The Kennedy Coup

       Stephen Austen / History & Fiction / Thrillers & Crime
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The Kennedy Coup
The Paladin Papers

The Kennedy Coup

A Story By
Stephen W. Austen


Copyright 2013 Stephen W. Austen



The Paladin Papers
The Kennedy Coup
A Story By
Stephen W. Austen

Chapter 1
12 November 2013
Onyx International
Crystal City
Arlington, Virginia
The drive from Camp Peary to Arlington, Virginia was easy. As Kirk Lawson, Jr. merged from I-64 onto I-95 North, he instinctively checked the traffic ahead and behind for surveillance.
Lawson was stationed there at the Central Intelligence Agency’s training facility known as “The Farm”. As a training instructor of paramilitary operation officers in the Special Operations Group belonging to the CIA’s Special Activities Division, he’d been there for 16 months.
The trip to Arlington was a monthly visit with his mentor, code named “PALADIN”. Their mentoring sessions broadened his appreciation for the highest levels of global “realpolitik".

Less than three hours later Lawson parked at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He walked to the Metro Station then waited on the platform studying the crowds. Suddenly, he stepped onto a Blue Line car just before its doors closed. His next stop was the Crystal City station just north of Old Arlington and less than a mile south of the Pentagon.

Onyx International Trading, LLC
Crystal City – Arlington, Virginia
On the 13th floor of a glass and granite tower, Lawson stepped through the entrance of Onyx International Trading, LLC. The receptionist, behind a standard sliding glass window, welcomed Lawson into the comfortably appointed waiting room and offered coffee service.
One wall had a careful grouping of certificates and plaques from the Chamber of Commerce and other charitable groups, proclaiming an outstanding example of corporate citizenship. The color palette of the room and furnishings was soothing with generic background music carefully coordinated to place all at ease.
“Good to see you again Mr. Lawson. It should just be a moment.” She looked down, attending to three flat screen monitors.
As Lawson thumbed through a trade magazine of imported giftware he surmised (correctly) he was being scanned. Facial recognition software authenticated and updated his last known picture, his RFID implant was interrogated, he was checked for weapons, various emitters, other unusual implants and sniffed for explosives.
Judging by the thickness of the door jambs, Lawson guessed (again, correctly) that the waiting room was something special. Should the scanning software package detect a threat, the doors would lock, the receptionist’s window snap closed behind a screen of composite armor and the room would be flooded with a nerve agent. In the event of a suicide bomb, most of the explosion would vent through blow-out panels in the ceiling and roof.
The occupants would later awaken to a reaction team from the Pentagon, less than ninety air-seconds away.

“Mr. Lawson, you can come in now,” the receptionist smiled through the window, a door lock buzzing, “You’ve been to the Board Room before?”
“Yes, thanks.” Lawson walked past an open plan office filled with desks and busy people. All were engaged in the legitimate business affairs of a successful international import/export company trading in fine giftware. Another wide doorway led to a small exhibition room, showcasing various merchandise offerings from across the globe.
At the rear of the showroom, ornate double doors sighed open revealing the Board Room. Here dark wood paneling, a lot of indirect lighting and sole-deep carpets hosted a dozen soft leather chairs. These sat empty around a conference table made of mahogany with a burled inlay and the size of a small aircraft carrier. A closer look confirmed state of the art video conferencing equipment with Omni secure phones at each position.
Lawson smiled to himself. It always reminded him of the kind of high-level/deep-think room where you could group-talk yourself into just about anything.
As the heavy doors behind him rolled shut then seated in their frame with a muted , a wall panel at the rear of the Board Room retracted slightly then slide aside. Framed in the doorway and the fluorescent lights of a corridor behind were the avuncular features of his mentor, PALADIN.
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