petitioning the UN and the US to launch on Iran. It was  a "who done it" to be sure, between ISIS, some other terrorist group, or Iran. Israel was sure it was Iran because of Iran's publicly stated edict that Israel should not exist. The price of oil skyrocketed to $200 a barrel with the cascading effects causing massive inflation, primarily due to dramatic increase
in transportation costs. The markets fell across the globe affecting the fortunes of all classes of existing wealth. Trade between friends and non-friends became  more and more difficult because of trust issues, with some parties not sure of where some others were on the alliance matrix. Banks stopped making loans and the U.S. dollar sank into oblivion, replaced by an IMF instrument called the SDR (standard depository receipt, basically a new currency), which became the new world currency. Dollars were still used as currency, but greatly diminished in value as measured against the SDR. China sat on the sidelines, strangely silent, preferring to stay out of the matter. The China sea became theirs as
the US and other concerned powers were too busy dealing with more urgent matters at hand. Their economy tanked as well due to heavy investments in U.S. assets.


All of these events transpired because one man, one individual, with a penchant for unmeasured, emotional responses, took an action that turned the world into a chaotic environment of the fear of  "who's next and where" and distrust?