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9

Jack Grimaldi dipped the small helicopter down for a closer look at what the commotion was about.

He checked his map for bearings, decided he was about ten kilometers past Fussen, about ten from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The Bavarian Alps stood like Prussian guards between the German and Austrian borders, looming impassibly high in the distance. He hoped he could locate Striker's signal soon. He had little desire to fight the treacherous, twisting air currents that swirled around those mountains. Except that Jack Grimaldi would do anything for Mack Bolan, and death be damned.

The Bell dropped five hundred feet in seconds, the better for him to get a closer look at the two men fighting in an open field. One of the men stopped just as he was about to throw a punch into the face of the smaller man and looked up at the helicopter. The smaller man did not bother to look up. He took advantage of the distraction to dig a sharp blow into his opponent's hefty stomach. The bigger man doubled over, clutching his middle, allowing the other to club him across the face with both hands clasped together. Jack decided it was nothing but a personal matter, certainly nothing to do with the Sarge or his mission. Just as he was about to pull away, he saw the reason for the fight. A beautiful, buxom girl ran out from behind a bush and hugged the smaller man, covering his face with grateful kisses. As the bigger man writhed on the grass, the happy couple looked up at Jack and waved a thanks. He grinned and waved back, swinging the chopper back up into his surveillance pattern.

It was nice to see the good guys win sometimes, he grinned. Which was exactly why an ex-contract pilot for the Mafia was out combing the hills and valleys of southern Germany with a map and a radio receiver tuned to a highly refined frequency, sent out by a tiny transmitter designed and built by one Herman "Gadgets"" Schwarz, the resident Thomas Alva Edison of Stony Man Farm.

Grimaldi had been following the transmission since Bolan had activated it inside the Saab.

Jack had kept the chopper at its maximum distance of eight kilometers so as not to tip off Bolan's new buddies... But he had lost them somewhere here in the mountains. Apowerful jamming signal had cut him off completely. "Stay hard, Sarge," Grimaldi had said aloud. "But stay alive." Then a faint but distant beep-beep sounded in his headphones. He maneuvered the chopper until he found the strongest signal. The doctor finds the pulse, he thought happily. And so he manhandled the throttle for maximum speed.


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