Cyclops One DeFelice Jim


“On what they pay me?”

Betty’s laugh sounded something like the snort of a hippopotamus.

In a good way.

She rose from her desk and went to the lateral filing cabinets, where a large air-filtration machine sat. She poked the side and the smoke-eater began to whirl.

“You don’t really think that does any good, do you?” asked Fisher, taking a cigarette from her.

“Keeps the boss happy,” she said, sitting back at the desk. She opened the top drawer after she lit up, taking out a bag of Tootsie Rolls, which she habitually chewed while smoking. The combination kept her teeth a healthy black.

“Did you get those financial profiles?” Fisher asked.


“Didn’t DOD send over those authorizations?”

“I got the data you asked about, Andy. They’re not financial profiles. They’re barely disclosure statements. Do you have any idea of what we do down here?”

“Besides the orgies?”

Another hippo snort. “If you’re looking for bribes, you want to go over to U-Rent and get a metal detector,” she told him. “You’ll have better luck digging up coffee cans in their backyards.”

“You’re getting funnier, Betty. You really are.”

“It’s the nicotine talking.” She reached down into the nether regions of her desk, digging out a file she had had prepared for him. NADT mandated annual security checks for all its personnel, and the checks routinely included credit reports as well as asset listings. A member of Betty’s team had gone over the data.

“If they know their accounts are being checked, they’re unlikely to hide any money there,” said Betty, handing over the information. “We did comparison sheets where the records were deep enough. Three years.”

“Boring as hell, huh?”

“Your missing pilot’s rich. I’d like to be in her will.”

“So I hear. These are the same forms they had out at North Lake?”

“You’ve seen them already?” Betty’s tongue nearly got tangled in her candy. “God damn it, Andy, you know how short-staffed I am?”

“So, how rich is York, anyway?”

Betty began rattling numbers through the smoke rings, calming somewhat. The family was among the top thousand in the country, depending on how their holdings were valued. On the one hand, she had no close relatives — her parents were dead and she had no sisters — but on the other hand her “real” money was parked in trusts.

“You can’t even tell how rich these people are from the statements,” said Betty. “That’s my point. They’re basically the same bullshit forms Congress uses, and you know how revealing they are.”

“Like your shirt.”

While Betty inspected her clothes, Fisher looked at the sheets, which — contrary to what he had insinuated — were somewhat more detailed than the data available at North Lake. York’s included a long list of trusts that she had an interest in.

“Can you find out what these trusts hold?” he asked.

“After you get the subpoenas and double my personnel line, sure.” Betty popped another Tootsie Roll. “Overtime pay would be nice too.”

Fisher leaned forward. There was a cup of coffee at the edge. Something appeared to be growing in it; otherwise, he might have taken a sip.

“I have this other idea,” he said. “But it’s a long shot.”

“What idea of yours isn’t?”

Fisher reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a three-page list of names. “These are the companies that are involved in Cyclops,” he told her. “Just the weapons part. I was wondering if we could get an idea of any relationships they have.”

“What are you, a marriage counselor?”

“Watching Jay Leno is really paying off for you, Betty.”

She took the list and immediately started to frown. “Are these all private companies?”

“I don’t know. What’s the difference?”

“Well, for starters, it’s as hard getting information on private companies as it is for individuals.”

“So, it’ll be a snap, huh?” Fisher took a long draw on the cigarette. Betty smoked no-name cigarettes, and this particular one reminded him of horse dung. But insulting her would not be particularly productive. “There may be paperwork over at DOD that lets us look at their financial records.”

“Did you ask?”

“Not directly.”

“Have you talked to GSA to see if there have been any audits?”

“See, that’s why you’re the expert. I didn’t even think of that.”

“Do we have grounds to look at their books?”

Fisher shrugged.

“That means no. This is a lot of work, Andy. Even without going in and looking at their books.”

“I’d also be interested in whatever else they’re doing, what other project they’re tied into. Also, I’m looking for real estate records. I’ve hit a dead end on that side.”

She tried to hand the paper back to him. “This isn’t really accounting, Fisher. This is something you should be doing yourself.”

“You know me and numbers,” said Fisher.

Betty turned aside to one of the three computers lined up on the side of her desk — she had a laptop and a PDA on the desk itself — and pressed a few buttons.

“Hmmmm,” she said.

“See. I knew you could do it.”

“It’s going to take longer than I thought. No way.”

“Great,” said Fisher, jumping up. “Call me, okay?”

“Andy. Andy!”

In retrospect, Fisher realized that he had made a tactical mistake in managing his exit, for undoubtedly Betty’s rather sonorous voice had set off some sort of deep vibration within the Bureau’s clandestine internal security system. Nonetheless, he almost succeeded in escaping completely from the complex — but then,almost only counts in horseshoes and grenades.

Actually, the latter would have been an appropriate metaphor.

“Andrew Fisher!”

When faced with a difficult situation, Fisher knew, there were only two possible ways of dealing with it. The first was to face it bravely. The second — infinitely preferable — was to run away as fast as you could.

Given that his way down the hall was barred by several security types, Fisher chose the former.

“Hey, boss,” he said, swirling around. “What’s happening?”

Jack Hunter’s red face glowed in the corridor, his mouth open while his brain worked to string together a sentence of passable coherence. Hunter was executive assistant director for National Security — Special Projects, a kingdom that had been carved out of Counterintelligence when no one was looking. It was often said that Hunter was old-school Bureau, though no one could figure exactly what school that might have been. In any event, he was among the most deliberate speakers in Washington; several field agents believed that talking to Hunter was the best way to prepare for a lifetime as a Zen Buddhist monk.

Fisher, for one, had never put much store in Eastern religion and believed that patience was overrated. Still, with no avenue of escape open, he waited for his boss to get to the point.

“A camel, Fisher? A camel?” said Hunter finally.

“Yeah, bit me,” said Fisher. “Ain’t that a bitch?”

“It should have bitten your head off. And what was this about water?”

“Hey, Egypt’s in the middle of a desert. Had to buy water.”

“Five trainloads of water?”

“I think it was only four. You better send somebody over to check that one out.”

Hunter’s face shaded even redder. “Why does Colonel Gorman want to talk to me?”

“Sounds like a personal matter,” said Fisher. The way was now clear, and so he hustled toward it.

“Fisher! Stop this instant.”

Fisher obeyed, but only because he could no longer afford to waste time discussing Bureau finances. He pulled his cigarettes out.

“You can’t smoke in here. It’s a federal building!”

“Right, chief,” he said, turning and heading toward the doors.


“I’m going, I’m going.”

Chapter 3

The transmission clearly belonged to a Russian aircraft. Even Luksha, no expert, could see from the graph how the query to the Russian satellite for its position matched the pattern of a dozen other aircraft, including his own. Luksha could also see that the geopositioning gear that made the query had once been in a Tu-160; this match was also perfect.

But according to the three intelligence people fidgeting before him, no Tu-160 had been flying to make the query. The few currently operating with Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily’s Long-Range or Frontal Aviation units — officially there were six of the aircraft the Americans dubbed the Blackjack, but in reality only two had actually flown in the past six months — had both been grounded when the query was made.

“So is this a Tu-160, or just the GPS system?” asked the general.

“It is impossible to know for certain, of course.” Chapeav nestled his hands on his potbelly. “Several Tu-160s from the Ukraine were sold for parts some years ago. It is likely that this came from that lot. Some airframes were sold in those transactions, but given the location over the Pacific, we rule this out as an actual Tu-160. It’s simply a GPS unit, and perhaps related avionics, that’s been placed in another aircraft.”

“We rule it out because it’s not the answer we’re seeking,” said Luksha, as usual becoming impatient with Chapeav’s know-it-all manner.



Деловая литература

Детективы и Триллеры

Документальная литература

Дом и семья


Искусство, Дизайн

Литература для детей

Любовные романы

Наука, Образование





Религия, духовность, эзотерика

Справочная литература