Sniper Elite

Free Sniper Elite by Scott McEwen

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Authors: Scott McEwen
What about the passengers? Seems to me they might notice a sudden loss of cabin pressure.”
    â€œLerher’s techs already killed the feed to the emergency oxygen masks in the passenger compartment,” Gil said. “The flight won’t be full, only nineteen passengers. Three minutes before I jump, the pilot’s gonna drop the cabin pressure to three psi and knock everybody out. My stewardess and I will already be on oxygen by then, hiding in the rear compartment. The passengers go unconscious within sixty seconds, and that gives us a minute to lower the stairs and for me to hit the silk. The cabin should be resealed and back under pressure inside of three minutes. A couple of minutes after that, everybody wakes up again—scared shitless but none the wiser.”
    Two CIA technicians rolled up in a maintenance truck and parked directly beneath the tail of the 727. They climbed into the back where a TIG welder rested against the cab. One of them switched on the welder, and the other opened a stepladder. The welder then donned a pair of thick leather gloves and dark goggles, climbing the ladder to place a couple of spot welds on the first of two pivotingmetal airfoils, not much smaller than a ping-pong paddle, located on the fuselage on either side of the stairwell.
    â€œWhat the hell are those things?” Steelyard asked.
    â€œThey’re called Cooper vanes,” answered the technician holding the ladder. “They’re spring loaded. When the aircraft is in flight, the airflow rushes over the foils and turns them to lock the stairs in the up position. Once the plane slows down again, they automatically open back up. We’re welding them open so the stairs can be lowered during flight.”
    Steelyard looked at Gil. “Learn something new every day.” He lifted his chin. “Who’s she?”
    Gil turned to see a husky-looking woman stalking across the tarmac dressed in dark pants, a maroon turtleneck, and a purple headscarf. She had a rough complexion and a hard look in her obsidian eyes. She was intercepted briefly by an Army sentry who reviewed her credentials and allowed her to pass.
    â€œShe’s an operative with MIT,” Gil said. Turkish Intelligence. “The stewardess I just mentioned.”
    â€œJesus,” Steelyard muttered. “I’m sorry to hear that, little buddy.” Little buddy was a takeoff on Gil’s nickname—Gilligan.
    THE WOMAN APPROACHED, staring at Gil without as much as a glance at Steelyard. “Does the aircraft meet with your approval, Master Chief Shannon?” Her voice was deep, and her accent was thick, but her English was easily understood. She was obviously very proud to be working with DEVGRU on such an intrepid mission.
    â€œIt does, Melisa, thank you.”
    â€œWe’ll be taking off for Kandahar the moment the aircraft is ready,” she said. “I understand you will be following a few hours behind.”
    â€œThat’s right,” he replied. “I have to prep my gear for the jump.”
    â€œVery well,” she said, offering her hand. “Until we meet in Kandahar.”
    Gil took her hand. “Until Kandahar,” he said with a curt nod, resisting the ironic temptation to click his heels together, a gesture that he was sure she would not have found humorous.
    They watched her go.
    Steelyard took the cigar from his mouth and spit. “Too bad she’s not jumping with you. She could probably take ten of the bastards with her bare hands.”
    Gil chuckled. “Let’s go have a look at the gear Lerher brought me.”
    THE GEAR LERHER had supplied waited for him in the same hangar SOAR was using to keep their hi-tech helicopters out of sight. The kit itself was stowed in an aluminum case not much larger than one of Gil’s own cruise boxes now stacked against the wall. There was no one else around as Gil and Steelyard unlocked the double padlocks at either

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