light from spilling through from below and ruining the night vision of

duty personnel in the tower. He reached the top of the stairs, paused

on the landing outside the closed door, then tapped lightly with the

muzzle of the Uzi’s heavy suppressor.

The door swung open seconds later. Lin glimpsed dim red lighting, the

amber glow of radar screens, a young private’s expression of horror as

he saw the Uzi in Lin’s hands. The private tried to slam the door shut,

but Lin squeezed the Uzi’s trigger. Firing full auto, the SMG sent 9-mm

slugs chopping through door and private alike, the sound somewhat

quieter than the earlier suppressed pistol shots.

Lin rammed his way past the splintered door and burst into the room. A

railed walkway circled the tower chamber above the level of the door,

with stairways leading up at two points. Another private sat at a radar

console, already turning in his swivel chair as Lin fired again. The

private staggered to his feet, then pitched forward over the railing as

Lin extended the burst, sweeping across a corporal who was rising from

his chair at another console nearby. Glass popped and crazed as bullets

smashed through window panels.

A fourth man, the duty officer, was lunging toward an alarm button when

Lin’s deadly scythe of gunfire cut his legs out from under him and sent

him tumbling to the floor.

The Uzi’s slide locked open, the magazine empty. Drawing the pistol,

Lin climbed the stairs, then paced along the walkway. The lieutenant

and the corporal were both still alive. He killed each of them with a

single shot through the head. Both privates were already dead.

From the control tower’s upper deck, he could look through the huge,

slanted windows which gave a view out across the jungle in all

directions. A half-moon illuminating scattered clouds low in the west

gave light enough to distinguish the jungle’s edge. Nearer, but still a

couple of hundred meters off, floodlights bathed a portion of the tarmac

off the main runway where a maintenance crew was working late on a That

F-5 down for repairs. Lin studied the workers through a large pair of

binoculars sitting on the console. There was no sign of alarm, no

indication that they’d heard the gunfire.

Fortunately, the windows were still intact save for a chain of

white-starred bullet holes. If one of those panels had shattered

completely, he could have had the whole base coming out to investigate.

So far, then, so good. Lin went to the tower radio and turned the

channel selector to a carefully memorized frequency, then picked up the

microphone and began speaking. “Victory, this is Arrow. Victory, this

is Arrow. Do you copy?”

There was a nerve-grating delay filled with the hiss of static. Then a

voice replied, “Arrow, this is Victory. We receive you. Go ahead.”

“Victory, Arrow. Execute. Repeat, execute.”

The voice on the other end acknowledged and the channel went dead. Lin

picked up his Uzi, dropped his empty magazine, and replaced it with a

loaded one from the pouch riding on his hip. He rolled the corporal’s

body out of its chair and sat down, facing the sunken doorway through

which he’d just come. All he had to do now was wait.

0038 hours, 18 January

Hawkeye Victor Kilo Two, over Central Thailand

The E-2C Hawkeye was an ungainly-looking aircraft, driven by twin

turboprops and mounting a twenty-four-foot-wide, saucer-shaped radome

above its spine. The saucer, rotating at the rate of six revolutions

per minute, was the housing for the aircraft’s powerful APS-125 UHF

radar. Despite its strange appearance, the E-2C was widely regarded as

the single most capable radar-warning and air-traffic-control aircraft

in service, able to track more than two hundred and fifty air targets at

a time, and to control as many as thirty friendly interceptors. On

board were five men, the two pilots, a CIC officer, an air controller,

and a radar operator. Jefferson routinely kept at least one of her four

Hawkeyes airborne at all times, where they served as the long-range eyes

of the carrier battle group.

The CIC officer was Lieutenant Dave Dunning. He braced himself against

the overhead as he leaned over the shoulder of the radarman first class

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Categories: Keith Douglass