When truth is lost, liberty dies.
For a hundred years the United States has been gripped by martial law, with freedom and faith a forgotten memory. In the summer of 2132, Peter Sheridan learns this the hard way when he finds himself on the wrong side of the government-but the right side of freedom.
All he wants to do is escape the notorious education center and find his parents. But when he is shot and left for dead, he is rescued by a mysterious recluse and finds himself drawn into a world of chaos and intrigue.
Racing against time and the government to try and complete his father's mission-Peter must reignite the call for freedom. To do so, he turns to the last hope for America , the mysterious group known as the Shadow Remnant.
The mall was an expansive circus of vendors, with a wealth of humanity stirring around like ants in a nest. A cacophony of sounds emanated from everywhere at once, but Peter focused on finding his way to the lower level. As he walked about, people who noticed him still moved away from him. Most people, however, seemed lost in their own minds, like distracted androids that moved in and out of the shops.
He found an escalator which descended downward, and beside it was a kiosk video board. He stopped to watch the display. A kind, slender woman appeared on the screen and with a gentle voice spoke to the passers-by. “Have you someone in your life that is hungry? Do you know people that try to live outside the system? Your purchasing card is your protection, but there are those who have rejected it and are hurting our society. Do yourself a favor and turn them in. If they are found guilty, you could receive a reward up to ten thousand dollars.”
Peter shook his head at the notion as he remembered Joshua and Martha’s great hospitality. It seemed to him that those who lived outside the system were by far better off than all who he witnessed ambling about the mall. He walked onto the escalator and descended to the lower level.
A large, open space was transformed into an amphitheater, with bleachers surrounding a platform and podium. Some guards were present but either ignored him or steered away from him. He determined to approach one guard who stood by the dais. The lone soldier snapped to attention at Peter’s approach.
“Soldier, your name,” Peter commanded.
“Corporal Samuel Green, sir!”
“Okay, Green, when is the director going to arrive?”
“Mr. Kyle Johansen’s arrival time is classified, sir, but he is scheduled to speak at fourteen-hundred hours.”
“I need to know where he is, I have very important news for him,” Peter tried to sound as authoritative and demanding as possible. He saw in the young soldier’s eyes a quick glance to a door just beyond his post.
“I can’t tell you, sir,” the corporal replied. “You will need to get clearance from the squadron commander, Captain Mathews.”
“Then go and get your captain, and I will deal with him.”
Corporal Green saluted then disappeared behind the bleachers. Peter moved toward the door that Green had glanced at and quietly tapped on it. Nothing happened. He tapped on it again.
The knob moved and Peter slammed his shoulder into door. Rushing in, he quickly closed the door behind him and assessed the room. Two men were standing by the opposite wall and one lay on the ground.
“What’s the meaning of this!” demanded the man farthest away. He was blonde with a touch of grey at the temples, cut short and clean shaven. He stood just a little shorter than Peter, and his look of surprise captivated Peter’s attention.
“At ease,” Peter commanded, and helped the fallen man up.
“What is the meaning of this, major?” the man asked again, this time with less emotion.
“Are you Director Johansen?”
The man hesitated, “Yes, I am.”
“I need to speak with you,” Peter looked at the other two, then back to the director, “alone.”
Johansen looked at the two other men and waived them out the back door. They appeared reluctant, but quietly obeyed and closed the door behind them. “Alright, major, we’re alone, what’s this about?”
Peter took a deep breath and listened at the door he entered. “I’m not in the army,” he said. “I’m not a major, and I’ve come to warn you that your life is in danger.” Peter raised his hand, “Don’t think of calling your guards; hear me out.”
“Who are you?”
“My name,” he hesitated to say it. “My name is Peter Sheridan.”
The director’s eyes widened in disbelief, “You!”
“Yes, me,” Peter said. “I’m here to warn you that there are three men who are coming to take your life.”
“You’re lying! No one could get past my guards. They’re the best security money can buy.”
“Yeah, no one like me,” Peter shook his head. “Look, they’re in the mall already. They’re setting up some type of diversion that will take the guards away from you, and then they will kill you.”
“Why are you telling me this? You’re the leader of those terrorists, that… that Shadow Remnant.”
“I’m telling you this for two reasons. One, because you need to know that the Remnant is not a terrorist group.”
“And two?” Johansen asked.
“And two,” Peter said, “because your life depends on it.”
“You know, you’re the most wanted man in America right now. You’ll never leave this mall alive.”
“We’ll see,” Peter said.
A violent shock, like an earthquake, shook the room. Peter and the director fell to the ground. Sirens blared and the sound of people screaming filled the halls beyond the door.
“Looks like the diversion has happened,” Peter said as he stood. “I’ll be going now.” He rushed out the door into the melee of people. From behind him he heard the director shouting for his guards, but he didn’t look back.
Smoke rolled through the mall along with the chaotic rush of humanity. Peter filtered into the maelstrom and made his way along the corridor, trying to get to the upper level. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of who he thought was Mark. He turned, and looked down the concourse where the bleachers were set up. As he watched, a dark-haired man ducked behind the wall.
“Great,” Peter said out loud, and turned to go back to the director.
He pushed and shoved his way against the current of human traffic, spinning and moving as fast as possible. He crossed the open section behind the stands and saw Corporal Green unconscious on the floor. He checked the corporal’s pulse and found him still alive.
“Guards!” shouted the director from inside his room.
Peter ran to the door and slammed into it with his shoulder. His back jolted from his wound, but he again slammed against the door. The frame cracked and the door flew open, striking a body behind it.
Eyes wide, Kyle Johansen stood against the far wall. He looked at Peter, his face pale and body shaking with the shock.
On the floor lay Mark. Dazed, he looked up and squinted. “You!” he said. Mark tried to reach for the gun that had slid from his grasp, but Peter picked up the revolver and dumped out the cartridges, then threw the weapon against the wall.
The director looked back at Peter. “You came back, why?”
“Because you needed it. Now quit spreading your lies about me.” Peter ducked out of the room and disappeared into the crowd. Guards filed through the people, forcing their way back to the director’s chamber and gave no notice of Peter’s passage.
He glided up the escalator to the second level, and found his way back to the main entrance. People near the doors seemed little concerned for what happened on the floor below them. He smiled as he exited the complex, walking across the parking lot to his car. “Now,” he said, “I think I should head for California.”