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The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume One

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The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume One

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Author: Greg Cox
Publisher: Pocket Books, 2001
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series: The Eugenics Wars: Book 1
Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Even centuries later, the final decades of the twentieth century are still regarded -- by those who know the truth of what really happened -- as one of the darkest and most perilous chapters in the history of humanity. Now, as an ancient and forbidden technology tempts mankind once more, Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise must probe deep into the secrets of the past, to discover the true origins of the dreaded Eugenics Wars -- and of perhaps the greatest foe he has ever faced.

1974 A.D. An international consortium of the world's top scientists have conspired to create the Chrysalis Project, a top-secret experiment in human genetic engineering. The project's goal is nothing less than the creation of a new, artificially improved breed of men and women: smarter, faster, stronger than ordinary human beings, a super-race to take command of the entire planet.

Gary Seven, an undercover operative for an advanced alien species, is alarmed by the project's objectives; he knows too well the apocalyptic consequences of genetic manipulation. With his trusted agents, Roberta Lincoln and the mysterious Isis, he will risk life and limb to uncover Chrysalis' insidious designs and neutralize the awesome threat that the Project poses to the future.

But he may already be too late. One generation of super-humans has already been conceived. As the years go by, Seven watches with growing concern as the children of Chrysalis -- in particular, a brilliant youth named Khan Noonien Singh -- grow to adulthood. Can Khan's dark destiny be averted -- or is Earth doomed to fight a global battle for supremacy?

THE EUGENICS WARS: Volume One is an engrossing and fast-paced thriller that explores the secret history of the twentieth century -- and the rise of the conqueror known as Khan.


Chapter One



MARCH 14, 1974

Roberta Lincoln paced nervously outside the Russian Embassy, hugging herself against the chill of the cold night air. The monumental stone edifice, built in a stolid, neoclassical style, loomed behind the young blond woman, silent and dark. Roberta peered at her wristwatch; it was ten past two in the morning, only ninety seconds later than the last time she'd checked her watch. What's keeping Seven and that darn cat? she wondered anxiously. They should be back by now.

Restless and apprehensive, she strolled down the sidewalk, wincing at the sound of her own heels clicking against the pavement. The echo of her footsteps rang out far too loudly for Roberta's peace of mind. The last thing she wanted to do was attract the attention of the local cops or, worse yet, one of the innumerable informants working for the Stasi, the dreaded East German secret police.

Fortunately, Unter den Linden, the wide city boulevard running north past the embassy, seemed deserted at this ridiculously late hour. The only traffic she heard was an elevated train rattling by a few streets over. Roberta clung to the shadow cast by the huge building, keeping a safe distance from the streetlamps at either end of the block, while also maintaining a careful lookout for any sign of trouble. "C'mon, c'mon," she muttered impatiently, wishing Seven could hear her. You'd think I'd be used to this sort of thing by now, she thought; after all, she'd been working with Gary Seven, alias Supervisor 194, for nearly six years now, ever since that unforgettable afternoon in 1968 when she'd shown up for what she'd thought was an ordinary secretarial job, only to find herself caught up in a bizarre happening involving nuclear missiles, talking computers, and a starship from the future.

Heck, she mused, what's a little East German espionage compared to some of the spacey shenanigans Seven has dragged me into over the last few years? Nevertheless, she shivered beneath a heavy gray overcoat, and not just from the cold. The thick wool garment she wore was neither flattering nor fashionable, but it helped to preserve her anonymity while simultaneously warding off at least some of the winter's chill. A black beret and matching kerchief, the latter tied below her chin, concealed most of her tinted honey-blond hair, while her gloved hands were thrust deeply into the pockets of her coat for warmth. Her fidgety fingers toyed with a thin silver device, snugly stowed away in the right pocket, that looked and felt like a common fountain pen. A mere pen, however, wouldn't have reassured Roberta nearly as much as this particular mechanism, even as she prayed devoutly that she wouldn't have need to use the servo before this night was over.

A pair of headlights approached from the north and Roberta turned her back on the empty street. Probably just a delivery truck making a late-night run, she guessed, stepping deeper into the gloomy shadow of the embassy, but her heart raced a little faster anyway. Roberta held her breath, while casting a wistful glance southward toward the lights of the Brandenburg Gate, only a block and a half away. The imposing marble arches, along with their attendant armed border guards and vigilant watchdogs, marked the frontier between East and West Berlin, making the safety of the Allied Sectors seem tantalizingly close by.

Granted, those brown-uniformed guards were under orders to shoot any would-be escapees on sight, but Roberta couldn't help experiencing an irrational urge to make a run for it. Don't be silly, she scolded herself. It's not going to come to that. Seven will be back any second now...I hope.

A covered truck rumbled past her, and she breathed a sigh of relief as the unassuming vehicle rounded the corner two blocks farther up the boulevard, disappearing down the adjacent cross-street. That would be Friedrichstrasse, she remembered, mentally calling up the maps she'd memorized for this mission. Her briefing had been exhaustively thorough, but no amount of preparation was going to help her, she realized, if she got caught on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.

A rueful smile lifted the corners of her lips. She could just imagine trying to explain her situation to a stone-faced Stasi interrogator: No, no, I'm not affiliated with the CIA or the U.S. government at all. I'm actually working for an independent operator trained by a bunch of secretive extraterrestrials who want to keep humanity from nuking itself into extinction...Boy, wouldn't that go over great with the Commies! She's probably end up in a Soviet asylum, if she wasn't simply shot at dawn.

"Guten abend, fraulein," a voice whispered in her ear.

Gasping out loud, Roberta spun around to find a stranger standing beside her. Where the heck had he come from? In her effort to evade detection from the passing truck, she had completely overlooked the newcomer's arrival. Sloppy, sloppy, she castigated herself for her carelessness. Some spy girl I am. Emma Peel would never let someone sneak up on her like this.

Thankfully, the speaker did not look like much of a threat, at least not on the surface. To Roberta's vast relief, the man wore neither a police nor an army uniform; instead he looked like a middle-aged accountant or shopkeeper, out for a post-midnight stroll. The man was short and jowly, his balding head exposed to the frigid night air and a pair of plain, black spectacles perched upon his bulbous, somewhat florid nose. Like Roberta's, his hands had sought the warmth of his coat pockets, but, despite the cold, his face was flushed and red. Germany's the beer-drinking capital of the world, Roberta recalled. Maybe the stranger was just heading home after an especially long night at his favorite bar?

"Er, hello," Roberta replied uncertainly. She spoke in English, but her automatic translator, ingeniously disguised as a silver pendant shaped like a peace symbol, converted her awkward greeting into perfect German, just as her matching earrings conveniently translated the stranger's every utterance into English. Beats a Berlitz course any day, she thought, grateful for Seven's advanced alien technology.

"You shouldn't be out so late, pretty girl," the man warned her ominously. The avid gleam in his eyes, as well as a sinister smile, belied the cautionary nature of his words. Peering past the stranger's spectacles, Roberta flinched at the sight of the German's glazed, bloodshot eyes. I haven't seen eyes that crazy since the last time Charlie Manson was on TV, she thought, stepping backward and away from her unwelcome visitor. "Don't you know it's not safe?" he taunted her. His left hand emerged from his pocket, clutching the ivory handle of something that looked alarmingly like a closed switchblade.

Just my luck! Roberta lamented silently. You try to do a little innocent night's spying and what do you get? Attacked by some sort of psycho/mugger/ rapist! "Stay back!" she whispered hoarsely, afraid even now to raise her voice so near the soldiers guarding the gate. "I'll scream, I swear it!"

She was bluffing, of course. She didn't dare raise an alarm. That could compromise the entire mission, putting Seven in danger as well, not to mention the cat.

"Go ahead," the German said, licking his fleshy lips in anticipation. With a click, a silver blade sprang from the ivory handle, catching the light of the streetlamps. "Old Jack likes screams, especially from pretty young things who know they're about to die."

Roberta fumbled in her pocket for her servo, briefly losing track of the pen-shaped weapon amid a clutter of loose change and wadded-up Kleenex. Before she could seize hold of it again, her assailant's knife slashed across the outside of her coat, slicing through the fabric and sending the contents of her pocket spilling onto the sidewalk. Roberta's eyes widened as the slender silver instrument bounced twice upon the cracked, uneven pavement, then rolled to a stop only a few inches away from the slasher's feet.

The man caught the hopeless yearning in her gaze and glanced downward. "Hah!" he laughed at the sight of Roberta's errant servo. Saliva sprayed from his mouth as he mocked her. "What were you planning to do, fraulein? Write Old Jack a nasty letter?"

"Hey, the pen is mightier than the sword, or the switchblade, or whatever," Roberta answered defiantly, yanking her hand free from the perforated pocket and assuming a defensive stance. "Or haven't you heard?"

Her glib response elicited an angry scowl from the knife-wielding German. His ruddy features took on a bestial appearance as he advanced on Roberta with premeditated slowness, waving his blade back and forth before her watchful eyes. The yellow radiance of a distant lamp glinted off the shining, sharpened metal. "You ought to be more afraid, harlot. You should scream, scream for your life!"

Nothing doing, Roberta resolved, guessing that the psycho probably got off on his victims' fear. Struggling to maintain a confident expression, she raised her hands before her, karate-style. "Watch who you're calling names, you cornball creep. Who do you think you are, Jack the Rip-Off?" That was a good one, she thought, the wisecrack bolstering her courage. Too bad the gag's probably lost in translation...

The German smirked, as though at a private joke of his own. "You have no idea who you're dealing with, you stupid trollop, but I'll slice the impertinence from your bones, bit by bloody bit!" He lunged at Roberta, stabbing at her wildly while growling like a rabid beast. A string of drool trailed down his chin while his blood-streaked eyes bugged from their sockets. "Die, harlot, die!"

If he expected Roberta to shriek or run away, he was to be severely disappointed. Six years of covert missions alongside Gary Seven, facing everything from radioactive mutants to cyborg zombies, had taught the twenty-four-year-old woman how to take care of herself.

Copyright © 2001 by Greg Cox


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