Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

“I’ll Put A Hole In The Back Of Her Goddamned Head!” “I Saw You Kill My Partner,” Rodgers Said. “I Believe You.” August Stopped And Looked At Rodgers. Rodgers Motioned For Him To Stay Still.

August Did. He Was Supposed To Be Dead. “What Do You Want Us To Do?” Rodgers Asked. “First, I Want Whoever’s Creeping Up Behind Me To Get The Hell Out Of Here,” The Terrorist Said. “I Can See His Feet From Here. I Can Also See The Window, So If Anyone Tries To Sneak In, I’ll Know It.” “No Tricks,” Rodgers Said. “I Hear You.” “I Hope So,” Downer Said. “When He’s Gone, I Want You To Put Your Gun Down And Raise Your Hands Straight Up. When You’re Both Out Of Here, I Want You To Send That Bitch Secretary-General In With Her Hands On Her Head.” “You Don’t Have A Lot Of Time,” Rodgers Pointed Out. “The Gas Will Come Through The-Was “I Know About The Gas,” Downer Cried. “I Won’t Need A Lot Of Time If You Shut Up And Move!” “All Right,” Rodgers Said. He Looked Up At The Door. “Lieutenant, Please Make Sure The Secretary-General Is Outside And Then Stay Out Of The Room. I’m Coming Up To Join You.” Mailman Hesitated.

Rodgers Moved The Gun From The Terrorist’s Hand To Mailman’s Forehead. “Lieutenant, I Said I Want You Out Of Here.” Mailman Scowled And Backed From The Security Council. Rodgers Squatted, Put His Gun On The Floor, And Lifted His Hands High. Then He Walked Toward The Staircase On The South Side Of The Chamber.

He Quickly Made His Way Up The Stairs. He Didn’t Think The Terrorist Would Bother Firing At Him.

Until Secretary-General Chatterjee Came In, Rodgers Was His Only Means Of Communicating With The Outside.

Rodgers Continued Up The Stairwell. He Was Nearly Level With The Fourth Row From The Top, Where The Terrorist Was Hiding. He Was Looking At Harleigh, Whose Back Was Toward Him. The Slender Girl Was Locked In Place, With Her Hair Pulled Tight.

She Wasn’t Crying, But That Didn’t Surprise Him.

From Talking To Pow’s, Rodgers Knew That Pain Provided Focus. It Was Often A Mercy, A Distraction From Danger Or A Seemingly Hopeless Situation. He Wanted To Say Something Encouraging To Harleigh. At The Same Time, He Didn’t Want To Do Anything That Might Annoy The Terrorist. Not When There Was A Gun Barrel Pressed Against The Girl’s Skull.

Rodgers Backed Out The Door. That Gave Him One Last Chance To Glance Toward The North Side Of The Chamber.

He Couldn’t See Brett August From Where He Was Standing. Either The Colonel Had Snuggled Up Close To The Seats Or Else He’d Lost So Much Blood From His Wounds That He’d Passed Out.

Rodgers Hoped That Wasn’t The Case. This Was Going To Be Difficult Enough As It Was.

Rodgers Stepped Into The Hallway. Chatterjee Was There. She Looked At Him For A Moment, Then Put Her Hands On Her Head And Started Toward The Door To The Security Council.

Rodgers Put His Arm In Front Of Her, Barring Her Way. “You Know About The Poison Gas?” He Asked.

“The Lieutenant Told Me,” She Replied.

Rodgers Stepped Closer. “Did He Also Tell You That One Of My Men Is Still In There?” He Whispered.

She Seemed Surprised.

“The Terrorist Thinks My Man Is Dead,” Rodgers Said. “If Colonel August Can Get A Shot, He’s Going To Take It. I Didn’t Want You To Be Surprised And Give Him Away.” Chatterjee’s Expression Darkened. Rodgers Lowered His Arm, And The Secretary-General Walked Past Him. As She Entered The Security Council And Shut The Door Behind Her, Rodgers Felt Like Running In After Her And Dragging Her Out. He Had A Sick Feeling Deep In His Belly, The Feeling That Despite Everything That Had Happened, Chatterjee Still Believed In An Unwritten United Nations Policy. A Policy That The World Organization Had Upheld Repeatedly Against The Weight Of Common Sense And Fundamental Morality.

The Idea That Terrorists Had Rights.

New York, New York Sunday, 12:21 A.M.

Mala Chatterjee’s Mind And Soul Were Tortured As She Entered The Security Council Chamber, The Terrorist Was Lying On The Floor. Chatterjee Saw The Head Of His Prisoner, And She Saw The Gun Being Held Against It. She Ached For The Child And Was Revulsed By The Act Of Terrorism. Chatterjee Would Do Anything To Save The Girl.

But The Secretary-General Was Troubled By The Idea Of Allowing A Murder To Take Place When There Might Be Another Way. If She Became Like These People, If She Killed Without Conscience, Without The Law, What Kind Of Meaning Would Her Life Have? She Didn’t Even Know Whether This Man Had Actually Killed Anyone, Whether He Could Kill Anyone.

Chatterjee Walked Down The Steps Toward The Row.

“You Asked To Speak With Me,” She Said.

“No, I Asked You To Come In,” Downer Said. “I Don’t Want To Talk. I Want Out Of Here. I Also Want What I Came For.” “I Want To Help You,” Chatterjee Said. She Stopped At The Foot Of The Aisle. “Let The Girl Go.” “I Said No More Talk!” Downer Screamed.

Harleigh Shrieked As The Australian Tugged Harder On Her Hair.

“There’s Poison Gas Leaking Up Front. I Need You To Arrange A Place Where The Lady And I Can Wait While You Get My Money And Transportation.

I Want The Six Million Dollars.” “All Right,” She Said.

Chatterjee Saw Something Move On The Northern Staircase. There Were Eyes Peering Over The Armrest Of The Last Seat. The Man Who Had Been Left Inside Raised Himself Up Slightly. He Put His Index Finger To His Lips.

The Secretary-General Was Torn. Was She About To Be Part Of A Rescue Effort Or An Accomplice To A Cold-Blooded Killing? This American Soldier And His Partner Had Rescued Most Of The Hostages. Perhaps It Had Been Necessary For Them To Kill, But That Didn’t Give Them The Right To Continue Killing. Chatterjee’s Goal Had Always Been To Find A Bloodless Solution To Conflict. She Couldn’t Give That Up While There Was Still A Chance. There Was Also The Matter Of Trust. If She Could Convince The Terrorist That She Wanted To Help Him, Perhaps She Could Convince Him To Surrender. “Colonel August,” She Said, “There Has Been Enough Killing Today.” August Froze. For A Moment, Chatterjee Wondered If He Were Going To Shoot Her.

“Who Are You Talking To?” Downer Demanded.

“Who’s Here?” “Another Soldier,” She Told Him.

“Then He Wasn’t Killed, The Bastard!” Downer Cried. “Please Put Down Your Weapons And Leave, Colonel,” Chatterjee Said. “I Can’t,” August Replied Bitterly. “I’ve Been Shot.” “You’ll Be Shot Again If You Don’t Get The Hell Out Of Here!” Downer Screamed.

The Australian Swung Harleigh Around Roughly.

He Pulled Her Up By Her Hair, Knelt Behind Her, And Aimed His Automatic At August. He Fired A Burst As The Striker Leader Dropped Back Onto The Stairwell. Wood From The Armrests Flew In Every Direction. The Bursts Echoed For A Moment After He Stopped Firing. Snarling, Downer Looked Back At Chatterjee. He Kept Harleigh Between Himself And August. At The Bottom Of The Chamber, The Secretary-General Could See The Poison Gas Beginning To Creep Around The Edges Of The Drape. “Get Him Out!” Downer Cried. “I’m Trying To Help You!” Chatterjee Shouted At Downer. “Let Me Handle-Was “Shut Up And Do What I Said!” Downer Screamed.

He Turned To Face Her As He Did. For A Moment His Chest Was Facing The Front Of The Chamber.

A Gunshot Ripped Through The Chamber. The Bullet Punched A Hole In The Right Side Of Downer’s Neck, Away From Harleigh. He Dropped The Gun And Released Harleigh As The Impact Sent His Arms Back. Paul Hood Rose From The Bottom Of The Security Council Chamber. He Was Holding The Beretta Mike Rodgers Had Left Behind. “Get Down, Harleigh!” He Cried.

She Covered Her Head And Dropped Straight Down.

A Moment Later, A Second Gunshot Cracked From The North-Side Staircase. Colonel August Put A Shot Cleanly Through The Terrorist’s Left Cheek.

A Second Bullet Drilled Through Downer’s Temple As He Fell.

Blood Collected On The Floor Even Before His Body Landed. Chatterjee Screamed.

Paul Hood Dropped The Gun And Ran Around To The North-Side Staircase. Waved On By August, Hood Continued Up To His Daughter’s Side.

New York, New York Sunday, 12:25 A.M.

When He First Left The Security Council Chamber, Mike Rodgers Notifed The Nypd’s Hazardous Materials Squad To Tell Them About The Poison Gas Leak. The Team Assembled In The North-Side Courtyard And Was Ready To Move In As Soon As Everyone Was Out. The Entire Un Complex Had Been Closed Off; Now It Was Quarantined, The Doors And Windows Covered With Plastic Sheets, The Edges Of Which Were Sealed With Fast-Drying Foam. Because There Was No One Left To Tell The Police Exactly What The Poison Gas Was, An Emergency Service Mobile Laboratory Had Been Driven To The Scene For On Site Analysis. New York Fire Department Emergency Medical Service Command Crews Were On Hand, Setting Up Tents In The Robert Moses Playground Just South Of The United Nations.

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