And Thou Shalt Not
And Thou Shalt Not is the fifth and final installment of the Harbinger of Change Series. Two years into his presidency, President Steve Hatten is putting into play a long-term plan so despicable that if anyone found out, America would be culpable for the start of WWIII.
Using captured technology from Pablo Manual, the President is ready for all contingencies; except for the fact Manual had a prodigy child who is ready to carry on in his father’s footsteps, a man/boy with all the tools his father had and more.
Pablito first must expose Hatten in a way that does not trigger global warfare, but their target is elusive, and has his eye on Armageddon. Secondly, The Pride Group is tasked with enacting the change required by Pabilto Manual’s green agenda or he will carry out his father’s plan, only much, much worse.
Matt Hurst and company walk a tightrope from beginning to end of this fifth and final book.
The American President sat and listened to the Sunday Mass. It was ironic that the focus of today’s Mass was the Ten Commandments, as he was sure he had broken most of them in the two plus years since he had gained office. Born and raised a Catholic, Steve Hatten never missed church and boy did he gain from that in the polls.
Everything he did was calculated, from the attire he chose, to his adherence to being consistent at church, to his regular visits to the VAs around the country.
When his opponents tried to expose him as a fraud, all they could find was he was honest and consistent, and consistent people were to be trusted. Steve had made a lifelong commitment to walking the straight line, so there were not any “things past” to drag out of his closet, especially now since Roger Sedgwick was dead.
Roger would have loved where he had positioned himself currently. He was ahead in the polls, and so far, his debate scheme worked like a charm. Running unopposed he had no one to debate, but he was not about to watch those other two ratings whores run the GOP and DNC debates and conventions without making his own mark. So, capturing the mood of the country, he held a debate with his opponents chosen at random from a list of one hundred that his party chose from academia, military, and civil rights groups.
What happened next was incredibly special, as the group was so mixed and so diverse in every facet that Steve Hatten found himself inundated with every topic from green initiatives to military operations. He was surprised to be called a weak military leader by a very prominent radio show host who made his list.
He not only weathered the debates, but he also prospered, proving once again that being the world’s best prevaricator was a great and awesome power. The end result was his personally organized debate drew a seventeen Nielsen rating, coming in just behind a rerun of the Bachelor, which in this disconnected day and age was saying something.
The priest today was a special visitor from Mexico; his name was Father Tony Campello. He was around fifty, overweight, and hobbled. Steve saw right away that it was most likely gouty arthritis as the culprit.
Father Tony was apparently living a life full of eating rich food, and Steve was sure that was some kind of sin. Way too much rice, beans, and tortillas were gluttony after all. Father Tony was actually an engaging man, and when he got passionate about people striving to live the way that was commanded to us, where we thought before we acted, and we acted accordingly; then one tended to believe in him.
President Hatten was not so sure where he stood on all the God stuff, but he did know that he felt a drive that could only be described as “other-worldly” when he thought of his plan. A drive that would not only see him concoct and execute the demise of America’s enemies but also do it in a way as to outsmart them and watch it all from the sidelines. There was no need to wait, he was the decision-maker now, and the plan was moving forward.
Father Tony spoke of infidelity. That was one sin he had not committed, until last month that was, it was Roger Sedgwick’s former finance that broke his willpower.
Roger did not do his job and take care of Susan financially, and it left the door open for Steve to help her out. He was able to talk to his contact within their consortium and had Susan’s rent paid as if Sedgwick were still alive.
Of course, they capitulated as the dynamic had changed, for without Roger Sedgwick, they had no stalwart hand, they had no heavy. So nowadays, they were chasing him. Naturally, Susan was very grateful, and Steve could not resist the invite for a cocktail. She had been his mistress ever since.
He figured that there were two commandments in one there. Steve Hatten also envied the Sedgwick’s Manhattan apartment, as it had a private elevator from the parking garage. So, he was really on a commandment-smashing roll being with the sexiest woman he had ever known, who was not his wife, and was in fact the kept woman of another man whom he envied, then murdered.
Susan assured Steve that Roger was not capable of being a real man. His thing was just watching her. Not just watching, but Roger used to like to spy on her and do things behind the door. In her words, “He was a real weirdo.”
Her jet-black hair and angelic face were the most beautiful he had ever laid eyes on, and her piercing blue eyes stole Steve’s heart every time they cast themself upon him. He refocused on Father Tony, who had stumbled a little on the Alter and Steve secretly wished he would go down.
Currently, there were two big world events brewing and America would not be a part of either, yet if the plan he put into motion went full scale, then a lot of dead weight was going to be shed from the planet. Deadweight with brown faces, same as it’s always been, only now he did not have to “stand down” as his former superiors used to love to say, now he had the power to do something about it.
Father Tony brought up the compulsion to have what the Jones’s have, and he warned against coveting thy neighbor’s lifestyle, his wife, or his things. President Hatten chuckled and decided to count how many of these he had broken just since he took office. Not counting military command decisions, he had personally killed only three, but the Roger Sedgwick murder was in itself, worth much, much more.
He had done the world so much good with that move that if the Mythical Lord that these people preached about was real; then certainly Steve would be rewarded with Sainthood. Sedgwick’s pilot was collateral damage.
Roger Sedgwick was the most horrific person Steve Hatten had ever known. His decision to kill him was based on many realities, but the most persistent was the man’s military aspirations. For many reasons, Mr. Sedgwick wanted the U.S. in a constant war, mostly because he was a profiteer of war.
Steve Hatten was not some clown corporate sycophant; he was the greatest military mind his country had ever produced; they just did not know it yet. He saw what China and Islam were doing, as they were no longer passively taking over the world, they were overtly laying out their plans for the entire world to see.
Their government was setting up shop in America and in two hundred years, they will have bred the Anglo-Saxons right out of their own house. Before his great mind took over, “America the aggressor” was only on some charts that had to exist, but now that he was here, he planned to wipe out legions of these yellow and brown-faced insects right off the face of the earth. Well, at least the foreign ones.
He knew that the whole lot of them were nothing more than an overbreeding, overzealous group of nothings that were prone to irrational violence for violence’s sake, but not for long.
Steve knew his country’s past military actions were centered on countering aggression and tyranny when it arose. So, his current plan was different for sure, as it was centered on slowing those little brown-eyed breeding machines down. He saw the population expectations for places like Vietnam, and he was appalled to see they would have over a billion people within the next twenty years, as would India. Steve thought to himself, not if I can help it.
President Hatten also knew that corporations had America’s politicians in their pocket, so having a congress-approved aggression was going to be out, especially on the scale he was going to escalate things to. Roger helped him get elected, and then Steve gave one touching tribute to the man after another. He sugar-glazed their relationship to the point that Roger never saw it coming.
Roger had advised Steve to make sure he was not viewed as an over-aggressive warmonger. Of course, that was exactly his plan all along, or Steve would have never played along. This feigned allegiance accomplished two things, first, it appeased the overconfident fat man and his cronies, and second, it portrayed him to be viewed as a man who never acted rashly. Both things he needed to convey long-term.
On the tragic day of his death, Roger had met with Steve in the Oval Office where he gave Steve his usual demands. At least that was how the President viewed it, even when Roger asked a favor, he had this way of making it seem that you owed him and therefore niceties were out the window. Steve Hatten was having lunch when the tragic news of Roger Sedgwick’s plane crash filled the airwaves. It was estimated that the plane went down in the waters off the end of Long Island, in the Block Island Sound.
The pilot was not able to communicate what went wrong before the crash so finding the flight recorder became imperative. The speculation was there was an air leak, as there were no other mitigating circumstances to account for the crash. The weather was fair, the jet had a spotless service record, and the pilot was seasoned.
President Steve Hatten loved those moments when he got to grandstand and play for his audience. Lies were so easily told when one believed them as if they were real. That was what he had learned to do to be convincing, Steve Hatten was a man that believed in his own bullshit. And the way he eulogized poor Roger, one would have sworn that he did not pay a man to be Roger’s “special mechanic” and send his plane into the Atlantic, but he was the man to make that happen. Roger Sedgwick needed to die, and planes crashed all the time.
Father Tony was praying for all the people of the world, and he could never have known that the equivalent of the Anti-Christ would soon take the Eucharist from his hand in his own sanctified edifice. Steve Hatten had been counting the sins that he had perpetrated since taking office and they were many.
The worst of which was he committed murder three times, Roger Sedgwick, his personal pilot, and the Iranian shithead that stabbed him. Of course, that poor fellow hung himself he had heard, what a pity.
The main commandment that loomed was, “I am your Lord, God.”
He looked at the hobbled man at the Alter, a man who was going through the same rituals he had his whole life. Father Tony believed with all his soul, but did Steve Hatten? As President Hatten came down the aisle and received the body of Christ, and then went and immediately drank the blood of Christ, he knew the answer for him was, “No,” he did not believe. All church was to him was a place to hide, a place where no one could bother him for over an hour. A place where he could get some thinking done, eat a stale piece of unleavened bread, and chase it down with some cheap wine.
He was not going to be burdened by conscience, as remorse had no place on a battlefield. Steve was not lost on the fact great atrocities were forgiven by the winner, and the winners always wrote the history books. His father was a warrior who would understand that fact. So, he still had a solid chance not to break, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
He was going after the bastards in the Middle East and Asia, and they would never find out it was the U.S.
Taiwan the disobedient child, Tehran the unstable, Tel Aviv ready to draw the pistol like a cowboy, and then there was North Korea the hostile. Everyone thought the next large-scale war would surely involve the good old USA protecting one of its many assets and relationships. Yet President Hatten knew better as he held all the cards in this card game, and he had a Royal Flush.
He exited the church and the sun shone into his hazel eyes, so he adorned his sunglasses. His complexion was sensitive as he was a red-headed, fair-skinned person. His hairline had receded into a strip of rust-colored hair that intersected with his freckled back. When he campaigned, the sun was an issue, so he really had to plan it right as he turned the color of a Maine lobster in minutes.
He entered the Beast (President’s Limo) and right away the phone calls were waiting. His Chief of Staff Richard Nelson was waiting for him, and as always, he had a look of consternation worthy of any mom waiting for a teenager. Steve got in and asked, “What’s up?”
Richard answered, “Something is up in the Middle East and the CIA is calling for an immediate meeting.”
President Hatten sat back with a hidden grin that would scare the Cheshire cat, “Really? What’s going on?”
As their entourage made its way to the Pentagon, President Hatten listened to the very dire information coming out of the Middle East…and he could not be more pleased. That was what he loved about Sandland, always a new drama happening, and this time it was not even part of his plan unfolding, but it would sure help it. Steve sat back and thought, the more conflict the merrier.
"What a book! Oftentimes I read a series and by the finale I feel the writer should have given it up the book before...that the final chapter either seems contrived or only done to carry the name of the brand on. Not so with And Thou Shalt Not. Timothy Jon Reynolds somehow makes every book in this series stronger than the one before, and seeing I put the first Harbinger novel up against any book in its genre, that is saying something. First of all this story is so apt to the current political and military climate our world is taking. His grasp of the future has always scared and excited me a bit, never more so than in Thou, kudos to Reynolds for finishing the last leg stronger than the first."
– Victor Draper
"I'm sitting here going over And Thou Shalt Not in my head. Author Reynolds has pulled something off in this book series that I don't think I have ever encountered. A continued story where I'm sure I know the direction the series is heading, only to discover in a very realistic and believable manner that I didn't. Reflecting, it was there the whole time if I look back hard enough, but Reynolds is a master of sleight of hand writing. I can honestly say that I have not been able to nail the ending in any of his novels, Harbinger series or otherwise, and for me, that is the greatest gift of his writing."
– Tara Nichols
"We live in a terrifying time of military advancements that seem to be increasing faster than humans can manage and control them. In And Thou Shalt Not, Timothy Jon Reynolds reminds us of this in spades. In a world where these developments are now in the daily news, Reynolds is able to give us a futuristic view of what could become if we don’t learn to harness our technology. And from what we can read here, that future is neither far off nor pleasant. But then, through the ashes of all that dystopia, comes the hope and joy that his vision of American Pride could bring to a weary nation. That goodness and decency are also here to temper the evils that exist within our borders and institutions. Another great read, fantastic way to finish up this series."
– Marty Brown
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