“It’s a no-go.”

“What do you mean, it’s a no-go?”

Deckard could feel blood throbbing in his temples.

“I can’t do it.”

He reached out and grabbed Aghassi by the arm.

“The hell you can’t.  We were in Egypt for a day and then it took four days to get back.  I’ve seen you do the impossible with shorter timelines.”

Direct Action: Chapter Twenty Nine

Read Next: Direct Action: Chapter Twenty Nine

“This is different,” Aghassi said.  “They are different.”

“You’re literally killing me here.”

Aghassi saw the look in his friend’s eyes and knew he meant it.  Despite trying to play it off the last time they met at the Chinese restaurant, Deckard was getting frayed around the edges.  On top of the normal combat stress, he was working as a singleton.  Piled on top was that, he was constantly undercover, even among his teammates.  He was always on the job and could never let his guard down, not even for a second.

“I worked out the guard cycle at Bill’s place, bypassed the three security systems he had, picked the lock, made entry into the house and poked around.  His office is upstairs.  I slipped a fiber optic camera under the door and spotted something.”

“Spotted what?”

“A killswitch.  If I trip the killswitch it will probably wipe all the drives and set off an alarm.  Not only would we lose the data and compromise this entire mission, but it could put you under suspicion as well.  The killswitch is rigged up to a motion and heat sensor.  I couldn’t even get into the same room as Bill’s computer set up.”

“What is the counter-measure?  The next op they take me on is it.  You go in there, get the data, and we call in the boys when we arrive back here in Mauritius.”

“Listen Deck, I have to tell you.  Someone with a security system this sophisticated is going to have PGP encryption on his drive at a minimum.  I can mirror the drive and take it out with me but even if we had ten Cray super-computers decrypting it, they wouldn’t be successful until our grand kids are applying for Medicare.”

“Fuck me.”

Direct Action: Chapter Twenty Seven

Read Next: Direct Action: Chapter Twenty Seven

“I’ll keep trying, but this might be a dead end.”

“Then what?”

Aghassi shook his head.

“This might come down to old fashion human intelligence.”

“One of them is already suspicious of me,” Deckard told him.  “Rick.  He saw me taking photos of the device on the way out.  Bill blew it off though.”

“What device?”

Deckard showed him the pictures on his cell phone of the device he had recovered in Egypt.  Aghassi flipped through them on Deckard’s phone while getting a brief rundown on how it worked and why it had been in Egypt.

“Looks like a high energy radio frequency device.  Where is it now?  If you can get it to me, this could be our big break.  We can use it to tap into their network.”

“Too late.  When our ship dropped us off in Djibouti there were a couple suits waiting on us.  One took control of the three college kids to put on an airplane back home.  Another took possession of the device.”

“We’re up shit creek.”

“That isn’t exactly comforting.”

“Look, we’ve got one platoon from Samruk International in Madagascar.  They hit the ground about twelve hours ago and are staging out of a hangar.  They are arranging for contingency transportation to Mauritius by air and sea right now.”

“Who is there?”

“Sergeant Major Korgan and Frank running things.  About forty shooters total.  We’ll be able to call on them when we need them.”

“When the time comes I’m not going to have days to wait on their ship or hours to wait for their plane,” Deckard said.  “It is anyone’s guess who will still be standing when the smoke clears.”