The Icarus Agenda

《The_Icarus_Agenda》

Prologue

The silhouetted figure in the doorway rushed into the dark, windowless room. He closed the door and, by rote, quickly made his way across the spotless black vinyl floor to a brass table lamp on his left. He switched on the light, the low-wattage bulb creating shadows throughout the confined, panelled study. The room was small and confining but not without ornamentation. The objets d'art, however, were neither from antiquity nor from the progressive stages of historical artistry. Instead, they represented the most contemporary equipment of high technology.

The right wall glistened with the reflection of stainless steel, and the quiet whirr of a dust-inhibiting, dust-removing air-conditioning unit ensured pristine cleanliness. The owner and sole occupant of this room crossed to a chair in front of a computer-driven word processor and sat down. He turned on a switch; the screen came alive and he typed in a code. Instantly, the bright green letters responded.

Ultra Maximum Secure

No Existing Intercepts

Proceed

The figure hunched over the keyboard, his anxiety at fever pitch, and proceeded to enter his data.

I start this journal now for the events that follow I believe will alter the course of a nation. A man has come from seemingly nowhere, like an artless messiah without an inkling of his calling or his destiny. He is marked for things beyond his understanding, and if my projections are accurate, this will be a record of his journey... I can only imagine how it began, but I know it began in chaos.

Chapter 1

Masqat, Oman. Southwest Asia

Tuesday, 10 August, 6:30 pm

The angry waters of the Oman Gulf were a prelude to the storm racing down through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Sea. It was sundown, marked by the strident prayers nasally intoned by bearded muezzins in the minarets of the port city's mosques. The sky was darkening under the black thunderheads that swirled ominously across the lesser darkness of evening like roving behemoths. Blankets of heat lightning sporadically fired the eastern horizon over the Makran Mountains of Turbat, two hundred miles across the sea in Pakistan. To the north beyond the borders of Afghanistan, a senseless, brutal war continued. To the west an even more senseless war raged, fought by children led to their deaths by the diseased madman in Iran intent on spreading his malignancy. And to the south, there was Lebanon where men killed without compunction, each faction with religious fervour calling the others terrorists when all - without exception - indulged in barbaric terrorism.

The Middle East, especially Southwest Asia, was on fire, and where the fires had previously been repelled, they were no longer. As the waters of the Gulf of Oman furiously churned this early evening and the skies promised a sweep of ravage, the streets of Masqat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, matched the approaching storm. The prayers over, the crowds again converged with flaming torches, streaming out of side streets and alleyways, a column of hysterical protest, the target the floodlit iron gates of the American Embassy. The facade of pink stucco beyond was patrolled by scrubby long-haired children awkwardly gripping automatic weapons. The trigger meant death, but in their wild-eyed zealotry they could not make the connection with that finality. They were told there was no such thing as death, no matter what their eyes might tell them. The rewards of martyrdom where everything, the more painful the sacrifice the more glorious the martyr - the pain of their enemies meant nothing. Blindness! Madness!

It was the twenty-second day of this insanity, twenty-one days, since the civilized world had been forced once again to accept