Cody's Army: D.C. Firestrike


By Jim Case

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Operation Firehawk. Staging area: America’s capitol. Target: the world’s most prestigious hostage. And now the job to bring back the President–alive–belongs to Cody’s Army. Because nobody fights dirtier, or gets the job done better.



He worked up a healthy coughful of spit and spat it into the President's face, laughing, pointing for Abdel to see the mucus drool off the chloroformed man's face. Then he did it again.

Abdel well knew they were not out of it yet. He intended that they would turn into a garage less than a block from here, change vehicles with this most incredible hostage and head for the warehouse where Baliq waited.

Yes, it had worked.

The President's security had not been able to withstand a full, double-speared attack by more than a dozen highly-trained suicide commandos striking with clockwork precision. Nothing like this had ever been attempted.

They had him.

The President of the United States.

They had him.

Also by Jim Case






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First eBook Edition: September 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-56627-8


Two hours into the stakeout, a cab swung its headlight beams into the dark residential street and braked to a stop in front of the terrorist safe house.

A man got out of the cab and paid off the driver.

From the left-side window of a van parked across the street at the opposite end of the block, John Cody, seated behind the steering wheel, lowered the night vision device from his eyes, set the NVD on the dash and slipped his right index finger around the trigger of his Ingram submachine gun.

"That's him."

Seated beside him, Rufe Murphy eased open his door, clutching his Ingram SMG with the bolt locked back to fire, his black face grimly set.

"Time to rock and roll."

The man from the taxi cab proceeded to the front door of the house. As he approached, the front door opened inwardly. There was no light on inside, no illumination. Nothing could be seen. The front door closed, as if the house had swallowed the man.

The cab pulled away from the curb, continuing up the street, the driver not even looking sideways at the van. The cab slowed at the corner and took a right-hand turn, disappearing from sight.

Cody and Murphy wore dark clothes that blended in with the 4:00 A.M. gloom. Besides the machine guns, each man wore a shoulder-holstered Colt Commander .45 automatic, spare clips for both weapons worn at the hip. Each man also wore a tiny personal communicator set built into a leather band that fitted around the neck, the small, barely noticeable mike and speaker in front, just below the chin of the wearer.

Cody debarked from his side of the van. He whispered into his PC.

"One, two, three."

Hawkins's Texas drawl crackled back to him.

"Four, five, six."

Cody eased his door shut soundlessly. He and Murphy jogged to the other side of the street, big, broad-shouldered men darting silently along darkened building fronts toward the corner house into which the man had disappeared.

This was a student housing neighborhood adjacent to the American University campus in Washington, D.C.

The sound of some light traffic carried from the direction of MacArthur Boulevard several blocks away where it ran along the Potomac, but this cross street slumbered.

A light suspended above the intersection did not have enough wattage to touch the shadows in an alley behind this house where the terrorists were hiding out.

At this moment, Hawkins and Richard Caine would be closing in from the alley that bisected the block lengthwise. They had been staked out around the corner from where Murphy and Cody had parked, watching in case Abu Zayoud approached the house from that direction.

The exchange between Cody and Hawkins had been a prearranged code to set this hit in motion, for whoever spotted Zayoud first to alert the others. If the Libyans inside that house were communicating between floors using walkie-talkies themselves and the frequencies did overlap, no fancy code words would alert the men Cody and his team had come to kill.

Cody and Murphy gained a position beneath a second-story porch overhanging the alley. With the Ingrams shoulder strapped close to their sides, they approached the spot at a run.

Cody stopped, turned, bending his knees slightly, forming a "step" with his clasped hands.

Murphy placed a boot in his hands and Cody lifted his buddy as Murphy jumped.

Murphy grasped one of the rail supports with both hands and hauled himself up. He held on to that railing with one hand, his feet supporting him on the outside of the rail, and leaned down a hand, which Cody jumped up to grip.

Cody whispered into the P.C. "Going up."

"Going in," came Caine's British voice.

Rufe pulled Cody up onto the porch. They swung over, toward the door there, swinging their Ingrams into firing position.

The plan was for Hawkins and Caine to simultaneously storm a back-alley door into the ground-floor level of the house, taking on the security the Libyans would have stationed in the hallway there, at the same instant Cody and Murphy blitzed the second story of the two-level structure.

Cody lifted his right foot to launch a powerhouse kick that sent the door busting inward off its hinges.

He and Rufe blazed in.

Abu Zayoud, the man who had debarked from the cab short moments ago, was no ordinary Libyan.

Zayoud was command level. In the wake of the American bombing and Colonel Khadaffi's subsequent deteriorating mental condition, some intel reports indicated that Zayoud, an attaché to the Libyans' ministry of Internal Affairs, was in fact the ranking member of that clique that actually ran the show. He was the real power behind a mad figurehead; the true masterminds who backed world terrorism Financially and supplied weapons to gangs as disparate as the IRA and the PLO, not to mention Libyan government-sponsored terrorist training camps where Soviet advisors taught state-of-the-art mass murder tactics that resulted in more and more innocent blood spilled at the hands of the kind of scum who would place time bombs in train stations or machine-gun women and children at airline ticket counters.

This powerful inner circle, these men led by Zayoud, were anything but interested in the various brands of patriotic or religious fanaticism espoused by the terrorists they backed. For them it was a simple matter of stirring the pot so the Libyan military could build a unified Arab state, with Libya, of course, running things, thereby fattening the already obscenely large Swiss bank accounts of men like Zayoud.

And of course the Libyan government was also the muscle behind Soviet expansionism in the Mideast, threatening every country in the area, intimidating Chad, harassing Egypt. They were an embarrassment to the Kremlin, but served as the tie-in with the not-so-quiet war the Soviets waged against world peace, channeled through the many different terrorist fronts around the world, supplying training, weapons and rubles because the KGB also benefitted from a stirred pot.

Meanwhile, the civilians—men, women, children—died violently at the hands of terrorists while the most powerful nation on the planet, not to mention her free world allies, appeared paralyzed to respond to the brutal tactics of these barbarians.

Which is where John Cody and his team fit in.

Thus far, the most visible thing about Abu Zayoud had been his power. This architect of so much suffering, misery and violence took care to keep a low profile in the world media and, with few exceptions, had succeeded in evading scrutiny, staying well—and safe—inside Tripoli.

Until now.

For some as yet unknown reason, Abu Zayoud had come to America.

To Washington.

To this Libyan safe house located near a respectable college campus in the nation's capital.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other interested security organizations already had the Libyan underground in America wired.

There are thousands of Libyan students attending colleges and universities across the width and breadth of America and many of these people really are students, a fair percentage of whom are less than euphoric about their homeland's position and reputation in world politics. On the other hand, some of these Libyan "students" are not students at all, but are agents of their country's intelligence service—terrorists, in a word—placed in position by men like Zayoud, to watch and wait.

The Bureau had received word that Zayoud had entered the States through Canada, having flown to Quebec several days earlier on an Egyptian passport.

The FBI has agents planted in place at the outer fringes of the Libyan radical underground, usually legitimate Libyan students who've become sickened and disgusted by what has happened to their homeland and are brave enough to risk their lives to do something about it, like reporting on what they may learn about the underground. The Bureau had known about this house.

Although the young men who lived here tried to pass themselves off as students, the place was in fact a secured safe house for Libyan agents operating in Washington, headed by Ali Baliq, whose presence in the United States had been verified only ten days ago.

Baliq was known to be the planner of a massacre in a Jewish restaurant in Paris seven months ago. He had been spotted in the vicinity only moments before a bomb blast had torn apart a Rome shopping mall a month later, leaving twelve dead. There were other links to recent terrorist atrocities, too. Baliq was a top Libyan triggerman, and had staffed this house with others just like himself, smuggled into the country with him under his direct command.

The FBI had adopted a "wait and see" stance, content to know they had these punks pinned down. Getting men like Baliq set up with such an operation without detection was not all that easy, as evidenced by the number of terrorist plots uncovered and thwarted each year by local and governmental law enforcement agencies. The FBI wanted a better handle on why Ali Baliq was in Washington, and who else was involved in it with him before they made their move. As yet they'd developed no significant leads despite surveillance and wire taps.

The status quo of all that changed after an informant, as yet unidentified, contacted the Bureau with word that Abu Zayoud was coming to town.

That was more than enough to alter the status quo and bring in Cody's antiterrorist strike force that appeared in no official government files, a strike force that had earned the designation "Cody's Army" among those very few highly placed White House and intel people who were even aware of its existence.

Cody's team had been brought here both at Cody's own request and at the instigation of Pete Lund, presidential liaison with Cody's anonymous unit.

Cody's team had served together in Vietnam as one of the Army's "hit-and-git" teams that were handed the dirtiest jobs in that conflict. Cody had gone on to work for the CIA around the world after the war, dodging from one high-risk hot spot to another. His old unit had only recently been reactivated to supplement the military's Delta Force in America's war against world terrorism.

Cody's four-man commando team was designed for quick deployment when maximum hard-punch capability was required and there was no time to pussyfoot to the tune of official channels and diplomatic restraint.

The other agencies in the nation's intelligence community, those whose need-to-know included a knowledge of the Cody operation, did not think much of Cody or of Hawkeye Hawkins, Rufe Murphy or Richard Caine. Something the men of Cody's team did not give one good goddamn about.

The mission tonight was simple enough in conception: When Abu Zayoud shows up, grab him.

There was no doubt in anyone's mind that Zayoud was dirty. There was a foot-long computer printout on the guy's misdeeds. Libyan satellite transmissions to their embassies, the messages spoken in an obscure Berber dialect that the Libyans were unaware the CIA knew about, placed a half dozen terrorist atrocities directly at Zayoud's feet.

These guys were up to no damn good in Washington, D.C., no doubt about that whatsoever, and. it was reasoned at White House level, if ever there was a time to sidestep the niceties of fair play in the interests of protecting the security of the citizens of this nation, right now was such a time.

Cody and his men were storming this safe house to take out Ali Baliq and whatever that terrorist triggerman had set up. The Libyans were breaking any number of federal laws by their manner of entry into the country alone; if weapons were aimed at Cody and his men, these commandos would shoot back to kill.

With one notable exception, which is why this job went to this highly specialized attack force in the first place.

The hit could have been pulled off perfectly well by any number of Fed SWAT teams or by Delta Force, but there was an element of ultrafine tuning involved: Zayoud had to be brought in alive.

What a man in Abu Zayoud's position could tell U.S. intelligence agencies was beyond imagining.

Baliq was an enforcer, a skillful killer of unsuspecting civilians, but Zayoud… Zayoud was worth far, far more alive than dead for many reasons, the most immediate being the answer to a question that had to be answered, and fast, before big shit really hit the fan.

What was a top-echelon Libyan terrorist boss doing in Washington?

A heartbeat after Caine whispered his "Going in" response to Cody's "Going up" across the Personal Communicator system, the English merc delivered a kick to the alley door of the corner house. He and Hawkins tumbled on through.

Caine had been with Britain's crack antiterrorist unit, the Special Air Services, until his dismissal. Hawkins was an East Texas ruffian, long haired and mean.

The inside of the safe house was not dark, as it had appeared through the glass of the alley door. Heavy black paper had been carefully taped to all of the windows in the house. The hall lights must have been turned off only when someone entered or left.

Three men, Arabs in their early twenties, outfitted in jeans, T-shirts and Uzi submachine guns, lounged at the far end of a hall that stretched the length of one side of the house. Two men sat on kitchen chairs tilted back against the wall, Uzi's straddling their laps. The third guy leaned against the front door.

The last thing in the world any of these guys expected was a hard strike coming down on them, so soon after the arrival of a ranking biggie from Tripoli, and it was the last thing that happened to them except for their initial response to Caine's and Hawkins's entry.

They had been conversing in muted tones among themselves and in the instant that the two apparitions in black bounded into the opposite end of the hall, the two seated sentries righted their chairs simultaneously and jumped up, grabbing their Uzis, tracking them around. The third guy actually got his weapon swung all the way around into firing position from where he jarred himself erect from leaning against the door and squeezed off a short, nasty, silenced burst down the hall.

Caine and Hawkins saw it coming and fell forward as soon as they cleared the door, Caine following through on his kick, coming in first, Hawkins right behind him. Each man hit his belly to the wooden floor, projectiles razoring the air just above them where their bodies had been a millisecond before. They skidded along the wood slightly under their own forward momentum when each man hit side-by-side on his belly, bringing their Ingrams around to hone in on targets, aiming with their elbows placed on the floor.

Hawkins triggered a burst of lead that pumped the firing terrorist with a chest-level sweep of .45-caliber bullets with enough force to lift him backward off his feet and through the upper glass half of the door directly behind him, the bottom wood part of the door stopping his deadfall, snapping him at the torso, his riddled corpse dangling half in and half out of the house.

Caine opened fire on the man to his left down the hall, who was the closest of the two to bringing his Uzi to bear on the intruders. Caine's SMG stuttered flame, and the Arab gunman caught a line of lead stitching across his chest before he could tug the Uzi to fire in that flash of time, projectiles pitching him into the corner.

Caine and Hawkins swung their Ingrams on the third of the ground-floor sentries, who had his weapon pulled frantically down on the two commandos stretched out on the floor.

The guy triggered off exactly one round before both Ingrams perforated him with a five-round burst from each, spinning this one around like a bloody top until he tripped over his own dead feet.

The acrid bite of hazing gunsmoke hung heavy in the ground-floor hallway in the sudden stillness, as did the overripe stench of sudden, violent death.

Caine and Hawkins climbed to their feet, taking up combat crouches to slap fresh 30-round clips into their weapons, ready for whatever else the unknown interior of this house might throw at them.

A violent racket erupted from somewhere upstairs.


Cody piled on through the ruins of the kicked-in upstairs door, Murphy tumbling in right behind him, and they fell away from either side of the busted door into what proved to be a darkened bedroom, the other door of which was open and emitting light and voices from the room beyond.

Shouting in Arabic sent a male figure with a pistol to fill the other doorway, the guy not sure of what he saw in the room, but he snarled something to others over his shoulder, assumed a two-handed stance and squeezed off a couple of hammering, very unsilenced rounds. But all the clown knew was that someone had kicked their way in. He didn't know who or where and his bullets went unaimed into the opposite wall of the bedroom.

Murphy got a fix on the guy, triggering a tart three-round burst from his Ingram that lifted the Arab off his feet as if yanked backward by a giant invisible wire. Murphy closed in on the door.

Cody had already reached it. He threw himself through that doorway, into the lighted room on the other side, hitting the carpeted floor in that room on his left shoulder, executing a fast roll well below the line of fire picked out by the three men in the room waiting for him.

In the tumbling moments as he steadied himself out of the roll to bring the Ingram around to start choosing targets, Cody registered a drab-walled room with one long table overflowing with maps, newspapers and a telephone, harshly lighted by a naked bulb overhead.

He recognized Ali Baliq as the man caught standing on the opposite side of the table, facing him; a ferret-faced guy directly in front of two taped-over windows.

To Baliq's either side, at opposite ends of the table, stood a pair of matching book-ends that Cody pedigreed instantly as security, each of these guys whirling, facing the doorway too, tracking Uzis that they scooped up from the table, following the progress of Cody's roll, trying to target him.

Cody came up on one knee to steady his aim and carefully placed a half dozen Hydro-Shok slugs through the nearest gunman's guts, punching the guy backward off his feet, across the table, clearing it of maps and newspapers and the telephone, leaving a trail of shiny red behind that glistened in the bright light, the corpse toppling noisily over the far end of the table where the other gunman had to frantically sidestep to avoid being knocked over.

The fourth man, who'd had his back to Cody, spun, pawing under his jacket for a pistol. Cody recognized the features of the guy he'd spotted less than two minutes earlier climbing out of the cab in front of the house.

Abu Zayoud himself was heavyset, greasy. He emitted a surprised snarl as he unleathered a Czech 9mm pistol.

Baliq had a pistol also, but he did not fire. He growled, stepped back, dark eyes glittering in his ferret face as they darted toward a second door out of this room. Cody was positioned between Baliq and the second door.

Murphy flew through the first door from the other bedroom before the one corpse had completed its slide off the table. He did not hesitate to trigger a burst at the second gunman, who saw Rufe coming. The Arab ducked side ways, toward Baliq's side of the table.

Murphy's burst stitched ten shredding holes in the wall.

Zayoud pegged off two rounds at Cody, but he did not have time to aim. The slugs flew wild.

Cody fought down the reflexive impulse to return Zayoud's fire. He tracked his Ingram around on Baliq.

It was at this point the whole damn scene blew to hell.

Cody's combat consciousness during this flash exchange registered unfolding data subconsciously, telling him he did not have to worry about the second gunman for the moment because, in ducking Murphy's burst, that one had placed himself with Zayoud standing between him and Cody. Not wanting to hit Zayoud, Cody had started to swing his Ingram on Baliq over by the windows, wondering what the hell he should do about Zayoud still trying to take aim at him for another shot with his pistol.

Murphy angled himself around, looking for another shot at his gunman, taking care not to let Zayoud get caught in the line of fire.

Baliq, in a crouch, held his fire, his fiery eyes skittering around the room like a trapped rat looking for a way out.

Before Cody could gun down Baliq, though, the gunman dodged Murphy and triggered a burst from his Uzi at Cody. The punk must have thought he had a clear line of fire. He did not think of Abu Zayoud, who was concerned with Cody. The gunman only thought of his partner, burbling ugly and dead on the floor next to the table, and panic in him made him open fire.

The spitting lead did not find Cody. Projectiles dotted the wall behind him.

And other slugs caught Zayoud across the back, punching, coring through bloodily, pulping the Libyan terrorist boss's spine out through his chest, wiping the surprised look from his face in a red splash of bloodied brains and skull chips. The impact of the bullets tossed Zayoud forward into a graceless dive. He sprawled across the floor next to the first dead gunman.

Before the living gunman even had a chance to realize his terrible mistake, Cody fired on him, pounding the clown backward, toppling over one of the chairs around the table in a frenzied death jig under half a dozen .45-caliber slugs.

The figures of two more pistol-toting Arabs filled the doorway behind Cody.

Murphy ignored Baliq for the moment because the terrorist hitman still had not fired a shot and appeared to pose no immediate threat. Murphy triggered a long burst that picked both new arrivals off their feet together and slammed them right back out of the doorway under a forceful hail of bullets. He heard the clatter of their dead bodies tumbling madly one over the other down a flight of stairs.

At that moment Baliq spun around, seized the opportunity and charged full tilt at the nearest window in the wall behind him, propelling himself with both arms crossed in front of his face. He disappeared into the night amid the shattering of millions of pieces of glass.

Cody charged over to the window through which Baliq had made his plunge. Murphy hustled to the doorway through which the latest two Libyan gunmen had appeared.

The wicked exchange of gunfire was eaten up by the unfurnished, echoey quiet of the house.

Murphy assumed a defensive stance just inside that doorway, his back to the inside wall, Ingram held up in both fists. He kept one eye around the door frame in case there were any of the enemy left alive.

Cody reached the window, keeping to the side in case Baliq was out there waiting somewhere in the dark for him to make a target of himself in the light. He gripped the SMG in his right fist, ready to return fire if need be. He slipped back the curtain with his index finger just far enough to gaze out on to the portion of roof that formed anoverhang that reached out slightly over the front door of the house.

Shards of shattered glass glistened on shingles, reflecting the street light above the intersection in front of the house.


On Sale
Sep 26, 2009
Page Count
179 pages