Line of Sight, p.1Tom Clancy
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Maden, Mike, author.
Title: Tom Clancy line of sight / Mike Maden.
Description: Line of sight | Series: A Jack Ryan Jr. novel ; 4
Identifiers: LCCN 2018010783 | ISBN 9780735215924 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780735215931 (epub)
Subjects: LCSH: Ryan, Jack, Jr. (Fictitious character)—Fiction. | Intelligence officers—Fiction. | Kidnapping—Fiction. | BISAC: FICTION / Suspense. | FICTION / War & Military. | GSAFD: Suspense fiction.
Classification: LCC PS3613.A284327 T64 2018 | DDC 813/.6—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018010783
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Also by Tom Clancy
About the Author
Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal. . . . A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all. I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where. Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.
ATTRIBUTED TO OTTO VON BISMARCK AT THE CONGRESS OF BERLIN, 1878
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
Jack Ryan: President of the United States
Scott Adler: Secretary of state
Mary Pat Foley: Director of national intelligence
Robert Burgess: Secretary of defense
Jay Canfield: Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Arnold Van Damm: President Ryan’s chief of staff
Gerry Hendley: Director of The Campus and Hendley Associates
John Clark: Director of operations
Dominic “Dom” Caruso: Operations
Jack Ryan, Jr.: Operations officer / senior analyst
Gavin Biery: Director of information technology
Adara Sherman: Operations officer
Bartosz “Midas” Jankowski: Operations officer
Lisanne Robertson: Director of transportation
Dr. Cathy Ryan: First Lady of the United States
Kemal Topal: Turkish ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tarik Brkić: Commander, Al-Qaeda in the Balkans
Shafiq Walib: Captain, Syrian Arab Army
Aslan Dzhabrailov: Lieutenant, ground forces of the Russian Federation
Aida Curić: Owner, Happy Times! Balkan Tours
Emir Jukić: Happy Times! chief operating officer and tour guide
Dragan Kolak: Officer, Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA-OBA), Bosnia and Herzegovina
SEVEN CORNERS, VIRGINIA
Dr. Guzman rubbed her tired eyes. She became a doctor to heal the sick, not to file endless reports. But here she was, typing away after hours.
No matter. It was the price she paid to run the free clinic for the poorest of the poor in the area, mostly immigrants.
She checked her watch. The delivery was late. As soon as it arrived, she’d finish up this last budget report and head home for some needed shut-eye.
A noise in the back room startled her. She glanced up from her laptop, listening.
Probably just the rats again, she told herself. Gross.
She made a mental note to pick up some more traps at Lowe’s tomorrow on her way in.
She settled back down into her spreadsheet, her bleary eyes focused on the empty columns she still needed to fill with numbers. Her fingers froze.
She smelled the acrid tang of sweat and dope before she felt the blade against her throat.
The man stood behind her. Grabbed a fistful of her hair.
“The drugs are in the safe. I can’t open it,” she said in Spanish, her first language.
The voice behind her laughed. “Don’t want the drugs, bitch,” he said in English. “We gonna party.”
Guzman whispered a prayer and cursed her stupidity. She’d left the back door unlocked for the delivery. That meant no alarm. That’s how he got in.
And with no alarm, no help was on the way.
The man grabbed her shoulder and spun the chair around. He stood over her, flashing a gold tooth in a nicotine-stained smile. His bare, ropy arms were slathered in tattoos, but it was his shaved skull that shocked her. His entire head, from the neckline up, was a tangle of blue ink, with MS splashed across his throat and 13 emblazoned on his forehead.
She recognized him. He had come in last week, a wreck. Hep C and gonorrhea. He gave a name—Lopez—but no ID. She assumed it was fake. Didn’t matter. He was sick, she was a doctor. She treated him. Even if he did give her the chills.
“You don’t have to do this,” she said, steeling her voice.
“Don’t have to. Want to.” He smiled. He stepped closer, thrusting his belt buckle close to her face. He laid the blade flat against her cheek. “So do you. If you want to live.”
“Not like that.”
A soft whistle from behind.
The gangbanger whipped around, pulling a chrome Ruger .357 out from beneath his shirt. Fast. A real gunslinger.
But a larger hand was faster. It grabbed the four-inch barrel and yanked it up toward the ceiling, then outward and away.
Fast, but not fast enough.
Tendons snapped in the banger’s wrist, but his index finger smashed against the cocked trigger. A magnum round fired with a deafening roar into a ceiling tile, superheating the barrel in the big man’s right hand. He didn’t let go.
The big man’s left hand crashed into the banger’s jaw, buckling his knees. He crumbled to the floor, out cold.
It had all happened in a flash.
Dr. Guzman didn’t have time to scream, let alone help. She stared wide-eyed at the man standing in front of her now. Six-one, one hundred and ninety pounds of lean muscle. Black hair, blue eyes.
Still in shock, all she could manage was, “Who are you?”
The man tucked the Ruger into his waistband.
“My sister Sally sent me. With those.” He pointed at a backpack on the floor a few feet away, where he had set it down. “Antibiotics. Said you were running short.”
“Dr. Sally Ryan?”
“Then you must be Jack Ryan.”
He shrugged and smiled.
The Syrian fighter stood on the roof of the apartment building, shielding his aging eyes from the western sun as he watched the children playing in the street seven floors below. They sweated and laughed in the long shadows of the fading light, swarming after the ball like bees chasing a dog, ignoring the calls of their anxious mothers to come in and clean up. He smiled.
Kids everywhere, the same.
The truce was a mercy. “Thanks be to God,” he whispered to himself. He checked his watch, a nervous habit. By the fading light he knew the muezzin’s voice would ring out over the loudspeakers, calling for the maghrib.
He had raged when his battalion commander, an Iraqi, first announced the truce with that butcher Assad and his paymasters, the godless Russians. But the last nine weeks had given them time to rest and regroup with smuggled weapons, food, fuel, cash. Now they were ready for anything up close, and their Stinger missiles kept the dreaded Russian jets and helicopters out of the skies. The senior Al-Nusra commanders were all stationed here; even the emir was living in Idlib, just three blocks away. This was the safest place in Syria, as long as the truce lasted.
The war seemed far away now. A distant, painful memory. So much blood. And for what? Life was better than death, was it not?
He craved a cigarette, even after all these years, but cigarettes were haram, and men in his unit had been executed for smoking them. But perhaps a strong coffee after maghrib, he thought, his eyes tracking the black-clad women scurrying into the street, clapping their hands and shouting, trying to herd the laughing children back to their homes.
The adhan began, a strong voice calling the faithful. Its familiar words warmed his soul. The mosque would be full tonight.
He picked up his rifle and headed for the stairs. Perhaps the war was indeed over and these children would finally know peace.
Thanks be to God.
NINE MILES SOUTH OF IDLIB
A bead of sweat trickled down the side of Captain Walib’s face despite the A/C unit blasting overhead. The Syrian captain stared at the monitor in front of him, his right hand poised near the master launch button.
The monitor verified the ready state of the fire-control computers on the six TOS-2 Starfire launch vehicles stationed nearby, each composed of a seventy-tube box missile launcher fixed on a heavily armored T-14 Armata tank chassis, and all linked to his command console.
He and Major Grechko sat at their stations inside the cramped BMP-3K armored personnel fighting vehicle, Walib’s mobile command post. Technically, the Russian major was only an adviser on today’s operation. But in reality Grechko was evaluating Walib’s combat command capabilities along with the new TOS-2 Starfire system.
Walib stole a quick glance at Lieutenant Aslan Dzhabrailov sitting near the doorway. The young, broad-shouldered Chechen was the platoon leader of the commandos guarding his unit. There was a fierce intelligence in the man’s pale gray eyes and a well-used ten-millimeter Glock on his hip. The Chechens were savage, brutal fighters—a breed apart, the best in the war, at least on his side. Dzhabrailov was a man to be feared.
The major checked t
Walib smoothed his mustache with his thumb and forefinger, hesitating.
“Something wrong, Captain?” Grechko asked.
Walib was a Syrian patriot. He had no problem killing terrorists, especially foreign ones. The Syrian “civil war” was fought by everyone but Syrians these days. But they were all just proxies for the Americans and Russians, who happily sacrificed the Syrian people on the altar of their superpower ambitions.
He hated them all, especially today.
“There are no civilians in Idlib, Captain,” Grechko said. “Only Al-Nusra bandits, the women who breed them, and the children who become either bandits or breeders. This is a war of demographics. We must fight accordingly.”
This wasn’t the war Walib had volunteered to fight. He never imagined the terrible weapons under his command would be used to slaughter innocents.
But if he disobeyed Grechko’s order, the Russian would pull his nine-millimeter Grach pistol out of its holster and splatter his brains against the BMP’s steel hull, and simply order one of Walib’s lieutenants in the other vehicles to fire.
Nothing would be accomplished except that Walib would be dead in exchange for a few minutes of respite for the doomed civilians.
He hated himself. He hated this war.
But he hated dying needlessly even more.
“Just checking the spin on the number-eleven gyro,” Walib said. A convenient lie. “Good to go.”
“Then you’re free to launch. Proceed at once.” Grechko’s drooping bulldog eyes narrowed.
“Yes, sir.” Walib flipped the safety cap on the launch button and jabbed it before he could change his mind.
Instantly, the French-designed, solid-fuel motors on the 122-millimeter rockets fired. The roar was terrifying, like the shout of God himself, even inside the idling command vehicle. Each half second, another nine-and-a-half-foot-long missile screamed out of its tube. A full-throated chorus of death.
Thirty-five seconds later, all 420 missiles had launched, lofting nearly fifteen tons of thermobaric munitions into the air. The TOS-2 master fire-control computer coordinated the launch timing and trajectories so that all of the warheads arrived on target simultaneously, avoiding warhead fratricide and increasing the explosive effects.
Line of Sight by Tom Clancy / Thrillers & Crime have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on25 votes