June 6th, 2022 - 0600 Hours
A highly classified rifle range at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Although he was always known as “Ulysses” during his youth in Ohio, Grant’s given name was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant. His phantom middle initial is the result of an error from Ohio Congressman Thomas Hamer, who accidentally wrote the future general’s name as “Ulysses S. Grant” when he nominated him to attend West Point. Despite Grant’s best efforts to correct the record, the name stuck, and he eventually accepted it as his own. “Find some name beginning with “S” for me,” he joked in an 1844 letter to his future wife, Julia Dent. “You know I have an “S” in my name and don’t know what it stands for.”
The U.S. in front of the name of the guy on the range stood for Uncommon Shot. By a strange coincidence, his surname was also Grant. U.S. Grant was a handle given to him by his Delta Team 6 members in Yemen shortly after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. A little-known fact about the incident is that there were two zodiacs filled with C-4 and only one was able to carry out the attack. The other one was dispatched by a lone sailor with only a 9mm handgun. He placed two rounds into the chest of the terrorist driving the second zodiac from over ninety yards. Hence the moniker, “Uncommon Shot” would forever follow him throughout his military deployments. U.S. Grant was also an inventor. He was currently lying prone with his right eye placed at the end of his latest invention. The barrel was seven feet long and could place a liquid nitrogen ice dart into the neck of his victim at twice the distance of the episode that earned him his name.
He placed a miniature Phillips-head screwdriver into the sight carriage of the gun and gave it a very slight adjustment to the right. His shot was off by nearly an inch. He felt that at two-hundred yards, that was a tolerance with which he simply couldn’t live. Grant was an artist. When he was a SEAL, he was a soldier. Since his confidential discharge, he became the snipe leader of a group called The Scorpions, which for all intents and purposes, did not really exist. His director was called Smoke and Grant never really learned his real name. Names were unimportant in Grant’s mind. The only thing that mattered was the elimination of the enemy.
“I see you’ve made some improvements to your delivery system,” said Smoke.
“How can you tell, Sir?” said Grant. “Don’t tell me you can actually see the target from here.”
“I don’t have to see it. I only need to look at your face.”
“Hmm,” said Grant looking through the sight again.
“If your shot was off by more than an inch, you would have a scowl on that handsome face of yours. Since you didn’t react that way, I’d say you placed the dart somewhere in the neck. If I had to guess, it was in the approximation of the carotid artery, am I right?”
“You’re here for reason, Smoke. Let’s have it.”
“What’s got you so hot under the collar, Grant?”
“It’s nothing you need to know about, Sir.”
“If it involves your performance, it’s my business, soldier.”
“First of all, I’m no longer a soldier, and second of all – most importantly of all, nothing on God’s green Earth can affect my performance.”
“Still not human, is that it?”
“Oh, I’m human all right. I just don’t have your flaws.”
“Man, you’re arrogant, U.S.,” said Smoke. “Why can’t you ease up a little?”
“Because I want to stay alive. For now, anyway,” said Grant holding his breath and squeezing off another shot.” A slight smile came to his lips and he laid the gun aside and rose to his feet. “So, let’s have it, Smoke. Why are you here instead of sitting behind your great big mahogany desk?”
“There’s a new guy just recruited to The Scorpions.”
“Excuse me, Sir. Who are The Scorpions, by the way?”
“Exactly, U.S. No one can hear us out here.”
“I’m just saying,” said Grant.
“OK, let me start over. Someone new has joined the company.”
“What’s that got to do with me?”
“You might have heard of him. He’s got sixty-two kills.”
“Big whoop,” said Grant.
“Not everyone is a superhero.”
“You got that right.”
“So, I have a job for you.”
“What kind of a job?”
“I want you to teach Eagle Eye to shoot your little toy.”
“Eagle Eye is a prima donna, and he’s not particularly my cup of tea. He likes the bright lights and all the attention. He’s, you know . . . what I would call an asshole. And secondly, my little toy, as you call it, is a very sensitive piece of equipment. Not everyone is suited to handle it.”
“That’s the point, U. S. I need you to teach him how to shoot it. All the fine points of how you insert your essence into the shot.”
“What for? You know I’m essentially out of the theater of operations. I developed the weapon, but you know I’m not a shooter anymore. I served my country for twenty years and never asked questions, Smoke.”
“I know you did, and I have complete confidence in your prowess with the dart gun. I need to know if you can teach someone else to use it.”
“Why? What’s the big deal?”
“Because if you can teach another man to operate it properly, then I want you to teach it to a machine.”
“Does this machine of yours have an essence it can place into the shot?” he asked facetiously.
The young woman, named Bhana Sari, brought her young child, Jualah to the ancient monk who was sitting in the lotus position sporting a long flowing gown of golden gossamer and a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap. He came out of his meditation as he heard her approach. His eyes sparkled with a reflection of the sun cast off the peaks of the great mountain, and he winked at her. He remembered when she was first introduced to him at a very young age. At that time, he told her of the two great mistakes that can be made along the road to truth: The first is not going all the way, and the second is not starting. Now she had come to him with a child of her own.
The girl had wide, dark eyes, and there was no delineation between her pupils and the irises. Her long, dark lashes matched the color of her hair that reached well below her shoulders. Her tunic did little to hide the sumptuous curves of her blossoming womanhood. The heads of the monks in the temple where her Master lived, turned when she walked by. But Master Chan was hoping she was more than a source of titillation for his prodigies. Someone who still has time to make a difference. She might be the one who could set the singularity back on the proper path. His only hope was that it was not too late. He began by reminding her mother of the lesson from so long ago. And he was kind enough not to state the obvious – that his words were wasted on her. He took her hand and led them both to a stone bench beside a frozen lake.
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. The young one has made one already, and you are here to ask me to help her avoid the second one. I cannot put out a fire before there is a spark. Faith will lead her to the path, and I will only place the stones on the ground for her to walk upon. She must choose her steps wisely or there is no need to begin the journey at all. When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills.”
“I was fearful, Master. I thought that she was too young to begin the training.”
“Your fears are groundless, Bhana Sari. We are never too young to drown and never too old to swim.”
“Then you will take her in?”
“I will open a door for her to walk through. It is you who has to have the strength not to close it after me.”
“I don’t understand, Master.”
“Of course, you don’t. Your door has been built for you without a handle.”
“You speak in riddles.”
“Both truths and lies are riding the wind. Only you can choose which breeze will give you breath. I will take her for one week. If she shows promise, then time will not matter to you or her.”
“Do you think you can stop, the pain? It breaks my heart to watch her suffer. She’s so young and helpless . . .”
“Her headaches will cease when her eyes are truly open.”
“And then what will she see, Master?”
The eventual and ultimate demise of the State of Isis can be traced to a mere handful of men. One such, of those brave souls, was graced with the moniker The Iceman. His real name was U.S. Grant, although he had no relation to the civil war soldier and past president of the United States. His real name was Edward R. Grant, and the initials, U.S., stood for the superlative title, Uncommon Shot. He was an ex-sniper for the marine corps who, upon a false honorable discharge, continued in the employ of the United States government in the capacity of Special Weapons Development. Having reached the pinnacle of his highly decorated craft, namely enemy kills, he decided to branch out into the area of research and development. This R & D direction of his talents led to the eventual discovery of the Ice Dart. Propelled at over thirteen-hundred feet per second, the Ice Dart was able to penetrate the seven layers of human skin and deliver a minuscule payload intravenously through the carotid artery, or intra-muscular through any other part of the human body. Due to the excessive velocity of the Ice Dart, a thin layer of bee’s wax was necessary to coat the projectile to prevent melting caused by the friction created on its passage through the barrel. The weapon was nearly silent and could be carried, disassembled, to a point of utilization in a package as small as a standard Haliburton attaché case. The first deployment of Grant’s invention was the elimination of four confirmed terrorists who were setting a trap on the Pakistani side of the Khyber Pass. His scouts identified a group of three U.S. infantrymen who were dressed as nomadic Sherpas of the region and settled into one of the many caves in the hills of Buchinistan. The four Isis soldiers waited patiently for the men to withdraw from the cave and travel down the mountain to the shore of the river below. Whether their trek was to obtain water or find something to eat within the water, the four budding Isis members would never know. The Iceman dispatched them silently and withdrew before the U.S. soldiers could even become aware of his presence.
When Mustapha Zunakara was six, he saw red flashes at the periphery of his vision. They made his heart race, and his hands could feel the rising pulse down to his fingertips. For Mustapha, it was a source of energy that was starving for direction. He didn’t know or couldn’t name the source of his angst, but his whole being was striving for deliverance. His need was desperate for some way to satisfy hate and violence in his heart and mind. He lived for that hate to be quenched through violence. It wasn’t until he had matured in his Shia faith that he began to find a direction for his angst. He was taught of the Great Satan, the evil of the Earth, manifest in devil worship for money and power at the expense of his Shia tribe. He breathed and drank the hatred for the Great Satan. His grandmother, who he called Nana Shareen, used to brush back his hair at the nape of his neck and coo softly, “Easy, my Mustapha . . . the time will come when you can douse the fires at the core of your being. There will be peace, and great reward from Allah when the time comes for you to take life - let your violence quench the hatred for the Great Satan. And then, Mustapha had a son, Achmed, who was safe at home with Mustapha’s Nana, Shareen.
At the age of eighteen, Mustapha and his three tribal brothers in Islam, were walking the trail to set an ambush for the invading forces of Satan. Their scouts had discovered three of the heathen Americans in a small cave nearby. There were only four members left in his group since the last encounter with Satan’s forces killed three. Mustapha could not understand how that could be. How could the Great Satan know where they were? How could they have avoided the trap they had laid? Mustapha just didn’t understand high-resolution electromagnetic optical filtering that The Iceman’s scouts employed and the physics behind it. Mustapha was a barbarian compared to the American capabilities, and he didn’t know it. He was given this gun; it is a Russian made gun. Mustapha and his kin had no idea how to make such a thing. They did know how to use it, and today Mustapha swore he would use it. He was sure he would kill today. It was his only release from the pain in his head, like eating when you are hungry.
Just then, the leader, Jabal, stopped, and whispered back to Mustapha, “Hold Mustapha, I sense danger.” Mustapha never questioned Jabal’s feelings. He had an uncanny sense about him. Jabal explained it as a glow of red, that when it occurs, the enemy is near. Jabal, dove to the ground just as Mustapha heard a whisper fly over his head. His friend since birth, immediately behind him fell to the ground. Another whisper and a second man fell, too. A half-second later, Mustapha dove to the ground next to Jabal. As Mustapha looked over, he heard yet another whisper and saw a small clear projectile hit Jabal’s neck and disappear. Jabal’s entire body sagged almost instantly, and his eyes stared at nothing. Mustapha rolled, but not fast enough. The next whisper hit Mustapha in the neck, and he lost all body functions. His last thought was that his son would have to carry on and take the battle to the shores of The Great Satan.
Later that day, his son Achmed was lying in his grandmother’s arms. He saw her with a halo of red light at the edge of his vision. He understood deep in his soul what the red halo meant. It was just like he understood hunger and food. This was not unusual for his grandmother. His grandmother knew her children were to be born with a special purpose in the fight for Islam. She had been happy to be a part of the plan laid out by bin Laden over twenty years ago. Bin Laden knew the fight to destroy The Great Satan would have to erode their entire civilization. It would take time and patience. The world would need an army of workers willing to strike at one time. To hide the infiltration, patience, and more patience would have to be employed. The fight would be handed from one generation to the next and the next after that. Bin Laden’s plan for deep sleepers required this, and to get the numbers up without being detected would require something extraordinary. The geneticists approached bin Laden with a plan. They said, “We can create the army of your Jihad with a very specific viral injection. We just have to find a way to pass the trait on to their descendants. Only then can we develop a trigger stimulus to turn the killing instinct on and off. We feel a secondary injection will serve the purpose when it is needed. You will have an army of sleeping giants to awaken at a time of your choosing.”
Achmed’s grandmother was one of the first to accept the genetic test. Her son, Mustapha, at first, and then her grandson, Achmed, proved the descendent heredity serum worked. The problem though, was that the violence was demonstrated very early for Mustapha. He killed his neighbor’s dog at the age of three, then he killed the boy next door at the age of five. He could not be controlled and was sent into the mountains to kill with the Taliban. Mustapha was feared by all of the tribes of Afghanistan until he met his death at the hands of The Iceman. They will surely rejoice to hear of his death. Nana Shareen, soon after, sent her sleeping giant, Achmed to live in America and wait for his trigger mechanism to be employed. His boyhood friend, al Jabal was sent along with him. When the two boys turned eighteen, it was time.
Senator Raoul Martinez was the republican, penultimate fixture for the great state of New Mexico. He would renew his seat in the Senate every two years virtually unopposed since his two decades of championing the cause for limited immigration from Mexico seemed to be set in stone. His family had come to America back in the 1980s and, if they had their way, would have shut the door behind them. They got in, so fuck the rest of those wetback, illiterate assholes, and the horses they try to ride in on. The only thing worse than a Mexican immigrant in Senator Martinez’s mind was an Arab. He lived to hate Arabs. It came as no surprise to him when he learned that President Bush was meeting with Osama bin Laden’s brother on the night preceding the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Indeed, the president was even alleged to have arranged clandestine passage from Washington to Saudi Arabia via a military transport plane in the dead of night. After all, the Saudi’s are our friends, was the overused mantra of the oil suckling politicians of the new millennium. Anything for a buck, thought Martinez with revulsion as he considered the good old boys club from Washington that looked down on him with their barely disguised condescension.
He was tolerated at best and ridiculed, to tell the truth of the situation behind closed doors of the special interest committees of the Senate. He was continually passed over by the chairman of the Senate Arms Committee, which he could only deem as laughable if not ironic. He alone was instrumental in the development and deployment of the most effective weapon in the U. S. arsenal. But the U. S. he alluded to was not the United States. It was the two initials that denoted the accolade Uncommon Shot. A superlative bestowed upon an American serviceman formerly known as Colonel Edward R. Grant. Now a civilian under the command of an ultra-secret branch of the U. S. military known as The Scorpions, Grant, soon to be known only as The Iceman, answered to Smoke, their leader.
Senator Martinez was denied membership to the Arms Committee, however as the financial powerhouse behind the research and development of The Iceman’s latest invention, he held an ace in the hole that he was sorely anxious to finally play. He was about to call in the chips. Grant was a genie who would grant Martinez three wishes as per their original agreement. The Iceman would deliver an ordinance to no more than three individuals at the caprice of the senator from New Mexico. He had to choose wisely as do all the recipients of the proverbial magic lamp. After three targets were dispatched, he would be reduced to just another helpless individual standing on the sidelines. But what targets to choose? The Iceman refused to deliver a lethal dose of poison, perhaps curare to an unsuspecting victim, but that would be such a waste of opportunity anyway. Mere lethality could be achieved with a sixty-cent bullet from a .357 magnum out of a dark alley next to a restaurant as the target makes his or her way home. The senator also had the use of some lethal children who attended a School for the Gifted where he acted as director. No, something creative must be utilized for the three shots promised by The Iceman.
Of the one point six million dollars Martinez contributed to the contingents of his private war, only ninety thousand dollars was given to The Iceman. The remainder was funneled off to a secret medical facility just across the border in Mexico. The experiments were conducted by a doctor named Hugh North, although his license to practice medicine in North America had been revoked the year before. He was charged with performing experimental treatments to cancer patients prior to the clearance of the Federal Drug Administration. His feeling was God will judge him in due time. The FDA be damned. Well, North was damned and had henceforth devoted his efforts in The Southern Lab to research.
Specifically, the research Dr. North was most devoted to, was the means to deliver medicine on the cellular level. Most medicinal cancer treatments were retarded by the cell wall upon insertion, and the body’s immune system often attacked the inoculation and rendered it inert. North developed an inoculation vehicle that broke down the cell walls with an internal DMSO component that fooled the leukocytes, also known as the bone marrow’s hematopoietic stem cells, into thinking that they have completed their task prematurely. However, due to North’s limited exposure to willing patients along with his hobbling by the American Medical Association, he needed a delivery vehicle that could be administered unbeknownst to the recipient. Thus, the birth of long-range or remote medical treatment, or RMT.
When the chips came due to Martinez regarding the funding of North’s RMT development, a considerably different objective was desired. Instead of Remote Medical Treatment, Martinez expressed an interest in Remote Resistant Infection or RRI. His clearly stated goal was to infect Arabs with sexually transmitted diseases which would cause sterility. The sheer irony that the very act intended to procreate life was the instrument to prevent it was nothing short of poetry in the mind of Martinez. He would go down in history as the man who solved the ultimate problem of God’s greatest mistake: The Arab. Martinez hoped that one day the Arab world would eventually die out due to a dearth of progeny. With any luck, he would see evidence of it in his lifetime having at least a generation of life expectancy left after his forty-eight years so far.
The Iceman having completed his task of a long-range delivery system by the invention of the ice-dart cannon, all that remained was North and his intrusive sterility serum. It was time to place a call to The Southern Lab and get an update on the progress of the project. North answered on the fourth ring, “This is North,” he said over a scrambled cell phone which had been provided by Martinez.
“Dr. North, I trust you have some good news for me,” said Martinez.
“Yes, Senator. Your fireballs for Sodom and Gomorrah are ready for your deployment.”
“How quaint,” said Martinez. “Sodom and Gomorrah indeed. As per our agreement, your job is to do what I say and look the other way. I don’t give a damn what your conscience is telling you or not. What percentage points have you achieved so far?”
“Nearly 100 percent,” said North.
Martinez was beside himself with elation. He wasn’t sure that he’d heard the doctor correctly. He then asked, “Excuse me? Did you say nearly 100 percent, Dr. North?”
“That’s right, Senator. I managed to undo God’s greatest work.”
“Oh, spare me your sanctimonious bullshit, Doctor. You’re as much of a whore as the next “scientist” begging for a handout. Without funding, all of your fabulous discoveries might as well be mixing up a cup of hot chocolate. You need me much more than I need you. You’re not the only molecular biologist in the world or even Mexico for that matter.”
“Yes, but unfortunately I am your molecular biologist for the time being.”
“Just make sure that you don’t forget it, Doctor. The Iceman has promised me three wishes as you well know.”
“And you would waste one of them on me, is that what you’re saying?”
“You never know, Doctor. You never know.”
The Iceman, also known as Col. Ed Grant, (Ret.) was just landing on a private airfield outside of Taos, New Mexico when he received a call from his host. Senator Martinez sent his personal Gulfstream jet to Georgia to fetch his newest weapon. Grant was on edge, not enjoying the helpless feeling of not being in control. Flying was always a thorn in his side. He answered his cell phone with a rather curt, “This is Grant.”
Martinez then said, “I trust you enjoyed the luxury of my favorite toy,” meaning his personal flight attendant along with the fabulous aircraft. She was known to serve considerably more than just refreshment during her flights.
“I don’t have any use for your frills, Senator. I need to focus on the task if I’m to be any use toyou.”
“All work and no play, is that it?”
“Something like that. It’s an imperative requirement in my line of work. The minute I stop my concentration is when I can expect to also stop breathing out and in,” said Grant.
“Is the world really out to end your life, Mr. Iceman?”
“With any luck, I’ll let you know. When do we deploy?”
“Oh, you mean the demonstration?” said Martinez.
“What else would I mean?” said Grant.
“I want you to place a frozen extract into a colleague of mine right before she is to meet with the leader of her local constituents.”
“What kind of extract?” asked Grant. “You know I won’t have any part in an extraction.”
“No, Colonel, the extract is nearly harmless.”
“I’m no longer a colonel, Senator. Please call me Grant.”
“As you wish, Mr. Grant. As I said, the extract is a harmless concentration of onion.”
“What’s the point of that?” asked Grant.
“The blood circulates in the body with remarkable speed. The onion extract will be carried to her lungs in a matter-of-seconds, rather than minutes. If the payload were to be curare, death would occur instantaneously.”
“It’s your call, Senator. I’ve given you my terms. I’m your genie for three wishes if you recall.”
“That’s three shots after you prove the success of your device if memory serves.”
“Have it your way. You get your demonstration and then the three shots we agreed on.”
“That’s music to my ears, Mr. Grant.”
“But, just to be clear, Senator, I’m through with death.”
“Yes, yes,” began Martinez.
“You understand what I’m saying, right?”
“Yes, I told you I do,” said the senator.
“I’m retired from The Scorpions. As a civilian, I have no moral right to take a life.”
“The ordinance is not lethal.”
“You know what will happen if you try to deceive me, correct?”
“Yes, yes, I get it, Mr. Grant.”
“So, what is the nature of the payload for the three shots?”
“It is merely to embarrass my enemies, Mr. Grant. The serum brings about erectile dysfunction. That’s all there is to it.”
“It seems like a lot of trouble and expense just to interrupt a bunch of hard-ons, Senator.”
“Your job is to deliver the shots, per our original agreement. How I deploy those shots are my business and my business alone, Mr. Grant.”
“It’s your dime,” he said.
“Yes, it’s my dime. So just follow my instructions without your moral objections.”
“So, where is the first shot coming from?” asked Grant. “Do I have any cover, or does this call for a cowboy shot?”
“Nothing so crude as that. You’ll be shooting from the back seat of a limousine. The window can be cracked about two inches down without raising any suspicion. Will that be sufficient?”
“Not a problem. What’s the distance?”
“About 90 yards give or take.”
“I don’t give or take, Senator Martinez. I have to design a specific charge for the projectile, or your subject will either get knocked down or fail to be impaled. I would say a short distance like that can only use about a few milligrams of an after-dart to be effective.”
“What is an after-dart?” asked Martinez.
“An after-dart is the projectile that is left after the wax falls away. It’s like the separation of the first stage of a rocket launch out of Canaveral. The payload starts down the weapon with the wax and the extract embedded inside. Then the wax leaves the projectile about forty feet from the muzzle of the gun. What’s left is your microscopic extract frozen with liquid nitrogen for only a few seconds. Once it hits the body, it melts upon contact. Insertion is immediate.”
“That sounds excellent,” said Martinez. “I’ll have the freeze-package delivered to your hotel in the morning. The target’s name is Senator Gail Trudeau, and she’ll be addressing a group of fundraisers at 10:00 AM. The venue is the same hotel where you are currently booked. You have a penthouse suite in the name of Charles Dunn.”
“And my ride back to Benning?”
“The same jet you came in on. It will be waiting on the tarmac where you left it.”
“If all goes well, I might just sample the frills on the way out.”
“I’m sure you won’t be disappointed,” said the senator.
Gail Trudeau was making her way to the front entrance of the Hotel’s Convention Center when she felt a very slight sting on the right side of her neck. Raoul Martinez was quickly at her side when he suggested, “Breath mint, Senator?”
At first, she had the impulse to decline, and then she tasted a distinct, pungent root vegetable presence in her mouth. It was of onion of all things, although she had not had onions in any of her meals in the last few days. She was perplexed and finally acquiesced, “Yes, thank you, Senator. I think I would love a breath mint.”
Senator Martinez couldn’t suppress a smile born of the fact that he knew he had the delivery system for delivering the final, fatal blow to the Arab nations. Doctor North’s sterility serum was now a viable reality with the successful delivery system designed by The Iceman.
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