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Edwin Green

Air Monster

Paperback (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform March 15, 2018)
Lights glowed brightly in the large, bare tower room which was the headquarters of the Gerka, secret police organization of Rubania. It was midnight and a meeting of the supreme council of the Gerka at that hour could mean only the most urgent business. Residents of Kratz, the capital of Rubania, who happened to be in the streets that night and who saw the lights in the tower of the government palace shook their heads and hurried on their way with fear in their hearts for the Gerka was the most dangerous organization in all Rubania and for that matter one of the most powerful groups of secret police in the whole world. The creation of the new Europe which had followed the World War had resulted in the formation of Rubania, a rich, fertile land east of Prussia. It had been made a free state but Alex Reikoff, an unscrupulous dictator with a lust for world power, had risen to supreme command of the government, crushing out all opposition. He had built up the armed forces of his country until Rubania was recognized as a world power, feared for the might of its armada of submarines and the power of its fleets of airplanes, for Reikoff believed in the power of aircraft as an instrument of war. That the midnight meeting of the Gerka was of unusual importance was borne out when Reikoff himself strode into the room and took his place at the head of the table around which a half dozen men were seated. They looked expectantly at him. Reikoff, short and dark with closely cropped hair, stroked his bristly mustache. He looked intently at the men before him. One after another met his gaze until his eyes looked into those of Serge Larko, in the uniform of a lieutenant of the air force. “Ah, Serge,” said Reikoff, “I’m glad that you could leave your beloved flying machines long enough to answer my call.” “Yes, Excellency,” smiled Serge. “I came at once but there is much that remains to be done on the new XO5 before it will be ready for the long flights for which it has been designed.” “The XO5 must be ready for a six thousand mile non-stop trip by the day after tomorrow,” replied Reikoff, his words short and sharp. “I shall inform the commander of your field that you are to be given every possible assistance. An emergency has come up which makes it imperative that you go soon on a special mission.” Serge, who was one of the newest members of the secret police, gasped at the news that he was to be assigned to special work. He had been trained in Germany at Friedrichshafen for service in the lighter-than-air division of the Rubanian air force and only recently had been shifted unexpectedly and without explanation to the airplane division where he had been given an intensive course in the handling of long-distance planes. For the last month he had been supervising the construction of the XO5, the latest type in Rubanian super air cruisers. Surprised though he was at the news that he had been selected for a special mission. Serge felt that he was ready for whatever task might be ordered. The dictator of Rubania spoke again, his words cracking through the midnight stillness of the room. “You are all well aware,” he said, “that the United States is our only rival in the building of dirigibles. Their Los Angeles is antiquated now but their new Akron is superior to anything in the world. It is even a mightier fighting craft than the new Blenkko which we will launch next month. This must not be. We must be supreme in the air!”
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