Flight 12 to Rome: A Nick Bracco Novella

Flight 12 to Rome: A Nick Bracco Novella by Gary Ponzo

Book: Flight 12 to Rome: A Nick Bracco Novella by Gary Ponzo Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gary Ponzo
Tags: General Fiction
Chapter 1
    FBI agent Nick Bracco sat against the window on Flight 12 and searched intensely for the terrorist. He didn’t know a name or even a face, but he knew somewhere on board was a passenger with a device that could change the world in an instant.
    The 767 idled on the tarmac as passengers continued to board the plane. Nick scanned every face, searching for someone who might be carrying the device. It could be small enough to be wired into the hard drive of a laptop so it wasn’t easy to locate. The nerds were becoming the greatest threat to the world of terrorism. A world Nick had known very well as the head of counterterrorism for the FBI.
    He checked his phone display for the time. It was a couple of minutes past midnight. Everyone was tired and looking forward to a decent nap along the way. That’s when Nick spotted a familiar face. As she came down the aisle she carefully assessed him, then her boarding pass, then finally Nick again as she stashed her bag under the seat and sat next to him.
    “What are the chances of me getting this exact seat,” she said, then buckled her seat belt and reached for the airline’s magazine in the front pouch.
    “One hundred percent.”
    Jess Kimball was a popular journalist with Taboo Magazine and well known among the law enforcement community. “I can take care of myself,” she said without looking up.
    “Really?” Nick folded his arms across his chest. “Even after the death threat from Shad McRea?” Jess’s mouth opened, but she was too shocked to speak.
    “Yeah,” Nick said. “We know things.”
    Jess examined Nick as if he were an exhibit at a museum. “How?”
    “I have friends in the music industry.”
    “Apparently.”
    Jess bent over and pulled a small notepad out of her purse. “How do you know all this? Are you here to protect me?”
    Nick shook his head while examining the boarding process. Many of the passengers stared at Jess with a flicker of recognition in their eyes.
    Jess began to scribble some notes.
    “What are you doing?” Nick asked.
    “I’m writing.”
    “Writing what?”
    Jess looked up from her notebook and gave Nick a disappointed scowl. “Look, Agent Bracco. You have your weapons,” she held up her pen, “and I have mine.”
    Nick sighed. “Listen, I’m just giving you a hard time, Shad is a harmless blowhard. And besides,” he handed her a silver pen with a thick rubber grip at the bottom, “this is the type of pen you need to use. It works from every angle without interruption.”
    Jess seemed to assess the object with suspicion. After scribbling some words onto her notebook, she nodded her head in approval. “Nice. Thanks.”
    “You’re welcome.”
    Jess continued to write in her notebook. “If you’re not here to protect me, then why are you here?”
    Nick glanced around to assure their solitude. “We believe there’s a terrorist on board with a device that can destroy a metropolitan city in a flash.”
    Jess blinked, but said nothing.
    “You’ve actually done research on the subject for one of your stories.”
    “Which story?”
    Nick kept scanning the cabin. “Antimatter. The Next Big Threat.”
    That got Jess to glance around as well. “You’re kidding.”
    “I wish I were.”
    The luggage compartment door shut with a bang below them and Jess nearly jumped from her seat. “Then why haven’t you emptied the plane and arrested the suspect?”
    “Because,” Nick said, resuming his inspection, “we need to be certain of our facts. I get barraged with misinformation. Sometimes it’s better to wait and watch. Besides, I have an entire battalion of agents from several agencies waiting for our flight to land.”
    “So in the meantime we’re going to take a flight with a container of antimatter on board?”
    “Do you remember how much stability and protection it took to transport antimatter?”
    “Yes, of course,” Jess said, following Nick’s gaze at the boarding passengers. “It would take a

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