CIA field operative Matthew Roger Harris, called out of his two year retirement on request of his dying stepfather's final aspiration. His stepfather, curious to find out once and for all; can scientists generate a new self-sustaining sun.
Harris, following the lead of a murdered scientist, directs him to the project, Pandora, a device that could harness the power of a star stronger than our sun. Who else could fashion such a thing but the Chelsea Company. Who else could help Harris find Pandora other than this Company who heads the world in technology.
Harris has to make peace with Nzingha Chelsea, CEO of the Chelsea Company who he betrayed on his last mission two years earlier, and fight secret assassins, all in search of Pandora in order to complete his father's dying wish.
His father is slipping away fast and Harris's time is running out.
"Ambitious book with a large scope that doesn't disappoint. The pace is fast and cinamatic, yet Wiggins attention to detail and character gives the book depth and focus. There's action, there's romance, there's science fiction there's intrigue, there's politics, and there's a message."
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
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By DERRICK JOHN WIGGINS
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Derrick John Wiggins
All rights reserved.
ALASKA, THE DENALI NATIONAL PARK PRESERVE was what it was called now. The name had gone through some changes. First it was called Mount McKinley National Park in 1917. Then it was called Denali National Monument in 1978.
He knew all of the names and studied the place well. He had to; it was what he did all his life. He always researched his environments anywhere he traveled, slept, or worked. Today was a workday.
He speculated, how did Mr. Burrows see him make the move toward him? Was he getting old at this? No, he was only thirty years old. Was he getting sloppy? Yes, he was getting careless.
He'd been doing this job for ten years and trained for it five years earlier than that. He'd been doing this his whole life; don't get shoddy now. His superiors taught him better.
Maybe a grizzly bear or wolf will do his job for him? He laughed. Highly unlikely, he figured, given the circumstances that these animals, though vicious and huge, stayed away from humans, and it was the middle of the day. It brought him back to the reality that he was going to have to see this one through.
He ran over another honeydew grassy hill hoping to see Burrows. Nothing yet. There were only more rolling lush hills with miles of a tea green tundra.
He was surprised how fast he could sprint in his heavy black snorkel parka. Yes, he was still conditioned. He had to concentrate on his tracking.
His hunting skills were impeccable. His occupation at hunting humans might sound insane to most, but one had to look at it through his eyes. He saw the target as not human but more like a vermin. Think about it, he considered. What do I do when I need pest control? What do I do to prevent diseases? A pest to the fabric of his organization had to be dealt with so the disease won't spread. Believe, he assumed, it works and has worked many times.
He had been on dozens of missions before. For ten years he specialized in baiting, camouflaging, flushing, scouting, and trapping humans in the wilderness and civilized situations alike. He named his human hunts either big game or predator.
This hunt today was big game. It was big game because the individual being hunted wasn't skilled enough to escape. He may fight back, but with only futile results of his demise.
A predator hunt was skilled in what he was skilled in. The only edge he had was they usually didn't know he was coming.
The predator hunts were agents expelled from the association—rogue, awol, individuals of that nature.
This institute was run like the mafia; there was no getting out, this was his life. They told all the agents of this in the beginning.
He wondered, if he was to quit, was there an agent better than he, on the hunt for him? No time to think about that right now; he had a wild rabbit to catch and the farmers, his superiors, were nervous.
He could see his exhaust in front of him smoothing out now. He was in his rhythm and warm in the ten degree weather.
When he ran to the top of the next hill, he stopped for a second and checked his bearings.
The hills ended about a mile ahead of him, as far as he could see. In all directions there was nothing but flat gray grass that seemed to go on endlessly. The powder blue sky with white long clouds scattered everywhere would have been a spectacular view if he cared.
He smiled, not because of the view, but because he spotted his rabbit, Mr. Burrows. "Get it," he whispered, "rabbit—burrows."
He pulled his SIG Sauer P226 9mm from his jacket and took aim. He seemingly could have hit him from this distance, about a mile away. He watched at the tip end of the black gun, Burrows run from his cover of the hills across the level grass. He moved his gun past Burrows to study his direction of flight.
Then he saw it. The small forest was about two or three miles east of Burrows' position. The many slender cylindrical evergreen trees called white spruce were spread wide from each other.
It didn't make a good hiding place, but used right and with the right skills, could lift your chance of survival, just a little. He knew Burrows lacked that skill. Just in case, though, why wait to find out?
He only had about eight more hills to run over. Then he'd have a clearer shot, and judging his speed over Burrows, he'd get him probably before his chances were raised.
He put away his gun and sprinted ahead.
The first two hills were easy; he jetted over them in about twenty seconds. The next few were taller and more evenly spaced out. They were harder to run over, but he pushed on.
He jogged six miles every other day when he wasn't on a mission. This is nothing, he kept thinking. The only strain he felt was adrenalin; the thrill of the hunt, and he was excited.
Every time he made it to the top of a hill he could feel himself closing in on his prey. He was sure Burrows felt it, too, death creeping upon him as he reached the crest of another hill.
He saw the rabbit glancing back as it sprinted.
Three more hills to go. Two. One.
He felt like shooting him from atop the final hill. The clear high open shot was tempting, but using his better judgment he thought against it. It was a sure kill, but to shoot on the flat ground in a direct line, of course the chances were greater for a hit on the first shot. A straight line from point A to B, mathematically always reach his destination quicker.
When he reached the hill's end, he pulled his handgun out again.
Strange, he pondered; the man hadn't made it far, he guessed about a little more than a half mile and about two miles from the forest. He knew the guy was overweight, but he wasn't that fat. He felt he himself was just that fit and Burrows wasn't used to this sort of exercise. He smirked, his bad luck.
Aiming, he fired his pistol. In the distance he watched the man drop.
Damn, he was going to have to shoot him again, he realized. He aimed at his head, but the bullet hit him in the back. He saw feathers flutter up in the air from the rear of the man's coat before he fell. From this distance the velocity of the bullet arched from the effect of gravity. It apparently didn't go deep enough because Burrows was struggling to get up. He might have miscalculated his ratio of miles. Burrows could have been a mile away. This flat, almost endless terrain sometimes can play tricks on the eye.
He jogged toward his injured target; he had to get this over with. This was still a civilian park, and a ranger could pop out anywhere at any time. Also someone might have heard the loud bang from the firearm. Hopefully not; he felt the gun didn't give off an echo though the mountains were just far enough away.
As he trotted, the ground was slushy beneath his feet, and his rabbit left no tracks. Like his rabbit's, his own footprints disappeared. His boots slipped ankle-high under the tall grass. Marsh mixed with frozen dirty snow sloshed about, slowing his trot a bit. Now he knew why Burrows didn't move as fast as he thought. After running over all those hills he had to make it past this almost unseen swamp before entering the forest.
Moving his pace to a walk, he found Burrows crawling through the muddy shrubs.
Burrows, who wore a dark blue snorkel jacket, tried to crawl as fast as he could, but just kept stumbling in the mud face-first, turning his entire wardrobe black and soggy.
He noticed, Burrows, realizing he was walking beside him, stopped and turned on his side huffing and puffing, his breath shooting out like steam on a nineteenth century locomotive.
"What ... I." Burrows coughed spitting up blood onto the mud. "What I leave ... behind will be woven." He hacked some more. "... will be woven into the lives of others." He breathed in deeply, trying to catch his wind.
Standing over Burrows, he aimed his gun at the man's head. The gun felt funny in his gloved hand as a cold wind whipped around him, making his thick pants flutter. Maybe he felt the cold now because the pursuit was over—no more adrenalin fix.
"A taste for truth ..." Burrows rambled on, "... at any cost is a passion—"
He shot him in the head. The bullet made a quarter size hole in Burrows's temple, shutting him up indefinitely. He lay there still on his side in the mud as if he were asleep. Blood poured out of the hole to gush slowly down the right side of his mudded face.
The truth is common people need not know about it; they couldn't handle it, he contemplated. Just like Burrows here. It was amazing he got this far. Burrows, throwing the hot coffee into his face back at the base, was a daring move, but it only bought him time.
He dropped his 9mm onto the grass next to the body. Bending down, opening the lapel of the coat, he searched through the inner pockets. The gray flash drive was in the left pouch. He took it out, smirked, then held it in the air probing it.
What truths were on here for the world to see? He didn't even know. He didn't care. His job was to track and retrieve.
He stuffed the thumb drive into his right pocket. He was superstitious about putting things in the same pocket as a dead man.
He walked out of the marsh from where he had came, leaving his gun behind. Taking into account, he considered, if detectives find the body, they won't have to search far to find out whom the weapon belonged to. That would be considering the elements or animals don't get to the remains first. The weapon was registered to a state trooper who reported it was stolen two days earlier. Who knows maybe authorities will see it as a suicide.
He shivered, not because of the act he just committed, but because of the cold. It was ten degrees, but the wind made it feel as if it was ten below. He jogged over the hills again back to the highly secure military base FG2.
To the public, FG2 was known as CRC, Cyberspace Regulations Center. The place was supposed to keep the Internet safe from major hackers of government-owned firms, domestically and globally. Part of it did; most of it didn't.
If someone was to investigate, they would find that the place was funded by S&T, Under Secretary for Science and Technology. The center, to him known as FG2, Fort Greely II, was also funded by and an extension of Fort Greely a army launch site for anti-ballistic missiles. Now what did that have to do with cyberspace? Nothing, he pondered.
Think about something else other than the cold, he kept deliberating. The late Burrows got a pretty good jump on him for him to jog all this way back to the center, a couple of miles to be exact. Burrows had some kind of sixth sense when he moved toward him in the cafeteria.
Burrows usually had lunch around one o'clock when everybody else was finished, then stepped outside for his lone afternoon walk. He was going to grab Burrows at that time, and make it look like he was shot in front of the facility.
The center weeks earlier had some threats made by some new far left-wing Green Party radicals. They claimed the CRC was just put together to spy on citizens' home computers. They alleged CRC hired the best hackers in the world, and was funded by the S&T, which was funded by Homeland Security.
They had been right. CRC was also funded by his directors, something the Green Party he assumed didn't know.
His superiors then formulated a plan on how Mr. Burrows was going to die. Green Party revenge.
Burrows must have figured someone was after him, the way he jumped at him. He had to give the guy a little credit. He did manage to chase him for miles out here in the cold.
He did for a minute wonder why his directors wanted this thumb drive so badly. He didn't know if it was stolen or did Burrows own it. It didn't matter, and he didn't care; all he knew, he was on a mission most people seldom traveled.
Most missions he took, if he had to tell anybody about them, he'd have to kill them. His name was secret, as were his benefactors.
As he continued back to the facility, he reached into his left pocket and took out a small old salt bottle, one he stole from a diner before taking the job. He poured some salt into his gloved hand, then threw the salt over his shoulder. Stuffing the bottle back into his pocket, he felt for another small object. Though he could hardly feel the soft rabbit's foot in his thick gloved hand, he imagined it. Just the idea that he knew the charm was there brought him comfort. He sighed; another operation well done.
NZINGHA CHELSEA stood next to many full-glass ceiling to floor windows on the sixtieth floor, the last floor of the East Impending Tower. Her eyes closed, she faced a window already knowing the Rhodes State Office Tower, LeVeque Tower, and Scioto River were there. She closed her eyes with her head up and hands behind her back as if she were smelling the sweet air. She wasn't; she was meditating in deep thought.
She couldn't deny that she felt a little prevailing, though through her actions many people thought of her as modest. Her twin glass cylindrical towers were the tallest in all of Ohio and her black Carolina Herrera pants suit she wore today was custom made. Anyone in her position would feel this way—commanding.
She stood in the large conference room with prestige as if she owned Ohio, as if she owned the world. Without a doubt she was the richest self-made woman on the globe, and she had done it through technology.
Antimatter-propelled police vehicles in Columbus glided about below her. Police automobiles floating three feet off the ground, void of wheels, were now in every major city in the United States. It had taken two years to do this.
Many American scientists considered her company physicists geniuses when they unlocked the problem in the physics of antiparticles annihilated with matter giving off energy for centuries. Now Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati's electric power grids were replaced by Chelsea Energy.
Scientists at the DOE, United States Department of Energy, said they were some kind of baryogenesis masterminds. Along with the Central Intelligence Agency, the DOE wanted to interrogate her people, but Chelsea allowed no such thing. She owned the largest law firm in America, and she was prepared for a vicious battle for privacy.
The government knew this and backed away for now. The United States Government had many tricks up their sleeves, like the renowned Patriot Act bill. Chelsea Industries, for now, was proven to be no terrorist, and side transactions like working exclusively with the DOE slowed government action toward the company.
Other things jumbled her thoughts as she waited in the large white round conference room. This was the largest meeting room in the building and the least visited.
A huge white donut-like table sat in the center with twenty-three green rolling chairs evenly spaced out around it. The room's clean white floor sparkled and ceiling alike. Above and equal to the size of the table a huge round mirror reflected the image below, causing an illusion of a hole in the ceiling.
Usually her assistants and executive managers were here first, waiting on her, but today was different. She wanted to ponder on the battlefield before the battle. Like an ancient maiden warrior, she cased the landscape alone before the great crusade.
Opening her eyes to look out the window, she noticed she was even higher than the late afternoon sun as it raced toward the west horizon. She truly felt domineering, just this day.
This important meeting was classified from most of her staff. The last time she had a meeting here, three years earlier, was about her antimatter energy. She had secret discussions on how to release it to the public, the press, the world. Today she was repeating the same thing.
Then, to talk about classified, brings back memories of a man, a few years ago, named Maddox Mathews, a.k.a. Mathew Mathews, a.k.a. maybe FBI agent, a.k.a. probably CIA. The spy who managed to get close to her worked for an advertising company called Alona.
Alona in which was still a part of the Chelsea Company claimed to be totally flabbergasted about the situation and apologized many times that they hired such a man. Till this day she didn't know if she fully believed them or not.
Then, on the subject of believing, several years ago, she wondered if what her stepfather told her was the truth. She asked him, "did you have anything to do with an assassin within my company killing industrialists in competitive corporations of Chelsea, resulting in my takeovers?"
Her stepfather told her, "yes, a hired gun within my company was sent to the States to infiltrate your firm."
There were rumors; the purpose was to make her company grow rapidly. The motive on why this individual wanted her to grow was unclear. Someone wanted to spread her technology quicker—maybe—but why? Nigerian authorities with his personal investigators were inspecting the matter.
Her stepfather claimed no hand in the incident and was shocked as she was when he heard of such things. He'd been investigating for two years and had come up with nothing. She wondered at first if she should believe her stepfather. She speculated if the conspirator was he himself. It would have been his motive to push his only daughter's endeavors.
Excerpted from QUEST PANDORA by DERRICK JOHN WIGGINS. Copyright © 2013 by Derrick John Wiggins. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This
Has such a range of genres that you can't pigeon hole it into one, therefore it held my attention. The shadowy love story between the main characters', it spoke about technology from a whole new perspective. The description alone in the book allowed you to image the scenes as if you were walking through the novel with the characters. --LaShawn
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Quest Pandora is a techno thriller, thst keeps your mind guessing. With plot twist and characters that capture your attention. Characters make you question their purpose and integrity. Good vs. Evil; like the enemy of my enemy is my friend, yet for how long? Secrets hidden that are coming to light one page at a time. With an ending that you won't see coming and revelations that keep you questioning the authors intentions even after the last page.
Each chapter was engaging and captivated my interest until I turned to the very last one. I had looked forward to the sequel further developing the characters Nzingha and Matthew along with their flirty romance and it certainly didn’t disappoint. You get a better look at the strengths and weakness’ of both characters’s while discovering all their little secrets. There was a lot of fast action scenes and a deeper understanding of the technology during their quest. Matthew’s search with Nzingha kept me guessing and wondering what will happen next. This novel’s storyline smoothly flowed along and was quite intriguing.
Have to say that it started off slow but built up to a nice thriller on hi tech.
I have to say that this was definitely a good read. It kept me intrigued through out the time. I enjoyed the details. It gave me a James Patterson feel put with a different twist. I would love for there to be a follow up book the ending left me in suspense. Definitely going to recommend friends and family to read this book. 5 stars!
Yet another page turner. This installment has everything you could want; you have spies, love, action and more. I was reading another book when I picked this one up, and just had to finish it because I needed to know what was going to happen. There are so many real details to this book that would make you wonder if this is being taken out of real life, and the names have just been changed. I hope we will be seeing another installment to this story. - Lake Ceo
My fascination with Nzingha Clesea, CEO of Chelsea Industries, began in DJW's Masters Of Fire. Her visionary scientific and technological creations left me wanting more. Wiggins' steps up the game and delivers big time in Quest Pandora. Superagent Matt Harris' CIA father, Jeremy Taffy, is on his deathbed. Taffy presents his "retired" son with a mission: find a secret lab in Nigeria, rumored to harness the power of the stars, exobiology DNA! PANDORA! Harris realizes the answer can only lie somewhere in Nzingha's realm. Despite Matt's objections, Nzingha joins him in the quest. At each turn, the blood of hired assassins, industrial moles and CIA agents flows. At each turn, the attraction between Nzingha and Matt Harris grows. Does this amazing power exist now? Are the hands that hold it good or evil? Wiggins' intriguing perspective presents a new, fresh view of a possible world tomorrow and, perhaps. the future of our species. I highly recommend this novel. Your imagination will be challenged to ... run wild! - Sandra Grassi