GOTU - A Robin Marlette Novel

BOOK: GOTU - A Robin Marlette Novel
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Copyright 2011 Mike McNeff




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Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.



You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).



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Cover Design by Sean Dailey


Edited by Rachel Leach


ISBN 978-1-935961-38-3




For further information please contact
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2011960956




This book is dedicated to Pilot/Officer Thomas McNeff and Paramedic/Officer Richard Stratman of the Arizona Department of Public Safety who were killed in the line duty on October 2, 1983 after rescuing over thirty people from raging flood waters, and to all law enforcement officers who have given their last full measure protecting and serving their communities all over this world.



Writing a novel is a journey with many stops at way stations to rest and calibrate your compass. At each way station there are people who offer help and encouragement. My writers group, Just Write on the Coupeville Wharf, was and is a major way station. Bob Mayer got me focused on my writing, as he has done for hundreds of writers. My critique group, Rowena Williamson, Mare Chapman, Hanna Rhys Barnes, and Audrey Mackaman are a source of unrelenting honesty about my writing. Rowena and my sister, Cathy Shaw, each helped shape the original manuscript into something with promise. Ken Shear and my Booktrope team made the book the best it can be. Most importantly, my wife Linda has loved me for over thirty-four years, no matter what new direction my restless mind decides to wander.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to similarly named places or to persons living or deceased is unintentional.



































SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE! We have a target!” The intercom blared through the U.S. Customs Air Support offices.

Sergeant Robin Marlette, supervisor of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Narcotics Special Enforcement Unit, jumped up from his desk and ran to the steel door leading to the flight line. He could hear the rush of footsteps behind him as his squad and the U.S. Customs crew poured out of other offices and the ready room. He hit the metal bar on the door and burst into the warm Phoenix summer night, then ran down the dimly lit tarmac to the sinister-looking UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. He fervently hoped for a jump on a drug smuggler, his favorite thing to do as a cop.

When he reached the chopper, the mechanic had the doors open wide. Robin could just make out the name “Jumpin' Jack Flash” on the nose of the Blackhawk. He climbed in and moved to the middle OD green canvas seat of the first row facing the rear of the aircraft. Robin picked up his Galil ARM 7.62 mm rifle from the seat and sat down.

The smell of JP4 jet fuel added to the aroma of a military aircraft permeating his senses—a comfortable smell to him. He put on his intercom headset and hit the toggle switch, slipped on his tactical vest, and locked in the buckles. A quick check confirmed all of the gear on his vest was secure. Robin snapped himself into his seat harness.

The other six men of the squad and two U.S. Customs agents were doing the same thing. The two Customs pilots already pushed the throttles to full power as they quickly completed the scramble checklist. Two Customs Air Interdiction Officers manned a 7.62 mm Mini-gun in each gunner's window.

Robin listened as the pilot, Jack Moore, better known as “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” talked to the control tower at Sky Harbor Airport. The heat inside of the Blackhawk drew sweat from Robin's pores.

“Sky Harbor, Lima Two-One advising law enforcement scramble for one-eight-zero.”

“Roger, Lima Two-One. Cleared for immediate departure, one-eight-zero. Winds calm, barometer two-zero-zero-niner…and good hunting.”

“Lima Two-One, roger.”

Robin gave his team thumbs up and got thumbs up from all members.

“Robin, we ready?” Jack asked.

“Ready, Jack. Blast off.”

The big bird, now screaming with the combination of its twin jet engines and rotors, bounded off the ramp into the night sky.

“Lima Two-One, Quarterback.” Jack called the U.S. Air Force Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft tracking the target on radar.

“Go ahead, Lima Two-One. This is Quarterback.”

“Lima Two-One, Quarterback, requesting target info.”

“Lima Two-One, your target is an aircraft that crossed the border at Lochiel, Arizona at two hundred and fifty feet doing one hundred and fifty knots. Target is currently eight nautical miles northwest of Patagonia. Poppa One-Nine is locking on to him now. Your current intercept is one-five-zero for sixty-one miles.”

“Roger, Quarterback. Copy intercept one-five-zero for sixty-one miles.”

Robin knew Poppa One-Nine was a U.S. Customs Lear Jet equipped with the same look-down, shoot-down radar used in the F-16 fighter jet. He felt the Blackhawk bank as Jack turned to intercept the target aircraft.

“Poppa One-Nine, Quarterback. We have target locked now twenty-eight nautical miles south of Tucson at five hundred feet doing one hundred and fifty knots. Heading is three-three-five.”

“Roger, Poppa One-Nine. Your target is confirmed.”

“Roger, Quarterback. We also have the target on FLIR. Target is a Cessna 210 running dark.”

“Roger, Poppa One-Nine. Lima Two-One, you copy Poppa One-Nine?”

“Lima Two-One, Quarterback, we copy Poppa One-Nine and will start com with him.”

“Roger, Lima Two-One. Quarterback out.”

Robin breathed in cooler air as the Blackhawk gained altitude. The radio traffic told him the Customs Lear Jet chase plane locked the same target on their radar as the AWACS had on theirs and watched it through a Forward Looking Infra Red sensor. The AWACS made the transfer of the target because it flew a “training” mission. The Air Force couldn't officially do interdiction missions in the Continental United States due to the latest court interpretations of the Posse Comitatus law. Robin briefly contemplated the obvious absurdity. The target, flying at a low altitude and running dark without its navigation lights on, was likely a drug smuggler.

“Lima Two-One, Poppa One-Nine. Do you have us on radar yet?” Jack asked.

“Lima Two-One, give me a squawk for positive ident.”

“Roger, Poppa One-Nine. Lima Two-One squawking one-two-one-zero now.”

“Okay, Lima Two-One, I've got you standby.”

Jack didn't reply to the chase plane. He sounded almost bored on the radio, but Robin knew from past experience Jack had a short fuse for chase planes not giving frequent updates on intercept headings. On two occasions, a suspect aircraft got away because the Blackhawk jumped the strip too late. More than a few seconds of “standby” pegged Jack's patience.

“Poppa One-Nine, would you mind giving us intercept distance?” Jack's irritation crept in to his previously calm voice.

“Poppa One-Nine, Lima Two-One. Intercept heading is still good distance is fifty-six miles.”

“We're going dark,” Jack told his co-pilot Oscar Leighton over the intercom. The Blackhawk now flew without navigation lights.

“Poppa One-Nine, Lima Two-One. Target just went into a steep climb. Standby, standby Lima Two-One, the target is now at four thousand feet. Lghts on!” Excitement raised the pitch in Poppa One-Nine's voice.

“What do you think, Robin?” Jack asked.

“Sounds like the ol' pop-up trick to me. This guy's a definite target.”

“Looks good to me,” Jack agreed.

“Roger, Poppa One-Nine. Advise us at five miles,” Jack told the chase plane.

“Roger, Lima Two-One.”

Robin quickly went over his equipment again. He hit the bottom of the magazine in his rifle to make sure it was seated correctly. His heart beat against his ballistic vest. At a closure rate of over three hundred knots, things would begin to happen fast. Eight minutes later, Poppa One-Nine's voice crackled over the radio.

“Poppa One-Nine, Lima Two-One. Target is now five miles from you, at four thousand feet, lights still on. He should be coming down your left side.”

“Lima Two-One, Roger,” Jack replied.

BOOK: GOTU - A Robin Marlette Novel
10.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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