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15

It was a 9mall two-story farmhouse on a deserted stretch of dirt road, just twelve kilometers beyond Mannheim. Strategically it was a strong enough hardsite, with easily defendable perimeters and plenty of unobstructed view from the farmhouse. This was not going to be easy. A frontal assault would be suicide. The sixteen of them charging up the dusty driveway leading to the farmhouse could be picked clean by a twelve-year-old with a slingshot. Trying to bluff their way in with a broken-down-car story would not work either: these people had tried most such ploys during their own careers as terrorists. Tanya tapped Bolan on the shoulder and pointed her gun where he wanted him to go. He nodded, cradled the H and K in the crook of his arm, and crawled on his elbows and knees through the heavy underbrush near the barbed-wire fence that circled the darkened land. Rudi had already cut an opening and most of the troops had bellied through. It was an outrage of history that half the law enforcement agencies of the world knew all about this farmhouse, and yet did nothing. There were a lot of embarrassed mumbles about "circumstantial evidence" and such, but the real reason was that they were afraid to make arrests for fear of reprisals. No, if the law was goilig to take them at all they would have to kill them, outright and immediately. And that, they found themselves unable to do. Thus the place existed, a sitting target for the Executioner, awaiting its fate from beyond the law. Good. Mack Bolan knew this Black Sunday group for what it was, a mindless collection of writhing vipers with no purpose but destruction and murder.

They had started out as the Zwilling Horde had started, with random bombings and occasional murders. But they made their public debut with a more spectacular public crime, and were destined for even bigger publicity resulting from even greater horrors.

Eventually, indeed, the publicity had been too much, altogether too negative, and the PLO'S Arafat had demanded they stop. But most of these creeps could not stop, did not want to, no matter how it hurt their "cause." Bolan looked around at either flank as a half moon of sixteen terror soldiers advanced on the farmhouse. He appreciated the irony of his situation. As bad as the terrorists holed up inside were, these Zwilling Horde people were even crazier. And now one group was going to destroy the other. Bolan smiled a wide, honest smile.

Yeah, he liked that idea.

He would have preferred to be clad in his own assault outfit, the .44 AutoMag Thundermaker strapped to his side, the whispering Beretta tucked under his arm, the M-1 with the 40mm grenade launcher clutched to his gut. Still, this H and K was one hell of a weapon. It would have to do for now. The lunatic Thomas Morganslicht had his Beretta, and the regaining of that would be a substrategy of its own. The advance was halfway from the vans to the farmhouse when the first shot cracked loudly through the crisp night air. It was followed by stuttering automatic fire from one of the Horde, a piercing scream, silence. Bolan saw a Black Sunday hardguy stumble forward off the farmhouse porch. So now the element of surprise was lost. The Zwilling Horde opened fire on the farmhouse. The crackle of imitation Makarov pistols sounded in the dark. The Horde was pinned down by automatic fire with still thirty bulletriddled yards to cover.

Bolan spotted Tanya across the field to his left and crouched toward her, bullets kicking up dirt clods, nipping at his heels. He dived the last ten feet.

"I told you to hold your position for the cross fire," she uttered angrily. "Disobeying orders is punishable by death, Sergeant." She lifted her rifle to her shoulder and once more took aim at the farmhouse. She pumped round after round at the old building. Bolan ran forward, aware that at least seven other men were with him as the farmhouse was sprayed with repeating rounds. After covering ten yards, these men dropped for cover and began firing as the next seven soldiers came up over the same ground.

One of the seven that had run with Bolan had caught a slug in the forehead and lay sprawled five feet from the second wave of soldiers and ten feet from the top of his head. Two more men were picked off in the second wave.

Tanya Morganslicht dropped to her chest next to Bolan as he continued to fire the H and K at the nearest farmhouse window. The increased volume of shouting in the farmhouse indicated the terminal nervousness in there. Bolan led the next charge, gaining ten more yards but bloodily losing another man. Tanya led her own group through the hell of bullets, and she also losl a man, with another wounded in the groin. The last run cost them two more soldiers, but now they were pressed against the solid farmhouse walls. They were safe here, as long as they kept away from the windows.

And then the Black Sunday hardguys burst through the front and back doors simultaneously, spilling six or seven troops from each exit into the smoke-filled night. They were all armed with new Uzi machine guns, and they knew how to use them. But they were at the disadvantage of having to come out into the open to fire them, and the Horde was waiting with guns trained on each door. There was a fearful echo of explosions, the Horde opened fire on the rival terrorists, literally shredding their targets.

According to Tanya, Thomas and Rudi were on the other side of the building which was just as well, because Bolan did not want to have Rudi and his shotgun behind him during this next phase.

"Und jefts?" Thomas Morganslicht yelled out from the other side of the house.

"Any suggestions?" panted the woman terrorist leader.

"Sure, but it'll cost you." answered Mack Bolan.

"How much?"

"Two men at least. And that's for sure dead, not maybe."

"Acceptable," she said without hesitation.

"Okay. We blast the doors, send a man through each, one at the front and one at the back. Once both doors are open, we chew up the survivors in a cross fire as long as we're aware of where our own people are. Naturally the first men through each door are dog meat."

"Dog meat?"

"Dead."

"Naturally," Tanya Morganslicht said.

She waved three of her nearest men over to her, then whispered instructions and they hurried off to pass the instructions on. "Erich," she called to one of the younger men, the one who had gotten the American cigarette from Bolan. "You will have the honor of leading us through the door." Erich tried to smile to acknowledge the honor. But it was a sick smile, full of the knowledge of death.

"Don't worry, Erich," she said in a soothing voice, "we will cover you." He tried to speak but only choked on the words. Instead he just nodded.

Then, suddenly, he was running across the porch toward the front door, his Uzi blasting away at the lock.

Bolan could hear the same commotion coming from the other side of the building as another kamikaze "volunteer" charged the back door. Bolan gripped the H and K tightly in his fists, and hunched into a ready position.

Erich's concentrated fire on the lock caused the door to swing open, but that was all that Erich would get to see of the inside. A flurry of automatic fire punched through the space and continued on into Erich's face, spraying blood and wet clots of brain and chips of skull over his waiting comrades.

"Go!" Tanya screamed, and her followers opened fire on the doorway until everything that surrounded it was nothing more than a mass of splinters and sawdust. There were screams of pain from inside and the sound of footsteps clambering up wooden stairs.

"Go!" she hollered again and her three remaining troops piled through the front door, their Uzis chattering diatribes of death. When the last of her men had made it through the door, Tanya followed with her own captured Uzi blazing from chest level.

Bolan was happy to let the kills continue.

He heard a second-story window being opened.

He ducked into the recess of the front door, his back pressed against the wall so that those above could not see him.

It wasn't much more than a fifteen-foot drop, and the first two made it with no problem. Someone from above tossed their Uzis to them, then they waved for the third person to follow. She did. But when she hit the ground, Bolan could hear her ankle snap with a crack. She muffled her scream so as not to warn the attackers inside, but it was obvious she would not be able to walk.

The two men exchanged looks, then glanced back at her. She was apparently pleading for them to take her with them, but the two men had already made up their minds. They could not make it with her dragging them down, nor could they risk leaving her behind to scream a warning.

But nor did they want to alert the troops inside where they were, so they could not shoot. So while the girl continued her whispered pleading, the taller man assured her that they would help. As his comrade soothed her, the second man drove the butt of his gun into the side of her head, crushing her skull.

It was not a blow meant to stun or knock out. It was meant to kill, and from the way she toppled backward like a bludgeoned steer, Bolan knew it had done its job. The men started to run.

"Hold it," Bolan said softly. The menace in his voice found their ears despite the loud carnage inside the house.

The two hardguys brought their Uzis up as they pivoted in a low crouch, but Bolan was already firing, stitching a row of wet red buttons across their chests.

He zigzagged another row from head to crotch for each, spinning them around before they collapsed.

Inside, it was a bloody mess, with weapons and shredded flesh splattered across the walls. Bolan was careful where he walked because the thick pools of blood made the floor slippery.

"This one's still alive," Thomas Morganslicht said, pointing at one sprawled man, his eyes half-open, blood foaming at his mouth. Rudi stepped carelessly over a few bodies and stood next to the man Thomas had pointed out. Then with a mighty cry he lifted his right leg knee high into the air and stomped down on the man's throat with his heavy boot. The body jerked a few times then remained still. Rudi looked over at Bolan and smiled.

"The rest are dead," Tanya proclaimed as she finished her tour. "That takes care of witnesses. Now let's load the weapons."

Bolan counted eight remaining of the Zwilling Horde, including himself. There were at least twenty-five dead among the Black Sunday group, so it had been a successful raid in terms of objectives. However, they had lost eight of their troops. There were more back at the camp, of course... enough for the big operation to come? Bolan would find that one out soon enough.


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