A shocking novel of what could happen if the fanatical defense of the environment crossed the line into deadly terror. When environmental consultant Jack McDarvid's boss is killed in a shootout near the Capitol, McDarvid becomes enmeshed in a diabolical plot behind the scenes of the environmental movement.
Other Series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
The Saga of Recluce
The Imager Portfolio
The Corean Chronicles
The Spellsong Cycle
The Ghost Books
The Ecolitan Matter
The Forever Hero
The Green Progression
Hammer of Darkness
The Parafaith War
The Octagonal Raven
The Ethos Effect
The Eternity Artifact
The Elysium Commission
Empress of Eternity
The One-Eyed Man
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|File size:||514 KB|
About the Author
Bruce Scott Levinson is an environmental consultant and, with L.E. Modesitt, Jr., author of the political thriller The Green Progression.
Read an Excerpt
The Green Progression
By L. E. Modesitt Jr., Bruce Scott Levinson
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 1992 L. E. Modesitt, Jr., and Bruce Scott Levinson
All rights reserved.
A captain wearing a sidearm in a well-worn leather holster came to attention as General Voloninov entered the anteroom.
As he stepped forward, the General's eyes took in the decorations on the Captain's dress browns. Virtually all were from the Afghanistan campaign. Those and the limp he displayed were the sole indications as to why a battle-seasoned officer had received such easy duty so young.
"Heroism has not been forgotten," Voloninov said to himself. Too often the choicest assignments were reserved for the children of party officials who served their motherland under far less trying circumstances. The sons of peasants and politicians rarely bore equal burdens.
The Captain gave a brief, crisp knock. After waiting ten seconds, he opened the massive wooden door with his right hand and, standing aside, gave a flick of his left wrist to motion Voloninov inside.
"General Voloninov, a pleasure." A heavyset man with dark blue eyes peering out from under dense gray eyebrows rose from a chair on the far side of the polished conference table. Besides the heavy amber ashtray, the stacked papers were the only other items on the smooth wood surface.
Voloninov briskly stepped forward, shook an uncallused hand, and walked to the other side of the dark rectangular table. In the ashtray was an unlit pipe. The table could easily have accommodated twenty men, and would again later in the day. The white walls were bare, containing none of the socialist hero portraits obligatory in earlier times. The General evaluated the cut and cloth of the other man's suit. Obviously foreign and probably Finnish.
"General, before the others arrive and we venture on to our regular business, I would talk to you about Colonel Kaprushkin." The foreign-suited man sat back down and edged the papers to one side, waiting as Voloninov pulled out a chair.
"Kaprushkin? Why?" Voloninov raised his eyebrows.
"You proposed terminating his program. Or, more accurately, you have reorganized one of your bureaus so that program will not be funded in the next year."
"So?" Voloninov shrugged. "I thought you and your friends were pleased to see the old swept away. We live in a new era. Besides, Kaprushkin's program has always been my responsibility. Do you propose changing that?"
The bushy-eyebrowed man leaned forward and picked up the pipe. Producing a small gold metal lighter from his pocket, he tamped down the tobacco with the flat bottom before turning it over and lighting the contents of the bowl. The sharp spicy smell of Latakia filled the air, reminding Voloninov of the incense used in a temple he had visited while on duty in New Delhi. A gift from Syrian friends, no doubt, the General thought.
"Vasily Ivanovitch, this is no longer just a question of your responsibility or my responsibility. Kaprushkin's program has the support of some very senior people."
"I would have hoped that our 'senior' people would have something more important to worry about than American gardening regulations. If they were more familiar with the actual workings of the American system, they would be less impressed with the officials Kaprushkin claims work for him. Imagine if the Americans controlled some of our bureaucrats — it would serve them right." Voloninov laughed, a quiet bitter sound.
"You and I know Kaprushkin has done far more than that."
"I hope you appreciate the irony of the situation. For several years now, even before the coup, you and the others have urged me to move away from operations which directly attack the West and toward more passive intelligence-gathering activities. We need American knowledge. We need export credits. That is what I have heard. Now that I propose to do just that, you and your superiors become distressed." The General shook his head, then cleared his throat, waiting.
"You and I both know that our economic weakness is the real reason for all the talk of peace and cooperation. We still have real differences with the West. More than ever, we must strengthen our position. If we do not, my friend, if all continues the way it has, we will see enough tears to convince even you that there is a war. Let us work to lessen those tears from our own people."
"Tears? War? You and Kaprushkin and all this talk of war without armies." You are the one who tells every television camera and reporter in sight about the new peace. Not that such changes have been bad for you." The general coughed into his fist and cleared his throat. "One day, you are just another party functionary. The next day the tanks roll, and suddenly you are one of Russia's leading experts on democracy and capitalism. You certainly made the most of that little ... surprise. Just how did you move around all the others — with peaceful phrases?"
The man in the suit shrugged. "I am a patriot, not an idea-logue. Our policies are to meet new needs, fight new threats, and, of course, serve our new country." A smile appeaed within the smoke.
"I realize our new policy is accommodating the West, but I did not know that even our most 'forward' thinkers favored making the capitalists' workers safer and their farmers richer. So ... perhaps they cannot build as many weapons. Even after their words of peace, they still manage to build more than enough. And would you have me believe that they will not use them, after their Gulf adventures?" Voloninov's measured tone did little to disguise his mounting anger.
"I have a greater belief in weapons, of all kinds, than you. But remember, Vasily, a weapon that is not built cannot be used. And technology progresses. With the information from their computer industry, we are profiting immediately. As for weapons — so the Americans have a surplus of current weapons? But what about the next generation?"
"Gardening regulations will take care of that?"
"There is an irony to that. But I think you are the one who has missed it." Another puff of the fragrant smoke punctuated the comment.
"Missed what? That you want to spend what little hard currency we have on gardening reports and inane tinkering with regulations instead of serious intelligence activities? We have enough bureaucratic problems ourselves without learning new ones from the Americans."
The busy-eyebrowed man exhaled, a smoky sigh. "You talk about regulations as if they were nothing more than bureaucratic excrement. Do you know the impact of those regulations? What occurs if the Americans no longer produce machine tools because the rules they have adopted make buying from Japan easier? Do you recall how we obtained the silent propeller technology?"
Voloninov remained impassive.
"You say the Colonel makes the American farmers richer. Do you know just how he does this? Do you know how any of the American grain price support programs work?"
"I am familiar with the details of my operations." Voloninov's frosty words cut through the smoky haze.
"Their government guarantees a minimum price for grain," the man continued as if Voloninov had not spoken. "The government lends the farmer money — hard currency — equal to a set value for each crop. If prices go higher the farmer repays the loan and keeps the surplus. Otherwise he lets the government keep his crop and he keeps the money based on an inflated price of grain. Some of Kaprushkin's people work to raise that guarantee price a little bit. The higher the price paid, the more their farmers produce."
"I know how enchanted you are with capitalist theory."
"No. I do not deal in theories. That is what happens. The American farmers produce so much that they have other programs to curb food production. Even so, they produce far more than our own hybrid systems. But their system fails completely in distribution. If they were paid enough, the American farmers could feed the world ... and they would still have people starving in the streets of their cities.
"You know how much difficulty we have producing enough to feed all our people. Programs like Kaprushkin's help us obtain the extra food we need. After the American government's warehouses are filled with surplus grain, they must sell it. And they sell it to us cheaply as a way of getting rid of it. They would never think of feeding their own people. Then the Europeans and the Canadians sell us their surplus food even more cheaply to get rid of it and to compete with the Americans for sales.
"That is a triumph of Leninism, the way of making capitalism serve socialism."
"I'm sorry. I never realized what a devout Leninist you still are. It must have been all those speeches about market forces that confused me."
"Look, Vasily Ivanovitch, we can argue about the direction our economy should follow. But if we do not obtain food from the West — a lot more of it this year — we won't have anything to argue over. Do you want to see another round of food riots?" The pipe cracked down against the heavy ashtray. "Until our own people perform something resembling real labor during the workday, the way they do in Japan, Germany, and even America, instead of lying around drunk and fighting each other, we will need foreign resources. I suggest we do our best at managing the situation." He retrieved the pipe from the ashtray.
Voloninov nodded slightly. "I will take your advice under consideration. However, if Kaprushkin's program is as important as you say, I'm sure you will have no trouble convincing your superiors to support some additional funding for my department ..."
The man in the suit exhaled again, another wreath of smoke.
Voloninov smiled and waited.CHAPTER 2
"Larry wants to see us." Jonnie Black had eased inside the half-open office door. The silver rimless glasses, thin face, black hair, and prematurely graying beard combined with faultless British tailoring and a soft voice to provide an impression of inadvertent culture.
"Now?" McDarvid cupped his hand over the telephone. "I'm holding for Killorin." He added, "Standards and Regs. DEP."
The younger consultant shook his head. "Always talking to your old greenie buddies. Which case?"
"Amalgamated Electric ..."
"Hello?" The words were scratchy, typical of the connections throughout the entire Department of Environmental Protection.
"Jerry? Jack McDarvid here."
"How are you? Haven't talked to you in a while. What can I do for you?"
"Mostly just touching base. I was talking to Ellie the other day. She said that Hank was planning another reorganization."
"You've been here, Jack. Nothing changes. What can I do for you?"
McDarvid repressed a sigh. Jerry Killorin was having a bad day, but bad days were all too common at the DEP. "You know the revised PCB implementing provisions? I know you can't tell me where you're coming out yet, but I was curious about the timetable. Is it through Red Border yet?"
"Still at it, Jack? Well, the lawyers had some problems. There's a draft legal memo floating somewhere. The intra-agency review won't be complete for another week or so at best ..."
McDarvid let Killorin spell out the timetable he had already gotten from Ellie.
"You guys ever resolve the conflict over the dredging? Last time I heard, Reid was insisting that the Water Act language mandated scooping out a hundred miles of the Mohawk Valley. I suppose it was his memo."
"Who else? Nothing changes. You can guess what it says. The same arguments he used in the proposed rule last time."
"He's got to have added something," mock-protested McDarvid.
Jonnie stood in the doorway of the small office — pointing up the hallway toward the office of J. Laurance Partello.
"Get there when I can," mouthed McDarvid.
Jonnie acknowledged the message with a nod and eased back out of McDarvid's office, large enough only for the desk and chair, the computer, a credenza, one neatly packed bookcase, and a single narrow armchair for visitors.
"Not much," continued Jerry Killorin. "He does say that incineration techniques have advanced enough that they meet best available demonstrated technology standards."
"But BADT doesn't apply to an existing problem."
"Since when has that stopped Reid?"
They both laughed.
"Well ..." added McDarvid, "that's really it. I needed an update. Do you mind if I call in a week or so?"
"No problem. If I'm not in — I'm going out to the National Enforcement Investigations Center in Denver — you can talk to Greg or Ellie."
"Thanks, Jerry." As he hung up, he wondered why the Standards and Regs chief was going to NEIC, but, then, according to Ellie, Killorin seemed to visit everywhere. McDarvid jotted down fragmentary notes on the yellow pad — letter size, not legal. He hated the oversized pads that all the lawyers carried as professional props. As he stood up and passed his computer, he cleared the screen.
That was another thing. Why was it that most lawyers had to dictate or scribble incomprehensible notes? Why couldn't they master the directness of a computer? Or did they like the image of the secretaries and paralegals and junior associates hanging on their every word?
He shook his head, brushing back blond strands that were getting too long. Too long and too filled with gray.
"Oops ..." He swerved to avoid crashing into Juanita, Larry's secretary, although the collision would have been most pleasant — physically. Staying around for Juanita's precisely placed comments wouldn't have been.
The circular table in Larry's office stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows and was empty except for Jonnie and Larry. The matching and even larger desk at the far end of the thirty-foot office glistened, vacant except for the datebook and the pen set presented to Larry upon his departure from the Department of Justice.
"... should be right along. He was talking to DEP."
J. Laurance Partello, Esquire, one of the founding partners of Ames, Heidlinger, and Partello, P.C., environmental attorneys par excellence, looked up. "Close the door."
McDarvid always forgot to close the door, and Larry always wanted it closed, even if he were talking about football scores. McDarvid hated football, and especially the Washington Redskins.
"Reid is going to push for incineration. He'll claim that it's necessary to meet the ARARS."
"Thanks. We'll take that from here. George thought so, and he'll do the brief. Bill the hours to Amalgamated." Larry looked at the closed door, then back to McDarvid, then to Jonnie. "That's not why I wanted to talk to you. I need some background work done."
Larry looked toward the door again. McDarvid wondered why all the secrecy. He and Jonnie had been hired by Larry for environmental regulatory consulting and problem-solving, not for espionage.
The information that they had was client-sensitive, but not classified. That was just Larry's way, though, as if everything were top secret.
"Chlorohydrobenzilate — the people who make it, that is."
"Chlorohydro ... what?"
"Chlorohydrobenzilate," growled the lawyer. "It's the active ingredient in a pesticide used to stop fruit flies. Not used much in the U.S. because it's most effective on the Mediterranean fruit fly ... never been registered under FIFRA ... still under the original submission ... manufactured in Texas by a subsidiary of JAFFE, the French metals and chemical combine ... patent's expired."
"Let me guess," interrupted McDarvid. "Some other manufacturer wants to register it, but DEP is going to propose an RPAR — excuse me, a special review — that will lock up the market for two years."
"It's an old trick to extend a pesticide patent."
"That's not the problem, Jack," growled Larry.
"The problem is that we don't have a client. But we might." Partello unwrapped a long crimson and green cinnamon stick — his substitute for the cigars he had relinquished all too regretfully. He held up his right hand, the one without the candy. "JAFFE may be looking for U.S. environmental counsel. I need to know what their problems will be."
McDarvid pursed his lips. "It won't stop at pesticides. More likely that they'll have bigger problems with something they haven't thought about. What sort of operation do they have in Texas? Manufacturing or just formulation?"
Larry broke off the end of the cinnamon stick and popped it in his mouth. "I don't really know. That's why you're here. They didn't say. But it's not all done in Texas. They have facilities in Georgia and California, plus a few other places. You probably need to make a list."
Excerpted from The Green Progression by L. E. Modesitt Jr., Bruce Scott Levinson. Copyright © 1992 L. E. Modesitt, Jr., and Bruce Scott Levinson. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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