I can flex my hand. So, there may be no tendon damage. It hurts like a mother. With it wrapped I can try and keep from bleeding to death. I lost my gun back there in the fight. What the hell happened. I have my knife and backup gun. But the gun will be hard to use with one hand. TC said I should carry a revolver instead of that sub-compact Barretta Storm. First, I have to get out of here. Back at the warehouse I can hear the gunfire. It is clear now this was all a trap.
I own a Specialty security service. Have gun will travel is not just an old show it’s our motto. Over the years we or I may have helped create some grudges and graveyards. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. You can’t free hostages without capping some thugs. My team and I are some of the best money can rent. We don’t work for drug dealers, despots, and the Home Depot. That last one was one strange miscommunication.
A few days ago, I was contacted about a job just across the border in Canada. A private security company was looking for some outside help with an internal problem. One of their teams was helping a robbery crew with break-ins. They didn’t know which one so they needed to stake out the crews and guard their clients. We usually stay away from such jobs. Working with others doesn’t usually work out well in our line of work. Most mercenaries are in it for the money then you have the bad one. They are into it for the killing. Some like to kill others desire to kill.
I went ahead to a meeting being held to discuss the contract. It was a warehouse near downtown. Something was off. There was screaming inside. I reached for the door with my left hand and my Barretta Storm with my right. Gunfire ripped through the door. I was hit in the vest and hand. My hand went numb. I darted for the car. Looking back, I saw my gun on the ground covered in blood. My blood. Inside I could hear the gunfire. Whoever planned this out didn’t think this out. To paraphrase Taylor Swift, “killers gonna kill, kill, kill.”
The car wouldn’t start. So, then my phone. And my phone has a bullet hole in it. I just bought that phone! If I can get out of here I can go to the warehouse where my team will be in about an hour. The warehouse is about two miles away. With whoever set this up still back there I can get a good lead. The gunfire stopped. Either they won or their plan failed. I can’t take the chance.
I ducked down an alley. It seems a little strange that I have found nobody around. I would think the gunfire would bring out the locals. But, nothing. Not a single person around. This part of town was mostly businesses. Most of them are closed. Signs of the times. I can hear some voices just ahead of me. Very carefully I pulled my gun with my left hand. Luckily, I had one in the chamber. I got down and slowly approached the voices. It was three men with Colt M 4s. they were discussing me and how they needed me dead. I recognized one of them. David Speck the lead operator of the security company. Definitely not the employee of the year.
He told the other two to wait here for what’s his face. I assume that is me. David said he had to get the trap ready at the other site. Are they going after my team? David left and the two remaining went back-to-back. Dumb asses. It made it easier for me to shoot them. one round to one head that passed to the other. I guess the next question is if David is the leader of this team or is he just a flunky? I should have tried to save one of the two to politely ask some questions. Live and lean. I need a phone and some ammo. The two dead guys had Colt M4s. One had a Hi-Point 9mm and the other had some sort of 32 caliber automatic I had never heard of. Neither looked promising. I unhooked one of the Colts and bagged any magazines they had.
Our warehouse is a stand-alone building just off the main strip. I couldn’t just approach the building without being seen. If they wanted to make sure they got us all they would have a sharp shooter on a rooftop nearby. Neither of the two had a phone or a radio. So, their absence won’t be missed until they don’t physically report in or someone checks in on them. The bad news is that my hand is getting worse. I will need to do something soon. The M4 is a good start but it will be tricky one handed. Once the gunfire starts I will need all the advantage I can find.
Looking at the roof tops I find the best place to put a sniper. That is if the sniper is just a guy with a good rifle and not a true sharp shooter. On top of the roof was a guy with a Barret 50 caliber rifle. The dumb ass is holding it at his hip looking down at the warehouse. It is a lot of rifle being held by a lot of moron. I wanted to take him without a shot just in case he had backup nearby. Oh, did I say dumb ass. He has headphones on with music so loud he couldn’t hear a jet behind him much less me. Now do I kill him or try and take him?
The choice was almost taken from me. He turned around and saw me. As he tried to shoulder his portable anti-tank gun he backed away. In the process, he slipped on a loose round and went down. He hit his head on the roof top and turned his own light out. The rifle finished the job in smashing his nose as it hit him. In his pack, he had a file folder with pictures of my team. I should have shot him. I cleared his rifle then tossed it down a hole in the roof. He had a cheap 38 policeman’s special. It will do. I did the best to tie him up. The knots are ugly and will have to be cut off.
As I waited for my new friend to wakeup I watched the warehouse. As I did, he woke up. Which is good because I have some questions. He rolled over and looked at me then around the roof. He said, “where is my rifle?” I replied, “you have got to be kidding me. You are tied up on a roof with a guy you were supposed to shoot and your worried about your Barret?” He somehow got to his but then after looking around said, “I have a deposit on that and that gun in your hand.” I looked down at the old cheap revolver. I said, “they rent these to you and you paid for this?” He said that the company requires them to rent their equipment from them. On jobs like this they use guns that can’t be traced back to the company. Their company wanted to expand into the US by eliminating the competition. Then he asked, “are you hiring?”
A Hummer pulling an Airstream camper pulled up to the warehouse. My team was here. I had no time. Inside the rival company had a trap setup. If they make it inside they were dead. Without thinking I aimed and fired. A direct hit to the little smiley face on the antenna of the Hummer. I stud up and held out my arms in a “T” shape. TC got out of the car and gave the “what the f” shrug when she caught on. Gunfire erupted all around me. Every shot missed. Then the guy I tied up tackled me. He grabbed the M4, but instead of shooting me he took aim at the other roof. He hit the scope of the guy shooting at me. The shot must have been at least 300 yards away. I said, “as long as you can prove you didn’t kill anyone in this plan then you are hired.” The other shooters from the warehouse ran for their lives. I bet they are still running.
After TC cleaned up my hand, I told them about what was happening. My new employee told them the bosses were in a trailer nearby. We now have a target. Our plan would be simple. We would take the command trailer and explain to the company owners why they will need another line of work. The person who set this up will need to die. We won’t kill him. The other mercenary companies will do that. I just want a picture of the guy for the internet and just maybe accidentally break his hand. Can something planned be called an accident?
We took the trailer. These guys weren’t even armed. They surrendered and a foot accidentally slipped landing into someone’s nuts. TC wasn’t happy and said so with her foot. The others were happy that we weren’t going to kill them. The big boss knew the score. His big win would end up in a shallow grave or a meat grinder. The new guy’s name is Gregg. His first job was to retrieve the 50 Cal from the hole in the roof. TC said I would most likely need several surgeries to fix my hand. So, a vacation it is.
2006, the year we made a company
An explosion rips though the wall tossing shrapnel into the room. Smoke fills the air. Everyone scrambles to both get to their feet and prepare to fight. Outside we can hear voices. Something in Somali I think. I really should learn the language. One of the others yells, “RPG.” I duck as a rocket propelled grenade is launched through the window and travels out of the newly made hole onto the opposing forces on the other side. Friendly fire can be a good thing. Using the newly created chaos we escaped the building and separated. But not by any plan or with any goal. I found myself in an unfriendly city, in a time of war, in a place where I don’t speak the language.
My name is Jack Pressler. I work as a security specialist in less than secure areas. Ok, I’m a mercenary. I can hear it now, “it’s a shame the RPG missed.” I am not that kind of mercenary. I don’t take on clients such as drug cartels and oppressive governments. And many have asked. I only work for clients that I feel I could care about. About a week ago I was offered a lucrative job guarding relief supplies being transferred from a port to a couple of villages in Somalia. In December Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia attacking and helping the government win back the capital. The ongoing war has made any humanitarian aid to be considered suicide. So, when I was asked by a group that wanted to help anyway how could I way no. No, really was there a way I could have said no. I would really like to know.
I made it to a building with four walls and everything. I found a door and used it. the building was mostly empty with some old crates and cigarette butts. Using one crate like a chair and a larger one as a table I emptied my ammo out and counted rounds. The good news was I had three full magazines of ammo. The bad news was it was for an AK47 and not the M4 carbine I was issued by the client. In the rush, I must have grabbed the wrong bag. I have one magazine for my Barretta M9, half a magazine for the M4, two flash bang grenades and a boot knife. Outside I could hear some sporadic gunfire. The gunfire turned toward my hideout. A woman was pinned down behind a long dead shell of a car. I returned fire with the last of my M4’s ammo hoping to cover the woman. She made into the building and immediately pointed her AK47 at me. A pointed my M4 back forgetting I was out of ammo. We sat there pointing rifles at each other.
She was beautiful. Maybe 6ft 3” with ebony skin and long braids that seem to be either frosted gray or silver. Somehow a runway model grabbed a rifle and joined the fight here in Somalia. She said something in Somali. I still regret not learning some simple phases like, “I don’t understand you.” She looked over my shoulder then back to me. She was wearing desert camo with a head scarf wrapped around her head. She then spoke in Arabic which is another language I don’t speak. She had small cuts in her arms and spots of blood on her pants. She noticed me looking at her legs and said something in French. We were 0 for 3 in languages I understand.
After about ten minutes that fell like ten hours I decided to speak. I had hesitated in speaking because I didn’t want to give away my nationality. Some sides in this conflict don’t like Americans. I said, “if you understand me I think we are screwed here.” She furrowed her brows. I took a chance first showed her the five radio batteries I had and the radio with a large bullet hole. She said, “you’re an American.” She said it in what sounded like a slight Boston accent. I replied, “and so are you from the sound of it.” She gave a slight smile then a hard frown. She said, “what are you doing her whitey. Some sort of mercenary or paid thug.” For some reason that escapes me I said, “isn’t that the same thing?” and just like that we were pointing guns at each other. My rifle still empty.
Another couple of minutes went by before we spoke again. Finally, she said “who are you and what are you doing here?” I said, “my name is Jack.” I fought the urge to say, “but you don’t know me.” I did say how I was with a relief organization guarding food and medicine being delivered to some hard-hit villages. She lowered her rifle and said, “I think, no I know I was sent out to find you. I work for WHO as an interpreter but I also help out where ever I can.” I said, “you work for who?” she said, “yes WHO.” I replied, “why are you asking me I don’t know who you work for.” She said, “yes I work for WHO.” I say, “why are you asking me, how would I know?” She said just a little bit angrily and just a bit mockingly, “The World Health Organization aka WHO.” I said, “yeah I know I just wanted to see how long that could go on.”
She said to me, “whitey just keep messing with me like that and I won’t tell you a secret.” I jokingly said, “that your gun is empty?” She spun around and said, “how do you know that.” Instead of answering I picked up my rifle and showed her the empty magazine. Then we both laughed. She said her name was, “Tima Cocks but most people call me TC so they won’t mispronounce my name.” She went on to say her father is a doctor with WHO and was here working the crisis. Her mother was sick so she stayed back in Boston. She said, “we were waiting for some relief supplies. I volunteered to come look for them and the people bringing them but all I found was a bombed-out warehouse.” It would seem right after I left they were able to aim lower and strike inside with an RPG. Anyone that stayed behind was dead. She said, “I think your right we are screwed,” I said, “no I think we may have met for a reason.” I went to the large crate picked up the three AK 47 magazines and handed them to her. I said to her, “I grabbed the wrong bag in the chaos.” Then I added, “now we are only nearly screwed.”
She had a colt 1911 on her hip she gave me and with her AK fully loaded we planned. My team hadn’t picked up the supplies yet so they may still be available. We would go pick up the supplies and any wayward team mates we find. Then make to back to the village here her father was. The gunfire outside had stopped and the gunmen had moved on to targets who may have something worth stealing. As the sun was setting we made our way out of the building and down an alley. Along the way, we found members of my team dead. Some shot others with their throats slit. I found a functional radio on one body. I used it to call out, “boxcar this is skull cap over.” Nothing. I tried again and still nothing. Boxcar is a code used to call out for anyone on the radio.
About ten minutes later we heard over the radio, “skull cap this is carrot top. Come in skull cap this is carrot top.” Carrot top is a guy named David and no he doesn’t have red hair. When we first met, he was trying to use a prop to make a joke. I don’t remember what is was just that it wasn’t funny to anyone. We met in the ninth grade back at Springfield High school in Springfield township in northeast Ohio. We followed each other into football, baseball and the Army. David drove a truck in Georgia for four years while I became a professional starrer. I worked as a guard in many different places practicing the stare.
He said, “after everything went pair shaped I went back to the ship to regroup. I knew you would find away over.” I said, “supplies still there over?” he replied, “yes I am unharmed. Yes, they are still here over.” I said to him, “pack a tuck with as much of the medical supplies you can and be prepared to go as soon as we get there over.” He replied, “we over?” When we made it back to the ship we found David by a large armored car. He took one look at TC and just kept on looking. He looked at me then back to her. she said to him, “keep starring and I’ll cut those eyes out of your head.” David looked back to me. He said a truck wasn’t available but the UN was willing to let us use one of their armored transports. The truck was loaded and ready to run. I asked, “anyone else here and willing to.” David interrupted me, “no. No one else made it.” We came to Somalia with sixty men and now it was just the two of us. After the last time, I tried to drive one of these things we both decided David would drive. I grabbed an AK 47, a couple of magazines for my Berretta and a bag of AK magazines. David whispered to me, “is the scary model coming with us?” I whispered back, “she is the only one that knows where we are going.” TC took the gun torrent on top. She directed David from it using a built-in intercom.
Somehow, we made it out of town with the medical supplies. About an hour away from her father we ran into a hunting party of a sort. One old Land Rover and two jeeps. All three had makeshift gun torrents on the back. The two Jeeps struck from both sides while the Land Rover tried to block the road. Using the 50 caliber machine guns in the torrent TC shredded the Land Rover. Then David plowed through the remains. The two Jeeps first broke off them tried to strike from behind. I popped a hatch on top and using a portable rocket launcher struck the led Jeep. The hit spun the Jeep into the second ending the chase.
At the village, we found her father and a contingent of UN troops. We unloaded the truck. After some introductions, we made plans to leave and go back to the ship. TC said we would be welcome to stay. I said to her, “we signed a contract with them so we have to follow their protocols. One is that after the delivery we are to report back.” David looked around at the village sting not to look directly at TC. He said, “no I am going to stay here and help. This looks like the place I need to be.” This was to be David’s last time in the field. TC said to him, “stay go it don’t mean shit to me. Just don’t think you are going to get something.” When he eventually came home he went back to Kent State and became a lawyer. His wife TC helped him out with the big words.
Three years after Somalia I met up with David and TC back in Ohio in a diner in Stow. David suggested that we form a company that dealt with security issues that most other agencies wouldn’t touch. Such things as Security for African relief or personnel security for people who the system deem unimportant. I had just come into a large amount of cash on another job. I could retire or do this. I said, “yes as long as TC is a part of this. I want someone I can trust.” David said, “why not me?” I said, “trust a lawyer?”
When most people think about the border they think illegals, terrorists and drugs. They don’t think stolen cars. About a week ago an auto insurance company dealing in exotic cars called us. The insure hard to find exotic cars. Really the insure the other insurance companies on their policies on exotic cars. Not just cover any Ferrari or Bentley not they focus on handmade speed machines that cost millions of dollars or more. In the past two months, they have had nine cars stolen. Using their trackers, they all end up in a small town on the border with Mexico. The American government investigated and found nothing. The Mexican government never bothered to send anyone to the border. The insurance company sent two investigators to the small town. One was found out in the desert. Well, most of him was found. The other was just gone. While it would be nice to find the cars they really wanted to know what happened to their investigator. That is where we step in.
I run a small specialty security service. Some would call us mercenaries other call us when they need mercenaries. Over the years we have become a sort of swiss army knife of ass kicking and name taking. We can do it all. What we won’t do is work for the bad guys so no drug dealers, no terrorist, oppressive governments and defiantly not the Salvation Army. Black kettles and broken noses. And a bell as a projectile. But that is another story.
We said we would go and search both sides of the border and find the cars and people. A week later and nothing. The locals’ no nothing on both sides. Our contacts in the underbelly of society no nothing. It is as if these cars just vanish into thin air. The incurrence company gave us access to their tracking system. About 2am a tracker went online. We traced it as the car made its way to the border and the small town we are in. Just a mile out of town we found a sight that would kill a car lover. An exotic car graveyard. The thieves have been stealing the cars than chopping them up for parts. Unlike most cars these cars are worth more than their parts so it made no sense to cut them a part. This is on the American side and the investigators disappeared in Mexico. So, there must be some connection. About an hour later a car carrier pulled up with some old busted up cars. The workers took the valuable parts and attached them to the junk cars. We followed them to the border and watched them cross. Before they did cross we sent one of our own to act as a border guard to attach a tracker on the truck.
We tracked the truck to a compound about thirty miles from the boarder. Using the ever so fancy thermal camera we could see at least twenty men inside. One heat signature was in what looked like a cage near a wall. The compound had thick cinderblock walls about fifteen feet high and surrounding the complex. The missing investigator was a young woman named Jennifer. She was new to the insurance game working under a mentor named Harry. It was Harry they found most of out in the desert still missing a leg and his hands. My right-hand woman everyone calls TC was angry and wanted to collect some heads and I don’t mean the ones on their shoulders.
TC is a tall beautiful black woman originally from Senegal who likes to kick ass and is good at it. I said, “we need a plan or things could go wrong fast.” TC countered, “my plan is simple much like you, whitey. Go in shoot everyone, rescue the girl then tacos.” When she is angry she calls me whitey. One day I will have to remind her I am the boss. I think I’ll do that over the phone when she is out of the country. Because I’m not stupid. We did our best to gather as much data as we could as our mobile command center the techno Twinkie made its way to us. The Twinkie is an old Airstream camper fitted out as a mobile super computer. We say we use it for recon because it sounds better than for spying. I think Ted uses it to spy on his neighbors but I have no proof, yet. That night we worked out a plan. By morning every operator, we had available was there. At least fourteen men and women. The plan would happen that night and move fast. First objective was the girl. Second was to find anything connecting the chop shop and this place. TC added, “the third is to kick ass and bust caps.”
Team one moved in on the wall beside the girl. Team two was about six hundred yards away on top of a panel truck in a sniper position. Team three was on the opposite side of the compound with some drones that will be guided from the Twinkie. Once launched team three will scale the wall. My team was team four. We bought and brought a snow blow truck down. The border guards look mighty confused. We are going to knock on the front door. A little shock and awl.
Using a special cutter team one cut through the cinderblocks at the mortar. They made an opening for access to the cage. Before freeing the girl, they checked the cage. Underneath the cage was a pressure mine set to go off once the girl was out. Jimmy didn’t think twice about it. He climbed on top of the cage adding the weight so the girl could be freed. I hired Jimmy because his brother Bobby is an effective operator who can get the job done. He recommended him. In is time with us he has shot a hole in the roof, set off a flash bang in a surveillance car and most recently nearly got me killed yelling at long lost Russian Solders.
Once the cage was open and the girl was free. I went to knock on the door. Over the radio I said, “now.” from a distance team two took out the guards on the roof and in a tower nearby. Behind the wheel, I drove the truck into and through the gate to the compound. Lights came on people came out and died. In the back of the truck underneath a wooden shield my team sprung up and started firing. On the right came gun fire. First from drones then men on the walls. Within minutes we had the compound. One round hit an employee named Scott deforming into his flak jacket. It still rattled him. From the compound, we moved into a room to room search. Ten minutes later over a loud speaker a man said in Spanish, “they surrender.” They thought we were DEA and were there about the massive drug haul in the back. A truck full of heroin they were trying to find a way to smuggle into the US.
In an office, I found some paper work detailing the cars and what to do with the parts. The papers were all from the owners. They had the cars stolen so they could collect from their insurance company. The money from the insurance company as well as from the parts would pay for the Heroin. They had the checks made out to the dealer’s shell company. As it turns out a car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The heroin was worth more than every car stolen. I also found a remote that disarms the mine under the cage. I disarmed the cage and sent someone to let Jimmy know. I said, “take your time.” We tied up the remaining thugs and left them for the DEA. TC tied them up naked but to face in that human centipede style like the movie I recommend no one watch. For their sake, I hope the DEA gets there soon. Well maybe not too soon.
With the paper work from the Mexico raid the FBI raided the cars owner’s houses. They sized many documents and encouraged enough people to rat on their bosses. Some of these guys won’t see a bar less view for decades. The largest drug bust in the border’s history made sure of that. You lay down with dogs and get fleas or you do business with drug gangs and face drug charges. Jennifer was reunited with her family who promptly sued us for endangering her in a fire fight. Your welcome.
About a week ago I received a call from a Canadian citizen having trouble with poachers. Now I can already tell you are thinking, “what the heck do they need mercenaries for something already illegal?” You are right. And a little rude. This man’s trouble is that the government was unwilling to come out and deal with this. He is what could easily be called a conspiracy nut. He called once for the cattle defiling aliens probing his cattle. Then on the Canada geese wearing all those cameras implanted in them by the US Government to spy on him. Cry wolf enough and people stop listening.
Now I guess I should feel bad about taking a job for money, but how many days do you go to work and say to the boss. “don’t pay be today boss this is my free day.” Electricity isn’t free and we have a payroll to pay for. With TC, out of the country with the best of the best I am stuck at the headquarters with the scrubs. TC stands for Tima Cocks a Singhalese American who looks like a supermodel and fights like a ranger. They are guarding a shipment of AIDs drugs going to eastern Africa. Yes, I’m bored. Looking for nothing but a good time and how can I resist. At best, we spend a couple of days in the north at worst an alien ass inspection. Ok, that would be bad.
To get to his land we needed to first drive to seven hundred miles away. Then fly into the part of the country near the arctic circle. It is late July and already freezing. The pilot spoke of snow soon. I moved from Ohio to get away from snow. My business was built in the jungles and desert because they have no snow. On the way, I read the intelligence report. Gavin Le Grand was a relief worker for an agency working in the Congo trying to help stop deforestation. When he left that work, he moved to Canada and took over his family’s ranch. A few years, a few cattle deaths later he sold the ranch and moved north to track the wild life. The Congo must be how he knows one of our booking agents. He spends his days tracking animals such as wolves and polar bears. At one point the pilot asked if we were out here for the grizzly ahole. I had to explain to my crew that he was referring to an old show called Grizzly Adams and yes, we are out here for him.
After a three-hour trek into the woods that took four hours because I left the mapping up to an idiot. Oh, wait I had the map. We finally found the client or rather he found us at the end of his shotgun. I explained to him who we are and showed him my identification. He grumbled something about “too many foreigners.” Gavin Le Grand looked like a person would look if they lived by themselves out in the woods for years. Long black and gray hair with a thick beard. A coat that was more quilt than original material and boots with duct tape around the soles. We made it to his cabin about twenty minutes later. It’s most likely a good thing I left my tech guy back at HQ. The client’s cabin has no electricity. He uses a hand crank to generate power for a radio. No cell phone towers mean no cell phones. The satellite phone doesn’t work in the valley were his cabin is. With all that there is no internet access. Even the cheap two-way radios I brought would be limited to a short range because of the mountains. The Canadian government limited us to basally weaponry a person would use to hunt with. I have my M1a rifle and a Smith & Wesson 500 with a four-inch barrel just in case we run into a bear. The round will most likely just piss the bear off but it makes me feel safer.
With the dream team in Africa I have what was left. Phil is acting as my second on this job. He is maybe 5ft 3” with a bald head and bright orange sideburns for some reason. He’s short but good with a knife and deadly with the Winchester model 70 he is packing. Next to him is Janet. She is about 5ft 9” with almost white long blonde hair. As a member of a SWAT team in Los Angles she was hit with friendly fire in a raid. The shot cost her a left hand and we gained a person who knows tactics. Only if she would use her knowledge in the field. The final player in this little game is Jimmy. Jimmy is a 6ft tall white boy from southern Georgia. His brother Bobby is a long-time employee who said Jimmy would be a natural fit. In his time, he has shot a hole in the roof, set off a flash bang in a car being used for surveillance and just recently said to TC that he was better at hand-to-hand than her. Fifteen seconds into the fight he was slapping his hand to the mat trying to stop the fight without having to say, “TC is the woman.”
In his cabin, the client explained his troubles. In a word, Russians. He said the Russians invaded and set up camp in the hills. As he spoke I just thought about the vacation I could have taken. Maybe on a beach or fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Then he spoke of the flag the Russians erected in their camp. A red flag with a hammer and sickle. The flag of the Soviet Union. Once again, I found myself explaining to my team what something was. To some of them the USSR was just the villain in the fourth Rocky movie. The Soviet Union ended in 1991 twenty-five years ago. The client said, “from the look of the camp they have been here for at least thirty years.” This was the slowest invasion I ever heard of.
That night using a map the client provided Janet and I snuck over to their camp to see what was what. At first their camp looked like a recreation of Jamestown fort. A triangular palisade made of local trees with one main building and several smaller buildings. On a makeshift pole was the old Soviet Flagg. It felt like staring into someone’s strange fan fiction. They had men dressed in old Soviet army uniforms walking the perimeter. Each of them had an AK47. With a count of forty all of them packing AKs we were very out matched. We are a well-armed hunting party they are an army. We tried to quietly exfiltrate from the scene when Janet dropped her handgun. She hadn’t secured the gun in place. It didn’t go off that is something for the movies, but it did make a noise. Then as if to make sure they knew we were there she yields, “DARN.”
We ran for the cabin with about a dozen angry Russians following us. Nearly with in site of the cabin I could finally use the radio and alert them to what was coming. Phil closed the shutters and barricaded the windows from the inside. As we approached some rounds went by my head and into the cabin’s structure. We made it in just as the Russians opened fire. The logs of the cabin are thick and could take a beating. The client looked at me and said, “now I could have done this!” From the outside, we could hear in a thick Russian accent, “Yankee come out we only shoot you once.” Jimmy yelled back, “surrender now and we will go easy on you.” I just looked at him and shook my head. Outside the Russians were laughing.
Within ten minutes the entire camp was surrounding us. An older Russian most likely their commander stepped up in front of his men and spoke, “evil capitalist pigs you have no chance the red army is here to free the workers and cleanse the land.” He spoke as if he was reading from a script. In fact, he had a paper in his hand. The client looked at me and said, “you don’t think I’m going to pay you for this.” I responded, “the check already cleared.” The Russian commander walked up to the door and knocked. And I swear to god he made a joke. He said, “Fuller brush salesman.” Then he said, “can I borrow a cup of sugar?” I started to hand my rifle to Janet then thought again and gave it to Phil. Then I answered the door. As the door opened the solders tensed up and aimed. With a wave of an arms they lowered their rifles. I invited him in.
Inside I offered him a cup of coffee. He took the cup and smelled the contents. He said he hadn’t had a cup of coffee since their supplies ran out about twenty years ago. He and his men were sent into the woods to prepare for an invasion to happen in 1987. They were just waiting for the signal. A signal that was thirty years in the waiting. I tried to tell him about that has happened in the last thirty years but he just didn’t believe me. They were dedicated solders and would wait until the last for orders. I gave him my satellite phone and suggested he call home. He would have to go up the mountain to make the call. He hadn’t seen anything like it. On his way out he said, “if this is all a lie then we will burn the cabin down and shoot anyone who tries to exit it.” Outside he spoke something in Russian to his men. Then he handed the phone to a younger officer who took off for the mountain. Younger as in maybe sixty. That is when the shit hit the fan.
One of the Russians stepped on a trap the client had set for bears. A snap and a scream then hot lead. They opened fire on the cabin. It was a cacophony of sounds with gunfire, smashing logs and distant screaming. The windows imploded into the cabin with shutter shrapnel flying inside into the blankets Phil hung. After three minutes the gunfire stopped. The cabin then shifted to one side as first the foundation failed then some of the logs started to split. The client said, “I want my money back.”
About an hour later the officer with the phone came back. He said something in Russian to their commander. I really should learn some Russian. Then the commander turned to the cabin and said, “is everyone alive inside.” I yelled back, “so far.” As it turned out the battery died during the call to Moscow. At first Moscow didn’t believe they were who they said they were. That makes two of us. After authenticating themselves with janitor that was once a solder in the red army they were ordered to stand down and wait. Then the phone died. The commander said, “until we receive complete orders we will stand down and wait here in the woods.” Over the next couple of days, the solders helped rebuild the cabin. By the end of the week a plane flew over with a better satellite phone with a built-in hand crank. They were informed that they were relieved of duty and needed to go home.
Some decided to go while a few including Ivan the commander decided to stay. Hey, spent most of their lives here and didn’t want to go back. Russia tried to explain that they were an embarrassment to their countries past and could hurt their current relations. If they don’t come back then they won’t get any support from the government. That was just fine for Ivan. Eventually all the men decided to stay in the woods. Even the client Gavin Le Grand moved in with the solders. He said he finally felt safe from the alien menace with these armed men. So somewhere north in Canada you will find a small piece of occupied territory won by Communist Russian forces who wouldn’t mind if you sent them some coffee. And yes, I paid the money back.
Edward Franko was the de facto mayor of the town. He operated his little kingdom free from police intervention. He was the police. Well sort of. About six years ago he took over the town by kidnapping the police chief’s wife and children. The chief’s wife is also the mayor’s daughter. The real mayor. Franko knows that as long as the mayor is in office he can do as he sees fit. In the last election, the mayor ran unopposed. A city councilman once proposed a term limit for the mayor. He and his whole family died in a tragic fire set by Franko’s de facto police. In his desperation, the mayor call for help from an unlikely source.
We are a specialist service dealing in quiet interventions around the world. Ok, we are mercenaries hired to take out targets, rescue hostages, and do whatever needs to be done. One day we are in the desert attacking insurgents the next day in the jungles of South America hitting coca plantations. We do it all. To hire us all you do is send a request on our website. No really, we have a website. The site looks like any other shop from home service. To order you need to know the codes and how to order. Without the right code an order of a rack of short ribs with sauce will get you the beginnings of a great barbeque. With the right codes, you will be ordering a hostage rescue. You must know one of us or a specialized broker to have one of the codes. The mayor knew my right-hand woman. He and the mayor’s younger son served in the army together.
On the site the mayor ordered a rack of ribs for four with corn and potatoes. A rescue of a woman and children. He also ordered a full desert. This meant leave none of the aggressors alive. The site directs the user to a special pay application that diverts the user to a phone number to call. On the phone a meeting is planned to talk price and time. In the call the mayor wanted it done fast and he didn’t care about the cost. Within two hours we were face-to-face with the mayor in an International House of Pancakes. He told us how it all started.
One day without an appointment this man walks into the mayor’s office. He hand’s the mayor an envelope and then moves over to a couch across from the mayor. The envelope contains pictures of the mayor’s daughter and his grandkids bound and gagged. He told the mayor the security would be fine if the mayor the chief did as they were told. He would call the mayor’s family “the security” whenever they spoke. That was six years ago. He thought that at reelection he would get his family back but anyone who considered running against him would find themselves having a tragic and final accident. The last one was killed in a one car collision with a tree and several baseball bats. Then came the fire that killed the councilman, his wife and seven kids. The kids were the breaking point for us. This one would be on the house.
Within an hour our cyber tech had the blueprints of the house and satellite photos of the grounds. Not even well placed thugs can get around building codes and eyes in the sky. The house was a large brick colonial with a massive brick and iron gate around the perimeter. A driveway went in a crescent shape from one gate with a guard post to another without one. a clear entrance and exit point. The plans also laid out the services coming in. there was just one point with all services from gas to cable lines. In the back was another gate with no signs of access points. Using infrared cameras, a team sent to do a visual recon found twelve heat signatures. The hostages were most likely in the basement. About ten feet from the fence all wireless signals dropped. They had a jammer.
In the recon, we found out the owner had the house swept for listening devices every other week. It seemed silly with the jammer, but I guess paranoia can make a man do strange things. We decided to use this to our advantage. We bought the service he used for “bug” detection and went in. At the gate we were searched. They took any phones and anything that looked “funny” to the guards. In the recon, we found the basement. It had a metal door with a keypad on it but no knob. It did have a place to read a keycard in the keypad. That night we devised a plan.
When doing these kind of operations, we never refer to each other by our names. Our codes were simple I was number-one my second on command was number two. All together we went from one to nine with number seven and eight in the panel truck. Number nine was in a van nearby for a quick exit. That left six of us for the raid. Two would secure the ground floor. Two would take the second floor. The last two would find a way into the basement. We would go in saying how a malfunction in our equipment could have provided a false negative for bugs. After watching us most of the day yesterday the guards would be a little more at ease with our presence.
Inside the house, we started the fake scans. As the guard nearest me turned away I struck. Using a suppressed Glock 26 I shot him in the back of the head. At the same time number-thee shot the other guard nearby. Two down ten to go. In the kitchen, we found five men sitting around a table eating and watching soccer (football). Whey were so interested in the game they didn’t hear the shots in the next room. From the time we entered to the last shot it was maybe six seconds. Only one had time to react. Just not fast enough. Upstairs number-two and number-four searched the bedrooms except for the master. They found and ended three more thugs. I went up to meet with number-two as number-three went out to find the breaker box. He found it in a small building just outside of the house. He cut the cable service lines. This would effectively cut off the voice-over-internet phone service. With the jammer active, the house was silent. Number-five and number-six found the basement door unguarded. Number-three found a cardkey on the table in the kitchen and went into the basement. Outside on the roof of the panel tuck number-seven using a Springfield M1A with a suppressor took out the guards at the guard post and by the front door.
The three of us gathered at the door to the master suite. I knocked. From inside a man yell, “not now I’m working.” I knocked again. A thump sounded out as a man got off a bed and walked to the door. Franko opened the door wearing a bathrobe open in the front defeating the purpose of putting on the robe. Before he could speak I shot him in the knees. He fell backward. Number-two and number-four shot him in the shoulders. His arms fell to his sides limp. In the room was the mayor’s daughter bruised and bloody trying to cover herself with every blanket and pillow on the bed. It was clear what this man meant by working. I went over to Franko and said, “consider this a recall mister mayor” then I shot him in the head. That is when an alarm sounded.
When it was all done, we realized you most likely needed both a keycard and a code to enter the basement. Without the code the alarm sounds. A voice came across the once dead radio, “Jammer down.” This was most likely done automatic so a signal could be sent out. We had to go now. number-two stayed with the mother and helped her clean up so her kids wouldn’t see the blood. She felt the mayor’s daughter would feel more at ease with a woman helping her clean up and dress. Four or five minutes later they came out of the bathroom. She was bruised but no longer bloody wearing men’s pants and a shirt way too big for her small frame. On the way out of the bedroom she stopped to look at Franko then kicked him in the misshapen head. Then the other head. On the ground floor, she met up with her children. Two daughters ages eleven and nine and her seven-year-old son. Both gates opened and number-nine pulled in. About ten minutes after we started we were off the property.
We let the daughter call her father to tell the news. Right after the call the police chief sent out an alert. Within an hour every known illegal and some legal activities of Franco’s was raided and shut down. In all over seventeen dealers, five pimps and nine chop shops were hit. Most of the raids left no one for trial. A week later the mayor stepped down and retired from public life. With his daughter and grandchildren reunited with his son-in-law he felt his job was done. He couldn’t see himself doing a job a thug like Franko help him keep. The first act the of the new mayor was to help put in place a term limit on the job.
The Nazis next door
Stinky is walking the fence. Ok, I call him stinky because he needs a name and I don’t care what his really is. He’s filthy, in dirty camo and hair that looks like he hasn’t washed it in weeks. He has an AK 74 with a flashlight duct taped to the forward grip. There are maybe twenty magazines attached to him. He couldn’t move quickly much less fight effectively. If he worked for me he wouldn’t for long. As stinky walked away another guard came up. I call this one Bubba. A good old boy in jeans and a flannel shirt over wife beater. A double barrel shotgun over his shoulder and a 357-colt python with an 8-inch barrel. The handgun is so long he had to cut a hole in the holster to make it fit. Making the look complete he has a trucker hat overtop of what looks like a mullet. Every time I see him I think of the intro to the old television show Hee-Haw. Two men walk a five-mile perimeter surrounding what was billed as an army of racists. This could be easy.
A month ago, a local farmer hired us to “do something” about his neighbors. A survivalist group bought the farm next door. The first thing they did was build a large metal fence around the property. At the gate, they erected a sign proclaiming themselves free and powerful. As in white power with swastikas and everything. At last count, they had around fifty people on the property. Farming, building housing, digging holes and burning crosses. During this time, the farmer has noticed his corn crop near the fence disappearing. He has lost some equipment and fencing. After calling the police about the missing property he was visited by a couple of his new neighbors. They broke his glasses then set fire to his chicken coop with the chickens inside. He couldn’t call the police again. He knew a guy who knew another guy who knew us.
I run a specialist service dealing in security. To most we are mercenaries. Paid thugs with guns and no morals. The people who work for me will attest that we have plenty of morals. We keep them in your wife’s nightstand. We don’t take jobs for drug cartels, terrorists, oppressive governments or the girl scouts. But the girl scout one is a longer story. Let’s just say cookies can be a cut-throat business. Most of the people working for me are former military or police. Most didn’t see any action. My second and head of operations is a woman named Tima Cocks. Most people call her TC. She’s about 6’ 3” with a deep ebony skin and long twisted multi colored braids. She calls them a Senegalese twist. She was born in Senegal but moved with her parents to America before she turned two. Her father is an American doctor working for The World Health Organization and her mother was working as an interpreter for them. Every year she spends about a month in Senegal connecting to where she came from. It’s a pretty place if you can get past everyone speaking French. Most clients look at TC as one would look at a supermodel if one showed up with an AR-15 in her arms and a Glock 19 strapped to her side. When she likes, me she calls me Jack and when she doesn’t then I’m whitey. I hear whitey a lot.
While I watch the main gate TC and another man named Ted watch from the farmer’s property with the thermal imaging camera. Ted is new. 5’ 10” white guy with a crewcut and scar running down his check. Just before he was to join the army he was in an accident on his motorcycle. The crash destroyed his knees. With the replacements, he was ruled unfit to enlist. Their loss is our gain. Ted is an excellent shot and a wiz with the fancy expensive camera.
Looking at the compound a frontal assault would be suicidal or just resemble world war three. Over the radio I hear, “hey whitey is the idiot with all the ammo your brother?” I answer back, “I don’t think I’ll see that guy at synagogue anytime soon. Those Neo-Nazi types don’t seem to like my people much.” She replied, “mine either.” We spent the night collecting data watching dumb asses act like they know what they are doing.
The next day in the techno Twinkie we went over the data. Our mobile command trailer is an old airstream fitted out with all the tech a peeping Tom or in case a peeping Ted would want. Anyone who knows the old airstreams knows they look like a silver Twinkie. Inside the gate there is another large fence. The fancy camera can’t see past it. Using a little barrowed imagery from a satellite we can see the marijuana operation inside the fenced in area. We had a lot of inadmissible evidence but no usable proof. We debated on sending in a spy to join but that sounds like something a stupid television show or movie would do. We need the authorities to pay attention without making this the new Waco.
We sent one of our long-time employees to the gate. His name is Bobby and if any of us fit the bill it’s him. He’s 6’ 5” with curly blonde hair and a blonde goatee. Bobby likes to dress in modern digital camo from his military grade boots to his very unmilitary cowboy hat. To complete the look, he speaks in a deep southern Georgia accent. The kind that makes a Yankee like me say what every other word. Using some captured audio from our surveillance we knew that they needed some ammo for their AR-15s and AKs. Using the name of one of their suppliers he could gain access. He gave them a crate of ammo including some incendiary rounds. Yes, gave them. Built into the box was a special tracker used by the ATF that no one is to know about so don’t tell anyone. It tracks the rounds and acts like a listening device. It only activates if a box is taken out. A group like this is going to inventory the crate so it will active soon. Maybe too soon for our plan. So, we made sure the tracker didn’t function and it could be found by the group. Paranoia can be an effective weapon.
The next day the group doubled their guard. That is when they started to find the painfully obvious listening devices and cameras we planted around the fence. By noon half the population of the compound was walking the grounds. So, send in the drones. Using several drones, we bought online we buzzed the perimeter of the compound. We made sure that one could be shot down. After they shot twenty or thirty rounds at it we gave up and crashed it into the fence. The drone had on a plate on the bottom Property of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That night the grounds were littered with extension cords and spot lights.
We rented a couple of black Suburban SUVs the kind used in the movies by the FBI. Every couple of hours we would take turns driving by the entrance to the compound. At one point, we had TC stop and take a picture of the entrance. She was in a black suit with a white shirt and black tie. Something these jerk offs would find much scarier than an FBI agent. A black female FBI agent. Using a cheap brand of two way radios we started sending messages back and forth. We looked for a type we knew they could listen in on. As we drive by we send messages such as passing target. This went on for two days.
The large contingent of guards left the fence. The group was harvesting their crops and packing up the guns. We now need to call the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI and let them know a large shipment of drugs and guns would be on the road. The FBI just said they would consider it. The DEA hung up. We went to local law enforcement with the evidence. They called the state troopers.
Early in the morning four trucks left the compound. At the state line, they met the law. Every state trooper, every cop from town was out there. Without their compound, there were in the open. In the end, it all ended without a single shot being fired. The compound was raided and all the evidence was collected. It included some plans they made for raiding a supermax prison and blowing up a state capital building. Drug and gun charges quickly became terrorist charges and long terms in jail. A month later, the property was auctioned off to the highest bidder. The farmer bought it.
These are short stories I wrote. Some are connected to the larger books I am working on others are just for the fun of story telling.
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