Front cover of book

CodeName: Snake - II


Chapter 1
Mar del Plata, Argentina

Stefan Hirsch slowly picked his way through the tangle of trees and shrubs.  It was barely noon and the temperature was already oppressive.  Mosquitoes continually attacked him.  He’d slathered on mosquito repellant and wore a long-sleeve shirt, but it only seemed to challenge the flying beasts.  He wiped his brow as a trickle — torrent — of sweat ran down his back.  He stopped to check his map and compass, and continued on for another twenty minutes.  Finally, he crouched behind a tree at the edge of the thinning forest, leaned against it to rest for a minute, blending into the shadows, letting the forest settle and accept him.  He didn’t move, just studied the area in front of him, and let the noises of the forest’s crawling things begin again.  His target was less than a hundred meters in front of him.

Stefan focused his binoculars and scanned the area — a small, upscale bedroom community of a hundred or so homes.  No one appeared to be about, but it didn’t mean people weren’t there.  They would simply be inside avoiding the stifling heat.  Cars were parked along the streets, so he assumed the people were inside the homes, especially one particular man and his wife — his target — targets he’d spent six months tracking.  He was close to his objective, his prey, and his anticipation ran high.  He was sure his targets would run and that’s why Stefan waited in the woods, hoping they’d run this way…right into his arms.  Others waited on opposite sides of the woods, just in case.

During the original planning for this operation, Stefan placed himself in the group that raided the house, but the strategists thought if the man and woman did manage to escape, the better position for Stefan was in the forest, in the most likely direction for escape — and right into Stefan’s arms.

"But what if they went the other way, into the forest to the north?" argued Stefan.

"It’s way too thick, impossible to go through.  Besides, we’ll have people there just in case.  Your direction is where the paths lead to the road.  That’s the way he’ll go."

The logic was sound and Stefan finally agreed.

He checked his watch for the hundredth time, watched the second hand slowly tick toward twelve o’clock.  Twenty seconds to go.  He couldn’t hear the noise of the cars — three cars filled with "police." Everyone looking for one man and one woman.

Perhaps his targets were napping.  No matter.  Soon they’d be permanently asleep.  He stood, checked the sidearm holstered on his right side, making sure for the dozenth time there was a cartridge in the chamber and the safety was off, hefted his rifle, and slowly continued picking his way through the dense foliage.  Ahead were his targets, a camp kommandant and his wife, evil scum of the earth, Nazis who had escaped from Germany after the war.  He had finally located them and was here to kill them or take them to Israel for trial — to pay for war crimes committed during the war.

As Stefan approached the edge of the wooded area, the outskirts of the target’s neighborhood, he stopped and checked his binoculars again, finally seeing the three "police" cars approach the Nazi’s house, exactly on time.  With strobe lights flashing, the cars stopped around the house and four men in each car stormed out.  The men were dressed in black, wearing bulletproof vests and balaclavas.  The front door was smashed in and several men charged in and raided the house while the others spread out, ready to shoot anyone confronting them.

They created enough noise that occupants of nearby homes opened front doors and windows, the occupants wondering what was happening.  Two other men were taking photos of every face they could see.  Soon as a face appeared it was recorded.  The pictures would be examined to see if any of them were escaped Nazis.  Stefan stood at the outer boundary of the community, watching, ready to pounce on the Nazi and his wife if they managed to escape the raiding party.  He wanted to take them alive, but he had no qualms about killing them both.

Seconds after the house was raided, one man came out and radioed Stefan that it was empty.  Dammit.  Dammit.  Dammit.  So much for the element of surprise.

The next radio transmission told him it appeared some clothes were gone, the occupants tipped off somehow.  The other "police" officers came out, some carrying boxes — intel.  As quickly as they arrived, the raiding party got back into their cars and drove off, strobes still flashing.  The whole operation took less than two minutes.

Stefan was devastated.  He had planned this for months, tracking his prey, making absolutely sure he had the right man — and he had failed.  He turned and walked back into the woods for about a hundred and fifty meters to the road to where he left his motorcycle.  Dejected at missing this opportunity to get the Nazis, he drove back to his hotel where he’d meet the others to try and analyze what had gone wrong.

Tomorrow he’d implement Plan B.  He hoped to have another chance to get the Nazis, but this one would be in an open area with people around, an even higher chance of failure, and much more dangerous… if the targets even showed up.  Other agents were at the bus terminal, some were watching the trains, known hangouts, and obvious places in an attempt to cover all the bases and be sure to get them.  At least I have another chance, thought Stefan….  The target was an arrogant SOB and clearly a man of habit… and some habits were difficult to change.

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