The U.S. Delta Force is the sole fighting squad whose actions are granted complete presidential immunity from the law.
Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25) grants Delta Force soldiers freedom from all legal accountability, including exception from the 1876 Posse Comitatus Act, a statute imposing criminal penalties for anyone using the military for personal gain, domestic law enforcement, or unsanctioned covert operations. Delta Force members are handpicked from the Combat Applications Group (CAG), a classified organization within the Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Delta Force soldiers are trained killers‑experts in SWAT operations, rescuing hostages, surprise raids, and elimination of covert enemy forces.
Because Delta Force missions usually involve high levels of secrecy, the traditional multitiered chain of command is often circumvented in favor of monocaput management‑a single controller who holds authority to control the unit as he or she sees fit. The controller tends to be a military or government powerbroker with sufficient rank or influence to run the mission. Regardless of the identity of their controller, Delta Force missions are classified at the highest level, and once a mission is completed, Delta Force soldiers never speak of it again‑not to one another, and not to their commanding officers within Special Ops.
Fly. Fight. Forget.
The Delta team currently stationed above the Eighty‑second Parallel was doing no flying or fighting. They were simply watching.
Delta‑One had to admit that this had been a most unusual mission so far, but he had learned long ago never to be surprised by what he was asked to do. In the past five years he had been involved in Middle East hostage rescues, tracking and exterminating terrorist cells working inside the United States, and even the discreet elimination of several dangerous men and women around the globe.
Just last month his Delta team had used a flying microbot to induce a lethal heart attack in a particularly malicious South American drug lord. Using a microbot equipped with a hairline titanium needle containing a potent vasoconstrictor, Delta‑Two had flown the device into the mans house through an open second‑story window, found the mans bedroom, and then pricked him on the shoulder while he was sleeping. The microbot was back out the window and feet dry before the man woke up with chest pain. The Delta team was already flying home by the time its victims wife was calling the paramedics.
No breaking and entering.
Death by natural causes.
It had been a thing of beauty.
More recently, another microbot stationed inside a prominent senators office to monitor his personal meetings had captured images of a lurid sexual encounter. The Delta team jokingly referred to that mission as insertion behind enemy lines.
Now, after being trapped on surveillance duty inside this tent for the last ten days, Delta‑One was ready for this mission to be over.
Remain in hiding.
Monitor the structure‑inside and out.
Report to your controller any unexpected developments.
Delta‑One had been trained never to feel any emotion regarding his assignments. This mission, however, had certainly raised his heart rate when he and his team were first briefed. The briefing had been faceless"‑every phase explained via secure electronic channels. Delta‑One had never met the controller responsible for this mission.
Delta‑One was preparing a dehydrated protein meal when his watch beeped in unison with the others. Within seconds the CrypTalk communications device beside him blinked on alert. He stopped what he was doing and picked up the handheld communicator. The other two men watched in silence.
Delta‑One, he said, speaking into the transmitter.
The two words were instantly identified by the voice recognition software inside the device. Each word was then assigned a reference number, which was encrypted and sent via satellite to the caller. On the callers end, at a similar device, the numbers were decrypted, translated back into words using a predetermined, self‑randomizing dictionary. Then the words were spoken aloud by a synthetic voice. Total delay, eighty milliseconds.
Controller, here, said the person overseeing the operation. The robotic tone of the CrypTalk was eerie‑inorganic and androgynous. What is your op status?
Everything proceeding as planned, Delta‑One replied.
Excellent. I have an update on the time frame. The information goes public tonight at eight P.M. Eastern.
Delta‑One checked his chronograph. Only eight more hours. His job here would be finished soon. That was encouraging.
There is another development, the controller said. A new player has entered the arena.
What new player?
Delta‑One listened. An interesting gamble. Someone out there was playing for keeps. Do you think she can be trusted?
She needs to be watched very closely.
And if there is trouble?
There was no hesitation on the line. Your orders stand.