Excerpt From Chapter Two of Dragon's Fury - High Tide
Volume Three in the Dragon's Fury Series by JeffHead
Copyright 2002 by Jeff Head, All rights reserved

October 3, 2007, 22:48 PST
Federal Detention Center
Maximum Security Block, Solitary Confinement
Outside of Portland, OR

Manuel was a beaten man, and he knew it. He wasn't sure if his captors were entirely aware of it yet and he was continuing to try and keep it from them. But he knew it, and he hoped he would find release before they could take full advantage of it.

He longed to see his wife and children again, he hoped that Miguel had been able to escape and take Manuel's family with him. He was certain Miguel had escaped. He knew the man too well. As soon as those all-points-bulletins and pictures went out, particularly on the television like they had in New Mexico where Manuel had been captured, he was certain that Miguel had immediately left the country for his secure Hacienda in Mexico.

Manuel had held out as long as he could, carefully withholding names and relationships, despite the drugs, just as he had been trained to do so long ago. But he was much older now, and the training was like a dream, long in the past. He had ultimately given up Miguel's name and how they were tied together, along with every operation and every name he held in his mind. The super fire they had set in Colorado, the attacks on power line transmission towers, substations, transformers and switches. All the planning of those missions with Miguel that he could remember. But it had all been meted out carefully, begrudgingly, as he had been trained. There was one name he had not divulged and there was one operation he had been involved with he would not detail. Hector and Foothill Mall were going to remain safe with him until he died. At least that was what Manuel thought.

In his confined world, it had taken months to give up the information he had divulged. Months of drugging, months of food deprivation, months of solitary confinement and even some rough physical handling by his FBI, military and Homeland Security captors. Actually, he was surprised that physical handling had not been more severe, certainly in his own country it would have been. But apparently the Americans relied on their own methods, sprinkled with a just dose of physical abuse in order to keep the prisoner off guard. Manuel was sure it was also to try and maintain some semblance of their vaunted "civil" rights.

Manuel supposed that the Americans had learned, in the pressure and urgency of these current circumstances, where the war was also being waged on their own soil, that such notions sometimes took a back seat to expediency and survival. Manuel knew for him that it always did.

"Well, if my efforts have helped these Americans to learn to be more pragmatic," he thought, "Then that is something to be regretted."

As far as Manuel was concerned, the longer they remained soft and sacrificed pragmatism and their lives for principle, even when dealing with their abject enemies, the better.

Still, he missed his wife and three children terribly. He knew he would never see than again and that was something he certainly did regret. He would hold out as long as he could and hopefully expire before they got those last two bits of information from him. But he was so tired, and so spent ... truly defeated.

What Manuel did not know was that his captors had known of his relationship to Miguel's long before Manuel had broken and given it to them. In fact, they had gauged and fine-tuned their methods as a result of what it took to get that very information out of him, and how long it took them to do it. The psychologists working with the team had been right there the entire time, profiling, analyzing and predicting. They still were. Now they indicated that Manuel was almost certainly still holding back even more critical data, 95% sure of it they indicated.

Director Andy Syke watched Manuel through the digital feed connected to the micro-camera located in the left cinder block wall of Manuel's cell. It was an oversized cell where he could be held and interrogated without the necessity of moving him. He knew that the fatigue and the haggard look on Manuel's features were not a sham, not any more. He also suspected that the psychologists were right and that was more information to be coaxed and milked out of this prisoner. To date, Manuel had been a veritable treasure chest of information, but he had not given it up easily. The details of the planning of the super fire this man’s team had set last year in southern Colorado along a one hundred and fifty-mile front were staggering. Almost fifteen hundred people had been killed in the resulting firestorm amongst the towns and recreation areas that had been ravaged. More than two hundred thousand others were rendered homeless. Over three million acres of land had burned in southern and central Colorado, literally gutting the center of the state and some of the most scenic landscape in all of North America.

"This guy is a monster who needs to be executed as soon as possible," thought the Director, "but we have to be sure that we squeeze every single drop of information out him before we do, and that is exactly what we are going to do."

There were several micro-cameras on each wall and on the ceiling of Manuel's cell. Perpetual light, concrete floor, hard mattress cot built as a protrusion out of the wall with soft, curved edges and a simple bodily waste hole in the floor at the bottom of a slightly sloped tiled area were all that existed in the room. All of his water and food were delivered to the cell and had to be ingested without the use of utensils. Nothing hard, sharp or of a nature that could be used for suicidal tendencies was provided, though the psychologists indicated that he was not the type, only an 8% chance. But Director Syke took nothing for granted and left nothing to chance. In the current environment, Manuel, an enemy combatant, could be held indefinently, without a lawyer and only with a Federal Judge's assent to his internment per the wartime legislative acts and executive orders. In the end, Syke knew that it would take only that Judge's assent and the sign-off of several individuals like himself to terminate this non-citizen, enemy combatant after a military style tribunal when the time finally came.

Andy Syke had been in the FBI for over twenty-four years, through the good and the bad. He was the top FBI official in this region and had come right up through the ranks as a field officer. He viewed himself as a loyal American and had never conceived the day where these types of procedures were enacted in the United States of America. But, with thousands of Americans dying at the hands of aliens like this Manuel Mendoza, the rules had changed for any enemy combatant that was not a U.S. citizen. America itself was a war zone, and for the enemy, particularly those dressed as civilians, it was being treated that way. Therefore, though the job before him was distasteful, it was something that had to be done for the security and well being of the nation, and he would do it without batting an eye.

He had personally taken charge of this prisoner and his interrogation and internment when he had been transferred to this facility a few weeks after his capture. Andy had one senior detective, two case officers and three psychologists permanently assigned. Other agencies, including Homeland Security, the CIA and the Defense Department were routinely assigning people to work with him, as more information became available.

As he watched Manuel lying there now, he looked at his watch.

"Five minutes to Eleven," he thought. "Another five minutes and we'll find out just what else it is you are holding back you miserable SOB."

October 3, 2007, 23:00 PST
Federal Detention Center
Maximum Security Block, Solitary Confinement
Outside of Portland, OR

From almost out of nowhere, a door opened and several people walked into the cell. Somehow, three sides of his cell were accessible to the outside corridors or offices, and he never knew which side his captors, his enemies, would enter from. The doors were almost seamless and could not be seen to the naked eye until they literally swung or slid open.

A special team of four armed guards, looking like the epitome of U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeants, a spectacled man and the senior detective all entered the room. Two of the guards came over and pulled Manuel over to the chair they had brought with him and secured him to it using the straps that were attached for that purpose. The other two guards had already secured the feet of the chair to the floor, screwing large bolts into threaded holes that had been covered until these people entered.

Once he was restrained, the detective approached.

"Well Manuel, how are you today?"

Drug stupored though he was, Manuel looked as firmly as he could into Detective Rollinson's eyes and replied in his Spanish accent.

"Detective, cut this small talk, okay? We've been through too many of these "discussions" over the months for it to have any meaning. Why don't you just get to the point."

Luis Rollinson had a begrudging respect for this man. He had worked him, stressed him and broken him down for several months and he could appreciate Manuel's remaining spirit. But none of that softened him or deterred him in the least from his duty.

"The point is simple, Manuel, how are you doing?"

Manuel lowered and shook his head slowly for a moment in silence. Then, lifting it once again so he could stare at the detective, he spoke with sarcasm in his voice.

"Well, I'm hungry, I am cold, there's too much light in the room. I have no privacy and you people don't even knock before entering. By the way, where's the Director, I thought today it would be his turn."

That Manuel made light of the situation was one thing, but that his comments about his own conditions were all negative told the detective volumes. In fact, it was something that the spectacled man and his colleagues, the other psychologists, had told the detective to watch for specifically.

"Well, Manuel, Director Syke couldn't be here today, he's enjoying an outing with his wife and three children.. the two boys and one girl."

At this statement, Manuel's head jerked up and a look of unadulterated hatred filled his eyes as he looked at the detective. Manuel had three children, two boys and one girl, and he had always enjoyed taking them on outings when he was at home. He knew that this reference was not an accident, and he also knew it was getting to him.

"You miss them don't you, Manuel? Well I have a surprise for you."

Turning to one of the husky guards, the detective motioned to him while speaking.

"Bring the kids in."

As Manuel watched, astonishingly his three children were marched into the room. There was Antonio, fourteen years old, tall and slender. Next was his only daughter, Bertrice, sixteen years old with beautiful long dark hair, then there was his oldest, Victor, seventeen and very muscular. All three were dressed in prison garb, and all three looked much too thin to Manuel with very red and very haggard eyes.

"What the hell is this? Why do you have them here? Atonio, Bertrice, Victor, tell these gringos nothing. No matter what they do to me, tell them nothing!"

His daughter broke down and began crying.

"Father, what have they done to you? You are so thin and so weak."

As she said this she tried to move towards him, but the guards held her back as she continued sobbing.

"Father, tell these men to let us go. They have said such horrible things about you..."

"Shut up!" yelled Luis, cutting off Bertrice.

"This is not about doing things to you Manuel. Now I want you to listen very carefully. We must know the name of Miguel's control and we must know it today. Also, we must know the details of the attack early last year on the Foothill Mall in Denver. We know you were involved some way Manuel.

"I'll give you one minute to start talking. Master Sergeant, line them up."

As Manuel watched, two of the large guards took his children and lined them up against the far wall. Detective Rollinson walked over to the leader of the detail and extracted the service pistol from the man's holster and jerked back the receiver, loading a bullet."

"Fifty seconds, Manuel."

Manuel couldn't believe it, no, he wouldn't believe it. The Americans would never do such a thing. They may have been hardened in the course of this war, and they may well havea few rogues in their Special Forces overseas. Manuel had heard some stories coming out of Central America years ago, and had also heard talk about events in South East Asia that caused him to wonder.

Manuel knew that if the Americans did allow such things to occur, that it was all under very deep cover, conducted by agencies whose names simply did not exist, far away from the prying eyes of their press and their citizens ... but this? No, it was not possible. He actually smiled as he contemplated their bluff and how he would embarrass them by calling it. He was angered as he saw the fear in his children's eyes and the small puddle of urine that was forming under his youngest son's feet who was first in line.

"You can go straight to hell, I don't know what you are talking about and I wish to God I could spend just two minutes with you alone for the fear you are causing my children."

Detective Rollinson looked at him coldly.

"Your call."

With that, and to Manuel's utter shock and to the horror of the children, Detective Luis Rollinson walked over to Antonio, stopped three feet from him, took careful aim with the nine millimeter pistol, and shot him right in the middle of the forehead.


A small red hole appeared immediately in Antonio's head as his eyes rolled back and he was thrown violently against the wall, a wall now covered with blood, bone fragments and brain tissue. Then he slid slowly and lifelessly to the floor.

For just a second Manuel stared in pure disbelief ... then he wretched terribly onto the floor ... and then he began cursing and screaming, straining at his straps as his other two children also screamed and cried and had to be physically restrained and held in place by the guards. Detective Rollinson came up to within two feet of Manuel's face and spoke to him.

"Okay tough guy, now you have two kids left and one more minute to think about it. Who is Miguel's control and what do you know about that attack on that mall?"

Manuel bowed his head. He looked up with tears streaming down his face at the pathetic and terrorized figures of his two remaining children. He looked at the silent and still form of his youngest son, Antonio.

"It feels a little different on this side of the fence doesn't it you miserable bastard?" asked Detective Rollinson. "You've got thirty seconds."

Manuel was finished. He broke down and begged the American to spare his other two children. He then spent the next forty-five minutes revealing every detail he knew about Hector Ortiz and the intricacies of FTA Trucking, the front company Hector had set up and run for so many years, smuggling weapons and terrorists into the United States. It had been a company made possible, and in part funded through NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also revealed all the details of last year's attack on Foothill Mall, including his own part in it, everything he knew about the attack’s funding and how the remaining team members had been evacuated by helicopters that had been painted like those belonging to the local New Channels. During the confession, Manuel's other two children were led weeping from the room, with a promise that they would not be harmed.

Director Syke watched the entire affair. The methods were distasteful, and many would claim that they were out and out illegal and as bad as the enemy's actions. But Director Syke knew that it was the enemy that had started the terror, and he also knew that these methods had produced the desired results. What had happened here in this cell tonight would probably save hundreds, even thousands, of American lives, and they would allow the United States government to execute justice against some of its worst enemies. What Andy Syke didn’t know at the time was that the information he had just heard would have even more far reaching consequences than he imagined, not only at home here in the CONUS, but abroad as well.

When Manuel was done talking and when Detective Rollinson was sure he had heard enough, he instructed the leader of the guard detail to carefully unstrap Manuel from the chair and let him spend a moment with his dead son.

Manuel, a completely beaten man, knelt down and crawled over to the still form of his son. When he reached him, he carefully began to take his bloody head into his arms. As he began to do so, he saw his son's eyelid flutter and for a moment he had a wild hope that somehow Antonio might still be alive.

But that hope was short lived. Oh, in fact both of his "son's" eyes opened alright, to the further astonishment of Manuel. Then to Manuel's shocked amazement, his son stood up. As he did so, he peeled off a complete head mask that extended well below his neck, turning it inside out and showing it to Manuel. From his position on his knees on the floor, Manuel looked up into the eyes of someone who was clearly not his son, someone who was much older.

"Masks Manuel ... using small explosive charges filled with the right ingredients,” the operative said as he pointed out the location of the squib device on inside of the mask where the tissue pack surrounding the small charge had been situated so as to look natural, “another device on the front to produce the desired result, and a lot of practice and good timing.

“You saw what you expected to see … thanks for all of the info."

Then, the U.S. operative, who had trained constantly for over eight weeks to fulfill the role he had just acted out with the others, stepped over Manuel and left the room. Manuel just sat there in utter bewilderment, shaking his head and trying to comprehend the enormity of the ruse.

Detective Rollinson and his team retrieved the chair and also began exiting the room, they would clean up later. Before he left, the Detective stopped for a moment and looked back over his shoulder at Manuel and said.

"Be seeing you around Amigo."