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The Pisces Project Part I

By   /  September 9, 2017  /  17 Comments

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Primary Inhalator Self Contained Emergency Survival

Thomas Calabrese….. It was zero nine hundred hours and a group of high ranking military officials were in a conference room in a secure area of the Pentagon. Admiral Robert Kelly got up from his chair and walked over to a large map of the United States. “Gentleman, it is time to face reality, harsh as it may be, our police and military forces are being stretched to their limits.”

Air Force General Frank Reeves took issue with Admiral Kelly’s statement. “We are all aware of our problems, but what we need right now are answers, not a repetition of the problem.”

“Some issues are worth repeating,” Admiral Kelly replied.

General Harold Lawford of the Marine Corps intervened, “If you have something to tell us Bob, then don’t keep us in suspense.”

Admiral Kelly motioned to a female officer, “You can start the film.”

Commander Lange started the film while Admiral Kelly narrated the footage of disasters around the world, “A series of major catastrophes including a series of category five hurricanes and a unique weather pattern was caused by the fluctuation in the solar cycle. This has also affected wind and air currents and precipitation.  Hurricane Harvey was just one of these historical and unprecedented events and the west coast’s drastic reduction in food production is related to this unique meteorological event.

According to the scientists, the sun could make the appropriate corrections within hours…days…or years, but in the meantime, even if we hope for the best, it is still our sworn duty to prepare for the worst.”

It was early afternoon in Oceanside, California and Kyle Majors was standing on Buccaneer Beach and gazing out over the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. As time passed, a concerned look appeared on his face and he prepared to enter the water until he saw something five hundred yards off shore and yelled out, “Bring it in!”

The arm of a female swimmer raised her arm to acknowledge the command then began swimming to the beach at a very quick pace. When Jenny Majors reached shallow water, her father was there to help his fourteen year old daughter remove the innovative fins that were strapped to her legs, “I told you to take it easy.”

“I did, I was in cruise mode the whole time,” Jenny replied with a mischievous smile.

“Did you have any trouble with breath control?”

“None,” Jenny answered.

“How about maneuverability?”  Kyle said.

“Smooth as liquid mercury,” Jenny hugged her father, “It is time that people realize what a genius you are!”

Kyle smiled boyishly, “It does work, doesn’t it?” then picked up his daughter and placed her in a wheelchair with special oversized tires and began pushing her through the sand.

Kyle’s wife, Molly was driving back from their cabin in Big Bear one evening with Jenny and at the time, Kyle was still with the Navy Seals and on deployment in the Middle East. The front tire blew out and Molly lost control and plummeted down a steep embankment. She was critically injured and Jenny sustained blunt force trauma to her back. Molly eventually died in the vehicle and if some hikers had not seen the top of the SUV three days later, Jenny would have experienced the same fate. That was five years ago and medical specialists weren’t sure if Jenny would ever walk again. Kyle immediately put in for a hardship discharge and left the military and focused on raising his daughter.

The aquariums of Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California were filled with various types of ocean life and Kyle was sitting behind a control panel and was intently watching the creatures. He pressed several buttons and an x-ray of a dolphin swimming appeared on the screen, showing his heart, lungs and other vital organs. The door opened behind him and Professor Theresa (Terry) Carling entered and walked up behind Kyle and placed her hands on his shoulders, “Do you know what time it is?”

“Not exactly, but I’m guessing that if you’re here then I’m late for our lunch date,” Kyle smiled, “I’m sorry.”

“Should I be jealous that you are looking at other females?” Terry asked.

“I’d say you are relatively safe, but I heard we’ve got a very good looking squid that just came in from Long Beach, until I get a good look at her, I can’t give you a definite answer.”

“How are the experiments going?”  Terry asked.

“I’m getting close,” Kyle answered, “I can feel it.”

Later that day, Kyle and Terry were having an early dinner at the Hill Street Café on Coast Highway in Oceanside and sharing an order of organic chicken stir fry. “Is Jenny still helping you with your experiments?” Terry asked.

“She works cheap,” Kyle replied.

“You’re not pushing her too hard, are you?”

“I like to think that I’m encouraging her to be the best that she can be, but if you should see me cross the infamous line when I become a paternal piece of rotting garbage, who tries to live his unfulfilled dreams through his child, then I would consider it a personal favor if you hit me upside my head with a steel shovel to get me back on the straight and narrow.”

“Roger that, Captain Bligh,” Terry smiled, “Ever miss the excitement of being a Navy Seal?”

“I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t cross my mind occasionally, but I’ve turned the page on that chapter because I have other priorities now; my daughter and my research.”

“I didn’t expect to be number one, but I hoped to be in your top two,” Terry frowned.

“You are not a mission; you are my refuge, salvation and my blessing from above.”

“Right back at you,” Terry leaned over and passionately kissed Kyle on the lips.

General Lawford was in his office when Colonel Fulton Curry knocked on the door jam, “Permission to enter, sir.”

“Permission granted, what’s up?” General Lawford said.

Colonel Curry handed a folder to General Lawford, “The joint readiness operations with the Navy and Marines begin next week at Camp Pendleton. This is the training schedule.”

“Thank you, Colonel.”

The Majors’ home was located in South Carlsbad, not far from the intersection of El Camino Real and Cannon Road. Kyle was in the kitchen and had just prepared breakfast when Jenny rolled in, “What’s cookin’, good lookin’?”

“Waffles,” Kyle replied.

“Again?”

“What do you mean, again? We had pancakes yesterday,” Kyle reminded his daughter.

“Definition of a waffle is a pancake with a non–skid sole.”

“I’m going to Coronado today so I can drop you off at school on my way,” Kyle offered.

“Why don’t I keep you company on the drive.”

“What about school?” Kyle asked.

“Definition of school; a place where kids go to learn what offends them.”

“There must be something that bothers you too,” Kyle said.

“Being in this wheelchair for starters, but I got better things to do than play the poor little paralyzed girl.”

Like going to Coronado?” Kyle asked.

“Exactly.”

“Nice try,” Kyle kissed his daughter on the forehead.

When Kyle arrived at the U.S. Navy Seal Training Center (Seal Rock), he checked in at the main gate and drove over to the ‘Grinder’ where Commander Mike Benjamin was leading a group of SEALS in their exercises. When he saw Kyle, he called out, “Take fifteen!”

“How is the ‘Beast of the Baja’ doing?” Kyle asked as he walked up to Commander Benjamin.

“Falling apart a little more with each passing day,” Mike responded.

“It is called the aging process, amigo, get used to it, it happens to the worst of us.”

“Never, I prefer to go out in a blaze than in a flicker,” Mike smiled, “Not to change the subject, but those water survival techniques are going to save a lot of lives once we get better at them.”

“That’s good to hear, I came down to get a more detailed assessment.”

“Happy to do it…on my one condition.” Mike answered.

“Which is?” Kyle said.

“I’m getting ready to send these guys out on an eight mile swim, if you come in first, I’ll give you whatever you want,” Mike offered.

“I didn’t bring my gear,” Kyle responded.

“Easily rectified, we’ve got whatever you need.”

“I’ll go, but I’ve got a condition as well,” Kyle said

“What’s that, some pink floaties?”

“Will you join me? If I’m going to beat someone then I want it to be you,” Kyle playfully poked Mike in the chest.

Twenty minutes later, and all the men were standing at the edge of the water, “You still remember the route?” Mike asked.

“It is indelibly etched into my memory.”

The group of finely conditioned men entered the ocean and began swimming and after going through the entire course, Kyle was back on shore in one hour and twenty seven minutes. This was ninety five minutes faster than Mike Benjamin and the fact that Kyle did not exert himself to complete the eight miles rough water swim at this pace was astounding.

By the time Mike finished, Kyle had already changed back into his regular clothes and was waiting for him, “What the hell!” Mike gasped.

“You owe me a de-briefing,’ Kyle smiled.

After Mike told Kyle how the new training techniques were going for SEAL recruits, he asked, “How fast were you swimming out there?”

“Between twelve and fifteen miles per hour,” Kyle answered.

“Impossible! Mike Phelps could only reach six in a pool.”

“With my special equipment, I can reach twenty five.” Kyle said, “Come up to Oceanside and I’ll show you.”

“Speaking about Oceanside, they’re having readiness maneuvers at Pendleton,” Mike said, “Kelly is going to be there.”

“How is the old sea horse doing?”

“He’ll bury us all,” Mike answered, “I know he would like to see you.”

“I don’t know about that,” Kyle answered.

“He wanted you to follow in his footsteps, there was no doubt about it, but I’m sure he’s put it behind him by now. We’re going to be implementing your techniques while we’re working with the Marines. Wouldn’t you like to see how they work under simulated emergency conditions?”

“I would.” Kyle said.

Two days later, Kyle was getting ready to go to Camp Pendleton and his daughter was doing her homework at the dining room table, “How’s your history project coming along?”

“Definition of history, something that may or may not have happened, then was documented and interpreted by someone with their own personal or political agenda and taught by somebody else to a group of people who are not really interested,” Jenny joked.

“Talk about cynical…remember that those that are too arrogant to learn from history, are  doomed to repeat the worse of it, while failing to duplicate the best of it.”

At the same time in Berlin, Germany, Christian Greasing, an oceanographer and mechanical engineer was testing his specifically designed exposure suit and helmet in a ten foot deep salt water tank. His assistant Herman Wolfe was operating the controls outside the tank and both men were communicating by radio.

“Lower the temperature to twenty degrees below centigrade,” Christian ordered.

“Lowering temperature,” Herman replied and when the gauge reached twenty, “twenty degrees.”

“Raise temperature to 150.”

Herman complied, “150…should we do the pressure test next?”

“Very slowly, I don’t know if I corrected the malfunction,” Christian responded.

Herman increased the water pressure by increments of 25 psi until the gauge was at 1000 pounds per square inch, “You’ve done it!”

“We’ve done it.” Christian responded.

Later that evening, Christian texted his friend in California, “It works!”

Kyle read the text and couldn’t help, but yell out in joy as he was standing in line at the Sprouts grocery store on El Camino Real in Carlsbad, “Sorry, I just got some good news,” as the other patrons looked his way.

Terry was working with her team at Scripps when Kyle entered, “How’s it going?”

“Not bad…the problem we’ve had is minimizing the size the components. The technology just wasn’t there for the longest time.”

“What about now?” Kyle asked.

Terry walked over to a locked cabinet and removed a nylon belt that had several attachments on it that were about the size of IPhones, “If man is going to be self-sufficient in the ocean, he is going to need fresh water, nourishment and oxygen.”

“Agreed.”

Terry picked up a pitcher of water, “This is the same water that is in the ocean,” and connected a small hose to one of the components then hands the other end to Kyle, “Put this in your mouth.”

Kyle put the hose in the mouth and Terry poured the water over the component, “Taste just like spring water.”

“Hey Donald,” Terry called out, “Give Kyle an update.”

Donald Judson was head of microbiotic research at the institute, “Our first priority was to make sure that we were able to extract vitals nutrient from the sea water and convert it into an absorbable form for human consumption. The mini computer monitors vital signs; blood pressure, electrolytes, heart rate, hematological evaluation and protein nutritional status.”

“If we are in exposure suits for extended periods of time, how does a person deal with normal bodily functions and the extraction of toxic waste from the body?”  Kyle asked.

“Part of the computer’s function is to monitor those needs as well. There is one tube going into the abdomen and one coming out. The toxic waste is neutralized by a high potency ultra violet light then released back into the ocean water.”

“How do you attach the tubes?”

Donald held up a small terminal that was two inches square, “This will be surgically implanted beneath the abdominal wall. Gills are feathery organs full of blood vessels and a fish breathes by taking water into its mouth and forcing it out through the gill passages. As water passes over the thin walls of the gills, dissolved oxygen moves into the blood and travels to the fish’s cells. With your breathing techniques and our simulated gill system, a swimmer can stay underwater indefinitely.”

“There is no other way besides surgery?” Kyle asked.

“When we started this project, it was supposed to help our military survive when stranded in the ocean. Remember that the last two letters in PISCES stand for emergency survival,” Terry said, “we’re not in the swimsuit modeling business.”

“You’re right, by the way Christian texted me, the suit passed its final tests,” Kyle replied, “He is going to send me his results so I can review them.”

“That is good news, “Terry smiled.

“We’re putting together a hell of a combination,” Kyle said.

“Consider this too, not everybody is going to need an all-weather exposure suit. In the warmer climates like Hawaii and even here in Southern California, people can just wear the belt and get in the ocean for thirty minutes and obtain their daily requirements of minerals, vitamins and calories. Just imagine what that could mean,” Terry added…

“And by reducing the demand in coastal areas, it will allow more food for those living in the inland areas,” Kyle added.

Christian Greasing was working at his desk and was just about ready to send several attachments with scientific specifications to Kyle when there was a knock at the door, “I’ll get it,” Herman said as he opened it. Five armed men wearing masks burst in and when Herman tried to resist, they shot him several times and he fell to the floor dead.

Christian reached into his desk and pulled out a semi- automatic pistol and shot two of the intruders before he was riddled with bullets, but he lived just long enough to hit send then delete on all of his files.

The man in charge of the attack, Stavros Petros was a highly paid mercenary. He yelled out, “Grab everything, we don’t know what’s important!”

Later, a truck pulled into the building and the men began unloading as Stavros walked into an office where an elderly gentleman, Erich Blumenthal, sat behind a desk, “Where’s Greising?”

Stavros hesitated, “He shot two of my men so we had no choice, but to take him out.”

“Your primary mission was to bring him back alive. I needed to discuss his experiments, I can’t do that now…can I?”

“No sir,” The man said.

“I’ll give you one point for being honest,” Erich said.

“Thank you sir,” Stavros smiled.

Erich Blumenthal pulled out a pistol and calmly shot Stavros through the head, “In this game, you need two points to stay alive.”

Globalus was an international organization whose evil tentacles stretched into every aspect of civilization; business, politics, arms dealing, drug smuggling, cyber terrorism and technology misappropriation. They had been monitoring the research of Kyle, Christian and Terry since the beginning and the leadership of Globalus decided now was the time to make their move. While the death of Doctor Greising changed their original plan, they were quickly developing another one, and someone else was now in their crosshairs.

“I already know a lot about Kyle Majors so I need someone to impress me with something that I don’t know,” Eric challenged a group of men and women sitting at a twenty foot long conference table, “Think fast, I don’t like to be kept waiting.”

Petra Dvorak, a woman in early thirties, attractive, but cold as ice stood up, “Majors has one weakness.”

“Which is?” Eric asked.

“His daughter,”

“Good answer,” Eric joked, “We’re going to California, does anybody have any Beach Boys music?”

When Kyle got the word that his friend Christian Greising had been murdered, he was heartbroken. He had served in enough combat operations to know what it was like to lose comrades, but like any seasoned veteran will tell you, it is something that you never get used to or ever gets easier. After the initial shock, Kyle began thinking about the motive for the killings and when he saw the timing of Christian’s e-mails the evening before, he suspected that it had to do with the exposure suit.

Jenny Majors was waiting for the handicapped students’ bus in front of Sage Creek High School when a helicopter hovered overhead and slowly landed in the parking lot. Three men got out with weapons and two of them walked over to Jenny and took control of her wheelchair, “What the hell, let go!” Jenny screamed out and attempted to punch one of her attackers.

When several teachers and students attempted to intervene, the third man fired over their heads to scare everyone into keeping their distance. Jenny was pushed onto the helicopter and it took off.

Kyle, Mike, Admiral Kelly and General Lawford were at Red Beach on Camp Pendleton in the command center when Kyle received a phone call, “We have your daughter,” Eric then sent a .jpeg of Jenny, “We’ll be in contact.”

END OF PART ONE

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  • Published: 2 weeks ago on September 9, 2017
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  • Last Modified: September 6, 2017 @ 11:17 pm
  • Filed Under: The Back Page

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17 Comments

  1. John Michels says:

    Really interesting technology! You left me hanging wanted to find out what happens.

  2. Tiger says:

    Hey Tom. 48 years ago didn;t know you had all these good stories in you. keep up the good work
    Tiger 1969

  3. Guy says:

    Can’t hardly wait to see how this turns out…great first part.

  4. Greg says:

    Well constructed..lots of technical background and character development.

  5. Joe says:

    And again, you leave me hanging!! These two part stories are rough.

  6. Cary says:

    Something tells me that Kyle Majors is the kind of man you want to mess with…kidnapping his daughter is a bad mistake.

  7. Cary says:

    Something tells me that Kyle Majors is NOT the kind of man you want to mess with…kidnapping his daughter is a bad mistake.

  8. Mona says:

    Can’t wait for the ending! Great story, I liked the characters…

  9. Tony Marengo says:

    Great Part One and waiting on the edge of my seat for Part Two of this exciting and interesting story.

  10. Mike says:

    Very imaginative…I love the way Tom mixes in local settings with his stories…makes them seem more plausible.

  11. Kyle says:

    I told Tom that he could use my name for the hero…I wrote this before my daily ten mile ocean swim

  12. Dan says:

    Looking forward to Part Two..four stars for Part 0ne

  13. Janet says:

    Great characters and very interesting story.

  14. Josh says:

    I like it so far…looking forward to the conclusion

  15. Steve says:

    I waited to read the first part so I wouldn’t have as long to wait for second…good job, Tom…keep them coming.

  16. Clyde says:

    Good story so far…I’m hoping the conclusion is just as good as Part One

  17. Ralph Schilb says:

    Please keep me posted what happens In Vista thanks

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