Greater is he who can rule his spirit
Thomas Calabrese — Seven angels or archangels correspond to days of the week: Michael (Sunday), Gabriel (Monday), Uriel (Tuesday), Raphael (Wednesday), Selaphiel (Thursday), Raguel or Jegudiel (Friday), and Barachiel (Saturday).
You might assume that with a name like Mike Sunday, something unusual was destined to happen to this man and you would probably be right. Another thing to remember is that when dealing with the supernatural, events happen on a celestial schedule. Years, decades and centuries are less than a split second to angels and demons who have been around since the beginning of time.
Mike was the son of Luke and Corrine Sunday and grew up on a quiet cul de sac in a middle class neighborhood in San Marcos, California. Luke worked on Camp Pendleton as a pipefitter and Corrine was a nurse at Palomar Medical Center. Mike was an average student and below average athlete and nothing he ever did gave any indication of what he was capable of. Even his parents were well aware of his limitations so they didn’t push him, merely reminded him to just do his best and things would work out. Mike started his senior year and had no idea what he wanted to do when he graduated from San Marcos High School. One option was to attend to Mira Costa Junior College and see what happened from there.
It was the day after Thanksgiving and Mike was sitting in the family room channel surfing when the movie, Black Hawk Down came on so he watched it. It made a distinct impression on him and that night he had a vivid dream about the Battle of Mogadishu. Over the next few weeks Mike researched what units were involved in the battle. They included Task Force Ranger, including: C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) – aka Delta Force, Bravo Company and the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He could not get the thought of Delta Force off his mind and by Christmas time, he had made up his mind that he wanted to be a member of this organization. “I want to join the Army when I graduate,” Mike told his parents, but did not elaborate beyond that.
“Seriously?” Corinne said.
“Yeah,” Mike said.
Luke suggested, “It’s only December and you don’t graduate until June. You’ve got plenty of time to think about it.”
Mike didn’t argue, “You’re right.”
Later that night in the privacy of their bedroom, Corinne said, “Did you think, he really is going to do it?”
“I don’t know, he’s more of a follower than a leader so maybe one of his buddies mentioned joining and it sounded like a good idea to him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike changes his mind,” Luke said.
Corrine added. “And even if he does enlist, he probably won’t want to do anything dangerous. I can picture him as a cook or working in an office.”
“Mike is definitely not the adventurous type.” Mike agreed.
A calmness overtook Mike after he determined what he wanted to do with his life because ambiguity and other options had been eliminated from the equation. When his friends spoke about their plans, Mike listened, but was never swayed. When they asked him, Mike calmly answered. “I’m going into the military.”
Mike knew that his chosen path would not be easy and wanting to do something and doing it are two completely different things. Add to that his well-documented history of mediocrity and lack of focus so he did not begrudge his parents that they didn’t take him seriously. He never mentioned military service again until he turned 18 years of age. On May 10th Mike was eligible to enlist without parental consent. He told his parents over dinner that he was joining up and since they couldn’t stop him, Luke and Corrine decided to support their son’s decision to serve his country.
When Mike told his recruiter about his desire to become a member of Delta Force, the recruiter gave him all the details and added, “Most Delta come from Special Forces so you need to get into that organization. Special Forces come from Rangers and Rangers come from Airborne and Airborne come from the infantry. You have to be very physically fit and extremely trainable. Making it as a member of Delta Force, the Army’s special-mission unit for counter-terrorism and hostage rescues, is no easy feat. With an attrition rate hovering at 90% on average, Delta Force has one of the most challenging and selective assessment processes in the U.S. military, making it arguably the most highly regarded unit of U.S. Special Operations.”
When Mike started training, he amazed everyone with his natural abilities and nobody was more surprised than him. He took to training like a fish to swimming or a bird to flying. His instructors wondered how he could become so proficient in so many combat skills with so little guidance. It just didn’t make sense, nobody ever moved through the difficult courses with such ease as Mike did. The harder the tasks, the more Mike rose to the challenges and even after an eighteen hour day of intense training, he was still ready for more. Mike was lying in his rack with only three hours to rest before going on a 50–mile hike with a 90 pound pack, He closed his eyes and had a very unusual dream. Mike was standing before an elderly man sitting at a desk. The man commented, “You were born for this, Mike Sunday. Always remember that we are there with you.”
“Born for what?” Mike asked, “Who are you?” The scene slowly faded out and Mike woke up. He looked out the window and saw a bright star shining in the sky.
It was zero six hundred hours and a storm had just hit the area. There was a steady downpour and the wind was blowing at 15 miles per hour with gusts reaching thirty. The branches of the trees were slapping back and forth in rhythm and leaves were all over the ground. These were less than ideal conditions for an arduous trek over rough terrain, but adapting to difficult situations is a key element of being a special operator. There was no way that command was going to cancel this test and wait for a sunny day, so basically it was suck it up or drop out.
Mike adjusted the shoulder straps of pack and started off with ten other soldiers. When others faltered, Mike increased his speed. He completed the course in record time, two hours ahead of the next closest competitor. As soon as he crossed the finish line, the rain and wind stopped and the clouds parted allowing rays of sunlight to come through. Mike sat on the ground with his back against the tire of a large truck with the warmth of the sun on his face and closed his eyes. The man of his dreams spoke to him, “Good job.”
In the canyons of his mind were the echoes of a voice reverberating, “Sergeant Sunday…Sergeant Sunday.”
When Mike opened his eyes, he saw the legendary Delta Force commander, Colonel Simon Mandel standing in from of him. Mike started to rise to his feet and Colonel Mandel said, “As you were, Sergeant, you’ve earned a rest. I’ve been following your career …very impressive”.
“Thank you, sir…I’ve been very lucky,” Mike humbly replied.
Colonel Mandel said, “Luck is when opportunity meets skill. I’m sure our paths will cross again,” and walked off. He was right because three years later, Mike was now a member of Delta and serving in the 3rd Special Forces Group under the command of recently promoted General Mandel.
The military allows Special Forces relaxed grooming standards because they want them to blend in. For instance, showing up in the Middle East without a beard can put a soldier at a disadvantage. Mike always got a military style haircut and was clean shaven whenever he took leave to visit his family, but when he was on duty he looked more like a civilian. He told his parents that he was a supply sergeant and everyday was much like the day before.
Luke commented, “At least you’re in a safe job. I know that makes your mom feel better.”
“I was never qualified to do anything much more than that,” Mike replied.
“It’s not what you do, it’s how well you do it that counts.”
Mike still had three days left before he was due to return to base when he received a coded text message. He told his mom, “I’ve got to get back to base…sorry.”
“Something wrong?” Corrine asked.
“A surprise inspection,” Mike said.
While packing his gear, Mike had his shirt off and was lean and muscular without an ounce of fat. Luke noticed the distinct change in his son’s appearance. After Mike left, Luke asked his wife, “Have you noticed how lean and muscular Mike is?”
“He’s looks very healthy…what’s your point?” Corrine said.
Luke explained, “I’ve been working on Camp Pendleton for over 20 years and in that time I’ve seen a lot of guys running and exercising on base. Even though most Marines are in good shape, you can tell the difference between the regular guys and those serving in the elite units.
They act and look differently. I’ve talked to a few when I was working in their barracks and they are unassuming, quiet and evasive. Do you know who they remind me of?”
Corinne guessed, “Our son.”
When he got back to Djibouti, General Mandel called to him, “Welcome back, Sergeant Sunday.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Briefing in five minutes.”
“Roger that, sir,” Mike said.
During the briefing General Mandel explained, “A group of ISIS fighters have kidnapped a group of school girls. Their ransom demand is an exchange for 50 imprisoned terrorists. The State Department and the current administration has no intention of making the trade. They will drag out the negotiations until we can get in position to breach the compound. This is an inter-service operation. Seals and Marine Recon will provide support, but we’ll be doing the extraction. Codename Operation Eagle Claw, our call sign is Cloudburst, the Marines will be Storm and the Seals are Sunshine.” General Mandel began to recite the Delta Force creed and the Special Operatives quickly joined in. “I pledge to uphold the honor and integrity of their legacy in all that I am-in all that I do. I am a warrior. I will teach and fight whenever and wherever my nation requires. I will strive always to excel in every art and artifice of war.”
Delta Force did a high altitude low opening parachute jump over the compound in the dark of night. The ten men were wearing night vision goggles and landing in succession in a ravine located 100 yards from the enemy compound. The operators quickly organized and Sergeant Sunday led the team out in a low crawl across a mine field, disabling the explosive devices in the process. When they reached the wall, Mike used special suctions cups attached to his hands to climb the wall. He took out a guard by crushing his windpipe then threw a rope down and his team quickly climbed up.
The Special Operators were expert marksmen and were armed with Colt M4A1 assault rifles with noise suppressors and red dot laser sights. Once they put that dot on a terrorist, he was only a moment away from death. They reached the girls and prepared to get out them. They couldn’t go over the wall with 50 untrained girls so they had go through the gate.
Master Sergeant Casey Hightower ordered, “Sunday, Baker, Ryerson, secure the gate and radio when we can move out.”
The three operators killed seven men and Baker radioed, “Gate secured.”
The Special Operators led the girls out of the compound and headed for the extraction point. Master Sergeant Hightower radioed, “Storm, Sunshine…this is Cloudburst…moving toward extraction point with packages.”
The girls were weak and it was hard to make good time since most of them were barefoot and had trouble walking over the rocky terrain. Mike told Master Sergeant Hightower, “We’re moving too slowly.”
“Not much we can do about that, “Master Sergeant Hightower sighed.
Dylan Heider was looking over the terrain that the team had just traveled and saw a convoy of ten trucks headed in their location. “Trouble headed our way…looks like about 60 bogeys.”
Mike suggested, “I’ll slow them up long enough for you to get to the secondary extraction point then meet you there.”
“I’ll send Garcia and Barzini with you.” Master Sergeant Hightower.
Mike said, “I’ll move faster if I’m alone, besides you need help with girls.”
“Do it,” Master Sergeant Hightower said.
Mike took off in a full sprint and made his way to a hill overlooking the road. When the truck got within range, he began firing and the front vehicle caught fire and blocked the others from proceeding forward. For ten minutes, Mike kept the terrorists pinned down until he received word that his team had made it to the extraction point, then ran to meet them, but was cut off by a group of armed men. Mike radioed, “I’m not going to make it….don’t wait.”
The girls were loaded onto three helicopters and airlifted out. Master Sergeant turned to his team, “Let’s go get Sunday.”
Mike climbed up a steep hill until he had a sheer cliff a hundred feet behind him, nowhere to go now. He prepared to make his final stand as armed men attacked his position from three different directions. Mike was under heavy fire and about to be killed or captured when he heard a voice tell him. “Jump.”
It didn’t make any sense, but Mike figured he was a dead man anyway so he leaped off the cliff. The terrorists had no other choice but go back down the way they came. They ran into the rest of the Delta Force team and were killed.
Master Sergeant Hightower ordered, “Find Sunday!”
For the next hour, the Special Operators searched the area to no avail. “We’ll have to come back later with more men and look for him.” Master Sergeant Hightower shook his head in frustration.
Mike was standing before the man that he had dreamed about and his first question was. “Am I dead?”
The man responded with a smile, “Not hardly, you’re in a rest stop between your world and the afterlife.”
Mike calmly inquired, “And you are?”
“Barachiel…one of the Defenders of the Gateway.”
“What’s a Defender of the Gateway?”
“Kind of like what you do, only our sworn enemies are demons who breeched the portals from hell. They come into your world to cause chaos and mayhem. Our mission is to maintain a balance between good and evil. We could overwhelm the earth with angels, but God believes in free will and choice and doesn’t want to abuse his power, but Lucifer doesn’t play by the same rules and is always looking for an advantage.”
“All this time I thought someone or something was helping me get through training, I wasn’t imagining it…was I?”
Barachiel replied, “The Supreme Commander doesn’t like to tamper with hearts and souls, but once in a while he’ll do some physical enhancement. Mike Sunday, you were destined for this, but you needed some special training first, but you’re ready now.”
A breathtakingly beautiful woman standing six foot tall with raven hair and striking facial features appeared and Barachiel introduced her, “This is Constance Constantine, daughter of demon hunter John Constantine. She’ll be your new partner.”
“Call me Connie, I’ll be in touch,” and walked off.
Three days later. Sergeant Sunday showed up at his unit’s area with a head wound. He was examined by the doctor and his findings were submitted to General Mandel who asked, “What happened to you out there?”
Mike evaded the answer with this standard reply, “To the best of my recollection, I don’t recollect.”
“I’m recommending you in for the Distinguished Service Cross for your actions,” General Mandel said.
“Thank you, sir.”
“I’m also sending you back to the States for further medical examination,” General Mandel extended his hand, “It has been my pleasure to serve with you.”
Mike shook his commander’s hand, “It has been my honor, sir.”
Mike returned to the States and was medically discharged. When he arrived at his parents’ home in San Marcos, Mike had no idea what was going to happen next. Three weeks later, Connie Constantine drove to his home in a white Lotus Evija, the world’s first all-electric British hypercar, and the most expensive electric vehicle in the world. It had 1,972-horsepower thanks to its four electric motors — one for each wheel and a top speed of over 300 miles per hour and can go from 0 to 60 in 1.4 seconds. The vehicle wasn’t street-legal in the USA except for the fact it had diplomat plates on it. The car was customized for special use by the Defenders of The Gateway.
When Corrine answered the door, she asked, “Can I help you?”
Connie responded, “I’m here to see Mike.”
Mike was in the garage doing pull-ups when he heard his mother call for him. He was totally caught off-guard when he saw Connie Constantine standing in his living room. She walked over and gave him a long affectionate embrace and a passionate kiss.
Connie turned to Mike’s mother and said. “We met overseas, I probably should have called before I came over, but I wanted to surprise Mike.”
Mike responded, “That you did.”
“Can I get you something to drink?” Corinne asked.
“Anything cold and non-alcoholic would be fine…thank you,” Connie answered.
When his mother walked off, Mike warned Connie, “Never do that again.”
Connie asked, “Kiss you?”
“I wouldn’t do it to you without your permission and I expect the same courtesy. I don’t care how beautiful you are or where you’re from. Now if that’s a problem, tell your boss that he needs to find me a different partner or send me to hell.”
Connie extended her hand, “It won’t happen again.”
After spending a few hours socializing with the Sunday family, Connie turned to Mike, “You ready to go to work?”
“Lead the way,” Mike said, then called out to his mom, “We’re going out.”
“When are you coming back?” Corrine asked.
Mike responded, “Don’t know, but I’ll call you if he’s going to be late.”
Mike and Connie walked outside and got into the Lotus. .
Mike commented, “Nice set of wheels…“It’s one of the company vehicles they reached their location in Escondido, Connie popped open the trunk where a dozen guns and six knives were located. Mike asked, “Do these work against demons?”
Connie answered, “The knives and bullets were made from a titanium deposit located under Mount Mariah, the place where Christ was crucified.”
Mike took two pistols and loaded them, then found a combat knife that he liked. Connie only took one pistol. They walked across the street where a dozen demons were congregating. They had the appearance of humans except for one distinct feature, their eyes were bright red.
One of the demons named called out, “Hey Connie… it’s been a while.”
Connie responded, “Hey Chaos, almost 20 years since I killed you in Miami.””
“We heard that you got a new partner, is this Mike Sunday?” Chaos asked.
Mike didn’t respond and Connie suggested, “Mike, why don’t you introduce yourself to Chaos and his fellow demons. I’ve got an exorcism to do.”
The demons surrounded Mike and came at him. He shot three of them and they turned to red dust before blowing away. Mike pulled out his knife and threw it and hit another demon in the forehead and maggots crawled out. Mike engaged three more demons in hand to hand combat and killed them.
Inside the buildings, Connie exorcised a demon from a young girl’s soul and the evil spirit went back to hell. By the time she walked outside, Chaos had confronted Mike, “Let see how good you are.”
Mike looked at Connie and asked, “Are you going to help me?”
Connie smiled, “You’re on probation, I need to see what you can do. I will tell you this though, if Chaos kills you then I will engage.”
Chaos was a skilled martial arts artist and he came at Mike with fists flying and legs kicking. Mike dropped to the ground and knocked the demon off his feet with a leg sweep and snapped his neck. There was nothing, but dust left.
Connie smiled, “It will be a while before Lucifer lets him through the portal again.”
As they walked back to the car, Connie asked, “Want to drive?”
Mike got into the driver seat, made a few adjustments and drove to Interstate 15 and headed north. Connie encouraged, “Air it out…it’s won’t break.”
Mike touched the hyper-drive mode selector and pressed the accelerator to the floor. In less than ten seconds the Lotus was doing 275 miles per hours. It was cruising at 310 and they made the 147 mile trip to Barstow in under 23 minutes. Mike passed a highway patrol vehicle so quickly that the officer did not even know what went by him.
Connie saw the charge was getting low and suggested, “Pull it over.” She got out of the vehicle and put her hands on the charging terminal and in a less than 30 seconds, it was fully charged. “Take us home.”
Mike joked, “Now that I know how the car handles, I can go a little faster on the way back.”
Their next assignment was at the upscale ultra-expensive French Laundry Restaurant located at 6640 Washington Street in Yountville, California. A group of demons were discussing a business agreement with the Governor and a group of corrupt politicians while eating their $350 a plate dinners. Mike and Connie burst through the door and killed all the demons with gunfire. The humans at the table were covered with dust. On the way out, Mike poured a bottle of Dom Perignon over the Governor who was cowering in fear under the table and warned, “I didn’t vote for you and don’t like your policies. Unless you don’t start doing the job that you were elected to do, you’ll be running for office in hell!” Mike dropped the elaborately decorated ice cream cake on the Governor’s head and smiled, “You never looked better.”
Next mission was in Washington DC. Connie told Mike, “There is a gateway to hell right under the Capitol. Congress is so corrupt and evil on its own that the last thing the human race and this country needs is an alliance between hell and politics. That is why we watch this gateway very carefully and move quickly when there is a breach.”
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was having dinner at upscale Morton’s Steakhouse with his family. Mike and Connie were seated nearby when a group of demons came bursting through the door to harass the Kavanaugh family. Mike and Connie quickly got up from their table and killed all the demons, leaving nothing but dust on the floor.
Mike put his hand on Brett Kavanaugh’s shoulder and assured him, “Respect the law and adhere to the Constitution and we’ll always have your back.”
Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh stammered, “Who are you?”
In unison, Mike and Connie replied, “We’re Defenders of the Gateway.”
Later that evening, Mike and Connie were taking a walk under a full moon and stopped in front of the Washington Monument. Mike turned to face Connie and asked, “I told you that I would ask first, permission to kiss you?”
“Granted.” Connie added, “A gentleman governs his passions, not the other way around. Proverb 16:32 ‘Greater is he who can rule his spirit than he who takes a city.”
When their lips met, a meteor shot across the sky.