The mistri virus, p.1
THE MISTRI VIRUS
Larry E. Huddleston
THE MISTRI VIRUS
Copyright ©2009 by Larry E. Huddleston
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This book has not been edited by Midnight Express Books and is the unchanged words of this author.
Tommy LaSade had been three years old when his father, Mark, was sent away to Kuwait to free that country from the grasp of Saddam Hussain, the maniacal Dictator of Iraq. Tommy had just turned five when his father was sent home minus two legs, one at the hip, the other at mid-thigh, one arm at the shoulder, his voice and his hearing. The loss of his voice was due to severed vocal cords and missing larynx; his hearing because of destroyed ear drums caused by the same mortar that had taken his legs and arm. His daddy was a very unhappy man. He cried constantly, the only evidence was the constant flowing tears, and as far as Tommy knew, he never slept and couldn’t talk to anyone.
Tommy didn’t understand that that was the reason his father cried. There was a world of words he wanted to say to his only son, but couldn’t. He couldn’t hear his wife’s or son’s sweet voice, even though he could see their lips moving and knew they were talking to him. He couldn’t even hear his own breathing or heartbeat to know he was still alive. He suffered in a world of absolute silence.
Tommy had been six years old when his mom, Sarah, came home lugging an old second-hand computer and monitor. A neighbor had come over to set it up and get it going for them. He hung around for several months to teach Tommy and his dad how to use it. Tommy was a natural; his dad tried hard but could never fully grasp the concept.
As Tommy’s reading and writing skills improved at school, so did his abilities on the computer. His dad never quite got the hang of it. But, at least, now they could communicate to a degree.
Within five years, Tommy had left his father far behind in computer skills. He was able to make mental connections on the programs that simplified them and was soon writing his own programs that made his and his dad’s communication exceptionally easier. At ten years old, he wrote a computer game that sent the world into a panic. He had written the code so that the kid that entered the correct sequence of characters would set off the panic and get all the blame.
Tommy had thought it hilarious. His dad didn’t, but didn’t say much in condemnation either. He typed only three words to Tommy: Serves them right!
Two months later, Tommy’s dad was dead. It was ruled suicide. He had stabbed himself in the heart with a butcher knife. He had typed only three words on the newest computer: Serves me right! Tommy didn’t understand these words at the time, but two months later his mom told him he was going to have a baby brother or sister before Christmas, a mere four months away.
Tommy wasn’t a dummy. He knew where babies came from and how they were made. He was almost twelve. His dad had told him several times that his mom was unhappy with him because he couldn’t make her any more babies. So, Tommy had put two and two together and had come up with four. His mom had gotten someone besides his father to make her a baby. His father found out, killed himself and freed his wife from a very heavy burden. Him.
Tommy hated his mom after that. He wasn’t mean; he just didn’t like her anymore. He hated his step-dad worse and vowed he’d never speak to them again. He was true to his word.
That was the one thing his dad had sworn him to. That he would never break his word to himself or to anyone he gave it to. Nor, would he ever betray the trust of a friend or enemy. The friend he would protect with his life. The enemy he would eliminate by any means available.
When Tommy had been six years old his dad had insisted his mom enroll him in a martial arts program under Master Chang, a Tibetan monk. He insisted it would help Tommy bring his mind and body together as one. Tommy guessed it worked. He was still in training and his mind and body were still together as one. But, he didn’t think that was exactly what his father had meant.
When he entered high school, Tommy was a black belt in several disciplines of martial arts. He didn’t have a particular discipline, though. He liked the approach of the great Bruce Lee, who taught that having no style was in itself a style. But he also liked the moves of Steven Segal in his movies, so attempted to bring the two together as one. It worked for him and had led him to win several competitions around the state. He had even qualified for the U.S. Olympic team and had won the gold at Barcelona.
Upon graduation from high school, he had gone to college for two years and then joined the U.S. Army to follow in his father’s footsteps and make him proud of his only son. He thrived on the disciplined, regimented lifestyle of the military.
Following basic training and A.I.T. (Advanced Individual Training) Tommy was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for Airborne Training, jump school, as it was called. It was a breeze; Tommy loved to run! And he had felt totally alive as he stood in the door and looked out into the wild blue yonder from the C-141, held a tight body position and launched himself at the Stick Sergeant’s command. The long float down was what Tommy thought Heaven would be like. The crash and roll at the end was as if his life had come to an end; he couldn’t wait to go up and jump again!
After jump school Tommy was approached by a Ranger and asked if he was truly ready for a challenge. Tommy accepted and was transferred across the base for eight weeks of undiluted hell. He thrived and graduated at the top of his class. He was then approached by an Airborne Ranger, wearing a Green Beret, and asked if he was interested in being all he could be. He volunteered and was sent to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina for training that separated the weak from the strong, of the mighty. Again he thrived and graduated at the top of his class. From there he was sent to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky for sniper training. There was no stopping Tommy LeSade. He was bound for glory and prayed for war. He was a soldier through and through. Patriotic to the core and was willing to die for his country, no questions asked.
He graduated West Point second in his class and was now an officer in the United States Army, the most advanced and powerful war machine in the history of the world. Tommy LeSade was a human Thor and three times as tough.
Some higher up had his eye on Tommy LeSade and, before he knew it, his four year enlistment was up. He was approached by a one star general and asked what his plans for the future were.
“My country, Sir!” Tommy had replied, coming to attention.
“Relax, Lieutenant,” General Stall had smiled. “If you reenlist I will support you for Captain. You are a credit to the uniform, Sir!”
Tommy reenlisted for four more years and was sent to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas to the War College. He graduated two years later as a Captain. Then, on September 11, 2001, Tommy LeSade’s lifelong wish was delivered to him, and the rest of the United States, in New York City. America had cause for war and the American President, George W. Bush, Jr., didn’t hesitate for a second. He ordered the massive invasion of Afghanistan, after tracing the terrorists back to there.
The American forces rolled across that country as if there was no opposing force in the way. It had been so easy, the American President had ordered his military to kick the shit out of Iraq, since they were so close anyway. Besides, it would save them a trip in the long run.
So, that was where Captain Tommy LeSade found himself on the morning of April 16, 2002. He was belly deep in sand, sweating like a pig and hotter than Hell’s own inferno. He was madder than the Devil himself and indignant as a drunken Lord. He had the S.O.B. de
What the hell kind of war is this, he thought. Where a soldier can’t kill the number one enemy!
“Hot Shot One, to Silver Eagle Three,” Tommy whispered into the microphone at his lips.
“Hot Shot One, Silver Eagle Three, copy five by,” a voice replied in his ears.
“Silver Eagle Three, Hot Shot One has Big Cahuna dead to rights at eight hundred yards and twelve o’clock. Request authorization to deep six primary. Over,” Tommy stated urgently.
“Hold, Hot Shot One. Do not deep six primary! Repeat! Do not deep six primary! Copy?”
“Negative Silver Eagle Three!” Tommy whispered angrily. “Hot Shot has primary at eight hundred, high noon. I can take him clean!”
“Negative, Hot Shot One!” the voice repeated seriously. “Golden Eagle One says no deep six. Repeat, Golden Eagle One says NO deep six of Big Cohuna! Copy?”
“Roger, Silver Eagle Three,” Tommy replied after several long seconds of disappointed silence. “No deep six. Out!”
Tommy pounded the sand with his fist in frustration. He could not believe the higher ups were going to let Saddam slip through their fingers. He could not believe it! It was madness!
Tommy watched through his scope as the ragged S.O.B. stomped around with his chest stuck out giving orders to soldiers who nearly fainted from fright when he spoke directly to them. They would fall to their knees before him, lean over and kiss his dirty feet as if he were God Almighty. Tommy whispered to himself, “He may very well be to these people. Who knows what they think or believe?” He sure as hell didn’t!
He continued to watch through his scope as they all mounted up into their convoy of converted pickup trucks and drove off over the sand dunes. He realized his chance to get a little payback for over two thousand Americans was quickly disappearing over a hill. Damn, he screamed to himself, slammed his fist into the sand once again, then slowly began to slide backwards down the back of the sand dune he had been lying on.
Tommy was mad and silent for three days as he watched the town below. There wasn’t much activity, just an occasional fast moving pickup and a few slow moving camels and any number of goats and herdsmen. None of them came close to him so he lay still and silent. Waiting.
At three o’clock in the morning he was awakened by frantic screaming in his ears, “Hot Shot One! Hot Shot One! Silver Eagle Three, over!”
“Hot Shot One, Silver Eagle Three, copy five by, over!” Tommy replied quickly, sensing the urgency in the voice, trying to position his mic better.
“Hot Shot One, Silver Eagle Three is under attack! Can you provide cover? Over!” The frantic voice screamed.
“Roger, Silver Eagle Three. Five mikes, over.”
“Five mikes, over,” the voice replied slightly relieved.
Tommy stood and ran down the back of the sand dune. It was over a mile through loose, shifting sand, to the fire-base. He would make it. He had too. His friends were counting on him. He pushed himself harder than ever before. He began hearing sporadic gunfire as he topped a dune and ran full bore down the other side, then up the next dune.
At the top of the dune, he belly flopped to his stomach, flipped the dust caps up on his infrared scope and began to scan the fire base below. Off in the distance he saw muzzle flashes and began to mark their position by the hours on a clock. His position to the fire-base was six o’clock.
After scanning from left to right, then back slowly, he had most of the enemy positions located and marked on his mental clock. He lined up on ten o’clock and waited. A muzzle flashed. He placed the cross hairs on it. It flashed again. He squeezed the trigger gently and waited. No more muzzle flashes from ten o’clock.
He slowly worked his way across the upper face of his mental clock. He squeezed the trigger on his sniper rifle over twenty-two times. He had no idea how many hits and kills he had, but there were no more muzzle flashes in or around the fire base.
He noticed as he started working his way down the dune to the fire-base that the dawn was quickly approaching. It would be sun up soon, and then he could count his dead and wounded enemies. He’d know immediately about the friendlies. He dreaded that part of war. It would be easier if only the enemy died. But even the enemy had friends who would mourn them. But war didn’t work that way, she was not a discriminating mistress. She was a whore, plain and simple.
Of the thirty or so men assigned to the fire-base only about half were up and moving around as Tommy entered the fire-base perimeter. Several, he saw, were walking wounded. He knew this was not good news. He had a lot of friends here. People he had known for years, people he had served with, trained with, played with and now, fought with both off and on the field of battle. But, even if he didn’t like them personally, he treated them with respect and expected and received respect in return. He didn’t dislike any of them enough to want them injured or dead. They were his people.
As he entered the medical tent, the news got worse. His commanding officer was being zipped into a body bag. Tommy was ranking officer on the base and was now in command.
“Okay, people, what do we have?” he asked a medic standing over a soldier with a sucking chest wound.
“Eight KIAs. Five WIA and three walking wounded, sir,” the medic replied, not once looking up.
Tommy knew he meant killed in action, wounded in action and walking wounded. Bottom line, they could be in very serious trouble if the Iraqis renewed their attack.
“I’m ranking office here,” Tommy said. “I’m assuming temporary command. Have everyone available meet me at the command tent. I’ll pick up who I see as I go that way. Tell them to stay low. There may still be shooters out there,” Tommy said.
“Roger, sir,” the medical sergeant said as Tommy turned and left.
“Sergeant King,” he said addressing the communications sergeant as he entered the command tent.
“Sir?” King answered coming out the door to Tommy.
“Get us some medevacs in here and ask for Blackhawks overhead. Then meet me in command.”
“Sir, medevacs are on the way. I’ll request Blackhawks for overhead,” he said, as he returned to the communications tent on the double.
Five minutes later, as Tommy sat in the command tent, he heard the approach of helicopters. He stood and walked out to meet them.
He had taken three minutes to post all his available men on the perimeter guard. He looked around as he exited the tent and was relieved to see them all alert and ready for action, should it come upon them. Only the medics were absent from the perimeter; they had their own duties to perform and they crept around tending the wounded where they lay.
No shots had been fired in over twenty minutes. As far as Tommy could remember, he had fired the last one. He figured that if he hadn’t killed them all, the ones that had gotten away got the message and were still running for the distant dunes. At least he hoped they were. He didn’t believe they could withstand another full scale attack. There was no way.
“Sir,” King replied instantly.
“See about getting some more men, or hooking up with another outfit somewhere close.”
“Roger that, sir,” Sergeant King responded seriously, then turned back to his communications tent and radio.
Tommy watched as the Blackhawks began to circle in the distance. He thought they may be looking over the dead from his shoot out earlier.
At his twelve o’clock position he saw the helicopters began to slow and drop lower to the ground, as if looking closer at something. He couldn’t imagine what it could be; a dead body was a dead body. The chopper’s nose dropped slightly, then the big mean looking machine settled to the ground and the rotors began to slow to a stop a hundred yards from him. Tommy still squinted his eyes against the blowing sand.
The pilot exited the machine and came toward him. He walked out to meet t
“Major Andrew Ryan,” the man introduced himself as he returned Tommy’s salute and then offered his hand.
“Captain Tommy LeSade,” Tommy replied taking the man’s hand firmly. “Glad you’re here, Major.”
“Looks like a heavy hit, Captain,” Ryan commented, looking around the fire-base.
“Yes sir,” Tommy replied. “Nearly fifty percent casualty. Colonel Markham didn’t make it.”
“Mark Markham?” Ryan asked, a sadness darkening his eyes.
“Damn! I liked the Colonel! He was a good man.”
“Captain, who’s your sniper?” Ryan asked, following several seconds of silent mourning for their fallen comrade.
“That’d be me, sir,” Tommy replied.
“Good shooting,” Ryan replied, looking around, then back at Tommy. “In the dark, I presume?”
“Not bad at all,” Ryan smiled. “Write up your after action report and I’ll sign it. I counted eighteen bodies. Fifteen head shots, the rest died of massive throat trauma. They bled out, Captain. That makes your shooting exceptional.”
“No thanks, Major,” Tommy replied seriously. “I appreciate the offer, but I’ll leave the decorations to the real heroes, sir.”
“As you wish, Captain,” Ryan replied smiling. “I’ll write it up. You’ll be hearing from me. I like your style, sir.” Ryan offered his hand and when Tommy shook it, he turned back to his machine and within minutes was back in the sky patrolling around the fire-base.
Ryan’s parting words still rang in Tommy’s ears as he watched the helicopter in the distance.
Tommy looked around at the devastation of his fire-base. Bullet holes stitched along most of the tents. Three of his four Humvees sat on at least two flat tires. Their only drinking water was soaking into the desert sand and he was willing to bet their ammo supply was severely depleted.
Oh, well, he thought. It could have been worse, he decided, as he returned to the command tent to await further bad news.
He sat in the dimness of the command tent trying to decide what to do. All of his killed and wounded had been flown out. He hadn’t received or even been promised replacements and there were no close support units anywhere in the area. He was however, promised periodic flyovers by the Blackhawks. He guessed that was better than nothing. He stood and walked outside. He may as well beef up his perimeter, if at all possible.
The Mistri Virus by Larry Huddleston / Actions & Adventure have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on18 votes