It’s finally here for you audiophiles. Silver or Lead is out on audio. Threats Lurk in the Shadows…. And Sometimes in Plain Sight The Pallas Group Solutions Contractors have put the hurt on Chinese operations in Mexico. In the aftermath, alliances shift and powers that hadn’t appeared to be involved before start to take a hand. In a world of unrestricted warfare, PGS has to adapt. While the Chinese covert war has changed axes, Chris and his fellow contractors head south to deepen the disruption, entering into the Northern Triangle of Central America. But their involvement is no longer as clandestine as they’d hoped. And new foes are joining with the old to come after them. Can they stay one step ahead? As some people have pointed out, yes, the title came from Pablo Escobar’s infamous ultimatum, “Plata o Plomo.” The police (or whoever else) could take his silver, or they could die. While this story isn’t about Pablo, who’s long dead, the principle remains the same, and we see it in action quite a bit in these pages (or hours, if you’re listening to it). Check it out.
Seattle wasn’t the place for an armed Good Samaritan, but I couldn’t exactly let the guy murder our mark, either. Not that I had any particular attachment to Wise, but I also didn’t know for sure why we were supposed to be surveilling him in the first place. The client had been almighty close-mouthed about that part, and only the fact that I trusted Thad “Goblin” Walker as much as I did had led me to accept the mission as briefed. He had to have a reason for accepting as vague a tasking as this one, so I’d play along. That meant, though, that without knowing for sure that Wise was a bad guy, I couldn’t just sit by and watch him get stabbed to death in the street. Wise wasn’t paying attention to anything but the traffic, angling across the street, probably mainly to avoid the homeless weirdos on the corner. So, he didn’t see the hitter in disguise as the armed bum moved toward him, his hand dropping low, the knife now concealed in his palm and sleeve. The man was speeding up, the façade of chemically-enhanced vagrant falling away as he closed in on his prey. This
“Here he comes.” Ken was looking up while I lounged in the opposite chair in the outside dining area of Matsu. In most places, that wouldn’t have been a great position for surveillance. Sitting out in the open like that wasn’t giving me a warm and fuzzy about our tradecraft. That was assuming a couple of things, though. The first, that our target had the situational awareness to notice us, which he hadn’t in the last two days, and the second, that anyone looked at anyone else for more than a passing glance in this city, anyway. We weren’t a mile from the Alaska Way Viaduct, which was a notorious homeless camp in a city that was increasingly becoming one big homeless camp. The cops only went certain places, and the rest of the city was on its own. In fact, there were two obviously homeless people, one of them aggressively gesticulating and yelling inarticulately, just down on the corner. So, the urge to not make eye contact with anyone was even stronger there at the moment. That actually made life easier for us. Sucked to be a Seattleite, though. I would have thought that a sushi restaurant on the
Okay, so it’s a little past mid-year, but it’s been a busy year so far. I’ve been a little remiss on the blog here, so I’m going to try to get back to weekly posts, at least. With Frontiers of Chaos done, look for some preview chapters coming up soon. This weekend is the Galaxy’s Edge Fan Expo in Whidbey Island, WA. I’ll be there, with books and some merch, along with Jason Anspach, Walt Robillard, Doc Spears, Joshua Gayou, and Tom Trimbath. It’s a new and pretty small con, but it’s growing. If you live close enough, get your tickets and come on out. Speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, my contribution, Order of the Centurion #7 – Always Legion, is complete and already with the GE Insiders. Hopefully it should be out this fall. Having written Silver or Lead and Frontiers of Chaos back to back, I’m going to be taking a short break from the Pallas Group Solutions thrillers, and starting work on a science fiction series I’ve had in mind for a long time (going back to high school, as a matter of fact). Wargate Nova will be publishing it, sometime early next year. Big space battles, big land battles, aliens, intrigue, and all the
Mike Massa, former SEAL and action/sci-fi author joins the stream tonight. Mike wrote a story for the Maelstrom Rising SPOTREPS anthology. We’ll be talking the military, writing, action and science fiction, along with anything else that comes up. If you’ve watched any of these streams, you’ll know that things get real freeform, real quick. Come and join us.
Tomas Fiero was nervous. Short, built like a fireplug, and with cauliflower ears and a nose that had been mashed flat more than once, Fiero didn’t seem like the kind of guy who should get nervous. Especially not when he had an HK VP9, three knives, and a garrote under his suit jacket. He was the kind of man who made other people nervous. Something about this setup bothered him, though, in a way that he hadn’t experienced since he’d been a simple street enforcer, almost twenty years before. The meeting place was the first part he didn’t like. He turned in his seat to address the stunning blond woman in the back seat. “Signora, this is a bad place. After everything that has happened between us and Garin over the last two weeks, we should be meeting in a public place, with lots of eyes around.” Erika Dalca, CEO of Ciela International and also the queen bee of one of the biggest and most secretive underworld networks on the face of the planet, was a woman of somewhere between thirty and fifty years of age. Her skin was flawless, her slightly angular face as perfectly symmetrical and lovely as
Brannigan’s Blackhearts doesn’t have an official patch. They don’t have an official anything. But after the Burma mission, some of them worked up a logo, anyway. *** The Blackhearts group was easy to pick out. They were, by and large, more fit than anyone else in the room, and at that moment, also considerably louder. Aziz, Jenkins, and Wade were arguing over a war story, specifically who had been where at what time. Childress immediately identified the place as the village in northern Burma where Doc Villareal had been killed, and they had gone into a system of tunnels after the North Korean advisors to the Kokang Communists/drug runners. It sounded like they were avoiding actually getting specific about the place, but this was bad enough. Santelli stalked toward the table, murder in his eyes. Jenkins looked up as he and Childress approached. The former SEAL looked a little glazed; he’d clearly had a few already. “Hey, Childress, check it out!” he said, pulling his sleeve back. He’d gotten a new tattoo, still under a wrap of clear cellophane. It was a black heart, with a fighting knife through it and crossed rifles behind it. “We’ve got a logo, dude!” Santelli was
While Concrete Jungle is, in a way, much more of a covert operation than many of the Blackhearts’ past missions, there’s still a pretty wide variety of guns in use. Concrete Jungle goes down in the Czech Republic (or Czechia), and so there are a few more options available than in some other places. Erika Dalca, as the CEO of Ciela International, can afford some pretty high-end security. Her detail in the beginning are all armed with HK VP-9s in 9mm. Those are the weapons on their persons, of course. In the vehicles, they all have short-barreled HK 416s, the piston-driven Heckler & Koch version of the M4. Since Dalca and her security have thought ahead, they have overwatch, one member of whom is armed with a GM6 Lynx .50 caliber, bullpup anti-materiel rifle. When the Blackhearts first get on the ground, the first weapons they get their hands on are FN FNX-9s. A few more of Dalca’s security are also equipped with B&T MP-9s for more discreet work. Of course, as it becomes more evident that they’re not just up against well-armed Russian mobsters, they need a bit more firepower. That’s where the CZ 805 Bren A2s come in, Czech-designed and
The World of The Lost gets a little darker, in The Alchemy of Treason. *** I got as low as I could and continued my inch-by-inch skull drag, moving into a slightly lower fold in the ground, shielded from the sentry by several stands of nearly two-foot-tall grass. I still had to move very slowly—even more slowly than I already had been for the last two hours. I was a good twenty yards away from him, but that was plenty close enough to get spotted or heard if I wasn’t careful, even in the deepening dark. I might have heard something off to my right. Maybe a grunt, suddenly cut off. Santos was supposed to be over there. Maybe he’d moved faster than I had. The last of the faint remaining glow in the west had faded and the stars were glittering in the black sky overhead when I finally rose to a low crouch. Firelight glinted faintly off the dark, satin steel of the Bowie in my fist as I quickly scanned my surroundings before padding as silently as I could toward the sentry, his back now to me. The fire still flickered, though most of the Avurs were now proned
I didn’t have time to think that through before the keel scraped on what felt like solid ground. If we hadn’t been backing water, slowing precipitously already even before the mist had engulfed us, everyone aboard the ship would have been thrown to the deck by the abrupt halt. We had just run aground, in the middle of deep water, miles out to sea. After a moment, as I regained my equilibrium after the shock of that impact, I realized it felt like we were rising, being lifted above the water level. When I lurched to the rail and peered over the side, I saw only wet rock and silt beneath us. An island was rising out of the ocean, stranding the entire ship high and dry. It was still emerging, too, as the ground beneath us shuddered and shook like an earthquake. The shuddering stopped. The mist seemed to thin, but only to reveal more flat, slimy rock, strewn with some seaweed and what looked like the flopping bodies of fish or eels. Strangely, the mist only appeared to be thinner off to starboard, where it had first appeared. The port side was still engulfed in gray. The wind