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Книга Army of Devils. Содержание - 16

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"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?"


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."

Litter swirled in the glare of the streetlights as the Huey descended into a parking lot. Lyons jumped from the side door the moment the skids touched asphalt. Sprinting to the warehouse door, he saw two sheriff's deputies put up their hands to stop him. He dodged through them into the warehouse.

"Hey, buster! Who do you think you are?"

"Stop that clown!"

"Flor! Where are you?" Lyons shouted, ignoring the deputies rushing to seize him.

"Over here!"

A deputy with a baton confronted Lyons. Lyons pushed him aside. The deputy swung back the baton to club the ex-LAPD officer.

"Quit it!" Lyons told him. "You don't know who you're dealing with."

"Officer!" Flor Trujillo called out. She approached, limping, from behind the bullet-pocked truck, her dress bloody, a Kalashnikov slung over her shoulder. "That is my associate you are threatening..."

"Then tell him to get out of here. This area's closed to civilians," the soldier said, breathing hard.

"Officer," Flor repeated. "This is my operation. You are only here to clean up. If you continue to threaten my associate, I will be forced to request your withdrawal."

As she spoke, she shifted the Kalashnikov in her hands. Casually gripping the forestock in her left hand, she flicked the AK's safety lever up and down with her right. In the quiet after the shutdown of the helicopter's engine, both Lyons and the deputy heard the sharp clacking of the Soviet safety. She ended the argument with the final question, "Do we understand each other?"

The deputy sheriff lowered his baton. "He with you?"

Lyons rushed to Flor. She had the presence of mind to reset the AK's safety before Lyons hugged her. For almost a minute he held her, not speaking, his face in her hair, drinking the scent of her sweat with every breath.

"Carl," she whispered. "It's okay. I'm okay. It couldn't have been more than an hour or two since I saw you."

"I thought you were gone." He felt the rise and fall of her breasts against his body.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I saw the truck leaving, and I jumped on. Like a fool I didn't take one of the radios. I'm not used to working with a team."

"What happened?" Lyons finally broke the embrace.

"Did you bring my luggage? I lost my shoes. And I have to throw this dress away."

"Hey, lovers," Gadgets jived as he joined them. "We're here on business. Time to get to it."

"What was the trouble with the sheriff's department?" Blancanales asked.

Lyons laughed. "Flor had to establish exactly who is in command here. Able Team one, sheriff's department zero..."

Flor interrupted Lyons's joke. "I am in command here. Now come meet the prisoner. He's only got a few minutes before he passes out from blood loss."

They passed the bullet-riddled boxes and crates. The overhead lights shadowed a hundred black pits in the concrete walls where slugs had chipped craters.

"Looks like someone did some shooting here," Gadgets commented.

"At me," Flor said. "They thought they'd killed me. But they hadn't. When they saw me under the truck, I came out shooting. Then I tried to hide. Like a scared little girl. They did much shooting, they shot the boxes, they shot the walls, they shot the floor but not me. When they thought I was dead, one of them found me. What a surprise he got. There were only two of them left, and I got them, too. And I captured Shabaka, their leader. But he's still alive. The others, no."

Medics and deputies crowded around the prisoner. Flat on a stretcher, the middle-aged black man writhed and groaned. As one medic knotted a tourniquet above the prisoner's bullet-shattered right knee, another medic prepared an injection. Flor motioned them all away.

"No injections. No medications. I am not done with this man."

"Miss, he's in terrible pain. He could slip into shock..."

"Of course he is in pain," Flor told the concerned medic. "He has been shot."

Lyons glanced down at the wound. "Perfect. Straight through the kneecap."

"He wouldn't answer my questions," the young woman explained, "so I shot him."

Lyons looked to Gadgets and Blancanales. "What did he say then?" He laughed.

"He told me he was only a lawyer for unfortunate teenagers. So I stood on his knee. Then he did answer my questions. You..." She shouted down into Abdul Shabaka's face. "You. Murderer of children! Tell us again what is in the truck."

"Allah be merciful, I don't know what you mean…"

"That's not what you said..."

"I told you nothing."

Flor stepped on the shattered knee. Shabaka flopped and twisted on the stretcher. Behind them, they heard one of the medics gasp and mutter, "Oh, good God… she's torturing him, somebody stop her."

One of the deputies turned to the medic. "You hear about all those college girls hacked apart? You hear about that family on the freeway?"

Shabaka gasped out the words. "The drug. Two hundred kilos. In the truck. Crossing the border. Stop the pain and I will tell you everything… Stop it, stop it, stop the pain, stop..."

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