Saturday, January 28, 2012


Guiscard sighed. He quaffed his drink and set his glass down with a dull thud.

“Shit.” Guiscard said, “That complicates things. You killed them all, didn’t you?”

“No choice. It was them or me.” Ken said nonchalantly, “I prefer to keep breathing.”

“You might have gotten away with just the Angels, as they can be a fratricidal bunch, but there is no one that either Los Zetas or the Synidicate will let this slide. You made them look bad, and-“

“-neither of them can tolerate that, because it’s bad for business. Been there, did that.”

Guiscard refilled their glasses. “That’s what puzzles me.”

“It was the first step of the plan: draw out the opposition by attacking their strategy. The three of them wanted to establish some form of partnership that allowed the creation of a trans-continental network for their drug and gun rings. This meeting, as I guessed, was the point of failure.”

“So, when they send in the cleaners, you-“

“-will kill them, take their stuff, and then send back their heads. I want to force them to waste their time and resources on this matter, to force them to deal with me, until they spread themselves so thin that they become vulnerable elsewhere.”

“Knee deep in the dead and still coming, that’s the plan?”

“You got it, Guiscard. I will force them to deal with me, personally if I can- I will force the issue, all the issues, and make myself too big to ignore- and such match their ‘too big to fail’ mentalities.”

Guiscard looked upon Ken, disturbed.

“I’ve done this dance so many times before that it’s as predictable as the sunrise. I know how these bastards think, and I have no problem with exploiting it. How do you think I’ve succeeded for as long as I have? It’s only when someone on the other side gets outside of that box that I run into any real trouble.”

Guiscard’s look darkened.

“Yes, I am serious. I’m putting myself directly on the firing line, again, first and foremost. I’ll tell the right folks to clear out, take a long holiday, and move their assets with them until the maelstrom I’m about to bring here is gone. I’m a dick, but I’m not a heartless asshole.” “You can’t help but go all-in, can you?”

Guiscard again quaffed his drink. “Always in the fight, always at the center, where the action is, bringing the pain- that’s you, Ken.”

“I know what it takes, old man. All enduring change comes at a price, and the only currencies accepted are blood, bone and fire. It doesn’t matter who pays the price; all that matters is that it’s paid. I prefer to make those sick sons of bitches pay the bill- that’s all.”

“That explains the stockpile of guns. You’re going to war.”

“No.” Ken said, flatly, “The war came to me. I don’t start the fights. I just finish them, and I always do so permanently.”

Friday, January 20, 2012


Guiscard welcomed Ken with a smile and a cigar in hand.

“About that big picture,” Ken said, “I just busted up a three-way dance between the Zetas, the Angels and some Canadian syndicate. Mind?”

The old Legionnaire shook his head. “Quick, effective and total- I expected as much from you.”

The two of them walked through an empty common room and over to the bar, where Guiscard poured one glass for each of them.

“The Canadians represented a larger syndicate, with French connections and origins. The man I suspect you encountered was the underboss operating out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. If I am right, then Franklin was one of two links making that meeting happen.”

“The other,” Ken said, taking a drink, “was the Angels, I assume?” Guiscard nodded. “The Legion has a history with this organization, as it’s been a matter of …honor for many of us to do away with it.”

Ken took another drink. He marked Guiscard’s pause; experience told him that it meant a personal, and shameful, encounter compelled the man’s interest. As he let that thought settle, his phone rang. He looked to see who’s calling him, and upon seeing that it was the Sheriff Ken got up and walked away from the bar.

“Ken here, Sheriff. Go.”

“Franklin sang once we got him there. The old man is ex-Foreign Legion, a Colonel Gregor Ballard, originally from South Africa. Retired 10 years ago, resettled in Winnipeg after a brief time in Montreal, and an informal Legion recruiter.”

“Anything else?”

“Ask your man Guiscard.” “Thanks, Sheriff.” Ken said, and he hung up.

Guiscard topped off their drinks. “It was Gregor, yes?”

Ken returned to his seat at the bar and nodded.

“Rotten bastard. He’s typical of what went wrong with the Legion. The French government got too loose with oversight of the Legion."

“Is this like what happened with Los Zetas?”

“Broadly-speaking, yes, but unlike the story with Mexico the problem with the Legion did not arise out of purely internal structural flaws in the government.”

Ken blinked. “You mind unpacking that a bit further?”

“Mexico made the Zetas, but corruption within the government turned them against their masters. It’s purely an internal fuck-up. That’s not what happened with the Legion. Sure, the French government got lazy with its oversight, but the real problem stems from the Intelligence community.”

Ken frowned and took another drink. “You mean the CIA, don’t you?”

“CIA, MI6, NATO and so on; lots of agencies, and lots of factions within and across them, are out there. Many of them are little more than pretentious gangsters, using ‘national security’ and ‘anti-terrorism’ as covers for their crimes. One such group took an eye at the Legion as a convenient place to set-up some operations, and used the regularity of criminal backgrounds as leverage to infiltrate units and take them over.”

This sounds familiar.” Ken said, finishing his glass.

“It’s an old story.” Guiscard said, taking a pull on his cigar, “Not all of us went along with it, and we fought hard to cut them out and restore the Legion’s honor. The fight went all the way to the top of the government, and ended with a purge. To protect the government, as well as the Legion, everything happened out of sight and the records got classified. Everyone that survived, eventually, left- some of us under far better terms than others.”

“Well, Ballard got his.” Ken said, “I shot him several times at point-blank range. None of his men got out alive either.”

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The gunfire in the office got the attention of those bikers outside that hadn’t run off to deal with the distant gunfire. They turned, saw that their bosses got shot to hell, and—once the shock wore off—put up their guns and fired upon Ken. The fusillade of firepower shattered the windows and tore up the far wall, but failed to hit Ken. He again ducked, and as the glass fell about him he crawled over to the slain bodyguards and took up their arms.

Ken slammed a magazine home, pulled the charging handle and then guessed where one or more of them stood based on the bullet impacts over his head and the report of the guns. He shifted into a kneeling position, shouldered the weapon and fired three quick shots through the lower wall into the hangar. One of them cried out, and another called Ken’s position. He moved fast, just escaping the return fire, and crawled to the door. He opened the door and leaned out just as two of the bikers made for it and shot them down with a pair of well-placed shots to the chest.

The conscious mind stepped back now, and Ken now ran on experience and training. Feeling the moment shifting his way, Ken went on the attack and assaulted the bikers. He flanked them, cutting three down before they noticed, and kept moving on them without relenting. The violence of action put the Fear of God into his foes, and they turned and ran. Ken didn’t hesitate to finish them all—one shot, one kill—as their retreat turned into a rout. When he finally emptied the magazine, Ken was—again—the last man standing.

Without hesitation, Ken hurried back to the office, recovered his guns and grabbed magazines for them and the rifle from the dead. Quickly loading up, he then grabbed one of the road hogs that the bikers parked in the hanger and road out to meet with his allies. At that same time, the Sheriff and the militia finished off the bikers that intercepted them.

“Here comes the conquering hero.” The Sheriff said as Ken approached, and a few moments later Ken pulled alongside.

“30 dead, including the leaders, Sheriff. The old man is the Canuck, and he knew Franklin. Get him to I.D. the corpse, and some techs to slap a tracker on the plane.”

The Sheriff nodded his head. “Will do. Where are you going?”

Ken smiled. “Off to talk to a man about a picture.” Ken said, and rode off.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Ken, at that moment, was in Franklin’s office. The excuse was to take care of boring shit, but the real reason was to transmit the video to the Sheriff. Hearing the old man call for Franklin, Ken sent out the go-code to move in and then went out to meet the man.

“Someone call for me?” Ken said, and the old man gave Ken the once-over.

“You sounded different on the phone.” The old man’s eyes gave Ken no sense of relief.

"You don’t sound like a doe-eyed teenager.” Ken said, “You don’t hear me crying about it.”

Ken approached the old man. “Now that we’re all here, let’s get the late-comers some beer and brats, and then we can talk business.”

The old man followed Ken, Mark and Pedro into Franklin’s office while the others maintained their loose watch about the hanger. The old man’s bodyguards, in particular, stayed close to their boss and his plane.

“Now, before we get into the details, let’s review what’s on the table. Y’know, just so we’re all on the same page.” Ken said.

Pedro said, “Los Zetas offers to originate fresh product from its manufacturing assets, and to ensure its delivery into the United States and Canada, whereupon it will be distributed to our partners.”

Mark said, “The Hell’s Angels offers to provide security through North America, in conjunction with our partners. We will pro-actively deal with threats to our collective interests, and distribute in the United States.”

The old man said, “We will handle Canadian distribution exclusively, and administer financing issues in conjunction with Zetas counterparts.”

Just then, one of the bodyguards entered the room. The men outside arose in a confused and panicked manner, tipping Ken off that he soon would need to drop this charade.

“We’re getting hit, Franklin.” The old man glared at Ken. “I’ve got it covered.” Ken said, opening a draw in the desk, “I assumed that something like this could happen, and planned for it.”

Mark, Pedro and the old man all looked at him in disbelief. Meanwhile, Ken drew a pair of concealed pistols into his hands.

“And what, Franklin, are you going to do about it?” Mark said, curious.

Ken drew down on them. “This!” Ken opened fire, catching the three of them—and the bodyguard—by surprise.

Mark and the bodyguard caught bullets in their throats and dropped to the floor, blood spraying from their necks. Pedro took two in the chest and fell over in a heap. The old man leaped for Ken, but slumped on the desk after taking four in the face and chest; he slid to the floor, smearing blood and viscera as he slid down.

The door to the office flew open as Ken dropped his empty pistols to the floor, and he ducked under the desk when they dumped the magazines in their carbines into it. A couple of round nicked him, but nothing serious came of it. Ken waited for the shooting to stop, then stood and chucked a chair at them before they could reload. That gave him the opening to close with them, knife in hand, and cut them up. He got one of them right away, slashing open his neck and then stabbing him in the face to end that man’s life.

The other bodyguard dropped his rifle and engaged Ken empty-handed, tossing Ken back across the room, and then drew his pistol. Ken landed on the cooling corpse of his foe’s former boss, and then got back under the desk just as the bodyguard fired upon him again. Ken quickly moved from side to side, knowing that the desk wouldn’t provide effective cover anymore, and pulled his back-up gun out of its holster. Then Ken laid down, shot the bodyguard in the ankle and waited for the man to hit the floor; once Ken lined up a shot with the man’s skull, he put his last two through that big brain pan and ended that engagement. Six dead bad guys, and only a couple of flesh wounds.