By Roger Vallon


Vallon


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KILL FACTOR: DEATH STRIKE—CHAPTER ONE: ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Keflavik, Iceland
Wednesday, 0700 Hours

They were just west of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, a stone’s throw from the international airport. The darkness was slowly lifting, giving way to sunrise, which meant they had only a few minutes more. The private military company, a hire of the newly formed Kill Factor Organization operating out of Beijing, was given the collective call sign KF 1-3. Their target was the modest building they were moving toward. The five-man team had breached the perimeter fencing easily, without triggering floodlights or alarms, and they were creeping across the grounds undetected.

Captain Munna, the unit commander, a stocky ex-soldier in black fatigues, raised his hand and gave the signal to move toward the rear door in two stages. The team split into groups of two and three, and the first team of two men moved in, ducking below low windows and maneuvering around metal containers that lined the wall. When the first two men came to the door, they found it ajar. One of them signaled to the commander, who moved toward them. Captain Munna crouched by the open door and pushed the barrel of his weapon through. He pushed his night vision goggles down over his eyes and saw, via the greenish imaging, that the building was empty.

Captain Munna stood to his feet and walked into the cavernous space, looking up and around. “All clear,” he said.

The four men behind him walked into the building and lowered their own night vision goggles over their eyes, craning their necks to look around the empty building.

“What in the name of Saint Mary?” one of Munna’s men muttered.

“Seems Redrum closed this facility ahead of our arrival, gentlemen,” Munna said. “This was a wasted trip.”

Two unit members cursed under their breaths, and one of them caught Munna’s eye.

“Call it in, Rayburn,” said Munna, as he walked through the door.

Rayburn followed him out and did as instructed, lifting his goggles as he commenced a video transmission to the headquarters in Beijing. “KF 1-3 to KF Actual.”

The face of a pretty Asian woman appeared on the screen of Rayburn’s 5-inch handheld. It was Kill Factor’s field ops coordinator, a Taiwanese woman named Kaitlin Liao. “Go, KF 1-3,” the young woman said.

“Call sign KF 1-3 egressing target area.”

Kaitlin’s brows pinched together. “Egressing? Any enemies confirmed?”

“Negative. Elvis has left the building. Completely empty when we got here.”

Captain Munna stopped and turned to Rayburn. “Tell her I want to speak to McGee.”

Before Rayburn could relay the message, the young woman said, “You know where to reach him, Captain. After you brief him, we expect a full report. Transmit it through the usual channels within twenty-four hours. KF Actual out.”

Rayburn’s screen went black.

 

The jeep was taking handgun fire from a black SUV as it charged through the dusty streets of Hacipasa, a small farming town in Mediterranean Turkey. As bullets whizzed past the second PMC unit contracted by Kill Factor, two unit members returned fire from short-barreled rifles. Several rounds pinged against the closed liftgate of the SUV, while several others blew out the rear glass and struck two of the agents inside. The gunfire stopped.

The SUV was carrying three Redrum agents who had been seen fleeing a large farm just outside of town. Two unit members stayed behind to search the area, and they had relayed to the jeep unit, via radio, that the Redrum facility in Turkey was an underground bunker, completely empty. When the PMC jeep had drawn near to the area, the Redrum agents were seen loading green canisters into their vehicle before they fled, and the PMC, call sign KF 2-6, immediately gave chase. Now the Redrum agents were trying to cross the border into Syria, but the PMC wasn’t about to let that happen.

They were close to an area known for deadly border disputes between Syrian forces and rebels in Azmarin, and intermittent pops of gunfire sounded in the distance.

“Get closer to them, Dempsey,” said one of the riflemen, who rode shotgun with his weapon trained on the SUV. “But pull to the left a little, so I can get a clear shot at the rear tire.”

Dempsey stepped on the gas and drew closer to the SUV, pulling just left of it. A burst of rounds went off, and the tire popped, causing the rear of the SUV to dip before it swerved and careened into a tree. The driver of the PMC jeep pulled to a stop, and the unit members hopped out, weapons aimed at the SUV. Smoke rose from its hood, and the driver was slumped forward, his head resting on the wheel. When the PMC unit reached the van, they could see a wounded agent in the back seat unscrewing one of the canisters.

A PMC rifleman shouted, “Hands where I can see them. Drop the—”

It was too late. A massive explosion ripped through the SUV and threw the bodies of the PMC unit members into the air. The scene was one of chaos and carnage, and the smell of seared flesh and burning fuel filled the air.