Coming soon. . .
The Corsairs of Allah
Mac Hinckley retired from the FBI with nothing more on his mind than cruising his sailboat peacefully through the Sea of Cortez, doing some fishing, and occasionally drinking a few beers with his buddy, ex-marine Grover Bannon. But when he stumbles across an incredible plot to smuggle stolen Russian MIRV warheads into the U.S. aboard recreational boats, Mac's retirement takes an unexpected turn. With no hard proof and no legal standing in Mexico, he must unravel the mystery using his own contacts and slim resources. Unfortunately, Mac left the FBI on less than cordial terms, and his former superiors in Washington have little time for him or his conspiracy theories. But Mac cannot stand by while the gears of bureaucracy turn. He and his rag-tag band of friends and allies have only one chance to prevent the destruction of America in time.
Chapter 1 (preview)
October 17, 4:30 P.M.
(40˚ 27’ 33” N x 51˚ 08’ 37” E) Off Baku peninsula, Azerbaijan, Russia:
It had once been just another cast-off piece of aging Soviet military hardware. But as Pieter Kretsky stood behind the pilot, watching the whitecaps of the Caspian Sea race by at over 450kph only a few meters below him, he had to admit that this refurbished ekranoplan was a unique machine. Nothing on the sea could catch it, and with its new radar-scattering design and materials, it was highly unlikely the craft would be detected by seaborne or air-defense radars.
It had required a substantial investment to buy the old rusting Orlyonok and re-engineer it to its current configuration. But Kretsky’s instinct for visionary business decisions had always served him well. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian mafia had made a fortune buying up used military gear on the black market and selling it to nearby neighboring states, even overseas. There seemed to be no shortage of Russian generals or base commanders willing to look the other way for a few thousand American dollars, and there were always customers waiting to buy these goods with ready cash. Kretsky himself had made millions selling Zil trucks, BMPs, Otter scout cars, even aging T-64 and T-72 tanks. His organization ran websites in the UK and elsewhere that openly advertised stolen Russian military vehicles for sale. He could buy a 6 x 6 truck for a case of vodka and sell it for $15,000US. And the markup on his back-room inventory of newer weapons was even more phenomenal. Missiles, small arms, explosives, RPGs – Kretsky had sold them all by the thousands. The arms trade had been lucrative indeed, but for Kretsky these sales had only been a prelude – mere practice runs leading up to this night.
Yes, this was the big one. After this sale, Kretsky could retire in security to his dacha on the Black Sea, or perhaps even buy that second villa near Marseille he’d had his eye on. He would sell the updated ekranoplan to the Iranians – who planned to replicate the fast, wing-in-ground effect craft as a very effective, low-cost defense against the American Navy – while simultaneously delivering his precious cargo to his other client in Iran. But first they had to get to their destination safely and on time.
“Watch your heading, comrade,” Kretsky said to the pilot, looking over his shoulder.
“I’m not your comrade. And I don’t need any help to read the fucking compass,” the pilot growled back at him, his eyes never leaving the instruments. “You think piloting this thing is like flying an airliner? Go sit down!”
The ekranoplan was, in effect, an airplane that flew on water, skimming at very high speed only a few meters above the sea to take advantage of the cushion of denser air close to the surface – what pilots called the “ground effect.” The craft could fly under enemy air-defense radar and carry heavy payloads of cargo or weapons. It needed no harbor, but could beach itself on flat sand to unload men and materiel. With only a modicum of stealth technology, it could approach an enemy fleet at high speed and deliver a devastating blow before it was even detected. The craft was also remarkably inexpensive to build, compared to conventional warships, and when combined with readily available Exocet missiles (Kretsky had found the French to be very accommodating in this regard), it could be surprisingly deadly, even in a hi-tech warfare arena. The ekranoplan was the perfect solution for a small country wishing to break the naval monopoly held by developed nations equipped with powerful cruisers and aircraft carriers, such as the United States.
Kretsky smiled down at the back of the man’s head. He knew his pilot was the best there was, and he admired a man who was not afraid of him.
“Very well, comrade. Just make certain you don’t screw up. We have only three hours before the next American spy satellite passes overhead. We must make our delivery before then.”
. . . the story continues . . .