You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, a fantasy adventure novel available at Barnes and Noble Online.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

American Terrorist-

Tommy Carlos stood on the darkened rooftop, overlooking the village square. Born Tomas Ignacio Carlos, he had assumed many other names over the years. This, however, was a night for reflection. Tonight he was Tommy Carlos, an American in a foreign land.

He gazed at the darkened village square, with the well in the center. The well tapped the aquifer that supplied nearly two thousand rural Pakistani people with water. This well was the target, and tonight was the culmination of seven months of work. Possibly the culmination of Tommy's whole career, as well. He had lived a lot in his twenty seven years, and knew that he might not have many years more.

The government of the United States had not been hesitant to use Tommy's facility with language. He had grown up in a family that valued both English and Spanish, and he had shown a knack for using those languages. The government had valued his genes, as well. Tommy had an appearance that would let him blend in. He could appear Middle Eastern, Asian, or Hispanic with little more than changes of clothing and hairstyle.

At this point in his life Tommy knew English, Spanish, two dialects that served him in Iraq, and a dialect that had opened doors in Afghanistan. He had been trained by the Army to assist special operations teams in quite a number of places. He had applied those skills for the government of the United States through two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

When he separated from the Army he had been offered jobs by the CIA, the FBI, several specialized Homeland Security teams, and half a dozen "private contractors." A number of less legitimate offers had come his way, as well. It was an obscure little group with a small presence on the Internet that had captured his attention.

Several shadows separated themselves from the dark walls surrounding the village square. Right on time. They moved into position, and all was quiet for a time. Tommy returned to his musing.

It had taken him months to get to this village. He had to contact drug dealers. He had to contact smugglers. He had to pay off petty warlords and a few politicians. He had learned who grew the opium poppies and who controlled the sales. Months of work had netted a nice little stash of the raw materials for making opium in a small warehouse just a stone's throw from where he stood.

That had all been a cover. Once he had most of his stash established his unnamed contacts had hidden tightly sealed containers in the warehouse. It had amused him that opium, a substance that was usually hidden in something else to be shipped, was itself a hiding place.

Twice since the containers were put in place his warehouse had been inspected by local authorities. They had not looked twice at the poison he was collecting to ship out of the country. They would have been quite troubled at the more immediate death that hid within the bundles.

Men began moving back and forth across the square, from his warehouse to the well and back again. They were silent, and hard to see, but Tommy knew that they were emptying the containers into the waters below. It would not be long, now.

The opium dealing was actually just a cover for this operation. A way to hide in plain site, a way of doing what needed doing for a higher end. His drug dealing connections would probably be hunting him, after this night was over. Quite a number of people would be hunting him.

The men appeared to have finished, blending back into the darkness. The night was very dark in this part of the world. Tommy climbed down from the roof and gathered his pack and other gear. He began the long trek toward the border. Afghanistan was a long walk away, and he was already adopting his next persona.


Arnie Kendricks sat at his computer, probing the Internet. He had really enjoyed his new career, reading and reporting on Internet activities for a branch of Homeland Security. He really didn't know just what branch, or how it fit into the scheme of things. He just liked the job. It was almost like his period of extended unemployment. He had done a lot of the same things, but didn't get payed.

Now, however, he was not so sure about his sweet gig. The website was a terrorist website, that was for sure. However, these were Americans conducting terrorist acts in foreign lands. Oh, and what acts! Twelve hundred Pakistani villagers killed by some kind of poison. The images were horrific. Men, women and children who died a slow and painful death.

Moving past the images was hard, but he had to read further. The group gave their name, and claimed responsibility. They promised more of the same, unless Pakistan delivered the leaders of Al-Qaeda to American authorities and drove Al-Qaeda out of Pakistan and into Afghanistan where American forces could deal with them openly.

Arnie could already visualize the reprisals that would come from this. He checked the links and found several other sites showing the same images and what he assumed was the same text in other languages. Tracking the links he could see that this was going to go viral.

He linked the site to his boss, whoever that really might be, with a quick note indicating that this was important and advising that his report would follow. Arnie wondered just how secure his homeland might prove to be, after this.


Out of the hills of northern Afghanistan a lone figure walked. He looked harried, as if the ghosts of innocents dogged his heals. Another figure arose from concealment and greeted the lone walker. The two turned and walked down a path, far from quiet American streets. They made their way to a cave, and entered without a word.

Inside they joined two dozen expatriates, to plan together and see if small actions by a few dedicated people could change the course of nations.

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