Thomas Calabrese…. When Mariah got the news from the Carlsbad Police about Ron’s death, she was devastated. This was a woman that had always been in control of her emotions, never took her eyes off the big picture and could always turn any negative event into a positive one, but not this time and when Mariah closed the door to her private office and broke down in tears as grief overwhelmed her and she was inconsolable.
FBI Agent Mooney arrived at the mansion later that day and requested a meeting, “Tell him that now is not a good time,” Mariah sobbed to the guard at the gate.
“He says that it has to do with Mister DeAngelo.”
“Escort him in then,” Mariah composed herself and was waiting in the living room when FBI Agent Mooney entered and gazed around the room, “Am I on camera in this room too?”
“That’s my business so if you have something to say then say it and be on your way,” Mariah said coldly.
“I wanted to thank you for not taking my job,” Agent Mooney began.
“Don’t make me regret it,” Mariah quickly interrupted.
“I was working with your associate on his investigation and we each had a copy of the report. When I heard that the Carlsbad Police did not find his at the crime scene, I thought you would want to see mine,” Agent Mooney set the thick folder on the coffee table as he was leaving the room, “You will find some very interesting information in it, please accept my condolences about Mr. DeAngelo.”
Mariah read the file in detail that evening and was on the foundation’s jet and bound for Geneva, Switzerland the next morning. The large estate was heavily guarded and Mariah was escorted to the large conference room where ten men and ten women were sitting around a large table as Mariah walked to the podium at the front of the room, “I want to thank the directors for seeing me on short notice.”
“We know that you would not have asked for this audience if it wasn’t important,” A woman replied.
“My Chief of Security was murdered and I know who is responsible.”
“Abulla Pawani Suttain,” A man answered without hesitation.
“I’d ask how you knew that, but then I know that it is your business to know everything,”
“Once Mr. DeAngelo was murdered, we quickly initiated our own inquiries and we would have been surprised if you had not come to the same conclusion as us,” Another man answered.
“That is why we were expecting you,” Another woman interjected.
“I formally request permission from the committee to deal with Abulla Pawani Suttain,” Mariah said.
“To remove Suttain at this particular time would create a vacuum in the region and despite his atrocious record and obvious guilt, he is the lesser of several evils and serves a useful purpose to Zephyr,” Another woman commented.
“I know that what I am asking is not standard operating procedure, but I am still making the request,” Mariah responded.
“You will have our decision in twenty four hours,” A woman at the head of the table stood up which was a clear indication that the meeting was over.
“Thank you for your time,” Mariah responded and left the room.
Twenty four hours to the minute and Mariah was standing before the men and women of Zephyr again and despite her intuitive nature, Mariah had no idea what the board had decided even as the woman at the head of the table stood up to speak, “We have authorized a complete change of regime.”
Mariah did not want to make any false assumptions, “Clarification please, ma’am?”
“The Overthrow of the El Fashir dictatorship, you will be contacted soon, code word, cornflake,” The woman said.
Mariah went back to Rancho Santa Fe, but didn’t have to wait long, two days to be exact when the INTERCOM rang in her office.
“There is a gentleman here to see you Ma’am,” Jeremy the gate guard said.
“Who is it?” Mariah asked.
“He said, “cornflake.”
“Show him in,” Mariah responded without hesitation.
The man was in his early sixties, lean with a slightly weathered face, piercing emerald green eyes and when he moved, each step was catlike and measured, “My name is Nick.”
“I know,” Nick stated, “I’m here, what do you want to know?”
“Everything,” Mariah replied.
Nick looks around the room at the plush surroundings, “What I do is out of your comfort zone.”
“That’s not your call,” Mariah responded.
“Yes ma’am, it is not.”
“When can you brief me?” Mariah then added, “Sooner the better.”
“Zero nine hundred tomorrow,”
Mariah turned to leave and said without missing a step, “My staff will show you to the guest quarters.”
Mariah was waiting when Nick returned and they wasted no time in getting down to business and when Nick had finished explaining the situation, Mariah’s only question was, “When do we leave?”
I didn’t think you’d actually want to go,” Nick commented, “we’re talking about combat, up close and bloody, you’re aware of that fact, right?”
“Don’t’ be condescending, I hate condescending,” Mariah responded impatiently and left the room.
Later that day, Nick knocked on Mariah’s office door and when the door opened he stepped in, “Since you won’t stand down then at least I can find out how qualified you are.”
“Meet you in the fitness center in thirty minutes,” Mariah responded.
When Mariah entered the matted exercise area, she didn’t see Nick, but sensed his presence so she dropped to the floor, rolled to her left and came up behind Nick then did a leg sweep and took him down to the floor then put her knee to his throat. Mariah and Nick left for the private paramilitary target range in the San Diego back country just after sunrise the next morning. They fired a wide range of weapons that included everything from automatic pistols to fifty caliber machine guns. Mariah was inexperienced at this new endeavor and her lack of expertise frustrated her greatly.
After several hours of target practice, Nick commented, “That’s enough.”
“We still have a couple hours of daylight left,” Mariah snapped back and reloaded the twelve gauge shotgun and kept firing and they stayed until dark before finally leaving, “I need to be back out here tomorrow morning, I have a lot of work to do.”
Mariah called her staff together at the end of the day, “Until the matter with Ron DeAngelo is resolved, I will not be doing any of my scheduled activities. Please continue with your assigned duties, thank you,” then left for her private residence and began reading the latest Intel reports about El Fashir and Suttain. At zero seven hundred hours the next day, Mariah began training with a former Mossad agent in Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts for three hours before leaving for the target range. She repeated this intensive routine for three weeks until she had honed her skills in hand to hand combat and the use of weapons.
Nick finally informed her that the plan was ready for implementation, “I have some logistical matters to resolve, I’ll meet you in Khartoum in seven days.”
Mariah arrived in Khartoum two days early and anxiously waited in her suite at the Corinthia Hotel until Nick arrived, “Suttain is mine to deal with,” Mariah instructed the seasoned mercenary.
“The board already told me that you would want it that way,” Nick responded.
When they rendezvoused with the elite three hundred man strike force at a secluded area three miles from the El Fashir Presidential Palace, Mariah remembered what she read in the Intel reports, “El Fashir has a fifty thousand man military and Suttain has his own group of bodyguards, you’re going to need more men.”
“I’ve already worked out a deal with the generals and various commanders to stand down. They hate El Fashir, who has executed thousands of people including some of their own family and friends. All of his rank and file soldiers have been forced into military service and none of them will voluntarily come to his rescue, but they’re too afraid to go against his personal guards. Once we destroy his command structure, Zephyr will install a government of their own choosing,” Nick explained, “Don’t worry I’ve done this a few times before.”
The battle was bloody and brutal, but Zephyr’s highly trained force was overwhelming as drones flew over the palace and fired missiles at strategic locations, disabling vital communications and defensive positions. Mariah and Nick waited until the first assault wave was in position before they entered with a group of forty fighters and fought side by side until they reached the security bunker.
Laser cannon was set up, “Blow it,” Nick ordered and the blast disintegrated the three foot thick steel door.
When the group entered the bunker, the remaining twelve personal bodyguards were quickly dispatched and El Fasir was taken hostage. Mariah found Suttain hiding under a wooden table and slowly lowered her weapon to her side as she stared at her intended target.
Suttain offered an unconvincing lie, “I never gave the order to kill your man, they did that on their own,” While he was talking Suttain slowly moved his hand toward a weapon hidden under his leg and while Mariah may have looked distracted, nothing could have been further from the truth, for no sooner did Suttain’s finger reach the trigger of his pistol that Mariah fired six rounds into his chest.
“What the hell was Mariah doing here in the first place, this wasn’t her style,” Suttain cursed himself as hell impatiently beckoned his soul.
The loss of her friend and the quest to avenge his death had a profound effect on Mariah and by the time she returned to Rancho Santa Fe, she was already less regimented and had a new found appreciation of the small picture as well as the importance of the big one. She immediately created the Ron DeAngelo Special Trust inside The Honor Initiative’s foundation and began contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to law enforcement charities as a living memorial.
A soft gentle breeze is defined as a Zephyr, but the indomitable wind is called Mariah.