Saturday, September 29, 2012

The South American Incident-06

Colombia exploded.

Ken went into the streets, followed leads, and let the gangsters and strongmen do their tough guy thing over and over again. Each time Ken would barge into a bar, a house, or whatever sad excuse for a place that this crew or that gang used as a hangout or a headquarters and then do his best to let the locals put up their intimidation routine while he marked all of the exits as well as the gangsters. Then he killed all but one of them, get the next link in the chain, finish him off and go.

He left the police in disarray, moving faster than they could react. He left the courts at a loss for words, because he did in days what they failed to do in years. The cartels soon saw that they could not ignore him, so they set up ambushes. They failed, and the body count kept climbing. Entire crews got wiped out. As Ken ranged wider and wider, the carnage escalated to match and soon syndicates that endured for years died in a day. Criminal brotherhoods with shadowy origins generations ago heaped into rubble within hours. Ken became “The White Death”.

Into the jungles Ken went, following the trail of clues and networks of connections. Fields long left for cultivating coca burned, and so did the cartel overseers and peasant collaborators. Fortresses in the wilderness, long held against the government, fell to Ken by himself- and he burned them all to ash.

The cartels in Colombia, which also had reach into the rest of South America, called out for aide against “The American Super Soldier”. Word in the press told of a wonder-warrior from America, a man that did what so many in so much of the world wanted done but lacked the will or the means to do so, and speculated as to what he was: a C.I.A. wetwork operative, a Blackwater contract killer, a rogue U.S. special forces soldier, a secret experiment gone wrong, and so on. The media ran with this, knowing Ken only by the heroic epithets given to him by those in the street, given Ken the aura of menace needed to make his final push.

In the last push for the cartel leadership, Ken again assumed that they would attempt to trap him and overwhelm him with superior numbers. He intercepted the plan, and it would involve a total of four international hitmen teams from across the South American underground. Some of them were also official government operatives, which made him quite happy. Once Ken confirmed the intelligence, he put into action the only viable response to such an attempt to rendezvous and crush him.

For the government crooks, Ken passed that to The Colonel. The old man, wielding Ken’s popularity like a club, went after his rivals and took them out before they could mobilize. A nasty firefight ended that threat. The Colonel then pushed the diplomatic corps to demand similar responses- it worked.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The South American Incident-05

After dinner, The Colonel told Ken all of what he knew: the government enacted a policy against the drug cartels, one of interdiction and suppression, at the behest of the United States of America (and with their assistance); the cartels retaliated by raiding the government’s strongholds to undermine the support that the people gave to the government, and part of these raids included assassinating officials such as judges; the leading faction in the government exploited this by using such posts as virtual death sentences for political rivals, which is why The Colonel got appointed as a judge upon retiring from the Colombian Army. Six assassination attempts later, The Colonel realized that the cartels will shift tactics to get to him, and the government won’t do anything about it, which is why he asked for Ken to help.

“Why would they not go abroad to abduct your older daughters?” Ken said.

“The killings are public because they are political statements by the cartels to the people that the government is not their friend.” The Colonel said, “Any alternative must fulfill the same purpose, and causing problems abroad does not do that here. So, for now, they are safe.”

“And the neighboring governments?”

“Each of the governments here in South America, behind closed doors, knows that they are in an inferior position with regard to the United States of America- the hegemon of the Americas. Even if they agree with destroying the cartels, relations with the Americans alone will impede alternatives to the American policy. The reality, however, is that all of our politics are riven with factions and rivalries that will use events to advance their goals or eliminate enemies.”

“Bottom line?”

“Don’t expect much help, and none from anyone other than me or those that owe me.”

Ken sighed. “I can handle that.”

“You and I share an associate.” The Colonel said, patting his own Browning Hi Power, “You will do just fine, if all Marisol tells me is true.”

“Well,” Ken said, “it seems that the best approach is to do something that forces the cartels to take their focus away from you and…”

The Colonel passed Ken a manila envelope. “I have a few suggestions.”

Ken nodded, intrigued. “I think it will be time to take a very personal tour of Colombia.”

The Colonel laughed. “Colombia is a beautiful country, filled with natural wonders that have to be seen with one’s own eyes to be believed. Take my advice, and follow my leads, young Ken. See all we have to see, and make joyful noises wherever you go. Let this experience be one that no one ever forgets.”

Ken then took his leave, as The Colonel wanted some time with Marisol before returning to his work in the morning. He returned to the guest room prepared for him, emptied the envelope, and read its contents: cartel safehouses, contacts, caches, etc. here in Bogata.

“After I’m done, no one will ever do this again.”

Friday, September 14, 2012

The South American Incident-04

Ken walked into the guest room set aside for him. As requested, the servants did not open his luggage and put away his clothes, so they remain on the footlocker at the base of the twin-sized bed. He took the larger of them, put it on the bed and opened it up. Underneath a few clothing articles he drew forth a pistol case. From that case he drew forth his preferred pistol: a classic Browning Hi-Power semi-automatic, chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum. He shifted the pistol to his off-hand and drew the spare magazines from the case, which he put into a side pocket on his pants, before racking the slide to charge the chamber.

“I see that you still work with Mr. Browning.” Marisol said, standing in the doorway.

“No one else enjoys his support or prestige.” Ken said, “I need a full briefing, Marisol. I assume that your husband will accommodate me.”

“After dinner.” she said, “He will tell you all.”

Friday, September 7, 2012

The South American Incident-03

Ken arrived at the Martinez residence, a home originally built by the Spanish colonizers several generations ago and refurbished periodically to maintain and update the property, so it was a large and airy mansion on no small amount of land. This was, in the traditional sense, a proper household and the man of the house—Colonel Raphael Martinez (retired)—was himself a scion of Colombia’s upper class. Looking far more Spanish than Colombian, much like Marisol, the Colonel displayed in his bearing the charisma and vigor often expected (and rarely exhibited) by his class in society. Raphael was just the man to lead the government’s fight against the cartels, which is also why he—like his predecessors—was a marked man.

The Colonel met Marisol and Ken at the front door, kissing his wife and shaking Ken’s hands in turn as they got out of the car.

“I am pleased to meet you at last.” The Colonel said, “Marisol has always spoken so highly of you since I began courting her all those years ago.”

Ken could not help but to notice the disparity in age between his old university friend and her husband—at least ten years, if the pepper-like hair was more stress-induced than just aging—and he noted that Marisol’s affection for the Colonel, while genuine, seemed constrained by convention. He also noticed the slight printing of a pistol beneath his host’s jacket; this was, as expected, no foolish man.

“Come, then.” The Colonel said, “Let us go inside.”

Ken allowed his host to show him into the mansion. Servants took up Ken’s luggage, such as it was, and removed it upstairs where he would later find it in the room set for him. Meanwhile, he went with his host and friend to a balcony overlooking the city. The Colonel seated Marisol, and then showed Ken to another chair, before taking one himself. Another servant appeared to serve them tea.

“You came a very long way, and on such short notice.” The Colonel said.

“My business in Russia had just concluded when your wife reached me, Colonel.” Ken said.

“Indeed.” The Colonel said, producing a pen and a notepad from an interior pocket, “Your reputation with regard to your business pursuits has already attracted some attention in the circles that I often travel.”

The Colonel wrote something down and passed pen and paper to Ken.

“I do hope that I am not too indiscreet for your needs, Colonel.” Ken said as he read the note, “I prefer to keep my business to myself, and leave those unconcerned alone.”

The note read You should be aware that you have attracted the attention of the Intelligence Community, and they are not happy with you.

"You deal well with complications." The Colonel said.

"I follow Alexander's example." Ken said, "It's always worked for me."