Warren Murphy: Terror Squad

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  • Название:
    Terror Squad
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    Детективная фантастика / на английском языке
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    Английский
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Terror Squad: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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A wave of global terrorism spreads as a result of one madman's tyrannical powers. Even while the governments of three major world powers are on his trail, CURE, the United States' top secret agency, knows of only one way to solve the problem - The Destroyer. There's little doubt that Master Chiun's protégé Remo Williams is capable of waging any war, but when the mysterious radical assassin is out to kill, everyone runs for cover - except the fearless and most powerful.

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***********************************************

* Title : #010 : TERROR SQUAD *

* Series : The Destroyer *

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

* Location : Gillian Archives *

***********************************************

CHAPTER ONE

An airplane is an unsupportable outpost. You cannot reinforce it. You cannot resupply it.

Mrs. Kathay Miller listened to this description on a flight from New York City to Athens, Greece. The man beside her was fascinating, a gentle person in his late thirties with soft brown eyes and a craggy face honed by wind and sun. He spoke with a slightly guttural accent she could not place, and he was attempting, unsuccessfully, to calm her fears about skyjacking.

"Airplane travel today is far safer than going from one small village to another during the Middle Ages." he said. "And for the hijacker, it is becoming almost impossible today to successfully achieve the capture of a plane. It is a vulnerable, un-reinforceable outpost in the air. It has to land."

He smiled. Mrs. Miller hugged her infant son Kevin closer to her breast. She was not reassured.

"If worse comes to worst, we will all fly around and In perhaps Libya or Cairo and then be returned. Even the most militant governments today are tired of hijackers. So, I do not know how horrible a delay would be for you, but for me it would be delightful. I have you and your adorable child for company. Americans are such good people, really."

"I hate the idea of hijacking. Even the thought of it makes me... well, mad and frightened."

"Ah, so we have it, Mrs. Miller. You are not afraid of the hijacking, but the idea of it. Being defenceless."

"Yes. I guess so. I mean, what right do those people have to endanger my life? I never did anything to anyone."

"A mad dog, Mrs. Miller, does not dispense justice. Let us be grateful that their fangs are weak."

"How can you say they're weak?"

"How can you say they're strong?"

"Very simply. They kill people. They murdered those athletes in Munich, those diplomats in wherever-it-was. They shoot people from rooftops. They bomb stores. They snipe at innocent people from hotel rooms. I mean, that isn't weak."

The passenger in the next seat chuckled.

"That is the sign of weakness. Strength is irrigating a field. Strength is constructing a building. Strength is discovering a cure for a disease. The random lunatic killing of a few people here and there is not strength. The odds against getting hurt by those madmen are astronomical."

"But it can happen," said Kathy Miller. She felt strangely annoyed by the man's argument. Why did he take terrorism so lightly? Her fear was gone now. It had been replaced by annoyance.

"Many things can happen," he said. "But that's life. Landslides when you ski. Sharks when you swim. Accidents when you drive. But to live life, you must accept accidents as such, as inherent parts of living. You see, what bothers you is the fact that you are vulnerable to accidents, not that accidents exist. What bothers you is that these terrorists remind you of something you would like to keep hidden in some dark closet Your mortality.

"The answer to these mad animals is to live. To love. Look, you have a beautiful baby. You are going to meet your husband in Athens. Your very Me and loving is a refutation, and a strong refutation, of every terrorist act every committed. You are taking an airplane today. That shows the terrorists are weak. They could not stop you."

"There's something wrong with that argument," said Kathy Miller. "I don't know how or why, but there's something wrong."

A stewardess leaned over the three-seat section and, with a plastic smile, asked if anyone wanted a beverage.

Mrs. Miller wanted a cola.

Her neighbouring passenger shook his head.

"Pure sugar and caffeine," he said. "No good for you or for your baby whom you breastfeed."

"How do you know he's not on a bottle?"

"Just the way you hold him, Mrs. Miller. My wife also. I know. That's all."

"I love cola," she said.

Three men in business suits brushed quickly behind the stewardess, heading toward the front of the plane. The passenger, whose movements had been so slow and relaxed, looked up suddenly at the three men, watching them like a gazelle alert for a tiger.

"Do you have the cola now?" he asked the stewardess.

Kathy Miller blinked in puzzlement. What was going on?

"Yes. I have it right on this cart," said the stew.

"Now, please," said the passenger.

"Two colas then," said the stewardess.

The passenger, who had been so gentle and considerate since the plane left New York City, rudely snatched a drink before the stewardess could serve Kathy.

He held it to Jus lips, watching the front of the plane in wide-eyed fear, Kathy could see he held a white oblong pill near the lip of the glass.

Without taking him eyes off the front of the plane, he said: "I want you to remember one thing, Mrs. Miller. Love is always stronger. Love is strength. Hate is weakness."

Kathy Miller did not have time for philosophy. Over the plane's loudspeaker came words that curdled her intestines.

"This is the Revolutionary Liberation Front of Free Palestine. Through our courageous endeavours, we have gloriously captured this vehicle of capitalistic-zionistic oppression. We have liberated this airplane. It is now in our hands. Make no sudden moves and you will not be hurt. Any sudden moves and you will be shot. Everyone put his hands on him head. No sudden moves. Anyone who fails to put his hands on his head will be shot."

To put her hands on her head would mean dropping the baby, Kathy Miller put her left hand on her head and held the baby with her right. Maybe one hand would be good enough. She shut her eyes and prayed, prayed as she had been taught to pray in Sunday School in Eureka, Kansas. She talked to God, explaining that she had nothing to do with this and that they shouldn't hurt her or the baby. She begged God to let her and her baby live.

"Dr. Geleth. Dr. Isadore Geleth. In which seat are you?" came the voice over the loudspeaker.

Kathy could hear people move down the aisle. She felt a wetness at her feet. It must be her cola, that she had dropped. She did not want to open her eyes to see it, though. She would keep her eyes shut and hold Kevin to her chest and it would all pass. She had nothing to do with this whole thing. She was just a passenger. At worst, the plane would fly around a few hours longer and then she would open her eyes and find that they had finally landed at Athens Airport. That's what would happen if she kept her eyes shut. The people who were hijacking the plane would have to land somewhere. They would get off and she and Kevin would fly with everyone else to Athens.

"Dr. Geleth. We know you are aboard. We will find you, Dr. Geleth. Do not endanger other passengers," said the voice from the loudspeaker.

Kathy heard the passengers murmur. One woman shouted that she was having a heart attack. A young child cried. A stewardess kept repeating that everyone should be calm. Kathy felt the plane descend. She remembered she had read somewhere that a bullet through the skin of a plane at high altitude could cause an explosion. Or was it an implosion? No, an explosion. Everything would rush out. Air pressure at high altitudes made a gun battle tantamount to turning the aircraft into a bomb.

"Dr. Geleth. We will get you. We call upon the passengers to signal if they are sitting next to Dr. Geleth or know where he is. We do not wish to harm you. We are peaceful. We do not wish to harm anyone."

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