US Army Garrison Patch Barracks, near Stuttgart, Germany, 2 a.m., January 11
Sentries at the Main Gate of Patch Barracks had turned away the last of the local Fasching revelers an hour or so before, laughingly joking with them that the Barracks were too quiet for their parties. A few soldiers, somewhat worse for wear after joining the locals for the opening night of Germany’s “Fifth Season”, straggled in around midnight. They were cheerfully waved through the gate by the envious guards, who had pulled duty that night and didn’t get to celebrate.
Since then, the night had been still, only the night sounds typical of the region breaking the silence. The cell and radio tower behind the thick trees was lit by an eerie glow from the remains of the Fasching bonfire a few miles away. It would be six long hours until sunrise and their relief.
The peace of the night lulled them to silence.
Behind them, an eerie blue-white blinding flash bloomed.
No sooner had it lit the night sky than the first sentry opened his mouth to ask, “What was that?”
But the words never left his lips—before he’d even formed them, his lips, along with the rest of him, vanished. Had his mate not been meeting the same fate at the same time, he would have been shocked to see his comrade in arms evaporate into nihility.
Every living being, structure, and object within an 800-yard radius of the epicenter disappeared as if he, she, or it had never been there.
No one in the circumference of the blast zone survived to describe the beauty of the majestic, but fatal, blue-white flash. A few souls, lucky enough to be farther away, saw glimpses of it through the surrounding trees.
No one knew what it was.
The next person to arrive at the Main Gate of Patch Barracks found, much to his drunken confusion, nothing.
No gate, no trees, no cell tower. No barracks. No buildings. No guards.
Not finding the Main Gate where he was sure it must be, the soldier sat down on the ground. Alcohol and rationality have never been good stablemates.
His inebriated brain could not handle the duel, and mercifully, he passed out. He never heard the screams of pain and horror from the injured survivors far enough from the epicentre and fortunate enough to escape obliteration.
Later, first responders approached with caution, finding the drunk soldier passed out where the gate should have been and the void beyond, which had always been occupied by buildings.
They moved into the base to search for survivors. They found few, most of them critically injured and out of their minds with shock and confusion.
Everyone capable of speaking asked the rescuers the question the rescuers had wanted to ask the survivors: What happened?
THE NABATEAN SECRET, is a full-length novel, a nail-biting suspense-thriller about an ancient conspiracy set on total world domination, in every sense of the word — political, financial, energy, information technology... The Nabatean Secret is the fourth book in the Carter Devereux series, the sequel to the best-seller Alboran Codex.