Here’s a short Extract from Science Fiction Novel ‘Nanopunk’
Paris: Nine years earlier.
The small tables on the pavement outside the restaurant were vacant apart from one by the entrance, where a man in a slate grey overcoat sat drinking coffee. He glanced from a phone in his hand below the table to a line of schoolchildren in green duffel coats tramping through the snow past a hotel across the road. There was a ping and a message flashed red on the screen.
‘Priority NSA Instruction. Graham Anderson. Re-enable agent location app immediately.’
The message masked the satellite video feed of the van speeding past a cemetery and the blinking countdown at the bottom of the screen.
ETA 15 seconds, 14 seconds.
Graham snapped the battery out, stuffed the pieces into his pocket and checked his watch.
When the black van screeched round the corner, he downed the espresso in one and glanced at the roof of the building opposite where the sniper was camped. “Lock and load, Phil.” He placed the empty cup beside a half full one on the table.
“Copy that, sir,” Phil’s voice and the click of the M110 rifle was crisp in Graham’s earpiece radio.
The van skidded along the kerb, the side door sliding open with a loud crash. Two Lycus mercenaries jumped out. On this side of the van, they’d be out of Phil’s line of fire.
Graham slammed his palm against the curved edge of the small table and it spun up over the wet pavement, sending two espresso cups arcing into the air leaving a trail of curling black liquid.
The mercenaries swerved; Graham leapt to his feet, pulled the gun from his shoulder holster and fired. The rear man crumpled to the ground. Sidestepping the nearest man, Graham grabbed the arm holding the gun and yanked down hard. The man slewed sideways on the melting snow. Graham pumped his knee in the man’s chest and brought his pistol down on the base of his skull, knocking him out. Chaos exploded around him.
Surrounded by the rush and shouting of people desperate to get away, tables and chairs crashing to the ground, cars screeching and swerving, Graham calmly looked across the boulevard to where two other Lycus men had emerged from a white saloon car.
“The two back-up goons are in the frame. One is six-two, bald, black leather jacket, blue jeans. Second is five-eight, cheap grey suit, gun in his left hand.”
The bald man darted across the road.
“Got the slap-head boss.” Phil pulled the trigger.
The man pitched forward, hit the wet road with a heavy splat and lay motionless, a red pool spreading under him.
A small car squealed to a halt in front of the goon, reversed, crunched into the car behind, jolted forward around the body and sped away. The second man fell back against his car, looking around. People scattered in waves as he swung the pistol left and right with his outstretched arms.
“Other guy’s at too sharp an angle to see, sir,” Phil said. “I’ll have to wait.”
Traffic quickly jammed in one direction. “Here he comes,” Graham said.
The man leapt forward, swerved around a cyclist and vaulted over a cab’s bonnet the same time a bullet from the M110 hit him square between the shoulders. The pistol flew from his hand and cracked the windscreen. The goon crashed across the warm bonnet and slid onto the road, leaving ugly streaks of blood on the yellow paintwork. The wheels of the cab thumped over the body and stalled.
“Okay, Phil, pack up and get down here asap,” Graham said. He turned and shoved through people streaming around him, stepping over upturned tables and chairs to enter the restaurant. He strode downstairs and past the smoke filled kitchen where busy cooks were oblivious to the chaos above and fleeing customers. Graham pushed through a door into the manager’s office and slammed it shut behind him, pausing in the silence to catch his breath.
A world away from the havoc he’d just left, the quiet, dull little office contained nothing more than a chair and table with a roll of receipts beside a large account book.
He pressed a button over the top frame of the door. A concealed entrance behind the table hissed open to reveal another room where a tall, Afro-Caribbean woman sat in an old brown leather armchair, still wearing her long grey raincoat and holding a glass of water.
An elderly man in a smart black suit sat against the edge of a small desk, holding a menthol cigarette in front of his wrinkled face. A walking stick leaned beside him.
He put the cigarette between his thin lips, took a faint tug and pointed it at Graham.
“I warned the Agency years ago Lycus would be trouble,” he said in a gravelled Spanish accent. He reached out and grasped his walking stick.
Graham nodded. “Thanks for this, Louis.”
Louis shook his head and slowly crossed the room. “I retired from the secret service to get away from all this. He stopped at the door and turned to the woman. “Don’t worry, he’ll take care of you.”
“Thank you, Louis.” The woman put down the glass of water and turned to Graham. “Who were those men in that car, Graham? Why did you send me down here?”
A metro train rumbled past somewhere beneath them and the pictures on the wall shuddered.
Graham followed her gaze to the rippling in the glass of water then returned to her. “Lycus agents, Ma’am,” Graham replied. “They’ve found out you destroyed your work and have come after you. They won’t give up. You’ll be arrested and disappear into one of their remote labs and if you refuse to recreate the particles, well,” he paused, “there’s no telling what they’ll threaten to do to you, or your family.”
“My family?” She stared at him. “What are you saying?”
“Professor Cloud,” Graham said, “Lycus is merciless. I’m afraid you can’t go back, It seems they’re willing to kill to get their hands on you.”
“No, I have to go back, for Alister.” Professor Cloud shook her head. “He’s only seven years old, I can’t leave him, I promised mother.”
“I’ll get someone to watch over Alister until I can fetch him to you.”
Julia stared at the ground for several seconds then nodded. She produced a phone from her bag. The image of a young boy wearing a cowboy hat stared back at her from the screen.
Graham took a deep breath. “I’m sorry it has to be like this, Ma’am, but it’s the only way to protect you and your family. Paolo has a safe house in the Sentier Quarter, large black population there, easier to hide you until I get back.”
Julia nodded and dabbed a hanky to her eyes while the picture of Alister faded away to be replaced by the blank screensaver. “Graham, there’s something you should know about Alister, it concerns the nanoparticles. It’s serious.”
Two teenagers in a perilous chase across a devastated, Icebound Earth.
Alister, a teen with uncanny hacking abilities, discovers his sister, the last of his family is alive, kidnapped, and sets off to find her. When Suzie, a feisty cyber-militant curious about the secret behind Alister’s exceptional skills, gets involved in his search, the wrong kind of people start to notice. It’s not long before a rogue NSA agent, MI6, and a ruthless Private Military Corporation want them dead or alive.
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