Special Forces/Films/Theatre/Soldier of Fortune/Television/Internet/Biography/Links/Contact/Dish of the Day
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.



Story Outline
3rd Draft
John F. Mullins
Registered WGAW

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:

2. BOSNIA - present day. An outdoor press conference. Secretary of State Albright is answering questions on the newest peace initiative in Kosovo. Off to the side are Shepherd and Trout. Shepherd is anxiously scanning the crowd, then the far-off hills, while arguing with Trout. You ask me to come here and help you, he is saying, and then you don't listen. I've seen this before. . .

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.

6. SHEPHERD, BENNY RAY & TROUT are inspecting the sniper's nest Shepherd spotted. Trout puts on rubber glove, picks up note. You see what I could have done, note says. Put twenty-five million dollars in a Swiss account, or the next time I will. Signed, Ursus.

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.

The government is taking the threat very seriously, Shepherd tells them. Though a specialist with the long gun, Ursus has also been known to use explosives, poisons, knives, and his own bare hands. Intelligence and police agencies throughout the world are on the lookout, but no sign has been seen.

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.

3. AT THE SILVER STAR, Trout brings in Murphy, who instead of the ethereal psychic everyone expects, is a solidly-built former Warrant Officer. First name - Murphy. Last name - Just Murphy. Nick makes a sarcastic comment, whereupon Murphy cuts him down to size. Doesn't matter what you believe, or you don't believe. I've got my orders, and you've got yours.

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.

5. BACK AT THE SILVER STAR Trout is telling the still-doubtful team about the Remote Viewer program, a real project conducted by USG for twenty years. Originally established to counter a similar, but much larger operation conducted by the Soviets, the program had a number of successes, but became a casualty of the post cold war cutbacks. He sees that they are still going to take some convincing, tells them about how a remote viewer was the first one to get a look at the new Typhoon-class Soviet boomer, and the instance in which a downed Soviet Tu-22 bomber was pinpointed in a river in Africa by yet another watcher. If they're so good, Benny Ray says, why did we need the CIA? Good question. It boils down to the near-impossibility of verification of much of the information. Was the watcher actually seeing the contents of a coded telegram, for instance, or was it something he or she had seen once in a movie? Repressed memories were the bane of the program. Benny Ray is clearly unconvinced. Nick looks intrigued, Margo is non-committal, and Shepherd is close-mouthed. Something going on here, but we don't yet know what.

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 . . .

7. AT THE SILVER STAR, in a storeroom fitted out with a battered couch, Murphy comes up from a session, holding his skull. My head is spinning, he complains. Getting a lot of garbage. Margo, who has been watching, wants to know about the process. No crystal ball stuff here, he tells her. The process has been refined by years of experimentation, goes in several ever-deeper and more detailed stages. How does it work? The Russians think that the brain responds to ultra-low-frequency radio waves, he tells her, So low-frequency that until recently they couldn't be measured by conventional means. Now the government is experimenting with them to see if they could be modified to communicate with traditionally hard to reach units, such as submarines. So, theoretically, anyone could do it, since the waves aren't going to discriminate between people, Margo says. Sure, Murphy tells her, but just as you have to tune a radio to receive a station, so have you to tune the brain. Want to try it?

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.

ON SWEATSHIRT, whom we now see is wearing a gas mask. He walks away. Behind him a bird drops from the sky.


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 cuts of:
People dying in agony, twitching and drooling,
Empty streets, the wind blowing trash around abandoned cars
A green cloud, seemingly evil personified, coming toward her, and
she comes up screaming. Nick and Benny Ray come bursting in the room, ready for trouble. Nick leads her out, while Benny Ray demands to know what was going on, looking ready to rip Murphy's head off. Murphy is unapologetic. Some people, he tells BR, are just too receptive.

2. CONFRONTATION SCENE with Shepherd. The team wants no part of this. Some argue that 'it just ain't natural', others that they're wasting their time. Brave Margo, who can stand her own in a roomful of armed adversaries, has been shaken to the core by her experience. Shepherd is adamant that they'll continue, whereupon Nick demands to know what's really going on.

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:
Saddam Hussein being cheered by the masses, and;
Men in protective suits loading something into missiles
A fuzzy sign in the distance, becoming clearer and clearer until it resolves into the international sign for biohazard, but

Now the images fade, replaced by an idyllic forest scene - birds singing, foxes playing - then all is sudden silence.
Murphy comes up, looking ready to fight. For a moment he sits there, then anger is replaced by a look of pain. He massages his left arm, shakes his head in sadness, gets up to look for the team. His walk is unsteady.

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.

5. A NEW ARRIVAL at the Silver Star. At Shepherd's behest, Trout has sent Deke. Shepherd quickly briefs him, asks him to check his sources, determine patterns of buying of certain specialized pieces of equipment, buying that doesn't match the needs of legitimate users. Deke quickly works his magic on computer and phone, within hours coming up with three possibles. Two are in urban areas. Only one matches Murphy's woods scene. Deke has also come up with equipment they'll need, now coming in a steady stream of deliveries, and with a long-range helicopter that will soon be landing on the beach. Mind if I come along he asks Shepherd. The Major acquiesces.

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.

7. A SERIES OF CUTS inside the cabin as Nick and Deke slowly, painstakingly disarm a whole panoply of devices. Finally it is done. The team inspects, looking for clues as to the occupant's whereabouts. Shepherd opens the refrigerator, sees a number of canisters sitting on a shelf. He picks one up, whereupon they all hear a click and brace themselves for an explosion. Instead the t.v. in the corner comes on. Ursus, face obscured so that all we can see is the cold blue eyes, compliments Shepherd, calling him a worthy adversary, and that it is too bad they couldn't have met on the battlefield somewhere. Raises the ante to fifty million dollars. Or not one, but many, will die. They can readily see what he can do.

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.

2. A LUXURY HOTEL. Someone is pushing a chambermaid's cart. A quick flash, and we see the cold blue eyes. The maid takes the service elevator, down into the bowels of the hotel.

3. MURPHY ARRIVES at the secure site. The team is shocked to see his appearance; aged all out of proportion to the time passed. Heart, he explains curtly. Not many remote viewers live to a ripe old age. Something about the process seems to take its toll on their bodies. And therein lies the problem. Another intensive session will likely kill him. Someone else is going to have to do the viewing, with him as the monitor.

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.

4. IN A GRAY-PAINTED ROOM, no distractions to catch the eye, Murphy is explaining the process in language a practical man like BR can understand. Ever had the itchy feeling you're in someone's crosshairs? Or that you just know a bad guy is going to be in the next room? When you hunt for game, do you instinctively know where to go? What do you call that? Sixth sense, right? It's what has made you the superior operator you are, and a survivor when men just as skilled as you have gone to unmarked graves throughout the world.

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.

6. BENNY RAY is under. He looks disturbed, even agonized, as we smash cut to:
An extensive technical system - wiring diagram?
Something crawling, flowing - teeth but not teeth
People laughing, cheering
But suddenly their faces turn to skulls

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.


1. OUTSIDE THE GRAY ROOM. Benny Ray, who still looks shaken, is being quizzed by Nick. What's it like? Like the worst nightmare you ever had, BR replies. Except you know it's not a nightmare, but real, and you can't wake up. Murphy summons him back into the room. It looks like he's going to the principal's office.

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.

4. IN A VAN the team is looking for the place Benny Ray drew. Azimuths and distances from such landmarks as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral make it easy. Deke is consulting a laptop, comes up looking worried. They're holding a major fundraiser there today, he says. Practically everyone in the administration will be there.

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.

6. AT THE HOTEL, where they run into massive security, refused permission to enter by a Secret Service-type. No time for anything fancy. Around the back of the building Deke fashions a linear shaped charge from the store of explosives he keeps in the van, while Nick and BR buy an old mattress from a startled homeless man in an alley nearby. The cover the charge with the mattress, back the van against it to secure it, a muffled WHOOM! and when the van is pulled away there is a neat man-sized hole in the concrete.

8. INSIDE, and they split up. Nick and Deke head downstairs, reasoning that Ursus would have put a biological weapon where it would do the most good. Shepherd, BR and Margo start the search for Ursus.

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.

11. INSIDE THE DUCT we see Nick studying the device. No tremblers, he is mumbling, no mousetraps, pure and simple CCD timer. Must not have expected us to find it. He withdraws. Any suggestions, he questions Deke, who smiles rummages in his bag of tricks, comes out with a canister. Nick goes back inside, starts spraying the timer with liquid nitrogen. As the frost forms the timer slows, then stops. He quickly disconnects it, as;

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?

Ursus is raving about how he's been cheated. Demanding a helicopter, a hundred million dollars, hostages. Shepherd tells him no way. Slowly nods his head.

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?

2. INSIDE Nick is chaffing Benny Ray. Now, he says, I guess we won't have to gather any intel. Put you into a trance, Medicine Man, and we'll just go in and mop up in the aftermath. By the way, any tips on lottery numbers?

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.
Special Forces/Films/Theatre/Soldier of Fortune/Television/Internet/Biography/Links/Contact/Dish of the Day