Hunting for ‘X’ In All The Wrong Places

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He watched the government agent loitering outside the bank. Waiting for him. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed the agent’s private number. When the agent answered his phone there was a loud explosion!

A CIA bunker somewhere in Virginia.

“All right! Listen up! As you know you’ve been selected to be a part of a task force to take out X. I will tell you that you’re not the first team we’ve sent out for him. Two others have failed.”

“What happened to those teams?” one of the new members asked the instructor.

“They’re dead. Does that scare you Adams?”

“No, sir. Just curious.”

“Good! Now that you know, keep your trap shut and listen to the intel I’m going to be giving you, and the rest of the team in the coming weeks. Your lives depend upon it. We’ve learned from our encounters with X. He’s an international player with no country or cause that we can tell. He kills, and steals, for huge sums. He’s a master of multiple martial arts. Speaks dozens of languages, and has no family or friends that we can find. I hate to admit it, but we don’t even know what he looks like.

“How could that…?” Adams started to speak, then saw the instructor’s frown and stopped.

“Our quarry is a master of disguise, even going so far as to using mechanical exoskeletons to change his height and body size. We were able to confiscate one of the exoskeletons when we discovered one of his hiding places in Germany. No manufacturer’s marks. Our tech team thinks he built it himself.”

In the ensuing days of training the instructor, Major Jim Langhorn a longtime operative himself, put the recruits through their paces, challenging them mentally and physically until they were exhausted by the end of each day.

The major taught them all he knew about CIA spy craft tricks and inventions. There were code classes and classes on criminal psychiatry. Every crime that could be traced to X was studied intently. Hours were spent with profilers. They learned that no clue was too small. Above all, they were taught to never underestimate their quarry. He managed to elude authorities worldwide for over a decade. He was a legend in the spook communities.

The six-man team consisted of volunteers from various Special Forces units from the Army, Marines, and Navy. They were all in the top of the classes. The most-outspoken was Army Ranger, Jason Adams. He was the de facto leader of the team. After six weeks of intense training the team was told to be on 24-hour standby to respond to any intelligence the CIA or other US agencies might come up with.

A week passed and the men were becoming bored and listless. Then the call came. Major Langhorn told them they had a tip X was going to assassinate the new prime minister of Bulgaria. They were briefed on the flight over and arrived at a government airfield in Plodiv at noon local time.

Adams met with the local law enforcement who went over the prime minister’s schedule for the rest of that day and the next. He was due to attend a gathering of friends and family for his birthday at a private country estate the next evening. By the time Adam’s team deployed around the perimeter and joined the local special security units, it was starting to grow dark. Whoever thought that X would appear, took all precautions, including bringing the American team in.

Every person at the estate, including servants, were heavily vetted. No strangers were going to crash the prime minister’s party.

A black shadow flitted from tree-to-tree silently. It snuck up on one of the American team and engulfed it! The shadow kept prowling and killing for hours. Walkie talkies and phones didn’t work. Frequencies were blocked. When the shadow broke away from the tree line and ran up to the house, no one was there to see it. The guards were dead. Loud music played inside the large estate building. People could be seen dancing on an ornate ballroom floor made of marble.

The prime minister was in the center of the dancers, happily waving a goblet of wine and trying to dance himself. No one noticed the red dot on his forehead. But when the bullet went through his skull the woman behind him noticed and screamed when she was splattered with blood and brains! Pandemonium broke out as the guests charged for the doors.

The sun was slowly rising in the gray sky as authorities flooded the estate grounds the next morning. Adams escaped the night’s carnage, but four of his team didn’t. They were murdered at their posts. That just left him and the Navy seal, Gary Stevens. As they flew back on a government transport the two men talked about what happened. It was a classic X hit job in spite of the extraordinary precautions that were taken. It seemed almost supernatural the way he eluded his pursuers every time.

“It probably won’t make you feel much better, ” Major Langhorn was saying, “but you two are the first team members that X didn’t kill on a mission. We’re not sure why he bypassed you. Do you have any theories?”

“I’m not sure,” Adams replied, “but Stephens and I had changed our initial positions to adjust to the terrain better. We both felt exposed.”

 “Meaning...?”

“I think someone knew where everyone was going to be deployed,” he suggested.

“That’s normally the case. You’ve studied the others enough to know that.

“Yeah…I just can’t figure out how he does it. I’ve never been part of a more secure operation than this one, yet it went terribly wrong. It just doesn’t make sense.

Major Langhorn, Adams, and Stephens stopped talking and sipped their coffee.

“You know, coffee usually wakes me up,” Stephens said, breaking the silence.

Adams was having a hard time hearing Stephens. His words seemed to be slurred. He was having trouble keeping his eyes open and an alarm finally went off.

“Something’s wrong with the coffee!” he stammered, and tried to stand up.

Stephens was already sinking to the floor unconscious. Adams tried to focus on Major Langhorn’s face but it was blurry. He seemed perfectly all right. Unaffected by what was happening to him and Stephens.

“I’m sorry. I’m usually more efficient than that. You two escaping made me look sloppy. I’ll hand you that. I must be getting old. Maybe it’s time I retire, ahead of the game I’ve played all these years.

As It Stands, maybe there is really such a thing as perfect crimes.

A Spy on a Saturn Battleship

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The command center board lit up and General Adams turned on an encrypted communication device and listened closely: 

“Major Mark Steel, US Army reporting

I haven’t got much time.

I’m hiding in the deep cargo level of a T722 Saturn Battleship bound for earth. I’ve been listening to bits and pieces of the deck officers conversations and it looks like this is the real McCoy…Saturn is breaking our peace treaty and have put together an invasion fleet!

I’m in the flagship Conquering Star.” Please advise. I’ll contact you again at 17:00.”

General Adams turned off the device and turned to his assistant Col. John Hedy. “Our worst fear has come true, John. Saturn is attacking us despite the peace treaty!”

Col. Hedy had cotton mouth when he asked the general what their next step was? The general knew it was time to call the president. It was up to him.

President Oliver Henderson calmly listened to General Adam then told him to prepare all of the US military forces for war. Then he called the president of Russia. Then China. Then England. Then Canada. The calls took a full day to make.

Only the Big Three countries, America, China, and Russia, had any kind of defense system against hostile aliens. It was still relatively new, and untried. The plan called for perfect coordination between the three countries for maximum defensive strength.

Earth’s defense system circled the globe scanning for targets for the massive laser arsenal to eliminate. Each country’s defense system had to be careful to change orbits so there were no collisions.

Each firing platform also carried Atomic Bombs, and Hydrogen Bombs attached to jet-drones that could be controlled from Earth’s command centers. The combined firepower of the defensive network was mankind’s only hope.

17:00

“Major Steel reporting

I heard two deck officers talking about how easy they expected this invasion to be.

I also heard one say Saturn’s Premier Warlord Sheth Zorneath is aboard this flagship. Apparently it was he who talked Saturn’s ruling Kellith-Ashur Lords into breaking the treaty.

What are your orders?”

General Adam’s deep voice was soothing and clear, “Mark we think we’re ready. What I need you to do is when the attack starts turn on your open emergency channel and wait for further instructions.

You don’t mind me calling you Mark, do you major?” 

“Not at all sir.”

“Ralph. My name is Ralph. Good luck soldier.”

The attacking space armada approached earth at cruising speed. Russia’s spy satellite spotted them first and relayed the news to the others. The fighting platforms made rapid sight adjustments as the fleet got within range.

An opening salvo from six American and Chinese platforms struck two of Saturn’s Aircraft Carriers, disabling, but not destroying them. The return fire from the fleet pulverized all six attacking platforms.

The rest attempted to regroup at different coordinates. Some were able to fire all of their ordnance before being destroyed.

General Adam’s hands were shaking as he flipped on the secure communication device connecting him to Major Steel. This was it! One last chance…

“Mark…earth is doomed. They’ve knocked out our defenses. Is there anything you can do?”

Affirmative Ralph! I’ve been scouting things out, and I’m sure I can get to the control room and sabotage this big tub. Tell my wife I love her, and we’ll meet again somewhere in eternity.”

Col. Hedy ran into General Adams office to bring the good news; “For some reason there was a star-shattering explosion and the enemies flagship was destroyed. The remaining fleet has fled.”

As It Stands, I enjoy reading and writing spy/hero stories.