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Authors: Donald E. Zlotnik

Court Martial

BOOK: Court Martial
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“WE HAD SET UP A CLAYMORE AMBUSH…”

“Please continue,” the lawyer prodded the black soldier. “Remember why you are here today.”

“We were just about ready to break down the ambush when this black soldier just walks out of the jungle.”

“Can you identify this black soldier? Is he in this room?” Heller’s voice was commanding.

“Yes, sir.”

“Please point him out to the members of the Board.”

Barker slowly raised his hand and pointed directly at James. The soldier’s finger shook but he held his arm up and spoke.
“It was him.”

“Are you sure?” Heller needed a positive identification.

“Absolutely… he talked to me and told me to take off after he had shot my squad leader in the back of the head and two more
of my squad.” The black soldier stood up and his voice rose. “What do you think I am!” He was yelling at James. “They were
my
buddies!”

James sprang to his feet. “They were devilbeasts!”

Barker’s voice rose to a scream. “You’re the devil!”

“You’re
dead!
Do you hear me!
Dead!”

ALSO BY DONALD E. ZLOTNIK

Survivor of Nam #1: Baptism

Survivor of Nam #2: P.O.W.

Survivor of Nam #3: Black Market

Published by
POPULAR LIBRARY

Copyright

POPULAR LIBRARY EDITION

Copyright © 1988 by Warner Books, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Popular Library® and the fanciful P design are registered trademarks of Warner Books, Inc.

Publisher Library books are published by

Warner Books, Inc.

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at
www.HachetteBookGroup.com

First eBook Edition: September 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-56680-3

Contents

“WE HAD SET UP A CLAYMORE AMBUSH…”

ALSO BY DONALD E. ZLOTNIK

Copyright

CHAPTER ONE: The Devilbeasts

CHAPTER TWO: Recon Reunion

CHAPTER THREE: Secrets

CHAPTER FOUR: Montagnards

CHAPTER FIVE: A Gathering of Warriors

CHAPTER SIX: The Rose Garden

CHAPTER SEVEN: Court-Martial

CHAPTER EIGHT: Cold Teeth

CHAPTER NINE: Sharp Teeth

DEATH COMES HOME

Hello Spence!

I hope you’re getting better. We were beginning to worry there for a while.

The war is still going on. I miss having you watch my rear.

I hear that you’ve won the Big On & Congratulations, I know you’ve earned it.

Well, Spence, the war calls.

David

CHAPTER ONE
The Devilbeasts

She hunted by touch in the early morning darkness. A small Ord’s kangaroo rat held a sunflower seed between its paws and nibbled
cautiously while it squatted close to the base of the tall plant. She walked slowly in the loose gravel that bordered the
hot asphalt road, stopping often to touch dead insects with her pedipalps before continuing on her journey. She preferred
live prey.

The rat twitched its tail and nervously took another bite from the seed. The darkness prevented the kangaroo rat from seeing
her approach, but the small mammal sensed danger. She brushed against the edge of the asphalt and quickly moved away from
the heat. The surface of the semiarid desert highway reached 150 degrees during the day and would cool down enough during
the evening to attract rattlesnakes. She didn’t like the sudden change in surface temperatures and stayed on the gravel near
the low tumbleweeds and sunflowers.

The kangaroo rat finished the sunflower seed it had been eating and reached over for another one on the ground nearby just
as her right pedipalp touched the brush end of its tail. The instinctive reactions from both the kangaroo rat and the four-inch
desert tarantula were instantaneous. The tarantula jumped

“Pull over at that rest stop so I can take a piss.” The passenger in the car pointed.

“I can use a stretch.” The driver eased the car off the road and around the orange barrels that blocked the portion of the
entrance waiting to be paved. “It doesn’t look like it’s open yet.”

“Just pull over so I can piss.”

The driver stopped the car but left the engine running so that the interior would stay cool from the air conditioner. He stretched
and felt his muscles loosen. Years of weight lifting and kick boxing had given him a heavy layer of muscles over his large
frame. He was a big man by anybody’s standards, but so was his partner.

“I’m going to take a little walk and loosen up a bit.... It would be nice if they would design cars for
men.”

The passenger ignored the comment and tried directing his stream of urine so that it would hit a small lizard that was dozing
on a nearby rock. He missed by only a couple of inches but a fine spray hit the reptile and it went scurrying off over the
sand. The man smiled.

“Fuck! Come here and look at this!” the driver yelled over his shoulder from fifty feet away.

The reaction from his partner was initially centered around alarm and he reached under his loose-fitting jacket and touched
the handle of his pistol before realizing that the driver was waving to indicate that he had found something.

“What the fuck do you want?”

“Open the car trunk and get me a box or sack—quick!”

“How do you open the trunk?”

The driver started running back to the car. “You’ve got to be the dumbest nigger in Los Angeles!”

“Watch who you’re calling a nigger… motherfucker!”

The driver ignored his partner and reached into the glove compartment and pushed the button that opened the electric trunk.
He ran around to the rear of the vehicle and saw that it was empty except for their small suitcases. “Shit!”

“What are you looking for?” The passenger lit another cigarette and watched.

The driver didn’t answer. He saw a small box that contained a set of tire chains and dumped out the contents. “What the fuck
do they need snow chains for in California?” The driver held one part of the chain box in his left hand and the top portion
of the box in his right hand as he ran back to where he had been standing. The passenger became curious and followed him.

The male tarantula had convinced the female and they were mating when the driver returned to the slab of concrete where the
two large spiders were locked together.

“Man!
What the fuck are those things?” The passenger took a step backward and pointed with the glowing tip of his cigarette.

“Tarantulas.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Catch them…”

“You crazy, man!”

“The minister for leadership in Detroit will like them. They’ll make a nice present....” The driver held the bottom half of
the chain box on its side near the mating tarantulas and used the top of the box to scoop them up. He slipped the heavy cardboard
top over the bottom half and heard the large spiders bump against the sides, trying to escape. The darkness inside the box
calmed the large arachnids once the driver had placed the box in the trunk and punched a couple of air holes in the top.

“You going to give the minister…
spiders
for a present?” The passenger looked scared.

“He likes that kind of stuff… but first we’ve got some work to do.” The driver nodded and they got back into the car.

The olive drab military sedan was parked in front of the gate leading into the Federal Correction Facility at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas. The rear doors of the vehicle were open and the driver stood next to the closed gate holding a riot shotgun with its
butt on his hip and its barrel pointed up in the air. The driver was bored. He had been waiting for over an hour for the interior
guards to deliver the prisoner so that he could drive them over to the airstrip.

A door opened on the side of the long building and a captain accompanied by two military policemen exited the narrow doorway
followed by a single prisoner wearing unironed military fatigues and lightweight waist and leg chains. A single MP carrying
a shotgun brought up the rear of the routine prisoner-transfer procession.

The military policeman waiting by the main gate sighed when he saw the prisoner exit the building. He wanted to get the detail
over with so that he could pick up his girlfriend and spend the afternoon water skiing on Perry Lake. He lowered his shotgun
and looked up at the tower; the guard on duty there had his back toward him and it looked like he was dancing with himself.
The MP driver pushed the buzzer switch that was mounted on the fence next to the gate.

The duty MP in the tower heard the sound of the buzzer over the music that was blaring in his ears from his Sony Walkman.
He pulled off the headset and looked down at the gate and smiled when he saw that it was only an enlisted MP. He had been
warned by the captain that if he was caught again listening to music while he was on duty, he would be given an Article 15.

The tower guard reached over and pushed the intercom switch. “Yeah?”

“The captain is bringing out that motherfucking traitor.” The driver nodded back toward the administration wing of the prison.

The tower guard turned so that he could look back down the long sidewalk. “Thanks, man…”

“You’re not listening to your tape player again, are you?” The detail driver’s voice was filled with resignation. “What’s
it going to take for you to learn a fucking lesson?”

“It’s
boring
up here!” The young MP could hear the music coming from the headset hanging around his neck and did a quick dance step. “I
can’t handle it without something to pass the time away!”

“Well, you’d better hide that headset or the captain will nail your ass!”

“Can you see it from down there?”

“I wouldn’t have told you to hide it if I couldn’t!” The MP driver looked over at his sedan to make sure that it was parked
in the right spot and everything was set up according to regulations. He didn’t want the captain to ride his ass. “And you’d
better get your ass out on the catwalk before he gets here! Damn, man! You’d better start waking up or the captain will transfer
your skinny ass over to maximum security for duty, where the guards suffer
more
than the prisoners!”

The MP driver made sense. The tower guard released the talk button, hurried to hide his Walkman, and removed his M-16 from
its rack. He looked over at his ammunition belt and decided that he had better put the damn thing on or the captain would
ride his ass. The heat outside the air-conditioned tower would already be up to the sweating level even though it was still
early in the morning. He opened one of his ammo pouches and removed one of the twenty-round magazines. Regulations didn’t
allow for a magazine to be inserted into a weapon unless there was probable cause for that kind of precaution. He looked over
at the approaching officer and decided to break up the boredom by inserting a magazine into his M-16, then he smiled to himself
and pulled back the charging handle, chambering a round. He felt the excitement growing and flipped off the safety switch
using his thumb. His M-16 was fully loaded and ready to fire at the slightest pull from his index finger. He felt the adrenaline
rushing to his head as he placed the butt end of his rifle on his right hip and walked around the catwalk until he was standing
directly over the fence. A weatherproofed switch had been installed on the railing so that the tower guard could ensure that
the area surrounding the gate was clear before opening it for visitors or for exiting prisoners.

The two black military policemen stepped out from behind the building a hundred meters away from the fence. They had been
waiting since dawn for the prisoner to be moved out to the waiting military sedan. The driver of the canary-yellow Cadillac
glanced over at his partner, who was dressed in an identical set of military fatigues, and smiled. He reached over with his
right hand and adjusted his black armband with the large white MP letters and then started walking fast to intersect the prisoner
party before they reached the waiting sedan. Only a very close inspection of the two black MPs would reveal that they carried
fourteen-round Browning 9mm pistols in their government-issue holsters instead of the U.S. Army .45s that they were supposed
to carry; everything else about their uniforms was perfect.

BOOK: Court Martial
13.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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