Iron Triangle: A Jackson Pike Novel (Book One of The Iron Triangle Series)

BOOK: Iron Triangle: A Jackson Pike Novel (Book One of The Iron Triangle Series)
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Iron Triangle: A Jackson Pike Novel
 

Patrick Adams

 
.

Amazon Edition

Copyright 2013 Patrick Adams

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Prologue:

The Navy SEAL Creed

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of
warrior ready to answer our Nation's call; a common man with an uncommon desire
to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America's finest special
operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their
way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon
me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have
sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my
chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every
day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly
serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are
unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek
recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my
profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability
to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me
apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and
honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I
will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by
example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My
Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my
enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every
remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our
mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my
teammates and the success of our mission depend on me - my technical skill,
tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring
the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and
the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift
and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to
defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition
and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions,
the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every
deed. I will not fail.

 
Chapter 1:

3:15 PM- Friday,
September 8
th

Sumner, VA

The pretty blonde moaned and shifted positions in the
leather passenger seat of the black Mercedes-Benz convertible. She usually
enjoyed the feel of the soft leather seats, but it was impossible for her to
get comfortable.

A thickly accented voice spoke in response to her soft moans
that filled the near silence of the luxury car.

"Shut the fuck up." Mohammed Fatal's voice was
deep and quiet, his order at once simple and dismissive of the discomfort of
his passenger.

The soft moaning stopped, but Susan Winters continued to
breathe noisily through her shattered nose as the sharp plastic edges of the
industrial strength zip tie restraints that held her appendages cut into her
alabaster wrists and the soft skin of her delicate ankles.

She wiggled in her seat once more and struggled in vain
against her restraints, coming to rest perched on the front edge of the
passenger seat. The change of position helped, a little.

It was just hard to get comfy when you knew you were a dead
woman.

The late model Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 cruised along the
deserted blacktop of a two lane road in eastern Virginia. The afternoon sun
beat down on the shiny black vehicle, warming Susan's bloody face through the
darkly tinted passenger window as the driver steered the vehicle down the
highway.

Every small bump or imperfection in the road was like agony
as Susan's cut and bloodied lips pulled against the adhesive of the duct tape
stretched securely over her mouth.

Her mom had warned her that her potty mouth would get her in
trouble some day. And today, it had.

Apparently, calling her captor a pig fucker had been
crossing the line.

The pig fucker sat in the black leather driver's seat of the
German luxury vehicle, his strong and tan hands resting casually on the
steering wheel. His over six foot frame was folded into the seat, and his broad
shoulders were hunched forward as he steered the vehicle down the road.

He shifted the powerful sports car into fourth gear and
turned his head to the right. He looked his passenger in the tearful soft blue
eyes and shook his head, his gaze shifting away from the road.

"I wish you hadn't made me do this, Susan."
Mohammed's voice carried a hint of real remorse.

He turned back towards the deserted two lane road,
downshifting once more into third gear as the speed limit on this stretch of
highway slowed to 35 MPH.

Susan's desperate eyes turned to face her captor, betraying
her confusion at this moment of humanity. For a second, despite her injuries,
she actually felt guilty for having insulted the monster who sat next to her.

She tried not to whimper in pain as she turned back to face
the passenger window. If she was being honest with herself, she couldn't even
blame him for gagging her. It was standard protocol.

She leaned back once more in the soft seat and began to
accept her fate in earnest. The hardest people for professionals to kill were
always their acquaintances. For that reason, when she was in charge, she had
always shopped these "internal matters" out to subcontractors.

The company just hadn't had enough time.

That had been the brilliance of her plans, not giving the
company time to react.

At least she had hoped that would be the brilliance of her
plans.

Air whistled as the beautiful blonde exhaled loudly through
her broken nose. As she did, thick drops of red blood dripped onto the shiny
gray duct tape which was stretched over her mouth.

The vehicle rolled over a bump and she winced, inhaling
sharply, the smell of her own blood flooding her nostrils. Susan couldn't
decide which was more painful; her physical condition or the knowledge that if
she could have made it undetected for one more day, she and thousands of
innocent people might have lived.

They had finally passed a street sign. It was the first
Susan had seen in miles.

Chemical Drive.

She knew this location, although she had never been here
before.

Mohammed was taking her to the chemical distribution center.
She cast her piercing blue eyes downward for a moment, letting the fresh cool
air that blew from the car’s ventilation system massage her bloody and swollen
face.

When her eyes turned upward seconds later, a tear had
collected on her cheek.

It rolled slowly down her face as her vision blurred with
more tears.

She knew that Mohammed would have to kill her.

As an administrator, she had personally ordered
assassinations for much less than her own indiscretions.

But while she acknowledged the company's need to kill her,
she would maintain until her dying breath that her captor had been excessively
rough in his questioning.

There had been nothing to tell during the interrogation.

Unfortunately for her, the pig fucker hadn't believed her.
And he was a hell of an interrogator, especially when not bound by the
provisions of the Geneva Convention.

He was good, that's why she had hired him. But now she was a
bloody mess.

It was definitely going to be a closed casket funeral, if
they ever recovered her body, thought Susan.

She shuddered, breathing deeply as she squeezed her eyes
shut, another tear rolling down her bloodied face.

 
Chapter 2:

3:25 PM- Friday,
September 8
th

Sumner, VA

The dream was always the same.

Lieutenant Jackson Pike
was crouched behind the crumbling mosque wall that separated his SEAL team from
the sustained AK-47 and small arms fire that had them pinned down. Between the
ricochets of gunfire, he called for the danger-close air support they would
need to escape from the mosque compound alive.

"Position as
follows," read Jackson calmly, "North 34-49.122, East 69-47.244;
Request immediate close air support." He coughed. The dust that the
Lieutenant breathed into his lungs was tinged with the odor of blood, creating
a haze of smoke and death which hung in the dry mountain air.

The young SEAL
Lieutenant and his men crouched low behind what remained of the crumbling
concrete of the former mosque wall. Their breath stood still. They could hear
their coordinates being deliberately read back by the F/A-18 pilots circling in
formation above.

"Trident
Six," read back the lead aviator after confirming the coordinates;
"We are inbound to your location at this time."

Hearing the final
confirmation of their desired air strike, Jackson called out loudly
"Everybody down!"

The men responded
without hesitation, staying out of sight behind the crumbling metal and
concrete of the mosque outside of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The eight man team
awaited the familiar sound of the F/A-18's engines.

They were not
disappointed. Soon, the men heard the roar of the formation of Hornets
approaching in the distance.

As always, the sound of
the rapidly approaching combat aircraft brought most of the sustained enemy
small arms fire to a halt. As the Lieutenant lay prostrate on the dusty and
blood soaked concrete, the sweet sound of F/A-18 freedom echoed in his ears
until a flash of light and a deafening explosion rendered his world dark.

The sound of gunfire ripped Jackson from his nightmare and
returned him to the unpleasant dream that was his life.

"Shit," said Jackson sleepily, relieved as he
realized that the sounds of rifle fire and explosions that he could still hear
were coming from his glowing television screen.

As always when he awoke, Jackson could only remember the one
terrible dream. As he recalled the nightmare, his nostrils tingled.

He swore he could still smell cordite.

The heat, the dust, the blood, the stench of death and
sounds of mortal combat all met Jackson's subconscious mind with the same
intensity as they had those long years ago in Kabul.

Try as he might, he could not escape this particular
mission.

Even in his sleep.

His brain pounded in his head as Jackson continued to awaken
to his surroundings. As usual, he was greeted by what seemed to be a perpetual
and epic hangover. He coughed, turning his heavy head towards his television.

The images and sounds of combat faded from Jackson's 40-inch
plasma television as a young brunette news anchor began describing the chaos
that had prevailed in Afghanistan during recent weeks.

"There have been a rash of terrorist attacks in
Afghanistan in recent weeks", began the young newswoman, her voice somber
against the backdrop of a recent car bombing that had taken the lives of close
to twenty civilians in Afghanistan's capitol.

She continued. "The increase in violence is thought to
be evidence of an opportunistic push by the Taliban to assert control over the
country as US and allied troops begin to withdraw from Kabul and the
surrounding countryside."

As Jackson lay on his soft leather sofa, his head resting on
the armrest, the newscast cut to a speech by Vice President Colgan. The
two-term Vice President stood before a wooden podium which bore the
unmistakable seal of The White House. As he stood, shoulders erect and American
flag pin affixed to his custom made suit, the gray haired politician deftly
answered questions from the world press on the rise in violence within war-torn
Afghanistan.

The politician's deep voice rumbled through the press
conference and Jackson's television screen as the hung over former SEAL's soft
hazel eyes closed, seemingly of their own accord.

"This recent rise in violence in and around Kabul is
unacceptable," stated the tall, gray haired candidate, clearly stumping
for his upcoming White House bid; "As President, I would ensure that the
United States maintains an adequate presence in country to ensure a stable
return to local governance."

Jackson's head flopped lazily from side to side as his
hangover raged. His stomach fluttered. The pain behind his temples pounded relentlessly.
His muscles ached, like they had after some of his longest days in the teams.

Jackson's eyes opened as the second term Vice President
continued to discuss the tactics and procedures that he would implement if
elected President this coming November. Politics bored Jackson to no end, and
he sat distracted, thinking about nothing in particular as the deep voice
rumbled through his mind.

He glanced at the television again.

The small clock in the corner of the newscast screen read
3:30 PM ET. Its digital readout was unforgiving. He'd need to leave soon.

Jackson rolled over and recalled the mousy voice from the
telephone earlier in the morning.

It had been human resources. They'd given him some excuse
about downsizing the company. Jackson hadn't cared. He never cared when he got
fired.

All he had heard was, "You can pick up your final
paycheck after 4:30 PM."

Jackson sighed. The facility was shutting down earlier every
day as the economy continued to slow. His hours had already been pared down
considerably.

Now, they were shutting down at noon on Fridays, and
securing the building completely after 6:00 PM.

Jackson supposed it was time to move on anyways. Since he
had left the Navy, he’d had his share of final paychecks. It didn’t even faze
him anymore.

He took a deep draught from the warm Budweiser which sat in
a small pool of its own sweat on his haggard wooden coffee table.

He stood up and unsteadily walked the twenty-three steps
down the wooden floor of his formerly well appointed home, and into the
shambles that he called his bedroom.

How he knew the living room and bedroom were exactly
twenty-three steps apart, he was unsure. Perhaps it was due to his extensive
combat training. Or maybe it was thanks to the number of times he had paced
seemingly without end down the now desolate hall that separated the two rooms.

It was likely both, he thought, stepping into his bedroom.

Since his divorce, Jackson had not made his king size bed
and his once clean carpeting was stained and dirty. Prescription bottles of
varying types and legality were strewn about the room and an empty bottle of
Jack Daniels lay on the stained beige carpet beside his bed.

Jackson sighed as he stepped into the bathroom and splashed
water on his face. He ran a hand through his unkempt thicket of hair and
surveyed his reflection. His eyes were bloodshot. Dark circles lined his face
and his scraggly beard had not been trimmed in weeks.

Despite his current lifestyle, Jackson could be glad that
his muscular frame still provided evidence of what was once a level of fitness
that could rival that of an Olympic athlete.

Thick sinewy plates of muscle graced his 5'11" frame.
And though Jackson's abdominal muscles had lost a little of their definition,
his 31 year old body did not carry more than a small amount of subcutaneous fat
on his midsection.

A small fading tattoo on Jackson's chest explained his trim
and muscular physique.

The trident insignia was inked on his left pectoral muscle.
Although it was now fading from its original gold color, the symbol was
recognized worldwide as representative of the most dangerous and feared
combatants in the American military.

The indelible trident was a facsimile of the Naval Special
Warfare designation provided to those men who complete the rigors of United States
Navy SEAL training.

Jackson threw on a clean pair of faded jeans and a white
t-shirt before walking to the front door of his home, where he slung his
motorcycle jacket over his shoulders and tucked his helmet and riding gloves
beneath his muscular left arm.

He stepped out the heavy wooden door of his one story house
and inhaled the fresh air of Sumner deeply. He was enjoying the unseasonably
warm temperatures that had recently graced the small town along the Virginia
coast.

Jackson walked towards his Harley-Davidson Iron 883, which
sat on the cracked concrete driveway of his one level home and smiled.

The Harley and its rider tore out of the driveway of
Jackson's home at around 4:30 PM. As he twisted the throttle, the bike roared
with the guttural, throaty sound that only a Harley-Davidson can produce.

Jackson's smile broadened as he accelerated through the late
summer air, his bike effortlessly weaving between the vehicles that crowded the
cobblestone streets of town.

 
BOOK: Iron Triangle: A Jackson Pike Novel (Book One of The Iron Triangle Series)
3.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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