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Klaus brought his arm down with the fluid motion he had perfected over countless similar moves. The knife left his hand, spinning toward Bolan's back like an airplane propeller that had broken free. To Klaus it was an ordinary mathematical equation: Knife leaving his hand equals dead man, But Bolan was not an ordinary man. And this was far from the first time he had cheated fate.

Bolan exposed his back for only the fraction of a second he knew it would take Klaus to whip out and throw the knife. As the blade left Klaus's fingertips, Bolan dropped like lightning into a tuck, turn and roll. He heard the crash as the blade sliced through the window glass. He came out of his roll with one knee to the ground and both hands gripped around the Firebird. Bolan squeezed the trigger twice and watched the front of Klaus's chest collapse. Klaus staggered forward, his upper body a growing jelly of blood. Bolan fired two more direct shots into the dying man's lung and kidney. Then he swung the Firebird toward Tanya like a rigid finger of damnation. But she stood immobile, a bored expression on her face as Klaus crashed to the floor.

"Is this absolutely necessary, Grendal?" she asked petulantly.

"Hell, no," muttered Bolan, "not if I have no objection to a slice of steel sticking out of my back."

She stared at Bolan as the corpse at her feet bubbled blood in a pool between them. "Yes, well, I detest stupidity," she said with some difficulty. "And Klaus was stupid beyond my expectations."

"My view entirely," Bolan said with a bitter smile. He stood upright as his finger hovered teasingly over the trigger. He anticipated only a conciliatory move from her now, a furthering of their business deal. The killing here was done, most likely. Next was a play from her. Tanya looked at her watch, then at Klaus's crumpled body. Dark shadows of anger washed over her face and Bolan thought she was about to spit on Klaus. But it passed quickly and she was all business once more.

"All right, Sergeant. Let us go and inspect these arms you speak of. I must insist on that now." She walked over to the door and hesitated. "What about this fat pig?"

"I'll have one of my civilians come by with a body bag," said Bolan. "Money talks loud nowadays. Klaus will soon turn up in the Main River, the victim of a mugging."

She was already halfway down the hall when Bolan flicked the hotel room's light three times before closing the door.

Bolan had just created a hole in his enemy's organization. Now he had to make himself available to fill that hole.

A hellhole, that was for sure.

How cruelly she had helped him dig it.

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