Authors: D. W. Ulsterman
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #War
MAC WALKER’S BENGHAZI
THE COMPLETE EDITION
Other books available by D.W. Ulsterman:
(Sequel to Mac Walker’s Benghazi)
-THE SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION: Book One
-THE SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION:
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
-Psalm 91: A soldier’s prayer
Walker. Go ahead.”
The call had come in on Mac’s shadow cell. That meant work, which was a good thing because he was getting low on cash. His crew hadn’t had a decent paying job since those three days in Albania, and that was almost four months ago. The economy was shit – and that shit was raining down on him and his crew just like it was everybody else.
“Hey Mac, this is Tilley. We have a program set up for you in Benghazi - at least two weeks worth. Interested?”
Ray Tilley had been Mac’s primary mission securement contact for the last few years. They had known each other since the both of them were working out of the government’s Project Icon program. Tilley brought Mac tough work, but that was the work that paid. Whatever they wanted done in Benghazi was going to be a pain in the ass – and that was the kind of job Mac loved.
“What’s it pay Tilley?”
Tilley paused, leaving Mac’s question unanswered.
“Tilley – you there? What’s it pay?”
“Standard pay Mac – a thousand per day, plus expenses, which have already been estimated just north of thirty thousand.”
Now it was Mac’s turn to pause as he quickly did the calculations in his head. A thousand per day for two weeks would be $14,000 for himself and each of his men, plus the ten percent they were normally able to hold back for themselves from the expenses allotment.
For work in Libya, which at that time was possibly the single most fucked up part of the world, Mac decided the amount wasn’t enough. He also figured Tilley already knew that.
“This isn’t a standard mission Tilley. You said Libya, right? The place is crawling with the jihadists, there’s got to be some Russians running around there trying to clean up all the evidence of the weapons dealings, or smuggling those weapons into Syria, the Saudis will have their people working the oil claims…we’re talking some real serious shit going down over there. Plus, you know with this administration, however bad we think it is, it’s gonna be worse.”
Mac could hear Tilley shaking his head.
“Things are tight Mac – you know that. Our budget ain’t what it used to---“
Mac cut him off. He knew Tilley needed him. Now it was just a matter of how much he was willing to pay.
“Fifteen hundred per, and I need payment for a forty eight hour prep, and a twenty four hour debrief – and at least forty thousand for expenses. So that’s seventeen days total. I want those days guaranteed Tilley. No pushing us out before we’re done. That works out to $25,500 for each of us, plus expenses. You provide the transport, the safe house, and the mission specs, and we take it from there.
That’s the deal Tilley. You know we’re the best. You want it done right – you have to pay right.”
Mac waited for Tilley’s approval. He knew fifteen hundred per day was pushing it, but he needed the money. They all did.
“Let me get back to you Mac. I’m gonna need the ok from Mardian. Give me an hour.”
Stephen Mardian was the direct contact to the Senator Foreign Affairs Office, which in turn housed the shadow committee that hired people like Mac Walker to do things that needed to remain “off the books”. Mardian was a sniveling, self-righteous and infuriatingly pompous asshole who Mac had never liked, and trusted less. That said, he had final approval of the operational budgets. It was for that reason and that reason alone that Mardian remained a necessary evil in Mac’s ongoing work as a hired gun for the American government.
“That’s fine Tilley. I’ll be here.”
Tilley’s return call arrived in less than ten minutes.
“Ok Mac – you got the job. Your price. Mardian wants a sit down on this one though before you go. No exception.”
In his head, Mac was screaming. A pre-mission sit down with Mardian was, thankfully, a rare thing. In fact, it had only happened twice in the last three years. Stephen Mardian generally thought himself to be above the fray – or at the very least, well beyond having to share the same room with the likes of Mac Walker.
“When does he want the sit down Tilley?”
“Tonight – 9:30 in the cellar.”
The cellar was what Mac and Tilley called Mardian’s place of business. A simple red-bricked three story office building near the 19
and G intersection the Mardian family had owned for nearly fifty years – the kind of old money power the D.C. politicians loved to rub elbows with. Mac had never been allowed to walk through the front door of the building though, and certainly was never invited during regular business hours. No, for people like him, the cellar was a “come in the back and see you downstairs” affair. In Mardian’s eyes, Mac was the help – nothing more, and barely tolerated help at that.
Mac was about to end the call when he heard Tilley say something.
“Say again Tilley – I didn’t have the phone to my ear.”
“I need you to play nice this time Mac. I know you don’t like Mardian. I don’t either, but he’s the link to the funding. He could move these operations to someone else. In fact, he already has here and there, so…just sit and listen. I’m sure the meeting will be brief.”
Mac rolled his eyes – he hated playing politics with assholes like Mardian. All he wanted was a loaded weapon, a designated target, and payment for a job done right.
“Got it Tilley. Just smile and nod. As long as you keep it brief, I should be able to play dumb for at least ten minutes. After that…no guarantees. And if he starts quoting Shakespeare to me, I’ll fucking kill him.”
Mac arrived at the back entrance to the cellar five minutes ahead of schedule. He parked his rented white sedan three blocks from the address and then walked, scanning the streets for any signs he was being followed. Having satisfied himself that he wasn’t being surveilled, Mac quickened his pace as he entered the narrow alley that ran directly behind the Mardian building.
The former Navy SEAL saw the posted security detail well before they saw him. They were two large men, each of them no older than forty, dressed in matching navy blue suits with white shirts, well polished dark shoes, and red ties. They were Mardian’s men – Tilley didn’t hire out for security. He was more than capable of taking care of himself.
The taller of the two men stepped toward Mac as he revealed his right hand holding a simple Glock 21. Mac thought to himself how cheap Mardian must be to have his own security detail armed with such a basic weapon. Not that he had anything against the Glock, it was just so damn obvious – a cliché. Mac had long used his SEAL days SIG MK25 P226 that he had customized years ago to enhance its rapid fire capabilities. Watching the first, and then the second man move toward him, Mac was absolutely confident he could drop both of them before they fired a single shot.
“Sir, need you to stop there please.”
Mac held his hands out to his sides, his palms facing the security detail.
“I’m here to see Tilley, downstairs. Have a 9:30.”
The shorter man spoke into his left shirtsleeve while holding a hand to his right ear. Very Secret Service like, but without the actual training. Mac was laughing inside. These two were complete clowns. Clearly from some private security firm that was more interested in having their personnel look like they knew what they were doing, without actually knowing what they were doing. All show. In a real situation, that kind of style over substance gets people killed.
The taller man stood directly in front of Mac and looked him up and down.
“What’s your name sir?”
Mac stared back into the taller man’s eyes.
The other member of the security detail nodded to himself as he listened to his ear piece.
“Ok – he’s approved. Let him through.”
Mac offered both men a thin smile as he walked past them, pulling on the simple and surprisingly heavy red painted metal door that marked the entrance to the cellar. Just inside the doorway was another metal door to the left, and a dimly-list stairwell that led downward. Mac took the stairs.
Exactly twenty two steps later he faced someone Mac initially believed to be another member of Mardian’s security team. This first impression quickly faded though as Mac realized the short, dark skinned, balding man looking back at him with well practiced, casual ease, was a far more capable and dangerous figure than either of the two men outside. This man wore a simple white, short sleeved dress shirt and blue jeans with tennis shoes. He was no more than five foot six, nearly a half foot shorter than Mac, and looked to be not quite sixty, making him some ten years older than Mac Walker.
Whoever the man was – he was a killer.
“Hello Mr. Walker. My name is Nigel. I need you to leave your sidearm here with me before allowing you inside.”
Though the man’s appearance suggested Middle Eastern descent, his accent was unmistakably British.
“And who are you with?”
Nigel’s eyes glanced to Mac’s upper left chest, where his handgun was holstered inside of his light grey and loose fitting military style jacket.
“Your firearm please, Mr. Walker. You can ask further questions once you are inside.”
Mac removed his P226 and handed it to Nigel.
“Thank you Mr. Walker – as you already know, it’s right through this door.”
Nigel pointed to the entrance into the cellar, a thick, wooden, six panel door that had likely been part of the building’s original construction decades earlier. Mac took the few steps to the door and pushed against the heavy, age-darkened brass handle, and walked inside.
The cellar’s interior remained as Mac had last seen it. The unadorned walls were painted an off white, the entire twenty by twenty room illuminated by a single bulb that hung from the short ceiling. At the far end of the room was a simple oak desk, behind which sat Stephen Mardian. Tilley occupied a leather bound chair to the right of the desk, while a woman sat in a matching chair on the desk’s left.
As he looked at the woman, the normally insistent and prevailing disdain Mac felt any time he saw Mardian, was quickly forgotten. The woman, whoever she might be, was incredibly beautiful. Mac Walker believed such beauty was always deserving of his full attention.
Tilley quickly rose from his seat as Mac entered the room, as did the woman. Mardian remained seated, his eyes hungrily scanning the woman’s backside as she turned to face Mac.
“Hello Mac, I’d like to introduce you to Dasha Al Marri. She works with the United Nations.
The woman nodded her head at Mac, her large dark eyes appearing friendly, though guarded. She wore a long, light grey Gucci skirt, black belt, and matching black turtleneck. Mac didn’t know what brand her high heeled shoes were, but they looked expensive. The woman clearly had money, and lots of it.
As Mac extended his right hand to shake hers, he continued to take in her impressive appearance. Likely in her thirties, with very thick dark black hair that she held back in a tight and professional looking bun, and flawless skin that complimented the high cheekbones of her face, Dasha Al Marri was possibly the most beautiful woman Mac had met. Given the three inch heels of her shoes, which made her almost as tall as him, Mac estimated her height to be five foot seven. He quickly noted no rings on her fingers, giving Mac hope that she was single. Mac Walker wasn’t interested in a wife, but he was always interested in sharing a good time with a quality woman, and the one who stood in front of him now certainly represented that.
“It is nice to meet you Mr. Walker. I am looking forward to our doing some business together.”
Her accent was similar to Nigel’s – she must have spent considerable time in London.
“Nice to meet you as well Ms. Al Marri.”
The woman’s face broke into a wide and friendly smile, exposing perfectly proportioned white teeth.
“Please, you can simply call me Dasha.”
Mardian had finally stood up from his chair and looked across the desk back at Mac, his deep set eyes and perpetually frowning mouth making him appear as dumb as Mac remembered.