The Athens Solution: A Short Story

The Athens Solution: A Short Story

by Brad Thor

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501143236
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication date: 12/08/2015
Series: Scot Harvath Series
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 43,234
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Brad Thor is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eighteen thrillers, including Spymaster, Use of Force, The Last Patriot (nominated best thriller of the year by the International Thriller Writers Association), Blowback (recognized as one of the “Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time” by NPR), The Athena Project, and Foreign Influence (one of Suspense Magazine’s best political thrillers of the year). Visit his website at and follow Brad on Facebook at and on Twitter @BradThor.

Read an Excerpt



It was hot, and noisy, as Michael Avery picked his way through the

late-afternoon crowds clogging Athens’s famous Plaka district.

Behind him, two Diplomatic Security Service agents mixed with

the throng. A block over, a contingent of heavily armed Marines and

an NSA communications expert followed in a nondescript van. There

should have been a drone, but things had moved too fast.

Avery, the U.S. ambassador to Greece, had been told to come

alone. The White House, though, had other plans. Too much was at


In his white polo shirt and blue blazer, Avery looked like any other

upscale Westerner visiting Greece during the height of the tourist season.

He even carried a backpack casually slung over one shoulder. But

unlike the other backpacks around him, his contained an encrypted

laptop, complete with a wireless modem and sophisticated remoteviewing


He was passing a small outdoor café with a dramatic view of the

Acropolis and the ancient Parthenon atop it, when his cell phone rang.

“Stop there and take a table,” said a voice with a heavy Greek accent.

“You know what to do next.”

Yes, Ambassador Avery did know what to do next. A thumb drive

with a final set of instructions had been delivered to the embassy that

morning. The instructions indicated that the drive could be used only

once and that any attempts to copy or crack it before the appointed

time would result in all of its data being destroyed.

Avery sat down at a table and, after ordering coffee, removed the

encrypted laptop from his backpack and powered it up. The drive

glowed as it was plugged in. Within moments, a private-message screen popped up, and the words Good afternoon, Mr. Ambassador.

Thank you for coming. appeared.

Back in the van, the NSA communications expert could see in real

time exactly what the ambassador was seeing, thanks to the laptop’s

remote-viewing application, and he began trying to locate the source

of the transmission.

Are you prepared to transfer the funds? appeared next.

How do we know the merchandise is authentic? typed Avery.

One word was returned: Watch.

The ambassador’s screen split into two separate windows. Next to

the dialogue box, an image came up, titled JFK/ATC. He discreetly

tilted his head and spoke toward the microphone sewn into the lapel

of his blazer: “Are you getting this?”

“All of it. So is Washington,” replied the tech in the van. A satellite

uplink was beaming everything to the States for verification.

Avery pressed the mini-earpiece farther into his ear as he anxiously

awaited word. Seconds later, it came.

“Verification complete,” the tech said. “Mr. Ambassador, you are

looking at a live picture of JFK’s Air Traffic Control system.”

Knowing what might happen next sent chills down Michael Avery’s

spine. His hands shook as he typed the following message: We are

ready to proceed.

One by one, aircraft started disappearing from the screen.

Forty-five seconds later, the NSA man’s voice came back over the

ambassador’s earpiece. “JFK is reporting a major ATC system malfunction.

They’re losing track of all their inbound aircraft. The merchandise

is authentic.”

Initializing funds transfer, typed the ambassador as he began the predetermined

sequence. The green status bar seemed to take forever.

When the Transfer Successful message finally materialized on the screen,

aircraft flying in the New York area began reappearing on ATC radar.

Simultaneously, a third window appeared on the ambassador’s laptop.

In it, he could see a live picture of the device the United States

had just paid so handsomely for. As the image widened, he could see the Parthenon in the foreground.

“We’re on it,” said the Marine commander over Avery’s earpiece as

the van took off to claim the merchandise.

The ambassador continued to watch the feed as a pair of hands

came into view, picked up the device, and secreted it inside the nearest

trash can, as agreed, for pickup.

“Sir,” said one of the Diplomatic Security Service agents as he approached

the table. “There’s a car waiting. We’d like to get you back to

the embassy.”

Avery nodded and was just about to shut down his laptop, when he

noticed the camera from the Acropolis being moved. There were jerky

flashes of legs and feet as someone hastily repositioned it to overlook

the road below. Seconds later, the white embassy van with the Marines

and the NSA tech entered the frame. The camera followed its


How the hell did they already ID the van? Avery wondered. “Are you

seeing this?” he asked the lead Diplomatic Security Service agent.

The agent looked at the ambassador’s screen.

“Why would they want us to watch our own guys?” Avery


The agent raised his sleeve and spoke into the microphone.

“Beachcomber, this is Point Guard,” he said. “Be advised, someone

is filming your approach. You have been compromised. Repeat. You

have been compromised.” 

But before the men in the white van could respond, the entire Plaka

district shook with what sounded like a giant knife tearing through

the fabric of the afternoon sky. The ambassador watched, aghast, as

the video feed showed a shoulder-fired missile slamming through the

windshield and the van exploding.

The lead DS agent didn’t waste any time. Grabbing the ambassador

and the laptop, he and his partner sped Avery out of the café and

down the closest side street.

All around them, people rushed out of the shops and restaurants

to look up and stare at the plume of black smoke rising from the Acropolis.

As the ambassador and the DS agents turned the next corner, they

could see the embassy’s dark armor-plated BMW. The street was

completely abandoned. “Faster!” the lead agent yelled. They were almost


Reaching the car, the lead agent flung open the rear door. As he

began to shove the ambassador inside, a motorcycle screamed down

the sidewalk.

The DS agents reached for their weapons, but it was too late.

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The Athens Solution: A Short Story 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous 9 days ago
This stayed right in the Harvath wheelhouse but I expected it to be longer. Maybe it goes into "Use Of Force" book which I am moving to now.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Clear and direct, designs the scene and then indicates much more is to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the roman camp jupiter and i am the leader Van and i hope u guys are all demigods
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Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fact is... I toook care of my mother for ten years. I have a brother but he is so worried about karma that he chose to manipullate mom and almost emptied her little bank account he chose to leave us and go live in the woods. He has been gone since 2005 there were many times tht it would have been nice to have a little support. But no last time he was heard from he was screaming at me to just send him the fu king money I told him no he had already gotten twenty thousand but he wanted more. He is a greedy low life who now has the worst karma of anyone I know. May he be unhappy for the rest of his crappy life. I loved momma. She was English ww2. She was a good woman she died in my arms. I will always love you till I see you in heaven .