From the Prologue

He took a moment and looked each person in the eye, then said resolutely, “We have debated and discussed many different options and approaches, bounced around all the possibilities, each and every time landing squarely in the same place.  This place,” he said, pointing down at the table.  “For our plans to work, each person must be at peace with this.  Every one of us must believe our actions will bring about positive change.  Each one of us must be committed to every premise behind every action we take.  None of us can go forward unless we fully understand the potential of what we’re about to do.  There are no…,” he started, then said earnestly, “there can be no illusions.  We must be ready to accept the consequences of our actions and the damage that these actions will inevitably do to our souls.”  He paused for a moment and then added, “There have already been casualties.  It’s likely there will be more.”

There was a profound stillness in the air.  It felt as though this moment might somehow echo throughout the rest of time.  He took a deep breath and stood up straight.  “The time has come to bring the war to them, to let them taste their own vile tactics, and to show the world there is a level of decency that we all must demand.  Such is our conviction and our decision.  This,” he said pausing to glance around the table, “this is Aenamus.”

He glanced down at the table, sighed and said, “We can force the world to listen, but we can only hope the message will be heard.  Sometimes the only way to get their attention is through a demonstration of force and determination.  Someone has to take out the trash.”  He turned and looked into the terrified bloodshot eyes of the man who sat bound and gagged against the wall to his left.  “Wouldn’t you agree, Congressman Delay?”

From Chapter 1

“Affirmative.  Black Coffee is also authorized.  Extract all pertinent information.  I need facts, not forced confessions.  Use any and all means to achieve the mission objectives.  Leave no witnesses.  When the extraction is complete, finish the job.  Clean, fast, and yes, interesting as well.  As far as anyone knows these quarries are completely unrelated.  I want a full report after each deletion.  Transmit using standard encryption protocols.  Code in with Murphy before sending anything confidential.  No residuals and no fuck-ups.  Are we clear, soldier?”  The last question was thick with challenge and authority.

            A full two seconds passed before the reply came.  “Understood, Sir,” the voice answered and the line went dead.  Slowly he lowered the handset and replaced it in the cradle.  Thoughtfully, he clasped his fingers together and considered what had just transpired.  He felt certain this man, this Condotierro, upon hearing the order, had confirmed his understanding wearing an excited and sadistic smile.  The man’s eagerness to interrogate, torture and kill sent a strange tingling sensation through his whole body.  The ramifications of what he’d just set into motion echoed and reverberated in his mind.  Swift and decisive action was what the situation demanded, and he’d delivered.  Anticipation coursed through his body, filling him with energy and a restored sense of authority and purpose.  He bolted upright from his chair, turned and saw his reflection in the large antique civil war mirror.  Staring back at him was a man of wealth and power bearing a devilish, malevolent smile.  The same smile, he felt certain, was, at this very moment, on the face of the eager mercenary.  And nothing, save for the hand of God himself, could stop either of them now.

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