Compassion International

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stealth Ops - The SHADOW MAKER Finale

Spoiler Alert: Read SHADOW MAKER before reading this or any of the forthcoming files marked Stealth Ops.

Washington, D.C.

Nick shifted into neutral and rolled to a stop next to the Andrews gatehouse. After a fleeting glance at his ID, a young guard in navy whites offered a lazy salute. The squid didn’t even bother to put down his coffee.

Nick returned the gesture and took his foot off the brake, but he left the Shelby in neutral, letting it roll slowly down the gentle slope until he saw the squid turn his back to the road and put the coffee to his lips. Then Nick red-lined the tachometer.

The deep roar of the restored seven-liter V8 shook the gatehouse windows. The squid jumped, spilling coffee down the front of his whites.

Nick chuckled and shifted the Shelby into gear, letting the angry shouts of the sailor fall behind him.

The incident at the Turkish teashop had not been the end of Saghir the imam. Hadad did not kill him. Saghir now rotted in a secure facility on Cyprus, under the care of a sandy-haired CIA man that liked to go by the name Eddie Fryers.

The Brits would not get Saghir back. Nick liked Constable Gale, but was not that generous. The little imam had information—contacts—that could lead to what remained of Masih Kattan’s Hashashin network. And Nick wanted it all.

As he turned toward the Andrews golf course and the Triple Seven HQ, Nick made a decision to quit wondering about dominoes. Every move had consequences, both good and bad. Worrying about extended outcomes would leave an operative like him frozen, unable to act at all.

He had made peace with the attack in Yemen. He and Drake had not known—could not have known—that Masih was in the house. Masih’s fate was a result of his terrorist father’s machinations, not the Triple Seven’s, and his actions in search of revenge were his own, not Nick’s. Now he would rot in a Mossad prison while the Israelis picked his brain.

The decision to take out the elder Kattan had been the right move at the time. Nick knew that now. He and Drake had stopped the terrorist’s plans for Afghanistan and prevented future operations that could have killed hundreds, even thousands of innocents. In truth, they had no other choice.

Nick pulled into the spot next to Drake’s Audi and shut down the engine. After a few moments of staring into the rearview mirror, he pulled the Hashashin knife out of his pocket—the same knife he had taken from the sniper in Istanbul, the key that had enabled him to get up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He turned the ornate hilt over in his hand and over again. Then he let out a long breath, tossed it into the glove box, and shut the door. The Kattan mission was over. After nine years, he could put that demon to rest.

During the elevator ride down to Romeo Seven, Nick’s phone buzzed. He reached for it,  but
the door slid open before he could answer. Looking out at the command center, he immediately sensed trouble. Techs pounded furiously on keyboards and chattered on comm links while Walker barked into a landline receiver.

When the colonel saw Nick he covered the receiver and pointed at his team lead. “Get in here, Baron. We need all hands on deck!” Then he returned to barking into the phone.

“Another mission so soon? No rest for the weary, I gue—” Nick stopped short, staring up at Romeo Seven’s twenty-four-foot screen. At the center, surrounded by windows containing maps and rolling text, was a live drone feed showing a burning ship. There were bodies in the black water, face down amid the debris. He recognized the vessel—a floating Mossad detention center. One he had recently visited. He turned to Walker with wide, searching eyes.

The colonel lowered the receiver, locked eyes with Nick, and nodded. “They took him, Baron. Two runabouts packed with explosives rammed the ship. A third brought in an assault team. They killed every Israeli on board."

“And the prisoners?”

Walker shook his head. “Masih Kattan has escaped.”

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