The following is a work of fiction. Here is the Table of Contents, which is updated as new chapters are written.
It is the third in a series of sci-fi novels of the type known as alternate history. What's different is that this series takes place in our time, with characters familiar in your real life.
The first book in the series, The Chinese Century, was written late 2004. Its table of contents is here. The second, The American Diaspora, was written in 2005. The table of contents for that book is here.
The private suite in the American Hospital of Dubai did not look like a hospital room. It looked and felt like a luxurious bedroom. This provided comfort to the family, and most of the time to patients as well. But when a patient was coming out of a general anaesthetic, it could be confusing.
There was pain from the stitches, and a heaviness in his chest. But each breath felt more comfortable, unusually comfortable, and he relaxed into them. His eyelids were fluttering, and he let them. He felt the inside of his mouth, felt a touch of thirst, and waggled a finger, thinking he was in fact making a big motion toward his mouth.
He felt pressure on his hand. "It's me, dear. It's Lynne. Can you feel me?"
"Mmmph?" He turned his head, saw his wife, and smiled. So did Dr. Ameen, looking at the read-outs beside him. The new lungs were working fine.
This would have been impossible in the States. Regardless of a man's wealth or power, if you needed organs there you went on a list, sickest and youngest first. A 66 year old man with a murmur just didn't have a chance.
But here in Dubai miracles were possible. Organs could be obtained, young, healthy organs, in just the right size. Available to order, just ask no questions. If you're famous enough, rich enough, powerful enough.
Dick Cheney was all three.
He had, in fact, been difficult to convince. There were real risks in a lung transplant, risks which increased with age. But with DCM now well-established, with the money absolutely pouring into his bank account, he thought, why limp along to 70 when you can march proudly toward 85 and really enjoy life?
So here he was. He smiled a little more broadly now, knowing it was what the family wanted. The recovery would take some time, but it would be comfortable time. And maybe he could get a little work done.
"We can rebuild him. We have the technology," he joked. He was definitely on the mend.
Just a few days later he looked much better. He could sit up, and was beginning physical therapy. A desk had been set up, with a laptop, and a secretary who came in for a half-hour, while Lynne went to lunch. She hovered over him now, she said he was her "job," but the sparkle in her eyes when she said it told him it was also her pleasure.
Who says those the world calls villain can’t also have happy marriages?
"Ehrrgh?" He grunted as the male secretary pushed a paper under him. This, he knew, meant the note had the highest security, something which could not be trusted to even the secure VPN.
It was from Ibrahim al Saud. A plot had been discovered, aimed at a Kuwaiti pumping station. The group called Al Qaeda in Iraq, Sunni extremists who had borrowed Bin Laden's branding, was planning a series of explosions tomorrow, and al Saud wanted Cheney to know he was buying oil futures, even at their current $80/barrel price. Al Saud wanted access to DCM's capital, to Cheney's capital, adding it to his own. If things went off as he expected, the flip could bring in $1 billion within just a week, given the leverage.
How did he know about this? Who was al Saud, really? Cheney still didn't know. But he hadn't bet wrong yet. He nodded to the secretary, pointed to the words, nodded again. The message would be sent, with no record that it ever existed. If al Saud was wrong, he might pay with his life, but those were the risks.
Cheney read on. There was a second, short paragraph, about Richard Branson seeking buyers for his own Virgin Maverick market in South Africa, and his creation of a solar power company, Virgin Energy.
That was nothing. Cheney took a deep breath. It felt good.