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Authors: Philip C. Elrod

Tags: #scifi, #action, #cloning, #space travel, #robots, #space station, #assassinations, #gravity, #political intrique, #computers and technology

The Krakow Klub

BOOK: The Krakow Klub
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The

Krakow Klub
 

America is under
siege.

One man has the power to
stop it.

But will he?

At what cost?

 

A NOVEL

BY 

Philip C. Elrod

 

© 2015 by Philip C. Elrod. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may
be reproduced
in
any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written
permission of the publisher or author. The exception would be in
the case of brief quotations embodied in the critical articles or
reviews and pages where
permission
is specifically granted by the publisher or
author
.

For Kokko
He misses Tinker almost as much as I
do.
Prologue

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power
corrupts absolutely.
Lord Acton

In a remote castle, north of Krakow,
Poland

It was early December
1991. They arrived one by one. Strangers, but yet known to each
other. After depositing their coats with the servants, they were
shown to the elaborate study. The walls covered in ancient molded
paneling were dark and lent a gloomy pall to the atmosphere. A
large round table of mahogany
was centered
in
the room, surrounded by twelve leather chairs worn with age. A
fire was
crackling in the enormous hearth,
sending shadows cavorting across the room as the cobwebs that
draped the corners seemed to come alive.

As they each took their appointed seat, an
icy hush
seemed
to fall over the world. At the
center of the table were decanters of the finest liquors and
liqueurs with crystal glasses, as well as a small array of canapés,
including a large crystal bowl of caviar. After all, these were no
ordinary strangers, but scions of business from around the world.
Anything less would have been an insult.

Obligatory pleasantries
were
exchanged
along with formal introductions.
The
mood was solemn, almost sinister, as the
business at hand
was brought
forth. Plans were proposed,
suggestions made, parameters set. The verbal exchanges were
lively
but carried a diabolical undertone
that, if heard by outside ears, would send icy chills up the necks
of even the bravest of men.

Their gathering lasted well into the
night
and continued early the next morning. In
the middle of the afternoon of the second day, through a haze of
cigar smoke, they regarded each other with looks of satisfaction.
Their leader spoke in low but firm tones as he detailed the final
plan. When finished, he looked at each member, and then said, “So,
we are agreed?” Each one in turn gave a brief nod. Though he never
had any doubt they would, Number One was still gratified to know
that he had chosen this group wisely, and their plan would proceed
without question. Lifting his snifter of cognac, he proposed a
toast, “To the world. Our world!”

They could not have known that many years
later when they were about to enter the final phase of their plan
an individual of great power would be there to oppose them

On a remote island not far from Key West,
Florida

As he exited the craft and first stepped foot
on the island, he knew at once that he had found his home at last.
The scent of flowers carried on the warm breezes that swayed the
palms dotting the landscape, the lush
greens,
and the bright colors
were
like ambrosia for
the senses. The villa just ahead was a magnificent specimen of
architecture, just as the surrounding grounds were a landscaper’s
dream. He had such wonderful plans for this, his tiny oasis of
peace in the vast and troubled world. And he had the resources to
make it happen.

Peace and tranquility, so often absent from
his life, was finally within his grasp. The power he had at his
fingertips
would allow him to enjoy the
comforts of
life
while still keeping his
finger on the pulse of the ever-growing unease that was settling on
the world around him. Yes, this small paradise would do
nicely,
and once his plans had become reality, he felt he
would complete his journey.
And what a journey it had
been! From the rolling hills of Appalachia to the outer reaches of
space. But even as he was finding his heaven on earth, all hell was
about to break loose around him, and unbeknownst to him at that
time, it would lead him into the proverbial bowels of a hell that
would torment him forever after.

The lust for absolute power versus one man
with access to almost unlimited power – the stage is set.

Chapter 1 Claiming the Reward

“After all the years, after
everything that you'd had to endure, after everything that you'd
undertaken,
however
good or bad, long after you'd given up all hope,
the reward.”
-
Marlene Van Niekerk
,
Agaat

John Scott pulled up his bill and reviewed it
before electronically checking out of the JW Marriott Hotel in
Washington. Normally, he would have exited through the lobby, but
today was different. Today was special. As of
today,
he would no longer be known as
Tom
or even Tanaka II. After
today,
he would be just plain John Scott. Well, not exactly plain—he was
still
the most unique
individual in the
galaxy. He was part human and part Mylean. That fact had controlled
his entire life until today. From this day forward, he would
control his life. And he would have the power available to do
so.

Today he would claim his Mylean legacy.

He carried a hooded jacket and threw his
travel bag over his shoulder. After shutting the door, he walked
briskly to the bank of elevators at the end of the hall. He punched
the up button and waited. After a few seconds, the car
arrived,
and he entered.

Inside, he quickly put on the jacket and
pulled the hood over his head. He fished out a sweater from his
small travel bag and draped it over the bag. Now, he was satisfied
that anyone monitoring the closed circuit security cameras might
not pay any attention to him as he made his rather unusual exit
from the building.

As he left the elevator, he dropped his
shoulders and shuffled down the hall, giving the appearance of a
confused old man
lost
in the vastness of the
building. He had already had
Maxxine
temporarily disable the security cameras in this hall, but there
just wasn’t any reason to take chances.

At the end of the hallway, he found what he
was looking for: a door
clearly marked
, “No
Admittance, Maintenance Area.” He took a key card that he had
“borrowed” from a maid’s cart and unlocked the door after first
making certain that there was no one else around.

It had been a careless act on the part of the
maid,
but he had taken advantage of it. She
should have worn the key card suspended on a lanyard around her
neck, but that day she had made a simple
mistake,
and he sincerely hoped that she wouldn’t lose
her job. Then, he had a thought. He would open the door and leave
the key card in the hallway. He hoped that some other employee,
probably a maintenance worker, would find the card and return it to
her. Perhaps, she could even come up with some plausible
explanation as to why she had been near the roof. John smiled to
himself. “Maybe she had planned to meet a lover.”

He opened the door revealing stairs leading
up to the roof. He dropped the key card in the
hall,
shut the door behind him quietly, and then jogged
up the stairs with a smile on his face. John could hardly contain
his excitement.

He would be meeting Maxxine face to face for
the very first time.

Today was
to be the true
beginning of his freedom. Today, he would claim his reward. Perhaps
now he would find that inner peace that had always eluded him. Real
happiness had always seemed just beyond his grasp, always just out
of reach. His entire life had been closely monitored and controlled
by an outside force, but now those days were over.

Maxxine might not be able to make his life
happy, but she certainly could make it more interesting and,
certainly much more comfortable. He shrugged. If he couldn’t find
happiness, he could, at the very least, live in luxurious comfort.
Not a replacement for happiness, but a sedative to relieve the pain
to be sure.

He had ordered his spacecraft to travel in
full stealth mode, meaning that it would remain invisible to all
forms of detection except for the few seconds that it took him to
board. During that time, the craft would be visible to anyone who
might be nearby. That didn’t matter very much now, but his lifelong
quest of keeping his true identity a secret remained an
obsession.

John had already reconnoitered the hotel roof
and determined that maintenance procedures for the air conditioning
units mounted
there were infrequent,
so he had
little concern for being caught. Also, there were no tall
structures in the vicinity, thanks to Washington’s building codes.
He looked around him and was fully confident that he could make his
exit without detection.

He checked his watch. The craft should be
landing any second now. In less than half an hour, he would arrive
at his destination: his very own space station. It was more like a
space island since it had living quarters, manufacturing
facilities
and acted as a base for his fleet
of
spacecraft
.

John had not named his space station, he
simply thought of the whole thing as ‘Maxxine,’ although Maxxine
herself occupied only a small percentage of the total space in the
giant facility.

Maxx, that giant Mylean computer, had
carefully crafted another computer in his likeness, at least from a
capabilities standpoint. That had been John’s requirement as
partial payment for his unique service to Maxx.

Maxx decided that, since this version was
small and sleek, it must be feminine. He named her, “Maxxine,”
after himself, as he had already developed a rather fatherly
affection for his creation. He equipped her with an emotional
module and a soft, sexy, feminine voice. At last, he brought her to
life and checked her programs. She was fantastic, absolute
perfection. Or, at least that’s what he thought at the time. Even
electronic parents can be nearsighted when observing their
offspring
.

After the Myleans had all died during their
epic journey, Maxx recognized
that, being
a
computer, he lacked the means of evaluating
emotions,
so he began to develop an emotional module.
Now, he felt complete. He loved his emotional module so much he
decided to give Maxxine one at birth.

John Scott stood quietly beside a giant air
conditioning unit mounted on the roof thinking that this day was
the turning point of his life. Things would never be the same
again. The future was a blank page filled with wonderful
possibilities and terrible fears at the same time. He now possessed
powers that were truly awesome. He would have to choose his
directions carefully and avoid mistakes that could cost him, and
even the whole world, dearly. He had flippantly demanded a reward
for his services that would seem extravagant beyond reason to any
normal person. However, to Maxx, it had been almost meaningless. It
had amused him that John had demanded something essentially like
himself. Maxx had been very flattered by John’s
request
and gave him everything he had asked and
more.

Now Maxx could have great fun watching what
John did with his Mylean legacy. Yes, he looked forward with great
anticipation to the entertainment that would be coming his way
shortly
.

Just then, without a sound or a whisper of
wind, the craft became visible. Nothing dramatic, but it just
seemed to materialize out of nothing, hovering a few inches off the
roof. The hatch slid open
silently,
and a
small set of steps slid downward allowing him to hop on board.

Mister T stood just inside. “Welcome aboard,
sir. Maxxine is anxiously awaiting your first visit.”

He addressed the humanoid robot, “I want to
introduce myself to you formally. You may know already, but just in
case you don’t, my real name is John F. Scott. You should call me
John from now on. The ‘F’ stands for Francis, but I’d rather you
forget that.”

BOOK: The Krakow Klub
3.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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