Event Group Complex,
Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
The Event Group Center was as quiet as anyone stationed there had ever heard it. For the men and women of Department 5656, a dark and secret entity of the National Archives, the day was darker than even their mission for the United States government. They were saying good-bye to forty-six of their own people. One man in particular—Colonel Jack Collins, United States Army.
The assembled military, scientific, research, academic, and philosophical staffs were seated in the overcrowded main cafeteria of the complex, because the small chapel deep on level eight would have been too small for this massive turnout.
As the Dire Straits’ haunting tune “Brothers in Arms” played, the mood was somber. Director Niles Compton had made the decision, and the new head of security agreed, that no eulogy for those lost would be given; the memorial would be a silent tribute to men and women lost in the Atlantis operation six weeks before.
The Event Group was the most secret section of the federal government outside of the National Security Agency. Their task was to uncover historical truths from the past, changes in the fabric of history that led to world-altering events. This helped identify them or their parallel in today’s world, and advise the president of the consequences, good or bad, so he could make the decision whether to act or not act on a fluid situation that resembled an event from the past.
The agency was a ghostly rumor to almost everyone in government service. President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt built the permanent Event Group Complex in 1943 under the strictest of secrecy. It served as a research and storage facility that protected the greatest secrets of the world’s past. The concept was a child of Abraham Lincoln, thought of in the waning days of the Civil War, and finally brought into being as an official agency by Woodrow Wilson. The group’s chartered mission was to uncover the civilization-altering events that could change the course of history.
The Atlantis incident was the reason they were gathered today, to pay their respects to those lost. The scrolls of that once-mythical civilization, which described a weapon of immense power that could shatter cities by the manipulation of the earth’s plate tectonics, were discovered thousands of years later by an unscrupulous society that attempted a financial takeover of the world. This group was responsible for the deaths of millions, including the men and women remembered today.
Captain Carl Everett stood hidden in the back of the cafeteria with eyes lowered. His best friend, the head of the security department, was why he was there. Now promoted into that friend’s position within the Event Group, Everett was hesitant to start his new duties.
He failed to see a small man stand in the front of the room and move silently toward him. Director Niles Compton cleared his throat when he saw Everett was deep in thought.
“Sorry, I was someplace else,” Everett said, adjusting the sleeves of his blue jumpsuit.
“You’re not wearing your class-A naval uniform,” Niles stated.
“I really didn’t think I would find myself here.”
“I see. Thinking about Jack?” Niles asked.
“Well, more Sarah than Jack.”
“Captain, Lieutenant McIntire is where she needs to be. I ordered her home to spare her things like this. She doesn’t need a complexwide gathering to remind her she lost Jack. She needs to heal up, and then return to the Group when she’s ready, not before.”
Everett only nodded his head.
Sarah McIntire had been in love with Jack Collins, and his loss had affected her far more than anyone. She was outwardly strong and wanted to stay, but Director Compton had ordered immediate convalescent leave at her mother’s in Arkansas.
“Captain—” Niles caught himself being officious. “Carl, go back to your department. We have to get the Group re-staffed. You have some flights to make to different bases for recruitment, to get the security department up and running again. The world moves on.”
“Yes, sir,” Everett said as the last refrains of “Brothers in Arms” echoed inside the large cafeteria.
The large assembly of Event Group personnel started moving out of their chairs, and passed by Everett silently. He locked eyes with two men, Lieutenant Jason Ryan, detached from the navy, and Lieutenant Will Mendenhall, a former staff sergeant in the army and recently promoted to second lieutenant. They nodded their greeting, and then walked past the captain.
Everett saw their strength. Saw that no matter what, they would move on, not forgetting about Jack Collins and the others, but keeping what they had with the man close inside themselves. Everett decided he would do the same.
They would all honor Jack by doing their duty.
The White House,
The president was sitting in the Oval Office, looking over a speech he had written for his appearance at the United Nations the next day. His address would cover the humanitarian efforts currently being conducted by the free world to assist North Korea and the Russian Republic in rebuilding the areas of their countries ravaged by earthquakes during the Atlantis incident, about which the public knew nothing. The extremist cell behind the earthquakes had been dealt with in the harshest capital terms, and now the president was trying to put the pieces of a smashed world economy back into the black.
He was sipping coffee when the phone buzzed. “Yes,” he said into the intercom.
“Mr. President, the director of the FBI is insisting upon seeing you.”
“Send him in, please.”
William Cummings and National Security Advisor Harford Lehman soon entered hurriedly.
The president looked at both men with his coffee cup raised halfway to his mouth.
“Billy, Harrison, it hasn’t been a good couple of days, and you’re not here to cheer me up, are you?” he said, placing his speech on the desk.
“We received this at ten this morning, addressed to me personally. I am instructed to forward it to you.”
The president set his cup down, opened the red-bordered file, and read the first page.
“And you’re taking this seriously?” he asked the director as he flipped to the next page.
“Yes, sir, the communication came in through a secure FBI covert channel used only for field operatives in foreign service. Someone knows an awful lot about our procedures to crack that little gem.”
“You’re thinking a terrorist threat?”
“That’s our conclusion, but it really doesn’t matter at this point.”
“All it is asking is that we convince Venezuela to delay the opening of the oil production facilities in Caracas for seventy-two hours; then this faction, whoever they are, will address to the world the reasons why the plant cannot go online.”
The president held up his hand when both men started to say something.
“President Chavez isn’t exactly listening to us Americans lately; he won’t want to delay opening that facility because of a threat passed to him through us. Remember, I signed the OAS petition to have him closed down. If he won’t listen to his neighbors in the Organization of American States, he sure as hell won’t listen to me, not with China and most of the European Union screaming for his product.”
“Sir, some maniac is threatening him with a nuclear strike if that plant goes online,” Harford Lehman said, pointing at the message.
“Of course we’ll pass this on to the Venezuelan authorities with the highest alert possible, but they won’t take this threat seriously. Are we chasing down any leads on this?”
“We have the obvious courses of action in the loop now, sir—Greenpeace, the Co ali tion for Green Solution, but they wouldn’t issue such a threat; they know everyone would take it as a joke. A nuclear strike is somewhat beyond their power scope, and also a bit counterproductive to their goals.”
The president looked from the director of the FBI to his security advisor. He then pressed his intercom.
“Marjorie, I need to speak with our ambassador in Venezuela. He has to get President Chavez to take a call from me; it’s most imperative that he listen to what I have to say. If that fails, I need the ambassador of China to that country. I have to talk to someone down there. Also get the directors of CIA and NSA in here, ASAP.”
“We wouldn’t term this as plausible, but breaking into our secure computer system makes this more than just your average nut,” the FBI director said, looking directly at the president. “They could have done God knows what to our system, but their only interest was to get our attention and to pass on this message.”
The president closed the folder in front of him.
“Well, whoever they are did exactly that, didn’t they?”
Excerpted from Leviathan by David L. Golemon.
Copyright © 2009 by David L. Golemon.
Published in 2009 by St. Martin's Paperbacks.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.