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The Prince of Blades

The Prince of Blades

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The Prince of Blades

Lunghezza:
397 pagine
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 13, 2018
ISBN:
9780463933930
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

A man mysteriously wakes in an alley with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Two intelligence leaders meet in secret, regarding a strange substance of unknown composition and origin. Meanwhile, a shadowy group convenes to discuss a sinister, clandestine plan. Slowly, the world is plunged into disarray as power outages and riots sweep through specific cities around the globe. A secret militia forms in the midst of the turmoil, enacting its own martial law under unknown intentions. At the heart of the conflict, the three most powerful nations engage in an inevitable game of chess with the world as its playing field. It is up to a technological genius, a doctor in the works, an FBI special agent, an NYPD homicide detective, and a man about which little is known. Such a man holds the key to averting disaster. Together, this unlikely team will struggle to answer significant questions, such as who was behind the attack on the United Nations conference, who is in the background pulling strings, and what is Sample 2348C? Join them on a journey filled with twists and turns that will leave you asking, “What the (bloody) hell is going on?” Will they unravel the malevolent plot and thwart utter catastrophe, or will the world change forever?

Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 13, 2018
ISBN:
9780463933930
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

F. W. Irvin was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Central Florida. After graduating from high school early, he enlisted in the United States Armed Forces. There Irvin had the opportunity to travel to several foreign countries during his nearly seven-year enlistment while also deploying to the Middle East several times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After an honorable discharge from the military, Irvin took advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and enrolled in college in Ocala, Florida. He later graduated with highest honor, procuring a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Homeland Security. He also utilized his educational benefits to obtain a Class-A commercial driver’s license. In his free time, Irvin enjoys writing, drawing, researching, and spending time with friends and family.

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The Prince of Blades - F.W. Irvin

The Prince

Of

Blades

F.W. Irvin

© 2018 F.W. Irvin. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or

transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by Smashwords 05/13/2018

ISBN: 978-0-463-93393-0 (e)

Author note: This story is fiction and expressed for the sole purpose of entertainment. It contains adult situations and language not suited for all readers. All similarity in names and events are coincidental. All rights reserved.

Nothing is for certain. Events are rarely seen, nor predicted. A single life can change in the blink of an eye, the shot of a gun, or the cut of a blade.

—Unknown

Pain, head spinning, nausea. Too much at once for my mind to process! I forced my eyelids open. The piercing cold of raindrops was the next sensation I felt. I was in an alley propped against the large metal garbage container, my attire torn and blood-soaked, wet with the falling rain. What happened? Where am I? Who am I?

A Walk in the Park

It was early in the night, just dark enough to go unnoticed, yet not late enough to arouse suspicion. Julian Donavan strolled down the pathway of Hyde Park, down Serpentine Road, to its southeastern corner. London’s early autumn breeze gave him a brief chill as it passed through the expanse. The statue of Achilles came into view, and unknown to what little occupation remained in the immediate area, there lurked a figure in the shadows partially hidden by the depiction of the mythical hero. Donavan approached the silhouette without concern.

"What brings you to the foot of the nearly invincible Greek?" asked a raspy voice that sounded more American than one of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK).

Mother-in-law is visiting, had to get out of the home for a spell, stated Donavan, his British accent apparent.

Warren Blake stepped into Donavan’s ill-lit view as if to confirm his identity. His tall, husky physique ensured he was seen. Blake was just entering middle age but still held his health in high regard and his full head of hair in regulation.

Donavan withdrew a silvery cigarette case from the breast pocket of his coat. He, on the other hand, was older than his counterpart. Donavan was several inches shorter with a more rounded shape. Though not completely bald, the summit of his head was beginning to show through his thinning hair. He opened the container and held it up, motioning for his company to partake of the habit.

Sorry, tryin’ to quit, but allow me. I still keep this thing as a token of the good ole days, stated Blake. He withdrew his treasured lighter from the pocket-watch pocket of his jeans and handed it to Donavan.

Cheers, responded the Englishman with gratitude. I knew you were in the service, but I always pegged you for a Marine, not an Air Force desk jockey. Donavan had lit the tip of his cigarette quickly while studying the rectangular device that displayed the United States Air Force (USAF) emblem.

Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of shooting and low crawling during my time in, explained Blake. I wasn’t on the corporate end.

Donavan extracted a small item from the inside of the cigarette case and handed it to Blake. Blake studied the object for a moment. The Englishman then deposited the cigarette case snugly into its previous dwelling as he took a deep drag of his cigarette, brightening the cherry.

Be careful what that comes into contact with; once it infects something, it’s virtually impossible to stop. Our best people have looked it over and still can’t make heads or tails of it, let alone what neutralizes the rubbish.

I’ll have the lab rats at Langley take a look, Blake said. I’m just glad your boy was able to obtain a sample without getting killed.

"He’s not technically our boy. He runs ops for the powers that be because, like you and I, he actually recognizes the importance of keeping this crazy little world in one piece."

He have anything more on the situation?

Haven’t heard from the bloke since the dead drop, but I’m sure he’ll be in contact in the near future. He’s nothing if not persistent. Enjoy your night, mate; it’s back to hell I go.

Don’t let the bitch get to you. I’d think I was being set up if Lisa’s mother didn’t find some way to piss me off! I’ll let you know if the boys find something across the pond.

Very good.

Take it easy, Charlie.

To the Bodega and Back

(Dante)

Everyone has his or her vices, even a lowly fella like me. A pack of smokes and my usual assortment of lottery tickets at the corner mart get me outta the house, at least for a little while. Okay, I admit, it isn’t as short a trek as one may believe, but it’s not like I’m on foot or that my feet actually work. Being confined to an automated wheelchair does make things convenient in this particular case, mainly because there is no way in hell I’d push my fat ass over several blocks.

I could definitely feel the change in temperature. It would be All Hallows’ Eve soon, and Turkey Day wouldn’t be too far behind. It’s a damn arm and a leg for a decent carton, or pack, of cigarettes, especially in New York. Better get back before the kid worries. I’m sure she’s preoccupied with her studies. The girl is such a sponge when it comes to knowledge.

The estate where I live serves its purpose well. It provides adequate space and privacy. The twelve-foot wall also provides a degree of security, seeing as though it is three feet thick and cost a pretty penny despite the deal I got. However, I do own the patents to quite a few items, so it doesn’t make too much of a significant dent in my pocket. I couldn’t stay in Florida, especially after what happened. It had been some time, but too many memories, and too much grief, remained.

Upon a Stormy Night

(???)

The rain was annoyingly constant. I took refuge under a doorway out of sight. As for my awareness, other than the immediate situation, I still had no recollection of who I was or how I had come to be in this particular predicament. It appeared I was worked over a bit for whatever reason, given the torn clothing and small amounts of dried blood partially washed away by the precipitation. I had no identification or currency in my possession, which gave off the obvious appearance of a mugging. The urban setting that surrounded me was as foreign as my recollection. As the rain began to let up, I gathered what little strength I had mustered by resting and attempted to stand, a motion that did not exhibit a successful response. First came the spinning, then the blurred vision, and finally the blackness.

What the hell do you mean he’s gonna destroy the gulf? exclaimed one man. The whole fuckin’ thing?

No, Two-Shot, just the coast of Alabama … yes, the whole fucking thing! shouted another sarcastically. This just turned into a WOUNDED TITAN situation!

How did Lennox get his hands on an AMAT device?

He’s built a bomb with roughly the same yield as the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs.

What about the element?

That’s the kicker. I think the bomb uses the antimatter in the reactor and projects the matter-antimatter reaction. Not only will it take out the immediate surrounding areas, but it’s also designed to dispense radioactive material. This looks like a uranium casing around the outside.

Why the dust? AMAT reactions are meant to be clean.

I have no idea! The entire area will be desolated. Marine life, trade, travel, everything would be gravely impacted.

I awoke again to a female shriek and glanced over to see the blurred images of three figures within shouting distance. It was as though they had mistaken me for a common bum taking shelter from the weather. Hell, maybe they were right in their assumptions. It wasn’t as though I exactly knew where I had come from, aside from the last few hours. In fact, I could tell you exactly how many meters I had traveled since awakening, which streets I had traveled to get here, and exactly how to get back there if need be … odd.

Anyway, I focused my vision and observed two men handling a female rather roughly a few meters from the wall that held me up. One was subduing the girl from behind, and the other was holding what appeared to be a knife as if he was threatening her. Without thinking, I immediately stood up, which got their attention. I could see bewilderment, as should be expected when a perceived drunk, or an addict, suddenly comes to life. There was also a hint of disgust about there being a possible, cognizant witness to their actions.

The normal warnings came, and the one possessing the knife lunged at me. He didn’t even notice what transpired. In fact, he did not feel anything because his own knife was lodged in his bregma. The other man disengaged his hold on the girl and ran. I’m sure it had to do with seeing his friend with a knife wedged between the plates of his skull’s summit. Even the female looked a bit shocked but also relieved she wasn’t going to become someone’s blow-up doll for the evening. The familiar lack of equilibrium began to return. Not again!

II.

Langley, Virginia

It was uncommon for the brass to venture into the field. However, with the degree of importance this particular case presented, it would have been completely prudent for the President of the United States (POTUS) to start running field operations (ops) out of the Pyongyang office. The sample Donavan turned over was being analyzed by the Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T), under the close supervision of Warren Blake, Deputy Director of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

As with Julian Donavan, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), who needed such an analysis conducted with the utmost urgency, Blake’s best people, both the Directorate of Operations (DO) and DS&T, had studied the sample to no avail. A small amount was also shipped to the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Their only determination was it was not naturally occurring, but dreamed up in a lab rather than an evolutionary petri dish.

Is there anything that can counteract it? inquired Blake.

We haven’t found anything yet, answered the head technician, Darius Wade. Logically speaking, however, production of something so dangerous would be foolish if there wasn’t a way to negate it once its job was done.

Unless you were hell-bent on chaos.

Given the right circumstances, you could threaten countless lives. I’m going to conduct more tests; I want to see what happens when this comes into direct contact with different types of organic material.

Keep me informed about what’s going on; this is a big deal if you haven’t noticed already. I’m going to figure more out about the origins of this thing and if a fail-safe was created.

Will do, boss!

Blake knew the odds were not in their favor. Out there, for sure, were at least two other specimens. One Donavan and SIS possessed, and the original sample was wherever it was acquired.

At the Scene

The rain had subsided as dawn fast approached. After all initial reports and notifications were made; a cordon was established by the uniformed patrols who had initially responded to the reports of a dead body. Homicide detectives Benjamin Chapman and Ryan Lovett arrived on the scene to see the cadaver where it rested. A uniformed sergeant approached the two.

What do we have, Sarge? asked Lovett.

Vic’s name is Randall George. Got a few priors for mostly thefts, did a twenty-four-month stint at Riker’s as the result of a plea deal for armed robbery. COD is most likely the knife imbedded in the victim’s skull. No money in the wallet, no other weapons on his person, only the knife.

It was obvious to anyone on the scene that Chapman was the senior detective of the duo. Turning down a detective sergeant’s badge several times to stay strictly on the beat, Chapman’s mannerisms, etiquette, and seasoning showed his dedication to his career. His disheveled attire, salt-and-pepper hair, and chubby physique from convenient store sustenance reflected his quarter century of devotion.

Ouch, stated Chapman.

Actually, given the obvious size of the blade and the depth it was plunged into the victim’s skull, he probably didn’t feel anything, corrected Lovett.

Techs haven’t found any evidence on account of the lovely weather last night, continued the sergeant. You’ll probably know more once the body is thoroughly examined.

What do you think, Ben? asked Lovett.

Could be the obvious, robbery or hit gone wrong, Chapman replied.

Yeah, but you don’t normally see stab wounds to the head, maybe to the neck or base of the skull, but almost never to the actual head itself.

Weirdo serial killer on the loose?

If we’re lucky.

A Samaritan’s Wit

(???)

Eldorado, enigma, request permission to come in. Op complete.

Status of target?

Target has been neutralized. Secure by two, Oscar.

Good copy, stand by.

Wilco!

You did not tell them?

The lab was destroyed along with all its research. That’s all they need to know.

What will you do now?

I know about Irina not being able to conceive. Perhaps it’s time you became parents before you get too old. You have the connections to produce the appropriate paperwork and make it legitimate.

I do not think it is such a good idea.

You’re a good man, rough because of what we do, but you believe in doing the right thing regardless of the big picture ending. If the world had more people like you, my friend, they wouldn’t need me.

Thank you.

The uncomfortable sensation suddenly came rushing back to me. I fought yet again to raise my eyelids and take in the current setting. I was lying on my side in a soft bed, facing a wall. I rolled over to inspect the room only to discover its emptiness, aside from myself, of course. From the glimmer of bright light pushing through the curtains, I ascertained it was early afternoon.

I looked down at my body to find I was only wearing a pair of boxer briefs and a loose A-shirt. I lifted the shirt to observe no visible wounds on my torso. My body was clean of any blood or filth. How long have I been here? The dizziness I previously experienced had left me, so I took the opportunity to sit up, free of brace, and stood after several minutes of internal encouragement.

Near the bed was a common wooden dresser complete with an attached vanity mirror. As I studied my face, the reflection that stared back at me in the mirror was one I did not recognize. Atop the dresser were folded clothes—a pair of light jeans, a polo-type shirt, a pair of sneakers, and socks. Whoever had been tending to me had obviously intended I wear this casual attire.

After I dressed, I cautiously approached the door, turned the knob, and opened the door inward.

It was apparent I was in a medium-sized apartment, given the size of the living room, kitchen, and the second bedroom across the space, in addition to the bathroom to my right. If I had to guess, there was another bathroom attached to the bedroom opposite mine. In the center of the living room was an L-shaped sectional couch across from a holographic projector (holojector) against the adjacent wall. In the center of the expanse were the silver wire-framed eyeglasses, sweatshirt, and skimpy cotton shorts housing a petite and, frankly, beautiful female reading a book. A commercial played at low volume on the television.

"The Æthelwulf Miraj combines aesthetic with performance, an Eastern European narrator advertised. The Miraj’s powerful V-6, fuel cell engine, and advanced suspension provide power and a smooth ride. Its comfort and technology ensure its occupants enjoy an accommodating drive …"

The girl didn’t notice my entry into the living room for a few minutes. It was not until a wayward glance caught my silhouette in the doorway that her attention was drawn. The expected gasp and mild bewilderment followed.

You’re awake! she blurted out.

Yeah, how long was I out? I replied.

Two days. You were pretty banged up. Your clothes were torn and had bits of dried blood all over them. Everything seemed to be intact though. That wasn’t anyone else’s blood on your clothes, was it?

I recognized her voice now. It was the girl I rescued from the two muggers, who could have doubled as rapists. I had not gotten a good look at her because of my unsteadiness and the foul weather that had plagued me the entire evening. I quickly recalled what had transpired, or more precisely, the justifiable homicide I had committed in defense of myself, as well as the girl. There was also the fact the second perpetrator had cowardly run off after seeing his companion so brutally, yet swiftly and precisely, dispatched.

The girl was no more than five and a half feet tall and around one hundred pounds. Her glowing auburn hair was up in a ponytail, keeping it away from her fact-focused eyes. The girl’s skin was not pale or completely browned; it was more of a golden color that was free of any hint of a blemish. The most captivating features that drew my attention were the beckoning eyes hidden behind her spectacles, confusing because I could tell not whether they were a luminous blue or green, or bluish green.

I don’t know. I don’t think it was. All I remember from before is when I woke up in an alley.

After you collapsed, I had to drag you out of there. Luckily, you were in and out of consciousness, so I was able to human-crutch carry you the rest of the way here, which was about a block or so. I’m glad you’re not two hundred and fifty pounds.

Thanks, I was pretty out of it.

It was the least I could do. You did save my life, after all. Who knows what those two creeps would have done if you hadn’t been there. Besides, I’m in school to be a nurse, so you could call it practice.

I noticed the infectious disease textbook you were reading.

I have a quiz next class on bacterial infections. I was reading the historical account of the Black Death in Europe.

"Yersinia pestis, a gram-negative bacterium of the Enterobacteriaceae family, which can cause septicemic plague infecting the blood, pneumonic plague infecting the respiratory system, or the more common bubonic plague, which is an infection of the lymphatic system that causes the dark patches, or buboes, that were a common characteristic of victims." I took a deep breath.

What are you, a doctor or something?

Maybe.

My name is Carly, by the way. What’s yours?

You know what? I’ve been asking myself the same question.

YHWH Went Down to Georgia

Curses in Russian rang out inside the cab of Leonid Malenko’s Æthelwulf Prevoz 4x4 as he raced through the hilly expanse of the Tusheti region of Georgia toward the village of Shenako. His extreme frustration stemmed from his tardiness. Those who waited would not be pleased, especially if the meeting were delayed on his account. He pushed the SUV as fast as it would go, given its construction and the terrain. Luckily, the full moon provided ample illumination to light his unpaved path.

Once at Shenako, Malenko headed for the hilltop Shenako Semeba Church. The fact there was not an adequate road, even in contemporary times, irritated him because of the uneven stretch on which he traveled. At the ancient structure, Malenko exited his vehicle; the hint of cool night air brushed the back of his neck, causing a momentary shiver.

Impatiently waiting inside were Cedrik Arkov, a Russian; Malkazi Nozadze, a Georgian; and Sabah Zudam, a man of unknown origin. At the head of the room was a large holojection screen. The screen was black with white lettering that read, No Connection Detected.

Malenko suddenly burst through the rear entrance, frantic in form. The unfriendly glances produced by the room’s occupants further deepened his mood. Nozadze opened his mouth in an attempt to protest Malenko’s lack of punctuality. Before the Georgian could utter a word, Zudam turned his head and directed an icy stare toward him. Sensing the growing tension arising, Arkov aimed his glance at the holojector. The status changed from its original message to Searching for Transmission. The silhouette of a person’s head and shoulders appeared on the screen, but it was too dark on the other end to discern any prominent and/or identifiable features.

Technology had come a long way in such a short time. Communication was integrated so media, long-distance communication, the Internet, and commercial enterprise were easily accessible without the physical bulk of hardware. Now, with small projectors and sensors housed in a single unit, light fields were manipulated to display three-dimensional (3D) constructs capable of creating accurate representations of objects, showing real-time images, and allowing for tactile interface simply by touching the projections.

Good evening, gentlemen! the figure spoke in an electronically disguised tone.

Good evening, Zudam replied.

What do you have to report?

Besides the breach at our facility in Rason, everything is going according to schedule.

What of the incident in North Korea?

Somehow the compound was infiltrated and a sample from Section Eight Hundred was stolen, Arkov interrupted. We were unable to apprehend those responsible. There has not been chatter regarding the occurrence thus far. I am confident Trinity does not officially know.

Was anything taken from Section Seventy? the figure inquired.

No, just the one.

How are we on distribution, Malenko? asked the unknown character in Russian.

Once we deploy, it is estimated sixty-five percent of the population will be initially touched, answered the Russian in his native tongue. Targets are major, relevant cities first.

I have been ensuring nothing leaks in the media. Anonymity is the key in any successful strategy, interrupted Nozadze, also speaking Russian.

Very good, proceed as planned, the benefactor instructed, now in English. Arkov, see about finding any information on the intruder in our facility. Regardless, nothing can prevent success once we enact our plan. Keep me apprised of any new developments, Sabah.

Understood, Zudam acknowledged.

The screen went blank, and the projection reverted to its original message. Zudam stared blankly at it for several minutes. The rest of the room’s tenancy observed him with a hint of anxiety, wondering what he was dwelling on in his mind. It was obvious to all who had contact with the obscurely dark-featured male his linguistic skills left no traceable hint of identity, and his actions and reactions bordered on clairvoyance.

The convention in Geneva is approaching, Zudam finally spoke in Russian. Malenko, ensure the delivery method is flawless.

It will be done, comrade, responded Malenko.

Make certain Seventy formulates its end. Zudam motioned to Arkov. It is imperative we exhibit and maintain complete control.

They are perfecting it as we speak. The only possible problem is the volatile state, which must be taken into account, informed Arkov.

Fortunately, no one, not even the North Koreans, have knowledge of what really goes on in Facility Three, let alone any of the major NATO countries, reassured Nozadze. Keeping a low profile has been paramount to the success of this operation. I will use my contacts in the media to ensure there is ample cover until the summit. I do believe it was Harry Houdini who preached about the mind believing what is heard and seen.

Keep in contact with me if anything outside the design should arise. Properly execute this, and a world shall arise with you as its pinnacle, Zudam concluded.

III.

Identity Crisis

(???)

I need you to infiltrate an installation, gather whatever intel you can, and dispose of the whole building, spoke an unknown figure.

Look, your position does not give you any authority over me, or allow you to give me commands, I reminded the voice. I warned you before about leaving me to my affairs in peace.

I’m not commanding you to do anything. I’m asking for your help. It’s very hard in this day and age to find people able to get the job done, and who believe enough in that cause to overcome extreme odds. You have the advantage because everyone thinks you’re dead. We both know it would take more than an antimatter reactor to kill you, mate.

Then you also know I’m trying to remain incognito. Let everyone live their lives without me interfering in them. I don’t need to be participating in ops, letting the world know I am still out there.

Whatever happened to that whole ‘if you have the ability and capability, you have the responsibility’ mentality?

You’ve obviously been reading far too many comic books! Where’s this installation?

It’s on the island of Sicily.

What’s so dangerous about it?

They are experimenting with the human genome to alter human physiology and psychology to their liking. Intel has shown they are not using human subjects but rather growing their own from developed DNA.

What happens if I encounter any of these science experiments?

We can’t take the chance of letting any of them loose out of fear of what might occur, no matter how sympathetic we feel toward the situation.

Send me all the op info. I’ll let you know who and what I’ll need.

Very good, Jack.

Jack! My name’s Jack!

Wha … who? Carly exclaimed, groggily returning from her slumber.

Nothing, just a really odd dream. Someone referred to me as Jack in it.

What was the dream about?

It made no sense. I don’t wanna worry you with something I’m not even sure is true.

Well, I guess we’re one step closer to figuring out who you are. Now we know your name and that you really like ramen noodles to the point that you’ve killed my entire college stash.

Sorry.

No, it’s fine, just odd that that’s all you like to eat. I mean I don’t cook much because I’m in college, but I always keep the pantry stocked.

Dunno, just really like noodles for some reason, I reasoned as I drifted back to sleep.

The ringing of the landline continued for a few seconds until the party on the other line answered. Opposite Chapman was Medical Examiner Jason Luciano. The interruption of the ringtone, and caller ID, startled Jason, nearly causing him to create a bigger incision than was intended.

Answer! he stated, mildly aggravated.

Jase! I know it’s pretty soon, but have you found anything on the cadaver? asked Chapman via the holojection projected from the console on the wall.

Cause of death was obviously the stab wound, called out Luciano from across the room. "The knife passed through the cerebral cortex, frontal lobe, corpus callosum, thalamus, and hippocampus. Needless to say, this guy wasn’t getting

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