The Lion and the Lamb
The panic-bar to the heavy metal door gently clicked shut - the sound just barely audible - and the warehouse space was plunged into total darkness. Hugging against the wall in the blackness, Dan Williams could hear the pounding of his own heart and the quiet sound of his breathing as his eyes strained through the darkness. Dressed in black from head to foot including a stocking cap that covered his head leaving just his face and what showing smeared in black grease, he had become one with the darkness. He pulled the infrared goggles over his eyes. A bit of a misnomer, as the vision before him was now in brilliant green. The fifty feet of space before him was clear of obstruction. Most of the building was empty. He glanced to the right and left, not finding what he was seeking. He looked up at the labyrinth of pipes that scrawled overhead. Carefully, Danny stepped out into the room, his gaze still upward. He could feel the urgency of time and it was against him.
It must be up there - there is nowhere else for it to be. Again he turned his head, the surreal vision of green highlighting the walls around him. He crouched down trying to examine the floor for any irregularities. Nothing. His attention was pulled once again to the pipes overhead. Stepping silently across the floor still looking upward he suddenly stopped. The small light blazed brilliant white in the green field. He momentarily lifted the goggles and the small red light gleamed at him through the dark.
He again lowered the goggles. It was nearly thirty feet up to the grid-work of the ceiling. Silently he pulled the slender line from his belt pack. I never quite get past the feeling of being Batman at a time like this. He managed to smile at his thought. With perfect precision, he fired the tiny hand launcher, the end of the line whistled upward and spun around several pipes tightly. He tugged the line. Secure. Clipping the end to the safety harness, the small pulley propelled him upward through the darkness and he grabbed hold of the pipes.
There was a sound at the door below and he quickly pulled back the goggles to prevent blindness when the door opened and he froze, clinging to the pipes by his hands. At ground level, a guard armed with a rifle entered the warehouse, silhouetted in the doorway by the daylight behind him. He slowly walked around the room, glanced upward once, but did not see the man in camouflage black suspended above him.
Danny's hands were sweating inside the black gloves, the muscles of his arms trembling slightly. I am getting too old for this. The man below him stalled, lighting a cigarette, glanced around the room one more time, then departed, plunging the room back into darkness.
Exhaling slowly, Danny lowered the goggles and again the scene was green. Tightening his tired arm muscles, he curled his back and got his legs and feet up, wrapped them through the pipes and pulled himself to the top of the pipes. He slid towards the small lighted device suspended on the ceiling above the pipe work. He could just reach it with arms stretched upward. Removing the infra-red goggles, he flipped on a small flashlight and slid it into the tight band on the side of the stocking cap, then adjusted the beam slightly.
The bomb, not much larger than a cigar box, was illumined. He paused looking upward at it for a moment. A bad location and a difficult angle. He could only work on it arms stretched overhead and neck hyper-flexed. I'm gonna be sore tonight.
He examined the small device, looking for irregularities, exposed wires, booby-traps. Content that it was clear, he used a small, magnetized screwdriver and loosened the first screw that stuck to the tool. He pocketed the screw and repeated the action carefully three more times. Again examining the cover and finding it clear, he slowly removed it. By this time his arms were again shaking from being held overhead. Dammit, my hands are going numb. But of greater concern was the small timer on the device. To his dismay, he had only 90 seconds to complete the disarming. It was going to be tight.
He removed his gloves and again examined the device. Small wires of all colors spaghettied through the open bomb and it was difficult to get a clear view from three feet away. Time was running, but he needed to be accurate; he needed to be right. Bombs never give second chances. He had used up thirty precious seconds. He strained his eyes to see better as he pulled the small wire clippers from his belt. The brown wire was obviously hot - but not the right one to clip first. It seemed to have a booby-trap backup. Several wires were decoys. One was unshielded copper that seemed to serve no purpose. A ground of some kind? Who would ground a bomb? Another thirty seconds were gone. I've got to make the call. He traced the hot wire, looked for cross-overs. The yellow wire on the back corner. That is first. Carefully inserting the clippers and not touching anything else, he snipped the yellow wire and held his breath staring intently at the countdown. No change. Good. Now the brown wire. The timer was still running. Ten seconds. He reached slowly towards the device, angry at his shaking muscles. Eight seconds. Cannot touch anything else. Six seconds. He got the needle-nose clipper around the wire. Four seconds. He squeezed. Two seconds - the timer stopped. He froze. Was I right? Nothing happened. He sighed and gave a relieved smile.
A sudden high pitched squeal sounded.
Shit. He startled backwards as the doors below were flung open. The blazing overhead lights flashed on, blinding him as he struggled to hide. Armed men rushed into the warehouse, shouting orders. One spotted Danny almost immediately.
Danny felt as much as heard the shots as three in quick succession slammed into his chest, the force of impact knocking him backwards as the black shirt splashed in red. A fourth shot struck him in the forehead as he plunged now limp from the pipe work towards the concrete floor. The line whizzed through the pulley, then the safety cinched up stopping the fall with a sharp jerk about five feet above the floor.
One of the men stepped closer and lifted Danny's head. "You okay?"
The door at the far end of the warehouse slammed open. "All right boys and girls!" the burly police trainer shouted to the group of ten students behind him. "I want your feedback."
Two of the guard players had released the harness safety and lowered Danny to the floor just as he regained consciousness.
"Okay?" the first man asked him again.
He put at hand to the red spot of paint his forehead. "What did I say about those headshots, Simpson? Dammit it anyway - paintballs hurt." A deep welt was rising beneath the paint and grease.
"Sorry, man. An accident, you know."
"Officer Kama," the trainer fingered a female trainee. "Was this a success?"
She hesitated. "He disarmed the bomb," she commented a bit meekly. "I guess so."
"You guess so." His gaze played over the others. "Any other brave soul?" Disappointed at their silence he turned to Danny. "Officer Williams, comments?"
"I died because there wasn't enough time to completely examine the device. There was a trip wire alerting the bad guys that their bomb was being tampered with. When it did not go off, they knew and came in guns blazing."
"But it didn't go off," one student repeated.
"Okay. And once I'm dead, what's to keep them from resetting it?"
The trainees were silent.
"Thank you," the trainer remarked. "Listen up - bombers will put devices in tough places, they will not use red, black and white wires because they aren't following stinking building codes. They will try to confuse you. You have to be smarter than they are. And dying is not success. We have too much time and training invested in each of you." He bent down and picked up the infra-red goggles that had fallen from the ceiling during Danny's shooting. He walked over to Danny. "These babies cost about $3,000 each. Whose payin' for this pair?"
Danny and Simpson pointed at each other.
The trainer grunted and walked back to his recruits. "Thank you, gentlemen, for the demonstration."
Danny came to his doorway. "Better than some."
Steve now looked up. "Well, you aren't covered with flour, so you either disarmed it or took a shower."
"Both," he replied.
Steve squinted. "Nice bruise."
He grinned and reapplied the small cold pack to his forehead. "I died."
With a grin Steve remarked: "Tough break." His phone rang and he picked it up. "McGarrett."
From her desk, Jenny called to Danny. "You have a call on line two."
Danny stepped into his office, and, setting the icepack aside lifted the receiver. "Williams."
"Clearance code," issued a computerized voice.
He blinked, momentarily tongue-tied. "Seven, niner, zulu."
There was a click. "Security - zebra, delta, tango."
Feeling the adrenaline surging he replied. "Delta, delta, alpha, charlie."
"Sequence complete," the mechanical voice responded. There was a short lag. "33 degrees 54minutes North. 35 degrees 28 minutes East." There was a click and the line disconnected.
Danny quickly scribbled the instructions down even before he hung up the phone. He looked up to see Steve standing in his doorway looking nearly a pale as he did.
A small suitcase was in the chief's hand. "Danno, I need to be out of the office for a few days. Something has come up."
Danny glanced back down at the numbers on his notepad. "Steve, I - " He stopped.
Their eyes met momentarily, both realizing the something of major significance was happening to their nation. Steve stepped closer and extended a hand that Danny accepted and shook. "God be with you, Danno."
"And with you, Steve."
Steve turned and left the office. Danny paused only long enough to retrieve his passport from his drawer and followed.
Steve sprang from the back seat of the car the moment the driver pulled to the curb and the sailor opened the door. The young ensign saluted and Steve returned the same, hardly giving a thought to his action. After all these years, the Navy was still in his blood. The SP on guard outside of the intelligence office opened the glass door for him and salutes were exchanged once again.
Richard Garrison's office was on the third floor. Steve did not want to wait for the elevator and chose to bound up the stairways instead, arriving to the top floor almost without breaking into a sweat. He took pleasure in knowing he was in fine physical shape. No telling when his body would need to react to keep him alive.
The male secretary looked up. "Sir, Commodore Garrison is expecting you." He directed Steve into the director's office.
Garrison rose from his desk, hand extended. "Good too see you again, Steve," he said warmly. "You seem none the worse for wear."
"Excuse me, sir?" Steve said politely.
Garrison flushed slightly. "That ordeal with Ming "
"Aha," Steve said, as though the brainwashing experiment of the counter-espionage scientist was a thing long forgotten. In reality, it had been in the front of his mind. "I am fine. We are fine."
He nodded. "Glad to hear that." He motioned Steve to a seat. "Your country is asking for your help, Steve."
McGarrett waited, knowing as did Garrison that the Navy never asked - it ordered. Although his official naval service had concluded in 1960, they had at intervals called him back - no one in ONI ever completely retired.
"We have an extremely sensitive issue regarding industrial espionage."
Steve blinked. "Industrial espionage? I'm not sure I'm your man for that."
Garrison managed a lean grin. "The president has asked for you specifically."
"The President - of the United States?"
He nodded. "Know what a supercomputer is?"
"Used by number-crunchers. Hot technology."
Garrison folded his hands. "The Cray-1 has been out there for just under two years. Something like a hundred times faster than our traditional banks that process information and data. It uses what they call a microprocessor. Companies are tripping over each other to develop the next fastest and smallest processor. Word is that someday we may have a unit that can work faster than your "iron brain" in Honlulu PD and be not much bigger than a washing machine."
Steve had never been too enthused by the latest technology industry - except where it intersected with crime - usually in banking. "Impressive," he commented, but did not really mean it.
"I need you to go to Dallas."
"The government has been working with Texas Instruments to develop programming to operate missile systems. That work has been compromised. The navy wants their best to find the thief."
McGarrett knit his brows. "Certainly you must have some -technology - person more qualified-"
"This isn't about technology. It's sabotage and treason." Garrison's expression had deepened to one of grave sobriety. "That's not all."
No, I suspected not.
"The NRC reports that nearly three pounds of weapon grade plutonium has disappeared from a facility in Great Britain."
Steve's heart skipped a beat. "Three pounds? Disappeared?"
"Vanished from inventory."
"How is that possible?"
"The Brits are understandably embarrassed."
"Embarrassed? Seems like that is an understatement," Steve commented.
Garrison spread his hands. "There are people looking in to that. There is concern that the microprocessor situation may be related." Garrison lifted an eyebrow. "There are hundreds of possibilities for the outcome. If an unfriendly power is attempting to build a guidance system using the stolen technology to deliver a homemade nuclear device the results will be catastrophic. The United States or her allies would be potentially at the mercy of some hothead third world country. Maybe even an independent terrorist."
Steve contemplated the outcomes. The US has always been spared the ravages of terrorism that seem to plague Europe. Independent terrorists like Carlos the Jackal with no conscience, less morals and very little reason with a nuclear device --- He shivered internally.
I need you and your deductive abilities, Steve. I've already talked to Governor Jameson."
"You have his approval?"
Garrison's smile was tight. "I did not ask for approval. We are to protect the United States from this threat. You are to determine the risk to our soil - and neutralize it."
Why does that sound so easy to say? "All right," he replied. "Anything else?"
Garrison managed a smirk. "Isn't that enough? Flight to Dallas." He tossed out a airline ticket. "You'll be met at DFW."
Steve rose, saluting Garrison and pocketed the ticket. "I'll be in touch, sir."
Garrison nodded. "God be with you, Steve."
As McGarrett hurried back down the three flights of steps he considered that it had been the second time in an hour that deity had been invoked in this matter, and it was only hours old. He considered the severity of the threat, of nuclear material be scattered by the wind across Oahu by some madman, or extremist. Are we the target? Does it matter? Honolulu or Los Angeles - the result is the same - the targeting of innocent civilian lives. The driver was still waiting and seemed to know where to go. Without comment from Steve, he spun the car towards Honolulu International. In half an hour, McGarrett was airborne and headed eastward.
The air was hot, dry, filled with dust and unfamiliar smells. Children were playing in the streets, but the old mud-brick fronts of buildings were pock-marked with hundreds of bullet holes. A rusty while metal sign that had once been white with flowing red lettering still contained the boast in several languages "Beirut: Paris of the Middle East." Once upon a time it might have been true, but Beirut was in the death throws of civil war. Most of her landmarks of power or artistic achievement were in ruins, walls missing, craters from shells exposing shattered remains of a more glorious past.
Dan Williams hung to the shade of a building, a small duffle over one shoulder and tried to look inconspicuous; not a feat easily achieved as a pale, blue-eyed, Arian-looking foreigner amongst those of darker middle-eastern complexion. It was still day-light for which he was grateful. The citizens moved about their daily work, looks of suspicion and fear on all faces. Mothers tried to keep their children within arm's reach.
The marketplace was still fairly active. Danny bought a small loaf of mannoushe zahtar to quell the grumbling of his empty stomach and nodded to the shopkeeper. He spoke no Arabic and felt at disadvantage. This was not a good way to start this adventure. His contact had not met him at the airport. Never having been to Lebanon before, all he could do was circulate and pray his people found him before the militants did.
Something squeezed his left elbow and he hesitated, tightening his right arm against the revolver under his shirt.
"Come," a quiet feminine voice instructed.
He turned - no one was there - but an enrobed figure in black was moving away from the crowd into an alleyway. Cautiously, he turned to follow. The abaya clad woman, her face concealed beneath the hijab by her burqa, paused momentarily at the far end of the alley, then without looking back, turned into a doorway. He carefully approached the doorway, paused, touched the knob and it turned. Right hand now gripping the .38, he quickly pushed through the door, gun extended first, and closed the old wooden door behind him.
"Nice entrance," remarked Marten Camp from the small couch where he huddled before a brief case.
Danny glanced over at the young woman who was removing the black hajib. She tossed her long black hair and gave him a smile, then disappeared behind a curtain hanging in the doorway. His gaze lingered after her. "What's going on?"
Camp looked over at him. "I was pretty sure you'd follow a woman. You've always been the playboy."
Ignoring the remark, Danny holstered the pistol. "What is going on?" He repeated. "There was no contact at the airport."
"I know," Camp replied, sounding disinterested. "You got here just the same, didn't you?"
He scowled. "I thought I was done with you."
Camp looked up at him. "You did?" He smiled. "Whatever ever gave you that idea? I just saved your ass and McGarrett's in Japan - remember that?"
"And that is supposed to indebt me to you?"
"You answered the phone, didn't you?"
He sat down on the couch. "Didn't think I had a choice."
"Good boy, you didn't."
Ruffled at the demeaning conversation, Danny rubbed his hands together and glanced back towards the curtain. "Who's she?"
"In time." Camp closed the brief case. "I need the best disposal and stealth person I could get. That's you."
"Not John Etherman?"
Without blinking Camp replied. "He's dead."
Danny paused. "Okay. What am I chasing?"
"I guess I'm in the right place for that. Which one?"
Camp crossed his arms. "Weapons grade Plutonium 239. Three pounds of it went missing from a facility outside of London, England."
Danny blinked in shock.
"Mi6 has shared a name. Abjar Zeid." Camp laid a grainy black and white photo on top of the case. "He's here. I want you with me to confirm the plutonium."
"You've set up a meet with this guy?"
"Tonight. He is one of the idealist kind. Sold out to Allah - and money."
The curtain parted and young woman, carrying a tray with tea and small wafer cookies came into the room and quietly placed the tray in front of Camp. She turned her gaze again upon Danny a smiled softly before leaving the room.
"She likes you," Camp remarked pouring tea into the two cups.
"Really? How can you tell," Danny remarked and accepted a cup. The tea was very strong, but not bitter. Sweetener, he thought it might be honey, had been added.
Camp grinned back at him. "She came with the room. She meets to my - creature comforts - very well. Worth all I pay her."
Danny did not comment further. Every relationship he knew of Camp's was based on economics. Camp buying his female companionship seemed natural. "Is there a plan?"
"Zeid is playing with more than one buyer - probably six or seven."
"Going to the highest bidder?"
Camp shrugged and closed his brief case. "I don't really care what his business plans are, as long as I am the buyer left standing. Zeid is just the first piece of this, but with enough pressure he will take us to the next." He glanced at his watch.
"What's the cover? I mean, neither of us will pass as Arab."
Camp grinned. "Sure I can. I've been passing for years. And you won't have to." He rose and called back to the young woman in a rush of Arabic.
She appeared, a black garment folded over her arm.
Camp gave her another order in Arabic and waved towards Danny.
She gave him a quizzical look, then a self-conscious smile.
"What?" he demanded.
Camp chuckled. "Cross dressing should come naturally to you - you graduated from Berkeley, didn't you?"
End part 1