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A jihadist pledges his allegiance to al Qaeda with an unthinkable act…and the terrorist cell is just getting started.
Raina Storm, CIA’s most lethal operative is off the grid, leading a secluded and comfortable life with her six-year-old daughter in Barstow, California.
But peace is short-lived when a former FBI agent and an ex-intelligence officer track Raina down and blackmail her into helping them stop a new threat.
In a race against the clock, the team must hunt down the terrorists before a dirty bomb is smuggled out of Colombia and into the United States.
Read an excerpt from Dawn of the Storm
Avila Beach, California – November 17th
Umar Sarouk glanced up at the over-sized wall clock in the sterile fifty-by-fifty-foot control room and exhaled a long steady breath. It was six-thirty in the morning, and his twelve-hour shift at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant would end in thirty minutes.
After twenty years of marriage, he would not be returning home to his wife and two daughters. There would be no graduations, no weddings to attend, and he wouldn’t be celebrating his forty-seventh birthday next week. Nor would he meet his first grandchild due in three months, born to his eldest daughter, Jewel.
Any apprehension for what he was about to do had disappeared months ago, replaced with deep sorrow for the many things in life he would miss. His children. His wife. His friends.
He leaned back in the chair and looked around the horseshoe-shaped room cluttered with vertical panels, bench boards and control switches used to monitor the nuclear reactor’s coolant pumps, steam generator, and pressurizer levels. A lifetime of memories flashed, fast-forwarding through his mind, and he held on to each of them like a life preserver.
He knew the time would come when he would be called upon to carry out a mission and he gladly accepted his fate. After he was gone, the experts would argue that he had been ‘radicalized’ to an unbending ideology; that specific signs were ignored before he’d reached the final plateau. They call it the ‘jumping-off point to terror’. But Umar knew they wouldn’t uncover any of the typical signs.
He had done everything he had been ordered to do to stay off the FBI’s radar, including keeping his thoughts to himself, not once indulging his ideation, beliefs or fears to anyone, not even to his wife. He never lived a life of isolation and never posted messages on social media. More importantly, no one was aware of his link to Al Qaeda. At least, not yet. For the first time in his life, Umar felt whole—that he was part of something greater.
He wrung his hands together and noticed how his stubby fingers trembled slightly. It was almost time. He stood and faced the clock. His legs shook. He clutched the edge of the desk and held his head high.
Six-forty-nine. The calm before the storm.
For over eight months, he had smuggled all the necessary parts he needed into the facility, hiding pieces in his locker, behind the washroom hand dryer, in his lunch, and even in plastic bags submerged in the toilet tanks. As a nuclear engineer, he had access to restricted areas that were usually off limits to many of the employees. Every free moment he had, he secretly assembled the explosive devices and placed each one where he knew they would have the most impact.
Sweat slid down his forehead and dripped onto the bridge of his nose. He swiped the wetness away with the back of his hand and thought about his wife, Afina, grateful for the many wonderful years they’d had together. She was a good woman. A good mother. She’d never forgive him.
Umar’s heart pounded.
The lights flicked off.
The electrical malfunction had originated at the power station a half-mile north. He knew this because it was part of the plan to guarantee his mission was a success.
Two minutes later, the plant’s backup diesel generator fired up. The control room lights flickered twice then stayed on. Panic took over, and his breath came out in small bursts of air.
Remember why you’re doing this.
A loud boom directly below him sounded like lightning hitting a tree. He swore the tile floor shifted. The vibration from the explosion rippled up through his feet and tunneled through his body. He grabbed the edge of the desk to steady his balance.
The first bomb was meant to disrupt the backup power supply and the cooling system to the nuclear reactors.
The room went pitch black…
Dawn of the Storm © 2018 by Kim Cresswell