Deckard woke up as he felt someone grabbing him.  He turned around in bed and found Nadeesha smiling.  She rolled on top and straddled him.  Her perfect hips bulged slightly as she sat down on top of him.  She was soaking wet already.

That was when her cell phone began to vibrate on the bed stand.  Reaching over, she snatched it up and looked at the number.

“What the hell,” she cursed before answering the phone.

Deckard popped his hips, bouncing her several inches into the air.

“Oh!” she screamed with the phone held to her ear.  “I mean, hello.”

He tried not to laugh as she had a brief conversation.

“And you,” she said as she hung up the phone.  “We’re flying to Egypt.  Everyone needs to be standing by to drive to the airport in twenty minutes.  Sounds like some kind of an emergency.”

“How big an emergency?”

Nadeesha rocked gently on his lap and placed his hands on her hips.

“Nothing that can’t be put off for another nineteen minutes.”

Liquid Sky boarded a Gulfstream private jet that morning and was soon wheels up, flying to Jordan.  They carried their cover identity passports and no weapons.  There was no time to plan a more complicated clandestine entry.  This was a crash mission, thrown together on an ad hoc basis in response to an emergency.

Nadeesha sat a few seats in front of Deckard.  She looked back and smiled at him before turning away.  They both preferred to keep their recent…situation, private.

“What’s the story boss?” Zach finally spoke up.

“We’re all going in as NGO workers,” Bill said as he stood in front of them.  “Half of you will be going in with a cover as working for some feed-the-kids bullshit and the other half will go in as human-rights observers.  We’ll take separate flights out of Jordan so that we stagger our arrival into Cairo.  It’s sloppy, but our timetable is extremely tight.”

“What’s the job?” Paul asked.

Direct Action: Chapter Eight

Read Next: Direct Action: Chapter Eight

“Nothing special.  Just a no-notice hostage rescue in a city besieged by fucking savages protesting the other savages running their country which is on the brink of civil war with a follow-on asset recovery mission for some classified tech that fell into the hands of the Egyptian military.”

“Oh, that’s all,” Ramon laughed.

“We need to procure weapons on the ground,” Bill told them.

This got better and better.

“Then, the main element will strike the prison where these three kids are being held.  They are frat boys back in the United States, and apparently one of them is the son of somebody which gives this mission added priority.”

“And what is this device?” Rick asked.

“Some high-speed tech dreamed up in a DARPA lab I guess.  It causes blackouts and allows one to penetrate computer networks.  I don’t know, I didn’t ask for information I don’t need to complete the mission but the three college kids were using it when they got popped by the Egyptians.  Now which of you went to the SEAL sniper course?”

Paul threw his hand up.

“I’ve been to SOTIC,” Ramon offered.  The Special Operations Target Interdiction Course was the Special Forces sniper school at Ft. Bragg.

“Okay fine.  Ramon, you take Deckard with you.  He is still the cherry on this team, so you make him go in and snatch the device.  I made some phone calls about where we can find weapons, and we will get something for you to pull overwatch with.”

“Got it,” Ramon confirmed.  With so little information, there wasn’t much to discuss.  They were making this up as they went along.

“The rest of us have the prison.  Its going to be a shit show one way or the other.”

“That’s why they are using us,” Rick said.  “Delta or Dev specialize in missions like this.  Why not use them?”

“Because we’re expendable,” Nadeesha finished.

“You got that right,” Bill said.  “I’m not here to blow smoke up your ass.  Some of us might even survive.  I’ll have an exfil point worked out by the time we do our hits, which will have to be executed simultaneously.  Probably a boat that can get us into international waters but right now we need to take it one step at a time.  First you need to clear customs, then we hit a weapons armory I’ve located.”

Three college students and a mysterious device.

Deckard realized that the reason why U.S. counter-terrorist units were not being sent in for this mission wasn’t just because of the political ramifications of sending U.S. troops into Egypt, but because of the target itself.  What were the three kids doing with the device in Egypt in the middle of the Arab Spring?

The team split up and flew commercial air into Cairo with their false passports.  Thankfully, their covers were backstopped.  They could provide some official looking NGO paperwork and phone numbers that had someone on the other end sitting on a phone and ready to pick up.  Deckard wondered if it wasn’t Sarah, the girl he met in Washington D.C. prior to joining up with Liquid Sky, who was standing by to back up their cover.  They got asked a few questions in customs, but pretty much breezed through.

Bill hit up a Western Union booth and came back with wads of cash that he immediately divided up between the team.  It was their op fund, but also money to escape and evade in case they got compromised.  They rented two vehicles and began driving southeast to the port of El-Sokhna.  Bill was on the phone pretty much the entire trip through the desert, trying to get a handle on the mission parameters and logistics.  Ramon was making calls as well.

It was dark by the time they arrived on the coast of the Red Sea.  Bill had both of their vehicles pulled off to the side of the road for some bare bones mission planning before they went in to secure the weapons for their mission.

“I contacted some people who work the maritime security circuit to get the lowdown on this place,” Bill told his team.  “They have an armory at the port where Egyptian authorities secure the weapons of maritime security contractors.”

Deckard knew some guys in that line of work as well, mostly former military.  Armed security on civilian vessels was still kind of a mess, and existed in a constant legal gray area.  Technically, security guards in international waters could be armed to defend against piracy, but many of the countries where the ships docked were places where such weapons were illegal.

As commercial ships loaded with oil or connex containers traveled through the Suez Canal and headed south, they faced the presence of pirates off the coast of Somalia.  The pirates were known to board the commercial ships and ransom back the crew and the ship for big payout from the insurance companies in London.  Some even believed that the pirates had an insider racket going with the insurance companies, as the pirates had intel on where ships would be and when with just a little too much accuracy at times.  The pirates also knew exactly what the most amount of money was that they could extort from the insurance companies, making some wonder if there were not some kind of kickbacks involved.

The presence of armed security guards on the ships almost always scared the pirates off.  The pirates had a system down; it was a business model for them and they had no desire to have a shootout with armed security.  They would go find a less protected ship to capture.  When they did, that was when Deckard’s friends in SEAL Team Six would raid the ships, kill the pirates, and free the crew.  In fact, that was what Dusty and Flakjacket were doing right then several hundred miles to the south.

But when the armed security guards came into port with their ships, they had to have a deal with the local government, otherwise their guns would have to be thrown off the side of the ship and into the ocean while still in international waters.  In Egypt an agreement had eventually been worked out that the Egyptian police would take control of the weapons in port and hold them in a secure facility until the ship was heading back out to sea.

The arrangement worked pretty well, other than the odd security contractor getting detained by crooked policemen and shaken down for bribe money.

Bill blasted through how the armory at port worked with the maritime security contractors in a couple seconds before detailing the information he had just gotten from some contractors who recently passed through the port.  They knew where the armory was, and they knew that there were weapons there because several ships were at port having cargo loaded and waiting for their respective security teams to show up.

The seven of them would rush in, overwhelm the two Egyptian policemen standing guard, and bust open the armory.  There would be very little finesse involved in this approach.  The team huddle broke, and they drove for the port.

The Egyptian police officer looked over his desk with a cigarette burning between his fingers as the door opened and then slammed shut.  He stood up as the newcomer approached him and looked through the metal grate that separated the armory and office from the waiting area.  The guard wore a black police uniform and perhaps the most half-assed beret in history, bad enough to make a French painter’s beret look professional by comparison.

“Hey, how goes it?” the Westerner asked.  He had a long, bushy beard like many of the American contractors that passed through the port.  The policemen often thought that it was funny that they seemed to mimic the Wahhabi beards of Islamic extremists.  Just then, he noticed that another man had also entered the building, a small, Filipino-looking guy.  It wasn’t uncommon for maritime security teams to be composed of one British or American leader who supervised a team of Filipinos.

“We’re here to pick up our guns,” the bearded one said.

The policemen looked down at his clipboard.

“I don’t see any scheduled-” he began to say in broken English.

The bearded guy leaned closer to the grate.

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you?”

The Egyptian leaned closer.

“I do not have any-”

Reaching through the shoebox-sized opening in the grate, the American grabbed the policemen by the neck in an iron grip and slammed him forward into the metal crosshatch.  He screamed something in Arabic as his black beret fell to the floor.

The Filipino sprung forward, reached through the grate and wiggled his arm down to the holster at the policeman’s side.  Tearing the Beretta out of the holster, the Filipino racked the slide just as the second policemen came running from the other room where he had been watching television news footage of the protests in the Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Ramon fired a single shot through the grate.  The second policemen’s hands went to his neck as blood leaked from between his fingers.  He staggered back towards the break room, then collapsed.

“Where are the keys?” Paul demanded.  “Where are your keys?”

The guard was shaking as he reached into his pocket and handed them to the American.

Paul tossed the key ring to Ramon.  The former Special Forces soldier first opened the front door and waved the rest of the team in before going and unlocking the door that led to the offices and armory.  The other five Liquid Sky members walked in while Ramon secured the policeman.

Deckard looked down at the dead policeman who had been shot in the neck.  Paul and Ramon went in unarmed.  He had no idea they were going to start killing cops who were just doing their jobs.  Deckard knew he had to take control of the situation before it spun further out of control.

He grabbed the Beretta 9mm pistol from the holster of the dead policeman and strode across the room to secure the other cop from Ramon.

“Go get the armory open,” he told Ramon.  “I’ll take care of this fucker out back.”

“Have at it,” Ramon said with a shrug, letting the prisoner go.

With the policeman still shaking, Deckard man-handled him out the front door and along the side of the building until they were behind a connex container.

“Please, please, please,” the policemen begged.  He was mumbling and could barely get the words out.

Deckard bent down and picked up a large rock.  Kicking the policemen down on his knees, he slammed the rock over the back of the cop’s head, knocking him out cold.  Chambering a round in the Beretta pistol, Deckard leaned in close and fired a single shot.

He blew off the top half of the cop’s left ear.  If any of the Liquid Sky members walked by, they needed to see some blood near the body or they would investigate further.  The fleshy part of the ear exploded and sprayed blood into the gravel next to him.  There was a pretty good drip going from where the ear had been severed, but nothing that would cause him to bleed out and die.

The cop would wake up in a world of shit, but at least he would wake up.

Back inside, Deckard found that Liquid Sky had already opened the vault door and were inside the armory.  The paint-chipped weapons racks were pretty empty, most literally covered in dust.  Maritime security companies were cutting every corner they could in order to turn a profit, so they were not going to find any Heckler and Koch 416 rifles in the armory, just cheap M4 knockoffs with iron sights.  After a little digging around, Ramon did find what he was looking for.

There were a few American companies that did issue their security teams with the hardware needed to repel a determined attack.  Ramon flipped open the latches on the case and cracked open the lid.  Inside was a Barrett .50 caliber anti-material rifle with a 10-power scope and several loaded magazines.

“Gotcha,” the Filipino said with a smile.

Deckard found a Norinco AR-15 in the racks and claimed it for himself.  He would have to fashion a sling for it using a backpack strap or something later on.  It was bare bones, with a carrying handle and rear iron sight.  No frills, that was the reality of military contracting for most folks.  He slipped several loaded 5.56 magazines into his pockets.  He would have to make it work.

On the way out, no one took a second glance at the policeman sprawled out in the gravel.  Deckard was glad, for both their sakes that he didn’t wake up while they were loading up the vehicles.

It was a long ride back to Cairo.

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