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In the Name of the Sun - Sample Chapter
In the Name of the Sun - A Science Fiction Novel
Imagine the United States space program in the late 21st century, plodding along but still nowhere near where anyone from the previous century would have believed. Imagine further a fanatical cult of the followers of Ra, the Egyptian sun-god, who believe man in space defies the wishes of Ra and desecrates his space and who attack the space program at every opportunity. To counter this threat, the Special Operations Section of the United States Space Force enlists the aid of Colonel Roman Castello, a sort of 21st century super-cop, to bring down the “sunlovers.” Thus begins an adventure that leads to a world-wide chase for the elusive cult leader with many twists and turns, through Europe and the Middle East and ending up in an explosive climax on an island off the coast of Africa. In between, Castello finds himself investigating an explosion on a space station, and attempting to thwart an attack on a moonbase, while simultaneously trying to find his girlfriend who has been kidnapped by the "sunlovers."
Chapter Nine - "Back to the Rockies"
Roman Castello of the United States Space Force has been ordered back to HQ in Colorado Springs for "botching" a mission. He is guarded by his friend who actually is an ally. They are to find out what Castello is being accused of - and whether or not it is justified.
9 – Back to the Rockies
“Baron” sipped his drink and turned to Castello who was busy checking out the stewardess. “Roman, isn’t this great?”
“Yeah, it sure is.”
“Not her ass, I mean this.” He gestured with his hand. “Flying first class with a good drink in your hand.”
“Well, sure. Especially when it only takes three hours. Christ, a mere fifty years ago, it would take all day to get from Germany to Colorado. I wonder how Zoltan and Leo are doing back in coach."
His companion nodded. "They're fine. The only reason I brought them was to placate Fielder about the 'dangerous' captive I am bringing back. I will turn them loose once we are in Colorado. They will have a good time, I'm sure." Spotting the burn mark on Castello’s arm, he asked, “Roman, how exactly did that happen?”
Castello scanned the cabin to see who could be listening. Satisfied, he spoke in a low voice. “It happened three years ago. We knew even less about that bastard than we do now, in fact we didn’t even know his name.”
“Who else? You remember Conqueror’s sister ship, Intimidator?”
“The military version? That was all hush-hush, was it not?”
“Exactly. That’s why there was no public launch ceremony. Anyway Intimidator was about to go on her maiden voyage and security was tight at the Cape. They had me in charge of security just for that particular
“Why you? You are an investigator. Besides I thought that colonel, what is his name, Desmond had that job.”
“Nominally Phil Desmond was in charge but I was actually running the show behind the scenes. Fielder wanted it that way. In any case, the ‘bird’ had just been rolled out onto the runway when the commotion started. It was a classic ruse. In spite of the secrecy, there was a small crowd on hand, military bigwigs, engineers, and the like. They had been scanned, each and every one of them, believe me. Well, all of a sudden this one asshole jumps over the cordon and heads for the shuttle. He’s hollering something like ‘space travel is an affront to God’ or some such. One of the guards shouts at him to stop when he pulls out something that looks for all the world like a bomb and keeps going. So he gets cut down.”
“How in God’s name did he get a bomb in there?”
“Ah. Well, it wasn’t a bomb at all, just a black, inflatable something-or-other that looked like a bomb. Enough like one to get him sliced in half by a laser rifle.”
“Baron” shook his head. “I do not get it. An inflatable, phony bomb? Why?”
“As I said, a ruse. He gave up his life to distract us. Gunter, to this day I don’t know how the fuck he got there, but on the other side of the shuttle, there was this guy all dressed in black, about to carve a piece of Intimidator’s hide with a laser pistol.”
“Who spotted him?”
“I did. By pure luck, I was on the other side of the bird when the first idiot jumped out of the crowd. Naturally the commotion got my attention and I was heading that way when I saw this – apparition out of the corner of my eye. Gunter, for a second I froze. I mean, here was this guy in a black robe, most of his face covered by some kind of headdress, his arms raised in the air. Almost like he was in a trance. When he started to lower his arms, I saw the laser pistol and I snapped to. I hollered ‘Hey’ and he immediately turns toward me.”
He paused to sip his drink.
“Roman, what did you do? Were you not armed? And how in creation did he in there?”
“Hold on. I’ll get to that. Was I armed? Yeah, but all I had in my hand at the time was my C3.” He referred to his comm/computer/controller, the do it all successor to the "smart" cell phones, personal data assistants and remote controls. They even started automobiles and opened garage doors in some cases. Everybody called them "C-threes" or “C-Cubeds.” Naturally, the C3s the USSF people carried were quite secure. “Anyway, before I could even go for my own pistol he fires at me. This is where good training comes into play. When he brought up the pistol to shoot, I went into a crouch, so the beam grazed the back of my hand. Singed my clothes too. Hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.”
“Well, I’m on the ground figuring he’s about to zap me again when two things happened. First a group of security guys run to cover me, pistols drawn, and then another group runs up to the guy in black. My guys are aiming at him when one of the guys in the other group hollers out “Don’t fire, we’ve got him” or some such. Anyway, they disarm him and whisk him away.”
“So you caught the son-of-a-bitch?”
“Nope. When I say `whisked him away,’ that’s exactly what I mean.”
“I do not get it.”
“Gunter, they were with him. They got him out of there. All we had left was one dead asshole and a lot of egg on our faces.”
“Roman, you mean to tell me these guys got in Shimshaa and one other guy, plus a team of phony security men, almost took out a new space ship, and got out practically unscathed? That is a little hard to believe.”
“Gunter, guys getting into supposedly secure space stations and blowing them up is hard to believe too. I’ve thought all along these were inside jobs. Now I’m convinced.”
Ziegler was incredulous. “But that takes some help, does it not? I mean serious, powerful inside help.”
“But wasn’t there a full investigation?”
“As far as I know, but everything is in Brightside channels. To tell you the truth, I never even saw it.”
“Covered up? By whom?”
Castello shrugged. “You tell me.”
“It all keeps pointing to the same place. But what the hell are we going to do about it?”
Before Castello could answer, a chime sounded followed by a feminine voice announcing their imminent landing. Castello pursed his lips. “I don’t know, but we’d better think of something fast.”
A few minutes later, the two were on their way to the mountain, having had no problems at customs due to their official status. A car met them at the airport, courtesy of General Fielder. In the back seat, Ziegler slipped something halfway out of a pocket and showed it to Castello. It was small, different from the norm, but definitely a laser pistol.
“But how . . .” His question was interrupted by Ziegler’s gesture to keep quiet. Eventually the two were walking down the tunnel into the mountain, having declined the ride on the electric car that replaced the bus from years passed.
Castello spoke first. “What the hell is that thing?”
“It is what you think it is, and I will be damned, it actually works!”
“Roman, this is a very powerful blaster, designed to be totally invisible to security scans, even the newest micro-laser pumped, x-ray technology. I designed it myself. Even the power supply is shielded. And getting it through security at the airport and here proves it!”
“And what if they had detected it?”
“My credentials would have taken care of that, but I would have been disappointed, to say the least. Besides, I could always say I needed to guard my ‘prisoner.’”
“You mean me?”
Ziegler smiled. “I am guarding you, remember?”
Castello stopped walking, prompting his friend to do the same. “Gunter, you mean to tell me you made this thing? Holy Christ!”
“Well, I designed it anyway. I had several firms in Germany make it, each of them working on a different part so they didn’t know exactly what it was for. I am a physicist by education, not to mention a bit of a tinkerer. I was going to introduce it into the agency for general use once I proved its utility, but I may not.”
“Number one, most of us do not need weapons that fool security scanners, although those undercover may find it useful. But the other possibility is what scares me.”
“I take it you mean what would happen if the ‘other side’ were to get hold of it.”
Castello shuddered at the thought of terrorists having access to nearly ‘invisible’ weapons. They started walking again.
“You’ll think we’ll need your new ‘toy?’”
“I hope not. Anyway, here comes the next hurdle.”
They had come to the inner security door.
Before the guard had a chance to say anything, a young captain showed up. I’ll take charge of these two, sergeant. General Fielder’s waiting for them.”
The sergeant gave a cursory glance at each man’s credentials and said, his “guardian,” knowing he was disappointed they didn’t get the full scan. At the same time, he was glad Ziegler was armed. What they would do with the gun if and when the time came to use it was another question.
The captain said nothing other than ‘this way’ as he led them to the general’s suite. Once inside, they passed by the general’s aide and his secretary without comment and went immediately into his office.
“Here they are, sir.”
“Thank you captain, dismissed.”
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