The omega team: ethan's promise (kindle worlds novella) (men of mercy book 7)

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Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.

This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Desiree Holt. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original The Omega Team remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Desiree Holt, or their affiliates or licensors.

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DOSSIER

TASK FORCE SCORPION (TF-S)

A branch of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)

Ft. Grenada, MS-- 

 

 

MACK GREY:Detachment Commander, Captain  

♣ Recruited from the 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Benning, GA

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, interrogations specialist, psychological warfare

♣ First in Command. Responsible for ensuring and maintaining operational readiness.

♣ Height: 6’

♣ Weight: 195lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Gothic Serpent, Somalia. Operation Desert Storm, OIF, Operation Crescent Wind, Operation Rhino, Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Mountain Viper, Operation Eagle Fury, Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles

 

HUNTER JAMES:Warrant Officer, Detachment Commander

♣ Recruited from the 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Benning, GA

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, psychological warfare 

♣ Responsible for overseeing all Team ops. Commands in absence of detachment commander. 

♣ Height: 6’3”

♣ Weight: 230lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Crescent Wind, Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Mountain Viper

 

RANGER JAMES: Team Daddy/Team Sergeant, Master Sgt.

♣ Recruited from the 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Benning, GA

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special recon

♣ Plans, coordinates & directs Team intelligence, analysis and dissemination.

♣ Height: 6’4”

♣ Weight: 225lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Crescent Wind, Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Mountain Viper, Operation Eagle Fury

 

 

JARED CROWE: Weapons Sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class

♣ Recruited from Delta Force, Ft. Bragg, NC

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special recon, Sniper

♣ Weapons expert. Capable of firing and employing all small arm and crew served weapons

♣ Height: 6’0”

♣ Weight: 220lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Crescent Wind, Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles

 

HOYT CROWE: Asst. Weapons Sergeant, Staff Sgt.

♣ Recruited from Delta Force, Ft. Bragg, NC

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare,  special recon, Sniper

♣ Weapons expert. Capable of firing and employing all small arm and crew served weapons

♣ Height: 6’0”

♣ Weight: 210lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Crescent Wind, Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles

 

AARON SPEIRS: Medical Sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class

♣ Recruited from Delta Force, Ft. Bragg, NC

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, medic

♣ The life-saver. Employs the latest field medical technology and limited surgical procedures

♣ Height: 6’1”

♣ Weight: 195lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles

 

RISER MALLON:  Asst. Medical Sergeant, Staff Sgt. 

♣ Recruited from Delta Force, Ft. Bragg, NC

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special recon, medic

♣ The life-saver. Employs the latest field medical technology and limited surgical procedures

♣ Height: 6’2”

♣ Weight: 215lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Anaconda, Operation Jacana, Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles,Operation Mountain Viper, Operation Eagle Fury

 

MERC: Engineer Sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class 

♣ Recruited from Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special recon, Demolitions, psychological operations

♣ Demolition expert. Trained in psychological warfare, conducts field interrogations.

♣ Height: 6’5”

♣ Weight: 250lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Classified

 

ETHAN SLADE: Communications 

Sergeant/Commo Guy, Sgt. 1st Class

♣ Recruited from the 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Benning, GA

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special recon, communications

♣ Communications expert. Employ latest FM, multi-channel, and satellite communication devices.

♣ Height: 6’0”

♣ Weight: 200lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles

 

CORD CARTER:Weapons Sergeant, Staff Sgt.  

♣ Recruited from the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), Camp Lejeune, NC

♣ Specialized Skills: direct action, unconventional warfare, special reconnoissance, weapons expert/sniper

♣ Weapons expert. Capable of firing and employing all small arm and crew served weapons

♣ Height: 6’1”

♣ Weight: 210lbs

♣ Combat Experience: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Condor, Operation Summit, Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Ethan Slade, Sergeant 1stClass of Task Force Scorpion, an ultra-classified unit of the United States Special Forces, downed a gulp of his cowboy cold beer, silently wishing the dive he'd ended up in had invested in a refrigerator that actually kept drinks cold. As it was, his decision to go out with his buddies tonight was starting to look a lot more like a bad idea than he'd originally thought.

After the attack last week on TF-S’s headquarters by their old CIA liaison, Mr. J, his team needed a minute to wind down and get some of the leftover adrenaline out of their veins. Aaron, Riser and Ethan had been the trio who'd decided that going out, slamming back a few and finding a woman was the answer.

“Look, she's still staring at you. Ethan, you need to go talk to her.” Aaron Speirs, TF-S’s medical sergeant and resident jokester, nodded his head toward the bleach blonde a few tables over. To civilians, the trio looked like everyone else. Bearded, regular clothes – they were meant to blend in to any surrounding, but to those who paid closer attention, they might notice the way each man at their table constantly scanned their environment, looking for threats.

Ethan grimaced and glanced away. “Not my type.”

Riser Malone, assistant medical sergeant, rolled his eyes, a lock of shaggy blond hair fell in his face and he tucked it behind his ear. “You don't have a type other than female.”

“Yeah, I saw you hook up with two chicks in one night,” Aaron chimed in.

That had been a long night and one he never wanted to repeat. The years of deployments and random women to fill the spaces between didn't hold the same appeal anymore and he didn’t know why. Not that he wanted to settle down, he just wanted...something. Something he knew the already-drunk blonde couldn't provide.

“You still jealous I stole that girl from you? I'm telling you, she climbed in my lap, not the other way around.”

“Jealous? You're crazy. I practically gave her to you,” Aaron said.

Ethan might not want to go back to his wild partying days, but he had no intention of missing the opportunity to rib his best friend. “That why you pouted like a girl for the whole week?”

Riser snorted and said, “More like a wittle baby.”

“Like you did when Cheri told you she just wanted to be friends?” Aaron said.

Riser's laughter stopped and he glared across the table. “That was just a minor speed bump. We still talk.”

Riser's attempt to date the waitress back at The Wharf had hit an abrupt dead end, leaving his buddy scratching his head. Riser normally kept to himself, but Cheri had hurt him, and that wasn't what Ethan wanted Riser stuck on all night. “I thought ya'll said some of the guys from Team Omega were meeting us here.”

“Awww, you boys miss me already?” Rowdy, one of the team leaders for Omega stuck his head over Ethan's shoulder and batted his eyelashes.

“About time. Where's the rest of you?” Aaron said.

Rowdy pulled a couple of extra chairs from a nearby table and took a seat. “Just me and Colonel Grey tonight. The rest of Team Omega had to get back to prep for our next assignment.”

Colonel Mack Grey, TF-Scorpion's commander, in his typical navy pullover and khaki shorts slid into the open seat on Ethan's right. “And I'm not here to stay, just to give you an update.”

“Merc?” Riser leaned forward and placed his forearms on the table, Aaron following suit.

Merc was the ghost member of TF-S and he’d left immediately after the attack to go overseas and track down Mr. J. The rest of TF-S had to stay stateside and finish cleaning up the mess before they could go. Ethan’s entire being itched to be in Afghanistan right now, but he’d have to wait until next week, when the rest of the team was slated to deploy.

Grey nodded. “He may have a lead on Mr. J. He's tracking him to a village in the Indus Valley and thinks J possibly holed up in a fortress supplied by the Islamic State of Afghanistan, ISA. He’ll be expecting us to counter after we took out the whole mercenary team he sent to attack us.”

Blood fueled by the need for revenge surged through Ethan's veins and he clenched his hands into tight fists in his lap. “I want to go now.”

The desire for retribution against the man responsible for so many deaths demanded attention, and Ethan had every intention of being the first boots on the ground. He'd need to do a little bit of restocking and resupplying. Ethan's favorite combat boots and Camelbak water pack had been destroyed in the explosion at headquarters, along with his laptop. He'd need to ask Hank James, the man who'd supplied the land for TF-S's headquarters, if he could store his motorcycle in his barn.

“You're not going anywhere. I got a call from Joint Special Operations Command, JSOC, today. You've already gone over the number of sequential days on duty.” Grey turned to Aaron. “You too.”

“What?” Aaron pushed back in his chair.

“I'm volunteering,” Ethan said. 

“Right after you take two weeks of leave. Me and the rest of the team will deploy next week. You two can follow in fourteen days.”

“Fuck that.” The last thing Ethan wanted or needed right now was two weeks of nothing to do and nowhere to go while his brothers risked their lives going after a monster.

Until last week when Mr. J tried to have TF-S and their families murdered, everyone thought J had died in the same ambush that had resulted in TF-S’s sniper, Shane Carter’s capture and ultimately his death.

Grey sat up straight, his spine stiff as a damn metal pole. “Are you refusing my order?”

His voice came out so quiet Ethan had to lean in to catch his words. Ethan swallowed past the knot forming in his throat. “I'm not staying behind while my team is deployed.”

“Me, either,” Aaron's voice was tight with anger.

“You don't have a choice.”

“What about debriefing my last deployment? And the attack on headquarters?” Ethan was grasping at straws, he knew it, but the fear of being left behind scrambled his thoughts.

Ethan's last trip to Afghanistan had morphed from a recon mission to the damn American Horror Story. A few months in, Ethan had unintentionally stumbled over a big ass rock of information and discovered that Mr. J, who had been long thought dead, was actually alive and kicking. And the fucker had not only betrayed his country, but he'd been hired by the very terrorist TF-S had been tracking for the past few years. Even worse, Mr. J had put out a hit on TF-S and their family, sending assassins to have them all murdered.

“I've already debriefed you about Afghanistan. The rest of the team can handle the cleanup from the raid. You know the rules. You’ve both got two weeks of leave starting now whether you like it or not.”

Grey shoved his chair back and stood. Ethan surged to his feet frantically searching for the right words to stay this order of leave. “Sir, I can't let my team go over there without me.”

Grey placed his hand on Ethan's shoulder. “I know you want to go back, but you need a break. You've been walking too close to the wire. You know what happens to soldiers who don't get their R&R. Eventually the stress will break you and you’re too valuable to the Team for me to allow that to happen. I'm ordering you to take these next two weeks and relax.”

Grey squeezed Ethan's shoulder and left, leaving Ethan staring helplessly after his commander. What the hell was he supposed to do on leave? Play patty cake with Aaron? He didn't need this shit right now. He didn't want it either. Ethan ate, drank and breathed for the Team. He had nothing else. No home. No family. Nothing but his bike and an admitted addiction to adrenaline.

“You two don't look happy about two weeks of paid vacation.” Rowdy said.

“I’d rather have my dick stepped on than go on vacation right now,” Ethan replied.

“You know it will take a full week for us to get ready and make it overseas. You won't miss anything but the bullshit,” Riser said.

Ethan ground his teeth together, trying to calm the violent urges coursing through his veins. “What if something goes down before we get there?” He might miss his chance for revenge against J.

Riser pointed to Ethan's empty chair. “Sit down. I'll get you another beer.” Riser gestured for a round of refills. “You know we won't move until you get there. I'll make sure of it. When we locate J, the entire fury of Team Scorpion is gonna rain down like hell on that bastard.”

Aaron slammed a fist on the table, drawing a few questing glances from nearby people. “You better make sure of that; I want a piece of him.”

“Not to interrupt your plans to dismember the traitor, but I could use a couple of extra hands on Omega’s next mission. It's easy money and an easy mission.” Rowdy leaned back in his seat and grinned.

Ethan studied Rowdy and his open smile. The retired Delta Force operative never seemed pissed off about anything. Even in a firefight the man smiled while he pulled the trigger, which meant one of two things: Rowdy was a good man who really enjoyed his job, or he was insane.

Either way he offered Ethan a lifeline. “Tell me more.”

“A senator's daughter is getting married in two weeks. He's a little overprotective and has some delusion that she is a high-value target. He hired us to transport her to and from the wedding, and provide protection while she's there.”

“Where?”

“A couple hours south of here. He's rented out a plantation a few miles out of Natchez.”

“Hell yeah, my grandma lives down there,” Aaron said.

Ethan held back his grimace. “You want me to go babysit a spoiled princess?”

Aaron raised his beer. “I'm in. I haven't gotten to see my grandma in months.”

Ethan glanced back at the blonde across the room, weighing his options. If he played his cards right, he could probably bunk at her house for a full week, making that as long as he'd ever stayed with a girl, or anywhere besides the military for that matter. Or he could go play babysitter. “How much is the pay?”

Rowdy's grin didn't falter. “I can pay you five thousand cash up front. With the possibility of a bonus once the mission is successfully completed.”

“Holy shit, I'm in the wrong job,” Riser said.

Five grand for two weeks, more than he made in a month working for the United States Special Forces. Could he stomach working some joke mission for two-weeks while his men were in danger?

“Look, either you take the job or what? Hope you hook up with a chick and pray you don’t get an STD? I’m offering you hard cash and something to do.”

Ethan ripped his beer up from the table and downed it before answering. “Fine. I’m in.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

Kate Richards shifted in the sleek chrome and black leather seat, plucking at an invisible piece of fuzz on her black pant suit and trying not to squirm under the intense stairs of Gray Holden and Athena Madero, co-owners of the private securities group team Omega.

Holden sat tall in his chair, his intense hazel eyes seeming to peel back layer after layer of all of Kate's thoughts and memories even though no one said a word. Athena, with her jet black hair and equally black eyes, leaned forward and steepled her fingers together, placing her elbows on the desk separating Kate from her potential new bosses. "So tell me Miss Richards, why did you quit the CIA?"

Kate hid a grimace and bit back her initial response, that her boss was a sexist asshole who’d done everything he could to thwart her career while copping a feel when no one was looking. Instead she offered them a tight smile, and a carefully blank expression which she'd honed over the years as an analyst for the CIA. "I had reached a plateau in my career, unable to advance further in my field, I decided my services would better serve my country elsewhere."

Kate’s giant F-you to her ex-boss, Agent Lamar Franks, when he’d told her he’d never allow her to be promoted, no matter how many extra hours she put in had been the first time she’d lost control since she’d flipped her car going down I-30 as a teenager, and what she’d said had done as much damage to her career as she’d done to her little Malibu.

Holden spoke, drawing her back to the office in Team Omega’s Florida headquarters, "I spoke with your previous employer. He stated that he consistently had an issue with your work ethic and with you having inappropriate relations with coworkers."

Kate’s heart ski sloped down into her belly, hit the bottom and bounced back up, sending a rush of hot blood to her cheeks. Frank's wasn't happy just by driving her out of a job she’d held for nearly a decade, his intent was to leave a permanent scar on her career. She should have expected this after her parting gift to the jerk. "I'm sure Franks told you all kinds of stories. Just like I'm sure he forgot to leave out the part about his constant sexual harassment of me at work."

Holden’s eyes flared and Kate bit her lip, soundly cursing herself and her big fat mouth. It was like quitting her job had ripped off the tight lid of control she kept on every aspect of her life.

Kate opened her mouth to apologize, but Holden held up his hand. “You know, I kind of got that vibe, that's why I went ahead and spoke with your coworkers. The majority of whom seem to have a definite chip on their shoulder about Agent Franks and his treatment of you.”

Surprise filtered through her. She’d been the only female in her unit, working quietly among a group of men who’d stood by in silence as Franks constantly harassed her. “They did?”

“After more digging, I found out there were three separate sexual harassment suits filed against him that had been quietly swept under the rug.”

“Those were sealed documents. How did you get them?” They were also highly classified. The CIA had witnessed the media’s field day with the military when the law suits accusing superior officers of sexual harassment and assault hit the courts and they’d done everything in their power to sweep their own little problem under the rug.

Holden offered his own tight smile, “That is what I do, Agent Richards. That is why Team Omega is so successful. That is also how I came across a hint of evidence that Franks was somehow linked to a traitor.”

Mr. J,the most notorious traitor in the history of the CIA. He'd ran his own crew for years, and during that time, he'd been secretly collaborating with the deadliest terrorist in the world. Every operative associated with Mr. J was now either dead, or simply disappeared into the darkness of a giant government cover up. Everyone but Agent Franks, whose absolute desperate dance to cover his tracks had actually worked and he'd been allowed to stay on in the same position of power. A feat Kate couldn't figure out exactly how he’d pulled off.

Kate sat back in her chair, her thumb immediately going to the simple silver ring she wore on her right hand and spinning it around her ring finger. She’d have to reprise her original assessment that Team Omega were a group of mercenaries for hire.

For the first time in the interview Athena cracked a smile. "Is it true you kneed him in the nuts when you quit?"

Kate spun the ring faster as she frantically reached for the appropriate response. If she glossed over that very true fact, they might take her as dishonest. If she agreed and told the truth, they might think she was some sort of rogue agent unable to work with others. Neither of those options were shining letters of recommendation.

Then again, she wasn’t a liar, and she couldn’t start being one now, even if it meant losing this opportunity. Kate uncrossed her ankles and sat straight. “Yes, I did, after he tried to feel me up.”

Athena turned to Holden. “I like her.”

Holden didn’t answer his partner, instead he continued to pin Kate to the spot. “You’ve been a CIA analyst for nearly seven years. How much experience have you had in the field?"

“I've had minimal field experience, sir. However, I am trained in hand to hand combat, evasion and weapons qualified. I’m also the best code breaker within the whole CIA.”

Holden frowned and Athena gave him a slight head shake. A trickle of worry formed between Kate’s shoulders. “If you need references for my certification and qualifications in field training, I can provide them."

"I'm sure you can, it's not your qualifications that I'm worried about, it's the fact that you haven't actually been in the field since you first started with the CIA," Holden said.

"I train daily and hit the range at least once a week. I promise you, I can handle any physical task you assign me, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to meet your standards."

"Of that I have no doubt, Ms. Richards. It's your gut instincts, your immediate reactions to threats – that's what is the unknown here. And I'm looking for a specific type of person, a female, for the next mission we've accepted. I have no doubt your brain capacity functions at a much higher level than mine – but do your reactions happen as quickly?"

As if his last word was some signal, Athena bolted from her chair and rounded the desk in three strides, ripping her pistol from behind her as she came at Kate full force.

Kate’s lungs locked down tight and she rolled from the chair. She hit the ground and scissored her legs, tossing Athena to the ground. Her pistol flew over her head and scraped across the floor, banging into the back wall of the office. Kate was on her hands and knees, heart thundering as she scrambled after the weapon, Athena clawing her way right behind her.

What the hell was going on? Was this some kind of set up by Franks? She shouldn’t have threatened to expose the recording she had of Franks making a deal with Mr. J, the most famous traitor to the CIA in a century.

Kate stretched her arm overhead and reached for the gun. Her fingers closed around the butt of the pistol and Kate rolled to her back and raised the gun. Athena paused up on her knees, fist lifted ready to strike. Her chest rose and fell with the force of her exertion, but she didn’t attack. “I think your instincts are just fine."

Kate’s mind blanked as Athena got to her feet and held out her hand. This was part of the interview? Her hand trembled and she gripped the gun harder, keeping it trained on her attacker. “You’re damn right my instincts are fine. Now, get back.”

Kate kept her pistol leveled at Athena and got to her feet, anger helping her steady her aim.

              Athena lifted her hands in surrender and smiled, seeming totally unphased by the fact that she could die if Kate’s finger so much as twitched. “That was a test, Kate, to see if you could handle a surprise attack.”

              “A test? I could have killed you.” An evil part of her was tempted to fire the gun and see just how high Athena would jump.

              “You wouldn't have done much harm with a fake gun,’ Athena lowered her hands and nodded toward the weapon.

              Kate followed her gaze and zeroed in on the plastic mold of a pistol. “Crap.”

              She’d completely failed to notice thatminordetail. Kate dropped the gun to her side and sighed. So much for her shining reputation as the best analyst ever produced by the CIA.

              As if reading her mind, Athena said, “I didn’t expect you to realize it was fake. I wanted to see if you could handle the situation the way we expect and need from our Team members, and you did. You did exactly what I hoped.”

              “I think you're rusty, but with a little bit of training, you’ll be perfect." Holden strode around the table and held out his hand, "I'd like to offer you a position on Team Omega."

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