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The President’s Promise
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-415-4
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fiction/Adventure/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 235 Pages
Published: January 2007



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Total Readers: 1

From inside the flap

    
A plane crash, which kills 86 passengers and crew up near the Canadian Tar Sands development near Fort McMurray, brings FAA and Canadian air crash experts to the crash site in the middle of a Canadian deep freeze.
 
Kevin Browne, an FAA expert who comes in at the beginning of many air disasters has a reputation of finding the cause quickly.  All possible causes need to be explored, including engine failure, airframe failure, pilot error and bird strikes as well as possible terrorist activity; the discovery of a live bomb starts a chain of events where the air line, the engine manufacturer and the airframe makers suddenly have a significant reduction on liability, but it also immediately brings in the police and the insurance companies that have policies on the crew and passengers. The passengers include the former chairman of Sun Oil Company, a special emissary for the President and an industrialist who is one of the most powerful men in America. What are these three men doing in the middle of February when the ground temperature is -50 degrees is a question and who would want to kill them?
 
The winter conditions and a blizzard make recovery of the bodies, the passengers’ luggage and the pieces of the airplane that have been scattered over a large area impossible until the snow melts.
 
Work with the air crash experts and feel what they feeling in the macabre details of air crash disasters. Kevin Browne discovers an undeveloped film cartridge, which he picks up and puts in his pocket when above him he sees what they have been looking for the remains of a suitcase that contained the bomb that destroyed Flight 3869. He brings the remains the suitcase back to Washington for detained study in hopes of finding out the signature of the bomb maker.
 
Kevin has begun a relationship with an insurance investigator that has three people who have policies with them who were on board the 737. One policy is an unusual one where Asa Croonshank, the industrialist has a clause where a triple payment of 6 million pounds is called for in the event of his death on board an aircraft. Kevin Browne has arranged to visit to Allison Nabell in London and as he gets ready to visit her he takes in the film, which he discovers is still in his pocket.
 
That film changes his life forever.  He takes it to a one-hour developer and when he returned to pick it up the police are waiting.  He’s arrested and suddenly finds himself being interrogated. The film contains horrific pictures of the younger daughter of the new President showing cuts, bruises and welts all over her body.
 
He discovers she had been kidnapped on the 10th of February and since then the President has only received one demand. That demand was to send out George Strom, his negotiator to come to where the kidnappers are waiting, Then with the discover that George Strom’s name is listed as a passenger on the downed plane, no more demands are made. Where is Ellen Montfort, the President’s daughter? Is she still alive?
 
The President asks Kevin Browne to work with a special team of FBI to find his daughter and this begins the detailed piecing together of various mysteries that have been destroyed or partially destroyed by the bombing of flight 3869.
 
This is an adventure story, which feels as if it were happening as you read the lines and feels the emotions of the main players. This is what most Presidents fear that a family member will be taken and used as a pawn in some scheme of power manipulation. Special security personnel are always trying to avoid such a situation, but mistakes do happen.


The President’s Promise (Excerpt)


Prelude

Barney Duforge studied the screen in the control tower that overlooked the airport in Edmonton. He was thankful that he no longer worked in Toronto, 10 years was all he could endure. To keep his sanity he couldn’t work the busiest airport in Canada, it had been killing him. The job stress was still there, but not at the same degree as in Pearson International airport with its four runways handling thousands of aircraft over the hundreds of routes that were within a narrow corridor in the flights through Toronto, to the US, and to Europe. Every 45 seconds an aircraft landed or departed. It was a nightmare and NAV Canada was responsible for flight safety. Here in Edmonton it was not as busy, but here too it had its own problems. It was the centre for northern development and most people went through Edmonton to get to the North West Territories, Nunavut the new territory, Yukon and northern B.C.

His blip on the radar screen was demanding his attention.

"Flight 3869 you are cleared for take off on runway L4, stay this frequency, wind two-nine-zero gusting 20 knots."

The pilot of the 737 replied. "Roger, do something about the weather."

It was a standing joke. Here in Edmonton, February 19th, they were in the middle of an Arctic freeze; the record was 40 days at 30 degrees below zero. Everyone hoped they wouldn’t make a new record. Flight 3869 was doing a hop to Fort McMurray and then onto Yellowknife, the capital of the NWT.

The weather further north was brutal. In Fort McMurray, the centre for one of the largest oil extract projects in the world was producing raw oil called Syncrude sweet blend from the oil sands below the muskeg. Everyday, no matter how cold it got 250,000 barrels was pumped to the south. This was a boomtown, from a humble start in 1978 in the midst of an $8 billion expansion it had turned into the largest collective industrial development in Canadian history. By 2010 the plants would pump two million barrels a day into the orifice that demanded more and more energy for the thirsty Americans. Without having the tar sands with its estimated 60 billion barrels of recoverable oil the Canadian economy might not be doing so well. Even the town had changed from a small northern town to a city bursting with activity. With nearly 42,000 permanent residents housing had become so expensive that a house that sold for $145,000 three years ago was over $200,000.

Duforge watched the jet race down the runway and then turned to the demanding radar screen. Why had he been thinking about the tar sands? Perhaps, the opportunity of working in their small airport that had become a centre of activity was a good place to retire to. He wondered what his wife Eve would think if she knew he had put in for a posting.

On board the Fort McMurray bound flight, Weston Chandry was trying to get comfortable. His girth was not designed to fit into the constricted space of a 737. How many times had he made this flight? Looking back he could probably count it in the hundreds. It was better than riding down to Edmonton. Every two weeks he made this trip. Well at least it was since he was diagnosed as having cancer. The hospital in the Murray was good, modern, but his cancer specialist was in Edmonton. He was only 53 and a little too young to die so he made the trip.

He looked around, the number of new faces was startling, at one time he could almost recite each person’s name and tell where he worked, but with the upswing in the mining of the tar sands there were new faces each day. He looked at the young lady sitting across from him. He looked at her shapely legs and knew that she was coming back to spend another two weeks plying her trade. Oh, she had a good cover. Years ago any woman who was selling her body would have been sent packing. Now as the city developed, the vices of the south, her trade was as necessary as others were. There were a lot of single men and not enough women. Prostitution when done discreetly was like another form of mining. Hell she was probably earning 10 to 15 thousand a week. No wonder she headed back south. Just to recuperate and clean herself up was a necessity. She looked at him. Her face was angelic and he thought she gave him a knowing smile.

The 28,000-horse power dragline scooped up 150 tones of oil sand every minute. Before they put in the much needed second power line the operator doing the dragging was like being a gifted conductor. If he made a mistake and dragged four buckets at the same instance a brown out occurred in Edmonton two hundred miles south.

He chuckled to himself while he and thousands of workers mined the sand, this lady used her beauty and her own glory hole to mine a man’s reproductive energy.

Behind him, the bank manager Alan Taller of the M-bank was mulling over his recent session with his fellow managers in the quarterly meeting of Alberta Bank managers. It was good to get a break. Calgary was far enough south to receive the Chinooks, which took the chill out of the winter. Now he was going back into the deep freeze. His wife told him that last night the temperature had hit -52.

"This is the Captain speaking. Welcome to flight 3869 to the tropical paradise of Yellowknife with a stop over in the resort community of Fort McMurray. My copilot Mark, the resident expert in Arctic sunbathing, tells me that it’s a might cold and anyone who isn’t wearing his woollies or thermal under ware might regret that oversight when we land. Our metro friends advise us that exposed skin will freeze in 20 seconds and we don’t want you to loose anything on the way to the terminal."

There was a guffaw of laughter at the humour of the captain. They all knew about the cold or those who lived up here did. In the summer it was as nice as anywhere was if the mosquitoes and black flies were kept under control.

The flight was not long and in a matter of minutes they would reach their maximum high of 22,000 feet.

"Well Mark, are you ready to do battle with the True North?" the captain asked. He always joked with his copilot. Mark Koffin was from the south. His family in Tucson, Arizona had never experienced the numbing cold up here in the arctic. From the stories their son told, it seemed that they never wanted to share their son’s experience.

Mark shuddered although the temperature in the cockpit was 20 degrees.

"Jesus, I hate the cold. Sometimes I wish I could go back and light myself a campfire and get some heat into this damned plane."

The captain knew what he meant. It wasn’t exactly a good idea of having any open flame in an aircraft no matter how cold it was. The passengers were bundled up in their arctic gear and those who weren’t would have to endure the temperature that never seemed to get up over 20 degrees. That lesson was rather vivid since one of the Saudi flights carrying pilgrims to Mecca had the catastrophic fire. One of the pilgrims started a fire to make tea. That fire had blowing the plane and the rest of the 215 passengers over the desert sands. Open flames inside an aircraft were dangerous. He was thankful that transport Canada had outlawed smoking.

He reached for his radio microphone to call the small airport. It was always better to be sure that nothing unforeseen was happening. The Cranbrook incident was still fresh in his memory when a snow-clearing machine was right in the landing path of the aircraft. He didn’t want that sort of surprise.

"This is Flight 3869 on our descent into Murray! How are the brass monkeys?"

He didn’t get a chance to hear the local tower’s reply. Without warning Flight 3869 erupted into a fireball.

The only human witness looked up as the flash of light filled the sky. Henry Twohandles was out on his trap line. Moments before he was looking at the remains of a martin that a skunk bear or wolverine had retrieved from his conibear trap. He had cursed the wolverine and had come out earlier than his normal routine in hopes of catching the evil creature. Once a wolverine found a trap line, it could ruin him. He had heard the noise of an aircraft and had looked up and cursed. The effects of the white man with his invasion of this land had ruined his life. He cared little for the ways of the White man. What good did they do for him except for making his tribe and nation slaves and beggars? The animals were no longer as plentiful. Nor was there a demand for furs. There was a league of misinformed animal rights people who were protesting the cruelty of trapping in Europe demanding that the fur industry be closed down. Now with the skunk bear ruining what was left, he doubted that he could survive. He made a wish to his god to remove the white man’s flying machine that chased the game away. When the plane erupted into a ball of flames he felt as if his prayer had been answered.