In the next few months, WHISTLER HOUSE PUBLISHING will be releasing Novel 2 in my TRILOGY OF TREASON. For my readers who have been waiting far too long to see this book, I am beginning a series of weekly excerpts to start you reading this story that is very close to my heart. Not only does it follow up to THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR with a plot related to those original characters, it deals with a heartless drug scandal that has already affected too many lives, both military and civilian.
Canadian Forces Trenton Air Base, April 5
“You’re not on camera now, Kendra. Get rid of that damned scarf.”
She blinked at Ben Jacobs standing beside her and fingered the long silk Parisian scarf in dusty rose double-draped around her throat. “It’s my signature.”
His eyes narrowed. “Your signature will also hang you.”
“I don’t see how.”
“Do you want me to demonstrate?”
She lifted one eyebrow at him in stubborn response. “It was my good luck charm on my Angola assignment. Besides, I can also roll it up into a pillow if I need one. Once we’re on board you may wish you had one too.”
She twisted her view away from him, to the giant Russian cargo aircraft at the end of the tarmac. It was no airliner. For the next thirty-two hours they may be strapped into bucket seats, and Ben would come to appreciate such comforts as her scarf.
They were two hours east of Toronto at the Canadian Forces Base Trenton. Against the night sky, the illuminated Antonov-124 dwarfed the C-130 Hercules parked beside it. The air freighter’s size magnified Kendra’s rising nervousness.
A week earlier, she would not have believed she would be on her way back to Africa with Ben. But, here they were. He had told her, if she didn’t accept this assignment to Rwanda, she would lose her position as the late night news anchor for the Dominion Broadcasting System.
DBS blamed her for its loss in the ratings war, and this is what triggered the “tirade” she couldn’t remember. Once she understood what she said to upset Ben and their news director, she was too embarrassed to apologize.
For the past year, she had not ventured out of the studio. Her bouts of ‘memory blackouts’ stole her confidence, so she relied on reading the news instead of her trademark ‘pursuing the news.’ The drop in ratings proved her switch did not fool her viewers. As a news anchor, she was known for her passion to defend the underdog against injustice and believed she only needed one eye-opening ‘scoop’ to regain her viewers’ respect. It should be easy. She was central to the story: All she had to do was find out how the anti-malaria drug mefloquine had affected her mind. If she was a victim, so were others. At least, that’s how she explained it to Ben.
“When the Toronto Star newspaper broke the scandal that shamed Canada’s elite Airborne regiment, we were all shocked to read that Airborne soldiers tortured and murdered the teenage Somalian they captured.”
Ben nodded. “So un-Canadian.”
Kendra’s jaw tightened. “Well, get this. Mefloquine was issued to Canadian peacekeepers in Somalia.”
Ben scowled. “So?”
“According to the army doctor who reported the brutal murder, the troops were used in a trial run for the drug.”
“Do you have proof?”
“I’m getting to that,” she waved her hand to restrain his questions. “Weird things happened in camp on the days after the soldiers took their weekly mefloquine dose. For instance, more accidents were reported. Some medics speculated the drug affected soldiers’ balance and coordination. The peacekeepers themselves nicknamed their day for taking mefloquine, Wacky Wednesday or Freaky Friday or Manic Monday.”
“Are there trial reports or anecdotal notes we can access through the Freedom of Information Act? We can’t go on air with just speculation.”
... To be continued