The Rescue by Steven Konkoly Read Online (FREE)
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Ryan Decker wiped the perspiration from his face with a damp, threadbare hand towel. A futile gesture he’d repeat again in a few moments. The temperature inside the dank motel room pushed ninety degrees, the rattling air conditioner unable to keep up with the extra demand imposed by his teammates and a table packed with overtaxed computer towers.
Luckily for him, the two-day stay at La Jacinta Inn was rapidly approaching an end. Barring any unforeseen difficulties, they should be packing up within ten minutes. Gone in less than twenty.
“GHOST just crossed phase line Charlie,” said Brad Pierce, the team’s second-in-command.
“Tell them they need to pick up the pace,” said Decker. “SPECTER crossed Charlie a minute ago.”
“They know what they’re doing.”
“I know,” said Decker, confirming GHOST’s position on the flat-screen monitor.
GHOST, a five-man team of seasoned hostage-rescue operators, had the tougher approach, crossing several hills and ravines from their drop-off point north of the target house. The thicker scrub and occasional tree in the hills would camouflage their approach and allow them to nestle in closer to the Bratva “distribution center” than SPECTER, which would have to cross nearly a hundred yards of flat, sandy ground to reach the house.
SPECTER was the direct-action assault team, assigned to clear a path immediately outside and then inside the target structure for GHOST. Comprised of six former SWAT and Special Forces operators, they would arrive from the south and split into two groups of three, to enter the house from opposite sides. GHOST would closely follow whichever team encountered the least resistance and execute the hostage-rescue phase of the operation.
Decker had outsourced the hostage-rescue team from an exclusive word-of-mouth-only group that specialized in “actively opposed asset recoveries.” His in-house hostage-rescue team was top-notch, but the men and women he’d hired for this mission were the absolute best in the business. You didn’t cut corners with the life of an influential US senator’s daughter on the line.
Deborah Payne, his lead tactical operations coordinator, spoke without moving her eyes from the screen. “SPECTER reports no obvious movement in the house. All dark.”
“Thermal imaging?” said Decker.
He didn’t like that. A few guards would be active, even at two in the morning, especially given what the long-range surveillance team had confirmed earlier in the day. Fifteen children and teenagers had been moved into the house during the morning. Decker had planned to move on the location last night—but when he learned that more kids were on the way, he delayed the mission by twenty-four hours. He couldn’t leave these children in the hands of the Russian mob.
The isolated Riverside County compound served as a Bratva collection point for children abducted from the greater Los Angeles area. Abductees were inspected and evaluated over the span of a few days, then assigned to various categories for distribution into the Bratva’s human-trafficking network.