The President looked away from the screen as a half dozen Secret Service agents burst into the war room and slammed the door shut behind him.

“We have a situation Mr. President,” one of them announced.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Sir,” one of his aides said trying to get his attention. “We need-”

“Perimeter breach,” one of the agents said.

“Where is-”

“Sir!” the aide screamed. “We need your authorization!”

The President swung around angrily to face the aide.

“Sir, F16s are on station.”

The President looked up at the black and white image displayed on the screen at the end of the room. It showed a tractor trailer stopped in the middle of a highway. White thermal images surrounded the truck and a bright glow came from the rear doors. Apparently someone was trying to burn their way inside with a blow torch.

“Do it,” the President ordered. “Now someone tell me why we are on lockdown?”

An officer sitting at the other end of the table wearing a blue Air Force uniform picked up a phone and relayed the President’s authorization.

“The situation is still developing Mr. President.” One of the Secret Service men said. “We were told that someone breached the White House.”

“Another fence jumper? Are you fucking kidding me?”

The President had deep lines around the corners of his eyes and a lot more gray hair than when he had taken office seven years prior. A administration plagued with scandals and an indecisive Congress could do that to any President.

Pre-Order Gray Matter Splatter, a new military thriller by Jack Murphy

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Another phone rang, and the President’s aide picked it up.

“The suspect has already been apprehended sir, but we can’t take any chances.”

“This is the third time this month,” the President complained. “What the hell is the problem with-”

All eyes in the room suddenly shot back towards the screen. The tractor trailer disappeared in a massive gray cloud. The 2,000 pound Joint Direct Air Munition vaporized the truck, and everyone except the Secret Service agents knew that ten good men had been vaporized with it. It was all part of the protocol, but that didn’t make it any easier.

“It will be reported as an eighteen car pile up in the news tomorrow,” a Department of Homeland Security representative said breaking the silence. “We’ll say a chemical spill was involved to explain the clean up crews.”

“Jesus,” the President said under his breath.

“The truth is that this section of Highway 70 will be unusable for decades. The JDAM will have spread radioactive material for several kilometers. Destroying it like this creates an even bigger radioactive mess than an actual detonation,” the DHS rep said ominously.

“We just got hit in Croatia,” an Army General said as he slammed down his phone. “The entire CIF team got taken out on a airfield in Zagreb.”

“What happened?”

“We don’t know yet.”

The aide sitting next to the President set down his phone softly.

“Mr. President, a situation is developing in the arctic.”

“I don’t think we have time for that right now.”

“I agree,” the aide said, leaning on his chair closer to the President. “Sir, it is now very clear.”

“What is that?” the President said, his eyes still fixated on the smoking hole in the middle of Highway 70.

“Someone just declared war on America.”


“We don’t know.”