Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Introducing New Characters in Children of the Guardians

As many of you know, Children of the Guardians is the second book in my SciFi series Harmonic
Wars. I wanted to share one of my favorite scenes with you to introduce some new characters: Florian Hertzog, Donald Frey, Mahmoud Nasser, Dr. Khalid Abbas, and Sam Nimo.

Donald Frey is the personal assistant for Arturo Dominquez, who you remember from Guardians of the Crystal Skulls. Frey is a man of low morals that saw his ticket to power through Arturo, who is now a powerful Senator in the U.S. Congress. The year is 2027, and the G`Alad based Warrior Guild has positioned themselves strategically, physically and politically for their final move against the rest of humanity.

Dr. Khalid Abbas is an archeologist who has discovered the secrets of the Great Pyramid of Giza and has attracted the attention of the Warrior Guild. They sent Frey to meet with Abbas to learn what he may know since the Warrior Guild has a limited number of scientists. But the Balsarius based Science Guild has also sent an agent to check on Abbas, and his name is Mahmoud Nasser. Nasser (an Egyptian) has been trained by the Masu`ri with the help of the Science Guild. During his surveillance, Nasser discovered that the American Donald Frey had beat them to Abbas, so Nasser's handler Florian Hertzog instructed him to kidnap Abbas. But poor Sam Nimo got caught up in the attempt.

Sam Nimo was a Filippino worker in Egypt. He worked long hours at a very minimal pay. Sam's boss gave him food, lodging, and a little over $500 US, half of which he sent home every month to help support his family. His boss confiscated Sam's passport upon arrival, and now he was an indentured servant, who Nasser used to get close to Abbas. Sometimes in life, an innocent bystander gets caught up in the horrific events surrounding them. This is one of those times. I had only intended for Sam to play a very small role, but by the end of this scene, I had decided to expand his character into a major role.

All of these characters play important roles throughout the rest of the series. Please enjoy the following scene from Chapter 6:


Aug 14, 2027
   Mahmoud Nasser watched Donald Frey as he talked to Dr. Khalid Abbas over dinner. Most people took little notice of a waiter, but the American was always diligent in his efforts to hide his purpose. It even appeared that he had an electronic scrambler that interfered with the bug he had planted on Khalid. It was hard to maintain the appearance of busing tables while trying to determine what a G`Alad agent wanted with this innocent man. Nasser was the best spy that the Masu`ri had, and he was going to find out the intent. For many years, the G`Alad had focused on the search for the lost Pyraportal and its inhabitants, while they ignored the most obvious organization that the Egyptian Government protected. The Masu`ri identified what Arturo and the G`Alad were up to in the United States and were quick to block any attempts inside their country.
   Nasser was a modern Egyptian recruited by the Masu`ri early in his career in the Intelligence Community. His ability to gather valuable facts undercover had helped the Egyptians discover several political plots by terrorist organizations to gain control of the main public offices. He had long since left the Egyptian government and was now fully employed by the Masu`ri, who paid much better. Nasser was in his early 30’s, with thick, wavy, dark brown hair, brown eyes, and naturally tanned skin. To the average citizen, he was pretty much nondescript, making him ideally suited to intelligence gathering. He intently listened as he cleared the dishes away from the table across the room.
   Don was a good listener to Khalid who eagerly talked about his findings on the Great Pyramid of Giza and other notable relics around the world that might be somehow connected. As the hours passed by through dinner and followed by strong Turkish coffee, Don finally came around to turning the tide of the conversation.
   “Khalid, we like your research. It’s remarkable, but we feel that the Egyptian government won’t let any additional experiments resume on the Great Pyramid itself. Wouldn’t you agree?” Don asked.
   “I have asked several times in the past, but my requests were all rejected almost immediately,” Khalid said. “This time, I have proof that linkages exist to other locations around the world and can prove it without having to alter the pyramid dramatically. I have developed a working model of a hydrogen power plant that is 1/100th the size of the Great Pyramid. If we can temporarily rebuild the capstone, I believe it’s possible to restart the world power grid from the Great Pyramid. If we’re not permitted to do this, then I believe we can access one of the magnetic conjunction points and send energy to the Great Pyramid.”
   “Did you have an alternate location in mind?” Don asked.
   “Yes,” Khalid replied, “The Sand Sea, near the Gilf Kebir Plateau, in Libya. It’s the location of what I believe to be an ancient nuclear blast site as is evident by the vast quantities of so-called ‘dessert glass’. An alternative site would be the Indus River Valley, but reportedly that location still has high radioactive levels.”
   Don smiled and said, “We’ll gladly fund your research giving you full credit for your discoveries, but we’ll control of the findings.”
   “Do you represent the United States in this matter, or is this a private organization?” Khalid asked.
   “My benefactors wish to remain anonymous at this time,” Don answered. “Why? Does it really matter to you?”
   “Actually, it does to some extent,” Khalid replied. “The costs associated with this research may be prohibitive for a private organization. Unless you can put up $500 million per year for the next five years, I’m afraid we’re wasting each other’s time.”
   “I understand that. Will you accept a check?” Don asked with a straight face.
Nasser had enough to report now as Khalid’s eyes lit up with anticipation. He hated to set things into motion that would dash the hopes of an otherwise brilliant man, but it was all for the greater good. Nasser walked back to the kitchen with the tub full of dirty dishes and walked out of the kitchen. He heard the owner yell for him to return or be fired, but Nasser just continued. Nasser drove back to his villa and entered through the garage. As he walked to his hidden office in the basement, he immediately approached the Hololink to report.
   As the gray mists faded away in the dark basement office, the face of Commandant Florian Hertzog came into focus. The blonde-haired-blue-eyed man looked intently at Nasser.
   “Ah, Agent Nasser. How’re things in Egypt?” Florian asked.
   “Commandant, Donald Frey has made direct contact with Dr. Khalid Abbas,” Nasser reported in his thick Egyptian accent. “Frey offered to fund all of his research.”
   “Do you have any indication that our dear Mr. Frey has contacted the G`Alad in Egypt?” Florian asked.
   “No, sir. He came from the airport directly to Dr. Abbas’ lecture and was able to sit down and have dinner with him. They talked at length about his plans to prove that a World Power Grid once existed with the Great Pyramid of Giza providing energy.”
   “Interesting,” Florian frowned. “The Director of Antiquities won’t permit it, of that I’m certain.”
   “They plan to run the test either in the Libyan Desert or the Indus River Valley,” Nasser explained.
   “They said any involvement at the pyramid would be minimal.”
   “Okay, that’s significant,” Florian said rather urgently. “Find a way to delay them until I can get there with some help. I’ll contact you there tomorrow.”
   “What would you have me do?” Nasser asked. “Kidnap him?”
   “Not a bad idea,” Florian smiled. “I like the way you think! I have a couple of calls to make to update my colleagues on your findings. You kidnap him, and then we’ll come in to rescue him!”
   “Sir? I’m not an agent; I just gather information,” Nasser said. “Kidnapping seems extreme … I thought we were the good guys here?”
   “Oh, we are,” Florian said. “But if we don’t do something decisive like this, what the G`Alad will do will be much worse. This is an emergency, and you’re the only one I trust with this. I’ll triple your regular fees. Stay with him and make sure you update me the second anything changes. You have no boundaries on this, do you understand?”
   “I understand triple my fees and no boundaries, but does that also mean no retribution? And can I get that in writing?” Nasser asked.
   “Yes, I’ll send you something. Get back there and don’t let anything happen to Abbas!”
The gray mist faded as the Commandant severed the link. Nasser was glad that he had the forethought to put a tracer on Khalid as well as the bug. As long as Khalid was not right beside the American, he would be able to track his movements. Nasser retrieved his Uplink and initiated the tracking software. Khalid was alone in his hotel suite as far as Nasser could tell. Khalid was very unsuccessfully singing along with the music station on the TV. Nasser thought, Nobody who sings that bad would do it in front of someone else! Something was not right about Khalid trying to sing Country and Western music with his thick Egyptian accent.
Nasser loaded a black duffle bag into his car and hurried back to the hotel. He would have to sneak back in and had to wait until he could take someone’s place, which could mean another kidnapping. This was getting more expensive. Nasser typically just gathered information, but that didn’t mean he lacked the skills for other things.

                                                                 *     *     *

   Sam Nimo, the desk clerk, walked and grumbled about having to dump out the trash for the office manager. He was happy to have a job, but he hated his station in life. He worked and lived in a foreign country that looked down on people like him. His family in the Philippines was destitute, and there were no jobs there. Sam worked as slave labor at the whim of his boss, who kept him and the others under his thumb at all times. The company drove them to and from work, and he shared the small two-room apartment with six other guys in his same status.
   Sam was 5’5” tall, with short, dark hair and a warm smile. He was very fit and worked out every day. He was so proud of his washboard abs and enjoyed the Kempo classes he took. It was his one and only luxury that he was permitted, and it helped him to make it through the long days at work.
Like his roommates, Sam sent the majority of his money home to take care of his parents, brothers, and sisters. He was not married, but he had several girlfriends back home. Oh, how he missed them! Sam thought about how much he missed his family and friends when he felt a strong hand cover his mouth, and a needle stick him in the neck. Sam woke up some time later in the trunk of a car: scared, naked, and tied up. Sam thought to himself, This is not going to be a good day!

                                                                 *     *     *

   Nasser smiled as he walked through the halls. He pushed a cart with a bottle of wine and glasses and wore the newly acquired desk clerk’s uniform. His badge and clothes enabled him to get back in past security. He had waited for nearly an hour before someone came close enough to him to grab. Nasser was sure that the maid’s clothes would not work, so he passed on the first four people who came to the dumpster. He didn't want to kill the young man, so Nasser secured him in the trunk and decided to deal with him later.
   As Nasser continued down the hall, he could tell that Khalid was still alone as every so often a song would come on that prompted him to start his blood-curdling singing that was about to drive Nasser insane. Nasser walked the entire floor to sweep for planted devices or loitering people.
   As Nasser approached Khalid’s doorway, he used his notebook to identify two devices that transmitted video and sound back to a live agent. This meant someone was actively monitoring. Nasser knocked on a door down the hall from Khalid’s room and delivered the wine from room service. Now that he had the layout of the floor, he stepped away to the service elevator and stopped at the next floor down. There Nasser found the entrance to the service corridors and climbed his way back up to the previous floor and up into the crawl space in the ceiling. After a few minutes, he found the cameras that obviously watched the hallway and door to Khalid’s room. Nasser recorded a loop to send information and re-programed it to run by a remote that he controlled. He would have three minutes once activated, which would be plenty of time.
   Nasser exited the crawl space and made his way out of the service corridor on the floor below. The return to the kitchen was uneventful, and he explained to the supervisor that the couple in room 1643 also wanted a bottle of Chardonnay and two more glasses, as they would be entertaining guests that evening. Nasser picked up another tray with glasses and a decanter of Chardonnay and placed them on a cart with a large tablecloth that covered it and made his way up the service elevator to the 16th floor. Just before the 15th floor, he activated the remote and the loop. Nasser walked down to room 1658, activated his electronic jammer and knocked on the door.
   “Who is it?” Khalid asked through the closed door.
   “Room service,” replied Nasser.
Khalid opened the door and said, “I didn’t order room service.”
   “Yes, one of the patrons from this afternoon sent it to you,” lied Nasser. “She said to tell you she loved your presentation and would be up to see you shortly if you like. I’m to wait for an answer.”
Khalid smiled, “She? Oh, I am the lucky one today!”
   “May I wheel this inside please?” Nasser asked.
   “Oh yes, please do be coming inside,” Khalid said excitedly.
   Nasser pushed the cart inside the room, placed the wine on the table, and poured a glass. Khalid fumbled around for his wallet about to give a tip when Nasser shot him with the tranquilizer gun. Almost immediately, Khalid slumped to the ground. Nasser helped Khalid gently down to the floor and scanned him for any stray electronics that the opposition may have placed on him during dinner. The first thing he found was his own tracking device. Nasser removed it and continued the scan and found two more, which he placed on the bed. Nasser put Khalid on the bottom of the cart with the tablecloth to cover him up so that nobody could see him and exited the room with Khalid. He pushed the cart to the service entrance and picked up some dishes from someone else’s room service that was lying in the hall. Everything worked very smoothly and before long, he drove away down the road with two hostages in his trunk – issue totally under control.
   Nasser smiled until he pulled up to his villa and noticed a black van parked across the street.

                                                                      *     *     *

   Khalid woke up cramped up in the dark. The second thing he noticed was that his head ached as if he had a bad hangover. Khalid tried to rise and banged his head on something over him. He was confused and scared when he realized that his hands were tied behind his back.
   “Where the hell am I?” Khalid said.
   “You’re in the trunk,” a voice close by replied.
   “Who’s that?” Khalid asked.
   “I’m Sam Nimo, the desk clerk at your hotel.”
   “Are you all right?” Khalid replied.
   “Not really. I’m stuck in a trunk with you!” Sam replied.
   “I meant, are you injured?” Khalid asked.
   “No, I’m okay except for one small problem,” Sam answered. “Somebody took my clothes.”
   Khalid thought about that for a moment then remembered that room service delivered a bottle of white wine to his room. Khalid’s eyes were starting to adjust to the darkness of the trunk, and he could now make out details of his surroundings. They were indeed in the trunk of a car, and they were driving somewhere. As his head continued to clear from the grogginess, he could make out the small Filipino man that had greeted him at the front desk this morning. Sam was completely naked and lying uncomfortably close beside him.
   “Great God Almighty!” Khalid exclaimed. “Have these dogs no shame? They stripped you of your clothes and even your underwear?”
   “No, I didn’t wear any today,” Sam replied. “I woke up this morning in a hurry and couldn’t find any, so I just left them off. Talk about bad timing!”
   Khalid laughed. “Incredibly, my friend! Incredibly!”
   “So you see, you don’t really have it so bad after all. At least you’re dressed!”
   “No, you have just proven that it can be worse,” said Khalid who was thinking now about how to get out of this. “Are you tied up?”
   “Yes. Why?”  Sam said
   “Maybe if we turn around back to back we can get each other’s hands free before we stop,” said Khalid.
   “Okay, let’s try,” Sam said.
   Both men struggled for a few minutes as they tried to turn around inside of the cramped and dark trunk. Finally, they maneuvered back to back; Khalid began to feel around for Sam’s arms.
   “Where are your hands?” Khalid said.
   “At the end of my arms. Hey, that’s my ass you’re grabbing,” Sam exclaimed as he moved his arms around to where Khalid was feeling.
   “Sorry,” Khalid was sure he was blushing terribly, but there was nothing else he could do. “Okay, I can feel your hands now. Seems like they used duct tape. Give me a second. There we go!” Khalid unwrapped Sam’s hands. He, in turn, unwrapped Khalid’s hands and they worked themselves down so they could untie their feet as well.
   “Now, see if you can find anything that we can use as a weapon,” Khalid said. They felt around for a few minutes and felt the car leave the pavement and start to drive on dirt.
   “Oh, that’s not good,” Sam said. “They’re going to stop, and that can’t be a good thing.”
   “It’s going to be okay, Sam,” said Khalid in as calm a voice as he could muster. “We just have to jump out together and attack them as soon as they open the trunk. We’ll have the element of surprise on our side. Did you find anything we can use as a weapon?”
   “I’m still feeling around. Wait, I think I have something!” Sam pulled up a roadside emergency kit from behind him.
   “Perfect! See if there are any flares inside,” Khalid exclaimed. They opened the kit and found three flares and a tire iron, as the car slowed.
   “Yes! You take two flares, and I’ll take the tire iron and the last flare,” said Khalid as the car ground to a halt. Then he continued in a whisper, “Remember, we have the element of surprise. Jump up, scream and start the flares as soon as the trunk opens, but don’t burn me!”
They heard the car door opened, and a person slowly walked to the back of the car. The seconds passed until they heard a voice.
   “You know your element of surprise works better when you’re not screaming your intentions in the trunk.”
   “Damn!” said Khalid. “What do you want with us?”
   “Actually, I’m helping you escape – you’re being hunted by some very bad people. I’ll let you out to sit in the front on two conditions.”
   “Okay, we’re listening!” Khalid answered.
   “First, drop the tire iron and all three flares. Second, the freaky, little desk clerk has to put his clothes back on.”
   Khalid winced as he realized that their captor had indeed heard everything. In the excitement, they were much louder than he thought.
   “We’ll do as you ask. Now, will you please let us out?” Khalid asked.
   “See that large, white latch beside you that says TRUNK RELEASE?”
   Khalid certainly felt like a fool now. Tentatively he pulled the latch directly in front of his face and the trunk opened immediately. Khalid recognized the smiling face of the man who had delivered the wine to his room. He stood about 10 feet away from the end of the car with Sam’s clothes in one hand and a gun pointed at them in the other, and patiently waited for them to get out. The sun had begun to set in the desert, and the temperature had dropped. They were clearly miles away from anything and were completely at his mercy.
   “I’m Mahmoud Nasser,” he said as he threw the clothes to Sam. “But my friends call me Nasser.”



I hope you enjoyed the scene above as much as I enjoyed writing it. We have bundled books one
and two together for $8 off the regular price through http://3lpublishing.flyingcart.com/?p=detail&pid=87&cat_id=0

The official release of Children of the Guardians will be April 10th for all ebook formats. We will celebrate it on the radio on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.