Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

New York, New York Saturday, 11:43 R.M For A Moment, The Silence In The Corridor Outside The Security Council Was Absolute. Then Secretary-General Chatterjee Pushed Herself Off The Wall Where She’d Been Flung. She Looked From The Prone Terrorist To Colonel Mott.

“You Had No Right To Do That!” She Whispered Harshly.

“You Were Attacked,” He Whispered Back. “It’s My Job To Protect You.” “I Grabbed Him-Was “It Doesn’t Matter,” Mott Said. He Pointed To Two Of The Men On The Security Line And Motioned Them Forward. Then He Turned Back To Chatterjee. “We’re In This Now.” “Against My Wishes!” She Shot Back.

“Ma’am, We Can Discuss This Later,” Mott Said.

“We Don’t Have Much Time.” “For What?” She Demanded.

The Two Men Arrived. “Strip Him,” Mott Said Quietly, Pointing To The Terrorist. “Fast.” They Got To Work.

“What Are You Doing?” Chatterjee Said.

The Colonel Began Unbuttoning His Own Shirt.

“Going In There,” He Said. “As Him.” Chatterjee Seemed Stunned. “No.

Absolutely Not.” “I Can Pull This Off,” He Said. “We’re About The Same Size.” “Not Without My Authority,” She Said.

“I Don’t Need Your Authority,” He Replied As He Removed His Shirt And Took Off His Shoes.

“Section 13Can, Subsection 4, Of The Security Regulations. In The Event Of A Direct Threat Against The Secretary-General, All Appropriate Precautions Must Be Taken. He Struck You. I Saw It. Now The Fiber-Optic Camera Is Not Getting Through For Some Reason. We’re Coming Up On Another Hour, And A Child May Be Hurt In There. Help Me End This Situation, Ma’am. Did He Have An Accent?” “They’re Going To Find You Out.” “Not Soon Enough,” Mott Said. He Was Aware Of Every Second Passing, Wondering How Long The Terrorists Inside Were Going To Wait For Their Man To Return.

Fearing What They Might Do To Get Him Back. “Now Please,” Mott Pressed. “Did He Have An Accent?” “Eastern European, I Believe,” Chatterjee Said. She Seemed Dazed. Mott Looked Down As One Of His Men Removed Georgiev’s Mask. “Do You Recognize Him?” Chatterjee Looked At The Beefy, Unshaven Face. There Was Blood On The Thick Bridge Of The Nose. “No,” She Said Softly. “Do You?” Mott Looked From The Fallen Man To The Security Council Door. “No.” Whether It Was His Own Anxiety Or The Instincts Of An Old Undercover Cop, He Felt Tension From Inside The Chamber. He Had To Defuse It Before It Exploded. The Colonel Motioned For His Man To Give Him The Mask. He Pulled It Over His Head, Then Stooped And Wiped Some Of The Blood From Georgiev’s Nose Onto The Mouth Of The Mask. “Now I Don’t Have To Do Any Accent,” He Said. Chatterjee Watched As He Quickly Finished Pulling On The Man’s Sweater, Trousers, And Shoes.

“Get Everyone Into The Trusteeship Council Chambers,” The Colonel Said To His Second-In-Command, Lieutenant Mailman.

“I Want You At The Adjoining Doors, Fast But Stealthy. Form Two Groups: A Defensive Perimeter And A Team To Get The Hostages Out. Go In When You Hear Gunfire.” Mott Picked Up Georgiev’s Automatic And Checked The Clip. It Was Nearly Full. “I Won’t Fire Until I’m In Position To Take Out One Or More Of The Terrorists. I’ll Try And Stay On The North Side To Draw Their Fire Away From You. You Know How They’re Dressed; Take Them Out. Just Make Sure You Don’t Shoot The Guy Who’s Shooting At Them.” “Yes, Sir,” The Officer Replied.

“Ma’am, I’d Get Interpol In Here To Find Out Who This Individual Is.” Mott Practically Spit Out The Word. “If Something Goes Wrong, The Information May Help You Stop Them.” “Colonel, I’m Against This,” Chatterjee Said.

The Secretary-General Had Collected Herself And Was Growing Angry. “You’re Risking The Lives Of Everyone In The Room.” “Everyone In There Is Going To Die Unless We Get Them Out,” He Replied. “Isn’t That What This Person Told You?” He Indicated Georgiev With His Foot. “Isn’t That Why You Tried To Stop Him From Going Back?” “I Wanted To Stop The Killing-Was “And He Didn’t Give A Damn What You Wanted,” Colonel Mott Said In A Raspy Whisper.

“No, He Didn’t,” She Agreed. “But I Can Still Go In There, Try To Talk To The Others.” “Not After This,” Mott Said. “They’ll Want To Know Where Their Man Is. What Will You Tell Them?” “The Truth,” She Said. “It Might Persuade Them To Cooperate. Perhaps We Can Even Give Him Back In Exchange For Hostages.” “We Can’t,” Mott Said.

“We May Need Him For Information. And Whatever Else Happens, This Bastard’s Got To Stand Trial.” Mott Had Always Admired Chatterjee’s Persistence. Right Now, Though, It Seemed More Naive Than Visionary.

While The Lieutenant Formed His Two Teams, The Colonel Signaled Over The Emergency Medical Team. They Placed The Fallen Terrorist On A Stretcher And Used Handcuffs From One Of The Security Officers To Keep Him There.

“Take Him Over To The Infirmary, And Keep Him Handcuffed To The Cot,” Mott Told The Head Emergency Medical Technician. The Lieutenant Signaled Mott That He Was Ready To Go. Colonel Mott Signaled Back Thirty With His Fingers. He Looked At His Watch As Lieutenant Mailman’s Two Teams Headed Into The Trusteeship Council Chamber. Then He Started Marking Off Thirty Seconds. “Colonel, Please,” Chatterjee Said. “I Can’t Go In If You Do.” “I Know,” He Said.

Twentyfive Seconds To Go. “But This Is A Mistake!” She Said, Raising Her Voice For The First Time.

There Was A Creak At The Security Council Door, As Though Someone Had Leaned Against It.

Chatterjee Immediately Fell Silent. Mott Looked From The Door To Chatterjee To His Watch. Twenty Seconds Remained.

“It’s Only A Mistake If It Fails,” Colonel Mott Said Quietly. “Now, Please, Madam Secretary-General. There’s No Time To Debate This. Just Step Back So You Won’t Be Hurt.” “Colonel-Was She Started, Then Stopped. “God Be With You,” She Said. “God Be With You All.” “Thank You,” Mott Replied. There Were Fifteen Seconds To Go. Reluctantly, Chatterjee Backed Away.

Colonel Mott Turned His Attention To What He Was About To Do. He Could Taste The Terrorist’s Blood Through The Mask. There Was Something Appropriately Barbaric, Viking About It. He Stuck The Terrorist’s Gun In His Belt, Where It Had Been When He Came Out.

Then He Flexed And Unflexed His Gloved Fingers, Anxious To Get In There And Do His Job.

Ten Seconds.

Twenty-Odd Years Ago, When He Was An Nypd Cadet At The Academy On Twentieth Street And Second Avenue, A Strategy And Tactics Instructor Told Him That The Job Really Came Down To Dice. Every Police Officer, Every Soldier, Had A Die With Six Pips. The Pips Were Resolve, Skill, Ruthlessness, Ingenuity, Courage, And Strength.

Most Of The Time, You Practice-Rolled. You Trained, You Walked A Beat, You Patrolled The Street, Trying To Get The Wrist Action Right, The Finesse, The Feel.

Because When It Came Time To Roll For Real, You Had To Come Up With More Of Those Qualities Than The Other Guy, Sometimes In An Instant. Mott Remembered That During His Twenty Years In Midtown South. He Remembered It Each Time He Went To An Apartment With No Idea What Was On The Other Side Of The Door, Or Stopped A Car Without Knowing What Was Hidden Under The Newspaper Lying Next To The Driver. He Remembered It Now. He Brought Up Every Reflex That Was Stored In His Memory, In His Bones, In His Soul.

And For Good Measure, He Threw In The Words Of One Of The Original Mercury Astronauts, He Forgot Which One, Who Said, As He Waited To Be Launched Into Space: “Dear God. Please Don’t Let Me Screw This Up. Was Five Seconds.

Alert And Ready, Mott Walked Toward The Door Of The Security Council. He Moaned, As Though He’d Been Hit And Was Hurting. He Yanked Open The Door And Stepped Inside.

New York, New York Saturday, 11:48 P.M.

Telephones Were Put At The Disposal Of The Parents When They Arrived At The State Department Lounge.

Selecting An Armchair In The Corner Of The Brightly Lighted Lounge, Sharon’s First Call Had Been To Alexander Back At The Hotel. She Wanted To Make Sure He Was All Right. He Was Fine, Though She Suspected He’d Stopped Playing Video Games And Had Accessed The Room’s Spectravision Channel. Alexander Always Sounded Edgy When He Was Playing Video Games, As Though The Fate Of The Galaxy Rested On His Shoulders. When She Called Around Eleven O’clock He Sounded Awestruck And Humbled.

Like Charlton Heston When He Saw The Burning Bush In The Ten Commandments.

Sharon Let Him Be. She Didn’t Even Tell Him What Was Going On. She Had A Feeling That Alexander Would Be Sleeping Very Well Tonight.

Hopefully, It Would All Be Over In The Morning Before He Woke. Then She Called Her Home Answering Machine. She Wasn’t Going To Call Her Parents Unless They’d Seen The News Report And Left A Message. They Were Not In The Best Of Health, And They Were Worriers. She Didn’t Want To Burden Them.

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