WATCHER by John F Mullins
John F Mullins
John F Mullins is the man who wrote the Season One SOF episode "La Mano Negra"and in doing so created the character 'Drummer', brought to life by Marshall Teague.
John joined the U.S. Army in 1960, subsequently serving three tours in Vietnam with the Special Forces, initially as a medic and then as a Team Leader and SOG operative after being commissioned in 1964. After retiring in 1981, he has worked as a "for-hire soldier," conducting security and anti-terrorism operations in such places as Bogotá, Beirut, and Belfast among others. He is also both the writer of the story and the actual model (his name and likeness are used) for the Soldier of Fortune and Soldier of Fortune: Double Helix computer games by Activision.
SOLDIER OF FORTUNE, INC.
The following is the property of John F Mullins and MUST NOT be reproduced in whole or in part without his permission under any circumstances.
1. IRAQ, 1990. Captain Shepherd, in charge of the four-man DELTA security force for a Schwartzkopf-looking general, is arguing with the commander of the armored division the general is visiting. Your outer perimeter is too close, he is saying. A good sniper could make the shot. The commander scoffs. Our perimeter is out over a mile and a half. No one can shoot that accurately.
Frustrated, Shepherd instructs his team to maintain absolute alertness.
Moments later he sees a far-off flash, as of optics. Down! he shouts,
the team members throwing themselves on the general, pushing him to
the ground. The armored division commander is angry and scornful, until
the .51 caliber bullet whiffs by his nose and impacts on a tank headlight,
right behind where the generals head was. And we flash forward to:
3. POV riflescope, centering on a point between Albright's eyes.
4. SHEPHERD stiffens, whispers into his mike.
5. ATOP A HOTEL behind the conference Benny Ray swings his rifle, searching through the scope. Sees movement on a hilltop over a mile away. Finger tightens on the trigger of his LONGBOW Lapua .338 Magnum, a long moment, then the finger slackens. He whispers in his mike. Gone.
P.S., the note says. If I see Major Shepherd again, I will kill him. He cheated me of my victory once. Never again.
1. SILVER STAR BAR. Shepherd is briefing the team on the incident, telling them all anyone knows about 'Ursus', a SPETZNAZ product who won his spurs in Afghanistan, going on to perform other 'wet work' assignments throughout the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ursus became a work-for-hire freelancer. His greatest feat was to have been the assassination of the commanding general of the Gulf Forces, for which he was to have been paid ten million dollars. With the failure of that mission he was rumored to have been killed by the Iraqis, no sign of him having been seen until now.
And what has that to do with us? Margo wants to know. Glad you asked. There's one avenue they haven't been down. A project that, due to the embarrassment in the press it would cause, no one within the government will touch. We're going to work with a 'Remote Viewer'. A psychic? You might call him that, Shepherd replies. And the embarrassment to us? Nick wants to know. We don't exist, Shepherd replies. How can we be embarrassed?
2. BEHIND A SUPERMARKET, somewhere in Canada. A man in a hooded
sweatshirt is rummaging through a dumpster, coming up with packages
of expired meat. A supermarket employee accosts him, demands he come
out. The man in the dumpster just looks at him with blue eyes so cold
they seem to suck out the soul. The employee leaves, muttering imprecations.
The rummager continues, the stack of spoiled hamburger in an old shopping
cart growing bigger and bigger.
4. A REMOTE CABIN somewhere in the Canadian woods. The supermarket rummager is now digging holes in the backyard. Into each he places a huge glop of rotten meat. A mangy stray dog wanders in, sniffs hungrily. Without hesitation the rummager whips out a sound-suppressed pistol. There is the sound of a shot, a yelp, and the rummager goes back to digging.
6. BACK TO THE CABIN. Despite its rustic outside appearance, inside it looks like a well-funded lab. A glass fronted refrigerator hums in the corner, filled with Petrie dishes. A figure in a Level III containment suit is spooning material from a can into a container. Closer, and we see that the material is the hamburger, now grown green and slimy. He clicks the container shut, places it into a high-tech centrifuge, flips a switch. The centrifuge starts to whirl, faster and faster . . .
8. A deserted rock quarry, somewhere in the deep woods. Hooded sweatshirt
takes a complicated-looking device from a bag, places it on the ground,
sets a timer, hurries away. A WHAM! and a white flour-like substance
is blown all over the rocks. A rat comes out, sniffs the substance,
twitches suddenly and dies.
1. AT THE SILVER STAR Murphy is leading Margo through the remote
viewer protocol. It is described by some as a waking dream. Margo's
eyes are wide and unfocused as she stares off into the unimaginable
distance. Suddenly her eyes are filled with terror! And we see quick
Shepherd tells them of his own experiences with things that 'just ain't natural'. In DELTA a number of 'New Age' disciplines were tried: Bio-feedback, tuning into signs that were below the subliminal, 'feeling' for adversaries and that he came to the conclusion that some things just can't be explained. Such as how he seems to have some sort of connection with the elusive Ursus, knowing, without any overt sign, of the presence of the assassin on two critical occasions. There is something there. And they are going to use it to find him.
3. BACK IN THE STOREROOM Murphy is once again remote viewing. Now
his images come through, a confusing collage of:
4. IN THE CABIN we focus in on the same sign, affixed to a stainless steel refrigerator. Ursus goes to the refrigerator, takes out a canister, brings it to the table, where he starts wiring it with detonator, a tiny bit of plastique, and a CCD timer.
6. IN THE NORTH WOODS. The heavy whooshing we hear is the labored breathing of the heavily armed and containment-suited team. Using their normal superb tactics they approach the cabin unseen, surround it, and Shepherd, Nick and Benny Ray prepare to do a dynamic entry. Nick takes a quick-peek through a window, comes back down shaking his head. No one inside, but the place is wired for sound. Gonna have to do some render-safe before we go inside.
Shepherd, sensing something wrong, shouts for them to get out. As they are running heavily across the clearing the cabin goes up in a huge blast. Didn't think he'd be leaving all that evidence behind, Shepherd says.
1. A SECURE SITE. Shepherd is on the phone. Hangs up. Guys from Fort Detrick have been over what's left of the site, he tells the team. Seems our friend was cooking up a batch of botox (botulinum toxin). Through Q&A we find out how easy it is to make your own botox using spoiled hamburger and the natural bacteria content of the soil (information readily available on the Internet).
Now what? Almost despite themselves, the team members have been impressed with the accuracy of Murphy's information. Maybe we ought to get him here? He's on his way, Shepherd tells them. But there's a problem.
The viewer is selected by process of elimination. Margo has already
been shown to be too receptive. Shepherd is too close - has some obscure
linkage to the target that is likely to throw him off. Nick seems almost
eager to be the one, which creates a problem in itself. Murphy explains
that Nick has seen too much magic and sleight of hand. Instead of viewing,
he is likely to be trying to see the manipulator behind the curtain.
That leaves only one, extremely reluctant, subject. Benny Ray looks
like he'd rather take a whipping.
Benny Ray looks unconvinced, but game. Okay, Shaman, he tells Murphy. Let's get this show on the road. Murphy starts the first step. You're a diver, right? Imagine that you're floating at about twenty feet in the most calm sea in the world. No need to kick, no need to move, just drift . . .
5. IN THE UTILITIES ROOM of the hotel Ursus pulls the shiny canister from the cart. Beneath the sheets in the cart we see the dead face of the real chambermaid.
Benny Ray struggles back to consciousness, looking agonized. What the hell was that? Some of the same stuff Margo and I saw, Murphy says. Now we're going to have to get more specific.
7. STOCK FOOTAGE of a horde of workers putting the finishing touches on banners, decorations. From the preparations we see that a huge political rally is soon to take place at the hotel.
8. WHILE DOWNSTAIRS Ursus sets the timer on the canister. A red LED starts counting down. Less than twelve hours to go.
2. UTILITY ROOM. A hotel security officer is inspecting the utilities, sees a figure in chambermaid costume. What are you doing here? We see a gloved hand reaching down into the cart, grasping a sound-suppressed pistol.
3. GRAY ROOM. Try this, Murphy is telling Benny Ray. Think of it as a range card. You've done plenty of those: Distances from your position to prominent terrain features, deadspace, azimuths, open areas, danger zones. Draw a range card that includes this target.
Benny Ray, eyes unfocused, picks up a pencil and, though it looks like unconscious doodling on his part, starts drawing extremely precise data on a sheet of paper.
Benny Ray, now entering the zone despite himself (something else that tends to plague remote viewers) sees the crowds, flashes back to the skeletons, back to the crowd cheering someone on the podium, the figure on the dais suddenly blackening ....
Better get there quick, BR says. The van tears through the streets.
5. CUT TO THE CANISTER, where the timer shows less than an hour left.
9. UTILITY ROOM. Nick opens the service cover of the central HVAC system, looks inside, comes out looking very worried. Bioweapon alright, probably just enough explosive inside to disperse it. It'll go through the system, kill everyone on the building. Fail-safes? Dunno. He sticks his head back in.
10. UPSTAIRS Benny Ray is TRACKING, using signals so subliminal there is no way anyone else could have picked them up. Shepherd and Margo follow along, trusting in his judgment.
12. UPSTAIRS Benny Ray sees a man in a security guard's uniform hurrying toward the front door. Lots of people, can't risk a shot. Shepherd splits, hurrying toward a flanking position.
Just before the man gets to the door Shepherd reaches position, pulls his pistol, challenges - Ursus! The assassin turns, smiles. Major Shepherd, somehow I knew you would be here. He opens his coat to reveal another wired canister. In his hand is a dead-man's switch. Release the trigger, either voluntarily or not, and the device will go high order.
Behind them Benny Ray pops a magazine from his pistol, replaces
it with another. Battery, BR asks in his microphone, do you see a battery
anywhere on the device?
Benny Ray takes the shot, the frangible bullet with which he has just loaded his pistol smashing through the dead-man's switch, disrupting the firing circuit before it can send a spurt of electricity to the detonator. The assassin, enraged, reaches for something with his good hand, whereupon Shepherd shoots him dead.
1. OUTSIDE THE SILVER STAR. Trout complains that Benny Ray took a hell of a chance. Shepherd replies, not so much. He knew that, absent another battery, the entire firing circuit had to be within the dead-man's switch. And with frangible ammunition the round was going to disrupt it without collateral damage. Besides, what makes them think Ursus wouldn't have detonated the device anyway?
Margo and Benny Ray, the only two to have undergone the experience,
exchange knowing looks. Don't think so, BR says. You ever have a recurring
nightmare he asks Nick. From the look on Nick's face it is evident that
he has. Just think about that nightmare, BR continues. Except now you
can't wake up. Because it isn't a nightmare - it's real. Want to live
inside that? Didn't think so. And neither do I.
Find out where Mark Scharf wanted to take SOF Season Three.