A high-ranking member of the cartel Red Harmony wants to defect. It’s a potential intelligence gold mine, as General Liu Xichang has priceless inside information about how the cartel works. It’s risky but Quantum Corps decides that such a high-value asset is worth a substantial risk. There’s just one problem. Like all cartel members, Liu sports a ‘halo,’ a small capsule of nanobots in his skull that keeps members in line, under strict discipline and control and that can be used to terminate members who don’t behave.
The cartel has targeted Liu for termination. Thus, Quantum Corps finds themselves in a race against time, trying to complete a harrowing mission of extraction and keep Liu’s halo from erupting and taking his life and those around him.
Johnny Winger is given the mission to extract General Liu. It’s a double mission, with deceptions, disguises, double agents, moles and plenty of disinformation, for there are some inside the Corps who feel the entire effort is nothing less than falling for a Red Harmony sting.
Winger and his special ops detachment, in concert with geoplanes from U.N. Boundary Patrol, must penetrate a cartel compound deep in the heart of Beijing’s Forbidden City and attempt to exfiltrate their high-value target right out from under the noses of Red Harmony. Fighting off their pursuers, chased across the Gobi Desert and then across Manchuria and Russia, battling eruptions from Liu’s halo, always wondering if the entire mission is a setup and the detachment may be heading right into a trap, Winger and his quantum troopers persevere and manage to make off with their prize guest, who is grateful but must be kept contained, lest the troopers fall prey to a covert attack from inside.
Winger and his dedicated atomgrabbers manage to make it back to a safe harbor with their prize, but the quantum troopers don’t realize that Red Harmony may still have a few unpleasant surprises awaiting them.
Third episode in the Quantum Troopers Return serial.