Tag Archives: Military Fiction

DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Seventeen

Nikita

Chapter Seventeen:

 

Deckard woke up as he felt someone grabbing his dick. He turned around in bed and found Nadeesha smiling. She rolled on top and straddled him. Her perfect hips bulged slightly as she sat down on top of him. She was soaking wet already.

That was when her cell phone began to vibrate on the bed stand. Reaching over, she snatched it up and looked at the number.

“What the hell,” she cursed before answering the phone.

Deckard popped his hips, bouncing her several inches into the air.

“Oh!” she screamed with the phone held to her ear. “I mean, hello.”

He tried not to laugh as she had a brief conversation.

“And you,” she said as she hung up the phone. “We’re flying to Egypt. Everyone needs to be standing by to drive to the airport in twenty minutes. Sounds like some kind of an emergency.”

“How big an emergency?”

Nadeesha rocked gently on his lap and placed his hands on her hips.

“Nothing that can’t be put off for another nineteen minutes.”

 

 

* * *

 

 

Liquid Sky boarded a Gulfstream private jet that morning and went wheels up, flying to Jordan. They carried their cover identity passports and no weapons. There was no time to plan a more complicated clandestine entry. This was a crash mission, thrown together on an ad hoc basis in response to an emergency.

Nadeesha sat a few seats in front of Deckard. She looked back a smiled at him before turning away. They both preferred to keep their recent…situation private.

“What’s the story boss?” Zach finally spoke up.

“We’re all going in as NGO workers,” Bill said as he stood in front of them. “Half of you will be going in with a cover as working for some feed-the-kids bullshit and the other half will go in as human rights observers. We’ll take separate flights out of Jordan so that we stagger our arrival into Cairo. Its sloppy, but our timetable is extremely limited.”

“What’s the job?” Paul asked.

“Nothing special. Just a no-notice hostage rescue in a city besieged by fucking savages protesting the other savages running their country which is on the brink of civil war with a follow on asset recovery mission for some classified tech that fell into the hands of the Egyptian military.”

“Oh, that’s all,” Ramon laughed.

“We need to procure weapons on the ground,” Bill told them.

This got better and better.

“Then the main element will strike the prison where these three kids are being held. They are frat boys back in the United States and apparently one of them is the son of somebody which gives this mission added priority.”

“And what is this device?” Rick asked.

“Some high speed tech dreamed up in a DARPA lab I guess. It causes blackout and allows one to penetrate computer networks. I don’t know, I didn’t ask for information I don’t need to complete the mission but the three college kids were using it when they got popped by the Egyptians. Now which of you went to the SEAL sniper course?”

Paul threw his hand up.

“I’ve been to SOTIC,” Ramon offered. The Special Operations Target Interdiction Course was the Special Forces sniper school at Ft. Bragg.

“Okay fine. Ramon, you take Deckard with you. He is still the cherry on this team so you make him go in and snatch the device. I made some phone calls about where we can find weapons and we will get something for you to pull over watch with.”

“Got it,” Ramon confirmed. With so little information, there wasn’t much to discuss. They were making this up as they went along.

“The rest of us have the prison. Its going to be a shit show one way or the other.”

“That’s why they are using us,” Rick said. “Delta or Dev specialize in missions like this, why not use them?”

“Because we’re expendable,” Nadeesha finished.

“You got that right,” Bill said. “I’m not here to blow smoke up your ass. But some of us might even survive. I’ll have a exfil point worked out by the time we do our hits, which will have to be executed simultaneously. Probably a boat that can get us into international waters but right now we need to take it one step at a time. First you need to clear customs, then we hit a weapons armory I’ve located.”

Three college students and a mysterious device.

Deckard realized that the reason why US counter-terrorist units were not being sent in for this mission wasn’t just because of the political ramifications of sending US troops into Egypt but because of the target itself. What were the three kids doing with the device in Egypt in the middle of the Arab Spring?

Author note: Thanks for reading Direct Action so far.  By now I am getting around the halfway point with writing this book so it is time to take it back underground.  I will have some updates here and there and will post the final version of the first 17 chapters as a preview down the line but I won’t be publishing the rest of the book here.  The release date will probably be sometime around Christmas but hopefully sooner.  Thanks!

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Nine (part one)

Nikita

Chapter Nine:

Physical Training with Liquid Sky put Deckard in a world of shit. He was a hybrid athlete as necessitated by his life style. As the leader of a para-military mercenary unit, Deckard led from the front, often doing body weight routines, kettlebell workouts with the Kazakh mercenaries in the gym, ruck marches with fifty pound packs, and five mile runs in full combat equipment.

Liquid Sky took masochism to a whole new level.

At dawn they dived into the ocean for a swim. Deckard was a strong swimmer but the former SEALs were like fish as they cut through the wakes that knocked him back and forth in the water. Bill took them out past the breakers and then turned around to head back to shore. Deckard was the last one to the beach. Even Ramon, their former Special Forces member was out in front of him.

Washing up on a shore, Deckard jogged across the beach and up to Bill’s bungalow to catch up. They were already spotting each other as they cycled through on the bench press.

“You’re up,” Rick told him just as he climbed up onto the deck. Soaking wet, he knocked out five repetitions on the bench. He was tired from the swim but could hang in there. Coming from the Army side, he was a runner and ruck marcher more than a swimmer.

Next they did Renegade Man Makers with 25 pound dumb bells. A weight was held in each hand while hitting the ground and doing a push up, Then you shifted your weight and executed a row, bringing the weight level with the chest, then repeating it on the other side. Next, you got to your feet with the weights and pressed them above your head. That was one repetition. They did five reps.

Next came five box jumps. From a standing position, you had to jump on top of a wooden box that was two feet high. Also for five reps. Then came five reps on the dip bars. After that came five Goblet Squats which were done holding a 25 pound kettle bell. Then they did 25 meter sprints down the beach to shake it out. That was one set. There were four more to go.

Deckard was sucking as most of the other guys were on steroids and were blowing through the exercises at first. Rick was actually the first one to puke. The entire workout was done for time and now it was starting to catch up to them. Ramon puked off the edge of the deck during their third time through the Renegade Man Makers. Deckard puked third, this time during the sprints. Zach got it on the last set, barfing into the ocean as he staggered away after the box jumps.

After the fifth and last set they all lay around panting. Except for Bill. He was a human wrecking ball. Deckard saw that he was covered in sweat but didn’t even seem to be breathing that hard. The Liquid Sky leader picked up a water bottle, swished the water around in his mouth, spat it out in the sand and walked inside.

“Fuck me,” Deckard said to himself.

When he finally managed to get to his feet and walk back to his beach house he was just in time to see Nadeesha glide out of the waves and stride up the beach in a blue bikini. She was on her own PT program and the guys simply left her to her own devices. She made eye contact with him for a split second before turning and walking down the beach to her place, not even acknowledging his existence.

Deckard stood in the cool morning air for another minute before going inside and taking a shower. Most of the food in the refrigerator had gone bad and had to be thrown out but Deckard downed some cereal he found in the pantry. His body was starving and he’d have to make sure he got some more food in his system soon to help recover from the workout. He also drank several more glasses of water.

After he got dressed, Deckard locked the door and walked a few blocks to the main street. He was on his own time until the team party tonight. It was time to get to work.

Hailing a cab, he told the driver that he wanted to hit up the market in Port Louis, the island’s capital about twenty minutes away from where he was on the northern tip of Mauritius. The cab driver nodded. Almost everyone seemed to speak English here.

On the way into the city Deckard observed the port. It really was a multicultural island with many faiths and peoples living on top of one another without any real problems. It wasn’t just the churches, mosques, and temples, but even the port was filled with run of the mill fishing vessels and Chinese junks. There were also Naval ships which looked to be retrofitted with stealth characteristics.

Paying the cab driver, he walked into the center of the city. Port Louis was second world, but perfectly comfortable and the people very friendly. Still, he couldn’t help but notice that like most countries he traveled too, the tallest buildings in town were the ones reserved for the banks and private financial institutions. Like Malta, Mauritius was an off shore finance nexus.

Deckard walked a long surveillance detection route, winding his way through the city blocks and stopping several times. He had to make absolutely sure that he wasn’t being followed.

The market was a large two story building in the city center with produce filling baskets in every stall with bright orange, green, red, and yellow fruits along with various nuts, stalks, and roots. Looking through the breezeway up to the second story, Deckard could see clothing and other household goods for sale. Climbing the stairs he pretended to look at a few stalls before stopping at a stall that sold electronics.

He bought a Samsung cellphone with cash and picked up a SIM card while he was there. Outside he found a vender selling phone cards and bought several from him. Deckard again took a long meandering route that would allow him to see if he was being followed. Finding a pizzeria, he ducked inside and asked the waiter to be seated in the back of the restaurant.

Ordering a pizza and a drink, he went to work as soon as the waiter walked away. Slipping in the SIM card, he inserted the battery into the phone and found that he had a half charge. Good enough. Scratching off the code bars on the back of the phone cards, he typed them in and put minutes of his phone.

Furiously, Deckard began hammering out an intel report with his thumbs.

* * *

Pat sat up in his chair as his cell phone vibrated across the table.

Samruk International was still working out of a hangar at the airport in Astana, Kazakhstan. Frank and Sergeant Major Koran had flown in with the Kazakhs from Mexico and made sure they were paid for services rendered before putting them on two weeks of leave. Now the troops were filtering back from across the country. The problem was that Samruk International didn’t have a new contract for them yet. The Kazakh mercenaries were re-fitting and Korgan was drawing up a training plan but they still needed to find work.

Now that Frank was back to his old self and walking around without crutches, he was setting up business meetings with the Kazakh government to bid on a counter-narcotics contract. Something local would be nice for a change.

Snatching the phone off his desk, Pat typed in his PIN and saw that he had a new text message. As the former Delta Force operator began to read, he immediately knew what he was looking at.

“Aghassi!” He called across the hangar. His voice echoed through the open space. A massive An-125 Russian cargo jet sat in the middle of the hangar, it’s twin bother was outside on the tarmac. They were expensive as hell to operate but necessary for a highly mobile Private Military Company.

“Get over here!”

Aghassi and Nikita were currently tasked with training up a six-man recce cell but this was critical. They had a man in the field. Under and alone.

Pat scrolled through the message:

Operating out of Mauritius

Seven operators incl/ me

Last tgt in dubai told he was money for terr org

Previous tgt in afghan said they ran dope for karzai

guy in Pak named Henderson girl back home?

others, Bill, Paul, Zach, and Rick. Former SEALs. Bill 1IC

Ramon. former 1st sfg CIF

Nadeesha. not sure, jsoc intel maybe

nasty group, witness war crimes in afghan.

still on probation w/ tm

“Ho-ly shit,” Pat said. “Fucking Deckard. He did it.”

The assassination in Dubai was all over the news. Fingers were getting pointed everywhere, bust mostly at Mossad. No one could prove anything of course.

“I’m catching the first flight out tonight,” Aghassi said. He was now reading the message over Pat’s shoulder.

“Got it. I’ll get in touch with Cody back in the States for the electronic piece.”

The next text message was an address to the place where Deckard was staying on the island. Aghassi wrote it down and then opened one of the laptops sitting at their ad hoc command post and began making arrangements. The phone vibrated one more time.

There is a # in my kit. pocket on plate carrier i used in MX

Remember the two NSW guys we ran into down there

Call them. find out who these guys are

want to know what the fuck happened to them.

Pat texted him back to acknowledge the message. He didn’t hear back. Deckard was probably already throwing the cell phone into the ocean. The last text referred to two SEAL Team Six operators that they had crossed paths with while they were sniffing out an arms trafficking pipeline in Mexico. The two Spanish speaking SEALs were acting as advisers to the Mexican forces battling it out with the cartels. Tearing through Deckard’s combat gear in the corner of the hangar, Pat found the piece of paper with their numbers on it. Dusty and Flakjacket were their nicknames.

The last two weeks had been spent waiting for Deckard’s corpse to turn up somewhere, in which case they would be lucky because it was far more likely that he just disappeared in the either never to be seen or heard from again. Now that they had an inside man, it was time to start getting inside the enemy’s decision making cycle. Pat sat back down and starting making some calls.

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Eight (Part Two)

SEAL_Samruk_130304

Sometime during the flight they both drifted off to sleep and only woke up when the flight attendants turned the cabin lights on as they prepared to land. Looking out the window, Deckard could see the city lit up in blue and gold in the night. As the Emirates Airlines jet pulled up to the terminal, Deckard and Nadeesha grabbed their carry ons. The terminal was ultra-modern with slick chromed metal everywhere, mirrors on the ceilings, and artificial palm trees lining the courseways.

They paid no mind to the shops or roped off Ferrari’s parked in the middle of the terminal. Although neither of them knew it of each other, both had been through this airport and operated in Dubai previously.

After clearing customs with their man and wife passports, they rented another car. This time Nadeesha took the wheel. It was her mission and she was going to be running it. Good thing they were not in Saudi Arabia, Deckard recalled. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been allowed to drive even if she wanted to due to the strict Sharia law in place.

Hitting the road, it was only a twenty minute drive to their hotel. They checked in and got a room with a single king sized bed to stick with their cover. It was a five star hotel, not far from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Deckard sat down on the bed and flipped on the television. He was starting to get used to the idea that he was just along for the ride and would have to react to whatever his team mate threw at him.

“I have to get ready,” she said as she opened her suitcase. “He will be here in a few hours.”

“Who will?”

For once she didn’t blow him off.

“The target. He stays in this hotel whenever he flies in to Dubai for business. He is a financier for some bad people who do bad things in this part of the world.”

“I’m used to improvising on the fly, but I should tell you that like anyone else I can perform better when I know what my task and purpose is ahead of time.”

“You are my overwatch element,” she said as she swept her black hair over her shoulders. “Our information is that he stays here every time and that he likes to indulge in things that are hareem back in his home country.”

“Russian hookers.”

“And alcohol, but if I throw myself at him he will forget all about the hookers.”

“I imagine.”

“You just keep tabs on me downstairs in the bar or wherever he wants to take me. I need you to go out and run some errands before he gets here. Buy a couple cell phones, SIM cards, and then gas them up with phone cards. I need a way to alert you if something is wrong.”

Deckard nodded and took his passport and some local currency with him. Driving to the nearest shopping mall, he parked and walked through the sliding doors. It was absolutely freezing inside. Apparently the royal family wanted to show off to the rest of the world that despite living in the desert they had the best air conditioning that money could buy.

He found an electronics store and picked up a couple cellular phones, installed the SIM cards, and then bought a bunch of phone cards. Back at the hotel he plugged both phones into the electrical outlets to make sure they had a charge.

The bathroom door opened and Nadeesha walked out with a towel wrapped around her body. She had just gotten out of the shower. A red cocktail dress hung in the closet on a hanger.

“If you need to take a shower, do it now because I need time to get ready.”

She wasn’t kidding. A makeup kit was laid out on the bed.

Deckard figured she was trying to drop a hint on him and took a shower and changed into some fresh clothes. Henderson had made a postmortem clothing donation, Diesel jeans, another button down shirt, and black shoes. When he came out of the bathroom, still drying his hair, Nadeesha was standing over her makeup case. She had somehow fit herself into the impossibly tight dress, the shoulder straps were undone and hung off her brown shoulders. Her chest looked like it was about to burst out of the dress at any moment.

“Come here,” she said as she turned around.

All business, Deckard told himself as he zipped up her dress.

“Take one of the cell phones. I programmed each phone’s number into the other. There is a app on the phone that you can press with one tap and it will bring up a distress message on the other phone. There is also a geo-location feature in case you lose track of me.”

Then she turned her head to look back at him out of the corner of her eye.

“Don’t lose me,” she stated flatly.

“I won’t.”

“Good. Now go find something to do and be ready for me in the bar downstairs in forty five minutes. I have to take care of a few things.”

“Which of us is going to take this guy out, or both?”

“I handle that. I will call you when its done and for a pickup.”

Deckard grabbed one of the cell phones and pulled out the charger. Nadeesha tugged at the top of her dress to try to get comfortable in it. She did sexy amazingly well, but clearly she felt more comfortable doing shorts, a t-shirt, and a sub-machine gun. He didn’t blame her.

“Later,” he said as he closed the door behind him.

* * *

Outside, Deckard returned to their rent-a-car. Inside he quickly rolled down the windows and blasted the air conditioning.

He did have something to do before they got started. While at the shopping mall he had also picked up an 11-piece steak knife cutting set. Using some duct tape he had got at the hardware store, he cut pieces of cardboard and made improvised sheathes by folding the cardboard back on itself.

Then he rolled back his sleeves, put the steak knives in their sheaths, and pressed them under his forearms while ringing rolls of duct tape over the cardboard and around his forearms. Once both knives were in place he rolled his sleeves back down. He would have to be careful. The improvised weapons would be concealed better if he was wearing a jacket, which he would if they ended up in another venue with mega-air conditioning but otherwise it would just look out of place in the desert heat.

Even at night, the temperature would only drop from about 110 during the day down to about 95 degrees. It still felt like you were staring into a blow dryer and it was almost 11pm. Locking up the car, he made his way back into the hotel and took a seat at the end of the bar.

As he walked back into the hotel his cell phone vibrated. It was Nadeesha texting him to announce that she would be down in a few minutes. Deckard walked into the bar and sat at a table where he could keep an eye on the entrance, the bar itself, and most of the tables. When the waitress arrived he ordered a beer. Drinking was permissible for non-Muslims.

As he sipped the beer his mind staggered for a moment as he wondered who was mean mugging him across the bar. He didn’t even recognize his reflection in the mirror anymore. Although he was still in his thirties, he had grown old, gone through several more life cycles than most people do. He was bitter. Angry. Unable to function in society. Restless.

War was the only time the world made sense to him. Putting boots to asses was the only satisfaction he really had. It was something he was good at and something he kept doing because he enjoyed it. There were a lot of assholes in this world and he liked putting them out of business.

His self reflection was thankfully broken as Nadeesha walked through the door. With her hair and makeup done up she could have graced the cover of any magazine she chose. Whoever this Arab financier was, he didn’t stand a chance. She’d probably murder him and then Deckard in their sleep before the night was over.

Nadeesha slid on to a stool at the bar with her back to him. She ordered a drink and shot down two men before it even arrived. They were fat Arabs, but not the right fat Arab.

Ten minutes later he showed up. The Arab financier had the physique of a hippopotamus and a head shaped like a perfect egg. He wore a blue trainer outfit and tennis shoes. He clearly didn’t do much training but this was the fashion in some parts of the world. Deckard pegged him as Lebanese. Probably Hezbollah.

As the bartender brought him a Martini, Nadeesha slid off her seat and approached him.

That was when a British expat decided to introduce herself to Deckard.

“Hi, I’m Audrey,” Deckard reached out and shook her hand, smiling back at her.

“Jon,” he said, using the alias name on his passport. “Would you like to have a seat.”

“I thought I might trouble you for a light, but yes I would.” She sat down across from him.

Deckard didn’t mind, he kind of stood out sitting by himself.

They made small talk while he occasionally eyeballed Nadeesha and her prey. Audrey was in Dubai to spend a semester teaching English in a girls school. Technically she was doing her fellowship for her PhD back in the UK but she needed to pick up some scratch in the meantime. Deckard offered vague details about himself, gave his cover without mentioning that he was “married” to the woman across the bar for obvious reasons.

Twenty minutes later found Nadeesha and the target walking out, arm in arm. Deckard sincerely hoped that this was a wham, bam, thank you ma’am type deal because he didn’t want to chase the would be love birds all over town. No need to wine and dine.

“Be right back love, have to find the rest room.”

“Oh, see you soon!” Audrey said.

Yeah, right.

Deckard was relieved when he saw the couple heading for the elevators. He watched the digital read out above the elevator tick up and stop at the 21st floor. She was keeping this easy by making sure she took him to their room. He had the key card so if it got ugly he would be inside the room in seconds.

Jumping in the second elevator he hit the button for the 21ist floor. The doors opened and Deckard stepped into the hall just in time to hear the door to their room slam shut. He hung out by a vending machine, pretending to try to jam a bill in it whenever someone walked by. He kept his keycard under the Dirham bill.

Then the cell phone vibrated. Deckard looked at the screen which displayed a single word

Red.

In a half dozen long strides, he was at the door and shoving the key card in the reader. The LED on the door flashed green and Deckard flung the door open.

The Arab was stripped naked and had Nadeesha pinned against the wall, holding her by her neck. The woman’s brown arms and legs struggled against his weight as he pressed her into the wall. Deckard used the edge of his shoe in a downward strike that nearly separated the Arab’s calf muscle.

Nadeesha fell to the ground. She only wore a black thong, apparently well into the game of seducing the Arab.

Deckard didn’t notice as he fixated on his target, knocking him to the ground. With both hands, the American commando reached for his inner wrists and seized the knives by their handles. Tearing both free from their sheaths, he held the steak knives in a reverse grip. The Arab struggled to his feet, favoring his uninjured leg, both hands clutching his chest.

Deckard assumed a boxer’s stance. He was about to go to work.

“Wait!” Nadeesha shouted at him. “The Sux is starting to take effect.”

“The what?”

The financier staggered back to the ground. He looked as he was having a heart attack.

“Succinylcholine,” Nadeesha informed him as she picked up a empty syringe from the floor.

As their target squirmed on the carpet, Deckard looked back and noticed her nakedness. He pretended not to note that she was a perfectly endowed woman, in all the right places.

“It is a paralytic but he wasn’t about to sit still for me to stick him in a vein so I had to put it in the muscle. The drug takes longer to kick in that way.”

Finally, the Arab went still. The room suddenly began to stink.

“Son of a bitch,” Deckard cursed. “He had a jumper in the door.”

Deckard looked back, making sure he looked her in the eye. For just a moment, he saw it. The hard case was gone and he saw what she looked like when she was scared. It had been a close call.

“Pack your shit,” Deckard ordered. “We can peel out of here tonight. It will take the authorities a while to put this together if they do at all.”

“Okay.”

The female operative didn’t bother with a bra and threw on a white button down and then a pair of black slacks from her suitcase. Deckard just tossed whatever was laying around into their bags. Her make up, her hair dryer, his deodorant, he didn’t care what ended up in what suitcase. They were packed in five minutes and out the door. They left the corpse in place, resting in his own filth. Nadeesha made sure she policed up the empty syringe though.

They left the hotel without checking out. Halfway to the airport, Deckard zeroed out both of their cell phones and dumped them into the trash along with the syringe. He winced as he tore the cardboard sheaths off his forearms and chucked them into the garbage with the knives. Nadeesha got on her tablet and made sure their reservations were confirmed for their flight out. She checked them both in before they dumped the rental car and walked into the airport.

Two hours later they were in the air, catching the red eye out of Dubai. Landing in Italy, they split up and took separate evasion routes. Nadeesha bounced around for a few days Africa. Deckard flew to Bangkok and went overland into Cambodia where he dumped his married passport and reverted to his single passport. From there he caught a flight to Indonesia, and then on to Madagascar. Finally he booked a flight back to Mauritius. Nadeesha got a flight from Kenya and landed on the island the morning that the news broke in major international television outlets that someone had been assassinated in a hotel in Dubai.

The suspects were still at large and Dubai was cooperating with Interpol and other international organizations to compile evidence. A week later it was clear that the trail had run cold in Europe.

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Eight (part one)

Nikita

Chapter Eight:

Deckard and Nadeesha touched down in Berlin twenty four hours later, met a courier outside the terminal who handed off their new passports, then rented a car and drove to Hamburg. Deckard made several attempts to ask his companion what their mission was and what would be expected of him but she blew him off and made him drive while she worked from her iPad in the passenger seat.

They were flying out of Hamburg because it would raise too many suspicions if they showed up at the Berlin international airport again five minutes later with new names and passports. Nadeesha also seemed to know that the security in Hamburg was not utilizing biometric sensors, at least not today. Otherwise they would get popped as they went through security. If their biometrics were recorded in Berlin, put onto a computer database, and then their fingerprints or facial features were again read in Hamburg but attached to different names it was safe to say they would both be spending the night, and many others, in a German prison.

Deckard drove through the cold overcast weather and drizzling rain until they neared the Hamburg airport.

“What are you doing?” Nadeesha asked him.

“Hold on,” Deckard said as he parked in front of a convenience store. A few minutes later he came back with a couple disposable cameras. Getting back in the car, he shut the door and began tearing open the packages.

“We can buy a camera in the airport or once we land in Dubai,” Nadeesha said thinking he wanted one as a part of their cover as tourists on their honeymoon.

“We have to zap the RFID chips in our old passports. We can keep them hidden in our luggage but if a scanner in the airport or anywhere else picks up a second set of passports we are screwed.”

Deckard tore up the camera’s plastic housing and yanked out the chip which the camera’s flash device was mounted to. In a few minutes he had pulled some other wires out of the cameras, stripped them, used some tack he had bought in the store to create a short across the leads from the battery, and held them up to the RFID chip mounted in the covers of their old passports. One by one, he zapped them, making the chips inside unreadable. They would still work as valid passports and they could simply shrug their shoulders at customs if someone asked why the RFID wasn’t working. They could have been magnetized. Or something.

Nadeesha watched Deckard intently, the rain having matted down the hair on his head as he worked with his improvised tools.

“You learned how to do that in the ONI’s OPB course?” She asked.

“I learned how to do that from being on the run with no one else to rely on.”

With his task completed, Deckard got back outside, threw the remains of the disposable cameras in the trash and drove to the airport. They turned in the rental car, stashed away the old passports, pocketed the new ones, and then went to the ticket counter. One of Bill’s Liquid Sky cutouts, a shell company in Singapore, had already purchased their tickets with their new aliases.

Flying Emirates Airlines made any American airline company look like a dive bar with a blinking neon light in the window where all you could order inside was warm cans of Budweiser beer. There was plenty of room to spread out, even when flying in the economy class. The service and the food were first rate unlike the soggy sandwiches you get on American Airlines or Delta.

Nadeesha continued working on her tablet before reading a newspaper, an Arabic language newspaper. Deckard had some suspicions about what she did when she was in the Army but he couldn’t ask here and she wouldn’t answer him anyway. He heard about a cell of female intelligence operatives within JSOC.

She read Arabic, but didn’t look it. More likely she was from Southern India. Her skin was the darkest brown except her her pink lips. By contrast the white around her large brown eyes stood out even more, made her even more beautiful if that were possible. She stood as tall as Deckard’s shoulders. Lithe and fit, Deckard had not a single doubt that as an intelligence operative she was able to elicit any information from any man on the planet.

He would give her his M4 and his MC-5 parachute any day, all she had to do was ask.

She knew English and Arabic, probably Hindi too. With her ethnic background she was able to blend in with a multitude of different cultures. She had a mouth on her too. That came from field work, from working around people like Deckard, and probably from getting treated like shit by far to many of them.

They ate their food in silence. Nadeesha then put her headphones on, crossed her arms, and watched a in-flight movie on the screen mounted to the seat in front of her. Deckard pulled out a book he had bought in the airport in Hamburg. He tried to read, but had trouble concentrating.

He couldn’t stop thinking about what he could be walking into in Dubai.

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter Seven

Nikita(Work in progress from Marc Lee!)

Chapter Seven:

Zach was mixing the jungle juice.

“Don’t look at it,” Paul explained as Zach upended a handle of vodka into the pot. “If you don’t look at it then it is okay, it can’t get you drunk!”

Once he drained it, Zach dropped the glass bottle in the trash and began stirring his concoction of hard liqueur and juice. They were in Bill’s place for the team party. Mandatory fun in Deckard’s eyes, but the alcohol would be flowing and would help him get a bead on the other guys. He stood off to the side drinking the local brew, Phoenix beer.

Bill had to take a call outside. Of course Deckard wanted to eavesdrop, but he had to play it cool. Rick showed up with a fresh batch of hair gel in to keep his hair slicked back. Ramon walked in a few minutes later. No sign of Nadeesha.

“Drink this Deckard,” Zach said handing him a mug of the jungle juice. He was about six foot two with sandy blonde hair. Deckard took the drink.

“Thanks dude.”

Zach could have been a stand in for a kid in a Abercrombie ad or the Hitler Youth. Paul had been right he realized as he took a sip. If you didn’t know there was alcohol in the drink you’d never know what it was.

“Nice shirt,” Zach commented. “Fucking Henderson was all into that Malibu Barbie shit.”

“So you were in Army Special Operations?” Rick started in. “What’s up with that?”

“I got around,” Deckard answered.

“My thing with the Army is that all you guys know that BUD/S is the graduate level program and everything else you guys have going is just vanilla.”

“You guys were with Dev?”

“Yeah, in the same Squadron together.”

“TACDEVRON-what?”

“Fuck do you care?”

Deckard decided to back off. Rick suddenly got defensive when he asked which Squadron he had been in. But he had confirmed that they were in SEAL Team Six, also known as Dev Group depending on which way the wind was blowing that day. Meanwhile, Bill walked back inside and picked up a pool cue. He had a couple billiard tables in the living area. Must be a hobby.

“I don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be on this team. I don’t care who you were back in the Army.”

It was Deckard’s post-Army career where things got really froggy but he didn’t feel the need to mention that. Bill had before and knew bits and pieces. Nobody knew the full story of what really happened out there. Not even Deckard if he was to be honest with himself.

“Give me some work. Anybody can put bullets in a muldoon jumping over the wall on the black side of an objective.”

“You might get your wish sooner than you think.”

“Have to ask you.”

“Another question…”

“A woman on the team.”

“Not my decision.”

“Wouldn’t you love to splat a map of Hawaii on her forehead,” Zach yelled from the other side of the room. Paul spun up the stereo system.

“Look,” Rick said. “Its not for any lack of trying.”

Bill was racking the billiard balls and was about the break.

“I would do things to her that I wouldn’t do to farm animals,” Paul confirmed.

“She’s a bitch,” Rick continued. “A woman has no business on this team other than getting passed around the team room.”

“You think she likes to scissor with girls?” Deckard said playing along. “Lez it out and shit?”

“Who the fuck knows? Maybe uncle bad touch fingered her no-no place and now she’s got some kind of fucking complex.” Rick rolled his eyes. “She just does intel shit for us, can go places and suck dicks that we can’t. Bill recruited her and ordered us to leave her the fuck alone so it is what it is.”

“I understand. I was just wondering. We didn’t have them anyplace that I worked in the Army.”

“What?” Zach said. “Split tailed females?”

“Yeah, except when they got passed around our team houses.”

Zach, Rick, and Paul laughed this time.

“Yeah, well,” Zach said. “You would have better luck getting inside Margaret Thatcher’s pussy. If you want to fuck Nadeesha you better slip her a Roofie-Colada.”

“If this jungle juice doesn’t do me in first.”

“Man up,” Rick sneered. “PT tomorrow unless you’re too pussy.”

“I am what I eat.”

“What the fuck ever.”

Rick was a hard sell. Didn’t like Deckard because he wasn’t from the right tribe. Ramon was on the other side of the room having a drink and messing the tv.

“You from the PI?” Deckard asked as he approached.

“Born and bred,” Ramon answered in a matter of fact manner. Deckard was hoping he had built a little rapport with with him up on the ridge line.

“You were there in 2006?”

“Why?”

“Because that is when JSOC was doing the killing.”

“You got it all wrong man, I was a Warrant Officer in 1st Group. You?”

“The Legion.”

Ramon laughed as he flicked channels until he found a soccer game on the satellite tv. “Yeah, I was an intel guy for the CIF.”

“How did you get tied in with these frogmen then?”

“Bill brought me on for a specific mission in a country where I had a lot of local experience and connections. I helped stand up Group 14 after I left the CIF. Ever been to Cambodia?”

“Yeah.”

“When you were with GB? The Agency funded all that.”

“No. It was a commercial endeavor.”

“If you say so. I don’t know what to make of you man. No offense but people say some weird things about you.”

“Some of them are probably even true.”

That was when the door opened and Nadeesha walked in like she owned the joint. She had changed into a spaghetti string top and a pair of jeans that clung to her body in all the right places. Deckard found it impossible to avert his gaze as her hips gently swayed. She blew all of them off and walked straight over to Bill.

Over by the billiard tables she started talking to Bill, her hands flying through the air.

“That girl is something else,” Ramon said as he sunk into the couch. “Maybe you should ask her about the PI. She was part of an intel cell for JSOC. Or so I’m told. What do I know? I was just a Wobbly One straight out of the WOC.”

Deckard noticed Bill nod his head towards him. Whatever he was talking about with Nadeesha involved him somehow. She didn’t look happy. She had both palms up in the air and was having words with Bill. Despite the hardass SEAL persona that he ruled over Liquid Sky with, Bill seemed to take Nadeesha in stride. He never lost his cool with her and Deckard noted it. Bill was a thinker, he could think several steps ahead. He knew how to manage personalities and play the long game. He was a step above Rick and the others. That was probably why he was in charge.

“It took you guys a while to get into the fight didn’t it?” Deckard asked Ramon while pretending his didn’t notice the conversation about him.

“Yeah, it did. We finally got the CIF in country and doing some good work. We had some other teams up north in Kurdistan too.”

He kept things going until he heard Bill call out for him.

“Get over here Deckard!”

Setting down his drink, Deckard walked over to the pair.

“You’re going to Dubai,” Bill told him.

“I don’t fucking need him there,” Nadeesha cursed. “He will just get in the way.”

“We are being hunted. We got hit hard in Pakistan. I’m not letting you go alone.”

“This is my op.”

“And it is my decision.”

Nadeesha brushed her long dark hair over her shoulder as she shook her head and then crossed her arms under her breasts.

“When can he be ready?” Nadeesha said looking at Bill.

“I’m ready now,” Deckard interjected.

“Good,” Bill responded. “This is Nadeesha’s op. She leads, you follow. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Not this guy,” Nadeesha pleaded. “Why not Ramon?”

“I need him for mission prep in the PI. Only he can do that job. All of my boys are assaulters, they are no good for Dubai and you know that as well as I do.”

The female intelligence operative sighed. Deckard again wondered what her story was.

“I have several other identity packages for Deckard that Sarah sent us from DC. That is good enough to get both of you to Germany. I will make a call tonight and have her overnight a new package for the two of you with the same surname to pick up once you arrive in Berlin. Your cover will be husband and wife. Its only for twenty four hours and should hold up fine.”

“What do you need me to do?” Deckard asked.

“Watch my ass,” Nadeesha explained.

Deckard’s eyebrows shot up.

“Oh?”

Nadeesha simply turned and stormed out of the house. She was pissed at being forced to drag Deckard into an operation that she was going to run as a singleton.

“I just want a overwatch element in case she gets into trouble,” Bill said. “On our last mission before we picked you up in Afghanistan we got some unexpected resistance. That is how we lost Henderson. Whoever they were, they were good. I’m just sending you as a precaution. She should be able to handle the operational aspects of the mission on her own. You are just there to get her out of trouble if shit really hits the fan.”

“I’ll be there.”

“Finish your drink and then get to bed. Meet Nadeesha here at seven in the morning and I’ll have flight confirmations for you to Germany and than on to Dubai.”

“See you then.”

Finishing his drink and bullshitting with Zach for a few more minutes, he realized that he would have no opportunity to break away and get a message out to Pat and Aghassi, not without breaking his cover and sneaking out in the middle of the night. It was doable but if he got caught then his infiltration would be compromised, he’d be killed or on the run and be no closer to understanding who the powerbrokers behind Liquid Sky were.

Shit.

He was heading back into the fray.

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DIRECT ACTION, Chapter Four

SEAL_Samruk_130304

Chapter 4

Deckard touched down in Kabul where he was met by a minder, a bored looking private security contractor who escorted him to a waiting area where he sat quietly until his name was called. Boarding a CASA C-212, the aircraft took off down the runway like a shot, forcing Deckard to hold on to the fuselage to avoid being thrown out of his seat. No one bothered to tell him what their destination was. There were several pallets of supplies on board, probably destined for some remote combat outpost in the hinterlands somewhere. Deckard was just a strap hanger hitching a ride.

Drifting off to sleep, he woke with a start as the landing gear bounced off a dirt runway. The CASA spun around at the end of the landing strip as the loadmaster lowered the ramp. Hooking a thumb out into the dusty runway, he indicated to Deckard that it was time for him to unass himself from their bird so they could head to their final destination.

Stepping off the ramp, Deckard moved to the side to avoid the CASA as it powered back down the runway and soared off into the air. He soon oriented himself, recognizing where he was by identifying the aircraft graveyard off to the side of the runway. There were old Russian planes and helicopters that sat collecting rust and dust under the Afghan sun.

He was at FOB Chapman in Southern Afghanistan. He has passed through the base several times back when he used to do work for Ground Branch.

Left to his own devices, Deckard walked alongside the runway. He spotted a few contractors milling about in the distance around some of the buildings but there was no one waiting of him or even acknowledging his presence. Heat coming up off the ground created a mirage, making the buildings ahead of him seem to ripple in the morning light.

It was a long walk, Deckard undoing a couple buttons on his North Face shirt to try to get some air. By the time he walked up to the camp, a pickup truck had come through the gate and cruised up alongside him. The driver wore a pair of sunglasses and sported a half assed beard and mustache. His skin was dark, Filipino maybe.

“You Deckard?” the driver asked.

“Yeah.”

The driver got out and patted Deckard down. All he had in his pockets was his alias passport, a credit card, and the other documents that Sarah had issued him in DC.

“Get in.”

Deckard did as he was told, slamming the door as he jumped into the passenger seat. Spinning the wheel, the driver took them back out through the gate. Several Afghan guards and a CIA Global Response Staff contractor opened the gate for them. Outside, they drove onto a dirt road, up the side of a dry stream bed and onto a paved road heading south.

His escort wasn’t the talkative type apparently, didn’t even give a name. Deckard noted the Glock 19 strapped to the driver’s hip and the AK sitting on the backseat. Meanwhile, Deckard was unarmed. If shit went sideways, he’d go for the AK and it would be a mad minute. Whatever happened, happened.

He sniffed at the familiar scent that hung in the air as the pickup truck kicked up a long plume of dust in its wake. Large patches of poorly farmed plots of land zipped by on both sides, small blotches of green showing where the Afghans had managed to irrigate the soil. Large walled compounds that housed entire families sat amid the open fields.

Holding on to the handle on the door, Deckard bounced as the driver launched them down the side of an embankment, going off road. They were rumbling across the Khowst bowl. The flat lunar landscape stretched across the earth in all directions until the heat mirage blended it into the distant snow capped mountains. Those mountains could leave men dead in seconds, Deckard knew from first hand experience. He has last been in Afghanistan less than six months ago with Samruk International when they cleared out a Afghan drug lord’s enclave out of his mountain redoubt.

They drove through the morning. Deckard squinted in the sunlight but the driver wore his dark sunglasses and remained stoic, unphased by the passing terrain or his passenger. Deckard tried to place him.

Of the four words he had muttered, the accent was clearly American. He wore Solomon cross trainers, blue jeans, and an Afghanistan soccer Jersey. Even sitting down, Deckard could tell that the driver was short, maybe five foot five. His skin was brown and had probably darkened since he had been in country. Most likely of Filipino descent. There were Filipino-Americans who served in US Special Operations Forces, but it could also be possible that he was a veteran of the Filipino Naval Special Operations Group which did extensive training and exchange programs from his home country to the US Navy SEALs.

Time would tell.

The driver reached behind Deckard’s seat and grabbed a couple bottles of water. He tossed one to his passenger while unscrewing the cap on the other, locking the wheel by holding it between his knees.

“Drink up.”

It was early afternoon by the time they rolled up on their destination, a lone compound near a spur coming off the mountains. Clicking a hand held radio, the driver announced their arrival and someone inside opened the gate for them. Pulling inside the thick earthen walls, the driver parked alongside the mud and stone structure in the center of the compound. There was one other pickup truck and a large Afghan janga truck inside the compound.

Covered from top to bottom with colorful murals, ribbons, blue and yellow sashes, and hanging chimes, the trucks were used by locals for transporting materials, the outside of the vehicles painted up and decorated for good luck.

“Wait here,” the driver instructed as they stepped out of the pickup and slammed the doors. The Filipino disappeared inside the stone hut while the gate guard who had let them in strode towards him. His eyes were slits as he stared at Deckard with contempt. He wasn’t just sizing up the new comer. There was something more. He looked at him like he was a piece of steak on a table. The gate guard wore dusty civilian clothes with a AK-47 slung over his back. He readjusted it on his shoulder as he blew passed Deckard and followed the driver inside.

Leaning up against the pickup, Deckard felt that everything inside the compound had gotten a little too quiet. In the cab of the truck, he could see the rifle that the driver had left behind. It put him somewhat at ease. A loaded rifle would not have been left there if they were planning to kill him. It wouldn’t have been a bad plan from their point of view. If this really was Liquid Sky, they could run a counter-intelligence operation by luring in potential infiltrators and then killing them. It would send a hell of a message to anyone else who might have been thinking along the same lines. Who was really laying a trap for who?

A hulking figure emerged from inside the stone building. He was built like a linebacker with arms and legs like tree trunks. Coming in around six foot three, he was almost as wide as he was tall. As he approached Deckard, his eyes were drilling holes into the newcomer.

“You’re Deckard?” he asked as if his driver may have picked up the wrong person. “Tell me a story,” he said as he ran a hand over his goatee.

“What kind of story?” Deckard said with a frown.

“A Deckard story. One of the good ones. The kind I hear are so outlandish, so fucking bizarre, I don’t know what to think. I’ve seen some shit in my day but the stuff I hear about you makes me wonder.”

“What have you heard? I will tell you if its real or not.”

“Heard you are some kind of rogue operator. Deckard: used to be shit hot in Army Special Operations, got picked up by the Agency, and then you fucked up so they PNG’ed you.”

“True story.”

“Vigilante Dirty Harry shit, assassinating terrorists. Working as a singleton to rescue a Delta team in Colombia.”

“Maybe.”

“Rumors going around that you almost started a war with the Chinese in Burma, cleaning out one of these Hadji drug lords from his mountain fortress,” the man motioned to the Hindu Kush mountains that towered above them. “Even heard you were involved with para-military operations in Mexico.”

“Some of those stories are exaggerated.”

“What about this tale people whisper in hushed tones about some cruise liner in the Pacific Ocean. The one that sank with all hands on board, the ship packed with high level shot callers in government and business. Was that you?”

“They call it one of the world’s largest public safety accidents.”

“Public safety accident?”

“That’s what they say. Like the Hindenburg.”

“Like the Hindenburg?”

“Fucking Nazi Zeppelin.”

“And I suppose that story just a tall tale.”

“Must be. Can’t believe every conspiracy theory you hear.”

“You can call me Bill,” he told Deckard while reaching into his pocket and pulling out his Oakley sunglasses. “I run this outfit. Here is the deal. You check out as legit, some ugly shit in your past but that is the name of the game. We’ve only had a day to prepare for a mission that is probably going to go down tonight. You are tagging along. Probationary status only. You kit up, go where you are told, do what you are told. No questions. My team does the op. You just pull security and make sure we don’t get our asses shot off. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Come with me.”

Bill led him inside the stone building which served as their operations center. The conditions were spartan inside. Some gear and weapons were stacked up against one wall. A couple desks had been improvised by laying plywood on top of stacked cinder blocks. Deckard’s driver sat at one of the desks looking at an open laptop that displayed satellite photography. He had a Iridium satellite phone pressed to his ear, a wire from it leading out a window to a up link antennae on the roof.

“You’ve met Ramon,” Bill informed him. Now he had a name to go with the face. Deckard was taking it all in. Who was Ramon on the phone with? Someone back in Kabul? Someone in the field? As Bill had pointed out, it wasn’t his place to ask questions.

“This is the team you’ll be working with,” Bill waved towards the men lounging around the room. “You’re gear is in the corner over there. We go in like Indig. This is a low-vis operation so everyone will be sterile when we leave the wire. If you die, we will try to recover your body, not because we like you but in order to protect our OPSEC. If you get left out there for the enemy to pick over, you will be presumed to be a white mercenary as you will have no identification papers on you and no American weapons or gear.”

Bill sat down in front of another computer and opened his email.

“Get your kit together. We are standby to launch at 2230.”

The three other Operators on the team stared at Deckard. They were sizing him up like a piece of meat. There were no handshakes or high fives. It wasn’t just a professional distrust that stemmed from them not having any past experiences together. Deckard felt like he had just walked into a meeting with the mafia. There was no brotherhood, just a nest of vipers who could turn on him at any moment.

He had expected nothing less but the question remained, was this Liquid Sky?

Recognizing one of the team members as the guy who had opened the gate for them, Deckard tried to piece together who these guys were. This one had long slicked back hair, looked like he was well manicured even out in the field. He was the pretty boy on the team. He had a mobile game console fired up and was engrossed in shooting up space aliens or something, not even bothering to look up at Deckard again. The other two were built like Bill and looked like they had been drafted from an NFL lineup. One of them snorted at Deckard before going back to flipping through a magazine. The other was busy cleaning his Glock pistol.

Deckard went to the pile of gear that Bill had pointed him towards as being his for the mission. There was a locally made man dress, the dishdasha that Afghan men wore. There was also some el cheapo concealable body armor made in Latin America, a Glock with locally procured cloth holster, a AK-47, a Chinese chest rig for spare magazines and a few other odds and ends. It wasn’t much to work with. If their mission was to be completely denied then they had to use local weapons and kit, no high tech on this mission.

It got him thinking again. Why the need for deniability? US Special Operations Forces were still conducting counter-terrorism missions in Afghanistan on a regular basis. With Conventional Forces withdrawing, it was left to Special Operations to perform maintenance on any Islamist fools who went passed a certain threshold. Once a terrorist started acting up too much, they would send in shooters to sort him out. Or a drone strike. It had become such a sport that Delta Force was even sending their students from the Operator Training Course to Afghanistan for their final exam, a live combat operation.

So what was the need for this team and their plausible deniability?

Deckard spent an hour and a half squaring his kit away. He had a small commercial radio which he made sure was charged up with a full battery. He loaded up five AK-47 magazines from a box of loose ammunition before loading up his Glock magazines as well. Then he field stripped both weapons and conducted functions checks. He was careful and deliberate about this final task, it was possible that Bill had his weapons rendered inert by messing with the trigger mechanism or filing down the firing pins but both weapons were good to go.

After getting his kit together the way he wanted it he went off and found a cardboard box full of bottled water. Twisting off the cap he downed half a bottle in one gulp. He needed to be hydrated if they were going to be out all night cruising through ‘vills and scaling ridge lines.

As he sipped the rest of the water he tried to place Bill and his team. It seemed that his intuition had been correct about the team he was after being former US Special Operations but which unit did they come from?

Each unit had their own culture, their own bravado, and their own way of doing things. Rangers were typically younger guys. Hard charging door kicking maldoons who took no shit from no one. Special Forces guys were usually older. Often with age they brought some more maturity to the table and the ability to operate in small teams. Most of them were pretty laid back dudes, a character trait needed when conducting their primary missions, Unconventional Warfare and Foreign Internal Defense. The Ranger mentality didn’t exactly lend itself to training foreign third world soldiers. While the team sized up Deckard, he had sized them up as well. These guys were not former Rangers or Special Forces.

The other Army Special Operations unit was Delta Force and that was a whole other animal. Trained for Counter-Terrorist operations ranging from Direct Action raids to aircraft take downs, Delta drew talent from both Special Forces and Rangers then polished their combat skills to ridiculously high levels. Delta was known for being the military’s most professional unit. The team he was with now seemed a little too non-nonchalant, like they had an expectation of victory. That sense of entitlement didn’t exist in Delta.

The Marines had Recon, Force Recon, and their new Special Operations component, MARSOC. Marines were brought up the right way, starting at boot camp at Paris Island. The Recon and MARSOC shooters in the Marine Corps were clean cut but straight shooters who knew how to take the fight to the enemy. Their sense of tradition, esprit de corps, and discipline along with their Infantry background placed them closer to Rangers than Special Forces. Deckard frowned. You could pick a single Marine out of a crowd of a hundred people and none of these people were one of them.

Then you had the Navy. He already suspected that Ramon was a US or perhaps Filipino Navy SEAL. Deckard had worked with and respected many men on the teams but had to wonder. The linebacker physic that most of them had came from an obsession that many SEALs had with jacking steel in the gym. There was one particular Squadron within SEAL Team Six, the Navy’s equivalent to Delta Force, that was known to specifically recruit the biggest guys out of Green Platoon. It wasn’t much to go on though. Finishing his bottle of water, Deckard knew he’d have to wait and see, develop the situation, and see what shook out of the woodwork.

Hopefully he wouldn’t die in the meantime.

“So you’re here to pick up the slack for Henderson?” A voice said from behind.

Deckard turned to face him, thinking fast. It was a dude with the slicked back hair who had been playing video games.

“Henderson?”

“Made a non-verbal withdraw from the course on our last op. Ate one to the facepiece.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Why?” he asked with a shrug of his shoulder. “Fuck do you care.”

“Just saying. I didn’t know him.”

“Just try to hang with us tonight and don’t step on your crank with golf cleats. If you fuck us, we’ll leave your sorry ass out there.”

“I understand.”

“What the fuck ever,” he said as if there was a period after each word. “I heard the RUMINT on you and I don’t fucking buy it. I think you’re just a shit head Army fuck who bolo’ed his ops. You don’t even belong here. You’re not one of us.”

“You mean because I wasn’t in the teams?” Deckard dropped it, intentionally trying to elicit information.

“Fuck the teams. That’s vanilla shit. We operate on a whole different level, even before we left the Navy.”

Gotcha, Deckard thought.

“Hey!” Ramon interrupted from across the room. He was on the satellite phone again.

“We a go?” Bill asked as he looked up from his computer.

“Overwatch has eyes on the target. He just arrived at the objective. This should be his bed down site unless overwatch reports him leaving.”

“That’s a green light,” Bill confirmed. “Everyone kit up, we roll in ten.”

Deckard’s antagonist with the pretty hair swung back around to confront him one more time.

“You stay on me while we are out there cheese dick. You’re going to pull black side security on the objective and make sure Hadji doesn’t skull fuck us while our backs are turned. I’ll release you once we get close to the target compound.”

“Okay.”

“Grab your shit and let’s go.”

“What’s your callsign on the net?”

“What the fuck is this callsign shit? Just call me Rick.”

Deckard ditched his civilian clothes and slipped into the dishdasha, then shrugged into his chest rig, holstered the Glock, slung his AK-47, and clipped his radio in his collar. Ramon was already taking all of the documents and maps from the operations center and dumping them into a burn barrel outside. Lighting a match, it all went up in a golden glow that burned in the early evening light.

Deckard headed outside.

Now he was convinced.

It was going to be another one of those nights.

Deckard was now rolling with Liquid Sky.

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DIRECT ACTION: Chapter One (part 1)

SEAL_Samruk_130304

Chapter One:

Present Day

Deckard fell down towards the earth, nearly going end over end as he struggled to maintain a positive body position. Glancing at his altimeter, he waved off at 6,000 feet, looked back at his altimeter and then reached for his rip chord at 4,500 feet. When he gave it a yank, his head snapped to the side. He had been pulling on the tube running from his oxygen mask to the bottled O2 strapped under his MC-5 parachute. Making another attempt, he reached in and snatched his ripcord. He pulled it but nothing happen, the metal grip separated from the steel cable which would have pulled the pins and released his parachute.

He didn’t bother to look back at his altimeter but knew he was burning altitude fast. Tracing the main lift web on his parachute harness he grabbed the floating cable and pulled as hard as he could. He was pins out somewhere around 2,000 feet. The pilot chute was out but caught in a wind bubble on his back where it bounced around but failed to catch in the air and deploy his main parachute.

Then the CYPRES system detected the barometric pressure at low altitude, indicating that something was wrong. The computer was a fail safe in case the jumper was knocked conscience or a similar emergency. The reserve parachute deployed just as the pilot chute finally pulled his main parachute out of its deployment bag.

Two parachutes, both with forward drive, were now over his head, his reserve and main parachute snaking around each other and becoming intertwined. With two canopies over his head, cutting away and pulling his reserve was out of the question. All he had was a main and a reserve and they were both deployed already.

Deckard reached up and and grabbed the suspension lines of the reserve parachute, desperately trying to prevent it from entangling itself around the main parachute. If his main chute was collapsed by the reserve there was no recourse or corrective measure which could save him. His biceps were burning as he pulled and separated the suspension lines but the reserve chute was still trying to drive forward and since it was anchored to the parachute harness, and to Deckard, it kept trying to make a u-turn back into his main chute.

As the the main parachute began to collapse, Deckard felt weightless, the ground rushing up to reach him. Somehow he managed to survive the landing. Shrugging out of his parachute harness he put his M4 rifle into operation and moved out.

The enemy was quickly advancing. Joined by his team mates, Deckard opened fire. A single round fired from the rifle before it jammed. Deckard executed the malfunction drill by muscle memory without consciously thinking through the steps. Slapping the magazine, he racked the bolt and tapped the forward assist. Pulling the butt stock back into the pocket of his shoulder, he aimed down the sights and squeezed the trigger on the first enemy he spotted. The hammer dropped on the firing pin but the rifle did not discharge.

Now his team mates had to pick up their rate of fire to compensate for Deckard’s weapon being out of action. He performed the malfunction drill again. Slap, rack, but no bang. The man to Deckard’s left went down under a hail of gunfire. Slap, rack, but nothing. Deckard dropped the magazine, pulled the bolt to the rear and inspected the chamber. It looked clear. Loading a fresh magazine he fired again. Nothing.

His other team mate on his right side collapsed like an empty coat. Deckard slapped the magazine, racked the bolt, and squeezed the trigger but the weapon still would not fire. The enemy was right on top of him. He was still attempting to get his rifle back online when the terrorists swarmed in on him.

That was when he woke up.

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