Read The Arcturus Man Online

Authors: John Strauchs

The Arcturus Man

John Janis Strauchs
a novel
This book is published by Strauchs LLC

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©2013


All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Strauchs LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, elesystem, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

For information and inquiries, contact Strauchs LLC at
[email protected]


The cover illustration is by John Janis Strauchs, copyright ©2011 by Strauchs LLC.
The Strauchs LLC logo is a registered trademark of Strauchs LLC.


Reg. No. 3,685,641


ISBN Pending


January 2013


Other novels by John Janis Strauchs


Tides (2011)


Jupiter’s Rings (2012)
Chapter One – Nameless Men
Eagle’s Head Island, Maine – 24 May 2013
Late Morning

The man was frightened and because he was frightened, he was shouting. Jared
was casually using one hand to hold the nameless man by the wrist.
He held the man’s
wrist in a locking hold. The pain was excruciating. The man was taller and much heavier
than Jared but the intruder was powerless to resist.
It was humiliating.
Jared didn’t intend it to be humiliating. He was indifferent to those kinds of motivations and feelings.

Discovering and then overpowering the assasin had been child’s play for Jared.
The nameless man couldn’t figure out how he had been detected by Jared. His concealment had been perfect. The assassin had never seen anyone move so silently and so fast.

So far it was a game for Jared, but now the work part would begin. He hated this
part. It took so much time. Jared had more important things to do.
HOLE,” said the nameless man. “YOU’LL GET YOURS. YOU’LL SEE.”
“I believe you,” said Jared calmly, in a quiet voice.
Tightening the wrist lock, Jared led him to the work bench in the back of the
boathouse. Jared pulled his longest awl out of the work stand with his free hand and instantly plunged it into the man’s chest, pinning the heart muscles. He entered exactly 1.5
centimeters to the left of the midsagittal plane. The strike was precise and done so quickly and forcefully that the victim didn’t see it coming.
It was done so because Jared did
everything with precision.
It had nothing to do with being merciful or compassionate.
Jared had no compassion. The act was unemotional.
It was a perfunctory killing.
In a
few hours, the nameless man wouldn’t come to mind. He was unimportant.
The man’s eyes grew wide but no sounds came out of his mouth. He began to
pant. He shuttered and some noises finally emerged.
It was a rattling sound. Jared held
him upright, letting go of the wrist lock.
Soon, the man’s brain was no longer getting
oxygen. He was going into cardiogenic shock. That was what Jared was waiting for. He
dropped the man on the floor. There was virtually no blood loss from the body. A bright
red spot appeared on the man’s shirt around the awl, but there was no flow. The awl
would stay in place. It was an ideal death instrument.
Jared carefully walked around the boathouse and wiped everything that the nameless man had touched that could retain a fingerprint. He cleaned the floor with his shop
vac and quickly flushed the weathered wooden floor with bleach. He walked outside and
went to the hiding place where the man had been waiting for Jared to return to the island.
He found cigarette butts.
He picked up all of the butts and methodically examined the
area for anything else that might leave DNA trace.
Jared walked back into the boathouse.
He picked up the assassin’s gun and unscrewed the silencer. It might come in handy. He threw the silencer in a grease bucket
and watched it until in sunk out of sight. He would find a better hiding place later. He slid
the 45 automatic into his belt.
He would throw it into the bay on his way out.
doubted that the serial number would be useful to the police.
They would have ensured
that the gun was untraceable, but then again, one should never overestimate the intelligence of any adversary. He was wise to separate the weapon from the dead man.
He went through the man’s pockets.
There was no wallet or anything else that
would identify him.
Jared didn’t expect there would be.
He opened his Swiss Army
knife and cut and ripped openings in the clothing. He wanted the scavengers to have easy
He thought about extracting teeth so they couldn’t be matched with dental
records but decided that it was too unlikely for the corpse to be found.
The scavengers
would take care of the fingerprints in no time at all.
He pulled an old style wood frame lobster trap that had been hanging from a nail
on the wall. Most lobstermen didn’t use these kinds of traps today, preferring the lighter
metal and wire pots, but it was exactly what he needed. This kind of trap was made in a
semi-circle curve out of hemlock hoops. It had a heavy concrete slab base. Jared needed
it to be very heavy. He cut out the funnel and wire ring and then the rest of the inside rigging.
He picked up the hollowed-out trap and worked it over the man’s head until his
torso was mostly inside the trap. He pulled a roll of galvanized wire mesh out of the storage shed and carefully wrapped the man’s exposed legs. He took heavy marine wire and
wove everything together. As the body is dismembered by the scavengers, it is important
that the parts stay together. Jared reinforced the trap.
Although it was an old trap, he used it occasionally and in order to meet the ever
changing laws in Maine, he had reluctantly added a biodegradable ghost panel.
If a trap
broke loose from its buoy line, this panel would eventually disintegrate, allowing any
trapped lobsters to escape. He wired over the ghost panel. The bribe to get his lobstering
license cost Jared a small fortune. He didn’t care about the money. He had a lot of money. Jared tended to ignore laws he didn’t agree with if they were inconvenient. This time
it wasn’t too much bother.
Jared wired several lead bars to the trap and pushed in some rebar. He bent the
rebar so that the rods couldn’t slip out.
Wood traps weigh about 125 pounds empty on
land, but only 7 pounds in the water.
He added another 100 pounds.
He kept lead bars
around so he could cast new fishing sinkers. He needed sinkers constantly. The sharks in
Maine’s cold waters would take the bait almost every third troll.
He kept two Boston Whalers in the boat house, a small one to use as a row boat
and a large motorized boat for work. Jared drug the trap and man to his big Whaler, an
eighteen-foot Dauntless with a 150 XL OptiMax Mercury engine.
tarp over the trap and opened the boathouse door.
He was becoming increasingly annoyed. He had more important things that needed to be done today. He didn’t have time
for this. It took Jared two hours to get to the Ovid Marina.
As soon as he got to the marina he tied off to the Sampson post on his cabin cruiser, another boat he owned.
The canvas bundle now weighted almost 500 pounds.
could have effortlessly lifted it into the larger boat but that might have attracted unwanted
He treated it like cargo.
Last year he installed a small power hoist on the
Carver 350, his ocean cruiser.
He swung the arm out over the Whaler.
Jared wrapped
the bundle in nylon webbing and then connected the hoist cable. It was on board quickly.
He tied the Whaler to a piling against a tire bumper.
was one of the larger boats in the small marina.
The regulars all
knew the boat and it was the subject of occasional gossip.
A single guy owned the boat
and would live on board for a week or so every now and then.
They never saw women
on the boat so the speculation was that the owner must be gay.
He never talked but he
would return a wave or a hail. Few knew his name.
It would have been fairly simple to
find out who he was, but no one bothered.
It wasn’t that important to the locals who all
kept to themselves and treated others the same way. He kept to his own business and that
was good. Everyone assumed that he was a Mainer.
Jared took the boat out of the slip slowly. There were a dozen, or more, people in
the marina.
It was mid-day now and people were coming and going.
They waved and
Jared nodded to them as he passed.
As soon as he was out of the no-wake zone, he powered up. He checked the navigation chart. When he was out about 15 miles and the water was deep enough, he pushed the trap and the nameless man overboard. It sank quickly.
No one would report him missing.
No one would search for him.
Now, the nameless man never existed. He would be nameless forever.
Jared took his time getting back to the marina.
He trolled slowly and in no time
landed a large Spanish mackerel, one of his favorite fish—as long as he had bacon. He
did. He was looking forward to a nice dinner.

It would go great with a Domaine Servin Grand Cru Preuses 2002
,” he thought.
He cleaned it and put it on ice.
Cleaning was easy with mackerel. They had virtually no scales. This was a lucky day. This Spaniard is rare in Maine’s cold waters, especially this far north, and certainly not north of Stephen King Island, but here it was.
Jared was pleased.
He thought about the nameless man for a brief moment.
It was just a matter of
time until his enemies learn that sending a lone assassin was futile. Soon, they would be
sending several at a time. Jared had already noted that the skill level of the nameless men
increased each time.
It was of no particular consequence, but noteworthy.
They would
keep coming.
He had to start thinking about the source. How to interupt it! Then he
thought about what would go well with the fish and the wine.

Mashed parsnips
,” he thought.
He had some chicken stock but he didn’t have
fresh chives. “
Freeze-dried chives will have to do.

Jared didn’t want to think about the one simple act that would stop the nameless
men from coming, but other thoughts kept percolating in his brain. There weren’t many
things in life that he reviled more than being bullied.
He had seen far too much of that
when he was a boy, and the intimidation wasn’t from other boys. It came from grinning,
soulless, disembodied government officials, both Soviet and American. He would never
again succumb to that kind of naked coercion.
He wanted the U.S. government to have
his invention. He truly did. The attack on the World Trade Center had affected him deeply. His invention could almost eliminate terrorist threats—or at least eliminate the threat
of heavy casualties. His technology could detect most, maybe all, weapons of mass destruction reliably and before they could be used.
But a few dull-witted bureaucrats had
threatened to use the 1951 Invention Secrecy Act to take his invention from him on whatever terms they selected for him. He had little to say in the matter. That could not be tolerated. Not threats! Not ever!
His defense against their reprehensible tactics was straightforward. All Jared had
to do was to keep the critical technical details in his head. He knew they didn’t have the
science to reverse-engineer his technology.
If he kept the true secrets in his head, they
were powerless.
And yet, that was precisely why the nameless men were coming.
Somehow they had learned about this invention and that killing him would kill the technology he had invented. He had no doubt that some of his tormenters wanted the tech for
themselves and to deprive others. So far, however, he was willing to deal with the nameless men rather than to succumb to governmental threats. So far it had been easy, but he
also knew that sooner or later, the danger was going to escalate. How long could he hold
out? He wasn’t sure. He put these thoughts back into the deep recesses of his mind. He’ll
think about it again…later.
He was looking forward to a nice dinner and some great
He would be home in a few hours. It had been a wasted day.
It would have been
a lot easier if he had anchored StarWind off of Eagle’s Head Island, but he hadn’t and
that was that. He was out of coffee beans.
He decided to go to the mainland first to get
coffee. He had to have good coffee.
He had stopped thinking about the nameless man he just killed. He would never
think about him again just as he never thought about the other nameless men.

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