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To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is another extract from Chapter 1. Extracts will continue every Tuesday and Friday.

Ruperts do have their uses, Seb thought as he listened to the team’s radio acknowledgement. In his mind he knew each person was aware that if a convoy took just ten minutes to arrive, so could three hundred al-Qaeda. A Puma helicopter with a second on standby would have been alerted for their run to the RV, waiting on his order to pick up when safe. For a clean withdrawal the time factors became crucial. He remembered words from his boss, Colonel Fox, that to lead men you had to be at one with them, mentally and physically. To give them confidence and get them the hell out of any position when they were being shot to pieces. “Stand to,” he said and looked back to the night. The tension left his body under a surge of adrenalin. This was his life, what he had trained for. He felt totally focussed. The target was Dr Al Razi, a British mullah and long known supporter of al-Qaeda. Left to preach his hatred in London and travel at will, Al Razi had just collected some of Syria’s stolen anthrax. His intended place of distribution, the British populous.

Seb shifted the butt of his rifle and took grip of the stock. As Rupert it was his duty to ensure Al Razi stayed in the desert. Long, silent minutes passed which left him time to think. Execution would need anger, hatred.

“Hawk to Desert Snatch, convoy now traversing hillside to your position. ETA three minutes.”

“Roger that,” Seb answered. He felt calm now, an inner control filled with solid determination. Every sense became alert to the stillness, the slow encroaching sound of engines. He wanted these bastards, this little shit Al Razi who would kill thousands in satisfaction of self-righteous bigotry.

“All positions fire on my action.” Seb gave his last order and squinted through the night optic sight, watching the lead vehicle come round the hillside, a Toyota FWD with twin mounted machine guns over the cab. Full blaze headlights cut across their position and the desert floor, sweeping down the track as the second vehicle came into view, an enclosed landcruiser. Target vehicle, Seb was certain. He felt Jock shift the Barrett to aim at its engine cover. Last vehicle was an open truck carrying a dozen armed men.

“See you in paradise,” Jock whispered.

“No way, we’ll piss this.” Seb took first pressure on his trigger and listened to the sat-com earpiece come to life.

“Hawk to Desert Snatch. A tracked vehicle has also left the compound, possibly an APC, repeat, armoured vehicle ETA your location eight minutes.”

“Shit.” Now or never. Seb squeezed the trigger and put a series of three round bursts into the landcruiser’s side windows. Beside him the heavy calibre discharge of the Barrett imploded on his eardrums.

A crescendo of ear stunning noise came instantly amidst flickering darts of light. Flame spat across the black velvet sky from the single rounds of the massive Barrett sniper weapons while the snatched, chattering fire of HKG3s and AK74 assault rifles gave constant barrage. Seb shouted the last message from Global Hawk over his UHF.

Return fire from the convoy terminated within sixty seconds. Sergeant Pete Shaffer on the opposite side of the track called ceasefire. The sudden cessation of noise returned the desert to stillness, the silence only disturbed by the crackle of flames from the rear truck and intermittent cries of the wounded.

Seb pushed up from the dugout, Jock beside him, the heavy Barrett cradled in his arms. Half a dozen bodies shadowed the desert floor, fanned out from the vehicles like scattered clothes bags.

“Move it.” Seb heard the order from Pete Shaffer as he came out of his hole. Figures emerged from the desert floor, all running at a crouch, all knowing they had minutes before an enemy armoured vehicle arrived.

Seb was within twenty feet when the fuel tank on the rear truck exploded. In the shock of fire, three of the supposed dead stood up and ran, four more figures leaped from the back, two of them ablaze. The team’s response came immediately, their weapons raking the night with fire, twitching bodies as they scattered and fell. Seb kept running for the landcruiser, his sole objective to secure the canister of anthrax, the rest was now Pete Shaffer’s; except for Al Razi, whom he hoped was dead.

The landcruiser sat fat and dark on deflated tyres, the windscreen and front side window shattered. Smoke and steam drifted from under the bonnet. Seb threw open the rear door and stood ready to fire. The driver was dead, so was the man beside him. In the back a thin bearded guy sat in petrified silence, eyes and mouth wide open, hands raised.

“Where is it?” Seb jabbed with his rifle barrel. Sitting in the back of the only air-conditioned vehicle this had to be Al Razi.

“I don’t know what you mean.” The cleric spread his hands.

“Then fucking die.” Seb took aim.

“Here.” The guy grabbed a briefcase from behind the seat and held it in offering.

Seb snatched it onto the ground, flipped the catches and pushed up the lid. Inside lay a steel flask wedged by polystyrene. Jock had the tail open, throwing aside items while searching through other baggage.

“Is this it?” Seb took out the canister and pushed it into his shirt. “Tell me or I kill you now!”

“All of it, no more. They kept the rest.”

“Nothing here,” Jock said.

“Out, out.” Seb grabbed the cleric’s shirt, hauling him over the seat, trying to think of him as a mass murdered. He had never killed in cold blood.

Global Hawk sounded in his earpiece. “Sit-rep.”

“Anthrax secure,” Seb answered.

“Execute courier. Then immediate evacuation, additional firepower imminent,” Hawk replied.

“Roger that.” He turned the AK74 back to Al Razi. Seb wished to hell he had no conscience. He had to do this, had to. He took first pressure on the trigger, swallowed hard and paused, paused long enough to know he couldn’t finish it.

“I have human rights. I am from London, British citizen, you cannot shoot me.”

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