Chapter 1 - Winter Wonderland, 2066

Camp David, Frederick County, Maryland. Friday, January 15th, 2066. The presidential chopper, “Marine One,” flew over the bleak landscape, a snow-covered wasteland punctuated by domes protecting towns, cities, agricultural hubs, and anoccasional forested area. There were also numerous cemeteries, a stark legacy of the many pandemics that claimed so many lives.

As the chopper approached Camp David, the two youngest first family members were squealing with delight. At eight and nine years old, the girls had been coming to the Retreat for most of their lives – five years – and they knew that the staff at Camp David would have let in the snow.

All four members of the family were looking forward to their weekend at the presidential retreat in the wooded hills of Catoctin Mountain Park. The entire two-hundred-acre retreat had been protected from the inhospitable environment under two interconnecting glass domes. The Aspen Lodge (the main residential building), Laurel Lodge (used for meetings and conferences), the swimming pool, and the one-hole practice golf course were under the main dome. The other, smaller dome covered an adjacent area of forest. The domes were connected via a secure tubed corridor, also of glass. Outside the domes, the unprotected areas were covered with a heavy white blanket of snow, artistically hiding the dead or dying trees and bushes.

The forested dome contained cleverly engineered panels that could be opened to capture a great deal of falling snow. The panels were then closed, and the temperature brought down to what would once have been normal outdoor temperature, so the snow kept its fresh powdery texture and appeal, waiting for the young family members to enjoy a good old-fashioned snow day.

After a quick change into snow gear, the president and family, along with their ever-present Secret Service detail, who were also dressed for the activity, headed to the forest dome.

Almost two hours later, all of them – including some of the Secret Service agents who had joined in the snowball battles – trudged back to the main dome and the Aspen Lodge. The president had decided to unwind with laps in the enclosed pool. The enclosure had been retained, even after the dome was erected so that it could be kept warmer than the coolish temperature preferred for other outdoor activities.

Enjoying the warmth of the water along with the calming quiet of solitude and swimming, President Bo Sanders was more relaxed than he’d been in days. That couldn’t help him forget the Russian situation, however. His gut opinion, and that of his military advisors, was that the Russians were bluffing, as they’d been doing for years. But it was unheard of and unnerving that there had been no communication between the two countries’ governments in over ten days.

Still, there were two positives for him to draw solace from. First, the perpetrators and architects of assassinations and thousands of American deaths were behind bars and would cause no further problems. And second, the leadership of the United States was undisputed in spearheading the effort to save the planet.

It was almost twenty years ago that the doming plan was conceived and announced. It was audacious and dismissed by many, at home and abroad, as an impossible headline grab. But the United States could never be counted out, as Joe Biden, the forty-sixth president, had reminded everyone when he took office amidst the first coronavirus pandemic in 2021. During World War II, he noted, a single car-manufacturing plant had been retooled to make a new

four-engine B-24 bomber every hour. And on the west coast, a group of shipyards built a new ship every day for four years.

It was with that memory, that vision in their rear-view mirror – along with the reality that there was no alternative to avoid the complete devastation of humanity – that drove three U.S. presidents to do the impossible. It was their final chance.

Sanders reflected on the successful plan, rapidly constructing thousands of domes worldwide, from Washington to Los Angeles to Beijing to … The thought was never finished, as a “Switchblade” UAV – unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone – smashed through the dome and enclosure at over a hundred miles an hour, exploding just yards away from the president. The explosion killed POTUS and the Secret Service detail instantly, even before it released its toxic gas. The gas then killed another three agents rushing to the scene before a lucky one radioed to others in the Lodge to take the family to the bunker.


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