The Tarasov Solution
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by Richard Trevae
Description: Decades ago, in the midst of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a paranoid Kremlin leader ordered the underwater deployment of two nuclear missiles near Cuba's shore; each warhead sealed in a protective cocoon. Buried in the sand, the twin nukes lay undiscovered for half-a-century. Rumors of the missiles' existence lure the attention of Yuri Tarasov, a pathological arms-merchant obsessed with possessing the doomsday weapons. Together with his ruthless assassin, Ivana Yenko, they board Yuri's high-tech yacht Decadence and head for Cuba. 25-year old MBA Dalton Crusoe is recognized for his quick analytical mind. When asked by friend and mentor Ed Kosko, head of the NSA, to interrogate a retired, Soviet military-officer seeking asylum, Dalton learns of a sinister plot to assassinate President Connor and Russian President Blinikov during an upcoming, historic summit. In a race against time, Dalton struggles to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, outwit the evil Tarasov, save the two presidents, and foil a nuclear strike on Washington D.C.!
eBook Publisher: Charles River Press, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [344 KB]
Reading time: 200-281 min.
THE TARASOV SOLUTION
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Copyright (C) 2009 Richard Trevae. All rights reserved.
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Names, characters, and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.
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The Tarasov Solution / Richard Trevae
First Edition Ebook: December 2009
Editor: Andrea Howe
Layout: Roger Hunt
Cover Design: Molly Courtright
Editor-in-Chief: Jonathan Womack
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Other books by Richard Trevae:
The Fusion Breakthrough
Readers may contact the author at: www.richardtrevae.com
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Published by Charles River Press, Inc.
541 Long Lane.
Casper, Wyoming 82609
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Creating fiction from reality is very cool. As an author one can be drawn to a piece of history but not be restrained by the historical facts when conceiving a plausible new story. To take a piece of history, preferably engaging history, and twist it into a credible take-off on reality is what many authors of suspense and thriller novels seek. That is why after several weeks of struggling to come up with an engaging plot for The TARASOV SOLUTION, I researched the Cuban missile crisis and asked...What if history lied to us?
That question led me into a concept, followed by a broad plot statement, story outline, event manifest, character creation, and story development. When one comes to embrace the plot line concept and the character personas, the dialogue and narratives come forth in gushes. The result is reality-inspired-fiction. I hope you enjoy the novel.
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To Jonathan Womack, whose writing advice, commitment to the story, patience and encouragement helped me get the novel to a better place for readers.
To Randy, Andrea, Roger and many others at Charles River Press who helped move the process along while educating me further on the nuances of the effort.
To Molly Courtright, for her excellent adaptation of my cryptic book cover samples.
To Gloria Jasperse, whose reviews of my earlier works were accurate, constructive, gentle, and supportive. She is a great sounding board.
To Barb Yates, whose review skills demonstrate why students love her college literature classes.
To Vicki, my wife, whose propensity to read is only out done by her support and encouragement for my writing. As my first reader, she tweaked content and style through gentle, supportive critiques.
To my extended family, friends, and business associates who have expressed their joy in my writing journey.
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To Megan, Tyler, and Jacque
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October 22, 1962, 0330 Hours, 510 Miles Northeast of Havana, Cuba
Captain Demkin poured another shot of vodka. He looked out from the bridge of his Soviet military transport vessel and wondered if he would be shot for disobeying an order from his commander, Admiral Sarkov. The ship was quiet now with only twenty-four of the 220 crew on duty. Alone on the bridge, Demkin recalled his illustrious thirty-year career in the Soviet Navy. Two years ago he received a major promotion to captain, with his own ship, and assumed the commander role for a fleet of military transport vessels. Though not as impressive as a battleship command, it was a serious accomplishment for any Soviet officer. It all seemed to be on the line now with the order from Admiral Sarkov.
If he proceeded as ordered and was discovered, the Americans might use the provocation as a prelude to nuclear war. The nearby Navy warplanes would destroy the assembled Soviet fleet near Cuba. If he ignored the order and attempted to defect, his family would be killed, and he would become a hunted man. The vodka bottle seemed his only solace.
The military transport hung heavy in the water and maneuvered like a snail even in the calm Caribbean waters. Its cargo, among standard construction equipment, contained nuclear-tipped intermediate-range ballistic missiles destined for two prepared sites: San Cristobel and Sagua la Grande in Cuba. The crew had grown anxious, waiting for orders days after the American Navy set up an embargo around the Cuban landing ports. There they were the American Navy ships, two miles away, intimidating and visible during the day. The tension was growing over the increasing likelihood that a nuclear war could ignite from the stalemate over the Cuban missile sites.
A polite throat clearing announced the first officer's arrival. "You called for me, sir?" inquired the young sailor.
"Yes, Sergey. Listen carefully to me now."
Sergey straightened and focused in on the next words from his captain.
"I want you to clear the mini sub launch chamber of all personnel except for you and the two or three men you need to load two missiles in cocoons onto the cargo platforms attached to the mini sub. Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir. I understand and I know the right men for the job." Sergey could smell the alcohol on the captain's breath and knew he had been drinking for some time.
Captain Demkin looked at Sergey and nodded as if in approval. Moments passed as the captain constructed his next command.
"At precisely 0430 I want you to deploy the mini sub with the two SS-5 IRBM, ten-kiloton warhead missiles from the subsurface hatch." Demkin looked for any hesitation from the young officer; none appeared. "You alone will navigate the mini sub from our current position to the reef wall nearer Cuba and drop the cocoons in sixty meters of water. Here are your coordinates for the drop."
The young officer looked with shock and confusion at the orders Demkin just announced.
"Then when you return, if asked, I want you to report to your crew that the missiles were offloaded to our destroyer fleet for security purposes." Drawing uncomfortably close to the first officer, Demkin said, "Is that clear?"
Without hesitation, the first officer saluted, snapped his heels together, straightened, and replied. "Clear, sir. Well, actually no, sir. Why are we unloading them before we make port?"
"Because we may never make port if the Americans discover we're carrying missiles. It's for our own protection, and the order comes directly from Admiral Sarkov." The captain was angry over the orders he had to carry out. "Now do you understand?" growled the captain, his frustration growing.
"Yes, sir, I understand."
"Dismissed," barked the captain.
Sergey whirled and left the bridge.
The captain reached again for the near-empty vodka bottle and slung it to his mouth, depleting the contents before wiping his lips and forehead with a towel. Alone once more on the bridge, the distant lights of the Soviet and American ships were clear and caused Demkin to say to himself, "One way or another, I will never survive this decision."
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Present Day, The Wharton School, Pennsylvania
The panel resembled a collection of old librarians: two women and four men, all in their seventies. The men were dressed in formal, ill-fitting, three-piece suits, and long business skirts and jackets adorned the women. The room was solemn and dark except for the well-lit podium where the examiners sat and an old, oak desk with a reading lamp positioned in the far right corner. That's where Dalton waited.
Jameson Dalton Crusoe had worked hard on getting this behind him, a promise made to his mother. He had managed to cram two years of intense study and work assignments into twenty months. Driven by a mother who never let Dalton slack off on any assignment and a father whose business acumen and integrity were evident to young JD at an early age, the die was cast. He graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy two years earlier at the top of his class. His well-connected mentor, with the Navy Secretary approval, offered him a chance to forgo active military service for five years if he agreed to participate in a new curriculum for exceptional individuals in an accelerated training program in the government arena. Dalton agreed as long as he could pursue his MBA concurrently.
When his father died suddenly during Dalton's first year at Annapolis, it hit JD hard. His sorrow turned to anger then mellowed to determination to be the best at all things he pursued. He committed himself to making his parents proud by exceeding their expectations. If his thesis work was accepted, he was done and ready to move into the quasi-private sector as a consultant to his friend and professional mentor. In reality Dalton made the first steps toward a consultant role a year ago when he investigated a senator accused of corruption charges involving a complex financial influence scheme operating out of the Cayman Islands. The senator had diverted some $7 million in illegal campaign funds to offshore accounts then provided favorable votes on military contracts to the donors. The dossier on the senator was so complete, he plea-bargained himself minimal jail time for an immediate resignation and formal expulsion from the Senate. Friends advised Dalton to next pursue a law degree, yet he felt compelled to get on with his career. If he needed legal expertise, he'd hire it. That assignment, under the oversight of Ed Kosko, matured Dalton and tempered his sometimes compulsive need to be the best toward a reasoned, thoughtful approach supported by his high intellect and cool-headed decision making. The well-documented success of his first serious assignment helped him overcome the loss of his father. Dalton had proven to himself he had not failed his father's expectations.
The review had been an exhausting five-hour question-and-answer period to accept or reject his master's essay or, more accurately, an abbreviated thesis paper. He felt his analysis and conclusions were sound and he had answered all their questions directly and completely without receiving anything more than professional critiquing. He hoped they were able to follow his analysis of how international financial policy and fiscal management could be effectively used to influence trade, economic growth, and internal stability for emerging democratic economies in the Middle East and eastern Europe.
Finally, after several minutes of whispering and sharing of notes, the department head, Dr. Robbins, announced, "Congratulations, Mr. Crusoe. Your work towards an MBA in International Finance is exemplary."
With synchronous motion, Dr. Robbins and all the panel members rose in applause and spewed chatty words of enthusiasm and congratulations. Jameson Dalton Crusoe had completed his MBA at Wharton in a record twenty months, while being kept busy by his mentor, Ed Kosko. Dalton was the entire faculty's favorite and, at twenty-five years of age, looked and acted the part of an accomplished businessman and statesman.
Dalton greeted panel members warmly and thanked them for their support. Dr. Robbins approached Dalton, pulling him by the arm away from the still-chatty group, and asked, "Has Ed made you an offer yet to join his staff full time?"
"Well, I believe that's the general expectation as of yesterday morning when he called me with a new assignment." Dalton's face shone with a broad smile.
"Where do you go this time, my young friend?" inquired Robbins.
"It begins in the Caribbean and then settles into boring research and investigations, I'm afraid," offered Dalton.
"I assume that attractive lady friend of yours may accompany you on this dreadful mission," teased Robbins as he smiled and shook Dalton's hand before walking away.
Dalton gestured with a smile and a nod, careful to not reveal anything of the high-level assignment. His bags were nearly packed, and he was taking an aircraft flying in from a special hangar at Langley in the morning. The plane was the private business aircraft of Ed Kosko, newly confirmed head of the National Security Agency and friend of President Jerome Conner.
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Carolyn McCabe was not aware of Dalton's new assignment and had made plans for the evening days ago. She had arranged a quiet dinner at one of Dalton's favorite restaurants, Hemingway's, a seafood place with a Cuban decor and tropical themes. This was to be the prelude to a romantic night celebrating his MBA in international finance. When Dalton and Carolyn arrived at Hemingway's around 7:15 p.m., the staff had already set aside a prime booth and decorated the space with celebration balloons and streamers announcing his achievement. The meal was excellent, as expected, and after a short time, they left for Carolyn's apartment to relax and enjoy some private time. Carolyn found herself becoming more and more connected with Dalton and began to realize she was falling in love. Having lost both parents, her mother only three years ago, Dalton was the practical and emotional equivalent of family.
Dalton would have normally spent the night; however, with his early departure the next morning, he held her in a deep embrace and told her he had to leave and finish packing. Her disappointment was immediate. Pretending to pout, Carolyn attempted to flirt and dissuade him from going, although she knew he was serious and let him leave feeling guilty.
In an effort to make it up to her, without revealing any detail, Dalton suggested they spend the upcoming Labor Day weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, where his mother maintained a beach house. Several times over the summer, the two had stole away and enjoyed the sand and surf.
Jumping at the chance, Carolyn said, "Yes, I'll drive out there Friday afternoon and open the place up for us, OK?"
"Great, I'll rent a car from near Langley on my return and be there by evening, hopefully."
Carolyn looked flirtatiously at him and said, "Don't be late, JD. You would not want to miss anything."
Dalton smiled and winked to acknowledge the insinuation, and handed her the condo key, wondering if the new assignment from Ed would turn out to be as easy as it appeared.
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8:30 a.m. the Next Day, Wednesday before Labor Day, Langley, Virginia
The ten-seat Gulfstream took off from Langley at 7:00 a.m. and flew to pick up Dalton outside the Wharton campus. It was refueled and ready to depart. Two men, already on the aircraft, joined Dalton on his trip to Guantanamo, Cuba: Wilson and Cotter. Both were young Secret Service types dressed in suits, armed, and wearing the requisite aviator sunglasses. Each man had a background in Special Forces and was moved out after less than fifteen months' field time to join the NSA. Their intellect and ability to work effectively together impressed Ed Kosko. He followed their progress from the beginning of their service together, eighteen months ago. No one really expected any trouble on the investigative mission, although Ed Kosko seldom took chances he did not have to.
Dalton sat down, sipped a Starbucks coffee, and opened the classified file he received just three days prior. The folder had a photo of a sixty-seven-year-old Russian exile Sergey Kreftkova, living in Cuba and asking for asylum in the United States in exchange for providing sensitive military and missile technology information. The dossier revealed nothing of detail about the exile's information except to say it went back to the Cuban missile crisis. Most agencies in the U.S. government dismissed the communication as a feeble attempt by a former Soviet naval officer to gain accommodations in the United States. Ed felt differently and assigned Dalton to interview the man.
Ed had had his eye on Dalton as well. A maturity well beyond his twenty-five years, a strong physical presence, excellent verbal skills, a lightning-fast mind, and a black belt in karate made Dalton stand out among his contemporaries. Dalton's earlier work for Kosko was so well received that other governmental units, including the CIA and FBI, were preparing to court Dalton for employment. Dalton had no such ambitions, as Ed had become a de facto uncle of sorts, following the death of Jonathon Crusoe. Included in the file on Sergey Kreftkova was a formal confirmation of Dalton's NSA Consultant's salary, initially set at $225,000, along with a congratulatory note on his MBA achievement. Dalton read the note and reflected on how important Ed had been in his life.
Dalton felt this assignment might lead to a false end. Nevertheless, he figured that Ed was challenging him with a series of diplomatically sensitive roles to test his skill sets. He liked Ed and felt his career inevitably would intertwine with his.
Damn, thought Dalton, with more notice, Carolyn could have joined me. I'm sure this interview can be disposed of in one day. However if I am delayed through the weekend, maybe she can join me in Nassau for a couple of nights.
Carolyn Katrina McCabe had been on campus about a year and immediately caught Dalton's eye. She was also studying in the finance department at Wharton, working toward her PhD. Carolyn was a striking brunette with a firm, curvaceous shape toned from years of tennis and swimming. They had been an item for almost seven months, and both were feeling their lives would be forever linked. They were romantically involved though committed to their graduate education and starting their careers.
The Gulfstream gathered speed and quickly lifted off, penetrating the sky and revealing a brilliant sunrise, which glistened as a golden glow off the chevron clouds below. He relaxed, thought of the night before with Carolyn, and fell asleep.