24 Day 7, Hour 7 — Lord Dubaku unleashes his Death Star … and it fizzles

By ElaineB

Lesson Learned: Anything controlled by a computer should have a manual override switch.

Some years back, Scientific American had a long article on the next generation of nuclear power plants, noting that computers could override human error and shut reactors down when problems develop. Well, last night, an insecticide plant near a small Ohio city learned why having computers in charge is not a good idea.

Fortunately for everyone but the heroic plant manager, Janis was able to direct the manager on how to release some of the pressure on the system and Jack and the gang were right on Dubaku’s tail. Jack and Bill also convince Renee Walker to join them, something not very hard to do now that she’s had a chance to live her dream of being a “rogue agent for good.” Renee uses her FBI credentials to get Jack and Tony into the building where Dubaku (even the name is right out of Star Wars) is holding the Sangala prime minister and his wife hostage and using the control module to override the Ohio’s plant security. When Dubaku realizes that they are about to have unexpected visitors, he pulls the plug on the Ohio operation and the plant is back on line just in time.

In one big shoot ‘em up, Jack, Tony, Bill and Renee kill nearly every bad guy, destroy the module and rescue Matobo and his wife. But, since there are more hours to come, Dubaku and a henchman escape. They leave module expert Latham wired with a bomb, but only he is killed when it goes off in an oddly bloodless explosion. Meanwhile, a rogue secret service agent pulls the First Gentleman out of Sam’s house and takes him to Dubaku to use as a future bargaining chip.

At the end of the hour, realizing they are in over their heads, the group lets Matobo contact Pres. Taylor and arrange a private meeting. I don’t think it will be private for long.

This was a pretty impressive hour, lots of action, and not one obviously illogical moment. And to hammer home the theme of the season, there is an interesting little interlude between Dubaku and a young woman he’s been seeing as a cover (and probably under the covers, too). The point is, if Pres. Taylor were treating the attack with less secrecy and more mug shots on television, Dubaku might have been apprehended long before things got so out of hand. I expect Dubaku’s girlfriend to have a pivotal scene a few hours from this one.

About Elaine Bergstrom

Feature writer, writing coach and novelist (12 published, another on the way) in the genre of horror/vampire fiction
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