Shadow Maker

Shadow Maker by James R. Hannibal Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Shadow Maker by James R. Hannibal Read Free Book Online
Authors: James R. Hannibal
had finished explaining himself. He followed his question with a snort.
    CJ did not share the colonel’s skepticism. Her eyes narrowed. “Have you accepted the game?”
    Nick glanced down at his phone. “I haven’t even opened the app, and I don’t plan to.”
    â€œYou don’t have a choice,” said the FBI agent. “We can use this. It’s not the same as a phone trace, but it’s not too far off either. We can tap into the app company’s servers, find out where this guy is.”
    â€œWe may not even have to burn Grendel,” offered Quinn. “The NSA could keep working to crack the network.”
    The colonel shook his head. “No. I’ll allow Baron to keep this Emissary on the line, but we’re still going after Grendel.” He glanced up at the reconstruction of Nick’s photograph. “Somehow, this mess belongs to the Triple Seven Chase, and we’re going to pull out all the stops to clean it up.”
    Nick nodded. “What’s the profile on Grendel?”
    â€œOne hacker, some serious hardware,” said CJ. “Multiple targets at the hub are unlikely, unless the Grendel has personal security.”
    â€œHow soon do we leave?”
    â€œThis afternoon.”
    â€œToday?” Nick’s team was known for its rapid-response capability, but
rapid response
generally meant less than seventy-two hours, not twenty-four. “Why so soon?”
    â€œThere’s one more piece of evidence I haven’t shared,” said CJ. “One of the victims briefly regained consciousness in the middle of the night, right before she passed. With her last words, she told her doctor that she heard the bomber say something in English.”
    â€œAnd that was?” prompted Quinn when the FBI agent paused too long.
    â€œâ€˜I am the first sign.’”
    They all gazed silently at the face of the suicide bomber for several seconds. Nick furrowed his brow. “The first of how many?”

CHAPTER 8
    Istanbul, Turkey
    P avel Ercan whistled as he walked. He loved the acoustics of empty hallways. He enjoyed solitude. That’s why he requested the late security shift at the university’s new biochemical research facility. He led a team of three guards that each manned a floor. As the senior guard, he could have taken the desk at the entrance—where there was a television—but he preferred it here, on the third floor, in the quiet.
    The
click
of a closing door echoed from the crossing hallway ahead. Usually by this time, all the staff and students had gone home. The floor should be empty. Pavel placed a hand on his nightstick, but before he reached the hallway, a short, white-haired man in a lab coat rounded the corner at an urgent pace. Pavel relaxed. He recognized Dr. Varga. The facility chairman always moved at such a pace, always had someplace to be.
    Pavel waved smartly and smiled, but the professor ignored him and continued toward the bank of elevators at the center of the floor. The security guard did not feel particularly snubbed. Dr. Varga never acknowledged anyone beneath his station, unless it was to bark an order or chew them out. He watched the man jab at the down button until one of the elevators finally opened and he stepped inside. Then he inclined his head and spoke into the radio handset hanging over his shoulder. “Big man is coming your way, Janos,” he warned, prompting the guard at the entrance to turn off the TV and pretend to watch the door until Varga exited the building.
    â€œYah, yah,” the radio crackled back.
    With the most exciting event of the evening behind him, Pavel retreated to a chair at the end of the hallway and sat down to enjoy his dinner. He removed a paper-wrapped chutney sandwich and thermos of coffee from his backpack, and was just about to bite into the sandwich when he heard an echoing crash from far below.
    Pavel sighed. He set the sandwich down on top of his

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