Cutting Edge (Tom Clancy's Power Plays, Book 6)
Tom Clancy, Jerome Preisler
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Africa becomes the battle ground in 21st-century war. As fiberoptic cable is laid down around the continent, two entities fight to control it. One is UpLink Communications, headed by Roger Gordian. The pan-African fiberoptic ring is his most ambitious—and expensive—endeavor to date. His nemesis, Harlan Devane, is penetrating the network. Trading in black market commodities with terrorists and rogue states, the cable offers him unlimited access to a most valuable product: information. To ensure his success, Devane makes his move halfway around the world. He hits Gordian where it hurts—and kidnaps his daughter. Now, Gordian must trust his UpLink team as never before, as they fight on land and sea to turn the tables against Devane…once and for all.
His features were blank. “Didn’t you hear the beeps? ” Nimec said. He was tapping his unprotected ear. “We’re done. ” Ricci stared at him in silence a while longer, his Five-Seven still held out, the pupils contracted to black pinpoints in his ice blue eyes. Then he looked back down the firing lane. The lane had gone completely dark, its target and hostage figures fixed in position. A lighted red sign high on the back wall was blinking the words:AUTO TIMEOUT Ricci slowly lowered the gun and slid it into his leather.
Ricci nodded. “This is bigger than Gabon,” he said. “If I were in Gordian’s position, I’d do the same as him. He’s got to hang tough. ” “With some extra manpower to protect him, I hope. ” “A fresh Sword detail’s flying out,” Ricci said. “He’ll be fixed okay. ” “You mean to join them? ” Ricci shook his head again. “Pete Nimec can handle whatever comes up,” he said. “Better I stay out of his hair, mind the family farm. That way we’ve got all fronts covered. ” Glenn lipped his cigarette, reached both hands into his pants pockets, and fished out a couple of quarters.
The arrangement with Geteye was one of incentives, each stage of the operation they successfully pulled off boosting their profits. The convoy’s interception already guaranteed them a nice sum, with another agreed-upon bonus due if UpLink’s head of security was sniped out—a hit the headman believed was about to be accomplished. Were his men able to get away with hijacking the truckloads of multimillion-dollar cargo, they would stand to make a certain fortune, receiving a cut of the loot from warlord Geteye after its turnover by the Cameroonian black marketeer.
Ricci examined the tubes in his palm a moment, then dropped them indifferently into the pocket of his sport jacket. “Decide whatever you want,” he said. “I’ll stick them inside my shaving kit in case I nick myself. ” Thibodeau shrugged without response, watched Ricci leave the office, then sat looking at its closed door in silence for long minutes afterward, trying to figure out for sure what had passed between them. In the end, however, he was only positive that it scared the living daylights out of him.
Seventeen minutes past eleven, to be exact. There was a Berthoud clock on his living-room bureau, and Nze recalled having looked at the antique timepiece as he had reached for the phone, setting down his late-evening glass of wine. “Bonsoir, Macie. ” The voice in his handset had belonged to Etienne Begela. “Ça va? ” “Bien, merci. ” Nze had waited. Begela’s cordial tone had thrown him off guard, as it had at the hotel earlier that night. His superior in the Office des Postes et Telecommunications, and a Beti Fang of maternal family linkage, Begela had not spoken a word to Nze for weeks before the reception .