THE KILLING PLOY excerpts
Pablo de Silva crouched lower behind the stone wall that edged the boulevard and municipal Stadtpark in Zurich's Old Quarter. Still no snatch team in sight. Worse case, he feared, he'd be forced to pull the trigger. A clean shot across, if he was lucky, whenever Billy Foster reemerged from the safety of the Franz Joseph. If he was lucky. No bodyguards surrounding that terrorist hindering his aim. His nerves for once steady. No freezing up. That humiliating Berlin past behind him, if he was lucky.
A suddenly flurry of movement. He relaxed his grip on the long range gun, wiped away once more sweat from his forehead, peeked above the wall, and froze his gaze, stunned. An eighth bodyguard had stepped out from the grand hotel's front entrance and trotted down the steps to join the others. He scanned for anything threatening before dumping the expensive looking suitcases on the sidewalk next to the piles of other luggage, stacked high, not caring about the wet, dirty pavement. Eight against one now. De Silva felt his sweaty hands tremble. Dammit guys, where are you?
The voices of Foster's hard men carried in the drizzly chill of the Saturday morning quiet. Rapid Arabic, some scolding into cell phones, others pacing in circles arguing with each other, all sounding panicky to flee their hideout. No doubt armed heavily with automatic mini machine pistols to protect their most wanted charge. If he could fire off even one clean shot he had, he guessed, only seconds to clear out before Foster's protection men gave chase, ripping loose with their arsenal of weapons.
Eight against one, if the snatch team didn't show. Block out your fear, he warned himself. Focus just on the target. Which he did, after a bitter ironic thought. The CIA intended to abduct a top jihadist inciter of human bombs just as it had once kidnapped him....
3 A. M. TREMORS, AGAIN
For whatever reason, the FBI agent, de Silva suspected, appeared to run a parallel investigation, the second aimed at him. How else could that agent know about that accident, when not a single news outfit had carried it at the time of his call? By probably having him followed into Tijuana, de Silva answered himself.
Confronting that agent about his suspicion was pointless, he felt. The agent might claim Mexican sources or ridicule his worry as absurd. Say nothing, he warned himself. Above all, stay vigilant to his fear and try to discover the motivation. For that agent had slipped up. That agent may have unwittingly revealed.
But something about the last few hours, de Silva couldn't explain. Why had two discarded paper scrapes, found in an abandoned office in a working class neighborhood of a backwater American city, set off the alarm thousands of miles away in Washington D. C.?
A MAN OUT
Stuart Bishop didn't wait for any reply from George Hart. He yanked a red phone off its cradle on the console behind him and jabbed in an internal phone number. "Jurgen, we got a man out, Pablo de Silva."
George Hart gave him a weary glance. "Tell him we seem to be having a little problem locating him."
Bishop turned away from him in no mood for face-saving subtlety. "We've lost him…Right, right, a major asset's vanished…No, no, no for Christ's sake! He didn't defect. We've lost him. He's disappeared. Vanished. Gone…"