We're just a few short weeks away from the release of AVOID. NEGOTIATE. KILL. on May 23rd! In the meantime, here's another sample of the sequel to SPECTRE RISING.
10 Miles Northeast of Al Hasakah, Syria
Avoid. Negotiate. Kill. They were the three basic tenets of Krav Maga that his Sensei had instilled in him since day one of his training.
First, he was to avoid confrontation. Some even called it the “Nike Defense.” Running away was generally the preferred option. Living to fight another day was the highest priority, regardless of what his ego said. He had already spent the last two days practicing the art of avoidance by evading and hiding. It hadn’t worked. The commandos of the Al Nusra Front captured him after he made initial contact with Iraqi Security Forces. He had exhausted that option.
His next priority was to negotiate. Sometimes a person could talk his way out of a situation. Maybe the attacker hadn’t fully resolved his will to fight. Maybe the attacker wanted something that wasn’t worth risking life and limb over. Or maybe a person could buy enough time for help to show up. As Cal “Spectre” Martin stared down the barrel of his own confiscated Beretta 92FS 9MM at point blank range, he realized that option was also no longer on the table. The man before him, in his torn and worn out camouflaged jacket and military pants, didn’t appear to be willing to negotiate as he shouted for Spectre to read the paper the man had given him. All Spectre could do now was kill.
His ribs were sore and his face was swollen. They had not been gentle in transporting him from his holed up location in the desert of Iraq to their small village, although from what he had noticed, it wasn’t much of a village. The locals had likely been driven out as the Syrian Opposition fighters had taken it over as a base of operations. It was mostly just a few small huts, war torn buildings and small trucks with bed-mounted machine guns.
“Read! Read!” the man holding the gun to his temple shouted from behind his black wiry beard. Spectre could feel the man’s spit and hot breath hit him as he pushed the cold gun barrel into Spectre’s temple.
Spectre picked up the piece of paper and looked into the tripod-mounted camera in front of him. He was kneeling in his desert khaki flight suit. His survival vest and radio had long since been stripped from him. The zippers of his flight suit pockets were starting to dig into his knees, adding to the pain.
“I can’t read this chicken scratch,” Spectre said, holding up the hand written piece of paper. He watched as the man sidestepped in front of him to see the paper. The hammer on his Beretta 92FS M9 wasn’t cocked and the safety was still on. Amateur.
“What? What you say?” the man asked in broken English as he sidestepped again and repositioned the gun to Spectre’s forehead. He was now standing between Spectre and the camera. “You read! No excuse! Or you die!”
Spectre brought the paper up to his face as if to get a better look. It was time to kill. As his hands reached his eye level, he dropped the paper and instantly grabbed the man’s right wrist with his right hand and the barrel of the gun with his left. Falling to his side while securing the weapon, he flicked off the safety, squeezed through the double action of the fourteen-pound trigger, and fired at his shocked captor. The bullet struck the man in the throat and sent him stumbling back into the camera as he gasped through his last breaths.
Spectre reset his aim for the door. The small hut had only one door, and he remembered an armed guard standing watch as his captor, presumably a leader, had taken him in to make the propaganda video. Seconds later, the door flung open as a screaming attacker rushed in. Spectre sent two rounds to the man’s chest and followed up with a round to the head as the lone man fell forward.
Scrambling to his feet, Spectre rushed to the guard’s lifeless body. He grabbed the AK-47 from his hands and found two extra magazines and a fragmentation grenade in his pocket. Shooting his way out of the village had a low probability of success, but Spectre resolved to go down fighting. He wouldn’t make the mistake of being captured again.
Spectre put the extra magazines in his flight suit along with the Beretta and readied the AK-47. He had no idea how many men were alerted by the sounds of his gunshots, but he assumed the worst. He took a deep breath and stepped out into the crisp night air. Taking cover behind a burnt out car in front of him, he watched as a group of men advanced toward his position.
He tried to get a feel for his surroundings as he waited for a clear shot. He was still unclear of exactly where he was in the village and what the best route of escape was. They had kept a burlap sack over his head as they walked him from his initial holding location to the small building where he was held. The sack had been just worn out enough that he could barely make out guards as they shuffled him into the building. He knew he was roughly one hundred paces from his original location, but that was it.
He looked around as he crouched behind the car. He could see clear night air behind him and more huts to his left and in front of him. Fight or flight. Spectre had a decision to make. It was time to revert back to avoidance until that option was once again exhausted. He would never be able to hold his position with the combined one hundred rounds of 7.62 x 39 and 9MM for his AK-47 and Beretta 92FS.
Holding his rifle low and ready, he took off in a sprint toward the rear of the long building. As he reached the corner, rounds began peppering the walls as the men saw him. He took cover and assessed his new position. It was completely dark. Desert. He could tell by the dark abyss behind him that he had been held near the edge of the village.
Spectre held up his rifle as he peered around the corner. As one of the men reached the burnt out car in front of the building, Spectre fired off two rounds that sent the man running for cover. Spectre sprinted to the opposite corner of the building. The other two men were attempting to flank his position from the opposite side. He pulled the pin on the grenade and tossed it in their direction. The grenade landed between the two men, sending shrapnel and debris everywhere as it exploded.
He sprinted back to the opposite corner and took aim at the man behind the burnt out car. As the man peered around the rear bumper, Spectre fired a round, hitting the man in the forehead and instantly dropping him face first into the dirt.
Spectre could hear vehicles in the distance as more men approached. He took off into the darkness, his boots kicking up sand as he sprinted through the soft desert. He could hear the yells of the rebel fighters behind him as the vehicles got closer. At this rate, he would be overrun before he reached civilization.
Clearing the first sand dune, he turned around and dropped to a prone position while taking aim toward the village. He could see two vehicles with mounted machine guns and spotlights quickly approaching the edge of the village. They were firing wildly in his direction, but in the darkness, their unaimed shots were in vain.
Spectre cleared his weapon and checked his magazine. They would surely run him down if he kept running. It was time to make his last stand and go down swinging. At least he had made it this far.