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Excerpt from Area 51 Nightstalkers, released 11 December 2012
Nada sat back behind his desk and pulled out his own team Protocol. “Moms’s Protocol is page one. Mine is page two.” He hummed something as he scanned the list. “Let me give you some of the more important ones.” His finger slid down the page. “Nothing is impossible to the man who doesn’t have to do it.” He looked up. “Ms. Jones usually keeps the politicians and the press and the various government agencies off our backs during a mission. But every once in a while someone sticks their beak in. Gotta ignore ’em or they’ll get you killed.” He looked back down.
“Smith and Wesson beats four aces.”
Kirk smiled, having heard Uncle Ray say the same thing.
Nada wasn’t smiling. “We go in packing heat and we’ve got heavy stuff on call. We can bring hell down if we need to. Don’t hesitate. Err on the side of containment rather than collateral damage. You ever see those movies where that couple manages to escape those nasty government agents trying to contain a government screw-up because they’re so fucking special?”
“They ain’t special. If we’re containing something, there’s a reason. We kill those people if we have to. No one gets out alive. Got it?”
“We’ve never had to nuke anything to contain it,” Moms added.
“Yet,” Nada said.
“It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far without another nuke having to be used, one way or the other,” Moms said. “But we can call in a nuke strike if the problem warrants it and Ms. Jones concurs with her superiors.” She nodded at Nada. “Please continue.”
“The latest information hasn’t been put out yet. What I mean by that is we rarely get a chance to plan a mission like most Spec Ops do. ST-6 ran rehearsals for the Bin Laden hit for months before going in. Neato and nifty keen if you can. But when we get Zevoned, it’s wheels up in thirty minutes and then it’s Moms on the sat link with Ms. Jones and we develop the plan en route. We almost always HAHO or HALO”—he paused, glanced at the badge on Kirk’s fatigue shirt, and nodded—“a recon man in first. Because even with the best intel, we usually have no clue what we’re dealing with until we get eyes on the target and then boots on the ground. So you’ve got to be prepared to adapt quickly or die.”
He read on. “There are two types of scientists: the steely-eyed killer and the beady-eyed minion and it’s hard to tell them apart. The latter can get you killed. I don’t think I’m paranoid”—it was Moms’s turn to snort—“but keep as close an eye on any Acme Asset as you do the problem. Sometimes they can dick it up even worse than it is.
“We love Doc as one of us,” Nada said, “but even his brain starts thinking of the wonders of science sometimes before he faces the reality of the danger. He got snake-bit in the shoulder on our last op and didn’t even notice until we told him.” Nada raised an eyebrow. “The snake had a Firefly in it.”
Nada slid his finger down the page, reluctantly skipping some of the ones he’d accrued over the years for sake of expediency and focus. “They give these people guns? Besides the scientists, sometimes you got locals on scene. Their guns don’t know the good guy from the bad guy. We parachute in and then come in on the Snake—you’ll meet the Snake later, it’s pretty cool—we scare the shit out of people. We’ve been shot at by supposed friendlies. So no one is friendly except another member of the team until we have containment.”
Nada snapped the Protocol shut with a snap and put it back in his pocket. He looked Kirk in the eyes. “This last one is key. No matter what Doc or an Acme says, my bottom line is this: Just tell me how to kill it.” Nada smiled and stood, along with Moms. “Well, I think that’s a pretty good introduction, don’t you?”
Kirk staggered to his feet, burdened with binders. “Uh, yeah. I’ll get to work—”
He was cut off as the phone on Moms’s desk starting playing a tune:“Lawyers, Guns and Money.”
“That’s a Zevon,” Nada said as he ran toward the door, his phone also now playing the tune and the PRT chiming in a second later.
Despite the very slight time delay, they were all in sync.
Warren Zevon: Send Lawyers, Guns & Money
Enjoy an excerpt from Area 51 Nightstalkers released 11 December 2012.
Moms sat back in her seat and gestured for Nada to begin.
The team sergeant got up and picked up the top binder. “Nuclear Protocol, including facilities, materials, weapons, etcetera.” He tossed it to Kirk, who caught it. Nada picked up the second binder. “Biological Protocol. There are some nasty bugs out there, and hard as it is to believe, there are people in labs trying to make nastier ones. It’s not like Mother Nature can’t be quite the motherfucker by herself.” He tossed the second binder. Third binder: “Chemical. Really, you do need to read all this stuff, cause Doc or an Acme might not be by your side. Pretend you’re in graduate school for things that can kill. Learn which ones kill quickest and fastest.” He paused. “You know your three Bs right?”
“Breathing, bleeding, broken,” Kirk said, listing the priorities for triage.
Nada nodded. “For us it’s the three Cs. Containment is the first priority. Nothing else matters if whatever shit we’re trying to deal with spreads. Then concealment.” He noted Kirk’s surprised look. “Panic can kill as much as the actual problem. Word of some of the things we’ve had to squash gets out, people will go bonkers. The people out there in the world got twenty-four-hour news channels. They’re hungry for bad shit, like the way weathermen pray for hurricanes to hit so they can stand on that pier with the wind howling around them. The news would eat up the stuff we deal with and the public would panic. War of the Worlds–type shit. The third C is control. That one is regulated by Ms. Jones’s directive whether it’s dry, damp, or wet. Got it?”
“Containment, concealment, control.”
Nada picked up a stack of three more binders. “This is just a bunch of stuff. And some of it is pretty weird. They list every single mission the Nightstalkers have been on since it was founded in 1948. Makes for great late-night reading.”
Moms cut in for the first time. “Don’t concern yourself so much with the problems, because some of them won’t happen again, but look at the way the team dealt with it and consider possibilities.”
Nada dumped the three binders on top of the ones already in Kirk’s lap.
He grabbed the thickest one off the desk. “This is the one I call the Dumb Shit Scientist Protocol, but don’t ever let Doc hear that. This lists all the incredibly dumb things scientists have done that damn near wiped out the human race.” Nada’s eyes shifted to the wall between the CP and Ms. Jones’s office, as if she could hear through two feet of steel-reinforced concrete. “Pretty high up on that list is what happened at Chernobyl.”
Last, Nada tossed a pocket-sized team Protocol. “That’s your first priority reading. You’ve got forty-eight hours, then anyone can ask you anything in it and you’d better know it and your place in whatever it is.
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