No Mercy for the Merciless
Thomas Calabrese — The one thousand acre property was located in Northern Israel not far from the city of Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee. It had been the site of a resort and convention complex until it was purchased by a secret organization of wealthy investors for one billion dollars. There was a twelve-foot high privacy fence with barbed wire at the top and three heavily fortified entry gates. Each one was equipped with a laser-sighted Gatlin gun that could place a bullet every six inches.
A three-man sentry team patrolled twenty-fours a day while surveillance cameras scanned the area. Motion sensors were placed in strategic locations and surveillance drones flew overhead. It was impossible for anyone to breach this multi-layered security system without being noticed. Since the original purchase, all the surrounding properties had been acquired and nine buildings, including a landing strip and two large aircraft hangars were added.
The auditorium was full. Two hundred men and fifty women from over sixty different countries were in attendance. They were all former military and included the best of the following military units; Navy Seals, Marine Corps Recon, Army Rangers, Delta Force, Green Berets, Shayetet 13, SAS, GIGN, EKO Cobra, JTF2, Alpha Group, SSG and Gurkhas. When retired Marine Corps Colonel Colt Winchester entered and walked up to the podium several men and women in the audience put on headphones so that they could hear him speak in their native language. Small talk ceased and the room grew silent as Colonel Winchester began to speak, the wall behind him began to light up as a large satellite photo appeared. He was lean, muscular and possessed a clear steady gaze. He moved with the grace of a leopard and it was clear that he was a man who knew exactly who he was and his purpose in the world. Despite his impressive list of combat and military-related skills and accomplishments there was a quiet modesty about Colt Winchester. Like they say in the Special Ops community, he was the kind of man that never went looking for trouble, but was always ready for a fight, a battle or a war. Retreat was not in his DNA.
Winchester scanned the room for several seconds before speaking. “Our targets are the Russian forces invading Ukraine. Aerial photography has shown a major influx of fighters and equipment moving in from surrounding areas. We are going to crash this party and terminate with extreme prejudice. If a man is wearing a Russian uniform, we’re going kill him. They have bombed hospitals, schools and columns of refugees and that is unforgivable. If Putin wants to violate every rule of decency and the rules of engagement then we’re going to shove a righteous reckoning down his throat. Hell is on our left flank and the Grim Reaper and the Angel of Death are on our right. We’re going to unleash the whirlwind on this former KGB piece of garbage.”
Colt slowly paced back and forth while waiting for the folders to be passed out to everyone in the room, “This is your playbook with your particular assignments; read it, study it, and memorize it.” He took out his laser pointer and highlighted areas on the photo. This mission is extremely personal to me and with every breath I take I am focused on the death and destruction of my adversary. I expect no less from you…is that going to be a problem?”
There was a collective yell of NO!
“I will lead this mission and if I go down, you will step over my body like I was completely expendable and continue the assault. If you wish to avenge my death then you continue the quest until the people of Ukraine are free from Russian oppression!”
Whatever your weapon of choice is, everyone will use radically invasive hollow point rounds, designed to inflict maximum damage. We’ll launch drones equipped with sonic weapons that will emit sound waves to disorient the enemy. I emphasize this point because you need to keep your earpieces in at all times. I recommend that everyone carry a spare. We will be transmitting on a communication frequency that will block those sound waves. We just received a shipment of a new bullet-resistant material lightweight compound composed of multi-block copolymer polyurethane. We will be using it on this mission.”
Colonel Winchester picked up a clear sheet of plastic about three feet square and bent and twisted it to show how flexible it was. He handed it to a man who walked over to the other side of the stage where a makeshift rifle range had been set up and placed it over the bullseye. Winchester pulled out a Kalashnikov, commonly called an AK-47 and fired an automatic burst at the plastic sheet. The man retrieved the sheet and brought it back to Colonel Winchester who held it up and showed everyone that it had fifteen bullets embedded into it, but none had penetrated the protective material. “After this briefing, everyone will report to hangar one where technicians will custom fit vest, face, arm and leg protection for you. Like I said, its lightweight and flexible so don’t worry about it interfering with your movements.”
Three men rolled out a large steel table with a large stone boulder and a thick metal beam. Colonel Winchester picked up an unusual piece of equipment that vaguely resembled a cross between a rifle and a flamethrower. He took aim, pressed a button and a blue light extended from the barrel. Winchester pressed another button and cut the boulder in half. He took aim at the metal beam and it was also in two pieces in less than a second, “We’ll be using these to destroy Russian equipment and armament.”
Colt had the utmost confidence in his men abilities. He had trained and fought with them and knew their capabilities. “You have photos of high-value Russian commanders in your folder. If you can take one alive so we can get Intel then do so, but our primary mission is a high body count and saving Ukrainians. We’ll have another briefing in forty-eight hours. Go over your assignments and if you have any questions, suggestions or complaints, you know where to find me.” Colonel Winchester ended every briefing with the same statement. “The World and I thank you for your service.”
Colonel Winchester waited until the last person exited before he left through the back door. He was honored to lead this elite unit of international warriors, but every now and then he needed a little down time to be alone with his thoughts. He never exposed any type of weakness or doubt in front of his men. That would be an error of epic proportions especially before a combat mission, especially one of this magnitude. It was 1500 hours and Colt decided to take one hour for himself before heading to the dining facility for an early supper.
He walked in measured steps down the flower-lined path to an isolated place of the compound. He looked to the heavens and began doing deep breathing exercises to slow his heartbeat to 15 beats per minute. He learned this exercise from a world renowned free diver.
A montage of disjointed memories starting flowing through his mind. He thought about growing up in Kansas City, Missouri and about his ex-wife, Shannon whom he married when he was a Captain in the Marine Corps and wondered how she was doing. The last thing that he heard was that she was married to a plumber, had two kids and was living a quiet life in Denver. The numerous deployments took a toll on their marriage, but the real problem was that Winchester was a fiercely independent and private person who internalized his anger, pain and suffering. He would always find strength in his core beliefs and come back as if nothing ever happened leaving his wife feeling more like a spectator than a participant in their marriage. Winchester truly wished her happiness and accepted the harsh reality that the same qualities that made him a good leader in the military made him a failure as someone’s life partner or soulmate. He vowed never to place another woman in that position again.
Colonel Colt Winchester was a liaison officer between an American counter-terrorism team and the Israeli Special Forces. He had been in Tel Aviv for two and one-half years when orders for his next duty station came in, he would be going to Camp Pendleton to finish his career as Battalion Commander with the 5th Marines. He met T. Jefferson Parker the renowned novelist on his last tour of duty at Pendleton when Parker was doing research for one of his Charlie Hood novels and was being escorted to training areas by Public Affairs. A few years later Parker contacted him and requested an interview on the effects of multiple deployments for his newest literary effort, Full Measure. They developed a friendship so when a recently renovated home on a two-acre parcel of land in Fallbrook went into foreclosure near his own place, Parker notified Winchester, who quickly purchased the property and planned to move there after he retired, but then everything changed.
The Jewish American family was visiting relatives in Israel when they were kidnapped by members of the Hamas terrorist organization. Israeli Intelligence determined where the hostages were being held and a rescue plan was quickly implemented. A group of Marines and Israelis comprised the extraction team. Because the captives were Americans, Colonel Winchester was assigned to lead the extraction team. They were on the tarmac and ready to board the helicopter when they got the order to “Stand down.”
Iran had contacted the Defense Department and threatened the United States. Any attempts to rescue the family would negatively affect the nuclear treaty that both countries were currently negotiating. It was a supreme act of cowardice by the entrenched bureaucrats at the politically correct State Department,
Two days later, after sensing weakness from the United States, Hamas communicated that they would release the family in exchange for one hundred terrorists currently being held in detention. The Israelis quickly refused the offer. The State Department issued more double-talk gibberish about opening talks with Hamas and warned Israel not to enact a rescue on their own. When Intel came in that the family was being moved to Iran, there was no time for delays or more negotiations.
Colonel Winchester knew that there was only one slim chance to rescue the family, but it would effectively end his Marine Corps career. On the other hand he couldn’t stand by and do nothing, so he contacted two militant Jewish agencies and secured the proper funding. He put together his own rescue mission using civilian contractors (mercenaries). The family was saved in a daring rescue and the kidnappers were killed in the process. Colt knew that the truth would eventually come out about his involvement and he didn’t want to be in the Corps when it did. Politicians can be extremely vindictive and he could be court martialed for disobedience of a direct order. If he retired now, it would be more difficult, but not impossible to bring him back for disciplinary action, so Colt submitted his paperwork and prepared for the worse.
Later that night, there was a knock at the door and Colt opened it. The man had his identification out to confirm that he was a Mossad agent, “There are some individuals who would like to speak with you. Please come with me.”
When they arrived at their destination, Colt counted ten heavily armed men strategically located around the building. The interior area was lighted in such a way to shadow the faces of five men sitting behind a long conference table.
“Thank you for coming, Colonel.” One man stated
“What’s on your mind?”
“We wanted to congratulate you on the successful rescue of the Steinway family.” A Second Man replied.
“Even if I was involved, a phone call would have sufficed.”
There was a collective laugh from the five men.
“So what are your plans now that you are retiring and going home?” The man inquired.
“I didn’t tell anyone that I was retiring or going back to California.” Colt said.
A Third Man answered. “We have our sources. We have another option for you… interested?”
“I’m always interested in options,” Colt replied.
“A multi-national strike force with the best men and best equipment.”
Colt remained expressionless.
“No comment?” Fourth Man asked.
“Sounds like a good idea, what’s it got to do with me?” Colt asked.
“Let me re-phrase. How would you like to command such a unit?”
“Maybe, maybe not, with options comes details.”
“This meeting is not happening and and there are no plans to develop the type of strike force that I just mentioned,” The man continued, “Is that clear?”
“I’m not even here…got it.” Colt sneered.
The Mossad agent handed a folder. “See if you like it.” Fourth Man at the table suggested.
It was at particular moment that things changed for Colonel Colt Winchester and the world.
“Earth to Caliber!” A voice called out.
Colt turned around and saw Sanger Stevens; Sanger was in her mid-thirties and had served six years in the army as a Cobra pilot and four more in the Israeli Special Forces. She held American and Israeli citizenship because her mother was born in Israel. Sanger was beautiful enough to be a model if she wanted to, not one of those thin fashion types, but one of those fitness models who graced the covers of exercise magazines. She was muscular, but not to the point of it affecting her femininity. She also had a quirky sense of humor and a mischievous streak.
Hey Sport.” Colt replied then smiled at his comrade and friend
Sanger apologized. “I didn’t mean to disturb you, but we were scheduled to meet at this time and I know how important punctuality is to you.”
Nobody held any rank in the Joint Expeditionary Force, members were either called by their first name, or their call sign; Colt was called ‘Caliber’ because his first and last names were those of iconic weapon manufacturers.
Sanger Stevens’ initials were SS which morphed to Super Sport then shortened to Sport, she was also fanatical about her exercise regimen.
“Time’s up.” Sanger smiled as she looked at her wristwatch.
“You always take exactly sixty minutes after a briefing to walk around by yourself before going for an early dinner.”
“Am I that predictable?” Colt smiled.
“You are around two hundred and fifty individuals who have terminal hyper vigilance syndrome, everybody knows everybody’s routine. Did you ever wonder why no matter where you walk that you’re always alone?”
Colt thought for a moment, “I’m going to have to plan to be more spontaneous in the future.”
There were a few men and women in the dining room when Colt and Sanger entered. Their call signs were; Duke, Dawg, Bunkie, Bozo and Backstop.
“It’s a nice day, want to eat outside?” Sanger asked.
“Sure,” Colt replied.
They walked outside to the spacious balcony which provided a panoramic view of the countryside and the Sea of Galilee. A young man called Igloo, with a noticeable limp and jagged scar on his left cheek approached. He was part of the primary strike team until he was seriously wounded in Syria. No longer able combat capable, he was given a transfer to the food preparation unit. He got the nickname Igloo from the fact that he was from Barrow Alaska and his heritage was Native American.
“How are you doing, Igloo?” Colt asked.
“I’m hanging in there, been expecting you.”
“I told you, everybody knows everybody’s schedule and preferences. Sanger commented, “Igloo, it’s Wednesday and what do I regularly eat for dinner on Wednesday?”
“The Sport Special, large organic spinach and tofu salad, oil and vinegar dressing, two sliced avocados on the side with a bowl of sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top, red wine and for desert, something organic in the wide spectrum of fruits,” Igloo answered.
“See,” Sanger smiled.
“Okay what about me?” Colt asked.
“That’s a little tougher…since you’re a little less regimented than Sport, but if I had to make an educated guess; bowl of chicken soup, tomatoes and mozzarella slices with olive oil and oregano, rainbow trout, baked potato with butter and chives, no sour cream and to drink, iced green tea. How did I do?”
“Close enough, that’s exactly what I’ll have,” Colt laughed.
The Joint Expeditionary Force had been in existence for over three years and had completed twenty-four minor missions and seven major ones since its inception. A minor mission was designated as a rescue or assassination and a major mission was an attack on a large hostile force. Going into Ukraine would be their biggest mission to date.
Each member of the force had to go through several interviews and a battery of intensive physical, mental and emotional tests before they were even considered for admittance. A distinguished military record and combat experience were essential, but Colt wanted more than that, he only wanted a special type of person under his command.
They had to be honorable and righteous individuals who were totally committed to the mission and would walk into the gates of hell to defeat evil and willingly lay down their lives to protect their fellow warriors and innocent victims. These were the intangible qualities that elevated and empowered World Vigilantes to overcome any adversary. They were a finely tuned machine of controlled chaos where every part was engineered to fit perfectly with the next.
Two Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft with a payload capacity of 165,000 pounds were already loaded with equipment when the Vigilantes began boarding. The planes traveled 2600 miles before landing at a private airfield in Poland. The specialized equipment was quickly transferred to four Ospreys tilt rotor aircraft while the men boarded 12 more Ospreys. Each aircraft carry could carry 20,000 pounds in equipment or 24 troops.
“We’re two hours ahead of schedule,” Sanger commented.
The 14 aircraft touched down in a secluded area two miles inside the Ukraine border. Fifteen robotics mules were loaded with ammunition, javelin missile launchers and various gear. Each one was capable of carrying a thousand pound payload over rough terrain.
At 0600 hours, Colt called out. “Sniper teams…take the flanks.”
Ten teams carrying Barrett fifty caliber rifles moved out.
“Javelin teams,” Colt radioed, “Showtime.”
Twenty fighters ran over to the robotic mules and each man took a rocket launcher.
Equipped with two explosive charges, Javelin projectiles can pierce the most sophisticatedtanks in the world, and in particular the Russian T-90. (The T-90 is a third-generation Russian main battle tank.)
Winchester turned to Sanger, “Take a squad and scout up ahead.”
“Roger that,” Sanger replied and called out, “Alpha Team with me!”
Twenty minutes later, Sanger radioed in, “We’ve got the convoy in sight.”
“Affirmative,” Colt replied.
“Launch the drones,” Colt ordered.
Five drones took off and headed east.
The sonar cannons mounted on the drones began emitting sound waves when they were over the convoy. At high volumes, infrasound can directly affect the human central nervous system, causing disorientation, anxiety, panic, bowel spasms, nausea, vomiting and eventually organ rupture or even death from prolonged exposure.
Spetsnaz is a Russian term, typically associated with special commando units of Russia. The 5th Spetsnaz Brigade of Belarus was an elite fighting force. They were ruthless and well trained. Putin sent them into Ukraine to create havoc. They greatly outclassed regular Ukrainian soldiers, but they were in for a dose of their medicine when they came up against the World Vigilantes.
Snipers began taking out Russian fighters from their elevated positions on the ridgeline. Russian fighters were staggering about, affected from the sound waves. The Javelin teams destroyed 16 T-90’s throughout the convoy which prevented the other vehicles from retreating or advancing. The main force led by Colt Winchester advanced and engaged the Russian soldiers.
Colt radioed to Sport. “Pass the word not to destroy any more equipment. We’ll give them to the Ukrainians.”
“Roger that.” Sport replied.
After winning this battle, the World Vigilantes withdrew to Chelm, Poland to resupply. According to Jewish folklore, this town, located 15 miles from the Ukraine border was created after God entrusted an angel with a sack full of unwise souls. The legend was not lost on Colonel Colt Winchester who researched everything in detail before leading his men on a mission.
Their next target was the infamous 473rd Counteraction Diversionary Force, the most elite special operations unit in the entire Russian Federation. Colt had crossed paths with them once before in Cameroon, Africa while on a joint mission with the French Foreign Legion. In that brutal and bloody encounter, Colt and his team had to kill every Russian because they would not surrender and fought to the last man and his last breath. He did not expect it to be any different this time, but that was fine with the man whose call sign was ‘Caliber’. He was locked, loaded and was destined by a higher power for this kind of work.
Remember…these are the World Vigilantes we’re talking about so there would be no mercy for the merciless.
– Work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance
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