PAVEL GOLOVIN, along with his wife and two young sons, boarded the Russian Ropucha class landing ship, the U402 Kostiantyn Olshansky under the cover of darkness.
The Kostiantyn Olshansky disguised as her sister ship of the same name, which had been decommissioned in 1979, was sailing out of Sevastopol, flying St. Andrew’s colors and was under strict radio silence. Its final destination was the Russian Naval Port of Tartus in Syria.
Pavel, who held a PhD in meteorology, and no stranger to Russian politics marveled at such a transparent rouse.
“That is exactly why it will work,” Admiral Ushakov had reassured him. The Americans will see an old decommissioned tub, that is to say, a non-threatening ship, escorting a bunch of Russian VIP scientist and their families back home from a nice holiday on the beautiful seaside resort of Sevastopol. By the time they realize where we’re really heading, it’ll be too late.”
And indeed, he was correct, thought Golovin, for there were at least five other scientist, besides himself, and their families aboard the Olshansky. There was Mikhail Dobrovolsky, a Mechatronics Engineer, his wife and children; Alexander Kamov, an Applied Engineer, his wife, Halina and their daughter Oadira; Sergey Sevastyanov, a Computer Engineer and his traveling companion, Easter; Vladmir Arkhangelsky, a Meterologist like himself, and Head of the Central Weather Bureau, his wife and his brood of five kids.
And then there was the granddaddy of them all, Anatoly Basov, Noble Prize winner in physics. Besides traveling with his wife and adult children and their spouses and kids, the man had his own entourage, consisting of an assistant who was always jotting down things, a valet, and his own personal chef provided him by the grateful Russian people. “Grateful for what?” Golovin wondered. Few if any, of the Russian people had an inkling of what Basov did and or how, if at all, what he did effected their lives. To them, he was an image on their television screens. A distant noble Russian who had won an important prize that had garnered him a lot of money.
This was the detail sent by the Kremlin to investigate the rumors of a phenomenal machine that was causing great havoc around the globe. The thought of such a device sent shivers up and down Golovin’s spine. What one could do with such a device was mind boggling. And the price other countries would pay to possess it or stop another country from using it, astronomical, he thought scratching his head. He’d need a Nobel Prize winning mathematician to figure that one out.
The ship beneath Golovin’s feet gave a slight lurch forward. He grabbed hold of the boat railing and steadied himself. They were on their way. He must stop thinking of impossible machines and improbable wealth and find Iskra and the boys.
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