On the Line 5.1

by Steve on March 30, 2008

Back to 4.3

Rene Bertrand was working late as usual. With no wife waiting at home he was in no real hurry. The house was an empty place ever since his beloved Francoise passed away two years ago. Angelique, their only child, was grown and out on her own so he threw himself into his work. He worked for the French government as a nuclear engineer. Rene was highly respected as one of the top civilians in France’s nuclear submarine program. Generally regarded as the “pere du programme” or father of the program, he had been involved with the Marine Nationale’s nuke boats from day one. In the early years of his career the boats were all based out of Toulon on the Mediterranean, his home since childhood. He had been fortunate to make it home almost every night though not always in time for dinner with his family. These days he split his time between his home and office in Toulon and the city of Brest on the Brittany coast. Several years ago all the subs had been relocated from Toulon and Ile Longue to Brest but since Francoise’s death travel was not an issue. Sometimes he welcomed the change. It gave him a chance to enjoy the countryside again.

His brainchild was the TN-75 nuclear warhead. With a moderate yield of one hundred kilotons it was not a massive weapon but when coupled with the M-45 missile it was a formidable player in the world theater of nuclear deterrence. The youngest boats in the fleet, the Le Triomphant class, carried sixteen of the M-45 missiles. Rene was rightfully proud of his accomplishments. With his security clearance he had access to matters of intelligence that made his boats and missiles a necessity. Most of his countrymen were not aware of the evils that the ballistic missile submarines of the Force Oceanique Strategique, or FOST, kept in check. The French slept peacefully each night because of two things: good wine and Rene Bertrand’s warheads.

He spent the majority of the last few years working in conjunction with the team responsible for designing the M-45’s replacement designated the M-51 missile. It would be several more years before the M-51 entered the fleet but the M-45 was more than capable for the mission of strategic defense. Rene was preoccupied with his thoughts on the new missile program as he left his office building. The fact that there was an ambulance parked a few spots down from his door barely registered in his mind. Paramedics fiddling with gear, no crowd, no blood – it appeared they were packing up to leave so he gave them no notice as he approached his car located just beyond them. As he passed the rear of the ambulance one of the paramedics stumbled and bumped Rene.

“Excusez-moi,” Rene mumbled, thinking he had been at fault. Two more steps and his vision closed in, a third and he went down as his world went dark. The paramedic caught him and pulled him around to the back of the ambulance where he was quickly loaded and out of sight. Not that it mattered, there was no witness to the kidnapping. The little bump from the “paramedic” had nicely covered the stick from the needle.

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{ 1 comment }

Papa Ray March 31, 2008 at 12:41

Great start…

Papa Ray

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