Operation Thunderbolt (Department 89 #7)

Revenge Proves Its Own Executioner.

Germany’s elite Department 89 has crossed paths with the Central Intelligence Agency on more than one occasion. But after their last encounter, Langley decides enough is enough.

Sending a covert black-ops hit team to Berlin, the CIA Director orders the deaths of the Department 89 chiefs and the obliteration of the entire department. A deadly message must be sent to German Chancellor Claudia Meyer, and Agent Tom Finn is the messenger.

But Finn and his team have never met anyone like Department 89 before. By the end, there can only be one victor – and Finn is on Decker’s home turf.

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Exceptionally well written, a pleasure to read and highly recommended to anyone looking for good reading.
Amazon reviewer

Mikhail Kharkov was starting to have serious second thoughts about the job he had agreed to do. As the battered truck he was driving sped along the darkened Paderborn streets with its illicit cargo in the back, he wondered, not for the first time, if he should have at least demanded more money.

But that was always Kharkov’s problem. He was too impulsive, too quick to say yes if banknotes were flashed in front of his eyes. If he saw money, his brain switched off and common sense suddenly didn’t apply. He didn’t have the impulse control to say no, or at the very least to think the matter through to its logical conclusion. If he had done so in this instance, he would have immediately calculated that he would be taking an enormous risk for a very small reward.

He sighed at his lack of foresight. It was too late now. His only option was to finish the job by delivering the truck to Dortmund, walk away quickly, and forget about what he had done, if that was possible. He instinctively crossed himself then wondered why he had bothered. He was already convinced he was going straight to Hell when his time came. Most likely, God had given up on him a long time ago as a lost cause. His parents already had.

His thoughts were interrupted by flashing blue lights ahead on the darkened road. Squinting his eyes, he could gradually make out the outlines of a police roadblock. His heart sank.

“Damn!” he muttered, his shaking hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles started to go white.

So close to Dortmund. The chances of getting through the roadblock if they decided to check the back was impossible – and what kind of a police roadblock didn’t want to check the contents of a vehicle? 

But a shootout with the cops? Even though he was armed, the thought of firing on a police roadblock, and them firing back, was extremely unappealing. He had no desire to die and equally no desire to spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering police officers.

Then he thought ‘are they looking for me?

He immediately waved aside the thought. The stakes on this job were too high for anyone to inform on him to the police. Everybody knew who he was working for and nobody had the guts to turn against him. 

He lowered a hand slowly and tapped three times on the wall behind his seat. That was the signal for the police approaching so those in the back knew to be quiet. A discreet knock back confirmed that he had been understood.

Kharkov decided it was just a random roadblock and he could most likely bluff his way through it. His hands started sweating at the thought and he instinctively wiped his palms on his grubby jeans, as he slowed down in front of the police checkpoint. Kharkov saw an officer raise a hand and come forward, flashlight in the other hand. 

Another two were standing at the barrier. Kharkov could see none of their faces because of the darkness. He wound his window down and the cold night breeze hit him in the face, making him flinch. The officer with the flashlight walked up to Kharkov’s open window and nodded.

“Evening sir” said Wolfgang Schmitz, “cold night to be out.”

Kharkov nodded nervously. “Yes, you’re right. Quite cold.”

“That must explain why you’re shaking then” said Schmitz, “licence and registration please, and make it quick. My boss is watching and it’s performance review time. Oh and please turn your engine off. It’s bad for the environment.”

“Yes, yes of course” said Kharkov, fumbling with his documents and turning the ignition off. What was wrong with him? This was not his first police checkpoint and it certainly wouldn’t be his last. But right now, he was shaking like a coked-up squirrel on a dance floor. 

As he handed over the documents to Schmitz, he could feel the reassuring bulk of his pistol tucked into the back of his jeans. Thankfully it was concealed by his jacket so Schmitz currently couldn’t see it.

“So where did you start off from?” asked Schmitz, examining the documents.

“Katowice” said Kharkov irritably, “that’s in Poland.”

“I’m well aware where Katowice is” said Schmitz, calmly, “and what is your final destination?”

“Dortmund.”

“Lucky you” said Schmitz, “you’d have to pay me to go anywhere near Dortmund.”

“I am being paid” said Kharkov, “can I go now?”

Instead of replying, Schmitz’s gaze wandered to the back of the truck. “What have you got in the back?”

Kharkov struggled to steady the sound of his voice. “I don’t think I need to tell you that. I’ve done nothing wrong, unless driving in the middle of the night is suddenly a crime.”

“So self-righteous. Everyone’s a lawyer these days” said Schmitz, cynically. “I blame all those legal shows on TV….”

* * *

While Schmitz kept Kharkov busy at the front of the truck, Major Sophie Decker was stealthily making her way to the back of the vehicle.

She had taken advantage of Kharkov looking out of his left-side driver’s window at Schmitz and she had come through the bushes on the right. She was now standing at the back door of the truck, a flashlight in her mouth, while she used a lock pick on the padlock which kept the doors securely fastened together. As she worked, she could hear Schmitz continuing to talk.

“Russian are you? I had a Russian in my family. Hundreds of years ago, though. Had a fling with a Tsarina. Total alcoholic. Had vodka in his veins instead of blood…..”

Decker smiled to herself. Schmitz could talk for Germany. Kharkov wasn’t going anywhere soon. Schmitz knew she was back there and he would distract Kharkov for as long as it took.

The padlock eventually clicked open and Decker carefully removed it. But when she tried to remove the chains, they made too much noise and Kharkov heard it.

“What the hell?” he yelled and instinctively reached for his gun.

Schmitz suddenly had his own gun in his hand and calmly pointed it at Kharkov’s head. “Don’t move an inch my friend or the contents of your head will be all over the windshield. And if that’s a gun you’ve got behind the door, pass it over – carefully.”

But before Kharkov could hand over the weapon, he and Schmitz heard the loud boom of a shotgun coming from the back of the truck – and women screaming.

Schmitz looked to his right. “Major?”

Kharkov took advantage of Schmitz’s temporary distraction and pulled his own gun out from his waistband. Firing once, the bullet missed the side of Schmitz’s head by millimetres. Shocked, Schmitz dropped his weapon and fell backwards onto the ground, dazed.

As Sergeant Penelope Brinkmann, the third person at the checkpoint, rushed forward, Kharkov slammed his foot down on the accelerator and the truck rushed forward. It smashed through the checkpoint and a gunman fell out of the back of the truck.

* * *

The man that fell out was the one holding the shotgun. It was his job to keep the women in the back quiet, especially if they encountered a police checkpoint. It was also his job to deal with any nosy people who thought to pick the door lock to take a look in the back. The women were being transported into forced prostitution in his employer’s brothels, so they were worth a great deal of money. 

Which was why he had immediately fired when he heard the padlock and chains being removed from the door. His boss had made it plain he was to fire first and maybe think of asking questions later. Thankfully for Decker though, his aim was as bad as Kharkov’s, and the shot went right over Decker’s head. But she still fell backwards in shock from the force of the blast. 

Meanwhile, one of the women had decided to take advantage of the sudden open door, and in a burst of determination, she had pushed her captor out onto the road. He hit his head hard on the road on impact and was knocked unconscious.

Kharkov for his part didn’t get very far. After smashing the police car out of the way as if it was papier-mâché, he was about to put on speed. But Brinkmann ran up to the front of the truck, aimed, and fired one shot into the windscreen. The bullet hit Kharkov in the throat and he clutched the wound as blood pumped through his fingers. With both hands now off the steering wheel, the truck spun sharply, left the road, and hit a muddy ditch. The women in the back screamed as the back doors flapped about wildly. Steam rose from the ruined engine.

“Major? Captain?” said Brinkmann, still pointing her MP5 automatic weapon in front of her, “talk to me.”

“I’m dying” moaned Schmitz, lying in the road, “the shot missed my ear by this much. I have beautiful ears.”

“And my ego is mortally wounded” muttered Decker, crouched on all fours in the middle of the road, “how did I not know they would have someone in the back? I’m really getting old.”

Satisfied her colleagues were not bleeding to death, Brinkmann got out her mobile phone and texted a pre-arranged code back to headquarters, indicating that the incident had gone pear-shaped and they needed urgent assistance. She then ran to the truck. The women were still in the back, looking dazed.

“Stay in the truck!” shouted Brinkmann in English, “you are safe but you must stay where you are.”

Without waiting for a reply from any of them, Brinkmann then slowly moved forward, her gun pointed straight ahead. She found Kharkov, half out of the driver’s door, choking on his blood, his eyes bulging. It was obvious that he had seconds left to live. He looked at her pleadingly, his blood-soaked hands extended in some sort of plea for help, as he gurgled blood.

“Damn, the Major’s going to have my ass for this” she whispered furiously, “she wanted him alive.”

The sound of police sirens made it clear that the real police were about to turn up. As the first police car screeched to a halt, Kharkov chose that exact moment to breathe his last breath and his hands fell to his sides, his eyes wide open.

* * *

The police were confused to find three people dressed as police officers. They immediately assumed Decker, Schmitz, and Brinkmann were colleagues.

“I need to see some identification” said one of the officers, holding his pistol.

“We’re government agents” said Decker, limping up. She had the semi-conscious gunman in flex-cuffs. “Put your guns down and help those poor women out of the back of the truck.”

The officer looked at the truck, where some of the shaken women were peering out, fear on their faces.

“I still need to see identification” said the officer, stubbornly.

“Call Chief Inspector Otto Busch of the Berlin police” said Decker, “he will vouch for us. My name is Decker. I can guarantee you’ll hear a string of obscenities when you tell him my name.”

As the officer got out his phone to call Busch, Decker got the distinct impression that the officer already knew her by reputation. The look on his face said it all. Moments later, the officer returned, a pissed off look on his face. He turned to his colleagues. “Guns down. They check out. Bloody spooks.”

He looked at Decker. “You’re right. Chief Inspector Busch hates your guts. He also wants to know why German Intelligence is getting involved in what is clearly an illegal smuggling ring. He thinks you’re…quote…’sticking your big nose where it doesn’t belong – again’…unquote.”

Decker glared for a moment. “Follow me.”

The officer hesitantly followed Decker who walked up to the truck. “Everyone out!” she shouted.

The women looked at each other in confusion then slowly got out.

Decker looked at the police officer. “You want to know why we’re involved tonight?”

She got into the back of the truck, glanced at the sides then grabbed an automatic rifle that Schmitz reluctantly handed her.

“Because of this” she said.

She used the butt of the rifle to smash the sides of the truck. Eventually, hidden compartments were revealed. Inside each compartment were neat stacks of plastic explosives and detonators packed tightly inside.

“They were not only sex traffickers. They were also terrorists” said Schmitz who had a hand firmly on the shoulder of the gunman who was slowly recovering and looked thoroughly sullen, “those explosives were on their way to ISIS groups here in Germany.”

“You’re welcome” said Decker throwing the rifle to the stunned police officer as she jumped down to the ground, “don’t mention it.”

Sophie Decker is better than 007!
Amazon reviewer

Books in this series

The Renegade Spy spy thriller
The Reichsbank Gold spy thriller
The Executioner spy thriller
The Traitor spy thriller
Operation Eternal Vengeance spy thriller
Regime Change spy thriller
Operation Thunderbolt spy thriller
Valkyrie spy thriller

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