Nick Boston seeks revenge for the murder of a good friend.
Barnes & Noble.com
Forever Is Gone
Los Angeles Black undercover Detective Nick Boston seeks revenge for the murder of a good friend and uncovers the theft of a computer chip that prints money. An assassin sent to recover the chip realizes Nick is only one-step behind him. Are the skills of an experienced assassin any match for Nick Boston?
Dr. Leo Gaskin stood and admired the Mathematics degree that hung on the wall of his Belgium Chateau. It was a reminder of his humble beginnings at the University of Moscow. His work at the University had hardly begun when shortly after his graduation he had been drafted to contribute to the Russian space program. His mathematical genius and speed at calculating complex, advanced math problems had been noticed by the Russian government. He had been very proud.
In addition to his pronounced acumen he had a creative slant that could be useful in advancing the space program. The artistic slant which he had worked so hard to suppress could now work to his advantage. Creative thinking could put his country far ahead of the nuts and bolts approach that had been taken by the Americans.
Conquering the boundaries of outer space was a challenge that was not going to go away for some time. One had to plan to take the lead in the race for space. Staying ahead would take creativity. All Leo would have to do is keep some of his more liberal thoughts to himself and he could have the career that all scientists dreamed of.
His contribution had been the formulation of the communication boards that became standard on all Russian space craft. The computerized communications retrieval components that he created where so advanced that they are in use today just as they were when he first designed them.
He’d left the space program early. It was not a personal choice. Dr. Leo Gaskin was replaced by a loyal set of political pawns that would take his country through the cold war. His skills were not factored into the new equation for the Republic. The lack of foresight of these young politicos made any further advances in the space program impossible. For still unspoken reasons Dr. Leo Gaskin had been removed from the space division and placed in the research program at the University. His monthly stipend was cut in half. His office was a little hole without even his name on the door. Even the journeymen scientist on staff at the University had their names on the door. His name was only listed in the index book at the guard’s desk. His confrontations with the Board of Regents became more and more frequent. Both his enemies and allies grew. “To win a war of minds you at least need someone who thinks.” He'd told friends.
With that said, Dr. Leo Gaskin had fled to Sweden. His genius had been used and quickly discarded by political higher ups. It had hurt with a pain that would never be eased. He was told by colleagues that he was considered by the State to now be under control, a beaten man, forced to work within the confines of the strict University guidelines. With the help of friends, who saw the uselessness of the governments attitude towards him his sudden and unannounced departure had gone smoothly and without incident.
Shortly after his arrival in Stockholm, an invitation from an unusual admirer had arrived. It allowed him access to a rich elite social circle. He enjoyed a constant round of parties and total acceptance. Wealthy financiers and rich intellectuals mingled with powerful politicians from various industrialized countries. The invitations arrived regularly. He accepted each and sought work, while living from his not so humble savings.
With one of the invitations came a retainer for his services as scientific consultant to The Atoll Research Organization. He did not hesitate to accept it. By now the invitation had been lost, but many of the events that would follow were lucid within his memory. Some of the things he now recalled brought chills to his mild demeanor but was now followed by a short burst of laughter. He had to laugh at himself for having become a part of a plan that could only have been conceived by a monster who was at best a mad man.
At one of the frequent social events his mysterious sponsor had finally introduced himself.
“Dr. Gaskin I presume. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Colonel Andre Rubikoff. I have followed your career and am an admirer of your work.”
The moment was still vivid in the mind of Dr. Gaskin. Those cold days in Stockholm had sealed an alliance with the devil. To be sure, the sparkling eyes and taught smile of Andre Rubikoff did little to conceal a cunning that Dr. Leo Gaskin immediately admired, and would grow to fear.
“Runners have to run, Musicians have to play and Scientist create. Do you not agree? His sponsor had said. Rubikoff continued, “Good scientist, have to create things that have never been seen or used before and will only exist for the betterment of mankind and the progress of science. Is this not correct Doctor?”
A more arrogant bastard he had never met, but the eyes. The powerful, cold, black, piercing eyes spoke of adventure. They spoke of discovery and fruition and freedom. In a split second Andre Rubikoff had created a path of revenge for Dr. Leo Gaskin.
Power consumed Mikal Barensky. The small Belgium pharmaceutical firm he’d inherited from his father was the perfect launching pad for his need to control. The Atoll research Organization, his creation, the perfect conduit for the expansion of his grand design. Complete control of the financial economy of Europe.
The daily manufacture and distribution of pharmaceuticals throughout his country had made him a very rich man but had become routine very quickly for Barensky. Having grown up in the business his father pioneered and the receipt of two degrees had only sharpened his business sense to the point where new conquests were now required. Where else could he find a better arena than world Politics than to acquire contacts for the expansion of his dream.
Being selected as Associate Executive Secretary for the European Council was like a gift from heaven for Mikal Barensky. His long term International business dealings were the reasons given for his quiet un-heralded selection but Mikal knew better. His un-stained reputation had been the primary consideration of the council. A council formed to pursue a once un-heard of idea. The issuance of one currency for the European continent. The time had come and the deal was finally set for the issuance of the currency.
No other time in history could have been better for the consolidation of seven countries through the issuance of a single form of exchange. The idea had been bought to the table back in 1980, ten years earlier and was flatly rejected. But this was a new council and everyone had agreed almost unanimously. The United Kingdom would not seat a representative but, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden and Hungary, had all seated delegates the conference.
A college friend who represented Italy mentioned Mikal for the position. He had quickly been approved.
The seed for his appointment like the formulation of the council itself had occurred at a large dinner banquet held in Stockholm by The Atoll Research Organization. Both Dr. Leo Gaskin and Andre Rubikoff had been in attendance.
Mikal arranged many such occasions to expand his organization. The fact that politicians gathered over cocktails and decided to advance their careers on the back of the clumsy, irritating, and vast variety of currency used throughout Europe, a currency that had become the butt of tavern jokes and an aggravation to both businessmen and foreign tourist alike was no surprise to Mikal.
These were men who made reality out of fantasy. Their personal fortunes or that of their families had come from just such gatherings. These men saw no obstacles. As long as financial gain was the cornerstone of their pursuits. The invigorating and challenging exchange of ideas and money among those who sought the most out of life, had seeded the fruits of success for Mikal.
The events also served as welcoming occasions for new recruits to his company. Mikal constantly sought people who could aide him in his ever expanding plan for power. He recruited disgruntled employees, government workers and scientist from all over the European continent and America, all of high aptitude and special capabilities, to expand his research programs and businesses. Many had defected from communist held countries and had quickly been recruited. The huge parties proved to be a seductive transition into a new world of power and financial security for all who were fortunate enough to gain attendance.
Mikal Barensky used his most valuable operative to present himself as an interested benefactor or sponsor to some of the more distinguished personnel that Mikal Barensky had his eye on for recruitment into his organization. That man was Andre Rubikoff. A distinguished looking, formidable man in size, he appeared cultured, refined. Rubikoff stated correctly that he was a descendant of Russian aristocracy. At exactly six feet his dark eyes, thick black hair and athletic build attracted people like a magnate. Recruited into the KGB at age twenty-one Andre Rubikoff had survived nearly eighteen years of service before relieving himself of the restraints of a financially unrewarding career. He'd then taken his hobby of tennis and achieved International ranking. After winning a number of doubles championships and acquiring commercial sponsors he accepted an invitation to play in Stockholm. Mikal Barensky had attended that match and made his acquaintance.
The demands for Andre Rubikoffs specialty on behalf of the KGB had become fewer but his reputation as a most efficient employee was wide spread and unmatched. He'd begun to free-lance, by hiring himself out to the highest bidder in need of his skills within the world of International commerce. Rubikoff was officially listed as retired by the government so the embarrassment of any rumors of defection had been avoided. His relationship with the former Soviet Union was listed as amicable his services officially of no further use. However his name was still used by the Governments propaganda machine and training schools as a symbol of transition. Making use of the fact that he was now living a life of leisure on the International tennis circuit Rubikoff was promoted within the remaining governmental organizations as a shinning example of what could be achieved through loyal and well done service.
“Remain loyal to your government and you too can have a beautiful retirement,” were typical phrases attached to news articles about Andres’ sporting achievements. This was important, since Andre had left the Soviet Union for an assignment in Stockholm and had never returned. Andre had chosen freedom and no one had said a word. For Andre Rubikoff had performed one service better than anyone else for his government, Murder. Suddenly he’d gone independent, severed all ties with the government and become an international Assassin for hire. The Soviet Bureau of Public Policy had used every resource it had, to make it appear that Andre had not gone Rogue in order to stop speculation that his talents would one day be used against them. It had worked to some extent but Rubikoffs’ reputation was deeply rooted to what was known as the old guard former military professionals who now held high ranking positions within the Politburo a policing arm of the reformed Soviet Republic. Andre Rubikoff was looked upon as a hero by those who did what he did. In private guarded circles of the business world he was considered a dangerous and renowned assassin and a specialist beyond comparison even among his peers.
During his service after the cold war he had gained notoriety through the elimination of terrorist leaders, who weren’t aligned with the appropriate powers. He enjoyed this dark notoriety that was covered by his International tennis ranking. He was on tour in Stockholm with his American doubles tennis partner when Mikal Barensky had approached him to represent the Atoll Organization. After an enthusiastic greeting, brief introductions, a short walk and a conversation that was sprinkled with secret background information on Rubikoff and an offer of a six-figure income including expenses and benefits Barensky had cooly said, “For a title shall we say, Supervisor of Sensitive Acquisitions?” Rubikoff had only smiled and accepted the position immediately. The job fit Rubikoff perfectly.
His assignments for Barensky were simply and expertly done, they included the elimination of those who rejected the secure and lucrative offer of joining The Atoll Research Organization and of those who appeared to pose a threat to its ongoing expansion. Rubikoff’s early association with The Organization also exposed his skills of diplomacy and cunning. Even a listing with Interpol, The FBI and all International crime agencies did not deter Barensky from entrusting him with the highest and most sensitive responsibilities pertaining to The Organization. There were other acquisition operatives, some women, but Andre had proved to be the most impressive.
Mikal liked to think that it was Rubikoffs’ dangerous background, and special skills acquired as a former government official, that had helped reduce any questions about his sudden appearance in the lives of potential employees. Surprisingly Atoll recruits felt safe around Andre. They even trusted him.
Usually the potential recruits were in desperate need of friendship and suddenly felt that this man and this organization had saved them from obscurity or worse. Most had accepted his offer of working for The Organization without hesitation or question. The Organizations timing was impeccable. Background investigations prior to approaching a potential employee were extensive and completely orchestrated by Andre. His presentation was always pleasant, enticing and charming to such an extent that hardly anyone refused. He seemed to share with a mere employee more than was thought necessary. Working for the Atoll Organization was an opportunity not to be passed up. Those who did not accept or proved a risk after having all their questions answered simply disappeared.
Because of his position as First Representative of The Atoll Organization, Andre continually refined his social skills. He became fluent in several languages. Rubikoff worked hard at loosing his coarse rural accent. Over time he had lost any resemblance or indication of ever having been a member of the old guard. But Andre Rubikoff never lost his affinity for his most beloved skill that of a professional Assassin.
For Dr. Leo Gaskin, the introductions at these gatherings had been many, but the people he met were all at such a low statue of the political and financial rings of power within The Organization that the only information he could gather for himself about his new realm of friends and fellow scientist was that, to some degree they were all very much dependent on a small group of associates or contacts all within The Organization.
Though Gaskin had noted the names and backgrounds of this elite new circle of friends with diligence, the opportunity of meeting with any one of them privately would never occur. He became more and more dependent on Andre Rubikoff for information on the inner workings of this well respected company that had acquired his services. Generally information about the Organization was not shared by anyone but Leo Gaskins had remained curious and over time Andre Rubikoff had made it clear that knowledge of the full extent of The Organizations various business associations would never reach Dr. Gaskin. “You will be allowed to work freely and undisturbed. Other than that, little else in the way of association with the other members of The Organization will be needed.” Rubikoff had told him. It was Rubikoff’s job to insure this, and he did it well.
“I have received direct orders from above that you are not to be disturbed and that any work assigned to you is not to be discussed with anyone.”
Dr. Leo Gaskin was now happy and content that he had finally decided not to abuse that firmly regulated privilege once it was revealed to him. His assignments for the Atoll Organization had taken him from a small apartment in Stockholm to a far from humble Chateau in Belgium which he could call his own. His rise to this secure position within the organization had been quick. He was now in semi-retirement until his services were needed again by The Organization. He remained on a small salary but was also paid a lucrative commission in monthly installments. It was payment for his proudest accomplishment the creation of The Omni.
One day during his research on data transfer of information contained in the computer banks of The Organization, Mikal Barensky himself appeared in Dr. Leo Gaskin’s lab. Gaskin had become very excited. It was obvious to him that any forth-coming request from Mikal would be of the utmost importance. As Mikal Barensky slowly approached him across the lab Gaskin’s mind raced considering all the possibilities. Anything specific would be a Godsend that would release him from the mundane task before him. Maybe Mikal had in mind a small guidance communications system for the Palestinian arm of The Organization? Or, an enhanced land mine detector, to be sold world wide? Maybe he would suggest a positive enhancement for the detection of gene structure? Something the biology group had been struggling with Gaskin thought. But when Barensky spoke Gaskin suddenly realized that the task that was being set before him was much more far reaching in effect than any temporary tools of war. Or a medical advancement that would be out of reach of the common man and harbored with the possibility of limited use by the general public for decades. What Mikal Barensky presented would affect the world, set a new standard of efficiency in European commerce and once again attract the attention of the most powerful minds in the world, and focus their attention once again on the continent of Europe.
At that time the focus of the scientific world was on the United States and the release of the home computer. The Internet had gained world wide attention and bought communications, along with immediate access to an unlimited amount of information to a new level worldwide. A PC was in every home and thanks to the American Bill Gates, businesses and individuals could now exchange millions of dollars in the stroke of a key.