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Authors: Joe Nobody

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Olympus Device 2: The Olympus Device Book Two

BOOK: Olympus Device 2: The Olympus Device Book Two
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The Olympus Device: Book Two

 

By

 

Joe Nobody

 

Copyright © 2014

 

Kemah Bay Marketing, LLC

 

All rights reserved.

 

Edited by:

E. T. Ivester

D. Allen

 

www.joenobodybooks.com

             
 

             
This is a work of fiction. Characters and events are products of the author’s imagination, and no relationship to any living person is implied. The locations, facilities, and geographical references are set in a fictional environment.

 

             

             
Other Books by Joe Nobody:

-
        
Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart

-
        
The TEOTWAWKI Tuxedo: Formal Survival Attire

-
        
Without Rule of Law: Advanced Skills to Help You Survive

-
        
Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival

-
        
Holding Their Own II: The Independents

-
        
Holding Their Own III: Pedestals of Ash

-
        
Holding Their Own IV: The Ascent

-
        
Holding Their Own V: The Alpha Chronicles

-
        
Holding Their Own VI: Bishop’s Song

-
        
Holding Their Own VII: Phoenix Star

-
        
The Home Schooled Shootist: Training to Fight with a Carbine

-
        
Apocalypse Drift

-
        
The Olympus Device: Book One

Contents
Prologue

 

Lying on its side, t
he 600-foot long ship was a visual oddity that demanded the eye. With its stern aground 40 feet from the nearest water, the tanker appeared as a beached, primordial monster of gargantuan proportions.

At first glance, the carcass of
the titan was being consumed by lesser creatures. An army of ant-like warriors swarmed the hull… scaling, climbing, and scuttling over the dead behemoth. A fleet of
Matchbox
®
car-like vehicles surrounded the superstructure, their flashing lights engendering a colored sea of cobalt, crimson, and amber illumination.

To the careful observer, it was obvious that the giant hadn’t given up without a
struggle. A hedge of smashed vehicles, debris, and other flotsam surrounded the massive beast, evidence of the tsunami generated by its dying throes.

But the colossus wasn’t dead.

A warning spread through the ant regiment, the multitude’s movements accelerating with a vibration of panic and fear. The fleet of flashing lights began scurrying away, leaking from the goliath’s shadow in a single file, like a lake being drained through a narrow channel. They seemed suddenly desperate to escape its proximity.

Screaming, terrified voices filled the airwaves, shouts of
warning turning quickly into verbal mayhem. The initial armada of emergency response morphed into a riot of emergency retreat. The gas was leaking. Ethylene oxide was mixing with salt and water - the primary ingredients of a thermalbaric weapon.

Men, fire trucks, ambulances and police c
ars raced away, every second providing them precious distance – lifesaving space. On the nearby Hartman Bridge, the few remaining vehicles sought desperately to escape. Up and down the ship channel, radios blared with imminent crisis alerts, informing captains and crew to evacuate. Law enforcement helicopters banked hard, abandoning their orbits, quickly followed by their news station counterparts.

The leviathan’s bow
els continued to hemorrhage, seemingly unaware or uncaring of the frantic exodus taking place. Tons of BTU-laced vapor spread from the vessel’s primary storage tanks, filling passageways, vents, and cabins with a volatile cloud. It was only a matter of time before the explosive fog encountered a heat source and ignited.

Finally reaching the machinery spaces, the huge diesel’s exhaust provided the necessary pyro-inducement. For a hundredth of a second, the gas only burned, the flame expanding rapidly in the confined spaces.

The ship’s thick hull served as a containment vessel for the expanding gases - much like the iron casing of a bomb restrains the internal energy until it is overwhelmed. The crippled tanker and all that surrounded her were doomed.

The destruction was initiated by a wall of air traveling at over 700 mph
as the keel surrendered. Compressed to the consistency of concrete, the blast wave expanded outward … shredding, tearing and crushing anything in its path. It was quickly followed by the fireball, a doorway to the sulfuric pits of hell opening for an ephemeral moment of time.

H
undreds of tons of concrete, composing one of the primary supports for the nearby ship channel bridge, were minced into powder. Sections of the expansive, connecting deck weighing over 50 tons were tossed into the air like dry, autumn leaves swirling in a seasonal gust.

Superheated
, white-hot gases expanded from the epicenter, consuming oxygen and producing devastation in an ever-expanding ring of violence. The subsequent events were just as destructive, since the Port of Houston was lined with a kind of manmade kindling - chemical, refining, and manufacturing facilities. Secondary fires and explosions would rage for days. It was a target rich environment for catastrophe.

The expanding blast of condensed
air and sound shattered windows for over 50 miles. The anchor of the ravaged tanker was discovered in a mall parking lot six miles away. Citizens as far away as Dallas and Austin called their local police departments to report an earthquake.

All of the
ruin, death, and chaos were due to one small, shoulder-fired device - the rail gun.

 

Day One

 

Just over 12 miles south of the disaster and motoring along the shoreline of Galveston Bay, Dusty sensed a brilliant flash behind him. Spinning to peer over his shoulder, he witnessed a pillar-like fountain of flame, smoke, and debris rising in the atmosphere. “Get down!” he yelled at Grace, pulling her prone into the shallow bilge just as a hot, forceful gust of wind rocked their small craft. The commandeered inflatable nearly capsized, the couple saved from another drenching by the curvature of the earth and the fact that they were hugging the coast.

After their vessel had
stabilized, Dusty turned to examine a column of scorched nautical fragments and smoldering ash rising into the air above the ship channel. He could guess what it was and whispered a small prayer that no one had been killed. “Oh Lord,” exhaled Grace, staring at the ever-rising formation. “Did someone just nuke Houston?”

“I bet that tanker blew,” Dusty replied in a low voice. “I hope they had time to evacuate everybody.”

As their launch continued south, the thunder of secondary explosions sounded in the distance, the echoing rumblings and sharp claps reminding Dusty of a 4
th
of July fireworks display. He glanced down at the bag containing the rail gun and shook his head. “I should just toss that weapon overboard and be done with this. Let it sink into the bay’s muddy bottom, never to be seen again.”

“You could,” replied Grace, unable to take her eyes away from the destruction. “But you promised Mitch you wouldn’t, and besides, no one would believe you had simply
thrown it away. At best, they would lock you up and throw away the key. At worst, they might even torture you until you told them where it was. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t at this point. You might as well hang onto it now – it’s leverage. It may be your salvation.”

Dusty shook his head in disgust, “I feel like I’m carrying around a bag full of evil… like doomsday in a suitcase.”

Grace’s posture changed, her sly grin reminding him of a cat that just cornered the rodent. Dusty had seen it before and braced for the overwhelming logic that was surely heading his way.  He didn’t have to wait long.


What did you tell me once? Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” she said.

“Now that’s not fair,” he protested. “I was talking about regular weapons, not something like the rail gun. That,” he said pointing at the duffle, “is too much power for any one man to possess.”

“Then don’t shoot it anymore, Durham. Hide it, disable it, or just keep it unloaded – but don’t shoot it. It can’t do any harm just sitting somewhere.”

The fact that she had reverted
to using his formal name was a signal, a message that she wanted to leave no room for misinterpretation of her words.

“You do have a point,” he eventually responded.

The couple continued in silence, plying the bay’s waters and trying to remain unnoticed. It wasn’t a serious concern - most eyes were glued to television news stations or toward the thunderous pyrotechnics on the horizon.

Eventually, Dusty glared down
at the bag holding his invention. “Grace,” he said, and then hesitated for a moment as if composing his thoughts. “I know I gave my word to my brother, but that was before I destroyed half of a city.” He pointed with his head at the colossal columns of blazing flames over his shoulder, and continued, “Dozens, perhaps hundreds of people hadn’t died yet.”

“If you toss that overboard, you are throwing away the only hope you have of clearing your name and returning to your life
back in Fort Davis. Do you ever want to see your ranch again? Do you ever want to be able to walk around without checking over your shoulder?”

He pondered her questions. “We have several million dollars in that bag. We can live anywhere we like… Costa Rica, Thailand… you name it. It’s not
as if we’ll spend our years in destitution. Now, we don’t want to draw a lot of attention with a flashy lifestyle, but we don’t have to live in a jungle shack either.”

As was her habit, Grace took her time digesting his logic. “Are you sure
that is what you want? You have lived in West Texas all your life. You live on land that was your father’s and his father’s before that. If you are 100% certain you don’t care about returning to your home, then toss that thing over the side. But be sure, Dusty. Be very sure.”

He continued maneuvering the craft
, slowly proceeding a few hundred yards off the shore. They motored by bay houses, many equipped with wooden piers jutting into the blue-brown waters. Gorgeous manicured lawns sloped to the edge of the water, their emerald green hue a fitting contrast with the bay. The seaside real estate was prime and very expensive, the grounds boasting manor-sized homes and plentiful lots. On the horizon toward the east, beautiful multi-hued sails announced the presence of graceful wind-powered vessels. It was a landscape that inspired peace and contentment.

But not this morning.

Another chorus of detonations sounded from the north, riotous with the reverberations of destruction. He shook his head, an act that displayed regret and sadness while at the same time announcing his decision.

He pointed their craft toward deeper water, turning the small outboard’s tiller and bracing it with his knee. Reaching for the duffle, he unzipped the entire length and pulled out the rail gun. He paused for a moment, gazing at what had been an innocent discovery
and yet had changed so many lives.

The gleam of gold caught his attention. Attached to the rare earth magnets along the barrel was a tube of the gold coins provided by the Russian. A deep scowl crossed his face, the understanding immediate.

“What’s wrong?” Grace asked, trying to read his expression.

“Gold isn’t magnetic. Those coins shouldn’t be attracted to the gun’s magnets.”

It took quite a bit of effort to pull the obviously iron-filled fakes from the weapon’s barrel, so strong was the attraction. Ten minutes later, he’d verified every single tube was full of forgeries. The Russian had been trying to deceive him.

“But this is gold,” Grace announced, holding a handful of the slugs
and Dusty’s pocketknife. Maybe not pure gold, but I can’t scratch it off.”

A thought then occurred to Dusty – if the coins weren’t real, what about the
cash?

He corrected
their course back shoreward and began inspecting the wads of currency stuffed inside the bag. Pulling out a stack of what appeared to be $100 bills, Dusty inspected the top note. It contained the earmarks of the genuine article, complete with blue micro-strip that shimmered like a holographic image.

He flipped to the second note, and then the third. They were
authentic as well, but the digitalized face staring at him was not that of Benjamin Franklin, but the nation’s first president instead. One dollar bills! And so was the rest of the stack. He relented after checking five of the bundles. They all were the same, a big note on top followed by mostly George Washington’s image on the rest. 

“Shit,” he mumbled, “That cheating Russian bastard. I should have known.”

Grace, trying to lighten the mood and temper Dusty’s anger observed, “Well, at least we’re not broke. And the passport and other papers look genuine enough.”

“So much for early retirement
,” he exhaled. “We’ll have to put away the travel brochures and face the music here, Grace. I guess I have no choice but to hang onto that weapon. It’s all I have left.” The gunsmith paused for a moment, still processing his discovery. “I’m back to zero. We’ve got next to nothing. I can’t provide for myself, let alone both of us. I’ve lost my family, ranch, and everything important to me. The media is rife with stories portraying me as some mad man, and half the world is looking to plant this old carcass six feet under the ground. What a mess.”

Grace reached across the bag and touched his hand. “We’ll be okay, Dusty. I promise.
I know the truth, and I’m with you all the way.”

For some reason, the weapon clutched so
tightly in Dusty’s hand switched personas. No longer was it a tool of destruction and the primary cause of his dire situation. He began looking at the device almost as if it were an heirloom, a cherished object that anchored him to the past... a happier time.

His impulse to toss the rail gun overboard passed. It was only a machine, not Lucifer in disguise. Without a human pulling the trigger, it wouldn’t even make a good boat anchor.

“Maybe you
’re right,” he said. “This little invention got me into this mess, maybe it’s the only thing that can get me out.”

Grace nodded and smiled, squeezing his hand with a warming gesture. “Whatever happens, Dusty, we’re in this together.”

And with that, he nestled the rail gun back in the duffle and resumed piloting their course.

 

The wind was picking up, blowing from the southeast and stirring up an uncomfortable chop. “We need to find civilization,” Dusty announced. “This boat is too small for open water on a windy day.”

His first mate
pointed toward the distant shoreline with a nod, “Is that a Ferris wheel? You don’t see too many of those out on the open sea.”

Follow
ing her gaze, Dusty indeed observed the carnival ride on the horizon. He studied the scene for a moment and then remembered reading about a small amusement park in the area. He could also identify a string of pleasure boats exiting what appeared to be a channel of some sort. “Looks worthy of investigating. What started as a breezy morning is quickly building into quite the blustery day.”

And with that, he
turned the small craft toward the west.

Fifteen minutes later, the red and green markers of a navigation channel came into view. “Red, right, return,” Dusty muttered, remembering an old n
ovel he’d read years ago. The Ferris wheel loomed larger from his new perspective.

Before long
, an extensive row of dockside restaurants and shops came into view, seemingly stretching to the horizon. A single, storm-weathered, wooden sign identified their location. “Welcome to the Kemah Boardwalk.”

“I remember this place,” Grace
exhaled from the front of the boat, her eyes darting about the commercial area. “There’s food, shopping and a hotel here. All the travel magazines rave about its variety of amusements and small town charm.”

Dusty navigated
their tiny craft along the edge of the main channel, the primary waterway bustling with early morning private yachts heading out to the bay for a day’s recreation. Grace pointed toward the shoreline, “There’s a place to tie up.”

A few minutes later, they were securing the raft via
a small dock line to the wharf-side cleat. After helping Grace onto the pier, the couple stood and studied their surroundings.

The boardwal
k offered many of the amenities normally associated with an upscale shopping mall. Brick walkways and common areas led to a variety of small shops, large restaurants and an even larger amusement park. At the early hour, only a few of the shopkeepers had managed to open their establishments, but there were still a considerable number of people milling about.

“I need a fresh change of clothes
and a shower, Dusty,” Grace declared. She then threw him a glance and wrinkled her nose, “And so do you.”

Dusty caught a reflectio
n of himself in a nearby window and had to agree. If they expected to blend in with the tourists, it would probably help if they didn’t look like they’d just survived a missile attack and tsunami.

“The shops will probably open at nine,” he said, looking at his watch. “
We’ve got about 20 minutes to kill.”

They took
a seat in a common area, people-watching and passing time. Dusty enjoyed observing a clever set of fountains, the nozzles flush with the brick walkway and firing random tubes of water through the air. Despite the early hour, a gaggle of little children was already darting in and out of the randomized, mechanical rainstorm.  

They identified a small boutique offering beachwear
for tourists. Bathing suits, sunglasses, and lotions dominated the retail space, but there were a few racks of street clothes. The teenage clerk was busy completing her opening checklist and didn’t seem to notice that her first customers looked like hell.

BOOK: Olympus Device 2: The Olympus Device Book Two
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