Strike Force Alpha

Strike Force Alpha by Mack Maloney

Book: Strike Force Alpha by Mack Maloney Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mack Maloney
fixtures everywhere. Many satin pillows were strewn about the floor. A dozen servants were stationed at various places around the room, Filipinos all of them. A case of champagne was waiting on ice. The six men rolled out their prayer mats and, led by Prince Ali, quickly recited their evening prayers, even though they were several hours too late and none of them had the faintest idea whether they were facing Mecca or not. This done, the club manager was signaled. He clapped his hands softly and a side door to the room opened. A line of girls appeared. Clad in negligees and bathing suits, they were paraded before the six men as they lounged on their pillows and drank Dom Perignon . Every girl was blond and busty. They were mostly German and Czech, with a few Russians thrown in. There were 30 in all. The oldest one was 20.
    Each man picked two, except the Prince, who took three. The rest were dismissed. Those girls selected were led to another room and told to wait.
    The men got around to ordering their late-night dinner. All six chose the beef l’orange with french fries, and chocolate cake for dessert. Then they gathered their pillows together and had a serious conversation.
    They were worried. The mysterious, and undoubtably U.S. unit had struck again, breaking up the Sea Princess operation, killing every member of the Genoa cell, and then bombing the Party of God headquarters—all in just 48 hours. And this just days after the attacks in Lebanon and Somalia and the assassination of their rotund Yemeni brother, Hamini Musheed.
    “The Crazy Americans are not going away,” Farouk began. “And this could be very bad for us. They have got under my skin. I think about them constantly.”
    “They knew exactly when our friends in Genoa were going to hit the liner,” Khalis Abu, the-brother-in-law, said. “You might say they just got lucky. But I ask you, have you ever known the Americans to be that lucky?”
    The others shook their heads no.
    “I tell you, brothers, they are listening in on us, ” Khalis went on. “From our lips to their ears….”
    Ali raised his hand, as if to slap him across his face.
    “No!” the prince screamed. “They would not dare. We are too important for that. I am too important for that….”
    But Farouk persisted. “What if they do have us bugged, my brother? Our homes. Our jets. This place. This room? ”
    Again Prince Ali tried to wave their concerns away, but not quite as dramatically. The Algerian Party of God had nothing to do with his activities; he couldn’t have cared less about them. But he had sent money to the Genoa cell just days before it was wiped out. The plan to sink the cruise ship had been in the works for months, in absolute secrecy, but somehow the Americans had sniffed it out. The attack on the Sicilian villa was even more disturbing. Its location had been so secret, even the Prince was never told where it was. The dark humor of dropping the raft loaded with explosives on the house was also unsettling.
    Stranger still, the attempt on the cruise ship had received scant coverage in the media, as had all of the recent American actions. Fox called it “a failed attempt at terrorism by amateurs.” CNN didn’t cover it at all. This was so perverse. It was as if the news networks were intentionally downplaying the kind of events they usually trumpeted. This was as baffling to the Prince as the shadowy U.S. strike team itself.
    He knew many people in the U.S. military; he met with them frequently at receptions and diplomatic gatherings. He’d talked to several at a luncheon earlier this day. As subtly as possible, he’d brought up the subject of the recent incidents. Each U.S. officer he spoke to seemed to draw a blank on the subject; a couple said they’d get back to him. Were they as much in the dark as he was? Or were they setting him up?
    All this only made him worry more—and when Ali worried, he tended to drink heavily. If he drank too much, he would get angry

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