Warren Murphy: The Empire Dreams

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  • Название:
    The Empire Dreams
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    Детективная фантастика / на английском языке
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    Английский
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The Empire Dreams: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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A Thousand Year Nightmare A vacationing Harold Smith finds himself in the middle of a war zone when World War II planes bomb London and Nazi-attired skinheads goosestep through the streets. To complete the weird  déjà vu, the guy responsible is a raging Nazi, part of a secret brotherhood with a high-tech agenda for recapturing the dream of a certain evil visionary. But this rogue Nazi devised a new blueprint for world domination that sets him on a path of violence in pursuit of the glorious dream. Just in time. Now Remo has a little something to keep his mind off all the troubles in the world: saving it.

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Destroyer 113: The Empire Dreams

By Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir

PROLOGUE

He watched the old men climb the bitterly cold, windswept beaches, proudly reliving memories of their hazy youth.

And he remembered.

He watched tired soldiers, teary-eyed and long-retired, grow maudlin and weepy in the midst of row-upon-row of whitewashed crosses and fluttering flags.

And his resentment spread.

He watched presidents and prime ministers-too young or cowardly to have participated in those dark events themselves-laud the sacrifices of those who had fallen in the conflict, old now by many decades. And he seethed.

He watched hours upon hours of documentaries and news reports retelling the horrors of a struggle that could not possibly be understood by an outsider. And the hatred grew....

Chapter 1

He had decided long before that he preferred being feared to being liked. It was his experience that people who were liked were not respected. He wanted respect. And fear-when used judiciously-always, always bred respect.

Not that fear did Nils Schatz much good these days.

He was retired. Not by any choice of his own. It had been a forced retirement.

Those who had inflicted this malady of inactivity on him weren't fearful of him. The young ones were like that these days. They knew his past, yet they didn't care. And of all the young ones, Kluge was the worst.

Adolf Kluge was the current head of IV, and it was Kluge whom Nils Schatz was meeting with this morning. Regrettably he couldn't hope to inspire fear in the IV director. But Schatz did hope that the young man would listen to reason.

The air of the village was cold in his throat as he made his way down the tidy cobbled streets. The gleaming bronze tip of his walking stick clicked a relentless, impatient staccato on the perfectly shaped gray stones.

He passed between narrow passageways designed only for single-lane traffic. Most people either walked or used bicycles to get around the village.

As he strolled along, several people on bikes passed by in either direction. The older ones facing him nodded politely as they slipped by. The impertinent young ones didn't even pay any attention to him. Coming from the other direction, those his age hunkered down over their handlebars and kept their backs to him.

The older ones understood who and what Nils Schatz had been. They still feared him.

But it was no longer enough.

Schatz quickened his pace. His meeting with Kluge was at eight o'clock. He checked his watch. He would be ten minutes early.

The whitewashed buildings smelled of freshly baked bread. They were lined up in perfect cookie-cutter formation along the narrow lane. There were no front yards. The stoops opened out directly onto the street.

Schatz could see dumpy elderly housewives moving just inside the immaculate windows that looked out to the lane.

The whole village was supposed to remind everyone in it of a picture-perfect Bavarian town. From the gaily painted shutters and window boxes to the neatly tiled roofs. The spotless streets and orderly shops were meant to give the impression that a chunk of Europe had been transplanted somehow to the mountains of Argentina.

But that was not the case.

What the IV village represented was an admission of failure. Those who lived there had been forced to flee the land of their birth and were now deluding themselves into thinking that they had brought some of that land with them.

The sorry fact was, this was not home. And for Nils Schatz, it hadn't been home for more than thirty years.

His breath made fragile puffs of mist in the crisp mountain air. Each puff brought him closer to his last. Soon, there would be no more. It was as if his life were mocking him-floating out before him in this land of his exile.

The last of the neat little houses broke away into a wide-open field. The cobbled path led into a much older stone road.

A vast shadow cast the ancient roadway in shades of washed-out gray. Through rheumy eyes Schatz followed the shadow to its origin.

Up ahead loomed Estemago de Diablo, the "Belly of the Devil." That was what the locals called it. It was an ancient fortress of mysterious origin. Some thought it was Aztec, while others argued that it was Mayan. No one knew for certain who had built the huge stone edifice.

The palace, the ancient roads and the terraced fields in the surrounding terrain were all that remained of an empire that had peaked and died more than one thousand years before.

The irony that the IV village had sprung up in what was essentially the ruins of a dead thousand-year empire was not lost on anyone there. For Nils Schatz, it was a lack of respect for the old ways that had brought them here at all.

The huge stone structure squatted on a separate mountain peak from the rest of the village. Schatz crossed the perfectly preserved rock bridge that spanned the chasm between the peaks.

He did not reflect on the remarkable engineering accomplishment the bridge represented. It was just something for him to tap his highly polished cane impatiently upon as he crossed into the bowels of the massive fortress.

There were four guards within the gigantic old archway. All were blond haired and blue eyed with muscular physiques. They also were each indistinguishable from one another. They stared, mute, at Schatz as he passed.

The guards were not simply being polite. The men were incapable of speech. They had been genetically engineered by the late Nazi scientist, Dr. Erich von Breslau. Some DNA glitch had robbed them of the ability to speak. In an earlier time, they would have been rightly executed as imperfect. In IV they were kept as soldiers.

So unlike the old days, Schatz thought, not with sadness but with bitterness.

His face creased in severe lines, he found his way down the vaulted stone corridor to the office of Adolf Kluge.

KLUGE READ THE PROPOSAL without a hint of expression.

He scanned each line with patient eyes, occasionally wetting his lower lip with the tip of his tongue. It was a habit he had developed years before in school. He didn't even realize he was doing it.

When he was finished, he tapped the sheaf of papers into a tidy bunch. He set them neatly aside. "Interesting," the head of IV mused, looking up. Nils Schatz sat in a too comfortable chair on the other side of Adolf Kluge's desk. He had waited impatiently for half an hour as Kluge carefully read the proposal-a proposal he should have read weeks before.

"How soon can we begin?" Schatz pressed.

Kluge raised an eyebrow. "This isn't the regular way we do things around here, Nils," he said. "There are committees that sort through this kind of thing." He indicated the stack of papers with a wave of his hand.

"Committees," Schatz spit angrily. "Everything in this infernal village is governed by committees. No one wants to do anything anymore. We just fill out forms and pass them up to others, who throw them away. We must start this, Adolf. Soon." His eyes were fearsome with just a hint of desperation. His balled fist shook with pent-up rage.

Kluge sighed. He drummed his fingers delicately on his desktop as he looked over at the picture that hung from the mahogany-paneled wall of his large office. The eyes of Adolf Hitler-Kluge's namesake-glared arrogantly from beneath a sheet of gleaming glass.

"How old are you, Nils?" Kluge asked gently.

Schatz stiffened. "I fail to see the relevance of that question."

"I think it may be relevant, my old friend."

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