TOKYO INTRIGUE [MultiFormat]
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eBook by William Bender Jr
eBook Category: Mystery/Crime/Historical Fiction
eBook Description: WHILE TOKYO DANCES AND MAKES LOVE, UNDERCOVER AGENTS MANEUVER FOR WORLD HEADLINES It started with a crime of sudden, violent passion--an Air Force colonel and his Japanese mistress found in the grisly postures of murder hara-kiri. That was the way it stood in the records, but Major Mark Talbot knew that this death tryst was only one move in the Kremlin's undercover struggle to undermine American policy in Japan. Against the colorful backdrop of Tokyo--army parties to dark sin streets--Talbot tried to counter Red cunning and ruthlessness that used women as bait and murder as the payoff. Major Mark Talbot, USAF, arrived in Tokyo prepared to put up a one-man fight against a vicious and deadly enemy--Commie propaganda! On the surface the job wasn't much; just a little public relations task and some smoothing of ruffled feathers. But underneath the red-tape lay coiled the snake that was shooting its poison into the heart of the Far East! And the danger didn't end there. For there were Americans in this ancient city whose personal ambitions--and knowledge of top secret data--made them easy marks for the enemy? and doubly dangerous to the Stars and Stripes. But for Mark Talbot this Tokyo Intrigue was a challenge that could not be ignored--even though it lead him into a whirlwind investigation of murder and passion that meant dodging bullets all the way!
eBook Publisher: Gate Way Publishers
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2011
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Available eBook Formats [MultiFormat - What's this?]: eReader (PDB) [236 KB]
, ePub (EPUB) [245 KB]
, Rocket/REB1100 (RB) [185 KB]
, Portable Document Format (PDF) [680 KB]
, Palm Doc (PDB) [206 KB]
, Microsoft Reader (LIT) [272 KB]
, Franklin eBookMan (FUB) [239 KB]
, hiebook (KML) [506 KB]
, Sony Reader (LRF) [282 KB]
, iSilo (PDB) [170 KB]
, Mobipocket (PRC) [215 KB]
, Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [293 KB]
, OEBFF Format (IMP) [285 KB]
Reading time: 168-235 min.
Microsoft Reader (LIT) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
Portable Document Format (PDF) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
A Note from the Author:
"As a captain in the U.S. Air Force public information office in Tokyo, I was assigned to cover the cease-fire negotiations with the Chinese Communist Forces and the North Korean People's Army at the initial meetings at Kaesong. There I had a chance for conversation with Communist propagandists. Slowly I became aware that the Reds had all the necessary foibles to become the world's prize suckers for a propagandistic campaign. But, as it happens, our Air Force does not work that way. We are officially dedicated to truth and accuracy.
"But I began wondering, what if there was a guy bold enough to sidestep the official channels? He would have to be gutsy, and an outstanding egotist, probably; an operator. Amid these reflections, Major Talbot began to take shape... Needless to add, the novel that developed is strictly a product of my imagination."
CAST OF CHARACTERS
When he viewed the corpse, the Major saw Red!
He had to find the line between "Public Relations" and "Public Enemy"!
His news items were always hot--but he didn't know when to douse the fire!
As a Spanish senorita, she was much too authentic.
Newspaper Editors, he learned, should never write up a murder before it happens!
She knew how to bow--but she learned how to kiss!
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At 1500 hours on a Wednesday afternoon in the month of the Japanese nubai or Plum Blossom Rains, a twin-engined Air Force amphibian SA-16 rumbled out of clouded skies to land at Johnson Air Force Base near Tokyo. At the operations building of the Rescue Squadron there, a group of press photographers and TV cameramen waited anxiously.
A sergeant, wrapping a gray blanket around his shoulders, dropped from the plane to the concrete ramp. He posed for the shouting photographers, and told of his experience to a group of reporters before being hurried into a waiting ambulance by a sandy-haired Air Force major.
Press stories throughout the world subsequently reported that the sergeant was the lone survivor of an unarmed WB-29 weather plane shot down in an unprovoked attack by Russian aircraft south of the Kuriles.
As communism is the major weapon of Russian imperialism in the cold war, the fierce cutting edge of communism is international propaganda. That day at Johnson field marked the beginning of a strange campaign in this vague, uncharted and dangerous field of battle. The man responsible was the sandy-haired major, the only person willing at that time to challenge the infamous Propaganda Section of the 4th Bureau of the Soviet Army.
This is his story.
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Major Mark Talbot, USAF, climbed out of the jeep that delivered him from Tachikawa Air Base to Tokyo, and lugging his B-4 bag, mounted the steps of the Meiji Building. He slogged halfway around the mezzanine to an office labelled Special Assistant to the CG.
Blue carpeting muffled the official drone of typewriters down on the main floor. An oil painting of Mt. Fuji hung in a bamboo frame on one wall and a foot-high Japanese yew sprawled gracefully above a rectangular green flower-holder on the marble window sill.
"Reporting to General Cameron," Talbot said wearily, and the woman behind the gleaming mahogany desk glanced up mechanically.
"Major Talbot?" The secretary wore her gutter-blonde hair too tight against her head and her features were hawklike. "We've been expecting you. You have orders?"
Talbot fished a sheaf of papers from his pocket, extracted two copies and handed them over. Those orders had brought him halfway around the world.
The secretary squirreled the papers away inside her desk. "I'm Hazel Gann, General Cameron's secretary. When this fog blew in we were afraid you might have to land at Nagoya."
"I'd have been here this morning," Mark Talbot explained, "but the plane lost an engine and we had to land at Johnson Island."
"We know." Miss Gann pointed to the inter-office door. "I'll get you to the general in a couple of minutes. Your quarters are arranged at Army Hall. Just check with the desk clerk when you get there."
Talbot said, "Four days ago I was in Germany, then these orders arrived. What's the big rush?"
Miss Gann said, "The general will give you any necessary explanations, major."
"Thanks." He sat down in a hard-backed chair and waited, too tired to argue. Four days of catnaps. Like most fighter pilots, he had never learned to sleep in a plane. Automobiles, busses, army trucks--these never bothered. But not in a plane.
"Where is Colonel Quinn's office?" he asked Miss Gann.
She looked at him strangely. "You'll have to wait for the general."
He studied her curiously as she swivelled back to her typewriter. "Yeah, sure." A quarter hour passed before a buzzer sounded and Miss Gann ushered him to the inner office.
The two things everyone first noticed about Brigadier General Brian Cameron were his size and his voice. He stood six feet four in his Jodhpur-style shoes. His voice had a metallic raspiness, courtesy of the Luftwaffe, which had put a bullet shard through his throat eight thousand feet above the African desert.
The general came across the room and extended his hand. "Glad you're here, Mark. We called you in a hurry because Colonel Quinn had a job for you. The way things have developed, maybe you wasted the trip; then again, maybe not. First, I want to know something. Are you still grounded?"
"Sure. That was permanent."
"How do you feel about it?"
"Even after two and a half years, I still think the Air Force is off its rocker."
Cameron's eyes clouded. "Would it prevent you from carrying out any assignments for the good of the Air Force?"
"Of course not. By the way, where the hell is old Quinn?"
"I understand you worked with Quinn in Europe, eh?"
"Two years." Funny, the general, too, was ducking that question. Mark Talbot wondered what unorthodox mess Quinn had gotten himself into this time.
Cameron asked, "Did you learn his racket?"
"No. You don't learn it, not in the usual sense of the word." Talbot compressed his lips. "After a while you sort of get a feel for it. but you don't learn it. Every situation is a new one. There aren't any tech manuals or SOP's to tell you the right thing to do. It's a feel, and it happens I've got the feel."
"Pretty sure of that?"
For a long minute Cameron remained silent. Talbot felt his curiosity rising.
"Tonight I want you to come to my quarters and I'll give you the details. Right now I've only time to sketch the highlights. You know what A-2 calls "happenstances"? We've got them."
"Such as what?"
Cameron spread his broad hands. "Japanese workers at one of our bases go on strike. Some community complains that our jets make too much noise and will we please get them out of there. To top the whole thing off, two of our aircraft vanished in flight during the past three weeks. These things happen under normal circumstances. But when too many of them begin to happen at once, your operations go to pot. You get the picture?"
''Colonel Quinn said we were being hit with a propaganda attack."
"Did he mention the name of Constantin Valeschev?" asked Talbot.
"Save that for this evening."
"Quinn started to counteract this thing," Cameron continued in graveled tones. "He wanted you over here to help him. So we cut your orders a week ago. Then--"
Cameron's hesitation shocked Talbot from his haze of fatigue. The general angrily crushed the tip of his cigar into a brass ash tray. "You wouldn't have heard the news during your trip, I suppose. So it's up to me to break it."
"For God's sake, what happened?"
"Night before last Quinn got himself murdered."
Later Talbot picked up a trip ticket to Army Hall and went out into the afternoon sun that steamed through layers of thinning fog. A floating sense of unreality possessed him. The knowledge of Jeff Quinn's death refused to assimilate itself. Quinn had been too dependable, too tough, too alive. His single-handed and unconventional battle against Reds and regulations was too much in the present for death to have intervened. Furthermore, General Cameron's story just didn't jibe with what Talbot had known of Jeff Quinn. According to Cameron, Quinn had been killed by his Japanese mistress. It might be good tabloid copy, but it simply didn't ring true.
Involved with these thoughts, Major Talbot failed to hear the footsteps hurrying behind him. An urgent hand gripped his arm and he turned to face a girl. She juggled an armload of packages that threatened to extrude themselves into space any instant. Anxious blue eyes and a tentative, appealing smile reached up to him.
"The desk told me you signed a jeep out to Army Hall. Mind giving me a lift?" She had reddish-blonde hair and a scrubbed look he hadn't seen since college days.
Courtesy in jeeps calls for the man to enter first. Mark Talbot swung the B-4 into the rear seat and climbed in after it, handing the trip ticket over to the wrinkle-faced Japanese driver.
The girl bounced into the front seat and swung around to face him. She indicated his bag. "Just coming in?"
Talbot merely nodded. He needed a flood of giddy chatter like Custer needed another Indian.
"Do you have a wife or girl friend, major? Someone special?' Suddenly a faint blush colored her clear skin. "I didn't mean it like that," she explained hastily. "This isn't an approach. I've just been down to the PX splurging myself on the most gorgeous--" She glowed. "Let me show you. If you send one of these back to her--Look. Isn't it simply beautiful!"
It was a gold-embroidered evening purse that seemed to radiate a light of its own.
While the jeep driver spun them toward Army Hall, Talbot admitted it was beautiful. It had been imported from India, he learned, and it would be a perfect gift for any woman, even one who had little occasion to attend anything ultra-formal because they were always flattered when you thought they did and it would cost you ten times as much Stateside as it did in the PX and it was just one of those things you couldn't really afford to turn down, wasn't it?
Talbot recognized the symptoms. Eighty years ago, Kipling would have made her the heroine of an epic. She was one of those remarkable young women whose nature leads them to become sister, nurse, companion, mother and shopping consultant to a regiment. But he still didn't know her name when the jeep drew up under the glassed portico of the four-storied brick billet which had once been the officers' club of the Japanese Imperial Guard and was now simply known as Army Hall.
As they entered the lobby, she breezily waved good-bye and Talbot watched her clean-limbed figure vanish into an elevator. He found himself being leered at by a ferocious wooden Chinese lion. He leered back and went to the desk to sign in.
At six-thirty that evening, after two hours sleep, Mark Talbot left the second-floor shower and returned to his room. A gaunt black-haired individual with unkempt shirt sat casually on the bed smoking a cigarette. Miniature railroad tracks clung to his limp open collar. Silently he studied the damp towel Mark Talbot had wrapped around his waist.
He ignored with supreme indifference the cascade of cigarette ashes soiling the front of his shirt, rocked lazily up from the bed and introduced himself as George Scherberger. A recalled reservist attached to the FEAF information services office, Captain Scherberger roomed next door to Talbot.
"Half the rooms here are occupied, more or less exclusively, by women," explained Scherberger, inclined to gossip. "Stateside rejects. They came over here to get a man and they'll take that towel right off you if they catch you in the hall."
"That's bad?" Talbot joked.
Scherberger remained somber and talkative. He had been editing a small Colorado weekly when the Air Force recalled him for the Korean business. He since discovered that captain's pay of $435 a month, every month, made tolerable the ordinary military asininities, and had signed up for an indefinite tour.
"Couple of days ago," he said, "I heard they were saving this room for another ISO. Guess you're it."
"You know more about it than I do," answered Talbot.
"Occupational hazard of the Orient. Everybody knows everything about everybody."
"What's the scuttlebutt on this officer who was killed the other night?" Talbot asked.
"Big story," said Scherberger. "One of those times I wished I was a civilian. The correspondents get the by-lines and I get the headaches."
"What happened exactly?"
"This colonel was shacking up with a Japanese girl--a Number One queen from what they say. For some reason she kills him, and right away commits suicide. Wonderful stuff! A great big, gorgeous, page-one yarn!" For the first time the ISO captain showed signs of animation but it faded quickly. "And I can't touch that story with a ten-foot pole."
Talbot nodded sympathetically. "The girl was dead when they found her?"
"How do they knew she killed him?"
"How else? Just the two of them in this room, bleeding all over each other and naked as a couple of jay birds. Where the hell have you been that you didn't hear about it?"
"Flying in a C-54 out of Hickam," Talbot said. "I hear two of our planes disappeared up north. You couldn't do any stories on that, either, I suppose?"
"A lot of stories around here I can't do. And it bothers me." Scherberger paused for several moments. "Confidentially, I'm something of a curio in Air Force ISO circles, major. I can write. I know a story when I see one. I despise the brown-nosing frills that go with the job and most of the time I walk around looking like a bum. They keep me here because I'm a journalist."
Major Mark Talbot, having finished dressing, prepared to leave the room. "That's a pretty good reason," he admitted.
"Only I get frustrated," the gaunt man continued as they walked into the corridor. "Especially with these stories I can't write. Take yourself, for example. You came over here on name-request orders initiated by Colonel Quinn. The colonel is murdered two days before you arrive, and you pretend you never heard of him before. Things like that stimulate my journalistic curiosity, major."
A quick twinge of alarm raced through Mark Talbot. "As you say," he commented lightly, "there will always be some stories you can't write. But you'll do me a large favor if you forget entirely what you know about my orders."
He left Scherberger and strolled down to the dining hall. It disturbed him that Scherberger, and possibly others as well, could come so close to connecting him with propagandist activities. From past experience he knew that success in the job, not to mention the elementary matter of remaining alive, often hinged on anonymity.
Concerned with such thoughts, he had to force himself to eat, and then idled over the afternoon edition of the Pacific Stars and Stripes until the time came to start for the general's quarters.
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