Trophic Cascade – The Rise and Fall of Quiet Acquiescence
A Novel by R.M. Dolin
Book two in the, WHAT IS TO BE DONE, trilogy, Copyright 2021.
1. The Suddenness of Entropy
When Jake learns a man’s been stabbed at Miguel’s ranch, he thinks the worse given Sympatico’s history with Miguel, and is relieved to find Sympatico resting in her room.
2. Por Favor
Armando and Marcos go to Miguel’s ranch for recon, and to gather information about Miguel’s operation. They learn the murdered man was one of the Texans who was in the Al Azar earlier that day.
3. Watchers, Waiters, & A World in Motion
NSA Agent Alvarez arrives in Albuquerque to start his assignment. Jake and members of his Americans for a New America (ANA) cohort develop countermeasures to thwart Alvarez. Padre crashes their meeting to announce opening a halfway house for human trafficking victims and suggesting Sympatico work there. Dario believes he knows why Miguel wants Sympatico back, but is wrong. Miguel regroups and Sympatico continues her slow but steady recovery.
4. Where You’re Supposed to Be
Jake shares with Sympatico how he ended up in New Mexico while she keeps him company in the distillery late at night. He conveys his belief that life is about here and now, which is ironic given he lives in his past.
5. Simply Safe
Jake tells Sympatico about Padre’s halfway house, suggesting she volunteer there. He attempts to encourage her to go out with Dario or Chance but cannot. Jake, Armando, and Padre share a drink at the Al Azar while playing with the new Security App Marcos developed for Jake.
6. Diablo’s Design
Sympatico’s first day at the halfway house. Miguel increases his pressure to get Sympatico back and is about to throw down on Jake at the Al Azar when Dario arrives from the Wind River Casino in time to intervene. Miguel reluctantly backs down leaving Jake with a dire warning. Through Theresa, the Mexican underground is engaged.
7. Social Nullification
During courtyard Bourbon and cigars with Jake, Chance fabricates a story about what happened in Worland, Wyoming that forced him to live on the run. Jake knows the stories a lie, but it’s not for him to judge another man’s truth.
8. Trophic Cascade
As Sympatico continues to recover; she rejects Padre’s attempt to set her up with Dario. The ANA develop plans to bring down Miguel’s operation and free his girls based on the philosophy of trophic cascade. Alvarez continues chipping at the edges of their security and shows up at the Al Azar asking about the murdered Texan.
9. Diablo’s Desperation
Miguel learns about Padre’s halfway house and fears Sympatico may go underground, so he has one of his men stake out Jake’s place. When Jake and Chance leave for town, Miguel makes his move, he would have gotten Sympatico were it not for the Tracker App. Miguel beats Theresa before Jack and Chance return. Jake is prepared to die to protect Sympatico, but Miguel is not prepared to die to get her. Miguel’s boss, Ramon, worries about Alvarez since the feds usually leave his operation alone.
10. Call of the Wild
A pack of wild dogs stray onto Jake’s property attacking Sympatico in the courtyard. Quando does what he can to project Sympatico but is outnumbered. Jake rushes from the distillery and he, along with Quando and Sympatico, are seriously injured. Jake shoots five of the dogs with his pistol, Dario gets the last one with his elephant gun.
11. Where You’re Supposed to Be
Dario does what he can to patch Jake, Sympatico, and Quando up. While sedated, Jake talks nonsense. Jake sleeps on the dining room floor next to Quando. When Sympatico finds them there, she also lays down beside Quando accepting that this is where she’ supposed to be.
12. Sidewalk Cafe
Jake checks in on Sympatico who is still recovering from her wounds. He tells her the story of how he and Emelia met and gets confused as both Sympatico and Emelia seem to simultaneously coexist.
13. Fiesta de Albuquerque por la Manna
Jake, Sympatico, Chance, and Dario prepare for their long drive to Albuquerque and the start of the three-day Albuquerque wine fiesta.
14. Into the Frying Pan
Jake and his crew, that now includes Armando and two additional servers, prepare for the start of the wine fiesta. Jake runs into Padre, whose salsa band will be performing, and they talk about Padre’s latest social justice cause, “Padre’s for Peaceful Protest.”
15. Secret Police
Jake and Armando are arrested by undercover cops for over-serving someone. When shown the incriminating evidence, Jake figures out it’s a setup by Alvarez, which worries him that their subversive plot has been uncovered.
16. That Necessary First Step
Jake steps away from his wine tent to watch Padre perform and invites Sympatico to meet him there later. Sympatico ventures around the fiesta grounds where Miguel’s men spot her. Miguel and Ramon prepare to snatch her.
17. Love and War
Miguel quickly exploits his opportunity and grabs Sympatico. It seems his plan will fail as Jake, Dario, and Chance rush to her rescue, but Miguel’s brought more men and gets away. Jake activates protocol 7.
18. In Diablo’s Den
Ramon holds Sympatico prisoner in the Albuquerque compound. As he tortures her, he explains that everything happening can be avoided if she’ll sign authority of the $150M settlement her Abuelo won for the Bolivian Miners against corrupt corporations but is currently held up on appeal, to him. Sympatico would rather die than betray the Miners and their families.
19. Field Ops
At a joint emergency meeting between the Los Alamos and Sandia ANA, they debate whether Dario’s explosive tendencies, jeopardize their grander plans but realize they need him. Chance is read into the Miguel part of ANA. They know where Miguel is thanks to the Tracker App, and that they must act quickly. After activating their Avatar Protocol, they devise a rouse that will split Miguel and Sympatico from the rest of Ramon’s men. Dario leads the mission, his team includes Chance and two members of the Sandia ANA, and Jake who insists on being there when Sympatico is freed. Dario kills one of Miguel’s men during the rescue.
20. Diablo’s Demise
The ANA dismantle Ramon’s world using cyber warfare in a way that causes maximum pain and exposure. During their rescue mission to free the girls, Dario’s team plants a client book containing many prominent names where Alvarez’s men will find it. Alvarez kills Ramon has he tries to flee.
21. In the End There is Only the End
With Ramon’s operation dismantled, Padre starts the process of returning the girls to their homes utilizing the Mexican underground. He tells Jake that Sympatico needs to go as well. This causes Jake to confront his feelings about her and what it means to lose her. He tries to comply even though it breaks his heart, but Sympatico resists. Now that she is finally free, she wants to stay and build a life while working at the halfway house. While her and Jake do not have romantic feelings for each other, they share an intense bond that neither can imagine being broken.