Sacred stone of 2, p.1

Sacred Stone of-2, page 1

 part  #2 of  Oregon files Series

 

Sacred Stone of-2
 



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Sacred Stone of-2


  Sacred Stone

  ( Oregon Files - 2 )

  Clive Cussler

  SACRED STONE

  C LIVE CUSSLER and CRAIG DIRGO

  BERKLEY BOOKS, NEW YORK

  The explosive first novel of the Oregon Files was hailed as “honestly fabulous” ( Kirkus Reviews). Now, Clive Cussler, creator of the bestselling NUMA®and Dirk Pitt®series, continues the adventure and intrigue with enigmatic high-seas action hero Juan Cabrillo and his high-tech spy ship, the Oregon…

  In the remote wastes of Greenland, a young scientist has unearthed an artifact hidden in a cave for a millennium: a 50,000-year-old radioactive meteorite known as the Sacred Stone. But the astounding find places him in the crosshairs of two opposing groups who seek the stone for themselves.

  One is a group of Muslim extremists who have stolen a nuclear device. With the power of the meteorite, they could vaporize any city in the West. The other group is led by a megalomaniacal industrialist who seeks to carry out the utter annihilation of Islam itself.

  Caught between two militant factions bent on wholesale slaughter, Juan Cabrillo and his crew must fight to protect the scientist and the Sacred Stone—and prevent the outbreak of World War III…

  Contents

  Cast of Characters

  Prologue

  Part One

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Part Two

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Epilogue

  Postscript

  DIRK PITT®ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER

  Trojan Odyssey

  Valhalla Rising

  Atlantis Found

  Flood Tide

  Shock Wave

  Inca Gold

  Sahara

  Dragon

  Treasure

  Cyclops

  Deep Six

  Pacific Vortex

  Night Probe

  Vixen 03

  Raise the Titanic!

  Iceberg

  The Mediterranean Caper

  DIRK PITT®ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER AND DIRK CUSSLER

  Treasure of Khan

  Black Wind

  KURT AUSTIN ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER WITH PAUL KEMPRECOS

  Polar Shift

  Lost City

  White Death

  Fire Ice

  Serpent

  Blue Gold

  OREGON FILES ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER WITH JACK DU BRUL AND CRAIG DIRGO

  Skeleton Coast

  Dark Watch

  Sacred Stone

  Golden Buddha

  NONFICTION BY CLIVE CUSSLER AND CRAIG DIRGO

  The Sea Hunters II

  The Sea Hunters

  Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed

  CHILDREN’S BOOKS BY CLIVE CUSSLER

  The Adventures of Vin Fiz

  THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

  Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

  Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

  Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

  Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

  SACRED STONE

  A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with Sandecker, RLLLP

  Copyright © 2004 by Sandecker, RLLLP.

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

  For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

  ISBN: 1-4295-9964-2

  BERKLEY®

  Berkley Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

  BERKLEY® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  The “B” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  SACRED STONE

  C AST OF CHARACTERS

  JUAN CABRILLO:

  Chairman of the Corporation

  MAX HANLEY:

  President of the Corporation

  RICHARD TRUITT:

  Vice President of the Corporation

  THE CORPORATION TEAM (OPERATIVES) (in alphabetic order)

  GEORGE ADAMS:

  Helicopter Pilot

  RICK BARRETT:

  Assistant Chef

  MONICA CRABTREE:

  Supply and Logistics Coordinator

  CARL GANNON:

  General Operations

  CHUCK “TINY” GUNDERSON:

  Chief Pilot Fixed-Wing

  MICHAEL HALPERT:

  Finance and Accounting

  CLIFF HORNSBY:

  General Operations

  JULIA HUXLEY:

  Medical Officer

  PETE JONES:

  General Operations

  HALI KASIM:

  General Operations

  LARRY KING:

  Sniper

  FRANKLIN LINCOLN:

  General Operations

  BOB MEADOWS:

  General Operations

  JUDY MICHAELS:

  Pilot
r />
  MARK MURPHY:

  General Operations

  KEVIN NIXON:

  Magic Shop Specialist

  TRACY PILSTON:

  Pilot

  SAM PRYOR:

  Propulsion Engineer

  GUNTHER REINHOLT:

  Propulsion Engineer

  TOM REYES:

  General Operations

  LINDA ROSS:

  Security and Surveillance/General Operations

  EDDIE SENG:

  Director of Shore Operations/General Operations

  ERIC STONE:

  Control Room Operator/General Operations

  THE OTHERS

  LANGSTON OVERHOLT IV:

  CIA officer who hires the Corporation

  HALIFAX HICKMAN:

  Billionaire industrialist

  CHRIS HUNT:

  U.S. Army officer killed in Afghanistan

  MICHELLE HUNT:

  Mother of Chris

  ERIC THE RED:

  Legendary explorer

  THE EMIR OF QATAR:

  Leader of the country of Qatar

  JOHN ACKERMAN:

  Archaeologist who locates the meteorite in Greenland

  CLAY HUGHES:

  Assassin hired to recover the Greenland meteorite

  PIETER VANDERWALD:

  South African death merchant

  MIKE NEILSEN:

  Pilot hired to fly Hughes to Mount Forel

  WOODY CAMPBELL:

  Drunk in Greenland who rents Cabrillo a snowcat

  ALEIMEIN AL-KHALIFA:

  Terrorist planning to bomb London

  SCOTT THOMPSON:

  Leader of the team on the

  Free Enterprise

  THOMAS “TD” DWYER:

  CIA scientist who discovers the meteorite’s danger

  MIKO “MIKE” NASUKI:

  NOAA astronomer who assists Dwyer

  SAUD AL-SHEIK:

  Saudi procurement official for the hajj

  JAMES BENNETT:

  Pilot who transports the meteorite from the Faeroe Islands to England

  NEBILE LABABITI:

  Terrorist for London operation

  MILOS COUSTAS:

  Captain of the

  Larissa,

  the ship that delivers the bomb to England

  BILLY JOE SHEA:

  Owner of a 1947 MG TC Cabrillo borrows to chase the bomb

  ROGER LASSITER:

  Disgraced CIA agent who delivers the meteorite to Maidenhead

  ELTON JOHN:

  Legendary musician

  AMAD:

  Young Yemeni who will deliver the bomb

  DEREK GOODLIN:

  Whorehouse owner in London

  JOHN FLEMING:

  Head of MI5

  DR. JACK BERG:

  CIA doctor who forces Thompson to talk

  WILLIAM SKUTTER:

  Air Force captain who leads the team in Medina

  PATRICK COLGAN:

  Army warrant officer heading the team to recover prayer rugs in Riyadh

  PROLOGUE

  FIFTY THOUSAND YEARS ago, and millions of miles from Earth, a planet was twitching convulsively to herald her destruction. The planet was ancient but her eventual demise had been cast from the start. She was an unstable orb with poles that constantly shifted polarity.

  The planet consisted of rock and magma with a metal core. Over the countless eons since it had formed and cooled, an atmosphere was born. The gaseous layers were comprised of argon, helium and some hydrogen. Life was born on the surface of the planet—a low, base form of microbe.

  The planet never really had a chance to develop complicated life forms. The microbes consumed oxygen molecules to multiply, keeping the surface and atmosphere barren of cells that could evolve. The planet’s surface rock turned into superheated liquid mush as each revolution around its sun drew it closer toward the fiery furnace. The planet revolved not in a spin around her axis like Earth, but rather in an ever-increasing barrel roll as the poles shifted, and the melted rock surface began to spread like lava from a volcano.

  Each hour, each minute, each second brought her closer to her sun, and she gradually shed her skin as if the hand of God were scraping her surface with a wire brush.

  The stellar dandruff that was cast into the atmosphere reached the edge of the gaseous envelope and was turned white-hot by the sun, bursting with the force of a thousand nuclear bombs. Sucked back to the surface by gravity, the reentering projectiles ripped more of the fragile crust away. More and more of the crust dissolved.

  The doomed planet had only a short time to live.

  As the protective covering was lost to space, the inner metal core temperature continued to rise and the orb inside began to spin. Large cracks in the surface spread and fractures formed, releasing larger and larger chunks of molten rock into space. And all the while the planet’s metal core grew with incredible intensity. Then, all at once, it happened. A massive slab of rock on the side closest to the sun gave way. The poles shifted one last time and the planet began spinning wildly.

  Then she exploded.

  Millions of metal orbs flew into space, their molecules rearranging themselves as they melted like solder under a flame. A lucky few made it past the gravitational field of the sun. Then they headed on a long journey into the deep reaches of space.

  TENS OF THOUSANDS of years had passed since the unknown planet exploded, scattering its remains into the universe. From a great distance the approaching debris appeared blue. One piece became a finely detailed orb. Many fragments had been sucked toward the surfaces of other planets in space, but this one traveled farther than the rest and eventually came to rain down on a planet called Earth.

  The single metal orb entered Earth’s atmosphere on a low trajectory from west to east. She split in the ionosphere and calved off a smaller spherical orb of pure metal. The mother meteor came in along thirty-five degrees latitude. At this latitude, it was dry and arid. The baby, lighter and smaller, was pulled farther northwest, heading toward the sixty-second-degree latitude, where the surface was covered with a layer of ice and snow.

  Two different environments of the same planet brought two different results.

  The mother and her molten metal reformed into a glowing orb after spitting out her young. She came over a coastline then streaked across a barren desert in a decaying trajectory. Blasting high above the sand, rocks, and cactus, the one-hundred-yard diameter, 63,000-ton nickel-iron projectile slammed into the earth, carving a one-mile-diameter crater in the dry soil. Clouds of dust headed skyward, then began encircling Earth. Months would pass before all the fallout filtered back to the earth.

  The baby was pure and silver-gray. The action of the initial explosion and the molecular rearrangement while traveling through space had formed a perfect sphere that appeared like twin halves of geodesic domes locked together. Traversing farther along the planet, she slipped through space quietly, her smooth surface meeting little resistance from Earth’s atmosphere, with none of the anger and rage her mother had contained. She dropped lower and lower, like a golf ball with a topspin.

  Soaring over the shoreline of an island capped with ice, it was as if she was being pulled to the earth by a magnet. Her diameter was but eighteen inches, her weight a hundred pounds. Drifting lower until she was only ten feet over the snow and ice, she lost her forward speed as gravity brought her down. Her heated metal surface melted a track in the snow and ice similar to a ball rolled by a child to make a snowman.

  Energy expended, her heat dissipated, she came to rest at the base of an ice-covered mountain.

  “WHAT HATH HELL wrought?” the man asked in Icelandic as he poked an object with a staff.

  The man was short but formed of layers of muscle that signaled years of hard work and labor. The hair on his head and the thick beard that grew from his cheeks was a brilliant red like the fires of Hades. Thick white furs covered his torso, while his leggings were constructed of sealskin lined wit
h sheep’s wool. The man was prone to fits of rage, and truth be told, he was not far removed from a barbarian. Banished from Iceland for murder in the year 982, he had led a group across the cold sea to the ice-shrouded island where they now resided. During the past eighteen years he had built a settlement on the rocky coast and his colony had survived by hunting and fishing. In time he had grown bored. The man, Eric the Red, began longing to explore, to lead, to conquer new lands.

 
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