"What options?" Captain Sen now asked. "You're not thinking of fighting them, are you? No. I won't allow it."
But the snakehead didn't answer. He remained braced at the radar stand, staring at the screen.
The man seemed placid but, Sen supposed, he must've been enraged. No snakehead he'd ever worked with had taken so many precautions to avoid capture and detection as the Ghost on this voyage. The two-dozen immigrants had met in an abandoned warehouse outside of Fuzhou and waited there for two days, under the watch of a partner of the Ghost's -- a "little snakehead." The man had then loaded the Chinese onto a chartered Tupolev 154, which had flown to a deserted military airfield near St. Petersburg in Russia. There they'd climbed into a shipping container, been driven 120 kilometers to the town of Vyborg and boarded the Fuzhou Dragon, which Sen had sailed into the Russian port just the day before. He himself had meticulously filled out the customs documents and manifests -- everything according to the book, so as not to arouse suspicion. The Ghost had joined them at the last minute and the ship had sailed on schedule. Through the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the English Channel, then the Dragon had crossed the famous starting point of transatlantic voyages in the Celtic Sea -- 490N 70W -- and had begun steaming southwest toward Long Island, New York.
There was not a single thing about the voyage that would arouse the suspicion of the U.S. authorities. "How did the Coast Guard do it?" the captain asked.
"What?" the Ghost responded absently.
"Find us. No one could have. It's impossible."
The Ghost straightened up and pushed outside into the raging wind, calling back, "Who knows? Maybe it was magic."
Copyright © 2002 by Jeffery Deaver
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