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Operation: Immortal Servitude From the Declassified Files of Team of Darkness [MultiFormat]
eBook by Tony Ruggiero

eBook Category: Science Fiction/Horror
eBook Description: During the peacekeeping operations in the Kosovo region of the Balkans, a group of vampires are discovered by the American forces. The report of the discovery attracts the interest of the commander of the elite and highly secretive organization; the United States Special Operations Command, who sends in his own personnel to investigate. When the General learns that the creatures actually exist, his team, led by Navy Commander John Reese, devises a method of capture and brings the vampires back to the United States. Once the creature's abilities have been proven and can be controlled, the General sets his own personal and secret plan of revenge in motion against the large drug cartels of South America by sending in his special ops team to kill, codename: Team of Darkness.

eBook Publisher: Dragon Moon Press/Dragon Moon Press, Published: Tradepaper, 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2007

21 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One
Kosovo-The Former Republic of Yugoslavia
One Year Ago

The duty officer massaged his tired face and ran his hands through his close-cropped hair, then picked up his fifth cup of coffee of the night as he struggled to stay awake at 0300 in the morning. Captain Block, an Army veteran of five years, had been in Kosovo for more than ten months. He'd spent the past six months at Camp Bondsteel, along with four thousand other servicemen and women. The camp was situated on what had once been farm fields near the town of Urosevac, in the southern region of Kosovo, and was part of the international peacekeeping team, also known as Task Force Falcon by the Americans.

Task Force Falcon was responsible for the twenty-three thousand square kilometer American zone, maintaining peace and keeping the Albanians and Serbians from killing each other and themselves.. This equated to approximately three hundred and fifty squad-sized security operations every day.

Block was tired of the bloodshed and ethnic division. With only two months left to his tour, he looked forward to going home. His stint in the Army would be over and he was ready to work at his uncle's car dealership. He was soft-spoken, with facial features that made a guy either a minister or a car salesman; his fellow soldiers told him that he had the kind of disposition that would ensure him success in the car business.

Block firmly believed in Murphy's Law: If anything could go wrong with the short time left to his tour, it would. His time and experience in the military had proven he was not a professional soldier, nor did he have any desire to become one.

Tonight had been quiet, thankfully. With all assignments completed, he had busied himself by catching up on some reading and even managed to write a letter to his mom and dad back home in Seattle. As he licked the envelope's flap, he noticed his burly infantry sergeant, Sergeant Estefan, come into the central command area. He was not hard to miss. A big man, about six feet in height and 225 pounds, he always had a five o'clock shadow at about one o'clock in the afternoon. His face appeared to be made of solid granite--along with his muscles. Although ominous in appearance, Estefan was a calm person and rarely got upset.

Block noticed Estefan was not alone. An obviously agitated civilian accompanied the sergeant, demanding his attention. The civilian babbled wildly in a native Slavic tongue, making wild gestures with his arms. His body shook as if he was being shocked with electricity. Block had seen many like this man come into the compound, usually to report a murder or rape by one of the native forces; it was almost a daily occurrence. But for some reason, Block found this man interesting enough to watch him closely.

Observing the agitated man, Block saw that the man's clothing was worn but clean. He was probably a farmer, like the majority of the people in the area, he thought absently. They took pride in their clothing that was sewn by hand to endure years of service. The man's face was weathered from spending time in the cold and hot temperatures; the wrinkled lines held permanent locations on his face and made him appear older than he probably was. But his eyes were brilliant and strong, and reflected strength, energy and determination.

Block watched as Estefan sat the civilian in a chair, and then motioned for him to stay there. Apparently the civilian didn't speak or understand English. The sergeant spoke to a corporal then pointed to the civilian. When Estefan moved away, the corporal remained, watching the civilian. Estefan headed toward the duty officer's office, stopped at the door and knocked. Block waved him in.

"Sir, we might have a problem," Estefan said.

"So I see," Block said, indicating the civilian. "What's going on?"

"All I know right now is that he's terrified about something. He ran up to the evening patrol, throwing himself in front of their vehicle, yelling and screaming at them to make them stop. The only thing we could understand was the town's name, Kacianik. He kept repeating it over and over again. I have an interpreter on the way to find out what he's going on about."

"All right. Let's take a look at him. Bring him in here."

The sergeant stepped out of the room and motioned for the corporal to bring the civilian into the captain's office. Block reminded himself that part of the responsibility of the peacekeeping forces was to maintain order such as a police force would do. Any incident was investigated if the situation warranted it. Unfortunately for him tonight, that was his job as duty officer. Either way, it would be recorded into the desk log and forwarded to the Base Commander for review, as well as to several agencies in the United States. Everyone wanted to be kept in the loop of what was happening.

As the sergeant, corporal and civilian entered the captain's office, the civilian surprised them all by lunging toward the captain. He grasped the collar of Block's uniform in his hard, weathered hands and spoke hurriedly, spraying spittle onto Block's face. Shocked, Block found himself unable to move. The civilian's hands were like steel, and were locked onto his clothing. He couldn't budge them. In those seconds, he saw that this man was scared out of his mind. His eyes twitched, revealing blood-lined white backgrounds that contrasted with darting pupils. As he continued to rant, the man's body pulsed with uncontrollable fear.

The sergeant and the corporal managed to pull him away from the captain and forcefully sat him into the chair. They kept their hands clamped over the man's wrists and forearms until he settled down. After a few seconds, the sergeant released his grip on the man, but not before giving him a stern look and finger wagging that promised retribution if he tried something like that again. Estefan looked at the corporal to be sure he had the man; when the corporal nodded, the sergeant turned toward the captain with a look of disgrace on his face.

"Sorry, sir. I never thought he would do that. He caught me off guard."

"It's okay. He caught me off guard, too," Block said, attempting to catch his breath. "Whatever it is, he's scared out of his mind." Then in a low voice that only the sergeant could hear, "I can almost smell the fear from him."

Estafen nodded his head in agreement with Block's assessment.

A knock at the door caused Block to look up. Another corporal entered; his boyish features making him appear eighteen or nineteen years of age. He was five foot six inches and weighed perhaps one hundred and fifty pounds soaking wet.

"Corporal Brosnev, reporting as ordered for interpreter duties, sir," he said in a voice that reflected a nervous untested youth.

"Come in, Corporal," Block said, as he waved him in. "I want you to find out what this civilian is ranting about. He's scared out of his mind about something."

"Yes, sir," the corporal responded and went to where the civilian was being held in the chair. Estefan dismissed the other corporal as Brosnev took the position of holding the man's forearms to the chair.

Block listened as the corporal addressed the civilian in the local Slavic dialect. The man's eyes lit up at the recognition of language. Another onslaught of words spilled from his lips. Brosnev raised his hands and spoke a few words repeatedly to the civilian that Block assumed was telling him to go slowly so that he could understand what he was trying to say. The only word that was recognizable to him was the repeated mention of the town Kacianik. Block continued to listen and watch as the interpreter questioned the civilian. For several minutes they spoke back and forth.

"What's wrong?" Block asked finally.

"We're trying to agree on a dialect," Brosnev said. "Between the provinces, dialects differ immensely."

After a few more exchanges of words, Brosnev raised his hand indicating for the civilian to stop. He turned to speak with the captain.

"His name is Idriz Laupki," Brosnev said. "He lives in a little village outside the city of Kacianik. He says that he has found people that have been murdered."

"Is it more ethnic cleansing?" Block asked, in a voice that reflected having seen too much of this already. They found mass graves of bodies from these atrocities almost every other day, and there was no getting use to the sight of civilians killed and piled into hastily dug holes. "Ask him to tell you about the killings."

Brosnev spoke again with Laupki, who reacted more strongly to the questions. But as Laupki responded, Brosnev appeared to not understand what the man was saying and the frustration on Laupki's face was evident as the lines in his skin pulled tighter. Brosnev released the hold on him, but Estefan tensed as if there might be another outburst.

"He says," Brosnev said, his voice sounding unsure, "he says it was not Serbs or Albanians that did the killing." Brosnev turned back to Laupki and spoke slowly as if clarifying each and every word that he had told him. "He says," Brosnev continued, "there are ... creatures that came from the ruins of an old church near his village last night. They came from the ruins and killed two people from his village."

"He can't be using the right word. Hostiles, renegade Serbs, looters ... who?" Block asked impatiently.

Brosnev asked Laupki the same questions again. "No, sir," Brosnev said. "None of them."

"What then?"

"He insists they were creatures. Like vampires. They sucked the blood out of the people," Brosnev said quickly, spitting the words out as if he had tasted something he did not like.

"What?" Block was incredulous. "What kind of fools does he think we are to believe that story? Tell him to get the hell out of here and stop wasting our time!"

Brosnev spoke harshly to Laupki, telling him what the captain's reaction was to his statement about the creatures. Block was about to return to his desk when Brosnev spoke again.

"He says he can show us where they are," Brosnev said, his face losing its color as if he had just received some form of shock.

"The vampires?" Block said mockingly.

"Both. The bodies of the victims and where the vampires live..." Brosnev said, ending his statement as if there was more to say.

"What?" Block asked, seeing Brosnev's hesitancy, "What else did he say?"

"The dead girls ... they are his two daughters."

Block looked at Brosnev and then glanced at Laupki and shook his head.

Murphy strikes again.

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