Op Center 12 - War of Eagles by Tom Clancy

Op Center 12 - War of Eagles by Tom Clancy

Author:Tom Clancy [Clancy, Tom]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780425199626
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Published: 2005-06-01T05:00:00+00:00

THIRTY

Yu Xian, China Wednesday, 2:11 P.M.

After ten years in the business, Shek had talked his way out of a job. He was happy it turned out that way.

When he was a boy, Yuan “the Emperor” Shek used to look forward to his mother coming to his room and singing him a good night song. His favorite was “The World Beneath the Stone of Farmer Woo.” It seems the farmer had to move a large stone in his field in order to plant corn. But when he did so, he found all manner of insects and tunnels, nests and roots, and even a family of field mice. Food came and went in organized supply lines, “Many ants with many legs in service of the empress.” At the end of the song the farmer replaced the rock and grew his crops around it.

Young Shek lived in the back of the schoolhouse where his mother was the only teacher. His father was a soldier who was rarely home. There were plenty of rocks in a field behind the school. Most of them were too small to conceal more than a few bugs or small snakes. Shek was not strong enough to move the larger rocks, where he imagined the riches to be much greater.

One day, when his father was home, the older man showed his son how to get the rock to move. Not with a lever but with gunpowder. Carefully placed in cracks or under the edges, the tiny charges made Shek the master of the field. He even wrote a little song about himself, “The Emperor of the Empress Ant.”

Explosives became a very big—and profitable—part of Shek’s life. From a soldier friend who sometimes visited with his father, the boy learned how to manufacture explosives using fertilizer and other ingredients. Shek put them to work moving rocks for fun, creating popping toys to celebrate birthdays or holidays, and even for pest control. He taught himself how to set off charges using a slight amount of pressure applied to a trigger plate—in this case, pieces of bark peeled from trees. His small Emperor Mousetraps were a big seller in the village. He pedaled them from a small, flat rock along the main road until his mother found out what he was doing. She lent him a card table from the school.

She believed in doing things right.

Shek’s father died in a truck accident when the boy was twelve. Teaching had never been very profitable for his mother, and the widow’s pension from the military was extremely meager. Shek’s sideline became an important part of their income. He made increasingly sophisticated fireworks, flares, and even custom demolitions for local builders. Without the benefit of an education, Emperor Shek became a master of his craft. Best of all, there was no record of his skill in military or scholastic records. He was what the intelligence trade called an invisible.

When Chou Shin learned of this talented young man, he hired him for the 8341 Unit. Chou



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