Excerpts from Elapid

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“Plainly, we are about to die. We have executed a plan doomed to fail from its inception. Mick Grundy will kill us, and we have only ourselves to blame. We came looking for him only to find his shadow, and now we have run out of options.”


 

“It’s me. Don’t move and don’t speak. You are being watched, and there is a listening device in your house.” The voice from hell. It was Mick Grundy. His hand came away from her mouth, and his lips found hers, and they pressed their faces together in silent passion.


 

They had hoped, especially Mick had hoped, that Russian assassination teams would stop trying to kill him after what he had done for their Mother Russia, but yet another team had been waiting outside the American Embassy in Berlin even after the Russian Ambassador had personally assured him that he was no longer to be pursued.


 

“The reason for this conference is to uncover a resource the Iranians have buried somewhere in our State Department or even higher. That confirms our worst fears that an agent or agents are
well-placed, high in our government circles, powerful and well-connected. This isn’t going to be easy.”


 

“You don’t have to explain Triska to me, Mick. I remember being mind-searched by her during casual conversation.”


 

There was no doubt that this specter was the Colonel they expected. His face and eyes confirmed that he had been hardened over time and that few circumstances would bring him fear.


 

“Follow my lead, Dorff,” Mick said, then turned to look directly at the new arrivals. Meeting their eyes told him that Dorff had sized it up for what it was. Someone wasn’t going to leave this room alive. One of the men shifted his stance causing his long coat to partially open revealing a short automatic weapon just starting to be brought up into firing position. Mick dove toward the floor, drawing their eyes toward him as he drew his pistol. Before he had the first man in his sights, Dorff’s gun opened up from behind the table, and the first target was thrown up and back by the impact.


 

In the dark, his head was hard to see when it started to appear above her, but she knew she was even harder to see in the shadow of the bed. When the man’s head was directly above her, she fired directly into his forehead, sending his body up and slightly back.


 

A terrific explosion shook the southwest side of Berlin as an orange fireball rose high into the sky, casting a flicking light and diverting two commercial aircraft from their landing pattern above the nearby airport. A rolling shock wave broke windows for several blocks and overturned dozens of cars in adjacent streets. Smaller fires were burning briskly in nearby buildings still standing. Later, the death toll would be counted at nearly fifty and that would not include anyone vaporized in the target location of the explosion. Berlin had not suffered a bomb of this magnitude since the war.


 

They had tried to clean Dvorkin’s face of blood while he slept, but there were too many lacerations, some of which should be closed by a surgeon. He was also missing his front teeth, likely broken by repeated blows during interrogation. Dorff shook his head. It was hard to imagine what path of vengeance Dvorkin would take when he was back on his feet.

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