The author of the Brand Coldstream novels "Going Silent and Silent Crusade"
The winds of September blew fiercely across the desert some two hundred kilometers east of the Saudi Arabian city of Hafar Al-Batin blending the ground and sky into one choking, brown swirling landscape, the fine sand particles blasting and tearing at everything in their path. Saudi Lieutenant-General Hamza Jahlan stood just inside the canvas walls of the tent listening to the wind howl on the other side of the thin fabric, a sour look on his face.
“Colonel Messai, I will not repeat myself. Act now and deploy scouts east and report back on the progress of the Kuwaiti army or step aside and I will find another to take your place. You know damn well our enemy is taking advantage of this storm to move further within our borders.”
“With all due respect Lieutenant-General. The sandstorm is still wreaking havoc with our communications. Sending more men will only add to the problem. We have had no contact with our platoons since the wind and dust moved in and I cannot justify risking the lives of more men. The companies stationed near the border will have to fend for themselves until the storm blows its self out.” The Saudi Colonel stood his ground.
Hundreds of kilometers to the north a similar scenario was playing out near the city of Rafha. The winds blowing north from the Persian Gulf had stirred up the miles of endless sand and seemed to follow the invading Iraqi forces as they closed in on the remote Saudi Arabian city. Calls of desperation began filling the lines of communications at the King Khalid Military City. A substantial amount of men would be needed to withstand the invasion of the once peaceful neighboring country to the north of the Saudi Kingdom.
King Saleh Khalaf paced in front of his military advisors while listening to their reports, occasionally interrupting to further grasp the inconceivable thought of the sudden surge of enemy forces. The seated Princes charged with the defense of the Saudi kingdom each, in turn, notified their king of the dire position the Saudi military now faced.
Prince Rizwan Mdalal avoided eye contact with the Saudi King as he told of the horrors the army encountered along the borders with the advancement of the Kuwaiti ground forces. Several thousand infantry troops were involved in heavy fighting north and east of the cities of Al Jubay and Ad Dammam. The Kuwait army had grouped and surged across the border splitting the troops of Saudi Arabia’s first line of defense. The Kuwaiti’s were moving closer to the eastern city of Hafar Al-Batin.
Next to report was Prince Nassar Rifai, the head of the Saudi air force. Prince Rifai added to the bad news. His men and planes remained grounded as a weeklong storm blew from the coast of the Persian Gulf. The once powerful and feared Saudi Arabian squadron was growing depleted, losing men and planes trying to back up the growing string of attacks on the once oil-rich nation.
“Prince Abboud. Do not add to the dark tone of this meeting. Surely your men are having more success than your fellow ministers,” the King implored.
Prince Omar Abboud, the minister in charge of the formidable Saudi military, shook his head. “No, your highness. We have the men spread too thin and moving troops away to reinforce Prince Mdalal’s forces could have crippling consequences for other regions.”
Last on the list was Prince Taha Majeed, Saudi Arabia’s naval commander. “Like my fellow Princes, I also have my hands full maintaining a clear passage through the Gulf for our oil tankers.”
King Khalaf’s pacing slowed as the military defense of his country started to bend to the many-sided attacks hammering at his door. “Saudi oil must flow without restrictions,” he reminded his naval commander. “A prolonged war will cost us billions of dollars that we will only get from the sale of oil. You take whatever resources you feel are needed and keep the passage free of obstructions.”
King Khalaf sat his weary body down. He looked out from under bushy eyebrows at his deflated and nervous team of military advisors. Never before in the history of the Saudi Kingdom had they faced an assault of this magnitude. For decades the Saudi Arabian military was the most feared in this corner of the world.
Now most of the neighboring countries were fighting for their very survival in a desperate play to capture the dwindling market share of oil revenues. A few other neighboring countries drifted to a different kind of religion and turned their backs on the long tradition of oil production once prominent in the Middle East. The threat of reprisal by the Saudi’s no longer struck fear into the heart of its enemies.
Kuwait, once a staunch ally of the Saudi people, was leading the charge. A new regime had risen to power in the country and backed by promises from Western sources switched from the coveted riches’ of oil to the self-invoked poverty of renewable energy. A mistake they were not willing to admit and now invoked a war against their fellow oil-rich neighbors.
To make matters worse, one-third of the Saudi population consisted of foreign workers who at one time begged for the opportunity to work in the oil fields and collect the riches. Now those very same migrants left the employ of the Saudi people enticed by the empty promises of the Climate Prophet and joined the eco-terrorists in the movement to oust the governing King and the Royal family.
Fighting alongside leagues of anti-oil armies, the Kuwaiti’s laid siege to the much larger country of Iraq leaving towering infernos of oil fires blazing across the Iraqi desert while recruiting displaced foreigners working in that country. The Iraqi people who fought against the invasion died or were forced to march alongside the Kuwait army ransacking their way toward the largest oil producing country in the world.
The leader of the Saudi Kingdom withdrew into his thoughts. Fears that the war would be drawn out sat heavy on his mind. The sale of oil was the primary source of revenue supporting the countries economy. Tourism had declined to dreadful levels with the skyrocketing price of travel. How long now, he worried until the funds were eaten up fighting a multi-fronted war?
Visions of his great Arabic country being pulled backward into 19th-century conditions and the Saudi people roaming the vast desert once again as nomads amongst the ruined cities played behind his eyes.
Special Agent Charles Ryan sat in the confines of his cubicle on the main floor of the FBI Colorado Field Office. Trying to smother a yawn he leafed through a stack of witness statements, separating the papers and then coded them before he sent them off to their final destination. With the back of his hand, he rubbed his eyes before glancing at the clock across the room. 9:30 a.m.
Stifling a bored sigh, he swung out of his chair and headed to the coffee station for yet another cup of coffee. Sipping the hot liquid, Ryan glanced around the cubicle at the other agents bent over computers filing reports and taking phone calls. A cloud of depression settled over him as he thought back to how he became a glorified file clerk with the FBI.
He reminisced about the private office he had occupied only a short few months ago. Once his suspension was lifted, and he returned to the Bureau, documents awaited his signature relieving him of active field duties. Then a promissory contract with the FBI forbidding the pursuit of any of his old cases, the unnamed example was the eco-terrorism investigation he had previously led against the People Of The Earth Foundation. The penalties he faced for disobeying the order were harsh, banishment from the FBI and a minimum of five years in prison.
Ryan tasted his coffee and sorrowfully looked about the room. How many years had he chased the eco-terrorists across the globe? How many nights spent sleeping in hotel rooms instead of his bed? And for what, to end up sitting in a cubicle doing painfully boring research.
A sad smile played at the edge of his lips. Oh well, he conceded. At least he still had his job and company pension. That was a lot more than the average American was experiencing in this new world of clean energy. Any person who still had a decent job was lucky in today's plummeting job market. And his pay remained at the present level, although he had to admit, with the burgeoning energy prices rapidly driving up the cost of living, how much longer even he could stay above the poverty line was now becoming a concern.
Five minutes to five Ryan pushed away from his desk and pulled his suit jacket on timing his walk to the office door and then the elevator that would take him down to the lobby and outside to freedom. Passing through the warren of cubicles that made up the main floor of the FBI bureau office, he kept his head down ignoring the comments from the other agents. Dejected and lonesome he padded across the carpet, his mind focused on his escape route and the welcoming arms of O’Patrick’s bar, a hand full of blocks from his apartment.
Retrieving his cell phone from his pocket, he checked the time then sped up his exit so he would be walking out the building's main doors as the transit bus made its arrival. Another casualty of his demotion, the loss of privileges which included the use of the company car, even if the automobile was the electric model he had come to despise.
Transit pass in hand he burst from the building just in time to see the taillights of his ride disappear down the street. A stream of curses left his lips as he dejectedly walked to the bus bench and grumbled in acceptance of being forced to wait for the next bus.
The emergence of an early dusk mingled with the gloomy skies as Charles Ryan exited the sidewalk for the warmth and comfort of the O’Patrick’s bar. Climbing onto the familiar tall bar stool, he had motioned to the bartender for his usual supper when he glanced up at the mirror behind the shelves of liquor. He did a double take when he noticed the pubs doors open and the unexpected sight of a familiar face.
A solitary figure paused at the back door of the farmhouse and carefully scrutinized the forest only feet from the building. With ears tuned to the late evening sounds, the man cautiously stepped one foot in front of the other as he melded with the darker shadows of the surrounding trees moving wraith-like until several hundred meters had passed.
Satisfied that his trek went undetected, Ex-special forces captain Lev Zhernakov leaned against a stout tree trunk and fished his cigarette package from his shirt pocket. Drawing a deep breath of air mixed with smoke into his lungs the Russian soldier let his eyes and ears search the quiet bush for danger. The glow of the cigarette tip concealed in his cupped hand.
For the previous months, Zhernakov had moved about the Ukrainian countryside as he recuperated from the bombing of the safe house that had claimed the lives of his crew. Healthy and determined the Russian decided to quit tempting fate by remaining in the hostile country and devised a plan to aid in his return to Russia, not that a hero's welcome would be awaiting him when he crossed the border. His mission now was to find the people, who had betrayed him and his men, get answers and then move on. His resurgence in the motherland would not be welcomed by all, of that he had no doubt.
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.