A/N: What's up folks? ClancyEnthusiast here with, obviously, a Tom Clancy fic to satisfy your gritty counter-terrorism cravings! I came up with this story after playing a bit of the good old Rainbow Six from back in 1998. (I have the gold edition with the Eagle Watch mission pack for my PC. Great fun, you can get it on Amazon for pretty cheap.) For those of you who don't know, that game was actually based on the book, which is why it kicked total ass! This is just a quick story that I'm trying out to overcome by damned writer's block. Shouldn't be more than ten chapters. Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys and reviews. Serious people, please review. Feedback is an author's best friend! So that's all. Have fun reading!


Black Clouds and Thunderbolts

It wouldn't have been so bad if he'd had a decent rain poncho, Sean McReary thought to himself in the midst of the horrid thunderstorm that had been ravaging their little patch of ocean for the past half hour. He stood on the bow, overseeing a couple of his grunts who were still packaging the newest batch of low caliber small arms. The sound of rain blanketing the deck drowned out most his orders, so he'd given up shouting at them minutes after the storm had rolled in, and eventually they'd picked up on how to do it properly. It wasn't a big deal, he realized. If anything, he should have been worried about the water facilitating rust on the weapons' components. AK-47 rifles had a tendency to respond negatively to moist environments. That was why they were packed in watertight plastic bags before being stacked inside the crate. Lighting flashed overhead for a brief second, and McReary jumped when he heard the thunder moments later.

McReary hated thunderstorms. It had been during a thunderstorm, not unlike this one, that his father had been murdered by British soldiers in Northern Ireland. Paddy McReary had been a notorious member of the provisional wing of the IRA, who'd killed more than his fair share of SAS commandos. Little Sean, who'd been playing in the rain only feet away when the skirmish broke out, had been forced to watch his father's death in the midst of a hellish thunderstorm. From that day forward even the quietest clap of thunder sent shivers down Sean's spine.

"Where should we take it?" One of the two young men asked him after sealing the crate, and McReary was brought back to reality for a brief second. He didn't bother to think about it.

"Down into the forward cargo hold, there should be room in the corner for it. If not, just leave it with the rest under the tarp." McReary left them and made his way back to the freighter's superstructure, ascending through the several flights of stairs until he entered the bridge. "How much longer do you figure?"

The navigator was a man of large build, with a beard fit for a lumberjack and the attitude of one too. He looked up at the sound of the voice, acknowledging his superior's presence with a curt grunt before turning back to his charts. "Another day maybe. This damned storm is setting us back. I figure we won't reach Venezuela until… tomorrow evening."

"Damn." McReary swore, and turned to stare out into the darkness beyond the dirty, grime ridden window. He could faintly make out the image of the heavy drops smacking against the glass in a rapid plup-plup-plup noise. He turned away just in time to miss the navigator taking in a prolonged swig from his silver flask. "I suppose I should call the buyer then, see if he'll wait one more night for his guns."

McReary was one of the wealthiest arms dealers in Western Europe. He had been for the past three years, since a steady influx of weapons from the PIRA had secured him several illegitimate contracts around the world. On a daily basis, McReary did business with some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in existence. That particular night he had been taking a large shipment of small arms—mainly assault rifles and submachine guns—to a revolutionary in Venezuela who'd been harassing the government for quite some time and found it appropriate to stage a formal coup. Unfortunately the Venezuelan happened to be a very impatient man with "the cajones of a bull," who had demanded the arrival of his order be punctual, otherwise he wouldn't pay. Unfortunately his brain seemed to pale in comparison, and McReary decided not to worry about it. (He'd pay one way or another.) What concerned him was the fact that the Venezuelan government happened to be closing in on his buyer's operation; in another day or two the fool might not be around to refuse payment, especially given his over-inflated ego.

* * *

At that same moment, Hosaam Al-Jaali threw the cocking arm on his 5.45x39mm AKS-74 as the Zodiac launch drew closer and closer to McReary's freighter. It was hard steering such a small craft in such unforgiving waters, but Al-Jaali's man was vigilant in his piloting of the vehicle. Moments later their boat came up alongside the freighter.

With the rifle slung around his back, Al-Jaali waited patiently to see the faint outline of a ladder being thrown over the edge. Reaching forward, he groped around the air in front of him until he felt the object, pulling himself up onto it immediately. Without hesitation he began the climb, dropping onto the deck after reaching the top.

To his left, he saw the man who had thrown the ladder over to them. Al-Jaali couldn't remember the name—the young man of twenty-three had been their contact within McReary's arms ring. Unfortunately, in allowing them passage onto the freighter, he'd outlived his usefulness to them, and Al-Jaali cut him down with a quick burst of fire from his rifle.

"Come now, friends! Our goal lies inside!" He screamed in Arabic as two more men climbed the ladder. Leaving them to catch up with him later, Al-Jaali began a sprint down the length of the deck that took him to a door leading into the superstructure.

* * *

McReary heard it first. It was barely perceptible, with the thunder still booming overhead. But it was there. Out of the corner of his eye he could see it: tiny white tongues of flame flashing like a flickering light bulb in the darkness of night. He knew what it was. It was the telltale sight of a muzzle flash, erupting out of the barrel of a Russian assault rifle. Accompanying it was the telltale staccato stutter of an automatic weapon.

"Bastards." He snarled, snatching the loaded pistol off of the console before turning to exit the bridge.

"What is it?" The navigator asked, still half-drunk from the couple dozen "sips" from his flask. But he didn't get his answer. McReary was out the door and making his way down the staircase towards the source of the gunfire. Realizing the possible danger, the navigator did away with the near-empty flask and searched his hip for the old Browning pistol he took on risky trips like these.

* * *

Al-Jaali turned the corner quickly, already finding it difficult to use his thirty-seven inch rifle in the tight spaces of the ship's innards. It was spacious enough, however, for him to blast the lone guard he came across with a controlled burst. As he stepped over the body, he realized that his objective was a mere twenty-or-so yards down the corridor.

Ahead of him, however, the two men who'd just dumped off their newly packed crate of assault weapons had drawn their own firearms: a pair of Škorpion submachine guns. One arrived in the doorway, and caught sight of Al-Jaali just in time to greet him with a prolonged spray of fire from the barrel of the weapon. But the intruder was fast, and ducked into an alcove on his right as five .32 ACP rounds flew past him.

Seconds later Al-Jaali stuck his head out and responded by hosing down the doorway with a hail of bullets. A few of them clipped the younger of the two men on the shoulder of his firing arm, and sent him reeling back several feet as his gun clattered across the floor—all of this accompanied by a blood-curdling scream of pain and a puff of reddish mist.

The other, uninjured man dropped to his knees to tend to his wounded friend. It was a motion that cost him his life. Al-Jaali sensed his moment of vulnerability and raced down the corridor, flying through the doorway a moment later and blasted the kneeling man at point-blank range with his AKS-74. The head tore apart like a melon, spraying blood and brains across the face of the injured man, who himself earned a few more rounds from Al-Jaali a fraction of a second later.

With both guards dead, the Islamic trespasser turned and scanned the room he was in. It was the forward cargo hold, and it was here that Al-Jaali would find what he was looking for inside a shipping container that had been placed up against the far wall. It was a SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition) that had been scrapped by the US Army in 2010. It was, of course, now defunct and not capable of usage. That could be remedied. Al-Jaali beamed at his victory and took the device—it was rectangular and small enough to fit in a briefcase—under his arm while wielded his rifle with the other.

"Hosaam! We must go!" A voice boomed from the stairway that lead up to the deck. Another slightly older man who had accompanied Al-Jaali on the Zodiac ride warned his friend and comrade from the opposite end of the long corridor. Al-Jaali acknowledged his presence and called back in Arabic.

* * *

McReary saw the man who'd just yelled, a pirate he guessed, and raised his pistol as he entered the crew's quarters. He could see the bastard, a dark-skinned fellow in rag-tag clothes with a Kalashnikov knock-off, screaming at someone else from the top of the stairway.

"Son of a bitch!" The Irishman shouted as he pulled the trigger on his pistol, an FN Five-seveN, and sent two 5.7x28mm bullets into the head of his target. The friend of Al-Jaali hadn't even had time to respond when the rounds struck him, exiting just above his right eye and leaving blood spatter on the wall.

He could already hear Al-Jaali's screams of protest from below, and McReary immediately went into a crouching stance in one of the darkened doorways on his left. He hadn't been prepared for the prolonged burst of fire that came when Al-Jaali emptied the remainder of his rifle's magazine in McReary's direction as he came out into the corridor. Recoiling in fear, the gun-runner pulled the trigger once before leaping back into the darkness.

From there it was all a blur. The storm was still raging, making it hard to follow the sound of footsteps or the figure of Al-Jaali sprinting back to the ladder at the bow. McReary attempted to pursue him for the first few seconds that his enemy had ceased firing, but lost him almost immediately. Two minutes later, Hosaam Al-Jaali was safely in his Zodiac launch with the remainder of his small crew, moving farther and farther away from the Irish freighter. It wasn't long after that the rain ceased, leaving the clouds to part several hours later and give McReary's ship an easy ride to Venezuela. But it was an empty victory on his part. The inspection that inevitably followed revealed to him that he'd lost a good four men to the pirates, though none of his product had been stolen. Later he would wonder what their objective had been, though he would never find out.

A/N: I know, it's shorter than I usually write. But this is just setting the stage for the rest of the story. I hope everyone liked it, but moreover I hope you all review! Because that's what helps folks like me in the long run. Feedback people! I need it and I want it. More feedback means better stories for you all to read, so please offer what you can. Even (especially) if you think your opinion doesn't matter, because a lot of times it's little things like spelling or grammar that can make or break a story! Anyway, I'll upload another chapter sometime soon. Later!