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The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 12:20am On Mar 25
Blurb


Set against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war, and the heightened tension between the United States and DPRK. The story revolves around three men, whose fate were intertwined on the account of their past and what they stood for. This story is a tale of an undiluted love of a father. A tale of the burning hate of three hell-bred men, all pawns in a war of not their own and the extent they will go to achieve what they believed in.

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Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 12:26am On Mar 25
“Revenge is a dish best served cold as it cooks up”


{Prologue}















Fluttering overhead against the patchy skyline of the city’s open plain were birds. Several of them; with a spray of bees, all piping and buzzing in joyous harmony, while they swayed along with the windy breezy music of the gentle breeze blowing.

Like most summery afternoon of the Western Asia state, the clime was dry and remarkably hot, with the sun frowning down on all things beneath from its heights.

Before long, the tranquility lingering in the air was at once replaced with a wild flurry, as birds and bees once hovering in the blue secoon0ds ago, cleared out with no explicit reason whatsoever.


*****
The united states military installation spanned about two acres over the Southern landmass of war-riddled Raqqa—a city located on the Northern bank of the Euphrates river, Syria. After the assault launched by the SDF {Syrian Democratic Forces}, and its US-led coalition forces in reclaiming the city, which was once in the grabby hold of ISIL. The United States had taken it upon herself to start many of her military expedition on Syrian soil, citing the need for a military stronghold in the advent of any hostile offensive in her defense, and thus, bringing to fruition what they now called ‘fort Euphrates “freedom ’“.

Even as the sun burns flamy red, its fierce intensity was no hindrances to activities above ground, as soldiers clad in fatigues swarming the domain of the fort went about their routines. While some factions were embroiled in drills, some played paintball, basketball, and other games at different corners of the ground.

Overhead, a missile angled its way into sight with a vroom, catching all lives on-site off-guard. Soon came its fatal drop; swift and straight to the heart. All that was left afterward was the heartrending sight of its backwash, and a mushroom cloud towering high into the blue.

Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 1:47am On Mar 26
Hey folks, I'm Ayub by the way. I'm not entirely new here on NL, but, I wouldn't mind if someone can give me a walkthrough of the platform.
Here's my novel: The Hit Back Series. A political-spy thriller.

I hope you do enjoy and get swayed by it.

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Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 1:58am On Mar 26
Chapter one
“Revenge is sweet as it gets ugly”

Just like most times on Her busiest day, ‘Time square’—often referred to as the ‘crossroads of the world’, was chocked-up with pedestrians. Only this time, the multitude wasn’t streaming to and fro Her streets, but were converged before one of the scores of giant-screen televisions rigged in the square. Also, the fluxation of bright lights and tons of advertisements—neon, zippers, and electric that used to be the order of every other day were at standstill. Although famous and noted for Her bristling around-the-clock, on this early Saturday morning; Time square was a shadow of herself, with no luster whatsoever to her outlook.

Bringing to the crowds’ hearing the breaking news was the talking head of a lady, whose golden, feathered hair framed both prominent cheekbones on her oval face. There’s definitely much more allure to her features, which none of her riveted listeners gave a hang about at the moment.

“The attack earlier on Fort Freedom, the nation’s proving ground turned military installation in southern Raqqa had been labeled a monstrosity act, which left at its wake a stroke of catastrophe.” She delivered the news with the fluency requisite of an adroit reporter. “While the identity of the attackers of the missile strike, which dealt a huge blow on the site, claiming no less than two hundred lives on the spot and injuring a hundred more are as yet unknown. Top brass policymakers and diplomats of the country has called such act, a sucker punch to the face of the United States.”

A secondary window covering a giant tower of a mushroom cloud at the attack site fast-broke into the right bottom screen.

“I must also add that, there’s been no response whatsoever from the White House as yet...”
With that last deet of information, the talking head blurred out of vision. In its stead for the viewing of the sullen-faced crowds, was the billowy image of the ‘Old Glory’ with the United States anthem playing in the background.
*****
With about six million, five hundred thousand square feet in size; the Pentagon sat pasted from across the Potomac River, Arlington county, Virginia, Washington D.C. The grand edifice, sometimes considered as the world’s largest office building, as it measured up too many large ships and buildings of the world was laid up in stripped classicism, with five sides as its name suggests: five floors above ground, two basement levels and five ring corridors per each floor. Further in its compass, was the ‘Central Plaza’, also shaped as a Pentagon and informally known as ‘Ground Zero’ taking up as much as five acres of its demesne.

Seating around dark polished desk within the enclosed SCIF hall, pronounced ‘Skiff’ [Sensitive Compartmented] hall of one of the many ring offices on Pentagon were five unsmiling faces.
Perched on the black leathered chair, whose headrest was branded with the seal of the Department of Defense, with lithe arms gingerly draped over the branches of his seat was the Secretary of Defense. Prettied up in his black, two-piece suit, with half his face curtained by his shock of dark hair; the young man in his late twenties, was at the height of power, having under his command all agencies charged with the issue of National Security.

Flanking him on his right in a blue flannel suit, was his creased-face counterpart from the ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence]. Just like him, the much older man being the Director, wield power over the Intelligence Communities of the nation.

Inches away from the Director sits the only woman in the room; proxying for other HUMINT senior officials. Director Jamie Wells of the CIA had been a top gun in the intelligence world for a long. And had been a recipient of the United States medal of honor for her ten-year service in the Army; a cause which had led to the induction of her name on Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.

Farther to his left, was the stern-faced General Sousa, clad in his service, full-dress army uniform. From his spry and the way, he carried his two-hundred-pound frame, one would argue the fact that he was inching towards his seventies.

And up close to the General’s left, was the only man with no servicemen background, even though his conduct and close-crop military haircut speak otherwise. Given that the bridle of Secretary of State was ever-demanding, it can well be said that Mr. Hess Lippmann had been fine-tuned by the functions of his seat

They had all seen several live broadcasts of the missile attack on TVs, even worse, they’ve had to slip away from the nosey men of the press to get here. Now convened in the hall like Generals would in a War room, they were out to debate on the recent act of terror.

“Is anyone here ready to break the ice?” The thin voice of the Secretary of Defense canceled out the wide gap of silence in the room
.
“I’m afraid there’s been an increase in the figures of dead victims at the attack site.” The General said outright.

“And what new figures are we talking here General Sousa?” Mr. Hess enquired this time.

“We’ve hundred more to our body count, and a fifty in casualties.” Director Wells answered in his stead.

“Quite a figure that is. I think it right to put a lid on this and let the media and masses make do with the already known figure.” The Secretary of Defense made a sad face as he watched them nod in concession. “Moving on to the pressing matter; have we any names to place on the mastermind of the attack yet?”

“Yes...,” the Director of National Intelligence said haltingly. “But, they’re basically unfounded theories as of now, sir.”

“According to some CIA sources, it can be surmised the attack was a lash out from ISIL. Also, we may have reasons to believe the North Koreans are behind the attack.” Wells filled in for him.

"I think I’ll go with the latter, Director.” Sousa pointed out.

“Come to think of it good people,” Hess said. “An attack from both ends speaks no good: if really it was ISIL, then, that’s a case of despicable act of terror, and if otherwise—.”

“An unforgivable act of war.” Director Wells finished for him.

“So having no Air defense system over there in Syria, some cocksuckers think they can Bleep with the free world and walk free?” The Secretary of Defense demanded in outrage.

“Some ordinary birds are spreading their wings, it seems.” Added Mr. Hess.

“Then I guess now is the time to get POTUS in the picture,” The Defense secretary stated, clicking his tongue. “Let’s put a call through to the White House.”

Reclined in his seat affront the three-large-south-facing windows of the Oval office was President Mikhail Mayor. Slung over the desk from across him were his long, slightly bowed legs. Two years short of forty; it’s a fair thing to say, the brown-skinned man was in his salad years, having risen to the helm of power at age thirty-six. Standing six-feet-two” tall with a little add-on brawn, he was trimmed to the fit of an athlete, and could even pass as ‘Mister Universe’ with his facial exuberances, which had earned him the nick; “The pretty face behind the ‘Resolute desk’”.

With the Oval now transformed much to his taste under the masterful stroke of the First Lady’s office and the White House curator, with such features as; the teal carpet that bore the presidential seal, sprawled over the cross-patterned, quarter sawn oak and walnut floor, sunset orange draperies that hung about half the section of the walls, and Louis XVI furnishings.

Still, the silent hums from its past occupants could be heard over his, through fixtures and objet d’art such as the ‘Porthole’ portrait of Washington by Rembrandt Peale, the Bronco buster from the time of President Lyndon Johnson, a bust of Lincoln stand on its pedestal at the Southern end; the longcase clock—commonly known as the Oval office grandfather clock, that stood next to the Northeast door since the seventies, and the potted Swedish ivy that sat atop the mantel at the Northern end.

Like most things, he had come to know the seat came with a price, one which he paid for through such situations as the dumps he was in at the moment.

“‘The White House is a hot seat that takes all from you.’” He often heard from many before him, and now that he was a victim himself, he had learnt it was no myth.

His absorption was sawn through just as the Northeast door swung open, to reveal the midget figure of his middle-aged secretary, dressed in a pinstriped, two-piece suit. And seemingly unbothered by his unethical pose in her presence, he cocked a questioning brow.

“There’s a call on wait from the Pentagon on line three, Mr. President.” She announced in a pinched voice.

“Patch it through.” There was no mistaking the dispiriting tone that laced his voice as he dismissed her with a wave of his hand.

“Mr. President.” The phone on his desk came alive on instant, with the rich falsetto voice of the Secretary of Defense.

“Please go on, Mr. De Bakey.”

“I believe you must have seen the broadcast of the recent attack, sir.”

“Couple of times, already.”

“With all due respect sir, I think we should address what’s on the ground ASAP, as there’re many raised brows to our silence.”

“What’d you have me do at such pass, Mr. Secretary?” He demanded with a little flare to his voice. “I want answers, and I want them soon.” He finished, withdrew his legs from the desk, and sat upright in his seat for the first time today.

“I’m afraid I’m in the dark just like you are, Mr. President.”

“Screw that! It could have been right here in the Oval where I sit my ass. It could have been just anywhere for Christ’s sake, De Bakey. You know what, you handle your goddamn business while I handle mine.” He accented his words with a pound on the desk. “Just get me answers. I don’t care a hang if you’re in a damn black hole.” The phone went dead right after that from the shattering impact of his fist.

In normal times, he wouldn’t have blown up like this, but this was no normal times, so, hell if he cares.

“He’s lost it.” General Sousa remarked a little drily.

“So have I, General,” De Bakey said to the room utter surprise. “I’m hungry for answers than he does.”

“Answers which I promise to provide you with soon.” The Director of National Intelligence tried sounding convincing.

But not too convincing for the Defense Secretary as he countered. “Soon won’t do, not anymore! The president is on the ropes with no options.” And he added for effect. “What would do now is get as many men in field to speed things up, Director Liverfield.”

“I’ll definitely see to that.”

“I guess we’re finished here then.”

Spurred by the Secretary’s words, they rose to their feet in unison, traded handshakes, and vacated the hall.

A little cooled-off, President Mikhail Mayor watched as his secretary moseyed into his office through the door from before, holding in her gnarled hands, a steaming mug of coffee.

“I didn’t remember calling you, Mrs. Wurst.” He said as she inched closer.

“I think you’ll need this to relax, sir.” She explained, placing the mug on his desk.

“Quite thoughtful of you.” He muttered with his crow’s feet crinkling in a smile.

He knew deep down there was no window-dressing his recent outburst from the astute woman. If nothing gave him away, the pounding was sure to, just as the splinters of the shattered phone on his desk would. He had even wondered why the impact hadn’t drawn blood despite the damage done.

“I must add that the Press is ready to have you, sir.”

“Oh, that! It must have slipped my mind.” He scrunched up his nose at the thought of the Press conference he had earlier asked his Chief of Staff to set up. “No cream! This will do.” He remarked, just as he took his first crack at the coffee.

“I figured, Mr. President.”

“I should be ready in about… Let’s say ten minutes.”

“Aight sir.” She curtsied, turned on her heels, and made gracefully out the Northeast door.

Silence gripped James S. Brady Press Briefing hall as the ‘Ruffles and Flourishes’ were sounded by the liveried Navy band. Right on the coattails of that, ‘Hail to the Chief’ blared up, ushering in the President of the United States, whiles, spurring all in attendance to their feet in reverence to the first person of the republic.

The blind flashes of cameras had him batting his eyes, as did the scattered applause that pricked his ears, while he stood upon the rostrum. Two years in office and President Mikhail Mayor could still feel the deadweight tons of his seat as he greased his mouth with saliva, while he readied himself to address the world, and cleared the fog of silence long hovering in the air since the missile strike.

He began his speech just as the anthem ended. “The true measure to the greatness of a republic like ours could only be known to the world in times like this. Occurrences of this gravity are our only pathways to rebuilding; the scale by which we know our worth. The determiners of the substance of our faith. The Hows and whys to our strength as a nation.”
There was a pause, then, a minute glance around the hall before he continued. “Today, I’m saying before you all that, the United States will rise from the rubble of this, to grow even stronger, better and reliable than we once were; for it’s this creed that the cornerstone of this nation was built upon. It’s this substance from which the United States was made. It’s the very cause that got us here. Also, we sent our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of our unsung fallen heroes, who gave their lives at the call of this country. Never will they be forgotten; never will their names part with the history of America, and forever will the flame of their love glow in our hearts, for the heroics and gallantry with which they served their beloved America. Their names will be held high just like they did the nation’s badge. God bless you all! God bless these United States of America!!!”

Applauses boomed all around him just as the recurring flashes of cameras. But there’s no chance whatsoever at stealing a glance back at the hall, as he was walked out through the backdoor by his dark-suited, ear-pieced men of the Secret Service.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 2:36am On Mar 27
CHAPTER TWO

“What better fuel is there to revenge? Which burn almost everything in close contact and the very thing that feeds its fury.”

Heads were turned at will, eyes bulged in their sockets in utter surprise, jaws fell wide open, as she scooted past the mezzanine on Langley—the CIA headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia. Director Wells ignored the askance looks hurled at her from personnel and officials alike, her attention wholly set on the elevator dead ahead.

She was super-late for her morning briefing due to her tight docket for the day. She had earlier reported at the ODNI, and afterward, had a session with a small circle from the presidential cabinet, before driving down here like crazy, breaking several driving rules in the process.

Fines? That I can handle, she thought as she watched the elevator open with a ping, regorging two suited men, who bowed slightly upon sighting her. She let the gesture passed without a word like she did others, seizing the chance to thrust herself right into the waiting embrace of the car.

In little less than thirty seconds, the car began its ascent for her destination on the seventh floor at a crawl; It gained on speed by the seconds, steamrolling up the shaft.

Alone in the enclosed cavity of the elevator car, she dared a look at her watch:10:30 am. I was just thirty minutes behind, she thought, now flooded with relief.

“Anyone here ready to fill me in?” Several eyes were pinned on her like darts would the bull’s eye at the sound of her voice.

“Good morning, ma’am.” Greeted one of the men assembled in the room.

“You can save that for some other time, Arnold.” She complimented her words with a wry smile. “Let it all out already, Executive Director Wycliffe.” She later added, taking it easy in a swivel chair.

Like every office hall on Langley, the briefing room was equipped with cutting-edge gadgets, ranging from next-generation computers, and various reconnaissance devices. Situated on the seventh floor of the building’s many floors above ground level, it overlooked the vast domain of unincorporated suburban community of Virginia. In winter, warmth was maintained by the walls’ built-in heaters, while in summer times like this, the almost burning sensation was handled by the room’s air conditioning systems.

“We’ve made a huge progress on the attack two days ago,” Wycliffe, a man in an all-white suit with blond curls began smoothly. “We now have several proofs to back up our prior surmission that the North Koreans are responsible for the attack on our military installation in southern Raqqa, Director.”

“What proofs are we talking about, Executive Director?” she asked, still maintaining her casual comport.

“This ma’am,” Said a heart-faced lady from the IOC [Information Operation Center]—CIA’s largest division, as she projected the schematic view of a missile on the large computer monitor screen across the room. “Is the model of the North Korean Hwasong 15 ballistic missile, and we’ve every reasons to believe this missile struck our military base in Raqqa.”

“In addition to that ma’am; the South Koreans monitors were reported to have picked a tremor of an unusual nuclear activity around the Tong-Chang-Ri region of the North.” Another man with a hooked nose put in.

“Also, we got hold of a keyhole satellite footage of a possible missile launch not too long ago, confirming the existing proofs, ma’am.” It was the guy from earlier that added this time.

The screen came alive once more, as the footage zipped into view; taken from a far-off aerial distance from an underground silo, Tong-Chang-Ri, Korea, the sat. feed rendered on the screen was blurry in respect to this. Where it fell short in picture quality, the footage makes up for in audio, with a plain manifest of seismic tremor playing as it rolled to an end.

“One more thing, ma’am,” Came the velvety voice of the other lady of Hispanic descent. “The seismic ratio on the attack site was valued by our seismographs to be around 6.1 magnitudes, the same rate as the Koreans’ last test carried out with the missile of same code name.”

Convinced by the teams’ dead-on analysis, Director Wells had her say. “I must speak with the Director of National Intelligence.” Once she was up on her feet, she added. “Good job everyone.”

Then she shot out of the room as she did earlier.

*****
With one hand clipping the phone in place to his left ear, and the other busied flipping through the pages of the PDB [Presidential Daily Brief], which had come in earlier from the ODNI, President Mikhail Mayor listened to the clipped English of his counterpart from South Korea at the other end. There was no mistaking the tough time the other man was into having to stick to English, but this actually brought him much relief than his condolences ever will.

“I’m putting it to you, President Son, that the United States will never let such unforgiveable act go unpunished.”

“I’m counting on you… the world I mean is counting on you to deal with this in the most diplomatic manner, President Martin.” The voice croaked back.

“The North will be given a fair chance as a show of our goodwill at the JSA [Joint Security Area] if only, they’re willing to play by our rules.”

“I believe they’ll in the interest of the world. I don’t think we’re ready for WWIII.”

“And that will be decided soon, I guess.”

“Again from myself and the republic of South Korea, we sent to you and the people of America our earnest condolences.”

“Thank you, Mr. President. We’re glad you find it at your earliest convenience to condole with us. As always, the American people and I pledge our support to the people of the South.”

“Likewise we do, President Martin.”

“Indeed you do, sir; annyeong{bye}.” The phone went dead at that instant, affording him a respite from chain-long of calls, which had been the order of the day.

As duly expected, he has been in recipient of many telephone calls from Presidents and world leaders alike, all of whom had called to sympathize and pledge their support for the United States on the recent attack on her military base in southern Raqqa, Syria. Although sickening and tiring as they may have seemed, he hadn’t a way around them.

There was not much left on the issue of the attack. Having decided at a meeting with policymakers and big tops in Congress to handle what lay on ground with par diplomacy, which will see any retaliation from their end on hold, and a peace talks scheduled with the North Koreans at Panmunjom; the home to the JSA of the South and North, off the western coast of the Korean peninsula. The ball was now left in the North’s court.

Even though he so much wished they could come to terms with the North, a part of him—the warmonger side of him hoped the North Koreans blew their only chance of a truce.

*****
Deep in Northern Pyongyang, the Presidential palace, equally known as ‘Residence No 55’ spread-eagled across the Ryongsong district of North Korea. The complex which serves as the President’s dwelling measured out around 4.6 sq. miles, with as many large buildings, well-tended lush gardens, man-made lakes, waterslides, shooting range, and other recreational facilities filling up the complex acreage.

Thumps of scurrying feet traveled ahead of him. Wild shouts of command bounced off walls whilst he made down the wide concourse of the palace. With a swagger as commanding as his compact build, he walked through doors held open by his men, who saluted with puffed chests as he breezed past.

These gestures of reverence were no strange thing to General Lee-Puk of the Korea People’s Army, who halted right before two large, oaky double-doors, earmarked with the republic seal.
Two years as the Army overlord was such luxury after all, in a nation like theirs where blind loyalty was bound to leaders. Men quake at the sight of him, while at the snap of his fingers, they do his biddings with blind faith.

After much hesitation, the double-door coast opened at the slightest of contact, while he walked into the exotic room beyond.

Once inside, his vision was greeted by the luster within the Presidential workplace. Dusting the room in an accent of red and blue was the pendant that hung from the plastered ceiling overhead. Scattered rugs laid in patches over the lucent, linoleum floor. Oriental paintings and drawings curtained half the section of the walls, and most notable of these are the portrait paintings of Kim-Ii-Sung, the country’s ‘Eternal President’ and his son Kim-Jong-Il, also known as the republic ‘Eternal General Secretary.’

President Kim-Jong-Ju tore his gaze from the several newspapers that strewn his desk, and stared dead-on at his General, decked up in his elegant, full-dress uniform.

“General Lee.” He sounded brassy, as he motioned him to the plushy chair from across him.

“At your call ‘Great sovereign’.” General Lee paid him obeisance, before subsiding in the chair.

“The cocky Americans are at it again, blaming us for their own misery.” The President said a little inflamed.

“They set up a peace talk with us at the JSF forty-eight hours away.”

“Nonsense!” President Kim snapped, bolting from his seat. “We owe them no explanations, General.”

“But I was thinking—” His voice trailed off.

“Bleep what you think General!” His voice boomed through the office. “There won’t be a peace talk with any at the JSF. Let the Americans go Bleep themselves.”

“… okay Great Sovereign.”

“And buzz off!”

Knowing better than to step on the cobra’s tail, the General was up on his feet in a second, and out of the office in another.

“Fucking Americans thinking they can boss the world.” The words came out a bit slurred as he polished off the content in his glass. “Now, we’ll see who boss the world better.”

*****
Mr. Hess Lippmann glanced at his Patek wristwatch for the umpteenth time today. It’s been three straight hours of nothing, but seating around Elmy polished roundtables of the JSF conference hall. It was all a lost cause, after all, he thought resignedly.

If having to travel across from America to the eastern part of the world, with other five diplomats with him to seal a truce between the two countries was nothing. Then, the inclination of risking their own lives at the President’s behest sure was something.

And besides, if it were left to his whims alone, he wouldn’t have bought into the idea of coming here, knowing fully well that the North Koreans will decline their peace talk proposal, which came with the sticky choice of shutting down and handling over every of their WMD’s stockpiles and operations in accordance with the GENEVA convention acts. There’s no way in hell that the North will stoop to doing that.

Having to live up to his charge, he began. “Gentlemen, in the advent of the turn in events, I think we should call it a day here.”

Hungry for such move all along, the now relieved United States diplomats sprang to their feet with unease calm. Followed the lead of their chosen security details back to the convoy, which will take them back to the safest soil—South Korea, where they will eventually make the final lap of their journey back to home soil.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 1:52pm On Mar 27
Chapter three

“Vengeance is a monster of appetite, forever bloodthirsty and never filled.” — Richelle e. Goodrich.

[Some couple months back]
Birds with smaller land beasts hurried into their holes and nest at the lumbering sound of the approaching feet. Twigs snapped, and insects got crushed under his feet as he scatted across the tree-canopied tract.

In conformation with energy, he knew he shouldn’t be running any longer as he had run out of strength. But pressing him on against energy’s law was the impulse to live to see the end of this. Given the harsh winter weather, he knew he should be freezing to death, working his way through the parcel at the dead of winter. Belieing the cold clime, he had his clothes soaked through with his own sweat. Even worse, he knew he should be laying down to suppress the stitch at his side. But since good reasoning and laws existed only in reality, not in this nightmare he was caught up in, he veered to his right on sighting one of the many arrowhead signs that had been his clue, ever since the very start of this odd adventure.

Today, he’d learnt was a paradox of good and bad. Good, because it had kick-started like every other wintery day in his log-cabin at the neck of the woods. To start with; he’d left before the break of dawn for his aerobics—a two-mile run from his dwelling. Bad, because what was meant to end in less than an hour was stretching out to be the worst two hours of his life. And now it was getting worse than ever, because he had covered four miles, thereby, reaching well beyond the cap range of his ankle bracelet, which must have sent a radio frequency signal to the receivers of those who had him tagged.

The fear of having fifty AK47-armed men dogging him was in no way perturbing him, as he cut across the wooded piece of land like he would when the law was actually here.

His worst fear, was, of course, that of his cute, innocent, little girl, who was caught up in this with him.

He had met the absence of his sleeping girl at the cabin upon returning from his aerobic. And had later found the clue left behind by whoever had her nobbled on the worktable in the kitchen.

The writings on the snow-white paper had read: “Wanna see your little girl again? Head due North.” The words had been crisp and short, but it looped over and over in his head as he dashed wobbly through a clearing.

Something was certain to him though. Whoever had done this, sure like playing games; One which, he would make them regret ever playing at the expense of his daughter. Very soon.

Hitting really low on his energy level, he rammed each wobbled legs ahead of him, making gruntingly down a steep path; His keen eyesight registering everything within its line of focus. But, not the slung mass of ball, that swung from between the towering trees like a wrecking ball, and blindsided him with the sheer force of a running car.

The deadweight impact sent him reeling through the path before his legs gave out from under him, and he avalanched down the steep, crumpling to a halt at the foot of a trunk.

The vicine whirled around him through his muddled vision, and for a sec, he thought he caught the glimpse of a figure from behind a rimose-barked tree before his eyes were shut against the trickle of sunlight filtering into the clearing.

Soon enough, a figure emerged from amongst the trees with lilting grace. Standing inches shy of a six; and lissome as the felid she cradled in her gloved hands. Her build was awing as much as her snowflaked, flowing midnight-dark hair, and tear-dropped eyes of same dark accent.

She ignored the purr coming from the slip creature as she stroked its back, angling her way to the side of the dormant body.

She plunged into a squat at his side, dexterously tampering with the tether fastened to his ankle. Once done, she fettered the cotton-white cat to the trunk, securing the tether around its delicate neck.

“Sorry, little one. He’s got some work to do.” She said with a smirk stretching across the length of her face.

Just in time, a Helicopter burst into view from above, the downdraft and rending whirr of his main rotor blades shook the trees to their roots and whisked fallen leaves across the clearing’s floor. On instant, two ropes dropped to the ground from the Chopper.

“Right on the nose, Prat!” She gave a great hullo, which was drowned out by the chopper’s splitting sound.

With her hair whipping across her face under the fierce gust of the Chopper’s rotor blades, she strapped the body to a rope and clung to the other with precise mastery, at the ready for a ride away with the Chopper.

At once, the Chopper mount the air with a lurch, buzzing along as it whisked them out of sight.
{PRESENT DAY}
The ground pulsed from underneath the TELs [Transporter erector Launcher], Humvees, FMTVs [Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles], and other armored combat vehicles, as the Task Force 76 of the United States Seventh Fleet, swept across the South Korean half of the Korean DMZ. Also marching along in columns were amphibious assault teams, all assumed in full combat gears.

Sixty yards from across the scene, grasses threshed wildly under the assault of choppers’ rotor blades, as scores of soldiers roped down to the ground. Also, several fighter jets of the F-series and Lockheed’s fighter jets, with the Air Force B-52 and B-1B bombers, scrambled from the USS aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan off the Busan port of the South, buzzing about as clusters of hornets were grounded to a halt, as well as many a paratrooper, who landed feet-first after their venturous flight in the air.

After several years of being headquartered at the US Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The US Seventh Fleet along with the US forces laying still at the South end of the DMZ had been given heads-up. The order earlier from the Pentagon had been a turning point, to propel them into marching closer to the MDL [Military Demarcation line].

The message sent from the Pentagon via secured airwaves was simple with much weight to it. They’re to stay within a five-mile radius of the MDL and wait to engage at the President’s call. And as there was no order from the White House as yet, and since it’s apparent they had to wait till the green light was given as combat-ready as they seemed, they deemed it their rights to flex some muscles and lose some kinks.
*****
President Kim Jong-Ju sat enraptured in the war room, listening to the war analysis given by General Lee-Puk of the KPA [Korean People’s Army]. Unlike every other day, he was assumed in his bejeweled, full army dress, as an evident reminder of the time they were in.

Despite himself, he couldn’t help but feel some remorse for what was happening, that he felt his inactions and blatant disregard for the General’s counsel had been the watershed to all these. And right now things were about to get really sticky.

But since there’s no need crying over spilled milk, he braced himself, ready to tackle it head-on. The satellite image photographed at the MDL had shown heavy military presence, meaning Uncle Sam and her NATO allies were out on an all-out war this time, with men from her Task Force 76, NATO’s ISAF [International Security Assisted Force], and Seventh Fleet, who had stayed inactive in Japanese waters for donkey years, marauding across South Korea’s end of the MDL.

The North had reacted in swift response, rallying up everymen within the KPA, and arming every one of their Nuclear Arsenals and defense systems. The time for diplomacy was well in the past. The United States had wanted war, and war they will get.

“What do you say we do, Mr. President?” The Air force Marshall, General Pak Jung Eun asked coolly.

“We wait and let them draw first blood.” This he said, though the berserker of his soul had wanted otherwise. He didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. If for anything, in the interest of ‘public opinion, because he knew deep in the deepest alcoves of his heart he’ll be needing that very soon and the friendlies’ aid to come aft.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 12:41am On Mar 28
Chapter four

“Revenge is sweet and not fattening.” — Alfred Hitchcock.

Buckingham palace posed gloriously against the azure skyline of Westminster, London. Right at the ‘Public eye’ was the rectangular façade of her large East front, with its enclosed balcony; directly facing the mall, where crowds of joyous spectators were massed, awaiting the arrival of the Russian PM, who was due to pay the monarch a stately visit at her residence. From across the East front stood the bath, stone-faced West, which equally looked out on the thirty-nine acres long garden, where the queen’s only surviving Corgi was frolicking.

He cussed under his breath as he shuffled along with the rainbowed circus company, down the marbled hall of the palace. He felt stupid if for anything, being in the company of these oddly dressed people, and having to apply this much pound of makeover on himself. It was the grossiest and dumbest thing he’s had to do and will stand so for many years, he made a mental resolution of that. Also, there was no mistaking the edginess in his gait, as they passed by several liveried Queen’s guards, manning alcoves and archways.

He so much wanted to bolt for the exit door but had decided against that, since he had done nothing wrong, save for slipping and merging well with the troupe, when no one else had noticed. And besides, he had nothing to hide, nothing but a nosegay of flowers, cloakedly hidden in his outfit. Just flowers and nothing more.

Having the schematic plan of the palace burning bright in his head, like the glow of an ember, he snuck away from the company at a turn, hiding in a recess at the sound of approaching feet.

Just as the echoing feet of the presumable guard died down at the end of the corridor, he took a sneak peek out of the recess, just to be sure no one else was coming, before creeping along the walls, in a journey that would take him to his destination.


The door opened a crack with a click, baring the room to the invasion of a thin slanted ray of light. Not too long after, a head poked through the gap in the door, peering owlishly at the small room. After much hesitation, the figure dashed into the room, shutting the door behind him in the manner of his wraithy footsteps.

He stopped at the center of the room, scanning for what would be his only trophy in his objectives. Lucky enough for him, he found his sought-after prize gently laid on a stool, strewn with other items.

He made smoothly toward it. His mouth quirked in a smile like a child would at the sight of a chocolate bar.

Knowing he had one shot at this to make all his efforts worthy, he swiftly retrieved the nosegay from within his clothing, thereby deflating his overtly big stomach which was otherwise a ruse, and swapped it with the one atop the stool.

“Mingh, do you read?” A voice squeaked through the comm. in his ear. “You’ve got to get your ass moving now! The palace is literally crawling with MI6 and MI5 agents.” The voice added with much urgency.

He acted on cue as soon as possible, padded out of the room in brisk, urgent strides, and sealed the door as he did earlier.

Two giggling teenage girls assumed in a white, flaring gown scurried into the room, while he slipped away down the other end of the corridor. Once inside, the girls took no time as they snagged the flowers off the stool, and hurried their way out of the room.

“That was close call, you know?” he breathed into the comm. Making down the big hall in long, hurried strides.

“What?” A voice blasted through the comm.

“Those little girls of course.”

“What about them, Mingh?”

“You should warn me they were that close.” He sounded irritated.

“Two little girls? They were the least of your troubles, man.” The voice chuckled hard from the other end. “And the bouquet?”

“I got them flowers delivered.” He said on a final note, never daring a look behind his shoulders as he disappeared at a turn.

Siren wails split the air, as did the hysterical shouts of crowds, who waved the motorcade of the Russian Prime Minister as they filed past in a stream.

The motorcade all came to a screeching stop by a curb, followed soon with the observance of security protocols by his security details, who poured out of the sleek, dark SUVs. His climb down from his ride was cheered by the crowds, who went all-out screaming their lungs.

Primly dressed in a slick, blue blazer, which stood in contrast with his black pants, sunglasses, and loafers; the red-flush cheeked man gave the crowds a sunny smile, accompanied by a vibrant wave.

It was his first time here in the Queen’s land, and to say he was in love with the English people and their ways was an understatement. In fact, he had developed an affinity for them. His beaming countenance says it all.

To honor his arrivance, troops of mounted Queen’s guards pranced down the cobbled road of the mall. In quick succession came the march of the foot guards, and a short ballet dance from a group of ten Cherubim-garbed teens.

He watched the eye-catching display as it played out from under the roof an umbrella, held by one of his burly, bodymen, to shade him from the fine spray of the summer drizzle.

After much wait, a golden-haired teenage girl waltzed toward him with flowers in hands. But was urged to a stop a few feet away from him, by one of his dark-suited, earpieced aides.

“Let her, please.” He said in a thick Russian accent, motioning the girl to come over to him.

Seizing the moment, the girl walked over to him with a smile frozen in place over her small face, dipped her head in curtsy, and handed him the nosegay.

“Thank you, young miss.” He mumbled with a smile of his own.

At that instance, there was at first a slight shift in the air. Then, it seems the world froze, for what seemed like forever; to unfold a shocking scene, as a red light twinkled from within the bunch of flowers, setting off the IED planted therein.

The world played once more, with the shattering sound of explosions, confetti shower of bodily organs, splatter of curdled blood, and frenzied shrieks of the crowds, now scattered all over the places, for dear life.

In a split second, the mall became destitute of living souls, except for a smattering black-suited agents, who made a final stand within the premises with their weapons drawn. What was left of the gathering was nothing but a nightmarish diorama of several burning, upturned automobiles in the pattering rain and a cawing crow, which flew across the smoky-blue sky.
*****
President Mikhail stood with his head pressed against the pane of one of the three south-facing windows of the Oval. Fiddling with a locket that bore a strand of silvery-black hair, he listened to the scratchy voice from the other end of the call, while his gaze lingered on the vista of Virginia.

“Your order, Mr. President.” General Sousa demanded from his end.

Silence lagged for several minutes from the President’s end, an action which forced him to ask proddingly again.

“Are we to engage, Mr. President?”

“General Sousa, I think you may need to turn on a TV right now.”

His evasive response came as a shock to the General, who stammered out yet another question. “B-but for w-hat sir?”

“Just do that and we’re cool, General.” He said sternly and hung up the call.

Afterward, he was left wondering how a smile had managed to creep in on his features in the pane. A reaction that seemed veritably odd given the circumstances on ground.
*****
Several miles in the District of Columbia, the Army chief of staff sat arms folded to his chest in his swish leathered chair, marked with the seal of the United States Army, in his office at the Pentagon. His eyes were squarely fixed on the TV monitor from across him.

The slight figure of a stand-up reporter with Buckingham Palace in the background filled out the screen.

“The attack earlier here in Buckingham Palace at the widely famous mall was reported to have claimed the lives of the Russian PM; Mr. Chechev Zhirkov among others.”

Callous as he was, the General’s green eyes bulged in horror at the breaking of the news, and his jaw was literally on the floor before he even knew it. It was such bad news, after all, one which he had barely expected.

“Mr. Chechev who was on his first tour to the United Kingdom had arrived here to pay the monarch a visit and was confirmed dead on the spot with seven others in an explosion, feared to have resulted from an IED bomb planted in a bouquet given to the Russian PM.”

He was back to his cold-hearted self sooner than expected, his jaw now tightly set, and his hands bunched into a fist.

“In other news, the declaration of war on North Korea by the United States had…” Way too fast, the General reached for the remote on his desk, gave it a wild, long press, and watched as it blackened out in time with a hiss.

Sure thing, the older man had had enough. And more importantly, had been denied the war he so much wanted.
*****
The silence behind the four walls of the meeting room was killing. And it appeared none of the gentlemen assumed in business-suit and gently seated on several plush chairs of the room were ready to break the ice. They were all big guns of the Russian government and had been in the spotlight for over a decade.

Through the minatory silence, they heard the distant footfalls of snappy approaching feet. And were up on their feet before the main door to the room swung open, to allow the passage of the President and his aides.

“You’re right on time, Mr. President.” The tallest of the men—the minister of Foreign Affairs said on a welcoming note.

The President sidled his way to the high-backed chair and dropped heavily into it. “Let’s get down to business, gentlemen.” He simply said, gesturing for the men to get seated.

“The Prime Minister remains should arrive in Moscow anytime soon, Mr. President.” The white-washed face Minister of Internal Affairs informed.

“What plans have been laid down for his funeral?” President Andriy Zyryanov tossed back a question.

“There’ll be a live broadcast of the funeral at the Cathedral square. And there will be about three-million Russian sympathizers to watch.” He read from the paper before him. “Security will be ensured by the Army, state police department and men from the Russian Air force will be deployed in case of aerial threat. Also, I must add that the UK government had made a promise to fund the PM’s funeral and to have a memorial in his name…”

The Defense Minister gave him little chance to finish off before chiseling in. “Moving on to far-pressing matter, Mr. President; the Brits made it clear in a statement released earlier by their PM, that they had no involvement with Mr. Chechev’s death.”

“And they think we’ll buy their feeble lies?” Minister of Internal Affairs asked, with an obvious edge to his tone.

“I think they’re in their every right to give us a lie, Mr. Gusev.” The President gave an apt response to his question. “And I guess we’re in our own right to weigh every word for a truth or a lie.”

“What I think Mr. President is, the West had bleeped with us for quite some time now. And now is our best shot to get back at them.” Mr. Gusev strongly opined.

“I’m with Mr. Gusev on this. I think we’ve got all the indications to go hell-raising now. Heaven as yet sided with us, sir.” The Defense Minister aired out his opinion as he best can without the faintest show of emotion.

“Come to think of it Mr. President, we’ve been at war with the West for as long as we could all remember. I don’t see any sense in it for them to spill the blood of our PM on their own soil.” Minister of Foreign Affairs argued from a far-off light. “What do they stand to gain? Start another World war?”

“To incur our wrath Mr. Ignashevish.” Mr. Gusev countered with a little flare of emotion. “Goddamn it! Open your eyes and see that this is our only chance to give them a taste of their own medicine.”

“I think the Foreign Minister may be right, Mr. Gusev.” President Andriy came out flatly in the heat of the moment. “The world I think is not ready for another war, and I’ll bet the West are in their right mind to know this.”

“So you’ll advised we watched as sitting ducks while they call the shots on who gets to live and die, Mr. President?” The Defense minister asked with his emotions still reined.

The President on the other hand knew this was a tough, tricky question, and did justice to it with par prudence. “What I’ll advice Mr. Lunin is that we wait not sit on our hands.”

“Well, I think there may yet be a silver lining to the matter on ground,” Mr. Ignashevish got a leash on the room’s attention on instant, and wasted no time in driving home his point. “The death of Mr. Chechev is quite a blessing in disguise if you asked me, as it will avail us leverage against the West. And give us a chance to call as many shots as we wanted.”

“Lemonade out of a lemon? Let’s hear about it.” Mr. Gusev was bubbling with curiosity.

“Instead of going on an all-out war with them. Let’s say we cut them a deal they can neither agree to nor decline.”

The attentiveness with which they regarded him afterward was all needed for him to hope what he was about to say was a good idea, and that every reasonable man in the whole of Russia and Crimea would buy it.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 7:51pm On Mar 28
Chapter Five

“In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.” — Francis Bacon.

The setting sun peeked from behind velvety curtain of clouds, with its dully forehead streaking the western horizon behind the MI6 building on Albert embankment with a speck of orange. Nicely set up with roughly one hundred, and thirty thousand feet of glass and aluminum on the bank of River Thames, Vauxhall; a south western part of central London. And with about sixty separate roofs, and its largest part below street level; the postmodern tiered building, built in the architectural style of Mayan and Aztec temple was a sight to lay eyes on. However, the most awing feature of this grand work of architectural art was of course, how it seem to grow and develop simultaneously on all sides as you walk around it.

There were only four of them, which was the more reason they had chosen this very technical area on Vauxhall cross, for their gathering. Though not ample as many technical suites of the building, the room was a safe harbor in itself, with its triple glazed windows and electronic eavesdropping deterrence.

Being a closely knit group, bound to serve as Intelligence machineries to the United Kingdom government, they were compelled to sit under the same roof, to share intel and views, even with their distinct differences and credos.

“Semtex has been found has the core component of the bomb used in the Buckingham palace attack.” Loopy-haired MI6 Chief began in a clipped tone.

“And lucky enough for us, we’ve got a tangible hit through the taggant trace.” His tall, skin-head counterpart from MI5 added as a follow-up.

“Which enemy state comes up on the trace, Director Harry?” asked Director Aaron Drew; a man with clear, blue eyes and heavyset build. He was evidently the oldest in the room and also the Director at the GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters].

“Oh well, there’s a little twist to the script right there. Believe me people when I say, we’ve been betrayed by our very own, just like Jesus.” Denoting the quizzed expression on the much older man, he quickly added. “Ireland. The Semtex are made by our neighbors.”

“Dissident Irish Republican Army at work, its seem then.” Those words came as a stated fact rather than a guess from the Chief of Defense Intelligence, who leaned back in his seat, stroking his clipped moustache.

“I’m afraid, we can’t be ascertained yet as to who’s behind the attack, Sir McColl.” The MI6 Chief clarified, stirring in his seat to adjust the fit of his suit.

“There’s been no credible chatters, or intel linked to the RIRA to the prelude of this attack at the ‘Doughnut’.” Director Aaron hinted.

“Anyways, with the taggant trace solved, we’re just inches away from the truth.” The MI6 Chief was unyielding.

“Or best hope those responsible come out claiming responsibility.” Director Aaron was quite the optimist.

“The Russians,” Said McColl, drifting away from their line of discourse. “Are they taking all these in good faith?”

“Yes, at least for now.” Director Harry’s answer was curtly unintended.

“In return, they want to be filled in on every of our progress on the attack investigation.” The MI6 Chief shortly added.

“Meaning we’ll share intel with the FSI, FSB, and other Russian military intelligences.” Director Aaron was taken aback by such news.

“We ‘must’ share our intel.” Director Harry corrected. “Here’s more spoiler; they want us to set up a wing comprising of Russian and British elite military intelligence.”

“And you all think this feels right?”

“Nothing feels right Director Aaron. Not at the time we’re in.” Sir McColl came forthwith in his bid to make light of the subject.

“So, what’re the security measures flesh out for the funeral of the late PM at the palace, Chief McColl?” It was the MI6 Chief that asked this time.

“Aside from the double figures of Queen’s guards that will be on hand at the perimeter. Several RAF’s Alphas will keep a close watch from the sky for about one-mile radius of the palace. And also, we’ll have men from other armed forces, MI5 and MI6 agents crowding the locale.” He explained to their eager hearings.

“If that’ll be all,” Director Aaron said while rising to his feet. “I’ll like to take my leave as I have other things on my plate for today.”

Almost at once, the other men shot to their feet, like some wind-up toys, exchanged the briefest of pleasantries and shuffled out of the room.

[some couple months back]

Like most pedestrians crowding down the sidewalk through the silty hail of the glorious snowy morning, he was muffled head to toe. Only that, there was something off-human about him. First in his outfit; a hooded sweatshirt and pants, black as the tarred roadway inches away. Likewise, in his black, beady eyes, which stared sneakily and obliquely across the street as he made springily down the walk.

He snaked through the swarm, like an athlete would in a hurdle race; hands tucked in his sweatshirt’s pocket, and his gaze trained anywhere but the way ahead.

Caught unaware, he was bumped into by someone, he couldn’t ascertain was either a man or woman, owing to the fact that, the individual was mantled almost to the brows in heavy quilted clothes. Little worried by the act, he waited for a sorry, which never came from the figure, who passed him without a glance.

Without much in reaction, but a slight shake of his head, he was totally collected once again, drifting through the throngs ever sinuously as a snake.

A while later, he was grabbing at a wall in an alley to right himself, just as a fog of dizziness settled over him, drawing him closer to the cliff of his consciousness.

In his heart of heart, he knew something was amiss somewhere. Which of course, he couldn’t figure out just yet.

Just in time, there was an unmistaken rueful shake of his head, as realization dawned on him in a rash flash.

He should’ve seen it coming, if he wasn’t too wary of being caught on the tape of the streets’ CCTVs. He should’ve felt the graze of a needle-like object against his forearm, when the cloaked figure had bumped right into him. He should’ve also known that there was more to the urgency in the figure’s gait, just after he had dealt this his way. But since he was incognizant, he knew damn well it was way too late to regret.

It was indeed late, he knew in the minutes that followed, all because he had fallen off the cliff and was dropping at a rapid rate to the abyss of his unconsciousness.

He was down on his side on the alley floor, before he felt the jarring impact of the fall, which set his neurons into convulsive motility. After which, his vision narrowed thin.

But before he was plunged into the stygian darkness that drew ever so near by the seconds, he caught the glimpse of a form, smiling down at him with spangly set of white teeth before the world went dark around him.

He was way too lost in that dark chasm to notice or resist two pair of hands that grabbed at him, tugging him into the bowels of a waiting van, which slipped off the alley in no time, almost imperceptible as a mist.
{Present day}

Late in the evening of what had once been a fine but hot summery day, President Mikhail Mayor was taking a stroll through the Rose garden of the White House, watching the imposing Washington Memorial towering against the purplish evening sky in the distance.

Like most every other day, the President was having a private time, enjoying the heavenly bliss brought about by the calmy breeze, while his security details hovered not too far off.

The enfolding stillness and his solitary moment was lanced through the minute his cellphone sprang to life with a ring. While the respite meant so much to him, he knew there were many other things that comes right before his own gratification.

Giving it no further thought, he dipped a hand into his pants’ pocket, retrieved the cell ever-so smoothly and answered the phone at a glance at the caller ID.

“I meant to call you later tonight.” He said on first thought.

“Then I guess I already saved you enough time and money.” The voice on the other end rejoindered with a chuckle.

“It’d seemed I owe you one then.”

“I’ve got some high-priority talk, Mikhail.”

Everything changed right then. President Mikhail who was all-smile in little but a minute ago stopped short in his tracks, and in a fickle change had his face set straight, all humor gone.

“The Russians,” The voice of his counterpart from the UK, who also happened to be a close acquaintance of his squeaked.

“What’s with them?”

“They demand to be loop-in on every of our inquisition into their PM’s death.”

“Well, I think that’s a fair thing to ask, Adams.”

“Yeah, I know. But I’d wager you and I both know this is another way of Kremlin fucking with the West.”

“We’ve this coming a long time, y’know,” He said with the overtones of resignation. “And I’m doubling down Kremlin will press harder till we bleed.”

“We’ve reached a consensus here anyway. And we’ve decided to have a task force with the Russians under the service code name; Section Zero. I just thought I should keep you up to speed.”

“Oh well, that’s some good news, eh?” President Mikhail said in his attempt to make light of the matter. “Thanks for the heads-up mate.”

“Ahem…” The Prime Minister made a show of clearing his voice before he eventually added. “And knowing well they’ve some hidden agendas to sock us right in the face, as an old guard how do you propose we win this war?”

He heaved a deep sigh before giving an answer this time. “I think our only shot at a win this time is to make a good showing of our goodwill.”
*****
Arnold, trimmed and primmed in a frock coat and acid washed, Denim jean stood before a heavily glazed window—the type you can see through from within but not from without, sequestering himself from his team and their ongoing discussion.

Needing a bout of distance to brainstorm some more on the thoughts prodding at his mind, he’d withdrawn from the exchange, opting instead to stay as far away from the group, huddled round a table in the staging area.

There’s an answer somewhere waiting to be found, he was positive of that. And all requisite of him was, to dig deeper and look anywhere else but at the obvious. Then, he would get to join together the dots, gleening right in his mind.

If he was right, the blizzard of cataclysms had all began a week or so ago—first, with the massacre of nothing less than three hundred American soldiers in Southern Raqqa. And also, the recent attack at Buckingham Palace, which unlike the first was aimed at the visiting Russian PM.

Even though, the attacks had seemed nothing out of the ordinary, he had the sole conviction that, they’ve been looking into the superficial picture, which had shut them away from the underlying answers to the mystery behind them.

“The British have it that the Semtex used in making the bomb that struck the Buckingham Palace was produced in Ireland.” Aslam, the guy with distinct hooked-nose, and tar-dark eyes was saying, as he took several shorts strides back to the group.

“What if all these are coordinated attacks?” He started a little gibberish and followed with another daring question on the heels of the former. “What if there’s a sort of dark force from the shadows responsible for all these?”

Knowing he had a leash on their attention on cue, he went on. “What if it’s just one and not two enemies out there? And what if it’s endgame is to shred the world into pieces?”

Just as he expected, it took a while for his words to come home. And some more minutes, for the flash of intuition to flickered in their various minds.

“But what dark force goes out the way to reach its goals through all these bloodbath?” Heart-faced Audrey Atwood asked naively. She had her usual free-falling dark-brown hair ribboned in a bun. And her thick yet neat eyebrows slanted otherwise.

“One that’s ready to prove its point without any regard whatsoever for collateral damage, I’m afraid.” He was stunned to see Wycliffe gave an answer to the question directed at him. “Every single attack carried out by our unknown dark forces says it all. But we’ve been preoccupied with nothing to notice the real thing.” The follow-up knocked his socks off outright.

“If I’m really getting a hang on this; it seems we’re zeroing all these down to a lone cause.” Aslam said fluidly, as if reading from a text.

“A formidable one it seems.” It was honey-skinned Esperanza that added this time.

“Now that we’ve got a handle on this,” The COO [Chief Operating Officer] said, standing. “I say we up our game, ‘cause we’re not too far away from our sought after answer.”
*****
Director Wells paid no mind to the soft hum of the symphony breezing through the phonograph. Likewise, the little backchat from the group of well-groomed men and women seated with her behind the cockpit of the Boeing VC-25S of the United states. Instead, she chosed to center her attention wholly on the wave of discussion of her underlings down at Langley oozing through her headset.

It was one of her many voyage on ‘Air Force One’. And just like every of her previous flights on the Presidential shuttle, this also came as a mission.

The off-the-cuff request to be among the company to escort the President to Russia, in a condolence visit had come in as a bit of surprise. An offer she couldn’t dare decline.

Long into the voyage, she sat a bit more reclined in her seat, gnawing at her fingernails and plainly lost in thought.

There was so much going on in her head. So much that she could barely get a fix on at the moment. So much that the weight of it was bearing down hard on her. And now, she had the feeling she was going to cave in, anytime soon, from the pressure on all sides.

“Sorry ma’am, would you prefer water or a coffee?” Someone was saying to her.

She snapped out of her reverie, and found the bulk figure of a blonde-haired flight attendant hovering over her.

“I hope everything’s okay ma’am?” He asked patronizingly.

“Oh, I’m just fine. I was only lost in the moment.” She waved in her defense, projecting her I-am-damn-alright look. “And what’s it you’re saying earlier?”

“I was asking if you’d prefer a cup of coffee or a chilled bottle of water.”

“Coffee would be nice,” She gave a small insignificant smile. “Black… and no sugar, please.” She hollered after him as he scrammed away.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 12:28am On Mar 31
Chapter six

“Revenge is a confession of pain.”—Latin Proverb.

{Couple months back}
His fingers tap-danced over the keyboard with rhythmic clickety-clack. His lips danced along in syncronity as he mouthed the lyrics of the music blasting through the headphones, while his gaze stays leveled on the screens from across him.

This is what living life was to him. No partying or glitz nor paparazzi; just seating and swiveling around behind computers’ monitors. After all, it was the one thing this cruel world spared him. It was the Sun his world revolves about.

He averted his gaze from the monitors’ screens in time, to notice the silent beep of his cellphone, which he grabbed off the table with a clean sweep of his hand.

There’s a minute hesitation from him as he glanced at the glowing screen, that displayed an ‘Anonymous’ caller ID.

He disregarded the whisper of the tiny voice in his head, that which begged and pleaded to him not to answer the call, bringing the cell ever-gently to his ear, as if it was an egg, after a press on the answer button.

“Good morning, Mr. Mingh.” The voice on the phone was splintery and with the resonance of over fifty voices speaking all at once.

The dread of suffering from acousma was tantamount before he eventually managed to speak into the phone in a feathery, light tone.
“Hey, may I know who I’m on with?”

“That won’t be necessary for now, I think.”

It was apparently a female voice and the caller hadn’t bothered to use a scrambler, he thought as his mind brightened, with every reasonable hunch urging him to get off the phone as soon as possible.

“Then I guess having this conversation might as well not be necessary.” He said firmly, his thumb digging at the red button than he intended.

In a minute, he was again bobbing his head vigorously to the beat of the music as if to shake off every fragment of the disturbing thoughts of the last couple minutes. In another, he was again typing in commands into the computers before him.

And that even was short-lived, as the monitors across him twitched, and came back on in a split second with a message in block typeface, crawling right through their screens almost simultaneously.

“‘Mingh, I insist it’s necessary that we have this conversation.’” It takes every atom of strength in him to mouthed those words out loud.

The effect of which fills his gut with the vile feeling of dread. It takes grit to tucked in his shirttail now soaked through with his own sweat. And something even more, if there exists anything as such in the world, to get his butt off his seat.

It doesn’t take all the knowledge in the world to know right in this dicey situation that danger was imminent. And yet, he couldn’t move a limb, not to talk of putting up a good fight, which was definitely a shame.

Get a grip on yourself, he said silently to himself, in a bid to register this upon his subconscious mind. After which, he took a step, then a second and a double-time strides toward a set of drawers.

In no time, he was down scouring the drawers, shuffling through gadgets and neat piles of clothes in seek of that one thing, that could only assure his safety. He had kept it there all this while never thinking he would need the use of it. And now it seemed the time was closer than ever.

Wrapping his long, thin fingers around a familiar cold metal, he knew just then, that the choice was his to make; to see this through and live thereafter, or die out here, like the flame of a burning candle.

In that same breath, his worst fear was brought to manifest, with the alarum blaring out deafeningly at the same time the helical Xenon flashtubes beaconed their red flashes.

Along came the silky-smooth computer voice, announcing over the intercom. “’Intruder alert! The building has been breached!’”

At that, his grip slackened on the handle of his Magnum firearm. Beads of sweat trickled down the sides of his face. And worse, it was hard steadying the fast-beating cadence of his heart, which seemed on the verge of burning out anytime soon.

To safety then it seemed, he thought, pivoting on his heels and setting his sight on the backdoor exit to his left. But before he could come through with any action, he knew already it was game over.

He watched in a mix of terror and shock with eyes the size of a saucer, as every air duct in the room snapped open, letting in the free passage of an unknown gas.

A gasp escaped his lips as the first wave hit him. Followed suit by a fit of coughing as he choked on the gas, now filling out through every inch of the room. And finally, the drooping of his eyelids, brought about by the violent tug of sleep on him.

However, he was flooded with relief upon knowing right on the spot what this meant. He’d been gassed, that was veritably a fact. Not with a harmful gas, but a soporific one, which practically meant; he’d live and not die after all these was over.

His eyes sealed shut, and without much of a fight, he embraced the darkness that beckoned on to him, toppling off his feet to the wooden floorboard with a loud thud.
{Present day}
President Kim Jong-Ju looked away from his hands knotted together on the shimmery, polished desk, and squarely at the camera, held by the lensman few paces away.

It seemed so strange he was seating here in his office, focusing his gaze on the Teleprompter. Funny that he was about to carry this out at long last. And galling, that he’d strip himself of his pride and over-inflated ego; knowing it was this or something even far worse.

So he began, each word coming out of a puckered lip. “It’s with a heart laden with grief that I’m delivering this speech. And with conscience clear as day, that I commiserate with our American friends for their loss at Syria. Also, I hereby come out strongly to openly oppose the rumors that’ve been spreading like wildfire of late; that the DPRK was responsible for the missile attack on the United States military base in Raqqa, Syria.”

He sucked in his puffed cheeks and continued. “Though, the Americans have every reason to believe we did so. Today, I’ll change the views of the world and out the truth in the interest of all and sundry. To come straight, North Korea had a nuclear test conducted on the very day the United States military base was struck with a stereotype of the North’s Hwasong 15 missile. But I say to the world that the operation was shut down mid-way to the launch, which made it seemingly impossible for us to strike the base at Raqqa.”

Huffing, he added glibly. “I’m willing and ready to support my claims with concrete evidence, that will shake the conviction of the Americans and that of the world as a whole.”

“Also, I’ll like to make it known to the world that none of our nuclear arsenals are compromised, which made it an absolute doubt for our weapons to be used in such grossly act.”

There was a silence that lasted for a minute or so before he later added. “On a final note, now that we share a common enemy, the people of the North are pledging their support to the Americans and people of the world in uncovering the schemes of our enemy.”

That said, he was up on his feet as if puppeteered by an unseen force, and out of the office’s eastern door in a stiff, brisk walk.


The door opens to an ampler and Spartan laid-up room, where the General and five other men of his cabinet sat waiting expectantly.

“How’s that?” He asked, obviously annoyed.

“It’s fab!” Answered the General, who like the other men in the circle had seen the broadcast of the Airtime right from that room.

“It should do some convincing.” Said the man with a clipped mustache, who happened to be his Chief of Staff.

“It better do.” Was the President’s only remark, before he walked out of the room.

1 Like

Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Mantee(m): 2:23am On Apr 01
This is superb. Please keep the updates coming

1 Like

Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 11:31am On Apr 01
Mantee:
This is superb. Please keep the updates coming

Thanks for being the first person to comment on my work. I really do appreciate this. And dare I say, you don't know what this means to me.

1 Like

Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 11:46am On Apr 01
Wanna take the front seat and enjoy this political-spy thriller?
Stay abreast of every update by following my story on Dreame:
https://m.dreame.com/novel/wO8XqBr9SII+9kC7qZ1iKw==.html
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Mantee(m): 12:32pm On Apr 02
Salahdin:


Thanks for being the first person to comment on my work. I really do appreciate this. And dare I say, you don't know what this means to me.
You are welcome. Good writeup needs to be appreciated by readers.
I will visit your blog.

1 Like

Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 12:06pm On Apr 03
Mantee:

You are welcome. Good writeup needs to be appreciated by readers.
I will visit your blog.

Would very much appreciate that.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 12:17pm On Apr 03
Chapter seven

“Stronger than lover’s love is lover’s hate;
Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.”—Euripides.

{couple months back}
The thumps of her shoed feet preceded her as she coursed through the narrow hallway, evenly tilting her feather-weight build from one dainty leg to another. She looked more or less like someone brought forth from an ad; in her black, designer leathered pants and jacket. Her black luxuriant hair fanning out across her face with each precise and graceful step.

But that was where all the fairness and elegance ended, as there was something apparently dark and wild about her. Perhaps, it’s something with her eyes; darker than night itself, and also cavernous that it seemed to hold a thousand worth grim secrets. Or maybe, it has something to do with her pointy, close-to-perfect nose and sharp prominent cheekbones, which all defy tameness and meekness.

Each step placed her away from the elevator car that had conveyed her to this level of the building, and much closer to the door that walled her from her destination.

Something far greater than tension was building among the three occupants of the small room. That being the overflux feeling of apprehension as the thumps of the approaching feet grew louder and nearer. Restrained to their seats and helpless as kids to the impending doom, they each shared a glance—a confused one at that, and not a word.

It’s been well over an hour together in their prison cell of a room. And still, they’ve never bartered words, each soul keeping to himself and ready to tackle what to come alone.

And even with their differences and withheld secrets, there was one thing known and agreed upon by either of them, though, none was willing to say it out loud.

They were all connected in one way or another, of which none had figured out yet. And most relevant at the moment was a strange fact that; they’re all cattle bound in a shambles, and about to be shown the point of the knife.

The thumps came to an abrupt stop with each man pivoting his head to the door almost simultaneously.

In the moment that followed, impermeable silence blanketed the room, that they could all swear they heard the beats of their hearts thrumming in their ears. And within a heartbeat, the door glided open effortlessly, to reveal the flimsy figure of a lady, who seemed to glide into the room in the manner of the automated door.

Once at the door, she flattened her palm against the biometric verification panel and watched drably as the word ‘Access Granted’ flashed across the small box, followed by the severing of the doors.

“I’ll keep this straight and simple.” She began, ignoring the glower from the men, only stopping before several big screens, which came alive right at that instance.

“You three have been abducted because you share a common interest which equals that of the house; The system had bleeped you all in one way or the other, and more so, you’ve stood up to it rather than sitting on your hands.” She continued with a slight jut of her chin toward the screen. “Your profiles speak for themselves. And even with your finesses and the fire burning within ya’ll, there’s a ‘but’”

She took a theatrical deep breath. “I bet you’re familiar with the famed legend of the labyrinth, where many lost their way to their doom. You all are not different from these people in the labyrinth of society. Unless you find a thread to trace your way back out, you’ll find your doom ultimately. And that thread we’ve promised to provide you with; your low-burning fire, we’ll rekindle into a wildfire with our fuel. If only, you’re willing to conquer your worst nightmare with us by fighting for a greater cause.”

She edged closer to them, in a motion slithery as a snake’s, bending a little at her midriff and whispering to them in a voice persuasive as much as it’s menacing. “And I doubt if any of you would turn down this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of her broken system.”

Fully aware she wouldn’t get an answer or an iota of reaction from their stark expressionless faces, she decided on cue it was time to take her leave.
“I’ll see you when I see you guys.” She said, backing away a little.

Two quick steps and she stopped dead in her tracks, watching dazedly as one of the men fell back flatly in his chair with an echoing clang.
Before long, the shock expression on her dissolved into something ugly and smug at the same time, while she stood watching the man sleekly entangling himself with fine torqued motion.

If bothered by the man’s display of bravado, she gave nothing away, hiding her emotions and things alike behind a mask of blatant indifference.

Swift and sleek as an asp, he was in her face, his hands fisted around her dainty neck in a monkey-wrench. The heat of his seething fury emanating off of him and gathering around them.

“Not so fast.” He spat in her face, holding her still.

Rather than fight or wrench free from his hold, she let him had his run at luck, choking on each word that slipped from her mouth afterward.
“Anger, there’s no better driving force to it in the universe. And I think you’ll be needing more of it on your new quest.”

“Bleep that! You should know better to leave my little girl out of your lousy game!” His voice sounded more like the scrape of metal against something solid.

“I love how personal that sounds.” She said, squeezing free from his hold with a well-choreographed sashay, and had him slammed face-first against the floor with a flick. Luck runs out, eventually.

“You know what I think; I think, she would live long as you play along with my rules,” She inputted. “One more thing though, you must also know anger when not concentrated on the right thing, can be so destructive to its owner. Best of luck, anyway.” She finished and minced out of the room.
{Mop-hair’s P.O.V}
My vision returned to me in a haze, with a whacking headache as an add-on. And worse, I hurt all over. But why? I can’t help but wonder. And soon, the memories came jetting in spurts; First, with my wild run in that short adventure through the woods. Then, the little twist in fate; the fall, and my straight dunk into oblivion.

The pain from the fall was nothing like I’d ever felt. Nothing could measure up to it, not even the gunshot wound I’d suffered couple months back. The ‘Why’ was evident of course, as I’d taken several lumps and bruises from the fall. I can tell I was literally covered in patches of livid bruises.

Though my eyes had fluttered open a moment ago. It took a while longer for my senses to kick back alive. And once they did, I wriggled my fingers and toes, then, made to stand with such spry as a spider’s. At that moment only did I come to grasp the severity of the pass I was in.

I was constrained to the metal chair under me with cords, taut, and as well as resilient. And I flopped right back in the chair against the repelling force of the restraints, cursing gently under my breath.

It took even longer to know I was not alone in this shithole of a place. And for one, I’d the gut feeling the two were dead, but felt otherwise, soon as I noticed the manifest heaving of their chest.

Having nothing to do but sit helplessly in this darned chair, I decided to do a quick survey of the room, if for anything, to flesh out my escape plan.

Squared and stark white walls—no window—four surveillance cameras pegged on each side of the walls, and there’re chances of even more hidden cameras around somewhere. And a sole entrance that leads to God knows where.

I knew right then that escaping was a bad idea, and had decided right on the spot to leave it for later.

The huff from one of the men: the yellow-skinned dude, with a clownish visage, called me back to the present. He must have woken somewhere in my reverie since I hadn’t noticed myself. Even though, I can tell he looked somehow lost or so, I figured it was not in my place to tell him how pretty bleeped we’re at the moment. It was each man to himself now.

With my fleeing impulse already stashed in my mental trashcan, I was left with the urge to live and see this through. I was more than ready and willing to do whatever it takes to feel the sunlight against my nape again.

While the third guy went on raving like a crazed dog and making it patently impossible to hear any other sound out in the room. I heard a sound. It was remote at first, and it’s the sound of approaching feet.

I’ve never felt like this in years. The new feel of consternation seemed alien to me as the thumps of the feet inched nearer. And I could have sworn nothing in the world could be likened to it. Not even the dread of being led to an electric chair.

The door I’d earlier noticed clasted open with a swish. And as if in a dreamlike medium, I watched in double-vision as a lady walked into the room.

“I’ll keep this straight and simple.” I heard her say, my racing heart slackening a bit.

Moments later, everything seemed to fall in place, like a jigsaw puzzle. My missing daughter—My wild run through the wood—My abduction and that of the other men, were all mapped out. It was all a piece in a rather bigger puzzle.

For long, she rambled on and on, on some laid-up plans to change the world or so. And since I cared less, I never bothered paying it any mind.

While this went on, however, I felt something awakened in me. It was ancient, yet familiar, and it badly wants out of the cold, dusty box it was sealed in for long. It was anger, I can tell as it bubbled and moiled from within me. And it was not just any anger, it was the type you probably can’t put a lid on, no matter how much you try.
And I also can feel how swiftly it coursed through my vein, like a shot of adrenaline. And I let it bubbled over, all because I needed it more than ever.

With a back-flipping motion like those in Wuxia movies, I crashed down hard on my back. And with some tricks, I’d learned sometimes in the past, I squirmed free from the binds onto my feet, dashing at her like a steed.

She shook with surprise and something quite undecipherable, watching wide-eyed as my hand tightened around her jugular. But to my dismay, she seemed anything but unhinged by my actions, staring unblinkingly as I throttled her to near-death.

And well, I’ve met with couple people, who would embrace their own death with no afterthought. But it’s different with her. She wasn’t only ready to take death in open arms, I felt she had made peace with it, that it seemed to be nothing but a friend.

Even worse, was how she threw me off like a tossed coin. My feet caved in from under me and I slammed hard against the floor, like a sack of grain.

It was damn late for face-saving; I knew as I laid sprawl across the floor. And that hurt more than a physical pain would. A while ago, I had thought we’re having a civil conversation. If having her almost strangled to death could be called that.
But in the space of five minutes, things had turned pretty sticky than I ever imagined. And for the most part, I’ve learned a great deal.

Defeated, I watched her leave the room in her trademark mince. It took what looks like ages to pick myself from the floor, and enough nerve to return dejectedly, like a wet dog to my seat.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 4:46pm On Apr 04
Chapter seven

“Stronger than lover’s love is lover’s hate;
Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.”—Euripides.

{couple months back}
The thumps of her shoed feet preceded her as she coursed through the narrow hallway, evenly tilting her feather-weight build from one dainty leg to another. She looked more or less like someone brought forth from an ad; in her black, designer leathered pants and jacket. Her black luxuriant hair fanning out across her face with each precise and graceful step.

But that was where all the fairness and elegance ended, as there was something apparently dark and wild about her. Perhaps, it’s something with her eyes; darker than night itself, and also cavernous that it seemed to hold a thousand worth grim secrets. Or maybe, it has something to do with her straight, close-to-perfect nose and sharp prominent cheekbones, which all defy tameness and meekness.

Each step placed her away from the elevator car that had conveyed her to this level of the building, and much closer to the door that walled her from her destination.

Something far greater than tension was building among the three occupants of the small room. That being the overflux feeling of apprehension as the thumps of the approaching feet grew louder and nearer. Restrained to their seats and helpless as kids to the impending doom, they each shared a glance—a confused one at that, and not a word.

It’s been well over an hour together in their prison cell of a room. And still, they’ve never bartered words, each soul keeping to himself and ready to tackle what to come alone.

And even with their differences and withheld secrets, there was one thing known and agreed upon by either of them, though, none was willing to say it out loud.

They were all connected in one way or another, of which none had figured out yet. And most relevant at the moment was a strange fact that; they’re all cattle bound in a shambles, and about to be shown the point of the knife.

The thumps came to an abrupt stop with each man pivoting his head to the door almost simultaneously.

In the moment that followed, impermeable silence blanketed the room, that they could all swear they heard the beats of their hearts thrumming in their ears. And within a heartbeat, the door glided open effortlessly, to reveal the flimsy figure of a lady, who seemed to glide into the room in the manner of the automated door.

Once at the door, she flattened her palm against the biometric verification panel and watched drably as the word ‘Access Granted’ flashed across the small box, followed by the severing of the doors.

“I’ll keep this straight and simple.” She began, ignoring the glower from the men, only stopping before several big screens, which came alive right at that instance.

“You three have been abducted because you share a common interest which equals that of the house; The system had bleeped you all in one way or the other, and more so, you’ve stood up to it rather than sitting on your hands.” She continued with a slight jut of her chin toward the screen. “Your profiles speak for themselves. And even with your finesses and the fire burning within ya’ll, there’s a ‘but’”

She took a theatrical deep breath. “I bet you’re familiar with the famed legend of the labyrinth, where many lost their way to their doom. You all are not different from these people in the labyrinth of society. Unless, you find a thread to trace your way back out, you’ll find your doom ultimately. And that thread we’ve promised to provide you with; your low-burning fire, we’ll rekindle into a wildfire with our fuel. If only, you’re willing to conquer your worst nightmare with us by fighting for a greater cause.”

She edged closer to them now, in a motion slithery as a snake’s, bending a little at her midriff and whispering to them in a voice persuasive as much as it’s menacing. “And I doubt any of you would turn down this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of her broken system.”

Fully aware she wouldn’t get an answer or an iota of reaction from their stark expressionless faces, she decided on cue it was time to take her leave.
“I’ll see you when I see you guys.” She said, backing away a little.

Two quick steps and she stopped dead in her tracks, watching dazedly as one of the men fell back flatly in his chair with an echoing clang.

Before long, the shock expression on her dissolved into something ugly and smug at the same time, while she stood watching the man sleekly entangling himself with fine torqued motion.

If bothered by the man’s display of bravado, she gave nothing away, hiding her emotions and things alike behind a mask of blatant indifference.

Swift and sleek as an asp, he was in her face, his hands fisted around her dainty neck in a monkey-wrench. The heat of his seething fury emanating off of him and gathering around them.

“Not so fast.” He spat in her face, holding her still.

Rather than fight or wrench free from his hold, she let him had his run at luck, choking on each words that slipped from her mouth afterward. “Anger, there’s no better driving force to it in the universe. And I think you’ll be needing more of it on your new quest.”

“Bleep that! You should know better to leave my little girl out of your lousy game!” His voice sounded more like the scrape of metal against something solid.

“I love how personal that sounds.” She said, squeezing free from his hold with a well-choreographed sashay, and had him slammed face-first against the floor with a flick. Luck runs out, eventually.

“You know what I think; I think, she would live long as you play along with my rules,” She inputted. “One more thing though, you must also know anger when not concentrated on the right thing, can be so destructive to its owner. Best of luck, anyway.” She finished and minced out of the room.
{Mop-hair’s P.O.V}
My vision returned to me in a haze, with a whacking headache as an add-on. And worse, I hurt all over. But why? I can’t help but wonder.
And soon, the memories came jetting in spurts; First, with my wild run in that short adventure through the woods. Then, the little twist in fate; the fall, and my straight dunk into oblivion.

The pain from the fall was nothing like I’d ever felt. Nothing could measure up to it, not even the gunshot wound I’d suffered couple months back. The ‘Why’ was evident of course, as I’d taken several lumps and bruises from the fall. I can tell I was literally covered in patches of livid bruises.

Though my eyes had fluttered open some moments ago. It took a while longer for my senses to kick back alive. And once they did, I wriggled my fingers and toes, then, made to stand with such spry as a spider’s. At that moment only did I come to grasp the severity of the pass I was in.

I was constrained to the metal chair under me with cords, taut, and as well as resilient. And I flopped right back in the chair against the repelling force of the restraints, cursing gently under my breath.

It took even longer to know I was not alone in this shithole of a place. And for one, I’d the gut feeling the two were dead, but felt otherwise, soon as I noticed the manifest heaving of their chest.

Having nothing to do but sit helplessly in this darned chair, I decided to do a quick survey of the room, if for anything, to flesh out my escape plan. I knew all I ever have to do is escape from this room and locate my girl. They are hiding are somewhere here, that much I am sure of.
Squared and stark white walls—no window—four surveillance cameras pegged on each sides of the walls, and there’re chances of even more hidden cameras around somewhere. And a sole entrance that leads to God knows where.

I knew right then that escaping was a bad idea; and had decided right on the spot to leave it for later.

The huff from one of the men: the yellow-skinned dude, with a clownish visage called me back to the present. He must have woken somewhere in my reverie since I hadn’t noticed myself. Even though, I can tell he looked somehow lost or so, I figured it was not in my place to tell him how pretty bleeped we’re at the moment. It was each man to himself now.

With my fleeing impulse already stashed in my mental trashcan, I was left with the urge to live and see this through. I was more than ready and willing to do whatever it takes to feel the sunlight against my nape again.

While the third guy went on raving like a crazed dog and making it patently impossible to hear any other sound out in the room. I heard a sound. It was remote at first, and it’s the sound of approaching feet.

I’ve never felt like this in years. The new feel of consternation seemed alien to me as the thumps of the feet inched nearer. And I could have sworn nothing in the world could be likened to it. Not even the dread of being led to an electric chair.

The door I’d earlier noticed clasted open with a swish. And as if in a dreamlike medium, I watched in double-vision as a lady walked into the room.

“I’ll keep this straight and simple.” I heard her say, my racing heart slackening a bit.

Moments later, everything seemed to fall in place, like a jigsaw puzzle. My missing daughter—My wild run through the wood—My abduction and that of the other men, were all mapped out. It was all a piece in a rather bigger puzzle.

For long, she rambled on and on, on some laid-up plans to change the world or so. And since I cared less, I never bothered paying it any mind.

While this went on, however, I felt something awakened in me. It was ancient, yet familiar, and it badly wants out of the cold, dusty box it was sealed in for long. It was anger, I can tell as it bubbled and moiled from within me. And it was not just any anger, it was the type you probably can’t put a lid on, no matter how much you try.

And I also can feel how swiftly it coursed through my vein, like a shot of adrenaline. And I let it bubbled over, all because I needed it more than ever.

With a back-flipping motion like those in Wuxia movies, I crashed down hard on my back. And with some tricks, I’d learned sometimes in the past, I squirmed free from the binds onto my feet, dashing at her like a steed.

She shook with surprise and something quite undecipherable, watching wide-eyed as my hand tightened around her jugular. But to my dismay, she seemed anything but unhinged by my actions, staring unblinkingly as I throttled her to near-death.

And well, I’ve met with a couple of people, who would embrace their own death with no afterthought. But it’s different with her. She wasn’t only ready to take death in open arms, I felt she had made peace with it, that it seemed to be nothing but a friend.

Even worse, was how she threw me off like a tossed coin. My feet caved in from under me and I slammed hard against the floor, like a sack of grain.

It was damn late for face-saving; I knew as I laid sprawl across the floor. And that hurt more than a physical pain would. A while ago, I had thought we’re having a civil conversation. If having her almost strangled to death could be called that.
But in the space of five minutes, things had turned pretty sticky than I ever imagined. And for the most part, I’ve learned a great deal.

Defeated, I watched her leave the room in her trademark mince. It took what looks like ages to pick myself from the floor, and enough nerve to return dejectedly, like a wet dog to my seat.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 6:58pm On Apr 07
Chapter Eight

“There’s always enough retribution to be dealt.”—Amber Silvia.

{yellow-skin’s P.O.V}
I don’t like being tied one bit. For one, it makes me feel like a hostage. Oh well, who am I kidding though? I’m actually one here, but still, I’ve got something to be thankful for. That is, not being blindfolded or gagged. Shucks! I can’t begin to tell how much I hate that.

Once my eyes had flipped open like the pages of a book couple minutes ago. My worst fear had been to have awakened in some God knows Blacksite. But that’s soon alleviated as it dawned on me what place I was holed in. This place was no fit match for the orgy things carried out in Blacksites, at least on face valuation. And it did bring some relief.

It was nonetheless, no lasting cure to the sick feeling in my guts. A feeling which I dreaded as much as death. It comes so very often; like that time, I received the anonymous call, which had been the watershed to this.

I tried my all ignoring the mean-looking man, bound up in a chair like myself. There were things off-human about him. First, in his eyes, all-too unnaturally black, and his pointy nose with its raised bridge. And black mop of hair, which fell freely in tangled locks down his forehead.

Instead, I had my thoughts singled on that one thing, that had been a mystery to me all along. It was no news my firewall was breached during my abduction. But still, there was a puzzle yet unsolved. That being, how the overhaul was machinated? I knew it was no easy feat to pull something that fat on a guy like myself. Plus, I knew it would take a pro to pull that off.

And there was the issue of that other guy, who’s been all hell, ever since he regained consciousness. Thrashing wildly and grunting like some ill-freaking animal in his seat.

It’s hard to admit, but I must say I was wrong about the first guy. Because if he was anything near meanie, then, this other guy was bad-ass meanie. And yeah, they both were giving me the heebies. And worse, I felt being in their odd company was making me hyperventilating by the seconds.

Also, there’s the pressing matter of the thumping feet of someone approaching. The sound of which was fear-inspiring as a war song. And as the figure got closer, I feared my heartstring might snap at the pace my heart was racing.

The last few hours had been a ghost of an experience—the worst of my entire span, and I’m afraid if it would get any worse or better.

I watched as she waddled into the room, hips swinging sideways exaggeratedly, black lush hair wimpling out across her small face in waves. It was hard convincing my eyes of the scenes playing out before it. And what’s more, it was way too hard to take in all the drastic turn in events.

An angel had walked in right on us while I was expecting quite the opposite. This angel, was anything but hostile, at least on face valuation. She was anything but a killer. And she was anything but a saint too.

And voila! She blew me away with the first few words that rolled off those rich beautiful lips of hers. It’s nothing like any other sound I’ve heard before. And that little prelude of hers was the best ever.

I tried afterwards to stay focused, but it seemed the harder that I tried, the more my attention slackened. To come straight, I really was ogling over her. Anyways, I caught snippets of the message she was getting across, even though I was lost in her eyes the whole time.

It seemed at one time, there was a crash or was it rather a fall. Actually, I must admit I didn’t catch that too. But I was shocked out of my wits, once my eyes strayed to the spot where meanie was bounded, and more or less surprised to see him grappling with the binds. And I was more alarmed than ever, soon as the implications of his actions hit me.

In one swift, too-out-of-this-world-to-be-real motion, he was freed from the tendrils of the restraints and rushing at her head-on with the force of a devil’s dust.

It all happened too fast for me to grasp, and before I knew what, his hands flew to her throat in a grip, tight as a vise’s.

I was wrong about her like most everything, it clicked on me only after she had turned the odds in her favor, and had him face down on the floor.
And with this new realization came an emptiness brought about by the total feel of loss.

She ain’t no angel. And Bleep all what I see on the surface. She was indeed a killer—one that could possibly kill a man, just like I would swat a fly to death.
{all-black’s P.O.V}
It was awkward having this going on. We’ve been at our little staring contest for a while now. How long? I really can’t tell myself. It was apparent I’ve lost track of time. They’d taken it all then, when they nabbed me off the street, stripping me of my life on the run.

Too bad, it seemed I’ve been transported into another world, without my knowing. Even worse, was this unplaceable place, which seemed to be brought on from some fiction piece.

I knew I must be causing quite a scene, thrashing and flailing in this chair, and I could care less. I guess, it’s my only way of escaping the reality of the present and shutting my mind against what was to come.

It’s crazy and I know, but having these guys around felt like a blessing. Knowing fully well that I was not alone in this, meant if I were to die out here, then, I’m not going down alone.

And there was this spontaneous thumps that seemed to sprung from behind the doors, and at its heels, the unbearable pound of my heart in my chest. Well, it’s fair to say I was afraid.

Until now, I’ve never had to fear the unknown. Of course, it was otherwise now. And I knew deep down where this was headed. Of course, it holds no good.

The smell of her cologne hit my nose long before she waltzed through the automated double-doors. And then she was right before me. I had a change of heart and the conviction that, I’ll live to see another day.

She disarmed me on all fronts and also had a desirable effect on my heart, which skipped a bit and returned to its normal cadency.

Then she began with her gibberish address, from which I deduced that our abduction was nothing but a preface to several chapters of a bulky book.

I knew they were up to no good. I knew they’ve some dark scheme already plotted, if not almost in motion. But gave it no second thought since the feeling was mutual. Almost instantly, I fell in love with their idea of revenge and havoc wreaking, ready and willing to play a piece in whatever game they had planned. And also knowing that once this gets on the way, there’s no wanting out.

It was join the bandwagon or something even dire. And worse, they weren’t even asking, she’d made it crystal clear. What she hadn’t added and which I figured out myself was, if we failed here, they’ll surely get gazillion others in our place.

I was an audience of all else afterwards. The magical move by the wild-looking guy. The altercation that sprung from his bold, but stupid move on her. And even the aftermath of all that—his utter humiliation.

It gladdens my heart to watch it all from the front seat. No googles, just a smile plastered across my face.
Re: The Hit Back Series (order From Chaos) by Salahdin(m): 5:58pm On Apr 10
Chapter Nine

“Revenge proves its own Executioner”. —john ford
[Present day}
Aslam looked away from the several computer screens, displaying the heatmap of a specific location in greens and reds. His gaze set straight on the faces around the staging suite. Hands languidly at his sides.

“Thanks to that little revelation made by president Kim; I’ve been able to uncover some secrets on the Raqqa attack.” He declared to the room’s itching ears and delight.

“What secret are we talking?” Arnold asked as his curiosity got the better of him.

“Leads pointing to the genuine launch site.” He gave a prompt answer.

“Out with it then, Aslam.” Executive Director Wycliffe ordered at once.

“All we’ve been led to believe in all along is nothing but a hoax. A gimmick of some unknown cons carried through with the state of the art gadgets in cyber manipulations.”

“Oh, Bleep it! Spare me the preamble and cut to the chase already.” Wycliffe said, clearly irritated.

“Aight sir,” He said, cowering a bit. “The real launch site had been right under our nose all this while—”

“Shucks! Do you ever listen? What did I just say about leaving out the details?”

The room in the briefest of seconds went into an instant burst of laughter, everyone giving him an awkward look.

“C’mon Aslam, do we have a location?”

“Aye sir. Our target is deep in the wild west. Colorado to be precise.”

If surprised by the revelation none in the room made a big fuss of it, each and every one waiting for the COO’s input.

And voila, he came forthwith. “Heads-up everyone. We’ve a target. Let’s go a fishing.”

Arnold surveyed his small cadre, like a general would his frontline on a battlefield, for the last time. It had been a long, hard ride here from Langley—well over two hours. And the last thing he would wished for, was for any to blow all this in his face with a wrong move spawned from a wrong judgement.

“Guys, I bet you all know what’s at stake here, and would do well to hold your own just fine,” He began his address in a cold, raw voice. “And for the record, you all must know that every tango on site are assets in this sting operation of ours.”

With nothing but a nod in response, three men walked away from the unit, disappearing between the towering fences of wild Aspens and Pines to the south of their position.

A while later, he and the smattering few left in the unit made due north, sifting through the ground, with their weapons drawn and at the ready.

In little less than ten minutes, they came by a great find; an underground structure nicked well into the earth surface for God’s know how depth.

At the sight, Arnold released a lengthened sigh, whispering gingerly into his comms. “Target located. Making ingress in sixty seconds.”

He gestured at two of his men, who at the flick of his fingers plastered paper-thin sheets of Key4 on the structure’s cupola and cannonballed back to the spot where the team took cover nearby.

“Entering now. Secure the perimeter, Bravo team.” He announced over the blast.

After the smooth descent down several rungs of ladders, Arnold marched his men deeper into the darkened recesses of the silo. The flashes of their tactical flashlights dancing against the walls as they made even deeper.

“We need to locate a switchboard or something to light up the whole place.”

In a fleeting second, the men rose to the occasion, combing the hall in attempt to carry out his order.

While they were at this, he stood motionless as a scarecrow, breath caught in his lungs; eyes overly peeled for any movement in the dark, and ears pricked up for any sound.

Just before the darkness worry him sick, several Xenon fluorescent lamps slung overhead flickered on in a thread of dashing lights, dispelling the darkness once and for all. It took long for his eyes to get attune with the light, and even longer for him to take his surroundings in.

His gaze settled over the sheet-covered furnishment within the ample room at once, skimming over to the heat-cracked walls and the silky cobwebs that hung over them as curtains.
Nothing was making sense to him anymore. At least, nothing about this mysterious shithole of a place; which in the reality of things should be swarming with electronic gitzmo and the sorts, but was otherwise desolated. Of course, the realization of this was quite shocking and as bad, but what was more painful was their journey over here, which had just ended as a lost cause.

He ignored the clickety footfall that seemed to come right from behind him, and the resigned sigh that escaped from the person’s lips as he finally stopped short few paces away.

“You think we’re acting on a solid tip?” The other man asked, echoing his own thought.

Still hanging on to a corpuscle of hope, he answered. “There’s only a way to find out. Let’s call it in.”
*****
All was silent and more eerily gloomy within the room. The only miniscule of sound and light coming from the soft glow of the cellphone, gently pressed against the lone figure’s ear.

“They’re making quite a head start.” The figure said softly into the phone.

“By ‘they’, you mean your team. No?” A mellow voice was saying from the other end.

“Of course, and that’s tripping me up.”

There’s a crackle from the other end, then, a sigh of relief. “Look, I told you there’s nothing to be afraid of. There’re no loose ends on our part.”

“You sure of this?”

“Yeah. I’m damn too sure.”

“Then I guess I can sleep and not worry about a thing.”

“Definitely,” The voice rasped positively. “I trust you’re making this call on a secure line?”

“Damn it! what you take me for really? A fool, huh?”

“No! I never meant it to sound like that. You know you can’t be too cautious at the time we’re in.”

“Then I guess we’re not having this conversation any more than we already had. I can’t stand you telling me what to after this call.”

“You know what? Get some sleep. We’ll talk some other time.”

The call went dead on instant, and the burner cell seconds later, at the long stab on its power button. Wasting no time, the figure placed the burner in a Ziploc bag, sealing it afterwards.
Then shot to its feet and made instinctively out of sight in the pervasive darkness.
*****
President Kim-Jong-Ju was trying hard to absorbed in his surroundings. What is more, he couldn’t get himself to focus as he trained his firearm—a 9mm Sig Sauer P229, at the target one thousand yards out from across him. It was unlike him to be this uptight and very much unrequired of a man of his substance. Yet, he was here, unhinged as Bleep, with control slipping from him by the second and missing out on the target he would have knock right off any other day.

He was granted the breather he so much wanted, soon as one the men of the unit 963 in a black, business suit brought his phone, which he snagged off his grasp at once and answered before the final ring.

“What now General?” He blasted into the phone, handing over his noise cancelling headphone to the same man and walked a few paces away from that position.

“I’ve set up a twenty men task force for the enquiry, eternal leader.” The General relayed.

“Very well then, General. I want them working around the clock and to come up with some answers ASAP.”

“They’ve their orders already, sir. They’re to get to the root of the matter and see if any of our arsenals are compromised.”

“The Americans, they Bleep with us once and had me on the ropes. They do that again, then, I’ll lose my head, General.”

“You’ve got absolutely no reasons to worry, sir.” He assured.

“Don’t give me one, General.” He finished with a relieved sigh, handed the phone over to another man from the State Security Department, now swarming at his side along with the Unit 963, and made it patently lucid his practice was over for the day.

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