Marque and Reprisal Chapter 1

Marque and Reprisal Chapter 1

The attack was swift and completely unexpected. Carl Hild hardly noticed the roll of the deck beneath his feet as he headed below, toward his cabin. He was still miserable. I never should have taken this gig. The money wasn’t bad. The job itself, though… Hild had been to just about every port in the world over the last twenty years. He’d sailed with all kinds of crews, from the good, to the bad, to the incompetent and depraved. None of them quite matched this nightmare. Not that the crew itself was bad. Even the captain, drunk though he was, knew his business and generally treated his subordinates fairly. Even the route wasn’t bad. No, it was the client. The Tonka Canyon wasn’t the biggest oceangoing cargo ship out there, and her cargoes often only just about broke even. This time, though, the container at the forefront of the hold was supposed to pay for the whole voyage by itself, and that was leaving aside the other stuff they’d taken on to fill the rest of the hold. It just didn’t feel worth it. The container had come with its own security detail and supervisor. And that was where the

The Guns of Marque and Reprisal

The Guns of Marque and Reprisal

Returning to the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series once more, it’s time for the traditional guns post. There’s slightly less variety this time around, but it’s a more contained sort of story, too. Once the Blackhearts get aboard the ship they’ve been hired to protect from an advanced group of pirates, they get issued weapons by the client. That means all the same primaries, namely SIG MCX Virtus carbines in 5.56×45. The sidearms are all issued, as well. The client’s security coordinator goes for the basics, with Glock 19s. Initially, that’s all they get, to Kevin Curtis’s fury. However, once things start to get kinetic, it turns out that the client was slightly more prepared for the well-equipped, well-trained pirates than it appeared. With money to burn, too. Curtis and Bianco both end up wielding FN EVOLYS ultralight machineguns, also in 5.56. The pirates are a little more black market. Their primary weapons are South African Vektor R4s in 5.56. For machineguns, they have a few Vektor Mini-SS 5.56 belt-feds, presumably from the same shipment the R4s came from. Pistols are a little bit more eclectic among the pirates. We don’t necessarily get to see many of them, but the pirate chief, Cain,

The War’s Not Over – Power Vacuum is Out!

The War’s Not Over – Power Vacuum is Out!

A large part of the Maelstrom Rising series has been aiming at how a next world war wouldn’t necessarily look like most people think. Power Vacuum drives that home, as it becomes clearer that Thunder Run was far from the end in Europe. The European Defense Council Has Fallen… …But Peace Has Not Come to Europe Will the Chaos Only Spread from Here? The thunder run into Germany has left Matt’s team battered and borderline combat ineffective. The Triarii don’t have the reinforcements for them to stand down, however. Commitments in the US and the Western Pacific have stretched them thin. And with Europe in chaos, there is no rest to be had. Jihadis have struck repeatedly, sowing bloodshed and confusion where possible, and it appears the Turks are involved. The Russians are pushing in the east, and they may have operatives in the heart of Western Europe as well. The European Defense Corps hasn’t stood down, either. And a new NGO that’s arrived to help might be the most dangerous enemy of all… *** Hybrid Warfare. It’s become something of a buzzword. There are books written about how it became a buzzword (One in particular, that proved to be a massive waste

Power Vacuum Chapter 1

Power Vacuum Chapter 1

I hate PSD work. One of the benefits of being in the Grex Luporum teams is that we can be mobile and unpredictable, moving quickly and often invisibly through the AO to get the mission done. When the mission is to act as a Personal Security Detachment, escorting a public figure, though, especially one who might end up becoming the next Prime Minister of Germany, it gets harder to stay unpredictable. Which was why I wasn’t all that surprised when the lead vehicle blew up just short of the bridge over the Ochtum. The armored Land Rover disappeared into a boiling black cloud that slammed out of the trees on the side of the road, the heavy thud of the detonation traveling through the ground toward us. I caught a glimpse of the vehicle a moment later, slewed halfway around with its back wheels against the median, the armored glass starred and a few hundred frag holes punched into the doors, as I keyed my radio. “Contact, right.” The Land Rover that had been hit cracked its doors, the Germans who formed the bulk of Wenzeslaus Gorman’s official PSD sticking their MP7s out through the “V” and covering down on

Power Vacuum Prologue

Power Vacuum Prologue

New Russian Military Exercises in Serbia   Recent reports indicate that what appears to be an entire Russian airborne battalion from the 7th Guards Air Assault Division has entered Serbia and is conducting joint exercises with the Serbian Army near the Hungarian border. So far, there have been no border crossings, but there are reports of live fire near the border. Hungarian Defense Forces are on high alert. Serbian relations with the West soured considerably following the Fourth Balkan War, in which Western forces intervened in the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo for the second time. The aftermath of that war saw Serbia drawn far more firmly into Russia’s orbit. With Russian forces pushing along the borders of Slovakia and Poland, ostensibly to create a “security buffer zone” between Russian-occupied territory and the war that erupted in Slovakia last year, this new movement presents a matter of some grave concern.   Chinese Naval Forces Shift Focus   Following reports of violence on and around the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, including the reported—though vehemently denied by PLAN spokesperson Bai Guanting—sinking of several PLAN destroyers and severe damage done to the PLAN aircraft carrier Shandong, it appears that the

Blood Debt Chapter 3

Blood Debt Chapter 3

I need to get up. Joe Flanagan looked up at the sunlight streaming through the window with some bemusement. With rare exceptions, he was usually up a good hour before the sun, this time of year. But as he turned to see Rachel—now Rachel Flanagan—lying next to him, breathing softly, he took a deep breath and settled back on the pillow. It’s not every day that a man has his honeymoon, and while there were chores that still had to happen that day, he was going to relax a little. After a while, though, he started to get restless, and carefully slipped out from under the covers, swinging his feet down to the floor before quietly getting dressed and padding into the kitchen, starting the water boiling for coffee. He turned as movement caught his eye, to see Rachel, wrapped in her bathrobe, her hair disheveled but lovely, smiling at him from the doorway. “You’re not quite as sneaky as you think, hon.” While Flanagan was ordinarily something of a stoic, his wife drew a grin. She’d had that effect on him ever since Kevin Curtis had introduced them, unwittingly setting events in motion that had led to this point.

War to the Knife Chapter 2

War to the Knife Chapter 2

The Rocking K Diner was quiet, but it was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. Most people in that neck of the woods had to work. John Brannigan had plenty of chores to do around his cabin up the mountain, but his situation was a little different. And the message he’d gotten from Mark Van Zandt had been more than a little intriguing. Brannigan threaded his way between the tables toward the back, trading a friendly wave with Ginger, Mama Taft’s granddaughter and permanent waitress, who would probably inherit the diner whenever Mama passed away. Granted, Mama Taft was hard as nails, and probably wouldn’t die until Death himself came and dragged her away, cussing and punching him in the face. It would be a long time before Ginger inherited, but the cheerful, bouncy young redhead was fine with that. Van Zandt was sitting in the corner booth, all the way in the back, nursing a cup of coffee. He’d dressed down a bit since the first time he’d come to the Rocking K, wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. The first time, he’d been in slacks and a corporate polo shirt. Brannigan and Van Zandt had a