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Continental Contract

By Scott Barnes,2014-11-04 19:00
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Under Mafia command, the world's largest private gun squad stalks Mack Bolan to French terrain, but their weaponry is no match for the Executioner's vow of vengeance Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on 1973/01/02

    Table of Contents -?

    -Prologue

    -Chapter 1

    -Theulles Trap

    -Movements at the Front -Grounds for Deception -Engagement at Orly -Executioner in Paris -Dimensions of Death -The Hard Set

    -Maison de Mort

    -The Paradox

    -New Parameters

    -Right On

    -The Riviera Plan

    -Battle Order

-On Target

    -The Judas Touch

    -And Then There were None

    Don Pendleton

    Executioner 005

    Continental Contract

    ?

    ?

    Prologue

    ?

    Mack Bolan's war with the Mafia was only a few months old, and already the man had become alegend and a modern day folk hero. Law enforcement agencies at every level of government andthroughout the land had taken to keeping a special file on the exploits of the man known as TheExecutioner, and various foreign capitals would soon be added to the alert network ofinternational police organisations.

    ?

     Others, also, sought the lifeblood of Mack Bolan. It was common knowledge that a $100,000death contract had been issued against Bolan by the ruling council of bosses of that vast"invisible second government" known as the Mafia, or La Cosa Nostra. This was an "opencontract," with bounty hunters of every walk and stripe invited and encouraged to participatein the hunt. It was also being rumored that various individual family bosses had addedattractive bonuses to the final payoff in the event that the murder contract was closed intheir territory; it has been estimated that in several areas of the country, Bolan's head wouldbe worth a quarter of a million dollars to his killer.

    ?

     What sort of superman could inspire such nationwide awe, fear, and respect from both sides ofa modern society? Bolan himself would be the last man to attempt to answer that question. Heknew that he was no superman. Like any other man, he bled when wounded, trembled whenfrightened, felt loneliness in isolation, and regarded life as preferable to death.

    ?

    Short months earlier, this "superman" had been on combat duty in Vietnam, in his own eyes justanother noncom fighting another version of the impossible war. But in that war had beencomrades, a sense of national purpose, and the brawn and brains of the United States governmentbacking him. Now he was alone, often doubting his own moral imperatives, and with only his ownabilities and instincts to stand against what often seemed to be the entire world.

    ?

    When Bolan killed enemies in Vietnam, he was decorated for heroism and applauded by the bulk ofhis society. When he killed the enemy at home, he was charged with murder and hounded as adangerous threat to that same society. In that other war had been respites from combat, areasonably safe place to lay the head and rest the soul; in this new war were no places topause, no zones of safety, no sanctuaries for the man whose battlefield was the entire worldand whose enemies were both infinite and often invisible.

?

    No Mack Bolan was no superman, and none knew this better than himself.

    ?

    Bolan was perhaps a bit too modest in his assessments of self, however. He had received the tag"The Executioner" by virtue of his unusual military specialty in Vietnam. A sniper teamsharpshooter, the young sergeant had repeatedly penetrated hostile territories and strongholds,often spending many days behind enemy lines on deep-penetration strikes against Viet Congterrorist leaders and officials. Steely nerves, precision tactics, and remarkable self-sufficiency had spelled the difference for sniper Bolan, the difference which had kept himalive and functioning through two full combat tours in Southeast Asia and earned him therespect and admiration of superiors and peers alike. But Sgt. Bolan had been much more than asniper. Executing an important defector or enemy field commander on his own soil could be aticklish business. Merely locating and identifying the target in unfamiliar territory waschallenge enough; to then make the strike, hang around long enough to verify the success of themission, and then to safely withdraw through miles of aroused hostile country requiredconsiderable personal resources.

    ?

     Bolan had obviously possessed those resources.

    ?

    He had been regarded as a highly valuable weapon of the psychological warfare being waged forthe soul of Vietnam. Now it appeared that Bolan, along with legions of other young Americans,had lost his own soul in that conflict a point which many homefront moralizers were hasteningto make. He had been editorialized as "a government-trained mad dog," and lamented on the floorof the U.S. Senate as "America 's military sins coming home to roost." All this wasinconsequential to Mack Bolan.

    ?

     He had not expected medals for his war at home. He would admit, even, that his initial strikeagainst the Mafia had been largely motivated by a desire for vengeance. His parents and teen-aged sister had died violently as a result of Mafia terrorism and the police had seemedhelpless to do anything about it. Bolan had not been helpless, and he had done something aboutit. He took his pound of flesh from the Sergio Frenchi family and his sense of personal justicewas satisfied in the lightning strikes that left that Mafia arm in shambles. Long before thatfirst battle had ended, however, Mack Bolan came to realize that he had entered into anotherwar without end. The mob would not, could not hold still for that sort of treatment. The entirepremise for their survival was based on the idea of their invincibility and omnipresence in theAmerican society. They had to crush Bolan and run his head up their pole for all to see andbeware.

    ?

    Bolan's war thus became a holy war, good versus evil, and he clung to this battle philosophy ashis only buttress against a disapproving society. And as the war waged on, from front tosuccessive front, his growing familiarity with the syndicate served to intensify this certainfeeling that he was fighting the most vicious enemy to ever threaten his nation. The mob wasevery- where, in everything controlling, manipulating, corrupting, wielding an influence suchas no political party had ever dared dream.

    ?

     Invisibly they reached out to touch every man, woman, and child in the country stealing morefrom the poor than from the rich squeezing the working man with invisible taxes and tributes,demoralising and enslaving the young with drugs and insidiously corruptive pleasures,

    cannibalising industry and victimizing both retailers and consumers, seizing the reins ofgovernment through blackmail and the exploitation of human greed and everything they touchedturned rotten and spoiled and ugly and corrupt. This was Mack Bolan's vision, and hissustaining truth, and his reason for living when often the most pleasurable thing possiblewould be to merely die.

    ?

    He earned distinction as The Executioner in the jungles and hamlets of Vietnam and it was thissame brand of warfare that he brought to the American continent. A police lieutenant inPittsfield, Bolan's home town and scene of his first Mafia encounter, was responsible for thenickname living on through the transition from Vietnam to hometown but it was Bolan alone whoendowed the name with the terrible attributes that rocked the Mafia ship of state and struckdread deep into the bones of Mafiosi everywhere, from the lowest street soldier to the mostexalted Capo.

    ?

     The Executioner was not a cop; he could go and do as no cop could. The Executioner was not ajudge or jury; he was not interested in legal technicalities, bribes, or threats. TheExecutioner was not a prison guard or trusty, he was not impressed with political or underworldinfluence and intimidation, and he had no reasons whatever for granting special favors ordispensations.

    ?

     He was incorruptible, non-negotiable, ready to die, and willing to kill; he was THEEXECUTIONER, and his target was the Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, anywhere and everywhere, so long ashe should live.

    Chapter 1

    Theulles Trap

    ?

     For one frozen heartbeat, Mack Bolan knew that he was a dead man. And then the moment tickedon, recording the confusion and hesitation and perhaps even awe in the eyes of the adversary,and Bolan dived on. Trained instincts of the jungle fighter responded one flashing synapsequicker; Bolan's reaction to the surprise encounter was a total one as mind and body explodedinto the challenge for survival. His left chopped against the gun even as the yawning bore ofthe.45 thundered its greetings, his knee lifting high in the same reflex as he twisted into theattack. The shot went wild, the gun clattered to the ground, and the foe momentarily rowBolan’s knee, buckaroo style, then he was groaning ground ward and rolling into a spasmodicknot.

    ?

     Bolan scooped up the.45 in a continuation of the defensive reflex and was swinging into thelineup on the fallen opponent when his corner-vision warned him of activity on the flank.

    ?

     He whirled and rapid-fire three rounds in the general direction of that threat. Answering fireimmediately triangulated on him as shadowy shapes rapidly dispersed and went to ground sometwenty yards distant.

    ?

    A thick voice yelled, "It's him awright, now waitaminnit? Bolan!"

?

     Bolan was not waiting. He stepped around the writhing Mafioso and jogged quietly to the farcorner of the building. A gun boomed from that quarter and a slug punched into the wall besidehim. He jerked back and returned warily to his former position where he stared down at thesuffering man, grimly assessing his possibilities of escape and quietly damning himself forwalking into the setup.

    ?

     The same thick voice from the darkness called out, "Wise up, Bolan. You're sewed in.

    ?

    Throw out the gun, then put your hands where we can see 'em and come talk to us."

    ?

    Bolan knew how that conversation would go with a six-figure bounty on his head. He also knewthat this gun crew was not at DullesInternationalAirport to convoy a nickel-and-dime airfreight hijack operation, Executioner Bolan had been suckered.

    ?

    What had begun as a soft surveillance of Mafia activity had quickly escalated into a fullfirelight, and Bolan could read nothing into the unhappy development except ambush. He gavethem credit; they had played it cool. And now he was wondering just how long they had been ontohis interest in the airfreight operation.

    ?

    Knowing this, he would know also how elaborately planned was the ambush. If it had been ahasty, last-minute set, then perhaps he stood a chance of busting out. But if they had comethere in force, expecting Bolan to walk in.

    ?

     He knelt and placed the muzzle of the .45 against the fallen Mafioso's temple. "How many areout there?" he inquired quietly. "What's the set?"

    ?

     The man was in a paralysis of torment, and obviously cared tattle whether he lived or died. Hemade a faint attempt to respond, partially uncurled himself, then quickly drew back into theknot and vomited. Bolan grimaced with sympathy and stood up, leaning against the building andbreathing as softly as possible, ears straining to tell him what his eyes could not.

    ?

     Frozen time moved sluggishly as he assessed the situation. He could hear them moving about outthere in the darkness, closing, consolidating the jaws of the trap. A big jet was taking offfrom the far side of the airport, another was landing close by, its landing lights probing thedarkness as it swept low past the warehouse area though not close enough to affect Bolan'ssituation.

    ?

     He was in a section of the sprawling complex which normally saw little or no activity at thishour of the night, a pre-customs storage area. Perhaps even the gunplay had gone unnoticed inthe other noises of the huge air terminal.

    ?

     "What about it, Bolan?" asked the voice out there.

    ?

     He snapped his .32 out of the sideleather and quickly inspected the load, then threw theappropriated .45 into the open. It clattered loudly as it slid along the concrete ramp, addinganother grotesque note to the sounds about him.

    ?

     Some one called out, "Watch it! He's probably got Joe's gun too!"

    ?

     Bolan snapped a" round toward the voice and was rewarded with a muffled yelp and a returningvolley of fire. Meanwhile he had spun off as he fired, crouching and running along the shadowsof the warehouse, his eyes alert to the sudden eruption of muzzle flashes.

    ?

     The fusillade tore into the area he had just vacated, and a gasping groan behind him told ofthe effect upon the writhing Mafioso who had been identified as "Joe."

    ?

    A voice crowed, "He's hill" "Watch it, he's tricky!" "Not that tricky." "Well, you justwaitaminnit, dammit."??

    ?

     Bolan had located the enemy forces, as revealed by the last volley. They were clumped intofour groups of about three men each. Two groups were directly across from him, in the shadowsof the opposite building; the other two were flanking him, covering from the warehouses toeither side of Bolan's position. The leader was out front, as evidenced by the voice ofauthority; a sub-regime was off to the left flank, the cocky voice of impatience and disrespectfor the Executioner's image.

    ?

     The groups out front would have to cross a wide area of relative light in order to close onBolan. Either flank, however, could move in with only a momentary exposure between thebuildings. The tactical instincts of the professional soldier had instantly become aware ofthis truth, and Bolan was ready to exploit this single favorable factor.

    ?

    "Bolan?" came the voice from out front.

    ?

     The wounded Mafioso groaned tilde again, feeble and pained, a convincing sound of approachingdeath. Bolan tensed and waited.

    ?

    "I told you he's hit!" This from the left flank.

    ?

    "Dammit you hold it!" From the center. "How you know that ain't Joe?" "Aw shit, you knowbetter! Joe didn't live a second, face to face with that guy! We can't wait around all night.Cops are gonna be..."

    ?

     Bolan was satisfied that the time had come. He was rolling slowly toward the edge of theshadow, silently putting as much distance as he dared between himself and the building andstraining toward a midpoint position toward the left flank.

    ?

     They would be coming in any second now.

    ?

    "Awright, check "im out," came the grudging instructions up front, verifying Bolan'sprediction.

    ?

     "Bolan if you're listening you fire once, just once, and you're gonna get blasted tohamburger." The prospective hamburger was lying prone with pistol extended toward the shaft ofmoonlight falling across his left flank.

    ?

     Cautiously moving feet scraped the concrete out there as a crouching figure leapt across thelighted zone.

    ?

     Bolan held his breath and his fire; another man hurtled over, and then another. TheExecutioner smiled grimly to himself over that fatal mistake; the entire left flank had movedin, leaving none to protect their own rear. He heard them moving cautiously into the trap as hemoved also in a silent circling, and then they were between him and the building and he wassighting down from his prone position, rolling swiftly now and squeezing off a single shot fora calculated effect.

    ?

     A grunted exclamation of alarm and a confused volley from his original position signaled thesuccess of step two of the bold escape plan; reflexive fire came in from the front and theother flank and the trap closed fully with the Mafiosi firing into each other's positions in acontagion of over-reaction.

    ?

     Bolan himself was on his feet and sprinting into the open flank, leaping across the thin shaftof moonlit area and disappearing into the shadows beyond.

    ?

     An excited voice cried, "Hold it, we're shooting at each other! This" bastard's behind us!"

    ?

     Indeed, the Executioner was behind them. He could hear them shouting and damning one anotherfor their fatal error, the groans and frightened cries of the wounded becoming a cacophonywhich was now entirely too familiar and increasingly repugnant to Mack Bolan But this was theworld he had built for himself, Bolan kept remembering; it was the only one available to himnow.

    ?

    He reached the small van truck which only moments before had been receiving lootedpharmaceutical supplies from a darkened warehouse, the object of Bolan's earlier surveillanceand once hopefully the lever into the Family's Washington area operations. The lever hadbecome a boomerang, and now Bolan had more of a bite into the Family than he'd anticipated.

?

    The cab door of the truck stood open and the driver was gaping at him across the hood; two menwho had been loading the van stood indecisively just inside the warehouse, uncertainly poisedbetween fight and flight.

    ?

     With the ominous appearance of Bolan's .32, they opted for flight and moved hastily into theinterior of the building.

    ?

     Bolan waved the pistol in a tight circle encompassing the driver and said, "You too, beat it."

    ?

     Wordlessly, the driver went into the warehouse and closed the door behind him. Bolan swung inbehind the steering wheel of the truck, meshed the gears, and spun about in a rapidacceleration just as the regrouped remnants of the gun crew pounded into the vehicle lane andagain opened fire.

    ?

     He dropped low in the seat and swerved into their midst, scattering them and momentarilydisrupting their attack, then he was grinding past and careening into a power turn at thecorner of the warehouse and the van was taking hits like puncturing hail. He felt a wheeltremor, then vibrate into a wallowing rumble.

    ?

     The clumsy vehicle lunged out of control, scraped the side of the building, rebounded, andplowed into a raised loading ramp an instant after Bolan had leapt clear. The truck partiallyclimbed the ramp then overturned and fell to its side in a screech of grinding metal.

    ?

    Bolan's own vehicle was parked just beyond the next warehouse, spotted into an escapecorridor, and this was his goal. He was running along in the shadows as the Mafia gun crewcarefully explored the wreckage of the van, and as he cleared the comer he heard an excitedcommand: "He's not beret Spread out! Al, you take the north side; Benny, the south. Rest o' youguys with me”

    ?

     Bolan was in his MG and cranking away in a full power run when a fast moving figure darted outof a shadow and began futilely pumping away at him with a handgun. At the far end of thebuilding another began unloading on him.

    ?

     He took no hits and was settling down with a sigh of relief as he hurtled into the y leadingfrom the freight area, then he noted the Dare of headlamps as two vehicles swung onto the roadto his right. Bolan took the left leg, powering into the turn that would take him toward themain air terminal.

    ?

    His first suspicion had proven correct; he had blundered into a massive mantrap, the end ofwhich he had not yet seen. Another pair of vehicles were swinging in above him; there would beat least one more gauntlet to run.

    ?

    Bolan was weary, and his belly was just about full of open warfare. For a split second hedebated ending it here and now. It would be simple and relatively painless a quiet matter ofstopping the MG at the barricade ahead, the final shootout, then blissful oblivion. Already,however, he was there, the trap cars were seesawed across the narrow roadway, and Bolan'sintellectual centers stood aside for survivalist instincts.

    ?

     He was powering into the barricade at full throttle.

    ?

     Men with startled faces were flinging themselves clear of the certain collision, and Bolan'shands and feet were quivering with the tension born of a necessity for hairbreadth control andprecision timing.

    ?

     He hit brakes and steering and power shift simultaneously, arcing into a half-spin andricocheting off the barricade into a shallow ditch at the side of the road, jouncing againstthe chain link fencing enclosing the runway area the wheels spinning, finding traction, thenpropelling him into a surging advance along the sloping walls of the ditch.

    ?

     An alarmed face was giving him the death look from just beyond the MG'S hood as humanreactions fell one pace behind charging machinery; he heard the bump and saw the body spinningaway; a flailing hand thwacked against his door post; then he was climbing for asphalt andmaking it and the high-traction drive was finding hard surface once more and the scene wasfalling behind.

    ?

     Only then did the impotent and receding rattle of gunfire officially mark the roadblock afailure; it seemed that Bolan was home clean the trap had developed lockjaw.

    ?

     His heart had just begun beating again when he saw the police beacons flashing along theperimeter highway. Of course it was time for the cops to crash the party, and they were comingin force.

    ?

     Bolan counted six cruisers in a tailgate parade, and he knew that there would be no exit fromDulles International this night.

    ?

     It was a time for decision. The Executioner had never challenged police authority; he had, infact, studiously avoided any confrontation that would force him into a gunfight with cops.

    ?

     It seemed now, however, that the unavoidable moment had arrived. First they would seal allexits, then they would pour the place full of blue-quits, the inexorable magic of policemethodology would have its way, and that final inevitable stare down with authority wouldoccur.

    ?

     Bolan would not submit to arrest, he knew that. Better to die swiftly and with the dignity ofa still-free man than to suffer that slow suffocation of jail cells and courtrooms.

?

     How strong, though, were his instincts for survival? In that final moment when he was staginghis apeshit charge and inviting them to cut him down, would those combat reflexes assertthemselves as they had so many times before, would his fire be going in for effect, and wouldhe end up taking one or two good men with him?

    ?

     This was one of Bolan's most persistent nightmares; he had met a cop or two during the courseof his Mafia war, had recognized them as soldiers doing a soldier's job and respected them forit. He did not wish to kill or maim any cops.

    ?

     So now the mob was at his rear and the blue-quits were pushing in from the front. Bolan made aswift decision and pulled into the parking area of the passenger terminal. He took a briefcaseand a small suitcase from the rear of the MG and left the battered vehicle snuggled into thesea of cars in a longterm parking space.

    ?

    As he reached the terminal, two police cruisers were flashing along the inner drive; from theother direction, a small caravan of private autos were hurrying up from the freight area.

    ?

    Bolan sighed and went on in. He was caught in the pincers. Possibly, one escape route remainedopen. Straight up. It was fly or die and, for Mack Bolan, the war-weary one man army, thatinitial decision was merely to fly now, die later, for he knew that death awaited him betweenevery heartbeat.

    ?

    This was to be a fateful decision for certain over? seas arms of that cancerous crimesyndicate known as the Mafia. Though he did not know it at that moment, Mack Bolan's privatewar was about to become an international one. The Executioner was moving toward a new front.

    ?

    Chapter 2

    Movements at the Front

    ?

     The tall man, lean and rangy in a dark suit and coordinated pastel shirt and tie, strode intothe deserted flight line waiting room and dropped a small overnight bag and a briefcasecarelessly to the door. A shock of black hair spilled across the forehead, large tinted lensesin gold wire frames concealed the eyes, a heavy moustache trailed out to almost meet sideburnsat the jaw line. Just outside, the ramp dispatcher was standing in front of a big jet andpassing hand signals to the cockpit crew, the engines of the huge airliner were whining intothe warm up run.

    ?

     The uniformed man at the ticket desk widened his eyes noticeably when the hundred dollar billcame into view.

    ?

    The tall man with the eyeshades told him, "I'll bet a hundred you can't get me on that Paris flight."

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