Author Archives: Barry Kelly

About Barry Kelly

Author of "Justice Beyond Law," "Justice Without Mercy," "Shades of Justice," "Justice Without Mercy," and "Run to Freedom," as well as two ,"nonfiction books ,"INSIGHTS-The Transforming of America," and "INSIGHTS-Stepping Stones to Tyranny. He also is the author of the blog "8 Decades of Insights." Barry Kelly is no stranger to the world of espionage, counter-terrorism, weapons, deep cover, and the inner workings of the governmental security apparatus. His immersion in the Cold War began with enlistment in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Following his discharge, he earned a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree from Duke. His career in the CIA included deep cover operations and overseas experience, primarily in South and Southeast Asia. He has been awarded the Certificate of Merit with Distinction, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Intelligence Officer of the Year Award. After retiring from the CIA, Kelly served as a special assistant to President Reagan. He holds a first dan black belt in hap-ki-do. Visit www.factsandfictions.com or find the author on Facebook.

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 34

Robert Huxley, formerly Joel Hankins, was growing more comfortable with his newJWM Serialization surroundings and identity. His apartment above the three-car garage was old and rundown, but it was better than where he grew up. He must have been nuts to get involved with al Qaeda. Very serious people with no sense of humor. Set up a good business cover for them, and they trash his business and him. His growing Oriental rug business was over. He hoped changing his name and car would be enough to keep those scary people from finding him. If they knew his main interest in life was hunting and killing young girls and not living the life of a Jihadist, he would be dead.

In just a few days, he had found work as a painter. It didn’t pay much but it was a start and he didn’t need much. He still had thousands of al Qaeda dollars. Too bad he couldn’t collect the insurance on his shop and contents. Well, it wasn’t worth his life. The cops were just as far from catching him as the Muslims. No fingerprints on record. No credit cards and no social security. Robert Huxley would just have to make it alone. With the Jihad business out of the way, he could concentrate on his research of the instant of departing life. He had to keep away from his study of martial arts for a while. That scary old dude from Herat would be looking for him when he didn’t see the recontact personal ad in the local papers. Tonight would be a good time to go hunting. Help get his mind off his worries. He had always been lucky on Thursdays.

Just a block away in a parking lot with a clear view of Hankins’ apartment, Kathy and Kelly were sitting in one of the two cars they were using today, and talking about their target. The file Frank provided contained Hankins’ daily Georgetown activities, pictures of people he met, and locations of his painting jobs. No one had been inside his garage or living quarters. There were a number of other pictures of his apartment, car and restaurants he frequented. Nothing to indicate he was trying to get in touch with al Qaeda. Kathy believed Hankins was frightened and wasn’t cut out to be a mainline Jihadist.

Before they left the condo in Charleston, Kathy showed Kelly the pictures she found in Hankins’ apartment of dying or dead young women. Kelly was just as angry as Kathy was when she and Jack first saw the pictures. Kelly said, “At the first opportunity, let’s get him. The little weasel shouldn’t be breathing the same air.”

At six o’clock, Hankins backed out of his garage. Kathy gave the Explorer a block lead and pulled out behind a small red sedan. Once he headed north on Route 17, she dropped back another quarter mile. Other than a few gated housing developments, there was nowhere he could go until he got to Pawleys Island. Hankins’ right taillight was brighter than the left one making the car easier to track at a distance. Kelly also had the car in view through her binoculars. As the traffic increased, Kathy moved up. For the next 45 minutes, they cruised along fifty plus yards behind the five-year-old gray Ford Explorer. Kathy mentioned during a stop for a traffic light, “This surveillance is, so far, as easy as it gets. Hankins isn’t even checking for anyone following him. When he parks, be ready to get out quickly and follow him, while I find a good place to park our car. Keep in touch with your cell. Remember, no eye contact.”

Kelly said, “He’s driving like he isn’t sure where he’s going. He’s heading toward the bright lights just ahead.”

“Yeah, he’s going to Broadway at the Beach, a big tourist area. You know, the bastard may be hunting again. He barely got settled in Georgetown. The creep’s hormones must be flowing. Get ready, he’s turning into the parking lot beside that upscale hotel. I’ll drop you just past the entrance to the parking lot. I’ll go on down and come in from the other direction.”

Five minutes later Kathy parked in a space near the area reserved for valet parking. She had a clear view of the front entrance and got her camera ready. Looking out through the windshield she had a perfect view of the front entrance. Kelly called in and said, “He’s sitting in the bar nursing a drink. I can see him through the glass window. Don’t think he can see me.”

“Okay, where did he park?”

“Just to the left as you come in the entrance. There were several open spots facing Route 17. Not a good place for him to do his chloroform stunt and drag some young girl into the Explorer. Not enough cover. He must be doing some recon or what do you call it.”

“We intelligence types call it casing, my dear.”

“Hey, Kathy, I’m trying. What do I do now?”

“What do you think you should do?”

“Come back to the car?”

“Yes. I’m parked just to the left of the valet area.”

As Kathy was watching for Kelly to come out, a black Cadillac CTS pulled into the valet area. Kathy was admiring the car when she had a full front view of the driver emerging. She was astounded! Training took over and she snapped several pictures. She couldn’t be mistaken. It was the Professor. Was he here to meet with Hankins? She called Kelly who answered on the first vibration and said, “Don’t leave yet. Find a place where you can disappear, if Hankins comes your way. There is an older, well-dressed gentleman in a dark suit, no topcoat or hat coming in now. I’m interested if he and Hankins meet or see each other. Be very discreet. Okay?”

“Got it.”

Kathy called Jack and said, “Get Frank on the line right now. We have the Professor under surveillance in Myrtle Beach at the Beach Combers Hotel on Route 17 at Broadway at the Beach. He just entered the hotel. Hankins is there at the bar and Kelly is in the lobby, watching to see if they meet. I got several good pictures of him as he got out of his car. I’m sending them to you now.”

“Stand by, Frank is coming to the phone.”

Seconds later Frank was on the phone. He said, “Kathy, are you sure it’s the Professor?”

“One hundred percent. You should have the pictures soon.”

“What are you doing in Myrtle Beach?”

“Kelly and I followed Hankins up here. We thought he was going hunting. He showed no sign of checking for a tail. I’m going way out and say I don’t think this is a planned meeting. I just don’t think it’s the Professor’s M.O. to risk meeting a dingbat like Hankins in a hotel lobby.”

“All our tradecraft lore tells us this cannot be a coincidence, but you may be right. Let’s see what Kelly has to report. Try to find out if he is staying in the hotel. I’m sending a team right now to Myrtle Beach. I’ll tell you where they locate. I want you to brief them before you go. I know it will expose you. Try and keep Jack and Kelly away from them. I don’t want them exposed as well.

“The pictures have just come in. No doubt you caught the Professor. Kathy, that is wonderful work. Now keep him under surveillance until you can brief the team, and then you get some rest.”

Jack was still on the line and said, “Kathy, it’s great to be very good and very lucky as well. Looking forward to Kelly’s read. Remember, Hankins knows what you look like. I’m coming up tomorrow with Shadow. There is nothing we can do here right now. Okay?”

“Great! I really want you to come. I’ll bribe the motel guy to let Shadow in my room. Kelly is just down the hall. See you later, depending on what the Professor does and when Frank’s team gets here. Love you, bye.”

Kelly called Kathy and said, “The Professor got in an elevator by himself. The elevator went nonstop directly to the fifth floor. He did not meet Hankins. I don’t think they could have seen each other. The Professor wasted no time. He went directly to the elevator. Hankins never left the bar and his back was to the Professor the entire time. What now?”

“Stay cool and out of sight. When Hankins leaves, we stay here and make sure the Professor doesn’t vanish.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 33

When the news of the attack on Black churches first broke, Jack called Frank at his office. JWM SerializationFrank was also watching the news unfold. He immediately said, “Jack, this is undoubtedly the work of the Professor. You can be sure more will follow. Unless his rug shop guy gets in touch with him, we will have a hard time finding him. Do you have anything from Lou Washington?”

“No. Not yet. I’ll call him as soon as we’re finished. Kathy and Kelly checked in. They are sitting on Hankins right now. It’s hard for two people to do a 24/7 surveillance.”

“I know, but I’m afraid of using more people. Kathy is one of the best I’ve ever seen. She won’t be tempted to be too aggressive, and she won’t make stupid mistakes. It’s also more than probable that Mr. Joel Hankins has no intention of recontacting the Professor. After the fire, he may have had enough. He’s more interested in killing young girls for the thrill than being a true Jihadist for a cause he probably doesn’t believe in. I’ll give him two more weeks and, if there’s no attempt to contact the Professor or al Qaeda, you can take him down. Tell Kathy she can put a beacon back on Hankins’ car. That should make it a bit easier to keep track of him.”

Jack knew the conversation was over when he heard the dial tone. Frank is consistent. His telephone manners hadn’t changed.

Kathy picked up on the first ring. She was also watching the breaking news of the attacks along Route 17 just south of where she was in Georgetown. The nearest burning church was just south of the Santee River within 20 minutes’ fast driving. Jack told her of his conversation with Frank.

She said, “Okay, only understand that sick bastard is not going to kill any more young girls as long as Kelly and I are sitting on him.”

“Just don’t jump the gun. The professor is still our number one target. And get Shadow and me a room. We’re coming up Saturday.”

“I hope that’s a promise. Kelly can do double duty for a day. She’s really doing well. I almost believe Anita is guiding her daughter. She was the best. See ya soon.”

Kathy put her iPhone in her pocket and went next door to tell Kelly what was going down. Frank suspected an al Qaeda high official called the Professor was the mastermind of all the recent terrorist activity, including the failed car bomb plan. Kelly asked, “What if the Professor comes tonight, while we’re resting in our motel?”

“Two reasons I don’t want him to come tonight and, with everything going down, the Professor is not going to come calling Mr. Hankins. We can’t cover him 24/7 by ourselves and, if we did, the target might make us or the Professor would for sure. Switching cars and clothes makes us harder to spot, but not impossible. If Hankins and the Professor make contact, it won’t be a one-time thing, unless the Professor kills him. I believe the emergency contact procedure is a personal ad in a local paper. That’s why I’ve been scanning them every day.”

“How will you know the ad, if you see it?”

“I’ll be able to smell it. The ad will be a little different in language. It will be innocuous and the phone numbers and addresses will be bogus. So, if I suspect an ad, we’ll have more work checking it out without spooking the bad guy.”

“Kathy, can anybody learn all this stuff?”

“Not everyone can. But I’m your teacher and Anita is your mother. You’ll pick it up. I’m counting on it. Remember, I didn’t teach that naked shooting stuff. If you had taken the time to grab some clothes, both of us could be dead now. Mission first.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 32

For days after the fire at the rug shop where the Professor’s car bombing teams were hidden, JWM Serializationhe waited for word from Hankins who, he knew from the media coverage, had escaped the fire. He searched the news tirelessly looking for the bit of information that would give him a basis to judge if it was an accidental fire or something more sinister. He had a lot invested here. Even at his level, he had to produce results. Not everyone had bought into his plan to stir up the American “melting pot” to weaken the Americans by turning them against themselves. He had had a good start but the car bombing fiasco hurt.

Tomorrow his white Aryan bikers with KKK hoods would be turned loose on Black communities. Some would be in pickups, the others on motorcycles.

As dedicated and disciplined as most were he couldn’t keep them sitting around waiting for action. Myrtle Beach was a perfect place for bikers to gather at any time of the year. This time his raiders would be armed. If they had to fight to escape that would be good. Being captured at a road block along Route 17 between Murrells Inlet and Mount Pleasant was a real possibility, if the police were alerted to use their radios and block a few roads. Some of his soldiers would die, if not this time, certainly on the next attack. If captured, there was not much they could tell under interrogation to endanger him. They were all good Jihadists. Capturing them would not be easy.

The attack was scheduled for 8:30 PM. By then it would have been dark for nearly three hours. No one will confuse the attackers’ organization. They will be wearing Aryan emblems on their jackets, KKK hoods and dropping racist Aryan pamphlets. Two pickup trucks and four bikes in all. Trucks north of Charleston and bikes to the South. Columbia and Savannah were the designated recovery points. The raiders had picked, studied their own targets and done drive-bys. No one left their ride. The passengers throw gasoline and soap cocktails. Both drivers and passengers shoot targets of opportunity. Speed and surprise were a must.

Secure in his upscale motel suite, the Professor was intently watching the TV news on two separate channels. He also had a local news station on the radio. 8:30 passed, 8:45 and still nothing. At 8:50, a TV news flash stated they had reports of burning churches and gunfire along Route 17 north of Mount Pleasant. Good, the party had started.

By ten o’clock it looked as if the attacks exceeded his best estimate. Six churches were badly burned. The fire fighters were stretched very thinly on the burning route. No one had died in the fire, but ten people were killed by small arms fire and 25 more wounded. The content of the Aryan pamphlets, dropped by the attackers, was displayed on the news channels and talking heads were running to the ramparts to explain what all this meant.

The police engaged two of the motorcycles in a running gunfight north of Mount Pleasant. Two attackers were killed in the fight. Three police officers were in critical condition in local hospitals. A wide manhunt was underway for two of the attackers who escaped on foot after their pickup crashed. The attackers along Route 17 south of Charleston seem to have escaped. The number of attackers, all reported to be white males, is uncertain at this time and the police are asking the public to call in on the displayed hotline with any eye witness reports of the attacks.

The Professor smiled to himself and went to bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day. By morning the authorities should have more complete reports. Two days later, school buses between Georgetown and Mount Pleasant would be the targets. These daylight attacks will strike terror into every parent with a kid in school. He gave some thought to moving up the attack of school buses but decided to stick with his first plan.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 31

By the time the police cars slid to a stop in the driveway, everything was in place. The JWM SerializationVietnamese guards disappeared with their weapons, Kelly was dressed and Mrs. Minh was insisting she was not badly hurt and didn’t need to go to any hospital. Kathy blocked off the hallway crime scene and Jack made sure the weapons of the two dead men in the marsh had been fired. Jack told Kathy to get her badge out. He hoped their badges, even from out of town, would cut them some slack with the Charleston cops. He knew he could count on Captain Shorer to stand by them, especially since this attempt on his life was another part of the Pittsburgh attack. His gun and Kathy’s were registered with the Pittsburgh police. And Kathy’s 911 call would help them with their plea of self-defense.

Jack, Shadow, Kathy and Kelly met the police cars in the driveway, displaying their badges. When the leading sergeant saw the badges, he slowed down and took his hand off his holstered Browning nine millimeter.

“We got a 911 call about shots being fired. Do you want to tell us what happened?’ Looking closer he saw the badges were issued by the Pittsburgh Police Department. “And you might include an explanation about the badges. Are you with the Pittsburgh police?”

Jack said, “We’re both on special assignment. Captain Shorer will vouch for us, but first the 911 call. A number of armed men attacked our home and wounded a woman inside who should have medical care.”

The sergeant called for his partner, who was near the patrol car to call for an ambulance. Jack said, “You also should call for a crime scene team. There are some dead men. Three outside and one inside. They were all armed. I don’t know if there are any more. I think we finished them.”

“What! You’re kidding me.”

“No. Wish I was. Come inside. We can start there.”

As Sergeant Wilson stepped up on the porch, he saw the broken glass and blood-stained floor. Down the hall brass rounds, drywall dust and shot-up doors lined the hall floor surrounding a pool of blood and a dead body.

“What the hell happened here? Jenkins, bring everyone up on the porch and get some backup in here. Get a roadblock set up. Nobody comes in but officials that need to be here. No tramping around until the crime scene team arrives. And don’t use your radios. Call in with a cell. Let’s keep the media out as long as we can. Looks like a damn war went on in this house. Send someone to the back of the house. Be careful, there may be more attackers out there.”

Jack said, “Your officer will find a body back by the pool deck. Two more are 50 feet or so out in the marsh.”

“Who in hell killed all these people?”

When Jack moved toward the pool deck, Kathy stepped in, still holding her badge, and said, “Sergeant, we did. Me, the Vietnamese house staff, Jack and Kelly, our houseguest. I’m Kathy Grayson, the man you were talking to is Jack Brandon. Over there,” pointing to Kelly, “is Miss Marino. Mr. and Mrs. Minh are staff members and Shadow, the big black bear-like creature, is the one who gave the alarm and tracked the two in the marsh.”

“We’ll need statements from all of you. But for now we must secure the crime scene area. I think you’ll need to find another place for a few days. Can you do that?”

“Of course, we’ll help in any way we can. We have a condo in town that will hold us until you’re done here.”

When Sergeant Wilson left to walk back to his squad car, Kathy took advantage of the opportunity to talk privately to Jack. She found him back by the pool. He was just finishing a heads-up call to Captain Shorer and was starting to call Frank when Kathy came up. He put his arm around her and said, “You done really good, managing all the pieces of the attack. And we didn’t lose anyone.”

“I told the Sergeant that we killed all those men after they attacked us and introduced him to all of us. He asked if we could find some place to relocate until the crime guys were finished. I told him we had a downtown condo.”

“Good. Our stance here is one of maximum cooperation without saying too much. Nothing about Hankins and the rug shop, or Frank. I think we’ll be okay, though the local chief may want to yell at us for a bit. Our answer is to ask how this could occur in a major southern city. Is our neighborhood safe?

“I’m not sure, but I think one of the attackers Shadow and I killed in the marsh was the fireman who asked so many questions at the rug shop fire. Killers on the city payroll. The media will love it. Your instincts were right again. You’re almost as good as Shadow.”

“High praise, Mr. Brandon, but no human is as good as Shadow. Thank God for that dog. Call Frank. I’m going back to talk to Kelly. She was wonderful. I saw just bit of a stark-naked Kelly lying on her side, pumping .45s down the hallway. What a sensation that would be on YouTube. We could make her famous. Seriously, she may need some TLC. She’s tough but shooting her first two people, even in self-defense, is going to give her some sleepless nights.”

Kelly had her mother’s genes. Three days after the violent attack, she told Kathy she was okay and sleeping well. She could call up the memories but her head was okay. She said that she was still in awe that she had been part of a team that stopped a surprise attack by four armed men and only Mrs. Minh had been hit in the arm requiring some tricky surgery. Fortunately, Charleston had quality medical care. She was with them now working with one arm in a sling and muttering about the scratch everyone was upset about. In her days with the PRU, she would have been on the next mission.

Jack was very pleased that they had escaped without legal problems. A phone call from Captain Shorer to Chief Lowell got them treated like active duty officers. The fact Jack and Kathy were not doing any active investigative work in Charleston eased all budding turf problems. They had weapons registered with Pittsburgh police because Jack, a Pittsburgh police sergeant, was on leave without pay while taking care of his father’s estate. Jack’s father was killed in by a team that may have been from Charleston. When the man who attempted to kill Jack, Kathy and Shadow in Pittsburgh was identified by the Charleston police as being a former city policeman fired for corrupt activities, Chief Lowell dropped all pending charges and said they were welcome to stay in Charleston as long as they wanted. The police force, to a man, admired the defenders of the Brandon house, and when they learned Kelly killed two of the attackers while naked, every bachelor cop and some who weren’t, wanted to date her.

The media coverage was intensive for three days with pictures of the house and occupants, especially Shadow and Kelly. Jack believed that their stay in Charleston was limited. With all the notoriety, he didn’t see how they could help Frank at CTC, and surely Joel Hankins would never come back to Charleston. Kathy had been in close touch with Frank, who felt the Professor was not through with Charleston and wanted them to stay in place for a few more months. Jack put his misgivings aside and agreed.

Next week Frank wanted Kathy and Kelly to take over watching Hankins. It seemed he relocated to Georgetown, SC. Kathy knew it would be a tedious, boring job but a good way to get Kelly some field experience. After seeing the images of Hankins’ killing of young women, Kathy was anxious to take him down. Before they left for Georgetown, she intended to show Kelly the images so she would know this guy was a real serial killer and to be extremely careful. Frank didn’t want to expose any of the Brandon group to his inside agents, so he sent all the surveillance reports and images to her MacAir notebook. They were scheduled to pick up surveillance of Hankins tomorrow at 11:00. He had moved into an apartment over an empty garage on the west end of Highmarket Street in Georgetown. The reports had seen him put his gray Ford Explorer in the garage. Therefore, he must also be renting the garage.

Jack hated to see Kathy and Kelly disappear for an indefinite time, even if it was only 90 minutes from Charleston. He could tell Shadow knew Kathy was going away. The big black Bouvier had bonded with Kathy from day one. He had to contact Lou who would now be reporting to him. If there was no sign of activity from the Professor in the next two weeks, he might be in the wind. At least they had stopped his car bombing attack.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 30

Kelly awoke suddenly, first to the sound of Shadow’s barking roar and then to the sound JWM Serializationof breaking glass and gunfire from the front of the house. She grabbed her handgun and bag of magazines and leapt off the bed toward the hallway where she dropped to the floor and looked both ways down the hall. From the front door she heard more gunfire and saw a man coming down the hall firing into all the rooms. He was still 20 feet from her room. She rolled on her right side and fired three times into the mass of the attacker. He went down and almost slid into her. Kelly shot him twice more in the head and raced to the front door. Mrs. Minh was on the floor with her husband tending to her, while he kept his shotgun trained on the broken front door. He looked up at Kelly and motioned for her to get to the back of the house. She sprinted to the sliding glass door leading to the pool deck, slipped outside and crouched behind a long three-foot-high cement planter. She hardly noticed the cold falling rain on her bare skin. Putting in a fresh magazine, she heard Kathy calling her on the radio. She gave Kathy her position and a report of what she saw.

Kathy said, “I don’t how many there are. Jack and Shadow are hunting outside in the marsh grass. I haven’t heard from them. Hold your position. I’m giving you perimeter lights. Stay undercover. The Minhs have the front covered. Her wounds are not life threatening. She’s a tough fighter.”

“Okay! I have good cover and can hold here. Let me know when help is arriving. I have to get something on. I’m totally naked.”

“Never mind. Just stay focused. This isn’t over yet. I can’t see any movement on my screens.”

Jack and Shadow were motionless in the high marsh grass. They were almost invisible. Shadow’s wet black coat and Jack’s black tee, black baseball hat, and a mud-darkened face and arms reduced their image to a mottled dark spot. Jack called for Kathy to turn on the perimeter lights on the marsh side. The light was no threat to them. It produced faint mottled shadows. The January rain was picking up with a rising wind, masking the sound of moving through the marsh grass and diminishing the effectiveness of his quadrant search for the intruders. Fortunately, he only had to search the area in front of him. Shadow was standing with his attention fixated at a point directly in front of Jack, who was kneeling with his back to the light coming from the house and scanning the marsh with night vision glasses. He knew somewhere in front of him one or more attackers were concealed. He could wait. His experience as a Marine sniper in the beginning of the Iraqi war guided his every movement and plan. Instead of the heat and dryness of the desert, he had the mosquitoes, mud and wetness of the marsh. All his senses were on high alert.

Shadow was quivering with repressed energy. Jack knew one word from him, and Shadow would be on the attackers and would probably be killed if there were more than one. He heard Kathy and Kelly on the radio and felt they could control the house. Kelly must have some Celtic blood to go into battle naked. The two Vietnamese guards were on the other side of the house. Jack trusted them to hold their flank.

Just then Jack saw the grass move. It could not have been the wind. These people were clumsy. Concentrating on the area of the slight movement, he could make out the shapes of two men. Flipping his M-16 to full auto, he fired an entire 20-round magazine into the area. Slamming in a fresh magazine, he fired again into the spot where he could now hearing thrashing and someone calling for help. Reloading on the run, Jack and Shadow quickly covered the 100 feet and charged into the area. Two men were down. They both looked dead. Jack told Shadow to stay and checked carotid arteries. Both were dead. Neither of them had any ID.

Wondering if there were any more, Jack called Kathy. Before she could answer he heard rapid firing from the back of the house. One of the weapons was a SOCOM and that must be Kelly. Jack and Shadow ran to the back of the house.

Kathy told the two Vietnamese guards to pull back to the house, but be careful, there may be more. Shadow beat Jack to the pool and leapt upon the man trying to drag himself away from the house. Kelly ran up and pulled a growling Shadow off the dying man. Jack saw that the man Kelly shot would not live until the medical help arrived. He heard the sirens coming and knew it was time to wrap up. Jack looked at Kelly and said, “Very well done. You probably saved Kathy’s life.” Kelly was standing holding Shadow who was still growling. Jack thought he had never seen a woman or a man so natural in their nakedness.

Kelly saw Jack looking at her and said, “I guess I better get something on before the cops come.”

“Before you go, are you okay with killing two men?”

“Yes, but I don’t know yet. They were shooting at me. I had no choice. I just did what Kathy taught me. It worked. I hope Mrs. Minh is all right.”

“I don’t know yet. The police will want to split us up for questioning. I may not be able to stop that. Just tell the truth about the attack but don’t mention we were ready for it. The two Vietnamese the Minhs brought in can just disappear. Their truck is parked a few streets away. No reason for them to be involved. I’ll take care of that now. Take Shadow with you and get dressed. Give me your weapon. If they ask, tell them you and Kathy were shooting today, and you borrowed the handgun from me and just hadn’t cleaned and returned it yet.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 29

During dinner Kathy told Jack how well Kelly had done on her first surveillance exercise. JWM SerializationKelly chimed in saying, “The more I think about it, the worse I feel about screwing up.”

Jack said, “Try to keep your thoughts positive. When Kathy says you did okay, you did okay. Think and analyze before and after the action. During the action, don’t think or analyze too much. Just react, you will do better. Fall back on your training. Thinking when in action means you had too little training or you don’t trust your training and instincts. The result is tentative responses that can lead to you or someone on your team getting killed.

“Maybe now is a good time to make sure you know what to do if this house is attacked. I see you are thinking, ‘what’s he saying. Surely I didn’t hear this house might be attacked.’ I hope not but Kathy and I were having dinner at the Ritz Carlton in McLean when my father’s house was attacked. My father was killed along with his house staff. Shadow was seriously wounded. Shadow gave the alarm and my father, his servants and Shadow killed three of the attackers. I really don’t expect the same thing to happen here, but I want to be prepared. You should know that Kathy believes there is a higher likelihood of an attack than do I.”

“You got that right. You didn’t expect a bomb or an attack on us in your Pittsburgh house either. Yet it happened.”

“Yes, you’re right, and that’s why I want to bring Kelly up to speed now that she is living here. Let’s start with the weapon. I believe Kathy gave you one of our SOCOM .45s. That’s good. The weapon will fire nearly the same as the one you fired on the range. After dinner load four magazines, chamber a round and keep it under your pillow. I believe you should make having a loaded weapon handy a rule, as long as there is a real threat. I have, ever since the night my father was killed.

“If an attack happens, your area is to cover the inner hallway outside your room and the windows in your room. Stay away from the windows unless you have to get outside or need to take up a firing position at the window. Don’t hesitate to shoot but know that the two Vietnamese landscaper/guards will be outside with me. I don’t want us all trapped inside the house.

“The attackers don’t want a 911 call response, so they will have to complete their mission in less than five or six minutes. They could plan on using explosives to burn the house with us inside. At the first sign of trouble, Shadow and I’ll be outside. We will all have radios and Kathy will call 911 and be in the laundry room/ops center watching the video coverage from our cameras. The Minhs, armed with shotguns, will have primary responsibility for the front and back doors. If we are overrun, go out the back through the pool area to the woods behind the house. Get into a good shooting position and stay put. Move only if you have no other choice.”

After the sobering dinner conversation, Kelly did as suggested and put her weapon under her pillow. Extra magazines and the radio went into her cosmetic case. She smiled at the thought of exchanging her beloved lotions for three magazines of .45 cartridges and an iPhone-sized radio. She had never been anywhere close to a firefight and wondered what her mother would do if she were here? God, she hoped she had her mother’s warrior genes. After checking out the different routes out of the hallway and the night view from her bedroom windows, she gave in to exhaustion from her day’s activities and, with the sound of gently falling rain, dropped off to sleep.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 28

The Minhs reacted quickly to Jack’s request for some additional help to guard the house. JWM SerializationThey called upon some of their old comrades who had served under Minh in the Quang Tri Provincial Reconnaissance Unit that was run by the CIA during the Vietnam War. The two men who arrived the next day were skilled landscapers.

No one would suspect that these elderly landscapers were clearing lines of fire, laying out distance markers, installing remote cameras, motion detectors and manual switches for perimeter lighting. They also put in a pergola and plantings that blocked line of sight for long-distance rifle shots, especially at night. Inside, Jack and the Minhs positioned weapons and ammunition at strategic locations. Jack wasn’t sure there would ever be an attack, but he was taking Shadow’s and Kathy’s warning seriously.

If an attack happened or seemed likely, his plan was to slip on his old ghillie suit or black clothing and take out the attackers in the marsh grass that bordered the property. This time the only surprise was for the attackers. There would be no law and no quarter.

Jack, Kathy and Kelly were sitting around the breakfast table savoring the last of the morning coffee. Kathy was telling Jack about Kelly’s progress. Her Hapkido needed much more work but her shooting skills were good, and she quickly picked up the procedures and nuances of surveillance operations. Yesterday Kathy picked out targets as they were walking downtown Charleston and told Kelly to trail that person unobserved for one hour and report back to the starting location, prepared to brief her on what she had observed.

After Kelly followed two subjects, Kathy said, “Okay, now let’s have an afternoon tea while we talk about your experiences today. First, tell me what you’ve learned.”

“Following someone takes patience and stamina. Being constantly alert and finding a way to blend in, while waiting for your target to move on, is mentally and physically tiring. Several times I felt like I was totally exposed. A couple of bystanders came over when I was standing around and asked me tourist type questions. One guy was hitting on me. Acting normal, while you’re focused on an entryway or a subject getting into a car or meeting someone, is difficult. Once I convinced myself I had to go into a clothing shop after my subject. Not a good idea. The shop wasn’t crowded, and both the clerk and the target looked over at me. I said I was just browsing and left. From then on I was really careful that the subject didn’t see me again. I remembered you telling me the only way a target can spot a surveillant or a team of surveillants is by seeing the same person in two or more locations. In your world, there are no coincidences. My experience in the clothing store made an impression.”

“I wanted to start you out on unsuspecting targets before we complicated the exercise. Tomorrow Jack will be our subject. In real life situations, working against someone skilled in street operations, you’d be briefed on the target. Those types are always checking for surveillance. I was checking today while we were walking downtown. Jack is very good at surveillance. I’m better at detecting people trying to follow me. They are different skills. Learning what problems the followers have will help you detect people trying to follow you. Those skills involve discreet actions to make surveillants show themselves, and the really difficult task of losing the people following you, without their knowing you took evasive actions to get away from them.”

“Kathy! I had no idea this stuff was so complicated or serious. Will I ever be able to learn it all?”

Kathy laughed and said, “I felt just like that at one time. Like all skills some people are just better surveillants and intelligence officers. I’m not sure everyone can be taught to be exceptional at this skill. I think you’re a good student, and I like what I saw today. You see, I was following you the whole time.”

“You weren’t! I never saw you!”

“You weren’t supposed to. I’m glad you told me about your mistake at the clothing store. Not everyone would have. Remember, it’s not a matter of looking good but of being good.”

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