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* * * * *



For the Echo Team of my youth

-- Chris, Joe, and Steve --

three more loyal friends I've never known.


* * * * *




Prologue


Niall O’Connor watched those around him intently. It was early evening, and the Vienna streets were still crowded, which could make spotting a tail difficult. He was a veteran of this kind of operation, however, and so he took his time, carefully examining his surroundings. When he was certain he hadn’t been followed from the museum, he stepped into the phone booth on the corner and shut the Plexiglas door behind him. Ignoring the mounted public telephone, he removed a satellite phone from his pocket and dialed an overseas number from memory.

The phone rang several times before it was picked up. O’Connor could sense someone’s presence at the other end, could hear the sound of breathing, but nothing was said, not even hello.

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