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BLACK OPS XXL: Beyond the Call of Duty is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Copyright ©2010 by Blake J. Edwards All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. BLACK OPS XXL is a trademark of Blake J. Edwards. For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Blake J. Edwards at 646.781.6125 or Email him: blackopsxxl@ BlakeJEdwards.com Visit the official BLACK OPS XXL Website at www.blackopsxxl.com Edited by Valjeanne Jeffers http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com Cover Artwork and Black Ops XXL logo by Nicholas Da Silva Interior Book Design by Lishone’ Bowsky Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ISBN 978-0-615-50480-3 LCCN 2012908765


This first novel in a series of many is dedicated to my big brother, “Mark Andre Ray.� I love you so much!


Acknowledgements

First, I would like to acknowledge my life long friend and brother, the late “Arthur Heron,” who took me in like a brother thirty three years ago. I would also like to acknowledge and thank my best friend Kim Selden, my number one supporter, motivator and friend who listened to my countless scenarios of “black ops” and fantasy. I'd also like to thank my children and inspiration: Brandon Edwards, Malcolm Brown and Ginelle Edwards, as well as my Mother and Father. And of course, I’d like to acknowledge and thank Almighty God who spared my life to motivate and inspire specifically the youth. I'd like to thank Gillian Sinclare for raising my children.


CHAPTER

1

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poradic bolts of lightning illuminated the darkened sky— exposing the culprits responsible for the heavy downpour—sequenced by crackling thunder. Before the high-tech instruments on the cockpit control panel had the opportunity to alert the pilot he was now entering his destination airspace, he recognized the familiar skyline of the Peach Tree City and began to descend. The chopper began catching turbulence from air pockets, while the twenty-five foot rotor blades dropped down through the heavy downpour. It was like crossing a city street before the light actually turned green—you just proceed when it’s safe, nobody actually needs to give you official clearance. The marine pilot slowed the chopper up over the landing pad and spun it around, attempting a perfect landing. Just over the rooftop, the early warning weapons lock monitor starting blinking. Emp! Emp! Emp,” the audio alert initiated in a serene woman’s voice. “Seven seconds to impact!” she warned. “You gotta be shittin’ me!” blurted a marine, in a startled tone. It was the marine sitting directly behind the civilian passenger, Steve Stay, the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Steve Stay frantically jerked his eyes up from his lap-


12 : Blake J. Edwards top and looked out of the nearest window. He immediately recognized two needlepoint smoldering projectile glows screeching across the open sky—trailing a steady stream of white smoke behind them—getting brighter and brighter as they zeroed in. Apparently, the helicopter had become a target. The soldier in camouflage fatigues, sitting directly behind Steve had a miniature tactical machine gun on his lap. He leaped up and pulled down a safety clip from an overhead hoist. He clipped the cable onto Steve’s flight vest and clipped another hook onto his own. The soldier had served active duty in the Panamanian conflict and was no stranger to split-second, life or death decisions. But, this wasn’t supposed to be a covert op. It was a simple routine transport detail. They were transporting civilian passenger, Steve Stay, from point A to point B; from Charlotte, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia on U.S. Domestic soil, notbehind enemy lines. This was a complete surprise—even for a soldier that was trained to factor in the extreme unexpected. Steve Stay was being escorted by four marines on a combat chopper that was suddenly under missile attack. He was catching a free ride, courtesy of the United States Department of Defense. Steve tried to swallow, but his Adam’s apple ironically managed to get stuck in his dry throat. Simultaneously, a marine on each side of the helicopter snatched open the sliding doors, grabbed drop ropes and threw them out the side of the bird, commencing an emergency evacuation. In a fraction of a second, they hooked their harnesses to overhead pulleys and jumped out of the doors to swing down. The pilot considered that if incoming projectiles were GPS guided missiles, they would lock onto a fixed location like the landing pad. But a heat seeker would zero in on the chopper’s heat source and chase it down until impact.


CHAPTER 1 : 13 The pilot couldn’t risk gambling with the lives of his men. Intending to spare the lives of unsuspecting civilians. From the very first sound of: Emp! the pilot swooped away from the closest rooftop to hover over another, trying to safely evacuate the chopper before the missiles hit and incinerated the entire landing pad. The protruding elevator shafts, antennas, satellite dishes, and water tanks prevented a safe landing on top of the surrounding rooftops. So the pilot just hovered above a building and the two marines swinging down from the ropes bouncelanded on top of the rooftop and held their ropes steady for the others to slide down. The marine that had been sitting directly behind Steve, strapped his safety harness to the overhead pulley and jumped out the open doors, sliding Steve down toward the other solders on the rooftop below. “Two seconds to impact!” warned the audio, as the pilot put the chopper on auto hover. He was the last to jump out of the open doors. On his way down—with just one hand on the nylon drop cord, hanging from the hoist—the first missile smashed directly through the chopper’s windshield. The second missile flew straight into the engines side exhaust duct—fire-balling, rotating and mushrooming a dark cloud of smoke into the sky and torpedoing shrapnel out in three-hundred and sixty degree directions. The intensified pressure from the explosion blew the glass out of windows on nearby buildings and chipped chucks of cement off of the walls, showering shattered cement chips, glass, and shrapnel over everything beneath the blast. The pilot barely made it out of the chopper before the missile hit, yet he was blown to bits... and his body parts reached the rooftop separately. The rope suddenly lost its firm tension, in the soldier’s grasp. The marine twisted his face away from the exploding debris,


14 : Blake J. Edwards polluted with mangled bone, tissue, and the pilot’s organs, splashing down on his camouflage. Steve and the three marines psychologically collected themselves on the rainy, zero-visibility rooftop, as burning chopper engine, fumes, blade and frame fell from the sky. Shrapnel and propeller blade littered the rooftop as the oily fire burned through the rain. On full alert—minus one head and with weapons drawn— the marines made their way into the smokey stairwell entrance on the rooftop. Cautiously stepping over the broken glass and debris, the marines ventured into the dark staircase, one after the other with their activated flashlights mounted on front of their automatic machine guns. The second marine, wrapped his knuckles on top of the lead marine’s helmet, achieving immediate eye contact and commenced communication with finger signals: instructing him to kill the flash light and drop his night vision goggles down over his face. All three marines did so instantly. The marine behind Steve gently nudged him, suggesting he move up a little further, behind the first marine positioning him safely between the three, for his own protection. The marine activated the dead man switch on his radio: a device on his two-way that indiscreetly notified the command center that the soldier was alive without him/her verbally corresponding. This was almost a radio silence feature which distributed a single signal every fifteen minutes. It would need to be continually re-initiated. The soldier’s radio unit would vibrate, reminding him to send another signal promptly, verifying his condition. “Green eagle! Green eagle!” a personal headphone device blurted. It was implanted in the ear socket groove of the soldier’s helmet. He whose sole responsibility it was to communicate with the command center for the sake of his unit. “Green eagle! Over,” whispered the soldier, against his better judgment. Because they had just began tipping down a dark


CHAPTER 1 : 15 uncharted stairwell of an unsecured building: immediately after their chopper was blown out of the sky by shooters from an unknown location. Common sense would suggest securing the immediate location before breaking silence—and not just radio silence. They had no idea of the sophistication of the culprit they were up against. Whoever took the initiative of firing upon them, clearly wouldn’t have to go very far to engage in a second assault, since a pilot immediately bounced to the nearest rooftop before abandoning ship, once he was fired upon. Whoever had attacked them knew this. Sergeant Gayger, the lead marine, cautiously crept down the dark stairwell with the butt of his mini-fourteen, assault rifle braced up against his chest. Sergeant Donovan was behind him, then Agent Stay. Sergeant Randal was last, covering the tail. Finally, the threat of broken glass loudly popping under the marines’ boots had passed. “Green eagle, you’re fifty meters from friendlies on the ground level. An air support unit is in pursuit, along with a unit of Humvees. Over,” said the Sergeant from command center. But Sergeant Donovan just keyed his mike up and kept radio silence. Of course, it seemed highly unlikely that the marines and Agent Stay’s whereabouts could have been predicted. But, nevertheless, as a precaution, nothing was being taken for granted. They hadn’t received any Intel of enemy military aircraft in the vicinity, so their guess was stingers from the rooftops (shoulder-mounted rocket launchers) meaning the culprit could be approaching on foot— even be in the building. With just a team of three shooters scaling down a twenty flight staircase where a culprit could spring up from above, below, or beside, they were instantly in a “behind the enemy lines” scenario.


16 : Blake J. Edwards The floor marking under the red exit sign on the wall indicated the marines had safely made it down five flights without an incident. Cautious as ever, they continued down each step on full alert, fingers on their triggers, and butts of their tactical assault rifles resting against their biceps. They swept their weapons back and forth, and crisscrossed their flashlights beams across the stairwell steps and walls. Things were the hardest on Steve. He was unarmed and blind. All he could do was follow the beams of light, flashing across the walls with his naked eyes, while the marines with night vision goggles allowed them to see everything in the vicinity clear as day. But being escorted by three seasoned marines, wearing night vision goggles, flap jackets, and tactical, automatic assault rifles didn’t exactly leave him a blind sitting duck. Just that quickly, the team of four made it down another five flights of stairs without a complaint from Steve. But, there was the irritating squeaking of rats...the sound of a cat as if its’ hunt had been foiled by intruders. Then there was silence again, except the sound of Steve’s heartbeat just under his asthmatic breathing. Two more red exit signs passed as the team made their way toward the ground floor. “With all due respect, sir,” whispered Sergeant Donovan, the marine tiptoeing directly behind Steve. “Who the fuck’s trying to kill you? No—better yet—who just blew Hernandez and our chopper out of the fucking sky?” Steve wished he had an answer, but he didn’t have a clue. He had nothing to give the soldier watching his own back, creeping down the stairs behind him, with an assault rifle pointing in his direction, and occasionally nudging him in the spine with it. “Come on, cut the bullshit!” Sergeant Randal whispered fiercely. “Let’s just get the fuck out of here right now,” he added,


CHAPTER 1 : 17 while the flashlights on their rifles were crisscrossing the walls in the dark. “What was that?” blurted Sergeant Gayger, spinning totally around on his pivot foot, and swinging the nozzle of his rifle behind his back. “I didn’t hear shit!” replied Sergeant Donovan. “We’re just wound up!” “I think it came from down there,” Gayger whispered. “I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a weapon of my own,” Agent Steve Stay complained. “Sorry, sir. We have no way of knowing if your weapon qualified. Aren’t you just a pencil pusher?” Sergeant Gayer asked. “No offense,” he added. Blamm! The exit door spontaneously burst open without warning, slamming up against the wall and flooding a blinding, bright light into the dark staircase—disguising the barrel of what could be an AK47 Rifle protruding out of the doorway. Whip! Whip! Whip! All three of the soldiers’ barrels cut through the air. They swung the barrels of their rifles, aligned with laser beam accuracy, into the blindingly lit doorway. All three soldiers’ laser beams focused within the circumference of a quarter. Blamm!Blamm! Two sparks burst out of there barrels into the doorway. “Shit!” Sergeant Gayger blurted, rather than squeezing off his own trigger with the others. A dark-skinned, gray-haired fellow, wearing a navy blue maintenance uniform and still clutching a mop and pail in his hands, lay in the threshold of the door, jerking in convulsions. He was gritting the pain back while his life bled out onto the floor. “Oh shit!” Agent Steve yelped. The janitor kicked once more before lying completely still, riddled with bullets and soaked in his own puddles of blood. “Come on! We gotta go now!” said Sergeant Gayger.


18 : Blake J. Edwards “Nothing we can do for him anymore. It was a bad accident, but damned good shots.” Both Randell and Donovan’s shots seemed to have hit the same, exact mark. Both appeared as only one entry wound. “Just a shame it was the wrong guy, don’t you think?” asked Agent Stay sarcastically. “No big deal. Shit happens,” Gayger replied. “No time to get all emotional, boys,” he continued down the stairs. “Go ahead, man. I’ll take the tail end ‘cause you hearing shit!”said Sergeant Randal. “Got me all jumpy an’ made me kill a nigga!” “What happened to: ‘don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes?’” said Steve. “And I’m the one that can’t be trusted with a weapon?” “Better safe than sorry,” said Sergeant Donovan.“We already lost one G.I. on account of you.” “And who’s to say that the missile was meant for me? I’d say this was a military conflict, not domestic—a military assault on a military chopper!” Agent Stay retorted. “Heads up, boys, we got four more landings to this shit hole,” said Sergeant Gayger, cautiously tiptoeing down each step. “And you might want to hesitate before shooting the next guy that jumps out until we get a clear indication who we’re shooting at. Don’t worry, these flap jackets should be able to take at least one direct hit from close range.” “Sorry, Agent Stay, but you might have to take one for the team on this one.” Steve wasn’t wearing a flap jacket. “You know we can’t go around killing any more innocent victims during the call of duty.” Crack! With lightning fast reflexes, all three marines swung their weapons up toward the top of the staircase. Three infrared laser beams connected and crisscrossing off the side of the wall, four feet off the floor—anticipating a target stemming from the sound of a scratchy footstep. But, it was just another janitor


CHAPTER 1 : 19 in a navy blue maintenance uniform, holding a mop, bucket,and spray bottle... Brat-tat-tat-tat! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang, Bang! The marines returned fire and the janitor dropped to his knees, keeled over, and then tumbled down a couple steps. “Shit! I’m hit!” screamed Steve, running his hand over his face. There was blood in the palm of his hand. “Fuck!” Sergeant Randal exclaimed, following the falling maintenance man with his eyes and keeping the muzzle of his weapon pointed directly at the dead shooter. Sergeant Donovan kept his weapon sighted on the maintenance man, while he leaned himself up against the wall. “Bitch ass nigga! That’s not your blood!” Randal snarled. Donovan had been shot in the thigh and Randal had been grazed across his cheek. “I think it hit an artery!”said Donavan. “Don’t worry kid! Suck it up! We’re almost out of here!” said Gayger. Without a tourniquet, Donovan would never make it out of the building alive. It was just a matter of the marines dropping their weapons to tend to Sergeant Donovan’s wound— which would leave them as sitting ducks, less than a minute since they had been fired on. “Steve, get that shirt off the maintenance guy and get it around Donovan’s leg,” said Gayger. “We can’t risk putting our guns down. And try not to get any blood on yourself from the dead guy.” Steve tied the tourniquet around Donovan’s thigh and jumped up to assist the soldier down the stairs. “Poppa bear, this is green eagle, over,” panted Sergeant Donovan. “Easy, kid, save your breath,” Gayger soothed. “We’re almost out of here.” “Poppa bear, go ‘head, green eagle, are you in the nest? Over.” “Negative. We’re taking fire and I’m hit, but we’re almost


20 : Blake J. Edwards to the nest. Over.” The wounded marine put his arm around Steve’s shoulder, supporting himself down the stairs while Donovan covered them from the back and Gayger at the point. “HOORAW!” The shout came from the bottom of the staircase. Blamm! Blamm! The exit doors above them slammed open against the walls, as did the exit door of the approaching third floor level beneath them. They were immediately surrounded by solders in camouflage uniforms, holding M-16 rifles. Needless to say, they were a sight for sore eyes. Marines stormed up the stairs towards them and down the stairs behind them. “Sir, I’m Captain Connery. Let’s get you out of here, sir!” said a chocolate-skinned, African American marine with captain bars on his shoulders. He saluted Steve and reached out to assist him. “Building’s secure, sir!” said a soldier from the second floor landing. Suddenly, four more navy blue suits came running up the stairs. “Agent Steve Stay?” said a fella with a wire from a twoway coiled down into his shirt collar. He brandished the customary leather credential case with his identification. “Agent Darren Murray, FBI. Sir, we’ve been expecting you, sir.” “We could have used your help up here a couple minutes ago,” complained Steve. “Agent Stay, we’re sorry for the inconvenience,” said Captain Connery. “Have you narrowed down the perpetrator, sir?” Stay demanded. “Oh, not officially, but we believe it has something to do with your investigation, sir.” “You’re familiar with my investigation?” said Steve, with a puzzled look on his face.


CHAPTER 1 : 21 “Well, based on the circumstances involving the death of a marine, there’s been an informal briefing to some degree,” the captain replied. “Yes, of course.” “At this point, the Department of Defense is very much interested in the circumstances of your investigation. But, we assure you, it will be limited to high security clearance personnel only” said the captain, although every marine in ear distance, along with the agents in the hallway, were now a part of the conversation. “I’m not sure, but he looks fine to me,” said a federal agent, talking into his earpiece. “Sir, are you wounded?” asked Agent Murray. “No, I’m fine,” said Steve. “Captain Connery, your office can expect my call. These men saved my life. Reward them.” “We’ve got vehicles curbside to get you to the hospital, sir,” Murray replied. “That won’t be necessary. We’re gonna stick to the original plan, Agent.” “The penitentiary, Sir?” asked the agent. “Actually, a small detour. I want to go directly to the coroner’s office,” said Steve. When the two federal agents just ahead of Steve and Agent Murray got down to the first floor landing, he stood back on the stairs until the agents opened the door. “Of course, sir,” Agent Murray said, twisting the door knob. “We’ve got armed men in the lobby and more waiting outside in the vehicles.” Steve just nodded, without saying a word. “Coming through the door,” said the agent, as he twisted the door knob open. There were uniformed marines and four more suits with ear pieces waiting in the lobby. “Right this way, sir,” said a suit, “just beyond the threshold of the stairwell.”


22 : Blake J. Edwards “Sir, we have a car waiting for you,” another one of the four agents added, escorting Steve through the lobby and motioning him to the exit. “Sir, you good?”said a familiar voice. It was Sergeant Randal, just behind Steve. “If you need a safe ride, I can verify these guys will get you to your destination in one piece, sir.” “How’s Sergeant Donovan doing?” asked Steve. “He’ll live,” Sergeant Gayger answered. “You guys meet me at the coroner’s office,” said Steve. “I’ve gotta talk to these soldiers for a moment.” “Alright, we need to get mobile,” said Captain Connery. “Chop, chop.” Just outside the lobby door, Steve said: “I’m gonna need you guys to get me to the city coroner’s office, pronto!” He was looking into the sky as if there was a potential for an incoming mortar attack. “This perimeter’s been secured from the bottom up, sir, you’re safe now,” said Gayger, motioning Steve to a military Humvee parked just off the curb, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.

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