Thursday, May 1, 2014

Starfish Prime (Blackfox Chronicles) by T.S. O'Neil @tselliot3 #AmReading #Action #Adventure

at 12:00 PM
Wendover, Utah

Lindy Ray Boylin wore a dark brown duster: a long coat made of waterproof oilskin that was originally used by sheepherders and cattle men in Australia, but was recently popularized by the nihilistic set, an ever growing class of losers that exhibited an extreme sense of skepticism of established American values. His corpulent body was hot and uncomfortable, but that didn’t matter right now, as there were more important things in the mix. He wore a black leather skullcap and ear buds that ran to an MP3 player that played violent rap music at skull splitting decibels. A song called “Apathy” reverberated in his head as he purposefully waddled toward his meeting with destiny. The cap made his head sweat, but fuck it, it would all be over in a short while.

He had finally had enough of the soul sucking cruelty from the same cast of characters. The cocksuckers―the jocks and their groupies―had upped the ante on him. It was no longer limited to just making fun of his clothing, black eye shadow and nail polish, and he gravely vowed that he would take no more.

It was late afternoon on Wednesday and Lindy shuffled along Wendover Boulevard in the waning light of the late afternoon sun. He had told Ralphie to meet him outside the west entrance of the mall and ordered the younger, smaller teenager to, “Bring it with you.”
Ralphie Nunus looked up to Lindy. Hell, he looked up to almost everyone, as he was only four foot, eleven inches without the heavy black high heeled boots he wore. With them, he gained three inches in height, but as the other teenagers quickly learned, the slightest tip would cause him to lose his balance and fall. If that wasn’t bad enough, seventeen year old Ralphie already sported a rapidly retreating hairline.

Both of the teens were the result of illegitimate conception. Lindy’s mother, Linda, was a cocktail waitress at the Wendover Casino.

Lindy was the product of an early morning tryst with a particularly heavy tipper. Linda hadn’t even given a lot of thought to a name for the child; she just took her name, dropped the “A” and added a “Y.” The fact that she had given her son a particularly feminine sounding name totally escaped her at the time.

Ralphie had an even darker genesis―his mother had been addicted to both heroin and oxycontin and Ralphie was the product of a late night trick turned to support his mom’s drug habit.  An abortion would have taken valuable drug money away from his mom’s pocket; so she continued to use and turn tricks right up until the moment Ralphie was born―two months premature.

“Shit, some perverts actually pay extra to bang a pregnant whore,” he heard her say once. She had eventually straightened out enough to get hooked up with an ex-con biker who occasionally found work as a motorcycle mechanic.

She didn’t turn tricks anymore (unless you counted the times the mechanic lent her out to his associates), and she mainly confined her drugging to vodka with the occasional line of cocaine thrown in.

Ralphie took the mechanic’s forty five caliber Colt pistol—fearing Lindy’s wrath should he show up empty handed. The mechanic also had four loaded magazines and Ralphie took them all.

The scene in the hall of Wendover High still reverberated in Ralphie’s mind. He felt his face warm to a crimson hue as he thought about it. One of the jocks tripped Ralphie; Lindy had tried to come to his aid—only to be stunned with a right cross that Lindy never saw coming. To add insult to injury, the jock, Trey Donaldson, had followed that with a punch to the gut, which caused Lindy to double over and throw up all over Ralphie and the floor.

The hallway echoed first in laughter and then disgust when Lindy hurled. Although neither had actually thrown a punch, Ralphie and Lindy were both summarily suspended. 

Donaldson slipped away amongst the throng of teenagers fleeing the odor.

They knew Donaldson would be at the mall. He worked there at a sports shop, selling athletic equipment, called Cleats or some such shit. They had seen him there one day―working the counter like he was a real adult. If they couldn’t get him, Ralphie suspected that Lindy would settle for anyone who got in his way.

He waited by the entrance to the mall facing the four lane boulevard, avoiding eye contact and smoking nervously.

Ralphie wore the same type of duster jacket, a spiked dog collar around his neck, and a pair of black tinted steampunk sunglasses. He saw Lindy cross the street in front and laboriously strut across the parking lot toward him. Lindy’s duster seemed heavily weighted down, and Ralphie suspected that he had brought all of his pistols: the forty caliber Glock, the nine millimeter Smith and Wesson model fifty-nine he had purchased under the table, and the AMT Back-up he had taken from his mom’s underwear drawer. She had bought the small pistol a few years ago after one of her customers started stalking her. Luckily, she had him barred from the casino and that seemed to be the end of it.

Ralphie took one last drag off his cigarette, a Parliament, and flicked it to the curb, drawing a cold stare from a young father escorting his toddler towards the door. The man looked about to say something, but the hulking appearance of Lindy passing by caused an immediate reevaluation of the situation. Instead, he quickly picked up his son, gave the punks a wide berth, and entered the mall.

“You bring it?”

“Yeah, sure, just like you told me,” said Ralphie, reaching into his pocket to draw it out.

“Not here.” Lindy cautioned as he leaned closer to whisper, “We hit the bathroom by Cleats, grab a stall, lock and load, and wait outside the store for the cocksucker to show up. Then, we rock and roll!” Lindy smiled a leering, toothy grin that struck Ralphie as particularly evil. He didn’t want to be here, but he was afraid to back out.

Lindy strode purposefully toward the door, threw it open and beckoned for Ralphie to follow. The bigger teen put his arm paternally around Ralphie and said, “It’s OK, Ralphie― the sign says firearms are not allowed―it will be like shooting fish in a barrel!” He laughed and ushered the smaller teen through the door.

Ralphie felt the coolness of the air conditioned interior waft over his face and he shivered. If he ran, he suspected that Lindy would shoot him in the back, so he continued walking as if in a trance, toward what he felt was a fatal inevitability.

***
Captain Kyle Christiansen was a Marine with the Second Marine Special Operations Battalion, having just returned from a six month deployment in the Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand Province as part of the Special Operations Task Force–West. This meant he was operating in arguably one of Afghanistan's most war torn regions. It’s hard to pick a loser in a country filled with violent shitholes, but Nahr-e Saraj could be equated with living in the worst gang infested neighborhood in Chicago, in terms of violent shootings.

After graduating high school, he attended Brigham Young University and received a degree in Information Systems, completing the requisite course of study in roughly half the time. During the summer, he attended the Missionary Language School and received certifications in Spanish and several indigenous languages including Quechua, the largest surviving indigenous language in the Americas, spoken by between 8 and 12 million speakers.

Since Kyle proved an apt pupil, he also studied the lesser known language of Yanomami, spoken by a group native to the high jungle plains of Venezuela. Kyle spent the year after graduation living among the Yanomami in a rural community along the Oronoco River in southwestern Venezuela.

He built PCs in his spare time and supported himself throughout college by selling them to fellow students. Half a dozen high tech companies, including Apple and Dell offered him a job, but he had other ideas.

Frustrated by the potential to live out the rest of his life as just another IT executive in a multinational tech company, Kyle applied to be an Officer Candidate at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate Course (OCC). He graduated at the top of his class and obtained a Military Occupational Specialty as a Communications Officer―basically the same role he hoped to escape by joining the Corps. After Advanced Training and one boring assignment supervising a staff of IT Specialists at Camp Pendleton, Kyle sat through a recruiting session for MARSOC at the base theater.

Normally, they would not be interested in computer geeks, but even the knuckle draggers of MARSOC occasionally needed to use computers. Too bad they had yet to make a “punch to operate” keyboard, he thought after seeing some of these snake eaters up close.

Capt. Christiansen had orders assigning him temporarily to the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC), a two star billet under the US Special Operations Command. They had kept him in the dark about the mission, but that wasn’t unusual.
Everything in the military was on a need to know basis, even though he had a Top Secret/ Special Compartmented Information clearance with a mandatory lifestyle and Counter Intelligence Polygraph. The lie detector tests meant he was supposed to live a relatively clean and sober existence as part of the government’s risk management strategy.

Kyle was also a devout Mormon, which meant he was equally religious and patriotic―with the additional benefit of living a temperate life. In short, his lifestyle made the need for a polygraph wholly superfluous.

Kyle, however, was not without his guilty pleasures―it would be too much of a reach to call them vices. On occasion, he indulged his weakness for movies and attended the cinema. He liked history and had a particular fascination with American Indians, as they were believed by the Mormons to be a lost tribe of Israel.

The movie Pathfinder was opening nationwide and Kyle thought it might be an interesting film. It involved two of his favorite historical groups: American Indians and Vikings. He figured he would kill the evening with a cheeseburger, milkshake and a movie.

It was Wednesday afternoon and he had just graduated from the HAHO Course conducted by the Airborne Mobile Training Team (AMTT), a MARSOC Team that supported the line battalions by providing on the road parachute training from basic static line, up to and including high altitude jumps. They had pulled him from a choice assignment as the Executive Officer, or XO, with the Marine Special Operations School at Camp Lejeune and rushed him to the High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) course so he could “strap hang” with a bunch of Marines from the 3rd Battalion and learn the ins and outs of high altitude parachuting.

HAHO jumps are primarily used to clandestinely insert Special Operations Forces into hostile territory. Opening the canopy at a high altitude allowed the jumper to navigate over large stretches of terrain of forty miles or more while remaining relatively hidden from casual observation of the night sky. The only problem was the lack of oxygen at high altitude. The jumper would need to use bottled oxygen to compensate.

The course was only designed to give him a basic understanding of the skill that he was curtly informed he would need to master for his follow on mission. He was also told there might be some time squeezed in during mission prep to allow for a few practice jumps. Kyle hoped he could sufficiently master the requisite skill so as not to hinder the success of the mission or be a burden to his teammates.

Kyle was ready for whatever the future and MARSOC held for him and he had just one more night to spend in Utah as a dedicated aviation asset would transport him directly to MARSOC Headquarters the following morning.

The cab dropped him off at the west entrance to the Wendover Galleria, directly across from the Multiplex Cinema. The movie didn’t start until six forty, so Kyle headed to the mall’s food court for a burger and shake. He bought a Big Mac with extra cheese and a chocolate shake at Mickey Ds and settled down at a brushed aluminum table to wolf it down. The burger disappeared in four bites and he turned his attention to the shake.

It was then that he looked up through the atrium and spied two teenagers wearing ankle length oilskin coats, milling around nervously and talking in hushed tones. Both had their hands thrust deeply into the pockets of their dusters, which seemed to indicate they were both holding something in their hands. The combination of over four years of rigorous training in Recon and then MARSOC’s Individual training Course and two combat tours told him that something was seriously wrong. He got up and started to head to the escalator directly in front of him and heard the unmistakable sound of a pistol round firing and echoing throughout the hallway.

Kyle broke into a run at full speed, reaching the escalator and taking the stairs four at a time, ordering others in front of him out of the way with a loud and stern command of, “MOVE!”
He reached the top of the escalator and immediately sought cover behind the landing. A guardrail of tempered glass holding large rectangles of polished steel surrounded the atrium. The metal rectangles would partially shield him from observation until he reached the corner and then he would be exposed. He would have to hope the shooters were otherwise occupied.

He high crawled to the corner of the atrium and peeked around the corner. He was shocked by what he saw; at least ten patrons cowered on the tile floor as the two teenagers fired randomly at those fleeing the scene.

This was not going to get any better with time and that same constraint meant his plan would have to be simple. Kyle instinctively reached for the personal sidearm he customarily carried and cursed as he remembered that he hadn’t taken it with him to Utah. He figured that sooner or later, the teens would notice one of the cowering patrons and the body count would start. Kyle exploded forward from the crouch, closing the approximate 40 feet between him and the shooters in about three seconds― it seemed like forever. He specifically targeted the larger teen as he appeared the greater threat.

The teen partially had his back to him, pointing the weapon at a blond haired youth sprawled on the floor in front of him. Kyle drove his shoulder into the middle of the fat teen’s back with the linear force of 220 pounds of lean muscle mass moving at fifteen miles per hour. The impact sent Lindy careening forward, his chin hitting the tile floor with an audible crack. One of the pistols clattered to the ground and Kyle scrambled after it, snatching it off the floor and leveling it at the other teen, just as a forty five caliber round struck him in his right shoulder.

Kyle uncharacteristically swore under his breath and felt the pistol begin to slip from his hand. Luckily, MARSOC had trained him to fire with his weak hand. He reached over with his left hand and grabbed the Glock from his now lifeless right arm.

Another round shattered against the tile wall behind him and Kyle knew he didn’t have much time. He raised the Glock toward the skinny teen and squeezed off three rounds in rapid succession.

All three bullets struck Ralphie in his birdlike chest, killing him before his body reached the floor. Kyle visibly sighed in relief and then felt the cold rush of adrenaline induced anxiety when he realized he had forgotten about the other teen.

He turned just as Lindy fired the AMT Backup until it was empty―four of six .380 caliber rounds struck Kyle in his midsection. He felt the impact of the small rounds followed by the immediate pain associated with a gut wound, and knew it was bad.

Even in dying, there was always something left to do and Kyle felt he would be damned forever if he let this unrepentant sinner escape divine justice delivered by a human proxy. He expertly aligned the front sight post of the Glock with the rear sight and emptied the remaining rounds into Lindy Ray Boylin’s chest and head―thus prematurely ending a misguided and wasted life before it could do any more damage.

The police cars arrived on the scene twelve minutes after the first 911 call was made. The first two man patrol to respond found little more than a bunch of hysterical shoppers and three dead bodies. Had Kyle Christiansen not been there, a lot more people would have died. A detective removed Kyle’s wallet from his body, found his military ID and called Hill Air Force Base to see if he was assigned there. “A Marine Captain,” he said to no one in particular. After a few minutes, he got his answer.

The detective made a cursory inspection of the bodies of the teenagers and found the bullets had been delivered with the exactness of someone well versed in precision shooting. He interviewed several witnesses and began to take statements and they all basically said the same thing. “It would have been a lot worse, had it not been for a good guy with a gun.”
The detective looked at the dead body of the Marine that one of the uniformed cops had covered with a blanket acquired from a nearby store and then did something he hadn’t done in over a decade. He smartly brought the heels of his rubber soled shoes together, conveyed the knife edge of his hand up to the side of his head and saluted the dead Marine. 

“Godspeed, Sir!”

At eight thirty five that evening, the duty officer at the MARSOC Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility was notified by the staff duty officer that an incoming team member for a pending contingency mission had been killed and was therefore, no longer available for temporary duty at the Command.

StarfishPrime (1)

Michael Blackfox thought he'd left Marine Force Recon behind, but they had other ideas

The best trained man for a high risk mission is dead and Blackfox is uniquely qualified to be the heir apparent. The trouble is he and his father are currently fugitives on the run from the law.

˃˃˃ Marine Special Operations roughly brings Michael back into the fold, while allowing his father to be arrested and extradited. If Michael cooperates, the government will go easy on his dad.

A Russian arms dealer recovers an ICBM from Iraq during the invasion and sells it to the Iranians. They commission him to reconfigure the missile as an electromagnetic pulse weapon that, if fired, will destroy all electronics in the United States--effectively plunging the country back to the nineteenth century.

The launch pad and assembly building are deep within the Venezuelan jungle. The missile's telemetry system is hosted by a closed network. Michael's job is to parachute into the jungle with a team of Marine Special Operators, hack into the network and deliver a virus that will destroy the missile, while making it all look like an accident

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Action, Adventure
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with T.S. O'Neil through Facebook & Twitter
Website www.tsoneil.com


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