Breaker is terrible at his job. He’s the secretary of one of the most influential Generals in the U.S. Military. Within the first few weeks, he’s failed at almost every task he’s been given. So when the General announces that Breaker will be in charge of unraveling one of the greatest mysteries in U.S. history, no one is more shocked than Breaker.
Something or someone is taking people. Thousands have disappeared without a trace never to be seen again. It’s up to Breaker to find out why they are being taken and how to stop it from happening.
Excerpt:Breaker was nervous as he stepped off the cargo plane. He was a short, thin man with a cherubic round face and thinning hair. Although he was in the military, he usually was nervous around other soldiers. He was shocked to find himself as an aide to the great General McIntire. He hoped the assignment was because of his brilliant mind; he knew that his lacking social skills had not led to the general’s decision to hire him. He had worked with General McIntire for only a few weeks, but already it hadn’t gone well as Breaker had backed into the general’s classic Jaguar XKE when his hot chocolate fell into his lap. Then somehow, started a small fire in the office while taking apart his computer. And now he was trying hard to forget about the incident with the Russians and St. Petersburg. As the general’s personal assistant, Breaker felt like an abysmal failure. Clearly, the general was showing his dissatisfaction by making Breaker fly in the cargo plane rather than a commercial airline to the distant Svalbard island of Spitsbergen, Just 800 miles from the North Pole.
Breaker hadn’t been briefed about the mission, but read everything he could find about the small island during his flight. Apparently Svalbard was best known for being the doomsday seed bank of the world. Being so close to the ice caps, the island was a natural refrigerator all year round. Eager to impress, Breaker studied everything he could find about the Seed Vault in an attempt to avoid another blunder.
The cargo door opened, and Breaker was greeted by the usual disdainful look of Alex, McIntire’s head scientist. Alex was obviously annoyed at having to pick up Breaker. In fact, as far back as Breaker could remember, he had never seen Alex look anything but unhappy. “Let’s go, we don’t have a lot of time,” said Alex.
Breaker promptly threw his rucksack in the back of the waiting Humvee, hoping to postpone the inevitable mishap that would set off Alex. It didn’t take long. Alex walked briskly to the back of the vehicle and lifted the rucksack with a metal rod like the ruck sack was a smelly gym sock. He dropped it on the ground, “When the general says travel light, he doesn’t mean bring one bag; he means don’t bring anything.”
Alex tossed the rucksack back into the cargo plane. “Wallet,” demanded Alex as he stretched out his hand, impatiently motioning for Breaker to give it to him.
Not wanting to mess up anything else, Breaker clumsily took his wallet out of his pocket. Before Breaker could hand it over to Alex, Alex snatched it out of his hands. Alex pocketed the forty dollars in cash then flung the wallet after the rucksack through the doors of the cargo plane. Before Breaker could say anything, Alex was back in the driver’s seat and shifted the Humvee into gear. Breaker scrambled back into the passenger seat.
“Breaker, I know the general has a soft spot for you, for some reason. Otherwise, you’d be long gone. Just try and stay out of the way. If the general asks you to coordinate a dinner between him and the Norwegian Government, let me double check whatever you do before you send it out. We don’t want what happened with the Russians repeated.”
And there it was again. The mistake Alex would never let him forget. Breaker had known it wouldn’t be long before that incident was brought up. Breaker had been tasked with setting up a dinner where half of the Russian delegation arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the other half arrived rather confused in St. Petersburg, Florida. To be fair, Breaker did not think the Russians in Florida were all that upset. Obviously the event had been a disaster.
The Humvee drove away from civilization, which didn’t take long. They were barreling at a rather unsafe speed directly towards the mountains and a very particular glacier. Alex’s incessant complaining faded into the sounds of the rattling vehicle as Breaker sat mesmerized by the beauty of the sheer cliff and the approaching blue ice.
This was Breaker’s first time traveling in his short military career and the chance to visit sites like this was one of the main reasons he had enlisted. As soon the Humvee drew close, Breaker could make out a square tunnel cut into the glacial wall of ice. He couldn't imagine what type of tools could cut such a perfect tunnel and roadway. He had heard of hotels and buildings made out of ice, but to see it in person was incredible Alex didn’t slow down as they entered the tunnel and continued deeper into the glacier.
“I need to remind you that what you are about to see is to be kept strictly confidential. It was discovered during a search for two missing geologists,” said Alex.
The ice tunnel grew darker as they delved deeper into the glacier and soon the top lights and head lights were on. After a few minutes of driving, a light became visible ahead. They were approaching their destination.
“What’s the light?” questioned Breaker.
“It’s our work camp. This tunnel we’re driving in didn’t exist forty eight hours ago,” said Alex, not showing any surprise that Breaker had missed the first major clue that something wasn’t right.
“You cut it?” questioned Breaker.
“No, Breaker, nothing we know of can cut miles into the ice in hours,” said Alex.
Breaker looked out at the perfect ice walls. Whatever had cut them had done it very precisely. Once again he felt like an idiot in front of Alex. Alex drove into the well-lit opening and into what appeared to be an ancient city. It was carved into the side of a rock mountain buried miles under glacial ice. The city seemed perfectly preserved, with a collection of buildings surrounding a square of open ground. Breaker saw the general in a mobile command center. He looked young for a general. General McIntire was organizing scientists and soldiers as they brought samples and reports to him. Beside the table, looking as amazed as Breaker, sat two local Norwegian Forest Rangers.
McIntire smiled as Alex and Breaker got out. “Breaker, good to see you finally made it.” McIntire left someone with a rock sample and walked over to Breaker his hand outstretched. Breaker extended his own hand, but the General, instead of shaking Breaker’s hand reached up to his uniform name patch and tore it off. With a smile he pocketed the name badge. “Get a couple of plain uniforms without name badges when we get back.”
Breaker looked around, sure enough, no one else had a name printed on their uniform. “What do you think of this place?” asked McIntire.
Breaker looked at the ice ceiling hundreds of feet above them, illuminated by massive flood lights powered by droning diesel generators resting on the beds of trucks.
“It’s amazing. What is it?” questioned Breaker.
“Good question.” McIntire turned to his head scientist. “We found what they took,” McIntire said as he turned his attention to Alex.
Breaker was too caught up in his own thoughts to notice Alex and McIntire walking away and to the center of the square. They stopped at a shattered pillar, one of the only things in the city, that appeared destroyed. McIntire examined the remaining base of the pillar. McIntire and Alex were debating over its origins when Breaker tripped over some debris and joined them. Their eyes darted to Breaker who blurted out the first thing that came to his mind to cover his embarrassment, “There are over three million different varieties of seeds in the Seed Vault.”
Alex rolled his eyes, and McIntire nodded his head before both turned back to the hieroglyphic cut very precisely into the stone pillar. “It’s got to be a formula of some sort,” said Alex examining the pictures on the broken base.
“It’s not a formula,” interjected Breaker. Alex looked like an older sibling getting math homework advice from a little brother. “Take a look. This picture is a war,” said Breaker motioning toward a depiction of what now appeared to be soldiers. “It could be a history of whoever lived here,” said Breaker.
McIntire had given his full attention to Breaker. Since this was the first intelligent thing Breaker had said, he barreled on. “Over here they are celebrating the creation of something. It’s some sort of light, maybe even fire. But fire seems a silly thing for them to get excited about when they are etching rock with lasers. And fire doesn’t explain why the substance is hovering above the table,” said Breaker.
“Lasers?” questioned McIntire.
“Yeah, look at the angles and the dark portions of the grooves. Only lasers cut like this,” said Breaker.
“So how old is this place?” he questioned.
“There is no record of this city in modern history,” said McIntire.
Breaker felt the gravity of the situation begin to sink in. He was about to speak when he noticed an angry group of men in winter camouflage approaching them from vehicles at the entrance of the tunnel.
McIntire faced Breaker. “Breaker, I want you to go talk to those men and stall them as long as you can. Remember do not tell them your name or who you work with. I’ll have you out in six months tops,” smiled McIntire. The general grabbed his radio and calmly said, “That’s a wrap.”
Six months, was that a joke? It was all Breaker could think as the angry men approached him. Whatever they said next was a mystery to Breaker as he didn't speak Norwegian. Realizing he couldn't understand him they tried again.
“Who are you?” they questioned in thick accents.
Breaker knew he wasn’t allowed to answer that question. He was still trying to figure out what was going on as military personnel all around him loaded what they could into their Humvees and headed down the tunnel with incredible speed. He was out of ideas on how to stall so he responded, “Who are you?”
“I am Lieutenant Aagard of the Norwegian Army, who are you and what right do you have to be in our country?” questioned the angry man. His men were fruitlessly chasing after the last of McIntire’s retreating soldiers. Confused as he was, Breaker couldn’t help but be impressed at the hustle of McIntire’s soldiers. They had all made it out of the cave in record time. Unfortunately, Breaker was now being handcuffed by a very angry Norwegian.