The Griffon Trilogy: Part I
The Microchip Murder
(excerpt-available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble)
In the dimly lit cafe a few patrons milled about staring at the various pastries and desserts behind glass counters. John sat an obscure, marble-topped table toward the back. A waitress came and spoke to him in Hungarian.
"I can only speak English," he said.
She stared at him blankly.
It was too late for coffee but it was the only Hungarian word he could summon.
She nodded, smiled faintly, left and returned shortly with a steaming cup of very strong coffee.
Thereafter, a tall man, broad shouldered and burly with short black hair, a thick mustache and intense, small brown eyes, walked toward him.
"Rudolf?" John whispered, and the man swung onto a chair at his table abruptly.
"Dr. Bishop," the man muttered in the same rough voice recognizable from the phone conversation. "Did you come with anyone?"
"No one followed you?"
"No one knows where you are?"
"Just the concierge. I had to let her know because I didn't feel safe in this meeting."
"That was stupid, doctor."
"Very stupid. You can not trust the concierge."
"I don't trust you."
"That is a shame. There is much at stake here besides your life and my life. You will have to forgive me if I am brusque with you. I need to jar your senses awake. You have stepped on the tail of the dragon and you do not know it."
"I was beginning to get that impression on my own. Who are you anyway?"
"I can not tell you that. Besides it is not in your interest to know. Nor mine. I give you three messages. Because of your blunder this will have to be very quick."
"Tell me. I have traveled thousands of miles for information."
"One. I am from an underground organization at the University, a very small group of intellectuals. We are fighting what we believe to be some very dangerous technological developments or perhaps you could say the dangerous applications of these developments."
"By your government?"
"Not really? What the hell does that mean?"
"That's all you need to know. Point number two. Dr. Hopp had two degrees, doctorates in sociology and biology. He did all his research in biology and became famous for it. That's why Eva Bentley found him useful."
"How did you know about her?"
"She is very important. A key player as you say."
"Tell me more about Eva. That's who I really want to know about."
"Point number three.. The forces in this country, against which I fight, know about your trip and your purpose. For them you know too much and thus now they want to kill you. Assassination is one of their strengths. Stay more than two or three days and you are a dead man. So my last message is, get out. Fast. Take the next plane out of here. Now I must leave the Angelika and so must you but separately from me."
"You came just to warn me?"
"But why do you care about me?"
"I would like to care about you, Dr. Bishop, but I don't have that luxury. No. Your lawsuit situation in America is important to us. If you die then the lawsuit and your investigation dies and that would not be good for us. I am here to get you out of Hungary alive and to give you important clues to help your investigation along."
"And what clues are they?"
Rudolf sighed wearily.
"Once again. Ferenc Hopp was a world class biologist doing research with very powerful applications and potential, and that is why Eva Bentley made him her friend."
"She used him."
Rudolf shrugged his shoulders as if to say what else? From beneath the table he pulled a brown, letter-sized envelope and pushed it over to John.
"Take it. It will help your investigation. Now I am going. Leave five minutes after me. Goodbye."
The large man got up and walked briskly out of the shop without looking back.
The Griffon Trilogy: Part II
The Villa of Deceptions
At three in the morning aboard the yacht of a Greek senator, Andrei Kassinopoulis, a short muscular man with straight black hair that was cut military short, got out of his bunk, put on jeans, a shirt and sneakers and quietly ascended to the upper decks. The yacht sat in the harbor of Syros, a Greek island in the Cyclades. Andrei took out a flashlight and turned it on and off three times. In the darkness towards the open sea another light flashed three times in answer. Quickly he scrambled to the stern where a man in a small launch pulled up, allowed him to climb on board and then motored off until it came to a medium sized fishing vessel.
The launch waited at the side of the ship with the motor rumbling in idle while Andrei climbed on board onto the deck and then went down to the stateroom. A grizzled man wearing dirty and stinking overalls greeted him.
"Dimitri," Andrei said. "We need to fax this document immediately. Then I have got to get back before someone notices I'm gone. This is very risky for me."
Dimitri walked back into another room that held computer technology and communications geer linking the ship to central hubs on the mainland.
Andrei walked over to a refrigerator, opened it and took out a bottle of ouzo. The quick swig washed down his gut and burned in his abdomen. For a moment he smiled.
Outside on the side of the ship opposite to the launch three scuba divers in dark wetsuits slipped over the side and tumbled onto the deck. Crouching, the three men scrabbled over the deck and disappeared down into the hold. Five minutes later they ran up to the deck, quickly threw on their flippers and tanks and dove over the side, disappearing below the dark waters of the Mediterranean.