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Times of Turmoil 2: Martial Law

    Times of Turmoil 2: Martial Law

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    Martial Law

    Series: Times of Turmoil, Book #2
    Author: Chad Daybel
    Publication Date: August 1st, 2013
    Format: 6 x 9, Perfect Bound
    Pages: 168

    Christopher's Comment...
    This is Chad's newest series, and zero's in on TENT CITIES!
    If you liked his last series (Standing in Holy Places) and are looking for more reading with a very clear "Tent Cities, Places of Refuge and Cities of Light" theme, you are going to love this one!
    Chad has clearly put all he has learned about this subject into a very entertaining and captivating fictional storyline of just how it "Might" play out in the very near future.

    "Go ye out from Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations."
    -
    Doctrine and Covenants 133:7


    In the near future, the world as we know it will suddenly change. Natural disasters will lead to economic difficulties, leaving the United States on the edge of collapse. During this time of strife, members of the LDS Church will be invited by their leaders to survive the civil unrest by gathering to holy refuges.

    In the midst of the turmoil, recently returned missionary Nathan Foster joins a secret team of men who help the Saints escape modern society�s implosion. Nathan is expected to devote all of his time and energy to this cause, but he faces a major personal obstacle in doing so�Marie Shaw.

    Nathan has admired Marie since their high school days, and now she�s showing genuine interest in him as well. However, more national trouble erupts�including acts of bioterrorism on U.S. soil�that not only threatens to tear apart their relationship, but puts their lives in deep peril.

    Readers who enjoyed the author�s bestselling Standing in Holy Places novels will find a new set of futuristic twists and turns in the Times of Turmoil series.

     

    ========

    Author’s Note
    In my previous series, Standing in Holy Places, I shared the experiences of three fictional families as they prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The main purpose of that series was to give an overview of possible events we all might face in the coming years, and the novels covered several different story lines.

    There were many times I wanted to slow down the pace and explore certain characters and scenes in greater detail, but I knew I needed to move forward with the overall series outline. Otherwise, the five-volume series could easily have expanded to ten or more volumes, and I wouldn’t have completed it for several more years. I felt it was important to reach the series’ finale in a reasonable time frame so readers could enjoy a satisfying conclusion.

    With this new series I can now take readers back to the setting of The Great Gathering, the first volume in my previous series. In many ways, the global events described in that novel have already begun, and other key moments are fast approaching. The United States’ economic situation has grown markedly worse since I wrote that book in 2006, and now I’m able to add many details that have emerged since that time.

    Also, if you’ve read The Great Gathering, you’ll notice similar scenes in this novel. This is because the same national events happen as they were portrayed in the previous series, but from the perspective of these new characters. In other words, both series take place in the same “universe” although the main characters from the two series don’t interact with each other.
    I want to emphasize that this is a work of fiction and the scenes involving Church leaders in particular are from my own imagination. I currently serve as my ward’s Scoutmaster, and I certainly don’t have any secret contacts or information concerning high-level meetings involving General Authorities. Those scenes are meant to move the storyline along and shouldn’t be taken as factual. Besides, the novel is set in the future and those meetings wouldn’t have taken place yet anyway.

    I firmly believe the prophet’s call for the Saints to gather to refuges of safety will come within a few years, but I don’t feel that even the prophet yet knows the month or even the year it will happen. The call will likely come based on conditions in the United States, which aren’t necessarily set in stone and can be altered based on the righteousness of the nation’s citizens.
    In this novel, the prophet’s call for the Saints to gather together comes on a nice spring day, but in reality it might very well come in the middle of winter after a major snowstorm. The Lord has tested the faith of his Saints throughout history, and this might be another one of those times. I’m hoping for a sunny day, though.

    Unlike the Standing in Holy Places series, which was structured around major prophesied events and had a pre-determined number of volumes, this one is more open-ended. I don’t know how many volumes there will be in this series, and in many ways the story lines will be shaped by the events taking place around us. I suppose I will continue to write until the major events in the novels start becoming reality!

    Thank you in particular to my wife Tammy and my children, as well as everyone who has given me encouragement and support over the years. I truly appreciate it!

    Chad Daybell
    May 2012

    ========

    The Turmoil Deepens
    As this volume opens, Nathan Foster and Marie Shaw have miraculously reunited in Chicago. They are overjoyed to be back together, but they know their lives will be in danger if they attempt to leave the city.

    Meanwhile, Nathan’s father Garrett and his stepmother Vanessa have seemingly disappeared somewhere in southern California after traveling there to help Vanessa’s relatives following an earthquake.

    Marie’s parents, Aaron and Carol, are living in Orem, Utah, and are watching over Nathan’s half-sister Denise. Aaron continues to work at the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center.

    It is now mid-June, and the nation is economically shattered following the bioterror attack orchestrated by China. The Black Flu epidemic has temporarily waned, but millions of Americans have died, and the affects of the illness have impacted every citizen.

    The government agency FEMA has responded to the mounting housing problems in the southern United States caused by Hurricane Barton a few weeks earlier, but thousands of citizens are still homeless. The temperatures are rising there, and so are tempers. Infections and common diseases are spreading there due to a lack of medicines.

    Despite the nation’s overwhelming troubles�including festering political scandals and cover-ups�most media outlets continue to deflect criticism away from the U.S. president and his administration. Instead, smiling news anchors rave about the First Lady’s latest hairstyle.

    Meanwhile, the officers from the Chip Compliance Authority are becoming increasingly brazen in cracking down harshly on people who didn’t have the chip, labeling anyone without one as a fugitive from justice.

    China and Russia are biding their time, letting the American economy collapse on itself. The Affordable Care Act that began to be fully implemented in 2014 continues to stymie private businesses and even municipalities, leading to greater underemployment and increased medical costs for most Americans. Meanwhile, the national debt continued to grow exponentially as the federal government continued to borrow money in order to cover their obligations.

    All of these events have combined to create an atmosphere of uneasiness and stress within the general population. Pockets of civil unrest are again popping up in the nation’s larger cities, including Chicago, where Nathan Foster and Marie Shaw currently find themselves.

    Now on with their story.

    ====

    Here is your SNEAK PEAK at Chapter 1.

    Chapter 1

    Nathan Foster sat quietly inside Chicago’s Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, watching Marie Shaw sleep as sunlight began to lighten the room. It had only been a few hours since he had made his dangerous journey across the darkened city and found her hiding there.

    Nathan had barricaded the door behind them and then they had talked for nearly an hour. Marie told him about the chaos that erupted in Chicago after the U.S. president’s announcement about travel restrictions due to the Black Flu, and Nathan shared how he had miraculously made his way from Utah to find her.

    Marie had eventually put her head on his shoulder and drifted off into an exhausted slumber. Nathan had only slept for a couple of hours, though. Every creak or shout outside the building had put him on edge. His confrontation with some street thugs just before finding Marie had bothered him. He had shot one of them in the leg, and even though he doubted the gang could ever identify him, he dreaded going back out on the streets.

    Now that the sun had risen, Nathan could clearly see Marie’s face for the first time in months. She was still beautiful, but she looked gaunt and pale, compared to the radiant, healthy girl he had last seen in Utah. Her current appearance was likely caused by her lack of food and sunlight for the past week, but she had hinted that her internship had been stressful and demanding, and he suspected that had taken a toll on her as well.

    He hated to wake her, but they had agreed to leave the museum as soon as it was daylight. It would likely be the safest time to travel through the city, because all of the troublemakers would hopefully still be asleep after another night of mayhem.

    Nathan put his hand on Marie’s shoulder and shook her gently. “Marie, it’s time for us to get going.”

    She opened her eyes, sat up, then looked around in a panic before focusing on Nathan’s face. She reached out and touched his cheek.

    “Oh, you’re really here,” she said. “It wasn’t a dream.”

    Nathan smiled. “Yep, and we’re going to get home somehow.”

    “You look so worn out,” she said. “Did you get any sleep?”

    “I dozed off for a couple of hours, but I’m anxious to get out of here.”
    “Me too, “Marie said. “I’m starving.”

    “The problem is I don’t know Chicago very well,” Nathan said. “As you slept I’ve been praying for a solution, but nothing has come to mind. Any ideas?”

    Marie crinkled her brow. “I dreamed we should return to my apartment in the Bloomingdale’s Building. Do you think that’s our answer?”

    Nathan was surprised at her response. “Last night you told me that you’d been warned to leave there immediately because your life was in danger.”

    “I did get that prompting, but I think that time has passed,” she said. “As terrible as it sounds, I’m sure my co-workers have killed each other by now. Besides, I had a couple of boxes of pork and beans stashed under my bed that I doubt anyone found, even if they ransacked the place.”

    “Pork and beans?”

    She smiled sheepishly. “I know it’s stupid, but it’s always been my comfort food. So I bought a few cases when I first got here and ate a can every couple of days.”

    “I’m hungry enough that it’s got my mouth watering already,” Nathan said. “That sounds good to me.”

    They gathered up their meager belongings, and Nathan double-checked the area with his microchip scanner to see if anyone was nearby, but he didn’t detect anyone. They unblocked the doorway and Nathan peered outside across Navy Pier. He could see a few people at the far end of the pier looking across Lake Michigan, so they cautiously slipped out of the museum.

    “I don’t think they saw us,” Marie said as she took Nathan’s hand and began a quick trot in the direction of the Bloomingdale’s Building. They had been right�the city was quiet, but there were a lot of disturbing scenes along the way. As they reached Michigan Avenue and looked at the long row of skyscrapers, they could see that most of the buildings had been damaged, and some were simply burned-out metal husks. Even more upsetting were the dozens of bodies along the sidewalk and in the streets. Some looked like they had either jumped from or been thrown out of the buildings that towered above them.

    “This is terrible,” Marie said, shielding her eyes and covering her nose and mouth to help avoid breathing the scent of death that surrounded them. Nathan put his arm around her shoulder.

    “I just hope your building didn’t burn down,” he said.

    Twenty minutes later they stood outside the Bloomingdale’s Building. The magnificent structure now stood dark and was a bit foreboding, but at least it was intact. They crossed through the building’s main entrance, and Marie looked baffled.

    “What’s wrong?” Nathan asked.

    She shook her head. “This is crazy. It’s hard to believe it was only a week ago I had to fight my way through a frenzied crowd to even get outside. Where do you think everyone went?”

    “I’ll bet they stripped the stores and restaurants bare within a couple of days, so they’ve moved on to find food somewhere else. I’ll bet the suburbs are a madhouse right now. People are probably getting very hungry and desperate.”

    Marie shuddered and took his hand. She led him to the far corner of the building where the staircase was located.

    “I really wish the elevator was working,” Marie said. “But now there’s only one way up.”

    “What floor is your apartment on?” Nathan asked.
    “The 26th,” she said.

    Nathan’s eyes widened. “At least it isn’t at the top. Do you think you can make it?”

    Marie’s strength was already ebbing. Her initial surge of adrenaline from being out on the city streets had worn off, and her pace had slowed considerably.
    “I can do it,” she said. “I can taste those pork and beans already.”

    She made a valiant effort, but by the 10th floor she could hardly lift her foot to the next stair. Nathan finally just scooped her into his arms and carried her upward.

    After taking several breaks to rest, they finally staggered out of the stairwell onto the 26th floor. Marie slipped from Nathan’s arms and motioned toward her apartment. The door was open, and they could see into the front room. The couch had been flipped over and the TV was gone.

    As they walked carefully into the apartment they could see the kitchen was in disarray, but Marie’s bedroom looked okay.

    “Check under the bed,” she told him. Nathan crouched down and saw a couple of cardboard boxes still hidden away.

    “I think we’re in business,” he said as he pulled the boxes into the middle of the bedroom floor.

    Marie gave a squeal of delight and pulled a can opener from a kitchen drawer. She opened a can, and basically drank half of it within five seconds.
    “Hey, how about sharing?” he asked.

    “Open one for yourself,” she said before putting the can to her mouth again.
    Nathan smiled and grabbed another can. Soon he was feasting as well. Their faces were covered with sauce, but they didn’t care.

    “Oh, it’s so good,” Marie said as she sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed her stomach.

    Nathan nodded as he finished off his can. “I’m just grateful your secret craving wasn’t prunes.”

    She glanced at him and her eyes widened. “Wow, you’re quite a sight with those beans in your beard.”

    Nathan rubbed his face and felt his whiskers. He hadn’t shaved since leaving Utah, but it hadn’t really crossed his mind that he was growing a beard. He stood up and walked to the bathroom, where he stared into the mirror.

    “That’s a scary sight,” he said as Marie joined him. He brushed the beans away and instinctively turned on the bathroom faucet, but no water came out.
    “It’s easy to forget how quickly things have changed,” he said. “It’s like the whole world has turned upside down.”

    He went to the toilet and took the lid off the tank. “We’re in luck,” he said. “There are a couple of gallons of water in there. We’ll scoop it into another container. Just don’t flush it or we’ll lose it.”

    Marie looked surprised. “You’re gonna drink that?”

    “If we run out of bottled water,” he said. “It should still be fairly sanitary. I’ll have to be pretty desperate to drink what’s in the bowl itself, though.”

    Marie’s eyes suddenly welled up with tears. “I’m so sorry, Nathan. This is all my fault.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You know what I’m talking about. We’re trapped here because of my own foolishness. I honestly thought it was impossible for your ‘doomsday scenario’ to take place this summer. When you and Dad would talk about it, I just laughed inside. My whole focus was on graduating in December and getting a great job, but that seems so meaningless now.”

    Nathan looked away. He had vowed not to mention why they were trapped in Chicago. He was ready to just move forward. “It’s okay, Marie. Don’t beat yourself up about it.”

    She wiped her eyes then looked at him pleadingly. “I do want you to know this experience has changed me.”

    “What has? The internship?”

    “Yes, but also the past few days hiding in the museum, expecting to die. I’ve done more praying in the past week than I have the past few years. My priorities are straightened out. I hope you can forgive me for how I’ve acted.”

    “Certainly,” Nathan said. “I see your point of view. You were on the brink of a successful career. I wish it had worked out.”

    She nodded, unsure how to respond.

    “One other thing,” he said hesitantly. “I enjoyed hugging and kissing you when we reunited last night, but I need to let you know I’ve been set apart again as a missionary, and so for now, I need to act like one.”

    “I completely understand,” Marie said. Then she mischievously added, “Just keep that filthy beard. That will keep me away.”

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