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Authors: Bob Mayer

Tags: #Military, #Science Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Fiction

The Book of Truths

BOOK: The Book of Truths
2.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Text copyright © 2013 by Bob Mayer

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by 47North
P.O. Box 400818
Las Vegas, NV 89140

ISBN-13: 9781477807293
ISBN-10: 1477807292
Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2013936765


















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By Bob Mayer

Roland stood near the closed ramp of the Snake, rigged with parachute, M249 squad automatic weapon strapped tight to one side and dressed in a Level A hazmat suit. His fellow Nightstalkers made an over/under bet whether there actually was a nuke in the site he would be jumping down toward, and then whether it would go off when Roland landed on top of it.

Roland had big feet.

In the cargo bay, between the cockpit and the ramp where he waited, the other five members made their next bets… well, four, since Moms rarely joined any betting pool. She considered it unprofessional of a team leader to engage in pecuniary entanglements with team members. At least that’s the way Eagle, the pilot, explained it. On the other hand, maybe she had more important things on her mind, like the possibility of a nuke going off.

The ones taking the over on the detonation didn’t contemplate that none of them would be around to collect if they won.

“Fifteen minutes,” Eagle warned over the team net from the cockpit. “Depressurizing in two.”

“Check oxygen,” Nada ordered. All five in the cargo bay made sure their rigs were pumping oxygen into their hazmat suits from
the internal bottles, then gave Nada the thumbs-up. “Ready back here,” he informed Eagle.

Moms held up a finger, cutting the betting chatter on the team net. Her head was cocked slightly to the side, which indicated she was listening in on the secure frequency back to the Ranch outside of Area 51. Which meant she was being briefed by their boss, Ms. Jones.

After thirty seconds, she nodded and spoke on the team net. “Doc, are you getting the alert message Ms. Jones forwarded?”

Doc was seated toward the front of the cargo bay, a laptop open. He’d pulled off his hazmat gloves so he could work the mouse pad and keyboard. “Yes. I have it,” he said in his clipped Indian accent. “It is most strange. I have never seen this alert code before. Rather archaic.”

“Figure it out,” Moms said. “ASAP.”

“Where did the alert show up?” Doc asked as he typed. “Are we certain it’s nuclear related?”

“The indicator came on in the old command and control bunker at the Strategic Air and Space Museum at Offutt Air Force Base,” Moms said.

“That explains the archaic,” Eagle said from the cockpit.

“It’s a nuke,” Nada said glumly, which was his version of happy.

How it had started appeared to be the way many Nightstalker missions began: by accident, after stupidity, following just plain government incompetence. If one had asked Moms, she would have quoted, and often did, the exact time and date it
started—both the nuclear problems and the concept of the Nightstalkers—at 05:29:21 on the sixteenth of July, 1945, at the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico—when and where the first atomic weapon was detonated.

She was more correct than she realized.

The scientists who’d labored through the dark days of World War II and put the first bomb together also had a betting pool as the countdown to the test began on that warm July morning in the desert. The low was that it would be a dud, the high being a chain reaction ignition of the atmosphere with the resulting incineration of the entire surface of the planet. They didn’t think the latter likely but a few still took the high. Someone always takes the high. The fact there was even the slightest possibility that the world would be destroyed did not stop them, just as the dire warnings that firing up the Large Hadron Collider sixty-three years later in Switzerland might possibly open a black hole and consume the planet were ignored. The scientists in New Mexico can
be cut some slack because there was a World War raging, but Switzerland?

The ultimate winner at Trinity, after all the readings were tallied and the world was not incinerated, was a physicist who picked 18 kilotons as the yield.

But that’s much too far to go back and too vague to explain why the Snake was flying over Nebraska, about to jettison its team of highly trained covert operatives over an abandoned ballistic missile launch control complex. Closer in time and space, only six hours earlier, in the part of Nebraska that was the middle of nowhere—which, unfortunately, most of Nebraska is—was a woman named Peggy Sue. (Really, her mom had loved that movie.) She was innocently hanging clothes she’d just finished hand-washing to dry over an old rubber-coated pipe.

But when that pipe is in a supposedly defunct launch control center (LCC) that had been auctioned off (only one bidder, so not much of an auction), the odds of such an event went from impossible to ridiculous. And the US government often ran on ridiculous, so that meant it was quite possible.

Ignorant of what she’d just initiated, Peggy Sue JoHansen was thinking she didn’t like the underground facility much to start with. She was beginning to feel the same way about her husband of four months, six days, and, checking her watch, a few too many hours. They’d gotten married in the passion of pending annihilation, just before the last “end of the world” deadline. She was beginning to forget which one exactly as there’d been three since, and when the world had not ended, well, here they were.

It was one of the conundrums of being a doomsdayer to actually not have doom.

As she draped another pair of his tattered jeans over the pipe, she heard him thudding down the eight-story stairwell, one
heavy footfall after another as he hauled two more cases of bottled water. He bought a Blazer full of water with each trip to Sam’s over in Omaha, and she knew from weary experience it took him thirty-two trips to bring it all inside.

They had plenty of bottled water and she no longer offered to help.

That their new home, the LCC, had come without running water was just one of Peggy Sue’s many gripes.

Another was that the only warmth came from several electric heaters scattered about, which barely put out enough heat to keep the pants on the pipe from freezing.

She was soon going to have more.

BOOK: The Book of Truths
2.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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