It’s Streetonomics Stupid!     (A Novel)<br />Chapter 1.                ...
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It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
It's Streetonomics Stupid !
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It's Streetonomics Stupid !

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This is a novel being serialised and will be updated twice or thrice a week . Enjoy !

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It's Streetonomics Stupid !

  1. 1. It’s Streetonomics Stupid! (A Novel)<br />Chapter 1. The Whorl Page 1 to 29<br />Eddie Hammer was worried. He felt threatened. At stake was the World Championship title and much more. Protégé Steve Pernfors, the current world champion, was a fourth Dan with sixteen successful years of full contact black belt display. Steve had won the world crown twice. This Wednesday, he was to defend his title at the Sapphire Hall of Singapore’s national stadium against Aan Shi the young puritan of Taoist self defence. <br />What Eddie had heard about Aan Shi was disconcerting. The 19 year old youngster, was a boy of monumental patience. An artist who humbled his peers without much lethal violence. A true practitioner of “wushu” and a disciple of Sakiro Ono, he had blended the dance like movements of the tai chi with the speed and harmonised defence systems of Kungfu making him the invincible magic boy of the Asian circuit. <br />Steve Pernfors, Ray Nielsen and Mike Dresden the prize fighters of the world beating Swedish team, were in the midst of a brainstorming session with coach Eddie. <br />“Can be exasperating. Soaks whatever you hit him with.”<br />“Yep. One moment and you see him recoil, absorb the attack, and in a blink he stings like the praying mantis. Sharp and quick.”<br />“Precisely, that’s the old Wang Lang style. They simply wear you down ......and out.”<br />“ Can’t get past me. I’ll knock the stuffing out before he settles”<br />“You won’t ! Go through them....videos... Here ! ” he said chucking the discs across the room. “Other’s have done it and failed......again and again.” <br /> “We have to prise out the weak spot. Take a good look” said Ray Nielsen inserting one disc in the video player and settling down to watch the action. <br />The four watched in hushed silence for twenty minutes.<br />“There is none. See for yourself. No weaknesses that I can lay my fingers on. Six times I’ve gone through it with a toothcomb” continued Eddie “Other than the fact that he strikes so late”<br />“So what’s the game plan?”<br />“ Can we not angle our attack and push him to the ropes? Could you perhaps hustle him to a corner? Pace the aggression. In spurts. Don’t spend yourself till; the very end. Counter when he chooses to strike” replied the coach and the manager of the Swedish team, still deep in thought. <br /> Eddie looked out towards the portico, past the sprightly fountains that spouted against the refulgent stone murals and cascaded gently on to the lush green lawns. A pelican perching on the crazy tiled patch strained its neck and pecked at the flower bed. It fished out a robust centipede that had marched out of its burrow to enjoy the pleasant sunshine. Eddie squirmed uneasily. The worm quivered for a brief second and was then lost without a fight.<br /> ( continued....... Pg 2 )<br />A round faced white bearded Texan who had spent most of his twenty year career as a boxing coach and manager, Eddie had no inkling that it would be martial arts that would lead him to the pinnacle of his career. It was a chance meeting with billionaire Paul Reneberg, at his west coast ranch that had changed the course of his life. The rough edged Texan had stepped out of his boxed up four wheel drive and was staring into the distance. The sky looked unusually awesome. Schools of stealthy grey and silver clouds bled the heavens greying at the horizon, like an ominous outgrown comet that dipped into the sea, heralding a mulling tornado.<br />The road near the ranch was a mix of sand and gravel. It embraced the tyres of the Pajero, drawing them in till you could feel the wheels being swallowed. Eddie opened the gate, so that you could move in the vehicle under the porch. He remembered having left his father’s Buick out in the open one stormy night, many years ago. Next morning he and brother Ronnie had to spend hours removing the sand around the vehicle with shovels. <br />As a boy Eddie, a rebellious student, cared only for music and painting. His mother was a small time opera singer who had attained some fame and had also performed live with the hep Malaika band, as a stop gap for a fortnight. It had been a tumultuous fortnight in the life of the youngster. His father, a horticulturist, a farmer and a grain merchant all rolled in one thought it insane and weak to do just music and pictures. He enrolled his son in a boxing school just to ensure that Eddie did not go the artist way. Eddie smiled, accepted his father’s diktat with a twinkle in the eye.<br />The tall wiry lad had narrow hips that led to surprisingly slender legs. His stork like appearance was ridiculed by the well built studs who trained at the boxing school. Trainer Joey Samuel, however spotted his long reach and soon developed him into the most potential teenage boxing sensation of the state. Rigorous training and a high calorie diet saw the six foot four lad grow into a 220 pounds giant with thrusting shoulders and a barrel chest.<br />He quickly became the hottest property not only at the boxing school but also at the annual ball. The girls adored his giant frame, his muscular build, the powerful biceps and they hooked on to the jagged, bristly, well toned “Edible Eddie” as he was lovingly called. Showing off his muscles, the barrel chested lad would hold at an arms length the excited winsome lasses at the waist and swing them around like a giant spinning wheel.<br />The hunks at the boxing school could not gather why the girls piled on him, but ignored them. The magic was in his wry sense of humour and the rumbling baritone voice that came directly from his expansive chest. A bellow that could stop one in the tracks like his feared left hook, surprisingly angled in from the top.<br /> <br /> ( Contd :page 3 )<br />It was such small improvisations, the angles and the speed of punches that led Eddie to the top of the heap in the amateur boxing circuit. He, according to trainer Joey fought with his head more than with his fists. A thinking boxer who liked to keep the fights short, clinical and decisive. Somewhere in the third year as a boxer he took up martial arts to improve his reflexes, speed and guile. A training that proved invaluable to him in his later life. Never one for long drawn bouts, Eddie lacked in stamina and staying power as he never trained too hard.<br />There was life beyond the ring, and Eddie could never detach himself from the piano or the paintbrush. These brought back fond memories of his mother along with the enduring fragrance of flowers and cakes that filled his home during his childhood days.<br />Up at the crack of the dawn Eddie would go to his first floor studio and work on the canvas for about an hour. At times he’d descend the spiral wooden staircase to the sea facing lounge to improvise on the piano. The soft music mingling with the lush wash of the sounds of waves and the gentle rippling breeze that cannoned of the rocks at the northern end. Some were amazed at the skills of the boxer painter . “I do not see any contradictions” countered Eddie to his ringside fans. “Both are art forms and you require a lot of practice, the right strokes, and the punches, to make a mark.” <br />* * * *<br />Billionaire Paul Reneberg was looking toward the quaint grey spout that rose from the middle of the sea. He had been driven by a southward gale and a school of rare Alaskan sea-otters out into the sea. Gorging on urchins, abalones and crabs in a frenzy, the quixotic bushy moustachioed mammals flipped from side to side, screaming over the waves in delight. Paul had followed them out into the sea, his Nikon wide angle fish eye lens stuck patiently to the board. Bent over double he tried to steady the camera for clean shots, missing the grip of the Hasselblad 500 series that he had grown up with.<br />Otters at play fascinated Paul. The young otter pups were never bored of bumping into one another, playing dodgem between sporadic foraging dives to the sea floor. They used quaint handy tools from shapely stones to crack open the shell fishes found at the sea-bed. An adult male floating lazily on its back used its bobbing torso as a serving dish, storing shell fish and manila clams, cracking them open effortlessly. Whiskers moving, it chomped away in a engaging style form. A great exhibition, that engrossed an animated Paul as he completed his star’s photo shoot from diverse angles. <br /> <br /> (Contd....Pg 4) <br /> <br /> <br />Paul Reneberg himself was a natural stylist. Nothing appealed to him more than an exhilarating presentation and high quality showmanship. A suave exhibitionist, he was known for his lavish parties at his Chateaus’ on the Swiss Alps whose opulence and ornate splendour, left the community of oil tycoons, at Zug astounded. A low profile canton compared to Zurich, Geneva or even the Vaud, Zug had the lowest tax rates and the strictest banking privacy laws in Switzerland. That had attracted over two hundred oil trading companies and half a dozen oil billionaires in its small community of 100,000 residents. It had also attracted Marc Rich, the fugitive offender and kingpin of oil for food scams in Western Africa, infamously pardoned by Bill Clinton from tax related crimes in the US , during his last days at the Oval office. <br />Reneberg’s expensive predilections and his delicate sensibilities, made him a connoisseur of art and one of the biggest buyers in Europe of antique and contemporary sculptures. Paintings, photographs and murals. Besides Paul himself was a very talented photographer whose extraordinary use of the fading sunlight, endowed his subjects with a texture and appearance of ethereal beauty. Reneberg’s photo exhibitions had received rave reviews from many a hardnosed editors and cynical critics in the last few years, and he was readying his exhibits for a show at the Natur-Museum Luzern.<br />The vibrant explosion of twilight colours had snared Paul Reneberg. He had been lost in a fascinating world of colour mix and camera angles oblivious of the rapidly deteriorating weather. The otters suddenly disappeared, and Paul realised that the waves were gaining height. They tossed up his fragile gold and brown yacht devoid of power almost at will. A mean grey cloud like an inverted cone rose from the turbulent waters moving south east. It lifted the rumbling green seas, hostile and blustering, the mammoth waves crashing on the outboard to break up in mighty sprays. The wind whooshed and swirled and Paul noticed that it had changed direction. He was almost leeward into the gale and made little progress. <br />Paul himself was no mean boatman. He quickly pouched the Nikon in a waterproof canvas rucksack and yanked it below the protection of his safety gear. A colossal column of water rushed towards him. Thrashing a mighty spray. Blowing off a bewildered Paul off his feet before he could raise the hood. He found to his amazement that the fibreglass boat stood the water hammer. The rumbustious waters were tossing the puny craft around mercilessly. The next wave could crack open the hull or spin it skywards if he faced it full on. <br />He quickly cranked on the powerful Honda outboard engine and tried to turn the yacht windward. The boat exploded into life. It swung around like an untamed stallion bucking its bewildered rider. A curling wave encompassed the tiny craft and turned it a full circle almost back to the position it was originally. The canvas hood ripped in shreds and flustered like frayed raffia, caught in the furious fandango of a raging tempest. <br /> <br /> (Contd. ......Pg 5)<br /> <br /> Paul clung on to the steering column, trying to steady the tiny vessel. The engine roared above the waves but made no headway. It rode a giant wave and circled along the ridge. Atop a moving crest, in a frenzy. He looked at the bottomless sea to his left. It was an abysmal gorge, almost scooping out the bottom of the surly black sea bed<br />Paul quickly grasped the problem, reacted with alacrity. He threw his body weight on the steering rod, trying to turn the wheel towards the right. He knew he had to break away from the pirouetting waters. The mammoth wave was gaining speed by the minute. He must eject himself while still atop the crest. It was now or never. He leveraged himself from the side and gave it one might heave throwing all his 160 pounds frame behind the effort. The steering rod went limp in his hand, the ratchet unable to bear the load. The tiny craft kept whizzing with the spiral wave. Reneberg shuddered involuntarily. It was only matter of time that he would be dismounted from the summit. Sucked into the fathomless depths of the hungry maelstrom. <br />Not a person to leave things to fate Reneberg decided to abandon the yacht. Without shifting his body weight he fully stretched his left hand and brought out the safety jacket. He strapped on the gear, slipped his arms in place and inflated it before capping the nozzle. Then he studied the whorl, now moving towards the sandy beaches on the east. His eyes gleamed as he saw a feeble chance of miraculously riding the storm. Of being carried by the waves and being thrown ashore. He realised instantly that the thought was foolhardy. The tidal wave was already veering off the coast. Crazily spiralling. Venting angry spouts of vapour towards the sombre rumbling sky. He knew his best chance lay in jumping away from the vortex. He could be ejected....thrown outwards by the force of the water.....perhaps knocked ashore. He pondered over his decision, calculating the angle and timing of entry for a precious twenty seconds. Should he or should he not jump off the craft now ?<br />When he finally chose to jump, the whorl had narrowed. He had positioned himself for the moment. Then timing it with the peaking of an oncoming wave, he leapt in an effort to move further away. The boat quivered under the thrust. Reneberg faltered. He found the drag too powerful to overcome. Instead of launching outwards, billionaire Paul Reneberg and his yacht were hauled into the vortex of the raving whirlpool. The fading sun dipped below the greying horizon. <br /> ( Contd. ...... Pg 6.) <br /> The deafening swoosh of vacuum accompanied Paul Reneberg in his journey to the bottom of the seas. He did not know when his eternal voyage would end and when he would be smashed against the rocks. Perhaps he would lie stuck into the soft loamy clay at the seabed enmeshed by seaweeds and planktons, alive but unable to surface and refill his lungs. He felt pressure against his chest, where the safety jacket held. His lungs were bursting. The limbs slowly going numb. The vision now appeared blurred. His judgement clouded. He was fast losing hope. Seconds later he resigned himself to fate and the dark depths of the Pacific that was pulling him to his watery grave. <br />Paul did not realise where and how his downward journey ended. He did not understand how he was miraculously thrown up skywards, by a cross wave that started somewhere at the bottom of the sea . Rising from the mouth of an angry hot water geyser, it had travelled many a mile at first mingling with the typhoon and then spinning past it as it gained momentum by the minute. Perhaps the warmth of its source had created a strong current that flowed around and across the aqueous spiral. It had the energy and the tremendous throw that outlived its heavier cousins and rose like a phoenix to pull him out of the downward vortex. A hundred feet into the blue sky above . The bird like journey atop the waves was brief and hazy as Paul lost consciousness, almost immediately. <br />Twenty minutes later a devastated, senseless and battered Paul Reneberg was washed up at the ranch of Eddie Hammer.<br /> ===============<br /> <br /> ( Contd..... Pg 7 )<br /> Chapter 2 The Globe Sierra <br /> The night sky was buzzing. Huge video projectors were creating laser graphics of the magical and seductive Ela Bubolezi. Hundreds of joggers, pedestrians, cab drivers and street vendors gaped at the sky......the residents of the doughty skyscrapers at the black waters of the Hudson. Throughout Manhattan and Broadway. From Battery Park to Tarrytown.<br />This sure was the entertainment street. A million watts of music and Ela Bubolezi in the air. The entire street, all thirty miles of it, drenched in fun, gaiety, music, dance and eroticism. Ela Bubolezi was the queen of desire. Her sensuality matched her witticism. Her raunchy sense of drama punctuated by repartee ensured that the halls were packed to the brim. Her entourage had six scantily clad black male dancers and ten voluptuous milk white blondes who complemented her suggestive nuances, allusive playacting and ribald humour. <br />Ela was a hit even without the hard sell of high-tech imagery on the skies, or the psychedelic promotional display on the North river. For she was the queen of ribaldry, and nothing sold better than sleaze. The laser imagery merely added to the Bubolezi aura. It also left an indelible impression of grandeur , created successfully by Unistar World Promotions, the agency that broke the clutter of hundreds of sleaze shows in downtown New York each winter. <br />The lascivious Nigerian beauty queen turned belly dancer was on the last leg of her North American tour. She had come to the East coast for a two week show, but the city took to her instantly. As the greenbacks rolled in, the weeks turned into months and Ela’s show backed up by Reneberg’s high tech promotions became the landmark of Broadway showbiz calendar. Inside the packed theatre, the spectacular show was nearing its end. The last trance dance was a Bubolezi solo. An ancient form of a ritualistic offering, in which a black mamba seduces a virgin, as she drinks the neurotoxic venom from its fangs and transforms herself into his mate. <br />The dancer gyrated and wriggled in her skimpy black top that shook to the rhythm of the drums. Her svelte silhouette moved fascinatingly beneath the cream lace ribbons. They strained and struggled to hold the layered muslin to the vibrant body. The reptile’s silver frame glided effortlessly between the ribbons moving into the depth of the pulsating cleavage as the audience shuddered in awe and anticipation. For a moment it had disappeared, as if the mamba had found a nest. Then baring its fangs from a gaping black mouth it turned and moved upwards along the slender neck of the woman in trance. Spreading her legs wide, she spun her torso in fast moving circles, lowering her self to the stage. Her mouth open in anticipation, she whistled softly as her head bent forward to meet the slithering black mamba, enacting a deathly embrace with the venomous serpent, never to rise again. <br /> ( Contd...... Pg 8)<br /> As the thunderous applause drowned the ‘Globe Sierra’ the reptile crept unnoticed from under the sprawling frame of Ela Bubolezi. The assassin, a tall and elegant woman in a Chanel suit and a fashionable veil stepped from behind the gathering of the stage curtains. Climbed quickly but unhurriedly down the steps, and moved discreetly towards the exit of the packed hall. <br />“Here she comes” whispered Gigi who was watching the woman intently. “Give cover”<br />Patricia, a blue eyed blond and the dark heavily built Sri Lankan Kumara shot off one behind the other. They were assigned the duty of ensuring the assassins’ safety without letting her feel the need to fire a additional shot. As they moved in to cover her from the flanks the assassin Natalie Shevchenko, a onetime sharpshooter for fugitive Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, strode calmly towards the oval exit. Patricia erred. She stepped a shade swiftly from behind the drapes and alerted Natalie. Kumara followed unobtrusively behind her at a distance without raising further alarm.<br /> As she rapidly descended the steps Natalie dropped her hand into a huge buck skin leather bag and got out the reserve Chinese hummingbird pistol, which she held at the waist level. She was not aware sure if Patricia was a plain clothes security officer or a support staff to help her get away. One false move and the blonde would get it in the gut. Feigning to pick up a deliberately dropped tissue, she stalled for a split second, waiting for the blond to turn into the street. <br />A silver grey Bugatti Veyron that was leisurely cruising towards the entrance of the Globe, navigated through a closed loop active member GPRS network, swung towards the kerb. Patricia noticed it come, and turned away knowing that she could not wait and watch with the CC TV’s recording every split second of the movements at the Sierra. She was aware that Kumara was following up and would take care should anything go wrong at the last minute.<br />Satisfied that the blonde had turned away, Natalie pirouetted around. The chauffeur Ruskin slammed on the breaks and the door flew open in unison as she took two quick steps and flung herself in. Her eyes and mind still focussed on the flashing street behind her, as the Bugatti revved up in seconds. Just keeping below the speed limit, Ruskin pushed the mean machine behind the stream of cars flashing past Manhattan’s glitzy show street. As the car picked up speed Ruskin drawled.... “something wrong missy ..... rare to see nerves ... from the cool un...” Seeing her smile weakly he flashed out a packet of gum and passed it to her .... “real nerve soother .... takes your mind away “ he added before roaring off towards the Riverside Park.<br /> <br /><ul><li>* * * </li></ul> ( Contd......Pg 9 )<br />A young stage assistant in a deep blue tunic and cream vest ran softly across the stage to help Ela. She had been assigned the duty to manage the on stage issues and malfunctions. As the minute hand crawled she noticed that the star was taking an extraordinarily long time to rise from the squatting position. She was motionless with her head resting on the stage. The thunderous applause had taken a long time to peter off and finally die down. Perhaps waiting for the star to rise. Say adieu with a dramatic gesture of thanks. Waiting in anticipation for her to acknowledge the cheers and adulation of the enthralled audience. <br />After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity, the stage hand had decided to finally check out. Perhaps the star had collapsed due to stress, or low blood pressure, or even suffered a temporary blank out or a mild heart attack. She tried to lift her softly but found her go limp and heavy. The 7.62 mm high velocity high penetration bullet of the Belgian handgun had created tiny and lethal holes. Leaving a trickle of blood that mingled with the glistening rosewood stage. <br />As she looked around for help, she found few medics carrying a stretcher approach her. They lifted the torso freeing her hand that appeared wet and coloured. Staring at the blood on her stained palm Melissa Brown let out a soft muffled cry. Then she struggled momentarily before the anaesthesia in the gloved hand that stifled her took effect. Within seconds she was dragged by one of the medical assistants behind the stage curtains, as the others put the super star on the stretcher.<br />Gigi’s storm trooper’s had already taken charge of the stage. The stage hand Melissa who was knocked unconscious by the chloroform was locked in one of the dressing rooms before the stretcher boys departed with Ela, her secretary in tow. Everyone in the super-star’s contingent had sensed the urgency to rush her to the hospital. Nobody knew why. So no questions were asked. The medics appeared to know their job and their presence was re-assuring as Ela’s personal physician and trainer was nowhere to be seen. Besides Rachel who was talking to the doctors would know best, and was preparing to leave with the waiting ambulance. <br />Before the crowd could get curious about the happenings on the stage, Gigi and Terence hurled the smoke bombs. There was instant chaos and panic. Within seconds more smoke bombs were detonated within the crowd. Women, men and children rushed towards the oval exit as the handful of security men at the Globe Sierra took guard apprehending a terrorist attack. Two emergency gates were quickly unlocked helping the surging crowd to move without causing a stampede. Everyone was in panic quickly trying to get away from the scene. All except Inspector David Talbot, a detective officer of “Nexus” a special contingent of the crime branch of the New York Police, who was almost hurdling over the high chairs, moving towards the stage.<br /> ( Contd....Pg 10)<br />Down under, a few hundred feet below Broadway, under the clay, sand and gravel and the Pleistocene boulders lie a multilayered subterranean network of electric, phone, gas, steam, water and sewer lines. At levels below the brightly lit subway platforms and a layer of newly laid concrete road meant for high speed intercity buses and heavy duty trucks, weave the service lanes to support the city’s infrastructure. A few million people and thousands of tonnes of goods and garbage moves through these express tunnels daily.<br />Just below Little Italy, blocks away from the Williamsburg bridge, a mile off the East River, an empty concrete tunnel heads off from the express way at a tangent towards Brooklyn. Originally designed as one of the numerous service tunnels, that would allow the infrastructure servicing north of the it was abandoned soon after it was made ready. During the construction nearly a century ago this patch from Pearl Street to just below the Canal street had given a testing time to the engineers. <br />When the excavation work was proceeding at a great pace and the complex loop under the City Hall park and the Brooklyn bridge station got complete ahead of schedule, this small leg held up the progress for months together. This because of the presence of an underground swamp possibly fed by multiple porosities in the glacial rock that originated a 100,000 years ago. These porosities were fed by a large and continuous source of water, possibly from the Wallabout bay .<br />Though the engineers had dredged and pumped the swamp area repeatedly, weeping cracks surfaced intermittently from the surrounding rock. To avoid further swamping the contractors poured cement plaster with bonding glue even on the glacial rock faces that appeared moist surrounding the swamp. The already delayed structural work then proceeded at a furious pace to catch up with the construction at the adjacent blocks.<br />In the unusually wet Spring of 1903 an inspection team on a routine check up of the concreting work found large moist patches in one of the overhead sections. The repairs were done almost instantly and the area was demarcated to be kept under observation by the inspection team for a repeat check to be done a month later. When the engineers re-inspected the roof and the walls a month later they discovered a new problem.<br /> It was not only the moisture that was re-appearing in several spots. The surface too was laced with a web of ruptures. Crevices on a wall teeming with bacteria, algae, fungi and plant life that refused to go away, and sent searching roots through the cement concrete. After many rounds of meetings and inspection of the tunnelling work by the experts and maintenance staff , the railroad engineers decided to abandon the service way and go for an alternate route. The disused tunnel veered off in a curve and came to a dead end sealed by a rusty shutter. <br /> ( Contd.... Pg 11 ) <br />David catapulted, swung and pushed through the teeming masses making a beeline for the exit. He knew seconds were vital. He had gauged that the smoke bombs were only a ploy. An effort to divert attention. He had sensed that Ela was possibly injured. Or perhaps just knocked senseless by the kidnappers. The medics were preparing to leave the stage with motionless Ela and a frantic Rachel in toe. Desperate to stop them he stopped and took a long shot with his service revolver, realising almost immediately that he would be at least 10 feet short. He cursed himself for having lost precious seconds in the process. He realised that he must change track to hit the exit gate where his bike was parked. The kidnappers would have left before he hit the stage.<br />The NYC sleuth knew he had lost his chase. The milling crowd had let the kidnappers escape unchallenged. “Wait !” he said aloud, stopped in his tracks. Then taking out his Apple mobile control centre “Appolice” he alerted the nearest police picket to watch out for an possible ambulance leaving the rear gate of the theatre. The GPRS set to take in the input data, he fed the location and the approximate timing of departure with remarkable accuracy. He knew within seconds the red alert would be radioed through the state. Every ambulance in the periphery would be zeroed in, pursued and hunted down. With modern technology at their fingertips, they no longer needed to personally chase down every criminal, as a standby team was always on call.<br />The ‘Appolice’ was an unique and marvellous tool in the hands of NYC law enforcing authorities. It was now possible to track any movement from any given location by historically co-ordinating all street view cameras with the user mobile phone location tool. The tracker tool fed with the location and the time inputs , linked all the street view images fed through a central processing unit in a time frame of just under 12 seconds. <br />Thereafter an ‘escalated response level’ would lead to a human intervention, where sleuths from ‘Nexus’ would pour over the hundreds of layers of images arriving at a breathtaking pace frame by frame. They would identify the possibly offending person or vehicle to be tracked. It had been scientifically found that the human identification capability was better with still frame images than with moving videos, a reason why the digital reprocess was usually used to break up the street view video images into multiple static frames for the ‘Appolice’ apps. <br /> This would be the only manual and time consuming part of the ‘Appolice’ street tracker apps. A function that still had no automated equivalent. Not knowing the type of vehicle that was used in the getaway did not help. Nor the number of medics or their exact exit route. A quick scan of the Globe Sierra architectural records showed there could be two possible exits from the rear . There was a gate on the extreme left behind the stage, usually guarded with two manned sentries round the clock and used for bringing in heavy stage equipment on to the theatre. There was also a ramp leading to the three tiered basement parking lot besides two lifts one for goods and other for passengers that could have been used by the fleeing kidnappers. <br /> (..... contd. Page 12)<br />It took all of a precious 8 minutes for the team at Nexus to identify the getaway vehicle. They had ultimately to fall back on David. He spoke to the sentries at the rear exit to find out what had happened when the men in white had left the theatre. It so transpired that the men, six of them had come in two sky grey Toyota Sequoia SUV’s. They carried three unusually big bags, with electrical equipment and a control panel but nobody had noticed any one wearing white. Four of them had entered the premises around an hour and a half ago. An entry permit with all the details was available with the Guards. The reason stated was to attend to an electrical fault in the stage lighting equipment in Bay 5. They had left just at the time David said they did, the only people who did so from the rear exit gate in the last half hour. Splitting in 2 groups they clambered into the waiting SUV’s. Then drove away, but in opposite directions. <br />After David collected the information and relayed the same to the Nexus team, it was fed to the “Appolice Tracker”. The program had now the additional work of tracking two vehicles instead of one. The maze of traffic at Broadway during peak hours did not do too much to help. The hunk was quite a popular vehicle with the city folks. It showed up 86 times in location searches in the past quarter hour. It seemed that this patch of the road had been exceptionally busy, with 39 of the SUV’s moving downtown. Nonetheless the red alert went out and the city cops were alerted to check for any suspicious vehicle .<br />David himself merged with the oncoming traffic and moved towards Wall Street . For he had an hunch that the kidnappers would have moved, that way. The guards had said that the men had put the biggest of the bags in the vehicle which had moved out to head South West on Broadway.. That bag was being carried by two men, both when they had come in and during the exit. The other two bags were smaller put in the second vehicle. The vehicle in all probability a dummy, had departed only after a good two minutes. <br />The pursuit was in vain. Both the vehicles had turned off Broadway, at the first opportunity. The first one into Wall Street and the next towards the Liberty Street converging approximately at the same time near the Chase Bank. From that point they followed each other past the Gild Hall and Lenny’s turning again towards Chinatown. A little beyond Little Italy near the Lower East Side the road forked into what was a gravel track just wide enough for a single vehicle to jaunt to a rusty barn and a nursery beyond. The convoy moved off the road and travelled a distance of around 40 feet before disappearing beyond a grove of chestnut trees enmeshed in scarlet creepers and weeping willows. It had been less than ten minutes since they had left the Globe, possibly long before the Appolice Tracker could have zeroed on to their movements. <br /> (contd...Page 13) <br />Under a canopy of magnolia and fern that seemed to stretch seamlessly to a nearby cluster of chestnut and giant redwood trees, the Sequoias came to a halt. The fern was so tightly knit and thick at the top that at most places the sunlight could not enter. At places where it could they spread an ethereal glow. They sequestered the diminutive rays and shadows mesmerizing the onlooker with a myriad of patterns. The brown and pink hued dramatic saucers cast their aura, bursting through the harmony of the green aerial carpet. The beauty and serenity of the surroundings, just a few blocks away from the bustling city made the ‘Riverside farms’ a prime private property in the heart of New York city.<br /> The men disembarked and entered the apparently worn out and weather-beaten wooden barn enmeshed by the creepers and the ferns that gave it a disused antiquated look. The entry to the barn was through a narrow passage where the men followed each other single file. A non-descript entrance at the rear led to a lounge with glistening interiors and a heritage look .Polished chestnut floors and 18th century log cabin walls. It opened into several large rooms that included an apparently well stocked bar, a billiards room, a gym, a huge classical ball room for a hundred people and several rest rooms for guests. <br />Leaving the men behind at the lounge, Gigi and Kumara went back to the vehicle and retrieved the large bag. It seemed to have grown heavier than before as they carried it to the dark and dusty wine cellar at the extreme right of the barn. Kumara started removing the wine barrels creating a passage to the end of the room adjacent to the external wall. As he moved the last barrel in the row, they could faintly see the form of a wooden shutter emerge on the floor. The dirt and dust on the floor almost made it impossible to distinguish the trap door. Gigi’s practiced eye however picked up the contours as Kumara flashed the powerful torch on the area. <br />The wooden door had not been opened for several months if not years. The floor was greasy, probably the effect enhanced due to spill from a leaking barrel. Kumara had to drive a wedge all around the door to free it from the sticky gooey paste that held back the shutter which refused to budge. Then he used a hammer to free the board before wedging it up using a crowbar. It took them the better of a quarter hour to free the jammed shutter that led to the shaft and both of them heaved a sigh of relief when it suddenly lifted nearly throwing Kumar off balance. When it finally lifted, all they could see was darkness, an endless hole that outpaced the powerful beam of the torch that was known to span nearly forty feet. <br /> (contd....page 14)<br />“I told you” said Gigi “It’s deep as the hells hole”<br />“Yep” replied Kumara grinning......”just checking how deep that would be.”<br />Quickly he went across the room to where they had left the big black bag. He unzipped an outer pocket and took out the two bundles of nylon ropes. Tying their ends in reef knots he joined the two. Then doubling the rope around a torsteel bar he knotted it once again. He now placed the bar across the opening, between two floor clamps that he quickly screwed in the wooden floor. Lifting the heavy nylon coils one after another he let loose the two bundles, from either side of the rod, so that the ropes hung loosely, all of 150 feet each into the darkness beyond. <br /> <br />Taking out a set of auto claspers from the bag Gigi fixed them to the two ropes one by one after checking the lever ratchet system. Then fixed the miner’s torch atop her helmet she checked her rucksack before she lowered herself into the pit with her feet firmly on the footboard clamp. She felt the baton move smoothly for the short distance of 5 feet before the ratchet locked itself in position. Now she was in the classical standing position with the two claspers 5 feet apart one supporting the feet and one giving the hand grip. All she had to do now is keep pressing the levers of both the footboard and the handgrip every five feet to free the ratchets. Before she knew, she had dropped all of 130 feet to the base of the musty tunnel. Gigi thanked her stars that the tunnel was dry and not slushy and wet, as warned <br />Kumara had by now dragged the heavy bag near the hole. On receiving a whistled signal from Gigi he fastened the rings to the ropes and lowered the bag into the hole. Slowly he placed it in position pulling back the weight with all his strength till it was loose and he was sure that it could continue its free fall safely. Then he let go the bag. Seconds later he felt thud of the bag as it touched the ground. He checked one last time that everything was in order and the cellar door bolted from inside. Surely they did not need a surprise visitor at this point of time. <br />After Kumara joined Gigi at the bottom, they walked half a mile through the tunnel moving north east. The smell of dampness and fungal growth came through the walls as their torch lights picked up occasional dampness in the walls. As the tunnel started curving east the wetness increased and the occasional dripping of drops of water could be heard. Further ahead they saw the walls going green with moss and algae and the floor holding little pools of water making further movement difficult. They were aware that the seepage would be greater further ahead, that had possibly caused this tunnel to be abandoned and sealed from the trunk routes over a hundred years ago. <br />Lowering the bag Kumara lit a cigarette, as Gigi squatted on a nearby stone resting herself after the long haul. Soon they unzipped the bag and pulled out the remains of the corpse that had been stuffed hastily in the bag before they left the Globe. Ela Bubolezi was undressed, her jewellery and dentures removed, before she was burnt with compressed oxygen and gasoline. Within half an hour, her mortal remains a fine dust of carbon particles was thrown into the pool of water where the floating algae would soon cover up the traces of the crime that had now turned into ash. <br /> ( contd Page 15)<br />The Bugatti Veyron glided like silverfish through the New York traffic. Within minutes it would drive into the belly of a massive blue back helicopter at the Riverside Park, a few blocks away from the Globe. Almost as soon as Natalie closed her eyes to get some much needed rest, Ruskin had to prod her awake. She was amazed how quickly they had reached their destination, for the journey to the Globe had been long and circuitous as they had to weave through the city in heavy rush hour traffic from Stony Brook where the boat had left them. <br />She disembarked quickly under the droopy blades of the massive Russian built commercial helicopter SuperSilo 34 and watched Ruskin ramp up the sports car into the huge wide bodied monster. An offshoot from the famous Russian military transport helicopters Mi 26 lineage the SuperSilo would usually carry geological or medical equipment over rough terrain and had the capacity of a C 130 Transport plane. The four rows of seating could house 40 people leaving space in the rear body for 18 Tonnes of equipment enough to house two medium sized dumper trucks. <br />Within the next few minutes the loopy blades had started whizzing, driving power from the immense draft they created. Inside a crackling sound followed after the giant LCD screen switched on display. A technician set up the video conferencing through an unmonitored Eurosat Satellite of British Origin. A waitress served a shot of Tequila and Bloody Mary to Natalie and Ruskin as they geared up to face the cameras and report to the bosses. <br /> <br />The helicopter rose to the skies listing a little as the noise subsided and the voices from the sound box came in loud and clear. A three member team from different locations appeared on the multi panel screen. After they had listened to the briefings of the two, they asked a few questions chiefly to ascertain whether they had been intercepted or followed at any point of time. The questions were nearly repetitive but covered three different aspects, one doing a time logging of the operation, the other cross-checking on whether any vehicle or human could be following them and the third merely checking whether there was any deviation of the operation from the original plan. <br />Natalie could recognise only one of the three members, Helga Zimmerman. She was a ex-pat possibly half German and half Russian educated in Bonn before she migrated to Kiev just before the Orange revolution. One of the prominent second rung leaders in charge of field operations she had been a deputy minister of energy and a youth leader of the Batkivshchina, the Fatherland party of Ukraine opposition leader and ex-prime minister, the feisty and glamorous Yulia Tymoshenko. <br /> ( Contd ...Page 16)<br />Helga was a popular figure in both political and social circles of Europe. Exotically beautiful with a light tanned skin and a tangle of tiny wild curls, Helga was a tall hazel eyed blonde with a full sensual smile and the body of a dream athlete. Her stomach was flat and firm, her breasts upright, arms and shoulders lightly muscled. Over the years she had developed a gymnasts torso and rock hard thighs due to her daily runs with her bunch of Caucasian mountain dogs. After a 20 mile jog, she and the dogs usually relaxed with a swim in the calm and placid waters of the freezing Desna . <br />Helga was also a heiress of Zimmerman Enterprises one of the biggest conglomerates in the Oil and Gas trade in Europe. Helga’s parents had separated years ago, more due to commercial motives. While Nick Zimmerman managed the global business from Switzerland his wife Tatyana Lazarenko Zimmerman was the second in command of the Fatherland party. The billion dollar deals that Zimmerman Enterprises had with Government of Ukraine for supply of Gas to West Germany’s industries would have all fallen through due to conflict of interests had the two remained married.<br />Fiercely independent and strong willed Helga had decided to stay away from both parents and study at the Schule Schloss Salem boarding school in Southern Germany. There she grew up in an environment that prepared her both physically as well as academically for a tough and exciting life ahead. Her love for horses and dogs came from the environment at school as did her lifelong friendship with her mother whom she seldom met, while at the boarding. It was only during the occasional trips to the Carpathian mountain resorts that she met her mother.<br />Mother and daughter both loved competing, racing down the ice laden ski slopes or galloping over the barren wilderness on Chechen or Kazak horses. They also loved listening quietly to music as the fir trees whistled under the lashing winter storms in their standalone hilltop villa. Even though they did not meet often Helga enjoyed the holidays she spent with her mother and often cherished those precious moments even after she returned to the boarding school. The two women developed a healthy respect and bondage, an affection and a growing admiration for each other, more like companions, than like a mother and child. By the time Helga reached her graduate school, she made up her mind to migrate to Ukraine after her studies. She wanted to spend the rest of her life in Ukraine, helping the older woman achieve her dreams and the pinnacle of a glorious political career. Perhaps it was the intoxicating scent of power and control that lured Helga to the tumultuous political landscape of Central Asia. <br /> (Contd : Page 17 )<br />The land north of Kiev, south of the border with Belarus was rich and fertile. Virgin groves of pine, birch and fir trees lined the naturally forested mountain slopes. Countless mountain streams flowed from the cliffs, running into rivulets. Few merged to flow into the numerous rivers from that fed the vast Ukrainian plains from the heights of the Carpathian range. The black loamy alluvial soil that had flanked the river beds for centuries made this region rich and fertile. It was known as the bread basket of Central Asia. This was where Nicholas and Tatyana Zimmerman had built their sprawling estates, a few years after the separation from Russian Federation. <br />Soon after the breakup of the USSR at the turn of the century, Ukraine the second largest nation of the region, went through a political upheaval. Its leaders failed to deliver the goods. The country rich in both agriculture and mineral resources experienced shortage and acute poverty due to political mismanagement. The new rulers also tried to suppress dissent and follow Russia’s closed door policy. They silenced the media by force, even rigged the elections. Led by President Yanukovych with a huge support base in eastern provinces adjacent to Russia they wanted to follow the socialist policies and shunned Western initiatives to liberalise the economy. <br /> The Zimmerman’s were at the forefront of the policy brunt faced during those days. Their foreign connections and considerable wealth made them natural objects of both envy and suspicion. A arrest warrant for Nicholas Zimmerman was issued, who forewarned took refuge in the German embassy. Though the top leaders wanted a nationwide clamp down, they did not have support of provincial leaders in the richer Western and Northern provinces. However it was apparent that the strife would be long drawn and acrimonious. The Zimmerman’s came to a prudent agreement, a consensual separation. It caused Nicholas Zimmerman to relocate to Zurich and wife Tatyana to join forces with supporters of the revolution.<br />Tatyana, a competent organiser and effective spokesperson quickly rose up the ranks of the Orange Party. Within weeks she built a loyal team within the dissenters in the Government controlled media. These men and women were chosen with care, each an effective communicator and a team builder. As the suppression of the media increased to unreasonable proportions, and the 2004 Presidential elections were rigged the orange party volunteers found more and more support among the people. Soon Tatyana Lazarenko Zimmerman became a household name. She became a key figure of the disobedience movement that later snowballed into the Orange revolution. <br /><ul><li> *********
  2. 2. </li></ul> ( Contd...Page 18)<br />There was confusion and panic at the Globe. Large billows of smoke emanated from the theatre. The bombs specially developed for counter insurgency operations were extremely effective. Even without fire the smoke was intense. The police and the fire fighters were busy evacuating the people. There was a near stampede as the crowd pushed hard towards the exit. Few large bodied men among the crowd had fortunately used muscle to take off the pressure. They intercepted the column of panicking men and women pressing on towards the exit and took control of the chaos. <br />The street outside was choc block with police vans, ambulances, and seven large fire tenders. The first two engines that had arrived had turned on their hoses flooding the exit and the street before they realised that there was no fire. That made things even worse, the exodus slower, slippery and more difficult. It looked distinctly different from the fun street it was half an hour ago.<br /> Tia Andretti was zeroing in the focus of her Android advanced location search tool. Her Google Internet TV linked the mobile search output to a wide screen LCD through a blue tooth to catch a better glimpse of the happenings at the Globe. <br />“So the mogul turns a murderess.” The lush and warm voice of Tatyana Zimmerman interrupted her as a POP spot appeared on the giant screen. Tia smiled and right clicked the POP icon to open and enlarge the image. The channel switched, she looked at the broad smiling face of Yana, her closest friend and soul mate, speaking from her sprawling home office at the Tarasa Shevchenka Boulevard in faraway Kiev. Yana was reclining in one of her trade mark long chairs that you could find her working from or sleeping on at any time of the day or night. It had a huge bucket seat with extended leg space and arm rests very much like the first class seats of any international air plane.<br />“Your work is done, baby. As always, you had your way”<br />“Can’t help it. It was a Hobson’s choice”<br />“Horseshit ! Compulsions of an insane maniac.”<br />“Well ! “ mused a reflective Tia “ It’s just one of those things in life that brook no reason”<br />“Ah ! . it’s always old friend revenge calling. Blame your Corsican blood.” Yana saw the lost look on Tia’s face and added nonchalantly. “Is something bothering you honey?” <br />“No. Just trying to find out by myself. For I have not got the score yet.” mumbled Tia tapping her cigarette on the ashtray.<br />“Oops ! Sorry ! The Ops have been done. Natalie shot her clean, through the chest. They even whisked away the body. But I have yet to get the full brief. They are still with the body. The disposal works. So it may take time. I put Helga on the call. We should get to know the soonest.” <br />Oh Good ! She raised her glass in a celebratory gesture. <br />“Cheers” ! <br /> (contd. Page 19) <br />Tia quickly finished her drink before pouring herself another “This one is to Reneberg.... Count your days !.....Here we come.” <br />“Not at all ! .....who told you that? No monkey tricks with Paul”<br />“ ...uh!.. why not ?..... may I”<br />“Cause it is his sixteen billion that we must get .....we want them first....the company”<br />“ duh ! ....Yes.... but finally we will..... kill him !.... I want to kill him! ” <br />“ True ....That could be years honey....”<br />“can’t wait”<br />“Don’t you rush into pumping him with bullets”<br />“You know I won’t. You are in the ops..... but I wish I was !”<br />“We’ll get him ....destroy him slowly first....in bits and pieces”<br />“as long as I get to grind his balls.....”<br /> “that you will”<br /> “I’ll use a Jackhammer to crush them ....lol ! ”<br />Yes but first the works must be in place. I have talked to Nick...we’ll nail him at the futures first.”<br />“ That’s good ! ....the two timing SOB” <br />“ Yes he is exposed in the contango trade....we have spiked his boys at ICE”<br />“Great”<br />“Besides we hired few tankers on his route”<br />“Really ! that’s news !”<br />“We’ll cut his deals on the route, now that we have him in his lay”<br />“Sounds music”<br />“Yes, we’ll bring him to the crunch first............tie up all his cash and when he’s fully committed we will start buying the stocks”<br />“Never knew Nick was such a strategist”<br />“That’s what he was at Oppenheimer before he joined the family”<br />“No wonder !”<br />“He’s been planning a coup on the Zug boys for long. He’s wanted oil badly in his folio. Only that now things have fallen in place after your leads”<br />“ Well I owe him a drink ......it’s my dirty work he’s doing”<br />“ He doesn’t think so. Now that he has the scent of blood...the bunny is his”<br />“Still I know it. He could have picked up any other bloke from the oil trade had he chosen. I still feel it is a great favour.” <br />“No honey. The amount of inside information he got on Paul was invaluable. Without that he could not have managed a coup. Besides the network of the Zug boys is pretty as much closed. They all work with Morgan Stanley. The lot of them. And they play the lots together. They would normally gang up against an outsider attack”. <br />She paused a little to pour herself another drink and continued.<br />“Only this fraud will talk against him. They are a mafia. The fraternity will hang him dry if they know how they are being milked. That will make it a cakewalk for Nick. He can waltz into the trade with the boys of Zug. Besides he is a Zurich guy. Not a rank outsider.” <br />“Ah ! at times I think who is the asset chasing tycoon”<br />“Not me. It’s got to be you or him. My biz is politics.”<br />“But I am sure you were in the thick of things”<br />“No believe me.”<br />“Really !”<br />“Nick is a loner with his plans. He loves it that way”. <br />“I see. ”<br />“Even the day when he planned to quit Kiev, he worked it alone. Set up offices in Zurich, tied up contacts both with the German embassy and the Swiss. Set up Rudolf to handle the back end at home”<br />“You mean he pre-planned ? He knew that they would want to arrest him.” <br />“ Yep. I could only much later place it that he had foreseen that this would happen”<br />“ And he didn’t let you on.....I would kill him ! “<br />“He is like that. Always been. He says he protects me from worries by keeping shut.”<br />“Grrrrrrrrr.....”<br />“In a way he was right. I would have never agreed. I was too attached to the land”<br />“ But still ....”<br />“Even when he talked about the boarding school for Helga, he did not say why. He simply put the plan into her head and let her do the talking.”<br />“Interesting”<br />“Yes. That’s how he works. He plant’s the seeds in other’s minds. Then he watches it grow. So everything works so easy for him. <br />“Mighty clever”<br />“Yes. It’s the people who do what he wants, believing that it is their idea.”<br />“And he never tells them that he initiated the plan”<br />“Never. He likes to play a germinator”<br />“Really ! I thought men loved boasting”<br />“Not this one. He works quite as a shadow”<br />“No ego trips”<br />“Not for him. He plants his seeds and then melts away. It could be few minutes contact. <br /> You will find him talking through you. That is for him like a one nights stand. ”<br />“ That’s exciting I must say. I am sure you can catch him at it”<br />“Nope ! He will deny he did it point blank. Only says that he talks logically.”<br />“ You mean, he’ll just deny it !”<br />“ I told you. He works silently. He will pick the strands from your mind. Then weave them to his pattern and leave. At the end of it you never can tell whether it was his design or yours that you carry.<br />“Awesome!” <br />“He is pretty smooth and convincing that you can never tell him off”<br />“Brilliant”<br /> “He will wade into you like water and exit after you are wet. Always his plans, and you feel your work is being done. Just like you are feeling now. You know he will fix Reneberg for you. But he will profit the most. Though at times he does things without profit motto. You can never make out his ways, that’s what bugs me most.”<br />Gigi and Kumara returned to wine cellar climbing the rope deftly as seasoned and professional mountaineers. Their toned bodies, muscled arms and hours of practiced drills made what was an onerous climb look easy. Once they returned to the lounge they picked up their drinks and chatted with the boys now deeply engrossed in a L.A. Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies showdown at the STAPLES Center.<br />Almost about a quarter hour later Gigi signalled to Kumara and they both strolled into the guest room conference hall that was adjacent to the lounge. Carefully closing the door behind her she put on the LCD internet TV that brought them within minutes to the video conference which was so long hosting Natalie Shevchenko. After they had got all the info from Natalie the bosses were ready to take in the inputs from these two who had disposed the body.<br />Gigi recognised none of the two men or the woman interrogating them, though the woman did look familiar .She tried to recollect without success and kept thinking as she replied. She knew that the Sri-Lankan Kumara would hardly be of help to identify the leader of the team, and after some time gave up the effort. The conference call went on similar lines as the one before them.<br /> The three interrogators on the other side of the Atlantic were asking three different questions on each aspect of the escape and making notes individually of the details provided. One was checking whether the original plan was followed while the others were interested in the events and the timing. The cross questioning went on for around the better part of two hours till the bosses were fully satisfied that they had not been followed to the farmhouse and no traces of the crime could be tracked. <br />Once fully convinced that a fool proof job had been executed they were instructed to leave behind the SUV’s at the farmhouse and leave on a Ford pickup truck parked in the Garage. This was a regular feature of operations and Gigi was an old hand to know that the vehicles used for the escape from the Globe would now be junked. Group Seven one of the top eliminator gangs of Ukraine that operated from Paris to Chicago was a stickler for detail and procedure and knew how to execute their assignments with skill, military precision and guerrilla camouflage. No wonder they were a mafia group with a 100% track record and no police record of their crimes both in the US and in Europe where they operated. <br />They operated like a corporate organisation and involved clients to feedback sessions during interrogation process. Clients could choose to be faceless or interact openly with the operators. This gave Group Seven a reputation of being an empowered agency with transparency and having the flexibility to go interactive too. Rudolph Vladimir Yashin the principle ideologue of Group Seven was no mean gun totting mafia boss. He considered himself to be an instrument of social change and believed in growing with a trusted few clients for whom he was a one stop shop handling everything from crowd management to organised crime. <br /> <br />The Zimmerman clan was one such client who fitted in his diverse socio-political syndicate ideology. Yana Zimmerman was the young political face of a new Ukraine after the orange revolution. She was fighting to save this vast central Asian republic from returning to the Russian fold after the 2004 uprising. She had studied with him at school and had been a good friend, though now it was hubby Nick who was a real chum. They often played golf together and for hours discussed and worked out various strategies of operations that helped their respective business, political and social objectives, that did not leave out organised crime and influence building. <br />Rudd and Nick were great friends, thick as thieves. Together they were stake holders in several international forums, NGO’s and research organisations, the elite Swiss clubs and the apex business councils. They both lived in luxury villas overlooking the serene Alpine lakes of Zug and Zurich merely an hour’s drive from each other. While they conducted their core businesses independently, they interacted almost daily at some venue or other. <br />Rudd’s father initially ran a logistics and transport business. They handled large and difficult consignments to be smuggled in and out of communist Russia. The trade was conducted through one of the most difficult and lucrative routes. The margins as large as three hundred percent as reward and death or Siberian imprisonment as penalty. Staying in Switzerland gave the Yashin’s the cover of an acknowledged neutral territory that was neither at war with the Eastern bloc or the NATO forces.<br />Ivanov Yashin Rudd’s father, had developed connections with the famed Swiss medical supplies. One of his companies Seven Seas provided logistic help and transported cargo for the Red Cross. They moved goods and men across difficult terrains both during the world war and in most international skirmishes thereafter. Though he was never actively involved in gun running, he dealt with almost all other war time commodities that needed to be moved across war zones. It included grain, food, hardware, clothes, medicines, vehicles, boats, livestock and even humans and gave the Group Seven political legitimacy among most Governments and politicians of the world. <br /> ( Contd Page 23)<br />The Yashin’s seldom used their political connections. Rudd was a strong believer in perfecting systems and worked tirelessly to develop this complex and risky trade. Every move he made was planned to the perfection and he rigorously trained his people to ensure that they performed well. They discussed and re-worked the plans endlessly setting up backups to each move in order to avoid pitfalls. <br />When Nick had evinced interest in Reneberg, they had together developed the plans to snare the oil baron. Rudd had known Reneberg for quite some years and met him several times at conferences and business chamber meets. However the conversation never had proceeded beyond the formal exchange of greetings. He knew Reneberg was a inner circle member of the powerful Marc Rich boys of Zug. He had connection with a few of the oil traders who had previously operated in Libya but not with the group who operated in the Gulf of Guinea. <br />The Marc Rich boys who had once totally dominated the land and sea routes of oil supply from West Africa were a tough lot with a reputation. Unlike the Group Seven they had got into the bad books of most of the law enforcement authorities of the region. Some of them were high on the wanted list of Interpol too, having made their fortune from large deals made with despot leaders of the region and from deals of arms smuggling, gun running and human trafficking. <br />Working on certain inside information provided by Tia, Rudd and Nick had tracked all his operations for nearly a year. Every deal that Reneberg had made in the African peninsula, his close links with the shipping tycoon Babroon Hamid and the showbiz world in Lagos the Nigerian capital were all examined in detail. After some time it became clear that Reneberg’s centre of operations was the oil rich state and he had his finger in many a pie at Lagos.<br /> Apart from the three oil concessions that Reneberg held, he owned multiple franchises and agencies for services and oil field equipment supply to the drilling fields operated by the local Government. Babroon took care of the logistics and the corrupt regime at Lagos, one of the richest in Africa. Reneberg took care of the lavish entertainment of the rich political class at Swiss resorts. Together they made millions of dollars out of contracting for the Government and working out shady deals with the help of politician and bureaucrats in the establishment. Soon Reneberg used his Scandinavian charm and developed his connections with local show biz world and the grand diva of belly dancing Ela Bubolezi. As he fell hook line and sinker for the voluptuous damsel, he forgot the pledges made to Tia Andretti, a mistake that would now prove expensive. <br /> (Contd…page 24)<br /> <br />Chapter 3 The Champ <br />Coach Eddie was pacing up and down the aisle. Too tense to wait patiently at the visitors room of the Hospital, Eddie walked up the long stretch that connected the parking lot to the front porch. Dr. Koster had been at the operation theatre for over two hours. Manipulating the brains of his ace fighter. Eddie decided against going back to his hotel room at The Stamford, a mere ten minute drive from the hospital. He would rather wait here for the outcome. A favourable conclusion. He wanted results beyond doubt. An outcome that would please Reneberg and renew his multimillion dollar contract as the coach and manager of the Swedish team.<br />He wanted to know whether the 5th level of controlled aggression could be induced in the human brain. Whether it could further accentuate and hone the attacking instincts of Steve. Steve Pernfors, the unbeatable champ in the world of martial arts whose keen fighting abilities were laced with induced hyperactive responses stimulated by the genius of the world’s best brain surgeon. Eddie remembered Dr. Koster’s warning of the entire operation going out of control. Withdrawal symptoms could hit any man after the 3rd level. So could involuntary spasms, erratic outbursts, total madness or even brain paralysis. But Steve Pernfors was no ordinary man.<br />He was a deadly combatant with animal power, human guile, automated reflexes powered by a science still unknown to even the latest medical journals. Only four people were aware of Steve’s modulated behaviour that Dr. Koster had successfully induced , killing fear, numbing senses, stimulating aggression, sharpening instincts, prompting agility through the bombardment of the synapses. The creation of ‘Superman Steve’. A perfect product of molecular biology, nuclear science, chemistry, nuero-logistics, and electrical engineering he was one of the most closely guarded secrets of the world of competitive sports.<br />Gone were the days of delectable performance enhancing chemical drugs, the anabolic steroids and the THG, the modafinil, the blood booster EPO’s and the designer steroids that left traces in the blood or urine samples. Dr. Koster’s manipulation of the human brain was the beginning of a new era. The era of nuero-logistics. Creating unbeatable man robots with slightly altered brain responses. Tailored to win. This was a period of great scientific importance believed Dr. Koster. The period of physical dominance was becoming an increasingly outdated concept. This was the beginning of a new age. An era in which control of the human mind would change the face of the earth. <br /> ( Contd…Page 25) <br />Nurse Marissa wheeled in a chair towards Steve and flashed a dazzling smile. She paused a brief moment, turning it around towards him as he approached her. “This is for you Champ.... Here….. Get in the hot seat.” said Marissa. “Can walk.... Nobody’s taken my legs” answered Steve giving an impish look taking over the wheelchair and pushing it quickly towards the OT. <br />“Hey, you sit! You….” she said trying to stop him, but Steve was away flying through the corridor towards the operation theatre with Marissa behind him. She caught him half way down the aisle but the big burly Swede dragged her along till she nearly lost her balance. Then suddenly releasing the chair, he caught Marissa squarely on her lips gripping her in his giant arms as she struggled to set herself free. The wheelchair hurtled down the aisle surprising a medical attendant who barely caught it as it threatened to bang into the door leading to the washroom. <br />“Naughty boy” said a dishevelled and flustered Marissa, freeing herself from the clutches of the big man and straightening her ruffled dress. “Just wait till I clamp you in” she added menacingly. “If I live through this you won’t walk away so easy” Steve winked mischievously as he settled in the wheelchair that she had by now retrieved. “Sure you will live, but how!” Marissa whistled thinking of the last time he had gone through the process. It had taken her more than 36 hours to take the heat off the raging monster that Dr. Koster had created, and she had enjoyed every moment of it.<br /> Marissa wheeled Steve back past the ICU to the nuero bay adjoining the surgeon’s chamber. She fastened him slowly and meticulously by nearly a dozen seat belts. Feet, knees, thighs, stomach, waist, chest neck and the arms. Each limb was secure separately strapped besides the upper and lower body to absorb the body reflexes countering the spontaneous movement of muscles induced by electric pulsations.<br />“Don’t worry, I will get even!” he countered at the top of his booming voice. She kept doing her job occasionally whispering “easy boy easy” as she went about tightening the straps making him scream. This was not the first time for Steve. Still, true to his nature he kept shouting and protesting. “Bitch…..Have a heart….fuck you…..” and all the choice expletives from a boxers jargon, protesting and cursing loudly till Marissa shoved in a mouth guard to shut him up. The surprised champ squirmed in his chair but could do nothing other than glower. <br /> (Contd…Page 25)<br />The eyes glowed for a brief second as Steve endured the pressure of the machine tightened clamps on his body. He had already started feeling dizzy. It was as if the torque was set at its limit squeezing just about every vein and nerve reducing the flow of blood to the body to the bare minimum. He felt his veins would burst and blood would flow out from his eyes. His eyes had become a monster red and were almost popping out. It scared her. She held his hand and could feel that he was fast losing strength as the oxygen supply to the body was depleting. Looking at the large in built stopwatch ticking away beneath the arm rest of the wheel chair she counted the slowly moving seconds with bated breath.<br />There was still thirty seven seconds left and he was already using up the last of his oxygen. Though he was free to breath the flow of blood was severely restricted to the body due to the tightened clamps. Blood was not flowing adequately through the arteries and capillaries. The capillaries form a fine network of blood vessels with extremely thin walls that come in close contact to the body tissues. The tiny red blood cells that pass through the walls of the capillaries to deliver oxygen to the body cells and the also collect carbon- di-oxide waste from the cells were being constricted physically to test the endurance of the ace fighter. This was one of the most sensitive parts of the inner body that could rupture easily and it was important to test its conditioning before the electrically induced spasms began.<br />“Hold your breath….. Good boy ” said Marissa as she dabbed a swab of a foul smelling yellow cream on his forehead. There was little reaction from Steve, though it was extremely putrid and intense and would have normally made him jump under ordinary circumstances. Though it made her want to puke, she never used any perfume or any other artificial means ward off the pungent smell though she was free to do so. “Now look right, and chin up” she said rubbing the cream on the left side of the head and soon turned the head right to give it an all round spread. She massaged the cream carefully and meticulously again and again, first slowly and then vigorously all round the head especially above the ears where the electrodes would be placed. <br /> (Contd..Page 27)<br /> <br />Then as the stopwatch came to zero she started loosening the clamps just a little bit allowing flow of blood back to the cells normally. Steve had nearly passed out. She had to vigorously massage him, to help the blood circulate back to the cells. Slowly as he came back to senses he squeezed his nose as the stench overcame him. His hands were still fastened but his nose twitched up, down and up, making her burst out in laughter. That helped. She found his eyes smile back though the muscles were still too stressed and his face still remained taut and strained.<br />It took the better part of a quarter hour to get Steve back in shape. Once he was back to normal they both laughed nervously and she held his hand. Her eyes moistened a little as she realized that she was pushing him knowingly to the ultimate, where failure was inevitable. Whether that would happen today or a year later, she did not know. All she knew was that this could not go on forever. She had seen him endure the nerve rattling electric pulsations that would have normally consumed any mortal. She admired his strength and resilience but was afraid that it could not last long as he had already crossed the endurance levels other sportsmen had ever reached. <br />She bit her lip to hold herself, then dabbed into the jar to take out a dollop of the yellow cream to smear it on his forehead. The traces of emotion welling up within her vanished, as both of them held their breath to hold off the stench. Finally they looked at each other, only to say “Ugh”. <br />She kept massaging the forehead with the cream and applied some more of it before she took out a yellow polyurethane headset from an independently lit temperature controlled drawer. Then she helped clamp on the headset mounted on a thick elastic band with metallic strips sticking out like an Indian warrior’s headgear. She dipped into the jar liberally and applied some more cream around the place where the electrodes came in contact with the skin. <br />Two medical assistants in green tunics arrived after a few minutes. They took a bunch of papers from Marissa that recorded the physical condition of Steve prior to the mental conditioning. Then they wheeled the chair to a dimly lit chamber adjacent to the dressing room where Marissa had been working on Steve. She followed the assistants looking sombre, the blood nearly drained from her face, possibly fearing that this could be the last time she was seeing him healthy and sane. An anaesthetist arrived soon and doused him with a spray followed by an injection. The lights blurred, and soon Steve passed out. <br /> (Contd…Page 28)<br />The gray matter located around the cerebral aqueduct of the midbrain is critical and controls the aggressive behaviour of all mammals. These brain areas are known to be hypersensitive and control the expression of all the behavioural and autonomic components of aggression in humans including vocalization. They are centrally connected to both the brainstem nuclei that control these functions and vital areas like the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.<br />The amygdala is also a core area for generating aggression. Stimulation of the amygdala results in augmented aggressive behaviour. Experimentation on attack-primed Syrian Golden Hamsters had proved long ago that the amygdala was the key area to generate controlled aggression. Studying the neural circuitry of the attack readiness and mode of aggression of these animals a blue print for combat effectiveness and induced aggression for humans could be drawn. <br />Dr. Earl Routtenberg nee Richard Koster checked the grip of the platinum electrodes along with the diaphragm that held the scalp. The electrodes were so positioned that the current flowing through them numbed certain sensory organs and activated others in the human brain. There were sixty different pulsations to be sent, through a controlling microchip based control panel of Siemens the German electrical and medical equipment giant, at high frequencies ranging from 300 Hz to500 Hz during the next three hours. It was a complete state of art medical centre with equipment worth several million dollars unlike the early days, when Dr. Koster started to explore the realms of neural science. <br /> It is said that working on an emergency accident case, he had activated the numb and paralyzed sensory nerves of a fifty year old patient who had given him the first opportunity to test his skills on humans. He had used rudimentary makeshift copper strips fixed into an elastic head band cut away from the top of a undergarment that he was forced to create for generating the electrical stimulation to revive the midbrain area. <br />The man brought to him at his home by neighbours’ at the dead of the night would have been brain dead, had he attempted to shift him to the hospital, a good twenty minutes drive from his home at Rehovot the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Besides conventional medicine would try to revive him with drugs which was a much slower process and had little or no chances of success. Helped by his nephew a certified electrician, who fortunately had his trade tools handy and his wife who had taken compulsory training of a nurse during the Yom Kippur war, Dr.Koster set up an impromptu hospital at his home in less than a quarter of an hour. . . . (Contd. Page 29) <br />It took slightly over three hours to revive the patient and almost two days to safely discharge him after testing the functionality of all his faculties. That this happened without his having to go to a hospital meant that there was no official record of the process of recovery. The Doctor was understandably enthused that he had located a way to bring back activity to the human brain by electrical stimulation but was more excited by the fact that he could try this process to induce controlled aggression in humans and its effect in turning out winners in competitive and combative sports and warfare. He submitted a research paper based on his successful medical adventure which was misinterpreted as an effort to create human monsters. He was actually the victim of an entrenched military intelligence lobby who were promoting a similar project that had invested millions of dollars of Government funds to create superior fighters for the army. Dr. Koster’s research would make this American joint venture project look foolish. It needed to be booted out before it gained acceptance amongst peer reviewers and the medical scientific community. A brilliant and a somewhat aberrant scientist Dr. Koster was dismissed from the Weizmann Institute of Rehovot, Israel four years ago for unauthorized extension of his research on neurotransmitter stimulations on humans.<br />He wrote extensively on his observations on hamsters and simians with which he had worked with previously and possibilities of creating high quality supercharged humans for short periods of time without injecting serotonin or testosterone or any other researched chemical messenger externally. That had rung the alarm bells amongst the powerful military intelligence lobby and he was surprised to find no takers for his efforts. The first experiment however had merely showed him the probability, but today four years later he had developed the science into a fine art of innumerable possibilities.<br />The ventrolateral pre-optic area of the brain contains a population of sleep active neurons that sends out signals to the nerve cell of the brain to switch it off when we go to sleep. Located in the hypothalamus the controlling signals had been blocked while the brain was hyperactive for a brief period by the medic. While regular brain conditioning over the last few years had increased the synapses and the capillaries that transmitted nutrients to the brain by almost eight percent, an electrochemical solution strengthened the walls by a third to withstand the high frequency oscillations sent to energize the brain into hyperactivity. This induced additional hyperactivity to a conditioned brain could turn an ordinary mortal into a superman and champion sportsman Steve Pernfors into an invincible war machine. <br /> (Contd…Page 30)<br />It was a sharp mid morning shower in the puckered hill country, south of the Sea of Galilee. A gaggle of girls and boys were playing on the stony volcanic cones. Rocks, basalt and remains of lava fields that ran over a hundred miles off the banks of one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes and the river Jordan that sourced it. Rain clouds being swept away by strong winds had burst forth suddenly encountering resistance at the jagged tops of the overlooking Golan heights.<br />A swiftly moving thunderstorm had suddenly darkened the skies as high gale speeds raged over the valley. The menacing sable grey clouds parted and a silver streak of light beamed through like a halo on the gray, green and golden brown hillside. The cloud of dust raised by the storm was being washed down by the rain drops sparkling in the sunbeam amongst the angry clatter of hoof beats as it struck the igneous rocks on the surface. <br />Among the mottled white stones that resembled oversized ostrich eggs stood a pale young boy who tended a fragile blue jay, brought down among the rocks by high wind speeds and a possible unidentified predator, a hungry long legged buzzard or even a drifting African sea eagle. Unmindful of the heavy showers that had drenched him to the bone, the boy cupped his little hands storing enough rain water for the frazzled bird to drink. His loose flowing pajamas and his long golden flowing hair fluttered in the gusty wind that blew across the country side. <br />The blue eyed youngster ignored the raging rainstorm and attended to the injured bird. He noticed the bird perch uncomfortably on the mound of his palm and raised it gently to discover a fractured leg. Young Earl took the bird home to his kibbutz at Kinneret and kept it in a handmade straw basket for four days, feeding it and attending to its broken leg. He plastered it with the help of twig and mudpack from the healing clay rich in volcanic deposits and sulfur content found in abundance around the Sea of Galilee that the kibbutz dwellers considered as the holy soil.<br />The barefoot bare-bodied rowdy Kibbutzim kids would crowd in every evening when little Earl permitted them to take a peep at the prized bird for a brief half an hour. Thus evolved the young Dr. Earl Routtenberg tending injured birds, animals and even humans who were regular victims of terrorist attacks by the angry displaced Palestinian Arabs, across the porous barricades. <br /> . 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