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

Working side-by-side with Victoria for the last few years and overseeing the ubiquitous background checks, covert surveillance, network trolling, and physical searches on the employees, it had become apparent to an incredulous Micki that Victoria hadn't taken any precautions against the most obvious option. She'd never considered that someone she trusted implicitly -- and investigated so thoroughly -- could set a bomb and destroy everything Victoria was meant to protect. This ludicrous arrogance was a rather alarming character flaw in Victoria, who prided herself on her emotionless perfectionism. In a moment of supreme and deliberate irony, Micki had even suggested the notion of a mole, an insider with malicious intent.

Victoria had considered it carefully, of course. She considered everything carefully. But then she dismissed insider cooperation as a viable threat. For such a plan to be carried out would require there to be too many gaps in her heavily fortified, overtly redundant security perimeter. Micki had listened in awe as Victoria, one of the most highly respected security experts in the world, told her that--on Taino, on her turf--such a threat fell into the category identified by security experts as having extremely high impact but extremely low probability. Micki had even argued with her, pointing out that that was the same category into which the notion of people flying airliners into tall office buildings had once been placed. But Victoria was adamant. Not on Taino. Not with her security parameters in place.

It was a significant source of amusement to Micki that Victoria had never considered that the very person responsible for maintaining those parameters could be the black hat Victoria never stopped looking for. And it a was a source of tremendous pride to Micki that she was able to create those vital, improbable gaps, leaving Taino's computer and security networks riddled with hidden virtual tunnels. And today, in less than an hour, she would place the matched set of small explosives into critical fissures in the cliff walls that loomed above Atlantis, the top-secret, deep-sea habitat and methane hydrate mining operation on which Dennis Cavendish was staking the world's future.

Later, Micki would detonate the devices, triggering a submarine landslide that would destroy the entire installation. All of Dennis's proprietary technological advances would be lost and his minions would be sacrificed--horrible but necessary deaths. Dennis Cavendish, the man who'd crowned himself a king and wanted to be a god, would be hated and reviled, his name cursed, his legacy ruined, his dreams literally crushed.

The plan was so simple, so clean, so elegant, that it made Micki want to laugh out loud each time she'd thought about it over the past few months. That she'd come up with the plan herself, and that Garner had seized on it as viable, just added to the buzz in her bloodstream.

"All set, Ms. Crenshaw?" The dive master's voice came through the headphones clearly and Micki fought back a smile at the rush of adrenaline through her blood.

"I'm ready when you are," she replied, briefly nodding at the beautiful and still-furious Simon Broadhurst through the porthole in front of her.

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