Title: Endgame Enigma
Author: James P. Hogan
Publish Date: 1987
Publisher: Baen Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Sub-Genre: Space Travel, Spaceships, Advanced Technology Advanced Medicine, Space Station, Spies, CIA, KGB, Kidnapping, Prisoners, Escape, Lasers, Cold War, Computers, Encryption, Defection, Surveillance, Espionage, Brainwashing, Drugs, Engineering, Gravity, Centrifugal Force
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the consequences of letting your cold war enemy have the upper-hand in space. When that threat is a space station more than a mile in diameter and houses significant firepower according to defectors that claim to have intimate knowledge of its capabilities, the possibilities are more than just a little unreal.
Dr. Paula Bryce is a scientist. Blonde and considered a ‘challenge’ by those men that work with her, she was attractive in a demure sort of way. Her specialty was in reverse-engineering and investigation of electromechanical and digital devices, computers, and their related assemblies and programming.
That skill set is just what the US Intelligence community needs to recover an electronic document hidden away in a computer system aboard the space station. It allegedly holds the key to why the Russians really built the station. She is teamed up with an actual covert agent to sneak aboard the station and recover the file.
Unfortunately, both Paula and her companion, Lewis Earnshaw, have found their way into a trap laid for them by the Russians and soon become reluctant residents of the mighty Soviets.
As Paula comes to, she discovers that she is now a prisoner and that her interrogation has been going on for quite a while, and is clearly going to continue. Treated as a spy, she feels certain that this may be her last assignment…
The Russians have built a station in space capable of sustaining over twelve-thousand inhabitants, and doing it with minimal outside resources. The Impressive station, named ‘Valentina Tereshkova’, is over a mile in diameter, and according to some experts is a technological marvel.
According to others, including a defector that claims to have worked on some of the internal structures, it is a battle station not just a jump-off point for space exploration.
With the probable existence of incredible firepower poised to control the Earth’s population, it is imperative that more is known about its capabilities and capacities. A mission is planned to travel to the station and retrieve a document stored in the Russian computers aboard the station during a failed previous espionage attempt.
Dr. Paula Bryce is recruited for her expertise in Russian computers and her escort/agent Lewis Earnshaw for the task. Shortly after breaking away from a tour group, they find themselves at a terminal downloading the file they are sent to retrieve when suddenly a Russian security team arrives and catches them in the act.
Now, prisoners of the Russian military, they must fight for their lives and their sanity as they are interrogated endlessly and are drugged into apathy.
The worst part is that the Russians have other plans for the twosome. They are now the subjects of an intricate brainwashing scheme with a planned result of the annihilation of the enemies of Russia. Both of them wake up to find themselves in another world entirely, surrounded by other prisoners, forced into a labor pool for their crimes. Among those other prisoners around them, are Russian agents, looking to push Lewis and Paula into doing their government’s bidding.