Day Zero

Day Zero by Marc Cameron

Book: Day Zero by Marc Cameron Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marc Cameron
Tags: thriller
already was. Quinn had learned as a small boy that, in the wilderness, a man is merely a hairless, clawless bear—weak and inconsequential without his wits. There was nothing like floating nearly naked in a river the size of the Yukon to drive that point home.
    Roughly two minutes after entering the river, Quinn rounded the new barge docks and leaned toward the bank. Thirty seconds later, he grabbed the transom of an aluminum skiff that was tethered alongside the fish house.
    Rain pattered on the surface of the river.
    Arms shaking with cold, Quinn tucked the length of hose back into his belt in case he was discovered and needed it to slip away underwater. He grabbed the wooden rungs of the newly built two-by-four ladder on the wooden dock that ran the length of the Kwikpac building, adjacent to the skiff. Still half in, half out of the water, he waited, his head just below the bottom of the dock. Another minute of intense shivering and Quinn wondered if he’d even be able to haul himself up the ladder at all, let alone fight.
    Water dripped from his eyes as he glanced down at the Tag Aquaracer on his wrist. Six minutes since he’d left the fuel shed. He felt sure the men in the building directly above him would be able to hear his chattering teeth, even over the constant slosh of the river. Clenching his jaws in an effort to stop the noise, he prayed for Ukka to start shooting soon.

Chapter 13
    Las Vegas
     
    T he humorless government machine that was TSA prodded Tang along as it had his wife, demanding he stand just so in order to scan his body for weapons. He had no doubt that the chemical sensors would scan his camera bag, but the portion of the device he carried was small and innocuous by itself—barely five ounces of material.
    He made it through security with little more than a condescending nod from the harried TSA officers.
    Ma Zhen called their plan the Honey Plot, pointing out that it took twelve bees, each bringing in a small droplet of nectar at a time, to produce one teaspoon of honey. Like Tang, Ma was Hui—Muslim Chinese. He was also a gifted bomb maker.
    The five members of Tang’s group would each pass through security with only a small portion of the device. That meant five chances for discovery, but the minuscule amount of contraband made the odds that any individual would be caught extremely low.
    Tang and Ma Zhen and a half-Uyghur man named Hu all carried PETN, a powerful, but low-vapor explosive secreted away in specialized Ni-Cad camcorder batteries. The batteries had been sealed by the man from Pakistan to Ma Zhen’s specifications. Earlier that day, they had laid out all the components on the bed at the hotel. Tang had marveled at the workmanship of the batteries. They even had enough juice to power the camera for a few minutes if officials wanted to make certain they were operable. These were not batteries from some backroom workshop. The man from Pakistan had contacts in the manufacturing company or possibly even a government. They had now proven they could hide small quantities of PETN and were certainly good enough to conceal the powdered metal carried by Gao Jianguo, the fifth and final member of the team. He was a thuggish brute with a sloping forehead that hinted at the diminished capacity of his brain. He spoke of jihad in vague terms that made Tang wonder if he even knew what the word meant.
    Tang stopped just past the screening checkpoint long enough to put on his belt and replace his wallet and wristwatch. A hundred feet from the gate, he could see the forlorn face of his wife as she sat facing the window, staring blankly at the plane that would see them out of their despair.
    Ma Zhen sat alone on the row of black chairs behind Lin. He stooped forward, making notations in a small notebook. He was always writing something, as if he knew he should be in a university taking notes rather than masterminding the destruction of a commercial airliner.
    Ma was a young man with thick,

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