Authors: Rick Campbell
Tags: #Fiction, #Thrillers, #Military, #War & Military, #Technological, #Sea Stories
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To my wife, Lynne, who has supported me all these years and sacrificed so much, allowing me to chase my dreams.
To Brett, Caitlin, and Courtney, I pass along the advice that led me to write this novel:
What would you do, if you weren’t afraid?
Many thanks are due to those who helped me write and publish this novel:
First and foremost, to Ned Steele for the inspiration to pick up the pen; to my wife, Lynne, and my children for their support through the long hours; to Nancy Coffey, without whose assistance I would not be a writer; and to my agent, John Talbot, for his belief in this book and for taking a chance.
To the many wonderful people at St. Martin’s Press. First, to my editor, Keith Kahla, for making this novel twice as good as it was. To the many departments at St. Martin’s Press; editorial is only the beginning: to Young Lim and the art department for the incredible cover, to Rafal Gibek and William Rees and the rest of production, to Steven Seighman and design for the interior layout, to my marketing and publicity team—Paul Hochman, Loren Jaggers, Justin Velella, Cassandra Galante, and Courtney Sanks—for the many hours they’ve dedicated on behalf of
The Trident Deception,
to Hannah Braaten, for her cheerful assistance as I attempted to navigate my way through a new literary world, and to the countless sales reps I’ll never meet. And finally, to the publisher of St. Martin’s Press, Sally Richardson, and the editor in chief, George Witte, for making this book possible. Thank you all so much.
To those who helped me get the details in
The Trident Deception
right: to Commander Pete Arrobio, who walked me through the P-3C submarine prosecution procedures, to Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander Josh Wilkinson, who guided me through the Australian submarine scenarios, and to U.S. Navy Captains Murray Gero and Steve Harrison for refreshing my memory and helping me get the new technical details right. (Some of it isn’t right, on purpose—see Author’s Note in back.) And to Douglas C. Waller—the nuclear weapon release procedures in
The Trident Deception
are those authorized for public dissemination in his novel,
To my writer friends in Purgatory and The Pit, thank you for your support on this long journey; for sharing the good times and pulling me though the bad times. I wouldn’t have made it without you.
And finally, to the men and women in our armed services, and especially the Submarine Force. My heart and thoughts will always be with you.
(A complete cast of characters is provided in the addendum.)
UNITED STATES ADMINISTRATION
, chief of staff
, national security adviser
, senior military aide
, deputy director, National Military Command Center, Pentagon
, Section Two watchstander, National Military Command Center
, prime minister
, defense minister
, intelligence minister
, director, Metsada
, Commander, Submarine Force Pacific
, senior Prospective Commanding Officer Instructor
, Commanding Officer
, Executive Officer
, Weapons Officer
, Assistant Weapons Officer
, Electrical Division Officer
, Chief of the Boat
, Radio Division Chief Petty Officer
, Sonar Division Leading Petty Officer
, Sonar Division Petty Officer
, Missile Division Leading Petty Officer
, Commanding Officer, USS
, Commanding Officer, USS
, Commanding Officer, HMAS
EAGLE-FIVE-ZERO (P-3C AIR CREW)
, Tactical Coordinator
As a full moon cast faint shadows across the narrow paths winding through Rock Creek Park, Russell Evans checked over his shoulder again as he ran at nearly a full sprint. The young man almost lost his footing on the rocky path above the creek bed, his dress shoes slipping on the damp stones. Stopping behind a thick copse of trees, Evans rested his hands on his knees as he waited for his exhaustion to fade, his heart racing as he gulped the cool night air. Dropping to one knee, he thought about the poor choice he’d made tonight and the danger he now faced.
It had seemed like a wise decision at the time. The man he had chosen to confide in was the one person who had the authority to investigate further. But Evans had misinterpreted the flicker in the man’s eyes when the information had been laid before him, assuming the seasoned government official shared his concern over what he had discovered. Now Evans believed the man’s concern was not for the danger the security breaches represented but for the discovery of the breaches themselves. Evans now realized that had he been older and wiser, had he confided in someone more trustworthy than powerful, he would not be in a desolate park in the middle of the night, fleeing for his life.
Evans pulled out his cell phone and scrolled through his address book, the faint light of the BlackBerry display illuminating his face in the darkness. This time, he selected a person he knew he could trust without question. A draft e-mail appeared. The first line of the message he’d typed was short and cryptic, only seven characters long. He was about to expound when the snap of a twig brought his head up.
Pressing the BlackBerry display against his chest, he scanned his surroundings. But his eyes saw nothing in the dark shadows. He slowed his breathing, keeping it shallow in an effort to listen more closely, but all he heard was the babbling of Rock Creek as it wound south toward the Potomac. As he debated whether to finish the e-mail or resume his flight, a voice reached out from the darkness.
Searching in the direction of the voice, Evans spotted its source. In the trees twenty feet away stood a man, his arm raised, pointing a pistol. Evans stood, then took a step back.
“Stay where you are!”
The man’s voice was familiar, but Evans couldn’t place it. His eyes strained to identify the man, but the moon’s faint illumination was insufficient.
“Who are you? What do you want?” Evans asked.
“Who have you told?”
The man stepped closer, his face becoming clearer. “Tell me who you have told, and I’ll spare your life.”
Evans almost laughed. He knew he would be dead in a few minutes regardless of what he revealed. As he held the cell phone against his chest, he slid his thumb along the keyboard and pressed Send. The message was incomplete, but it would have to do. He had run out of time. He dropped his phone on the ground as he replied to his assailant, hoping the sound of the BlackBerry hitting the path wouldn’t be noticed. “I told no one. You caught up to me too soon.”
Evans crushed the phone between the heel of his shoe and the rocky trail with the full weight of his body, until a sharp, impossibly loud crack echoed through the quiet park.