"Keep her above three hundred meters on the approach." Ramirez's hard voice cut through the roar of the 2,200-hp Isotov turboshafts. Down below, the cold, dusk-shrouded Aegean churned with a late autumn storm. "Any lower and there'll be surface effect."
"I'm well aware of that," the Iranian pilot muttered, a sullen response barely audible above the helicopter's noise and vibration. It stopped just short of open disrespect.
Sabri Ramirez did not mind. The two Iranians had been an unfortunate necessity, but in three days they would be dead. The others, the professionals, were the ones who counted. When he hand-picked the European terrorists now resting on the four litters in the main cabin, he had gone for the best. Each man had a track record and a purpose. Ramirez, however, was the leader, fully in control. He had planned, financed, and now commanded the operation.
In the ghostly light of late evening, his sleek cheeks, iron- shaded temples, and trim mustache gave no hint of the extensive plastic surgery that had created this, his latest face. He wore a black jumpsuit, like the others, but under his was a $2,000 Brioni charcoal double-breasted—perhaps more suited for a three-star dinner in Paris, at L'Ambroisie or La Tour d'Argent, than the operation at hand. All the same, he felt comfortably at home in this Hind-D helicopter gunship, the most lethal assault machine ever. Their operation had two objectives, and the first had just appeared on the bright green cockpit radar.
It was the 2,600-ton U.S. frigate Glover, Garcia class, which the National Security Agency had converted into a Mid-East spy platform. Loaded with missile-tracking and communications-monitoring antennas, it had to go.
- Zhingoora Books, April 2013
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