Larry Bond, Jim DeFelice

Fires of War

Dramatis Personae


Bob “Ferg” Ferguson

Sgt. Stephen “Skip” Rankin, U.S. Army

Sgt. Jack “Guns” Young, U.S. Marines

Thera Majed


Col. Charles Van Buren, commander, 777th Special Forces

Jack Corrigan, mission coordinator

Lauren DiCapri, mission coordinator


Corrine Alston, counsel to the president

Jonathon McCarthy, president of the United States

Thomas Parnelles, CIA director

Daniel Slott, deputy director, CIA

Josh Franklin, assistant secretary of defense

Senator Gordon Tewilliger

James Hannigan, legislative assistant to Sen. Tewilliger


Park Jin Tae, businessman


General Namgung il-Tan, commander First Armed Forces

Dr. Tak Ch’o, scientist, Peoples’ Waste Site 1


Heartless time floats,

A dream, on and on…

— from 'The Seventh Princess,' traditional Korean song for the dead




The blonde took a step backward, clutching at the collar of her blouse as if it had been wide open.

“I don’t think so,” she said.

“Come on. You look like you could use a dance.” Bob Ferguson gestured to the side of the open piazza, where a small jazz band was playing. “They’re playing our song.”

“This isn’t dance music,” said the woman stiffly, “and you’re very forward.”

“Usually I’m not,” Ferguson turned to the woman’s companion and pleaded his case, “but I’m here on holiday. Tell your friend she should dance with me.”

“I don’t know.”

Ferguson laughed and turned back to the blonde. “I’m not going to bite. You’re British, right?”

“I am from Sweden.”

“Coulda fooled me.”

“You’re Irish?”

“As sure as the sun rises.” He stuck out his hand. “Dance?”

The woman didn’t take his hand.

“How about you?” Ferguson asked, turning to the other woman.

“I’m Greek.”

“No, I meant, would you dance?”

Thera Majed hesitated but only for a moment. Then, shrugging to her companion, she stepped over to Ferguson, who immediately put his hand on her hip and waltzed her into the open space near the tables.

“Hello, Cinderella,” whispered Ferguson. “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine. What’s going on?”

“I felt like dancing.”

“I’ll bet. What would you have done if Julie accepted your offer?”

“I would have enjoyed two dances.”

Ferguson whisked her out of the way of a hurrying waiter.

“There’s no one else dancing, you know,” said Thera.

“Really? ‘But I only have eyes, for you.’” Ferguson sang the last words, grabbing a snatch of a song.

“Why are you contacting me?”

“Itinerary’s changed,” he said, spinning her around.

“What’s up?” she asked as she came back to him.

“Everything’s being moved forward. Some sort of push by the UN. You’re leaving for Korea in the morning.”

Ferguson danced her around, improvising a stride slightly quicker than a standard foxtrot to swing with the jazz beat. He’d learned to dance as a teenager in prep school — the only useful subject he picked up there, according to his father.

“We’re not going to have time to get security people on your team,” he whispered, pulling her back.

He felt her arms stiffen and started another twirl.

“You all right, Cinderella?” he asked her, reeling her back in.

“Of course,” said Thera.

“We’ll have people standing by. Relief caches will go in while you’re down South, exactly where we’d said they’d be. Plan’s the same; you’re just not going to have anyone on the IAEA inspection team with you.” He stopped and looked at her. “You cool with that?”

The IAEA was the International Atomic Energy Agency. After two months of training, Thera had been planted on the agency as a technical secretary; her team had just finished an inspection in Libya.

“I’m OK, Ferg. We shouldn’t make this too obvious, do you think?”

“Hey, I’m having fun,” he said, leaning her over.

He glanced toward the Swedish scientist, who was watching them with an expression somewhere between bewilderment and outrage. Ferguson gave the blonde a smile and pulled Thera back up.

“If you want to bail, call home. We’ll grab you.”

Вы читаете Fires of War
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату