Police had blocked off the celebration areas the night before, but people started streaming into the streets at dawn. By breakfast, the crowds were in full force. There were flags and banners everywhere. People started cheering slogans that didn't quite rhyme and barely made sense, like "Let's go Mike, this time it's right" and "Two more years, John's our beard." Election Day had begun.
Shawn and his team had been working through the night on logistics. Though the morning had been going smoothly so far, he was in a sour mood and everyone knew it.
"Sir, Congressman Jones from Minnesota has just arrived," said Brandon Frank while staring intently at his iPad. "High winds made the landing pretty rough, though." The Secret Service didn't usually keep track of senators and congressmen, but for Election Day, Shawn was put in charge of all travel. His boss had told him they needed a bigger picture and more centralized access to information, but Shawn thought it had more to do with recent budget cuts.
"That's fine. What about the train schedules?"
"All trains have reported on time so far. Extra security has been posted at all the stations." Brandon scratched his head and adjusted his glasses.
"Check them again, and get it right," barked Shawn.
The temporary transportation headquarters tent had been set up on Constitution Ave. NW near the Washington Monument, the epicenter of this year's Election Day Celebration. Outside the tent were three large black buses with electronics and antennas coming out from all sides. Near the buses were a line of militarized Hummers carrying gas generators and a satellite dish soaring fifty feet in the air. Surrounding all this were rows of police cars with all their lights flashing like the Fourth of July. Compared to the outward military appearance, the inside of the tent looked more like an operating room.
Shawn walked up and down the three rows of desks, looking over shoulders at large screens with people on phones yelling status updates to each other. As he approached the third line of desks, filled with maps and checklists, the tent flexed and billowed slightly in a gust of wind. He re-reviewed the printouts with flight schedules, car schedules, and train schedules for all public figures and family members leading up to, during, and following the day's events. It was one of the biggest events of the year.
"Air Force One has landed," yelled Abigail from the corner.
"Brandon. Show me the routes we have planned for the president's ride to the Mall." The table of papers in front of Shawn was cleared and a large map was spread out, filling most of the table. Though Brandon had suggested that Shawn use digital maps, Shawn insisted on redundant paper copies of every important plan and route.
"Here are the main and secondary routes." Brandon pointed at the red and blue lines on a sheet of paper that featured an atlas of information, including the locations of gas stations, office buildings, and even fire hydrant level details. "Police have blocked off the main route."
"The president's in the Beast," said Abigail.
"Redirect the police blockade to the secondary route right now. Tell the driver to use the secondary route."
Shawn's staff scattered and started yelling orders into their radios.
"The main route goes over a train line. Jesus Christ, Brandon, why am I the first one to catch this?"
"We have eyes on every train within ten miles of the president, sir." Brandon scurried through his notes. "There's nothing wrong with this route."
Shawn looked indignant.
"I don't care, there is no need to take unnecessary risks. Redirect the president to the secondary route right now. Why the fuck are we arguing about this?"
YOU ARE READING
The Term Sheet | Wattys 2016 WinnerMystery / Thriller
2016 WATTY AWARD WINNER - HQ LOVE THE TERM SHEET is a fast-paced technothriller about entrepreneurship, startups, encryption, and the delicate balance between national security and individual privacy. Its complex characters explore thought-provoking...