The 13th Power, Quest Book 1 in the Janis Mackey Sci‐Fi Thriller Trilogy Copyright © 2001 Terry Wright Library of Congress Number 2001092250 ISBN 0‐9678895‐4‐5 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and/or retrieval system, without the written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or book reviews. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidences are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. Originally published in trade paperback by Gardenia Press Republished electronically by TWB Press Cover art by Terry Wright For inquires or to order the paperback version of this book, go to: www.terrywrightbooks.com TWB Press 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Chapter One Borneo Melvin Anderson balled his fists. “Just fly this damn thing,” he shouted over the clattering engine and slapping rotor blades. Heart pounding with dread, he twisted in his seat and looked behind the copter. Three Malaysian Federation patrol choppers were flying a wedge formation several hundred yards back...and closing. “Damn!” Fred Jenkins worked the stick. “What the hell do they want?” With white knuckles, he skimmed the copter over the rainforest canopy. Tracers streaked past the glass bubble. Faint gunfire rattled in the distance. “They’re gonna kill us!” The radio crackled. “Control. Victor Eagle One,” a chopper pilot reported to his base command post. “We have visual contact.” Melvin shuddered. “Those bastards never give up.” “Good idea,” Fred said. “We’ll give up before they blow us out of the sky.”
“Easy for you to say…” “Jesus! I’ve got kids at home.” “Hope you kissed ‘em goodbye this morning.” “Damn it, man! We don’t stand a chance against those guys.” Melvin gulped. Fred was right. This little two‐seater was no match for those military choppers. Sure—it was risky chartering this copter to Ketapang, but there was no other way. The Malaysian authorities were watching every transportation hub. He had to catch a fishing trawler to Jakarta. He had to get away. The copter banked left and descended sharply. Melvin’s stomach floated and dived. He glanced at Fred. Beads of sweat trickled down the man’s weathered face. He’d probably already pissed in his pants. Little did he know his high‐dollar passenger would cause him so much trouble. Bad luck for Fred. “Hope you’re a better pilot than a hero—watch out!” Fred veered left, just missing a tree branch. “Think you can fly this thing any better?” “I was flying crop dusters across Sumatra back when your mommy was powder‐puffin’ your behind.” Gunfire rattled again. “What kind of trouble are you in?” “Nah! They’re just a bunch of sore losers.” “I didn’t ask for none of this military shit, and I don’t want in the middle of your squabble. I’m just running a flying service, for God’s sake.”
“You’ll be flying with wings on your back if you don’t shake these guys.” Melvin turned around to check the squadron’s position. Another volley of tracers streamed past, closer this time. There had to be a way to get out of this mess. He searched the leafy canopy whizzing by below. An opening appeared. “Go right, damn it! Go right!” Copter blades strained in the turn. “Down there!” Melvin pointed to the river below them, peeking out from under the forest canopy. “Go! Go!” “You gotta be nuts!” Melvin pushed the stick forward. The copter dove toward the river. “Shit!” Fred pulled his aircraft out of the dive and skimmed the skids over the frothy surface. Jungle closed in around them. The riverbed turned dark as night, except for the occasional bursts of sunlight that flashed through scattered gaps in the canopy. Melvin swallowed hard. He’d really screwed up this time. Fred flipped on the landing light switch. Halogens illuminated the eerie, forested tunnel. The skids clipped riverbank ferns. The rotors nicked low‐hanging branches. One wrong move—they’d be swimming with the crocs. Streams of white tracers flashed by, bright as burning magnesium. Hot alarm pumped through Melvin’s chest. He craned his neck to look back. The Federation choppers were flying single‐file right behind
them, their spinning rotor blades clipping tree branches as they rocked side to side in the air. He couldn’t believe the balls on those pilots...following them into this treacherous tunnel. Another burst of gunfire shredded tree limbs alongside the copter. “Warning shots,” Fred shouted as he dodged a fallen log. “They could’ve shot us down already. Don’t you see? They’re giving you a chance to surrender.” “No way in hell!” Melvin snarled. “I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life in a Sumatra prison. I’d rather die—so keep this bird in the air.” “Sore losers, huh?” Fred muttered and banked his copter through a sharp bend in the riverbed. Ahead, another large opening in the canopy appeared. “We’re getting out of this deathtrap, right now.” “No, don’t!” The copter nosed up and broke out into sunlight. Melvin clenched his jaw. What a stupid move. Now they were back in the open. “God damn you, Fred!” The Federation choppers flared out and flanked the copter on both sides. Now they were flying rotor tip to rotor tip. Melvin glared at the chopper on the left. The flight officer bared his teeth and pointed his gloved finger down, mouthing the word land. Melvin sneered at him and turned to the chopper flying starboard. He locked eyes with the pilot and flipped him a finger. “Bastard! You’ll never take me alive!” The
Anderson—you’re under arrest.” Wide‐eyed, Fred said, “We gotta do what they say.” Melvin pulled up the pant leg of his jungle fatigues and reached into his boot. He palmed the cold steel of his .44 Magnum. Risk nothing; gain nothing. There’d be no prison in his future, even if he had to fly this damn thing himself—or die. He snapped back the breach and pressed the muzzle against Fred’s temple in plain view of the flanking officers. “Say goodbye, Fred.” “No!” Melvin squeezed the trigger.
Chapter Two Boulder, Colorado Janis Mackey, sweltering in his suit coat, stood on the bandstand and scanned rows of gold and black banners hanging limp in the hot, still air. The CU Buffs had a great stadium. They were a great football team. But today was his day for glory—a day he’d worked toward for a long time. Like warm spring‐water, pride welled up in side. He looked over the crowd gathered for his induction ceremony: faculty, friends, and students, familiar faces, all smiling. They sat in bleachers set up on the fifty‐yard line. Classes were out; the semester was over. Summertime had come to the Rockies. He pushed his wire‐framed glasses up the bridge of his nose, wishing his mother could have been here to share in his moment of glory. But she didn’t even know who he was anymore. He hooked a finger under his collar, gave it a tug, and looked toward the foothills. A gray cloud hung over Flagstaff Mountain. Silent forks of lightning flashed to the ground. This heat wouldn’t last much longer. The weather would provide a typical summer afternoon in Colorado: thunderstorms, wind, and hail, but he loved living here—the peaceful
university life. Head dean Dan Billings stepped up to the microphone. Sunshine glinted off the top of his bald head, and his tie looked too tight. “A‐hum.” His voice reverberated around the stadium. “As you all know, Dr. Mackey has been on the faculty here for twenty‐two years. He’s been a credit to the University of Colorado and an excellent teacher. Today he takes the big step up to administration.” The crowd applauded. Janis showed them a smile. Had it really been twenty‐two years? Teaching and researching the awesome power of numbers and the rules by which they existed had made him well revered in a small group of elite men. But the job didn’t pay enough—just a notch above poverty level— after his mother’s expenses: medications, doctors, and the nursing home. Like leaches, they’d sucked her savings dry—and then his. After the money ran out, Medicaid kicked in, which helped some, but not enough. There were cheaper alternatives for her care, he knew, but he couldn’t let her wilt away in some low‐dollar state‐run nursing home. A single mom, she’d sacrificed a lot for him in her lifetime. She deserved the best care his money could buy. “As head of the Mathematics Department,” Billings added. “He’ll oversee the faculty and counsel students on their career goals.” Janis ran his fingers through pepper‐gray hair. How many hundreds
of kids had he seen graduate? Thousands maybe. He could take that accomplishment to his grave, no problem, but not to the bank. “Dr. Mackey and I have been best of friends for the past ten years. I’m proud of his achievements and honored to have him on my staff.” Again, applause echoed around the stadium. Janis waved at the crowd. Finally, a promotion and a raise. Now, after taking care of his mother, there’d be money left over. He could junk that old Subaru and buy a new car. And that little house just off the turnpike—buying it was now within his financial reach. Dan tapped the microphone. “And by the way, he’s still single, in case any of you ladies might be interested.” Janis frowned. He didn’t need any help finding the wrong women. He’d done just fine on his own—like with Donna. She was a nice gal but complained he didn’t have enough time for her. She wasn’t really mad when she left. She just left. And then there was Jill—what a babe. But her cats stunk up the apartment. He told her she had to make a choice; it was him or the cats. She was mad when she left...and took her damn cats with her. He was never going to find the right woman. “Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Janis Mackey.” ***
To purchase a trade paperback copy of this book, while supplies last, go to: www.terrywrightbooks.com
About the Author, Terry Wright There’s nothing mundane in the writing world of Terry Wright. He thrives on adrenaline. Tension, conflict and suspense propel his readers through the pages as if they were on fire. Published in Science Fiction and Supernatural, his mastery of the action thriller has won him International acclaim as an accomplished screenplay writer. A longtime member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, he runs their annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest. Terry lives near Denver with his wife, Bobette, and a Yorkie named Ginger, who is really the boss of the family. Learn more about Terryʹs books, short stories, and screenplays at terrywrightbooks.com.
Enjoy reading Terry’s other short stories and novels:
The Gates of Hell ( New Line Press, 2010) Justin Graves Series, Book 1 eBook and Kindle short story Supernatural Thriller When Justin Graves and his daughter are murdered, he makes deal with the devil to save her soul: one hundred bad guys for her pardon from hell.
Night Stalker (New Line Press, 2010) Justin Graves Series, Book 2 eBook and Kindle short story Supernatural Thriller Justin Graves goes after a night stalker who killed a young bride on her wedding night and got away with the murder.
Black Widow (New Line Press,2010) Justin Graves Series, Book 3 eBook and Kindle short story Justin Graves seeks out a beautiful woman who kills her lovers. She’s every man’s dream date, but don’t disappoint her...or else!
Z‐motors, The Job from Hell (New Line Press, 2010) eBook and Kindle short story Horror In this satire on zombies in the workplace, the dark side of the auto repair business is exposed, and a mechanic’s quest to overcome unemployment leads his family down a disastrous path.
The Duplication Factor (Essential10 Publishers, 2010) eBook novel and Kindle Science Fiction Thriller Speculation has it, in scientific circles and the press, that in some secret lab somewhere, a human has already been cloned. The truth is there were two clones, a corporate tycoon and a mass murderer. The consequences were horrific.
Published on Dec 1, 2010
eBook one in the Janis Mackey Sci-Fi Thriller Trilogy, written by Terry Wright. Scientist are building bigger and faster particle accelerato...