The Seeds of Stars
By L. Salt
The life doesn’t promise to be joyful for a “Chernobyl child” born straight after the nuclear disaster. True…but not for such an adventurer, adrenaline junkie, and popular extreme sports’ blogger like Yuliy Kobrin, aka Kobra. Adopted by a British couple, Kobra spends his life in urban exploring and travels.Skiing in the Scottish Highlands, Kobra meets a young German couple, Edel Baum and Kira Schneider. The new friends invite him to their luxurious house, where Kobra’s attention is drawn to Edel’s collection of World War II antiques and a mysterious Yugoslavian file which the couple asks to translate for them. The file reveals classified underwater facilities from the Cold War times, hidden deeply into the Kotor Bay of Montenegro. Yuliy can’t miss an opportunity for such a discovery.
Six months earlier, a prominent scientist died in his apartment in central Berlin. The authorities believe it was a heart attack, but a police officer, Trina Stahl, thinks this case is far more dangerous and complicated.
All hell breaks loose for Kobra, when he comes under attack in the Kotor Bay, when he realises his new German friends are not who they say they are, and his life now is of an interest for many parties. From Montenegro to Scotland, from Berlin to the Isle of Skye—Kobra is on the hunt for a mysterious alien object, the Seeds of Stars, but also for the truth about his own past.
He made a circle around the deck. ‘The structure is still excessively strong.’ He touched the rigging. ‘No serious corrosion as such.’
‘Told you, she looks good for her age.’ Edel winked, inviting him to the bridge. ‘Even the gun’s turret is still spinning.’ He had pulled a couple of metal switches on the control panel, and the turret turned slightly to the left, to the right, and stopped in its original position.
‘Cool!’ Kobra observed the control panel. His attention was attracted by the radio. ‘Does it work?’
‘It does now.’ Edel nodded proudly. ‘I spent a few days last week trying to fix it, but in the end…’
Without any further explanations, he switched it on, and his companion could hear a distinctive crackling of the old-fashioned communication device.
‘Amazing.’ Kobra still couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. Once again, a long-forgotten and abandoned piece of history had gained a new life. ‘So, what’s the problem with the engine? If everything else is in such a good working condition, then…’
‘I don’t know.’ Edel just shrugged. ‘That’s what surprised me as well. The surplus company looked after the boat, but didn’t bother to fix the main thing—her engine. To be honest, I’m not very good with mechanics.’ He sounded almost apologetic. ‘Electronics, hardware, software…yes, please. They’re my area of expertise, but mechanics…’
‘That’s probably why they’ve sold the boat so cheap,’ Kira entered their conversation, descending from the deck. ‘The sun is coming out and the sky looks much clearer,’ she added. ‘It seems like the storm has passed by.’
‘Great.’ Edel clapped his hands. ‘It would be good to start the boat.’ He shot Kobra a pleading look.
‘Ah, okay.’ Yuliy smiled, understanding his hint. ‘I’ll try my best.’
After Edel gave him some special rubber gloves and opened the engine’s compartment, Kobra started his observation.
‘All parts look alright, not even as corroded as I expected them to be.’ He checked a couple of pipes and cogs.
‘I’ve tried to clean and oil as many bits as I could.’ Edel moved closer to him.
‘And the fuel tank?’ Kobra continued his examination, trying to open the tank. ‘Was it empty? Or was it some old fuel left in it? Have you tried to change it?’
‘I put some new fuel in it, but…’ Edel had started, but Kobra interrupted him.
‘Wait a minute. It seems like…’ He stretched his hands into the oily darkness of the tank. ‘Something big is in there.’
‘What?’ the couple asked in chorus.
‘Maybe some kind of debris?’ Kira suggested.
‘No, it’s soft.’ Kobra’s hand kept on pulling something that felt like a roll. ‘It’s a…It’s a…’
He made the last final attempt and, spilling leftover fuel everywhere, pulled out a sealed, rolled plastic package.
‘What is this?’ Edel stared at Kobra’s finding in disbelief. ‘And what on Earth it’s doing in the fuel tank?’
‘Somebody tried to hide something extremely important here.’ His fiancée nodded to the parcel.
‘What are we waiting for? Let’s open it,’ Kobra suggested, wiping the package off and removing his gloves.
It looked like a journal with a few dozen of album-size pages banded together in one plump file. Most of the pages were yellow and rough, faded away, but the text, formulae, graphics, and pictures were still in a readable condition.
‘Sovershenno sekretno,’ Kobra read the square stamp on the top of the file’s cover.
‘Is it in Russian?’ Edel frowned.
‘Well, yeah. It translates to top secret.’ Kobra was looking through the pages.
‘Do you understand the rest of it?’ Kira moved closer.
‘I can try to read the whole document, but…’ He started unsurely.
‘Why are Russian classified documents hidden in the fuel tank of the Yugoslavian coastguard boat?’ Edel mumbled more to himself.
‘Don’t forget Yugoslavia was Soviet in those days. Russian was one of its official languages.’ Kobra raised his amber eyes from the file.
‘Besides, this package might be written by Russians.’ Kira supported his guess.
‘So, what does it say?’ Her fiancé shifted on his feet impatiently.
‘It looks like it describes some kind of research which was carried out in some secret facilities in a place called, ehm…the Boka Kotorska Bay.’
‘Where exactly is it?’ Kira asked.
‘Let me Google it.’ Edel pulled his iPhone out of the pocket. ‘The Boka Kotorska Bay or the Bay of Kotor is the name of the winding bay of the Adriatic Sea in south-western Montenegro,’ he read the first line of the Wikipedia page.
‘It makes perfect sense.’ Kobra nodded. ‘You’ve told me you bought this vessel from Montenegro.’
‘We need to know more about this boat, her previous owner, and how it happened that the surplus company hasn’t discovered these documents,’ Kobra suggested.
‘As for the company, most likely, these guys buy stuff in bulk,’ Edel tried to find a reasonable explanation. ‘Let’s say, they’ve bought three or even four such kind of boats. Three of them worked alright. So they sold them quickly. This one might’ve been waiting to be sold for years, languishing in a dry dock or a warehouse.’
‘Most of the documents are dated 1975,’ Kira commented.
‘Look,’ Edel pointed to the pictures of photos. ‘These look like photos of a landscape as if they’ve been made from a plane or a drone.’
‘Somebody spied on this place in the Kotor Bay,’ Kobra summed up. ‘Whoever it was, he or she knew Russian or worked for Russians, or both. The spy or spies wanted to come back for this package, but clearly, they failed.’
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The Seeds of Stars
L. Salt is a multi-genre author from the United Kingdom. She studied History of World Culture and earned her Master’s Degree in Art Expertise at the St. Petersburg University of Culture and Arts. Born in Belarus, she lived for many years in Ukraine and Russia and, eventually, settled in the North of England, where she currently lives with her husband. Salt’s interest in writing dates back to her teenage years. Apart from creative writing, she has a passion for traveling, arts, history, and foreign languages.
Her debut novella, His Personal Reich was released in April 2018 by Crazy Ink Publishing. It will also be featured in the boxed set Chills and Thrills in May 2019. Her second novella, a thriller/mystery story Legacy of the Iron Eagle, released in February 2019. She is the author of the Off the Ways Series including The Ways We Follow (Book One) and Angels of Zion (Book Two). Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Crazy Ink Publishing anthologies Royal Scoundrels and Beyond Wonderland, as well as magazines, both online, and in print. Another of her suspenseful stories, The Seeds of Stars, will release in December.
Connect with L. Salt: Blog • Amazon • Twitter • Facebook Page • Facebook Group • Pinterest • Linkedin • Goodreads • AllAuthor.
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