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Authors: Stuart Woods

Tags: #Thriller, #Mystery

Deep Lie

BOOK: Deep Lie
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Deep lie
Number III of
Will Lee
Stuart Woods
New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 1998. (1998)
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Tags: General, Thrillers, Fiction, espionage, Fiction - Espionage, Thriller, Mystery & Detective, Mystery & Detective - General, Intrigue, Spy stories, Sweden
Generalttt Thrillersttt Fictionttt espionagettt Fiction - Espionagettt Thrillerttt Mystery & Detectivettt Mystery & Detective - Generalttt Intriguettt Spy storiesttt Swedenttt

SUMMARY:
The classic techno-thriller of superpower espionage from New York Times bestselling master of suspense Stuart Woods! Sifting through reams of seemingly unrelated intelligence, CIA analyst Katherine Rule discovers a chilling pattern: an ultrasecret Baltic submarine base...a crafty Russian spy-master in command...a carefully planned invasion about to be launched from dark waters. Her suspicions, however, are dismissed by those higher up; her theory, they say, is too crazy to be true. But to Katherine, it's just crazy enough to succeed--unless she can stop it. If she's right, an attack sub has already penetrated friendly waters. Worse yet, the enemy has penetrated deep into her own life, so deep she can touch him. And in this game, one wrong touch can mean Armageddon.

Stuart Woods 1986 - Deep Lie

 

OSKAR OSKARSSON squinted into the brightly lit mist and looked for a bird. Somewhere above his boat was sunshine, but down on the water, where he was, there was only fog. It was like being inside a fluorescent tube, surrounded by gases radiating light. He sighted a petrel off to starboard and from its presence estimated there was, perhaps, five hundred meters of visibility, no more. For Oskarsson, for what he was doing at this moment, conditions were perfect, He throttled back to 1000 rpm, turned and nodded at “Ebbe. The boy smiled faintly, released the brake on the main winch, and began feeding out the trawl, a long sock of steel mesh that would drag the bottom, twenty meters down. Oskarsson watched with satisfaction as his grandson performed the work; not expertly, just yet, but competently.

 

The boy was wearing only jeans and a T-shirt.

 

These youngsters never felt the chill. Oskarsson marveled at the beauty of the boy’s body, the well-muscled, perfectly proportioned physique. All young Swedish men looked like that when he was a boy, he thought, the result of hard work and hard play. Now they were skinny hippies and fat accountants. Ebbe was the exception, not the rule. The boy skied in winter, hiked in summer and rowed for his school. If he was no academic, he performed physical tasks with joy and little apparent effort.

 

The boy’s father, Oskarsson’s son, ran a discotheque in Stockholm. A discotheque—imagine! Oskarsson had visited s his son, once, and had been taken there. God in heaven, what a place! The noise—they called it music, these days; the flashing lights; the heat; the smells! It was no way for a grown man to make his living. Ebbe would not do such work, he had told his grandfather that. He knew he was not bright enough for university, and he did not mind. He would come to his grandfather when he was finished with school—only another year—and, together, they would fish. They would make money, too. The light trawler was easily handled by two good men—no crew to split the catch with. The boy would have a good life with his grandfather, and in a few years, when he knew all the places, he could take a partner, and Oskarsson would retire and take a share for the gift of the boat. The boat was good, and Oskarsson was glad he had spent so much of his profits on maintenance. If the boy took care of it, it would last him for many more years. Ebbe’s father would be furious when the boy came to his grandfather to fish. All the money he had made at the discotheque, and his son a common fisherman! Oskarsson smiled at the thought of it.

 

When the trawl was fully played out, Oskarsson waved the boy to the wheelhouse and unfolded the chart.

 

“Here,” he pointed with a thick, gnarled finger. His were a fisherman’s hands, permanently swollen from years of cold water work, fingers scarred, twisted from badly healed broken bones, the daily hazard of working barehanded with unforgiving tools and powerful machinery.

 

“Here we will fill the trawl to bursting.”

 

The boy’s brow furrowed, and he pointed.

 

“But what about this. Grandfather?” he asked, running a finger along a ragged magenta line.

 

“This says we are in a restricted area. Why restricted? Can we get into trouble?”

 

“It’s the naval base at Karlskrona,” the old man replied, pointing off into the fog.

 

“They don’t want the Russian trawlers sneaking in here and taking pictures of them.” He jabbed his thumb into his own chest.

 

“But I’m not Russian, and neither are you, eh?” He winked at the boy.

 

“And the navy won’t miss the fish.”

 

The boy laughed.

 

“If you say so. it’s all right with me.”

 

“The fish know it’s restricted, too, you see. They think nobody will catch them here, but on foggy mornings like this, you and I can pop in early, trawl for a couple of hours, and be away before the mist burns off.”

 

“Don’t they have radar? The fog doesn’t affect that, does it?”

 

“Sure, sure, they have radar, but I’ve taken down our reflector, and a wooden boat like ours doesn’t show up so well, I think. At least, they’ve never caught me. I think if they see us on the radar when it’s foggy, they don’t pay much attention, because the Russian boats would only come when it’s fine, so they can take their pictures. And even if they do catch me, they’ll just say, “Go and fish someplace else, old fellow.” It’s not a big thing.”

 

Oskarsson wasn’t worried about getting caught. He knew these waters better than any navigator in the Swedish navy. He had been born on the island of (Jtlangen, not far away, and he had fished here under sail in the old days.

 

He could dart among the islands and away from a patrol boat. He would maintain a proprietary interest in these waters, no matter how many sailor boys the Swedish navy sent here in their fast boats.

 

They motored along slowly for a quarter of an hour, towing the trawl and chatting companionably. Then there was a loud creaking noise and the boat suddenly stopped short, throwing them both against the bulkhead. Oskarsson quickly cut the throttle and put the engine out of gear.

 

“What’s happening, Grandfather?” the boy asked.

 

The old man did not reply immediately but put the engine into gear again and eased the throttle forward. They moved for a few seconds, then the trawl cable went bar tight and the boat stopped again.

 

“We’re hooked onto some obstruction,” Oskarsson finally replied. He consulted the chart.

 

“There’s no wreck charted anywhere near here. I hope the sailor boys haven’t sunk something for target practice and left it here. Get the trip cable onto the auxiliary winch, and let’s see if we can free the trawl that way.”

 

Ebbe went aft and wound the light cable onto the auxiliary power winch. Oskarsson put the engine into gear again and gave the boat some throttle.

 

“Now,” he called out, “now give it some winch.” The boy threw the switch and tailed the cable as it began to wind onto the winch. It was tripping, Oskarsson thought, it’s going to trip, and we’ll be free. Then the trip cable went bar tight, too, and the boat stopped again.

 

“Off! Cut the power,” he shouted.

 

The boy threw the switch, and the winch stopped.

 

“Cleat it there; I’m going to try something else.”

 

Oskarsson put the engine into gear and the helm hard to port.

 

“We’ll make a circle and reverse the trawl,” he called to the boy.

 

“That way it should come off whatever it’s snagged on.” He hoped so. To replace it would cost thousands of kroner, and even though his insurance would pay most of it, it wouldn’t pay for the time lost while the steel sock was being made. You didn’t buy a trawl off the shelf.

 

He swung the boat wide to prevent motoring over the cable, then edged to port, in toward the obstruction, to get some slack. He held his course for a moment, then the boat started to swing to starboard. This baffled Oskarsson for a moment, since he now had the helm hard to port, then he realized that, although the boat’s bow had swung to starboard, it was not traveling in that direction. The boat, astonishingly, was running sideways. Whatever he was hooked onto was moving.

 

Oskarsson let go the helm and Started aft, but the wheel spun sharply to starboard, and the resulting lurch of the boat threw him heavily to the deck. He struggled to his feet, holding a bruised shoulder and shouted to the boy.

 

“Quick, we’ve got to let go the trawl!” The boat swung back in the opposite direction, then settled. They were now being towed backward.

 

“What is it. Grandfather?” the boy called, holding tightly to the auxiliary winch.

 

“What’s happening?”

 

“Let go the trip cable!” the old man shouted, struggling back toward the boat’s controls. The boy quickly did as he was told, uncleating the cable and unwinding it free of the winch. Still the boat moved backward, and with increasing speed. Horrified, Oskarsson threw the engine into reverse and opened the throttle wide. He had to get some slack in the trawl cable. The boy immediately saw what he was trying to do and moved to the main winch. There were still a few meters of the main trawl cable wound around it.

 

Oskarsson tried to steer the boat in reverse and watched as Ebbe struggled with the brake. If he could release it, they would have slack to unhook the cable, and they would be free.

 

There was too much load on the winch, though, and the brake would not budge. Oskarsson felt pride as the boy. without hesitating for orders, grabbed an axe from the bulkhead and swung it toward the brake handle. A single blow freed it, and the winch drum spun wildly. The boat dug in its broad stern and nearly stopped, throwing them both to the deck. Oskarsson flung himself toward the cable’s cleat, knowing he only had seconds to free it before the slack was snatched up again. He got hold of it and was trying to get some purchase with a foot when the cable was snatched taut again. Oskarsson screamed as the cable crushed his hand against the winch drum. Within seconds of heart-stopping pain, the sawing effect of the cable’s strands took away his fingers.

 

Oskarsson fell back onto the deck and looked incredulously at his hand, which now had only a thumb and was gushing blood. He forgot about what was happening to his boat and dived for his “string bag,” a canvas holdall fixed to the bulkhead that held remnants of line. He quickly came up with a piece of light nylon rope, wound it around his wrist and, one end in his teeth, pulled it tight and knotted it, all the while wondering at the fact that it didn’t hurt anymore, that a strange warmth was flooding into his mangled hand.

 

Now he turned his attention to the boat again. Even at full throttle in reverse, it was still being towed backward. he. reckoned at eight or nine knots, increasing every moment.

 

Water was flooding over the stern, and in its wash.

 

Ebbe was snuggling to his feet, looking stunned from his fall. Oskarsson looked about him helplessly. Nothing in a long life at sea had prepared him for a situation like this, an absolutely, ridiculously implausible situation. He was up to his knees in water, now, and the boat had to be doing an incredible fifteen knots, stern first.

 

“What is it? What is it?” the boy was calling to him over the roar of rushing water.

 

He did not know. He only knew that it couldn’t last much longer. Then, as if in response to his thought, there was a sound of unbearable straining of timber and metal, and the two forward bolts which held the bottom plate of the main winch to me deck came loose from their moorings.

 

“Ebbe!” he screamed, “Get out of the way! The winch is going!”

 

“What?” the boy yelled back. He was still stunned.

 

“What?”

 

There was a final, explosive tearing, and the whole part of the deck to which the winch was bolted came away.

 

The winch, still cleated to the trawl cable by which they were being towed, flew over the stern, striking the boy full in the face as it went.

 

Then all was suddenly, impossibly quiet. The boat came immediately to a stop and bobbed in the light sea. A trail of bubbles disappeared astern with the trawl and the winch.

 

The engine, by now flooded, had come to a stop. Oskarsson stood in water to his thighs. He waded quickly aft, to where Ebbe’s body floated, spilling red and gray matter into the water around it. Oskarsson gathered the boy in his arms and sat down on a gunwale, now only inches above the water. The boat’s in built buoyancy was keeping it afloat, although the decks were awash. Most of the boy’s head was gone, and Oskarsson hugged the limp corpse to him, sobbing.

BOOK: Deep Lie
8.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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