Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

Suddenly, The Man Who’d Been Talking To The Delegate From Sweden Called The Australian Man Over. After A Short Discussion, The Australian Man Grabbed The Delegate By The Collar, Hoisted Him Up And, At Gunpoint, Walked Him Up The Stairs Toward The Door. Harleigh Wished She Had Her Violin To Hug Close. She Wished She Could Be Held By Her Mother. Her Mom Was Probably Frantic-Unless She Was Trying To Be Ms. Calm To Other Frantic Mothers.

She Probably Was. That Had To Be Where Harleigh Got It From. Then She Thought Of Her Father. When Harleigh’s Mother Had Taken Her And Alexander To Visit Their Grandparents And Figure Out Their Future, Her Father Decided To Give Up His Career Rather Than Lose Them. She Wondered If He’d Be Able To Look At This As Another Crisis And Think Calmly, Even Though His Daughter Was Involved.

The Australian Man Returned. After Exchanging A Few Rough Words With The Delegate, He Took The Paper From Him And Shoved The Man Along The Stairs.

Harleigh Assumed That Their Captors Had Just Given Someone A List Of Demands. She No Longer Thought That She Might Be The Target. She Felt Her Neck Cool.

They Were Going To Get Through This.

The Swedish Delegate Was Seated With The Other Delegates, Back On The Floor With His Hands On His Head. Harleigh Assumed It Was Time To Wait. That Would Be All Right. Her Father Had Once Said That As Long As People Were Talking, They Weren’t Shooting. She Hoped So. She Decided Not To Think About It. Instead, Quietly, Very Quietly, She Did What She Came Here For.

She Hummed “A Song Of Peace.” Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland Saturday, 10:09 P.M. After Hanging Up With Colonel August, Mike Rodgers Looked At The Clock On His Computer Screen. The Longranger Would Be At Andrews In About Twenty-Five Minutes.

The C-130 Would Be Ready To Go By Then. Bob Herbert Looked Over At The General. The Intelligence Chief Scowled. “Mike? Are You Listening?” “Yes,” Rodgers Said. “You’ve Got A Team Working On Mala Chatter Ee’s Past To See Who Might Want To Humiliate The New Secretary-General. Possibly Fellow Hindus Who Oppose Her Public Stand On Behalf Of Women’s Rights. You’re Also Checking The Whereabouts Of The People Paul Helped To Stop In Russia And Spain, In Case This Is About Him.” “Right,” Herbert Said.

Rodgers Nodded And Rose Slowly; The Damn Bandages Were Constricting. “Bob, I’m Going To Need You To Run The Show Here For A While.” Herbert Seemed Surprised. “Why? Aren’t You Feeling Okay?” “I’m Feeling Fine,” Rodgers Said. “I’ll Be Going To New York With Striker.

I’m Also Going To Need A Base Of Operations Once We Get There. Something Near The United Nations That Could Also Serve As A Staging Area.

The Cia Must Have A Shell In That Neighborhood.” “There’s One Right Across The Street, I Believe,” Herbert Said. “Eastern Tower Of The Twin Skyscrapers, Un Plaza. The Doyle Shipping Agency, I Think It’s Called. They Keep An Eye On The Comings And Goings Of Spooks Pretending To Be Diplomats, Probably Gather Elint As Well.” “Can You Get Us In?” “Probably.” Herbert’s Mouth Twisted Unhappily. He Glanced Across The Table At Lowell Coffey.

Rodgers Caught The Look. “What’s Wrong?” He Asked. “Mike,” Herbert Said, “We’re On Pretty Shaky Ground As Far As Striker Is Concerned.” “Shaky In What Way?” Rodgers Asked.

Herbert Raised And Lowered A Shoulder.

“In A Lot Of Ways-Was “Spell Them Out. Morally? Legally?

Logistically?” “All Of The Above,” Herbert Said.

“Maybe I’m Being A Little Naive Here,” Rodgers Said, “But What I See Is A Strike Force With Extensive Antiterrorist Training Moving Into Position To Deal With Terrorists. Where’s The Moral, Legal, Or Logistical Shakiness?” Attorney Coffey Spoke Up. “For One Thing, Mike, We Haven’t Been Asked To Help The United Nations With This Situation. That In Itself Weighs Pretty Heavily Against You.” “Granted,” Rodgers Said. “Hopefully, I Can Arrange That When I Get There, Especially If The Terrorists Start Sending Bodies Out. Darrell Mccaskey’s Communicating With Chatterjee’s Security Staff Through Interpol–” “At A Very Low Level,” Herbert Reminded Him.

“The Un Security Commander Isn’t Going To Put A Lot Of Stock In What An Aide Tells Him Secondhand Through An Interpol Guy In Madrid.” “We Don’t Know That,” Rodgers Said. “Hell, We Don’t Know Anything About The Commander, Do We?” “My Staff Is Reviewing His File,” Herbert Said. “He’s Not Someone We’ve Had Any Dealings With.” “Regardless,” Rodgers Said. “He’s In A Situation Where He’s Probably Going To Have To Look Outside For Help. For Real, Solid, Immediate Help, Wherever It’s Coming From.” “But Mike, That’s Not The Only Problem,” Coffey Said. Rodgers Looked Down At The Computer Clock.

The Chopper Would Be Here In Less Than Twenty Minutes. He Didn’t Have Time For This. “Countries That Have No Interest In The Outcome Of This Situation Will Absolutely Not Want A Covert Team Of Elite, United States Forces Moving Through The Secretariat Building.” “Since When Are We Worried About Hurting The Feelings Of Iraqis And The French?” Rodgers Asked.

“It Isn’t A Matter Of Feelings,” Coffey Pointed Out. “It’s A Question Of International Law.” “Christ, Lowell–The Terrorists Broke That Law!” Rodgers Said. “That Doesn’t Mean We Can, Too,” Coffey Said. “Even If We’re Willing To Break International Law, Every Striker Action To Date Has Been Executed According To Op-Center’s Charter-U.S. Law. Specifically, We’ve Gotten The Permission Of The Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committee- “I’m Not Worried About A Goddamn Court-Martial, Lowell,” Rodgers Interrupted Sharply.

“This Isn’t About Personal Culpability,” Coffey Said. “It’s About Op-Center’s Survival.” “I Agree,” Rodgers Said. “Its About Our Survival As An Effective, Counterterrorist Force-Was “No,” Coffey Said, “As A Division Of The United States Government. We Were Chartered To Act, And I Quote, “When The Threat To Federal Institutions Or Any Constituents Thereof, Or To American Lives In The Service Of Those Institutions, Is Clearcut And Immediate.” I Don’t See That Here. What I Do See Is That If You Go In, Whether You Succeed Or Fail Is Irrelevant.” “Not To Paul And The Other Parents.” “This Isn’t About Them!” Coffey Snapped. “It’s About The Larger Picture. The American Public Will Applaud. Hell, I’ll Applaud. But France Or Iraq Or Some Member Nation Will Pressure The Administration To Take Us To Task For Overstepping Our Mandate.” “Especially If The Terrorists Turn Out To Be Foreigners And Any Of Them Are Killed,” Herbert Said. “American Soldiers Effectively Executing Foreign Nationals On International Territory With Every Media Outlet In The World Covering The Event Will Destroy Us.” “And They’ll Do It With American Law, Not International Law,” Coffey Added. “Congress Will Have No Choice But To Pull Everyone In This Room In Front Of The Cioc. Never Mind Our Careers. If They Vote To Dissolve Op-Center Or Even Just Striker, How Many Future Lives Will Be Lost? How Many Battles Won’t We Be Able To Fight That Have A Direct Influence On The Security Of The United States?” “I Can’t Believe This,” Rodgers Said. “We’re Talking About Children Being Held Hostage!” “Unfortunately,” Herbert Said, “As Angry As It Makes Us All, The Threat To The Delegates And To Paul’s Daughter Doesn’t Fall Under Those Parameters.

Saving Her Is A Luxury We May Not Be Able To Afford.” “A Luxury?” Rodgers Said. “Jesus, Bob, You’re Talking Like A Goddamned Camp Fire Girl!” Herbert Glared At Rodgers. “That Was My Late Wife. She Was The Camp Fire Girl.” Rodgers Looked At Herbert And Then Looked Down. The Ventilators In The Ceiling Sounded Very Loud.

“Since The Subject Has Been Raised,” Herbert Continued, “My Wife Was Also A Victim Of Terrorists. I Know What You’re Feeling, Mike.

The Frustration. I Know What Paul And Sharon Are Feeling. And I Also Know That Lowell Is Right. The Place For Op-Center In This Fight Is On, The Sidelines.” “Doing Nothing.” “Surveillance, Tactical Assistance, Moral Support-If We Can Contribute Those, They Aren’t Nothing,” Herbert Said. Was “They Also Serve Who Only Stand And Wait,” Was Rodgers Said Solemnly.

“Sometimes, Yes.” Herbert Patted The Arms Of His Wheelchair. “Otherwise, You Could End Up Sitting And Waiting. Or Worse.” Rodgers Glanced At His Watch. Lowell Coffey Had Made Valid Legal Points. And Rodgers’s Stumble About Yvonne Herbert Had Given Her Husband The Right To Sermonize.

But That Didn’t Make Either Man Right.

“I’ve Got About Fifteen Minutes To Meet The Plane,” Rodgers Said Quietly. “Bob, I’ve Already Put You In Charge. If You Want To Stop Me, You Can.” He Looked At Liz Gordon.

“Liz, You Can Have Me Declared Mentally Unfit, Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Whatever The Hell You Want. If You Do, I Won’t Fight Either Of You. But Barring That, I Won’t Stand And Wait. I Can’t. Not While A Band Of Murderers Is Holding Kids Hostage.” Herbert Shook His Head Slowly. “This One’s Not That Black And White, Mike.” “That’s No Longer The Issue,” Rodgers Said To Him. “Are You Going To Stop Me?” Herbert Stopped Shaking His Head. “No,” He Said.

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