Traitors and Patriots
Web of Conspiracy - Book Two
Jeff Chartrand and his team are sent to Iraq on a covert mission. They discover a threat that could escalate the war in the Middle East. His investigation leads him to one of the men responsible for his brother's murder. Jeff is torn between three women.
It was thirty-seven degrees centigrade when the seven men and one woman climbed out of the plane. The heat hit them with full force, and before they had taken half a dozen steps, Jeff Chartrand could smell the dust in the dry air. He was tired after the long flight and wanted to take a bath and sleep for the next few days, but he knew both things would be something denied to him.
Colonel Settler turned out to be a short, heavyset man with a bushy mustache. If it weren’t for the US army uniform, he could have been mistaken for an Iraqi.
He and two dust-covered soldiers carrying automatic weapons met the eight people and, without much ado, they hustled them toward a metal building, which seemed to serve as headquarters.
Before they entered the building, Jeff looked back to see the plane being unloaded by a group of soldiers. He didn’t envy them. Working in this murderous heat was surely no easy task.
The Colonel took them into a small room. The air was hot and sticky inside the building. A single bulb hung from the ceiling, probably powered by a generator. Obviously, there was no power left for air-conditioning.
Colonel Settler must have detected Jeff’s discomfort and chuckled. “This is not the Ritz, as you may have noticed. I’d offer you something cold to quench your thirst, but the water is not fit to drink and our fridge broke down.”
He took a seat behind a metal desk and pulled out a thick envelope. Handing it to Jeff, he said, “Here are your orders, Lieutenant Chartrand, and the latest information we received from our spies. How correct it is, we don’t know. It also contains a map of Baghdad and the surrounding region, pinpointing checkpoints and problem areas.”
He chuckled. “Of course, all of Iraq is a problem area. There are no safe havens anywhere. Once you leave the base, you’re on your own. If things get hairy, don’t expect any help from us. Officially, you are not here.”
He looked at Kalila. “Lieutenant Ahmed, this is your country and we have no jurisdiction over you outside this base and we cannot offer you any protection. I understand you are expecting to be contacted by your superiors?”
She nodded. “Actually, I will have to contact them. They do not know I am here.”
“I know I can’t command you to follow my request, but I would suggest you do not reveal your real reason for coming back right now. You cannot trust anyone, not even your own people. Once this mission is over, you can do whatever you want, but I don’t want you to put our men in danger.” Colonel Settler twirled his mustache. “I understand you have a personal stake in this?”
“Yes, I do. The kidnapped boy is my sister’s son. I have more than just a passing interest in the success of this mission.”