Read The Ultimatum: A Jeremy Fisk Novel Online

Authors: Dick Wolf

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary, #United States, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Contemporary Fiction, #American, #Thrillers

The Ultimatum: A Jeremy Fisk Novel


To Noelle, Olivia, Serena, Elliot, Zoe, and
Rex Wolf. You have all blessed my life.



rom the
New York Times:


By Chay Maryland

Published: May 22, 2015 10:27

NEW YORK—WikiLeaks plans to post a slew of classified documents that amount to a sweeping indictment of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division.

The NYPD internal electronic communications, obtained by an anonymous source who provided the
New York Times
a preview, detail an extensive effort by the Intelligence Division and Counter-Terrorism Bureau—a CIA-style intelligence-gathering agency within the NYPD—to collect information on New Yorkers with “ancestries of interest.” There are 28 such groups, all with origins in Muslim countries.

This information may be released via the WikiLeaks website as early as midnight Friday.

In April 2014, Commissioner William Bratton disbanded the NYPD’s much-maligned Demographics Unit that had been created by his predecessor, Raymond Kelly, to spy on law-abiding Muslims in neighborhoods and houses of worship. Bratton publicly stated that the Demographics Unit undermined the fight against terrorism by alienating innocent Muslims who knew full well that they were being
singled out for surveillance, not based on illegal activity, but because of religious affiliation. However, the new leak offers evidence that the practice has continued.

Since June 2012, according to one of the operations reports, the Intelligence Division has installed 5,000 Microsoft Domain Awareness CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods with a high concentration of Muslims, more of the high-tech cameras than in the rest of the five boroughs combined. Many of these cameras include “shot spotter” microphones, intended for the identification of gunshots, but capable of recording conversations.

In addition, Intel has stepped up its use of “rakers”—officers who speak Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu—to “rake the coals.” More than 1,000 Intelligence Division—or “Intel”—operations reports detail visits by rakers in the guise of customers to gathering-place businesses such as barbershops, diners, and travel agencies. In the course of casually chatting with the owners, rakers asked questions about other patrons no more specific than “Who dresses in the clothing of observant Muslims?” or “Do they like to talk politics?” According to the Handschu Guidelines, the 1985 legal agreement restricting the NYPD from building files on innocent citizens, officers are permitted to engage in such visits only if they relate to potential criminal or terrorist activity. It appears that Intel has taken a very broad view of what qualifies as potential terrorist activity.

The leaked documents also contain troubling details of the most significant terrorist operation thwarted by Intel, Swedish Muslim extremist Magnus Jenssen’s attempted assassination of President Obama. An Internal Affairs report offers compelling evidence that the division engaged in an illegal assassination of Jenssen and subsequent cover-up. The same report goes on to relate a possible vendetta by Detective Jeremy Fisk, the Intel officer who apprehended Jenssen. Jenssen had earlier murdered Fisk’s fellow Intel officer, NYPD Detective Krina Gersten, with whom, according to another Internal Affairs memorandum, Fisk had a personal relationship. When interviewed by Internal Affairs officers at his Sutton Place apartment, Fisk admitted to covertly visiting Jenssen at the Metropolitan Correctional Center seven days prior to Jenssen’s death. Jenssen died from a previously undetected, rapidly metastasizing cancer commonly caused by massive radiation exposure. Additional documents reveal that Fisk received medical treatment for radiation exposure the same week. Yet the investigation was closed, with no action taken against him.

From his living room couch, Jeremy Fisk glanced up from the
New York Times
article on his iPad to the TV, affording him an angled view of the center-field scoreboard in Dodger Stadium, where his Mets were tied at three with the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth. The stadium clock read 9:50
, meaning 12:50
here in New York.

So much, Fisk thought, for his first night off this month. If at midnight WikiLeaks had indeed published the PD-302—the NYPD Internal Affairs record of the interview that was conducted here, at this apartment—then his home address was now available to anyone with Internet access. In a decade and change of police work, he’d crossed paths with more than his share of the sort of characters he wouldn’t want dropping by. And since his promotion to Intel, he’d all but had a fatwa issued against him—he was even less popular with Muslim groups than with the Civil Liberties Union. On top of that, a recent Mexican Cartel case here in the city, a win for the good guys, had landed his name on the Cartel hit list. On his way home one night last week, he’d picked up a tail, doubled back on the guy, and invited him, at gunpoint, for a chat at the nearest precinct house. Turned out to be a Cartel cutout tasked with learning where Fisk lived.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Mets’ third hitter, David Wright, lined a single to center, deep enough for catcher Travis d’Arnaud to lumber from first base to third. Fisk slid to the edge of the couch as cleanup man Curtis Granderson strode to the plate, when the doorbell buzzed.

This was odd, because of the late hour, of course, and because the doorman was required to call residents on the intercom before admitting visitors. Even when a resident from another floor decided to visit your apartment, the elevator man was supposed to give you a heads-up. Only the residents of the four other apartments on this floor had unfettered access, but in the five years Fisk had lived here, a neighbor had spontaneously dropped by a total of zero times—New York was like that. The only neighbor who’d ever visited always phoned ahead:
Mrs. Cooper, the octogenarian who lived around the corner and every year at Christmastime delivered homemade menorah-shaped cookies.

Fisk was home alone—as he’d been every night since Krina’s death. He clicked the remote control, shifting the image on the TV screen—Granderson digging into the left side of the batter’s box—to the digital peephole’s view of the hallway. Just outside Fisk’s door stood Mrs. Cooper, the platinum hair that ironically emphasized her age peeking from under a head scarf. A large evening bag dangled from a stooped shoulder. Her scarf and her coat were studded with drops from the latest of the April showers that had continued well into May. There was no sign of anyone else in the brightly lit corridor, yet Fisk couldn’t rule out the possibility that someone else was there, maybe someone who’d convinced Mrs. Cooper to admit him to the building as her guest, someone who might now be positioned out of sight where the hall doglegged, pointing a gun at her.

Fisk held his breath, cocked an ear toward the outside hallway, and listened for squeaks of the pile carpet resulting from shifting weight. He heard nothing. Then again, between him and the hallway were his living room and a prewar plaster wall meant to ensure that residents heard nothing from the hallway.

His eyes remained glued to the digital peephole’s low-res feed from the hall. No shadows. No telltale fluctuations of light. Mrs. Cooper had just been outside, obviously, yet her face was pale.

With a sigh, she looked down the hall, to the point where it turned. Through the door, Fisk heard her ask, her voice quavering, “What if he’s not home?”

She looked toward the dogleg, as if taking in a response.

asiest thing would be to ignore the door. Just pretend to be elsewhere, meanwhile covertly summoning backup.

But Mrs. Cooper was in immediate jeopardy.

If he could get into the hall, he figured he could neutralize
the man. Which, taking into account Murphy’s Law—a tactical necessity—meant there were two men. Unfortunately, this apartment was practically a tomb, with just one exit route, the front door. Well, and the seventeen-story drop to the street. Fisk hadn’t equipped the place with the sort of high-tech defensive measures he was accustomed to at work. Other than the furnishings—all of it acquired in one hour-long visit to a department store that was having a sale that weekend—he hadn’t equipped the apartment at all. It was just a place where he crashed between cases and, on occasion, caught a bit of a ball game.

Fisk’s chest tightened and his body temperature plummeted. Ignoring both, he reached behind him and into the pile on the back of the couch: suit coat, raincoat, and Glock 17 in a black leather De Santis shoulder holster. Prying free the gun, he tried to formulate a plan of action.

“Hello?” he called out, as if he were battling a yawn. Setting a foot in the foyer risked drawing fire through the front door.

“Jeremy, it’s Gladys Cooper from around the corner.”

“Everything okay, Mrs. Cooper?” he asked, as if he didn’t suspect anything.

She didn’t immediately respond. Was she being coached by whoever was around the corner? Finally, she said, “I just need to talk to you about something.”

“Sure, but just a sec. I need to find my robe.” This would buy him twenty seconds before whoever was in the hall got antsy.

“Uh . . . okay.”

He hurried into his bedroom. The casement window was already open, saving him from contending with the handle, whose squeaky hinge invariably scared pigeons into flight—like many New Yorkers, he relied on his bedroom window to counter the steam heat on chilly nights like this one.

He climbed onto the radiator and squeezed out the window, an act of contortion, meanwhile inspecting the ledge. If it could even be
called a ledge. The narrow limestone surface, which extended from the base of the window by five inches at most, was slicked by rainwater on top of an accumulation of Manhattan soot.

Securing the Glock inside his waistband, he stepped out tentatively until feeling that the ledge would support his weight, meanwhile taking in his East Fifty-Fifth Street block, seventeen stories below, deserted but for parked cars. The street looked twice as small from this height when there was no window or guardrail between him and it. He thought of the opening sequence of
Mad Men,
when the main character is seen plummeting from a high city building. Best to focus on staying up here, he decided. Unfortunately, wind numbed his hands and face and lashed the rest of him with cold rain.

Clinging to icy bricks, he rotated his feet so that they pointed away from each other. Then he began a variation of a crab walk to the neighboring apartment, from which he hoped to flank Mrs. Cooper’s coach.

Seven seconds, he figured, until the hostiles considered dispensing with Mrs. Cooper and coming in after him.

The neighbors’ bedroom window was ten feet away. He hoped that the couple who lived here, Larry and Sue Foster, bankers who rose early for work, would be in bed, and thus able to let him in. If indeed the apartment were empty, he would have to utilize the Glock’s muzzle like the pointed glass-breaker tool on a Swiss Army knife: when jammed into a pane, it caused vibrations concentrated enough to break the surface tension and separate the glass molecules, shattering the glass. The noise was minimal and brief, but might give him up still.

He reached the Fosters’ bedroom window. The bedroom was dark. No sign of the Fosters in bed, in the adjacent living room, or otherwise.

Of course not.

He was in luck, though. The Fosters too employed the “Manhattan
thermostat”—their bedroom window was open a crack. With a brief nudge, he opened it enough to fit through. Reflecting that he’d exhausted the one piece of luck he might reasonably expect, he slipped into the bedroom, landing with a muted tap on the pile carpet.

Through the wall between the apartments, he heard a muffled rendition of its buzz and Mrs. Cooper calling out, “Jeremy?”

Right on schedule. He had another ten seconds, tops, to come up with a plan of attack.

Darting out of the bedroom and into the marble-tiled foyer, he formed a mental diagram of the corridor outside. It was shaped like an uppercase
of which his apartment and this one formed the base. Hanging on the wall between the two doors was a small framed English countryside print. The lone door other than the apartments’ opened to the emergency stairwell, across the hall. The corridor was lit by three recessed fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling. It might be better from a tactical standpoint if he turned them off—the switch was in the emergency stairwell—but even when they were out, the illuminated red exit sign adequately illuminated the hallway. On the uppercase
’s ascender, the three other apartments faced the elevator landing, which included a cushioned bench and a mirror.

The old-fashioned analog peephole on the Fosters’ door gave Fisk a fish-eye view of Mrs. Cooper stabbing at his door button. A silenced handgun—a SIG Sauer P226, going by the stout black barrel—peeked from around the corner, pointed at her. The gun was gripped by a caramel-colored hand. Two similarly complected, thickset young men stood on this end of the hallway, one gripping a boxy black Taurus 9mm, also fitted with a sound suppressor. Pros didn’t use the suppressors for stealth, but, rather, to protect their own ears.

The guy closest to the Fosters’ apartment held a steel-handled ax that looked like it had been hand-wrought centuries ago. This explained some things. On the recent Cartel case, Fisk had seen a similar weapon, an Aztec tomahawk. Tomahawks were now in
vogue in Cartel assassin circles for dismemberment or decapitation, or both.

He backpedaled, turning in to the small kitchen, where he slid the half-full garbage bag out of the pail. Now he had a way to conceal his gun as well as a convincing prop for the role he intended to play: bystander taking out the trash. Once clear of the door, he would toss the bag to the tomahawk guy. When you throw something into a man’s face, he first senses the motion and processes information, then reacts by either catching the object, fending it off, or dodging it. Any of these reactions would occupy him long enough for Fisk to get the drop on the Taurus 9mm guy.

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