Firebase Seattle

Firebase Seattle

by Don Pendleton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497685734
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/16/2014
Series: The Executioner , #21
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 187
Sales rank: 172,330
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Don Pendleton (1927–1995) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He served in the US Navy during World War II and the Korean War. His first short story was published in 1957, but it was not until 1967, at the age of forty, that he left his career as an aerospace engineer and turned to writing full time. After producing a number of science fiction and mystery novels, in 1969 Pendleton launched his first book in the Executioner saga: War Against the Mafia. The series, starring Vietnam veteran Mack Bolan, was so successful that it inspired a new American literary genre, and Pendleton became known as the father of action-adventure.

Read an Excerpt

Firebase Seattle

The Executioner, Book Twenty-one


By Don Pendleton

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1975 Pinnacle Books, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-8573-4


CHAPTER 1

SOFT TOUCH


Bolan wore combat black in modified paratrooper rig, a neck-slung auto pistol riding point as head weapon—snugly secured now for the jump—.44 AutoMag in backup at the right hip, belts crossing the chest beneath parachute harness to support a variety of hard-punch munitions. These were, however, "contingency" weapons. The mission was planned as a soft recon; there were also "soft-touch" weapons riding the military web. The hard stuff was for emergency punch-out purposes only.

Jack Grimaldi, an old friend from past campaigns, was at the controls of the Cessna skyjumper.

Conversation between the two had been minimal, geared entirely to the point of the problem at hand.

Now Grimaldi cleared his throat and shouted, "Coming around onto upwind. Altitude four thousand. Check that mark!"

Bolan leaned groundward through the jump hatch, then angled his blackened face into the cabin to shout back, "Correct five degrees starboard!"

The pilot made the necessary adjustment then reported, "Check! Course is now two-eight-five!"

They had already made the wind-marker drop, using night-glo nylon to calculate the wind-drift effect. The drop zone was firm. The time was minutes short of 2:00 A.M. It was a moonlit night with broken clouds at eight thousand feet. A thin layer of stratus was forming at rooftop levels far below, like wispy ground fog. Another twenty minutes could see the entire area socked in.

Target was a small island in upper Puget Sound, just clear of the shipping lanes, with a total area of less than five hundred square yards. Smaller still was the desired landing area—a compound one hundred yards wide by two hundred long, a strong security area protected by high voltage fencing and roving patrols.

Intelligence estimates put a standing hard force of about thirty men on that island. They had not been there for long, nor had the security compound. Until very recently, the island had served as the residence of a Seattle-area millionaire recluse. Improvements had been limited to a smallish, modern mansion and a few guest cottages, a short pier and two-stall boat-house. Suddenly ownership had been transferred to an obscure Mafia front man, the security compound had gone up, hardmen had come in, and a mysterious construction crew from somewhere outside the area had worked an around-the-clock schedule to erect several new buildings—prefab jobs. The pier had been lengthened, and a storage building had been added to the boat area.

A new hardsite had been born almost overnight.

The only access was via boat or helicopter, and then only by the very highest-level invitation. According to Bolan's sources, such invitations issued not from anywhere in the state of. Washington or adjacent areas, but from mob headquarters itself in New York—la Commissione.

All of which would strike the curiosity of a guy like Mack Bolan. Enough so that he would summon the services of Jack Grimaldi and take a crash course in precision skydiving.

But this was to be Bolan's first nighttime jump. And he was dropping into a hostile zone, guided only by his own unique combat sense and a few dim lights on a tiny plot of ground four thousand feet below.

And now title moment had arrived.

Grimaldi cupped his mouth with one hand and yelled, "Tally ho!"

Bolan's only response was a glinting of icy eyes—then he was launching himself through the hatch in a swan dive and hurtling through the black void of night.

He ate two thousand feet in a soaring free fall, limbs outspread and maneuvering into the desired drift path, the earlier exhilaration of practice jumps replaced now with grim concentration and do-or-die purpose as the dark waters of Puget Sound rose up to meet him.

The twinkling lights of the target zone were far downstream and there was nothing but water directly below when he pulled the cord and took the jolt that sent him swinging into a controlled descent on a straight downwind run toward paydirt. It was a small, precision-control chute of black nylon which under ordinary circumstances would lower him at a rate of descent of about twelve miles per hour. With the payload Bolan was carrying, the rate was probably more like fifteen to eighteen m.p.h.

He broke land at an altitude of about 500 feet, moving on downwind beyond the far end of the compound before circling upwind for the final drop—and this maneuver gave him an excellent bird's-eye view of the layout down there as he glided silently overhead.

The main house was crowded pretty close to the front fence—at a distance of perhaps 100 feet from the boat landing, well above sea level. Neatly manicured grounds spread across that upper level, with covered walkways leading to the guest cottages which were fanned out to the rear. About fifty yards of grass and shrubs separated the cottages from the new construction site-three long buildings set side by side and constructed of corrugated metal—like small warehouses. Another thirty yards or so of lawn and flower gardens stretched from that point to the back fence.

Bolan's angle of approach carried him directly along the shoreline to the side, circling back for touchdown just inside the rear fencing, and landing with a jarring thud that set feet and legs tingling.

Seconds later he'd succeeded in collapsing the chute, rolling it into a manageable bundle, and heaving it over the fence. It plunged on, billowing and popping with newly trapped wind as it scudded off into the night and toward the back side of the island. With any luck at all, it would carry on into the sound and drift clear.

Bolan moved silently in the opposite direction, blending with shadows wherever available and following tendrils of wispy ground fog—sizing, reading, pausing now and then to sift sounds from the night—but moving steadily toward the dim outside lights of the "warehouses."

Two men with choppers awaited him there, loitering in the shadows of the end building and peering nervously into the misty darkness toward the rear of the compound. As Bolan hove into audio range, one of them was quietly insisting, "I tell you, I heard something back there."

"So go check it out," replied the other with soft sarcasm.

"I guess it's just gulls," the first sentry decided, backing off.

"Naw, it's probably gangbusters. You better go check it out."

"Go to hell," the first guy replied, chuckling.

Bolan meanwhile was flanking them, coming up stealthily on their blind side, moving into "soft weapon" range. He was scouting, not blitzing, and wished to leave no evidence or even suspicion of his visit. The small medicated darts of the TranGun, a double-barreled compressed-air marvel of American technology, would give instant knockdown, a quick drunk, the torpor of twilight sleep for several hours, and nothing worse than a whiskey hangover in the aftermath.

The problem for Bolan, in this application, was to get in close enough without being seen, then pump them both before either became aware of the attack.

And he did so, phutting the little darts in just below the ear on each sentry in a quick one-two. They staggered backward simultaneously, hands going to the necks in reflex and staying there as both men sagged against the building and slid to the ground.

One of them was making drunken sounds with a thick tongue and stroking his burpgun as Bolan retrieved the darts; the guy saw Bolan, all right, but there was no flicker of perception in those clouded eyes. If he were to remember anything at all, it would be in the nature of a vague dream.

Bolan went on, found two other sentries patrolling the forward grounds as singles, and he soft-touched them also.

Next he invaded the house, discovered a nightman at solitary vigil in the kitchen with a sixpack of Hamm's and a transistor radio softly playing, and he beddy-byed this one just as softly.

A quick shakedown of the house revealed no other human presence. No clothing in closets or dresser drawers—no personal effects in the bathrooms other than sealed, unused toiletries—no evidence whatever of habitation by anyone.

Returning to the kitchen, Bolan found beer, cokes, and packaged sandwiches in the refrigerator—nothing else. A chef's pantry was well larded with canned and packaged foods; a large chest-type freezer was well stocked with steaks and chops—but it all had the appearance of something waiting to be used rather than in current use.

The guest cottages just had to be bunkhouses for the hard force. Bolan elected to leave them alone, proceeding instead to the three long buildings of corrugated steel.

Each was double locked.

He found keys among his early victims, and hit it lucky. But what he found in that first building staggered his mind.

Towering mounds of soft earth—rocks piled everywhere—heavy equipment of every type—open shafts descending into the earth.

The building was nothing but a cover for some fantastic kind of excavation project.

The center "building" held the key to understanding. It was clean in there—freshly so—and smelling of new paint. Bolan found the stairway and descended into stygian blackness, a small pencil-flash showing the way.

Twenty feet down, he found it.

A bunker.

Believe it or not—a damned bunker. And a very VIP one, at that. Lavishly outfitted, sleeping accommodations for eight, elaborate galley, comfortable game room with dart boards and card tables, large television console. Tunnels going off at various angles.

The whole thing was built into solid rock.

What kind of paranoid ...?

Bolan made quick sketches and got out of there. He returned the keys to the sentries and made a quiet withdrawal to the front gate where another key from another peaceful sentry passed him through the electrified fence and onto the boat landing.

He went all the way to the end of the pier, then sent a flare shell whizzing skyward. If the luck held, Grimaldi would begin a low-level run precisely sixty seconds later. He would drop a rubber boat fifty feet off shore. Bolan would be on hand to receive it, and he would drift to the next island downstream which just happened to feature a small landing strip.

But the warrior's mind was not dwelling at that moment upon the details of a routine withdrawal exercise. He was thinking instead of whispered words gleaned from electronic surveillance devices here and there about the country over the past several months.

The word "Seattle" had kept cropping up in tersely guarded and coded conversations ... and also the word "firebase," in the same context of intrigue.

And now Bolan's mind was putting it together.

The mob was brewing something big in or around Seattle.

Was Langley Island what the whispers were all about?

He inflated a watertight flotation bag, secured his weapons in there, and heaved it into the Sound, then dived in after it.

Sure. A firebase could mean many things to many people. A forward post for an artillery company. A sort of base camp for marauding bands of forward infantry, with artillery support.

Heavy, though. The word was heavy for everybody.

And it was heavy for Mack Bolan.

The mob had something big cooking, something really big. Big enough to code Langley Island as a firebase and to spend God knew how many millions of bucks putting it together. Solid rock—like a command bunker.

And, sure, that was it. Had to be.

The boys were going to make the big reach. They were getting ready to try for all the marbles. Cosa di tutti Cosi—the Thing of all the Things—they were putting it together, on Langley Island, of all places, believe it or not.

And why not? Seattle was a major seaport. Canada was just a few miles away, accessible by water. Major trade routes to Alaska swept right past the island itself. Alaska!

Some big things were shaping up for Alaska—spectacular things involving billions of dollars. Not to forget the Orient, and the many new trade routes opening to that section of the world.

Firebase Seattle?

Sure, why not—it explained many odd developments in the world of Mafia over the past few months. They were getting ready to rape the world. The Pacific Northwest was virgin territory, more or less. What better place to conceal clandestine operations? Who, but Bolan, would believe it? Who then, but Bolan, could stop them?

Firebase, indeed! Combat headquarters for the whole damn underworld infrastructure, that's what it was meant to be—the new multinational capital of the planet Earth.

Somehow, Mack Bolan had to stop them.

Somehow, dammit, he meant to stop them!

CHAPTER 2

CRITIQUE


The big cool guy was waiting for him when Grimaldi put the Cessna down at the rendezvous point.

"How'd it go?" the pilot asked the blitz artist as he sent the little craft plunging into the take-off roll.

"Perfect," old ice-eyes replied, and that was all he said.

Grimaldi knew better than to press for conversation. Bolan would tell when and what Bolan wanted to tell. He was not the most conversational guy in the world. Especially at a time like this. Grimaldi had learned to respect the postcombative silences. Apparently the blitzer made a practice of mentally reviewing the events and immediate results of a hit while they were still sharply etched into the mind—a sort of one man combat critique or debriefing.

This time the big guy looked worried—or, at least, as worried as a guy like Bolan could get. Obviously the mission had produced more questions than answers.

Some kind of guy, this Bolan.

All ice and purpose, a battle machine, a death-maker—and, yet, something much more than that. A superb tactician and strategist. Computer mind, body of an Olympic athlete. Nerveless, daring, deadly. Still, though, much more than all that. He was a man, dammit. A storybook kind of man. The things he did actually bothered the guy—all that death and hellfire he carried around with him—it weighed on the guy, burdened him. The self-appointed role did not sit easily upon the man. Yet he went on with it, campaign after grinding campaign, without hesitation, without alibis, without complaint. He had a job to do. He was doing it, the only way he knew how.

The two had been friends through a couple of those campaigns. It hadn't started that way, of course. Grimaldi was a Mafia pilot, a wheelman of the skies, a syndicate flyboy who was expected to enjoy his fat salary and keep his ears and mouth closed. He wasn't a "made man"—a full-fledged brother of the brothers—but on the payroll, just the same. So Grimaldi had known this guy Bolan from both sides of the street. He knew his threat—his effect—knew, even, that chilling, heart-shuddering sensation of looking at the guy over the wrong side of a gunsight.

There was something about Mack Bolan that caused even his enemies to admire him. Those who hated him most-and with the best reasons—still gave the big guy grudging admiration and genuine respect.

Grimaldi certainly had.

He'd flown the guy from Vegas to Puerto Rico, without realizing until the last leg of the journey that his passenger was Mack Bolan instead of the mob courier he was pretending to be. And, sure, Grimaldi had very naturally conspired with the forces at Glass Bay to ambush this most feared enemy of the new kingdom. It didn't work, of course. Bolan could have killed him then, but didn't—for some reason. Twice again at Puerto Rico Grimaldi had found himself at the business end of Bolan's gun, and twice more the guy had let him live. The Caribbean chapter had closed with Grimaldi a committed ally of the Executioner-and for some damn excellent reasons.

Grimaldi loved the guy, like a brother.

There was no getting loose from the mob, of course—not while a guy was still breathing. It was a lifetime contract, from their point of view. So, sure, he still flew the wiseguys around and made a pretty good living doing it. And kept his eyes and ears open for a good buddy named Bolan. He also jumped quickly and willingly to work with the guy any time the invitation was sent.

Sure, he loved the big cold bastard. Bolan had held up a mirror to Jack Grimaldi's soul, reminding the former combat pilot what manhood was all about. Grimaldi liked the view. He liked his own image beside Bolan's.

And, getting down to basics, that was the only damn reason for any of it.

Grimaldi suspected that Bolan's own reasons were probably very similar. There were some things that a man—a true man—d to do. Bolan was doing them. A man measured up to his own challenge. Bolan's challenge was just a bit more unique than the average.

And this time, yes, the blitzer had a worried look about the eyes.

They were headed for a small, private field just north of Seattle. Grimaldi broke the long silence of mutual critique to remark, "Pretty tough one, huh." He lit a cigarette and handed it over to his passenger.

The guy took a drag and handed it back. "Yeah," he replied as he slowly released the smoke.

"So what're they doing on the island?"

Instead of answering, Bolan responded with a question of his own. "How many flights have you made into here the past few months?"

"Here?" the pilot replied. "None. Two into Spokane, though."

"What's giving in Spokane?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Firebase Seattle by Don Pendleton. Copyright © 1975 Pinnacle Books, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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