8:18 AM Denver, Colorado

"Early reports indicate that a terrorist attack this morning has put the New Freedom Water Reclamation Facility out of commission. The explosion, which occurred at approximately seven fifteen this morning, damaged several components that are integral to the purification process. Sources have informed us that due to the highly specialized nature of this equipment, it may be several weeks or even months before replacement parts can be manufactured. The implications of this attack are vast. With a twenty five percent decrease in productivity, the reclamation process will be hard pressed to meet demand for fresh water in the quarantine zone. With tensions already extremely high in the area, experts expect to see massive outbreaks of protest and possibly violence in the near future."

"Shut that damn thing off." demanded the President of the United States. One of his aids scurried to comply with his request. Since the outbreak, the capitol had been temporarily relocated safely outside of the quarantine zone, and Gabriel Ring had been anything but cheerful.

"How the hell did terrorists get into the quarantine zone and past the security at the facility? What the hell are we doing out there that nobody picked these guys up, and why didn't our intelligence people catch anything on this?"

"Mr. President, this act was not committed by foreign operatives. Review of the surveillance discs has shown that the three men were employees of the facility. We have mobilized local units to apprehend the suspects. As soon as we have them contained we'll let you know." As National Security Advisor, Daron Preston was both trusted and like by his boss, an affinity that was not shared by all of the presidents advisors. He gave the President the available intel and his own opinion on each situation. He did not speculate wildly, or try to tell give his boss what, he wanted to hear, neither did he avoid certain issues to cover his own ass. If he didn't know the answer to a question he either found out, or told the President that he did not know. Many of the cabinet members viewed him as naïve and idealistic. The President viewed him as honest and straightforward. "I believe that we will have a difficult time apprehending these men. Not only are the in a very sparsely populated area, where the condition of many of the roadways is questionable at best, the few people in the area are likely to be sympathetic to them. This situation has not endeared the government or the military in the hearts of many people. They cannot see the work we are doing to improve the situation and rectify the problem. They only know the desperation that has turned their lives into misery"

"Thank you for the info Darren, but you've already given me your opinion about this many times. You act as if I'm blind to the suffering of the people out there. I'm doing everything I can to help them, but our resources for dealing with this type of disaster are extremely limited. And now you're telling me that the very people we are trying to help just destroyed one of their main sources for drinkable water. We are trying our damndest and they just shot us in the foot." The President was nearly yelling as he finished.

"Mr. President," the Secretary of the Interior, whose title had become an unspoken joke, replied "the people trapped in the containment area no longer have any respect for the law or this government. They are becoming increasingly violent and unpredictable. We need to take a stand and show them that any actions against agencies of the government will not be tolerated. We have to make examples of these criminals as soon as they are captured. If we ever want to retain control of the region we must make them fear retribution. If we keep giving them soft words they will only believe that we are afraid of escalating the situation." As the Secretary finished speaking she happened to catch the eye of the Secretary of Defense and read the message in his eyes.

"Gentleman, and ladies, I don't believe that this government cannot find other ways to alleviate the anxiety the people in the quarantine zone are feeling. Nor do I believe that the detainees are becoming savages whom we need to deal with like rabid dogs. Now we have just lost one of our major resources for rectifying this grievous error. I want projections on how long it will take New Freedom to be brought back online. I would also like to hear any ideas on how we can ease the plight of our people. Our actions have trapped them in their own country and we need to make amends for that. You have until our regular meeting tomorrow. We still have along road ahead of us, and we need to be ever vigilant for new ideas."

The members of the cabinet filed out of the room and headed for their respective offices. As the Secretary of Interior rounded a corner she heard footsteps approaching behind her. She turned to face the Secretary of Defense.
"If I may have a word with you Madame Secretary. I believe that we share similar views on the current state of affairs in the affected region. If we could meet later I would like to discuss some options that may be of mutual benefit to us."

"Meet me at Georgio's at eight o'clock. Perhaps we can find a resolution to this dilemma."