Title: The Phoenix Connection
Author: K. J. Dahlen
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
When Olivia Laundon uncovers a hidden agenda in a Washington D.C. watchdog group, it takes her to a plot of homegrown terrorists planning the unthinkable. After two friends are murdered in front of her, she goes on the run only to be discovered by FBI agent Jesse Cantral. Together they uncover more of the plot but to stop it they rely on a special group of Americans. Can they stop the Phoenix Society before they ruin the world as we know it?
A man in a hazard suit entered the code into the security pad outside the Biohazard lab and when the light turned green he opened the door and slipped inside. He walked over to the vault and entered another code. The door popped open and the man reached inside and searched for the correct container. He chose one and pulled it out.
The man turned the container on its side and noted the number on the label—NC211. He closed the vault and tucked the vile into a small cooler. Zipping up the cooler he turned to leave the lab. On his way out he paused at one of the lab areas and turned on a Bunsen burner but didn't light it. When he got to the door, he opened it then turned to light a match and toss it back inside the lab. Closing the door quickly, he watched the room burst into flames, ducking as the chemicals in assorted containers bubbled over and exploded. Glass shattered. The heat was very intense as the gas spewed from the burner. Flames spread quickly as the man in the suit hurried toward the door leading to the hallway. The heavy door blocked the fire from spreading to the rest of the building. The man rushed to the changing room and stripped off the suit.
When he emerged a few minutes later, he watched the sprinkler systems trying to douse the flames in the lab. He knew he didn't have enough time to vacate the building without some help so as he passed the fire alarms he reached out and pulled the handle down. A sharp horn bleated the signal and people began appearing in the hall. They were stunned by the noise then someone noticed the smoke and shouted 'fire.' Everyone panicked and stampeded toward the exits.
The man got into the line heading for the escape. He went down the stairs with everyone else and once outside he turned and walked away from the pool of people standing in a crowd waiting for the fire department. Sirens could be heard coming closer but the man simply got into his car and drove away. His mission was done.
~ * ~
The next morning Doctors Nathan and Jean Laundon entered the burnt out lab to access the damage done by the fire.
"Well this is a fine mess," Jean admitted as she gazed around the room.
"How could this have happened?" Nathan wanted to know. "No one is supposed to be in here after hours."
He paused then turned to stare at his wife, "You don't suppose…"
"Quickly, check the vault," She urged him.
Nathan crossed the lab and punched in the numbers. When the vault popped open, he checked the vials. Not finding the one he was looking for, he turned and looked at her. Slowly he shook his head, "Damn how did they find it? How did anyone even know about NC211?"
"I don't know, but we have to report this," Jean told him.
"I know but we have to be careful who we report it to," Nathan said. "After all, we don't know who broke in here to take the vial. Only a handful of people even knew it existed."
"Or what it could do." Jean reminded him.
"I think I was able to neutralize it, but we didn't have time to test it."
"That's what I'm worried about," Jean admitted.