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Authors: Ben Lovett

Hot Zone

BOOK: Hot Zone
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HOT ZONE
Ben Lovett

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
© Ben Lovett, 2012.

 

Prologue

 

6,000 years ago…
The ground rumbled violently that morning as the sun nudged above the horizon signaling a new day, the Last Day.
Rising higher in the sky with every moment that passed, the rays of luminous gold smeared itself upon the landscape. The golden statues of fallen soldiers, politicians and the famous were the first to shine.
Followed by the Citadel.
With a diameter of more than two kilometers it was the sight of magnificent temples filled with jewels and treasures the likes of which many of the land had never seen. At its peak the Citadel held aloft a larger than life version of King Neptune.
Carved of solid gold it was the epitome of what this City had stood for. Fine workmanship with exquisite detail it was a work of art unparalleled, and had displayed the founder of its nation to be a God, a God looking down on the City and countryside like a parent would stand above the crib of their child and watch them sleep.
Still rising; the sun revealed the remainder of the City.
Made up of five enormous concentric this included the Citadel, which sat atop. The circles were separated by navigable motes, which measured some hundred meters wide.
Each circle rose higher than the one before. The Citadel was one hundred and twenty meters higher than the first of the circles, each with diameters ranging from six kilometers around the Citadel to eighteen kilometers at the base.
The circles separated the people of this City by social stature.
The first circle housed the lower class, if there was such a thing. The second circle was for the recreation of the entire City with entrance being free for everybody. Here the people would play sports of various kinds, play music and stage performances of the City's elite actors and musicians. It was here that people could sell and purchase produce at the twice-weekly market where people from all over the countryside would travel to sell their crops.
The third and fourth circles housed the middle and higher class respectively, the citadel being held as a place of worship with its only residents being the priests who over-saw the running of the Citadel and the treasures which remained within. Access to the Citadel was only available to the elite of the City who would come three times a week for prayer.
While there was a definitive class structure within the City walls, it must be said that the City was a place of harmony and there was very little difference in lifestyle between the lower class and the elite. Unlike other such Cities there were opportunities to advance to higher class levels here and never was the lower class looked down upon from above, as the layout of the city might have you believe.
Golden Domes in groups of threes were scientifically placed about the City. Their design was a true marvel of architecture. They were designed to catch the wind, which was a constant throughout these lands, causing it to resonate, creating wonderful tunes that filled the air. As the air left one dome it entered the next playing a slightly different tone. These domes harnessed the winds to fill the air with a constant soothing tune.
For all its beauty and wonderment however, something was missing on this glorious day: The People.
The City had been abandoned for some two hundred years. First, the volcanoes which had always threatened the countryside had several minor eruptions that had sent the cities people into a panic.
Then the unthinkable occurred in this magic land. Crime, anarchy, a rebellion against the government and the classes turned what was once the most peaceful land on earth into a war zone. People began leaving by the thousands. Within twenty-five years the City was deserted, a classic ghost town whose air was still filled with the beautiful unheard tunes of the captured breeze.
Now the ghost town was to take its final adventure.
Destruction.
The volcanoes to the north were first. Erupting in unison, spewing out rivers of molten lava across the land and gigantic mushroom clouds of rock and ash into the sky. The glorious sunshine that had woken the City was now gone, replaced by a dark, thick sky, which threatened to rain hell on the Land.
The volcanic eruptions both on land and on the surrounding sea bed placed enormous pressure on the tectonic plates, causing massive shifts in the landmass. The earth broke in two as it shook with such unbelievable force that King Neptune fell from his perch above the City, crashing head-first through the Citadel ceiling. The earthquake tore up the land and offshore caused dual tsunami's coming from the east and west. At their peak they were both eighty meters high and when they converged on the City they would meet, the results: catastrophic.
The City had begun sinking. The bone-shattering earthquake had torn the land in two; the motes around the City had begun spreading through the wall's as water rushed onto the land from every direction. The ice fields in the north, near the volcanoes had melted immediately under the intense heat from the lava causing the water table to rise and spread out across the open fields.
As the ash began to fall on the City of Atlantis the tidal waves crossed the shores and crushed the City like an enormous vice, obliterating everything in their path.
The land shook violently underneath; Atlantis was being torn apart from within, sinking under the immense pressure coming from above and below. Unlike a normal tsunami where the water recedes leaving a picture of devastation and destruction these waters remained. Hiding the carnage beneath, the carnage that had once been the greatest land on Earth was now nothing more than rubble. Rubble at the bottom of the ocean.
Atlantis was gone, lost to the world that had created it.
Lost forever.

 

Prologue II

 

1966…
All was calm throughout the islands in the South Pacific that morning. The peace and tranquility of his outpost on the pearl necklace shaped Mururoa Atoll caused French General, Pierre Clement to hesitate pressing his right index finger on the red button that would forever change the course of history.
The General carried out his duty and awaited the outcome. Five seconds later the sky was engulfed by a blinding curtain of white. Seconds after a silhouette of a mushroom appeared in the distance. The silhouette slowly came into focus as the light faded revealing a monstrous black mushroom cloud surrounded by jets of ocean water.
No longer was there calm. Shortly after the sight of the blinding light and ensuing cloud was a roar of wind that ripped across the ocean and over the Atoll where three thousand French Foreign Legion soldiers were based.
The roar of the wind alone was deafening, the chill cut through to the bones of everyone who was not inside. Nobody was, except for General Clement, who stood in his watchtower, his finger still on the button as he stared out at the mushroom cloud. Pride washed across his face, what rose out of the water before him he had created, one press of the button was all it took for total destruction and it was at his finger tip.
France would soon own the world and if any nation fought it, and he assumed the United States would, his countrymen would rain hell on their biggest cities with this weapon of mass destruction. Clement would love to be there again to push the button, just as he had done here.
What General Clement and the other soldiers on the island didn't realize however, was the safe distance for this particular explosion was twelve thousand yards. A crucial typed error on the layout of the blast had shown feet, not yards, placing the fragile Mururoa Atoll only four thousand yards from the blast.
The result was catastrophic and instantaneous. The cold, roaring wind brought with it a wall of flames that engulfed the Atoll killing everyone and everything instantly, bodies were turned to ash and blown apart in seconds by the intense heat. Buildings, including the one General Clement stood in were reduced to rubble then scattered across the South Pacific.
The Atoll was stripped bare of all its foliage and wildlife in nanoseconds and when the wall of flames died there was nothing left on the Atoll but a few mounds of rubble and some barren tree trunks that had survived the blast. The Atoll itself, with its beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters in the lagoon was still there but the tiny landmass was burnt black to a crisp.
The news of the tragedy was never made public by the French Government who vowed they would rebuild the Atoll, continued their nuclear testing and in doing so revolutionized the nuclear age. They came back a year later and did just that, continuing their tests on both Mururoa and the nearby Island of Enewatak. After years of protests by Australia and New Zealand, the International Court of Justice ruled that the French sign a partial ban on Atmospheric testing in the area, consequently their remaining tests were all conducted under the ocean off the coast of the Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls.
The fall out from these tests resulted in an unknown quantity of plutonium (estimates have it at one hundred kilograms) being slowly released into the ocean through the Atolls and it's lagoons making the area's radiation levels dangerously high. Radiation that could have seriously damaged local marine life in the area causing abnormalities during the birthing stage and death in many of the weaker species.
While the French protest that radiation levels are low and safe, they still, to this day enforce a twelve nautical mile exclusion zone around the Atoll as they continue to study the effects of the Atomic Weapons.

 

1

 

January 25th 1996… The bow of the Greenpeace cruiser,
Rainbow Warrior Junior,
cut through the glass top of the ocean as it headed due south towards the Mururoa Atoll. The sun was at its peak and shone furiously bright, reflecting off the calm waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
Compared to its older and much larger father ship, the
Rainbow Warrior Junior
was in reality a seventy-five foot Magnum made up in Greenpeace colors and equipment with the latest GPS navigation equipment, sea bed monitoring sensors and radar capabilities for sensing possible enemy aircraft approaching the ship’s radius.
The ship itself was used for transporting people between islands and for small reconnaissance missions.
This was such a mission.
At the helm of the boat was Peter Jansen, one of Greenpeace's most experienced and finest leaders. At six-four, two-thirty pounds Jansen, with his blonde hair and blue eyes had the presence of a Nordic God. He had been with the organization for fifteen years and had fought many battles from oil spillage in Alaska to freeing dolphins in the tuna fishing industry to his current quest: French nuclear testing around the atolls of the south pacific.
BOOK: Hot Zone
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