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Authors: Nick Carter

Tags: #det_espionage

Rhodesia

BOOK: Rhodesia
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Annotation
It began with a black man, a white woman and enough gold to ransom the world.
The man was consumed with race hate, driven to senseless slaughter by a single-minded plan for retribution. The woman was possessed by the need for every variety of sensual delight. The gold was mined secretly in Rhodesia, owned by a die-hard Nazi who had long ago sacrifice a soul and sanity to insatiable dreams of glory.
This was the terrifying trio that awaited Nick Carter in Rhodesia — on a brutal seek-and-destroy mission against an organization of assassins that had infiltrated every country of Africa.
Nick Carter
Rhodesia
Dedicated to The Men of the Secret Services of the United States of America
Chapter One
From the mezzanine of New York's East Side Air Terminal Nick looked down, following Hawk's murmured directions. "At the left of the second pillar. The one with the painting of a stagecoach on it. The energetic lad in gray tweeds with the four girls."
"I see them."
"That's Gus Boyd. Watch them for a while. We may see something interesting." They settled back in the green, two-seater lounge facing the rail.
A very attractive blonde in a yellow knit suit that she filled beautifully was talking with Boyd. Nick reviewed the pictures and names he had studied. She would be Booty DeLong, three months out of Texas State, and according to the smug intimation of the CIF — Consolidated Intelligence File — prone to support radical causes. Nick placed little credence in such data. The snoopery network was so swollen and uncritical that the files of half the college students in the country contained misinformation — raw, misleading, and useless. Booty's father was H. F. DeLong, who had high-jumped in his lifetime from a dump truck to unrecorded millions in construction, oil, and finance. Someday men like H. F. would hear about the files and the explosion would be memorable.
Hawk said, "Your appreciative eye is caught, Nicholas. Which one?"
"They all look like fine young Americans."
"I'm sure the eight more who join you in Frankfurt are just as charming. You're a lucky man. Thirty days to get — well acquainted."
"I had other plans," Nick answered. "You can't pretend this is a vacation." Some of the grouch left his voice. It was always this way when he walked into a case. His senses sharpened, his reflexes alerted like a fencer
en garde,
he felt obligated and committed.
Yesterday David Hawk had played his cards cleverly — asking instead of ordering. "If you protest overwork or bad nerves, N3, I'll accept it. You're not the
only
man I have. You are — the best."
The adamant protests Nick had formed in his mind on his way to the Bard Art Galleries — an AXE cover operation — melted. He had listened and Hawk went on, the wise, kindly eyes under the gray brows grimly firm. "It's Rhodesia. One of the few places you've never been. You know about the sanctions. They're not working. The Rhodesians are shipping copper, chromite, asbestos, and other materials by the shipload out of Portuguese Beira with odd bills of lading. Four shiploads of copper reached Japan last month. We protested. The Japanese said, The bills of lading say South African. It is South African.' By now some of that copper is in mainland China.
"The Rhodesians are smart. Valiant. I've been there. They're outnumbered by the blacks twenty to one but they claim they've done more for the natives than they could ever have done for themselves. That led to the rupture with Britain and the sanctions. I'll leave the moral right or wrong of it to the economists and sociologists. But now we come to gold — and big China."
He had Nick and he knew it He went on, "The country has produced gold almost since the day Cecil Rhodes opened it up. Now we hear of tremendous new strikes extending under some of their famous gold reefs. Veins perhaps hidden by the ancient Zimbabwe workings or new discoveries, I don't know. You'll find out."
Caught and fascinated, Nick had observed, "King Solomon's Mines? I remember — was it Rider Haggard? The lost cities and mines..."
"The Queen of Sheba's treasure house? Perhaps." Then Hawk revealed the real depth of his knowledge. "What does the Bible say? I Kings, 9:26, 28. 'And King Solomon made a navy of ships... and they came to Ophir and fetched from thence gold and brought it to King Solomon.' The African words
Sabi
and
Aufur
may be the ancient
Sheba
and
Ophir.
We'll leave that to the archaeologists. We
know
gold has poured out of the region ever since, and suddenly we hear there's a great deal more in the reserves. You realize what this means in the current world situation. Especially if big China can accumulate a handsome pile."
Nick frowned. "But — the free world will buy it as fast as they mine it. We have the exchange. The manufacturing economies have the leverage."
"Ordinarily, yes." Hawk handed Nick a plump file and he knew he was hooked. "But we mustn't, in the first place, discount the production wealth of eight hundred million Chinese. Or the possibility that after they stockpile the price shoots up from thirty-five dollars an ounce. Or the way Chinese influence is surrounding Rhodesia like tendrils from a giant banyan tree. Or — Judas."
"Judas! Is he in there?"
"Perhaps. There has been talk of a strange organization of assassins, headed by a man with claws for hands. Read that file when you have time, Nicholas. And you won't have much. As I mentioned, the Rhodesians are shrewd. They've tossed out most of the British agents. They read James Bond and all that over there. Four of ours have been ejected without fanfare and the two men our big firm has in there are evidently watched. So if Judas is behind the problem, we're in trouble. Especially since his associate seems to be Si C'sian Kalgan."
"Si Kalgan!" Nick had exclaimed. "I was sure he was dead when he wasn't involved in those Indonesian kidnappings."{
See The Judss Spy.
}
"We think Si is with Judas, and probably Heinrich Muller too if he's alive after that shooting in the Java Sea. China allegedly has backed Judas again and he's weaving his web in Rhodesia. His cover companies and front men are wonderfully organized, as usual. He must be providing Odessa with a fortune. Somebody is — a lot of the old Nazis we're watching are financially well again. Incidentally, several good copper men in their club have dropped out of sight in Chile. They may have joined Judas. Their histories and pictures are in the file but it's not part of your objective to look for them. You just look and listen. Get proof if you can that Judas is developing a grip on the Rhodesian export traffic, but if you can't get proof your word is good enough. Of course, Nick, if you get a clean chance — the order is still the same on Judas. Use your own judgment..."
Hawk's voice had trailed off. Nick knew that he was thinking of the scarred and battered Judas, who had lived ten lives in one and evaded death more than that. It was whispered that his name was once Martin Bormann, and it was possible. If so the holocaust through which he had lived in 1944–1945 had tempered his hard iron to steel, sharpened his cunning, and made him oblivious to pain and death in wholesale quantities. Nick would not credit him with courage. Experience had taught him that the bravest are usually the kindest. The cruel and ruthless are yellow Jell-O underneath. Rut of Judas' ingenious generalship, lightning tactical judgment, and swift skill in combat there was no question.
Nick had said, "I'll read the file. What's my cover?"
Hawk's firm, thin mouth had softened for a moment. The crinkly lines at the corners of his keen eyes relaxed, looked less like a cluster of deep V's on edge. "Thank you, Nicholas. I won't forget. We'll arrange that vacation for you when you get back. You'll travel as Andrew Grant, an assistant tour escort with an Edman Educational Tour. You'll help conduct twelve young ladies around the country. Isn't it the most interesting cover you've ever had? The senior escort is an experienced man named Gus Boyd. He and the girls think you're an Edman official surveying a new tour. Manning Edman has told them about you."
"What does he know?"
"He thinks you're CIA but he's actually been told nothing. He's helped before."
"Boyd may catch on."
"It won't make much difference. Odd types often travel as escorts. Junkets are part of the travel business. Free trips with low pay."
"I ought to know about the country..."
"Whitney will be waiting for you at American Express at seven tonight. He'll show you a couple of hours of color film and brief you."
The films of Rhodesia had been impressive. So beautiful that Nick discounted them. No country could really be put together with the most striking vegetation of Florida and features of California and Colorado's Grand Canyon strewn through the landscape of the Painted Desert He had concluded that the film-makers had used superlative footage, slipped in some shots from botanical gardens, and retouched everything. Whitney had given him a packet of color folders and extensive verbal tips.
Now, sitting slouched with his eyes below the level of the barrier rail, he studied the blonde in the yellow suit Might as well make the best of everything. She was alert, easily the prettiest girl on the concourse. Boyd was trying to pay attention to them all What in the world did he find to talk about in this place? It was less interesting than a railroad station. The brunette with the sailor-like beret was striking. She would be Teddy Northway, from Philadelphia. The other black-haired girl would be Ruth Crossman, very pretty in an intense way; she was the only one with a poker face, but perhaps it was the black-rimmed glasses. The second blonde was something: tall, long hair, not nearly as eyecatching as Booty and yet... She would be Janet Olson.
Hawk's hand fell lightly on his arm and stopped his pleasant evaluation. There. Coming in from the far gate, medium-size, neatly dressed Negro."
"I see him."
"He's John J. Johnson. He can bring gutbucket folk blues out of a horn so mellow it can make you cry. He's an artist with talent as great as Armstrong's. But he's more interested in politics. He's not a Brother X — more of a nonaligned Malcolm X admirer and a Socialist. Not a Black Power booster. He
is
friendly with all of them, which may make him more dangerous than the ones that bicker among themselves."
"Dangerous how?" Nick asked, watching the slim black man weave through the throng.
"He's intelligent," Hawk murmured without emotion. "The kind society from top to bottom fears most. The man with brains who sees through."
Nick nodded impassively. It was a typical Hawk statement. You wondered about the man and philosophy behind it and then you realized he had really revealed nothing. It was his way of drawing a precise picture of a man in juxtaposition to the world at the moment. He watched Johnson pause when he saw Boyd and the four girls. He had known exactly where to find them. He used a pillar as a barrier between himself and Boyd.
Booty DeLong saw him, wandered away from the group, pretending to read an arrival-departure panel. She went past Johnson, turned. For a moment the white and black skins showed in contrast like the focal point in a painting by Brueghel. Johnson gave her something and turned away at once, going back toward the 38th Street entrance. Booty tucked something into the big leather bag that hung from her shoulder and drifted back into the little group.
"What was it?" Nick asked.
"I don't know," Hawk replied. "We have an inside man in the civil rights group they both belong to. A college thing. You saw its name in the file. He knew Johnson was coming here but not why." He paused, then added wryly, "Johnson is really smart. He doesn't trust our man."
"Propaganda for the brothers and sisters in Rhodesia?"
"Perhaps. I think, Nicholas, you ought to try to find out."
Nick glanced at his watch. It was two minutes before the time he was supposed to join the group. "Anything else going to happen?"
"That's it, Nick. Sorry there isn't more. If we get anything vital at this end that you must know I'll send a courier. Code word 'biltong' repeated three times."
They stood up, turning their backs at once to the concourse. Hawk's hand gripped Nick's, squeezed his hard arm once below the biceps. Then the older man vanished around the corner into a corridor of offices. Nick went down the escalator.
Nick introduced himself to Boyd, was presented to the girls. He used his light handshake and shy grin. Close up, Gus Boyd looked very fit His tan was not as deep as Nick's, but there wasn't an ounce of fat on him, and he was efficient "Welcome aboard," he said as Nick let go of Janet Olson s slim, cool hand. "Luggage?"
BOOK: Rhodesia
7.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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