Hail Warning

Brett Arquette

Hail Warning

Dedicated to my father

Donald W. Arquette

Author’s Note

THREE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD READ HAIL STORM FIRST

1) The Hail series is a technothriller series, with a big emphasis on TECH. For this story to believable, I thoroughly vetted the technology behind the workings of the complicated command application and how the drones were flown using remote pilots. I went into thorough detail because I wanted everyone to understand the technology behind Hail Industries. While most readers loved this attention to detail, some readers experienced tech overload; therefore, in the books following Hail Storm, I’m not going to regurgitate the technical aspects of the drones or the nuclear aspects of his traveling wave reactors. If you would like more information on how the drones are flown remotely, what makes them go BOOM, please read the first book of the series, Operation: Hail Storm. If you need a refresher, see What You Missed here: on my website: http:/brett.arquette.us or specifically on this page: http://brett873.wixsite.com/brettarquette/what-you-missed

2) In the same vein of the technology, I fleshed out the backstories of the leading characters on the Hail Nucleus and the players within the Washington, D.C. area. Although it may appear I enjoy writing lots of descriptions of technology and backstories of characters, (because I did so much of it in the first book), what really makes my fingers fly is moving the plot forward. My passion and goals are to keep the book’s momentum speeding along, (like an F-35), until it culminates in a novel that readers will have difficulty putting down. In this book, I do provide readers the truncated backstory of the lead characters. Like the drones, if you want to know what makes the characters tick, fly, but (hopefully) NOT go boom, I refer you to read Hail Storm.

3) With the rise of e-books, the challenges of becoming a bestselling author is not about writing a bestselling book. Tucked away in the corners of Amazon’s Kindle Store, I assume, are thousands of unknown and potentially bestselling novels. Countless books are submitted to Amazon Digital Services but without a literary agent getting the book read by tens of thousands of wonderful readers like you is challenging. This is one the reason authors beg you to leave reviews. It expands our audience base. We write to entertain. That is our mission. But we also enjoy it when writing can sustain us — instead of being an expensive hobby.

I hope you enjoy reading Hail Warning as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please leave a review and be sure to check back for the third book in the series, Hail Strike, due in 2018. In addition, you might want to also check out some of the books I wrote while I was first learning my craft. Most are not edited well and are quite strange, but then, so is life! I think my favorite of these first novels is Tweaked.

Best,

Brett Arquette

Prologue

TEN YEARS AGO

Sambisa Forest, Nigeria

The captives’ screams were nothing new to Mohammed Mboso. More than 200 girls — really, women — were releasing guttural screams of terror. Explosions and automatic weapons fire was coming from every direction in their secluded camp. Previously, it had been a peaceful evening in the forest — then all hell broke loose.

Mohammed Mboso grabbed his AK-47 from its spot next to his tent’s flap. His woman, one of the girls they had kidnapped long ago from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok, showed less emotions than the others. Over the many years in captivity the small malnourished girl had become emotionally withdrawn. Her eyes looked dead. Mohammed thought she might not be quite right in her head. He had seen this same condition develop in several of the others. They had withdrawn from reality and now resembled zombies rather than living, breathing people.

As he raced out of camp, Mohammed thumbed off his weapon’s safety. This was not the first time that some do-gooder group had tried to rescue the women. Most of the previous skirmishes had either not been sufficiently funded or planned. Thus, any attempt to save the women did not last long because the Boko Haram had built well-fortified camps.

Mohammed ran to the outskirts of the camp where two of his men were hunkered down behind a pile of strategically placed sandbags. Mohammed Mboso hit the ground next to them, calling out, “How many?”

One of the young black jihadis fired three quick rounds resulting in muzzle flashes that winked on and off in the forest like nuclear fireflies.

“Many,” was his succinct answer. “More than any other time before.”

The locations of the large Boko Haram’s camps were well known. In fact, the camps could even be seen on Google Earth if anyone cared to look. However, there were few who desired to engage a highly motivated and lethal band of religious zealots. What made them especially deadly was the value they placed on the women they had captured. To most of the world, the plight of the women, the Boko Haram and Nigeria were of little concern. It was a case of out of sight, out of mind.

Mboso rested the barrel of his rifle on a sandbag and began returning fire. He went through two full 30-round magazines of 7.62 x 39 ammo in less than a minute, but the flashes in the dense forest were only getting closer and brighter.

“You need to move the women,” the young man reminded Mboso.

Mohammed knew he was right, but he hated to leave the fight. He had been killing nonbelievers for so long he had grown to enjoy it. Fighting and killing was the best part of being a jihadi. The recruitment, scavenging for food and weapons, kidnappings, and negotiating and bargaining for human lives Mboso found excruciatingly boring. Fighting for his beliefs and ridding the world of infidels was exciting; however, Mboso knew his comrade-in-arms was correct. Their leader, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, had made the women Mohammed’s responsibility. It was a great honor and a noble obligation, because the women elevated Boko Haram, providing them prestige, power, control and influence. The kidnapped women’s lives were more important to Boko Haram than food or weapons because the women were worth their weight in gold. Many foreign agencies and sympathetic governments would pay a great deal to have them released, and then the Nigerian jihadis would have nothing left of value.

Mboso found a pile of preloaded magazines resting on a sandbag. He slapped a magazine into his gun and racked in a fresh shell. He turned to look back to make sure the camp’s perimeter was still intact. Mohammed stood and ran in a zigzag pattern to the center of camp.

Most of the panicked women had run from their tents and congregated in the middle of the camp around the fire. A hundred women huddled en masse, screaming and crying. Mboso walked over to the women, insisting they quiet down and follow him. He pointed his weapon into the night sky releasing a burst of gunfire from the muzzle of his gun to punctuate his order with a degree of intimidation. Several other Boko Haram fighters surrounded the women, corralling them into a ragged line. Mboso assumed the lead and quickly ushered them deeper into the jungle. He occasionally looked back to make sure they were still following.

On the outskirts of the camp, Mboso found the tunnel’s hidden entrance by removing a thin camouflaged tarp. Followed by the women, he began walking down a muddy earthen ramp in pitch darkness. They were traversing a wide ditch that was dug using a small excavator. Sticks, branches and piles of dead jungle foliage had been placed above them serving as the tunnel’s roof. It effectively camouflaged the passageway. This method of construction was faster than digging a true underground tunnel. And the Boko Haram demanded expediency. Their entire existence relied on mobility. Taking time to build fixed and hardened structures was counterproductive.

Once he reached the bottom of the ramp, Mohammad Mboso removed a flashlight from his dirty vest, pointing it into the darkness. Mud, water and dead things squished beneath his boots. The stench inside the tunnel was ghastly, but no one noticed. The gunfire back at camp seemed to be getting louder. Mboso considered this time the Special Forces had been sent to free the women. There was the possibility they had penetrated the perimeter’s defenses. Mboso was not worried because the tunnel ran for more than 200 meters through the dense jungle. It emerged a half-kilometer from the river, and in less than five minutes — after Mboso made a call on his Sat phone — a powered river barge would arrive to take Mboso, his fighters, and their captives to another camp downriver. That is unless the Nigerian Special Forces had men stationed at the river.

After getting settled, the process of bargaining for the women with the new Nigerian president would resume. But this time, the prices would be much higher because their government would pay dearly for the lives of every jihadi killed in battle. Mboso had no idea if his leader was still alive, but he would soon find out. Mboso’s one and only job was to get the women safely out of camp and transported to another camp.

But now it was time for the younger jihadis to do the hard-core fighting. Mboso had already earned h ...

Быстрая навигация назад: Ctrl+←, вперед Ctrl+→