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.Keeping them all in line were motorbikes patrolling the length of the convoy, ridden by his trusted elite brought across the Channel with him.Like Tanek, driving this truck.The olive-skinned man stared ahead at the road, changing gears every so often, but never taking his eyes off the route ahead.De Falaise admired his single-mindedness.It reminded him of his own.He recalled the first time he'd come across the soldier, in a small provincial town in Turkey.De Falaise had been engaged in a highly illegal gun-running operation when the virus struck, and was quite grateful that people began dropping like flies because he'd been well on his way to getting caught.or killed.He subsequently decided to make his way towards Istanbul, with a plan to somehow travel through Europe and get back home to France.The plan wasn't very clear in his mind, mainly because it was every man for himself in the region at that precise time.What money he had acquired from the deal meant nothing, and De Falaise was beginning to regret handing over the firearms he'd snuck across the borders of several countries.Bullets now seemed to be the only way to get anything, and the only way to stay alive.He certainly hadn't expected to run into his soon-to-be second-in-command outside a small watering hole there.The bar had been quite full, some of the men inside immune to the disease that was sweeping its way across the world, some of them in the later stages of it and desperate to drink themselves to death.De Falaise had realised long ago that there was no point in attempting to outrun the virus, nor was there any point in trying to avoid the people who were coughing up blood everywhere.If it was his time, then so be it; he'd meet the Devil and shake his hand.Who knows, maybe he'd even get a line of congratulation or two for services rendered.As it turned out, De Falaise was one of those spared, so perhaps his 'good' work hadn't gone unnoticed after all.The Devil looks after his own, isn't that what they always said? If so, then he'd also looked after this hulking great brute of a man who'd been taking on all comers in that very bar.Drawing nearer, the Frenchman watched, increasingly impressed, as the fighter picked up men and swung them over his head, using moves he'd never come across before to floor others (De Falaise had later found out this fighting style was called krav manga, a martial art taught by the Israeli army, which Tanek had adapted to suit his own purposes).Breaking one man's nose, driving his fist so hard into it that there was nothing left of the bridge, Tanek had incapacitated another by arcing his forearm and crushing the man's windpipe with a crack that made De Falaise wince.It was then that De Falaise spotted an attacker creeping up on Tanek, knife drawn and ready to spring.He shouted out to the big man to warn him, but Tanek was already pivoting - with a grace that belied his size - and was unslinging what looked like a rifle.It wasn't until the two bolts had been fired, striking the man squarely in the chest, that De Falaise recognised it as a crossbow; but no ordinary one (modified by Tanek himself based on ancient Chinese Chu-ko-nu repeater designs, able to fire from a magazine without the need for single bolt reloading).The rest of the men fled from the scene after that, leaving Tanek and De Falaise alone.Tanek had raised the crossbow, inserting another magazine, and for a moment De Falaise thought he might shoot him too.But no.Tanek walked over, kicking fallen chairs and bodies aside, and stood before him.Then, in that hybrid Southern European-Middle Eastern accent of his barely anyone got to hear, Tanek thanked him for the warning.Taking a couple of bottles of whiskey and two glasses from behind the now deserted bar, De Falaise and Tanek drank and talked, though the larger man would only disclose the least amount of information about himself that he could get away with, all in that monotone voice of his.Information like the fact that he'd once worked as a torturer and knew every single pressure point on the body, especially those that caused the maximum of pain.De Falaise, in turn, told Tanek why he was there, what he was doing, and what he was about to do next."I've been in this business for some time, mon ami, but have always had a craving to see the guns I sell put to better use.To build up an army of my own." He recalled joyous times as a child, playing with toy soldiers - when he wasn't constructing gallows out of Meccano, much to his parents' dismay - sending his troops into 'battle', relishing the authority it gave him even at that young age."It strikes me that we can look upon this little.incident as either a setback or an opportunity," De Falaise had said, knocking back a shot of the whisky."And I, for one, have always been an opportunist.There is much to gain from being organised where others are not, from being able to take advantage of a certain situation and use it fully.History teaches us that, if nothing else." And to emphasise his point, he quoted the Carpetbaggers at the end of the American Civil War, who had come from the North, exploiting the South's weakened state to gain money and power.He laughed when he saw Tanek's eyes glazing over."I apologise.The subject has always fascinated me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]