All posts by Gene

Gene Hilgreen lives in Lindenhurst, NY with his faithful companion Millie a rescued Border collie. He spent thirty years in Information Technology and ITGC audit. As an ex-gymnast and freestyle skier he lived on the edge with a Devil-may-care attitude. Now retired, he writes suspense thrillers and monthly short stories for The Writers 750 Group on LinkedIn. He has authored Dragon at 1600, the first of a series in which he relives his rebelled past through his protagonist Buckner Axele Davidssen—a protector of the Constitution—who reports only to God and Old Glory. His second series is for the YA arena and spins off Jules Spenser—a prodigy child—who wants to follow in Grandpa Buck’s footsteps. Look for First of Jules a suspense thriller coming soon. Writing didn’t come easy for Gene, and becoming a published author was a pipe dream. Saddled with the moniker Dutch D Hilgreen in college, it was once said, “Good thing you write on a computer, because if you wrote with a pen you’d hurt yourself.” The encouragement of his wife Donna—rest in peace darling, gave him the incentive. The family of successful authors and editors from the Writers 750 Group showed him the tools. What was once a blank stage now explodes with color—living, breathing, and awaking all the senses.

First of Jules

FOJ Cover - as Spencer 03

Born with eidetic memory, commonly called photographic or total recall, Jules Spenser was label a prodigy child before her fifth birthday. She displayed exceptional intellectual ability and creativity wherever she channeled her mind. Her ability to clearly process information and formulate solutions to problems at an early age became apparent to her teachers, and supporting cast of family. She skipped grades at an unusual rate, and began taking college level classes by her junior year of high school at the tender age of twelve.
Jules had three loves—Gymnastics, quantum physics and information technology, and let it be known that she wanted to use her gifts to help humanity. This did not go unnoticed by her grandfather Buck Davidssen, who groomed her for a career in Medical Nanoscience at his company—The Corporation.
Having spent most of her life around much older people—Jules lacked social skills, and was socially inept around members of the opposite sex her own age. This was apparent when she strayed outside her comfort zone. For Jules, love and friendship were relative outside her inner circle of family, which included the inner core of The Corporation, and ultimately—not necessary to survival.
The Corporation had many divisions under its umbrella, and fighting domestic terror was one of them. This tidbit didn’t go unnoticed by Jules, who dreamt of sleuthing in her spare time.
Jules had one last goal before starting her PhD program at the SPI School for Advance Nanoscience Research in Texas—a national title in gymnastics, and that she did.
One minute sixteen year old Jules is embracing her national vaulting title in gymnastics, and before she can say what is Advanced Nanofabrication and Characterization, she is neck deep in a multiple murder investigation on her own.
During her first week of internship—two girls go missing. The parents of the girls, who are rich donors to the program, chalk it up as girls being girls. The authorities turn up nothing, and believe the girls are off gallivanting, too.
Jules thought differently and couldn’t help herself—sleuthing was in her blood from years of ‘don’t tell mom moments’ with her grandpa. Among his stories and other things, he taught her how to shoot a gun, and defend herself in hand-to-hand combat. She began to investigate the missing girls on her own.
Jules also acquired the ability to block out everything happening around her—the Mechanism—she called it. Jules thought this attribute was a gift. Others called it her greatest flaw, and believed it led to her loneliness—a black hole—limitless, dark, and daunting.
Dr. Anna Semyonova, runs the research center, she is Jules’ mentor and a core member of The Corporation. She tells Jules that there is nothing to look into on the missing girls, and to back down.
Jules, whose mind worked in ones and zeros—black and white—blocks out Anna’s demand. She uses every resource available to locate the girls, and quickly creates a short list of villains.
Her fatal flaw may be her arrogance and believing she can do anything. This devil-be-damned attitude is demonstrated by her desire to push the limits of her mind and body with her early morning Ferrari runs, where she breaks the 200 MPH barrier on a regular basis. But when she finds she has met her match while barking up the wrong tree—it will require every bit of her intelligence and athleticism to stay alive.

Dragon at 1600

D at 1600 - 03

Buckner Axele Davidssen a retired USMC sniper and computer scientist, contracts his services to companies that require their financial data safe from hackers. In the process, he has amassed one of the best anti-terror systems on earth. Financially set at forty-five, he and his partner put their system to good use, and monitor the internet for any acts of terror against America—foreign or domestic.

Buck has major issues with the direction America is headed in. With the 2016 presidential election only months away, his concerns are further fueled by the current administration destruction of the Constitution to ensure a lifetime term. Several members of Congress set off flags in his system when transmissions between Washington and Indonesia to a group led by the notorious triad leader Chiang Zhou Yuxiang are cracked.
The CIA has come up against a code they can’t crack between a major drug cartel and Chiang’s partner in crime, the head of the Russian Mafia—the Bratva. Through an ex-CIA agent who is a close friend, Buck learns the CIA has put out a contract on the drug cartel and wants his help.

Buck starts digging he knows that Chiang pure evil. What he uncovers is worse; Chiang’s twin brother is the President of the Peoples Republic of China and Chiang’s son is a plant—US Senator Martin Sullivan, and he is his parties choice for president.

Buck believes the way of life in America will change — forever. He takes his discovery to his mentor DDHS Livingstone, the only man in Washington he trusts. Micky agrees to fund and protect him under a DHS Presidential Finding related to homeland security—but only if he backs off on the President and Martin Sullivan. Micky ensures Buck that he will handle the government side; reluctantly, Buck agrees to let go. Satisfied, Micky has his lawyer, Dr. Charlotte Vice draw up papers for an off shore company called The Corporation the cover the project. Buck brings in members of his old Marine squad and trusted military specialists, and takes the CIA contract.

Meanwhile, a Russian biochemist and his sister, a quantum molecular physicist, have been kidnapped. A coincidence—Buck thinks yes. Communications between Chiang, the Bratva, and a Miami drug lord are cracked by Bucks team; the group plans to infect the water supplies in key states with a lethal hypnotic drug. Buck believes this is all tied to the presidential election, and with his life in constant danger, he takes the fight to Chiang. The battle starts in Miami and heads to Hawaii. When Chiang’s quest for refuge in China is thwarted by his brother—Chiang heads to Vietnam. Buck and his team follow, most of his soldiers are going home—this time, to win.

When matters couldn’t get any worse—a rogue Russian spy known only as “Volkan” leaves a trail of death and mayhem wherever his path takes him. Volkan has his own plans, and nobody knows what they are. He seems to just want Buck dead. Buck wants him dead, too, and Washington, DC, becomes the final battle ground.

Buck plays by his own rules; he defends America and the US Constitution, and reports to no one but God and Old Glory—period.

Dr. Emma Dash – PhD Quantum Mechanics, Masters in English Lit and Computer Science…and Sniper

Dr. Emma Dash

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Char parked the Lamborghini across the street from cabbie row. Before she could exit the car, two security guards pointed at her, and asked her to move. She flashed her badge, and after some groveling and name-dropping, the guards walked away shaking their heads.
A show stopping stunner in her own right; Char, clad in her favorite double tank top ensemble, pink over white and spandex running shorts, leaned against the Lamborghini. She examined every blonde woman who exited the terminal. She knew she was looking for someone special.
When Emma made her appearance, Char had no doubt. A statuesque beauty—no more than five-nine by her guess—had exited the terminal, and was looking about. She wore a fashionable black leather outfit that hugged every curve on her body. The circumduct formed by the air-conditioned terminal hitting the warm Miami air, for a briefest moment, provoked her perfectly coifed blond hair (not as platinum, or long as Char’s or Anna’s), but perfect, and styled in a sexy yet chic pixie, to bounce up and down, and settle once again around her angelic face.
Emma’s attire, though elegant and stunning was not what caught Char’s attention first—it was her beautiful face—the Bambi sized eyes. Wide open, they changed with each step—the windows to her soul—were innocent, yet exotic and catlike.
Her full candy-apple red lips slightly parted in a suggestive and sensual way when she spotted Char. She unzipped her jacket as she drew closer. Free to breathe; her breasts bounced slightly, which induced her low cut, pink Casmir sweater to cling—emphasizing her overall package.
Chars eyes dropped to her expanded cleavage then back to her eyes.
Emma smiled seductively and blinked, her long lashes flitted over her emerald eyes. With dark blue rims and flecks of gold around the pupil, they sparkled like golden fireworks exploding across a lush meadow.
Stunned, Char let out a gasp. “Wow.”
Damn, she is more perfect than Anna (if that is even possible), listen to me, I’m starting to sound like Buck. Oh my God, I can just imagine what comes out of his mouth the first time he meets her. I’ll bet he doesn’t even notice her eyes—and what about Roy, he will be devastated. He already walks around hunched over because of Anna. What is he going to do now? I have to find him a girlfriend—and quick.
Char reached out to shake Emma’s hand and take her suitcase.
Emma pulled Char toward her and kissed her cheek. “Thank you for everything, and let me say that you are more beautiful than Anna described.”
“Well I can say the same thing; I have never seen eye’s as beautiful as yours. That’s some British accent you have.”
“I was raised in London; my father is the Provost at Camford University. I received my Masters in Literature and another in Computer Science at Camford. I then decided that I would follow… in my cousin’s footsteps, and moved back to Moscow to get my PhD in Quantum Physics. I was preparing for my dissertation, but it’s was getting too dangerous, especially after Anna’s abduction and liberation. I felt that I would be next, which is why I called Anna.”
“Don’t worry dear; we’ll get you your PhD. You will be working with the best… Anna.”
“Why are you smiling?”
“I’m just thinking what Buck is going to say the first time he meets you.”
“What will he say?”
“Nice rack, damn nice rack.”

***

Dragon at 1600

Dragon at 1600

CHAPTER ONE

B
uckner Axele Davidssen pushed away from his desk, and rose to his full six feet. With his eyes closed, and his arms raised high above his head—he drew a deep and relaxed breath. He exhaled slow and measured, counted to ten in the process, an exercise that calmed him… and he needed to be calm. He was meeting with someone tonight. Someone very important, and the only person he trusted with the information he had.
Late last night he received a call from a friend, an ex-CIA agent who needed his help. The friend informed him of the hands-off directive, issued on six of the individuals identified as dangerous by his system. Hell, Buck knew who gave the directive; as he was gathering info on that person as well.
Alert and poised he stood before the wall of glass; his gaze fixed on the woods that surrounded his house, the first hint of light poked through the dense trees. A flicker of movement caught his attention, and he reached for his Weatherby, Mark V TRR sniper rifle.
Two deer pranced from cover, and hesitated. With the stealth of a tiger on the prowl, he was out the back door, sighted and adjusted the crosshairs of the scope on the center of his mark—four-hundred feet away. His finger caressed the trigger as he breathed in.
Nothing!
He lowered the Weatherby, as the deer turned down the path, and picked up their gait—four doe followed.
I must be seeing things.
He watched as the deer ran down the path. Why not… it’s the perfect time for a run?
Rifle in hand, Buck left the house and hit the main path in full stride. At forty-eight, he was financially secure and retired. He did not consider protecting America a job. The woods kept him sharp, and reminded him of the jungles where he served. They had wet lands, thick brush and streams—he knew every path. Hell, he was US Marine Corps Recon. As a Marine, he performed as commanded, no questions asked—he defended and killed to protect America’s freedom. More important, the Corps promoted what his father had imparted everyday—honesty and integrity.
Honor is loyalty Buck, they would tell him. It is dedication to God, Country, Family, and Self.
The Corps was Buck’s family, and he served his country proudly for twelve years.
He thought about the two men his mentor asked him to track, they were on the hands-off list too. His thoughts turned to the CIA contract. Was there a connection? Hell, he wondered about all the people he was tracking. He knew politics and drugs were involved, and whatever was going on, it exceeded the boundaries of America. There were foreign entities involved, the pieces to the puzzle did not quite fit—and a few larger pieces were definitely AWOL.
Forget the list, he would dig deeper and take the CIA contract too. He didn’t quite know how the meeting would go tonight, but he did know one thing for certain. Some powerful people would have to fall—before America changed forever, and with or without his mentor’s help.
Time to clear the mind—Ooh rah!
Darkness closed and the sky broke—angry rain slammed into the dirt trail. About a hundred yards down the dirt trail was a small clearing, where an old oak tree split the paths. He knew the oak tree well. Carved into the tree were the initials B-A-D, a heart and C-V. He smiled and gave the tree a pat, then chose the path that led home.
He jogged to the back entrance, and pointed a remote at the back door. The green light flashed, and he entered his domain.
The TV was on, a tarp covered the infield at Citi Field, and bad news flashed across the bottom… Rain delay.
Why not? It was April 6, 2016, opening day for the Mets, and a beautiful April day for everything, but New York baseball.
He pointed the remote at the control panel, the monitor came to life, and his new algorithm program was still compiling.
His sweat-drenched exercise clothes gave new meaning to strangulation. The thought of constriction by a two-step snake entered his mind, claustrophobia set in; he yanked and stripped until a pile lay on the floor. He was naked and looked down at his six-pack abs. His firm core had come from a tortured workout regiment, and careful diet.
Ok, that was a lie, he no longer drank beer as a sport, but he still ate bad, smoked cigars and enjoyed the occasional cigarette or two.
Nevertheless, his core was power central. Fat slowed you down and could turn deadly in his world. He prided himself in his fitness and fighting skills, he was proficient in every close-quarter martial art worth a damn. He hit the gun range often, but knives were his preferred weapon—he never left home without them.
After a long shower, he slipped on shorts and a T-shirt, grabbed a sweatshirt from the dresser, and threw it on too. It was his favorite—thread-worn and full of holes, but across the front, in bold letters, it stated—PROPERTY of the United States Marine Corps.
He returned to the bathroom, grabbed the scissors, and started to trim his long graying beard. He paused… the beard covered a battle scar, which ran the length of his left jaw.
What’s that expression? Pain heals, chicks dig scars, and glory… glory lasts forever.
Lee Greenwood’s iconic song, God Bless the USA, blasted from the speakers. Satisfied that a hint of the scar showed, he put the scissors back down.
“I’m proud too, Lee—just not today.” He said, and then belted out the last few words. “God bless the U-S-A.”
The intelligence world changed by the hour, and he remained resolute in the game, through constant enhancements to his transposition cipher algorithms. He monitored chatter, on anything with a CPU, and searched for words, expressions and events—treasonous acts against America—foreign and domestic.
He returned to his office, and checked the status of the program.
Compile successful.
In the kneehole of the desk, behind a brass logo label, were two buttons. One controlled specialized panels that lowered from the attic, and covered the windows and doors. The result a SCIF, or sensitive compartmental information facility, virtually impregnable and un-hack-able.
Buck pressed the other button, and a hidden panel (filled with books that actually appeared to have been read), opened to reveal a sixteen-by-six foot, soundproof and environmentally controlled room. It housed the heart of his system; the length of the wall lined with servers, communication equipment and printers. Buck retrieved a hard copy of the data on a USB flash drive, and returned to his desk. He pushed the button again and the room disappeared.
He plugged the stick into a USB port on his laptop and read it. Shit! The two people his mentor wanted information on were congressmen.
His system didn’t identify them as problems, he had to look for them, that bothered him.
I’ll have to tighten the search criteria.
Three of the people his system marked as dangerous, were now on their way to Jakarta. That bothered Buck more.
Could it be a coincidence? Buck didn’t think so.
One thing was for sure; they all came from money and wanted more. It seemed to Buck that neither the left nor the right cared what happened to America. They cared about one thing—money for their own causes. They spied on everyone… and Buck spied right back at them.
He lowered the volume on the TV, and cranked the music.
Rain pelted off the wall of glass.
Thunder…
The bang on the back door echoed through the room.
“Buck! Open the damn—door.”
“Oh shit, it’s Roy.”
Dr. Roy Singh was his business partner, best friend and Swami. Hell, he was a genius, and had three PhD’s to prove it.
“Sorry buddy, I changed the code and didn’t hear you. I had the music blasting, come on in.”
“I have a couple of things I’m working on,” Roy said, as he put his overnight bag next to the desk, and opened his laptop. “I want to add them to the system, and see how it looks.”
Buck looked at the bag. “How long you staying?”
“A few days, I’ll crash in the guest room.”
“Knock yourself out.” Buck wrote down the new code, and gave Roy the evil eye. “Here’s the new code, and by the by, I think the guest room became yours when you put the Buddha statue in it.”
Skynyrd’s, Red White and Blue, was now rocking on the system. Buck muted the sound on the TV. He loved this song.
“What are your plans?” Roy asked.
“Greg called, he’s having a problem cracking some transmissions, and the CIA won’t give him access anymore… you know, since he quit.”
“Are you going to let him use our system?”
“Probably… he mentioned a big CIA contact, and wants to partner with us on it. I told him we would, if we got additional backing.”
“Are you talking dangerous big?”
He didn’t want to scare Roy. He wasn’t packaged like Buck. What was he going to say? Yeah Roy… it’s dangerous.
“I’ll call you later on it. I’m meeting Micky in White Plains tonight, and thinking of spending a few day’s there. I’m going to swing by Sarge’s, have a few beers, complain a little and blow off some steam. I want him to come with me, and I hate driving in the rain. Sarge will drive.”
Micky Livingston was his mentor. They met on an IT security project in Purchase, NY, several years ago. Micky gave more than half his life to America, he was legit, and got the whole God and country thing. After five years in with the Navy, he put another twenty in with the Air Force. His military background in intelligence and security offered a lucrative life after the military. As a ghostwriter, he made millions from his political thrillers.
The American dream… writ large. He also held a powerful position in government, which swayed security decisions. Micky Livingston was the Director Homeland Security Investigations.
Buck shoved away from his desk, timing his words and exit to Skynyrd’s final chords.
“If you don’t like America, get the hell out indeed,” he sang.
“Can you please… turn your music off?
“No problem buddy. BADDAY… Buck music off.”
“You activated voice control?
“Yeah, you had better add yourself. The system responds to BADDAY only.”
“I’ll add myself later; I have some others ideas too. Call me if you need me.”
Buck grabbed a duffle bag he kept by the back door. It had two week’s worth of clothes, rolled tight, to accommodate the compact size. It was one more trick he learned from his mentor Micky. He stuffed his laptop in the only outside pouch.
He turned toward Roy. “Last chance, do you want to come?”
“Call Sarge and convince him to pick us up here, that will give me some time to test.”
Buck pressed the speed dial for Sarge and waited. Sarge spent every waking moment in his garage tinkering on something. He had a flat screen TV, stereo system and a bar in it. The refrigerator was always full of beer. He would peek at the TV screen, see who was calling, would wait for a message, and only then would he answer—if he wanted to talk.
“Pick up damn it.”
“What’s up Buck?”
“I’m heading up to White Plains for a couple of days to see Micky—”
“And it’s raining,” Sarge said. “So you want me to drive!”
“What I was going to say was… I’m getting a suite at the Residence Inn and they have free Heineken on tap every night.”
“You know I’m a Bud Man, I don’t drink that crap.”
“Fine… I want you to drive and Roy’s coming too.”
“Let me pack a cooler and pack some clothes,” he said. “I’m bringing the Blue Monster; see you in half-an-hour.”
Buck turned toward Roy to give a thumbs-up signal and Sarge was gone.
“Son-of-a-bitch hung up on me.”
###

We the People

Burning_Constitution-e1356802916191 (1)

Murder—
It happened in broad daylight, while the mundane slept, unaware of anything but their humdrum lives. The opportune, with ears plugged and heads burrowed, they plotted and texted away. The damned screamed change, and the prairie dogging throng heard what they wanted.
The guilty called it suicide while she bled—ripped apart—piece by bloody piece. Her death never looked like suicide—not to those who cared—she did not want to die.
America was murdered!
Buck took it personal, the self-appointed Protector of the Constitution. Not on his watch. He gave an oath… was consumed with rage… but not like everyone else. He marched to his own beat, and would hunt down everyone involved.
He reported only to God and Old Glory.