Tag Archives: thriller

Direct Action Giveaway, Time Running Out!

DirectActionGiveAwayOnly three more days left to get your submissions in for the Direct Action giveaway.  If you ever bought one of my three novels (Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, or Direct Action) then you are eligible.  Get the details here and enter to win!

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Direct Action Release Date (and other good news)

DirectActionPreviewshotNow that I’m in the final stages of finalizing the cover and back cover art, I am announcing the release date for Direct Action.  Look for it on the 21st of February in both paperback and ebook formats.  I can’t know exact pricing for the paperback until the book is constructed, but expect it to be very similar to the previous two books.  Probably $15 for the paperback and $4 for the ebook.

I’m excited about the release and look forward to the response.  Some people are going to be seriously offended by the content of the book and many will want to string me up for it.  But I didn’t write Direct Action for shock value, the book is directly influenced by factual events.  My previous novels were about writing the ultimate action adventure tale but Direct Action is different.  This book is about sending a message to a very particular and specific group of people.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I had friends tell me that I would be killed simply for investigating the subjects I wrote about in this book.  There is a lot of money, prestige, power, and legacy tied up in these events, and some people will do anything to cover up criminal activities.

Lets move on to somewhat better news.

Fans have been asking me for Deckard/Samruk International hats, t-shirts, ect for a long time now.  The hats and patches are both on their way.  Here are some preview shots for those interested.

Samrukhat2patch3They will both be offered on this website sometime later this month so stay tuned for that.  Again, I’m excited to finally release Direct Action and get it into reader’s hands.  I think it is my best written, and most important, book to date.  Deckard will return for book #4, but right now I’m going to be focused on finishing up college over the summer and a few other projects I have going on.  For instance, after the release of Direct Action I will be working on the release of a Danish SOF operator’s memoir which I’ve been having translated into English.  I’ve also got some great articles planned for SOFREP.com that I need to get cracking on.

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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 Fourteen

SEAL_Samruk_130304

Chapter Fourteen:

 

The exfil was more like a all expenses paid vacation. Liquid Sky quickly forgot that they were still on a mission, relaxing on the pump boats that ferried them south. All of their kit was sunk to the bottom of the ocean the moment the opportunity presented itself. Their pilot had headed for the South China Sea where he could hide out for a while. The assault team took a separate route, using a ratline that Ramon had established prior to them arriving in the Philippines.

They were called banka boats and were used for fishing and as water taxis between the various islands in the Philippines. The Liquid Sky mercenaries sipped on beer and worked on their tan while they were transported in a lazy, winding path that took them generally south. Unlike air travel or even vehicle traffic, maritime transportation was the least monitored and allowed for low-visibility movements over long distances.

After a week of cruising alongside some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, they island hopped over to Sabah in Malaysia where their pilot met them on an airfield in his Twin Otter. From there they flew back to Dawin, Australia.

Back at the staging site, Bill ordered his two non-performers to tear apart the mock up of the objective. Rick for failing in the simulator and Paul for failing to make it to the target during the mission. They grudgingly went about their task. The others prepared for an epic beer blast. The pilot and the technician who ran the simulator for them were both invited.

That night all the wood from the mockup was piled up and set ablaze.

The technician was coerced into drinking a bottle of vodka. Zach was less successful in coercing Nadeesha to give the tech a lap dance but eventually she relented. Cheers went up as she began grinding on his crouch. The beer and liquor was flowing and everyone was finally relaxing for the first time in weeks. The technician promptly stood up as Nadeesha was rubbing his face in her cleavage. She fell into the grass as the gentlemen stood with a big dumb smile on his face as he projectile vomited a half gallon of vodka into the bonfire.

That got even more cheers than the lap dance.

Their pilot was buzzed out of his mind from smoking marijuana and could only muster a half assed applause.

“Deckard, I need to talk to you,” Bill said as he walked up to him.

They walked off to the outer edge of the fire while the party continued. Bill snorted through his nose and spat a snot ball onto the ground. When he turned to Deckard, his face was half concealed by the dark, the flickering light of the fire lighting the other half of their faces.

“I didn’t want to talk to you until we were back to safe ground about operational details. That was some ballsy shit you did back there.”

“Which part?”

“All of it. Sticking the landing for one. Then jumping onto a chair while sliding across the room firing on full auto. That was was some Bruce Willis shit. I can’t believe you pulled it off.”

“We ran out of options, that’s all.”

“The only reason why I left you on that rooftop was to make sure you could survive when you were really in a tight spot.”

“And Nadeesha?”

“I didn’t know the girl’s parachute was going to get shot the fuck up obviously. Again, pretty ballsy getting her off the roof like that. I’m shocked that you two are alive or at least not rocking a full body cast.”

“I’m hard to kill.”

Bill held out his hand. Deckard took it.

“Welcome to the team.”

“Thanks, I-”

“250,000 dollars will be deposited in a Mauritius bank account for you. Payment for the three ops you’ve done for us. Don’t let me see you sober again tonight.”

With that, Bill walked off to find another beer.

Deckard stood by the fire, his eyes getting lost in it for a moment.

“Don’t let it go to your head Deckard.”

He turned and to his unsurprise he found Rick lecturing him. He was obviously half in the bag, already shaky on his feet and slurring some of his words.

“What’s that?”

“Your amazing one combat operation with us. That other bullshit doesn’t even count.”

“Whatever man.”

“Yeah, whatever man. That’s all you got? I know you Deckard, I’ve seen your type and you are not prepared to go all the way.”

“Obviously you missed my crash landing. Two jumpers, one chute, C4 burning down on the way out.”

“You don’t have the balls to do everything that is necessary. My old unit has been fighting this war for a long time. That’s why all the SEALs on this team know how it is done. We know how to show those savages who is the alpha dog. Killing is the only language that makes sense to them. That’s why we take scalps. Its about sending a message.”

“I thought it was a hobby.”

“Its about establishing street cred. Simple as that. We don’t believe in target discrimination, if you’re brown, you’re down. We go over the high walls, we blast down the doors, everyone inside dies. Period.”

“Everyone?”

“Everyone. We cleared out entire compounds in Afghanistan on the reg. Standard Operating Procedure. Men, women, and children. They’re all terrorists. We start clearing rooms, and we really clear fucking rooms. The kids make for smaller targets. Its funny, because they don’t understand that they’ve been shot. Just like a dog or something, they will try to get back up so you have to shoot them again.”

“They’re all going to grow up to be terrorists, huh?” Deckard remarked, trying to see how much more Rick would divulge. He was drunk, angry, and suffering from small dick syndrome after their last mission.

“Americans don’t want to know what we do, they just want us to do it,” Rick informed him. “We get shit done. Cleanse the earth of these savages. Dump the kids and there are no future terrorists. Tell the entire family to go back inside, everything will be fine. Then drop a five hundred pounder on their fucking heads. Babies too. You know why?”

“Why?”

“Because fuck you, that’s why.”

“You’ve still got a lot to learn in this outfit and I still don’t think you have what it takes.”

Rick stumbled off, tiring of not getting the responses he wanted out of Deckard.

Fucking Nazis, Deckard thought to himself. How the hell did this happen?

Special Operations soldiers were not choir boys by any stretch of the imagination but these SEAL Team Six guys were completely out of control. Deckard knew that something like this didn’t just happen over night. It had to be a long standing cultural issue within the unit, a pervasive attitude that allowed these war crimes to occur.

Deckard looked back into the fire, remembering Bill’s words.

Welcome to the team.

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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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