Authors: Xander Weaver
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 13
- Chapter 14
- Chapter 15
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
- Chapter 18
- Chapter 19
- Chapter 20
- Chapter 21
- Chapter 22
- Chapter 23
- Chapter 24
- Chapter 25
- Chapter 26
- Chapter 27
- Chapter 28
- Chapter 29
- Chapter 30
- Chapter 31
- Chapter 32
- Chapter 33
- Chapter 34
- Chapter 35
- Chapter 36
- Chapter 37
- Chapter 38
- Chapter 39
- Chapter 40
- Chapter 41
- Chapter 42
- Chapter 43
- Chapter 44
- Chapter 45
Cyrus Cooper Will Return...
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Copyright © 2015 by Xander Weaver
ISBN 978-0-9904394-7-9 (
ISBN 978-0-9904394-8-6 (Trade Paperback)
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover Design by Lee Roesner, Paradigm Graphic Design
Image sources by alexfiodorov/bigstockphoto.com and xxxxxxxxxxxx/bigstockphoto.com
For Jamie, Wenzel, and everyone in Cheryl's book club.
You make the realm of writing extremely fulfilling.
Other books by Xander Weaver:
Book One: Dangerous Minds
Book Two: Rogue Faction Part 1
Book Three: Rogue Faction Part 2
For more information, please visit:
Near the Podkamennaya River, Russia
June 30, 1908
Colonel Rumsfeld Pellagrin, USMC made his way down the dimly lit concrete corridor. Fighting the urge to glance over his shoulder and struggling to maintain an even gait, he was careful to avoid drawing suspicion. He navigated hallway after hallway of the underground labyrinth with precision and practiced skill. Pellagrin had crossed continents, even infiltrated a foreign military compound just to make it this far. He wouldn’t allow a foolish mistake to give him away now. Not when he was so close to completing his mission and seeing his life’s work become a reality.
Rounding yet another corner of the utilitarian corridor he came upon a pair of Russian soldiers moving in the opposite direction. Pellagrin struggled to control himself. It was critical to avoid anything that might draw undue attention. With relief he noticed the pair were not officers and were deeply engaged in conversation. They paid him little regard. He, in turn, passed them without so much as a nod of his head. This was Russia and these men were soldiers, they had no time or interest in common pleasantries. It was so unlike the American schools and laboratories where Pellagrin normally spent his time.
One more turn and Pellagrin entered a long hallway bordered on the right by a series of service doors. This passage was much wider than the earlier corridors. He’d reached Central Research, the heart of the military facility.
Passing a few steel services doors on his right, he moved on. These entrances were marked in Cyrillic, denoting them as supply closets and utility access stations. Next he reached a larger steel door mounted on heavy industrial hinges. The handle was a mechanism with a large rotary wheel which controlled a heavy rubber gasket protruding from the lip of the door to create a powerful air-tight seal. The wall to the left and right of the doorframe was made of glass that was several inches thick. It allowed observation of the lab from the safety and security of the hallway. A sure indication that the work conducted within was hazardous.
Checking the placard beside the airlock entrance, Pellagrin noted the room’s designation as High Security Laboratory #3. According to information provided by the US SIS (Signals Intelligence Service) and the work order he’d forged earlier, the stolen American technology should be located in High Security Lab #1.
Moving down the corridor, Pellagrin found a duplicate lab located across that hall. Continuing further still he found his destination, Laboratory #1. A quick glance left, then right, confirmed he was alone. Taking the large wheeled handle in both hands he gave it a muscle wrenching spin. The force required to break the seal was surprising. Some of the scientists he’d observed while undercover for the past week were quite slight in stature. How some of them would contend with the doors heavy-handed control system was a mystery to Pellagrin.
Freeing the latch, Pellagrin stepped through the hatch and pulled the bulky slab shut behind. The door must have been outrageously heavy yet it moved silently on its heavy steel hinges. Spinning the latching wheel until it came to a stop, he reached under his long white lab coat and retrieved an eighteen-inch long crescent wrench. He’d secured the wrench under his left arm by looping a spare shoelace through the close end of the wrench and tying the lace up over his shoulder. As he pulled the end of the shoelace and released the knot he considered how lucky he’d been, not needing to use the blunt force weapon to gain access to the lab. Jamming the wrench between the crosshatch supports securing the outer ring of the door’s release wheel to the mechanical gears that operated the seal, he ensured the door could not be opened from the outside.
Stepping across the small airlock, Pellagrin spun the wheel of the second door, a duplicate of the first, located on the opposite side of the tiny vestibule. He stepped through and pulled it closed. This time he used the shoelace from his improvised wrench sling to tie off the door’s control wheel. It was unlikely anyone would defeat the wrench in the outer door, but Pellagrin knew he was too close to the finish line to take unnecessary chances.
He was finally alone in the dimly lit Russian lab. Everything he’d risked to make it this far had paid off. Looking back, he was shocked that the hastily assembled plan had actually worked. Infiltrating Russia's borders was easy enough. Backstopping the credentials necessary to gain access to the facility had been the real gamble. Without proper documentation, the operation was dead in the water. Fortunately, well-placed bribes and creative fiction secured his access to the facility in the end. Corruption didn’t make espionage possible, but sure made things easier. All of that was behind him now, and it was game time.
Crossing the darkened lab, Pellagrin found a pile of large wooden crates stacked in the back corner of the room. Each crate was stamped with Cyrillic lettering, Russian script, indicating the contents to be Top Secret. His breath caught in his throat as he made a quick count of the containers only to find two missing. Looking closer, he found the missing pair stashed behind some larger boxes and wedged tight against the wall. Breathing a sigh of relief, Pellagrin wiped the sweat from his brow.
Such a mistake would cost him his life.
Moving on to the next stage of his plan, Pellagrin looked around the lab more carefully. A large locked steel cabinet took up the center of the labs back wall. Etched into the thick plate doors in Cyrillic text were the words:
In English, this translated to
. And if the reports he’d read were accurate, the name was extremely appropriate.
The heavy steel doors were locked with three industrial grade padlocks the likes of which Pellagrin had never seen before. At least this was a problem he’d anticipated. His source inside the royal palace of Nicholas II, the ruling monarch of Russia, had explained that it was impossible to make copies of the three keys required to access the Fire Star cabinet.
A quick glance around the room revealed a large cabinet stocked with a wide range of glass jars and vials. As he suspected, the lab was well equipped with chemicals and solutions for just about any scientific test imaginable. Looking at the steel doors now, Pellagrin was more confident than ever that those keys would not be an issue.
It took him several minutes to sort through the jars before he selected the four he needed. Translating Cyrillic on the fly wasn’t Pellagrin’s strong suit. Regrettably he’d had little more than a month to prepare for this mission. Just a single month to learn to speak Russian like a native as well as read the language and acquire a passable knowledge of the countries political and military hierarchy.
Taking the four jars to the sink in the far right corner of the room, he removed the screw-on cap from the largest of the containers. It took only moments to dump the contents down the drain. Next he removed the lid from one of the other containers and poured a measure of its crystalline substance into the large empty glass jar. Setting the container of crystal powder aside, he took the third container and added a generous dose of its clear fluid to the large jar.
Placing the cap on the glass jar, Pellagrin set it in the sink and proceeded to wait sixty seconds. The timing was critical so he made use of his cheap Russian wristwatch. Being under a time pinch, he knew better than to count the seconds off in his head. He was sure to count too quickly. Finally, he took up the large glass jar and shook it vigorously for thirty seconds. This time there was no benefit of the watch. His hands were full.
Setting the jar back in the sink, Pellagrin took a step back, turning his face as far away as possible. With one quick motion, removed the bottle’s cap. The horrible smell that escaped threatened to pull the air from his lungs. Knowing his body would respond with the urge to cough, maybe even vomit, didn’t make it easier to fight. He raised the fourth and final bottle before quickly adding a very small measure to the mix. Replacing the cap and screwing it tightly, he stepped away desperate for fresh air.
Grabbing a pry-bar from a nearby tool cart, Pellagrin began popping the lids from each of the wooden crates. After disassembling the boxes and removing their contents, he spread the components out across the floor. Even in the dim light cast into the lab through the thick glass walls on either sides of the airlock, he was already doing a mental inventory of the components. Another big relief—everything was accounted for. Nothing had been lost when the Russians stole the device from his facility in the United States.
Without delay, Pellagrin set about reassembling the device. This was a painstaking process done without schematics, completely from memory. His infiltration of the secret Russian military installation was risky enough. Were he to be captured with the plans for the machine, there would have been no way to explain himself. Worse yet, if the Russians recovered the plans for properly assembling the device, they would discover that it was not a modular energy weapon as they’d been lead to believe. Allowing the Russians to abscond with the device was one thing. They knew nothing of its true design. But if they were to learn of its true purpose—its true potential—it would forever shift the balance of power on a global scale. Just the thought of this caused Pellagrin to double his efforts assembling the device. Morning was approaching far too quickly. If he didn’t complete the platform in time, his mission would yet fail.
Three hours later, the bulk of the work had been completed. Pellagrin had stripped down to his undershirt and trousers and was covered in sweat. But his work was nearly finished. He’d worked nonstop, assembling the seemingly disparate components into larger more substantial portions of the device. In doing so, the primary platform had taken shape.
In the center of the darkened lab’s concrete floor stood a small raised circular platform, four feet in diameter. Two small steps led onto the raised deck of the device. Behind those steps and tucked beneath the raised platform were tangles of heavy gauged wire. Off to the side of the platform, Pellagrin was working on the last portion of the system. The command and control box was a critical component. The low light of the room hampered him. The wires behind the crude control panel were color-coded, but in the dimly lit room he couldn’t tell one wire from the next.
Wiping the perspiration from his eyes, he squinted down at the series of loose wires once more. Pellagrin jumped at the sudden sound as someone ponded on the observation window. His heart racing, Pellagrin spun to see a pair of armed Russian soldiers glaring at him from the hallway.
One of the soldiers bellowed at Pellagrin, instructing him to open the airlock door immediately. Beside him, the second armed officer was trying desperately to spin the door’s wheeled lock. It would be no use. With the long heavy wrench jammed into the mechanism ,the solider had no chance of freeing the latch.