View Full Version : High-Altitude Summary (Loooooong)

September 12th, 2010, 07:13 AM
This is a summary of the entire novel. It might (actually it will) spoil the entire thing.

According to the Snowflake method, I'm supposed to take my one paragraph summary (http://www.writingforums.com/fiction/114526-my-first-summary.html) and expand each sentence into its own paragraph. But I kind of got carried away. Oh well. I've got a nice high-altitude rough-and-gritty draft to work with now. You'll notice that in some parts it's more vague, others more detailed. Just kind of how it came out. I haven't proofread this at all yet, and there are lots of holes that you'll notice, but I'll clean it up later (when it's not midnight and I haven't been writing all dang day). Enjoy.

Oh, and the ending. I'm still working on something emotionally moving to wrap it all up, so sorry if I leave you hangin :D


The year is 2020. Terrorists are now attacking from inside the United States. In an attempt to rally their strength before the threat becomes to great, the government has passed several reforms, and anyone who carries a gun and a badge as their job is now considered part of the armed forces. The training programs are vicious.

Jeffrey Baron, 23 years of age, has passed the training and arrived in New York City, ready to start as a security guard for the World Trade Center complex. But his own past stands in his way; his vivid memory will be his undoing. He had experienced the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 firsthand, and his parents had been killed when the North Tower collapsed. He had been only four years old at the time, and the memories of that day had become more and more frightening as the years wore on. His life an emotional wreck, he had worked hard to smother the memories, but his return to New York begins to trigger recalls. His refusal to give in to his emotions only makes them more volatile. Sleepless nights are the results of his attempt to suppress the nightmares that he once had locked away but now haunt him once again.

Justin Baron, Jeff's only remaining brother, is serving in the Middle East as a part of the Marines, with only one mission left to go before he returns home. During this mission, Justin captures and escapes with a memory card filled with the blueprints of the terrorists' next deadly plot. He returns home to New York City a few hours later. Getting the chip to the government is his top priority, but he had promised to spend some time with his brother when he returned. While the two of them are walking the city streets the next evening, the two of them are confronted by a large group of gang bangers. Jeff is subdued and pulled into an alley, watching helplessly as Justin is overpowered, beaten, and shot. Cops swarm the scene, and the gang scatters. Jeff crawls to Justin's side, and Justin whispers his final words so only Jeff can hear: "Terrorists... After me... My watch... Take the chip... The government..." With the last of his strength, he pulls Jeff into one final embrace, and Jeff feels Justin's last breath leave his body.

Determined not to let himself wallow in grief, he returns to his post after taking only one day off. But after several days of being alone with his thoughts as he patrols the Freedom Tower after dark, he concludes that after the special assignment that all new recruits are required to take part in, he will hand in his resignation. The special assignment turns out to be participating in the security reinforcements at JFK Airport as the president of the United States arrives in his massive Boeing 747.

The day starts normally enough. The eastern arm of Terminal 4 is cleared out, and the security forms their perimeter. A halo of military aircraft circles the airport, and all other air traffic is halted. Jeff finds his mind clear and focused on the task at hand. A good thing too, for as Air Force One comes in for a landing, her two escort F-35s open fire on the aircraft circling the airport. On that cue, the massive black SUVs that accompanied the presidential limousine suddenly smash through the terminal doors. More terrorists storm the terminal on foot. A terrible truth comes to light in that moment: The terrorists have infiltrated the lower infrastructures of the government, possibly more.

Air Force One has no choice but to land. The plane's electronic defenses are activated to prevent attack from the air, and all radio communications between the security forces are jammed. Jeff is faced with a dilemma: The orders he received moments before the jamming were to regroup at the gate and provide cover for a decoy while the real president was rushed over to terminal 5 via armored squad car. But the terrorists knew where the civilians were gathered on the west side of the terminal, and if they took hostages, they would be facing a no-win no-options scenario. And the security on that side was not prepared for what Jeff knew they would be facing.

By now, the air security has been mostly destroyed. Burning skeletons of helicopters and fighter jets litter the airport grounds. Reinforcements have been scrambled from McGuire Air Force Base but are too late. Air Force One is trapped on the ground long enough for the terrorists to invade.

Jeff takes matters into his own hands, knowing full well that he might be killed but also knowing that a disaster will certainly happen if someone doesn't take action. Carefully, he picks his way through the airport, dodging knives and gunfire, rallying the shaken security into a small platoon, urging them to work together to rescue the civilians. But the terrorist attack is growing more intense. They seem to be converging on Jeff and his squad. As they find themselves pinned down by one of the armored SUVs, Jeff suddenly has an epiphany. Past events and bits of conversation between the terrorists assemble themselves into a realization. These are the terrorists that attacked him and Justin. The terrorists have been tracking the chip. The chip that his brother died to protect. The chip that was still hidden in the watch Jeff now wore on his left arm. Something important was on that chip, and if the terrorists were breaking off their attack on Air Force One to get to it...

Jeff realizes time is short, and while a few other soldiers agree to play bait, Jeff takes out the gunners in the rear of the SUV and manages to break into the vehicle through the rear. They use the vehicle to finish the sprint to the west wing of the terminal, abandon it at the entrance to that section and blow it up to create a distraction. From there they assist the crippled security in holding off the terrorists while the civilians evacuate the terminal. Minutes later, it is mostly over. The president has escaped safely, and the rest of the security force is converging on the west wing. The sound of jet engines catches Jeff attention, and Jeff turns to the window to see the F-35s escorting a stolen military helicopter out to sea. Suddenly, several terrorists burst through a doorway and grab him from behind. As he struggles to throw his assailants off, he sees one of his fellow recruits, his only friend, running toward him. First he feels relief, and then terror. The bloody bullet wound on the man's arm came from Jeff's gun. A perfect shot in the patch. The man appears to try to throw the terrorists off him, but Jeff sees a knife blade spring from his hand. He feels the watch being pried from his arm. Adrenaline kicks in, and Jeff wrenches his gun free of its holster and fires three shots. The man who he thought was his friend falls dead before him.

The country is in a state of panic. Jeff Baron is convicted of murder and terrorism. Evidence is hard against him. The only security camera footage that wasn't disrupted shows him shooting the recruit that appeared to try and save his life. The knife was never found. As he's later sitting cuffed in the back of a squad car, a group of black-masked men suddenly rip open the doors and stun both Jeff and the cop. Jeff later wakes up in a dimly lit, smoke filled room. There, he is met by the cute red-haired woman from Special Operations that had him reassigned from his original assignment with Special Ops to the World Trade Center security, just days before he left the training camp. She, Natalie, had been at the airport, and she had seen the whole thing. She knows he is innocent, but her word alone can't clear his name. She informs hims of the situation. Special Ops already knows that something big is going down in New York, but they had no idea that it would be this big. She knows about the chip hidden in the watch, as well as its significance. But now they are in quite a rut. It had been Natalie that had paid the mafia to extract Jeff from the clutches of the NYPD and bring him into hiding, and now she has a warrant out for her arrest. Marked as traitors, it is up to the both of them to extract the information from the chip and figure out what the terrorists' next move is.

Working undercover, with the mafia on their side, they scrutinize, decipher, and investigate
every lead and bit of information they can get their hands on. Their searches lead them to an automotive performance company, a professional violinist, an electrical components distributor, a radio communications specialist, and eventually, back to the Freedom Tower. Having concluded that the terrorist plot will take place somewhere inside, Jeff makes plans to sneak in and investigate while Natalie continues trying to decrypt the information on the chip. In disguise, he sneaks in through the parking garage, carefully makes his way to the upper levels, where he hides out in an office until nightfall. When the building becomes dark, he begins his search. The tower is crawling with terrorists, all dressed in black combat gear. The night watch guards have been taken hostage. Whatever's happening is going to be big. And it's going to happen soon.

After a long time spent dodging and sneaking past the patrols, he finds what it is they're working on, 93 floors up in a mechanical room. The laser pulse device that they stole from Air Force One is bolted to an inside wall. It is clad in various metal bits to disguise it as an automatic transmission. The door flies open behind him, and several men shuffle through carrying the "engine" to go on top of the laser. No time to figure out what their intention is. They spot him and gunfire erupts. It's an epic fight to get out of the building, but Jeff finally makes it down to the lobby, where he sees Natalie running from her car toward the doors. Just as she burst through and starts to explain to Jeff that she decrypted the chip and figured out the plan, the terrorists flood the lobby. Natalie takes a bullet in the shoulder. She is grabbed by the terrorists and carried out to the street. Jeff tries to follow but is tackled to the ground and dragged back into the hallways in the center structure of the lobby. He finds an opportunity and breaks free, stealing a set of keys from one of his unconscious assailants. He dashes out to the street, unlocks a car, and takes off after the car that he thinks Natalie is in.

Car chase. He is able to successfully tail the kidnappers without being noticed, until the police spot him at an intersection and begin pursuit. The intense chase eventually ends at an abandoned warehouse, the police just minutes behind. Jeff tears open the kidnapper's car to find the driver has disappeared, and in the back seat, a mannequin. To make it worse, a picture message arrives on his phone showing Natalie tied to a chair in front of the terrorists' device in the Freedom Tower. Jeff shoots the glass out of the car in frustration. Then the police arrive. Jeff is cuffed, and is just seconds away from being stuffed into the back of a squad car again when one of Natalie's peers, Agent Cosper, from Special Ops interrupts the arrest. He explains that Natalie had called him as she arrived at the Freedom Tower, explaining that she had intercepted a huge amount of terrorist data and that Jeff Baron was not only innocent, but close to uncovering the terrorists' plot for himself. He had been en route to the tower when he had witnessed the car chase blaze past him, and learned who was involved when he tuned into the police scanner.

The police agree to escort them to Natalie's apartment and search her computer for the information. Upon entering, they find the chip still in the computer, and everything still up on the screen. She had obviously left in a hurry. Jeff takes control of the computer and begins looking through the files. The documents and diagrams illustrate a perfectly designed plan that will lead to the destruction of Manhattan Island and the death of millions of people. Everything fits perfectly with what they have learned through their investigations. The threat is very real. By enhancing the photo that was sent to Jeff's phone, they are then able to read the timer on the device and calculate that they have exactly 38 minutes to stop the device from activating.

They take the next few moments to come up with a plan. The police will evacuate the island, and Agent Cosper will assemble a team from Special Ops to go in, rescue Natalie, and neutralize the threat. Jeff arranges to destroy the terrorists' backup electrical system, and have the mafia shut down the power grid. Phone calls are made, and the attack begins.

Jeff and the Special Ops team scope out the Freedom Tower from an adjacent building. They discover that the mechanical floor where the device--and Natalie--are being kept is heavily guarded. They determine that by using a special type explosive designed specifically for metal cutting, they can collapse that section of the floor, evacuate Natalie, and gain access to the device. A call from the mafia boss informs Jeff that the power plant is being rigged to blow, and Jeff can soon trigger the explosives by calling a certain cell phone.

They enter the tower and begin to fight their way up. The terrorists put up one heck of a resistance. Progress is slow, but finally they make it to the 92nd floor. Agent Cosper places the explosives in a ring around the area where Natalie is bound above them, Jeff places one more on the backup generator that had been installed in the basement, and pulls out his cell phone to make the call that will detonate the power plant.

But several things have gone wrong. The terrorists are on to them, and the mafia are trapped inside the power plant, fighting to the death. Furthermore, the radio disruptors that have been placed throughout the tower to hide the laser pulse generator from satellite detection are also blocking Jeff's cell phone and the detonator's signal. The team makes a rendezvous on the 89th floor to formulate a secondary plan. They rig Cosper's cell phone to forward calls to the phone wired into the power plant bomb, which will also signal them that they are clear to detonate their explosives, cutting power to the device and collapsing the floor in a clean and synchronized way. Jeff then leaves to hunt down and disable the disruptors while the rest of the teams guards the explosives.

The terrorists call in reinforcements. An armed helicopter begins circling the Freedom Tower, taking shots at the Special Ops team inside. The evacuating civilians are surrounded, and hostages are held in the buildings across from the Freedom Tower. The military mobilizes. It is full scale warfare in the streets. Jeff fights his way up and down the Freedom Tower, shooting out the radio disruptors as he comes across them. The military sends teams in to rescue the hostages and protect the evacuees. The mafia are still trapped in the power plant.

The tide turns. The threat to the evacuees is neutralized. Hostages are being secured. Military choppers engage the terrorist helicopter circling the tower. Jeff reaches the very top floor of the Freedom Tower and destroys the last disruptor. He pulls out his phone to make the call... And the phone explodes into a thousand fragments. He turns around. Two more bullets slam into his chest, throwing him backward into the wall. The professional violinist they discovered to be leading the plot slides his gun into his holster and turns to leave.

Jeff sheds his ruined armor vest and tackles the violinist down the stairs. Playing dead hurt fairly badly, but it worked. The man is apparently a master in martial arts, and it takes all of Jeff's skill just to avoid receiving a fatal hit. He begins to tire, and alters his strategy. He lunges again and tries to rummage through the man's pockets. The strange maneuver works, and the violinist falters. Jeff seizes the chance, steals the man's gun, grabs him in a choke hold, and puts the muzzle to his head. The man gasps "You've won nothing. You can't bring yourself to kill me." Jeff simply replies "I just need your phone." He squeezes tighter, and the man passes out.

Jeff drops the unconscious man and dials Cosper's phone. The mafia overpower the terrorists and escape the power plant just as the place erupts like a supervolcano. Agent Cosper's phone beeps once, "call forwarded" displaying on the screen. He evacuates the team and detonates the explosives. The specially shaped plasma charges blast through the steel beams, and the entire section of floor collapses amid a swirling inferno. The terrorists standing guard over Natalie and the device are incinerated instantly. The team rushes in and cuts the bonds that hold the thoroughly-shaken Natalie to her chair. Blood soaks her sleeve.

They climb to the remains of the floor above, where the device is still attached to the wall. Agent Cosper, an experienced mechanic, disconnects the laser pulse generator from the nuclear warhead disguised as an engine block. Natalie explains that had the device activated, the laser would have created an extremely powerful chemical reaction in the uranium chunk, generating a massive gravitational anomaly that would implode upon itself and then detonate with unimaginable force. The team breathes a sigh of relief.

But it isn't over. Upon removing the "engine" from the "transmission," a second timer located on the intake of the engine blinks to life. Natalie simply says she expected nothing less, after all, it would be a shame to let a perfectly good nuclear warhead go to waste if the power simply went out. Forced to think again, with only 12 minutes on the new timer, they determine that loading the bomb into a helicopter and dropping it far out in the ocean is the only feasible option. The tower's damaged backup generator barely has enough power to get the elevator and the bomb down to the lobby, but they are able to haul the device out to the helicopter waiting in the street. Gunfire erupts, and the helicopter pilot, helping move the bomb, is killed instantly. The team is able to duck into the hold out of harm's way but Jeff, standing on the open ramp of the helicopter, takes three bullets in the back and two in the chest.

Insert ending here...

September 12th, 2010, 09:40 AM
This is right up my alley. :D Lots of action, lots of guns, lots of twists and turns, and a heck of a story thrown in for good measure. Have you started writing it yet? On that matter, have you written any before it? I'd like to read them, if they were available.

September 12th, 2010, 08:09 PM
Yeah, I've done three chapters so far, and have archived (more like quarantined) eight chapters of my crappy seat-of-the-pants original draft. I can post all of them if you want.

September 12th, 2010, 09:34 PM
Stick up the first chapter in the Workshop and I'll be happy to take a look. Generally speaking, it's best not to post too much all in one go -- though readers have been known to give critiques on pieces exceeding five and ten thousand words.

What kind of word-count are you aiming for the finished novel? You've got a big outline here, which amounts to probably a 150K-plus manuscript.

September 15th, 2010, 04:38 AM
Stick up the first chapter in the Workshop and I'll be happy to take a look. Generally speaking, it's best not to post too much all in one go -- though readers have been known to give critiques on pieces exceeding five and ten thousand words.

What kind of word-count are you aiming for the finished novel? You've got a big outline here, which amounts to probably a 150K-plus manuscript.

Posted. It is kind of long, that's just how I write...

I haven't exactly given too much though to word count. Although I've planned it so that if it is too long in the end, I can remove a lot of the filler fluff stuff.