President Philip Owen addressed the entire room. “Ladies and gentlemen make no mistake, we must all work together to stop this. You may not have wanted to be involved with the problems in Russia with the Yugasov but we have been left with no choice.”
Alex Grimsby leaned forward clasping his hands tightly together. “What do you propose we do?”
President Owen replied “I am sending a covert team to Minsk. They will need all the help they can get. I need to know that you would be willing to support me in uncovering what is happening there and stop it. They will have orders to retrieve known war criminal, Andrei Borkov, at the same time.”
Selena, who sat quietly throughout, finally spoke up. “Mr President, I’m not sure what help I can be,” she said. “I’m haven’t been sworn into office yet. I don’t have any real authority.”
“I know I can rely on you to gain Lord Isle’s support until your official election.”
“So who is this team you are sending?” asked Ada.
Philip Owen lifted himself onto his feet and made his way to the long side of the table. “You have all heard of Rogue Battalion?”
Prime Minister Grimsby seemed dismayed. “Sending Rogue Battalion? Is that necessary for a fact finding mission?”
“I am only sending a small number led by General Raphael Diorra. He is the only man I would trust to get the job done,” the U.S. President explained.
Chancellor Gultrich leaned back in her chair. “If you want me to get involved then I should know who this team will consist of.”
Philip Owen lifted a controller from the table and with a push of the red button; an image of a young soldier flashed onto the screen. “First we have Lewis Bakersmith AKA Baker. He normally spends his leave with his family in Ohio. A team has been dispatched with his orders. They will be waiting on him. He is the finest navigator the United States has to offer. If anyone can find their way through Minsk, it is this man.” Baker wasn’t quite what many would assume as a soldier. He was very tall and slim. Thick rimmed spectacles hung on the end of his long nose. President Owen pushed the button again. This time the screen showed a handsome young Hispanic man with a wealth of experience. “Carlos Pablo Guerra AKA Carlos. He was sent to a military academy at thirteen to keep him out of trouble. That was great for us because now he is the best sharpshooter we have, and he will watch over the rest of the team loyally. A team is preparing to head out to his home in New York to bring him in.” Another flick of the button changed the screen to show a large man with a body builder physique. “Martin Murdoch AKA Bait. He is currently serving time in a secure facility.”
Selena stopped him. “This man is a convict? What did he do?”
“He was arrested five years ago for assaulting someone who was being a little rough and over eager with his wife. The police came in heavy handed, knowing that he was Rogue Battalion. Three of them ended up in the hospital trying to restrain him, one in a coma. Because of his background they had to punish him harshly but he is released from prison when special assignments call.”
“You trust this man with this mission? Is that wise?” Louis put to the president.
“There is no knowing what they are going to find there,” said Philip. “We need men of strength. Besides if anyone can keep him in line, Raphael Diorra can.” The screen flicked again. This time, the screen showed a broad Jewish man with pale skin and neat black hair. “Howard Noah Goldman AKA Noah. He is fluent in five languages including Russian. He will be invaluable to the team in communications. He normally lives with his mother in Florida. Word has been left with her for him to be in contact.” The screen slid once again, now to show a fair haired, sallow skinned man. “The team will be supported by an explosive expert. Henry Lafayette AKA Gator. Our boys had some trouble trying to get to his home through his Alligator farm in Louisiana but the word will be waiting for him,” President Owen paused for a moment to look at his notes. He pushed the button again, and the image was of a young black man. He was the only one so far to be smiling. He appeared intelligent and strong. “Medical support will be provided by a very promising young man. John Wayans AKA Wayne. He wasn’t with the team in San Mojo, but he knows General Diorra well. In fact he is a student of the General’s sister at Columbia medical school.” A smile came to Philip Owen’s lips as he read on. “We are all familiar with Captain William Davis. He will be joining them. He has been close friends with General Diorra for many years. There is no better man to assist him. However, it seems our boys were a little over eager to find him. He was on a fishing trip and wouldn’t turn back. It seems I owe him a salmon or two… and a boat.” President Owen had met Davis personally. It didn’t matter whose company he was in; Davis was always the same way. He was strong minded and loyal to Raphael. Philip couldn’t help but laugh when he received an invoice from Davis for the two salmon and a boat, which he paid immediately from his own pocket. The image on the screen was of a down to earth man with dark hair and a round face. He was highly decorated, and he was unafraid of any challenge. When the President pushed the button again, the image dissolved to that of a large, muscular black man. His thick arms and broad shoulders would have made him at home in a boxing ring. “Ewan Freeman AKA Bones. He is the finest tank commander. He has said he would only agree to any mission if he could take Nancy with him.”
Alex stopped Philip. “Is that his wife?”
President Owen shook his head. “It’s his tank. It has been with him on every mission, and it has never steered him wrong yet. It isn’t possible, but he will cooperate.” Philip Owen looked at the final name. He pushed the red button one final time. Bones was replaced by a dark eyed Native American warrior. “Linciu Habaru. He is of the Fosgon tribe.”
“What is his speciality?” Selena was fascinated.
“Well, it is impressive. However, I can’t tell you. I would have to show you,” President Owen said before playing a video that showed security footage of Linciu fighting several soldiers. It was from when he first joined the army. He was outnumbered eight to one by men much larger than himself. He restrained them all with ease and subtle breaks to the bones of their limbs. The footage then dissolved to Linciu commanding a raven.
Prime Minister Grimsby agreed. “That is impressive. I have never seen that done with a raven before.”
“Commander Habaru has been a huge asset to the military. He can use that raven for signalling, messaging and in some cases even defence. There isn’t a terrain that he can’t harvest to his advantage.” Philip Owen shut the screen off. “Ladies and Gentlemen we all trust Raphael Diorra and we know the prerequisites for entry into my ‘Rogue Battalion’. They are the elite; they are the best. They will find out what is going on in Minsk. Do I have your support?”
The mission to Minsk will prove more than even the elite Rogue Battalion could have anticipated.
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