Authors: Jamie Marks
Special Agent Ambrose sat across from Harris.
“I have some news for you about the person of interest MI-6 caught in London,” Ambrose said.
“Really, I’m surprised,” Harris replied. “I thought MI-6 only leaked information to the Russians. It’s amazing how times change.”
Ambrose smiled. “Indeed, times do change. Anyhow, he’s of Turkish origin...”
Harris laughed. “The entire free world knows he’s from Turkey,” Harris said as he drummed a solitary finger on his desk. “Do you have any more amazing facts to dazzle the mind?”
“Maybe. I called a friend of mine who works in data retrieval and Counter I-Defence strategies for the NSA,” Ambrose said. “I asked him if he knew anything about Batumi. He didn’t know too much, other than Batumi had been recently wiped off the face of the earth by a massive explosion. He told me that the base had been off the radar for years, but it did have a high level Bio-laboratory.”
Harris settled back into his chair.
“So I did a little more research,” Ambrose added. “Have you ever heard of a Doctor Josef Levy?”
“He and Shapinkov used to work together.”
“I’m not surprised to hear that,” Ambrose said, “because I think there may be a link to the heavy data traffic which came from the Tundra a while back, if you remember, and the data flows which started to come from Batumi soon after, just before the Georgian war. Both the Tundra and Batumi data packets contain links to Levy. And I think Shapinkov was in Batumi because of his friend, maybe they were---”
“That’s enough,” Harris said. He was astonished at just how much Ambrose had learned. “A very good friend of mine is dead. So be very careful about where you’re taking this Ambrose.”
“I believe Captain Bragin, the commander of Shapinkov’s OMON security detachment, is more involved in the explosion at Batumi than I first thought. I think he may have stolen something from the laboratory --- something Shapinkov was there to inspect --- and then sold it,” Ambrose said.
“Are you saying all this has something to with the Turk they found in London?” asked Harris. God, he was like a dog with a bone.
Ambrose smiled. “The NSA intercepted a photograph of Bragin’s decapitated head from an email account linked to a breakaway group of Al Qaeda, based in Anatolia Turkey.”
“Once you’re done talking,” Harris said, “I want the name of your NSA friend.”
“He’s a private contact.”
“He’s a Federal employee in a trusted position who talks too much. That is what he is.”
“I’m not comfortable revealing who he is---”
“I don’t care --- continue.”
“I believe the man arrested in London is a member of the group from Anatolia, and I think he was trying to use whatever Bragin had sold to the group, after Bragin murdered both Shapinkov and Levy, and then destroyed Batumi.”
Close enough is good enough --- he can have Bragin
, thought Harris. “This group from Anatolia; who leads it?”
“A man named Al Rashid,” Ambrose answered.
“I doubt he’d have the network to organize a bio-attack on London,” Harris said, knowing exactly how large and dangerous Rashid’s network was. “Before you ask, I am familiar with his name. I’ve been in the business a while, you know.”
“He also has links in the United States. It may be bigger than just London,” Ambrose said.
Harris shrugged and said, “Just London. I would have thought that big enough.”
“Before 9-11, so would I,” Ambrose answered.
Harris considered his options. Ambrose wasn’t going to stop digging anytime soon, what did he have to lose? Harris sighed. “All right, investigate. However, no SWAT teams or dawn raids. Just investigate.” Ambrose understood. “Now, tell me that man’s name.”
It was an old, six-story, brownstone apartment building.
Each apartment had two windows with street views.
The basic floor plan of the building was two apartments per floor with a main central staircase. One street that was facing and rear alley exit had access to the upper floors via a roof emergency door. The use of the fire escape wasn’t an option, with much of it being eaten away by rust and deemed too unsafe to climb.
SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams had surrounded the building while sniper teams watched from a building directly across the street. There were three teams selected for the raid on the old brownstone building, Alpha, Beta and Charlie teams. Alpha team was to enter through the main doors at the front of the building and then ascend the staircase to assault apartment three.
Beta team was to follow Alpha into the building after a small delay, and then they were to offer support if required. Charlie team was to enter through the roof access door and then descend the main staircase to give flanking support to Alpha and Beta teams.
Each sniper team was to provide support where available and on request.
It was a very simple plan.
Ambrose watched both the Alpha and Beta teams from his position several buildings away, as they readied for their assault., The SWAT commander and his support team were nearby Ambrose.
After last minute checks of equipment and signals, each team member called in their final positions and readiness.
Deep down, Ambrose felt excited, but he tried to keep up a cool demeanor. He had a lot to lose if this went pear-shaped, maybe even more than just his career.
The timeline outlined for the raid, aimed for it being completed in less than five minutes, including firefights and target acquisition.
Each assault team member wore a black, fire-resistant Nomex combat suit, with extra body armor protection, including an outer tactical vest that held flash bangs and tear gas.
Kevlar helmets covered their heads, and gas masks hid their faces. They looked more like machines than men.
Each assault team member was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5, which was capable of firing 800 rounds per minute, while one member of each team also carried a FRAG-12, or 12 gauge, high explosive firing shotgun.
Ambrose saw the squad leader of Alpha team raise his thumb.
“Go!” Ambrose said to the SWAT commander who relayed the message on. Alpha team stormed into the building in single file. Alpha Point felt the pressure of his Heckler & Koch pushing tightly into his shoulder as the team entered the worn and dirty lobby, scanning the room for movement.
Alpha team then ascended the staircase as Beta team waited outside for their conformation.
Charlie Team, positioned on the top of the building, smashed the roof’s emergency access door wide open. The team then flooded down the staircase in single file toward the lower floors.
Moving swiftly, Charlie team’s point man was the first to enter the hallway on floor six.
The team’s adrenaline was pumping as they flowed forward to clear floor six of any hostiles that they may find.
The place seemed dead.
Charlie team radioed in that floor six was clear, and moved down to the next floor. Then Floor five was cleared in the same rapid pace. The building seemed as if it were empty.
The team then ran down the staircase to floor four, everything was going to plan.
Charlie Point swiftly moved along the hallway of floor four, with his MP5 swinging rhythmically from left to right until he came near apartment seven and eight’s door, both of which were ajar.
Charlie Point moved slowly forward and looked inside both apartments; he didn’t see anyone, but he did see blood and lots of it. Both apartments looked like a slaughterhouse. Calling his team forward, Charlie Point ordered them to search both apartments --- no bodies were found.
The grisly find was then called in and acknowledged.
The only piece of information the squad leader neglected to mention were the wildly scattered and bloodied footprints, which were found in both apartments and the hallway.
When the SWAT commander told Ambrose about the bloody scene, Ambrose merely shrugged and said, “Dead bodies don’t just stand and walk away, do they?”
Ambrose felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. “Hello”
It was Harris. “Yes.”
“Where are you, have you entered the building?”
“Outside the target building, and no.”
“Have you had any contact with anyone who has entered the building?”
“No. SWAT has just begun the raid. How did you know I was here?” Ambrose asked.
“If I had known you were going to attend I wouldn’t have let you off the leash,” Harris said.
“What do you mean?”
Alpha team reached the second floor within seconds of entering the building.
Alpha’s Point man, using a camera attached to his short-barreled MP-5, scoped the hallway ahead of his team; it appeared as if it was clear, his only concern being the open doors to apartments three and four and the bloody mess, which surrounded both.
Moving forward, Alpha Point saw in more detail the large, bloody handprints and smears, which had dried to the color of rusted iron.
Looking down he saw more bloodied footprints on the wooden floor and the carpet. It was like nothing he had ever seen before, and some of the bloodied tracks led to the street outside.
Alpha teams leader called the scene in, and after scanning the area, he reported that there were no bodies.
Ambrose waited for Harris to answer. “Things have moved fast. The bio-weapon is far worse than we first thought. The assault teams will become compromised. Evacuate the site and wait for the special response teams at the eastern intersection. Don’t tell anyone what I have told you,” Ambrose heard Harris say before the phone went dead.
Ambrose replaced the phone into his pocket and began to move away. He was beginning to have a bad feeling about this. The more Charlie team investigated the upper floors, the greater their concern began to grow. Bloody handprints, pieces of flesh, something was terribly wrong. Except where were the bodies?
The team entered the staircase that led to floor three, as they did, one of them knelt and examined an ear that lay on the floor.
“My God,” Charlie Point said as a man walked toward the bottom of the staircase from the hallway of floor three, unarmed and badly injured. “Don’t move,” he said as he raised his weapon.
Back on floor two, Alpha team stormed the target apartment.
In the main living area, the team found a large pool of dried blood on the floor and blood splattered on the walls. The apartment seemed abandoned, and the few chairs that furnished the main room had been over turned, while the television in one corner of the room lay to one side --- smashed.
Moving further into the apartment, Alpha team saw several bloodied foot prints and decided to see where they led.
Alpha team’s Point trailed the prints into the apartment’s kitchen where he found nothing but a pile of dirty plates and a running tap. The tracks then led to another room with a closed door.
After trying the doors handle and finding it locked, Point called for the FRAG-12.
Point stepped back as the gun was fired.
The door handle exploded into pieces, leaving a hole the size of a basketball. The fractured door then swung open to display a partly devoured corpse and a pale bloodied man hovering over it tearing at the corpse’s flesh.
Charlie team’s Point man aimed his MP-5 at the figure standing at the bottom of the stairwell. “Get on the floor.”
The man didn’t answer.
The bloodied man’s torn shirt exposed a deep gash to his torso, while a savage wound to his neck oozed blood. It looked as if there had been some kind of explosion, maybe sometime earlier in the night. A meth lab? Point considered for a moment.
Charlie Point stepped closer. “Get down on the floor now!”
The man’s lip begun to curl like an angry dog as Charlie Point ordered him to the floor. His eyes, which were vague when the Point first saw him, now had an inflamed and intense fire about them.
The bloodied figure took a staggering step toward Charlie Point, who simultaneously advanced on the man, with the support of his team.
“Get on the floor now!” Point ordered.
The man took another step forward, leaving Point no choice…
Charlie Point fired a quick two-second burst into the man’s chest, which sent him spiraling to the ground. “Kyle,” Charlie Point said, “check his vitals.”
Kyle, Charlie team’s medic knelt, and with his free hand, he checked the man’s pulse. There was none. “Dead,” he said.
“Roger that,” Charlie Point said, “let’s go.”
Charlie Point turned around and saw Kyle leaning against the wall holding his wrist, as the man he had only just pronounced as dead attempted to stand.
Charlie Point then quickly advanced on the attacker again, and fired his MP-5 at a point-blank range into the man’s chest, shredding it to nothing but blood and bone.
As Charlie Point attempted to load another clip, an unseen figure launched at him from his blind side, knocking him to the ground and onto his back.
The second attacker was quick to climb up and over Charlie Point’s body, pulling the gas mask from his head and revealing his face that was now exposed to a flood of mucus and blood, which showered down upon him.
“Get this fucking thing off me!” he said as the Beta team began storming the building several floors below.
Outside, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters hovered into view above the brownstone.
As one of the Black Hawks remained stationary over the target building, the other flew toward the intersection where Harris had told Ambrose to wait. From there, Ambrose watched as the two Black Hawks simultaneously released rappelling ropes from their flanks. Two, six-man MFR teams then quickly descended into the swirling dust and debris that flew chaotically in the Black Hawks up draughts.
The two Marine Force Reconnaissance teams quickly secured positions near the SWAT commander as he wildly gestured at Ambrose --- without response.
“Agent Ambrose, what is the meaning of this?” the commander yelled --- but was drowned out by the noise of the two helicopters.