PRIMAL Origin

PRIMAL Origin by Jack Silkstone Read Free Book Online

Book: PRIMAL Origin by Jack Silkstone Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jack Silkstone
 
     
    Chapter 1
     
    Abu Dhabi, 2003
     
    The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi didn’t impress Vance. Like so many other buildings in the Emirates city, it was a monstrosity of steel and glass, chilled to almost Arctic temperatures by an army of air conditioners. A CIA field operative, the solidly built African-American wasn’t bothered by the heat of the Arabian Gulf. He’d been in the country for over a month and was fully acclimatized. So much so, he was shivering as he waited for an audience with the ambassador.
    “They always have it up way too high,” the ambassador’s receptionist said.
    Vance attempted a smile. “Yeah, it keeps the penguins working.”
    The pretty blonde laughed and returned her attention to the screen of her computer.
    Vance scanned the room again. It was lavishly furnished, some new vogue designer’s attempt to give it some warmth. The marble floor was laid with ornamental Persian rugs. Expensive paintings graced the walls on either side of a pair of solid mahogany doors that barred entry into the ambassador’s office. It was nothing like the rough compound he’d called home for the past five weeks.
    Vance and his sidekick, a former Marine called Ice, were working with a World Health Organization team in an industrial sector of the desert city. They had set up a health clinic to support thousands of the city’s impoverished workers. A US Government sponsored initiative, the team was currently checking for any signs of a super-flu pandemic.
    In reality, the WHO team was providing cover for the CIA to track down a deadly terrorist group. In the last month, a spate of suicide attacks had rocked the Gulf States, targeting Western aid workers and government officials. CIA analysts believed the attacks were linked to the recent US invasion of Iraq. However a source had identified one of the suicide bombers as being Bangladeshi, recruited from the UAE’s migrant work force. Vance and Ice had been sent to Abu Dhabi to track down the recruiters and follow the link back to the terrorist command structure. So far the few leads they’d found had been dead ends. Despite this, Vance’s experience and gut instinct told him they were hunting in the right place.
    A buzzer sounded on the receptionist’s desk. “Sir, the Ambassador will see you now.” She rose and walked across to open the heavy wooden doors.
    Vance extracted his muscular frame from the sofa and followed her into the Ambassador’s office. The opulence of the waiting area was magnified tenfold in the huge room. Tall, blast-proof, tinted windows reduced the sun’s glare but allowed a sweeping view of the malls, hotels, and high-rises that had sprouted from the oil-rich sands of Abu Dhabi. This was the office of a man at home with wealth and power.
    Howard D. Beecroft sat behind his antique desk and examined Vance with a critical eye. He noted with scorn the dusty boots, grubby khaki cargo pants, and faded blue shirt. His gaze lingered on the weathered features of the bull-headed CIA veteran.
    “So this is the renegade running blackops in my Emirates,” Beecroft said.
    “I’m sorry: blackops?” Vance returned the scornful gaze, equally unimpressed with the ambassador.
    Beecroft sported a portly frame and ruddy complexion, the result of years spent on the Abu Dhabi cocktail circuit. “Yes, the CIA didn’t seek my approval for your little mission.” The ambassador’s voice was clipped and pompous. His chins wobbled as he spoke.
    “Last time I checked, the CIA didn’t work for the State Department,” Vance responded.
    Beecroft tipped back in his soft leather chair. His belly strained against a tailored waistcoat under a dark blue suit. Vance almost expected to see a gold chain disappearing into the vest pocket.
    “I don’t think you understand, Mr…” The Ambassador searched for a last name, then realized he had never been told. “I don’t think you understand just how important the Emirates is to America. The lifeblood of our

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