It’s 267,000 BCE. A traveler arrives in the jungles of an ancient worldONE NEVER MEANT FOR HUMANKIND.
In another time, men and women struggle to recover from the loss of many of their own in a battle. Inside of this group, Colonel Jack Collins has summoned the best from the most secretive organization in the U.S. government, the Event Group, to help him in his new mission to bring home one of their own from a world that existed in the past.
can the event group find a way out of this hostile landbefore the world as we know it is lost forever?
Now, to accomplish the impossible, Collins will have to find the technology to travel through time, a trail that will be rife with treachery and murder. To lose this fight would be to change the very history of the planetand the present. . .
The New York Times bestselling author David L. Golemon returns with an adrenaline rushthe latest thriller in the Event Group Series, The Traveler.
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An Event Group Thriller
By David L. Golemon
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 David L. Golemon
All rights reserved.
ST. JUDE'S CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
The nondescript Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter eased its large bulk onto the painted heliport atop the hospital normally used to airlift critically ill patients to one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world. Before the wheels set down, one of the men in the passenger compartment felt the eyes on them in the darkness of the heliport. He knew that with those eyes came weapons — weapons that were right now trained on them and their air force flight crew.
Colonel Jack Collins looked over at his boss, Director Niles Compton, who was just placing paperwork back into his briefcase. Jack watched as the director removed the wire-rimmed glasses from his face and then watched as the fifty-one-year-old Compton rubbed the black eye patch that covered his right socket. Compton realized the colonel was watching him and quickly lowered his hand and replaced the glasses.
The two security men Jack had assigned to escort them to Los Angeles were politely not paying attention to the director nor his recent deformity received during the war with the Grays the previous month. The two men, Diaz and Voorhees, both U.S. Marines, were dressed in civilian attire. Collins unsnapped the seat belt and waited on Compton to gather his things just as the sliding door of the Black Hawk was opened from the outside. Before anyone could stand to leave, a rather large man in a navy blue Windbreaker stepped up to the door with four other men attired in the exact same manner. Jack assisted Niles as he maneuvered his cane to support his badly injured right leg. Collins knew Compton would never walk without the support of the cane again.
As Niles Compton straightened in the dying wind of the helicopter's rotors, Jack thought it beyond curious that Compton was now afflicted with the same war-won deformities that their benefactor, Senator Garrison Lee, had suffered with since his final days in World War II. He didn't know if the sight was ironic, or just a cruel joke for the man who was the most humanitarian gentleman he had ever known — notwithstanding the fact that he was also the most brilliant man in government service, if not the world. The respect he had for the director had grown leaps and bounds since he had first met Niles back in the summer of 2006.
"Gentlemen, we need to scan you before allowing you inside," the large black agent said as he held out a small box. "Thumb, please."
Jack went first by placing his right thumb onto the small glass pad on the top of the box. The Secret Service agent smiled a little when Collins hissed and then removed his thumb and looked at it. The agent looked from Collins to the readout on the black box.
"Sorry, Colonel, new SOP from Homeland Security and the home office, all visitors are now obligated for DNA scan before gaining access to Rough Rider."
Jack raised a brow as the instant DNA analysis was repeated with Niles, who seemed distant as he placed his thumb on the pad. Collins nodded at his two security men, who would not be allowed inside. The two men followed the six-man security team to the rooftop elevator. With their escort Jack counted no less than sixteen pairs of eyes on them coming from hidden locations on the rooftop. He assumed they all had automatic weapons. The protection for the man they had come to see had quadrupled since the war that had cost the world so much. A war that ended fifty-two days before. The country and the planet had lost too much to lose any more.
The pace was slow as everyone, including the Secret Service detail, knew that Niles Compton was just learning how to handle his infirmities. His walking was slow and awkward and Jack was instantly aware that Niles felt self-deprecating for those new infirmities. That coupled with the Group's losses from the war were weighing heavily on the director's mind. Jack knew that as a battlefield commander, Niles had to face certain things all by himself, just as he himself had to learn how to go on living after losing men and women whose lives he had been responsible for.
Collins became curious as they were escorted past the private suite of rooms and the large outside security team guarding it, and instead were guided through the cordon and brought to what looked like a closed hospital kitchen. The large double swinging doors closed behind Niles and Jack and they found themselves in a semidark stainless steel kitchen. The old smells of hospital meals hauntingly teased the air. Collins saw only two Secret Service men. One was standing in a far, very dark corner and the other was sitting by the opposite exit that entered the cafeteria-style seating area beyond. Other than that there was only one other man in the kitchen and he was half a torso deep in the large double-door refrigerator. Niles shook his head when he saw the robed man wiggle his butt as he leaned into the frigid space as he rummaged around, cursing as he did so.
"Not one shred of cheese other than this in the whole damn place!" came the muffled voice from deep inside the refrigerator. The hand dropped a small container of cottage cheese on the table behind him.
"Perhaps if you held strictly to the diet your doctor's set for you that infection in your leg would finally go away and you can stop hiding out in children's hospitals."
The ass in the doorway quit wiggling and the tall man straightened and turned to face the men who had just entered the hospital kitchen.
"Let's see how you would do eating that" — the president pointed to the container of low-fat cottage cheese — "and see how quickly you recover." The president looked at his oldest friend in the world and knew Niles had just gone through a very hard rehab just like himself. He became self-conscious looking at the man who had served as his best man a million years before the nightmares of the recent past.
Niles placed his briefcase upon the stainless steel countertop and then opened it. He brought out a large box and gestured for the president to see what was inside as he cut the string holding the box closed.
"The chefs at Group wanted you to have this ... well, Alice Hamilton did anyway. I said you probably didn't deserve it, but I was overruled."
The president raised his right brow and spun awkwardly on his casted right leg and looked from Niles to Jack, who nodded that the box was indeed real. The president used a crutch and walked-slipped to stand by Niles's side. He looked from his friend's face to the contents of the box. The president smiled and suspiciously looked from the largest corned beef sandwich he had ever seen to the two Secret Service agents watching the proceedings. The two quickly looked away. The president nodded and before he reached to get Alice Hamilton's reward, he looked at Niles and then Jack. He shook his head and gestured for the protection detail to bring over two tall stools, which were placed before Jack and Niles.
"It feels better if I stand," the president said, tapping his cast as he leaned the crutch against the table as he closely watched his agents while they were close to his sandwich, as if he feared they would steal his precious bundle of cholesterol. When they moved off, Collins and Compton sat. "I'm not going to ask how either of you are, I can see without asking." The president picked the large sandwich up and smelled the meat and the hot mustard inside. His eyes rolled as he put it back in the box. With another suspicious look at his security detail he closed it. "I'll eat this later. Right now we have to talk before they knock me out with all of these new antibiotics they plan to feed me."
Jack watched on, aware of the uncomfortable silence coming from Niles as he waited for the president to continue. Gone was the small talk and playful banter he had always seen between the two men. Now there seemed to be a steeliness between them that wasn't there the previous years. The president waved over one of the Secret Service men who placed two stacks of papers on the tabletop and then moved off for another pile that was placed beside the first two. Three distinct sets of papers.
The president slapped the smallest pile on Jack's left. "Death notifications from the Department of the National Archives, specifically, a secret section of said archives, Department 5656. Spanning the years 1918 to the year 2005, there were 317 deaths attributed to personnel lost on assignment." He looked at both Jack and then Niles. Gone was the friendliness of the man as he looked on. "And those casualties do not include the 1864 raid into Turkey nor the loss of personnel during World War II, which were substantial I may add." His hand moved to the next largest pile and it sat there. "Casualties from 2005 to present, same department. Four hundred eighty-two Event Group deaths." His eyes went from the pile to the neutral face of Jack Collins.
"If this is an indictment or a veiled suggestion that there were any gross failures on the part of security to safeguard those lives —" Niles started to say, but the president acted as though Niles had not spoken as his hand went to the third pile of paperwork.
"The number of official Event code submissions to my and my predecessor's office." The pile was almost as large as the casualty notifications.
All three men knew that by law Department 5656 had twenty-four hours to inform the President of the United States, to whom they reported directly, that an Event action had been called. At that time full disclosure on the historical Event and why it was called had to be given to the commander-in-chief. At that time the president could either declare the Event a valid one, rather it be historical or military by the department, or to veto the action altogether.
"As it stands, I vetoed thirty-two actions that may have had a direct historical bearing on the war we just suffered through. The evidence that was needed to convince the world of the dangers we faced from outside our solar system could have possibly been overlooked in the actions of this and my predecessor's office. Every president from Woodrow Wilson to date may have been directly or indirectly responsible for the disaster we just barely survived."
Jack saw Niles lower his one good eye as if he was feeling relief from some hidden dosage of pain medication. It seemed the two men he was sitting with had discussed whatever this was before, and possibly at angered length if he knew the two old friends well enough.
"How many more historical secrets or outright cover-ups are out there that we cannot simply let lie?" the president said as he halfheartedly pushed the box containing his precious sandwich away. The president nodded once more and one of the Secret Service men removed the piles of papers.
An uncomfortable silence filled the kitchen.
"Colonel, the Event Group was faced with an unprecedented war, and you and your teams performed magnificently. I brought those papers for two reasons, you saved lives. A lot of them. Also for the reasons I have explained. There is far too much time wasted waiting for this busy office to ratify an Event action. That is why I am hereby, with the approval of the general accounting office and certain members of judicial and military establishment, expanding the powers of Department 5656. You now have one hundred hours to report an Event action to the president. This should speed up your response time to any Event."
The president saw the skepticism in Collins's face.
"Yes, it is illegal to a certain degree." He laughed. "Hell, the whole department has been illegal since its inception. Either the Event from Lincoln's time or the formation of the Group by Mr. Wilson, every action by your Group could be construed as illegal, at least in the eyes of the House and Senate."
"Perhaps we had better explain to Colonel Collins the reasoning behind this one-hundred- hour window." Niles looked to his right and half smiled at Jack, who sat and waited.
The president nodded. He made sure his Secret Service detail was looking elsewhere as he leaned in toward Collins like a conspirator. "This window is to allow your department to do things" — he stalled and looked from Jack to Niles and then back — "that may be lacking somewhat in its interpretation of legal action. For instance, the mission that is currently taking place in the Middle East that I know absolutely nothing about."
"Middle East?" Jack asked, looking from his commander-in-chief to Niles, who looked at him with a wry smile.
"I'll let you tell him," the president said as he pulled the small box over and then lifted the hefty sandwich and bit into it.
"At this moment we are chasing down a lead in Israel that may help us with a possible action that the president has ordered to be explored to its fullest. The one hundred hours is meant to make sure that when the CIA comes to the president and says, 'someone is messing around in our garden,' he can have total and complete deniability, which may happen in a few hours if our plan fails."
"What action and what plan?" Collins asked, looking from his boss to a satisfied president as he chewed.
"We have sent Anya Korvesky back home. She, the president, and myself didn't think you would have allowed her to go, so we kept it from you."
"What is the reason you sent the woman who Carl Everett loves back to a place where she is considered a danger to their security for choosing to leave them for a love that is now lost?" Jack asked, growing angrier by the minute for the way these men bypassed him and placed his best friend's woman into harm's way.
"Told you he would have a stick up his ass about this," the president said with a mouth full of corned beef.
"Jack, we had to take a chance. If the stories she's heard over the years are true we have a window of opportunity here."
"A window for what?"
Niles glanced at the president and then raised his brow over his glasses and eye patch.
"If this works out, we may have a chance at bringing home an old friend."
The president placed the sandwich down with much regret.
"I personally owe this man, as I owe all of you." The injured leg kept the movement slow but the president eased himself closer to Jack. "I don't have much time left in office, Colonel, you know it and I know it. In the time I have remaining before someone else moves into the White House I want my desk cleared, and to accomplish this I will not go out without trying to do everything I can to account for those people I lost in the recent war. ... I owe them."
"What are you two telling me?" Jack asked, looking at Niles.
"We are going after Captain Everett, Jack."
Collins had to stand after the amazing statement from Compton. The president took that opportunity to retrieve the sandwich and begin his assault once more.
"During Anya's debrief she mentioned she had begun her Mossad career at the very bottom of their food chain. She was an analyst, though that has little to do with the tale she told me during her debrief after Operation Overlord. It seems she caught wind of a legend, a rumor, a tale that seemed made up to tell children at bedtime. The search for alien power plants to assist in Overlord reminded her of this legend. It was a long shot that she considered too outlandish to help, and it wasn't until she mentioned it to me during her debrief that we began to see a chance, just a possibility that this may actually be real."
"What in the hell are you two talking about?" Jack asked, looking at the president. "With all due respect of course."
The president only nodded as he continued eating. It was Niles who braved the telling to Jack.
"I think we better start with explaining Anya's role in this first."
ISRAEL STATE ARCHIVES (ISA) JERUSALEM, ISRAEL
The raven-haired woman sat upon the bench outside of the large, extremely ugly concrete and steel building, which looked like an old bank that would have been robbed during the Depression in American gangster films.
The moon just started to rise over the holy city of God. She was dressed in a navy blue suit with wide-legged pants, necessary for the two ankle holsters she wore beneath them. Her eyes watched the front doors of the building as men and women of the archival staff prepared to leave after their evening shift. She watched as the two very-well-armed guards waved at the departing employees and then securely locked the front doors. The two guards looked through the glass and then turned back to their duties. The woman knew that security here wasn't as tight as at other government facilities, as this operation was more a written and oral history of the State of Israel. So, if you wanted someone's eyewitness testimony in regard to the Holocaust this was the place to go. Any other secrets were stored in many more highly secured facilities across the country. The dark-haired woman could only hope the files had not been transferred over the years.
Excerpted from The Traveler by David L. Golemon. Copyright © 2016 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good mix of history, adventure & awesome characters!
Loved it! Can't wait for the next book!!
About as soul satisfying as it gets. Excellent story telling, should get a Saturn award
I rarely take the time to post a bad review, however this one was so bad i had no choice. I paid really good money for this book. It did not allow me to get a sample but i had read a few Event books before and enjoyed them so i took a chance. It was boring trite and juvenile. Dont even go here. If you can be offered a sample, get it. You will see what i mean. Highly disappointed. Kat