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Authors: Nick Carter

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Temple of Fear

BOOK: Temple of Fear
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Annotation
America's top agent, on a bizarre assassination assignment
LOST...
America's top agent, on a bizarre assassination assignment
FOUND...
Fragments of an incredible espionage plot; targets — the U.S. and Red China
REWARD...
The world in flames, or peace — depending on who won
Somewhere in Tokyo's espionage jungle, a shocking double cross warned that the plot was under way. America's supersecret espionage network, AXE, moved frantically to assign its top operative — Nick Carter — to Japan.
But agent N3 had disappeared; drugged and kidnapped through the oldest ploy of all — a beautiful woman with a body built for betrayal. And for the first time in his life, Nick Carter found himself helpless, weaponless, alone — and trapped into helping the enemy!
Nick Carter
Temple of Fear
Dedicated to
The Men of the Secret Services of the United States of America
Chapter 1
It was the first time that Nick Carter had ever been bored with sex.
He had not thought it possible. Especially not on a mid-afternoon in April, with the sap moving in trees and people and the sound of the cuckoo, at least metaphorically, drowning out the agonizing of Washington's traffic.
Yet this dowdy dame behind the lectern was making sex a bore. Nick settled his lank frame a little deeper into the uncomfortable study chair, stared at the tips of his handmade English shoes and tried not to listen. It wasn't easy. Dr. Murial Milholland had a light but penetrating voice. Nick had never, as far as he could recall, made love to a girl named Murial. Spelled with an "a." He sneaked a covert glance at the mimeographed agenda on the armrest of his chair. Yep. Spelled with an "a." Like a cigar? And the lady, the speaker, was just about as sexy as a cigar...
"The Russians, of course, have been operating sex schools in conjunction with their espionage institutions for some time. The Chinese, as far as we know, have not yet emulated them, perhaps because they consider the Russians, as well as ourselves in the West, a decadent people. Be that as it may, however, the Russians
do
make use of sex, both heterosexual and homosexual, as a most important weapon in their espionage operations. It is just that, a weapon, and it has proven very useful to them. They have invented, and implemented, new techniques that make Mali Han look like a teenage amateur.
"The two most important actual sources of information obtained by use of sex are, as far as timing goes, information obtained by slips of the tongue during the excitant foreplay, and in the lulled, lethargic and very much off-guard moments immediately following orgasm. Taking Kinsey's primary figures and conjoining them with those of Sikes in his important work, "Ratio of Foreplay to Successful Coition Leading To Dual Orgasm," we find that the average foreplay is slightly under fifteen minutes, the average time to active coitus is about three minutes, and the average time of, or duration of, aftermath of sexual euphoria, is slightly over five minutes. Now let us strike a balance and we find that in the average sexual encounter between persons — in which at least one of the participants is an agent seeking information from the partner — there is a period of some nineteen minutes point five seconds, during which the participant, whom we shall call the 'seekee', is most off guard, and during which the advantage and the opportunity are all on the side of the 'seeker.' "
Nick Carter's eyes had closed long ago. He heard the scratching of chalk on a blackboard, the tapping of a pointer, but he did not look. He did not dare. He did not think he could bear any more disenchantment. He had always thought that sex was
fun
! Damn Hawk anyway. The old man must be losing his grip at last, as unlikely as that might seem. Nick kept his eyes tightly shut and scowled, shutting out the drone of the "teach" and the rustling, coughing, scratching and throat clearing of his fellow sufferers attending this so-called Seminar on Sex as a Weapon. There were a lot of them — CIA, FBI, CIC, T-men, Army, Navy, and Air people. There was also, and this was a source of deep wonder to the AXEman, a high-ranking official from the Post Office! Nick knew the man slightly, knew exactly what he did at the PO, and his bafflement increased. Had the enemy come up with a gimmick to use the mails for sexual purposes? Mere prurience? If the latter was the case the PO man was going to be a most disappointed fellow. Nick dozed, sinking deeper into his own thoughts ...
David Hawk, his boss at AXE, had fired the idea at him that morning in the scabby little office in Dupont Circle. Nick, just back from a week's rest on his Indiana farm, had been lolling indolently in the room's one hard chair, dropping ashes on Hawk's linoleum and listening to the clatter of Delia Stokes' typewriter from the outer office. Nick Carter was feeling very fit. He had spent most of the week chopping, sawing and cording wood on the farm, drinking a little and have a mild fling with an old Indiana girl friend. Now he was wearing a light tweed suit, sporting a discreetly daring Sulka tie and feeling his oats. He was ready for action.
Hawk said: "I'm sending you to sex school, boy."
Nick dropped his cigarette and stared at his boss. "You're sending me to what?"
Hawk rolled a dry, unlit cigar around in his thin-lipped mouth and repeated: "I'm sending you to sex school. They call it a seminar on sexual what-you-ma-call-its, something like that, but we'll call it school. Be there at two o'clock this afternoon. I don't know the room number, but it's somewhere in the basement of the old Treasury Building. I'm sure you'll find it okay. If not, ask a guard. Oh, yes — the lecture is being given by a Dr. Murial Milholland. They tell me she is very good."
Nick regarded his fallen cigarette still smoldering on the linoleum. He was too stunned to reach a foot and crush it out. Finally, weakly, all he could summon was..."You've got to be kidding, sir?"
His boss regarded him with a basilisk stare and crunched his false teeth around the cigar. "Kidding? Not in the least, son, I feel, in fact, that I have been remiss in not sending you before. You know as well as I do that the essence of this business is in keeping up with the other guy. Here at AXE it has to be more than that. We have to stay ahead of the other guy — or we're dead. The Russians have been doing some very interesting things with sex lately."
"I'll just bet," muttered Nick. The old man
wasn't
kidding. Nick knew Hawk's moods, and this was a serious one. With just a soupcon of malicious needling in it somewhere: Hawk could play it pretty deadpan when he chose.
Nick tried another tack. "I've still got a week of vacation coming."
Hawk looked innocent. "Of course. I know that. So? A couple of hours an afternoon will in no way interfere with your vacation. Be there. And pay attention. You might learn something."
Nick opened his mouth. Before he could speak Hawk said, "That's an order, Nick."
Nick closed his mouth, then said: "Yes, sir!"
Hawk leaned back in his creaky swivel chair. He stared at the ceiling and bit on the cigar. Nick watched him narrowly. The canny old bastard was up to something! But what? Hawk never told you anything until
he
was ready.
Hawk scratched his scrawny, cross-hatched old farmer's neck, then glanced at his Number One boy. This time there was a hint of benignity in his gravel tones and a glitter in the frosty eyes.
"We all of us." he said sententiously, "have to keep up with the limes, my boy. If we don't we are left behind and, in our work here at AXE, that is usually fatal. You know that. I know that. Our enemies all know that. I love you like a father, Nick, and I don't want anything to happen to you. I want you to stay sharp, keep up with the latest techniques, don't let the cobwebs gather and..."
Nick stood up. He held up a hand. "Please, sir. You wouldn't ' want me to throw up on this beautiful linoleum. I'll be going now. with your permission?"
Hawk nodded. "With my blessing, son. Just be sure you show up at that seminar this afternoon. That's still an order."
Nick tottered toward the door. "Yes, sir. An order, sir. Go to sex school, sir. Back to kindergarten."
"Nick!"
He halted at the door and glanced back. Hawk's smile had altered subtly, from the benign to the enigmatic. "Yes, old massa?"
"That school, seminar, is an eight-hour deal. Four days. Two hours each afternoon. Same time. This is Monday, right?"
"It was when I came in. Right now I'm not so sure. A lot has happened since I came in this door."
"It's Monday. I want you in here Friday morning, nine sharp, ready to go to work. We've got a very interesting case coming up. It could be a toughie, a real killer."
Nick Carter glared at his boss. "I'm glad to hear that. After going to sexual day school it should be a pleasure. Good-bye, sir."
"Good-bye, Nicholas," Hawk said sweetly.
As Nick passed through the outer office Delia Stokes glanced up from her desk. "Good-bye, Nick. Have a nice time at school."
He waved a hand at her. "I will... I will! And I'm putting in a voucher for my milk money, too."
As he closed the door behind him he heard her explode in smothered laughter.
David Hawk, in the quiet and dingy little office, doodled on a one-time pad and glanced at the old Western Union clock. It was nearly eleven. The Limeys were due at half past. Hawk tossed his chewed cigar into the wastebasket and stripped the cellophane from a new one. He thought of the scene he had just had with Nick. It had been mild fun — he enjoyed needling his best man now and then — and it also ensured that Carter would be around when needed. Nick, especially when he was on vacation, had a way of vanishing into thin air unless he was under specific orders not to do so. Now he
was
under orders. He would be there Friday morning, ready for business. And the business was grim indeed...
* * *
"Mr. Carter!"
Someone was paging him? Nick stirred. Where in hell was he, anyway?
"Mr. Carter! Please wake up!"
Nick snapped awake, restraining the involuntary urge to reach for his Luger or stiletto. He saw the-dirty floor, his own shoes, the pair of slim ankles beneath the midi-skirt Someone was touching him, shaking his shoulder. He had fallen asleep, damn it!
She was standing very close to him and gave off an effluvium of soap and water and healthy female flesh. She probably wore crisp linen underthings and ironed them herself. And yet those ankles! Even in the bargain basement nylons.
Nick stood up and gave her his very best grin, the one calculated to charm, the one that had charmed thousands of willing females the world over.
"I'm sorry," he said. He meant it. He had been rude and thoughtless and something less than a gentleman. And now, to compound the damage, he had to struggle mightily to repress a yawn. He did manage to restrain it, but he did not fool Dr. Murial Milholland. She stepped back and contemplated him through thick, horn-rimmed glasses.
"Was my lecture really so dull, Mr. Carter?"
He glanced around and his real embarrassment grew. And Nick Carter was a hard man to embarrass. He had made a fool of himself and, inadvertently, of her. A poor, harmless, spinster who probably had to earn her own living and whose only fault was her ability to make a vital subject dull as ditchwater.
They were alone. The room was deserted. My God! Had he snored in class? Somehow, anyhow, he had to make it up to her. Prove to her that he wasn't all boor.
"I'm sorry," he told her again. "Really and truly sorry, Dr. Milholland. I don't know what the h... what happened. But it wasn't your lecture. I found that most interesting and..."
"As much of it as you heard?" She was regarding him with speculation through the heavy glasses. She tapped a folded paper — a class list on which she must have checked off his name — against teeth that were surprisingly white and even. Her mouth was a trifle wide but well formed, and she was not wearing lipstick.
Nick tried the grin again. He felt like the horse's ass to end all equine rears. He nodded. "As much as I heard," he admitted sheepishly. "I can't understand it, Dr. Milholland. I really can't. I did have a late night, and it is spring, and this is my first time back to school for a long while, but none of that is any excuse. It was rude and boorish of me in the extreme. I can only ask you to be forgiving, Doctor." He stopped grinning then and smiled, really feeling like smiling, and said: "I'm not always such a dope, and I wish you'd let me prove it to you."
BOOK: Temple of Fear
12.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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