Regime Change: No Dictator Lasts Forever (Department 89 #6)

Beware The Fury Of Major Sophie Decker.

It’s been six months since German Chancellor Claudia Meyer declared war on North Korea after the bombing of the German Bundestag. But the war has ground to a halt. Major allies are deserting under pressure from an aggressive US President, and Pyongyang is launching devastating terrorist attacks inside Germany.

Meyer decides to regain the initiative with a huge and decisive strike against the North Korean regime. The task is given to Major Sophie Decker and her elite Department 89 who are determined to take the war back to North Korea’s doorstep.

But right from the start, political self-interests ensures that regime change in Pyongyang is going to be long, costly, and very very bloody.

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

Frankfurt International Airport

The man with the bomb in his backpack got off the crowded Deutsche Bahn high-speed ICE train and started to head towards the Lufthansa check-in desk area.

Weaving briskly between crowds of people pushing and shoving past one another with their own bags and suitcases, the man took the escalator up to the next level of the airport. The bomb inside his backpack pressed uncomfortably against his back, a stark reminder of what he was carrying and the potential it had to wreak terrible destruction and death upon an unsuspecting and innocent civilian population.

Coming off the escalator, he took a deep breath and tried to steady his nerves. He was not a fanatic like some of the people he had been forced to work with in the past. He was not willing to needlessly throw his life away. He believed in planting his bombs and escaping to fight another day. He was a professional who wanted to live and enjoy the fruits of his labour. He was not a religious zealot who believed it was honourable to die. There was no honour in being a suicide bomber.

For some reason which he couldn’t put his thumb on, this bomb was making him more uncomfortable than usual. He realised he would be glad when it was planted and he could get away. A professional he may be, but he also believed in listening to his gut, which was telling him to get the job done as fast as possible. He had learned from past bitter experience that when he got a bad omen about something, it was usually correct and ignoring it was an extremely bad idea.

As he walked past a coffee shop franchise, he was so preoccupied with his thoughts that he didn’t notice the blonde woman sitting at one of the outdoor tables watching him intently. With a half-finished latte in front of her, dressed in a black business suit, sunglasses, and a smart leather briefcase sitting on the seat next to her, she looked like just another commuter using the airport for business travel.

In reality, Sergeant Sabine Graf of Department 89 was there to stop a terrorist bombing. With a gun in her bag, she was there to stop him. The bomber didn’t realise it yet but the Devil had come to stop him.

* * *

As the bomber walked past Graf blissfully unaware, Graf casually lifted her hand and spoke softly into the concealed transmitter inside her jacket sleeve.

“Can you see him?” Graf said softly.

“Absolutely” said Major Sophie Decker. She was watching via the designer sunglasses that Graf was wearing. As well as being nice sunglasses, the lenses were also a video camera beaming what Graf could see right back to high-definition monitor screens at Department 89 headquarters. 

The control room was shrouded in darkness and Decker’s rigid and highly focused look was illuminated by the numerous video screens in front of her. Military operatives in green khaki uniform sat in front of the screens, tapping on keyboards and quietly collecting information. Decker paced behind them, chewing gum and smacking a clenched fist into the outstretched palm of her other hand.

“Permission to engage?” asked Graf, getting up from her table and casually following, as if heading for her flight.

“Wait” said Decker, who tapped the transmitter in her ear with a finger, and switched to another channel, “Schmitz…are you hearing this? Are you ready to intercept?”

Decker’s deputy, Captain Wolfgang Schmitz, was posing undercover at the airport as a Lufthansa check-in desk clerk. At that precise moment, he was arguing with an overweight aggressive Russian woman who was disputing the weight of her suitcases.

“Well if you take the vodka out of the suitcase….” he was heard snapping to her.

“Schmitz!” snapped Decker, “when you’re ready? International terrorism calls….?”

“Ready” he muttered, “get me out of here before I shoot this woman.”

Decker tapped her ear again and switched to a third channel. “Brinkmann? Status?”

“Pouring cocktails at the airport bar and fending off horny drunk businessmen” said Sergeant Penelope Brinkmann softly over her transmitter. “Ready.”

Decker switched back to the first channel. “Graf? Take him out. Shoot to kill.”

“No chance to surrender?” said Graf.

“You have your orders Sergeant” said Decker, “he made his bed when he entered a packed civilian airport with a live bomb.”

“Yes Major” said Graf, “moving in now.”

She put her hand inside her business bag and gripped the bag’s only item – a black suppressed pistol.

Hopefully she could show her government ID before the police could shoot her. The controversial decision had been made by Decker not to tell the police or airport authorities in advance of the threat. They decided that the more people that got involved, the more chance there was of a leak and a screw-up. 

But with the airport crawling with heavily-armed police with itchy trigger fingers, it would put the Department 89 agents in a perilous situation when the guns came out and the shooting started.

* * *

Graf quickened her pace, her hand still gripped around the butt of the gun. But just as she was about to take out her weapon, a large group of children waving their passports ran in front of her shrieking in excitement.

The sudden noise startled the bomber whose nerves were already on edge. He was starting to perspire heavily and his heart rate was increasing. So the sudden screams of the children made him jump and spin round to see what the commotion was all about.

That was when he saw Graf who, to her credit, looked straight ahead and casually removed her hand from her bag, as if she had just put something into it. She then calmly walked on past the bomber without making eye contact.

But the bomber was uneasy. Was that the woman who was sitting outside the coffee shop? In his line of work, it paid to be observant and he had seen her out of the corner of his eye as he passed the coffee shop. But he had not been unduly alarmed as she had looked like one of the many thousands of people to pass through the airport every day.

But now here she was again. Was she coincidently heading for her flight? Or was she following him? She also just had her hand inside her handbag. His gut was talking to him again – and it was telling him to abort. Forget the bomb. Live to fight another day.

Suddenly he launched himself towards Graf and roughly shoved her to the ground, before running on ahead. Caught totally off-guard, Graf hit the floor hard, her forehead bouncing off the tiles. Dazed, she whipped out the gun and spoke into her transmitter.

“He’s clocked me. Going after him now. Schmitz and Brinkmann, cut him off!”

By now, people had seen Graf’s gun and were starting to scream and run in the opposite direction. This helped the bomber because the panicking crowds were pushing Graf out of the way and she was struggling to take aim with her weapon.

Schmitz meanwhile had grabbed a suppressed MP5 machine-gun from under the check-in desk and vaulted over the counter, pushing shocked travellers out of the way. The aggressive Russian woman suddenly decided to give up the argument.

“I’ll take the vodka out!” she shrieked, “I’m sorry!”

Brinkmann did the same at the bar and a drunk businessman who hadn’t been taking no for an answer suddenly decided Brinkmann wasn’t worth the trouble anymore and staggered on looking for someone else.

The police had noticed there was something going on, and were starting to run towards the commotion, their guns unslung. But Decker had anticipated this and she now called the airport police chief, ordering him to stand his officers down. The police suddenly stopped running and tersely listened through their earpieces as they were told to stand down and let government agents handle the situation. The looks on the officers faces made it obvious how disgusted and frustrated they were at being relegated to the position of spectator.

Meanwhile the travellers in the airport had dived to the floor and were cowering in fear behind their suitcases.

The bomber managed to make it to the top of the escalator above the Lufthansa check-in area when he saw Schmitz standing at the bottom of it pointing his weapon up at him and shaking his head gently.  Brinkmann was sprinting across the main concourse with her gun, and a seriously pissed off dizzy dishevelled Graf with a bleeding cut on her forehead was approaching the bomber from behind, her gun raised.

“Turn around” shouted Graf. She never liked shooting people in the back.

The bomber slowly turned, a toothless smile slowly forming on his face.

“Did I say something funny?” demanded Graf.

“Lawyer” he said.

“Dead men don’t need lawyers” said Graf, aiming her gun.

It was then that the bomber realised he wasn’t going to be allowed to live. He opened his mouth as if to say something but before he could do so, three bullets from Graf’s gun hit him in the chest in a tight grouping.

The force of the bullets propelled him backwards down the escalator, bouncing hard on each step where he finally landed at Schmitz’s feet, his neck broken. The backpack containing the bomb meanwhile had left his hand when he was shot, and it flew over the side of the escalator where Brinkmann realised she could catch it if she sped up.

Just as the bomb was about to hit the floor, Brinkmann caught the backpack with one hand and skidded onto the floor, landing on her ass. Dropping her gun, she wrenched open the bag and saw with horror that the countdown sequence was now only at twenty seconds.

“Shit!” she yelled, “twenty seconds!”

Schmitz saw a terrified maintenance worker standing nearby cowering and shaking. 

“Pliers!” shouted Schmitz, “give me your fucking pliers.”

The worker reached into a toolbox and shakily threw over the pliers. Schmitz grabbed them and ran over to the bomb which was now at ten seconds.

“No time for procrastination” he said, clenching his jaw, “choose a wire Sergeant. Red or black?”

“You can’t be serious! You want me to guess?” 

“Fine, I’ll choose” shrugged Schmitz, “black it is.”

Schmitz cut the black wire and the timer stopped. At four seconds.

Schmitz threw the pliers to one side and Brinkmann threw up. A shaking Graf slumped down at the top of the escalator, holding a hand to her wounded forehead.

“Well done people” said Decker over the transmitter, “this is a reminder never to play poker with Schmitz. He always beats the odds. Come home everyone.”

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
Operational Eternal Vengeance
Regime Change spy thriller
Operation Thunderbolt spy thriller
Valkyrie spy thriller

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