Army of Devils, стр. 25

"However, Mr. Silva used much of the money to finance drug deals. He kept the profits for himself. Seems they discovered his role in this terrorism and they want none of the responsibility. The Cuban consulate in New York said they'd send some intelligence officers out to testify if there's a trial. How's that for cooperation?"

"If there's a trial?" Blancanales asked. "Why the if?"

"Sometimes these things never go to trial," the liaison man answered. "Too public."

"Thanks a lot," Lyons said to him. "I got a good idea of my approach on the interrogation."

"Also, there's other information. Specifically for you three gentlemen. From an individual named Kurtzman. It's on a cassette. He said he couldn't wait for a transcontinental courier, so I recorded the encoded information over the phone. He said the Wizard would know what to do."

The three men of Able Team glanced at one an-other. Kurtzman, the Stony Man intelligence and computer specialist, must have been very hard-pressed to trust an outsider even with code names.

"Where's the cassette?" Blancanales asked.

"Here." The liaison man passed him a miniature cassette deck. "You can keep the cassette. But the tape recorder's mine."

"We'll only need it for a few minutes," Gadgets told him. He pushed the playback button. Electronic hiss came from the tiny built-in speaker on the expensive unit, the most expensive and sophisticated on the civilian market. "Supercool. Stereo static."

They moved to the towel room, making their way through the knot of plainclothesmen. The uniformed officer blocking the door recognized Towers and Able Team and opened the door without a word.

The towel room was actually several rooms. There were storage rooms for clean and used towels. Another room bore a stenciled red cross and the words First Aid. The interrogators had Mario Silva in the used-towel room.

Seated in a straight-back school chair, Silva smoked a cigarette and stared into space, bored by the questions from the three police officers interrogating him.

"Before we go in..." Gadgets stopped Lyons and Blancanales "...we decode this. Pol. Take the tape player, play it into your hand-radio while we listen on my radio."

Able Team went to the far side of the towel room to play the tape. The circuits of the radios decoded the noise on the tape. Kurtzman's resynthesized, monotonic voice hissed from Gadgets's radio. "Just got this info. Very top secret. As you'd say, Gadgets, Cosmic Top Secret.

"I scanned all Stony Man data on drugs. Found an unconfirmed report. An ex-Green Beret came out of Libya. Said he'd made a deal to smuggle some kind of new 'crazy dust' — a drug that made soldiers go crazy — into the United States with a Saudi Arabian prince. The smuggler said he'd gone to Khaddafi Duck Himself with the scheme. Ended up supplying it on contract to an ex-Panther, ex-Death's Angel named Shabaka. That's the only name he got.

"I put it through the machines. Nothing, I talked to Konzaki about all this, and he told me you guys have got more than freaked-out street punks to watch out for. You understand? Watch out for crew cuts in suits. And don't trust anyone with a Harvard accent. Over and out."

Gadgets clicked off the radios and tape player. "Oh, wow. Very curious."

Lyons looked toward the room where Silva sat. "It'd be interesting to find out who the Saudi Arabian prince actually worked for, but we've got other work to do. After we find Flor, we'll call the White House."

"You're talking totally crazy," Gadgets said.

"After I saw Unomundo's hired generals and colonels rubbing bellies with United States senators," Lyons said, "I decided I'd never know exactly what was going on. In fact, maybe even Cuba knows something about this that we don't. Now no more talk."

Rushing over to the used-towel room, Lyons stood in the doorway and studied Silva. A wide-shouldered Hispanic with perfectly styled hair and an expensive suit, Silva had never worked with his hands or struggled or fought. His manikin-perfect face had no scars or worry lines.

Silva looked up at the man filling the doorway. He saw polyester slacks stained with filth and crusted blood. The man wore a freshly laundered shirt — the front still had the creases from a suitcase — but blood stained his hands and arms. Bits of blood clotted in his hair. As Silva studied the blond stranger, he became aware of a new smell in the room.

The smell of blood and cordite and death.

Absently Lyons rolled the thick folder in his hands, gripped it and slapped it like a length of pipe in his left palm. Voices stopped. The steady whap-whap-whap of the roll of papers became the only sound in the small concrete-walled room. Finally, Lyons spoke to the plainclothes interrogators.

"Officers, wewill question the prisoner now. Please leave us alone with him. And don't interrupt us."

The plainclothes officers grinned to one another. But Towers shook his head. "We're responsible for what the prisoner looks like and I can't let..."

Lyons crouched, balancing on the balls of his feet in front of Silva. He looked into the man's face and smiled. "This puto..." Lyons used the Mexican word for a male whore "...is only a coward and a worm. He will answer all our questions."

Towers motioned the interrogators out. The men laughed as they left. The last man closed the door. Silva twisted his face into a sneer.

"I'll be free tomorrow. And I'll file a lawsuit claiming defamation of character. That obscenity will cost you millions of dollars."

Lyons ignored Silva's words. "Your father and his friends fought Castro. Your family fled Cuba. If you don't answer every question we ask, photocopies of this go to your father, your father's friends, every anti-Castro organization in the country, and Omega Seven."

Opening the curled folder, Lyons showed Silva the first page of the Cuban dossier. Full-face and profile photos identified Mario Silva. The stamp of the Direccion General de Inteligencia marked the lower right-hand corner of the identification sheet.

Silva went white. Lyons fanned through the dossier, showing the young attorney the hundreds of photocopied documents condemning him to prison and lifelong exile from his family and the Cuban American community.

Lyons grinned. "You'll talk now?"

Silva tried to speak. But his mouth had gone dry. He sputtered a few sounds, finally nodded.

"We want to know everything about Shabaka..."

The double shock of betrayal by his Communist masters and the police knowledge of it made Silva sag in the chair. He hid his face in his hands.

In less than a minute, without striking him once, Lyons had broken the arrogant attorney.

Furious knocking at the door interrupted the interrogation before the questions started.

"What?" Lyons demanded. "I said to leave us alone! What do you want?"

"You got a call from someone named Flor. You want me to tell her to call back later?"

16

A National Guard war-surplus Huey troopship took Able Team to El Monte, a community of Chicano barrios and light industry only a few minutes by freeway from downtown Los Angeles. Approaching the warehouse, they saw the headlights and flashing red lights of the ambulances and sheriffs patrol cars below them. White-uniformed attendants exited a building with sheeted forms on gurneys.

"Dead ones," Towers shouted to Lyons.

"I don't care who's dead," Lyons answered, also shouting to be heard over the rotorthrob. "Flor's alive."

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