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Rescue

Rescue

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Rescue

Lunghezza:
278 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 31, 2020
ISBN:
9781640962514
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Human trafficking, slavery, and the horrors associated with it are still a common occurrence even in this modern age. Throughout the world, young children and adults disappear every day. Many willfully pay to try to find their way to a better life, but monetary or forced services for payment can exact a terrible toll. Some are kidnapped or sold into slavery, and others suffer even worse, ending up in brothels or abused and used for unimaginable purposes. Many are never seen again, with only a

Pubblicato:
Jan 31, 2020
ISBN:
9781640962514
Formato:
Libro

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Rescue - Ray Blackhall

ones.

Chapter

1

Rescue

They were meant for each other, one way or another. It wasn’t just fate that brought them together. She had a personal—very personal—reason for joining the effort. He was an ex-Navy SEAL, decorated, with the same heartfelt reason to join, because of a close friend’s unclosed case of her own. The evil they were chasing was worse than mindless barbarian terrorists; their target, even more terrible. John Abbott would be the hunter. With the help of his knockout brunette assistant and mission director Pamela Walsh, they would hunt their targets, eliminate what they could, and, with the help of the almighty, bring some hostages home.

Pam Walsh was a model with a super brain. John was amazed at her abilities. She graduated at the top of her class as an undergrad, majoring in both computer sciences and communications. Pam could have chosen her school for postgrad work or a PhD and gotten a free ride, a full scholarship, or grant. But then the unthinkable happened.

Her career went sideways. Pam had the perfect skill set, and considering her present situation, she was very pleased to use her skills for the betterment of mankind. Helping to eliminate the world of its lowest form of life was a calling she could not refuse. She had volunteered immediately and taken to the training like a starved dog given fresh meat. There were only a handful of very intelligent people chosen to compete for a potential position in the program. From the start of training, Pam was the easy bet to win that position.

There were seven candidates in the initial phase of training classes, four men and three women. All were excellent physical specimens, with a mix of looks, but Pam was the only beauty. Competition was fierce on tests of mind and body. The special problem solving proved difficult at best, but her evaluators were more than impressed with what they witnessed and scored. It became a six versus one effort after the first few weeks of training. The guys threw her down hard in the early physical fitness drills and hand-to-hand combat lessons. She took some hard falls but held her own very well, and she scored some impressive take downs, inflicting enough pain to earn respect. The guys all took a pass at her at some point during restless tired evenings after classes and dinner.

Her selection to lead the new organization became final after their last test of intelligence and stamina. When she finally secured the new job, her first responsibility was to create the secure computer system that the effort demanded. She attacked the assignment with vigor, like when she put her mind to any task.

John Abbott came to the team by a different route entirely. He was very intelligent and creative too. His skills were exceptional and honed sharp by years of Navy SEAL experience, including two long tours in the Middle East. Deep in the jungle or whipped by desert sands, he was comfortable and able to withstand hardships that might make some men shudder. His SEAL missions were almost all classified or off the record. His citations and mission record ribbons that were awarded were attached to his one dress uniform suit coat that he still had for special occasions, usually when a comrade in arms passed or he received another one of those ribbons.

John was a marksman and survivalist extraordinaire. He carried the weapon terrorists feared as much as helicopters, the fifty caliber sniper rifle. While deployed in country, he made a number of legendary long-range shots, eliminating many murdering killers. He was also versatile in close-range combat and silent methods. His credentials included an impressive military career, respectable academy grades, and two stays in hospitals recovering from wounds he received in combat.

At six-foot-three and over two hundred thirty-five pounds of lean muscle, John was an impressive male specimen. His dark wavy hair and chiseled facial features made him a rough but handsome man who looked younger than his actual years. He could run or swim for miles and showed no evidence of his previous injuries. He faced any obstacle with a determined grit that made him a standout since the beginning of his career in the military.

When he heard about the program, the effort codenamed Lost Years, he also jumped at the opportunity. The unthinkable crime had happened to a close friend of his, the woman he almost married. He had grieved with her and sworn to do whatever he could to find her daughter and, if possible, to bring her home. John had no competition for the other top position on the new team. He was the natural and best choice by the highest level bureaucrats at the CIA. He was told that he could handpick the rest of his team. The CIA would supply contacts and tactical support info, even prearranged safe houses where possible, but John was hands off unless he needed urgent assistance, and that would be available 24-7 almost anywhere in the world.

The new organization was based in Washington, DC, and would operate out of Langley Field. What the CIA knew about human trafficking was fed into Pam’s computer after extensive safety checks and security measures were in place. Since her daughter’s disappearance, she had compiled a vast database of her own. With access to the best high-resolution satellites in orbit and a number of secret surveillance drones, she had abilities to mesh databases as never before, and to search for tiny ambiguities never considered important.

John’s main source of stress would originate from the absolute need to succeed at any cost with minimum or no friendly collateral damage. John had confidence that he could, and would, accomplish his missions. Even with a very dangerous career, he was still winning, and the score remained: John, a bunch; the enemy, two near misses.

Chapter

2

The First Mission

They were coming in low and fast; their landing zone, not too far distant. Their high-speed stealth helicopters were invisible to local radar. John Abbott was in the front right seat, leader of his four-man insertion team. His three expert associates for this mission were packed in neatly, with their gear in the main cargo space. The pilot held the control sticks in case some threat needed non-machine attention, but the craft was being flown by computer, by the program Pam developed. Following the terrain contours, skimming the trees, moving at more than three hundred miles per hour, no lights, everyone on board petrified; they were confident that their training and expertise would provide the best possible results for this mission.

Red lights flashed, the countdown was on. When they turned to green they were out of the chopper, now hovering at twenty feet. Green and go; they jumped out the doors, swung down the lines, and hit the ground, securing their LZ and gathering their gear from the drop net. John gave hand signals the four could see with their night vision equipment. Gear gathered, weapons hot, evidence of their arrival carefully erased, the team set out for their first rendezvous point.

John reviewed, in his head, the intelligence report. One useless, drug-running, miserable soul had seen enough. Just enough of his Christian upbringing had stayed in his brain to do the right thing. He’d seen the horrors firsthand, seen the brutality, the cold callous mistreatment of young people sold as slaves and worse. This man had decided to confess to his town’s priest. The father was smart to get him to return the next day so that they could consult again.

The priest had also done the right thing and called the police. Pam’s network picked up the call, and the team was dispatched within hours. The goal was to capture this soul seeking redemption and, perhaps, find their way into the intricate trade of humans, hit it hard and, hopefully, bring some home. He was their first target. They would be sitting beside the priest when the troubled soul returned. The local police showed little interest in the priest’s story.

No training or amount of practice could prepare them for whatever the actual mission and its surprises had in store for them. This was the real thing. High-powered ammo, silenced weapons, adrenaline streaming; they were now in hostile territory. From this point on, everything that happened had to be by the plan. No freelance adaptation was allowed unless there was no alternative.

They arrived in the small sleepy town of Francisco within twenty hours. Two hours had been used for rest, the remainder was a hard, steady, stealthy walk. So far, their luck had been good; no locals run into, and no police activity at all. They had no description of the target, no picture, not even a description from the priest who had been on the other side of the confession screen. John and the team had to hope that the man would return, not have a change of heart, and not just disappear in fear but come back to save himself. At nine thirty that evening, a slightly built, medium height Hispanic man knocked on the church door. He was wringing his straw hat in his hands, anxious to get inside, seeking the comfort of the church that had made him feel wanted in his youth. The priest met him inside and took the man’s hand in his, saying, I’m glad you came back, I knew you would. You are the man who saw the terrible things.

Yes, Father, it is me.

Before he could utter another sound, he was surrounded by four fierce-looking men with angry looking weapons. The universal finger-to-lips silence signal followed. The captive obeyed without question or hesitation. He knew that the alternative was a quick death, but he wanted to tell his story to anyone who would listen.

He was bound and gagged, a rough hood pulled over his head. He was shoved toward the open side door of a nondescript-looking dusty van. The team wanted the fear factor to have time to take full effect. They uttered no words and put their booted feet on the captive lying face-down on the van floor. When the van skidded to a gravel-throwing stop, their quarry was jerked from the van, landing hard on his side. He cringed and curled up in fear, crying for his life, now totally convinced that his captors were members of his drug cartel, ready to eliminate any trace of him. He was certain that his life would soon end with considerable torture to induce maximum pain, the normal punishment for one who betrayed the cartel.

When the hood was removed, he blinked his eyes and could not believe what lay before him. He was sitting inside a tent with computers, maps, and lots of weapons. One pistol was aimed directly at his head. Holding the pistol in one hand was a crazy-looking oriental fellow with a very long needle in the other hand and a very big ear-to-ear grin. A strong-looking man with large muscles turned to him and, in Spanish, said, You have one chance to tell us what you know and what we want to hear. After that we extract what we want and you suffer. Simple choice, make it now.

OK. I talk. Who are you and what do you want.

The next voice scared him even more when it asked, What is your name?

My name is Victor Hernandez.

All right, Victor, relax. We are not the enemy. We understand that you may have information about a human-trafficking ring down here.

When he heard those words, Victor broke down. He thanked the Virgin Mary and began telling everything he knew about the criminals he had worked for: names, places, inside plans; exactly what the team needed to accomplish their tasks. Victor would be provided transportation out of the area, a safe place to stay, and begin a new life when he was drained of all intel.

John fed all of the garnered information to the satellite via his secure connection, knowing that Pam would be evaluating it, integrating it into their mission plan, and updating the schedule to fit. The new system was working well and would put them on site to begin surveillance within hours. In the meantime, they had another rendezvous to keep: meeting with their local backup, four trusted specialists recruited to help on the ground. The attack and op team would consist of eight experienced combat veterans.

The locals supplied a truck, on loan from one of the town’s fruit and vegetable vendors whose brother was their driver. John knew the head of their local help personally or he would never have allowed the four to join. The bad guys here had lots of guns and plenty of help to use them. Their plan called for complete surprise, quick in, quick out, hold up for a day or two at a safe house, and then get any freed hostages out of the country.

Their first day or two on site consisted of passive observation from afar by John and his team, accompanied by surveillance up close by the locals, and evaluation of defenses, detection devices, and warning or alarm systems. Only after the picture of their environment was complete would they take action. Until then, they replayed their specific assignments in their head, remained patient, and prepared their equipment.

John’s second on the mission was his old Aussie friend, Maj. Jonathan Caulder. He was as good as they got in special forces ops, survival, evasion, and expert in all weapons and munitions. His Asian team member with the big grin was Col. Idachi Hitman Winn, a black belt in whatever you named. He could do more damage with his hands and feet than most people could imagine. His skills with throwing knives were described as incredible. He was a Parkour champion and an expert in emergency medical treatments. Lastly, one of John’s most trusted compatriots. Matt Moore was his spotter during his tours as a sniper, and an expert marksman himself. He spoke Spanish fluently, could think on his feet, and was a proven survivor in several battles where he was outnumbered, pinned down, and lacked air support, but somehow turned the tide and saved the men under his command.

They made a formidable attack force, but there were still many unknowns to minimize before they made any specific moves on the adversary. Several vehicles came and went from their target compound. By the looks of the expensive cars and SUVs, armed escorts, and guards, this place had a well-to-do clientele. The compound had tall cinder block walls with cameras, grounds patrols, a guarded gate house, motion lights, a couple of mean dogs, and what appeared to be a sandbagged machine gun emplacement near the formidable front door to the main building. The aged, drab rock walls of the bottom story of the building were covered with patches of brown iron staining. The upper floor was brick and adobe trim with heavily barred windows, giving it the look of an old prison. The flat roof was large enough to accommodate a small shack where a stairway allowed roof access, a heliport, and was enclosed by a three foot wall. Security looked daunting but not necessarily impenetrable.

John and Pam reviewed the revised plan for the attack on the compound, making one change from the original. The target was divided into four basic quadrants: the first, the front gate and front walls; second, the back entrance; third, the roof; and last, the front door. Only seven would take part in the actual assault. Matt Moore would be atop the abandoned, unfinished two-story building across the road with his high-powered, silenced sniper rifle. His first task was to eliminate the two rooftop guards. From his perch, he could also see over the top of the wall with a direct line of sight to the front door guard team. He could see the gunner sitting behind the sandbagged machine gun emplacement. Matt was amazed that the bored-looking guards had not stationed someone at the exact point he would be, where he could take out as many threats as possible.

The assault team consisted of five hitting the front and two hitting the back after the frontal attack began and drew attention to that area. John and Hitman Winn would go in the back. Three of the locals were assigned the front gate. They would appear as three stumbling drunks singing their merry way up the street, which ran parallel to the front wall and entrance. The hope was that the gate guards would open the gate to chase off the drunks. If not, the guards would die in a hail of lead, the gate would be quickly blown, and the three would dash inside.

While the three-man gate team attacked, Jonathan Caulder planned to climb atop the fence, taking out guards and smashing the security cameras. His accompaniment on the wall-top at the far corner would be the scar-faced local they called Mongo, named after the popular character in the movie Blazing Saddles. The resemblance was there. If all went well in the first phase of the attack, the roof top, front gate, front door, and grounds guards should be eliminated. Phase two was breaching both entrances. Once inside, they would use whatever was necessary to take control of the compound, including nerve gas if necessary, to quickly secure the main building.

Phase three included assessing the situation with any non-enemy occupants, getting them ready to extract, and preparing them for the exit. Phase four became the actual extraction, including his team and any hostages. The team reviewed the entire plan, including watching a virtual attack provided for the team by Pam. They ran several scenarios for the attack including one showing just how bad a disaster this could become if some failed to secure their part or became a casualty of enemy fire. They had to move fast, show no mercy to the guards, get inside, kick more butt, and get the heck out before the entire town showed up to see what was happening. An ambitious plan against a well-armed adversary. Not the best odds, but the determination and focus of this group was powerful, and they had complete surprise on their side.

John called the team together at breakfast, which consisted of cold cereal, hot coffee, high-nutrition power bars, and fresh fruit. He called for their attention. We are go for tonight, nine pm, weather and town conditions being all that can turn it off. Everyone knows their assignment. You are the best of the best. Mongo, bring the truck at eight. Mongo will drop Hitman and me off a couple of blocks behind the compound. We will walk the rest to our hiding spot. Mongo then drops off three singing drunks one block east of the front east corner, proceeds up the street dropping Jonathan at the east end of the wall. He then drives by, parking the truck up the block west of the compound, circling back on foot to the west corner of the compound wall. Matt will have made his way to the abandoned building from the north and be in his shooting position by the time we all are on site. We all will have real-time, constant communication through your earpieces. Everybody clear and ready? Let’s put these lowlifes out of business.

The evening settled over the village of Francisco, a warm and friendly sunset, gentle breeze, music rising from a cantina two blocks away. This house-of-horror compound was three blocks from a church and two blocks from dining, dancing, and drinking.

At eight thirty, a dark heavy-duty police truck pulled into the compound driveway. Three people got out and went inside the main building. One was the chief of police, the other two were his bodyguards. The police truck left the compound at eight forty. At eight forty-five, another unexpected guest and customer arrived. He was escorted by three large thugs, his bodyguards.

Pam zoomed in the ultra high-definition cameras on her silent drone floating overhead. She observed everything that happened within the compound walls down on the ground and recorded it all.

She ran the facial recognition analysis as soon as she got a focus on the guest’s face. She had a hit in just a few seconds. She had programmed in the pictures of all the local trash that she had in her files. This hit was the biggest. Nico, the local drug kingpin, an extremely high-value target. This was a chance stroke of good luck, an opportunity to take out another crud ball.

The team understood. More bad guys, more guns, meant more trouble. They taped magazines to magazines for quick-flip reloads on the run. They had to be ready to get off a barrage of firepower to negate any return fire. Now they had even more trained adversaries to contend with.

Slowly, the aged fruit truck made its way up the street. Two blocks behind the compound, a crippled man with a large cane and satchel across his back stepped gingerly from the passenger-side truck door. Thanking the driver, he placed his crutch under his arm and limped away from the truck and started south down the street. Matt Moore’s cane held the long barrel and silencer. The other parts of his weapon, including the all light laser scope, were in his satchel. He could have made it to his shooting perch faster, but his pace was that of an old man needing a cane for balance.

Circling the compound but several blocks away, the truck ambled up a dark street. Two men slipped silently from the rear. Dressed in local garb, their all-black attack attire was worn underneath. No one was out on this street at this secluded dark location, so their exit went unnoticed. The final turn onto Cortez Street that ran in front of the compound was timed to have Matt, John, and Hitman in position.

One block east of the compound on Cortez, three liquor-smelling drunk amigos slipped out of the truck and began serenading. At the east end of the compound, Jonathan rolled from the slow moving truck, disappearing quickly into the shadows. He would be atop the wall, disabling the cameras in exactly two minutes. Mongo had to park the truck a block west of the compound on Cortez, double back on foot to the west compound corner, and scale the wall to his position in that two minutes. At that same moment, three tanked hombres would arrive at the gate with fully automatic weapons on straps

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