Authors: Stuart Handley
About the book
Takfir wal-Hijra are one of the most extreme Islamist groups on the planet, they call for their followers to train in the use of arms, to blend in with their surrounds and to be sleepers within foreign communities ready to awaken and cause maximum mayhem.
The Takfir execute a plot in which a highly contagious agri-virus is exported to America.
Lilburn helps track the terrorists down. The cost is high; blood is let and tears will be shed, yet the terrorism doesn’t stop there.
Read this yet?
Productive Replicators, within the science of nanotechnology, we are to believe, will inevitably be developed to the stage whereby exact copies of life forms or products can be purposely built by manipulating molecular structure to self-replicate. That is regarded as fact; some say that time is not far off. The remainder of this book is fiction.
A scientist has developed the code for replication and it is being sold to the underworld. Matt Lilburn, ex special forces and now a Homeland Security operative, has been dramatically thrown into this world of greed and power. He must seek out the corruption and foreign powers that want to trade this God technology and destroy his family.
It is not a question of
this will happen, it is a question of
Table of Contents
A Matt Lilburn series novel
“120 eddie, 10-4
k,” the police officer acknowledged back to Central.
A weathered billboard sign, folded over like a bookmarked page, was losing its grip on the wall of an abandoned building. The faded writing was barely legible:
Bed-Stuy and Proud of It
Eight years on the job in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, had turned Officer Maitland into one tough hombre, accustomed to owning the streets he patrolled. Not so the rookie walking next to him. “What’s the job, Ben?”
Maitland stopped in his tracks on the sidewalk. “My friends call me Ben. You don’t fall into that category, comprende?”
Martinez fully understood.
The two officers from the 15th Precinct crossed the road to the sidewalk opposite. The residential area was mostly high-density terraced housing built of sandstone. Brownstone.
Late May in Brooklyn was beginning to warm up; most people had discarded coats and warm hats for more comfortable, cooler attire. The two uniformed officers stood out in their dark-blue uniforms as they made their way to their destination, one block over. Maitland was casual; he had been in the force too long to hurry unnecessarily. His eyes lit up. A group of black youths lay about on one of the houses’ stone stoops, adjacent to the sidewalk. The dispatcher could wait. It wasn’t urgent.
“You see those five mutts to our front, Martinez?”
“Mutts?” Martinez was confused by the term.
“Perps, perpetrators, do you see them?”
Martinez replied. “Yes.”
But they haven’t done anything
, he thought.
So why are they perps?
“I want you to do a 250 — if they give you shit, ground, pound and cuff ’em.”
The 250 was a key tactic in the 15th Precinct, an aggressive campaign to stop and frisk, sanctioned from the top, even further up the line past the borough commander.
The five young men were talking amongst themselves, minding their own business; one looked up and spotted the approaching NYPD. He alerted his companions in a hushed tone. “I smell me some bacon.” Instantly alert, the youths looked up. One leaned over and slowly spat on the sidewalk.
“You take the lead, kid.” Maitland stood to the side and slightly back from his partner, his hands on his hips, right hand not far from his holstered Glock.
Martinez was less than confident but he wanted to impress his tutor. “Let’s see some ID.”
“Yo man — we cool, we just hanging.” It was the one who saw them.
“Man, you can’t do that, we got rights.” One of the more confident youths drawled, off to the side.
Maitland had heard it all before. Now it was his turn. “Who died and made you boss? All of you get off your fucking asses and haul out your ID otherwise you’re going to be yoked. MOVE.”
The youths scrambled to their feet, reaching for identification. No more questions. They knew better than to back-chat this officer — otherwise they’d be arrested on suspicion and taken to the police station for a long wait. Martinez gave their IDs a cursory glance, then looked to the older man. Maitland nodded his head as if to say,
Get on with it.
“Turn around and I’m going to frisk you,” Martinez said in the most confident voice he could muster.
Maitland interjected. “Stay where you are on the steps. Come down here one at a time, turn around, face the building, feet apart, hands on the rail.” Pointing at the nearest he barked out, “You first.”
Standing back, Maitland watched as his partner frisked the five youths. Nothing.
The two officers carried on to their original assignment, leaving behind five very angry young men. Martinez didn’t understand why they had riled them up, especially as dispatch had already radioed in a job, which should have taken priority. As he kept pace with Maitland, he asked the question. Once again the senior policeman came to an abrupt stop and faced him, the powerfully built veteran a good two and a half inches taller. He could have let the rookie go without an explanation, but instead he felt an inkling of responsibility to the younger man.
“Listen up good, boy, it goes like this. First, you want to survive in this job, then you forget about
quality of life
enforcement, it’s all about the numbers. Get the numbers, cuff the mutts, take ’em to Central, lodge ’em, leave ’em and think of a charge later or just void them and let ’em go. That’s how it is — that’s how the shirts want us to work. You have to maintain
; this is a heavy precinct, lots of crime, so that part’s real easy.”
Martinez listened. It wasn’t what he had expected policing to be — and not what he had been taught. They carried on in silence.
A block away they came to the address — a five-story apartment block.
The apartment foyer was bare — faceless, dank and dark. The only access to the upper levels was by way of internal stairs.
“Fucking stairs!” Maitland looked around the foyer in disgust. So which floor was apartment twenty-five? “Goddamn it! Nothing — fucking typical.” A first floor apartment door opened and a woman came out. When she saw the two officers, she stopped abruptly, then quickly turned as if to go back inside. No chance. “You! What floor is twenty-five?”
In broken English, her dark head down, the woman replied it was on the third floor. Her accent betrayed her recent Hispanic origin — and her nervousness.
“That ain’t so bad. Let’s go.” As they walked up the bare timber stairs, Maitland radioed Central.
10-84, arrived at scene.
“What’s the assignment for… Officer Maitland?”
“Domestic, called in by lady in apartment twenty-seven, she reckons it’s a couple of switch-hitters.” Maitland paused on the steps and looked down at Martinez. “That’s gay boys to you. Getting all hissy at each other — probably got their panties in a bunch.” He continued walking.
The door was missing from the stairs to the third floor lobby. The officers entered and identified apartment twenty-five. The door was shut. Maitland paused, bending forward and listening. Nothing. He approached number twenty-seven, and knocked.
“Who is it?” A demanding female voice filtered through the door.
Maitland heard the click of a lock. The door opened a few inches; an elderly black woman peered through the gap above the security chain. Seeing the blue uniform she shut the door, an audible rattling of the chain followed and the door opened wider. The woman’s head and shoulders pushed through. Looking around either side of the two officers she checked there was no one else about, no prying neighbors.
The lady spoke quietly. “Next door, they a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’, wake up the whole damn neighborhood. They A-rabs or summat — I seen ’em good. They new here, I think they up to no good. You hear me?”
“I do, ma’am. So it’s not a domestic? More like a … disturbance?” Maitland hid the fact he was pleased. Probably going nowhere, but it was another stat.
The old lady looked sheepish. “That’s right — a disturbance. They sure disturbin’ me! You know what I think?” The woman beckoned Maitland closer so she could whisper. “I think they making a bomb.”
Maitland forced back a smile. “Why, thank you, ma’am — we’ll look into it.”
The old lady, looking satisfied, nodded, had another look around and shut the door. Maitland turned to Martinez. “God help me!”
“Are we taking this further, Officer Maitland?”
“It’s near the end of the second quarter, you know what that means?”
Martinez shook his head.
“It means every uniform better have his quota filled otherwise the white shirts will kick your ass. You heard that old lady — she said the ‘b’ word. Gives us a reason to take a look in number twenty-five, occupants there or not. So pull your piece, we’re going in.”
Outside number twenty-five Maitland, gun drawn, hammered three times on the door. “NYPD, open up.” No reply. He knocked harder. The door opened. A man stood there, with Middle Eastern looks, twenty something, short black curly hair with what appeared to be a week’s growth of sparse facial hair. Martinez remembered the drill. Details… note the details for the inevitable paperwork. Dressed in a faded black T-shirt hanging out over a pair of blue jeans. As the man’s eyes focused on the two gun barrels pointing at him, his eyes widened.
“Back up now.” Maitland took control. The man raised his arms and shuffled backwards. Maitland entered followed by the rookie; they visually searched the main living area for the other occupant.
“Where’s the other guy? Is there anyone else here?”
“No, sir, just me.”
“Turn around, back to me, keep your hands up.” Maitland kept his Glock trained on the man with one hand while he expertly patted him down. “Martinez, search the place.”
The living area was sparse but tidy — there was one couch and a small coffee-type table, with a pitcher of water and a hair comb. The floor was carpeted; a smallish dyed rug lay beside the table skewwhiff to the walls and couch.
“Officer, I’ve done nothing wrong.” The accent was American.
“Turn around, place your hands down by your sides.”
Martinez was back, a quick shake of his head. The other rooms were clear. “No one else.”
Holstering his weapon, Maitland spoke to the man. “There’s been a complaint made — excess noise. You live here alone?”
“No, sir, I share the apartment with a friend.”
“Friend… really. So how is it we get complaints about this place?”
“I… I am very sorry, sir, sometimes our prayers upset the neighbors, they don’t understand.”
Maitland walked past the man towards the kitchen. This job was going nowhere. The man was nervous but polite, and spoke like an American.
So either born here or been here a while. Long enough to know the score.
Didn’t look the type to be forced into losing his temper so he could be cuffed. Even the kitchen area was tidy. He could see a large pot of water on the stove.
Probably preparing for the next meal.
His eyes canvassed the rest of the room — the stainless steel bench top was clear save for a brown paper mail wrapper, which had been emptied and flattened out, ready for the trash. Postage stamps showed it had come from overseas. His nephew collected stamps, these were real colorful. He thought briefly about asking if he could take them.
Aarrgh, another day
. Above the kitchen sink a small window looked out onto the bleak wall of a neighboring unit.
Piss all view.
Below the window, on the sill, were four clear plastic lids. There was something nasty growing in them. He turned his nose up. “You need to do some cleaning.” As he spoke he turned back towards the man. Metal clinked as his foot inadvertently knocked over some cans, which went sprawling across the vinyl floor. “Shit.” Looking down, Maitland saw he had just kicked over a half – dozen or so cans of spray-on deodorant.
The man in the center of the living area swallowed hard. He felt a cold trickle of sweat run down inside his shirt.
“Martinez, take the man’s details.”
Pulling out his notebook Martinez started to write. “What’s your name?”
“Yusuf al-Nasseri, sir.”
“Name of the other guy who lives here.”
“His name’s Bashir Zuabi.”
“What sorta names are those?” Maitland interrupted, frowning as he saw Martinez hesitate.
How the fuck do you spell that?
“They’re Syrian, sir.”
Officer Maitland looked al-Nasseri up and down.
Another fuckin’ import.
With the necessary details taken, Maitland nodded to the rookie. Time to leave. At the doorway he looked back at the man still standing in the middle of the living room. “I suggest you keep those prayers down, or we’ll be back.”
“Those damn stairs again,” he muttered, to no one in particular.
Out on the sidewalk Maitland spoke to Martinez. “No bomb-making equipment I could see there, you find any in the other rooms?”
“No, Officer Maitland, nothing.”
“Like I told you — another stat for the quarter. That’s what it’s all about boy, get back to the station, write it up, sign it off then it gets buried.” A few more paces down the road Maitland said thoughtfully, “That filthy stuff growing in those lids, above the kitchen sink… everything else was clean… they seemed kinda out of place…”
“Those were petri dishes, Officer Maitland.”
“Say what? OK, Professor, and what the shit do you do with
“Grow things in them, like cultures.”
Maitland’s knowledge of science precluded him from entering into any form of educated discussion. “Like what? You saying they’re making that furry stuff to eat?”
“Could be something like… yogurt gone wrong.”
“Well, that rag-head can grow yogurt if he likes. Me? I get mine from a store.”