Merry Christmas everyone! As you hurry along your way getting everything done for the upcoming Christmas season don’t forget to check out these month’s free chapter in the DeBois Series. The Title is Blizzard Terror. You can find it at the following links: https://www.books2read.com/u/31jMwm and https://amzn.to/1u92UUj. Enjoy.
Terror now coursed through Su. Her heart hammered within her chest as she heard the rumbles of the mountain lion anticipating warding off starvation. Running over the broken ground, her lungs burnt from over exertion toward the lightness lying before her amidst the darken forest. Su pressed her body forward bursting through into the brilliant light. It blinded her.
She stumbled forward trying to evade the terrible death gaining on her. Su heard the mountain lion’s screams of victory right behind her. She smelled its singed fur as the mountain lion pounced trying for the kill. She felt the heavy weight upon her shoulders dragging her down then she was weightless. The lion was gone as Su fell faster flipping through emptiness.
Suddenly, Su’s fall halted, as she crashed into the water and plunged beneath its dark frigid surface. The current drug her farther from the surface away from the precious needed oxygen her burning lungs craved. Su clawed her way toward the dim glimmering surface only to find her way impaired by a wall of ice.
She desperately tried to break through the ice. She searched for pockets of trapped air under the ice as the frigid water drained what little reserve of strength from her body.
A dark shadow crossed over her above the ice. Su pounded on the ice trying to draw attention but it continued away from her. Su felt the rest of her strength drain away as she let out one final scream. “Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h!”
Robert Williamson opened the bottom of his case and pulled out four thin vests looking similar to a bulletproof vest along with thin white parachute material parkas. He then pulled out three dart rifles complete with darts. He laid them on the table beside the rest of the items from the other two cases.
Jean DeBois picked up the small plastic case and took out the earpiece placing it in his ear before handing one to each of the rest. “Skyrider can you hear me?”
“You’re coming in loud and clear, boss man. I have Frank and his unit up already. The Canadians were generous in sending a whole four more men making the grand total twelve with the control head making it thirteen, an even baker’s dozen.
“I need you guys to sound off when you hear the pulse in your earpiece so I can make the proper connection with the name. That way, I don’t call out the incorrect name during the bust. When they sound off hand them the vest with the corresponding chip.” Janet Post sent the first pulse through making Mark Prix sound off with a yelp.
“Turn down the volume a little, Skyrider, you nearly broke my eardrum.” Mark held out his hand for his vest.
“Whine, whine, whine, that’s all you do any more, Eddie.” Robert held out his hand when the pulse sounded. “We’re going to have to wipe your nose for you, too.”
“I’ll wipe your nose with my fist.” Mark growled staring for Robert.
“Save it for the take down.” Janet activated Kyle’s earpiece.
Jean handed Kyle the vest then took the last one for himself. He placed it on under his shirt. Jean passed out the parkas to the group. Robert and Mark followed Jean’s example.
However, Kyle just stood there with vest in his hand. The group shot him a puzzled glance when he did not follow suit.
Kyle tried to hand the vest back to Jean, frustrated over the obvious joke they were trying to pull on him. “Come on now, you’re not trying to tell me this flimsy scrap of cloth is my vest. Where is the real bulletproof vest?”
Jean just gave Kyle a cockeyed grim, “What’s a matter Lee; the Mounties don’t have the cutting edge on Teflon technology? These are state of the art vest. They can even stop a large caliber bullet; however, I won’t recommend you try it. You end up in the hospital with massive bruising. You’ll be able to take the normal slug and finish your mission without too much pain so put it on. It also gives Skyrider a way to distinguish you from the rest of the bodies during the firefight. The chip in it gives off a certain frequency. The equipment we use with the technology is for our knowledge only, got that Lee?”
Kyle shook his head but did not like the feeling rising in the pit of his stomach.
“Skyrider what’s the position of the camp as you see it?” Jean moved to the edge of the window and peered out.
“The sentries are in their usual nest with five people in the main cabin’s office. There are four in the cabin nearest to the lake. The middle cabin has six milling around and the last, nearest your position has three.
“Frank and the unit are on their way in the Huey flying just above the tree line to keep under the radar. Your guest has settled in the nest, correct?”
Jean stared out through the flurry then moved to the back of the cabin to open the window. “He arrived a half an hour ago. He hasn’t surfaced from the main cabin.”
“Okay, the mission’s a go. Take out the sentries first. You have five minutes to zero staring now.” Janet signaled.
“You heard Skyrider, lock and load.” Jean barked under his breath then disappeared out the window.
Kyle shook his head following Jean out the window, muttering, “Man, is he always this quick?” to Robert.
“No, sometimes he’s in a hurry then he’s just a blur.”
“Stop yakking and start tracking.” Mark growled as he shoved Robert out of the way then crawled out the window. “We are late by three seconds.”
Mark checked to make sure the coast was clear then disappeared into the forest.
Robert came through signaling to Kyle to move out of the way so he could get into position. He heard a low signal from Jean as Robert slide in position. Robert leveled the dart gun at his target and signaled back. Seconds later, Mark’s signal came through loud and clear.
“On three gentlemen,” Janet ordered, “Three.”
Jean and Robert’s darts hit their marks and two sentries fell simultaneously in the deep snow with a soft plop. The sentry slipped on a patch of ice as Mark’s dart sped over him.
“Damn ice,” Mark spat sprinted to finish what the dart failed to do. He tackled the sentry rising and they sprawled into the snow bank. Snow furiously erupted as fist and feet flew. Mark came out on top. He cold cocked the sentry then tied and gagged the sentry. “Station three secure.”
“It’s about time, mud boy. Stop grand standing and get to your position. I can hear the Huey coming. Station two secure.”
“Holiday, concentrate on the task at hand. Station one secure. Lee, are you in place? Skyrider how’s the quarry? It’s time to rock and roll.” Jean peered out from behind the bushes.
“I’m in position.” Kyle whispered as he slid against the nearest cabin door. He could swear they could hear his heart pound over the ear canal device. Mark and Robert silently stole up in place as Jean prepared to enter the main cabin through the window.
“Gabe your quarry’s still in the office. The Huey is ready to come in.” Janet reported.
Jean stealthily slid the window open. He crawled through into the dining room and closed the window behind him. He heard the Huey land and shouted, “Now!”
Kyle, Mark, and Robert burst through the corresponding doors, screaming, “On your faces! You’re under arrest by the order of the Canadian Mounties!”
Jean simultaneously tipped over the table, “Matthew get out here. You’re under arrest!”
Officers swarmed out of the Huey as it landed. The blades of the Huey kicked up the deep snow throwing it everywhere.
Jean received his answer from Matthews as he came out with the AK47 blazing trying for the front door. Jean returned fire stopping Matthew’s escape. “Oakley I need you at the main cabin. Matthew’s trying to break free.” Jean traded gunfire between Matthew and the office doorway.
“I’m on my way. You two with me, the rest help round up the others in the cabins.” Jack roared heading for the front of the cabin. He took up a position behind a snowdrift.
“Make it snappy, Oakley. They’re mounting a breakout in the office. Here they come! Look out Gabe!” Janet gave a warning. She caught movement in her peripheral vision on the edge of the screen in the other cabin. “Lee, behind you!”
Kyle moved just in time to ward off the blow aimed by Omar Kariff. Kyle swung around bringing a crashing blow upside Kariff’s face as he flew by. Tripper and one of Kyle’s fellow Mounties appeared in the doorway brandishing their weapons to keep the others at bay against the wall. Kyle crashed his knee in Omar’s back seconds after Omar hit the floor. Kyle slugged Omar with the butt of his rifle as Omar tried to rise. Omar fell unconscious.
The four came out of the office laying down a barrage of gunfire spraying the table with bullets. Jean dodged back and forth the bullets made their way through the table spraying wood splinters as they came.
“Any time Oakley! My cover’s being dwindling down to kindling!” Jean bellowed returning fire hitting one in the shoulder as they made their way to Matthew by the door. “They’re coming out!”
A second later, Jean heard Jack lay down barrage of his own. The bullets slammed into the side of the cabin. Jack yelled ordering them to lay down their arms. They were under arrest. To which a rain of bullets flew at him. Jean took that advantage to shoot another terrorist drawing down on Jack. This time Jean’s aim was deadly. The man fell forward in a pool of blood. Caught in the crossfire the terrorists gave up throwing their weapons down.
Dave Matthew complied with the rest. His eyes burnt with hatred revealing the fight was not over for him.
Jack had the men fan out then called for the terrorists to lock their hands behind their heads slowly filing in a single line. The Mounties took them into custody one by one as they came through the doorway with Jean and the wounded prisoner bringing up the rear.
When they tried to cuff Matthew he broke free running straight into Jean’s fist. Jean hit Matthew with a right cross snapping Matthew’s head sideways. Matthew recovered in a flash. The fight between them manifested quickly.
Matthew was a powerhouse in his own right but smaller in stature than Jean. He matched Jean blow for blow and kick for kick. He came at Jean as a boxer his arms drew in close to his body fists raised high as he bobbed. He started with a series of blows in rapid fire. Only a couple found the desired mark. Each blow he landed Jean landed one a little harder. In total frustration, Matthew went from boxing to a mixture of punches and kicks.
Jean moved swiftly into his martial art stance warding off Matthew’s advances with his own counter moves. Jean roundhouse kicked Matthew in the face throwing Matthew off his feet.
Matthew swung away throwing snow in Jean’s face temporarily blinding Jean to try to gain some advantage. He pulled a dagger lunging at Jean trying to plunge it into Jean’s heart.
Jean sidestepped the lunge. The dagger slid across Jean’s chest slicing through the parka and shirt glancing off the vest. Jean grabbed Matthew’s wrist with his left hand smashing Matthew three times in the face with his right elbow. Matthew staggered under the blows as Jean stepped behind Matthew’s right leg slamming Matthew in the chest taking him down. Jean wrenched Matthew’s arm out of the socket as he fell then slammed his knee into Matthew’s chest, leaning heavily against it holding the injured arm around his knee.
Matthew scowled through the pain his blazing with repulsion curing Jean in Arabic then hissed in English, “Don’t think this will stop us from achieving our goal. You won’t hold me long!”
Jean smirked a cockeyed grin at him, “If you’re counting on your NY connection in the Marshal Division think again, scumbag,”
Jean knew he hit a nerve for Matthew’s face went ashen. His eyes glazed for a split second then tried to bluff his way. “I don’t deal with swine, Pig!”
“You don’t? Watch and learn, Skyrider, you there?” Jean pulled out the earpiece placing near Matthew’s ear so he could hear.
“Coming over loud and clear,” Janet’s voice snapped.
Jean moved the ear device back in his ear. “Tell New York he has the green light to arrest Bartlett. Yes, that’s right New York’s divisional commander Pierce Bartlett. The charges are terrorism, treason, drug running, gunrunning, sabotage and I’ll probably be able to come up with a few more charges by the time we’re done. Hey Matthew, you want to listen in as your connection comes crashing down?”
“Get your damn knee out of my chest Dog! I need a hospital!” Matthew hissed trying to dislodge Jean’s knee with his other hand squirming slightly amidst the excruciating pain.
“He whines more than Eddie does.” Jack came over glaring down at Matthew squirming in the snow under Jean’s weight. “It doesn’t look like you did that much damage for him to be squealing like a piglet.”
“I didn’t, I only pulled his arm out of the socket. Give me a hand and I will put it back in for the crybaby. Leg, Ed, get over here.” Jean answered as Jack grabbed Matthew by the shirt hauling him to his feet keeping his weapon barrel buried against Matthew neck while Jean held onto Matthew’s wrist.
Mark and Robert responded. Jack handed his weapon to Robert. Robert pointed it at Matthew’s chest. Mark trained his weapon’s laser site in the middle of Matthew’s eyes.
“If he tries anything take him out.” Jean ordered as he and Jack got ready.
“It’ll be my pleasure.” Mark replied.
Jack twisted Matthew’s other arm behind his back taking a hold of Matthew by the neck holding him firmly bracing himself. Jean held Matthew at the elbow then nodded to Jack he was ready. The next second, Jean yanked Matthews arm as his knee went into Matthew’s ribs then he release the knee allowing the arm to snap back into the socket with a resounding pop. Jean folded Matthew’s arm against his chest. One of the Mounties came over with a pair of handcuffs for Matthew but was in a quandary as to apply them with one arm in front and the other and back.
A devilish smile spread across Mark’s face. He lowered his weapon disappearing into the cabin for a couple seconds then came out sporting a roll of duct tape. Jack and Jean held Matthew while Mark wrapped the tape first around Matthew’s wrist then drew the tape up across his chest around his neck twice before connecting it to the other wrist. He wrapped Matthew up in the tape from shoulder to waist. As Mark finished Matthew started cursing and in return got a piece of duct tape across his mouth firmly.
“Ah quit your bellyaching about the tape. I just made sure your arm was immobile so it doesn’t pop out of the socket again. Man, you sure act like we’re the terrorist or something.” Mark retorted pressing the tape firmly into Matthew’s face.
Kyle came over, “Ah… you can’t tape his mouth shut as much as we all would like it that way.”
Mark shrugged his shoulders with a mischievous grin. “Okay.” He replied ripping the tape free with one swift jerk.
Matthew screamed involuntarily as most of his mustache came off with duct tape. He started cursing spitting at them. Kyle handed him off to one of the Mounties. “Knock off with the mouth or I’ll reconsider the tape.” He ordered.
Jean went over squatting beside the dead man turning him over. It was the contact. James came over taking a closer look at the man. “No way!” He muttered.
Jean looked up at James, “You know him?”
“Yeah, he was Hogan’s new son-in-law. No wonder they weren’t that worried about Hogan’s captured. They were grooming the replacement for him. I guess he got to be too sick or even the cartel to stomach.”
“Speaking of cartel, hey Skyrider how has the other two busts come down?” Jean asked standing up.
Janet’s voice sparkled coming over, “Roddy and Amber didn’t have any problem but Bartlet put up a fight since New York was arresting him at a dinner party this center was throwing for him. New York felt obligated to reciprocate the favor taken him down hard. Bartlet’s still yelling about how he’s going to get the person responsible for framing him and his associates in high places will see he’s avenged. If he spouting any truth, it looks like we’re going to have to shake the tree harder to see if there are any more bad apples hanging around.
“How’s the mop up work going there? It looks from my vantage point it seems to be going pretty smooth.” Janet radioed.
“They have the prisoners in the back of one of the work trucks for transporting back to civilization. They are rounding up the evidence now. In a few minutes we’ll be out a here after we gather our equipment.” Jean answered heading for the cabin.
Jean was packing the gear when Kyle entered the cabin coming over shaking Jean’s hand. “Thank you for all you’ve done. I’m glad it’s over.”
Jean drew back scowling at him. “You’re kidding, right?”
It puzzled look crossed Kyle’s face.
“Man Kyle, you’re just getting started. There were representatives from five different terrorist organizations with a connection to a drug cartel. Someone’s coordinating this scheme. It’s your job to track down every lead you have picked up here squashing it at its source or in six months top, you’ll be right back in the same boat. Only next time you’ll be dealing with three or more cells doing it at the same time.” Jean agitatedly shoved the last of the gear in the duffel bag zipping it shut.
“Start with the non-terrorist first cutting them a deal for solid information leads. Gather yourself a unit you can trust from the elite making sure they are what they say and above reproach. Don’t pick any grand standards. They’re out for the glory and the quickest rise in the ranks at anyone’s expense. Once you have your team. Work on the leads making sure someone in your units a whiz with computers. They are using technology at lightning speed changing continually. You’ll need to be able to keep up or you’ll always be three steps behind them.” Jean slung the duffel bag over his shoulder giving Kyle one and hung onto the other in his left hand.
“Hone your own skills. You have many excellent qualities however, you’re raw. Don’t always try to bulldog your way through. Each situation requires its own personal handling. Train your unit to work as one. There is no such thing as a need to know basis in an elite unit. It’ll handicap your people if you allow it to happen. Your unit should be as part of your family you trust exclusively with your life because your life will depend upon theirs in the field needing to trust each other and vice versa. I’ll need that vest and your earpiece now. We need to leave.
“Also watch out for Matthew. Even though he’s in custody, he’s still a dangerous man. They didn’t place him in charge for nothing. Stay on a heightened state of alert all the way back for he’ll be looking for a way to escape taking advantage of any situation, which presents itself to obtain his objective.”
Kyle stripped off the vest handing in and the earpiece to Jean. “You wouldn’t be in the market for a transfer to Canada would you?” He smiled opening the door for Jean as they headed back to the Huey.
“No I have other plans and this mission cinched it for me.” Jean answered storing the gear in the Huey. “You look like you have things well in hand so we will be taking off. We have a mission needing our immediate attention. Remember to keep an eye on Matthew.” He gave a shrill whistle summoning members of his unit.
“Hey Gabe, you got a number I can reach you if I need your counsel?” Kyle asked as the troop piled in the Huey.
Jean gave Kyle a penetrating glance and snagged a scrap of paper and pencil scribbling down four numbers handing them to Kyle. “The first is to my office, the second Oakley’s and the third and fourth are to be used only in emergency and I mean emergency. Have a good life and watch your back. Let’s get moving.” Jean barked climbing into the copilot seat.
Kyle backed up as Jack started the Huey taking off. Jean fastened in looking around. “Where’s my stuff?” He snarled.
Slaughter reached down into the crate and pulled out a large envelope handing it up to Jean. He snatched it as soon as it was in reach opening and taking the wallet out of his hip pocket throwing it back towards the crate bounced off the wall with a resounding thud before plopping into the crate. The Harley ring followed the wallet. Jean poured the context of the envelope onto his lap. He strapped the wrist monitor on his wrist then gently picked up his wedding ring sliding it back in its place on his left ring finger. He slid his shield into his shirt pocket and his wallet into his pants pocket.
He turned the monitor on and went ballistic because they were out of range. “Janet!” He bellowed. “Where is she?”
“I’m bringing the area up now. You’re ten minutes out of range. The signal’s in the same location as first reported. Jean it hasn’t moved in almost eighteen hours. Jack, floor the Huey.” Janet ordered transmitting the coordinates.
“Scanning the area see if you can do any better than Peter and Sarah. I want information and I want it now!” Jean grabbed a set of binoculars scanning the horizon.
“The campsite is coming in sight now. Let’s see, there are remains of a campsite, the grave with the crosses. I’m panning the area now, okay. There is a layer of snow on everything. Someone has collected debris from the plane going through it. By the campfire ring, there is evidence of a bed. I’m moving out from the campsite slowly. There are slight impressions in the snow of an animal prowling the campsite but I don’t see evidence of any human tracks. Moving out more and okay there’s the view of the river so they should know it’s there.”
“What about where the signal’s coming from, can you get a better view of where it is than just trees, Janet? All Peter could bring up was blasted trees.” Jean scanned the area.
“Jean, I just found another woven cross on the edge of the clearing hanging in a horizontal position pointing towards the river. Good job Su. Jean she has left the clearing before the snow fell marking the way they went with pieces of…of… her hair. You should be picking up the signal by now on your monitor. It’s coming from the left of the campsite so my guess would be during the crash it somehow torn off Sue’s wrist. You have to track her the old-fashioned way. The clearing isn’t large enough for the Huey to land so you’re going to have to repel down to it.”
Jean glanced over his shoulder towards the others in his unit. “You heard her, what the hell are you just sitting on your derrière’s for? Break out the equipment making sure everyone’s ready to go by the time we arrived or you’ll go down the hard way!”
Slaughter, Tripper, and James looked over at the rest as Robert sprang into action followed closely by Mark to the back in the Huey. Slaughter got up to help. Mark relayed the equipment to him.
“Mark, he was just kidding about that, right? Trying to lighten up things,” Slaughter took the armload from Mark.
Mark stared at him straight in the eyes, snapping, “No!”
That motivated Tripper and James. By the time they arrived at the crash site, the winch was in place with the harnesses on the apparatus. Jack hovered above the clearing while Mark opened the door with Robert snapping the last wench into place securing it to the Huey. Jean unbuckled moving to the rear compartment. Jack caught a glimpse of his demeanor as he passed by.
“Jean wait this time until the…” was all Jack got out of his mouth before hearing the winch whirled screeching in protest as Jean rode the cable down.
“Man he didn’t even use a harness.” James leaned out watching Jean descend, letting go the last fifteen feet doing a rolling landing then was gone.
Robert snapped up on the first repelling equipment to the cable barking at James, “What are you waiting for? He’s not going to wait forever. Get going.”
James secured his harness and said a quick prayer before he stepped off into nothingness. Within two minutes, Mark, Slaughter, and Tripper joined him on the ground. They heard a “Heads up” then a harness slammed into the mist of them.
“Secure the body from the grave for transport and find out where Jean went.” Jack’s voice boomed in their ears. Slaughter and Tripper took on the task of preparing the body as Mark and James followed Jean’s tracks. James led the way following Jean’s trail into the underbrush. All too soon, they lost the trail stopping for a breather amidst the trees which closed in over their heads.
“You see any sign of him, Mark? I can hardly see anything in this mess.” James wheezed holding his side to ease the pain.
“No, but he’s close. Jean, come on answer me, where are you? Mark searched for some sign of him. Mark was examining some snow by the tree-line when he suddenly froze then leaped aside hollering for James to watch out as a shower of heavy snow fell from the trees above covering them and a blanket of white. Jean dropped gently to the ground Su’s bracelet in his hand.
“Get off your asses and let’s go. Some help you two are. If I was a terrorist, you both would be dead.” Jean started back to the clearing.
James made the mistake of answering him. “We’re on a rescue mission now not a covert mission any longer.”
Jean was in his face instantaneously. “All the more to stay alert, you miss the smallest details out here and it could meet someone’s life or didn’t you recognize those paw prints of that cougar? It’s maimed so it’s normal prey is not an option for it. Keep your bloody eyes open before you become some animal’s supper. Jack?”
“I found Su’s bracelet. It was in a magpie’s nest. It was torn off her wrist meaning she’s hurt her wrist, properly broken. The woven cross supports that assessment. It isn’t woven as tightly as she usually does. I haven’t discovered any footprints from the survivors yet. The only footprints were the paw tracks of a main cougar so Janet’s theory of them moving out before the snowfall holds water. We’re a good thirty-six to forty hours behind them. Have you secured the body in the Huey yet?”
“Karine Murphy is aboard and secured. Jean the wind is starting to pick up speed. That storm front’s coming in faster than we expected.”
Jean arrived at the campsite to see the Huey get hit with a strong blast in the side moving the Huey a good two hundred feet before Jack was able to bring it back. Jean ordered the team to the Huey when Jack’s cell phone went off. He dug in his pocket quickly barked, “Oakley.”
“Oakley we need your help. The truck turned over on a sharp curve and there were injuries.” Kyle’s voice cut in and out. “Several prisoners escape. Matthew was one of them.”
“Hang in there Kyle help is on the way. Skyrider triangulate where Kyle is through my cell phone,” Jack ordered. “Jean, we have trouble with the mission.”
“Mark, book up that rope. James, follow him. I’ll find Su and let you know where we are, Jack. What are you waiting for James, an engraved invitation? Mark is in the Huey so keep going.”
James shook his head no, “I’m with you. I have your back. Robert, throw down a pack.”
Jean exploded, “I don’t have time to keep you in tow. I’ll be moving fast. They’re probably hurt needing immediate assistance to survive so get your ass up that rope!”
“If they’re hurt, you’ll need help getting them out.” James yelled back and seconds later a pack slammed on the ground between them as Jean heard the whine of the winch retracting. The Huey’s engine roared away.
“Jack!” Jean screamed.
“You’re outvoted this time, buddy. You can pound me into a pulp after you locate them and have them safely back. Godspeed Jean, bring her home.”
Jean stood there for a split second watching the Huey fly off to help Kyle. His jaw ground his teeth. Frustration set in his face, his eyes blazing at Jack’s defiance of direct orders. He turned and disappeared into the underbrush.
James saw only a blur of him snagging the woven cross that marked the trail. James grabbed the pack slinging it over his shoulder and plunged and after Jean.
Jean call back, “Come on get the lead out. We’re going to lose what little light we have.” James feet pounded through the snow the brambles tearing at him trying to follow the small trail Jean was blazing.