“DRONE” by Nick Hahn (a work in progress)

“A drone is often preferred for missions that are too “dull, dirty, or dangerous” for manned aircraft.”

There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.

PROLOGUE

Her name is Rosita. She has a high school degree but o-LATINA-ACTRESS-facebookwas educated on the streets of El Chorillo, a dangerous barrio on the outskirts of Panama City. She’s eighteen, looks fourteen, thinks like twenty. Rosita is one of nine children from this poverty-stricken neighborhood, her brother, Javier, had been snatched from the streets six months earlier, he was eight years old and beautiful.

Sweet and unsuspecting, Javier was called “spirit child” by his mother, he never saw the pain and poverty, for him it was normal. He was fifth in the brood and the most affectionate with cocoa skin, dark eyes, and long black curly hair. Javier stood out in the family and in the neighborhood. His siblings were told to watch out for him as the streets of El Chorillo were dangerous, kidnappings were endemic along this corridor outside Panama City.

It was Rosita’s turn to walk Javier to school when she bought that banana from a street vendor. He couldn’t have been out of her sight more than a minute. She turned, counting her change with a banana stuck in her mouth, the Toyota pickup was across the street. Javier was struggling in the arms of a short stocky man with the tattoos covering his arms and shoulders clearly visible under the black wife-beater, a map of Panama outlined in white printed on the front. He wore wrap sunglasses and a sweat-stained cowboy hat, the straw brim folded tightly against the crown. There was no noise, no commotion as if pedestrians saw this as an everyday occurrence. The rag against his mouth and nose was dark green like those used in a garage, his body went limp.

He looked like all machos in the barrio, with one exception. This man had a dark red scar from his ear to the bottom of his throat that couldn’t be hidden by his unshaven face. A face burned into Rosita’s consciousness forever, like a branding iron. She screamed and ran towards the Toyota as Javier’s limp body was thrown into the bed, scarface jumped into the accelerating pickup, gravel flew from all four wheels of the AWD vehicle. She would find Javier and his abductor, when she did, there would be another scar, this one stretching from ear to ear.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE by Nick Hahn (due 2015)

PREFACE
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Muslim ghettoes are incubators of extremist ideology, dissimulated theocracies based upon convenient interpretations of the Quran. It’s not about religion, it’s about power. The four horsemen of the apocalypse, conquest, war, famine and death are means to an end, weapons in a terrorist arsenal. Young men and women from developed countries, often educated, are attracted to this sophistic alchemy; shocking family and friends, fueling global headlines, and inspiring peers with a persuasive “I dare you”.

Complacency in the developed world plays into the hands of patient extremists. Further attacks against US interests are inevitable; they’ll be massive and destructive, exposing open arteries in our defenses created by politicized policies and procedures at Homeland Security. Western powers, including the United States, increased global surveillance at the cost of their international standing. Phone tapping and online snooping became technological art forms. “Secure communications” no longer exist. The most sophisticated systems in the world, those of friends and foes alike, are compromised in an ever-widening arc of eavesdropping by the US National Security Agency. The US oath of office creates a moral conundrum for foreign service officers, “does the end justify the means?”

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter so help me God. [1]”