The old man sat in his office, happily watching the chaos on the wall of monitor screens. His long years of planning, plotting, spreading money carefully like fertilizer had finally produced the chaos he had sought. The world's largest economy was collapsing, and with it the surprisingly fragile social order that economy had supported. The nation's major cities were all convulsed with riots, as were the universities; everywhere, reporters were on camera with backdrops of burning buildings and mobs fighting with outnumbered police. He smiled. He'd spent most of his life working toward this goal, and it made him happy to see his life's work come to fruition. No matter how things turned out, whether his friends directing the mobs won or the forces of repression won, the nation would never be the same; the ideal of free men making free choices in free markets would be forever dead, and eventually he and his foreign friends would move in and take control, as they controlled so much of the world already.

In fact, it was almost time for him to take his helicopter to the yacht waiting offshore, the yacht that would take him to a Europe he and his friends had subdued years before (except for those stubborn, uncooperative throwbacks in England, he thought with a brief flare of anger) where he could relax in the warm sun of the Riviera and contemplate the final subjugation of the nation that had once been known as the United States. Some of his friends had talked of occupying the prostrate America with UN "peacekeeping" forces, but he personally thought that this was unnecessary; counterproductive, even. Far better to have one's friends be the faces of the New World Order and control the masses through suborned media, corrupted courts, and manipulated markets, even if it lacked the brutal satisfactions of subjecting the petty bourgeoisie to rape, murder and abuse at the hands of the Blue Helmets.

The intercom buzzed, and he pressed the button on the speaker to reply. "Yes?" There was no reply, and he began to rise from his chair. The door swung open, and a squad of Homeland Security troops entered the room, quickly moving to ensure that he was alone. He relaxed. How thoughtful of the Secretary to offer him an escort! The young sergeant in charge removed her helmet, and he stepped back, surprised by the hate radiating from her face that had been hidden behind the helmet's shield. "You are Gregor Samson," she stated flatly. Despite the baggy urban camo uniform, he could see that she was young and attractive, and he wondered if the Secretary had intended her to be entertaining, as well as protective.
"Yes," he replied, smiling and stepping forward to shake her hand. "You are my escort to the helipad, yes?"
She smiled coldly. "No. You aren't going anywhere, Mr. Samson."
His hand dropped back to his side, but the smile remained. "Surely you aren't here to arrest me? What am I accused of?"
"No, sir. We're not police, as you can see." She gestured to the other members of her squad. "Actually, we're bookkeepers."
The smile vanished. "Bookkeepers? I don't understand."
"A businessman like you should understand instinctively, Mr. Samson, what our role is. Words mean things, actions have consequences, and the books always have to balance at the end of the period. We're here to make a closing entry."

Surely her wrists were too slim, he thought, to bring the heavy pistol up so quickly.