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Authors: Don Pendleton,Stivers,Dick

Tags: #Fiction, #det_action, #Men's Adventure

Tower of Terror (10 page)

BOOK: Tower of Terror
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Taximan came in. "We got to get out of here. There's a crowd outside, the police are on their way. We got a Vietnamese hanging out of a tree with most of his head gone. I'm afraid this is going to be on the six o'clock news."

Lyons didn't listen. He studied a series of photos. In one photo, the man the FALN folder identified as both a terrorist and embezzler spoke with a young man. In another photo, the unidentified young man spoke with an older man. Though the photo was grainy black and white, taken with a telephoto lens, Lyons recognized the distinguished sandy-haired gentleman talking with the hard-faced young man. He had seen the gentleman posing with a former President and Secretary of State. He was the President of the World Financial Corporation.

12

Siren wailing, a New York Police Department squad car cut through the late-afternoon traffic. Taximan kept the front bumper of the cab only a few car lengths behind the police black-and-white, roaring through intersections at sixty miles an hour, throwing the wheel from side to side to swerve around slow trucks, accelerating in open stretches of avenue, power-gliding around corners.

In the cab's back seat, Lyons shouted instructions through the security phone. "I want a team of surveillance agents ready
right now!
Street clothes, unmarked cars, panel trucks. They'll need hand-radios, D.F.'s, minimikes. Cameras with light intensification lenses, super-fast film. And I want an M-16 with a Starlite scope. I want them ready to move when we get there, and we're on our way in,
now!
"

He shared the backseat with Blancanales and several boxes of photos and paperwork taken from the apartment. Blancanales patiently sorted through the material as the cab skidded from side to side of the streets and avenues. He skimmed over the typed and handwritten Vietnamese, a language in which he was fluent, searching for names. There were hundreds of sheets.

"Anything?" Lyons asked.

"It'll take me weeks to get through all this. But look at these dates, they go back months. This was no rush job. They've been on it quite a while."

"Any background? Why they were sent? What they were looking for?"

"Can't tell. These are only day-to-day logs. Surveillance records. Copies of weekly reports. All signed by Le Van Thanh."

"She was the commander?"

"That's right. When they stitch her head back together, we'll have to ask her about Davis and that other man, the man who links Davis to the crazies. I see Davis' name all over the place, but I don't see the go-between's. Maybe they didn't get it."

"What is the hold the crazies have on Davis?" Lyons pondered the mystery out loud. Then, to Blancanales: "When did the crazies first contact him? You find anything that could tell us that? What's the date on the first picture with the go-between and Davis?"

"The photos aren't dated." He held up one eight-by-ten. "Labels with numbers. The numbers refer to reports. But I haven't matched up the reports yet with the photos. Can't until I have some help with this."

"Then they could have been talking to Davis for a week, two weeks?"

"Could be they had pressure on him before the Vietnamese came to New York. We could go straight to Davis. With these photos, he can't deny meeting with the crazies."

"He could have told me this morning, and he didn't. Maybe they have his children or grandchildren, and he thinks he can tough it out on his own. Maybe they've been threatening his company all along. Maybe taking the Tower was only the final turn of the screw. I want Davis watched. Because whatever they want from him, now's the time to take it. And when they try, we'll take their contact man."

Federal agents in electrical company uniforms watched the squad car and taxi roar past, then replaced the street barricades. In seconds, the cab screeched to a smoking-tire stop.

"Just take the photos with Davis in it," Lyons told Blancanales. "We'll have these agents carry the boxes in. They're just hanging around anyway. Heard what I said, Taximan?"

"I'll put them to work, sir. Right away."

They ran from the cab, weaving through the agents in uniforms and street clothes standing at the commandeered office building's back entrance. An agent at the glass doors stopped them.

"Who are you guys? Show me some official identification."

"We don't have identification," Lyons told him, tried to shove past. The agent shoved back, and found himself on his back on the concrete, looking up at Lyons and Blancanales.

Blancanales laughed, put his hand on Lyons' shoulder. "Ease up, man. These guys are on our side!"

An agent in gray janitor coveralls stepped from the building and held the door open for them.

"I'm Hardman Three's liaison man," he said. "He's waiting for you upstairs. Many interesting developments."

Another man — slight-figured, in a conservative suit and brown shoes, carrying a zippered folder — rushed to the door of the elevator. But Lyons straight-armed him, said, "Wait for the next one up."

"Please," Blancanales added.

"But he's..." the liaison agent protested. The elevator doors closed. The car shot up. "He was waiting to talk to you. He has some background material on WorldFiCor."

Lyons turned to the agent, emphasized his words with a finger to the man's chest. "I want you to understand this, Mr. Agent. We have been in the shit all day long. We have done the work you feds can't. And the reason we can do it is that we don't exist. We don't have identification, we don't have names. You have never seen us. We will never be news, we will never be on tv. No one will ever include us in their expose, or in their memoirs. If we get killed, we're just meat in a body-bag, no name and no face. So we show up here, and what do we have? Some clerk with a notebook trying to brief us. That is a violation of our working rules! When Brognola tells me to talk to the man, then I talk to him, not before. Nobody comes up and introduces himself to us! Do you understand?"

"Right. Yes, sir. Mr. Brognola has to give you the okay. I'll call him back, right now. Security is important."

"You talked to Brognola?" Blancanales asked.

The elevator stopped, and Lyons stepped out as the doors slid open. He glanced in both directions down the corridor, but all the doors were closed.

"Yes, sir. He called me." The agent pointed to the left. "This way. I think we've made contact with someone trapped in the Tower. They're flashing a light in Morse code. We're trying to get some information from them, but there are problems."

"What problems?" Blancanales asked.

"Their Morse code is bad. Very slow, and they get some of the alphabet wrong. But they're getting across to us."

"Where are they?" Lyons asked.

"The fifty-third floor."

The agent in overalls opened an office suite's door. Lyons strode in. "Hey, Hardman Three! You missed the action!"

Gadgets said, "What action?"

Schwarz was in a stock broker's plush private office. Shipping blankets now covered the desk, the chairs, the bookshelves and the carpet. Consoles and recorder decks crowded the walls. At the window that overlooked the WorldFiCor Tower, tripods supported devices still in their vinyl cases. Gadgets stood at the window, looking out at the Tower through a pair of binoculars.

Twilight shadows and sunset glare broke the Tower's mirror walls into alternating patterns of black and fire. Here and there, lights showed in the other buildings on Wall Street. But very few lights broke the depthless black of the Tower's shadow patterns. One light blinked on and off, in dot-dash sequences.

"We interrupting anything?" Blancanales asked.

"Not really. Just a second." Gadgets kept the binoculars on the blinking light for another second, then went to an intercom phone. "You taking down the message? Great. I'm in conference."

Gadgets turned to them. "Hope their lives don't depend on their Morse. Because if they do, they're dead."

"What's happening in there?" asked Lyons, moving to the window.

"There's a man named Charlie Green on the fifty-third floor. There's a woman named Forde, I think, and some others. I sent their names downstairs. I don't know how they'll be able to help us. But..." Gadgets grinned "...I have got the most fas-ci-nating development. Remember what happened... wow, was it only last night? The big bang? It just about..."

"Wait!" Lyons interrupted. He looked at the liaison agent.

"I'll go," the agent offered.

"How about bringing up that fellow who wanted to talk to us?" Blancanales asked. "We can talk in the corridor out there. So that we don't compromise the mission. That okay with you?"

Lyons nodded. He waited until the liaison agent exited. "We can't say anything about Miami or North Carolina here. And the less any of these fellows know about what we do here, the better. Those are the instructions. What were you saying?"

"Like last night. The big bang? Listen." Gadgets went to a tape deck, rewound a few feet of tape, snapped the machine into forward. There was background hiss, then a blast of electronic noise.

"You mean a radio detonator?" Lyons asked. He looked to the Tower, stared.

"Yeah. I think it might even be the same one. Sounds the same."

"They tried to blow their people away? Again?"

"That is one organization I do not want to join," Gadgets joked.

"When was this?" Lyons demanded.

"When we were chasing around, trying to follow the Politician. I got back and I had it on tape. Either something went wrong inside the Tower, or the creeps in there weren't set up."

"Are there any negotiations?" Blancanales asked.

Gadgets laughed. "They want a ticker-tape parade."

"It's a set-up," Lyons spat out. "Those crazies in there were set up, the Tower was set up, and any negotiations are pointless. Whoever's running the action plans to blow the Tower away. And they've got their claws into WorldFiCor in ways we can't even imagine. Show our partner what we found."

"Take a look at this." Blancanales showed Schwarz the eight-by-ten. "We don't know who this one is. But guess who the other one is — the distinguished-looking guy? World Financial Corporation President E.M. Davis."

"Wow."

"We took these from a Vietnamese," Blancanales continued. "Maybe in a few hours we'll have the answers to about five hundred different questions, but until then we only have these photos."

The intercom phone buzzed. Gadgets took it.

"Who is this?"

"Taximan, sir. I'm downstairs in the Coordination Office. They've had a team watching Davis all day, as protective surveillance. In fact, they're following him around midtown Manhattan right now."

"They're on Davis now." Gadgets gave Lyons the phone.

"What's he doing?" Lyons demanded.

"Driving around talking to people. He's in the theater district."

"How many cars and trucks does that surveillance team have?"

"Three, including us when we get there," said Taximan.

"You'll need more. And cars that he couldn't have seen during the day."

"There's a lot of men out at the apartment, picking up pieces. Maybe when they..."

"Maybe nothing! This could be critical. Put the equipment in the cab. Call the men at the apartment, have some of them join the surveillance team..."

"Just a second!" Gadgets interrupted. "If all those cars are operating with FBI frequencies, the crazies could be monitoring them. Use the secure phones or don't chance it."

"Yeah, that's right. But we only have those three secure phones. What about scramblers for the other cars?"

"Remember," Gadgets cautioned Lyons. "They used scramblers. They might just be prepared to unscramble FBI devices. Why don't you borrow my secure-phone. It's here somewhere."

"Rosario, you want to put off that translation work for a while? This might be interesting," said Lyons.

"Might be more than interesting," agreed Blancanales.

Lyons spoke into the phone again. "Okay, Taxi. We got a plan in motion. And where's Smith, my chauffeur? We left him out at the apartment house, right?"

"He's back now. He didn't have a police escort, so..."

"Tell him to be ready to move. We're on our way downstairs." Lyons slammed down the phone.

Blancanales already had the secure phone in his hand, the photos of the go-between and Davis in his inside sports coat pocket. "Ready to go."

"If we can't get anything quick," Lyons told Gadgets, "we'll come back. Learn what you can from those people trapped in there. It could help a lot when we go in tonight."

"We're going inside tonight?"

"Can't wait till tomorrow! See you later!"

"
Adios
," Gadgets said. But his partners were already gone.

Lyons and Blancanales were running to the elevator when a voice called them back.

"Officers! Wait, please!"

The slight man Lyons had straight-armed a few minutes before was panting after them. He zipped open his folder. Inside, there was the badge of a United States Treasury Agent.

"So you're official," Lyons nodded. "I thought maybe you were a clerk from somewhere."

"Art Sands," the slight man told him, shaking hands with them both. "Actually, for the last four months, I
have
been a clerk. In WorldFiCor's Department of Data Systems. Mr. Brognola thought I should bring my information to you."

"Great. We're in a hurry."

"Listen. For several years, WorldFiCor, and several of its highest executive officers, have been the subject of an intensive investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Because of the technological complexity of WorldFiCor's operations, the National Security Agency cooperated in the interception of the company's national and international transmissions of data. It was only after the IRS realized the scope of the frauds perpetrated that..."

"Quick, man," Lyons told him. "People could die while you're talking."

"Certainly. In short, there has been an embezzlement of WorldFiCor funds unprecedented in the history of finance. We believe..."

"Catch your own crooks! We don't have time for this." Lyons punched the elevator button again.

"Just a second," Blancanales cautioned. He turned to the Treasury Agent. "So how does this affect what's going on in the Tower?"

"We don't know," the man admitted. He handed Lyons and Blancanales each a collection of sheets covered with graphs and columns of numbers. "But a
billion dollars
is gone. And we don't have any idea where it went."

BOOK: Tower of Terror
10.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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