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large man looked at him closely then stood aside, letting
stood up and one, a tall white haired man immaculately dressed and groomed
said. "Good afternoon, Colonel
Smith. I am Senator Adam Vaughan. This is Congressman Jose Alverez, Senator
Jack Webster and Congresswoman Amanda Stark."
"Congressman? Senator? Who's directing this picture, Dan Quayle?" They smiled at this, in some cases politely, in others with genuine amusement.
Congresswoman Stark, a handsome black woman, in her late forties, answered him. "I'm afraid, Colonel, that we have brought you here under false pretences."
coffee, Colonel?" Alverez offered
are in fact former employers of yours,"
"You're Stockwell's bosses."
"I wouldn't say 'bosses'. Not exactly." The Congresswoman said. "Thinking in corporate terms you could say we were more the board of directors while he was the CEO." She smiled at the description.
you’re the backers,"
"Well it's nice to meet you finally and I'd love to sit here and chat about how you all didn't go to jail, but I'm a busy man. I have real auditions to go to, so…" He put down his coffee cup and rose.
Colonel?" Webster spoke for the
first time, in a deep voice. "I
believe you don't in fact have another audition scheduled for at least a
let me worry about my career, Senator."
fact, it's your career we brought you here to discuss,"
the death of General Stockwell,"
didn't like competition."
it seems." Stark agreed. "The organisation has been stagnating
somewhat. What it needs is
strong hand on the tiller." Alverez
said, which made
who isn't afraid to make tough decisions."
guys have got to be kidding."
"No, Colonel." Webster said. "We are not kidding. Let me make it clear what my colleagues, in their roundabout ways, are trying to say. We wish to offer you the late General Stockwell's job."
waited for him to stop laughing. They
had to wait for some time. Finally
Colonel. Don't dismiss this so
already know what it involves,"
"You lived for many years with the threat of going to jail." Webster said.
believe me, I prefer life without that threat."
"Really?" Alverez said. "You prefer spending your time playing character parts in b-movies to the excitement your life used to hold?"
about 'the Jazz', Colonel?"
supposed to fall for that?"
"Well, we thought perhaps at your time of life…" Alverez began.
live longer than you, pal."
"Think about all the good you can do," Stark said, trying a different tack. "With the resources of the organisation behind you."
'cause Stockwell was doing a lot of good wasn't he?"
have been learnt from the way Stockwell worked,"
"Oh, now you’re a kinder, gentler, black ops unit?"
"Perhaps." Stark said, recognising the sarcasm, but taking the comment at face value too. "And of course, you're not Stockwell, you are a very different man."
that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."
she means, Colonel," Webster said, quietly. "Is that the organisation will work
according to your methods, to your standards.
And to your agenda." This
"My agenda? You mean you just give me the money and I decide what to do with it?"
"Within certain parameters, yes," Alverez said.
"Our ultimate goal is to protect the national security of the United States," Vaughan said, "and to make the country a better and safer place for all its citizens."
"Very noble." Hannibal said, with a touch of sarcasm. But not too much. Vaughan had sounded utterly sincere. "But why me? Hell, Stockwell himself admitted that he should never have recruited us, that we were wrong for the organisation. Now you want to put me in charge?"
"Leadership, Colonel Smith." Stark said. "Your working under Stockwell may have been a mistake, but your leading the organisation would not be. In fact if I had both you and the General in front of me now and had to make the choice…"
"Okay, lady…er, ma'am, you don't need to butter me up quite so blatantly." He finally sat down again and took a Danish pastry. Might as well get a free snack out of this nonsense.
"We were very impressed with the way you handled the attempted coup in Qumar last year." Alverez said, continuing the buttering up. "We've read the reports of Lieutenant-Colonel Langford and Lieutenant-Colonel Madari, they both spoke very highly of your methods."
"Langford spoke highly of me?" Hannibal said, grinned. "He must have been drunk." Mention of Langford made him think of something else. He finally understood why MI6 were interested in him and what that meant. That these people had been watching him for nearly a year at least, waiting for this day. He almost hated to disappoint them after they had put all this effort in. Hannibal stood up, wiping his hands on a napkin.
"Well this has been fascinating, really. But I'd sooner stick my hand in a bucketful of piranhas than work for you. No offence." They rose too. Vaughan took a card from his pocket and handed it to Hannibal.
"We don't need a final answer now, Colonel, please call this number if you wish to discuss the matter any further. It's been very good to meet you." They all shook hands in a friendly way as if he hadn't just told them to take their job and stick it. "One of the, erm, Ables," Vaughan waved a hand at the heavies, "will validate your parking for you."
And then he was back in the hotel corridor. He glanced at the card in his hand. All it contained was a phone number. It certainly didn't contain Senator Vaughan's name. He suspected that if he walked into a newspaper office right now and gave them the story they would find out that none of the four politicians were in fact in LA today, they were all in far distant parts of the country and couldn't possibly have just met with him. He couldn't find a trash can so he put the card into his pocket. He would throw it away later.
"Here you go, BA, milk for you, beers for the rest of us."
"C'mon, Murdock," Frankie called, to where Murdock was crawling around on the grass with Frankie's eighteen month old twin sons under the watchful eye of Frankie's wife Rosita.
"In a minute." Murdock answered, clearly having far too much fun with the kids to want to join them. Frankie went back to the barbeque, started poking the sausages around.
"How'd you break your arm this time, Face?" Frankie asked.
"Paragliding." Face admitted. "Had kind of a tricky landing."
shrugged. "Just trying it
Face had expected some kind of comment on the idiocy of paragliding from BA but when he looked over at him BA was gazing off into the middle distance. He'd been pretty quiet ever since they arrived at Frankie's house earlier that afternoon.
"You okay, BA? You seem kinda down." Face asked him. BA looked up at him, scowling, but then his expression softened.
"Yeah, ah'm okay. Just…" He stopped, they waited for a moment and he finally went on. "Ah was at a funeral this mornin'."
"Oh, I'm sorry, BA," Face said. "Someone close?"
"One of the kids who used to come to the youth centre."
"The usual." BA said. "Crack." Again he paused, his face clouded with anger and grief. "His name was Lester. He was a good kid for a long time. Used to go to school, worked hard, stayed outta trouble. He was real smart, coulda gone to college. But he got in with a bad crowd, started takin' drugs, started stealin'. Ah tried to help, to get him cleaned up, but nuthin' worked."
"How did he die?" Face asked quietly.
"A week ago he got shot by the cops when he tried to hold up a convenience store."
"Man..." Frankie shook his head sadly.
"All that promise, you know, all that potential, just…wasted." BA shook his head too. "If ah could get hold of the guys who first gave him that poison…" then his anger faded a little. "Ah shoulda done something more for him, shoulda found a way to help him."
Face reached out with his good hand and squeezed BA's arm. "You can't save them all, BA. You do a lot of good work, there are kids you've helped who've gone to college, or got themselves good jobs, that might otherwise have ended up dead or in jail."
"Sometimes ah wonder if it's worth it. The problems are so big, and ah'm just one man. The number of people ah can help is so small." He sounded quite dejected, clearly deeply affected.
"Senator Vaughan? No? Yeah, yeah, I know you've never heard of any Senator Vaughan. Well next time you don’t talk to him tell him Smith wants another meet. Soon as it can be arranged."
wasn't the same hotel room; it wasn’t even the same hotel. None of the heavies were the same. But Vaughan, Stark, Webster and Alverez were
"It's for real what you said? I set the agenda? I make policy?"
"Yes." Webster said.
that case my agenda is drugs. Who's
making them, who's bringing them in, who's distributing them." Three of the four politicians looked at each
other. Webster went on looking at
"There are police and federal agencies dedicated to…" Alverez began.
"And their hands are tied with red tape. Mine wouldn't be."
"We appreciate you have always been very anti-drugs, Colonel," Stark said "And many of your prior missions have helped in the fight against them, but we work more on matters of national security."
"You're telling me this isn't a matter of national security? Thousands of our young people, who should be fit and ready to serve their country, are being destroyed. The people poisoning them are as much our enemies as any terrorists you care to name." He held Webster's gaze as he spoke, knew he was the one he needed to convince. "You said you want things to be different now than they were with Stockwell. You said you want to make America a better place. Was that all just bull?" Webster looked at him closely. "Nixon declared the War on Drugs twenty years ago. I don't know if you folks have noticed, but we don't seem to be winning." He saw Webster's face flicker just a little at the mention of Nixon. Hannibal had been doing some reading on the political backgrounds and known allegiances of his four new friends. Webster and Nixon went back quite a ways.
Webster stepped close to Hannibal then and held out his hand. Hannibal shook it.
"Welcome back to the organisation, Colonel."
"I've heard some crazy stuff in my time," Murdock said, "but this takes the cake. A three tiered wedding cake at that."
"I know it sounds nuts, guys, but I honestly believe I can do some good. And I want you all with me."
"You're recruiting us?" Face said. "Do we have to go through a mock execution first?" He looked angry. Murdock and BA just looked disbelieving, but Face's eyes were dark with fury.
"It will be different this time. I'm in control now, not Stockwell. And I intend to stamp my personality all over that organisation."
really think you can do that
"I do. They'll do the right thing whether they want to or not. I'll see to it." He went on to explain what his priorities were going to be, saw BA's expression change to cautious interest.
"Don't you guys think that smashing drug smuggling networks comes under the heading of doing good? Look, this is a chance to make a real difference. We'll finally have the kind of power and resources that will let us do that." He searched their faces as he tried to sell it.
"Ah still think it's nuts." BA growled. Murdock nodded in agreement.
think about it, please."
"I'll think about it."
"Yeah." BA said. "Me too." Face didn't speak, had his arms folded looking at the floor.
"Face?" He got no answer. "Guys,"
"Well, I gotta go to work, anyway." Murdock said. "Can you give me a ride, big guy?" They left.
"So?" Face said when they were alone.
"Face, I need you with me on this. I'm gonna be the guy back at HQ flying a desk. I need someone that I trust in command in the field. I want that to be you."
"You? Stay behind a desk?" Face said, incredulously. "See that isn't going to work for a start."
"Face, look at me. I mean really look. I'm… not young any more. I can't run around the way I used to." It was a difficult thing for him to admit, but he knew it was true. He was slowing down. He wouldn't wait until he was a liability in the field, he could use his experience just as well to issue orders from higher up. And he knew he could rely on Face to carry out those orders. "You've been a Lieutenant long enough, Face. It's time to take the lead." Face lost the defiant look, but he still didn’t appear convinced.
"I have a business, clients…"
"And all those thrilling lunches negotiating deals with producers are giving you the adrenaline rush you want, are they? So why have you taken to jumping out of planes and climbing sheer cliffs?"
Face put his right arm with its cast behind his back.
all I ask is that you at least think about it,"
"Fun?" Face shook his head in disbelief. "You think this is going to be fun? Did Stockwell ever look as if he was having fun?"
had eventually promised he would think about it too, so
The jet was almost the same as he remembered it, with one new addition.
morning, Colonel Smith. My name is
Barbara, I'll be your assistant."
"Just Barbara, or do you have a last name?"
she said. "Would you like
coffee?" She was brisk and
efficient. After providing coffee she started
introducing him to all the various gadgets and gizmos on the plane, which took
up the whole of the morning. At
lunchtime the driver took him to an expensive and discreet restaurant. A table was already booked for him and he
found Senator Vaughan waiting. The
Senator gave him the same look the Maitre-de had and
was your first morning?"
"Fine, just getting to know the place. When do I actually do some work?"
"When you get back Barbara will have prepared files for you to review. Personnel, facilities, other resources. It will probably take several days to fully familiarise yourself with the infrastructure of the organisation."
"Meanwhile the information you requested on drug smuggling and distribution is being collated and will be presented to you in a few days."
"Then we go to work?"
"Yes. As we said, things have been stagnating lately, we need some decisive action to shake everyone up and put some life back into them."
forward to it."
though he had to get through the small mountain of files Barbara had prepared
for him. Vast amounts to read, videotape
to watch, people to meet. Department
heads mostly and all as dull as corporate drones.
took a week and each night
"Someone gotta look out for you." BA said gruffly.
"Keep you on the straight and narrow." Murdock said, with a slight smile.
"Okay, I'll call you in a few days once we're ready to get to work. That should give you time to get yourselves fixed up, make any arrangements you need to…"
"Put our affairs in order, you mean?" Face muttered.
was Friday afternoon and
sir?" She looked nice today, in a
crisp white blouse and an above the knee skirt.
"Thanks, yes." As she left the room he sighed and put down the folder he had just finished reading, reached for the next.
"Barbara!" She hurried back to
"What the hell is this?" She looked at the folder.
"It's a CIA file, Colonel."
"I can see that. It's a CIA file on Lieutenant-Colonel Madari."
I believe he's a useful contact of yours," she said, went on, "it's
been requested so you can check it for accuracy and see if there's any
information you can add."
is not a 'useful contact', Miss March,"
"I quite understand," she said briskly. "I'll have it returned directly."
"Good." He put the folder down on the desk and sat down. "Could I get my coffee?" She brought it to him and went back to her
office, leaving him to continue his reading.
As he tossed another folder down it slid across the desk and fell to the
floor, knocking the CIA file down with it.
Clicking his tongue in irritation
that CIA file was practically calling his name asking him to take a look at
No, he thought, if there are things Faris has chosen not to share that's his prerogative. There's plenty of stuff I haven't told him about me. Anyway, he reflected, who knows how accurate the information is? Those guys at the CIA were always getting stuff wrong. He put the folder down, picked up another and opened it. But his eyes seemed to slide off the pages inside and over to the CIA file. What if the information was inaccurate? Maybe he should just skim it for any obvious mistakes.
He picked up the folder and opened it. The first thing he read was a page heading: 'Known financial assets and income'. He flipped that page over at once. That really wasn't his business. Hell, none of it was, he knew that, he shouldn't be doing this. He was about to close the folder when he spotted the word 'mistress'.
Guilt gnawed him like a dog with a bone. He'd let his curiosity overwhelm his conscience and had read the whole file. Now he wished he could wipe the knowledge from his mind. It wasn't as if there'd been anything shocking or particularly revelatory in it, though the bit about Signora Giordano had been an eye-opener. He'd always thought Madari was the 'married to his career' sort who had no time for romance. No, it wasn't the content that weighed so heavily on his mind, it was the fact of having this knowledge he knew he wasn't entitled to have.
He stopped at a coffee house as it opened up and
lingered over breakfast before heading home for a long hot shower. When the car turned up he got in wearing
jeans and a denim shirt. The driver gave
him that 'no suit?' look again and
"Mr Smith," he said, smiling. "Good to see you again. Did you enjoy the Patton biography?"
"Very much, thanks. I see you've got that new book on
"Of course." He took a copy from a display, handed it to Hannibal, who flicked through it. "I'm looking forward to reading it myself. Excellent reviews, I'm sure you'll…"
"I'll take it, could you gift wrap
it?" There was a post office up the
street, he walked there and stood on line for a good long time. The airmail cost to send the book to Qumar
was pretty outrageous, but guilt has a way of loosening the purse strings.
As he sat as his desk, drinking his coffee he started
to ask himself just who he thought he was kidding. Madari didn't know the book was really an
apology. He'd think
He knew what he ought to do, be a man, call Madari,
confess, apologise. But he dreaded the
damage that would do to a friendship he'd come to value deeply. Hell, he'd already damaged it, he knew. He'd been planning on inviting Madari over
when he next got some leave, take him camping and riding in
"Barbara!" She appeared quickly. "Where's that information I wanted? You said it would be here today."
"It's just been dropped off, sir." She started bringing in folders from her
"This is our target."
Face passed the photograph on to BA who in turn handed it to
Murdock. The team were all in
"It comes up from
And what are we going to do that the feds can't?" Face asked.
"You're going to sink it."
"The ship?" Murdock looked slightly alarmed. "What with? A torpedo? You're not telling me we have a submarine?"
"Explosives, Murdock. You're going to get aboard and take everyone off then blow a hole in the bottom of the hull."
"What happens to the people we take off the ship?" Murdock asked.
"Well, if we can identify any of them as being wanted by the FBI or the DEA they'll be handed over. The rest we'll send home."
"What, just let 'em go?" BA asked, sounding unhappy.
"Someone has to let the folks back home know
what happened to their boat."
"Ah," Face grinned back at him. "Send them a message, let them know there's a new player in town?"
"And new rules."
"Ables?" Face said, dubiously.
It was on Friday morning. Face's squad lay in wait at a marina. For a long time the only sound had been the lapping of the water and the creaking and rustling of sails. Then the voices had come. Face sighed with relief. Seems the intel was right about the marina. Now they had to wait to see which boat they were going for.
BA's voice came through Face's earpiece.
"Eagle three to Eagle two. Ah got visual contact."
"How many?" Face asked.
"Okay. Remember everyone, we have to get them all, don't let any of them slip away. Watch out for any of them trying to jump in the water and swim for it. And wait for my signal, we have to be sure which boat they're going for."
"Roger, Eagle two." Face cringed a bit. 'Eagle' may be more macho than 'Empress', but
he'd seen some of the men smirking at it.
A couple of days ago when
Charles Farrell was twenty-eight, a tall, disgustingly handsome, Ivy Leaguer. Ex CIA, he had an air about him that made Face's fists itch. His college buddy Daniel Collins, who he'd worked with at the Company before Stockwell personally recruited them, produced a similar reaction. To Face's annoyance however much he wanted to dismiss them as over privileged types who liked playing secret agent they were very good and worked together superbly.
"Eagle four here." Murdock liked the call sign of course. Anything with wings… "They're boarding a boat. Cabin cruiser. Looks like about a thirty footer, at berth 16."
"Okay, everybody go on my mark." He heard the sound of weapons being readied, glanced over his shoulder at the black clad men behind him. Took a breath.
"Hands in the air!"
"Drop your weapons!"
"On the ground now!"
Face sometimes wondered how bad guys decided which instruction to follow first when surrounded by heavily armed men yelling orders at them. The three men in the boat briefly looked as if they were thinking about fighting, or making a break for it. But they thought better of it. Face's squad surrounded them from the boardwalk and from another boat that lay alongside theirs. They threw down their guns.
Face climbed down onto the boat with Murdock and several of the men. BA and more agents kept them covered from the boardwalk.
"Cuff them." Face ordered. "Which of you is in charge?" He asked as his men secured the prisoners. They didn't reply, but he got his answer from the way two of them involuntarily flicked a look at the third.
"Okay, pal. We know where you were heading for your little moonlight boat trip. We'd hate to disappoint your friends who are waiting for you. So you're going to come with us and make sure any codes or passwords we need to transmit on approach are given just right."
The other two were taken off the boat and marched away towards the vans that the Ables had driven up in. The leader, a hard faced man in his thirties with blond hair watched them go then turned to Face.
"I don’t have to do anything." He growled. "I got rights. And I ain't seen no badges yet." Face groaned inwardly. He could almost hear Murdock smiling.
"Badges?" Murdock said. "We don't…"
"Murdock!" Face snapped. "Not now."
"Aw, but Face, he gave me the feed line. He's gonna be disappointed if I don’t say it."
"I can live with his disappointment." Face said. "Listen to me, scumbag. Like my colleague was about to say, we don’t have no stinkin' badges." He heard Murdock splutter with outrage that Face had stolen his line. "What I do have is this Glock…" he pressed his handgun into the man's temple, "…and a really short temper. So you shut the hell up about your rights and take us to the ship." The smuggler's eyes went wide with shock as he finally realised that this was no ordinary bust.
The boat sped across the dark water. Face stood by BA who was steering. Murdock joined them.
"That was nice, Face." he said. "Good intimidating.
Face grinned. "I've obviously hung around with him way too much."
"Coming up on the position." BA reported. Face leant over to call to Collins who was kneeling in the prow of the boat, scanning ahead with binoculars.
"You see anything?"
"Yeah, just now." Collins turned to look at Face. "Lights a couple of miles ahead. Right where the satellite intel said it would be."
"Okay, come on back from there." Face went and brought over the captured smuggler, pushed him over to the radio to announce their approach. Face's gun pressing into the back of his neck persuaded him to make sure he acted as if everything was normal.
"Alright. Everyone below and out of sight except Farrell, Collins and me." Face ordered. One of the three smugglers, one of the ones currently in the custody of the Ables, was black. Face wasn't sure if the people on the ship knew the racial make-up of the team they were expecting to pick up their cargo but best not to take chances, so he'd take Collins. And if he took Collins he might as well have Farrell. "Collins, take the wheel."
The rest of the squad got under cover below as the cabin cruiser approached the ship. They looked for the rope ladder the smuggler had told them about.
"There." Farrell spotted it and they pulled up under it, secured the boat. They could see movement above them at the top of the ladder.
"Keep your heads down as you climb up," Face said. Hopefully the welcoming committee wouldn't realise until too late that impostors were climbing aboard. The two young agents nodded. They had looks of excited anticipation. To be honest Face would prefer them to look more nervous, knew what overconfidence led to.
"Let's go." Face led them up the rope ladder. It was a long climb and he was sweating a bit by the time he reached the top, but he was still ready when he heard a voice say, "Hey, you’re not…" He exploded into action, piling into the three men that waited there. Farrell and Collins swarmed up the ladder after him and joined the melee. In seconds three men lay on the deck unconscious. As Farrell and Collins shook hands over their fallen foes, grinning, Face got out his radio.
"Eagle two to Eagle group. Come aboard. Have the divers start getting ready." He turned to the agents. "Stop congratulating each other and tie these guys up."
Grappling hooks clanged onto the sides of the ship and Face made sure they were secure. A few moments later Murdock appeared at the top of the rope ladder.
"Permission to come aboard?" He asked with a teasing smile.
"Granted." They were soon all assembled on the deck. "Let's do this fast. There's likely only about a half dozen men aboard. Team one with me to the bridge, team two check the hold. Team three stay here and secure our escape."
They split up, six men each in teams one and two, two men in team three guarding their escape route. Face's team took the bridge easily. The men there had no notion of their approach and gave up quickly when the armed agents burst in.
"Start getting these guys onto the boat," Face ordered. "But stay alert until team two has reported." Murdock's voice came through his earpiece then, whispering.
"Fa… er, Eagle two. We may have a problem."
Crouched in cover in the hold, the rest of team two lurking around him, Murdock whispered softly to Face.
"You know we expected just to find the drugs ready for moving. It's not like that. They've got a factory set up down here. They're processing the stuff."
"Hell. How many people?" Murdock glanced quickly at the long tables full of what looked like a very evil chemistry set.
"About thirty. Five heavies and a bunch of guys doing the work. We'll never get them all on…" There was a yell as one of the 'heavies' walked around a corner and right into the squad. All hell broke loose.
Team one clattered down the stairs into the hold, weapons at the ready to join the fight, but it was already over. Murdock's team consisted mainly of ex-Special Forces men and they had made short work of the thugs that opposed them. The workers processing the cocaine into crack had put up no fight at all and were huddled together away from their now smashed equipment. The heavies stood around nursing minor wounds, except one who lay on the deck, dead.
"Murdock?" Face said, looking at the corpse.
"Unavoidable, Face." Murdock said, though he looked sickened about
it. "Guy was about to shoot BA,
Face said nothing more about it. He looked at the prisoners.
The ship had two large lifeboats, remnants of the days before automation reduced crews to almost nothing. They easily held the prisoners and were lowered into the water with agents aboard to guard them. Face held onto the captain to check one last thing.
"Captain, your ship is about to move. Straight downward." The captain looked pretty sick. "I need to know if there's anyone else on board. If there is you will get on your PA and tell them they have five minutes to come up here and surrender, or they're going for a swim."
"Three more men," the captain admitted. Face marched him to the bridge and watched him unhook the handset of the PA.
"No tricks, I have excellent Spanish." Face said.
Or more accurately, lied. He had
enough Spanish to get across the border for a trip to
They pulled the cabin cruiser away from the ship, the two lifeboats towed behind it. Face turned to the men who were about to complete the final stage of the operation. Gonzales and Hassan, a couple of ex-Navy SEALs were in their scuba gear. They went backwards over the side of the boat into the water and the explosives were handed to them.
"Good luck." Face said. He didn't envy them the job, in the chilly water, but they were both grinning, gave him a thumbs up in response. They donned their mouthpieces and facemasks and disappeared under the water.
The excitement of taking the ship was replaced by the tension of waiting for the next half hour. Everyone was quiet. Face paced up and down in the small space of the cabin cruiser's deck checking his watch frequently. At one point he noticed Farrell and Collins, who were sitting on the steps down into the cabin, were playing a surreptitious game of cards and enjoyed their reactions when he yelled at them to put the cards away right now.
"Take it easy, Face." Murdock said softly as Face passed him. "Everything is going fine." Face forced himself to appear calmer, for the sake of the men and sat on the steps that led up to the steering housing. Ten minutes later the divers reappeared. The men on the boat hauled them aboard and Face at once gave the order to move to a safe distance.
"Well?" He asked them.
Hassan nodded and grinned. In his broad
"She'll go down in two minutes flat," Gonzales predicted as he peeled off his wet suit. The two divers dressed themselves in warm clothes and took flasks of hot coffee from their bags.
Once they were far enough from the ship Gonzales took a remote control device from his equipment bag, checked the frequency, and then offered it to Face.
"Care to do the honours sir?" Face took the remote, looked at the ship, looked around at his men and then at the prisoners in the lifeboats.
"Nice work, everyone," he said, loud enough that they could all hear. Then he pressed the button.
The explosions weren't exactly spectacular, more like a dull boom. The water around the ship flew up in the air and the ship at once began to list to one side as the sea flooded in. Then it was clear it was going down bows first as the stern began to slowly lift out of the water. The watchers on the boats were silent, except for Gonzales who counted off the time since the explosions in ten second intervals on his watch.
"One minute forty." The ships propellers were well out of the water now, the bows were under the surface. And gradually, as if it was sliding down a slope into a hole the ship slipped down under the water. It was eerily silent. As the water closed over the stern and it vanished from sight Gonzales said triumphantly. "One minute fifty seven seconds."
"We do good work." Hassan said, proudly and the two SEALs high-fived each other.
"Well done." Face said to them and turned to call to BA who was once again at the steering wheel. "Let's go home."
"Wow, Stockwell never did this for
us." Murdock said as the squad
trooped, back into the organisation's LA base to find a long table full of food
"Don't expect this every time."
"So tell me all about it."
"Can't we report later?" Face said.
"I don’t mean report,"
Now he had one more thing to do. He'd been putting it off, concentrating on the mission, but it was time to put things right. He picked up the phone and dialled a long number, waited for the answer.
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