Jonathon Stone and Chuck Chun are assigned to escort a witness from the Philippines to LA to testify against her terrorist husband. After an air marshal is killed in flight, Jonathon and Chuck go on high alert.
The CIA team finds out there is a professional hit contract on the witness and it is non-exclusive. The twists and turns of the op leads the two into the Islamic World of terror.
Excerpt from Operation Key Witness
The white clouds were floating by the plane’s window as I gazed at the greenish-blue ocean below. I loved to fly. Being a pilot was a life-long dream. Being a CIA special agent was my reality. Even the simplest ops were filled with danger.
Fellow agent Chuck Chun was sitting in the aisle seat. We had flipped for the window seat and Chuck had lost. Several hours earlier we had departed from Manila, headed for Los Angeles. This trip was not a pleasure trip. It was all business. Chuck and I had a very special package to deliver to the states. Sitting between us was a dark-haired woman, in her mid-thirties, with very rough features. This woman’s name was Jullian Husin. She had been a part of a terrorist cell operating in the Philippines.
For some reason, she had a change of heart. She was going to testify against her estranged husband, who is the leader of the terrorist group in Manila.
I smiled at her. She lowered her head and continued staring at the back of the seat in front of her.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“You are safe with us,” I continued.
She looked up at me. “You don’t know that. They have ways to reach anyone they want.”
She spoke remarkably good English. That was all she had said since we had picked her up from the authorities.
“You speak good English?”
She half-way smiled. “I was born in the US.”
We hadn’t been told that in our briefing.
“I went to school in Michigan, just outside of Detroit. That’s where I met my husband.”
“What is his name again?”
“Habib. Habib Husin.”
She looked down again.
Just then I heard the ring from my sat-phone. Chuck pointed down at my bag under the seat in front of me. I’d almost forgotten we had brought that along. Our cell-phones had no reception here but our satellite phone was active almost anywhere. I fished it out of the bag.
God, I missed caller ID.
“Wiley, here. I have something important.”
“Can you hold on for a minute? I need to change locations.”
I squeezed by Jullian and Chuck and headed for the galley at the rear of the plane. It would be safer to talk there. The meal service was going on so there was only one flight attendant in the area.
“What you got, Wiley?”
“Russ wanted me to pass this on. A maid at an apartment complex in the San Pedro area just found a male body. He had been dead several days, according to the police.”
“My condolences to the family. Why are you telling me this over a secure line in the middle of an op?”
The flight attendant looked at me. I must have raised my voice.
“No, Jon. This guy had your witness’ itinerary and flight number written in a notepad. The police are still searching his apartment. His name was Oscar Hammel. He was on one of our watch lists. He’s a gun-for-hire. The FBI is there now.”
“Wiley, you might want to alert Homeland. He probably was going after our witness. We were to turn over Jullian Husin to the FBI when we landed.”
“Well that sounds like good luck,” Wiley said.
“What do you mean?”
“An assassin with the itinerary gets wacked before he can carry out the contract.”
“Wiley there is an old saying in Blackjack, no matter how good a hand you have, you never know if you won until you see the dealer’s hole cards.”
There was silence on the other end as he digested what I had just said. Then a response, “I will let you know what the FBI comes up with.”
I smiled at the flight attendant who was making coffee in the galley and headed back to my seat.