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The Riverton Project
Robert Ryder, the President’s oldest and closest advisors, knew exactly when America ceased to be America.
While 9-11, and later the bombings of the Sears tower, had momentarily unified the country, it was the senseless murder of America’s favorite movie actress, Shari Benton, and her three-year-old daughter that actually tore it apart.
If the paparazzi and the country had gone wild at Shari Benton's adoption of little Leah, it was the two shotgun blasts that ended the child’s life, captured on security cameras that were the shots heard and seen around the world. Both shooters had extensive histories of violent crimes and both had just been released from prison on good behavior.
Over night, angry mobs and flash rioters raged through the streets of every major city in America, fire-bombing federal buildings, pulling government employees out of their cars and beating them, attacking police stations, even in one horrific case, allowing themselves to be arrested just so they could murder every detainee in the city’s holding cells before committing suicide. All of it vigilante attempts at correcting the wrong that had become America.
Ryder knew exactly what it would take to save America but convincing a standing President to commit treason was not going to be easy. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Robert Ryder was very good at convincing.
In Los Angeles, a select group of recent graduates from the Police Academy, were approached individually by men posing as FBI agents, offering each a chance to change the world. Although they were not told how they would accomplish this, they were told that as the best in their class, they would be linked up with their equally proficient counterparts from every other region of the country, making them a part of the most elite and best paid police force America had ever known--one that would alter the complete concept of law enforcement in the country and, quite possibly the world, from that time forward.
It was an exciting offer, made even more enticing by the covertness and secrecy of the discussions. If they agreed to join this elite corps, the training program would start that evening and require the cadets to be flown to an unspecified training center completely isolated from everything and everyone they knew for three to five months.
For Seth, a young Jewish radical, who had given up a promising medical career to become a police officer, the offer sounded like the chance he had been waiting for, to really make a difference to the country he loved, but it would also mean being away from his young social worker wife, Rachel, for months and more importantly, he would miss the birth of their first child.
For Miles, the offer was the chance to make more money than he ever dreamed possible without selling drugs, and a chance to get out of the ghetto once and for all.
For the newly-out Jay, the divorced father of a three year old daughter, the trip to the secret training camp, while exciting, just added another layer of confusion to the life he was trying to bring into some semblance of order. He didn’t want to lose his daughter, or the one man who had changed his life forever and become his lover.
Angie Castillo seemed to have everything going for her. This fiery redhead was able to hold her own in combat and marksmanship with any man or woman on the squad. Only a very few close friends knew her real story; the pregnant girl thrown out onto the streets at thirteen, the girl who survived by hustling, miscarried in an alley at six months, almost died and then fought her way back up off those streets to get her GED and finally, acceptance into the Police Academy. There was never a question in her mind that she was going to be part of this program. It meant money, of course, but more importantly, it was chance to prove her own self-worth to everyone, maybe even to the parents who had rejected her.
What none of these cadets knew upon entering the program was that through the upcoming months of twenty-four-hour-a-day physical and psychological training, all of them would be turned into something much more than a police force. They would become the Guardians -- Riverton’s perfectly functioning killing machines.
The Riverton Project asks the question, “How much are you, as American citizens, willing to give up to stop the insanity and return to a world of safety?” “Would you be willing to give up your citizenship, your constitutional, legal and inalienable rights?”
The answer, of course, is a resounding, “No!” But the citizens of Riverton, Ohio were not given that choice. These men and women woke up one morning to find their community had overnight become its own country within a country, with its own borders, its own rules and regulations, its own rights and responsibilities and its own Guardian police force. It had become part of a frightening experiment to save the essence of the American dream by destroying everything that that dream had been founded upon.
The frightening thing was that the experiment worked.
This is the story of the men and women who lived it.