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Authors: Mukul Deva

Weapon of Vengeance

BOOK: Weapon of Vengeance
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The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied so that you can enjoy reading it on your personal devices. This e-book is for your personal use only. You may not print or post this e-book, or make this e-book publicly available in any way. You may not copy, reproduce, or upload this e-book, other than to read it on one of your personal devices.

 

Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author's copyright, please notify the publisher at:
us.macmillanusa.com/piracy
.

 

This book is dedicated to those millions of people the world over whose lives have been disrupted by the senseless violence that mankind is so fond of inflicting on itself.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book would never have been possible if it had not been for certain people who came into my life at the right time. Al Zuckerman of Writers House, who was invaluable in giving the story shape and holding my hand from start to finish. Fran Rittman for selflessly connecting me with the right people at the right time. Avital, Idit, Gabriella, Jawad, Lilach, Ido, Karim, Amatullah, and Lynette, to name a few more, who shared their invaluable insights of their wondrous countries or various other aspects that totally flummoxed me. They made me feel emotionally connected to the characters in a special way. To each one of you I offer my humble and heartfelt thanks.

To my wonderful family for giving me the time and space to indulge in the (almost) solitary love of my life, writing.

To my comrades-in-arms in the Indian Armed Forces who were kind enough to ensure that I did not make any major blunders while writing about tactics, weapons, and weapon systems. However, I must stress that all technical data used in this book has not been provided by anyone; it is already in the public domain and available on the Internet and in libraries.

To the National Arts Council of Singapore for providing me the wonderful opportunity to finish this book in double-quick time. Singapore has been a fantastic breeding ground for me, freed me from so many worries and enabled me to focus single-mindedly on writing.

And of course, last but not the least, to each one of you, dear readers, who have egged me on with praise and criticism, by writing in to me, by blogging about my books, and of course, buying them.…
☺

Any errors, factual or technical, that still exist in this book are solely my fault or have been deliberately left in there by me to prevent any misuse of a technology or an idea.

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE

This book is a work of fiction, although some of the events mentioned here may have actually taken place.

All the characters, countries, places, and organizations described or mentioned in this book are fictitious or have been fictitiously used, and any resemblance to any place, organization, country, or person, living or dead, is absolutely unintentional.

In several cases, artistic license has been taken with the places mentioned in the book, distances between places, and the general topography.

In order to prevent an actual attack being carried out on any monument or building, the location and layouts of all monuments and hotels mentioned in this book have been suitably altered. Similarly the security arrangements of all places have been fictitiously described.

The technical details of the various weapons systems, the specifications and methodologies of bomb making and weaponry, as well as the tactics and security procedures employed by any police, military, intelligence organization, and/or militant organization, as also all criminal, forensic, and investigative procedures, have been deliberately kept slightly vague, inaccurate, and/or incomplete, once again to prevent any misuse, accidental or otherwise.

There is no slur or malice intended against any religion, race, caste, creed, nation, organization, or people.

 

PREFACE

Of all the books I have written, this is the one that gave rise to many conflicts within me. With every page I wrote or person I interviewed, I felt a strange, almost irresistible, emotional connection developing between the book, the characters, and me.

I must also confess that the success and publicity generated by the Lashkar series are weighing on me, and I await reader and media response to this book with some anxiety. This pressure has also been instrumental in ensuring I've put my heart and soul into this book, to make sure it lives up to, if not exceeds, the previous ones.

While researching and writing this story, it became clear to me that—race, region, and religion notwithstanding—the human race has displayed an inexplicable proclivity for violence. This is despite the fact that we facetiously call ourselves an
intelligent
life-form. Any species that is willing to kill so easily can scarcely be considered intelligent by any yardstick.

We, as individuals, teach our children the virtues of caring and sharing, yet as nations and religious groups show so little tolerance for others. That is why guns continue to roar, bombs go off every day, and the dust never settles.

 

CONTENTS

Title Page

Copyright Notice

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Author's Note

Preface

Epigraph

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Day Eight

Day Nine

Day Ten

Day Eleven

The Days After

About the Author

Copyright

 

Negotiate as if there were no war and fight as if there were no negotiation.

—Menachem Begin

 

DAY ONE

The woman with the Mediterranean complexion blinked as she emerged from the aircraft into the bright Sri Lankan sunlight. Though early in the day, the light was already harsh. As was the medley of thoughts clashing in her head.

Lowering her wraparound shades over large, almond-shaped eyes to cut out the glare, she paused at the top of the stairs and surveyed Colombo's Bandaranaike Airport.

Stark brown fields with intermittent patches of green stretched away beyond the barbed-wire fence ringing the runways. Scattered along the fencing were security posts with tall, searchlight-mounted sentry towers. Grim reminders of the insurgency that had torn apart the island state.

Barring an odd airport vehicle and caterpillar-like luggage trolleys snaking around, the runway was devoid of life. An air of despondency hung all around. Not a good feeling. She gave a slight shiver, as though to shake it off.

As she descended toward the bus waiting to take passengers to the squat, yellow terminal in the distance, she watched a jetliner swoop down like a huge hawk, its blue and white Finnair logo sparkling in the sun. She heard a distant thud, followed by the smoky blistering of rubber as the jet's wheels made contact with the tarmac. The roar of engines faded as it vanished down the runway.

It was a short walk to the bus, but she could feel sweat in her armpits. Arriving from the London chill, she was annoyed by the heat, which caused her to hurry into the air-conditioned comfort of the bus. It did not take long for the bus to fill up. Soon they were on their way. Almost everyone was switching on mobiles, several already in animated conversations. The young girl standing beside her had tuned out the world with her iPod and was swaying to some unheard beat.

Conditioned by her training, the woman did yet another rapid scan with practiced eyes. She had done this many times during the flight, but compelled by habit, did it again. Her danger antennae remained quiet. Nothing out of sync. Yet.

Those who did not know her would have assumed she was just another thirty-something masking her femininity; though the baggy, almost masculine clothing did little to conceal her breasts and voluptuous figure. Those who knew her would have noted she was in battle gear.

The baggy black jeans and equally loose, full-sleeved, blue cotton shirt were not just to keep her cool. They would also let her swing into action should the need arise. She never wore skirts or dresses on a job; neither were practical, nor were they a good idea in the man's world she had occupied most of her working life. Also, skirts and dresses were not designed to carry the armory of an MI6 agent, which comprised a mobile, a BlackBerry, a weapon, spare magazines, and, very often, a secure digital radio. Nor could they conceal her backup, the .22 pistol in her ankle holster.

Today, of course, she was weaponless. Not good. She felt naked without them; the feeling intensified by her hyped-up state. Also missing was the protective, standard-issue Kevlar vest. Black, patent leather, rubber-soled, lace-up shoes completed her attire. The one-inch heels and rubber soles ensured she could move swiftly and soundlessly. Her black shoulder-length hair was neatly pinned back; ensuring no errant strands in her eyes. She wore virtually no makeup. On a job, she always dressed down.

As the bus swayed to a halt outside the terminal, she jumped out and headed for the immigration counters. She carried herself with the ease of a professional soldier. And she knew she looked good. Male heads turning as she passed confirmed that.

While waiting in line at the immigration counter, she ran through her operational checklist. She could not afford any mistakes. Time was short and there was a great deal to be done.

Nothing in her demeanor gave any inkling of the turmoil in her head. No one observing her could have imagined the immensity of the mission she was on. Not that she was dismayed by the obstacles that lay between her and her targets. Far from it. She wished she'd been able to run a detailed background check on her targets and her adversaries before leaving London, but there had been no time. Despite that, she felt ready and committed. She would pay any price to ensure she succeeded.

“Never forget your purpose in life.” Her mother, Rehana's, words echoed in her head. “Never forget the blood your family has shed. Never forget what we have suffered … are continuing to suffer. No matter what, you must not let our sacrifice go to waste.”

For a moment, the memory of her mother made her falter. The sight of her shattered, decimated body ripped at the woman's heart. But it was a fleeting lapse.

All these years, she had prayed for the day when she would finally raise her hand and strike down those who had inflicted so much misery on her people. And now the day of reckoning was almost at hand. Ten days more, and she would demolish the Israeli–Palestinian Peace Summit.

Ruby Gill strode forward. Eagerly. Completely focused. Nothing would stop her. She knew.

*   *   *

Ravinder Singh Gill, the tall, lean Inspector General of Police and head of the Indian Anti-Terrorist Task Force, was en route toward his third-floor office in Delhi Police HQ. Conscious he needed the exercise, Ravinder went past the elevators and took the stairs.

Though he was well past fifty, the years had been kind to him. With his neatly tied turban, flecks of gray spotting his mustache and beard, he cut a dashing figure in black pants, sky blue shirt, and patent leather shoes. A Montblanc pen peeped out from his breast pocket. Black cuff links embossed with the family's double-headed lion crest completed his attire. The lion had one paw raised, ready to strike. It resonated with his mood.

His day had begun with the never-ending mother–daughter discussion about marriage. These had been their sole agenda ever since their daughter, Jasmine, celebrated her twenty-second birthday. It took only minutes for them to degenerate into an acrimonious harangue. Today had been no exception. Not a great way to start the day. Ravinder was in a sour mood when he had left the breakfast table and headed here.

He sensed the day was not going to get better when he came out and saw the driver changing a tire on his Scorpio SUV.

BOOK: Weapon of Vengeance
7.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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