Published by: Red Shirt Publishing
Release Date: May 14, 2022
Days after the Berlin Wall came down KGB Colonel Oleg Karpinsky walked into the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm to defect. Thirty years later, Dr. Karpinsky is an American citizen and respected CIA scientist conducting research in the paranormal sciences. He uses a method similar to Extrasensory Perception (ESP) called Technical Remote Viewing to gather intelligence on America’s enemies and allies.
Presently he is enjoying his annual winter vacation at an isolated cabin in the frozen Alaskan wilderness with his personal security detail of Deputy U.S. Marshals when the National Security Agency intercepts a message from the Kremlin to its special operations submarine, BS-64 Podmoskovye. It orders the covert extraction of Karpinsky. Attempts to warn the marshals via their satellite phone are unsuccessful. The U.S. Intelligence Community assesses Karpinsky and his protectors are in mortal danger. The President orders the Pentagon to retrieve them before the Russians can attack. There’s only one problem.
The most powerful nation in human history has been rendered near impotent by a vicious Arctic storm. Alaska is experiencing severe icing weather that has grounded all military air assets within range of the cabin except for a lone Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter on the ramp at Homer Airport. The Pentagon initiates Operation Bear Trap and scrambles to assemble an ad hoc rescue team of Coast Guardsmen and military reservists and retirees for a possible suicide mission facing a highly trained team of Spetsnaz operators. Fortunately, the NSA determines a CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer and retired Navy SEAL officer, Jon Smith, has just arrived in Homer for his own well-deserved vacation. He is recalled to active duty to prepare and lead the rescue team. Can he and his ragtag group of Red Shirts save them before time runs out? The fate of the Nation and its people may rest on their success.
0200Z (0500hr AST) Outskirts of Mosul, Iraq
Jon was the fourth man in a tight stack of seven standing in the dark along a pockmarked, cinder block wall outside the back door of a battle-damaged two-story house. Tonight, he and his teammates were wearing black Iraqi Army Special Forces uniforms. He yawned quietly as his stomach growled. He had been awake and on the move for over thirty-six hours. The only thing he had eaten was an unheated MRE spaghetti entrée ten hours earlier. All he could think about was food and sleep. Despite the early hour, the temperature hovered just over 100°F. Sweat flowed steadily from under his helmet and into his eyes before dripping off his nose into his beard. Under his body armor, his pale pink skin was steaming. He grabbed his plate carrier below his neck and pulled it out and back like a bellows several times to force some fresh air under it for a little temporary relief. He was standing nut to butt behind his swim buddy, Clint.
He and his team were hunting Quds Force terrorists sent from Iran to plant improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, on the area roadways. These explosively formed penetrator-type IEDs were effective against mine-resistant vehicles and tanks. Their bombs resulted in the maiming and deaths of over 150 civilians and soldiers in the preceding month.
Jon wiped the sweat from his eyes with his Nomex gloved hand and sucked a mouthful of warm water from the drinking tube attached to his CamelBak hydration pack. He reflexively recoiled and closed his eyes as a powerful stench assaulted his senses. He had been subjected to another one of Clint’s silent but deadly gastronomic attacks. In response, Jon pulled his collapsible baton from his plate carrier and slid it up between Clint’s inner thighs and pressed it against his perineum. Through his night vision goggles, Jon saw Clint spring to his tippy toes and clench his cheeks.
Clint swatted the baton away and quietly said, “Asshole!”
Jon chuckled under his breath. The team leader began counting down from five seconds with his left hand. When he got to zero, they would breach the door and kill or capture the tangos—more likely kill, but a couple of prisoners for the interrogators would be preferable.
As the leader signaled three, the eight-inch-thick wall in front of Jon exploded, sending concrete shrapnel and an explosively formed penetrator flying from a fifteen-inch-diameter hole. Clint’s head vaporized, spraying Jon’s face and night vision goggles with hot blood, tissue, and bone. Some went in his mouth, causing him to gag. He froze for what seemed like an eternity. His mind screamed at his body to move, but nothing happened.
The operator behind Jon yanked him back out of the way and yelled, “Frag out!” as he threw two grenades into the hole. They exploded and the breacher blew the door. The stack flooded through the smoky opening. Jon spit the coppery-tasting lump of brain matter onto the sand and wiped his face. His goggles were covered with the goo, and he flipped them up out of the way. He stepped over Clint and followed the team inside. They quickly swept the house, killing tangos. Tonight, there would be no prisoners. As the Team searched the house and gathered intel, Jon ran back outside to check on Clint. Maybe he hadn’t seen what he thought he had. Jon pointed his flashlight at his friend then immediately turned away, retching uncontrollably until nothing remained.