Hey SOFREP readers, some of you may be aware that I have a side project I work on: an action-adventure series about modern-day mercenaries tearing it up across the globe. I love writing these books because they allow me to do everything that I can’t do as your editor at SOFREP. My day job requires me to be diligent with facts, check every detail, and play by an ethical rulebook. With my novels, I reserve the right to do whatever I want. I just finished the draft for the fourth novel in the Deckard series, titled “Gray Matter Splatter.” I hope you enjoy it, and be warned, the characters are former SOF guys-turned-freelancers, and they talk like it, too.—Jack

Chapter 1

“I’ll tell you boys what,” the mercenary said with a knowing grin. “It smelled so bad that I almost didn’t eat it.”

The room exploded with laughter as his fellow mercenaries roared in approval.

“Anyway,” he continued. “That’s how I got pink eye for the second time.”

Spinning turbines hummed outside, the buzz growing louder as the engines flared. It was one of two C-27J transport aircraft owned by Samruk International, a Kazakhstan-based private military company the mercenaries worked for. Outside, the C-27J screamed down the airstrip and lifted off, its passengers successfully delivered to the remote outpost in northern Russia.

The door swung open with a gust of arctic wind that sent playing cards flying off an overturned cardboard box that had served as a poker table. In filed a dozen new recruits, big European and American dudes looking to secure their slot on Samruk International’s oil security contract with American gas and oil companies in the Arctic.

The mercenaries looked at the new guys with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism. Samruk was a multinational company, split down the middle between Kazakhs and Westerners. Over the last couple of years they had seen action in Afghanistan, Burma, Mexico, and Syria. Killing was their business, and a batch of new guys could prove to be a valuable asset to the team, a team that had taken plenty of casualties over the last few missions. The newcomers could also prove to be incompetent idiots who got their teammates killed.