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Program 29-us89n4x

  A short story from 5 More Perfect Days by

  Mark Tullius

  An excerpt from

  5 More Perfect Days

  Copyright © 2014 by Mark Tullius

  Published by Vincere Press

  65 Pine Ave., Ste 806

  Long Beach, CA 90802

  All rights reserved.

  For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Vincere Press, 65 Pine Avenue Ste. 806, Long Beach, CA 90802

  This is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events portrayed in this book are either fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  ISBN: 9781311076281

  Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

  Cover by Brian Esquivel

  Table of Contents

  A Note to the Reader


  About the Author

  Coming Soon

  Out Now

  Five Minutes Alone

  Fourteen Angry Marchers

  Excerpt from Try Not to Die: At Grandma’s House

  Connect Online

  A Note to the Reader

  “29-US89N4X” is the first story in 5 More Perfect Days, the companion novella to 25 Perfect Days. While I have attempted to make “29” and the other stories in 5 More strong enough to stand on their own, their main purpose is to enhance the original novel, answering some questions, creating others. This story takes place in 2039, after “5 Minutes Alone” and “14 Angry Marchers” which I have included after “29.” I recommend you read those stories first to get a better feel for the world. Here’s a look how the new 5 stories fit in.

  Five Minutes Alone August 19, 2036

  Fourteen Angry Marchers October 11, 2037

  29-US89N4X (5 More) June 21, 2039

  Thirteenth on the List September 11, 2041

  Nine Months Later December 18, 2042

  Four Percent June 2, 2043

  Twenty-One Seats June 20, 2044

  Fifteen May 20, 2045

  Nineteen in a Row April 24, 2046

  Ten Drops of Bleach May 4, 2047

  30 Day Program (5 More) March 23, 2048

  Eleven Times More Likely August 16, 2049

  Six Hail Mary’s June 26, 2050

  Twenty-Four Hour Bullshit November 1, 2052

  Three Sacred Truths August 12, 2053

  Seven to Go August 31, 2054

  28 Blocks (5 More) September 30, 2055

  Eight Out of Nine December 17, 2056

  Eighteen is Enough May 8, 2057

  Twenty-Twenty November 4, 2058

  26 Pills (5 More) January 21, 2059

  Two Minutes to Midnight November 14, 2061

  One Last Bedtime Story February 1, 2063

  Twelve O’Clock High November 14, 2066

  Twenty-Two Pine Avenue March 6, 2067

  Sixteen Acres December 24, 2068

  Seventeen Soldiers August 1, 2072

  Twenty-Third District March 31, 2074

  25th of December December 25, 2076

  27 Generals (5 More) December 31, 2076


  June 21, 2039

  Walt Jaworski pulled up to the gate and lowered the cruiser’s window. He slipped off the recog glasses recently banned inside HQ and faced the mirrored guard shack. When had he gotten so old? Fifty-one and still in the field, his dyed brown hair not fooling anyone. He gave his name and agent number to the small silver box, waited for the retinal scan. The gate rolled open. Walt drove through to the final security checkpoint, none of them manned by humans – Dreschner’s latest efficiency reform. Walt wondered how long before he would be replaced by a machine.

  The sun reflected off the massive, gunmetal gray building. Walt parked three rows from the entrance. It’d been six months since he’d been called into HQ, and that had only been to escort an analyst to the Retraining Center. This morning, dispatch said Dreschner needed to see him. Walt knew this couldn’t be good. Rumor was that Dreschner no longer saw anyone.

  Walt checked his smile in the rearview. “It’ll be fine,” he said. He got out and closed the door, the clenched fist of the Controllers’ logo emblazoned on the side. He straightened his black uniform, reminded himself he was one of the best agents in the field. Maybe this was about his oldest son, Brian, who’d been submitting applications for almost a year. Maybe they were going to finally offer him a position.

  The steel door slid open and snapped shut behind him. Walt stepped into the pristine, white lobby. Huggins, Dreschner’s weasel of an assistant, was waiting, arms crossed. Talking as if he were the heavily muscled guard standing behind him, Huggins said, “Your guns. Both of them.”

  Walt watched Huggins’ beady eyes. “Never had to before.”

  Huggins wasn’t amused. “New policy.”

  Walt handed over the .45 at his waist and the snub nose .40 strapped to his ankle.

  Huggins gave the .40 to the guard, kept his eyes on Walt. “You know you’ll have to make the switch.”

  Walt nodded at the Huggins
’ particle pistol. “I don’t trust those things.”

  Huggins headed down the hallway, finger on the .45’s trigger. “Follow me.”

  Walt looked at the guard, “You a new policy too?”

  The guard motioned with the .40’s barrel for Walt to get moving.

  Huggins said, “You talk too much.”

  Walt bit his lip. He wasn’t about to throw this job away because of some power-hungry little prick.

  Walt followed Huggins into the glass tube suspended a hundred feet over the building’s Data Collection hub. Analysts in silver suits and matching headphones sat at their consoles, fingers scrolling through lines of encryption.

  Becoming an analyst was even more grueling than the process for becoming a field agent. The agency couldn’t afford to hire the wrong candidate. If a field agent went rogue, he could be tracked and eliminated. An analyst could spread a million secrets. Analysts had to be meticulous, loyal, and, above all, cold. If the information called for action, they had to follow protocol. They had to be above reproach. Even though Walt had handled some things he’d rather forget, he always had the assurance that it had been thoroughly researched and based on facts.

  In front of the analysts below was a giant screen playing a two-year-old clip of the President behind his desk, his words piped through speakers and scrolling across his chest. Walt didn’t have to read them or listen. He’d heard the speech a thousand times. He concentrated on his breath, tried not to think of how Huggins was walking, back straight, long strides. Walt had escorted enough people to know this wasn’t a friendly visit. He tried to think if there was anything he might have recently done,
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