Rogue Forces

Rogue Forces by Dale Brown Read Free Book Online

Book: Rogue Forces by Dale Brown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dale Brown
a tanker or a surveillance platform. It’s based on the same concept as the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship that’s all the rage now—one ship that can do different missions depending on which hardware modules you put on board.”
    “Plug and play? That simple?”
    “It wasn’t easy to get the weight and balance, fuel system, and electrical systems to integrate,” Boomer admitted, “but we think we have the bugs worked out. We pump fuel around between the various tanks to maintain balance. Without the mission-adaptive system, I don’t think it would’ve been possible at all. The Loser can lift cargo or the mission modules inside through the cargo hatch or belly hatch—”
    “Belly hatch?” Martindale interrupted him with a wink. “You mean the bomb bay?”
    “It’s not a bomb bay, sir, it’s a cargo access hatch ,” Jon retorted. “It used to have a bomb bay, and I didn’t think it was right to just seal it up—”
    “So it became a ‘cargo access hatch,’” the former president said. “Got it, Doc.”
    “Yes, sir,” Jon said, feigning exasperation at having to continually remind people of his point. “Boomer’s system automatically arranges the modules as necessary for the mission, plugs them in, and turns them on, all by remote control. It can do the same while in flight. When a module is needed or one is expended, the cargo handling system can replace it with another one.”
    “What modules do you have available, Jon?” Martindale asked.
    “We’re making up new ones every month, sir,” Jon said proudly. “Right now we have boom aerial refueling modules along with hose-and-drogue wingtip pods, which are installed on the groundand can refuel probe-equipped planes. We also have laser radar modules for air and ground surveillance with satellite datalink; infrared and electro-optical surveillance modules; and the active self-defense module. We’re pretty close on a netrusion module and a Flighthawk control system—launching, directing, and perhaps even refueling and rearming FlightHawks from the Loser.”
    “Of course, we would want to do attack modules, too, if we could get permission from the White House,” Boomer interjected. “We’re doing pretty well with the high-powered microwave and laser-directed energy technology, so that might happen sooner rather than later—if we can convince the White House to let us proceed.”
    “Boomer is highly motivated to say the least,” Jon added. “He won’t be happy until he gets a Loser into space.”
    Martindale and McLanahan looked at each other, each instantly reading the other’s thoughts; they then looked at the otherworldly sight of the massive Loser aircraft gliding down the runway in that flying-saucer slow-motion pace.
    “Dr. Masters, Mr. Noble…” President Martindale began. Just then, the XC-57 Loser suddenly accelerated with a powerful roar of its engines, climbing out at an impossibly steep angle and disappearing from sight within moments. Martindale shook his head, amazed all over again. “Where can we go to talk, boys?”

CHAPTER TWO
    The road to Hades is easy to travel.
    —B ION , 325–255 B.C .
    O FFICE OF THE P RESIDENT , Ç ANCAYA , A NKARA , T URKEY
    T HE NEXT MORNING
    “Close the damn door before I start bawling like a damned baby,” Kurzat Hirsiz, president of the Republic of Turkey, said, wiping his eyes once again before putting away his handkerchief. He shook his head. “One of the dead was a two-year-old. Completely innocent. Probably couldn’t even pronounce ‘PKK.’”
    Thin, oval-faced, and tall, Hirsiz was a lawyer, academic, and expert on macroeconomics as well as the chief executive of the Republic of Turkey. He’d served for many years as an executive director of the World Bank and lectured around the world on economic solutions for the developing world before being appointed prime minister. Popular throughout the world as well as in his homeland, he’d received the largest percentage of the

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