This would be the dashing General Sun-yat Moon, all right. He was a man Harry had managed to learn something about in the last six months. Like any good case officer, especially one assigned to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Brock had done his homework. Before his insertion into China, he’d committed every line on the man’s face and every filling in his mouth to memory. Even knew his favorite movie: Bridge on the River Kwai.

It was starting to come back to him now.

General Moon, fifty-six years old, was born in Jilin, Manchuria. He was a widower with two grown daughters, twins, both of whom had been trained in the shadow arts since childhood. Rumor had it, they were both high- ranking Te-Wu officers. That’s secret police in Chinese. Their current whereabouts were unknown, but both were believed to be on assignment in the field.

Moon was a seasoned battlefield commander. He’d come up through the ranks. But more important, Sun-yat Moon was deputy chief of the much-feared Special Activities Committee, People’s Liberation Army. A vicious, hard- line Communist, known even in Beijing for his extremist ideological stands, Moon was now in operational command of more than a million Red Chinese, for want of a better description, storm troops.

And, he was second in command of the Te-Wu. Tough outfit, to put it mildly. Harry couldn’t even imagine what a badass the number-one guy must be.

The gentleman now getting ready to kill him was also the officer who had commanded the Thirty-eighth Home Brigade, responsible for the slaughter of thousands of demonstrating students in Tiananmen Square in 1986.

Busy boy.

Moon’s mission was to suppress dissidents on mainland China. Which Brock figured was about as tough as being on the California Raisin Board like his step-dad had been before he retired to a sun-kissed casita in Santa Rosa. There just aren’t that many bad raisins, Pop. And there just weren’t that many fucking dissidents period, end of report, in Red China, either. They’d all learned to keep their mouths shut at Tiananmen. It didn’t hurt to cover your eyes and plug your ears, either.

Moon’s sidekick, a nasty little horror-show featuring a bald head ringed with greasy black locks, leaned casually against the sweaty bulkhead, whistling a pretty ditty. This bullyboy was semifamous, too, an assassin from the sewers of Hong Kong named Hu Xu. Couldn’t forget that name. When Brock had repeated the name on hearing it in a Foggy Bottom briefing room, he had tried a number of different inflections but it had always come out sounding like a question Abbott might ask Costello. Who’s who?

The four-stars and the Pentagon suits just looked at him and said, “It’s not funny, Agent Brock.”

It isn’t?

Hu Xu was, according to his resume, the assistant consultant of interrogations, and looked like an Oriental Peter Lorre starring in a bad sideshow gig with the Ringling Brothers. This was the little chipmunk who’d just broken Harry’s wrist. Both of these Commie agitators had ugly snub-nosed Sansei .45 automatics aimed at his gut. Brock knew at that precise moment that he was dicked, double-dicked, and redicked. Made him slightly sick to his stomach.

“We’ve been waiting patiently for your arrival, Mr. Brock,” General Moon said in clipped Oxbridge English. He lit a cigarette and stuck it between his thin lips. He kept talking, just letting it burn down without taking a puff. It was kind of cool, actually. “This is my associate, Hu Xu. He will help me find out what I need to know from you. He is a doctor of sorts. A semiretired mortician, actually, who works on both the living and the dead. You seem uninterested, Mr. Brock. Bored. Distracted. Are you?”

“I’m pretty busy figuring out how to kill you two shitheads and get off this fucking boat. That tune your little pal is whistling. Catchy. What is it?”


“I like it.”

Moon laughed. “I’m curious about you, Mr. Brock. You’ve been difficult to arrest and you have caused my Te-Wu officers some embarrassment in Beijing. Let’s talk for a moment before Hu Xu dissects you, shall we? Have you learned very many of our secrets? You’ll tell me everything under Hu Xu’s injections and expert scalpel anyway. What exactly do you know, Mr. Brock?”



“What about Tempelhof?”

“The Happy Dragon?”

“Never heard of him.”


“Leviathan? What Leviathan?” Brock said. Moon just looked at him, reading his eyes for a minute. You could tell he’d spent most of his career doing this stuff and was really, really good at it.

“Given China’s explosive growth, you can hardly blame us for our current political actions, Agent Brock. China is the second-largest consumer of petroleum on earth. You know that. The CIA tracks our consumption numbers on a daily basis.”

“You’re hooked on oil, pal. Welcome to the club.”

“China has only an eighteen-day strategic petroleum reserve. Whereas you Americans have 180 days. We find this inequity unacceptable. You have the Saudis. You have Iraq. And, soon, you’ll occupy Iran, or Sudan, and our new oil contracts with those countries will be null and void.”

“Life sucks when you’re a junkie, doesn’t it, Comrade?”

“China intends, as you have no doubt learned during your recent travels, to redress this gross injustice in the Gulf.”

“May I sit on the bed with the deceased?”

“Please. It’s your deathbed, too, Harry Brock.”

“Thanks. Hey, here’s one for you. What is the significance of the numerical sequence one-seven-eight-nine? I keep seeing that in the middle of a code break. That one has got me stumped.”

Moon ignored him. Time for a new tactic. Brock sat on the edge of the bunk and let his hands fall between his legs, a man who knew he’d been bested. After a few long seconds, he looked up at Moon with tired, bloodshot eyes.

“America will never allow you into the Gulf, General,” he said. “Never. Trust me on that one.”

“Really? Are you quite sure of that, Mr. Brock?”

In reality, Harry knew, China was already headed to the Gulf to get her fix. Yeah, China had the oil monkey on her back now, big time. Harry had recently glommed on to the fact that the Reds had moved more than half a million troops into the Sudan. More were arriving every day. This “secret army,” disguised as “guest” workers, millions of them, was slipping into Africa serving as cheap labor. Here was the thing about the Sudan: It was just three hundred miles across the water from the Saudi oilfields.

But Brock didn’t want to go there. He had to concentrate on more important stuff, like survival. Somehow, he had to live long enough to bring home the bacon. The Chinese weren’t stupid. They knew an American spy satellite couldn’t distinguish between a soldier and a Sudanese migrant worker. The bastards had it all figured out. Only Harry could spoil this Chinese tea party. But first he had to disembark with his head intact.

Right now, the only thing standing between the world’s shaky status quo and a total collapse of the global economy was the Saudi royal family. If the Chinese rolled from Sudan and into Saudi Arabia—or into any Gulf state —well, you don’t want to even think about that. Where Brock came from, counting on the Saudis was what was called leaning on a slender reed.

Harry thought about all the things he could say at this point, and then he decided on, “Forget the Gulf, General. How about Mother Russia? Or Sister Canada? They’ve got a lot of sweet crude.”

Moon had chuckled at “Sister Canada.” He had a sense of humor, you had to give him that. A lot of these Commie four-stars did not.

Moon said, “We know that America will never allow China into the Gulf. But they will allow our ally to do it, Mr. Brock.”

“Really? What ally is that? You don’t mean France?”

Okay, this was the part that really pissed him off. The French. Their behavior toward America in the last decade or so had been despicable. First, their UN votes were bought and paid for by Saddam’s billions. Then, during the early going of the Iraq war, French diplomats were selling details of meetings with U.S. diplomats to the Iraqis!

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