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Even as he lay here, hiding in his nook in the rocks in the middle of the night, forty miles from the city and danger, Syd was preparing to assault the bad guys.Two of the helicopters were equipped to drop men on lines for rapid assault from the air.In the movies these car chases are always excitement and close calls.Billy Jim was inside. Drowned. It looked as if he had run off a little bridge in the darkness the night before and not been able to get out of the cab of the pickup in time.

Before Dar could respond, a white Bell Ranger helicopter roared up to within fifty feet of them on their starboard side and leveled off at their same altitude.Syd had taken her hands off the riser controls and had the 9mm semiautomatic held firmly in both hands.She had changed out of her professional-looking suit into jeans, a flannel shirt, and cross-trainer sneakers.They were ordered to then bring all of the vital radioactive material, especially the plutonium, to Saigon, where it would be flown out to the waiting armada.Lawrence agreed to give him a twilight ride to a trailhead so that Dar could go camping.Usually the claims against the chain were no more serious than the usual obvious slip-and-falls, although there was one nasty case in which a woman sued for half a million dollars because she was raped while in her car in the drive-through waiting for her order.Between that glare and the moonlight, Dar realized that it was easier to slip along with the night-vision goggles up on his forehead.Dar designated himself as driver of the test vehicle and accepted one NTSB volunteer to ride along to videotape the reenactment.

One of the men pushed the other man, who stumbled into the street, almost fell, and then righted himself just as the skidding van slammed into him.There he had to secure a Perlon climbing rope around a boulder in order to rappel down the steep arc of the rock face to a shrub-filled ledge where he could set up the video camera, conceal it, its battery, and its transmitter with the waterproof camouflage tarp, and then hide the long broadcast antenna by running it up cracks in the rock face to the summit.Lawrence introduced them as three executive representatives of Hampton Preprocessing International, headquartered in Chicago, and two of their own insurance investigators.

Darwin had never given much thought as to how hamburgers were stamped out—he knew that they arrived frozen and preshaped at all of the franchise burger places—but now he saw that Hampton Quality Preprocessing was the place.It was modern Marine-issue and incorporated a thick ceramic chest protector that could stop a 7.62mm rifle bullet at medium range, but that also made it extra stiff and uncomfortable.In addition to the binoculars, each spotter carried a twenty-power scout telescope.She had no outstanding traffic warrants at the time of the accident.You even worked out the kinetic-impact-velocity-diminution equations on our computer—showing that if it had been a guardrail rather than a concrete pillar, the Mercedes would have gone ricocheting back and forth through that tunnel, wall to guardrail and back again, dissipating energy as it went.

Dar wanted to lay down cover fire—knowing well that the two snipers would be lying out of sight—but he had to see if Syd made it into the basement.While one slept, the other had driven radioactive materials around on a forklift.Lawrence was looking through small binoculars he had pulled from a flap pocket of his safari shirt.

Tony Constanza used to be a member of that wing of the multiethnic, multiracial, equal-opportunity organized crime syndicate which, even today, is comprised primarily of Sicilian-and Italian-Americans and is commonly known as the mafia.Firefighters and rescue crews were using the Jaws of Life to cut through the A-pillars of the smashed Firebird, and at least one medic was on all fours, shouting encouragement to someone still in the wreck.Half a dozen more yellow pins still waited at the side of the map.I graduated from high school early, finished college in three years with a degree in physics, but all the time, what I was really interested in was death and fear and control.Light Marine tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles—followed by the occasional dune buggy with a.60-caliber mounted machine gun—roared along the camp side of the fence to the east of the interstate, kicking up dust before following ruts back into the barren hills.She said that she had overridden the automatic transmission and shifted down to second gear, but that did not help.

Whereas even Marines are taught to be part of a bigger organism, snipers work alone—or in teams of two.The officer tried to show a smile of contempt, but the effect was spoiled when his lips quivered.Dar watched as the older man smoothly operated the bolt action.Dar slapped in another magazine and only then realized that he himself was under heavy fire.The grease monkeys and the teenaged girl had arrived and were forming a semicircle.By this time, eight tactical team snipers in ghillie suits had wormed their way to within 150 yards of the house and all three sides of the property bordering the street.Ken, flying his Cessna towplane, was making frequent touchdowns, tying onto other gliders, and towing them skyward.Syd lifted her face above the covers and silently mouthed a word.

Some of the better-aimed shots sent slugs down his east-west sniper trough and the bullets whined by inches below his boots before ricocheting up and out.The little chopper lifted, fluttered, and then tilted forward, climbing for altitude at the mouth of the canyon before buzzing back, hovering a minute over the wide shelf of stone and sagebrush, and then settling down carefully, the rotors no more than twenty feet from the vertical rock wall.He was wearing a fanny pack, had a kerchief tied around his brow Rambo-style, and was sporting a pair of oversized, heavy-framed sunglasses.At the top of the pyramid were three boxes—two empty and one with a photo of Dallas Trace.Hernandez leaned on the massive lug nut, changed hands, tried harder.Dar had twenty other projects he could work on, but he found himself wandering the apartment, pulling books off the shelves and putting them back, checking his e-mail and updating his chess games.It was Lawrence, wrinkled, rumpled, and sweaty after a long day testifying.Dar spent the hours shifting to get comfortable, keeping watch through his goggles and monitor, listening to the breeze stir the pines (while instinctively estimating the wind velocity), and generally deconstructing the philosophy upon which he had based his entire life.Gilley—owned several mobile home parks and maintained a high self-retention on all of them.