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Raptor 6



2014 by Ronie Kendig Print ISBN 978-1-61626-040-8 eBook Editions: Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-63058-057-5 Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-63058-058-2 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher. Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Additional scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. niv. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the authors imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental. For more information about Ronie Kendig, please access the authors website at the following Internet address: Cover Design: Kirk DouPonce, DogEared Design Published by Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683, Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.

Printed in the United States of America.

To the U.S. Special Forces Community known as the Quiet Professionals. You are warriors with humility and ferocity. You possess courage and generosity. You fight for freedom and those who cannot fight for themselves. I pray this series honors the work you do, the men you are, and your families who so tirelessly support you! With a grateful heart. . .thank you!

Special thanks to:
The Special Forces veteran who posed on the coverthank you, sir, for your service and for the sacrifices you and your family have made as you have served. May God richly bless you! Former Special Forces operator Jonas Polson for your service to our country and your vigilance over freedom. Thank you for your help and kindness with elements of this story. Admiration and thanks to other Special Forces veterans who gave tips and tried to educate on the minutiae of all things SF. Clearly, I still have a lot to learn. Thank you, sirs! Thanks to Colonel Dean (retired) for help with cybersecurity. Well, as much as you could give without making it necessary to have me killed (just kidding. . .mostly). Thanks to Kirk DouPonce, who accepted the challenge to take this Rapid-Fire Fiction novel to the next level with an ber-amazing cover! Thank you! Thanks to my agent, Steve Laube, who remains steadfast and constant in an ever-changing industry. Thanks for keeping it real, Agent-Man!

Allen and Kellie Gilbertthanks for your helping with skydiving information! A million thanks to Julee Schwarzburgeditor extraordinaire! Bethany Kaczmarekgirl, you got skillz! Thank you for your constant and incredible help in making this book stronger. Youre amazing! Rel MolletWhere would I be without you, friend? You keep me encouraged and laughing when, really, I just want to puddle up and cry. Youre one of the truest and most genuine friends Ive ever had! Thanks to the Barbour Fiction and Sales teams, relentless in their efforts to make our books successful: Shalyn Sattler, Annie Tipton, Rebecca Germany, Mary Burns, Elizabeth Shrider, Laura Young, Kelsey McConaha, Linda Hang, and Ashley Schrock.

LITERARY LICENSE In writing about unique settings, specific locations, and invariably the people residing there, a certain level of risk is involved, including the possibility of dishonoring the very people an author intends to honor. With that in mind, I have taken some literary license in Raptor 6, including renaming some bases within the U.S. military establishment, creating sites/entities that do not otherwise exist, and other aspects of team movement/integration. Also, some elements of the story are pure entertainment and as with any work of fiction, demand a level of suspension of disbelief. I have done this so the book and/or my writing will not negatively reflect on our military community and its heroes. With the quickly changing landscape of combat theater, this seemed imperative and prudent.

G lossary of Terms /Acronyms

AARAfter-Action Review ACUsArmy Combat Uniforms AHODAll Hands On Deck ANAAfghan National Army CICCommander In Chief CIDCriminal Investigations Department DIADefense Intelligence Agency GlockA semiautomatic handgun IEDImprovised Explosive Device KlickMilitary slang for kilometer M4, M4A1, M16Military assault rifles MRAPMine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle MWDMilitary Working Dog ODA452Operational Detachment A (Special Forces A-Team) OPSECOperational Security RPGRocket-Propelled Grenade RTBReturn To Base SASSpecial Air Service (Foreign Special Operations Team) SATINTSatellite Intelligence SCISensitive Compartmented Information SFOCSpecial Forces Operational Command SOCOMSpecial Operations Command SIPRNetSecret Internet Protocol Router Network TEDDTactical Explosive Detector Dog UAVUnmanned Aerial Vehicle WMDsWeapons of Mass Destruction

Dean Patrick Raptor Six Watters (Captain)Raptor team commander Brian Hawk Bledsoe (Staff Sergeant)Raptor team member; coms specialist; rank Staff Sergeant Eamon Titanis Straider (SAS Corporal)Raptor team member; Australian; engineering specialty Fekiria HaidaryZahrah Zarricks cousin; teacher Kamran KhanTaliban member Lance Burnett (General)Raptors commanding officer; attached to Defense Intelligence Agency Lee Nianzuassassin and associate of Zhang Longwei, son of General Zhang Guiern; Chinese Mitchell Harrier Black (Sergeant First Class)Raptor team member; combat medic Peter Z-Day Zarrick (General, retired)served as commander of Coalition Forces; Zahrah Zarricks father Rashid Mustafabrother of Ara, one of Zahrahs students Salvatore Falcon Russo (Sergeant First Class)Raptor team member; team sergeant, aka team daddy; expert in ops/intel Todd Eagle Archer (Staff Sergeant)Raptor team member; weapons expert; team sniper Zahrah Zarricka missionary teacher; daughter of General Peter Z-Day Zarrick

Amelia Amy Celine ArcherTodd Archers wife Ara Mustafasister of Rashid, one of Zahrah Zarricks students Ashgar Asaddrug dealer Majorca Atash MustafaRashid and Aras father; husband of Razia Behrooz NemaziPashtun Boris/Scythehacker/spy Specialist Bramlettfemale MP at sub-base Brie Hastings (Lieutenant)personal aid to General Burnett Candymancallsign for Tony VanAllen, former Raptor team member Chris Riordan (Lieutenant Commander)Navy SEAL Cardinala spy who works with General Burnett Collin Ramsey (General)Commander of the Coalition Forces DdrakeTactical Explosives Detector Dog Desi WattersDean Watterss estranged sister Donny WattersDean Watterss brother Ellen Green (Specialist)female soldier who was captured with Dean during the ambush ten years earlier Sergeant Elliottmentor to Dean; police officer and former Army Ranger (Vietnam) Grant Knight (Sergeant)Ddrakes handler Hafizah HaidaryZahrahs aunt and Fekeria Haidarys mother; has dark eyes Ismail Sidiq (Colonel)colonel in the Afghan National Army, Regional Command, North Izzah ZarrickZahrah Zarricks mother Jahandar HaidaryZahrahs uncle, father of Fekiria Jahandar Peter ZarrickZahrah Zarricks brother Jeffrey BainAmerican journalist Mr. Kohistanidirector of Kohistani School; older; has a long, graying beard; brown eyes; 5'5" Razia MustafaRashid and Aras mother; not much older than Zahrah, married to Atash Mustafa Sadri Alia known opium supplier Sajjan Takkar/ Variablean operative; a Sikh

special force s P rayer

Almighty GOD, Who art the Author of liberty and the Champion of the oppressed, hear our prayer. We, the men of Special Forces, acknowledge our dependence upon Thee in the preservation of human freedom. Go with us as we seek to defend the defenseless and to free the enslaved. May we ever remember that our nation, whose motto is In God We Trust, expects that we shall acquit ourselves with honor, that we may never bring shame upon our faith, our families, or our fellow men. Grant us wisdom from Thy mind, courage from Thine heart, strength from Thine arm, and protection by Thine hand. It is for Thee that we do battle, and to Thee belongs the victors crown. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. AMEN. Written by SF Chaplain John Stevey, the 7th SFG (ABN) Chaplain, 1961

Chapte r 1
Present Day

ant breathe. Cant breathe. He sucked in a hard breath. Fabric drew against his nostrils. Hot. Cant breathe. No air! He thrashed, searching for freedom, for air. . . Im going to die! At the thought, he jerked. Where am I? A bounce smacked his head against something hard. Metal. Captain Dean Watters groaned. Opened his eyes. But couldnt see. The meaty rumble of an engine warned him he was in a vehicle. The tail of one by the roaring sound and steel digging into his shoulder. The way his breath coiled back at him told him he had a hood over his face. Mouth taped. Hands taped. Feethe tested his legtaped. Get out or die! Dean kicked. Tendons strained against his effort. Brakes squealed. Gravity shifted and tugged him. Rounding a corner. Again the engine roared. Where are they taking me? Wheres Z? Recollection swarmed him in a thick cloud of defeat. Shed walked out. Willingly. He couldnt blame her. Theyd been through the fires of hell and back since they were captured. The enemy had broken her. Gotten into her head and convinced her that helping them was the smart choice. A sudden lurch made him slide. Hands pawed at him as shouts erupted. He was lifted. . . . The truck bounced. Gravity pulled him left againanother corner. The truck mustve turned. Then spinning. . . Still blind and bound, Dean felt himself flying. Through the air. Unrestrained. He tensed, no idea where hed land. What hed hit. Or in what. And he prayedbeggedGod to let him live. He had to live. Had to find her. 9

Down. . .down. . . Crack! He landed with a thud. White-hot fire shot through his shoulder and arm. He groaned around the tape over his mouth. Shoved aside the pain, reoriented himself. Brightness speared his eyes. Specks of light glittered through the thick fabric. He scrambled to his knees, desperate to know where theyd dumped him. A siren wailed. Shouts. He knew those sounds, the shouts. The base. His captors had thrown him at the gate of the base. Armed with that knowledge, he remained still. Anything to let those with the weapons know he wasnt a threat. Stay where you are! Hands in the air. Hands. In. The. Air! The command came in English, Pashto, Dari, then Farsi. Boots shuffled closer, along with more shouts to get his arms up. One service member came very close. It took everything in Dean not to move. One wrong twitch, and theyd put him down like a sick dog. A beam of light struck him. So much like the light torture. The light vanished. Dudes tied up. The voice was right over Dean. Hold up. Careful, came another voice. He could be rigged. Right. Why hadnt Dean thought of that before? Am I? Mentally, he patted himself down but felt nothing strapped to him. Whoosh! Glaring white seared his corneas. He grimaced and ducked. Dean squinted rapidly, trying to force his eyes to readjust. A Marine frowned at him as several others gathered around, business ends of their weapons aimed at Deans head. The lead Marine pointed to the tape as if asking permission. Dean nodded and his body swayed. He jerked straight. Then his body pulled him backward. Dizzy. . .so dizzy. The Marine ripped off the tape. After a moment of prickling fire, Dean stretched his jaw. Watters. . . Breathe. He needs water! a grunt shouted. No. Dean shook his head. Wet his lips, which tasted of salt and blood. Watters, Dean. . . Patrick. . .captain. His vision was ghosting. Four ffour His body surrendered. 10

Chapte r 2
Undisclosed Location, Six Months Ago

peed. Surprise. Violence of action. The three principles necessary for successful engagement of an enemy in combat. Many times these three words carry through the grainy feed of the hidden camera. The men moving beneath the staticky image, unaware of the listening ear. Unaware of their vulnerability. Their mission is not so different from mine, from those I fight for and with on a daily basisto act without hesitation and with fierce action so the enemy can be caught unaware. After verifying once more that the feed has gone live, I adjust the volume, punch the record button, then settle back with my hot cup of tea to watch these elite special operators betray their every secret. Six menonly five in the room as of yet. I wait for their leader before putting on my headphones. The reception isnt the best in the sub-base command center, but I worked out all the kinks, navigating the complications and smoothly rerouting around their jamming technology. Still there is an annoying static hiss Id prefer to go without for as long as I can. They really should update their systems. Then. . .then they might have a chance. But the orders to cut spendingwell, any tech-savvy person knows cybersecurity is one of the first things in budgets to get axed. That right along with breakfast. No more promise of three squares when these idealistic punks joined up. The whole thing makes me laugh. Why would any country cut its defense budget? Were they really that arrogant? They are the only country dialing down their military armaments while the rest of the world is ramping up. 11

Another man enters the command center. And cue the entertainment. I slip on my headphones and sip my tea. Raptor Six himself. Not real sure how he got thatSpecial Forces isnt known for using the six designation on team assignments. Must be a personal thing with our fearless leader. Either way, it feels stupid to me. I mean, they sound coolMercy Six. Rainbow Six. Halo Six. Whatever. The military and their numbers and acronyms. . . So. Raptor team. A guy with light brown, almost blond hair grins. He has this pretty-boy thing happening. Sort of reminds me of that guy who hunts demons with his brother on that one show. . .whatever its called. I like it. Chicksll dig it. Thats Brian Bledsoe. Staff Sergeant. Now code-named Hawk ha! Easy one to rememberSquawk Hawk. The guy quick with his tongue and his Glock. Not sure one could call him arrogant. He just isnt afraid to voice his opinions. Which are many. Their team commander, Captain Dean Watters, glares at the younger Green Beret. Thats something the team commander does quite wellglare. He isnt big on words, but the dude can put some serious action behind the few words he utters. I wouldnt want to meet him in a dark alley. Or any alley for that matter. This isnt about chicks. Sergeant First Class Salvatore Falcon Russothe meanest guy on the teamsnarls. All bark, but Im not sure he has much of a bite. Mustve had a bad childhood or something to be that grouchy all the time. But he is a top-notch soldier. Holds his own. Watches out for his team. I guess that makes him an asset. The teams Italian Stallion studies the documents on the table. And with a twitch of this dial and a flick of that one, I zoom in and join them studying those documents. Thats what I do after allstudy what they study. Ah. Readiness profiles. Good to know. We have to assume these identities, the new roles in moving out of being Green Berets, out of liaising with villagers and into black ops. Its not about us. Captain Watters leans forward, his fingertips pressing to the table. This is about freedom, about securing innocent lives. Doing violence on their behalf. Cue the American national anthem. Or should that be anathema? Arent Americans pretty much eating their young back on their own soil? 12

Raptor 6
Think this is right? See? This guy I likeSergeant First Class Mitchell Black. Which is weirdhes not black. Hes as white as they come with some good ol sun bronzing, compliments of the Afghan deserts. Theyre calling him Hairier. Wait. Scratch that. Harrier. Birds of prey. Not hairy meneven though his thick, light brown hair is longer than most of the guys on the team. But look at himpicture of calm assurance sitting in a chair, his elbows on the table as he takes in the documents. You wouldnt guess that since the guy had only joined the team in the last six months. Next to the captain, I think this guy could be the biggest threat. Whats the phraseits the quiet ones? I mean, can we do this? Black looks at the others. Can we shift our specialties and work on a level weve never fully executed before? We have, Russo says as he folds his arms over his chest. We did it with the MWDs and handlers. I grab my pen and scratch out a note to self: Research MWDs. Harrier wasnt with us then, Hawk says. They stole one of our best guys out from under us. Bledsoe huffs as he drops into a squeaky office chair. I think the dude could bench-press an oil tanker if he tried with the way his muscles tear at the desert-camo sleeves. No, terrorists did thatCaptain Watters the purist, the patriot when they blew his leg off. Yeah, Bledsoe says. And thats when they saddled us with the Aussie newb. Oy, mate. Laughing loud doesnt alert anyone to my presence, and that makes me laugh louder. Bledsoe is not afraid of anyone. And AussieI grab my notebook and flip back a few pages and find his name: Eamon Titanis Straideris nobody to sneeze at. They call him newb mostly because hes not American. That guy is as tough and rugged as they come. I mean, check out the black high and tight. Strong jaw and eyes that dont miss a thing. Hes a close equal to the captain, but Im not quite sure hes there yet. Still, nobody in his right mind would refer to Australian Special Air Services corporal as newb to his face. Except Bledsoe. Lifting my cup of tea toward the staticky screen where Bledsoe stands tall at six foot, I toast him. Your funeral, not mine. Mate, Im not your enemy. Ferocity laces the words of the Aussie, 13

whod received two Victoria Cross medals. Three if you count the one inked over his left pecnot that Ive seen it myself, but thats what his dossier says. That Oz native is as hardcore as they come. There is opportunity here, Straider goes on. To act swiftly and do justice. Youre a fierce fighter. Focus that energy on the combatants, Bledsoe. Not on me. Electric tension crackles through the command center and the staticbut only I notice that part. Because its a feed. Nobody hears the feed. Except me. . .cuz Im here in this tin can of a trailer. Bledsoe comes to his feet. I dont take orders from you, newb. Oh. Oh! I lean forward and set aside my tea. The two are ready to go to blows. A match, right here on Sub-base Command Live Feed? Be still my beating heart! Enough. Watters saves the day. Again. And makes my duty here boring. Again. Straiders right. Why is he here anyway? Bledsoe asks. We were fine on our own. Were you? Straider hasnt earned his nations respect and devotion by being afraid of confrontation. And he clearly isnt going to start today. Come on, cmon. With a fake left cross, I beg them to duke it out. Give him a what-for, Straider. Level the guy. Teach him a lesson. Do you want to run through the AAR with me on that? Watters straightens, his shoulders squaring as he plants his hands on his tactical belt. Look. This is a change, but its right up our alley. Right where we were headed. Weve been in field long enough to know what needs to be done. Its second nature. With a huff, I slump back in my chair. Disappointing. They always have to be so civil. Rules of engagement and all that. Well, Raptor team needs to hang up their raptor wings. Playing fair wouldnt bring a win. Itd bring death. I smirk. Ill make sure of it.