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The Broker - Black Ops in Elbonia - Part 1

Posted by Andy on June 22, 2016 at 1:55 AM

With practiced speed and agility, Elbonian President Robert Wubaqui rolled off of the cooing twin Swedish starlets, and rose to his feet.  Wubaqui was having a great night (and so too, he was sure, were Greta and Olga).  Just a scant few hours ago he'd received a report that his Elbonian Secret Police (ESP), hot on the heels of recent HUMINT regarding the activities of the notorious black market entrepeneur Max Killimov, had struck with reckless bravado and, in so doing, had secured vital intelligence about the most recent deal arranged by Killimov.

He'd learned that a team of eight ESP agents, including six recruits, had deployed quickly from ESP headquarters in Kantwellabu.  That in broad daylight they had approached the small, inconsequential village of Wehavanoname, 30km outside of the city, under the relative cover of a nearby palm grove.  The briefing he'd received went on to relay how, having spotted a number of Killimov's guards on various roofs, the team leader, Jamal, had ordered two of his men to sprint across the nearby stream ford.  At the same time, Jamal's men had identified another group of armed individuals moving off to the left of them, through the brush.  Several of the ESP agents engaged this group of unidentified combatants, one a female.  

Wubaqui had been so very proud to hear that several of this group, who had clearly been acting unlawfully on Elbonian soil, had been gunned down.  The bodies of these interlopers were later recovered but it has not yet been possible to identify their origins or associations.  The briefing did note, however, that the female had been a looker.

Killimov's roof guards had momentarily turned their gazes away from the stream, allowing Jamal's men safe and unaccosted passage.  The briefing went on to describe how his men had then begun stacking up along a wall they'd reached once crossing the ford.  Scaling that wall together, they'd encountered a lone guard in the yard of a large house and, in a short engagement, finished him off.

From there it was simply a matter for Jamal to slip around and into the house, where he reportedly encountered and gunned down another guard.  A quick search of that building found nothing of interest so Jamal and his remaining men moved up the street to the long building on the left.  As they did, they reported seeing gun fire exchanged between a guard to their right on a nearby roof and what they believed were additional members of the unidentified group they'd encountered earlier, situated further up the street.  A scan of the interior of the long building uncovered several laptops and some additional papers, which Jamal believed belonged to Killimov.

Shortly thereafter, as repeated radio calls had been made for reinforcement, additional national security assets arrived and what was left of the remaining guards were rounded up.  With his photo in hand, Jamal and his men had not identified any of the living or the dead as Max Killimov.  It seemed the bad news had been that Killimov had probably escaped.  There was no further sign of surviving members of the other mysterious team.

As President Wubaqui smiled at his intelligence coup and threw back another shot of tequila, his phone rang.  It was the commander of his secret police.  After studying the intelligence gathered in Wehavanoname, all that they could tell for certain was that the latest deal brokered by Killimov involved the Elbonian Liberation Front (ELF).  His analysts were able to identify a place and a time but could not ascertain who the seller was or what was being sold.  With a sly nod and a wink towards the still writhing Greta and Olga, Wubaqui momentarily returned his attention to the man on the other end of the line and quietly and proudly ordered the activation of Golden Lion Team 6...

Smoking gun dropping to his side, Russian FSB General Bari Brugevich watched as Boris dropped dead to the floor.  With a tortured  glare the General spun around and paced back to his desk.  How could his men have failed?  It was bad enough that he had been running a black FSB operation outside of Russia, designed to keep tabs on Max Killimov, but now to receive the news that his beloved Natasha was lost to him!  Her body now in the hands of those Elbonian pigs!!

Before his sudden and well deserved forced resignation, Boris had reported that he, Natasha, and four of his men had tracked Killimov to the small Elbonian village of Wehavanoname.  Knowing that pressure was mounting to end the Elbonian operation, it seemed a good time to shut down that operation and bring Killimov back to Moscow.  Particularly when Boris and his men had discovered that Killimov was brokering yet another unauthorized deal.

Boris had relayed how the six of them had acted quickly, in broad daylight, to approach Wehavanoname from the northwest, through the cover of a nearby grove of palms.  As they moved towards the village, cutting their way through the underbrush, and closing on a stream they knew was in the area, Boris divided his team.  He and two of his men moved quickly towards the stream as Natasha and two men were a little further south, providing backup.  

Apparently, Natasha's group had been focussed on the village and spotting Killimov's men before they in turn were spotted.  Boris had reluctantly described how he heard gun fire from over his right shoulder and had feared the worst for Natasha and her men  He was uncertain at the time who her assailants had been, but the subsequent rapid arrival of Elbonian national police suggested to him that a unit of Elbonian soldiers must have been in the area.

Boris had reported that he carried on with their operation, despite fearing for Natasha, and had subsequently reached the stream.  Crossing under the cover provided by a cluster of palms on the far bank, Boris and the two men with him crept closer to the northern end of the village.  His two men engaged guards on the nearby roof as Boris himself slipped into a small house.  A quick search had turned up nothing of value, and as Boris exited the building he saw another group of armed men further down the road, towards the south.

Concerned that the Elbonian authorities might have been closing in, Boris had then ordered a withdrawl.  As he and his men were leaving the area, Boris had glanced through the window of a light truck parked nearby.  He smashed the window and stole some folders he found in the back seat, hoping something of interest could be learned from them.

General Brugevich set the still smoking gun down on his desk and looked down at the folders just sitting there.  While this intelligence was slim, it seemed to suggest that the deal Killimov had brokered involved an exchange of drugs for an anti-aircraft weapon system.  Unfortunately, what was not at all clear, were the other details of the deal.  Who were the parties involved, where and when would the deal take place.  Regardless, it was high time to bring Max in for good...

Slamming his fist down on the table, CIA Director Lawrence Ryan couldn't believe Felix had botched his assignment so badly.  He knew Felix was getting close to retirement.  Hell, he was probably well past that point now!  Too many of those cushy Caribbean assignments bailing out that pretentious British MI6 agent.

Felix and his five men had had strict orders.  They were to quickly assail the suspected hiding place of Max Killimov, in the Elbonian village of  Wehava-something-or-other, and secure him for further questioning, while seizing any other intelligence they coud find.  "Quickly" apparently was the part of their orders they hadn't followed.  According to Felix, in his post-mission debrief, he and his men had very caustiously approached the Elbonian village from the southwest, through a grove of dense palms.

Felix had ordered his men to slowly advance through the underbrush.  While this maintained their concealment, it also meant that they were ultimately late to a party that was larger than they expected it to be.  Once they had reached the west bank of the nearby stream, from the cover of the grove, they could make out several of Killimov's guards on rooftops.  They also reported hearing gunfire off to their left, but never got a glimpse of who was firing.

The CIA team reacted when it had heard gun fire.  Using the associated commotion as cover, Felix had ordered the five men to wade across the stream.  Unfortunatley, as Felix retold it, it was just as his last two men were mid-stream when shots rang out and one of his men was hit.  Felix believed it was one of the rooftop guards who'd caught a glimpse of his men.  Despite the risk, Lenny, the team's medic, reacted quickly to try and see to his fallen colleague.  Felix had been visibly moved, then, as he reported how the same rooftop guard had susequently shown no mercy and had cruelly gunned down Lenny as well.

Ryan would have to give Felix credit for pressing on with his plan, despite having two of his men go down.  Having been concerned about his left flank and having heard the gun fire off to his left, Felix ordered suppressing fire to the left as he and his last two men made for the safety of a nearby wall.  Felix reported that as they moved east along the wall, they could hear an exchange of fire from the other side and from the nearby roof.  Suspecting that the gunman who had shot and hit two of his mean was nearby, Felix had led the remainder of his team along the wall, towards the main road.

As two of his men rounded the corner of the nearest building, into the main street, they reported having seen another group of armed men at the far north end of the road, at the other end of the village.  They reported being unable to identify these men, but knew they were engaged with gun men on the roof to the immediate right.  Not long after this, as Felix and his men assessed the current situation, he determined that there was an ever increasing chance that Elbonian police may have arrived on the scene.  Felix, perhaps showing his age, perhaps his seasoned concern for OPSEC, chose to withdraw and evacuate his two wounded from the scene.

While no useful intel was gatthered, what was clear was that the CIA was not the only organization out there after Killimov.  Ryan knew he was onto something, and he was concerned what that something would uncover.  He'd had other intel available to him, and he wasn't happy with what he was seeing.  He also knew it was high time for Felix to finally hang up his secret decoder ring...  


Relieved to still be a free man, Max Killimov handed Josef Fillipov, his local "contractor", a briefcase full of cash.  Business was business.  You could never take it personally.  But Max was understandably a little shaken by what had recently transpired, and the pressure from apparently several quarters had seemed very intense.  

Having been engrossed in his favorite pastime, he'd been unaware of what was happening outside the building he'd been in.  Fortunately for him, he'd heard the commotion outside just in time.  He'd grabbed his gun, run to the back door, slipped out, and was able to make his escape eastward.  Most of his hired guards had either been killed ot captured and he'd had to leave all his belongings behind.  However, in this business, this impersonal world, you learned to travel light,   So apart from some documents and a few other pieces of equipment he'd prefered to have taken with him, he'd been smart and had the most important information in the safest place imaginable, his own head.

Josef had just explained that they'd been simultaneously assaulted from three directions, from what may have been two separate groups.  He recognized the uniforms of the ESP worn by the center group.  He had surmised that the other two teams on their flanks belonged to a single group of civilian agents, who were no doubt supporting the ESP.  Advisors, probably French, was his guess.  Max wasn't so sure.

Briefcase in hand, Josef was turning now, towards the door.  Max thought some more.  How had they found him, he moved all the time?  Were they really part of one large effort to seize him?  He would have thought that perhaps General Brugevich would have been after him, but Elbonian Secret Police?  He'd have to tighten up his own personal security, but he thought it best not to warn the two parties involved in this most recent deal, this breach in his security would not reflect well on his reputation as a discreet broker,  He really needed to tie up the loose ends.

The gun in his hand fired twice, in rapid succession.  Josef crumpled to the floor, one hand on the briefcase and the other hand on the door.

Business was business. You could never take it personally.

We all had a great time trying out Osprey's Black Ops wargame rules, bringing a little more intrigue to modern Elbonia.  This scenario was an adaptation of one recently published in Wargames, Soldiers, & Strategy - the editor of which (Guy Bowers) is actually the author of these rules.  Based on that article, and the campaign system suggested in the rules, I am going to be running the next chapter in this story this month (July), so look for another entertaining blog article soon.

Categories: Modern Africa

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