All characters, living or dead, and
locations or events in this web novel are entirely fictitious or merely
Texas Gulf Coast Refuges.
Brazoria County, TX
But directional drilling one mile from
the site will cost us another two month and over ten million more dollars!
Abigail Cheavers, the representative from Deliverance Oil and Gas, was panicking now, unsure
where to go with negotiation between herself, her lawyers and the staff of the
refuges. They wouldn’t budge now that they were armed with biological and
botanical assessments of the drilling site. Assessments which determined
the proposed drilling would severely impact breeding grounds for black rails (Laterallus jamaicensis
) and dozens of
flora conservation species. Biologist Jessica Walters and the Rogue
Botanist glanced at each other and could barely contain their snickering.
After two hours of negotiations Julia Sandoval, the complex project leader, was
going in for the kill. Ms. Cheavers, there is nothing more I can tell
you. If our biologists say the drilling site will harm critical habitat
then you have to reach it by directional drilling from a mile away. I
might add that further delays through litigations could delay drilling for
years. With that Julia bid Ms. Cheavers a good day and closed the
meeting. Cheavers walked out to her vehicle in the parking lot, waving
off her lawyers to make that dreaded phone call to the thin man as she drove
onto a county road.
Sir, I’m sorry to report that we could not gain access to the drilling site
unless we directional drill. There was a pause on the other side then...
What is the cost and time setback?
Ten to fifteen million dollars and 2 months.
I see. As Cheavers waited for more orders the thin man punched in four
numbers on his cell phone which sent a command to a microchip in her
phone. The chip commanded the battery to to send an electrical pulse to a
tiny blasting cap. This provided the necessary charge to explode one
quarter ounce of clotrimethylene trinitramine
aka C4 plastic
explosive. The resulting blast completely blew off Cheaver’s head, sending
scattered brains and bones through the shattered driver window. Cheaver’s
vehicle veered off the road and into a large oak. The air bags deployed
as expected, keeping the rest of her body intact for the coroner to identify
The thin man dialed again, reaching a waiting man and woman in West
Mr. Alexandrov, you and Ms. Rachmaninoff are to proceed with the mission.
Victoria National Wildlife Refuge,
There he is, hacking away
Jessica Walters honked and waved to the botanist from her government
vehicle. She was towing a boat on her way to monitor piping plovers (Charadrius melodus
) on the shores of the
refuge coastline. He paused to wave back then continued with his
relentless extermination of tallow trees (Triadica
), an introduced species from China that has overrun and smothered
other plant species over thousands of acres of habitat on the Texas Gulf coast.
His preferred method was individually notching the bark with a machete
then spraying in the cut a formulation of the herbicide Garlon 4 and a
surfactant to promote uptake by the tree's phloem and xylem to the roots.
This ultimately caused rapid cell expansion and rupture. During this time
the botanist was in his own world, disparaging the tallows with taunts of seeing them in hell
. The summers
were always oppressive with heat indexes well above 100 degrees. This
left him drench in sweat within thirty minutes. It was not a job for a
man his age but he mitigated it with chewing on leaves of the coca plants (Erythroxlum coca
) he grew in his
backyard. The alkaloids in the leaves gave him the energy to cut hundreds
of tallows in an afternoon.
Jessica found an area to deploy her tunnel boat. She was in the
process of guiding the trailer and boat into the water when her phone ranged.
Hello, this is Jessica.
A male voice replied. Hello, Ms. Walters, this is Apex security.
A lineman with Excel Energy has called in to say there are periodic power
outages in your neighborhood which explains the triggering of the alarm system
we monitor for you. He’s working on the damaged line in your yard right
Should I go to my house?
Probably, because your air conditioning may not be running right and the
rising temperatures in your house may affect your dog.
OK, thank you.
You’re welcome replied Vladimir Alexandrov.
Jessica walked back to her truck and drove to the complex HQ to pick up her
personal vehicle. Her paranoia has hardly abated since moving from
Dungpileton to West Columbia. Her black belt in Brazilian jujitsu and
Glock pistol offered little solace considering the growing infiltration of
criminals from Dungpileton.
Why did the security company only
mention one dog?
A year ago she informed them she had two dogs that may set off her house
alarm and they did not know of the recent passing of her beloved Buck.
Now there was only Maggie, her twelve year old medium size mix
breed. This thought faded as she reached her house and noticed a van
parked along the curb in front of her house. Seeing its Excel Energy
logo she assumed the lineman was working nearby. He was. On an
utility pole in the open lot adjacent to her house. Sighting her, he
climbed down. He was a large, clean cut handsome man, easily 6’5 and
nearly a foot and a half taller than her petite frame. Jessica scanned
his muscular frame through her sunglasses, noticing the company badge clipped
to his shirt pocket. His physique was easy on her eyes and he spoke with
a southern accent reminiscent of her childhood home in east Tennessee.
Ma’am, I’m with Excel Energy
will be working on that pole to fix a blown transformer.
How long do you think it’ll take?
I reckon another hour.
That’s fine, I’ll be inside if you need me.
Again, her passing paranoia made her wonder why the lineman’s voice and
accent was identical to the Excel rep who phoned her. Inside the house
Jessica greeted Maggie and turned on the radio to a country music
station. Her plans for today were a bust until her home power was
restored. Might as well clean the pile of dishes in the sink she
thought. She let Maggie out in the backyard to take care of business in
the grass with the backdoor left open for her return. Her barking was
attributed to the lineman on the utility pole who now was silently entering
through the front door.
After washing dishes Jessica moved to her computer/hobby room. On a
small table was a half-finished stain glass project. Picking it up, she
admired her handiwork then noticed in the reflection a distorted figure moving
behind her. She spun around, flinging the glass towards Vladimir.
It shattered on the wall beside him, throwing off the aim of his pistol as he
fired at her. The bullet whizzed by her head, embedding in the
wall. From here on she was in pure adrenaline and instinct mode, rushing
without hesitation towards him with another piece of glass. She slashed
his pistol hand, forcing it to drop the weapon. In one continuous
movement she kicked the pistol under the computer desk and spun around to land
a punch fully into his groin. As he bent forward she swung upwards with
the end of her elbow into his nose. Blood flowed profusely from the
ruptured cartilage. Vladamir's surprise from this retaliation was short
lived. He countered with a back hand to her face that sent Jessica
sprawling back and falling to the floor. She shook off the grogginess and
quickly crawled under the table. He followed, stooping down to see the
heel of her shoe smash into his jaw. As he fell back, spitting out broken
teeth, Jessica crawled out from the table and ran for the doorway only to slip
and lose her footing on a pool of blood. Vladimir was upon her quickly
and once again a well-placed heel met his jaw. Jessica knew she could not
match his strength. If he grabbed her he would snap her neck like a
twig. It was unlikely she could get outside to retrieve the Glock under
her vehicle’s seat so the alternative weapon would have to be a knife.
Regaining her footing she ran to the kitchen and withdrew a large carving knife
from the drawer. Turing around, she saw Vladimir in the kitchen doorway,
brandishing a dagger with a 6 inch fixed blade. He smiled, speaking
through a bloody mouth and broken teeth.
Это заканчивает здесь Вас маленькая сука! (It ends here you little bitch!
Jessica didn't understand Russian. She frantically search for an
explanation to this nightmare but none of it had any basis in reality.
She was not a knife fighter and didn’t have the angle to escape to the other
door to the backyard. It was either fight or reason with this animal. She
was nearly hyperventilating but had to know why this was happening.
Why are you trying to kill me?
He arrogantly replied, It is the will of the Lord! You and that devil
botanist will burn in hell and a new kingdom of God will rule America.
So this was it, a fight to the death with a madman. The combatants
circled each other, thrusting their knives, searching for an opening at several
kill points on the body. Vladimir continued to smile, knowing size and
speed was to his advantage. He would toy with her for a bit more.
Now every missed thrust by Jessica was countered with slices to her arms and
torso until her clothes were stained red and dripping blood on the floor.
She thought to herself, if this is the end then he is going down with me. With
her knife she swiped blood from her trousers then licked it off and and called
out to her assailant - Come and get me
you bastard. We’ll die together
Vladimir was taken aback. So much that he didn’t see Maggie lunge for
his calf, sinking her teeth through trousers and deep into muscle.
Vladimir howled in pain, swinging his leg out with a snap that released
Maggie’s grip and sent her flying into the kitchen wall. The impact
knocked her unconscious but the distraction was all Jessica needed. As he
turned around Jessica plunged her knife into his chest and through the heart. A
look of horror accompanied his last breath as he dropped to his knees and fell
face first on the floor. Jessica immediately ran to Maggie who had
regained consciousness and was limping but otherwise fine.
Five patrol cars were at Jessica’s residence within minutes of calling
911. The police were stymied as to why she was attacked and could only
speculate it was another derange citizen of Dungpileton. What Jessica
left out in her statement at the hospital was the connection between this attack
and the botanist. It all happened so fast. She would try to sort it
out after her cuts were sutured.
The conversation with the thin man was brief between he and Darya Ivakov.
No sir I won’t fail you.
Darya knew there was a problem with Vladimir's mission when he didn’t
rendezvous with her in Dungpileton. The police scanner confirmed her
suspicions. He was betrothal to her as decreed by the thin man but she
was not in love with him. She believed her two missions in life were to
give birth to followers of Jesus Christ and assassinate the followers of
Satan. No matter this heathen atheist botanist didn’t believe in the
Devil. He didn’t believe in God either so killing him would be especially