TESLA: THE TRUTH
Chapter One: Death in
Getting off at Pennsylvania Station I walked through the crowded commuter rail hub in Midtown Manhattan and surfaced on
33rd Street, New York City. The local’s call it Penn Station, but this wasn’t my city, I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and was in on my honeymoon and wasn’t due to start work for the F.B.I until Monday. New York
Thursday January 7th 1943 was a cold winters days and there was snow on the ground, something I wasn’t use to, but it was only a short walk to the New Yorker Hotel. The hotel, located
481 Eighth Avenue had forty-three floors built in an Art Deco style and had opened thirteen years ago. It had been the largest in New York back in 1930 and was still pretty impressive, reminding me of the Empire State that my wife and I had visited the previous day and the huge neon sign on the top of the building ‘New Yorker Hotel’ made it easy to find, even for me.
I was not a detective and wasn’t even fit for the Army due to my bad eye sight and my excellent memory made me better suited to the world of science. After my honeymoon I was going to start work for the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory section of the F.B.I and the phone call I received that morning, while with my new wife in our
hotel had been a complete surprise. Kathy had helped me get ready for my first meeting with the F.B.I since my successful job interview a month earlier and the way I was dressed in a black suit and long overcoat made me look the part even with my thick lenses, but I’m no field agent. New York
My name’s Jackson Hogan, I’m twenty-four and I graduated from University with a degree in Science and specialised in human behaviour, but this story really starts on the thirty-third floor of the New Yorker Hotel in room 3327, and it isn’t my story.
“Let him through, Sullivan.”
“I don’t really know what I’m doing here, Sir?”
I had the suit and the look, but didn’t have the stomach for this, when I saw the dead body of the elderly tall gaunt white male with silver grey hair propped up in a chair, my response was nausea, which wasn’t appreciated by the G-Man who was in charge at the scene. I’d seen plenty of dead bodies before in mortuary at University during my course, but this was different, he was sat up in his chair and the expression on his face made him look like he had just seen a ghost.
“What’s your take on this, Sullivan?”
“I don’t know, Boss. It could be a hit, made to look like a heart attack.”
“You’re a scientist, Hogan?”
“I’m psychologist, not pathologist, Sir?”
“A bit of a genius I heard.”
“I wouldn’t say that, Sir.”
“Well, you’re apparently the best we have.”
He was a stocky man around fifty, with greying hair and a round face, but dressed quite effeminately for the F.B.I. He had a neatly folded and ironed handkerchief coming up out of the left hand pocket of his light grey suit and was wearing a colourful checked tie with an elaborate gold tie pin and then I realised it was Director himself, it was J. Edgar Hoover.
“I want you take a look through his papers and see if there’s anything worth knowing.”
He gestured casually to the far wall of the hotel room, which was full from floor the ceiling with bundles of papers tied up with string that ran entire length of the room and through an adjoining door into the next room.
“Where do I start, Mr Hoover?”
“At the beginning, it’s always the best place and then work your way through to end. I’ve set you up in a secure facility, but I wanted you in from the start to make sure my boys didn’t loose anything important. I want you to supervise the transportation of all his papers. Are you a packing a weapon, Hogan?”
“No, sorry I… err…”
“Here, take mine I always carry a back up. I don’t expect trouble, but with the Brits, Commies, Nazis, Japs and the Mob showing an interest.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
J. Edgar Hoover had given me his gun, but at the time after slipping the weapon in my overcoat pocket, I was just stood looking at the bundles of paper that were now being ferried out of the hotel room.
“More documents are waiting for you at the warehouse and I want you bring it all together, Hogan.”
“Get moving, Hogan.”
“Mr Hoover, Sir, who was he?”
“That’s the Lord of Lightning, Hogan. That’s Nikola Tesla.”
Science is systematic and builds knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions and I wanted to ask, what would be the purpose of my research, what theory, was I trying to prove or disprove, what was the question he wanted answered, but J. Edgar Hoover had turned away. I should have asked, but this was my first day in the F.B.I and
was the F.B.I, so I just turned and followed Tesla’s papers out of the hotel room. Hoover
I was soon outside at the rear entrance of the hotel and found myself taking control of the operation to load all the documents on to two large trucks. It took a couple of hours to finish loading all Tesla’s papers and by the time the rear doors of both trucks had pulled down and padlocked shut, I had got use to being in control of the operation.
There were four unmarked black Lincoln Continentals to escort the two trucks and I found myself riding in the back of the front car with Sullivan as we slowly made our way off,
. Sullivan was an ageing G-Man and had obviously seen enough in his life to mean that little shocked him and he was just sat rolling himself a cigarette as we drove our convoy towards the bridge. Manhattan
“So where is the warehouse, Sullivan?”
“It’s just over in
“I’m on my honeymoon, what do I tell my wife?”
“This is a matter of National Security. You tell her, you work for the F.B.I now and she better get use to it.”
“Right, what is this warehouse exactly?”
“It’s the Alien Property Custodian warehouse”
“The President opened it back up last year. It’s where the Government keeps anything belonging to enemy foreign nationals.”
“But I thought Tesla was an American Citizen?”
“He’s a special case. There’s still some of his papers there from the last war, but I don’t think anybody could understand much of it. That’s why the Boss wanted you.”
“I’m a behavioural scientists, Tesla was an electric engineer?”
“Tesla was much more that, Hogan.”
We arrived at the warehouse about an hour later and the place was huge, the size of six football fields, with uniformed armed guards posted at the entrance. The entire site was surrounded by fifteen foot high electric wire fence and there was a guard tower at each corner. When we pulled inside the large metal gates were closed and locked behind us. Walking into the building, I followed Sullivan through several locked door that each had an armed guard stationed at them, who unlocked the doors and let us pass through. Finally we reached a room that was as big as most high school gymnasiums; it had free standing bookshelves running three quarters of its length that already looked half full. At the opposite end of the room there was a single desk and chair, with an electric light directly above it and on the desk there was an ashtray and empty bottle of bourbon and then Sullivan stopped and turned to me.
“This is Tesla’s room.”
I looked around and saw more than twice the amount of papers and documents than the two truck loads we had just ferried across the bridge and out of
. The far end of the space beyond the bookshelves was filled various electric devices, some finished, others only half completed and there was an old camp bed made up with a couple blankets and a pillow. Manhattan
“How many people will I have working with me?”
“This is strictly, need to know, the Boss wants this kept close, Hogan.”
“I won’t have to stay here all the time, will I?”
“No, your wife would worry. This is nine to five.”
“It could take me years?”
“Well, we’re here to help you get set up. Where do you want the new stuff putting?”
I didn’t know what to say, but then I remembered what J. Edgar Hoover had said to me, ‘Start at the beginning… I want you to bring it all together’.
“I want it all in date order before you leave. Everything, the documents ceased during the First World War and the papers from his hotel room.”
Like I said, this isn’t my story, this is Nikola Tesla’s story and I’ll start from the beginning.
The full novel is due for release on various devices, including Kindle in April 2012 and I would be interested to hear any feedback from this first chapter and taster of what is to come…