Excerpt: 'Frozen Fire' by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson

A few feet way, the crew was doing their final checkout on the dive tube they'd christened Flipper. It was sleek, gray, and highly maneuverable underwater, but that's where the resemblance to everyone's favorite dolphin ended. It was just another useful high-tech toy, as far as Micki was concerned. She'd trained in it, as all the security personnel had trained in this and all the other high-tech dive equipment her commander-in-chief, Dennis Cavendish, kept acquiring. Despite never having actually used the tube for any purpose other than training, Micki was confident that she could carry out her duty and be topside before anyone could learn that the entire mission was a fabrication.

This dive was an extremely daring act, but it was a necessary part of the plan. It was a heady feeling to know that the years she'd put into gaining her boss's trust and into learning everything there was to know about nation of Taino--and the reality behind its clever fa├žade--would soon pay off. All the condescension she'd endured at Dennis's hands was a small price to pay to ensure that the money and energy Dennis and his minions had put into achieving his megalomaniacal dream of controlling the world's next-generation energy source would be wasted. The world would be shown once again, vividly, that greed and arrogance led inevitably to incalculable damage to the Earth and all Her inhabitants.

Yes, Dennis, in a few days, you will have changed the world forever. For the worse. Fully ensconced in the one-person diving tube, Micki mentally counted the clicks and hisses as the crew secured the seals that would keep her separate from the sea and safe from its frigid pressures. As she waited for the dive master to speak to her through the headphones, she kept her eyes trained on the small black boxes she'd carefully secured to the platform at the front of the tiny vessel.

When she'd approached Simon about this unscheduled trip, Micki had told him the twin units were a new, state-of-the-art surveillance device made by a boutique firm in Switzerland. With a deprecating roll of her eyes, she'd added that they were being deployed as a favor to the company's owner, a business associate of Dennis's. The boxes were beta units and Dennis had agreed to let Taino be their first real-world test bed because he believed the technology held promise and would provide them with useful data if it worked as planned. Micki had added, as off-hand as ever, that even she wasn't entirely sure what the devices were meant to do; she had been told only that she was to place them in specific secure locations without her movements being tracked.

Everything she'd said was a lie, of course. The units were highly sophisticated bombs, the brainchild of Garner Blaylock, Earth activist, unsung genius, and Dennis Cavendish's worst nightmare. When activated remotely by Micki, the black boxes would exploit the one vulnerability that Victoria Clark, Taino's white-hat paranoiac Secretary of National Security and Micki's immediate boss, hadn't taken into account in all of her continual brainstorming about terrorism: sabotage. The kind that could be carried out by an insider, a member of Victoria's trusted, hand-picked inner circle. All those endless hours of security audits and exhaustive tabletop exercises would have been for nothing. Micki couldn't wait to see the look on Victoria's face when she realized it.

Talk about a blind spot.

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