Welcome to Telbat’s Tablet, Readers and New Subscribers! “High-wire Rescue” is a stand-alone short Christian fiction adventure that everyone can enjoy, but for those who have read Dark Liaison, A Christian Suspense Novel, and Dark Hearted, with COIL Agent Toad, you will find here the “rest of the story” of how Toad came to meet and rescue his fiancé, Fon! There is a brief mention of this op in chapter 3 of Dark Hearted. Our subscribers know that we call this kind of extra story a “Squid.” Enjoy! 🙂
By D.I. Telbat
Quin (Toad) LuDao carefully aimed the crossbow at the infrared light across the Tianjin Street. Only by wearing his night vision goggles could he see the signal—important since Toad was on top of a Chinese detainment building, twelve stories off the street; no one else needed to see the signal!
He pulled the trigger, and a grapnel hook shot through the drizzling rain into the darkness. A thin cable trailed behind the carbon-fiber shaft. Seconds later, the spool at his feet stopped unraveling.
Toad counted to thirty as he waited for Jason Bruno to anchor the hook. Bruno was a burly black man who seemed invisible on the roof of the opposite building. The two COIL operatives were alone on this mission—to rescue a Chinese diplomat who was also a recent Christian convert.
Her name was Zhou Fon, and she had been sentenced to death by the Communist Party. Her religious convictions had become too visible, and as a translator for the government, she wasn’t one to keep her mouth shut.
Picking up the cable, Toad drew it tight and wrapped it around a ventilation housing unit. From his hang glider—the stealth vehicle he had used to reach the roof—he plucked a mountain climber’s belay device, and secured the cable to itself. He looped a nylon rope around the vent as well, and fastened it to a carabiner on his belt.
Toad stepped to the edge of the roof and looked straight down twelve stories. He wasn’t afraid of heights as much as he was afraid of failing the mission. Knowing Bruno, he would tease Toad for hesitating on the ledge of the roof. The two had been close friends since Toad had joined the COIL team two years earlier. They claimed that their banter kept them sharp.
Pulling tight against the rope, Toad leaned out into empty space. Wind tugged at his tight, black outfit. Though it was after midnight, the lights in the windows below were bright. He counted four from the right and down…how many? Fon was to be housed in a tenth story cell, but there was only cement where there was supposed to be a window!
It wasn’t the first time that purchased intelligence reports had been wrong. Non-operatives assumed facts that operatives in the field had to find a way to work with. Toad didn’t panic. He was, after all, a Christian, and panic had no place in his life. God certainly knew where Fon was housed, and Toad was eternally connected to his sovereign God.
Even while Toad was praying for an idea to locate Fon’s prison window, a gust of wind knocked Toad sideways. His grip slipped on the rope, and he dropped through the air twenty feet before his flailing limbs managed some degree of coordination.
Directly in front of one barred window, Toad bounced gently on the rope, then planted his feet on either side of the window. Before he could settle his racing heart, he found himself looking into the teary eyes of a beautiful face he knew well. Zhou Fon was kneeling in front of the window of her cell, praying, even at that hour.
Toad knew her face from photographs and several failed diplomatic maneuvers over the last six months, but Fon surely didn’t know him. He was, after all, a covert operative based out of New York City. Smiling, Toad waved at her, and gestured for her to get away from the window.
He could not have been more pleased at that moment. God had blown him off the roof ledge to drop precisely to the right window, and Fon was in the middle of her prayers. What had she been praying for? A Special Forces Christian to rappel down her building to rescue her?
From a padded pouch on his belt, Toad drew a vial of synthetic aqua regia. He squirted the acid at the top and bottom of each bar, then tore them loose. The Plexiglas was next, and the acid dabbed in a square hissed with a smelly odor.
Toad climbed through the window and set the bars and glass on the floor of the cell. Before he could straighten up, Fon’s arms wrapped around his neck. Just as quickly, she released him and stepped back, covering her mouth with a hand.
“I’m sorry! What have you come for?” she whispered in Mandarin.
“For you, Fon.”
“I thought the last person I would see would be the man meant to murder me at dawn.”
“At dawn? I guess we’re cutting it close!” Toad said, appreciating her steady gaze and attention. He hadn’t seen a more beautiful Chinese prisoner—ever.
“There are others with you?” Fon asked.
“Yes, one other man. Here, I have a harness for you.”
“Why…me?” she asked with a quiet sob. “There are many others.”
“We help who we can, Fon,” Toad said softly. Instantly, he realized his love for her—because of the days of preparation to get her out, and for her obvious care for others. “The rest we must leave in God’s hands.”
She moved close to him and rested her hands on his shoulders as he fit the harness around her. She turned her head to gaze at her cell, which consisted of a cement bunk and a toilet.
“I hope you won’t miss this place,” Toad joked, feeling awkward about his words an instant later.
“No, but I don’t want to forget it. And I can’t forget the ones we’re leaving behind.”
He drew her close and stepped to the window.
“The people I work with won’t let you forget, Fon. It’s remembering what God has done for us that reminds us to do what we can for others. Come, I’ll help you climb to the roof.”
Together, they stepped out the window, where the above cable to the other building awaited their final departure.
Toad cared for every subject they rescued, but as for Zhou Fon—he felt that God had a future purpose for dropping him to her window this night.
COMING UP: Friday, please join us for another page from David Telbat’s Author Reflections in “Special Forces Christians vs. Evil Regimes.” And next Tuesday, David has a short story titled “Standing Together—An Alleyway Intervention.”