The free world industrial revolution is endangered by the earth’s fast consumption of rare earth elements. Professor Avner Amram’s scientists develop a sophisticated spectroscopic instrument that can detect the presence of critical rare earth elements in asteroids. CIA, KGB, and Mossad agents are entangled in spying and counterintelligence while searching for stolen plans and technology secrets related to space missions. Avner and his associates are drawn into the mayhem encountering espionage, intrigues, and murders as they prepare for unmanned space probes in a search for rare earth metals. Secrets leaked to Russia resulted in a race of unmanned probes to Mars and asteroids. Avner’s team reaches a resolution with unexpected conclusions.
THE TIMNA VALLEY – 1987
The air-conditioned bus parked near an observation site overlooking a valley in Israel’s Negev. A mix of foreign and Israeli vacationers stepped out and formed a line along a metal fence at the edge of a cliff.
“This is the Timna valley,” the tour guide explained. “It is 38 miles long with a history of copper mining going back more than 4,000 years. The famous King Solomon pillars were formed by cracks in the hard sandstones. They are …..”
The roar of an Israeli Air Force F-16 Falcon fighter plane flying northward silenced the guide. The vacationers lifted their heads and their eyes followed the path of the aircraft overhead. A sudden explosion at its exhaust nozzle was followed by an object shot up from the Falcon as the plane hurtled toward the valley. A parachute opened. In a deafening sound, the plane crashed on the eastern slope of the basin. Tourists picked up binoculars.
Within minutes, the staccato of an approaching chopper disturbed the silence as it headed to the pilot’s landing site. The pilot discarded his parachute and climbed into the rescue aircraft. The chopper lifted and flew northward. A second helicopter landed at the site of the crash.
“Probably a mechanical failure,” the tour guide said. “At least the pilot is safe.”
Originally, the Odessa security buildings had been built for use by NKVD, Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs. After the organization disbanded in 1954, the complex housed the MVD, the USSR Ministry of Internal Security Affairs and the KGB, the Soviet Committee for State Security.
Evgeny Vassilievitz was a young officer and a rising star of the KGB. Excelling in planning security operations in the Ukrainian city, he was on the Kremlin list of candidates destined to climb up the ranks. In Ukraine, his Russian roots were known only to his supervisor Ivanov.
At the KGB main hall, field operatives assembled for presenting their year-end regional report to visiting officials from Moscow.
“Evgeny.” Ivanov lifted his reading glasses and waved from his desk when his assistant entered. “Our Kremlin guys will arrive in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I want to tell you about your new task on a Tunguska discovery.”
“Another sensation-seeking announcement by geologists?”
“They reported a new claim.”
“Will they ever stop?” Evgeny asked. “After 80 years of research in that forsaken Siberian crater, there’s still no consensus on what caused the 1908 explosion and the devastation of 1000 square miles. I don’t believe any of their announcements.”
“Their new discovery may be important this time. The Kremlin wants us to look into it.”
“Again? Are they still interested in the cause of the explosion?”
“Moscow doesn’t care what event created the crater. A meteorite, an exploding volcano, a UFO, or exploding anti-matter. They only want to know the potential impact of the new finding on Soviet security.”
“What did the geologists find?”