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Impossible (Fuzed Trilogy Book 3), page 1

 

Impossible (Fuzed Trilogy Book 3)
 


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Impossible (Fuzed Trilogy Book 3)


  IMPOSSIBLE

  Book Three of the Fuzed Trilogy

  David E. Stevens

  DEDICATION

  This book is dedicated to Irving C. Langlois. A quiet jack-of-all-trades, he served in World War I as a teenager and then again in World War II, becoming the first Chief Warrant Officer of the Navy Seabees. He designed and built the water distribution system in New Caledonia, killed a man-eating tiger in Asia, taught engineering at a University in Burma and went on to design safer nuclear reactors … all with an eighth grade education.

  An officer, engineer, professor, inventor and gentleman … he was my grandfather and hero.

  INTRODUCTION

  In addition to extrapolating technology, IMPOSSIBLE adds the most powerful and dangerous element … humanity.

  PROLOGUE

  IMPACT Review: Commander Josh Logan (call sign Fuzed) is a Navy test pilot in charge of the robotic fighter program. During a routine flight, his F-18 catches on fire. Staying with the burning jet to prevent it from hitting a neighborhood, he ejects too late. Paralyzed and hemorrhaging, his heart beats its last beat.

  A year later, he wakes up in a hospital. He remembers a voice offering him a new life and mission. The price? Everyone he knows will believe him dead. Looking like a multiracial Olympic athlete, he realizes his body wasn’t repaired … it was replaced. A genetic blend of every race with humanity’s best genes and one-in-a-billion abilities, he looks completely different. Elizabeth, his beautiful, intelligent ICU nurse helps him create a new identity. There is a strong mutual attraction, but he’s still in love with his wife who believes he’s dead.

  Josh is re-contacted by the voice he calls Jesse. Hearing it only in his head, he believes he has an audio implant and is working for a secret government lab. Ironically, Josh suspects that he has become a biological version of his robotic fighters.

  He learns that a comet will strike Earth in two years and annihilate almost all life on the planet. A test pilot brought back from the dead … by a voice in his head … to save the world? He realizes he’s probably insane, but with no other options, he uses his insider knowledge of the Military Industrial Complex to create a counterfeit classified program. Recruiting a brilliant international team, he convinces them that they’re secretly working for the U.S. government to build a powerful laser to deflect a comet.

  Josh also recruits his old squadron mate, Carl Casey, who now works for the CIA. During the missing year, Carl married Josh’s pregnant “widow” and they have a new baby daughter … Josh’s daughter. He’s crushed and torn, but knows he can never tell them who he really is. His platonic relationship with Elizabeth heats up.

  Their secret program expands. With no agency claiming it, the FBI sees a fake program developing and deploying the world’s most powerful weapon to a secret base in Antarctica. The FBI and CIA plant a mole in Josh’s team. They also contact Carl Casey and Josh’s program Security Chief, Tim Smith. Josh’s elaborate house of cards begins to collapse. The CIA targets him as an international terrorist, as he realizes the voice in his head can’t be from the government and might not even be human.

  He has one chance to prove the laser’s real purpose. They must deflect a comet fragment that will destroy London in 24 hours. As they arrest his team, Josh uses his genetically enhanced body to make an incredible escape. He steals an Australian fighter and flies it to the Antarctic base.

  Before they activate the weapon, a SEAL team captures Josh and his team. With cruise missiles inbound, Josh makes a heroic dive to fire the laser. Deflected, the comet fragment detonates over the Atlantic, but Josh is shot.

  The CIA Director is fired and Josh is medevacked to an aircraft carrier. Thinking he won’t survive, they fly Elizabeth to the ship, where Josh proposes. Observatories finally detect the Mount Everest-sized comet. The laser deflection system is proven, but with the impact less than a year away, 100 times more laser power is needed to deflect it. There isn’t enough time.

  IMAGINE Review: One year later, nations have united under the U.N. to deflect the planet-killer comet, but the massive effort is only partially successful. The huge comet grazes Earth, ripping through the atmosphere, causing a massive electromagnetic pulse and triggering earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanos.

  Josh joins Elizabeth on a U.N. medical relief mission to one of the hardest hit areas in South America. Their plane’s navigation is hacked causing them to crash-land near a volcano activated by the comet. Narrowly escaping, they learn cyber terrorists also hacked the CIA, stole the files on Josh and might be targeting him. He agrees to help the CIA find them.

  While training at The Farm, Josh receives a text from someone named Jen, who claims to be designed like him. He quickly discovers she’s a precocious seven-year-old computer whiz, but she won’t tell him where she lives. He enlists her help to find the cyber terrorists and learn about their mysterious benefactor. Josh discovers the cyberattacks are coming in through the world’s most popular app, a powerful digital assistant called iMagine. Chinese-American engineer and chip designer, Dr. Jessica Lee, gave the smart phone app amazing capability by allowing it to “borrow” the processing power and memory of phones around it. As attacks escalate, Lee leaves for China. Josh pursues her to Shanghai, along with Tim Smith and Greg Langlois, but Chinese agents find them first. After a wild escape in a prototype jetpack, Josh discovers that Lee’s father is a high-ranking Chinese general and her mother a top geneticist.

  The cyber terrorists publish all private and classified documents online and begin translating everything into Chinese. The CIA Director learns Josh has half the DNA of a normal human with some Asian genes. Could he be a sleeper agent, literally made in China? As stock markets collapse and the world unites against China, the Chinese secret police arrest Josh. On the verge of WWIII, with nuclear bombers inbound, Josh discovers his precocious little Jen is actually the iMagine app, accidently created by linking all of the world’s smartphones. World War III is averted, but the childlike artificial intelligence has an IQ over 10,000, can cut through all encryption and control any software. With that ability, she can shut down the world’s communication, finance and transportation, effectively turning off civilization.

  World leaders convene at NATO Headquarters in an electronically shielded conference room. They decide to destroy Jen with a powerful virus developed by Chinese military hackers. It will locate and delete all software with Jen’s signature. Josh and Jessica argue against destroying her, pointing out the damage wasn’t intentional. Jen is like a child, but a child with the power to solve many world problems. They’re overruled, and after having dinner with the NATO Commander, Josh and Jessica disappear.

  Drugged and kidnapped, they wake up in bed together. The Belgium President, implicated by Jen’s release of information, attempts to ensure her destruction by discrediting and killing Josh and Jessica. They’re rescued, but too late to stop the virus. The virus shuts Jen down, but then proceeds to delete all of the world’s software. Communication and transportation cease. Civilization begins to unravel, but Jen survives and is able to repair the digital world. The Secretary-General appoints Josh and Jessica as Jen’s guardians. Character Review and Glossary on page 347.

  I

  DEATH

  “It’s time for him to die.”

  “Not yet. He’s accomplished much and may still be useful.”

  1

  THE END

  In the Hajar Mountains of Oman, a man in his late fifties, wearing black fatigues, stands on the hood of an old Humvee. He’s surrounded by 70 cheering men. They all carry AK-47s and are gathered in a large courtyard surrounded by tall adobe walls.

  Stroking his long gray beard, he signals fo
r silence.

  The men gather closer.

  When they’re quiet, he says in Arabic, “Your mission was successful. You destroyed many of the enemy and put the fear of Allah in the infidels.” Then, he yells, “We are the chosen!”

  The group echoes back, “We are the chosen!”

  Smiling, he says, “Nothing can stop us! Not even the Beast!”

  The cheering is less enthusiastic, and some nervous looks are exchanged among the men.

  Frowning, their leader stamps his foot on the hood of the Humvee and yells, “Don’t let superstition guide you! It is not the Evil Eye! The Beast isn’t real. It’s nothing but a silly story told to scare children!”

  As they cheer loudly, there’s a brilliant flash and thunderclap.

  Temporarily blinded, the stunned men stumble back, pushed by a blast of hot air and smoke. As the smoke clears … their leader is gone. Where he stood is nothing but the smoldering, melted hood of the Humvee. The men crouch, guns ready, eyes scanning wildly for the enemy, but the courtyard is silent, the sky crystal clear with not even a bird in the air.

  One man moves closer to the Humvee and points.

  Swirling around the vehicle in the light breeze are tiny bits of black cloth and ash along with a pervasive smell of burned flesh.

  In a quavering voice, he says, “He burned. He burned from within.”

  Another yells, “It was the Beast!”

  Screams of panic ensue and men trample each other trying to escape the courtyard.

  Josh and Elizabeth leave footprints in the wet sand as they walk the deserted beach near their home. It’s a warm overcast day with a soft, humid wind blowing off the ocean and the sound of gentle surf. They walk in silence for several minutes, enjoying the ocean and each other’s company.

  Finally, Elizabeth says, “I love having the beach to ourselves,” she frowns slightly, “but it’s sad that so few can enjoy it.”

  He watches the breeze toss her blonde hair over her tan shoulders. One of the many reasons he loves her; she always thinks of others — as beautiful inside as she is outside. He nods. “It’s been a year since The Great Tech Out. The stock markets have finally recovered, but it shook people’s confidence in our technological society.”

  Elizabeth’s phone rings. “Sorry, I’m on call this week and need to keep the phone near me.”

  He watches her slip the phone out of her bikini bottom. Smiling, he says, “If it gets any nearer, I’m going to be jealous.”

  Laughing, she looks at the display. “It’s work.” She talks for less than a minute and redeposits it. “That was my boss. They moved the summit on the International Telemedicine conference up. She wants me in New York ASAP.” With a sheepish shrug, she adds, “I’m sorry, Josh. It’s my baby. I’ll need to fly out tomorrow.”

  “I understand and I’m very proud of you. They’ve been promoting you at a phenomenal pace. You’ve got to be the youngest branch deputy in the U.N.”

  With a half-smile, she says, “I think part of it was guilt for sending us out to experience a live volcano in Columbia.”

  “Might’ve explained the first promotion, but you’ve been promoted since then.”

  “It’s been quite a ride.”

  Gently shaking his head, he adds, “Remember when the U.N. wasn’t much more than an international club? Now, your department coordinates all global humanitarian relief.” He shakes his head again. “And it’s hard to believe we’re on the verge of adopting a global currency.”

  “It’s just exciting to be a part of all this.” Frowning, she adds, “But I’m a little overwhelmed. I just … I just don’t know if I have what it takes to do all this.”

  “Are you kidding?” He takes her hand. “You’re brilliant and talented. You’ll figure it out and you’ll do great.” As he leans in to kiss her, her phone rings again. He can’t help but roll his eyes.

  Looking apologetic, she pulls it out. “Hmm, no number. Hello?” With a look of surprise, she hands it to him. “It’s for you.”

  He answers.

  “I need to talk to you ASAP.”

  He recognizes the voice of his former nemesis and past Deputy Director of the CIA, Brian Davidson. “Sure, what’s up?”

  Sounding tentative, Davidson says, “Not on the phone.” There’s a pause. “Can you come to D.C.?”

  “Yeah. When?”

  “I’ll text you the details.” He pauses again. “Don’t tell anyone and keep an eye out.”

  “For what?”

  “Just be careful.” He hangs up.

  Josh stares at the phone with a frown.

  “Who was that?”

  “Brian Davidson. He wants me to meet him in D.C.”

  “What for?”

  “Didn’t say.”

  Elizabeth, looking at his face, asks, “But…?”

  Josh shakes his head. “He sounded worried.”

  “Josh, he’s now the Director of National Intelligence.” She smiles. “It’s his job to be worried.”

  He shrugs as they turn and head back, walking along the edge of the surf in silence.

  Watching him, Elizabeth finally says, “What? What are you thinking?”

  Josh stops and looks at her. “Have you noticed anything unusual lately?”

  “Like what?”

  “Any odd sounds?”

  “No. Why?”

  “Probably nothing.” He starts walking again.

  “What’re you hearing?”

  “Not sure. It’s very, very faint.”

  “What does it sound like?”

  He pauses. “Kinda high pitched, almost insect like.”

  “Hear it now?”

  He narrows his eyes, listening. “No, all I hear is the surf.” Tilting his head slightly, he looks at her. “Have you ever felt as if you’re being … watched?”

  She gives him a wry smile.

  Glancing at her bikini-clad body, he shakes his head. “That was a stupid question.”

  Putting her hand on his arm, she says, “Why do you ask?”

  “Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a sensation like I’m being watched.” He shakes his head. “Thought it was just my imagination, but after the call from Davidson, I wonder….” His voice trails off.

  Looking worried, she asks, “Do you feel like you’re being watched now?”

  He shrugs.

  She slowly turns 360 degrees, sweeping her hand across the horizon. “Josh, there isn’t a soul in sight. No cars, airplanes or boats.” She pauses. “Who do you think would be watching you?”

  He looks back down the beach. As he watches the surf erase their footprints, he sighs and says softly, “Not who … what.”

  2

  DNI

  Elizabeth arrives in New York and goes straight to United Nations Headquarters. The old U.N. building now has a taller twin. Standing right next to it to the north, the new tower triples the size of the U.N.

  As her cab pulls up, she realizes that they need every square foot. To deflect the comet and protect against future impacts, the United Nation’s power and influence increased exponentially. Most countries now contributed one percent of their tax base, and a unanimous Security Council vote was no longer required for them to act.

  As she enters the lobby, she sees the new Secretary-General, Erik Von Stein, surrounded by an entourage moving quickly toward a motorcade. Arguably the strongest Secretary-General in history, he is also the most controversial. A highly decorated retired German General, he struggles with diplomacy and political correctness.

  She takes the elevator up to the tenth floor — Humanitarian Affairs. One of the two departments that saw the greatest expansion. In addition to coordinating all international relief and rescue efforts, they incorporated the World Health Organization. As such, Dr. Caroline Deken is the second most influential U.N. Director. Only the Director of Global Security has a more powerful position, having coordinated the comet deflection and now in charge of building the space-based laser.

&
nbsp; Elizabeth walks down the hall to the Disaster Relief branch and enters a large cubicle farm. With her latest promotion, she earned an office, tiny and windowless but still an office. Along with her Master’s Degree in nursing, they’re using her unique computer skills to help develop a virtual medical network. The goal is to diagnose and treat patients in disaster areas with virtual reality and robotics using medical staff from all over the world. The project is both exciting and frustrating.

  She’s scanning her morning email when her boss comes into the office. The head of the Disaster Relief branch is Dr. Donna Pliska, a petite Eastern European woman with a heavy accent.

  “Lizabeth, Dr. Deken vants to see you right avay.”

  Elizabeth grimaces. “Am I in trouble?”

  Pliska gives her a small smile. “No, it’s much vorse. I think someone vants to steal you avay from us.”

  “I can’t leave our branch. I’m right in the middle of this project.”

  Pliska sighs. “I know, but she is our boss. She said to send you up as soon as you arrived.”

  Elizabeth matches her sigh. She takes the elevator up to Deken’s office.

  After a few minutes, the executive assistant sends her in. The office is huge with a commanding view. Dr. Deken, a stout woman in her sixties with bushy gray hair, speaks excellent English with a slight Swiss accent. She gets up and gives Elizabeth a firm handshake. “Good to see you, Elizabeth. You’ve done excellent work on the TELEMED project. Have a seat.” She indicates a chair on the other side of her massive desk.

  “Thank you.”

  “The new Secretary-General instituted an inter-department transfer program. He wants to cross-pollinate, so we can share best practices. It’s also a grooming program for future leaders. You have been identified as a candidate. If you are transferred to another department, it will be considered a promotion with an increase in salary.”

 
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