Lost City of the Templars

Lost City of the Templars by Paul Christopher Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Lost City of the Templars by Paul Christopher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paul Christopher
operation camouflage of the White Star battle dress uniform bore no relation to the previous standard military markings. At White Star rank was shown by a strip of colored ribbon below the name. Green for a sergeant, blue for a lieutenant, red for a captain, white for a major, black for a colonel and silver for a general. It was all simple and unobtrusive.
    The man tracking Kachiri was a captain named Thomas Plunkett, the direct descendant of Sergeant Thomas Plunkett, who had fought in the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon Bonaparte.
    Like the Thomas Plunkett of history, his present-day namesake was a master sniper, which had been his occupation in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as several missions into Pakistan and more than a few jobs for Blackhawk Security.
    In a number of emerging countries as well as some very ancient ones, not having an assassin in your Rolodex could be a serious flaw in your business plan. During slow times in corporate assassination, Plunkett was usually assigned to jobs like this: protection of high-value assets like the diamond mine and somewhat lower-value assets like Kachiri—valuable because of the services she performed and a major security risk should she reveal what she knew about the hidden and illegal mine.
    Plunkett had been trailing Kachiri in the rain for half a day, following broken foliage, crushed undergrowth and muddy footprints through the jungle heading almost due west. She was making for the river and what she assumed was safety, but she was slowing and Plunkett knew he would catch her eventually. In some ways he was saddened by the inevitability of his success.
    Like most of the people in this or any other jungle, she was not the master of her fate. The young women, some as young as twelve, had been gathered up by other Indian tribes and then sold to White Star, who in turn sold them to the company that owned the mine. When they were no longer of any value to the company, White Star paid the original raiding parties to dispose of them.
    Plunkett spotted Kachiri in midafternoon. She had stopped under the shelter of a towering kapok tree, head bowed with exhaustion. Plunkett lifted his rifle. His weapon of choice was usually an Accuracy International AX 50, but today he was carrying a much lighter Dan-Inject projector rifle.
    Putting his eye to the scope sight, Plunkett aimed for the base of the girl’s neck and fired. There was a sharp cracking sound like a branch being snapped in two and then the girl slumped to one side.
    Plunkett crossed the fifty feet separating them and squatted down beside the girl’s motionless figure. He felt her wrist and quickly found a pulse. Pushing back her jet-black hair, he found the tranquilizer dart and removed it. He dropped the spent injector dart into a pouch at his side, then stood up, taking his radio out of its holster.
    “I’ve got her. Come and get me,” he said. Back at the mine they would take his GPS location from the tracer in his pack and send out one of the eight-wheeled Mudd Ox ATVs they used for transportation. At speeds of up to twenty miles per hour, the journey that had taken him more than half a day would take the agile ATV less than a fifth of that time. He and the girl would be back in camp before dark. He sat beside her under the big kapok tree and settled down to wait.
    •   •   •
    Father Francisco Garibaldi, one of the last remaining Assassini and traveling under the passport of Lord Jonathon Gibbs, late of Cape Town, South Africa, entered Brook’s Club on St. James’s Street in London, proffered his membership card at the registration desk and handed his overcoat to the uniformed porter.
    After eating a meal of roast grouse and buck rabbit with British raspberries in crème fraîche for dessert in the dining room, he went up the broad main staircase to the games room, a large chamber with tall windows covered by heavy drapes and a ceiling of complicated plaster moldings.
    He purchased twenty thousand

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