A black-clad man strode up to his captive with a hammer in one hand.  With the prisoner strapped to the chair, he swung the hammer in an arc, bringing it down on his big toe.  It split open like a bloody grape.

The prisoner screamed, and screamed, and screamed as he pulled against his restraints.  The prisoner wasn’t a Samruk International mercenary but rather a former informant of theirs.  His name was Kenny Rodriguez.

The man in black was a CISEN agent.  Mexican intelligence.

“We know you helped the gringos,” the CISEN agent said to Kenny.  The leather restraints held his head firmly against the back of the chair.  He was stripped naked.  The snitch began having the dry heaves as the pain overwhelmed him.

“That was just to show you that we mean business,” he said as he waved the hammer at Kenny.

CISEN had rolled into Oaxaca, Mexico with the Mexican military just as the Samruk mercenaries had left.  The Mexican intelligence service had a field office in Oaxaca but it went up in flames.  Once the intelligence agents began prowling the streets they began to uncover details about the mercenary operation and how the gringos had taken down a number of drug lords in the space of just a few weeks.  Following one lead after the next, they eventually heard about Kenny.

He was in a barroom drinking tequila when the Mexican soldiers arrested him.

After finishing up in Oaxaca, a small contingent of the foreign mercenaries had blitzed to the north, infiltrating Mexican military bases and blowing one sky high.  Now CISEN’s paymasters wanted answers.  With Kenny under the bright lights of an underground interrogation room which had more in common with a dungeon, those answers would be forthcoming.

“The leader of the mercenaries,” The CISEN agent began.  “What was his name?”

“They- they- they- called him-”

“I’m listening,” the Mexican interrogator said as he spun the hammer in his hand by the handle, the pry bar at the end spinning around.

“Deckard.  They called him Deckard.”

Another CISEN agent materialized out of the shadows in a corner of the interrogation cell.  He handed the hammer-wielding agent a set of photographs.  One by one, he began to hold the pictures in front of Kenny’s face.

“Is this him?”

The first picture showed a Northern European looking soldier.  Like the other photographs, it was a close up shot taken from a high resolution camera that had been running at a highly secure and classified Department of Energy site in Nevada.  At least it had been until the men shown in the photographs crashed the party.

“No, I never saw him.”

“What about this guy?” He said flipping to the next picture.

“They called him Pat.  He was out there the night they took apart the Jimenez cartel.”

“With your help?”

Kenny swallowed.


“What about this next guy?”

The next picture showed an Arab looking soldier, kitted out like the others.

“No, that’s not Deckard.  I don’t think he was in Oaxaca either.  Not with the others.”

The interrogator was getting frustrated.  Kenny could see the frown even under the ski mask he wore.  He flipped to the next picture.  It showed a thin man with high cheekbones and Asian eyes.

“They called him Nikita.  He was their sniper.”

The interrogator held up the last picture.

“That’s him,” Kenny said with a gasp as if he was about to pass out.  “That’s Deckard.”

The interrogator stood up straight and looked at the surveillance camera in the corner of the room.

Ted Snyder looked away from the black and white surveillance footage that was streaming live to the screen of his laptop.  After weeks of living in fear with round the clock security men patrolling his property and following him everywhere, he had finally identified the active threat against him.

“Deckard,” he said the name to himself.

As the CEO of G3 Communications, it wouldn’t be hard for him to make some phone calls and find out who the hell this cowboy was.  Deckard had shot up southern Mexico and then turned his sights on a G3 Communications covert operation that ran a ratline of weapons, and bodies, into and through Mexico.

The security people at G3, all of them former CIA, SEALs, or Green Berets, had to admit that they were amazed by how fast the mercenaries had taken apart G3’s operation.  What Deckard had done was completely unprecedented.  G3 had built a covert and clandestine infrastructure that ran down the spine of Mexico for them to fly in weapons and assassins.  Deckard had identified that infrastructure, hijacked it, and rode it all the way north to its source in the Nevada desert.

Then he, and a couple other mercenaries, had dropped into Area 14, where G3 had been running the MEK terrorist organization, and burned the place to the ground.  Deckard had sent a message in more ways than one, including a personal threat leveled against Ted.

G3 Communication ran covert operations for the United States government and other entities all over the world.  Because of Deckard’s actions, many of those operations were interrupted; others had to be closed down altogether.  There was no question when it came to MEK, Deckard and his boys had killed all of them.  It wasn’t just Ted who was afraid, powerful people in some of the world’s most influential places now had this Deckard character on their mind before even knowing his name.

Now Ted had that name.

With the MEK operation blown, Ted had transferred operational control of several other programs to other players.  He had no idea how many of those programs were now blown or otherwise compromised.  One of those programs was called Liquid Sky.  High-end killers.  Americans.  They did the job right when proxies like MEK couldn’t cut it.

Ted had handed Liquid Sky off to a retired General, a former JSOC commander.

The G3 Communications CEO realized that the CISEN agents in Mexico were waiting on his approval.  He typed out a non-committal reply and sent it to them via instant messenger.  The gist of it was that he was satisfied with the information they had obtained and he no longer needed Kenny Rodriguez.  The Mexicans would know what to do with him.

Reaching for his cell phone, he entered into an encrypted phone-call app called Silent Circle and dialed General McCoy.  It was time to put Liquid Sky on this target and paint a bullseye on the back of Deckard’s head.