No Place for Gods [James Foster Adventures Book 1]
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by Gerald W. Mills
Description: Las Vegas has just been destroyed by a power unknown to science, and you are the United States president. You're in shock as a foreign ambassador hands you an incredible document claiming responsibility for the destruction and giving you twenty days to prepare your country for annexation. [Author's preferred edition of "Then is the Power."]
eBook Publisher: Twilight Times Books, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: May 2006
22 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [710 KB]
Reading time: 469-657 min.
"...superbly-crafted novel of international confrontation, where atomic arsenals count for nothing in a power struggle of a different kind."--Uri Geller.
"A thriller with an international flavor, where the innocent are hunted, the knowledgeable hurt, and the guilty are extraordinarily powerful."--award-winning author E. L. Noel.
"One of the best books I've read in a long time. This excellent novel is so suspenseful that the reader won't be able to put it down once he or she opens its cover and becomes immersed in its thrilling world. Mills has done an outstanding job in every respect. The plot is a roller coaster! The characters are fully developed, believable, and interesting, and there is a well-considered back story to the plot as a whole and to the individual situations and characters involved in the story's non-stop, heart-pounding action. By all means, buy a copy of this great novel. It is well worth the price."--Gary Pullman.
"...an incredible read! The plot takes several spins through fast paced action and drama. It poses the questions of was this the unknown power of the Incas and other past civilizations like them? And, if we had these immense powers now, would mankind self destruct?"--Joy Spear, Murder & Mayhem Book Club.
"Then is the power that once man had." Nadya Drachev, age 9 Russia, Aug. 8, 1975
Boston. July, 1970.
Every time Gordon Whittier squinted at the arched stone footbridge, he visualized the Sheriff of Nottingham and his troop of horsemen galloping across, but this time the players seemed for all the world like a snarling swarm of kids carrying sailboats. Common sense said they couldn't be, of course, not unless they were all hopelessly dense!
The morning sun had barely cleared the horizon when Fenway locusts buzzingly declared another sweltering Boston day. The stagnant air dripped like wet, sour cotton. Not a breath stirring, yet here were kids bent on sailing boats? The swaggering quartet with the blue-and-gold radio-controlled sloop should have known better, as they came often to the pond. The others were younger, one roughly eight and curly-haired, his scared-looking friend no more than five or six, with jet-black hair and deep set eyes. He clutched a homemade, much smaller boat while his companion hurled insults back at the four.
Whittier, chuckling, closed his paperback over a finger. Kids! The crude boat was totally outclassed, but no matter, not today, not unless they were all to stand in the water and blow on the sails. The pond's glassy surface rippled only where darting dragonflies practiced touch and go; listless leaves dangled from bored branches; clouds were riveted in place against a hazy, canvas sky. Still, the boats were placed in position; still the rowdy teams huddled, and taunts flew like shuttlecocks in a badminton game. The black-haired boy took something from his neck and draped it over the broomstick mast. Satisfied, he turned with proud determination to his contentious friend, who promptly flipped their older antagonists the bird.
Shaking his head, Whittier dug into his cooler for a root beer--and completely missed the start!
A doctoral candidate in psychology, he knew his chosen field was an imperfect science rife with speculations, changeable truths, abstract theories and hogwash. He'd jousted long and often with his Harvard professors, all of whom defended themselves with shields of theoretical baloney, and made the required concessions to get his grades. But he'd vowed that, once out, he'd reject semi-truths and fantasies. He'd defend his work with solid, logical truth as he saw it and he'd never wavered in his belief that he would keep that vow.
Yet, on this steamy dog day in a park in Boston, his pledge was put to its first serious test, not by droning professors but by a crude toy boat. Heeled over and cutting through the mirror surface, it shot forward while its immensely more able opponent slowly spun around its centerline, the cursing owner thrashing his radio-controlled rudder back and forth with angry yankings of the transmitter's joystick.
Whittier sat bolt upright. Locusts still proclaimed the day to be as it really was; dozing leaves drooped like limp Dali watches; iridescent dragonflies hovered effortlessly in the torpid air; dust kicked up by the kids settled back slowly and directly to its origins. Not a hint, not one iota of wind anywhere, yet the smaller boat had already reached the opposite shore with sail full, heeled over smartly. Driven by a good breeze? Totally impossible. No! Whittier shot to his feet, his book tumbling into the dust.
The quartet of furious losers beat the crude boat's happy owner to his property, jerking it from the water and reducing it to kindling in seconds. Then they turned on the winners, who ran for their lives, three of the four close on their heels. The last of them made a respectable run of it even with the losing boat bobbling in his arms.
Whittier pulled on his loafers, but not quickly enough. "Hey!" he roared, bolting after them, but they were over the bridge and streaking down the dusty pathways. He stopped, wide-eyed, incapable of accepting what he'd seen. Yet there, at the pond's edge, a heap of splintered wood and torn cloth gave mute testimony to the fantasy race. He stood for long moments gazing at it, brain reeling over the implications. This was no imagined scene, no Robin Hood movie set. He--skeptic, champion of truth--had just witnessed creation of wind, so controlled it affected only the chosen boat even at the close quarters of the start. He'd felt no air moving, not so much as a zephyr, and yet without any explanation…. The hair on his arms stood straight up--goosebumps. Absurd! There were explanations for everything. Fantasies were simply unacceptable.
The quartet of losers couldn't be part of the riddle. That left only the younger boys, didn't it, since there wasn't another person in sight anywhere? He rubbed his eyes and looked again at the pond, afraid of seeing what he knew he'd see: not a ripple. Not one thing out of place, nothing unusual. And yet there had been… something… some control of nature he knew to be impossible. Wind from nowhere had propelled the winning boat; wind from nowhere, delivered with precision. Incredible!
Whittier, you imbecile, how can you be thinking such drivel? You're hallucinating from the heat. There was nothing of the kind.
No, I saw what I saw.
He emerged from his ramblings with a start. Standing over a pile of rubble for… how long? Minutes? Thankfully no one had seen him there, almost at attention, a squinty-eyed ninny straddling a pile of sticks and cloth like Gulliver in Lilliput. He shook his head and, almost an afterthought, stroked a toe through the rubble. The act uncovered a piece of dirty string--no, rawhide--attached to an object the size of a walnut. It was a stone, purple in the hazy sunlight, but with dark red showing at the bottom of several deep, deliberate cuts, as if the center were a ruby. The rawhide was smooth, round, worn with age. The thing had been around the black-haired boy's neck. He'd hung it over the rustic mast before the lopsided race began. Could it have?… Ridiculous! It was just a stone, probably an imagined charm of some sort, an amulet.
He retraced his steps, pausing again to stare at the fragments and the polished water comforting them. He'd keep the charm, if that's what it was. The boy might return for it.
Thoroughly rattled, he dropped it into his cooler and dusted off his paperback. With occasional glances at the rubble, he tried to focus on the book, only to replay the one-sided race in his mind over and over. I saw what I saw.
But it was difficult concentrating with the air so deathly hot and still, so oppressive, so… smothering. The dragonflies were bolder than ever. And the locusts sang much louder than before.
GRU Headquarters, Moscow. February, 1972.
The irregular rectangle of dingy, nearly windowless concrete alternately appeared and faded, a monstrous, ghostly specter looming behind swirls of wind-whipped snow driving from the east, from the Urals; horizontal, sleet-laced, eye-stinging snow whistling through the sprawl of old aviation firms and airport structures that were once Moscow's old Khodinka airport. First Scientist Nina Rubinova shrugged farther down into the heavy fur collar of her greatcoat, bracing for the final approach to the shadowy building, a distance of two hundred meters she was obligated to cover on foot. All visitors walked to the first security checkpoint regardless of rank or station, escorted by armed sentries; other guards took over inside. Dogs were everywhere--barking, running back and forth inside wire fences, patrolling with armed handlers; dogs capable of tearing a defenseless person to shreds; dogs that this day wore thick, snow-crusted jackets and padded helmets as protection against the elements.
At the initial checkpoint Nina surrendered her purse and watch, plus a ball point pen and her belt with its metal tongue. Nothing metal could be taken into the building. She'd been anticipated at every checkpoint, thanks to her cousin's elevated rank, yet tens of minutes were spent repeating answers to identical questions asked minutes earlier. An hour after entering the building she was led into the assigned meeting room, barely a hundred meters from her starting point, where her guard recited a memorized script about the room's security features. He directed her to sit at the table inside, and the door was closed--locked, she assumed from the sound. She stood anyway, bristling at the guard's arrogance. His ears were too small for his pink, little boy face!
The room was a gray concrete cube on a gray concrete floor in a gray concrete building. Even the ductwork for ventilation and heat was drab concrete. Walls, floor and ceiling were smooth everywhere--all corners rounded--and lighting came from fifteen feet above the floor. No phone lines or wires entered the room, and steel reinforcements buried inside the concrete had been electrically bonded to steel elements of the building itself, so said her guard. The room was as isolated as if on the moon. There was no window, not even a peephole in the door. The only furnishings were steel, a table and four heavy chairs without cushions.
Her back was to the door when it abruptly opened and two men entered. Leading was First Deputy Chief Colonel-General Boris Vasilyvich Kalanin, whom she recognized only from a few photographs shown her by her aunt, his mother. He immediately introduced himself, then presented Viktor Lyunov, without reference to rank, as the man running the GRU's Operational/Technical Directorate--the person she most needed to impress. She was satisfied. She'd expected no less a response to the gift she'd brought.
She immediately chose a chair and sat, Kalanin on her left, Lyunov opposite him. Lyunov was a thin man, tall, with dark hollows in his cheeks and a wild shock of graying hair above cold, brittle eyes. He wore neither uniform nor insignia. Other than a weak nod of stolid acknowledgement, he'd said nothing. By contrast, her once-skinny, insolent third cousin Boris had matured to become a stocky bull-of-a-man with bushy, dark reddish hair and a dominant forehead that gave him an evil profile. A man who was but one step from the top of the world's largest intelligence organization, his manner could have been threatening… but it wasn't. He, too, wore civilian clothes and was open-collared. In a certain way he still had the boyish look she remembered from the single time they'd met so long ago, but he was now a powerful man in a powerful organization that was itself the brains of a powerful army, in spite of his manner.
"Dr. Lyunov is interested in your recent work," he opened. Lyunov nodded without expression. "He knows your background, Dr. Rubinova, so let's move directly to your reasons for requesting this interview. This is a totally secure room and nothing is being recorded, but your past work for our KGB comrades at Novosibirsk is undoubtedly considered secret in their eyes. You alone can judge the consequences of what you say here, or anywhere else for that matter, but we are not them."
"The honorific is not necessary," she replied. "Nina will do. As for secrecy there is no way I can establish my own credibility here without violation, as you say, so I will go ahead and violate."
She turned to address Lyunov, brushing back a wisp of pepper-and-salt hair.
"Until recently my work has been in 'disruption', a psychological warfare term covering anything that can turn an enemy's concentration into disorientation and confusion. You may recall the loss nine years ago, with all hands, of an American atomic submarine during sea trials, the Thresher. That was--"
"I am well aware of the Thresher," Lyunov interrupted, his voice strained, almost a whisper. "The Americans judged it an accident, the cause a quality problem during overhaul, something to do with brazing as I recall."
Copyright © 2002 Gerald W. Mills.