Launch Pad Contest, Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile, has a winner.
This first category was for Suspense/Crime/Mystery/Thriller stories. And the judges had no difficulty deciding which should be named the winner.
One judge observed the winning writer's style as reminiscent of James Rollins and Brad Thor. The other was intrigued by the story's premise. Though the author has already self-published the novel, the judges felt it could still use a little polish, but they saw real potential in it.
We are, therefore, happy to present our first category winner of the year: Tidal Wave 23 by Thomas J. Ryan of Cape Coral, Florida. Please enjoy the first chapter of his, as he classifies it, New World Order thriller:
TIDAL WAVE 23
by Thomas J. Ryan
Special Agent Tristan Wood observed the hustle and bustle of Massachusetts Avenue buzzing with late
“Not too loud.” Tristan turned the volume down on the digital clock, which read; 11:11 a.m.
A handheld police scanner sat upright on the dashboard and hissed with occasional chatter over the frequency dedicated to the Secret Service. Another threat on the president’s life had prompted FBI to grant them four agents as additional security. Tristan and Jason kept watch over the front entrance and a second team covered the lot on the north side of Union Station. FBI special agents hated this kind of work considering it both demoralizing and boring. Today they were glorified security guards.
The president of the United States was at Union Station this morning for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the debut trip of the new Amtrak Next-Generation, or Next-Gen, high-speed rail train. It was the first of its kind in the country, connecting Washington, DC, to Philadelphia, New York City to Boston, using magnetic levitation or MAGLEV. This meant the train floated above the track at about 220 mph. The problem, from an engineering standpoint, was that MAGLEV could not run on standard tracks and needed a dedicated rail, stipulating added expense. And as with most government projects, the appraised $117 billion cost had more than doubled upon its completion. Amtrak had been in the black for decades, continuing to run only by subsidies courtesy of the American taxpayer. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Next-Gen project could take fifty years just to break even. Watchdog groups criticized the timing, pointing to the extremely bad economy that seemed to continue with no end in sight. Sudden activity over the scanner brought Tristan back from his thoughts.
“Phoenix is on the move!” Static.
“Bring in the Stagecoach!” Static.
“What is condition of Phoenix?” Static.
“Phoenix is on the move!” Static.
“Heading to the Castle!” Static.
Tristan and Jason were out of the car and running across the street toward the Main Hall. They entered Union Station and headed for the Amtrak Next-Gen terminal. The dark suits of the two young FBI agents always drew attention. Black was no longer the required color, nonetheless, a conservative dress policy remained in the Bureau. Tristan Wood liked wearing a suit. After years in the military he had become accustomed to order, and took pride in his professional appearance. Several inside jokes about the dress code persisted among the agents who, at the moment, referred to themselves as the Men in Black.
“Bravo Team, are you on your way?” Tristan spoke into the scanner.
The response was stark, “Already here.”
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