By Mark Alan


I, Richard Cooper, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

So help me God…

Chapter 1

Fusion Resort

Playa del Carmen

Quintana Roo, México

2200 Hours Local

Sullivan reached into his right front pocket and slipped out his stainless steel SOG: with a quick flick of his thumb, the blade snapped into the locked position with a resounding clank. He grabbed Cooper from around the back of the neck with his left hand, pushing on the bulge under his skin and herding the lump up and to the left with his middle finger. Sullivan was having a difficult time getting a firm grip on Cooper’s sweaty skin; wet and dirty, it was turning bright red from being pulled and twisted tight in his wringing grip.

“Hold him down! It's on the run and boring deeper into his neck,” shouted Sullivan, fighting to get a better grip and angle.

“What's in my neck?” Cooper demanded, thrashing and turning in an effort to get off the bed. The weight of Sullivan across his chest and two others across his legs made it impossible for him to escape and difficult for him to take a full breath. Sullivan eased the tip of his knife into Cooper’s neck, creating a slit next to the small bulge and halting the retreat of a scrambling six legged metal parasite.

“I've almost got it,” shouted Sullivan, squeezing hard on the back of Cooper’s neck, forcing the blade deeper and trapping the crawler under a pinch of skin. With a quick turn of the knife, Sullivan forced his blade against the scrambling, six-legged nano-bot, crippling and hewing it into two pieces. Separation from its power supply disabled the high-tech intruder, shorting out the battery against the blade of the knife and causing a trace of white smoke to seep out of the incision. The distinct smell of burning flesh followed as it began to swirl around the room. Slowly, Sullivan released Cooper's neck and eased his weight off his chest, breathing deep with relief, watching Cooper’s countenance change almost immediately. Sullivan slid the blade back into the incision and flicked out the two halves of the nano-bot from Cooper’s neck, sending them tumbling to the floor. He pushed off of Cooper and stood up. Looking down at the broken bot, he ground the heel of his boot into the tick, pulverizing it where it lay.

The searing heat of the crushed battery nearly cauterized the interior of the incision, leaving just a small trickle of blood dripping from the wound. Cooper’s eyes rolled back into his head, his thoughts scattered and confused, then tried to draw in a full breath while he scanned the room to clear some of the fog from his mind. The distraction of the strong odor of sweat and burnt flesh still hung heavy in the room, permeating his nostrils. His vision was fuzzy and he was not entirely clear about what had just happened. Looking down at the foot of the bed, it was becoming obvious who had just cut him.

“Senior Chief Sully, I haven’t seen you since Afghanistan in ‘08,” said Cooper, laying his head back down on the flat, sweat-stained pillow. He was still reeling, exhausted from the tussle, and could feel the slight breeze of the ceiling fan as it buffeted the humid Méxican air around the room. Sweat droplets were building and dripping down his forehead and the sides of his face.

Still trying to catch his breath, Cooper wheezed, “How did you find me?”

“Major, they know where you are – you weren’t hard to find,” answered Sullivan.

“Who are they?” Cooper asked.

“And by the way, you owe me twenty bucks,” interrupted Sullivan.

“For what could I possibly owe you twenty bucks?” Cooper demanded incredulously.

“I had to pay off the bartender to slip a mickey into your drink so we could get you back here and save your sorry ass.”

“Where is Sam?” Cooper asked with panic in his voice, looking across the dimly lit room and not seeing her anywhere. Cooper eased up on to his right elbow, attempting to be wide-eyed and alert but still groggy from the effects of laced drink.

He focused his attention on the nightstand on the other side of the bed. Staring at the bright red LED numbers, he thought for a moment, retracing his memories of the day. Just an hour ago they were on the beach together, celebrating a new chapter in their lives together; Cooper having just proposed marriage….


Marine Unit

Major Richard Cooper

1st Lieutenant Calvin Green

Master Gunnery Sergeant Marcus Neff

Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas Sullivan

Gunnery Sergeant Fredrick Baker

Staff Sergeant Mark Meeks

Sergeant Juan Cruz

Sergeant Jonas Jackson

Sergeant Todd Mitchell 


Supporting Cast

Captain William Reagan



Getting There





Area of Operation

Playa del Carmen


Chichén Itzá


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