[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Kidd said."So I can start immediately?" Hardwick asked.He could feel his excitement building, but he let none of it show."Yes.""Thank you," he said to his boss.He started to stand."I should go.I have plenty to do.""There is just one other thing," Mr.Kidd said.Hardwick stopped next to the chair, worried that some condition had been added to his plan that would jeopardize its success."What is it?""From now on, you can address me as Chairman."Hardwick stared at his boss for a moment."Seriously?""Chairman Vine.Mr.Vine suggested it himself, and the others agreed."Hardwick thrust out his hand."Congratulations, sir.This is fantastic.""Is it?" Chairman Kidd said.He didn't take Hardwick's hand."If your proposal doesn't work out, I'm fairly certain I'll become the shortest-term Chairman in the history of the LP." He locked eyes with Hardwick."I'd appreciate it if you could make sure that doesn't happen."Hardwick grinned as he reached down with both hands and grabbed his boss's, shaking it with confidence."I guarantee it."CHAPTER1MAY 25THE MEETING LOCATION HAD BEEN CHOSEN FOR ITS isolation, an abandoned Catholic church on the east side of a little-used road fifty kilometers northwest of Cork, Ireland, near the border between County Tipperary and County Cork.The structure that remained was all but invisible from the road.One of those places only a local would know about, then forget over time.As a bonus, no one lived within a kilometer and a half of the ruins, making it a natural choice for an exchange.In the two days Jonathan Quinn had been scouting the location, no more than a dozen cars a day had driven past, and not a single one had even slowed, let alone stopped.The roof of the church had long since disappeared, leaving only the gray, pitted stone walls of the chapel.Encouraged by the wet Irish climate, vegetation had grown up around the building, both surrounding it and filling the inside.It was as if a congregation of flora was waiting in the open-air sanctuary for a priest who had yet to arrive.Nearby, an untended cemetery provided the only reminder that people had once worshipped here.Quinn didn't know how long the compound had been abandoned, but the most recent grave marker he'd located had been for someone named Maureen Owens, year of death 1889.So it wasn't hard to imagine that it had been at least a century since any parishioners had gathered between the chapel walls.Quinn did a last walk-through just after noon, careful to step only on broken stones or patches of grass to avoid leaving any trace of his presence.He double-checked to make sure all the cameras and microphones were well hidden and working.When he was satisfied, he returned on foot to the van parked a half kilometer away.The meeting was scheduled for nine that evening.According to the agreed-upon terms, the informant was to arrive from the south, while the man from Quinn's client—an organization known as the Office—was to come in from the north.They were each instructed to park a quarter kilometer from the location and walk the rest of the way in.They were to meet inside the church, with each participant allowed to bring one associate.Once they had all arrived, the informant would give the Office's agent certain information in exchange for what Quinn assumed was a generous cash payment.The details of the exchange, what the information was and what the informant was earning for his efforts, were none of Quinn's business.He was a cleaner.His job was to watch and observe, and—only if necessary—clean up any mess that might occur.As Quinn reached the back of the van, the right side door swung open.Quinn's apprentice Nate was hunched inside, a Glock 19 pistol in his right hand."Ground check?" Nate asked."We're all set," Quinn replied.Nate relaxed.While he had no doubt been watching Quinn's approach—first on the cameras stationed around the church, then on those surrounding the van—and had seen his boss return alone, there was always the possibility someone had gotten to Quinn in one of the dead areas, and was waiting just beyond the camera's view.But Quinn had answered Nate's question with the prearranged all-clear signal.The apprentice moved aside and let Quinn enter, then leaned out and pulled the door shut.The van had been transformed into a mobile observation post.But unlike those fancy ones in the movies, here little attention had been paid to the human component.A half-dozen small flat-screen monitors were mounted on the right wall.Five were receiving signals from the ten cameras back at the church, each monitor assigned to two cameras, and automatically toggling back and forth every five seconds.The sixth monitor was digitally divided into four smaller screens displaying different views of the surveillance van and the surrounding area.Below the monitors, twenty-eight digital recorders—each no larger than a paperback book—were hung in portable racks.Two recorders per feed, in case one crapped out.And as if that wasn't enough, there was a satellite link sending a real-time signal back to the Office's headquarters in Washington, D.C.State-of-the-art equipment all.It was the two plastic chairs and the banged-up portable ice chest that seemed out of place."You check in with Peter?" Quinn asked.Peter was the head of the Office, and the man who had hired them."Fifteen minutes ago," Nate said as he settled into the chair nearest the back of the van."We did another connection test.Signal strength is steady.I flipped it to black, so they're not getting anything at the moment.""Any more interference from the cameras?" Quinn said.Nate shook his head."Everything seems fine now.I think we're ready.""Keep an eye on them," Quinn said, nodding toward the monitors."If anything acts up again, let me know.""You going somewhere?"Quinn pushed the empty plastic chair toward the equipment rack, then stretched out on the floor."As far away from here as I can," he said as he closed his eyes."Wake me in two hours if there aren't any more problems.""Yeah, sure," Nate said."I'll just.stay here.""Stay alert." Quinn tapped the cooler with his foot."Have a Red Bull, if you need one."Nate said something under his breath.Quinn opened one eye."What?""Nothing."Quinn stared for a moment longer, then closed the eye."I could have left you in Los Angeles, you know."He could sense Nate wanting to say something more, but his apprentice remained silent.At five minutes to nine, the Office's agent, a veteran operative named David Otero, arrived.With him was William Ownby, the allotted second man.Quinn and Nate watched as the two agents cautiously approached the church, then entered the abandoned sanctuary.Peter had told Quinn that Otero and Ownby would have no knowledge of Quinn's presence.That wasn't unusual.Quinn and Nate weren't there as backup [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]