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14

Bolan sat in the back of the VW van with six other members of the assault team as they sped through the cool German night. The big Heckler and Koch lay flat across his knees like a streamlined hunk of modern sculpture. Tanya Morganslicht was driving, and was also holding onto the H and K's ammo clips until this tense party had reached the Black Sunday hideout. Rudi literally rode shotgun, the thick log temporarily replaced by a Stevens Model No. 77 12-gauge shotgun with slide-action and side ejection. It had only a five-shot tubular magazine, but each of those five shots was like a shower of flaming meteors. Every mile or so, Rudi would look over his shoulder at Bolan. Through the back window of the van, Bolan could see Thomas Morganslicht's duplicate van as it tagged close behind with an additional six armed terrorists. It was a small force, but if Hal's monthly update briefing had been correct, it was sufficient to handle the slightly larger Black Sunday group. Bolan leaned his head against the metal side of the van, let the rhythmic vibrations massage the back of his scalp.

"Cigarette?" one of the hardmen asked the soldier sitting next to Bolan.

The young terrorist patted his pockets and shrugged. Bolan reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of the brand he had seen in the dead Sergeant Grendal's pocket. "Here, pal," he said.

"Ah, American!" was the terrorist nodded appreciatively.

"Pass them around," Bolan said, tossing him the pack. There was a murmur of pleasure and thanks from the six as they all reached for a cigarette.

Bolan replayed the scene in the garage. He had calmly urged the hostaged athletes to be ready for an escape, but Mako had been skeptical.

The Welsh archer had ignored him. Udo Ganz was so shaky he could not be relied on. And the only one who had originally trusted him had slapped his face when Tanya Morganslicht announced his introduction into the Horde. Of course he had warned them that they would hear some things that would make them doubt him. Maybe he hadn't been convincing enough. It was hard to move into a group of desperate people and gain their trust. But if he failed, it would be impossible to get them moving when the time was right. They either had faith or they did not. If they did not, there would be no escape for them.

What were the opportunities opening up for him on this mission now... Killing Tanya and Thomas at a premature moment would not solve things at all.

They might be the brains of this vicious, crazy group, but once they were gone their followers would scatter to other berserk groups, and perhaps carry the Plan with them, whatever it was. Bolan wanted the big kill, he knew that now.

Tanya Morganslicht brought the van to a halt. They were parked on the side of a deserted road. She slid out of her seat, stooping slightly as she turned to face her men. Even in the dark, Bolan could see the face glowing with excitement at what was to come. Her hair was pulled back and pinned to the top of her head, making the sharp widow's peak look like some sort of Roman helmet.

"We must do what is necessary for our cause," she began. Bolan looked out the back of the van and saw her brother addressing his troops also, probably with the same rehearsed speech. "Even if it means some of our political brothers and sisters must die. Our struggle is larger, more important than any individual lives. We need their weapons to complete our mission, and in two days, when our allies in the East see what we have accomplished, they will understand the actions we are forced to take tonight." She paused and stared at each man in turn. "Naturally, we can take no survivors to identify us. So be thorough."

She reached around to her seat, turned and tossed two clips for the H and K to Bolan. He caught each, jamming the first into the gun and storing the second in his pocket.

"Thanks," said Bolan. How kind of her. She would never know how kind, he thought to himself. Because he was going to show his gratitude in the unique Executioner way.


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