The General Assembly Hall is drenched in gloom, the only illumination a source of light at the distant podium. Above the podium, the United Nations emblem gazes down from its golden wall like some all-seeing eye as the two agents make their way forward.
A wheeled remote sits at the base of the podium steps. Spindly arms stretch out and arc over the podium, one carrying a light and the other a camera, peering at something unseen behind the green marble of the secretary-general’s grand desk.
The first agent arrives at the base of the steps, breathing heavily in anticipation over his suit radio. He mounts the first step. A distinct gravelly crunch from his boot halts his breathing for a heartbeat. A coarse grit covers the step. He takes a moment to grind his boot in some more.
“Looks like sand.”
From the steps on the other side of the podium the second agent scans the area. There is only an empty pool of light. His breathing quickens. “It’s not there!”
“It’s moved under the secretary-general’s desk—it’s in the seat recess,” Felton says over the radio link.
The two agents reach the top of the steps from opposite sides. White sheets of letter-size paper are scattered all about. They both step forth onto the podium floor, the sand crunching under their boots. An exchange of glances and they swing their thermal lances toward the huge marble desk, its recess in deep shadow. Crouching down they point their weapons in, the flames illuminating what hides within.
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