There’s a Shadow War going on… …And now the Triarii know it Now it’s time for the next move Hank and his section took a beating in West Texas, but they accomplished their mission and secured a strategic asset against a daring attempt to seize it. And in the process, they found out who’s really behind the war. Now it’s time to strike back. The government doesn’t want to admit Chinese involvement, despite what the Triarii and the Texas Rangers uncovered. So, once again, the Triarii must act on their own. Destination: The South China Sea Mission: Take the war to the People’s Republic of China But will that be more easily said than done? China has been pushing extra-legal territorial claims in the Spratly and Paracel island chains in the South China Sea for years. They have built artificial islands on reefs and shoals to beef up their claims, while simultaneously bullying their neighbors in the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan, militarily and economically. They have even attempted to keep the US Navy out of international waters, claiming vast swathes of ocean as “security zones” around their ships. They have used irregular forces in the form of People’s
“Contact, starboard side, five miles and closing at fifteen knots!” The warning crackled over the intercom speaker in berthing. Hank Foss rolled out of his rack, grabbing for his gear and his rifle. He’d been halfway expecting this alert for days now. Shrugging into his chest rig, he slung the modified M5E1 in front of him as he climbed up out of the berthing, clattering up the metal-grated ladderwell along the starboard side before turning through a narrow hatchway and into the modified command center that they’d built out of about half the galley. Space aboard the Jacqueline Q was at a premium, as large as she was. The Triarii command center consisted of three laptops on a table, with charts, maps, and printed imagery tacked up on the bulkheads. Right then, Cole Spencer, Hank’s second in command and his closest friend, was studying the laptop that showed their current drone overwatch feed. “What have we got?” Hank was tall and spare of frame, with a lean, hatchet face and black hair starting to show some gray at the temples. Having retired from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant before joining the Triarii, he was surprised there wasn’t a
Lines of Demarcation Stiffen Within the United States Following the fighting in south Texas, internecine clashes between domestic groups and even states themselves within the United States have seemingly intensified. While rioting has broken out anew in multiple cities, protesting the activities of the right-wing militia known as “The Triarii,” as well as the Texas state government’s cooperation with them, federal authorities have begun intensive investigations into the actions of the Texas governor, as well as what appears to be full-scale war preparations on the part of the Triarii. Support or opposition for the investigation has fallen out along largely state and partisan lines, though several of the Middle American states that have opposed it have large urban populations that have protested their state governments’ stance on the matter. The current—and continuing—disruption of power grids and supply chains has become yet another source of friction, contributing to the spreading chaos. Rumors abound of federal task forces preparing to move into the dissident states, while militias and even state National Guard units are being mobilized to respond. The rumors about open armed clashes between Triarii and People’s Revolutionary Action in several “border states” have yet to be confirmed. A hard
While Russian “volunteers,” such as those who inexplicably showed up in Crimea in 2014, without insignia and with full Russian Army gear and weapons, are known as “Little Green Men,” the Chinese have their own equivalent at sea. Sometimes called “Little Blue Men,” the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia have come to provide a “Gray Zone” force multiplier for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the contested areas of the Western Pacific. The backbone of Communist Chinese maritime force has long been the maritime militias, largely out of necessity. The PLAN was hardly a force to be reckoned with in the late ’40s and onward. Much of the PRC’s coastal defense was militia, in keeping with Mao’s emphasis on guerrilla warfare. However, in recent years, with some pointing to Xi Jinping’s visit to the Tanmen Militia in 2013 as an impetus, the PAFMM has become more of a force projection instrument, particularly based around Hainan, Guangdong, and Guangxi. Divided into “primary” and “reserve” units, the maritime militia isn’t as equipped as the PLAN, but it is expected to do a great deal, particularly in the South China Sea. Since the PRC claims a number of islands in the Spratly and
The march to get the Maelstrom Rising series on audio continues. Cody knocked it out of the park with Strategic Assets. (Granted, my Polish isn’t great, so I hope his pronunciations are better than mine would be–I trust that they are, given what he did with the Mandarin on Kill Yuan.) All 10 hours + of Strategic Assets is now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. They retook Gdansk… …At a terrible cost for both sides. Where and when will the next blow fall? Winter is setting in, and Eastern Europe is hurting. Russians prowl on one side, while the European Defense Council’s forces sit on the German side of the border, strangely quiet. Matt and his team have recovered from the wounds they received in Gdansk, but as low-intensity warfare continues, the question remains: What is the EDC waiting for? The Triarii are sure that the same people who launched the war aren’t giving up. They’ve already killed thousands. Power is their only goal, and the EDC won’t simply leave the Americans and Poles in peace. They can’t. Too much blood has already been shed. So, Matt and his team get a new mission. Go deep into enemy territory and find out
Thunder Run has officially gone live on Kindle! Everything in Europe will change after this. Whether for the better or worse? That remains to be seen… Europe teeters on the brink… …As all sides consider their next move But can one more blow really end the war? The European Defense Council’s doomsday strike has been averted. More American forces have reached Poland. And the Russians are starting to turn up the pressure in the Baltic. Now, as the EDC’s irregular campaigns ramp up, a decision has to be made. Matt’s team will be back on the tip of the spear, regardless of the plan. But as forces start to move, and the leadership starts to outline their plan, the less he likes it. It sounds like wishful thinking to him. But he’s a Triarii team leader. He’ll always answer the call. Still, the questions remain. Does victory lie at the end? Or a situation made much, much worse? Get it here. And if you liked it, please consider leaving a rating or review.
A week and a half later, I walked into our TOC in Fort Grodzisko. The bunker hadn’t gotten much warmer since the winter, though it had gotten brighter, as more work lights were brought in. We still did some planning and intel collection on computers, but given how fast and how nasty the cyber war had gotten—not to mention how often power grids were being targeted, on both sides of the Atlantic—we used paper maps, whiteboards, and as much analog stuff as we could. And those needed light. Brian Hartrick was waiting in the “Grex Luporum Corner,” along with Shane Tucker and Bobby Burkhart, the other two Grex Luporum team leaders in country. There weren’t a lot of us, and we were in high demand in the States—and there were whispers about new ops in the Western Pacific, though those were extremely hush-hush at the moment—so Shane, Bobby, and I were it for the moment. We were also all understrength. We’d taken losses over the last few months since all this started. None of our ten-man teams were sitting at more than eight bodies. “You made it.” Hartrick’s sardonic tone always sounded like he wasn’t sure if what he was
Chris was on point, about five yards ahead of me, when he suddenly froze and put up a clenched fist. I followed suit instantly. When you’re in hostile territory, you pay attention to what your point man does. While every man in a small team has to be alert at all times, the point man is the team’s eyes and ears. And while we were still on the Polish side of the line, I definitely considered where we were “hostile territory.” Staying in place, I scanned the woods around us carefully. We’d switched night vision in the last month, having gotten a new supply shipment in when the convoys carrying the Army in had arrived. I wasn’t entirely sure about losing the thermal capability, but the clarity and the depth perception the PS-31s provided were a lot better. Unfortunately, even with the better NVGs, I couldn’t see what had prompted Chris to halt. The woods were dark, despite the faint lights from Mamonovo about two and a half miles to the north. We’d picked a new moon on purpose. The PS-31s turned the darkness into pale grays, but they couldn’t show me what I didn’t have a line of sight
I’m still hammering away at Thunder Run, but another SPOTREPS author, James Rosone, has a new book out today: Monroe Doctrine Volume 1. If you’ve been a fan of the Maelstrom Rising Series, you might give it a look, as it follows some similar threads, just down south. Cuba discovers a vast reserve of rare earth minerals… Spies converge on the Caribbean… …In the midst of the chaos, opportunity rises. In the wake of the new Global Depression, the governments of the Caribbean and South America are in free fall—that is, until a benefactor makes them an offer they can’t refuse. Since the 1800s, the US has held to the Monroe Doctrine, which maintains that no foreign nations will be allowed to interfere within the United States’ sphere of influence. However, with America divided and civil unrest spreading across the country, the Chinese see this as their chance. Will China’s AI-Supercomputers outsmart the West? Will they succeed in supplanting the United States? Is the West capable of pulling together one more time or will they go down in history as a group of failed states? China moves in to “save the world.” It’s currently available on Kindle.
So, audio has been a tricky proposition for me. Last year, Tantor Media hit me up about the audio rights for Escalation and Holding Action. This was a big deal, so far as I know, so I jumped at it. Only to be rather let down by the result. Despite what they’d told me, Tantor apparently didn’t do anything to promote the books, so they’ve languished. Which led to silence when I asked about continuing with Crimson Star. Well, if you want something done right, do it yourself. Cody Parcell did the audio for Kill Yuan, and he did a bang-up job of it. So, he and I worked out a deal to get Crimson Star done. It’s taken some time–audio is a lot of work–and the quality control check took a long time, but it’s finally done, and it’s finally up. And Cody is currently working on Strategic Assets (he went the extra mile when it came to Mandarin pronunciations in Kill Yuan, and he’s doing the same with the Polish in Strategic Assets.) They call themselves Soldados de Aztlan. The Mexican cartels have a foothold in Phoenix. Can Hank’s team put down the movement? All around the globe, tensions mount. While Matt’s team heads off to