Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

Op-Center 6 State Of Siege By Tom Clancy And Steve Pieczenik

Prologue Kampong Thorn, Cambodia 1993

She Died While He Held Her Under A Brilliant Dawn. Her Eyelids Closed Softly, A Faint Breath Rose From Her Delicate Throat, And Then She Was Gone. Hang Sary Looked Down At The Pale Face Of The Young Woman. He Looked At The Grass And Dirt In Her Wet Hair And The Cuts In Her Forehead And Across Her Nose.

He Felt Revulsion When He Saw The Red Lipstick On Her Mouth, The Rouge That Had Smeared Across Her Cheek, And The Charcoal-Gray Mascara That Had Run From Her Eyes To Her Ears. This Wasn’t How It Was Supposed To Be. Not Even Here, In A Land Where The Concept Of Innocence Was As Foreign As The Dream Of Peace. Phum Sary Should Not Have Died So Young, And She Should Not Have Died Like This.

No One Should Die Like This, Lying In A Windy Rice Field, The Cool Water Muddy-Red With Their Blood. But At Least Phum Had Died Knowing Who It Was That Held Her In His Arms. At Least She Didn’t Die As She’d Probably Lived Most Of Her Life, Alone And Uncherished. And Though The Search That Hang Had Never Quite Abandoned Was Over, He Knew That Another Was About To Begin.

Hang’s Knees Were Raised And His Sister’s Head Was In His Lap. He Lightly Touched The Cold Tip Of Her Nose, The Fine Line Of Her Jaw, Her Round Mouth. A Mouth That Always Used To Smile, Regardless Of What She Was Doing. The Girl Felt So Small And Fragile. He Pulled Her Arms From The Water And Laid Them On The Waist Of Her Tight Blue Lame Dress. He Cuddled Her Closer. He Wondered If Anyone Had Held Her Like This In Ten Years.

Had She Lived This Horrible Life The Entire Time? Had She Finally Had Enough And Decided That Death Was Preferable? Hang’s Long Face Tightened As He Thought About Her Life. Then It Exploded In Tears. How Could He Have Been So Near And Not Have Known It?

He And Ty Had Been In The Village, Undercover, For Nearly A Week. Could He Ever Forgive Himself For Not Having Seen Her In Time To Save Her? Poor Ty Would Be Inconsolable When She Learned Who This Was. Ty Had Been In The Camp Reconnoitering, Trying To Find Out Who Was Behind This. She Had Radioed Hang To Let Him Know That One Of The Women Had Apparently Tried To Escape Shortly Before Sunrise, When The Watch Changed. She’d Been Chased And Shot. Phum Had Taken The Bullet In The Side.

She’d Probably Run, Then Walked Until She Could No Longer Move. Then She Must Have Lain Down Here To Look At The Waning Night Sky. Phum Used To Look At The Sky A Great Deal When She Was A Little Girl. Ty Wondered If That Sky, The Memories Of A Better Time, Had Given His Little Sister Any Peace At The End. Hang Slipped His Trembling Fingers Through His Sister’s Long, Black Hair. He Heard Splashing In The Distance. That Would Be Ty. He’d Radioed His Partner That He’d Spotted The Girl And Saw Her Go Down. She Said She’d Be There Within A Half Hour. They Had Been Hoping, At Least, That She Could Give Them A Name, Help Them Break The Monstrous Union That Was Destroying So Many Young Lives.

But That Didn’t Happen. Seeing Him, Phum Only Had The Strength To Say His Name. She Died With Her Brother’s Name And The Hint Of A Smile On Her Bright Red Lips, Not The Name Of The Creature Who Had Done This. Ty Arrived And Looked Down. Dressed Like A Local Peasant, She Stood There With The Wind Whispering Around Her.

And Then She Gasped. She Knelt Beside Hang And Put Her Arms Around Him. Neither Of Them Moved Or Spoke For Several Minutes. Then, Slowly, Hang Stood With His Sister’s Body In His Arms. He Carried Her Back Toward The Old Station Wagon That Served As His Field Outpost. He Knew They Shouldn’t Leave Kampong Thorn Now. Not When They Were So Close To Getting What They Needed. But He Had To Take His Sister Home. That Was Where She Should Be Laid To Rest. The Sun Quickly Warmed And Then Baked His Damp Back. Ty Opened The Back Of The Station Wagon And Spread A Blanket Amid The Cartons. Inside The Boxes Were Weapons And Radio Equipment, Maps And Lists, And A Powerful Incendiary Device. Hang Wore The Remote Trigger Hooked Around His Belt. If They Were Ever Caught, He Would Destroy Everything In The Car. Then He Would Use The .357 Smith And Wesson He Carried To Take His Own Life. Ty Would Do Likewise. With Ty’s Help, Hang Placed The Body Of His Sister On The Blanket. Gently, He Folded Her Inside. Before Leaving, He Looked Out Across The Field. It Had Been Made Sacred With Her Blood. But The Land Would Not Be Clean Until It Was Washed With The Blood Of Those Who Had Done This.

It Would Be. However Long It Took, He Vowed That It Would Be.

Paris, France Monday, 6:13 A.M.

Seven Years Ago, During Training For Service With Untac — The United Nations Transitional Authority In Cambodia-Brash, Adventuresome Lieutenant Reynold Downer Of The Ilthst28Th Battalion, The Royal Western Australia Regiment, Learned That There Were Three Conditions That Had To Be Met Before A United Nations Peace-Keeping Operation Could Be Sent To Any Nation. It Wasn’t Something He’d Ever Wondered About Or Wanted To Be A Part Of, But The Commonwealth Of Australia Felt Differently.

First, The Fifteen Member Nations Of The Un Security Council Had To Approve The Operation And Its Parameters In Detail. Second, Since The United Nations Does Not Have An Army, Member Nations Of The General Assembly Had To Agree To Contribute Troops As Well As A Force Commander, Who Was Put In Charge Of Deployment And Execution Of The Multinational Army. Third, The Warring Nations Had To Consent To The Presence Of The Pko.

Once There, The Peacekeepers Had Three Goals.

The First Was To Establish And Enforce A Cease-Fire While The Warring Parties Sought Peaceful Solutions. The Second Was To Create A Buffer Zone Between The Hostile Factions. And The Third Was To Maintain The Peace. This Included Mil Itary Action When Necessary, De-Mining The Terrain So Civilians Could Return To Homes And To Food And Water Supplies, And Also Providing Humanitarian Assistance.

All Of That Was Carefully Explained To The Light Infantry Troops During Two Weeks Of Training At Irwin Barracks, Stubbs Terrace, Karrakatta. Two Weeks That Consisted Of Learning Local Customs, Politics, Language, Water Purification, And How To Drive Slowly, With One Eye On The Dirt Roads, So You Didn’t Run Over A Mine. Also Learning Not To Blush When You Caught A Glimpse Of Yourself In A Powder Blue Beret And Matching Ascot.

When The Un Indoctrination Was Done-“The Gelding,” As His Commanding Officer Quite Accurately Described It–The Australian Contingent Was Spread Among The Eighty-Six Cantonment Sites In Cambodia.

Australia’s Own Lieutenant General John M. Sanderson Was Force Commander Of The Entire Untac Operation, Which Lasted From March 1992 To September 1993.

The Untac Mission Was Carefully Designed To Avoid Armed Conflict. Un Soldiers Weren’t Supposed To Shoot Unless Fired Upon, And Only Then Without Escalating The Hostilities. The Deaths Of Any Enlisted Personnel Were To Be Investigated By The Local Police, Not By The Military. Human Rights Were To Be Encouraged Through Education, Not Force. Apart From Serving As A Buffer, Distributing Food And Offering Health Care Were The Pko’s Top Priorities. To Downer, Being In The Field Seemed Less Like A Military Operation Than A Carnival. Come On, You Warring Or Downtrodden Third World Peoples. Get Your Bread Here, Your Penicillin, Your Clean Water. The Circus Feeling Was Enhanced By Tents That Were Topped With Colorful Banners And Local Gawkers Who Weren’t Sure What To Make Of It All. Though Many Of Them Took What Was Offered, They Looked Like They Wished It Would Just Go Away.

Violence Was An Expected And Understood Part Of Their Daily Lives. Outsiders Were Not.

There Was So Little To Do In Cambodia That Colonel Ivan Georgiev, A High-Ranking Officer In The Bulgarian People’s Army, Organized A Prostitution Ring. They Were Protected By Officers Of Pol Pot’s Renegade National Army Of Democratic Kampuchea, Who Needed Foreign Currency To Buy Arms And Supplies And Were Paid 25 Percent Of The Take. Georgiev Ran The Ring From Tents Erected Behind His Command Post. Local Girls Came For What Were Supposed To Be Radio Untac Language Courses And Stayed For An Infusion Of Foreign Currency. That Was Where Downer First Met Both Georgiev And Major Ishiro Sazanka.

Georgiev Said That The Soldiers Of Japan And Australia Were His Best Customers, Though The Japanese Tended To Get Rough With The Girls And Had To Be Watched. “Polite Sadists,” The Bulgarian Had Called Them. Downer’s Uncle Thomas, Who Had Fought The Japanese As Part Of The 7Th Australian Division In The Southwest Pacific, Would Have Quarreled With That Description. He Didn’t Find The Japanese At All Polite.

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