This is a story about two ex-SEALs who retired from the shadowy world of clandestine work that pushed them around the globe and back — only to begin again — but not before a grateful President bestows upon them a most unusual gift. The gift propels them into a mission that has many beginnings — but only one end.
Each week, we will publish a chapter (or two) here. If you miss a week, catch up by clicking on the categories to the left under Serenity.
Enjoy a great read!
Matt Sheridan was walking along a path he had walked a thousand times before. It followed the shore line around a small island in the center of a private lake about twenty-five miles to the northwest of Helsinki, Finland. Matt had acquired the lake and its surrounding property more than thirty years ago. He was, at that time, a thirty-year old computer whiz kid that had made his mark, along with the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But unlike these icons that chose to commercialize their talents, he had chose a different path. He had amassed billions of dollars with his unique skillsets. He was now contemplating the decisions he had made along the way. Many had been easy, such as integrating software with ground-penetrating radar, aiding the petroleum giants of the western world in their search for oil in the Middle East. These endeavors. while seemingly harmless, would, like most things, become distorted with time, changing the delicate balance of global economics and all the while augmenting Matt’s economic status.
Then there had been the other things he had worked on over the years; the things that most other men would never have even contemplated, but Matt’s ego had driven him to do — like rewriting code that changed targeting locations for NATO’s defensive rockets in the event of a nuclear skirmish with Russia. He also had a hand in developing software to disrupt radio transmissions that would jam emergency response frequencies to ensure maximum collateral damage during such attacks. He, at some point in his life, chose to simply forget the minutia and think of himself as a man of vision, if not for the world, at least for himself.
Matt loved the island. It was a fortress of solitude, and he especially loved it when a bright unusually sunny day like this came along. He picked up a flat stone and skipped it across the lake’s water, sending multiple circles emanating outward, one over lapping the other, in many ways mimicking life’s connective influence.
In the next second, he felt an odd sensation and his body quivered. He looked down to see a crimson stain quickly growing upon his chest, and then he heard the resounding echo of the rifle shot. He looked up across the lake, collapsing to his knees, then falling forward, but he never felt the earth; it was too late for Matt Sheridan to feel anything.
Marc Bracken swiftly snapped the bi-pod flat on the P.G.W. Timberwolf .338LM rifle. He turned and reached down, picking up the ejected shell casing, still smoldering, placing it in his pocket. Swiftly, he looked back over his shoulder before entering the dense forest, checking the footprint of his firing position; it was clean. Then he stopped in his tracks, as he looked once more at the body lying face down across the lake. This kill was profoundly gratifying to Marc. He smiled, and yet his eyes began to glisten as he vanished into the thick underbrush.
Marc Bracken was a man of unique qualities; those that knew him understood why he was at the helm of Serenity. The Serenity Group was a specialized international security team that had become indispensable to many key executive and governmental agencies globally. These various groups had become familiar with the work done for the U.S. government prior to Marc, and his partner Eyan’s, transition to the private sector as a team.
By the time he was 28, Marc had worked for more than half the governments in the western world, and a few in the Middle East; mainly the ones that were aligned with the democratic west. Marc was a Navy brat down to his diapers. He was born in Hawaii, during which time his father was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He spent most of his young life at the beach, usually on a surfboard. Then it was off to Guam for several years then back stateside to San Diego, finishing up high school. He then took advantage of his father’s placement in Japan and attended University of Tokyo for several years achieving his bachelor’s degree. He had achieved excellent marks as a student and had been accepted at Cambridge University in England to round out his post-graduate degree. But before that would come to be, an old friend, also a Navy brat that he had befriended while living in Guam, had reconnected. The two jointly decided to change their life’s objective and join the Navy.
During their first deployment working the water ways of Iraq, Marc’s friend had died on a routine detail when they were removing submersed mines at the shipping port of Al Basrah on the Arvand River. Shortly thereafter, Marc applied for SEAL training and was accepted as a candidate.
Marc was a quiet person when he was in unfamiliar surroundings. In reality, he was just careful; he didn’t like the spotlight. He preferred to observe and absorb. His father had one time said to him, “I’ve never learned a thing while I was talking.” Marc had taken that statement to heart. After sizing up the competition during the first few days of candidate assessment, he picked out a fellow that he had pegged to be the most likely front runner of the candidate group. The man’s last name was Hester. He was a large man in stature but had gentle blue eyes that, at times, seemed unbelievably piercing. Marc eventually learned his first name – Eyan – they were to become inseparable friends and members of Seal Team 8 and, later, both had become instructors at the training facility before eventually departing the military.
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