Black Flagged Redux

By: Steven Konkoly

Book Two in the Black Flagged Series




About Black Flagged Redux





Unlike the relatively limited geographic scope of the first novel, Black Flagged Redux spans four continents and several time zones. In order to make this a little easier on the reader, each scene is stamped with a location and local time. Keep in mind that the scenes occur in chronological order. Here is a short list of the time zone differences between the locations featured in the Black Flagged Redux and the U.S. East Coast: All locations in Argentina +2 hours, Kazakhstan +11 hours, Kiev + 7 hours, Moscow/Monchegorsk +9 hours, Stockholm +6 hours.

Finally, don't forget about the character list, which can be accessed from the link below or the Features Index. I'm not saying you'll need it, but Black Flagged Redux adds to the memorable character list from Black Flagged.



Redux Character List



Most of all, enjoy the book!





"Redux"- Latin, derived from reducere. Returning from war or exile.





IN THE BLACK





August 2006





2:30 AM

"Dock Sud" (South Dock)

Buenos Aires, Argentina





Daniel Petrovich shifted his elbows slightly and stared through a small handheld spotting scope at the building one hundred and sixty meters away. Situated strategically among several dozen stacks of partially rusted, multi-colored maritime shipping containers, the modest, unattractive two-story structure didn't garner much attention on any given day. This particular Wednesday proved to be an exception, though to the casual observer, it looked like any other late night in the sleepy, working class barrio, on the southern outskirts of Dock Sud.

The areas immediately beyond the container yard's high walls were quiet, except for the cars that passed in the distance on Avenida Juan Diaz de Solis. Since he had arrived two hours earlier, only three cars had turned off Juan Diaz and penetrated the sizable slum squeezed between the container yard and a vast sea of fuel storage tanks that extended all the way to the Rio Plata waterfront.

He reconfirmed the presence of two sentries stationed outside of the building: one on the roof of the two-story building and one pacing a small wooden deck located on the second floor. The sentry on the deck guarded a door at the top of an adjoining, external metal staircase. Lights blazed behind the curtains inside the windows on the second floor, leading him to assume that the ground floor was deserted and possibly not connected to the upper level. The outer staircase further supported this theory.

The rest of Petrovich's team waited in the shadows of three separate container stacks surrounding the structure. The building and all adjacent stretches of flat gravel were bathed in the orangish-yellow glow cast by several strategically placed sodium vapor lights, which prevented the rest of the team from approaching any closer. Only the two sentries stood in the team's way at this point and removing them was his job.

Lying prone for two hours on the hard metal container was starting to take its toll on his concentration, and he found himself shifting every couple of minutes. He employed active breathing techniques to take his mind off the fact that his hip and elbows were beyond the point of finding comfort on their new metal home. He gently placed the spotting scope next to his elbow and pulled the dark gray thermal shielding blanket over his head, nestling in behind his rifle. The rooftop sentry scanned the dark areas of the container yard with a portable hand scope that may have thermal detection capability. The blanket was designed to conceal Petrovich’s thermal signature and worked well against low-power handheld scopes, but would do him little good against the kind of sophisticated thermal imaging equipment found mounted on aircraft or vehicles.

He sighted in on the rooftop sentry through the ATN MARS6x-3 night vision scope attached to a silenced Heckler and Koch MSG-90 rifle, placing the sight's center red dot on the man's upper chest. At this distance, with the ambient glow of the surrounding sodium vapor lights, the bright green image was crisp. He could have used a conventional scope for these shots, but as soon as the sentries went down, electricity to the yard would be cut to maximize confusion in the building.

Based on intelligence provided by Ernesto Galenden's contact in the Buenos Aires Police Department, a high level meeting of Chechen street bosses was scheduled for tonight, which always preceded the arrival of a large, "tri-border" area, Andean cocaine shipment destined for Europe. He might need the night vision scope to deal with any men left outside to guard the VIP vehicles, which still hadn't arrived. They anticipated a possible total of twenty targets at the building. Their mission was simple. They were to kill everyone on-site. Señor Galenden wanted to both send the Chechen mafia an unforgettable message and put an end to their increasingly violent encroachment on his legitimate dock interests.

Four minutes later, his patience was rewarded by the staggered arrival of three expensive, oversized SUVs. The drivers maneuvered the SUVs to face away from the building and parked them side by side, away from the four assorted cars and trucks already parked at the base of the building. All of the truck doors opened at once, and several men exited and walked toward the metal staircase. He didn't count them. One of the breach teams would take care of that. Instead, he noted that two heavily armed men stayed with the vehicles. They positioned themselves on the exposed side of the nearest vehicle, a silver Mercedes SUV, and lit cigarettes.

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