Beyond the Sea: An Event Group Thriller

Beyond the Sea: An Event Group Thriller

by David L. Golemon

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250103086
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/29/2018
Series: Event Group Thrillers Series , #12
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 97,464
Product dimensions: 4.23(w) x 6.72(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

DAVID L. GOLEMON makes his home in New York. Beyond the Sea is the twelfth novel in his Event Group Series.

Read an Excerpt

Beyond the Sea

An Event Group Thriller


By David L. Golemon

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2017 David L. Golemon
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10309-3



CHAPTER 1

OPERATION REFORGER IV
NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
(LOCATION — CLASSIFIED)


Rear Admiral Jon Andersson, the Dutch commander of the immense NATO operation Reforger IV, sat in his command chair aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and pursed his lips as the mighty warship sank deep into a trough and then fought her way back to the surface. His eyes watched the northern seas as the storm increased in size and ferocity.

Andersson was extremely proud to have been chosen as task force commander for the largest seagoing war games in the history of the NATO alliance. The task: escort a living lifeline of over two hundred transport ships from Norfolk, Virginia, to the NATO base at Scapa Flow in Scotland. The Games and Theory Department and NATO intelligence were concerned that in the ever-increasing standoff with Russia and her new aggressive posture around the world, NATO could not act fast enough to a wartime crisis by getting vital supplies and war matériel to Europe in a rapid enough response time, which would ensure the fall of NATO forces before the full might of America's military could come into play. This Reforger mission was to prove that no matter the timing, the NATO navies of the world could meet the challenge.

His thoughts about the increasing size and suddenness of the storm were interrupted by the captain of the USS Nimitz, Charles McAvoy. He handed the admiral a flimsy from communications. Andersson read the communiqué and frowned.

"My reaction exactly," said McAvoy as he reached out to steady himself as the Nimitz once more went on an elevator ride to the bottom of an immense trough.

Both men quietly sweated their anxieties until the forward flight deck finally rose from the sea.

"Orders?" McAvoy asked as he watched the concerned look on the tanned face of Admiral Andersson. He liked the Dutch task force commander. The man was no-nonsense and understood his duties and responsibilities of guiding the most powerful battle group in the history of the North Atlantic. He knew the man would make the right decision.

"Okay, Chuck. That does it. Let's get the civilian transports turned around and order them back to the coast. Get a coded message off to NATO Maritime Command — Operation Reforger IV has been scrubbed due to heavy and dangerous weather concerns."

"Aye," McAvoy said. "You're doing the right thing, Admiral." The captain of the Nimitz was about to leave the command wing but hesitated when he saw the admiral was still mulling something over as he watched the heavy seas continue to batter the giant carrier.

"We'll give the transports thirty minutes to start for home and then get our boys out of here also. Have the Houston hold station until all command ships are clear of these seas. Also, have the frigate De Zeven and the cruisers Shiloh and Bunker Hill standing by with the Houston. All will hold station until the fleet's egress maneuver is complete."

McAvoy noted the admiral's orders. They were in essence leaving a rear guard of the Dutch Provinciën-class frigate De Zeven, the US Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers USS Shiloh and Bunker Hill, and as a guard to the smaller asset, the navy's Los Angeles–class attack submarine USS Houston. All would form up together to keep an eye on the Russian Red Banner Northern Fleet steaming only two hundred miles to the northeast. The rest of the battle group, consisting of German, Dutch, American, and many other ships of the NATO northern command, would make a slow turn in the heavy seas and follow the transports back to Virginia. McAvoy saw the angst in the admiral's face. He dreaded seeing the final portion of script on the fleet action report of Operation Reforger IV: Mission Failed.

The admiral remained silent as the seas rose and fell once more. The weathermen under his command had been surprised when the strange storm suddenly turned without warning. Even Norfolk was taken by surprise. He knew he was acting prudently, but that did not make the mission failure any more palpable. He knew the Reforger battle group would have, could have, fulfilled their mission in a time of actual war, but this fact would still be lost on NATO command, and even the Russian Navy would declare NATO assets in the North Atlantic weak in comparison to their mighty Red Banner Group. The humiliation and second-guessing would be silent, of course, but his career would still take a hit. Ridicule, and crap, to put it mildly in his estimation, rolled downhill.


LOS ANGELES–CLASS ATTACK SUBMARINE USS HOUSTON

"Lord, look at those seas. I would hate to be those boys on the frigate and cruisers. I don't think they're going to be too enthusiastic about chow tonight," Captain Roger Thorne said as he removed his eyes from the periscope and then turned the sail cameras and monitors on throughout the ship for his crew to see what the surface navy was currently battling. "One MC, please," he said as the chief of the boat, MCPO Harry Hadland, handed the microphone over to his commander. "All hands, this is the captain. We'll be holding station for the next eight hours. We'll keep Houston as shallow as possible during that time, so we're still going to get some roll. During this time, there will be no hot meals, so saddle up to the salad bar, ladies and gentlemen; it's going to be a long ride." He was getting ready to hand the chief of the boat back the mic and then clicked the button once more. "It could be worse; you could be up top with the surface boys. So let's keep the bitching to a minimum, and don't eat all the ice cream."

The young sailors around the control center chuckled, relieving the tension of the impending hurricane they found themselves surrounded by. The captain, satisfied that his crew was up to the task, went to the navigation console and leaned over the projected map.

"Captain, the latest plot shows the surface fleet and transports are clearing the storm just to the south of Greenland; they will soon slow and take shelter in shallow seas. The Nimitz and her group are only an hour from getting to calmer waters. Only one fire and four injuries reported from the fleet. The task force got off lucky. Why didn't anyone pick up on this weather? We could have had some serious issues here."

Captain Thorne looked up from the navigation plot and rubbed his eyes, and then he winked at his second in command, Lieutenant Commander Gary Devers. "According to CINCLANT, there's hell to be had with the meteorologists about storm predictions. I suspect a few boys will be reassigned soon to Iceland, or at the very least Alaska."

Both men laughed but soon became serious as the huge attack sub took a sudden pressure dip from the waves above them.

"Feels like the entire Atlantic is knocking on our door," Devers said as he grabbed for the console until their stomach-churning roll was stopped.

"I'd take her deeper, but with a frigate and two battle cruisers in harm's way, I want to be able to go to rescue stations at a moment's notice."

"Understood, Captain."

"Well, I think I'll get some of that salad," the captain said as he stretched. "First officer has the deck."

"Aye, first officer has the deck."

"Conn, sonar."

Lieutenant Commander Devers took the mic so the captain could go eat. Thorne hesitated anyway. "Sonar, conn."

"We have an unknown signature bearing three-two-seven degrees, north, eighty miles out. We missed it because of the high swells, but we have a solid fix now."

"Roger," Devers said as he and Thorne simultaneously leaned over the plot board. "Okay, three-two-seven degrees. Those aren't our boys up there," Devers said as the captain increased his frown.

"With the Russian battle group here"— Thorne pointed to an area three hundred nautical miles from the Houston — "and with us, the two cruisers, and the frigate here." His finger moved to another spot on the chart. "That leaves us an unknown in our vicinity."

"Sonar, course and speed of target?" Devers asked into the mic.

"Speed is, well, she's not moving as far as we can tell, sir. Still hard to get a good fix because of the high seas, but her course is erratic. Sir, she looks dead in the water."

"It has to be Russian," Devers said as he watched the captain use his grease pen to trace a course to the target area.

"Gary, get to sonar and get me a precise fix. Also, get off an extremely low-frequency message to Nimitz and explain the tactical situation. Tell command we will attempt to investigate."

"What about the frigate and cruisers?" Devers asked.

"Tell them to stand by and not to sink until we return."

Devers chuckled and then left control. Thorne took the mic and then faced the men in control who were watching with concern. "Sonar, size estimate of target?" "Undetermined at this time, Captain. Best guess is possible heavy cruiser displacement."

"Civilian traffic?" he asked.

"Nothing but the Ruskies — excuse me, Russians, sir, just to the north."

"Mr. Cartwright, let's bring her about. Take her down to two hundred, all ahead flank."

"Aye, Captain. Steering three-two-seven degrees, all ahead flank. Give me two hundred feet in depth."

The USS Houston turned her massive, blackened, sound-baffling bulk toward the unknown target eighty miles away that was braving one of the worst storms in North Atlantic history. The Houston's crew felt the sharp angle of the bow dip low in the sea, and the increased reactor noise tripled as the huge warship started to speed her way into the unknown.


EVENT GROUP COMPLEX NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, NEVADA

For what seemed like the first time in years, the director of America's securest and blackest operational group in federal service toured the expansive facility situated 1.5 miles beneath the sands of Nellis Air Force Base just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dr. Niles Compton had come a long way from the days when he had been recruited from MIT and Harvard by a man who, if the country had known existed, would be one of the most beloved and celebrated Americans in the history of the country. For fifteen years since taking over for that very man, Dr. Niles Compton had tried to live up to former senator and onetime general Garrison Lee. After years of trying, it had been Garrison Lee's longtime assistant and close confidante, Alice Hamilton, who set him straight — "Be you, Niles," she once told him. "Garrison recruited you for your talent, not because he needed talents like his own." Niles smiled in remembering her talk. "Garrison was a military man, but he always believed this group needed civilian control and oversight, and civilian freedom to maneuver, not a man bound by military correctness and order. He needs you, Niles."

As Compton limped through the curved plastic-lined hallways of the underground complex, the men and women of the Group nodded and greeted him. They still had not become used to seeing this man out of his offices on level seven. Lately, to the surprise of the six hundred–plus men and women on the Group's roster, the director was found at all hours visiting and greeting his people in their laboratories, engineering departments, and the many classrooms, where the continuing education of all members of the Group was a major priority.

The Group had come to be more comfortable around the brilliant man from MIT — even the black eye patch covering his damaged and now useless right eye or the limp he now suffered with because of the attacks from deep space during the Overlord operation were now a commonplace sight among the halls and vaults of the Group. Most — behind his back, of course — now compared his infirmities to those suffered by Compton's mentor, Senator Garrison Lee, right down to the eye patch and scarring on the right side of his face and his limp.

Compton strolled into the immense cafeteria at 3:30 A.M. and went directly to the kitchen and the men and women doing the day's baking. He sat with them and had coffee and talked about their routine. After he left, the bakers and cooks exchanged looks of disbelief that the director had sat and spoken with them.

Niles sat at a corner table as one of the night bakers brought him a fresh cup of coffee. Niles thanked her and then contentedly looked around him. Five people, from the looks of them all engineers, were speaking in soft tones as they ate an early breakfast. These people looked over, and they nodded at the director. Niles noticed Master Chief Jenks at the head of that table acting like he was holding court. He stood and, with his white lab coat floating behind his ample bulk, made his way to the table where Niles sat.

"Mr. Director, mind if I have a seat?" the gruff lifetime navy man asked.

Niles eased a chair out with his foot and nodded.

Harold R. Jenks, master chief petty officer, and one of the more brilliant mechanical engineers Niles Compton had ever met, seemed to be settling into his duties well at the Group. He had completely reorganized the Group's engineering departments into far more effective subgroups. He accomplished this by convincing Assistant Director Virginia Pollock to allow her Nuclear Sciences Division to accept men and women from his department and integrate his mechanical engineers into hers. The move was paying off nicely as the cooperation between the two competing sciences settled into a comfortable and affable routine.

"Master Chief, up late with your people, I see."

Jenks looked at the four men and women as they stood with their breakfast trays and moved off. "Nah, busy moving quantum theory out of engineering and placing it where it belongs, with those eggheads in nuclear sciences. It makes Ginny happy, I guess."

"I imagine Virginia is indeed happy. She's getting thirty-two new bodies." Niles smiled. "You seem to be accepting of your personnel losses with dignified grace."

Jenks finally sat. "Dignified grace? Yeah, have you ever really sat down and tried to argue with that woman? Surrender was the better part of valor, I assure you. My people were acceptable casualties in an ongoing war Dr. Virginia Pollock always seems to be winning."

"Surrender with honor is one of my favorite sayings around here when arguing with either Virginia or Alice. Welcome to the surrender club, Master Chief." Niles smiled and sipped his coffee.

Jenks looked around. At three thirty in the morning, there was now no one in the cafeteria. Niles watched the stubborn man, frightening to all, squirm, adjust his lab coat, and then squirm again. Once more he looked behind the serving line at the front and the open kitchens beyond. Niles sat patiently waiting. He folded his fingers on the tabletop and smiled once more with a raised and scarred brow over the eye patch.

"Maybe just start at the beginning, Master Chief."

"I guess surrender is what I want to talk about."

Niles just sat and continued smiling, waiting patiently. Last year at this time, he would have grown frustrated and unhappy with someone wasting valuable time in sitting and stuttering in meaningless conversation. Now Compton relished these moments. After the loss of so many personnel the past few years, he had learned a valuable lesson — the job was never more important than his people.

"Oh, hell, Sparky." He saw Niles didn't even flinch at the nickname he had heard Jenks was using behind his back. But he remained silent. "Sorry, Niles. I didn't mean that. In my short time here, I have learned one immutable fact of life; I have seen why you command so much respect around here. To lead with honor and by example is the quality more leaders need in today's messed-up world." He looked away guiltily. "Myself included."

"Master Chief, this particular biscuit doesn't need the buttering as much as you think." Niles sipped his coffee and then fixed Jenks with his good left eye. "Is this about Virginia?"

The color in Jenks's face dropped out so fast that it looked to Niles as if the lights had suddenly been turned off.

"You know?" Jenks asked, incredulous that the director knew the small details of life at the complex. "Ginny said she's told no one."

Niles laughed. "And she has told no one. Do you think anyone in this group can ever get anything past the security department? Since Will Mendenhall and Jason Ryan have been filling in for Jack and Carl, they have become rather good at dealing with secrets, even those involving relationships between active Group members." Niles exhaled. "Pardon the pun here, but I tend to turn a blind eye toward these rules about fraternization. My people lead lives most in this country could never fathom. They are lonely people involved in work they cannot discuss even with their closest relatives. Sometimes I suspect they need each other. You and Virginia are no different."

"Then you don't have a problem with me and ... Slim?"

"Go get some sleep, Master Chief."

"Yes, sir." Jenks started to stand and then stopped and faced Niles. "I don't say this as often as I should, Mr. Director, but in the short time I have known you, well, hell, you're a good man."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Beyond the Sea by David L. Golemon. Copyright © 2017 David L. Golemon. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Acknowledgments,
Prologue: Cold Seas,
Part One: Show of Force,
Part Two: Cracked Mirrors,
Part Three: Pirates of the Purple Sea,
Epilogue: Changing of the Guard,
Also by David L. Golemon,
About the Author,
Copyright,

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Beyond the Sea: An Event Group Thriller 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual, a well researched, well written page turner. Can't wait for the next Event Group book. I absolutely love the character development of Farbeaux in particular.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Action packed, never a full moment,