Monday, April 25, 2011

CHAPTER NINE

45 Hours Later In New York




            New York City is a lovely place to be in early August.  People play hooky from work to stroll the streets of Greenwich Village or Brooklyn Heights.  They take impromptu picnics in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Toss Frisbees in Manhattan’s Central Park.  Take in free concerts or matinée movies. 

            It’s not a time for the Voice of Odin to be heard.

            The Voice was heard exactly at 1:07 PM.  And while there were many different accounts of that day, one thing was agreed on: the Voice was a musical, even magical sound, like a thousand crystal wind chimes all being stirred at once by the same soft summer breeze. A sound that hung in the air and cascaded like a veritable waterfall of harmonious sound.  A sound so fearfully deadly.

            Later that day, the complete reports of the effects of the Voice added up to three thousand cases of heart attacks, eight thousand with permanent loss of hearing, and twelve thousand other cases of injuries relating to those who had lost unconsciousness or had a seizure or… something else.  The ‘or’ cases were quickly classified by the American Intelligence Machine, the National Security Agency, and other alphabet soup agencies.

            The Voice of Odin was heard again in Hong Kong an hour after the New York attack.  Again, everybody remembered hearing that same sound of a thousand crystal wind chimes, almost heartbreakingly beautiful in its simple gloriousness.

            And then twenty thousand glass windows exploded into shards of deadly transparent razor sharp missiles that killed over a thousand people and injured six thousand more.

            But the Voice of Odin was not through yet.  In Hollywood, the famous actress Dixie Dunbar received the Madeline Bouchard Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding 50-year career in film and television.  Still gorgeous at the age of 73, with an outstanding figure and a pair of knockout gray-green eyes that melted the hearts of men young enough to be her grandsons… Dixie was giving her acceptance speech when that same musical, thousand wind chime sound was heard in the Amphitheater located in the Michael J. Fox Cultural Center.  And everybody who was there said the same thing: when the angelic wind chime sound was heard, the gorgeous, beautiful Dixie Dunbar clutched her throat, then her heart, and then dropped like the Titanic.

            Of course, this being Hollywood, and this being Dixie Dunbar, it was a while before it was realized that this was not some publicity stunt or outré entertainment, but was, in fact, another attack by the Voice of Odin.


***


            An email was delivered to every major news service some seven hours after Dixie Dunbar’s death.  By then, the rumors flew fast and furious over the airwaves and on the Internet.  The email soon put a name to the terror that threatened everyone:

           “My name is Odin.  Today you heard my Voice speak in three major world cities.  It will speak again.  It will speak because you must be convinced of the truth of what I can do.  My Voice will be heard every three days.  After you hear my Voice, I will make my wishes known.  If my wishes are not obeyed to the letter, my Voice will continue to be heard.  You have seen what my Voice can do.  If you choose not to obey me, it is at your own peril, since the peoples of the world do not know where or whom it will strike when I speak next.

            “I understand that it will take time for you to be convinced.  I have that time.  I have waited long for my Voice to be heard, and I have nothing but belief in the power of my Voice.  Ignore me at your peril.  Disregard me and the lives lost will be your responsibility.

            “To the peoples of the world; your leaders will tell you that I am a madman, that what I have done today, I cannot do again.  Your leaders are self-serving fools who care only for the security of their jobs, and nothing for you.  Think of your wives, your husbands, your parents, your children.  They are the ones who will suffer because your leaders decided your fate.  I beg of you that you not leave the future of your lives in their hands.

            “I truly do not wish to create such havoc and chaos.  But there must be order imposed on this tired world, and I will impose it at any cost.  So I say this to the people of the world: obey the Voice of Odin or make your peace with whatever god you worship.

            “And do it right soon.”


***


            The President of the United States sat in her Oval Office, mightily wishing that she had stayed a senator from Hawaii.  Senators didn’t have to deal with madmen wielding technological terrors that slew from a distance.  Several men sat across her large desk looking at her, each with laptops or thick folders in their hands.  They were the men she was counting on to give her advice in this unthinkable hour of fear.

            Doctor Michael Cadwallander was one of her Science Advisors.  He was also the Director of Special Projects for the Henderson Institute of Alternative Technologies, one of the leading scientific research firms in the world.  Cadwallander was about five eight, with hair and eyes the color of ashes. 

            The second man dressed in a steel blue business suit and was furiously tapping on his laptop.  Milo Dane, codenamed: ‘Wildcard’ was the head of Omega Elite, the U.S. government’s ultimate ‘dirty tricks’ department. When the first attack had happened, Omega Elite’s members had been put on alert.  The problem was that they had no target.

            General Patrick Nathan Leary, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff quietly spoke into a cell phone.  A muscular slab of a man: blocky, with a square, honest face and the steely gaze of a born warrior.

            The President spoke in a voice as brittle and fragile as ice on the surface of a lake.

 “I need answers from you, gentlemen.  What kind of weapon is this and why don’t we have a defense against it?”

            Cadwallander answered in a clear but troubled voice.  “Madame President, it’s pretty clear that this Odin has somehow created an effective sonic weapon using harmonic wave patterns based on molecular vibratory signature variances.  As we’ve seen today, it’s very dangerous and very effective.  Various government agencies and independent research facilities experimented with such devices, but it was judged unfeasible and funding was cut from those experiments.”

            Milo Dane nodded.  “Our weapons research at the time was concentrated into electronics and physical enhancements.  Sonic research was something we just… well, let slip.”

            The President ran a short-nailed finger through her coal black hair and leaned back in her chair.  She crossed slim legs and said some very un-lady-like words.  “Do we have any experts on this we can call in?  Where’s Kalaydjian Feros?”

            “He and his team haven’t been seen for two weeks.  They went on a personal mission to France and that’s the last anyone’s heard of them,” Leary answered.  “I’ve got friends of ours over there looking for him.”

            The President fixed a bilious eye on Cadwallander.  “And where’s your boss?  Where’s Henderson?  His brother Mongrel?”

            Cadwallander shrugged.  “I called him two hours ago and got his personal assistant.  She simply said the both of them were unavailable.”

            “Damn!  What’s the point of me giving these people carte blanche to run around doing what they want when I can’t find them when they’re needed?”

            “Madame President, I’ve got my people putting together a file on Odin right now, but it’s pretty obvious to me and to all of us that we’ve got to move and move damn fast,” Milo Dane said quietly.  “We’ve got three days before Odin turns that thing loose against us again.”  Milo looked at Cadwallander.  “You wanna help me out here?”

           Cadwallander gave the other man a disdainful glare and turned his attention to the President.  “The only advice I can give you is this; we have to find Odin and we have to find him fast.  And for that, I suggest you talk to the one man who isn’t here.  Talk to John Velvet.  He knows people that he can put on this to find Odin.  But whoever he puts on that job had better be damn good and damn fast because when Odin turns that Voice loose again there's no telling what will happen."






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