The Andropopov Saga - Volume II by Bo Braze - Read Online
The Andropopov Saga - Volume II
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Summary

From the Ashes is the sequel to Russian Phoenix of the Andropopov Saga. It is the story of the resurrection of the Phoenix after a terrible defeat in Iceland, a vain attempt to form a "New Russia". Only two Andropopovs escape and make their way from Iceland to Colorado, where they meet up with two brothers and have plastic surgery done. They fly to Montana, buy up huge land holdings and begin to start a legitimate cattle business. The question is ... will they be left alone or will the World Elite Force seek them out and destroy them?
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ISBN: 9781626757844
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The Andropopov Saga - Volume II - Bo Braze

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Ashes

BOOK ONE

CHAPTER ONE

'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work.'

Thomas Alva Edison

It was close to midnight and President John Robinson was still leaning over his highly polished mahogany desk deep in concentration. Slowly his head nodded, nodded again, and then he gently lowered his head. He laid his head on his arms in an attempt to get some well deserved rest. He hadn't slept soundly ever since he received his father's telephone call, and discovered that his father, Mikhail, and his brothers Moshe and Tomor were still alive, and even more unbelievable, that they had all escaped the terrible carnage in Iceland..

Reports had been drifting in from the Army, Air Force and Marines but nothing from General Denzel Van Gogh and his World Elite Force. Suddenly he straightened up, trying to clear the cobwebs from his head and avoid falling asleep. He glanced down at his watch. Damn, it's time for me to leave, he thought. Standing up, he raised his arms high above his head and stretched. He'd made his decision and now he had to stick to it. Nothing he ever did was half-assed. He always ate the whole steak. No doggie bags for him.

Walking around to the front of the presidential desk, he took one long last lingering look at the grandeur and history surrounding him and then lowered his head. Tears welled up in his eyes. Well it was a great run while it lasted, he thought as he moved slowly to the door of the Oval Office. Can I do this to the American people and still hold my head high? But, then there's my father and brothers to think of. Can I betray them? I mean, I haven't seen my Papa or my brothers and sisters for ten years. They don't even know I'm alive. Yet I can't ignore the family loyalty that was drummed into my head in my earlier years. Russian Phoenix has been with me since birth and I can't ignore it. He reached the door and opened it.

'Henry, George, come in here for a minute please,' he said to the two tall men standing outside the door of the Oval Office. He turned and walked back to his desk. His personal security bodyguards entered, closed the door behind them and stood near the soft plush leather chairs, hands folded in front of them, waiting for the President to sit down. As he did they sat also.

'I'm going to be hard at work on the North Korean - American peace treaty for quite some time. I don't want to be interrupted by anyone or anything. That means telephone, emergencies or any excuse someone could think of, short of war, to get to me. Whatever it is, it can wait for a couple of hours. I'll be moving to the sublevel conference room for privacy. There's no need for you to accompany me. There's no way someone can reach me there.'

President Robinson paused and looked sternly at them. 'There'll be those who feel they have special privileges and will try to bully their way in. I'll back you up if they threaten to report you, or threaten you with punishment if you don't open the door. Stop everyone. No one comes in. That means you also. I'll contact you when I've finished doing what I have to do. This is a very important document. It could be the difference between a lasting peace and an all out bloody confrontation, and it requires my complete and uninterrupted attention. Understood?'

Both men nodded and said, 'Yes sir. You can count on us.'

'Good,' he said as he flashed them his famous ear to ear Hollywood smile. He walked around the desk and affectionately put his hand on each of their shoulders, as he walked them to the door. These men had become part of his family, part of his daily routine and he would miss them tremendously 'Thanks for all the protection, companionship and cooperation you've unselfishly given me during the past three years,' he said in a strained voice, as he opened the door for them to leave.

George turned and gazed intently at the President with a puzzled look in his eyes, concern evident in his voice. His brow furrowed and he softly asked the President, 'Is everything all right Mr. President? You seemed worried about something. Is there anything we can do to assist you sir?'

John looked up and smiled. 'No George, I just hate all this antagonism and petty arguing between the world powers. You'd think with all the technology we employ and enjoy today, it could be put to better use than measuring who has the biggest dick.' The guards smiled.

He continued, 'In this age of enlightenment and growth, we should be big enough and mature enough to forget about the petty issues, and move the concern for the ordinary man and woman on the streets to the foremost part of our brain, and concentrate on them, not blind punching at each other.' John paused. 'Sorry, sometimes I get carried away with the politics,' he said as he gazed into their eyes.

'We understand Mr. President. Everyone says they'd like to have your job, but they don't know the pressures and strain you're under twenty four hours a day like we do. We honestly admire and respect you for the job you're doing sir.' he hesitated and then realized he was rambling on. 'Sorry sir, would you like me to lock the door after you?'

The President winked and said, 'No need for that George. I have full confidence that no one could get past you two behemoths, door locked or unlocked. Have a good evening. I'll talk to you in the morning.' With that George closed the door and John was alone in his own private heaven, a heaven he'd enjoyed for the past three years. That was all coming to an end now.

He was a great President. He knew that because he lived it and saw it in the faces of his constituents and friends. Would he lose all that with what he was about to do? How much loyalty does anyone owe his or her family when they haven't seen them or been involved with them for ten years? Well, it's too late to turn back now, he told himself. I have to support my Papa and my brothers. My decision is made. My job here is finished. I will, once again, be a proud officer in the Russian Phoenix Dream. With that he quickly turned and walked back to his desk.

By now, he thought, my brother Moshe should be at the plastic surgeon's office in Golden, Colorado, and my brother Tomor and my father should be arriving shortly thereafter. They might've already arrived, the plastic surgery been performed, and the healing process already well on it's way before he arrived. John had no way of knowing where the rest of his family was unless he breached security to contact them. Then it would take no time until the CIA and FBI would swoop down on him like an eagle, without any hesitancy or leniency in spite of the status of his office. He had to leave and meet his family in a hurry, or it would delay the familys' future plans.

John grabbed his old, broke-in leather flight jacket from the closet, threw it over his shoulders, and put it on. Lifting his heavy leather briefcase with the Presidential Seal on the side, he stuffed some random papers into it and then shoved the proposed treaty into a separate side pocket.

Turning, he walked to the wall behind the desk. He stopped, turned his head, and slowly looked over both shoulders to ensure he was alone and no one was watching him. The room was silent and no one could see him from the outside through the windows due to the angled walls in the office. He turned back to the wall and engaged a hidden button on a wall lamp. Silently a secret door to the sub-level conference room opened inward and then swung slowly aside to the right, giving one a glimpse of a long, snakelike, downward winding hallway. As he entered the long hallway, the door closed automatically and silently behind him.

Two Marines suddenly stepped from hidden recesses in the wall and confronted him. He showed them his identification; they looked at him, back to the document and then saluted sending him on his way. They knew too well who he was, but they were given strict orders by the man standing in front of them to check everyone and the President was included in that group. John jumped into a golf cart and sped down the hallway. The hallway was narrow and painted bright white. A few minutes into the hallway, glaring high intensity recessed overhead lights lit it up like a spotlight casts its energy upon an entertainer. He moved quickly down the passageway until he reached another door.

Before him a painted yellow circle spread out on the floor, touching the baseboards and preventing anyone from entry access into the next room. The door was programmed so that no one could enter without first stepping into the circle area. John jumped from the cart, stepped forward and stood within the boundaries of the circle. Reaching out, he placed his hand into a recessed wall receptacle and waited. Suddenly a halogen beam shot from the ceiling and engulfed him. He was powerless to move. The halogen beam began a slow head to toe inspection of his body, stopping occasionally for a short moment and then continuing on.

This beam was programmed to search out every vital detail of his physical structure. Absence of any organs, teeth, appendages, tattoos, or any other identifying changes foreign to the beam's data base would sound an alarm, freeze the person in place, and bring the guards down on him. Surgical operations, dental work, accidents and anything out of the ordinary had to be provided immediately after they were completed and the beam reprogrammed according to the person's new data base profile. If the person's vitals didn't match, access was denied and alarms would sound throughout the White House Security network. It was the responsibility of each person with authorized access to the area to report changes and have those changes entered immediately.

If the alarm sounded, gas immediately escaped from multiple openings in the wall and ceiling, rendering the person or persons incapable of moving. Even gas masks wouldn't protect them. The gas was an epidermal gas, gaining entry through the pores in the skin. The intruder was carried to an interrogation room, revived and questioned until identity could be verified. Then the individual was either released or taken into custody.

Finally, in what seemed an eternity, the halogen beam slowly disappeared into the ceiling and the door clicked open. A pleasant voice said, Welcome President Robinson. Have a nice day, as he stepped into the conference room. This was a relatively new area that had been added when he took office. It was designed to provide secrecy, protection and privacy during planning sessions vital to the security of the United States. The room was totally soundproofed to ensure no one could violate it's privacy from the outside.

The room was beyond beautiful and had the glow of planned professionalism evident in its complexion also. It oozed power and control. This room was only used for top secret level conferences. This was the room that the World Elite Force met in to plan their various missions throughout the world. Clear see-through maps, lighted from behind, ranged from state maps to a United States map and a huge world map. At any time a button pushed in front of one of the conference chairs could change the location of the map. Another push of the button could activate a satellite that would zoom in on a specific target in a town, and it was sophisticated to the point that it would display street maps, important buildings, and even zoom in on a specific person walking down the street if desired.

The table was heavy mahogany in a long oval with intricate carvings decorating the sides and legs. It was hand carved by a Bavarian Master Woodcrafter. A personal friend of John's, Heinrich Schweister spent many months bringing the table to life, employing a higher level of woodcarving. The sides of the table illustrated the history of the United States from the Revolutionary War to the most recent confrontation. If things had not turned out as they were now, John had planned to replace the desk in the oval office with the Bavarian desk. It would've been there for generations of his successors to enjoy in spite of obvious objections from his political opponents.

The Presidential Chair, a masterpiece also, was positioned at the far end, a distance from the side maps and facing the south wall of the room. It was hand carved in an ornamental filigree design with forest animals covering the legs, back and top of the head rest. This room never failed to inspire awe from those few first timers fortunate enough to be invited into this inner sanctum.

The President controlled all switches in front of the chairs. No one had access to their switches unless the President activated them. This allowed him to keep a handle on the situation and slow or accelerate the progress of the meeting. It was a power chair. His position at the head of the table allowed him to control the meeting to its fullest advantage.

The south wall was used for everything else. The blank white transparency screen allowed anything of importance to be transferred from a scanner on the desktop to the screen in full detail. Anything short of a Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoon was projected on to it. Pictures of wanted or important government targets were flashed onto the screen and zoomed in and out for clarity. It was a unique war and covert operations room. Each time something was shown on any screen in the room, it was automatically cataloged and put into a covert military or government computer library for future recall, depending on the situation. John could access anything with one or two words.

Walking to the end of the table, John sat down and pulled out a secret extension known only to him. A small door popped out of the panel below the table top. He pulled out a small Bavarian carved wooden case given him as a gift from his Bavarian friend. He placed it carefully on the table in front of him and opened it. John saw his face bouncing back from the mirror on the inside cover. He laughed lightly and turned his head from side to side, checking his profile and frontal appearance.

Satisfied as to what he was about to do, John reached into the box and removed brushes and small tins of theatrical makeup. Deftly he began to apply makeup to his face. He worked quickly and expertly. He'd practiced it many times preparing for this very moment. First he applied a dark base foundation to his face, changing the complexion of his skin. Next he positioned a false mustache and Van Dyke beard to his face. He looked into the mirror and adjusted the fake hair pieces. Then he placed thick, bushy eyebrows over his own to shadow his eyes. Bronze wire rimmed glasses added the final touch. In no time he looked like a different man. It would take someone with a keen eye or someone who knew him well to uncloak him. He put the case back where it was originally stashed and closed the drawer.

For a short moment he took in the beauty of the room.

Opening his briefcase, he pulled the letters, drafts and papers out onto the table before him and spread them around in a random order. He threw the briefcase down on the floor to the right of the chair. He then tossed his United States - North Korean Peace Proposal onto the mess of papers lying in front of him. Flashing the map of North Korea on the south wall, he zoomed in on it. Suddenly he fell face forward, his chest slammed against the table as if he'd been thrown there. As he started sliding to the floor, John grabbed the top of the table to stop his fall. He slid slowly to the carpet, dragging papers down with him. Reaching up, he tipped his high backed Presidential Chair over on its side and then threw the waste basket against the wall. When he was through, it appeared to the discerning eye that a struggle had ensued before he was kidnapped.

John brought no suitcase or personal articles with him, with the exception of a cap, thin leather finger sensitive flight gloves and his favorite leather flight jacket. It had to look like he was taken by surprise. He put the cap on his head and adjusted it at a rakish angle. Pulling his Wave Impulse Glock PH350 with a built in silencer and 24 bullets clip from his side pocket, an invention and gift from his Papa, he examined it to ensure it was ready in the event that he might have to use it. Everything was in order. Looking around, pleased with his kidnapping diversion, he was ready to go.

Everything in the lower level conference room was soundproofed. There was no way anyone above could hear anything. He knew that nothing he did could be heard above, because no one was authorized below unless a meeting was being held. He was alone in the sublevel.

John walked to the far wall and placed his hand on a picture of the white house during spring with the cherry trees in full bloom. Suddenly the picture faded and a green glow flew from the picture onto his hand. It immobilized him while it checked his security credentials. He was unable to move. Quickly the green glow released its grip, and the picture slowly returned to its original form. He removed his hand. A voice said softly, 'Enter President Robinson. Have a good day'. A secret door slid back into the wall revealing a long tunnel.

Reaching behind the picture, he found a control panel that was displaying low flashing red lights indicating that someone had used the security device to gain entry to the secret tunnel. He punched a code into the wall computer and then watched the red lights turn back to green, indicating that no one had entered the tunnel. When the room had been constructed, John had the computer put in. No one but personnel who were authorized access knew of its existence.

John extracted a cotton handkerchief from his trousers pocket and wiped the fingerprints from the computer and buttons, straightened the picture, and wiped the picture clean. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he grabbed a pair of leather gloves and put them on. He picked up a crowbar he had placed in the room previously and stuck it under his arm. Walking over to a chair near the door, he picked up a pair of hiking boots, put them on, laced them up, and stuffed his alligator loafers inside his leather jacket. He'd dispose of the loafers in an area that would throw the trackers off of him and provide a false trail for the security, FBI and CIA to follow . He walked to the door and turned his head to survey the crime scene he'd created. It looks like a real kidnapping, he mused. Let's see if they can figure this one out.

The door closed behind him immediately after he entered. This was a top secret emergency escape tunnel constructed specifically to whisk top government officials to safety in the event that the security of the White House was breached. Presidents in the past often used the escape tunnel to admit lovers and mistresses to the White House for a little romp in the hay. It was now modernized, complete with advanced computer technology and only a select group of government officials, security personnel and military officers knew of its existence.

John turned and looked at the door. He walked over and examined it. The door had no hinges or traceable areas that would indicate how it retracted into the wall. The door was six inches thick, constructed with the new Titanium/Aluminum/Cobalt/Prasmodal alloy. It had one weakness. It was held tightly by thick hinges, but John felt he could remove the door by concentrating on blasting the hinges with high powered explosives.

Making a quick decision he reached into the side pocket of his jacket and removed three small packets of high powered D200 explosives. The D200's were much more effective and efficient than the old C4's used in the past. The advantage in the D200 was in the tiny amount you had to apply compared to the older explosive packets. It was like comparing a dime with a basketball. In addition it packed ten times the punch as the C4.

John pounded one parcel in place over the internal wall switch. Perhaps the blast would cause the mechanism to start opening the door, he thought. Then he placed the other two packets over areas where he thought the hinges would be and where the door recessed into the wall. He was shooting in the dark, he knew that. He had had no time to test this part of the operation, but it had to look like someone had broken in. Stepping back around a corner into a recess and well out of sight of the door, he removed a small remote detonator from his pocket. He turned it on, stuck his head out, and took one last look at the door. John pulled his head back in, ensured that the red light as on and activated the switch. Debris and smoke flew down the hallway past him, but he was well out of harms way.

John waited until the smoke had partially cleared. Then he returned and surveyed his handiwork. The door had blown open only slightly and fell backwards into the conference room. It hung awkwardly at an angle into the room, but hadn't been completely dislodged. Walking up to the door he assessed the situation. There was enough room for a person to easily enter the conference room from the passageway without a problem. He walked through the door and into the conference room, went over to the chair and stomped around to give the illusion of someone attacking him. He turned and went back into the escape tunnel again. He walked until he was out of the dust and debris of the blast. He turned back to look at the scenario he was trying to create. It looked good.

When they discover he was missing, he was confident the door would indicate a breach of security from the outside. They'd surmise that he'd been knocked unconscious and thrown over the man's shoulder. It also appeared as if it were a one man kidnapping, and more than likely John knew the man. He said a silent thanks to General Denzel Van Gogh, his mentor, for teaching him skills involving weapons and explosives.

Satisfied, John turned and walked quickly down the passageway. The walls of the tunnel were smooth plaster and painted a dark gray. The lighting was so low that one could easily say that there was no lighting. The route to the outside tunnel door was almost impossible to navigate, if you didn't know the escape pathway to it. This was done purposely. The passage had to be dark enough to generate confusion and cause anyone following or chasing someone to bump into corners or offshoot into dead ends that branched off the main tunnel. Often the dead ends were totally dark and the main tunnel dark, beckoning to any antagonists to follow the lit path. All persons with access to this escape route had to memorize it. Those that knew the tunnel navigated the maze with ease. Shadows, bends and turns hid anyone who was being led down the tunnel. Those that followed would hesitate running headlong down the passageway without adequate light to see what was ahead of them.

He arrived at the end of the hallway in no time flat. Now comes the tricky part, he thought. If this doesn't work I'm a dead man.

The long tunnel led from the White House to a trap door that opened up, hidden between some unkempt bushes, well outside the east fence of the White House. The guards, making their rounds, not knowing the existence of the tunnel, walked by without incident. Only the presence of someone in the area would trigger a response.

John reached up and pressed the computerized wall switch before him. The tunnel was now engulfed in total darkness. Only the sound of a panel slowly sliding open could be faintly heard. As the panel slowly slid back, the evening light flooded the entrance. He patiently waited for the door to open. He tucked his neck into his jacket as dirt fell from around the edges of the door onto his cap and down his back. Suddenly the door, agonizingly slow, slid to a stop exposing a starry sky, and full moon beaming down. It was apparent that the door had not been used for a long time.

John shook the dirt from his cap and raised his head slightly above the opening, carefully surveying the situation. Everything was quiet. No one was around. The full moon might present a problem, but if I hug the ground and keep quiet I should make it to the street without a problem, he thought.

Before leaving he made sure that the tunnel door remained open. Using the crowbar, he wedged it between the door and the runner bars that the door glided on when opening and closing. When he felt that the illusion of an outside break-in was created, he left the crowbar sticking out of the mechanism.

John climbed out of the escape tunnel, crouched over, quickly moved to a cluster of nearby bushes. The exit was surrounded by some flowers, exotic bushes, and two small cherry trees. He had planned the kidnapping so that they would assume that it was an inside job, because there was no way for an outsider to cross over even the first of the security devices without being detected, and it would have to be a high level top security level person at that. Therefore he didn't worry about them ferreting out the false abduction. They'd surely suspect that an insider was the key to the kidnapping. They would search long and hard for someone missing in a high position, and by that time he'd be with his family in Colorado.

He removed the shoes from his jacket, put them on and tramped around the area to give the illusion that two people exited the tunnel. Then he put on his hiking boots again.

'Hey, what the hell are you doin' here?' a deep husky voice sounded from behind him. Startled, John turned and stared into the eyes of a huge, black DC policeman. He had a deep frown on his face, his right hand resting on his weapon, and his left pulling out his flashlight. He blinded John when he turned the light on and focused on his eyes.

John threw his arm up across his eyes to lessen the glare and said, 'Hey dude, don't shoot. My dog ran into these bushes and I'm looking for him. My wife'll kill me if I lose her little darlin', know what I mean?' he asked as he raised his hands up over his head and squinted.

A slight smile appeared on the cop's face. He lowered the light from John's eyes. 'Yeah, I know what you mean, but there's no way you can stay here, dog or no dog man.' He flipped his head towards the fence and said, 'Too close to the east fence.' He leaned over and looked more closely at John's face. Then he leaned back and said, 'You really look familiar. Do I know you dog?' He had his flashlight shining just below John's face and his hand still rested on his police revolver. 'And why are those shoes stuffed in your jacket?' he asked with suspicion in his voice.

This won't do, John thought. If I don't do something quick I'll have a dozen security agents converging on me. Acting quickly he said, 'Hey man, please turn the light off. Let me show you my license.' The cop looked down and started to switch the light to low power.

Without warning John reached into his right pocket, pulled the PH350, in one fluid motion and pumped two shots into the man's chest. The Glock made no noise when it fired. You could be standing right next to the weapon and never hear a sound.

The cop flew backwards and landed on his back, amazement spreading across his face as he stared down at the blood pumping from his chest, and then he looked up into John's eyes.

Stepping over him John looked down. Slowly he raised the pistol and fired. It hit the cop directly between the eyes. The body jumped and then fell silent. John watched as life faded from the man's eyes. Looking around he could see that no one had seen or heard anything. No movements. No sounds. He was in the clear. He returned the weapon to his jacket pocket, turned and quickly moved to the street. Searching for signs of discovery, he crossed the street and started walking, putting distance between himself and his past. As he walked a thought crossed his mind. Well I bet that's one charge no President of the United States has never put on his resume' . . . murder.

CHAPTER TWO

'Deception is the master cloak worn by all that are evil. Resilience is the generator that allows them to create that deception. Escape is the ultimate binding flame that ignites resilience and deception and then moves them to action.'

Bo Braze

Tomor Ochir Andropopov stood on the outside deck of the Phoenix submarine, bending over and guiding his papa, Mikhail Andropopov, down the ladder. Hands from below assisted him the rest of the way into the submarine. When Mikhail was close to the end of the ladder, firm hands grasped him under the shoulders and legs and slowly lowered him to the deck. Tomor followed down the ladder in a flash.

Captain Romanov, a tall dark haired Russian in a Phoenix Navy uniform, sporting a waxed handlebar mustache and navy cap set at a rakish angle, brought himself to rigid attention. His uniform was impeccable and his shoes were shined to a high gloss. His dark, wavy black hair tumbled over his forehead, and his deep blue eyes enraptured the ladies when they stared into them. He gave Mikhail a sharp salute. His hand shook as he waited for him to return the courtesy. Weary, Mikhail looked up, frowned and then offered him his famous two fingered salute. Suddenly he turned pale, his eyes fluttered, closed and then he collapsed onto the deck. Unable to catch him from falling, the submariners rushed to help him. He hit the deck with a thud and remained motionless. The crew crowded around him, each trying to do their bit to bring the man back to consciousness.

Tomor roughly tossed bodies aside to reach his Papa. 'Get back you damn fools. Give him some air. He's had a lot happen to him in the last few days and he needs rest.' He was pushing people out of the way like a bulldozer moving a mountain of rocks.

Captain Romanov shouted at his men, 'Listen to the Commander. Back to your posts until I give further orders.' Men scurried to their assignments, looking back as they departed and in no time the passageway was free to tend to Mikhail without a crowd standing around.

Tomor turned to the Captain and barked, 'Well get off your ass and get a physician and corpsman here immediately. Can't you tell he needs medical attention?' The menacing look in Tomor's eyes told Romanov it would be a huge mistake to hesitate. He turned quickly and barked orders for the physician to attend the Commissar immediately.

Within a few minutes Tomor looked up to see a tall, gaunt man in a white gown carrying a large medical bag in his hand, running down the passageway and adeptly ducking through the hatches as he advanced,. Reaching Mikhail, the doctor knelt, put his finger up to his throat and felt for life. Mikhail was pale, motionless and unconscious. His breathing was labored.

'I'm doctor Yashenko,' the man said, turning to look up at Tomor. 'We need to move him to a place where I can work on him in private immediately. He needs room to breathe and recover. This isn't all from the fall. It's a wonder he was able to come this far. He must've gone through hell to get here. Exhaustion is now his biggest enemy.'

'We had to do a lot of running and hiding when we escaped. It was a non-stop marathon and I thought he was handling it well but . . . ,' Tomor hesitated, 'there were other personal problems that weighed heavy on his mind, in addition to the long journey here. Is he going to be all right?' Tomor asked, concern written across his face.

'I won't know until I examine him. Let's get him to his stateroom. I can tell you more then,' the doctor said as he looked up and motioned for some seamen to pick up Mikhail.

Before the seamen could lift him, Tomor pushed them roughly aside. He reached down and tenderly lifted Mikhail from the deck like a shepherd with a new born lamb. His Papa was light as a feather. Yashenko turned and started down the passageway at a fast pace. Tomor followed him, ducking through hatch after hatch until they reached a highly polished, dark hardwood cabin door. Yashenko opened it, stepped aside and allowed Tomor passage into the room. Tomor entered the cabin still looking down into his father's pale eyes. The doctor followed him in, and Captain Romanov was close behind on his heels.

Mikhail's stateroom was luxurious. It was specially designed in the event that the Commissar would be forced to leave the island during an emergency, and might have to spend an undetermined period of time in the Phoenix Submarine. It enjoyed no other use. Only Mikhail Andropopov would ever occupy the stateroom. The boat itself smelled new and the inside gleamed from hours of polishing and painting during idle times.

His stateroom was no exception. The large bed was specially constructed with carved leaf patterned mahogany rails. The protective sides, headboard and a rather tall footboard, restricted him from rolling off or down onto the deck during periods of inclement weather.

To the right when entering the stateroom, was a huge desk in the corner built for his use. It was also constructed of mahogany, and everything that Mikhail had previously requested from his son Moshe was in it's place; pens, pencils, paper, computer, radio, cell phone and most important, his vodka supply.

To the left of the bed as you entered, a large closet containing the Commissar's uniforms and favorite leisure clothing stood open. Each item was crisply pressed and hung in an orderly military fashion. To the far left, a door opened to a private head with commode, sink and oversized shower. Pictures of him and his family adorned the walls of the stateroom and head. A large picture of Mikhail stared sternly down at you as you sat at the desk. Music was piped in through five Bose stereo speakers housed in the overhead, playing his favorite golden oldies and standards. Recessed lighting provided more than enough light to read and work comfortably at his desk.

Captain Romanov rushed around Tomor and threw the top sheet and blankets back. Tomor slowly lowered his Papa onto the bed, undressed him to his under clothing, threw his uniform and shoes unceremoniously on the floor, and then covered him up. He turned and motioned for the doctor as he stepped away from the bed.

Dr. Yashenko knelt down by the bed and started his examination of Mikhail immediately. No one spoke, careful not to interrupt the doctor and his intense concentration. Finally, after a few minutes he turned to Tomor and indicated that he needed a glass of water by tipping his hand to his mouth. Understanding, Tomor turned, went into the head and filled a glass with cold water. He returned and handed it to the doctor. Yashenko reached into his medical kit and removed a bottle of pills. He shook two out onto his palm. Placing the pills into Mikhail's mouth, he forced a bit of water into the floor of his mouth, propped his head backward, pinched his nose and forced him to swallow. Water spilled over onto Mikhail's top undergarment but he managed to swallow the pills without incident. Yashenko dried him with a nearby towel and then gently laid his head back onto the pillow again. Mikhail did not stir