Authors: Don Pendleton,Stivers,Dick
Tags: #Fiction, #det_action, #Men's Adventure
A Wall Street skyscraper had been invaded. Hostages were being held — and, with them, enough confidential banking data to imperil the entire world.
Ugly, city-wide panic was inevitable until Able Team was called in. Carl Lyons, Pol Blancanales and Gadgets Schwarz were the only possible hardmen for such a mission.
The invaders claimed to be FALN, the Puerto Rican terrorist group. But they were not who they said they were, and their huge quantity of devastating armament appeared to have come from. . . the Vietnamese.
Our democracy won its independence through the heroism and sacrifice of countless citizen warriors—some recognized by history, others anonymous. Now we are threatened by terror. At any time, without warning, despite the efforts of our police and armed forces, the defense of family or friends could fall on the individual. To these citizens, who may suddenly find themselves warriors, we dedicate this book.
blond blue-eyed ex-LAPD sergeant, this recent veteran of the Justice Department's war against organized crime has seen enough blow-torched, pliers-mangled corpses to know what to do about today's psycho punks—shoot first.
from a Chicano background, he's known as Pol for Politician. Able Team's broad-shouldered senior member now fights the war against international terrorism with a special kind of sophistication and fury.
code-named Gadgets for his wizardry with electronic devices, this Vietnam vet with metaphysical leanings has a genius-level iq and a penchant for the unusual and unexpected in strategy and action.
It had been a dream of Mack Bolan's for many years. It was a dream of hope and a dream of despair.
Sometimes it was a real dream, a vision in the deepest sleep, that the Executioner's Death Squad—a hellish unit of ruthless, disillusioned veterans of Vietnam—was reborn in glory from the flames and ashes. More often it was a daydream that the guys were back again, the warriors of Death Squad on the attack in the world once more.
Death Squad. They were certainly not an hallucination. They were once a maelstrom of nine very real and extremely dangerous men. They were heroes of the Vietnam War. They were recruited by Mack Bolan when the Black Hand let out a $100,000 contract on the big guy's life.
What a unit! Chopper Fontanelli and Deadeye Washington… Flower Child Andromede and Gunsmoke Harrington… Boom-Boom Hoffower… Bloodbrother Loudelk… Whispering Zitka…and Politician Blancanales and Gadgets Schwarz.
All but the last two were killed, mercilessly felled by Mafia guns in the Executioner's final wipeout strike against the mob's hardsite on the cliffs of Balboa, Southern California.
The Executioner himself was wounded in that engagement. And the bloodied survivors, Pol and Gadgets, were captured by police in a retreat from the Beverly Hills estate of LA czar Julian DiGeorge. The best thing about that bitter time was Carl Lyons, a sergeant with the LAPD, who became a Bolan ally, later joined him in his campaigns in San Diego, Las Vegas, Hawaii.
After the carnage in California, Bolan vowed never to involve allies in what he saw as an exclusively personal crusade.
But it is hard to keep good men down, especially those hardasses who had no fear of death and remained undaunted by any Mafia.
Blancanales and Schwarz and Lyons had in fact found new strength in Bolan's cauldron of justice and retribution, and they would remain allies of the man in black to the fullest extent of his final miles. For them, there was no other choice.
Carl Lyons was the only one of the three who had been baptized in fires other than the Asian war. His experience was with the Los Angeles police, a career which reached its brutal limits with the get-Bolan detail codenamed "Hardcase," a war waged against the Executioner by law-enforcement officers because of Bolan's severe infractions of the law in his own war against the Syndicate. It was a fierce assignment, and it involved Lyons' growing awareness that Bolan was right at whatever cost. A new road was opening up for him. It was the road of righteous war, paved by that giant American who
. For Lyons, a trim blue-eyed man of iron who knew the ways of unconventional combat as well as any veteran, there would be no turning back.
Rosario 'Pol' Blancanales was a Black Beret in 'Nam, and served on the infamous Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols. It was as a guide on penetration missions in that conflict that Pol first met Mack Bolan. Blancanales earned his "politician" nickname from his skills in dealing with all types of people, his ability to win acceptance easily and blend chameleon-like into any environment. During the Vietnam pacification programs he learned the obscure dialects of the country fluently; it was an unusual accomplishment, indicative of high intelligence as well as his outstanding degree of ordinary common sense.
Herman "Gadgets" Schwarz was the wizard, a counter-intelligence advisor in Vietnam who had turned his genius-level skills at electronics to good effect in the Death Squad. Seeing Gadgets blaze away with a primed Ingram, it was hard to visualize him as the person he really was—the favorite son of a reclusive, slightly screwball lady in Pasadena who filled her house with cats and Herman's leftover gadgetry. But nothing was predictable about Schwarz.
Nothing was predictable about any of these individuals: seasoned in guerilla war of the utmost extremes, they operated now in a nation stalked by multinational terrorists, fighting an undeclared war much more momentous than anything that had gone before.
Two of them—Pol and Gadgets—had started a detective agency called the Able Group, which with Blancanales' sister Toni soon became a multi-operative team that took on cases too involved to be cracked by ordinary law enforcement. Meanwhile Lyons had become a Federal Agent, an undercover specialist for the Justice Department.
These roles would soon lead to the realization of Bolan's dream of rebirth. His John Phoenix program, a war for the Executioner that would take him to new shores and new enemies, had left the home flank dangerously exposed. And so the Stony Man team was forged, a grouping of powerful individuals headquartered in the secrecy of Stony Man Farm, which was their heavily equipped hardsite in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Historically the scene of a four-year "valley of humiliation" for the Union forces against Stonewall Jackson, it became a fitting locale for the ultimate rebellion: Death Squad is back!
It has always been Mack Bolan's feeling that the universe is a violent thing, created by a series of explosions. Bolan and his allies are those continuing explosive forces that sustain and advance life itself. None of them will ever really be on stand-by—they are always in action.
Now named Able Team, Mack's three-man anti-terrorist operation will move into action whenever conventional forces are unable to act. It is Able Team's job to take over from law enforcement when the odds are too stacked. That bright, crisp morning in New York City, for example, when something gross and bloody happened in Wall Street… a day and night that were to be slashed and torn with terror. Who would have thought that the whole thing began in Florida, in Miami's not-very-crisp, far from morning-bright "Little Havana"? Able Team would soon find out…
Backed by a brilliant Stony Man unit that includes Hal Brognola and April Rose, the Executioner's Able Team is a dream come true. Born in flames, they are ready to die at any time, but they will never be extinguished.
Come in, Able.
They followed Rosario Blancanales through the crowded, neon-bright streets of Miami's "Little Havana," never getting too close, but never letting Blancanales out of sight. The Latin nightlife of the district moved around them, young women in tight skirts, macho young men in disco finery, the groups of big-bellied older men standing in front of cafes, laughing.
Carl Lyons leaned across the front seat of the van and adjusted the passenger-side rearview mirror. The nightlife didn't fool him. Many of those macho young men trained in the Florida Everglades, grunting through swampwater as their instructors fired machine-gun bursts to keep their heads down. Those older fellows, who looked like grandfathers, were cold killers. Betrayed at the Bay of Pigs, some of them financed their dreams of recapturing Cuba through the smuggling and sale of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. If any of them was to learn the identity of Rosario Blancanales, or see into the interior of the closed van carrying Carl Lyons and Herman "Gadgets" Schwarz, there would be death. The FBI had lost several agents in the streets and alleys of Little Havana. The agents simply disappeared.
We're searching for explosives, not drugs
, Lyons thought.
But we'd never get the chance to explain
Blancanales stood a few car lengths behind the van, talking with a fat man in a polyester leisure suit named Hector. Lyons watched them in the rearview mirror.
"What're they talking about?" Lyons called back to Gadgets.
"Hector's got the information," Gadgets answered from behind the curtain that screened him from view. In the back of the van, Gadgets monitored the body-transmitter that Blancanales wore. Every word he spoke and almost all of Hector's words were transmitted to the van. A tape machine recorded the dialogue. Gadgets also maintained communication with the FBI Emergency Task Force assisting Able Team.
"How's the Politician making out?"
"Okay, I think. Wish my Spanish was better, those guys are talking real fast. And it's Cuban Spanish, so I don't know what I'm hearing — this is it! Hector says he's going to make a call. He has to make a phone call."
Lyons watched the man step to a pay phone, dial a number. Blancanales glanced down the street to the van. Lyons touched the brake pedal twice: flash-flash.
"Rosario's talking to me," Gadgets told him. "Everything's cool. It might be a go."
"Wish there was some way we could talk back." Lyons didn't like Blancanales being on one-way contact only.
"He's got it under control, he didn't need our back-talk," Gadgets smiled. "Hey, the man's returned."
Lyons watched Blancanales and Hector cross the street. They got into a Cadillac. "Where are they going?"
"Hector says he'll take Rosario to the man who's got the information. It'll cost him a thousand dollars."
"I don't like it."
is correct. Price is right, but what's with the car ride?"
"Gadgets, you come up front. You drive in case I have to jump."
"Be cool, Lyons. If the Politician's going along, he must feel okay about it. We'll just wing it."
"But I don't feel good about it. Getting in the man's car could be a quick ride to a hole in the ground. Pass me the Ingram and a couple of mags. Leave the gun in the wrapper."
Lyons wore a .357 magnum in a shoulder holster. But he believed in choosing the right tool for the job: a rifle with a scope for long shots; a pistol for tight shots; and when needed, a weapon for the middle range, which in this case was a silenced Ingram machine-pistol, requisitioned from the CIA arsenal.
Gadgets passed the plastic-wrapped weapon through the curtain. Then two extra magazines, thirty 9mm rounds each. As Lyons followed Hector's Cadillac through the Miami streets, he checked the silencer's mounting and jacked a round into the chamber. He flipped on the safety.
"What's going on with Anders?" he asked Gadgets.
"Keeping his distance. You want to talk to him?"
Mitch Anders headed the Emergency Task Force. They worked in cooperation with the Able Team, providing back-up assistance whenever needed. But right now, Lyons didn't want assistance. Gadgets passed a hand-radio to Lyons, who spoke in double-talk code. "Politician's with the man. We're winging it. You stay away."
"Got it," Anders answered. "Two blocks away, minimum."
Lyons followed the Cadillac into a run-down area of warehouses and industrial buildings. The streets were empty except for parked semis and trailers. Lyons flicked off the van's lights, stayed a block behind the Cadillac. When it stopped, the ex-LAPD cop parked the van behind a truck.
"What now?" he asked Gadgets.
"Hector's saying his friend lives above the warehouse. They'll go up and talk to him."
"It's a trap! Stay with the van, I'm on my way." Lyons grabbed the Ingram from the floor.
"Wait! Rosario's got him. Lyons!"
"Rosario's got him, says for you to come on up." Gadgets laughed. "Can't trick El Politico. He knows an ambush when it's in front of him."
"Let me have two hand-sets."
With the Ingram and the small hand-radios, Lyons ran to the doorway where Blancanales held the small, plump man up against the wall.
"What's happening, man?" Lyons put one of the radios into Blancanales' free hand.
"He and his friends were going to take me, ask me about my questions." Blancanales put a 9mm double-action Browning against Hector's throat, just an inch above the bright pinks and blues of his floral-print shirt. "I think he was going to sell me to the man I wanted to ask about."
Lyons stripped the plastic bag off the silenced machine-pistol, scanned the alleys and doorways near them. Blancanales questioned Hector in rapid-fire Spanish, prodding him with the Browning. Hector answered, cringing.
"When we walk in there," Blancanales indicated the door to the warehouse, "they'll take me. Hector's friends."
"Is there another way in?"
Hector answered in English. "Through the back."
"You take us in there," Lyons told Hector, pointing at him with the Ingram. "If you want to live, you take us in quiet, we ask our questions, and then we leave. No one gets hurt. We'll even pay the thousand dollars. What do you want to do?"
"The man you wish to question is not here. I have not seen him since I sold him the ship. But I can tell you he does not smuggle drugs. He says he does, but he does not..."
There was the sound of shots in the building. Hector froze.
"What's going on?" Lyons demanded.
"I don't know," Hector answered, "but my son is in there." He looked in panic at Lyons and Blancanales. "My son knows more about this man that you want. Maybe he can answer your questions!"
"Lead the way," Lyons ordered.
They ran through a passageway sparkling with broken glass, stinking of urine, Hector slightly ahead, the well-built, light-footed Lyons and dark Blancanales following. There were more shots inside.
In the alley behind the buildings, there were three cars — two new Cadillacs and a year-old Lincoln. Though plump and over fifty, Hector moved fast, dodged between the cars. A form stepped from the shadows. Hector threw himself down as a shotgun blast smashed the Lincoln's hood.
! Lyons's Ingram ripped the man like a silent chainsaw. Hector ran to the corpse, took its shotgun. Lyons was one step behind him. He pressed the still-smoking Ingram to Hector's head.
Hector didn't pause as he searched the dead man's pockets, took out 12-gauge shotgun shells. "Help me now, and I will tell my son to answer all your questions."
"Your word?" Lyons glared.
"You have my word." Hector smiled, loaded the 12-gauge. "
Por un momento
," Blancanales added.
Hector threw open a steel door, sprinted into the dim interior of the warehouse. Shots flashed. There was a burst from an M-16.
Lyons called for assistance on his hand-set. "Anders! Lyons here. Time to move. Firefight in progress in a warehouse. Gadgets is out front. Repeat, firefight. Automatic weapons. Seal the area. We will attempt to capture suspects for interrogation."
"Moving," Anders' voice responded from the hand-set. "We are approximately one minute away."
Lyons rolled through the doorway and took cover behind a fork lift. An automatic's burst punched into the concrete-block wall behind him. Blancanales ran past him, took cover in a high stack of crates.
Boxes and bales stacked on steel racks formed thick walls twelve feet high. Aisles as wide as a fork lift ran the length and width of the building. A dim exit light revealed a dead man near the door to the alley. He had taken a shotgun blast in the face. Most of his head was gone.
"Hector!" Lyons called out. "Where are you? Who's on your side? Which ones are the enemy?"
"Here!" Hector shouted from the far side of the warehouse. Shots echoed, the heavy blast of the shotgun, the ripping sound of the M-16. There were the pops of pistols. Then the blast of the shotgun again.
Hector ran toward them. He half carried a young Latino, about twenty years old. Blancanales braced his pistol hand with his other hand, fired round after round over their heads, into the shadows behind them.
Lyons saw someone move in another aisle. He saw the silhouette of an M-16 in a man's hand.
"Freeze!" Lyons shouted.
The man spun, but before he could aim the M-16, a stream of slugs ripped through his chest, spraying blood behind him. He was dead before he fell.
Hector gave the shotgun to Blancanales, eased his son to the floor. The boy's clothes were drenched with blood from two superficial wounds.
"I killed one of them. My son says there is only one other..."
"With the M-16? He's dead."
"And there is a friend of my son's back there, wounded very badly."
"A doctor's on the way," Lyons told him. "Now the answers."
In minutes, the alley and filthy streets around the warehouse looked like an FBI parking lot. But by that time, Able Team already had information that was to send them out of Miami, and far to the North.