Day Zero

Read Day Zero for Free Online

Book: Read Day Zero for Free Online
Authors: Marc Cameron
Tags: thriller
be Quinn’s girlfriend. At least she had been, before he’d dropped off the grid. Quinn was smart enough to know that girlfriends needed care and feeding—and he’d been around to do neither for nearly half a year.
    “Maybe she can get us something to go on,” Palmer said. “I don’t mind telling you, though, I’m worried.”
    Behind Quinn in the boat, Ukka shouted from his position at the tiller. “Nearly there!”
    Quinn gave the Eskimo a thumbs-up to show he understood, and then turned back to the phone. “Listen, I’ve got to go. Things are heating up out here.”
    “Anything that I can do?” Palmer said, more out of habit from the old days than any ability to actually help. Even with his little ad hoc resistance movement, as a private citizen in suburban Virginia, there was nothing he could offer Quinn in Alaska beyond good wishes.
    “No,” Quinn said, careful to not to use military trigger words like negative and affirmative that might trigger closer scrutiny from the NSA. “Looks like I’m burned, though. They’ve sent what looks to be contractors.”
    “Contractors?” Palmer said. “That’s not good.”
    “Yeah, well,” Quinn said, “they’re three down from when they started. Watch yourself. Looks like the gloves are off.” Quinn ended the call. He made certain the phone was on silent—a ringtone at the wrong moment could get him killed.
    Twenty meters away, Ukka took the skiff out into the current to make a wide turn back toward the bank. The white crosses in the cemetery on Azochorak Hill ghosted in and out of the fog above them. They were coming in downriver, about a quarter mile from the village proper. Quinn traded his float coat for a more neutrally colored Helly Hansen raincoat he’d found in the borrowed skiff. The jacket was tattered and stunk of fish and mildew, but its olive green would be far less noticeable against scrub willow or even the open tundra. He slung the MP7 over his shoulder and stuffed the cell phone and the dead man’s radio in the pockets of the raincoat. He stood at the rail, ready to jump and run as soon as the bow touched gravel.

    Cut, broken, and bruised to the point he could barely walk, let alone run, Quinn had come to Mountain Village one step ahead of US authorities. The marshals had taken him off their Top Fifteen wanted list for all of about ten minutes, until someone in the new presidential administration had caught wind of it and insisted he be made a priority. Thankfully, a deputy named August Bowen, an acquaintance of his from his boxing career at the Air Force Academy, had been assigned the case. Bowen had been in Japan and knew much of the truth about Quinn, so he dragged his feet as best he could. Still, Top Fifteens were worked by many hands. Quinn had to keep his wits about him to keep from getting captured—which under the present administration would surely mean a speedy trial and quick backroom execution.
    He’d made too big a splash in Japan to stay there, leaving a wide and lengthy trail of bodies in his wake while looking for the assassins responsible for shooting his ex-wife. Even with friends in Japanese law enforcement, security footage of his face had already made it onto every news feed and blog in Asia, branding him the murderer from the US who typified the Japanese view of American bloodlust and gun craziness.
    It killed him that he was too banged up to follow leads to Pakistan. He’d lived much of his life gutting it out through the pain. But this time was different. Miyagi took him to a doctor in Japan who asked few questions and patched him up well enough to travel. When Quinn argued or tried to do too much, she reminded him that “though a concentrated mind could pierce a stone, it was a long process.”
    Fellow OGA “Gunny” Jacques Thibodaux pointed out the reality that “that which does not kill us makes us weaker for the next thing that tries to kill us.”
    Quinn had needed a place to hide out, to heal from the

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