The Day Before Midnight
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Paramilitary terrorists who have taken over a top-secret nuclear complex kidnap Maryland welder Jack Hummel and force him to cut through a half-ton titanium block that conceals the launch button.
Thiokol. My mother was a damned good ob-gyn. My father was a surgeon. Do we have to go through my whole life? ” They did. This went on for a little while and he answered all the stupid who/when questions curtly, pretending to a charmless boredom in his eyes. But as usual, he felt himself tightening when it came to his twisted adolescence, his wretched relationship with his father, whom he could never please until it occurred to him he wasn’t supposed to please him, and what this led to, all the schools, the expulsions, the business with the sleeping pills, the time he thought of now as only a long dark tunnel as he crawled through slime toward the light.
The planet. In my way I’m the most moral man who ever lived. I’m a great man. They’ll hate me for a dozen generations and worship me for a thousand. ” “Uh, yeah, but—” Jack decided he didn’t have the mental equipment to argue with the guy. Who was he, some dropout from a state university who now made his living with his hands? What power did he have against a guy like this? “The torch, Mr. Hummel,” commanded the general, the power of his brilliant eyes surging into Jack. Obediently, up came the torch and again it began to lick at the metal.
Sir? ” It was a young communications technician. “Yes? ” “There’s some men from FBI counterintelligence here. They have a warrant for your arrest. ” “Sir. ” Alex blinked in the bright air and looked. He could see the vehicles lumbering toward him across the meadow. “No helicopters,” he said. “They are not using helicopters, they are using trucks. ” He watched the convoy come. “All right,” he said, “stations, please. Get the men out from under the tarpaulin and to their combat stations. ” A whistle sounded.
Maybe a part of this other aspect of the plan. What, Dr. Thiokol? Any ideas? ” “I don’t know,” said Peter bluntly. “The only thing I know about is missiles. And missile basing. And I know this. You’re going to have a hell of a time getting up there, whether you get hit by another outfit or not. I had access to a computer survey of small-unit action in Vietnam and it suggests that all the advantages are with the defenders. ” “Jesus, you had to get a computer to tell you that? ” Peter ignored him, plunging onward to the dark heart of the matter.
He thumbed the slide release, and the heavy sheath of metal slammed forward. The gun snapped in his hand. He reinserted the mag, and rejacked the slide to chamber a round. “Safety up or down, man? ” “Up is on. You go to red by snapping it down. That’s a double-action piece, so you don’t have to carry it cocked and locked. ” “Cocked and locked it’s gonna be,” said Walls, “just like my old . 45. Cocked and locked is best. ” It was a nice piece for backup, but not quite what he wanted for the main work. “Now, what about Mr.