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Authors: Mack Maloney

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The Twisted Cross (43 page)

BOOK: The Twisted Cross
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The next page of the summary told the strange tale of what had happened at Uxmaluna.

The Nazis' gold recovery mission had proceeded for two days after the murder of Udet and the flight of Krupp. Not wanting to start a major action against the Nazis while they were still near the ancient site, Jones had decided to keep an aircap on the area to prevent anyone from escaping by chopper.

Elements of the Football City Rangers dropped in and surrounded the site, ready to attack the Nazis as soon as they decided to make a break for it via the blasted-away jungle road.

But after two days on the ground, scouts for the Rangers reported that activity at the site had stopped -completely. Not only that, but it appeared that the site was completely deserted.

The Ranger officers in charge sent in two more advance parties who confirmed the report. The place was empty.

The Rangers moved in force and their final report gave everyone who read it an advanced case of the creeps. All of the gold was still in the caves or in the tunnels. All of the Nazis' trucks were there, as were a few helicopters. There was even food on the tables of the mess areas, some of it still hot in the bowl.

But there weren't any Nazis, anywhere. A week of confounding land and air recon missions confirmed it. Just like the Mayans before them, all 280 Nazis of the Recovery Mission had simply disappeared.

*

Hunter fought off a shiver and took a long swig of his beer.

The rest of the report detailed the long range planning for occupation of the Canal. Major Dantini and his guys didn't know it yet, but they were about to be offered the job of administering protection over the waterway, using United American funds to hire local, trustworthy mercenaries. A large UA air base would also be established at Panama City, and UA naval units would regularly patrol both entrances to the Canal from now on.

As for the gold recovered by the Nazis from the other Maya sites, Jones and Brother David had held a meeting'' at Cancun a week before to discuss returning the bullion to the native tribes living near the sites, and basically letting them decide what to do with it. This meant that the enormous gold find at Uxmaluna-still a fairly well-kept secret -would now come under the control of the Tulum Indians.

The gold down under the Nazca Plain, now buried under tons of rubble, would stay right where it was for the time being.

The report finished up with a request from Jones that Hunter meet him in Dallas in two weeks time. Once there they would be able to pore over the large amount of Nazi documents captured when UA forces broke into the Twisted Cross HO_ skyscraper. Dallas was selected as the meeting location because that's where Hunter's F-16XL was undergoing extensive damage repairs, the second time it had been in the GD shop in less than a year.

Hunter finished his beer and quickly opened another one. Also inside the package was a letter from Major Frost, postmarked Montreal. Hunter's fingers were trembling slightly as he ripped open the envelope and read the short note. It simply said that Frost had determined that Dominique was now part of an organization called Inner Light, a group which specialized in meditation,

"openness" and "channeling." Frost promised to get an exact location of their retreat in the Canadian Rockies and send it to Hunter as soon as possible.

He also reported that Hunter's letter to Dominique which he left in the care of mutual friends in Montreal had been hand-carried out to the Inner Light retreat. So for better or worse, Hunter had to assume she had received it.

He was making a mental note to buy Frost a case of Scotch when he noticed the package contained a third envelope, this one unmarked other than his name written across it.

He opened it and to his surprise, he found it contained a photograph of Elizabeth, with a note attached by tape. The note, which covered up all but her pretty face in the photo, simply said: "Surprise me as soon as you can.

Love, Elizabeth."

He was anxious to look at the rest of the picture, but it took him a full minute to peel off the tape holding the note on. But when he did, he felt his jaw drop to his chin.

The photo showed her lying across a huge bed, absolutely naked . . .

As luck would have it. JT was walking by from getting a beer and caught a glimpse of the photo.

"All right, Hawker, my man!" he said after letting out a long wolf whistle.

"Looks like your trip in that flying bucket of bolts wasn't a waste of time after all."

Hunter looked at the photo and then laid back down on the sand and covered his eyes.

"I'm not so sure," he said.

THE END

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BOOK: The Twisted Cross
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