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The Atlantis Gene / (by A.G. Riddle, 2014) -

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The Atlantis Gene /   (by A.G. Riddle, 2014) -

The Atlantis Gene / (by A.G. Riddle, 2014) -

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: 402
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The Atlantis Gene / (by A.G. Riddle, 2014) -
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2014
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A.G. Riddle
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Stephen Bel Davie
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,
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upper_intermediate
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15:45:13
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56 kbps
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mp3, pdf, doc

The Atlantis Gene / :

.doc (Word) riddle_a_g_-_the_atlantis_gene.doc [4.72 Mb] (c: 8) .
.pdf riddle_a_g_-_the_atlantis_gene.pdf [2.97 Mb] (c: 12) .
audiobook (MP3) .


: The Atlantis Gene

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( , ).


PROLOGUE Research Vessel Icefall Atlantic Ocean 88 Miles off the Coast of Antarctica Karl Selig steadied himself on the ships rail and peered through the binoculars at the massive iceberg. At the center of the iceberg, another piece of ice crumbled and fell away, revealing more of the long black object it had covered. It looked almost like a submarine. But it couldnt be. Hey Steve, come check this out. Steve Cooper, Karls grad school friend, tied off a buoy and joined Karl on the other side of the boat. He took the binoculars, scanned quickly, then stopped. Whoa. What is it? A sub? Maybe Whats under it? Karl grabbed the binoculars. Under it He panned to the area under the sub. There was something else. The sub, if it was a sub, was sticking out of another metallic object, this one gray and much, much larger than the sub. But unlike the sub, the gray object didnt reflect any light; it looked more like waves, the kind that shimmer just over the horizon of a warm highway or a long stretch of desert. It wasnt warm though, or at least it wasnt melting the ice around it. Just above the structure, Karl caught a glimpse of some writing on the sub: U-977 and SS Kreigsmarine. A Nazi Sub. Sticking out of a structure of some sort. Karl dropped the binoculars to his side. Wake Naomi up and prepare to dock the boat. Were going to check it out. Steve rushed below deck, and Karl heard him rousing Naomi from one of the small boats two cabins. Karls corporate sponsor had insisted he take Naomi along. Karl had nodded in the meeting and hoped she wouldnt get in the way. He had not been disappointed. When they had put to sea five weeks ago in Cape Town, South Africa, Naomi had brought aboard two changes of clothes, three romance novels, and enough vodka to kill a Russian Army. They had barely seen her since. It must be so boring for her out here, Karl thought. For him, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Karl raised the binoculars and looked again at the massive piece of ice that had broken off from Antarctica nearly a month ago. Almost 90% of the iceberg was underwater, but the surface area still covered 47 square miles 1.5 times the size of Manhattan. Karls doctoral thesis focused on how newly calved icebergs affected global sea currents as they dissolved. Over the last four weeks, he and Steve had deployed high-tech buoys around the iceberg that measured sea temp and salt water-fresh water balance as well as took periodic sonar readings of the icebergs changing shape. The goal was to learn more about how icebergs disintegrated after leaving Antarctica. Antarctica held 90% of the worlds ice, and when it melted in the next few centuries, it would dramatically change the world. He hoped his research would shed light on exactly how. Karl had called Steve the minute he found out he was funded. Youve got to come with meNo, trust me. Steve had reluctantly agreed, and to Karls delight, his old friend had come alive on the expedition as they took readings by day and discussed the preliminary findings each night. Before the voyage, Steves academic career had been as listless as the iceberg they were following as he floated from one thesis topic to another. Karl and their other friends had wondered if he would drop out of the doctoral program altogether. The research readings had been intriguing, and now they had found something else, something remarkable. There would be headlines. But what would they say? Nazi sub found in Antarctica. It wasnt inconceivable. Karl knew the Nazis were obsessed with Antarctica. They sent expeditions there in 1938 and 1939 and even claimed part of the continent as a new German province Neuschwabenland. Several Nazi subs were never recovered during World War II and not known to have been sunk. The conspiracy theorists claimed that a Nazi sub left Germany just before the fall of the Third Reich, carrying away the highest ranking Nazis and the entire treasury, including priceless artifacts that had been looted and topsecret technology. The conspiracies grew grander with every passing year, but there it was: a Nazi sub in an iceberg off the coast of Antarctica. At the back of Karls mind, a new thought emerged: reward money. If there was Nazi treasure on the sub, it would be worth a huge amount of money. He would never have to worry about research funding again. The more pressing challenge was docking the boat to the iceberg. The seas were rough, and it took them three passes, but they finally managed to tie off a few miles from the sub and the strange structure under it. Karl and Steve bundled up tight and donned their climbing gear. Karl gave Naomi some basic instructions, the long and short of which were dont touch anything, then he and Steve lowered themselves to the ice shelf below the boat and set off. For the next 45 minutes, neither man said anything as they trudged across the barren ice mountain. The ice was rougher toward the interior and their pace slowed, Steves more than Karls. We need to pick it up, Steve. Steve made an effort to catch up. Sorry. A month on the boat has got me out of shape. Karl glanced up at the sun. When it set, the temperature would plummet and they would likely freeze to death. The days were long here. The sun rose at 2:30 AM and set after 10 PM, but they only had a few more hours. Karl picked up his pace a little more. Behind him, he heard Steve shuffling his snow shoes as fast as he could, trying desperately to catch up. Strange sounds echoed up from the ice: first a low drone, then rapid hammering, like a thousand woodpeckers assaulting the ice. Karl stopped and listened. He turned to Steve and their eyes met just as a spider web of tiny cracks shot out across the ice below Steves feet. Steve looked down in horror, then ran as hard as he could toward Karl and the untouched ice. For Karl, the scene was surreal, unfolding in almost slow-motion. He felt himself run toward his friend and throw a rope from his belt. Steve caught the rope a split second before a loud crack filled the air and the ice below him collapsed, forming a giant chasm. The rope instantly pulled tight, jerking Karl off his feet and slamming him belly-first into the ice. He was going to follow Steve into the ice canyon. Karl scrambled to get his feet under him, but the tug of the rope was too strong. He relaxed his hands, and the rope slide through them, slowing his forward motion. He planted his feet in front of him, and the crampons beneath his boots bit into the ice, sending shards of ice at his face as he came to a halt. He squeezed the rope, and it pulled tight against the ledge, making a strange vibrating sound almost like a low violin. Steve! Hang on! Im going to pull you up Dont, Steve yelled. What? Are you crazy Theres something down here. Lower me, slowly. Karl thought for a moment. What is it? Looks like a tunnel or a cave. Its got gray metal in it. Its blurry. Ok, hold on, Im going to let some slack out. Karl let about 10 feet of rope out, and when he heard nothing from Steve, another ten feet. Stop, Steve called. Karl felt the rope tugging. Was Steve swinging? The rope went slack. Im in, Steve said. What is it? Not sure. Steves voice was muffled now. Karl crawled to the edge of the ice and looked over. Steve stuck his head out of the mouth of the cave. I think its some kind of cathedral. Its massive. Theres writing on the walls. Symbols like nothing Ive ever seen. Im going to check it out. Steve, dont Steve disappeared again. A few minutes passed. Was there another slight vibration? Karl listened closely. He couldnt hear it, but he could feel it. The ice was pulsing faster now. He stood up and took a step away from the edge. The ice behind him cracked, and then there were cracks everywhere spreading out quickly. He ran full speed toward the widening fissure. He jumped and almost made it to the other side, but he came up short. His hands caught on the ice ledge, and he dangled there for a long second. The vibrations in the ice grew more violent with each passing second. Karl watched the ice around him crumble and fall, and then the shard that held him broke free, and he was plummeting down into the abyss. On the boat, Naomi watched the sun set over the iceberg. She picked up the satellite phone and dialed the number the man had given her. You said to call if we found anything interesting. Dont say anything. Hold the line. Well have your location within two minutes. Well come to you. She set the phone on the counter, walked back to the stove, and continued stirring the pot of beans. The man on the other end of the satellite phone looked up when the GPS coordinates flashed on his screen. He copied the location and searched the satellite surveillance database for live feeds. One result. He opened the stream and panned the view to the center of the iceberg, where the dark spots were. He zoomed in several times and when the image came into focus, he dropped his coffee to the floor, bolted out of his office, and ran down the hall to the directors office. He barged in, interrupting a gray-haired man who was standing and speaking with both hands held up. Weve found it. PART I: JAKARTA BURNING CHAPTER 1 Autism Research Center (ARC) Jakarta, Indonesia Present Day Dr. Kate Warner awoke to a terrifying feeling: there was someone in the room. She tried to open her eyes but couldnt. She felt groggy, almost as though she had been drugged. The air was musty subterranean. She twisted slightly and pain coursed through her. The bed below her was hard, a couch maybe; definitely not the bed in her 19th floor condo in downtown Jakarta. Where was she? She heard another quiet footfall, like tennis shoes on carpet. Kate, a man whispered, testing to see if she was awake. Kate managed to open her eyes a little more. Above her, faint rays of sunlight filtered in through metal blinds that covered short, wide windows. In the corner, a strobe light pierced the room every few seconds, like the flash of a camera snapping a photo incessantly. She took a deep breath and sat up quickly, seeing the man for the first time. He reeled back, dropping something that clanged as brown liquid splashed on the floor. It was Ben Adelson, her lab assistant. Jesus, Kate. Im sorry. I thought if you were up, you might want coffee. He bent to pick up the remnants of a shattered coffee cup, and when he got a closer look at her, he said, God, you look like hell, Kate. He stared at her for a moment. Please tell me whats going on. Kate rubbed her eyes, and her head seemed to clear a bit as she realized where she was. She had been working at the lab day and night for the last five days, virtually nonstop since she had gotten the call from her research sponsor: produce results now, any results, or the funding goes away. No excuses this time. She hadnt told any of the staff on her autism study. There was no reason to worry them. Either she got some results, and they went on or she didnt, and they went home. Coffee sounds nice, Ben. Thanks. The man exited the van and pulled his black face mask down. Use your knife inside. Gunfire will draw attention. His assistant, a woman, nodded and pulled her face mask down as well. The man extended his gloved hand to the door, then hesitated. Youre sure the alarm is off? Yeah. Well, I cut the outside line, but its probably going off inside. What? He shook his head. Jesus they could be calling it in right now. Lets move. He threw the door open and charged inside. Above the door, a sign read: Autism Research Center Staff Entrance Ben returned with a fresh cup of coffee, and Kate thanked him. He plopped down in a chair opposite her desk. Youre going to work yourself to death. Youve slept here for the past four nights. And the secrecy, banning everyone from the lab, hoarding your notes, not talking about ARC-247. Im not the only one whos worried. Kate sipped the coffee. Jakarta had been a difficult place to run a clinical trial, but working on the island of Java had some bright spots. The coffee was one of them. She couldnt tell Ben what she was doing in the lab, at least not yet. It might amount to nothing, and more than likely, they were all out of a job anyway. Involving him would only make him an accomplice to a possible crime. Kate nodded to the flashing fixture in the corner of the room. Whats that strobe light? Ben glanced over his shoulder at it. Not sure. An alarm, I think Fire? No. I made rounds when I got here, its not a fire. I was about to do a thorough inspection when I noticed that your door was cracked. Ben reached into one of the dozen cardboard boxes that crowded Kates office. He flipped through a few framed diplomas. Why dont you put these up? I dont see the point. Hanging the diplomas wasnt Kates style and even if it were, who would she impress with them? Kate was the only investigator and physician on the study, and all the staff knew her CV. They received no visitors, and the only other people who saw her office were the two dozen staff who cared for the autistic children in the study. The staff would think Stanford and Johns Hopkins were people, long deceased relatives maybe, the diplomas perhaps their birth certificates. Id put it up, if I had an MD from Johns Hopkins. Ben carefully placed the diploma back in the box and rummaged around in it some more. Kate drained the last of the coffee. Yeah? She held the cup out. Ill trade you for another cup of coffee. Does this mean I can give you orders now? Dont get carried away, Kate said as Ben left the room. She stood and twisted the hard plastic cylinder that controlled the blinds, revealing a view of the chain-link fence that circled their building and beyond it, the crowded streets of Jakarta. The morning commute was in full swing. Buses and cars crept along as motorcycles darted in and out of the tight spaces between them. Bicycles and pedestrians filled every square inch of the sidewalks. And she had thought the traffic in San Francisco was bad. It wasnt just the traffic. Jakarta still felt so foreign to her. It wasnt home. Maybe it never would be. Four years ago, Kate would have moved anywhere in the world, any place that wasnt San Francisco. Martin Grey, her adoptive father, had said, Jakarta would be a great place to continue your research and to start over. He had also said something about time healing all wounds. But now she was running out of time. She turned back to the desk and began clearing away the photos Ben had taken out. She stopped at a faded picture of a large dancing room with a parquet floor. How had it gotten in with her work things? It was the only photo she had of her childhood home in West Berlin, just off Tiergartenstra?e. Kate could barely picture the massive three-story residence. In her memory, it felt more like a foreign embassy or a grand estate from another time. A castle. An empty castle. Kates mother had died during childbirth, and while her father had been loving, he had rarely been present. Kate tried to picture him in her minds eye, but she couldnt. There was only a vague recollection of a cold day in December when he had taken her for a walk. She remembered how tiny her hand felt inside of his, how safe she felt. They had walked all the way down Tiergartenstra?e, to the Berlin Wall. It was a somber scene: families placing wreaths and pictures, hoping and praying for the Wall to fall and their loved ones to return. The other memories were flashes of him leaving and returning, always with some trinket from a far-away place. The house staff had taken up the slack as best they could. They were attentive but perhaps a little cold. What was the housekeepers name? Or the tutor who lived with her and the other staff on the top floor? She had taught Kate German. She could still speak German, but she couldnt remember the womans name. About the only clear memory of the first six years of her life was the night Martin came into her dance room, turned the music off, and told her that her father wasnt coming home ever again and that she would be coming to live with him. She wished she could erase that memory, and shed just as soon forget the thirteen years that followed. She had moved to America with Martin, but the cities ran together as he rushed off to one expedition after another and she was shipped off to one boarding school after another. None of them ever felt like home either. Her research lab. It was the closest thing she had ever had to a real home. She spent every waking moment there. She had thrown herself into her work after San Francisco, and what had started as a defense mechanism, a survival mechanism, had become her routine, her lifestyle. The research team had become her family and the research participants her children. And it was all about to go away. She needed to focus. And she needed more coffee. She pushed the pile of photos off the desk and into the box below. Where was Ben? Kate walked out into the hall and made her way to the staff kitchen. Empty. She checked the coffee pot. Empty. The strobe lights were going off here too. Something was wrong. Ben, Kate called out. The other research staff wouldnt be in for hours. They kept a strange schedule, but they did good work. Kate cared more about the work. She ventured out into the research wing, which consisted of a series of storage rooms and offices surrounding a large cleanroom lab where Kate and her team engineered gene therapy retroviruses they hoped would cure autism. She peered through the glass. Ben wasnt in the lab. The building was creepy at this time of morning. It was empty, quiet, and not quite dark, but not light either. Shafts of focused sunlight poured into the hallways from the windows in the rooms on each side, like search lights probing for signs of life. Kates footfalls echoed loudly as she prowled the cavernous research wing, peeking into each room, squinting to see through the bright Jakartan sun. All empty. That left the residential section the housing units, kitchens, and supporting facilities for the studys roughly 100 autistic children. In the distance, Kate could hear other footsteps, faster than hers running. She began walking more quickly, in their direction, and just as she turned the corner, Ben reached out and grabbed her arm. Kate! Follow me, hurry. CHAPTER 2 Manggarai Train Station Jakarta, Indonesia David Vale stepped back into the shadow of the train stations ticket counter. He studied the man buying a New York Times from the newsstand. The man paid the vendor, then walked past the trash can without throwing the paper away. Not the contact. Behind the newsstand, a commuter train crept into the station. It was packed to the walls with Indonesian workers coming into the capital from the outlying cities for the days work. Passengers hung out of every set of sliding double doors, middle-aged men mostly. On the roof of the train, teenagers and young adults sat, squatted, and stretched out, reading newspapers, fiddling with smart phones, and talking. The crowded commuter train was a symbol of Jakarta itself, a city bursting at the seams with a growing population struggling to modernize. Mass transit was only the most visible sign of the citys struggle to accommodate the 28 million people in its metro area. The commuters were fleeing the train now, swarming the station like shoppers on Black Friday in America. It was chaos. Workers pushed, shoved, and shouted as they ran out the stations doors, while others fought to get into the station. This happened here and in other commuter train stations throughout the city every day. It was the perfect place for a meet. David kept his eyes focused on the newsstand. His ear piece crackled to life. Collector, Watch Shop. Be advised, were zero-hour plus twenty. The contact was late. The team was growing nervous. The unspoken question was: do we abort? David raised his mobile phone to his face. Copy, Watch Shop. Trader, Broker, report. From his vantage-point, David could see the two other operatives. One sat on a bench in the middle of the bustling crowd. The other man was working on a light near the restrooms. Both reported no sign of their anonymous informant, a man who claimed to have details of an imminent terrorist attack called Toba Protocol. The operatives were good, two of Jakarta stations best; David could barely pick them out of the crowd. As he surveyed the rest of the station, something unnerved him slightly. The ear piece crackled again. It was Howard Keegan, the Director of Clocktower, the counter-terrorism organization David worked for. Collector, Appraiser, it seems the seller didnt like the market today. David was Jakarta Station Chief, and Keegan was his boss and mentor. The older man clearly didnt want to step on Davids toes by shutting down the operation, but the message was clear. Keegan had come all the way from London, hoping for a break. It was a big risk given the other ongoing Clocktower operation. I agree, David said. Lets shut it down. The two operatives casually vacated their positions and melted into the throngs of scurrying Indonesians. David took one last look at the newsstand. A tall man with a red windbreaker was paying for something. A newspaper. The New York Times. Standby, Trader and Broker. We have a buyer looking at merchandise, David said. The man stepped back, held the paper up, and paused for a few seconds to read the front page. Without looking around, he folded the newspaper, tossed it in the trash can, and walked quickly toward the loaded train moving away from the station. Contact. Im engaging. Davids mind raced as he bounded from the shadow and into the crowd. Why was the man late? And his appearance it was wrong. The overt red windbreaker, the posture (a soldiers posture, or an operative), the way he walked. The man pushed onto the train and began snaking through the thick crowd of standing men and sitting women. The man was taller than almost everyone on the train, and David could still see his head. David squeezed onto the train and stopped. Why was the contact running? Had he seen something? Been spooked? And then it happened. The man turned, glancing back at David, and the look in his eyes said it all. David wheeled around and swept the four men standing in the doorway out onto the platform. He pushed them away from the train as more anxious commuters poured onto the train in the hole he had made. David was about to shout when the explosion tore through the train, spraying shards of glass and metal into the station. The blast threw David to the concrete floor of the platform, sandwiching him between bodies, some dead, others writhing in pain. Screams filled the air. Through the smoke, pieces of ash and debris drifted down like falling snow. David couldnt move his arms or legs. His head rolled back, and he almost lost consciousness. For a moment he was back in New York, running away from the crumbling building, then he was under it, trapped, waiting. Hands from unseen arms grabbed him and pulled him out. We got you buddy, they said. The sirens from trucks labeled FDNY and NYPD rang out as the sunlight hit his face. But it wasnt an ambulance this time. It was a black delivery van outside the train station. The men, not FDNY. The two operatives, Trader and Broker. They hoisted David into the van and sped away as Jakartan police and fire teams filled the streets. CHAPTER 3 Autism Research Center (ARC) Jakarta, Indonesia Playroom four buzzed with activity. The scene was typical: toys strewn everywhere with about a dozen children scattered throughout the room, each playing alone, focused intensely. In the corner, an eight-year-old child named Adi rocked back and forth as he built a puzzle with ease. When he placed the last block, he looked up at Ben, a proud smile on his face. Kate couldnt believe it. The boy had just assembled a puzzle her team used to identify savants autistic individuals with special cognitive abilities. The puzzle required an IQ in the 140-180 range. Kate couldnt do it, and only one child in the study could Satya. Kate watched as the child quickly built the puzzle, tore it down, and built it again. Then Adi stood up and took a seat on a bench beside Surya, a seven-year-old in the study. The smaller boy got up and completed the puzzle with just as much ease. Ben turned to Kate. Can you believe it? You think theyre doing it from memory? From watching Satya? No. Or maybe. I doubt it, Kate said. Her mind raced. She needed time to think. She had to be sure. This is what youve been working on, isnt it? Ben said. Yes, Kate said absently. It was impossible. It shouldnt have worked so quickly. Yesterday, these children were classic cases of autism if there was such a thing. Increasingly, researchers and physicians had begun recognizing autism as a spectrum of disorders with a wide range of symptoms. At the core of autism was a dysfunction in communication and social interaction. Most affected children avoided eye contact and socializing, others wouldnt respond to their names, and in severe cases, children couldnt stand any contact. Yesterday neither Adi or Surya could have completed the puzzle, made eye contact, or much less taken turns. She had to tell Martin. He would make sure that their funding wasnt cut off. What do you want to do? Ben said. The excitement was clear in his voice. Take them to observation two. I need to make a call. The disbelief, exhaustion, and joy fought a battle in Kates mind. And, uh, we should administer a diagnostic. ADI-R. No, ADOS 2, it will take less time. And lets film it. Kate smiled and gripped Bens shoulder. She wanted to say something profound, something that would mark the moment, words like she imagined brilliant and now famous scientists say at the breakthrough moment, but no words came, just a weary smile. Ben nodded and then took the children by the hands. Kate opened the door, and the four of them walked out into the corridor where two people were waiting. Not people. Monsters, dressed head-to-toe in black military gear: a helmet that covered a cloth mask, dark ski-like goggles, body armor, and black rubber gloves. Kate and Ben stopped, glanced at each other in disbelief, and corralled the children behind them. Kate cleared her throat and said, This is a research lab, we dont have any cash here, but take the equipment, take whatever you want. We wont Shut up. The mans voice was rough, like someone who had spent a lifetime smoking and drinking. He turned to his smaller black-clad accomplice, who was clearly a woman, and said, Take them. The woman took a step toward the children. Without thinking, Kate moved into her path. Dont, take anything, take me instead The man took out a handgun and pointed it at her. Dont, Dr. Warner. I dont want to hurt you, but I will. He knew her name. Out of the corner of her eye, Kate saw Ben move closer, making for the gap between her and the monster with the gun. Adi tried to run, but the woman grabbed him by his shirt. Ben moved beside Kate, then in front of her, and they both rushed the man with the gun. They tackled him as the gun went off. Kate saw Ben roll off the black-clad man. Blood was everywhere. She tried to get up, but the man had her. He was too strong. He pinned her to the ground, and she heard a loud crack 4 Clocktower Safe House Jakarta, Indonesia Thirty minutes after the train blast, David sat at a cheap fold-out table in the safe house, enduring the medical techs brutal treatment and trying to make sense of the attack. Oww. David winced and reeled back from the alcohol swab the tech had dabbed on his face. Thank you, really, but lets do this after. Im fine. Flesh wounds. Across the room, Howard Keegan stood up from the bank of computer screens and walked over to David. It was a setup, David. Why? It makes no sense It does. You need to see this. I received it right before the blast. Keegan handed him a sheet of paper.

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