Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

If You Do That, We Can Make Sure They Believe You.” “But We Don’t Have Those Things,” Chatterjee Told Him. “Nor Are We Likely To.” “By The Time The Terrorists Figure That Out, They’ll Be Outside The Building,” Hood Said. “I’ll Have The Nypd Ready To Get Them There.” “We’ve Already Tried One Very Costly Attack,” Chatterjee Said.

“I Won’t Authorize Another.” Hood Didn’t Want Her To Know That He Knew That.

“This Will Be Different,” Hood Said. “If The Terrorists Are Outside, They Can’t Control All The Hostages. We Can Get Some Of Them Away. And If They Use Poison Gas, We’ll Be In A Better Position To Help The Victims. But You’ve Got To Call The Terrorists Now. You’ve Also Got To Tell Them That The Offer Is Only Good If They Don’t Kill Any More Hostages.” Chatterjee Hesitated. Hood Couldn’t Understand What She Was Hesitating About. After The Hit The Security Forces Had Just Taken, There Was Only One Answer: I’ll Do It. I’ll Help Save A Life And Smoke The Bastards Out. Or Did She Still Think She Could Open A Dialogue, Talk The Terrorists Into Surrendering? If He Had The Time To Finesse The Situation, He Would Point Out That Colonel Georgiev Had Apparently Helped To Turn The Untac Operation Into A Sham. He Would Ask How She Could Still Believe Her Own Propaganda, That Peacekeeping And Negotiation Were Somehow The High Road And Force Was The Low Road.

“Madam Secretary-General, Please,” Hood Said. “We Have Less Than A Minute.” She Continued To Hesitate. Hood Had Never Been As Disgusted With Despots As He Was Right Now With This So-Called Humanitarian. What Was There To Fret Over? Lying To Terrorists? Having To Explain To The Gabonese Republic Why The United Nations Charter Was Being Sidestepped, Why The Surviving Members Of The General Assembly Weren’t Consulted Before The United States Was Permitted To Terminate A Hostage Situation?

But This Wasn’t The Time For A Debate. Hopefully, Chatterjee Would See That, Too. And Quickly.

“All Right,” The Secretary-General Replied.

“I Will Place The Call To Save A Life.” “Thank You,” Hood Replied. “I’ll Be In Touch.” New York, New York Sunday, 12:00 A.M.

Harleigh Hood Was On Her Knees, Facing The Closed Doors Of The Security Council Chamber.

The Australian Man Was Standing Behind Her, Holding Her Hair Tightly, Painfully. The Other Man, The Spanish-Sounding Man, Was Behind Him, Looking At His Watch. Harleigh’s Face Was Badly Swollen Above The Right Cheek Where She’d Been Pistol-Whipped When She’d Tried To Bite Him. There Was Blood On Her Mouth Where She’d Been Backfisted, Hard. Her Gown Was Torn At Both Shoulders, Her Neck Rug-Burned From Being Dragged Up Here, All The While Kicking At The Floor, Walls, And Chairs. And Her Left Side Hurt With Every Breath Because She’d Been Jackbooted There Just A Few Seconds Before. Harleigh Had Not Gone Willingly To Her Execution. Now That The Young Woman Was Here, She Was Staring Ahead Blankly. She Hurt Everywhere, But Nothing Was As Painful As The Utter Loss Of Her Humanity, Something She Couldn’t Even Touch. She Realized, In A Surprisingly Lucid Instant, That This Was Probably What It Was Like To Be Raped. Choice Taken Away. Dignity Taken Away. Future Fear Of Any Stimulus Reminiscent Of The Experience, Whether It Was Something Pulling At Your Hair Or The Feeling Of A Rug Under Your Knees. Perhaps Worst Of All, This Wasn’t About Anything She Had Done Or Said Or Been. She Was Just A Convenient Target For Some Animal’s Hostility. Is That What Death Was Supposed To Be Like? No Angels And Trumpets.

She Was Just Meat.


Harleigh Screamed A Cry Of Rage That Came From Deep Inside. She Screamed Again, And Then Her Bruised Muscles Exploded And She Tried To Get To Her Feet. Death Was That If You Let It Be That. The Australian Tugged Hard On Her Hair, Twisting Her Around. Harleigh Fell To The Ground, Onto Her Back.

She Fought To Get Up, Wriggling From Side To Side.

Her Captor Dropped His Knee On Her Chest, Hard, And Remained There. He Put The Barrel Of His Gun In Her Mouth. “Scream Into This,” He Said.

Harleigh Did, Defiantly, And He Pushed The Barrel Down Her Throat Until She Gagged.

“Go On, One More Time, Angel,” He Said.

“Scream Again And It Will Scream Back.” Metallic-Tasting Saliva Quickly Pooled In The Bottom Of Harleigh’s Throat. Blood Mixed With The Saliva, And She Stopped Screaming; She Had To As She Tried To Swallow Around The Gun. But She Couldn’t Swallow, Cough, Or Breathe. She Was Going To Drown In Her Own Saliva Before He Could Shoot Her.

She Reached Up And Tried To Push His Hand Back, But He Used His Free Hand To Grab Her Wrists. He Easily Forced Harleigh’s Slender Arms To The Side. “It’s Time,” Barone Said.

Downer Glared Down As Harleigh Made A Guttural Sound Around The Gun Barrel.

Just Then The Radio Beeped.

“Hold It,” Barone Said Quickly. He Answered The Radio. “Yes?” “This Is Secretary-General Chatterjee,” Said The Caller. “We Have Your Money, And A Helicopter Is On The Way.” Downer And Barone Exchanged Looks. Barone Hit The Mute Button. His Eyes Narrowed Suspiciously.

“She’s Lying,” Downer Said. “She Couldn’t Have Gotten It This Fast.” Barone Disengaged The Mute. “How Did You Get It?” He Asked. “The United States Government Has Guaranteed A Loan From The Federal Reserve Bank In New York,” She Said. “They’re Putting Together The Currency And Bringing It Over.” “Wait Until You Hear From Me,” The Uruguayan Said. He Turned And Started Running Down The Stairs.

“You Won’t Execute The Hostage?” Chatterjee Said. “I’ll Execute Two Hostages If You’re Lying,” He Replied. He Punched The Radio Off And Hurried To The Tacsat Phone At The Front Of The Security Council Chamber.

New York, New York Sunday, 12:01 A.M.

While They Waited For The Tacsat To Ring, Rodgers Called Bob Herbert And Briefed Him.

Herbert Said He Would Get In Touch With New York Police Commissioner Kane. The Men Had Worked Together When Russian Spies In Brighton Beach Were Helping To Orchestrate A Coup In Moscow. Herbert Had A Good Rapport With The Commissioner And Felt That Gordon Would Welcome The Chance To Save The Hostages-And The Un.

When Rodgers Was Finished, He Made Another Call To Check Messages, He Said. That Wasn’t True, But He Didn’t Want The Young Woman To Know It.

He Asked To Borrow Hood’s Cell Phone To Make The Call. While Hood Looked On, Rodgers Stood Between The Woman And The Desk So She Couldn’t See What He Was Doing. It Was A Trick He Had Learned From Barb Herbert, Who Used His Wheelchair Phone To Spy On People After He Left A Meeting.

Rodgers Turned Off The Ringer On The Office Phone And Then Called The Number, Using Hood’s Cell Phone.

He Answered The Office Phone, Switched It To Speaker, And Left Both Lines Open. Then He Put The Cell Phone In His Pants Pocket, Making Sure He Didn’t Disconnect. Rodgers Went Back And Sat On The Desk, Across From Annabelle Hampton. Hood Paced Between Them. As The Minutes Inched By, Rodgers Became More Convinced That This Wasn’t Going To Go The Way He Wanted.

The Young Woman Was Staring Ahead Fixedly The Entire Time. Rodgers Did Not Doubt What She Was Looking At. The Future. Ani Hampton Didn’t Strike Rodgers As The Pga Type-A Postgame Analyst. Many Intelligence And Military People Worked Like Chess Masters Or Ballroom Dancers. They Followed Carefully Tested Patterns And Deviated As Little As Possible From Often-Complex Moves And Strategies.

When Deviations Did Occur, They Were Later Studied And Either Incorporated Into The Playbook Or Discarded. But There Were Also Many Cia Field Personnel Who Took A More Ephemeral Approach To Tactics. These Were The So-Called “Sharks.” Typically, Sharks Were Loners Whose Modus Operandi Was To Continually Move And Look Ahead. It Didn’t Matter If The Bridge Burned Behind Them; They Probably Weren’t Going Back, Anyway. These Were The Kinds Of People Who Managed To Infiltrate Foreign Villages, Terrorist Cells, And Enemy Bases. Rodgers Was Betting That Ani Hampton Was A Shark. She Wasn’t Sitting Here Regretting Anything. She Was Figuring Out What To Do Next. Rodgers Had A Damn Good Idea Exactly What That Was, Which Was Why He’d Asked Colonel August To Leave. Just In Case. Looking At The Young Woman, Rodgers Felt Cold-Inside, Not Out.

What She’d Done Here Reminded Him Of Something He’d Learned During His First Tour Of Duty In Vietnam: That While Treason Was The Exception Rather Than The Rule, It Was Everywhere. In Every Nation, Every City, Every Town. And There Were No Reliable Profiles, No Rules, To Sort Out The Practitioners. Traitors Came In All Ages, Sexes, And Nationalities. They Worked In Public Places And Private Places And Held Jobs Where They Came Inffcontact With Information Or People. And What They Did Could Be Personal Or It Could Be Motivated Entirely By Profit. There Was Something Else About Traitors, Something Unique To Them. They Were Most Dangerous When They Were Caught. Faced With Execution For Their Crimes, They Had Nothing To Lose. If They Had A Final Gambit, However Futile Or Destructive It Was, They’d Try It.

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