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About JSmith

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  1. Happy Birthday!

    1. Headstall


      Happy Birthday, JSmith!  :wizard:

  2. JSmith

    Chapter 9

    I finished putting the rest of my gear away in Lang’s armory after we secured the captured enemy. Lang, despite being paranoid, didn’t have a built-in cell to house a prisoner, so we made due with a small conference room and a liberal amount of restraints. Gordon would know his man was missing by now, but hopefully it would take longer to verify that he was captured and not just dead in the woods somewhere. I slammed the last locker shut and sighed heavily. The coming ‘discussion’ would not be an easy one. My entire team had willfully violated my orders, changed the operational plans without telling me, and brought a person into our operation that wasn’t even close to being healed enough for what we were expecting to encounter. While I knew deep down Jason had probably saved my life, all of our lives for that matter, there was still no excuse for completely undermining my authority and going behind my back. As I walked down the hallway to the Ops Room I forced myself to relax my muscles and calm my nerves. Going in there with the intention of making heads roll would get me nowhere fast. I took one last deep breath and stepped into the room. All three heads turned in my direction and watched as I took a seat. “What happened?” I asked. No one answered and they all looked at each other to take the lead. Finally, Mitch spoke up first. “I made the call to bring Jason in.” “It wasn’t your call to make.” “We needed the help. Jason wasn’t going to sit this out and you weren’t going to agree to him coming with. It was the only thing I could think of to make this work for everyone.” I sat in silence for a moment as I digested his revelation. Mitch was a strong operator, easily one of the top in the field. He was used to making calls like this, and if my emotions weren’t clouding my judgment, I would agree that it was the right call. Still, it wasn’t his call to make. I turned to Krissy. “Did you know about this?” She hesitated and looked at Mitch before responding. “No. They spoke in private while I made a phone call. It wasn’t until we were on the ground that Mitch told me. Right after we split up he flagged me down and said we had sniper support. He didn’t say it was Jason, but I made the assumption. I couldn’t tell you without breaking radio silence.” “At least someone in this group is fucking honest,” I mumbled. I looked at Jason next, “Are you all right?” “Of course I am,” he responded with a roll of his eyes. “You know a simple thank you for saving your ass wouldn’t kill you.” My blood pressure spiked and I clenched my fists. Before I could respond, Mitch interjected, “That’s enough. We all made mistakes today. We need to work together on this.” “That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one that was kept in the dark by his whole team. You should have fucking told me.” “And what would you have done?” Mitch raised his voice. “Let the mission move forward? Cancel it? Try and make him stay here? All it would have done was distract you even more. You had a job to do, and I needed you to focus on it so we would all come out of there alive.” “MY JOB!?” I shouted. “You’re damn right I had a job to do. My job was to lead this team, and you compromised that! Do I go to where you work and start slapping dicks out of your mouth? You do your fucking job and let me do mine!” The room fell silent after that. I was still on edge, Mitch sat in shock after my outburst, and Jason had a small smirk on his face. Krissy was the first to crack and burst out in laughter with Jason not far behind. Mitch and I glared at each other until we both smiled and joined in on the laughing. When we finally calmed down enough to regain some composure, I spoke again. “Let’s put this to rest. I don’t approve of, or appreciate, what you guys did, but it worked out in the end. You all know I’m the type of person that agrees when the ends justify the means, but next time keep me in the loop. If you don’t agree with my decisions, voice your concerns, but don’t go behind my back again.” I looked at each of them as I said this and didn’t move on until everyone nodded their agreement. Part of me didn’t want to let them off this easy - not when the operation could have easily gone sideways and ended up with all of us killed, but the bigger part understood that I was also in the wrong for letting my emotions cloud my judgement by not even considering to bring Jason along. At the end of the day, however, we needed to move on and find our mole before anything else happened, and I desperately needed their help to do that. “Good. Now how the hell did they know we were coming?” I asked. “Maybe they didn’t,” Krissy said. “Maybe our intel was off and that was their normal routine.” “No, something, or someone, tipped them off.” Mitch said. “I hate to say it, but could it have been one of my dad’s security detail?” Jason asked. “Some of them may have overheard what you all were planning. I know you tried to keep it quiet and only talk about the operation while behind closed doors, but are you sure no one overheard snippets? If so, it wouldn’t take much for one of them to alert Gordon if they’re on his payroll.” I sighed again. “That’s my main concern. Lang said his men wouldn’t betray him, especially to Gordon, but I can’t be certain. He had his men on lockdown while we planned the mission though. No calls or texts in or out until we got back.” “One of them could have used a burner phone,” Mitch suggested with a shrug. “A quick call and then destroy the phone. It would suggest why they didn’t know Jason was there. Maybe he was brought in after they made the call and couldn’t tell them about the change and sniper support.” I looked at Jason and he shrugged. Krissy’s eyes were wide as she looked at the doors. She was probably concerned the mole was close and could potentially eliminate us all in the room as we discussed this. I thought about the possibility and brushed it aside. If the mole was part of Lang’s security, they wouldn’t be stupid enough to attack us here; they would have no chance at making it out of here alive. “Well I know where to start asking questions at least,” I said. “The guy down the hall probably won’t know much, but maybe he can fill in some of the gaps. In the meantime, I’ll have Lang go over his security detail again and see if there’s anything we missed. Maybe he can find a way to track or locate the phone used to rat us out. Mitch, will you help me with the interrogation?” He nodded and stood from the table. “Jason and Krissy, get some rest. I’ll come get you if we get anything out of him.” Jason opened his mouth to protest, but Krissy beat him to it. “No offense, but I’m not going anywhere. I want to know what he says. We’re just as invested in this as you are. It’s all our lives on the line on this one.” I rolled my eyes and stopped myself from arguing the point. “Fine, don’t sleep. I don’t care. Just stay back while Mitch and I get started and I’ll tag you in if we need it. Both of you.” They seemed satisfied enough, and we all stood to stretch and get the kinks out of our backs. It was going to be a long night. Mitch and I didn’t need to discuss our interrogation plan before we started. We had done this enough times to know exactly what the other would do and what our roles were. We glanced at each other and came to an immediate unspoken understanding – I would take lead on the interrogation. “You ready?” I asked. “After you.” All four of us left the Ops Room and made our way down the hall. Mitch and I stopped at the room with our prisoner and nodded to Jason and Krissy as they went to meet up with Lang and give him an update. I took a deep breath before unlocking and entering the room. Our prisoner was chained to a table that was welded to the floor. There would be no breaking out of restraints today. He would either cooperate and tell me what I wanted to know, or I would torture him. A lot of people say torture doesn’t work – that the person being tortured will say anything to survive. This may be true, but it also means they usually throw little nuggets of truth in with all the bullshit they spew. The trick is to pick out all those little nuggets from the mound of bullshit. Between Mitch and I, we could usually tell what was real information and what made our little Pinocchio grow some wood. “Let’s start with an easy one,” I said. “What’s your name?” “Fuck you.” I sighed. “Come on, man. We’re all professionals here. I know you’re trained in counter-interrogation techniques, and you know I know ways around them. There’s no law here. You tell me what I want to know and this is over. If you don’t… well, then you get to deal with him.” I pointed at Mitch. Since entering the room Mitch had taken up a position directly across the table from our guest. His hands were laced behind his back and he stared directly into the eyes of the prisoner without moving. Our prisoner glanced at Mitch and then back at me. “Fuck you.” I sighed again. “Okay look. I’m not a cop. I’m not the FBI. I don’t work for the government. I have no rules. I’ve killed a lot of people. You’re a sniper, you should understand that. Looking through the crosshairs and knowing you have someone’s life quite literally in your hands. Well right now, your life is in my hands and you have three options. Option One – I torture you, you break, and I throw you out for Gordon to kill you after I get what I want. Option Two – I torture you, you really are good at holding out, I get bored, and I kill you. Option Three – You tell me what I want to know, I give you a contact for a new identity on the other side of the world, and you run. You run so far away that you can’t even think about anything left from your current life. I won’t protect you from Gordon, but I can give you a life away from him, no strings attached. Tell me what I want to know and you’re free and clear. You have my word.” It was silent as the prisoner thought through his options. He continuously looked between us until his eyes glazed over as he processed his options. When he finally stopped looking around and narrowed his eyes at me, I knew I had my answer. The hard way it would be. I sighed and glanced at Mitch. He gave me a small nod telling me he came to the same conclusion. Things were about to get messy. Mitch followed me as I turned for the door to leave. I paused with my hand on the doorknob and glanced back at our prisoner. “You have fifteen minutes to change your mind and cooperate with me. If you haven’t had a change of heart by the time we get back, option three will be off the table and I will get the information I want from you anyway. Don’t be a hero, Gordon isn’t worth your loyalty, or your life.” I closed and locked the door behind us and led Mitch down the hall. “Are you ready for this?” Mitch asked softly. “I’m hoping he’ll change his mind still, but if not, I’m willing to do what it takes. We need to figure out where this leak is coming from and stop it. I’m sick of someone taking pot shots at me and not being able to defend myself effectively.” “I agree; how do you want to start? Go easy and hope he breaks easily?” I thought for a moment before responding. “No. If he hasn’t changed his mind by the time we get back, he won’t break easy. We need this information as quickly as possible. Get the supplies for us to waterboard him as well as whatever toolkit Lang has available. Preferably something with a power drill in it. I’m going to go catch up with Lang. I’ll meet you back here in ten minutes.” Mitch nodded and turned to trot down the hall towards the garage while I went in search of Lang. I made it to the patio when I ran into Jason and Krissy. “Hey, have you seen your dad?” I asked Jason. “He’s meeting with his head of security trying to pin down the leak. Rumor has it they found something and are close to figuring it out, but they’re playing it safe and not letting anyone in. They asked for privacy while they worked so it’s just a waiting game for us right now. He said they would come get us as soon as they had something concrete.” I nodded and allowed myself a small smile. Something was finally starting to go our way. “How are you guys holding up?” “Fucking rainbows and unicorns,” Krissy mumbled. “I’m fine,” Jason said. “Could we talk for a minute though? I have some things I want to get off my chest.” I glanced at Krissy, who showed no signs of caring to be part of our ‘talk’. “Are you sure you want to do this now?” He looked me in the eyes and nodded. I saw a lot of emotions swimming behind those eyes and I wasn’t sure what to expect. He didn’t seem angry, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t. “All right. Krissy can you go find Mitch and give him a hand? He’s in the garage grabbing supplies for our friend down there.” “Sure thing,” she said. “Take your time up here. I’ll come grab you if anything happens.” I nodded my thanks and followed Jason into the garden until we reached a bench. My heart was pounding as I waited for him to start talking. I was more nervous about this conversation than I was when I walked into the interrogation room earlier. Most likely because I was now the one about to be interrogated. Funny how life always seems to throw curve balls at you when you least expect it. Jason must have noticed my nervousness because he smiled and gave a soft chuckle. “This isn’t the big talk, Derek. I agreed to save that until this is all over. You can hold on to your spy secrets for a little while longer. I just need to talk for a few minutes. About us.” I looked at him confused. “Us?” He smiled sympathetically at my confusion and discomfort. “Yes, us. With everything going on right now, I don’t want something to happen to one of us and leave things the way they are right now.” “And where exactly are we right now?” “I’m mad, Derek. Beyond mad. I’m so extremely pissed off at you for everything going on. I know it’s not all your fault, and I know you’ve been trying to protect me, but I don’t know what to believe anymore. There were times in our relationship when I could easily see myself spending the rest of my life with you. I’ve never wanted to get married, never wanted to have kids, never thought I would just settle down and enjoy my life with someone and be happy about it. But that’s where I was before this all started. I wanted us, Derek, and you took that away from me. I don’t know what parts were actually the real you, and what parts were complete lies.” “Jason…” “Don’t.” He cut me off sharply. “Just let me finish. I’m upset, and I’m hurt. You have no idea the pain you’ve caused me. Not just physically, but in my head, and in my heart. It doesn’t matter what your intentions were. What matters are the consequences of your actions. Consequences that affect not just you, but everyone around you. You started a chain of events that will alter our entire lives going forward, and you can’t take that back.” He paused for a moment letting his words sink in. “But-” he started again. “I want you to know that I don’t hate you. As much as I want to write you out of my life for good, I can’t. I still love you, and part of me always will. I don’t know that I can ever get beyond the lies and start to trust you like I used to, but I don’t hate you, Derek. For better or worse, you are part of my life right now. And God forbid, if one, or both of us, dies within the next few days, I just want you to know that.” Tears rolled down my face as he finished. His face was full of emotion – a mixture of anger and sadness, but one of love as well. I reached out to hug him when I heard someone clear their throat behind us. Startled, I wiped my eyes and turned to see Lang standing there with a file in his hand. “Sorry to interrupt, but this can’t wait,” he said. “We found the leak. And it’s not good.” Mitch walked up behind him and joined the group. He briefly glanced between Jason and I, a look of sympathy flashing across his face before turning back to Lang. “Who is it?” “It’s Krissy,” he said, handing the file over to me. I snatched the folder from his hands. “It can’t be.” Mitch grimaced. “Are we absolutely sure about this? How do we know?” “We recovered a phone from the trash,” Lang said. “It was destroyed, but we were able to pull the call logs from it. The numbers trace to another disposable burner cell, but the timing of the calls fit with when the information was most likely leaked.” “How do we know it’s hers?” Jason asked. “Fingerprints,” I said as I closed the file and passed it to Mitch. “Hers were the only set of prints on the phone. If we really wanted to, we could probably get a DNA match from the saliva on the microphone, but that would take too long.” “That doesn’t prove she did it,” Mitch said. “There could be an explanation for the phone and the calls. Hell, she put her own ass on the line right beside us multiple times. If she was the mole, why would she risk her life like that?” I looked at him. “Did she though?” If she was the leak, she would have had assurances that she wouldn’t be harmed if she could find a way to bring me in or get me killed. It all starts to fit together now. She’s been playing me from the start. She sold me out to Gordon the second I walked in her door and asked her for help. All of her missed shots at the people assaulting us, Gordon figuring out where I was going every time I left her, and all of her disappearances when we’re planning something. She’s been feeding him my location this entire time. That’s how they always found me. They didn’t need to track me; Krissy did it for them.” “But why didn’t she just kill you herself?” Jason asked. “She’s had plenty of opportunity to take you out. Why go through the hassle of all of this? It doesn’t make sense.” “Because she didn’t think she would get caught. If Gordon takes me out, all the evidence leads back to him. If she were to pull the trigger, word would get around and she would burn herself and lot of her contacts. We know a lot of the same people, and none of them would take too kindly to her conspiring with Gordon to kill me.” Mitch nodded. “She knew if she got caught, I would kill her. She went for plausible deniability hoping Gordon could pull it off before her cover was blown. Son of a bitch, she’s good.” “Where is she now?” Lang asked. Mitch and I looked at each other, faces going pale. “Oh shit. She went to keep an eye on the prisoner while I came to tell you everything was ready,” Mitch said. Lang quickly pulled a radio from his belt and started issuing orders to his security team. “We have a Code Bravo, switch to secondary frequencies and initiate emergency protocol Echo-Five-Tango. Lock it down. The entire estate. Nothing in or out without my approval.” All three men turned to look at me, waiting for my own set of orders. “Let’s go find ourselves a traitor,” I said.
  3. JSmith

    Chapter 1

    Thanks for all the comments Lisa!! I definitely appreciate it and look forward to writing more!
  4. JSmith

    Chapter 8

    I made my way slowly back towards Lang’s house, continuing my surveillance detection routine until I was satisfied I wasn’t being followed. It continued to eat at me as I wondered how Gordon’s men had found me again. I had already ditched the phone, but they appeared out of nowhere as if they had been waiting for me. The question I couldn’t answer was if it was just dumb luck that they found me, or if someone had tipped them off. As I approached the main gate to Lang’s house, I kept my head down and away from the cameras – the ones I was aware of at least. Lang’s security team would have already been tracking me for the past block, but I hated being on camera. Cameras were records that left a connection back to me, and I hated being in that position. The moment I came up to the gate, it swung open. They had definitely been tacking me. I stopped inside and waited as the gate closed behind me. I knew better than to approach the house without an escort. After making that mistake once, it was more than enough to learn. I could still feel the spot where his security detail launched a beanbag at me. While I appreciated the use of non-lethal force at the time, it still hurt like a bitch. Two security guards made the walk down the driveway with fully automatic rifles in plain view. Not the normal procedure I was used to, but he must have increased security after what happened to Jason. They stopped five feet away and started to issue commands. “Turn around, put your hands on your head, and walk slowly back towards me,” one of them yelled. My mouth dropped. “Really guys? Is this necessary? You’ve know me for months now.” “Sorry, sir. New protocol. Please turn around, put your…” “Yeah, yeah,” I cut him off and started doing as I was I was told. “Hand up, walk backwards, I know the drill.” I couldn’t stop myself from rolling my eyes at the situation. One guard came forward to pat me down for weapons while the other stayed back to cover. He didn’t have his weapon raised in my direction, but I had no doubt he would shoot me if I made a wrong move. I had already ditched my gun on the walk back after I broke it down to pieces and scattered them in various trash bins so I knew he wouldn’t find any other weapons on me. “Satisfied?” I asked when the guard patting me down stood up and nodded to his partner. “Yes, sir. I apologize for the inconvenience. They’re waiting for you down in the Ops Room.” “Whatever. See if I send your ass a Christmas card this year,” I mumbled and started my walk up the long driveway. Lang’s house looked like every other house on the block – large, but not quite in the mansion range. From the outside it could probably qualify as a ‘mini-mansion’, but as with everything Lang owned, looks were definitely deceiving. ---- I walked in the Ops Rooms, which looked more like an executive board room, to find Mitch and Krissy already there. Hand-written notes and satellite imagery, some probably pulled from Google Maps but most of it likely fresh from one of Lang’s satellites, were scatted around the large table. Mitch looked relieved to see me and Krissy turned pale when she saw me. “You scared the shit out of us, Derek!” Mitch said. “We heard the reports of gunfire and the accident and thought you were gone. You ditched your phone so we had no way of contacting you either.” “Yeah, I had a small detour. On the bright side, Gordon must be running out of decent operatives though. The goons he sent after me couldn’t shoot fish in a barrel. I got away with a few scrapes and bruises, but nothing broken.” Krissy was still staring at me as if she’d seen a ghost. “You okay?” I asked. “Ye-yeah, I’m fine,” She stuttered. “Sorry, I just didn’t think I’d ever see you again. I’m so glad you’re alright!” “Speaking of being alright,” Mitch interjected. “They’re just cuts, Mitch. I’ll be fine.” “I see that. Where’s my bike?” I didn’t respond. “Derek, what did you do to my bike?” “Look, it’s hard to aim while riding a motorcycle, so I had to leave it in order to get out of there.” A look of relief crossed Mitch’s face. “Fine. Where’d you park it? I’ll have someone go pick it up before something happens to it.” “I don’t remember which intersection exactly…” I trailed off and looked at my feet. “Derek.” “You promise you won’t get mad?” I asked. “No I don’t promise! In fact, I promise I will get mad! What the hell did you do with my bike?” Mitch was visible pissed off. I was glad security made us leave any weapons upstairs before we were allowed in to the Ops Room. “I sort of shot it.” “What!?” Mitch shouted and jumped to his feet. “Multiple times.” Mitch’s eyes narrowed as he silently glared at me. It was several heartbeats before I continued. “In my defense, the bike was already crushed under their car and dragged through the intersection. It was already totaled. I only shot at it to blow the gas tank.” “In your defense? That’s not a fucking defense, Derek! You blew up my baby!” “Well you tazed me!” “Oh get over that already! It was one time, and it was for your own damn good! You not only wrecked my bike, but you purposefully blew the god damned thing to pieces!” “Call it even?” I shrugged. Before Mitch had a chance to explode more, we heard the hiss of the Ops Room door unlocking. Mr. Lang entered and stared at us for a moment. It was an awkward silence as Krissy looked between us while Mitch continued to bore holes into the side of my head with his eyes. Finally Lang broke the silence. “You know, they told me this room was soundproof, but I could hear your catfight from down the hall. What’s going on?” Mitch spoke up first. “Derek blew up my bike.” “It was an accident! Okay, that’s a lie, blowing it up wasn’t really an accident, but I had no other choice. It was either me or the bike, and I chose me.” We both looked at Lang. “What?” He asked. “I’m not your father. You guys work it out on your own. In the meantime, Mitch bring us up to speed on Gordon. Do we have a plan yet?” Mitch sighed. It was obvious he was still upset. “I worked some of my contacts and found out where he’s going to be for the next 24 hours. We have a very small window to work in, and an even smaller time to plan it. He’s flying in from New York this afternoon. His jet lands at 3:00 Pacific Time. From there he’ll take an armored car to one of his supporter’s estates up in the valley. There’s a small dinner meeting scheduled at 8:00, after which he’ll be spending the night. The meeting is scheduled to end around 10:00.” “The dinner will most likely have extremely high security based on the others attending, so we should hit him on the way to the estate,” Lang said. I shook my head. “Bad idea. Gordon knows traveling is his weak spot. He’ll be heavily guarded during transit and will have multiple backup plans if something goes wrong. His security will be way too high until they get him to the estate.” “Are you suggesting we hit him during the dinner party?” Krissy asked. “No, we wait. For all of his paranoia and security, Gordon is a creature of habit. He has two glasses of scotch before bed to relax. That’s when he’ll be most vulnerable. After the other high profile guests leave, security will breathe a sigh of relief and relax. That’s when we hit. If we wait too long, security will go through a shift change and the night crew will be more alert for a while. Our window of opportunity is just shy of an hour.” Mitch confirmed my plan was our best shot and agreed with the timing. For the next two hours we hammered out a plan of action that, while risky, was our only viable option. Lang stayed mostly silent and only asked a question every now and then to clarify something he didn’t understand. Operations was not his strong suit, but that’s what he paid us for. Lang stood up when our plan was complete. “Looks like you guys have it pretty much under control. Keep me updated and let me know if you need anything else from me.” Mitch, Krissy, and I all shook his hand and thanked him for his help. “Derek, can I speak with you outside for a minute?” He asked as he reached the door. I nodded and followed him out of the room. As the door closed, Lang sent away the guards within earshot so we could have some privacy. “How you holding up, Kiddo?” “I’ve been better. Still trying to figure out how Gordon’s men keep finding me.” “I’ll have some of my men look into it and see if they can dig anything up.” “Thanks, I appreciate it,” I said. “How’s Jason doing?” “From what I’m told, he’s doing well. He’s moving around and pushing himself to recover faster. He’s a strong young man, I’m positive he’ll be fine.” “What do you mean from what you’ve been told? You haven’t seen him?” I asked. “Well he’s not exactly on speaking terms with me at the moment. He found out that you’ve been working for me and is holding that against me for not telling him who you really are.” “Has he asked about me at all?” I asked, my eyes pleading for him to say yes. Lang patted my shoulder as he started walking way. “He’ll come around, Derek. Just give him some time.” I took a deep breath and went back into the Ops Room. “Alright guys, let’s go over it again from the beginning. Mitch, Krissy, and I continued to go over our plan to work our any weak points in our assault. It was a basic ‘hammer and anvil’ tactic with a few adjustments to make up for the fact that we only had three people. Until I was sure the person leaking information to Gordon wasn’t one of Lang’s men, I couldn’t trust having any of them involved in our operation. A hammer and anvil involved surrounding all sides of the target building and simultaneously entering through every door to ensure maximum coverage as operatives swept the building room by room until they found what they were looking for. The trick is to move fast enough to avoid the enemy figuring out your plan while you’re still in the building. Once they figure it out, you’ll be out-gunned and surrounded on their turf. Our plan took this same principle, but with one major difference. With only three operatives, we had no one to stay back and cover the outside of the house after we entered. The would require us to take down any sentries outside before we breached the house. Once we took them out, our timeline would become extremely tight. When the sentries fail to check-in at their appointed times, someone would immediately initiate a lockdown on the house and call for reinforcements. With only three of us heading out there, we couldn’t afford a sustained firefight against any backup they called for. I heard the door locks click open behind me and assumed it was Lang coming back to check on us, “Did you at least bring some coffee this time, old man?” There was a slight pause before I got a response. “Sorry, I didn’t get the memo. Maybe next time.” I froze. It was definitely a Lang, but not the one I was expecting. “Jason?” I whispered and turned to face him. “I want in,” he said. “In on what?” “This,” he said as he motioned to all the papers scattered around the table. “The operation you guys are planning. I’m coming with you.” I turned to Mitch and Krissy. “Can you guys give us a few minutes alone?” “No,” Jason said. “They can stay. This isn’t up for debate. That mother fucker tried to kill me. It’s only fair that I’m one of the ones to take him down.” “Listen to yourself, Jason. You were shot. You haven’t recovered yet. Our plan is a long shot at best. We can’t risk you going out there and getting hurt again, or even killed this time.” “That’s not for you to decide anymore,” he said defiantly. “The hell it isn’t. This isn’t a game Jason. This is a real operation, going up against real people. People that have more experience than you. People that will take great pleasure in putting a bullet in Lang’s son. Krissy, back me up here.” “Well,” she hesitated. “We actually could use an extra body, and from what I’ve heard, he knows how to shoot.” My mouth dropped open. “Are you kidding me? He was just shot! We can’t risk it! We just planned our entire mission without him. We leave in one hour - we don’t have time to adjust it again to add another person. Especially one that’s wounded as bad as he is.” Mitch stepped forward. “Derek, I think you need to calm down and get some air. Go outside and let us talk to Jason alone for a bit.” I glared at him, but left the room without responding. Hopefully they would be able to talk some sense into him. I went back upstairs and out on the enormous back patio. The fresh air overlooking a beautifully manicured lawn and garden did help calm me down. I hadn’t realized how long we were down there planning. I took a deep breath and admired Lang’s garden, temporarily letting my mind drift. I was brought back to reality when a shadow appeared next to mine. It was Jason. “So what’s the consensus?” I asked. “I’m not going.” “Good.” Jason didn’t respond, so I turned to face him. “Look, I’m sorry, but you’re not healed yet. I don’t want you to get hurt again, Babe.” “First, you lose the right to call me that, so stop saying it. Second, I may not be 100%, but I can still help and you didn’t even consider it before saying no.” “But…” “No,” he cut me off. “I’m not done yet. Third, you’ve been lying to me for a long time and have a lot to explain. Promise me that when this is all over, you’ll tell me everything. Starting with who you really are.” “I promise. And I’m sorry.” “Stop apologizing and get back to the Ops Room. They’re waiting on you.” I nodded and stared into his eyes. There was anger there, but beneath the surface was also a hint of pain and sorrow. My own eyes started to water, on the verge of tears again. Jason slapped me open handed across the face. “Get your head in the game, Derek. No distractions.” I nodded again and watched him turn and walk away. I looked at my watch and saw it was 4:00. We were leaving in one hour. It would give us enough time to travel to the house and observe everyone coming and going from the meeting. After the last guest left, it would time for our assault. I entered the Ops Room and saw Mitch, alone, sipping on a coffee. “Where’s Krissy?” I asked. “Little girls room. She doesn’t want to have to hold it in while we’re out in the field.” I nodded. “What’d you say to Jason? It’s not like him to give up on something like this so easily.” “Nothing really. I just laid everything out for him and made him realize it was a stupid decision to come with us last minute.” Mitch was lying to me again. “Bullshit. What’d you say to him?” He sighed. “What does it matter? You got what you wanted. Just let it go and be happy. Maybe all it takes is to hear things from someone else once in a while.” The door opened and Krissy came in so I let it drop for the time being. Mitch was hiding something and I wanted to know what it was. “Is it time to go shopping?” Krissy asked. “Definitely.” I said. The three of us left the Ops Room and made our way down to Lang’s armory. For the next 45 minutes, we geared up for our assault. Our attires consisted of a Kevlar vest, communications set, high power night vision goggles, flashbang grenades, and various weapons of choice. I chose two handguns with suppressors and a Barrett REC7 Assault Rifle, an upgraded version of the popular M4 rifle used by the military. I topped off my gear with a Smith and Wesson MP tactical switchblade that I strapped to my leg. Mitch and Krissy had roughly the same gear, but with different main weapons they were more comfortable with. Krissy chose an automatic shotgun that was more handy in tight quarters, but the sound it created would ensure everyone knew we were there. Mitch decided on a lightweight Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. All of us had multiple clips of ammunition for our weapons. After a quick comms check to make sure our headsets worked and we were all linked together, we headed for the Tahoe waiting for us in the garage. The upgraded Tahoe was black with limo-tinted windows. It was almost impossible to see in from the outside. The bulletproof armor plating added significant weight, but the modified V-8 engine was able to handle it with ease. Our driver had orders to drop us in the woods two miles away from the target and then wait for us at a designated rendezvous point. If we didn’t make it back by midnight, he was to leave us and head back to Lang’s. Our driver dropped us off at the designated point and immediately took off when the doors closed. The three of us made our way into the woods and gathered in a huddle for one last briefing. “Thank you guys for doing this,” I said. “I know this isn’t your fight, but it’s nice to know I can always count on you two to have my back. I am forever in your debt. Let’s get in, get out, and go home.” “Easier said than done,” Krissy mumbled. Mitch laughed. “You know what they say – the only easy day was yesterday.” “First round of shots is on me when we get back,” I said. “First five rounds,” Mitch quipped. “Deal. Let’s head out, Check-in when you reach your final position. Suppressors on, engage any targets you encounter on the way quietly. We can’t let them know we’re coming yet.” Krissy mumbled a quick prayer and we all took off in different directions. Our plan was to form a triangle around the house so we could observe the security detail while we waited for the meeting to end. It would hopefully give us a more detailed image of the guards routes and timing. Any holes or weaknesses we saw could be a major advantage for us. The first mile of the journey was easy There likely wouldn’t be any guards that far out, which meant I could afford to move quickly and made a little more noise than usual. The final half mile, however, was pure agony. After inching my way through the forest for nearly two hours, I finally approached my designated area. After hearing clicks on the radio ten minutes ago, I knew Mitch and Krissy were in position and I was the last to arrive. At first glance, the ranch looked like any other wealthy homeowner’s. To the trained eye, however, there were plenty of signs that pointed to the contrary. The small domes attached to the corners of the roof would provide a camera feed to an unseen security team that monitored it around the clock. Through various sources, Mitch had discovered that the feed ran to a small basement under the main house. Given more time and an expert hacker, the feeds could have been spoofed to give the team a stealthier approach, but I still couldn’t trust anyone on Lang’s team enough to bring them in on this mission. I clicked the transmit button three times to let the other know I reached my final position. A quick glance at my watch said we had just over two hours to settle in and observe before our attack. Half an hour into our observations, Mitch broke the strict radio silence. “Derek, something isn’t right here.” I cursed him under my breath for not only breaking radio silence, but also using my real name over the channel. “What is it, Alpha-Two?” I asked, stressing his designated call sign. “These patrols are off. My intel says a team sweeps the perimeter every fifteen minutes like clockwork. These guys haven’t done one yet.” “And? That’s good news for us. Maybe they’re getting sloppy. Maybe your source was wrong or outdated.” There was a brief silence on the radio and I wondered if he was going to push the issue. Their weakness would be our strength. “My intel is strong. Something isn’t right. If anything, this meeting should have them more on edge and sweeping more often, not less.” Almost immediately Krissy broke into the conversation. “Movement. South side, two guards sweeping the exterior fence.” Rather than make a sarcastic remark towards Mitch, I bit my tongue and clicked my radio once to signal it was time to go back to radio silence. Mitch’s instincts were rarely off, but I couldn’t risk aborting this mission based on a gut feeling. Too much was riding on the success. The first guest arrived shortly after the guards finished their perimeter sweep. It was Mitch’s job to keep watch and count the number of cars and guests coming and going. During the meeting there would likely be a significant amount of excess security surrounding the house as the guests left their own security personnel outside to wait. The sun started to set shortly after the first guests arrived, giving us a greater amount of cover. I watched through the night vision binoculars as the majority of the security team congregated around the guest vehicles. The burning embers of their cigarettes gave a health green glow through the amplified lenses. I shook my head at the display of such amateur security – they couldn’t even go a couple hours without smoking. As the meeting drew towards a close, the air surrounding the ranch grew thick and cold. I kept my breathing steady so I wouldn’t give off much of a visible breath. It would be highly unlikely anyone would be able to spot it at this distance, but I wasn’t going to take that chance at this point in the game. “Last car is out the gate. All guests are accounted for. Breach in thirty minutes on my mark…. Mark.” I clicked one of the buttons on my watch as Mitch gave the second mark. Timing was critical for our plan. One wrong move at the wrong time could be devastating. I felt my heart start beating faster as the timer on my watch came closer to the thirty-minute mark. I took a deep breath as Mitch called out the five-minute mark. “T-minus five,” Mitch said. “Something still seems off about all this.” “Patrols are on schedule and I don’t see any red flags. The objective stays the same and the mission is a go. On the mark, everyone take your targets out and report when done,” I said. There was an awkward silence while everyone waited for the mark. I had my target sighted in my scope and started a ten second countdown in my head. Nothing could stop our mission at this point. Nothing, of course, except for the voice I heard come through my ear piece. “Hold your fire and stand down. I repeat, stand down and abort mission.” I was in shock at hearing his voice, but recovered quickly. “Negative. Jason what the fuck are you doing? This mission is a go.” “The mission has been compromised. Stand down!” “What do you mean it’s compromised?” I asked. “You have a sniper fifty yards East of you. This is a trap, Derek.” “What the hell? Where are you?” “Overlook position. I have a thermos-scope. I didn’t get a heat signature until just now. He must have been under cover waiting. The mission is compromised. Abort and get the fuck out of there. Rendezvous at secondary pickup.” “Acknowledged,” Mitch said. “Derek, listen to him. We can take him another time. Abort the mission.” “I’m not going home empty handed God damn it! Are there any other snipers you see?” There was a short pause before Jason responded. “Negative. Just the one near you is visible.” “I’m taking him,” I said. “What do you mean you’re taking him? Derek, he knows we’re here. We need to leave. NOW!” Jason shouted over the radio. “Fuck that. Mitch I need a distraction to draw his attention. Jason, keep a bead on him, but don’t shoot to kill. I can make it there in twenty seconds. Can you guys give me that window?” “What the fuck do you want me to do, start screaming and waving my arms to let him know we see him?” Mitch asked. It was clear he wasn’t on board with my decision. “Light a cigarette,” I said. “He’ll focus on the glow but won’t take the shot until he knows where we all are. If we’re lucky he’ll report in that we’re still out here waiting and the rest will stay inside until we’re long gone.” “How do you know he’s not just going to shoot me?” “Because he’ll have bigger things to worry about when he hears me crashing through the woods behind him. All I need is a little distraction. Can you do that?” Mitch hesitated. “Fine.” “Jason, is your rifle silenced?” “Yes.” “Good,” I responded. “If he moves his gun towards me too quickly, aim for something other than his head. As soon as I have him secured, everyone move to the secondary pickup location. Mitch, call our ride and let him know we’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” All three acknowledged the order and awaited the go-command from me. I looked through my night vision goggles and tried to pick out the quickest way to get to the sniper. There would be no slow-crawling into position this time, just a pure sprint to catch him off guard before he could call for help. “Now,” I whispered into the radio. I heard Mitch’s lighter flick as he triggered his radio. The forest was a dull green glow as I stood and sprinted towards the sniper’s position. When I was only 10 feet away, he picked up on my approach and began to swing his rifle in my direction. Before I could raise my pistol fully, his shoulder exploded in a mix of blood and bone. His scream of pain was silenced by a quick blow to the head from the butt of my gun. “Move out, now!” I screamed into the radio as I threw the sniper’s lifeless body over my shoulder. “Good God you’re a fatass,” I mumbled as I ran through the woods towards our pickup point. Krissy and Jason were waiting with weapons drawn when I arrived. I tossed the sniper in the back of the SUV after securing his hands and feet with flexi-cuffs behind his back. “Where’s Mitch?” I asked. “Right behind you,” he said, emerging from the forest. “Let’s move.” The three of us climbed into the SUV and seconds later were speeding back towards Lang’s house. “Derek…” Jason started from the front seat. “Don’t,” I stopped him. “I don’t want to get into it right now. Let’s just get back and secure this guy first. We can debrief after.” The remainder of the ride was silent. I could tell everyone was lost in their own thoughts when I heard a groan from the cargo area. “Just sit there and shut the fuck up if you want any chance at surviving this,” I said without turning to look at our prisoner.
  5. Ha, I know you're not around much, but happy birthday fatass. :D You're getting old.

  6. Happy Birthday Joe

  7. JSmith


    Nine years. I've been a part of GA for just shy of a decade. I've seen it grow from only a few forums and some scattered author websites to a community of thousands of people across the world with millions of visitors every month. I was member 937 to join the site. GA is now approaching the 25,000th member. I joined this site on a random Wednesday and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. The people I've met through this site have guided me and made me who I am today and I couldn't be more thankful. Without them, who knows where I would be. From the first core group of regular chatters, I was hooked. Viv, Snowdog, Myr, Robert, Lugh, Nate, Krista, Vic, and so many more that I can't even list. They were there to listen to me bitch about high school homework, my first crush on a boy, getting my drivers license, my first relationship and subsequent breakup, graduating college, moving across the country God knows how many times... they were there to listen to me and help me through it. They gave me advice when I needed it and told me to grow a pair and man up when I needed that too. Meeting up with them in San Francisco and Dallas was a blast, but having them guide me through some of the roughest parts of my life was more than I could ever ask for. I will be officially stepping down in all areas across the site. I will no longer be a moderator, admin, or board member for the parent company. It's been an amazing nine years, but I can no longer hold up my end of the workload and need to part ways to allow someone else to grow with the site as much as I have. The growth this site has seen is nothing compared to what else will become of it. The teams running everything behind the scenes are dedicated to making this site the best possible place for everyone when it comes to gay fiction stories, and I have no doubt it'll continue to grow for many years to come. Without trying to sound like I'm accepting an award of some sort, I'd just like to thank everyone on the site that has made it what it is and made me who I am. I'm truly grateful for all of the conversations and guidance you've all given me throughout the years. I'll still be around from time to time and may even take a stab at writing some more, but for the most part, this is my final goodbye to Gay Authors. It's been a great journey, but it's time for me to move on with my life and see what else awaits. Good luck to everyone on the site. I hope you find happiness and gain as much from being a part of this community as I have. Joe
  8. Glad to see you! Hope things are well with you. Hugs.

  9. If you can draw up a plan and detail what exactly you need from the site staff, I'd be happy to help you get this project off the ground. I won't be able to help you plan everything, but I can help you with the aspects that need a site admin. As soon as you have a plan on action and what you need help with, please feel free to shoot me a PM.
  10. We could set up a private sub-forum for authors interested in doing this if it takes off. It would be an easy way to collaborate on the story and we could password protect it so only the authors writing chapters could have access to the juicy details before each chapter is made public.
  11. Dear Vic, You weren't just my friend... you were my supporter. You were my mentor. You were my guide. And most importantly, you were my family. From the moment I joined GA, you were nothing more than amazing. You have always been there for me when I needed an ear to bend, someone to rant to, or a shoulder to cry on. I told you secrets that I've never told anyone else that I know; you kept them until the end, and I thank you for that. There are few people in this world that I could possibly admire as much as you. You helped me through my entire life. Since I was 15 and in denial about my sexuality, to helping me talk to the cute boy next to me in class, to figuring out how to break up with the crazies, you've always been there for me. No matter what I said or did, you never passed judgment... just guidance. You not only helped me get through the tough spots in life, but you made me a better person in the process.... I've talked to you for over 8 years, and even stopped by to chat with you on my way to LA a few months ago, but it wasn't enough. It'll never be enough. You'll be missed by your family, your friends, and this community, but you'll never be forgotten. I wouldn't be who I am today without you. I hope I was able to provide a fraction of the friendship to you that you bestowed onto me during these years. I love you, Vic. Always and all ways, Joe p.s. to everyone else "It's not all about the grades you get or how cool you are in highschool, it's about doing what makes you happy, and no matter when you're gonna go, to live life to the fullest." "It's just really simple actually. It's just try and make people happy."
  12. I've got the perfect spot overlooking Venice Beach that does endless mimosas for $10 Andrea... it's ON!
  13. The city is going fucking NUTS right now! Definitely a nail-biter of a game though!
  14. It's a rare occasion that I'll blog about anything serious (or at all really), so I'll keep this short. It's rare that you go through life and meet someone that doesn't have some sort of heartbreak in their past. I'm not talking about relationships either, but more of the kind that causes you to stop and wonder how life can be so cruel sometimes. From cancer, to domestic violence, to losing a loved one in an unfortunate accident, everyone has had something like this happen to them in their life, yet no one seems to talk about it in public. You can't walk down the street without hearing about some sort of political issue, but people tend to stay silent on issues that can really affect a lot of people. Instead of going into details or a heartfelt story, I'm just going to encourage everyone to do something this week that will make a difference. I'm doing a walk tomorrow for Leukemia awareness and to raise money for research. By all means, I haven't raised much (feel free to donate by the way), but it's enough in my mind to at least make a difference for someone in the world. Even if it's nothing more than someone stumbling across this post, at least they'll know they're not alone in this world. They'll know that there are people out there that care about them even if they've never met. Our world isn't as ugly as people make it seem. So just once this week, I encourage everyone to go out of their way to do something for someone that you don't know and without asking anything in return. Joe
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