Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

It Took Just Over Two Seconds For The Van To Drill Through The Garden And The Row Of Hedges At The Far End.

The Men In The Back Of The Van Braced Themselves As Georgiev Crushed Down On The Brake. The Garden Was Separated From The Circular Plaza By A Concrete Barrier Just Over Three Feet High And Nearly One Foot Thick. The Flagpoles, Which Flew The Flags Of The 185 Member Nations, Stood In A Row Beyond The Barrier. Georgiev And Vandal Ducked Low. They Were Expecting To Lose The Windshield. Barone Slid The Van Door Open. Sazanka Lay Down, Prepared To Spray Covering Fire If Necessary. Downer Leaned Out Over Him And Pointed His Missile Launcher At The Thick Wall. He Aimed Low To Make Sure He Didn’t Leave Anything Close To The Ground. Then He Fired.

There Was An Ear-Ringing Roar, And Then A Seven-Foot-Wide Section Of The Concrete Barrier Was Gone. Several Large Chunks Flew Across The Plaza Like Cannonballs, Some Landing In The Fountain, Others Bouncing Across The Drive. But Most Of The Wall Rose In A Wide, Fifty-Foot-High Plume Of Jagged White Shards, Then Rained Down Like Hail. Behind The Wall, Five Of The Tall White Flagpoles Snapped Near The Bases. They Fell Straight And Hard And Landed On The Asphalt With A Loud Clang. Vandal Could Hear It Even Though His Ears Were Still Clogged From The Explosion. Even As The Bits Of Concrete Were Still Falling, Georgiev Gunned The Engine And Pushed The Van Ahead. Timing Was Critical. They Had To Keep Moving. He Roared Through The Breach In The Barrier, Clipping The Driver’s Side On An Outthrust Of Concrete, But Didn’t Stop. Downer Had Ducked Back Into The Van, But Sazanka Continued To Lie In The Open Side Door, Ready To Fire At Anyone Who Shot At Them. No One Did. While They Were Part Of The Pko And First Conceived Of This Idea, The Men Had Easily Obtained A Copy Of The United Nations Police Guidelines. They Were Very Explicit: No One Was To Act Individually Against A Group. The Threat Was To Be Contained, If Possible, By Whatever Personnel Were On Hand, But Not Challenged Until Sufficient Units Were Made Available. It Was Pure United Nations Philosophy. It Didn’t- Workin The International Arena, And It Wasn’t Going To Work Here. Georgiev Headed Northeast Across The Plaza. Though The Windshield Had Shattered, It Was Still In The Frame.

Fortunately, There Wasn’t Much The Bulgarian Needed To See. The Van Shot Across The Exit Lane Of The Courtyard And Hopped Onto The Lawn That Led To The General Assembly Building. Georgiev Sped East Around The Japanese Peace Bell. As Vandal Ducked Again, The Van Crashed Through The Large Plate Glass Windows That Opened Onto The Courtyard From The Small Lobby. The Van Slammed Into The Statue Of El Abrazo De Paz, A Stylized Human Figure “Embracing Peace” That Stood Just Inside. The Statue Fell Over, And The Van Rode Up On It; That Was As Far As The Van Was Going. But That Was Also As Far As They Needed The Van To Go. By The Time Guards And Attendees At The Delegates’ Soiree First Became Aware Of The Disturbance, The Five Men Were Already Out Of The Van. Georgiev Fired A Short Burst At The Guard Who Was Posted Outside The Corridor That Led To The Staff Elevators. The Young Man Spun And Fell, The First Un Casualty. Vandal Wondered Whether He’d Get A Peace Statue In His Honor As Well.

The Five Men Ran Down The Corridor And Swung Onto The Escalators. The Escalators Had Been Shut Down By Security Personnel. That Was Something They Hadn’t Anticipated, Not That It Mattered. They Quickly Ran Up The Two Flights, Then Turned To Their Left.

The Stalled Escalator Was The Only Form Of Resistance They Met. What Germany Had Proved In Poland In 1939, What Saddam Hussein Had Proved In Kuwait In 1990, Is That There Is No Effective Defense Against A Well-Planned Lightning Strike. There’s Only Recovery And Then A Counterattack. And In This Case, Neither Would Be Of Any Use. Less Than Ninety Seconds After Turning Off First Avenue, The Five Men Were Inside The Heart Of The Secretariat Building. They Ran Alongside The Tall Windows That Overlooked The Courtyard. The Fountain Had Been Shut Down To Allow Clear Visbility Into The Secretariat Windows. Traffic Had Been Stopped, And Tourists Were Being Herded Onto Side Streets. Police And Security Forces Were Everywhere Now.

Seal Off The Building, Contain The Problem, Vandal Thought. They Were So Damned Predictable.

There Were Also Several Guards Running Toward Them. The Three Men And One Woman Were Wearing Bulletproof Vests And Listening To Their Radios. They Had Their Guns Drawn And Were Obviously Headed Toward The Security Council Chamber, Which Was On Their Right. They Had Probably Been Sent To Evacuate The Delegates In Case That Was The Target.

The Young Guards Never Made It. Upon Seeing The Intruders, They Stopped. Then, Like Any Soldier Or Police Officer Who Had Never Been In Combat, They Snapped Into The Only Thing They Knew: Training Mode.

From The United Nations Security Force Manual, Vandal Knew That In A Showdown Situation, They Would Attempt To Spread Out And Present A Less Concentrated Target, Take Cover If Possible, And Attempt To Disable The Enemy. Georgiev And Sazanka Didn’t Give Them The Chance.

Firing Their Uzis From The Hip, They Sliced Across The Guards’ Thighs And Dropped Them Virtually Where They Stood. Guns And Radios Clattered On The Tile Floor. As The Wounded Guards Moaned, The Two Men Walked On, Firing A Second Burst Into The Head Of Each One. They Stopped A Few Yards From The Bodies.

Georgiev Picked Up Two Of The Radios That Had Skidded Across The Floor. “Come On,” Vandal Said And Hurried On.

Barone And Downer Joined Him, And The Five Men Continued Forward. Now The Only Things That Stood Between Them And The Security Council Chambers Were Four Dead Guards And A Blood-Slicked Floor.

New York, New York Saturday, 7:34 P.M.

All The Parents In The Correspondents’ Area Heard And Felt The Crash Downstairs. Since There Were No Windows In The Room, They Couldn’t Be Sure Exactly Where Or What It Was. Paul Hood’s First Thought Was That There Had Been An Explosion. That Was Also The Conclusion Of Several Parents Who Wanted To Go And Make Sure The Children Were All Right. But Mr. Dillon Walked In Then. The Guard Asked Everyone To Stay Where They Were And To Remain Calm.

“I Just Went Across The Hall To The Security Council,” Dillon Said. “The Children Are Fine. Most Of The Delegates Are Also There Waiting For The Secretary-General. Security Personnel Are On The Way To Evacuate The Kids, The Delegates, And Then You Folks. If You Stay Calm, Everyone Will Be Fine.” “Do You Have Any Idea What Happened?” One Of The Parents Asked. “I’m Not Sure,” Mr. Dillon Said. “It Looks Like A Van Ran Through The Barrier And Into The Courtyard. I Could See It Out The Window. But No One Knows)” He Was Interrupted By Several Pops From Below. It Sounded Like Gunfire. Dillon Got On His Radio.

“Station Freedom-Seven To Base,” He Said.

There Was A Lot Of Yelling And Noise. Then Someone On The Other End Said, “There’s Been A Breach, Freedom-Seven. Intruders Unknown. Go To Everest–Six, Code Red. Do You Have That?” “Everest-Six, Code Red,” Dillon Said.

“I’m On My Way.” He Clicked Off The Radio And Headed Toward The Door. “I’m Going Back To The Security Council Chambers To Wait For The Other Guards. Please, All Of You Just Stay Here. His “How Long Until The Other Guards Arrive?” One Of The Fathers Shouted.

“A Few Minutes,” Mr. Dillon Replied.

He Left. The Door Shut With A Solid Click.

Except For Shouts From Somewhere Outside The Building, Everything Was Quiet. Suddenly, One Of The Fathers Started Toward The Door. “I’m Going To Get My Daughter,” He Said.

Hood Stepped Between The Larger Man And The Door.

“Don’t,” Hood Said.

“Why?” The Man Demanded.

“Because The Last Thing Security, Medics, And Fire Personnel Need Is People Getting In The Way,” Hood Said. “Besides, They Called This A Code Red Situation.

That Probably Means There’s Been A Major Security Breach.” “All The More Reason To Get Our Kids Out!” One Of The Other Fathers Said.

“No,” Hood Replied. “This Is International Soil. American Laws And Niceties Don’t Apply. The Guards Will Probably Shoot Unidentified Personnel.” “How Do You Know That?” “I Worked For A Federal Intelligence Agency After I Left Los Angeles,” Hood Told Them.

“I’ve Seen People Down For Being In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time.” The Man’s Wife Came Over And Took His Arm.

“Charlie, Please. Mr. Hood Is Right. Let The Authorities Handle This.” “But Our Daughter Is Out There,” Charlie Said. “So Is Mine,” Hood Said. “And Getting Myself Killed Isn’t Going To Help Her.” It Hit Him Just Then That Harleigh Was Out There, And She Really Was In Danger. He Looked At Sharon, Who Was Standing To The Right, In The Corner. He Walked Over And Hugged Her. “Paul,” She Whispered. “I-I Think We Should Be With Harleigh.” “We Will Be, Soon,” He Said.

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