Strategic Assets Chapter 1

Strategic Assets Chapter 1

We were only about half a block away from Saint Augustine’s Church when the explosion shattered the morning calm. I saw the ugly black cloud of dust, smoke, and debris billow out from around the corner a fraction of a second before the ground shook with the tooth-rattling boom. Scott and I dove between a van and a box truck, getting into the questionable cover of a crooked brick wall that bordered the narrow lawn on the side of the street. I glanced up at the clear, cold, blue sky, scanning between the barren branches above for fast movers. My hand had instinctively moved for the pistol under my jacket, even though there wasn’t a blessed thing I could do with it if the EDC was bombing Wroclaw. The sky was clear, though, and no more explosions followed that first big one. Instead, gunfire rattled down the street near the church, and yells and screams split the morning air as the smoke rose higher in the sky. Scott and I looked at each other for a second before we both drew our weapons. I pulled the radio out of my back pocket. “Chatty, Deacon,” I called. “Contact at St. Augustine’s.

Strategic Assets Prologue

Strategic Assets Prologue

Yes, it’s getting close. With SPOTREPS coming out in days, Strategic Assets is not far behind. Violent Divisions Grow Sharper Across the US In the aftermath of the mass blackouts and terrorist attacks that all but paralyzed the United States in the early fall, a divide that has lain beneath the surface for years has become all the more bitter and pronounced. States have locked down their points of entry, some using the National Guard, some using a combination of law enforcement, National Guard, and private military companies. Many cities have become sharply divided by area, some neighborhoods becoming veritable fortresses controlled by local groups, which now go openly armed. The right-wing organization calling itself The Triarii has taken control of several Midwestern and Western cities, as well as major supply chains. In the meantime, considerable portions of the Northeast and West Coast appear to be all but completely under the de facto control of the left-wing People’s Revolutionary Action. PRA spokesperson Shirley Wang stated yesterday, “The fascists and racists who have exploited this tragedy are on the move. We have no choice but to act decisively, to stop them by any means necessary. The racist, xenophobic defenders of a corrupt

Crimson Star Chapter 2

Crimson Star Chapter 2

He went in fast, going over the corpse in the doorway and stepping right.  There wasn’t a good place to move in the entryway; it formed a short hallway that opened up on the kitchen in the open central room, with a double door immediately to the left, that was currently closed. The closed door wasn’t the immediate threat, though.  The two men and a woman in the kitchen, the woman coming out of the bedroom beyond with what looked like a semi-auto shotgun, were. He stroked the trigger as he moved, driving forward and slowing just enough that he wouldn’t quite clear the short wall to his right before he dealt with the three threats in front of him.  His first shot took the tall, bald, heavily muscled man, covered in tattoos, high in the chest.  Red blossomed on the man’s white wife-beater and sprayed from his back, spattering the woman with the bobbed hair and red shirt in the face.  She blinked as the man crashed onto his back in front of her, then Huntsman put a bullet through her skull, the thunderclap of the report physically painful in the enclosed space.  Hank could already feel his ears

Crimson Star Chapter 1

Crimson Star Chapter 1

The desert felt downright cold in the hour before dawn. Hank Foss drew back the cutoff sock cuff on his wrist just far enough that he could make out the faintly luminous hands on his watch dial.  Five more minutes.  He slipped the cuff back in place and looked over at Cole Spencer, who lay in the shallow wash next to him. Spencer’s pitch-black face was obscured by a mottled pattern of sand and loam camouflage paint, just as Hank’s considerably lighter complexion was.  He met Hank’s eyes and nodded.  Hank nodded back, then started double-checking himself. He’d handed his rifle, a thoroughly customized 7.62 battle rifle that had started its life as a DPMS Oracle, off to Spencer, along with his assault pack.  All he had left on was his chest rig, his belt kit, and his pistol, a suppressed SIG Tactical 1911.  The holster was a miserably large chunk of nylon strapped to his thigh, but he found it preferable to any of the other carry options, and he couldn’t just carry the damned pistol as his primary. At least, once he was done with this first phase of the operation. Every strap had been taped, every buckle

Crimson Star Prologue

Crimson Star Prologue

New Wave of Murders Hits Baltimore   While estimates are still coming in, at least seventy-two people have been killed in a fresh wave of violence in Baltimore this weekend.  Victims include several police officers, and at least one family of four, identified as Jim and Patty Gorson and their two daughters. Gunfire tore through the night, and social media posts have claimed most of the killings in the name of the Black Kingdom Revolutionaries.  The group’s anonymous spokespersons have said that the killings are in retribution for the Fourth Reich’s assassination of activist Kamal Lamont Granger last week.   Standoff in Detroit   The siege of Harm’s Elementary School enters its second week today.  The leader of The Martyrs of Al Gharb, Abdulqaadir Ismaili Abdi, has issued another statement, claiming that, “The sons and daughters of the filthy kufar will be returned to their unbelieving mothers and fathers one limb, one piece at a time, unless Siad Muhammad Abdi, Ahmed Abu Qadir, and Ali Omar Hersi are freed.  If the Martyrs of Al Gharb do not receive, in addition, five hundred million dollars, we will cut out their tongues before we set them free.  Allahu Akhbar!” Local police still

Kill or Capture Chapter 1

Kill or Capture Chapter 1

Special Agent Vito Castiglione looked up from the spotting scope as the door opened behind him.  Special Agent Cara Hernandez walked into the room and stood next to him, peering out through the black mesh laid over the gap in the curtains. “Aren’t you supposed to be keeping eyes on the objective?” she asked. “Nobody’s budged out of that place in the last thirty-six hours,” Castiglione said dismissively.  “We’ve got the whole place tied up tight.  Besides, have you seen the pictures of this guy?  I don’t think we really have much to worry about.”  The fact that he was admiring the view presented by the willowy, olive-skinned Special Agent next to him was beside the point.  She was much more interesting to look at than the dull, expensive house across the street. She rolled her eyes at him, exasperated.  He just leered back. “Yes, I have seen the photos,” she said.  “Still, you should at least pretend to be taking this warrant seriously.” “What’s to take seriously right now?” Castiglione replied.  “He’s a pasty-white billionaire wanted for bribery, money laundering, and influence peddling.  He’s hardly Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah.  The whole point of putting an Enhanced SWAT team on him

Holding Action Chapter 2

Holding Action Chapter 2

“Shit,” Phil whispered.  “I knew they had a fucking drone up.” I didn’t answer, but scanned the road carefully.  Once again, thanks to the woods, we were far closer than we should have been, but the spotlights weren’t pointed at the woods, not yet, and the rising growl of the helicopter, along with the rumble of the armored cars’ diesels, seemed to have drowned out what little noise we were making.  Slowly, carefully, I eased back deeper into the shadows, Phil doing the same. Looking up and down the road, I didn’t see a good spot to cross.  The six armored vehicles were spaced out along the road.  They were too close to slip through, and too spread out to find a good spot to go around.  At least, not with that helicopter closing in.  Two klicks of open country separated us from the border at its nearest point, and that would have entailed going through Leuba. As urgent as it was that we get the information back to Poland, we weren’t going to do anyone any good if we went charging out there and got killed or captured.  And as confident as I was in my team in combat,

Holding Action Chapter 1

Holding Action Chapter 1

On the ground, at night, Germany didn’t look all that different from Slovakia.  The differences lay in details that might not have been all that readily apparent to someone without our recent experience. Aside from a dog barking down by Schönau-Berzdorf, it was deathly quiet.  No distant thunder of artillery rumbled.  No small arms fire rattled.  There weren’t even any aircraft to be heard in the sky. The lights were still on in Görlitz to the north, casting an orange glow against the low clouds overhead.  Unlike the all-too common flickering light of burning towns and villages in Slovakia, it was a steady illumination, adding to the ambient light that our AN-PSQ-20 fusion goggles had to work with.  It made navigation through the shadows of the German woods quite a bit easier. That same quiet was making me suspicious.  The entire landscape around us seemed asleep and dead.  Given that every indicator that intelligence had gotten in the last few weeks was pointing to Görlitz being the staging point for a major offensive aimed at Poland, there should have been more activity. Phil Kerr took a knee next to a mostly-bare tree.  The fall had been colder than the Poles

Holding Action Prologue

Holding Action Prologue

Three Weeks Later, And Still Few Answers   It has been three weeks since the beginning of the catastrophic blackout that has cut off electrical power to the Pacific Coast, the Southwest, much of the Southeast, and the Eastern Seaboard.  Efforts to restore the grid in effected areas have largely met with failure, either due to technical problems or attacks by gangs.  This seems to have bolstered theories that the blackout was caused by a terrorist attack.  Authorities that this reporter was able to reach have not endorsed this view, however, insisting that there is no solid evidence of such an attack.  Nor have the rash of infrastructure attacks been linked by any such authorities.  The official, who preferred to remain anonymous, dismissed such links as “conspiracy theories.”

ESCALATION Chapter 2

ESCALATION Chapter 2

The abandoned farm sat right at the no-man’s land between the Belgian peacekeeping sector and one of the few, small, Loyalist Slovak Army sectors. While what was left of the Army that hadn’t gone over to the Nationalists after the initial riots was still outwardly loyal to the shaky government in Bratislava, that loyalty was in question among many of the peacekeepers, especially the Germans and Belgians. None of this would have been happening if the Slovaks hadn’t already had enough of both Brussels’ financial demands and the forced immigration, mostly of young Kosovar, Bosnian, and Syrian men. To that end, most of the EDC peacekeepers made no secret of the fact that they didn’t trust the Slovak Army.