Warren Murphy: In Enemy Hands

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    In Enemy Hands
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A congressional committee investigates abuses by America's spy network and winds up gutting our nation's intelligence system. Suddenly the Russians are having a field day; their special killer teams roam Europe at will. American spies turn up dead. In capitals around the world, meetings are held to plan the next anti-American escapade. American is defenseless before the rest of the world . . . Well, not quite defenseless. America's two secret weapons, Remo Williams, the Destroyer, and his incredible Korean teacher, Chiun, a master assassin, are being thrown into the breach. They are being sent overseas to start restoring some sense of safety and sanity to the world's balance of power. But the Soviets don't give up that easily. They have a secret weapon too, and when they unleash it, Remo and Chiun find themselves poised for a battle to the death . . . With each other!

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* Title : #026 : IN ENEMY HANDS *

* Series : The Destroyer *

* Author(s) : Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir *

* Location : Gillian Archives *



Walter Forbier surrendered his .25 caliber Beretta to the owner of a small bookstore on Boulevard Raspail in Paris, France, just as the first buds appeared under the fresh spring sun that early April day, and four hours before, laughing men beat his rib cage into the muscles of his heart.

"You have no knives?" said the scrawny old man with a gray sweater and a two-day-old beard. His teeth were black from a gummy thing he chewed and rolled over his lips.

"No," said Forbier.

"No brass knuckles?"

"No," said Forbier.

"No explosives?"

"No," said Forbier.

"Any other weapons?"

"I know karate. Do you want me to cut off my hands?" Forbier asked.

"Please, please, we must get this over with," the man said. "Now sign this." He unsealed a plastic case and took out a three by five card. Forbier could see his own signature on the back. The man placed the white card on the counter, unlined side up.

"Why don't you have one with photograph and height and weight?"

"Please, please," said the man.

"They're more afraid of my killing someone than of my getting killed."

"You are expendable, Walter Forbier. Is that the correct pronunciation?" He had pronounced it Foebeeyay.

"That's the French way. It's four like in the number and beer like in the drink. Fourbeer."

He watched his little pistol go under the counter. Forbier wanted to grab it and run. He felt as if he had lost his bathing suit while swimming, and that now, while thousands lined the shore, he would have to walk through all of them back to his clothes.

"That's all," said the man after Forbier signed the card. "Leave."

"What are you going to do with it?" asked Forbier, nodding to where the pistol had gone under the counter.

"You can get another when you're allowed."

"I've had that one for five years," said Forbier. "It's never failed me."

"Please, please," said the man. "I don't want you spending too much time here. There are others."

"I don't know why they didn't just call us home," Forbier said.

"Shhhh," said the man. "Get out of here."

Walter Forbier was twenty-nine years old and he was wise enough that spring morning not to expect to live to thirty. He had a knack for bad timing.

Five years before, just out of the Marines with a degree in mechanical engineering, he had discovered that almost everything he had learned before doing his military hitch was now useless.

"But I graduated summa cum laude," Forbier had said.

"Which means that you're one of the foremost experts in outdated systems," said the employment agency.

"Well, what am I going to do?"

"What have you been doing recently?"

"Wading in mud up to my neck, avoiding booby traps, and trying to stay alive in situations that did not lend themselves to longevity," Forbier said.

"Have you thought of politics?" said the employment agency.

Forbier had gotten married, just in time to find out that others were enjoying the same pleasures without the legal complications. On the honeymoon, his wife invited several pretty young things to their hotel dining table. He was amazed that she showed no fear of his being attracted to them. Then he discovered it was he who should be jealous. They were for her.

"Why didn't you tell me you were a lesbian?" he had asked.

"You were the first really nice man I ever met. I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

"But why did you marry me?"

"I thought we could work it out."


"I didn't know."

Thus, without a wife and without a job and with a useless technical degree, Walter Forbier vowed he would not mistime his future again. He would get into something that was going to last. He looked around, and the one profession that looked healthiest was fighting the cold war. Even if America lost, there would be even better employment under the Communists.

And so Walter Forbier joined the Central Intelligence Agency, and, for $427.83 a month extra, a hazard mission called Sunflower.

"It's beautiful. You see the world. You travel singly or in groups. You get your extra pay and all you have to do is stay in shape."

"Sunflower won't be disbanded?" Forbier asked cautiously.

"Can't be," said the officer in charge.

"Why not?"

"Because it's not up to us to disband it."

"Who is it up to?" Forbier asked.

"The Russians."

It was the Russians, the officer had explained, who had started the whole thing. At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union had had an excess of highly trained killer teams in Eastern Europe. They were not mass combat troops, but specialists in eliminating specific people. Most soldiers just fired away and advanced. These men could be given a name and could guarantee that the person, whoever he was or wherever he was, would be dead within a week. The Russian group was called Treska which meant cod.

The officer didn't know why the Russians had named their unit Treska any more than he knew why the CIA had named its counterunit Sunflower. The Treska had been crucial in the Russian takeover of Czechoslovakia, and even more crucial when the country had rebelled briefly. Their job was to make sure key leaders died just as the Russian tanks moved in.

"They're beautiful. Not one peep out of the Czechs. The tanks were only window dressing, sort of like a show of force. The Czechs lost because they had no leaders left living, nobody to tell the people to go to the hills."

"Why didn't we use Sunflower in Vietnam?" asked Walter Forbier.

"That's just it. We don't have to."

And the officer explained that the real purpose of Sunflower was to keep a counterkiller team floating in Western Europe, just so that the Russians knew that if they used Treska, America would use Sunflower. "Like an atomic arsenal neither side wants to use." America had it, so Russia wouldn't use it.

And it worked, he said. Except for an occasional body here and there, the two squads floated through Western Europe in relative luxury, each letting the other know it was around. But neither acted.

The only thing that could terminate Sunflower would be the KGB's decision to terminate Treska.

Forbier said he was looking forward to joining Sunflower, and he planned privately on being with the team in Rome in time for Christmas. He was off by 4 1/2 years and that was reduced training time, allowing him six months credit for his Marine experience.

Five years of training.

He learned French and Russian so well he could dream in them. He learned energy control, to be able to function for a week with only a half-hour's sleep. Parachuting for Sunflower was jumping out of the plane with your chute in your hands and putting it on in midair.

He learned the feel system of firearms. You didn't use sights, you used feel. Sights were mechanical, and fine to teach thousands of people how to get a bullet flying in the general direction of their target. But the feel system required working with a weapon so that the flight path of the bullet was an extension of your arm. You imagined a yardlong rod behind the barrel of the gun and the curving drop of your bullet, and, after four hundred rounds a day for four years, you just knew what was in your flight path. This had to be done with one weapon only, and the weapon became part of you. For Walter Forbier, it was his .25 caliber Beretta.

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