Tag Archives: Fiction

Samruk International Ballcaps: Coming Soon

Viper Headwear is currently working on some Samruk International ballcaps for us.  These will be fitted caps and unlike the prototype below, they will be in PenCott’s “Green Zone” pattern since I’ve decided that PenCott is going to be the unofficial camo pattern for the fictional Private Military Company featured in my novels.  Look for ordering instructions in about a month.  Also, please keep in mind that this is a prototype.  The final hat won’t have those stiff front panels.

Samrukhat1Samrukhat2

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Twelve (part one)

SEAL_Samruk_130304

Chapter Twelve:

The Twin Otter lifted off in the morning with six passengers on board. Rick had extra hair gel applied today and his ear plugs in, listening to music and not talking to anyone. He was still bitter about being bumped from the mission and moved to the support role.

The pilot, the one who had flown for their training jumps was a drug runner who routinely made illegal flights from the South China Sea to Darwin and knew the routes in and out of the area well. The Liquid Sky members had their wing suits and parachutes with them. In the unlikely event that they were stopped along the way, they would appear as nothing more than sport jumpers.

Deckard leaned back and watched fluffy white clouds float by the window. Was he scared? Scared of what? Jumping out of a blacked out aircraft over a major metropolitan city, gliding between buildings while wearing combat equipment, deploying a parachute at the very last second, landing on the smallest drop zone imaginable, then explosively breaching a door, and getting into a shoot out with dozens of goons, killing a terrorist financier, before parachuting off the roof down to the streets? What was there to be scared of?

At least a couple of them were going to die on this mission according to Deckard’s calculations. Bill didn’t seem very conflicted about that fact after basically admitting it to him. Who was he kidding, they were all going to die on this mission. Deckard closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep. He had been there before.

They landed at a remote airfield in Indonesia to refuel before continuing on to the Philippines. Some of the guys slept, others watched movies on portable DVD players.

It was late at night when they landed at Barradas airfield, a dusty airstrip not far outside of Manila. Under the cover of darkness, the team policed up their gear and walked to a waiting van. As they approached, Ramon got out from behind the wheel and shook hands with Bill.

“I have the team house set up and ready to go,” Ramon told him.

“Where?”

“About a hundred meters away from the airfield, just a short drive around the block.”

“What about our weps,” Zach asked.

“Good to go,” Ramon assured him. “Test fired all of them myself last week.”

It took the pilot half an hour to get the Twin Otter into the small hangar on the airfield and power down but then they all crammed into the van and drove off. True to Ramon’s word, the team house he had secured was all of three minutes away. It was a one story deal and had a garden around it that was well attended too.

Each of them had a simple cot to sleep on and Ramon showed them where the food was so they could cook themselves some dinner while he went over preparations with Bill.

“We’re on a reverse sleep schedule from here on out,” Bill told them. “Do all your preparations for the op tonight and sleep during the day.”

The hit was laid on for the following night.

Wooden boxes were filled with the combat gear they would need for the mission. There was a Ingram MAC-10 Sub-Machine Gun for each of them. Chambered for the .45 caliber round, each gun came with a threaded barrel for screwing on the suppressor. They had three 30-round magazines each. The sub guns and the cans for them were in “pre-owned” condition but Ramon said he tested them himself. Deckard picked one up and racked the charging handle on the top of the box shaped weapon. On inspection, it looked clean. He then conducted a functions check, so far so good. He would have liked to have fired it himself prior to the mission though.

Nadeesha reached for a box of ammo and started jamming magazines. The others sat down on their cots and did the same. Their next course of action was to rig up in their wing suits and parachutes and figure out how to run their combat load with it. They had small chest rigs that they could wear under the parachute harness but slinging the MAC-10 was problematic.

Among the supplies laying around the team house, Deckard found an elastic bungee chord that he hooked around the wire shoulder stock of the sub-machine gun. The other end of the bungee he looped around the chest strap on his parachute. Next, he screwed the suppressor on the MAC-10 and routed a rubber band under his waist strap and looped it over the suppressor, holding the MAC-10 in place diagonally across his body.

This kept the weapon secured while being able to quickly bring it into play when he hit the ground simply by snapping the rubber band when he yanked on the gun. The others saw what he did and began rigging their weapons in a similar manner. Even Rick was kitting up on orders from Bill. If one of them got hurt, got sick, or got dead between now and the hit time, then Rick would be taken off the bench and put back into the game.

Meanwhile, Bill and Ramon sat in front of an open laptop. Ramon’s remote devices were still running off batteries and would be for the duration of the mission as they kept an unblinking over watch on their objective.

The apartment was situated in the middle of the rooftop, a pent house that included a pool and party area outside. Sometimes De Jesus’ security people patrolled the pool area but usually they stayed inside unless they came out to have a smoke. A couple times a week De Jesus would send a few body guards down to Air Force One to pick up some girls and they would throw a massive rooftop party. Bill was adamant that they not infil on one of those nights, it just added to the number of things that could go wrong.

The good news was that from spying through the glass windows in the apartment from two separate angles, that it did not appear that De Jesus had a safe room. Liquid Sky would bring explosives anyway, just in case.

One by one, they found their way to the kitchen to find something to eat. The preparations went on deep into the night. With Bill’s permission, they went outside one by one and popped off a few suppressed rounds through their MAC-10’s into a dirt mound to make sure everything was kosher.

Zach dug into the explosives cache that Ramon had secured for them. It was mostly industrial explosives that had probably been stolen from a mining site before they turned up on the black market. That was sketchy as hell. He could test the time fuse but they were too close to civilization to test the detonation chord and plastic explosives. Worst case, they would shoot through the windows and enter the apartment that way. They also had a half dozen hand grenades that they could use to breach if need be.

As they laid their kit out one last time before donning in the following night, the Liquid Sky members joked with each other, pretending that they weren’t scared of smashing into a building at a 120 miles per hour.

“Shit dude, we could be the biggest bugs on the world’s largest wind shield if we fuck this up,” Paul said, his huge Taliban beard shaking as he chuckled to himself.

“Unfortunately this mission doesn’t come with any fringe benefits,” Zach complained.

“Oh, you mean like that pile of pirate’s treasure we pulled out of Abottabad?” Paul asked.

“Right now I think Rick has the pirate’s treasure,” Paul joked while curling his shoulders in. “The sunken chest!”

“Don’t forget to lick my balls while you’re down there,” Rick said as he got red in the face.

“What do you think Nadeesha?” Zach said. She hadn’t said a word all night.

“Suck my dick.”

The room exploded with laughter until Bill told them to shut up.

Deckard saw his opening.

“You guys were on the Abbottabad mission?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Zach answered. “Got a large haul off that one.”

“Intel?”

“Fuck no. The Agency has been playing that angle up. We hardly got anything. Old boy hadn’t been operational in years. We got a big haul of gold though,” Paul told him.

“He had a stockpile of gold?”

“Yeah. Spanish, French, and Italian intelligence services had been paying the Taliban in bullion for years and years not to attack their troops so there is a influx of gold bullion in Afghanistan which eventually filters into Pakistan.”

“The Euros pay off the enemy because casualties would upset their shaky coalition governments and you rake up the fruits when you hit the targets.”

“Fucking A,” Zach answered. “The CIA has been paying their Taliban informants with blue pills unfortunately, so they are not helping us at all.”

“How do you get all that gold back?”

“Teeny Weeny Airlines. Dev has their own aircraft.”

“Shit, sounds like a good deal. And old boy goes into the ocean on the flight home, huh?”

Zach smiled.

“You really think we just dumped his body in the ocean dude?”

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Eleven

Nikita

Chapter Eleven:

Liquid Sky explosively breached the mockup with a flex linear charge. The explosion sent wooden splinters everywhere as the door burst into six or seven pieces. They put Deckard up front as the first man through the door, reminding him that as the new guy on the team, he was still nothing more than cannon fodder.

Ramon had called back to the staging area to tell them that he had secured Ingram MAC-10’s with suppressors for the mission from the Philippines’ extensive black market. They would just have to make do in training with the M4 paintball guns. It was an imperfect world.

Deckard stepped over the broke door and cleared the first corner. It was a wide open living space, framed out by bare plywood walls. Second hand furniture had also been placed inside the mockup. Ramon’s intel was that De Jesus routinely hired hookers from Manila’s most famous upscale whore house, Air Force One. Regularly attended by Ambassadors and Generals, Air Force One was where you went to score some “Tier One ass” as Bill had put it.

Deckard also noticed that although they were expecting civilians on target, all of their targetry in the mockup were shoot targets. None of the silhouettes were no-shoot targets. Everyone in the apartment was being marked for death.

Point shooting the first target, Deckard put two blue paint rounds center mass. He and Zach then cleared the kitchen area, taking down another two targets. Practicing a form of room clearing known as free flow, they had the entire apartment cleared in seconds.

The worst part was that they had to clear the entire objective while still wearing their wing suits. There would be no time to take them off, just unzip a slit between the legs so they could walk and escape from the wings by rolling back the sleeves. Once they hit the rooftop they would release their main parachute via a cutaway pillow and begin the killing. How the MAC-10 and spare magazines would be arranged on their kit was something that was still being worked out.

Then, once the apartment was covered in blood and spent brass they had to exfil with their reserve parachute, a stunt chute designed for base jumpers in this case. The entire mission was Hollywood as hell in Deckard’s opinion. The only reason why it would work was because no one would be expecting it.

Liquid Sky hit the training objective five more times. Nadeesha had her jet black hair pulled back and was now covered in sweat like the rest of them. So far, she was keeping up on target. No one was talking to her though, she was considered an outsider to the assault element.

After dropping their kit, the team guzzled bottled water from a cooler they had brought along and piled into a van to head back to the warehouse. They ate an early lunch and then went into the simulator. Ramon had left remote devices in two rented offices in buildings near the Aquino building. They knew the target was on site. Meanwhile, Ramon had secured their weapons and was building up their logistical infrastructure for the operation.

They were making progress in the simulator. Everyone was itching to do the hit.

Deckard bailed off the ramp of the virtual reality airplane and into the night for what seemed like the thousandth time.

He counted off the numbers.

River.

Rockwell building.

Petron Mega-Plaza.

Thread the needle between Four Seasons and the Grand Soko Makati.

Velasquez Park.

Pull!

Deckard’s body screamed into the target as his parachute joltingly interrupted his descent and he crashed onto the rooftop.

This time the entire team made it to the rooftop. It was the decisive point of the entire operation. If they successfully infiltrated to the objective, then the breach and room clearing aspects would be fairly straight forward by comparison. Then there was the exfil.

That could go either way.

 

* * *

 

“Deckard, come with me,” Bill said. They were just finishing dinner. “Grab your kit.”

Tossing his paper plate and Styrofoam cup into the trash, Deckard shouldered his parachute and wing suit. Bill had his gear as well and opened the back doors to the 10 pax van they had outside. They both dumped their kit inside and Bill got behind the wheel.

“Where are we going?” Deckard asked as he took the passenger seat.

“Practice jump.”

“Just us?”

“Yeah, you are the most switched on so you’re coming with me. Consider this a feasibility study.”

“You still don’t think jumping with night vision goggles will work?” Deckard asked him as they pulled off down the dirt road towards the airstrip.

“Too many lights in the metropolitan areas of the city. If your night vision whites out for even a second, that second is more than enough to kill you.”

“There should be enough cultural lighting to find our way to the objective,” Deckard agreed.

“Let’s find out.”

Bill stopped the van. The Twin Otter turbo prop was spun up and waiting for them on the airfield. The pilot opened the window and waved them forward. Picking up their gear, Bill and Deckard climbed aboard and set their altimeters. It was pitch dark in the desert when the pilot lifted off. The two Liquid Sky operators began donning their wing suits and parachutes.

Bill seemed huge inside the aircraft, as if the plane had been built for midgets. He got bigger just by looking at weights. Deckard knew he must have been going crazy without being able to hit the gym and drink a steady stream of protein shakes. As the plane leveled out, he leaned in close so that Deckard could hear him over the noise of the turbo props.

“What do you think the chances are of us actually pulling this off?” he asked.

“It all depends on whether or not we can get to the objective. If so, I would say 95 percent,” Deckard answered.

“What do you think are the odds of getting to the objective then?”

Deckard shrugged.

“50-50.”

“Fair enough. Let’s find out.”

Bill turned and sat down, taking up two seats.

Deckard sat down and checked his equipment over. He started getting nervous when he realized they were heading North. They were flying towards Darwin, one of Australia’s northern most cities. By plane, it was about an hour away.

They sat in the dimly lit cabin, the plane vibrating beneath their feet. Finally, Bill went up and said something to the pilot. Coming back into the cabin he leaned in to yell into Deckard’s ear.

“I found a building in Dawin that is about the same dimensions as the Aquino Building. It is the Marrakai apartment building. Just follow me. We’re going to prove that this can be done tonight. Illum is bright so we should be good to go.”

Should be.

“Roger.”

To say that Deckard had reservations was the understatement of the century. He had learned to control his wing suit very well but didn’t know any of the landmarks in Darwin. All he could do was follow Bill and hope for the best. If he missed the target building he would have to deploy his chute and land in the street or something, hopefully avoiding any electrical lines.

Bill opened the door on the side of the aircraft. Cold air rushed in, an old familiar feeling.

Deckard put on his helmet, strapping it under his chin. Then he reached up to swing down his VR goggles. He was glad that Bill didn’t see him make that subconscious mistake. There was nothing virtual about this run.

Bill placed his feet at the edge of the door and carefully leaned out to spot for their job. Looking at the lights of Darwin in the distance, he motioned Deckard forward. Deckard look at the back of Bill’s neck, right where his spinal chord connected to his skull. He wished he could kill him now and get it over with but he had to find out who Bill was working for. Otherwise, his handlers would just spin up another team after Liquid Sky had been eliminated. A minute later, Bill leaned in and gave him the thumbs up.

Stepping forward, Bill jumped out into the darkness and disappeared.

Deckard took a deep breath and followed him out.

A rush of wind took him out into the night sky. He saw the moon wobble in front of him for a moment and then got stable in the air. Assuming the correct body position, he began gliding. It took a moment for him to spot Bill in the moonlight. he was just a black splotch floating through the sky. Deckard maneuvered behind him as they nosed over the harbor towards the city.

Deckard began to relax a little. Everything was quiet and peaceful as he floated over the harbor. They had about ten miles to fly before they reached their drop zone. Down below, he spied the lights of a few oil tankers heading into port. Up ahead, Bill began adjusting his angle of attack. Darwin was coming up fast.

They soared over the port, coming in low. The city scape all looked the same, low laying structures and houses everywhere except for two towers straight ahead. One was the Holiday Inn. The other was their target building. Deckard shifted his position to the left, offset of Bill. Getting caught in each other’s canopies was a serious concern.

The two jumpers were nearly side by side when they deployed their parachutes. The pilot chute pulled out their main parachutes, ribbons of suspension lines going taunt above their heads. Reaching up and grabbing his toggles, Deckard made final adjustments. The roof of the building was dark, but the apartments below had their lights on, providing a perfect outline of the top of the building for them.

Bill and Deckard’s canopies were nearly touchingmas they landed parallel to each other. They touched down on the roof feeling feather light for once, both landing on their feet. The parachutes collapsed next to them as they quickly reeled in one brake line to make sure it didn’t get caught in the soft sea breeze.

“That’s it,” Bill said as he scooped up his parachute. “This can be done. My guys are just mind fucking themselves at this point. They’ve got enough training. It is what it is.”

“It is doable,” Deckard agreed as he policed up his own chute.

“Find us an exit,” Bill ordered him. “Then you hot wire a vehicle for us. Consider it urban escape and evasion training.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Deckard took off his parachute harness, rolled up the chute like a sleeping bag and shoved it into its deployment bag. He could repack it later.

“When we get back I’m telling Ramon that we are coming in tomorrow for the hit. We jump and whoever makes it makes it. Whoever dies, dies. Its not like this is my first crew.”

“This isn’t your first team?”

“Fuck no. I broke all the others.”

Deckard tried not to dwell on that as he looked for a way to bypass the lock on the roof top door.

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Target Deck Makes the Grade with Peter Nealen and Jack Silkstone!

I was hoping to get a review of Jack’s first novel, Reflexive Fire, up before this, but it’ll have to wait.  Suffice it to say that it’s awesome, but Jack has ratcheted things up a little in this latest installment of the Deckard novels.

The aftermath of the bloodletting in Reflexive Fire has Deckard’s PMC, Samruk International, pared down to little more than two platoons.  Those two platoons open the book with a successful strike on a south Mexico cartel leader, followed by signing a contract with the surviving police chief in the area to take care of the cartel problem.  It’s sort of a “sign this, now,” sort of arrangement, but she doesn’t seem to mind later on, as Deckard and his boys start savaging the cartels in southern Mexico.

A lot of what is happening as background for the book will be familiar to anyone who has kept an eye on the deteriorating situation in Mexico.  While Deckard’s operation is in the south, in what is presently disputed territory near Guatemala, the Zetas and Sinaloa cartel are featured prominently in the background.  The Zapatista rebels in Chiapas even make several appearances.  Jack even brings Fast and Furious into the mix, along with questionable black operations being run by shadowy individuals in the corridors of power.

Read the rest on American Praetorians!

So recently I’ve been copping a bit of heat regarding PRIMAL Fury. Fans have been messaging, emailing, tweeting, Facebooking… I’m surprised I haven’t had a damn carrier pigeon arrive at my house. The crux of it is this, you guys want PRIMAL Fury and you want it now. I’ve got some sad news for you team, it ain’t ready. It will be ready soon but clearly that’s no good to those of you wanting to read now. So in the meantime you can check out a few of my buddies who have new books out that are ready to go. These guys are independent, ex-military and pumping out some hard core action.

Jack Murphy’s latest is Target Deck. It’s high speed low drag violence. I recently caught up with Jack in Vegas and spent some time swapping stories over beers. This guy’s got his finger on the pulse.

Read the rest on the PRIMAL blog!

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Five Stars for PROMIS: Vietnam

I found this really nice review of PROMIS: Vietnam today on Amazon, thanks Thomas!

The PROMIS series is an on-going issuance of short stories written by Jack Murphy, a United States Army Ranger and Special Forces veteran. It is the background of the author that gives the books their authenticity and feeling of immediacy and intensity.

Sean Deckard is a Studies and Observation Group (SOG) Team Leader, the one-zero of Reconnaissance Team Key West. The book starts (as do most Murphy books) right in the thick of things with a hot extraction of a downed pilot. The mission is going from bad to worse, and several casualties are suffered before success is achieved. This is a hallmark of the PROMIS series, quick hits of action that flow from one to another to build the story. Murphy has a way with violence that reaches closer and closer to Stephen Pressfield and similar masters of the genre.

This is not like Reflexive Fire, which spends pages developing background characters, describing things in detail, outlining the deep plans of other actors. The book focuses entirely on Deckard, and you can feel him running ragged around the edges as he hops from mission to mission, doing his best to win the war single handedly. When he eventually participates in striking a decisive blow, he is sorely disappointed by the reaction, and things close with a bang.

The book is best described as “special operations without cool toys,” in that the soldiers are all superb warriors, but do not yet have access to the technology that we so associate with top tier SOF units. It is a quick read, and well worth it. I own a Kindle and could have loaned it out for free, but the product that Jack Murphy produces is well worth paying for.

.99 cents on Amazon!

Sergeant Sean Deckard has been running recon with America’s ultra secret Studies and Observations Group for over a year, taking part in cross border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Coming off a mission that nearly decimates his entire team, Sean is given yet another suicidal task. It is a mission that could end the Vietnam War, a mission that powerful forces will do anything to prevent from happening.

Issue One in an exciting new military fiction series.

Short Story / Approx. 45 pages.

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PROMIS: Rhodesia cover

A huge thanks to re-enactor Michel for the picture!  Hopefully this bad boy will be ready to go tomorrow.

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PROMIS: Rhodesia

I should have some news coming soon about the second issue of the PROMIS series.

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