Mass Market Paperback
Publisher:  Medallion Press
ISBN:  9781933836973
US $7.95/CDN $8.95

Copyright © 2009 by Don Helin


Icy wind blew across the Appalachian ridge, the gusts unusually cold for late March.  Sam Thorpe crouched near the edge of the shale ridge.  He focused his binoculars on the militia members coming up the hill.
Sparks flashed as tracers from the Heckler and Koch submachine gun behind him kicked up dirt around the men.  Sam’s gut twisted when two of them dropped.   “These bastards are firing live ammunition.  Stop them!”  He’d seen people die in combat, but this was different.  This was murder.
The man standing next to him watched the advancing line through his binoculars.  Quentin Oliver, self-appointed one-star general and commander of The Patriots, smiled.  He stood taller than Sam’s six foot, four inches, but was thinner with a sharp face, and a nose hooked like a falcon.  “This is war, Colonel Thorpe.  Soldiers, who don’t do things properly, die.”
Sam resisted the impulse to swear at Oliver.  This wasn’t war, just a training exercise, for Christ’s sake.  Instead, he cursed his boss on the Pentagon’s Anti-terrorist Task Force who had persuaded Sam to go undercover to determine the mission and organization of The Patriots.
Oliver stroked his white goatee with a gloved left hand while keeping his eyes trained on the scene below.  “We’ll show those government bastards.  We pure blooded Americans are sick of their bullshit.  No one’s going to take our guns away.”
Sam zipped his field jacket up to his neck.  The chill he felt had little to do with the temperature.
Oliver walked toward his jeep.  He turned back to Sam.  “We need to prepare. Are you going to help us?”
Sam nodded toward Oliver, hesitant to say anything.


Quentin Oliver sat at the conference table in his office, doodling on a tablet while he listened to the speaker phone.  One voice belonged to Aly Kassim, vice-president of one of America’s largest corporation, and the other to an old friend, Marcel Dubois, a retired colonel in the Canadian Army.
Oliver had spent a great deal of money to ensure secure voice communication by installing scramblers on each of the three phones involved in the call.
Specialist Douglas Rose, a slender young man in black fatigues, leaned over a computer terminal at the far end of the table, typing in action items from Oliver’s comments.
Oliver’s black shirts were absolutely loyal to him.  They were his enforcers.  The other militia members were scared of them.
He swished the smoke from his cigar away from his face with his right hand.  “I suspect it will take about two weeks before we’re ready to move.”  He had learned during his career in the Marines to be patient.  “The men need more training.”
“You are so right, my friend.  Training is critical.”  Marcel’s French accent flowed from the speaker.  “We learned that, yes?”
“You understand, don’t you, Marcel?”  Oliver and Dubois had graduated from the Naval War College together.  Both had been lieutenant colonels at the time, Oliver in the Marines and Marcel a foreign student from Canada.  “I plan to give Thorpe one week to prove himself.”
“Tell me about Thorpe,” Marcel said.
“Go ahead, Aly,” Oliver replied.  “You hired him.”
“He led a mechanized brigade in Iraq.  Before that he spent four years in the Pentagon working training issues.  He’s frustrated with the government and feels the government isn’t doing enough to combat foreign terrorism.  That’s in our favor.  His interviews went well so we hired him a month ago.  He’s been through our orientation.  This is his first assignment.”
“Sounds like a good candidate.  Hopefully he’ll be enough, how do you say it,” Marcel chuckled, “pissed off at the government to be of assistance to our cause.”
“Quentin, do you think Thorpe will be up to the task of training your soldiers?”  Aly asked.
“I’ll reserve judgment,” Oliver replied.
“He has a great deal of experience working with soldiers,” Aly said.  “That should expedite the training.”
Oliver nodded.  “Thorpe watched our exercise earlier this evening.  When he left, he seemed upset at my methods.”
“I don’t like the sound of that,” Marcel said.
“I require absolute obedience.  If my soldiers do not perform up to my standard, or if they try to leave, they will be dealt with.  And their families as well.”  Oliver could visualize Marcel stroking his small black mustache when he pondered.  “Thorpe’s scheduled to arrive tomorrow at zero nine hundred hours.”  He nodded toward Rose, who made another note.
“When are you coming to pick up the professor?”  Marcel asked.  “We can have a class reunion over some Merlot.”
Oliver sent a smoke ring into the air.  “Depends on when I can break away.”
Aly’s voice chimed in.  “Why not send Thorpe?”
Oliver thought for a moment, weighing the pros and cons as always.  “Good idea.”  He tapped his fingers on the tablet.  “We’ll get him in the middle.  He won’t be able to back out without leaving something on the table.”
“The border patrol is less likely to stop a retired colonel and look too closely at his passengers,” Aly said.
“I like the way you think.”  Oliver paused.  “Marcel, why don’t you alert the professor?”
“With pleasure,” Marcel replied.  “Is this Thorpe to be trusted?”
“We’ll see,” Oliver said.  “If not, I’ll take care of him.  In any event, I suspect he’ll meet with an accident by the end of the training period.”
“When should I plan to arrive?” Marcel asked.
Oliver traced the crease on his starched fatigues.  He knew that Marcel’s French Separatist movement was planning some surprises for the Canadian government.  “I think it’s best if you wait and come later.  We can’t take any chances on tipping our hand.”
“I’ll need advance warning to make arrangements to transport our weapons back to Canada.”
“I’m aware of our agreement.”  Oliver nodded to Rose again.
Rose flashed his familiar smirk.
There was silence, then Aly’s voice came over the speaker.  “Let me know when you’re ready.  I’ll notify Thorpe.”
“I think we’d better close for now,” Oliver said.  “I’ll schedule a call for tomorrow at 1800 hours to update you on how Thorpe did his first day.”
Rose made a note without being asked.
“Fine with me,” Aly said.  “Quentin, let me know if you need additional supplies or equipment.  We’ll ship it right away.  You have top priority.”
“As it should be.”  Oliver pushed the button to disconnect the call, then rocked back in his chair.  He had been planning this operation ever since the Marine Corps Inspector General had written the report that forced him out and cheated him out of his promotion.  He had made one little mistake.  Those blacks thought they ran the show.  He was just straightening them out.  After all, he was the colonel.  They were just enlisted pukes.❖

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About Vicki Hinze
USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Author of 40+ books, short stories/novellas and hundreds of articles. Published in as many as 63 countries and recognized by Who's Who in the World as an author and an educator. Featured Columnist for Social-IN Worldwide Network and Book Fun Magazine. Sponsor/Founder of FMI visit

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