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.This morning both men wore camouflage fatigue pants and plain khaki T-shirts.A folding card table had been set up next to the rust-caked railing and on it were the weapons Smith had requested and extra magazines as well as several boxes of 9mm ammunition, since both pistol and submachine gun used the same.There were also two sets of earphones and several blocks of yellow-dyed ice in a cooler under the table.The big MD 520N helicopter sat squarely on the rearmost hatch cover, its blades folded flat and covers installed over its jet intake and exhaust.Usually the chopper was lowered into the hull on a hydraulic lift, but, as with everything else Juan had done since Smith came aboard, he didn’t want to tip his hand about his ship and her true capabilities.The gray tarp had been removed from over the RHIB that was resting on the second aft-deck cargo hatch.Two crew members were giving the lightened craft a final inspection.“Sleep well?” Juan greeted.He thrust out a hand to show there were no hard feelings over last night’s little staring contest.“Yes, fine.Thank you.I must say, your galley produces delicious coffee.”“That’s the one thing this outfit doesn’t skimp on.I’d have a mutiny on my hands if we served anything other than Kona.” There was no sense in being petty and feeding Smith swill.“Yes, I’ve noticed other places where you are not so, ah, generous.” He wiped a finger along the rail, and the tip came back stained red.“She may not be much to look at, but the old Tyson Hondo gets us where we need to go.”“Odd name.Is there a story behind it?”“That’s what she was called when we bought her, and no one felt any great urge to change it.”Smith nodded to the pristine weapons.“I see another area where you do not pinch pennies.”Cabrillo played up the mercenary bit a little.“A carpenter’s judged by how he treats his tools.These are what we use to ply our trade, so I insist on nothing but the best.”Smith picked up the Glock, hefted it for a moment, and then checked that the chamber was empty.He stripped it down, eyeing each component critically before putting it all back together.He did the same with the Heckler & Koch MP5.“These seem adequate.”Juan handed Smith a pair of ear protectors while he slipped on his own set.He then reached under the table for one of the yellow ice chunks and heaved it as far over the rail as he could.It hit with a splash and vanished for a second before bobbing back to the surface.Smith jammed home a magazine in the H&K and cocked the stubby little weapon.He flicked off the safety, selected single-shot, and brought it to his shoulder.He fired, paused, and fired three more times in rapid succession.All four shots hit the ice, which at the speed the ship was carving though the water was nearly a hundred yards off the port quarter by the time the last bullet struck.Smith waited for the ice to drift a little farther astern, letting it get right to the machine pistol’s maximum effective range, and fired twice more.The first bullet missed and kicked up a tiny fountain of water.The second hit the chewed-up ice dead center and split it into two pieces.“Nice shooting,” Juan called.“Another?”“Please.”Cabrillo threw a second chunk of ice overboard.This time, Smith fired three-round bursts that sent ice particles flying.The block literally disintegrated.They repeated the drill with the pistol.Smith fired off the entire clip with the precision pacing of a metronome.Every shot was a hit.“Satisfied, or do you want to keep going?” Cabrillo had to acknowledge that Smith knew his business.“I have to confess I haven’t had much practice lately on automatic weapons.The Swiss authorities frown on their ownership.So I would like to continue firing the MP5.”“No problem.”They kept at it for another twenty minutes.Juan would load magazines while Smith destroyed chunks of ice.By the end he was hitting with every pull of the trigger no matter how far his target had floated away.Max’s voice suddenly blared over the loudspeaker mounted under the second-level catwalk that ringed the superstructure.“Cease fire, cease fire.Radar has a contact five miles out.”“Wouldn’t do for them to hear us,” Juan said, and took the machine pistol from Smith’s hands.He pulled out the magazine and ejected the cartridge that was already in the chamber.“The ammo stays with me, the guns go with you.Security precaution.No offense intended.I’ll have someone drop off a cleaning kit at your cabin.We eat lunch at noon and take off at one.Is there anything else you need?”“I have my satellite phone, but what about tactical communications?”“You’ll be issued a radio.”“Then I’m good.”“Yeah,” Juan said, “I think you are.”Smith took the compliment with a little nod of the head.9WITH THE DOORS PULLED OFF AND ALL THE SOUNDPROOFING bats removed, the interior of the chopper was as loud as an iron foundry during a pour.And that was just with the turbine at idle.Only Gomez Adams had a proper chair.All the others had been removed to save weight.This left Linda, MacD, and Smith strapped directly to the rear bulkhead with tie-downs intended for cargo.Juan sat next to the pilot on a jerry-rigged folding lawn chair that had been screwed to the deck.Between the passengers was a mound of personal gear, including food, weapons, ammunition, a GPS tracker, and tactical headsets for the combat radios.Along with Smith’s sat phone, Cabrillo and Linda had phones of their own.Juan had never considered stowing their gear in the boat on the off chance something happened to it on the flight in.The only provisions he would allow to go with the RHIB were twenty gallons of drinking water.With the tropical heat and soaring humidity, he figured each of them would drink nearly a gallon per day [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]