A story of four men on a mission to retrive a national treasure from a collector.
I used to be Sergeant Yoshi Nomigumo but now I am a civilian working under Japan’s greatest Private Investigator. I write this memoir only because my college and friend are on his deathbed; he had called me three days ago and tasked with the narration of his greatest case, The Sword of Heaven case of 2009. The Sword of Heaven is the Emperor of Japan’s ceremonial war sword, traditionally held in the Imperial Archive Building in the Northeastern sector of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The sword was stolen April 27, 2009 and recovered by June 5, 2009.
It is a particularly warm night and an inspector of the Japanese Imperial guard is walking towards the Archive building whistling a tune he heard in a commercial on TV. He is startled by the flash of light he sees on the third floor of the Archive building. He thinks that a guard probably dropped his flashlight but to be sure he goes into the building and takes the stairs to third floor. Upon arriving he spots the guard on the floor so he quickly draws his weapon and flashlight, and searches the room as he heads over to the guard to check his vitals. The guard is facedown with a head wound, immediately the guard calls for backup and continues to clear the floor, he passes the circle of Imperial Swords and notices that the center sword is missing; he calls it in and continues to clear not realizing the importance of the center sword. After clearing the building he goes to inspect the sword circle and after entering the chamber he was knocked out by a hit on the back of his head.
“What! When! Why I was not informed last night?!? Who inspected the crime scene?” Inspector Takashi of Kyoto’s white collar crime task force is extremely upset because of how late he got the information and that he was unable to examine the case with his specially trained CSI unit. “Sir, in order for me to solve this case I will need the help of a good friend who used to work for the force.” “Very well Takashi you have reign in this situation, however make sure you know which side the civilian works for.
My friend, at this time, used to have an office in the red light district of Kyoto and it was located three blocks away from the Ronin, a Yakuza restaurant in which all of the major deals were discussed. He dined often there with Jon Kenti, Yakuza Overlord and in charge of all of Yakuza dealings anywhere. They were close friends after my colleague rescued his kidnapped daughter from one of his rivals. Since then they have worked as friends that are enemies, meaning that they are friends as far as he, my friend, does not interfere with certain Yakuza ‘enterprises’. Inspector Takashi’s unmarked Mitsubishi GTO pulled up in front of our building and my friend told me to cancel all other appointments because this case was going to be big. As I was doing Takashi went in my partner’s office and they talked for a half hour before Takashi left. He, my colleague, told me to dress nice and heavy as wells as to start the Beemer, we were going to the Ronin because he had something to discuss with Jon. Once we dressed and armed ourselves we started on our way to Ronin, he asked me “Yoshi, what do you know about the Sword of Heaven?” “Not much, only that it is housed inside the Kyoto Imperial Archive building and that it is the Emperor’s ceremonial war sword.” “It was stolen two days ago and the police have no leads except that a tonfa was used to knock out two Imperial Guards. I’m going to talk to Jon about this and if the Yakuza knows anything about who stole the swords.” We arrived at the Ronin and the two guards waved us in; once inside we saw Jon’s table which was on a raised dais and he was talking with a white man, who was wearing a gray with white striped Oxford suit, obviously a British business man by dress and attitude. After he left, my colleague approached Jon, exchanged greetings and sat next to them, when I approached and offered my hand I was given a cold stare until my partner explained who I was. Then Jon allowed me to sit next to him, my colleague. “How is Jasmine and Annie?” “Fine, they’re in Europe where Annie is deciding which boarding school to go to.” They asked about each other and Jon’s family for quite some time until partner popped the question “Do you have any information concerning the Sword of Heaven’s disappearance?””Yes, but I will give it only if you stop looking into the Schmidt and Rubenstein case.” “Alright, now what do you know.” “It was taken by the Weaponmaster, a thief/collector of weapons of any kind. His goal is to collect one of every type of weapon used from Hydrogen bombs to kanabos. He is the most likely culprit as he recently visited Japan to collect a pair of titanium tonfas from a smith. He returned to the Caribbean yesterday and went from there to some island where his collection is located. His fence in the Far East is Richard Greenstein a British Jew who used to be a member of the British Foreign Service until he retired a few years ago. He specializes in collecting weapons and scripts as well as information on different artifacts.” “Thanks for the information Jon I will turn over all the pertinent information to you about those cases tomorrow. See you around and don’t get caught.” After this conversation we went to his favorite soba place, Mimi’s Kitchen, which was a small place located near the office and was owned by one of his relatives. Over dinner we discussed how we should proceed and we decided to tell Takashi that we were going to the Caribbean, and that we would require two SAT men and some special equipment sent to us through diplomatic pouch.
We took Emirate flight 3650 to Florida where we took a boat to Trinidad, the island where the ‘Weapon-master’ landed according to Jon’s information. When we arrived we took adjoining rooms at the Hotel Royal. From there we went to do a preliminary investigation on who owned which island three hundred miles of the Trinidad cost. My partner decided that he would go scout the harbor for ships owned by mysterious personas while I would ask the Japanese Consul for a list of people who owned the islands. He left dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, aviators, a pair of flip-flops, and a .22 automatic. I left dressed in a polo and khaki armed with an S&W .38 in an ankle holster. I took a taxicab to the Consul, where I was surprised to find Sergeants ‘Jim’ and ‘Carl’ at the consul’s office waiting around. “Hey, looks its Yoshi what are you doing here? Let me guess, were supposed to be helping you and some other guy on some kind of super to secret mission right. Well, here we are reporting for duty.” I gave them the background of the case and told them that we were staying in the Hotel Royal suites 405 and 403, and that they should get rooms on the same floor. I asked the PR officer for the list and he told me that he would need authorization from higher up; I asked him who would be able to give me such a list, he told me that the Japanese Naval attaché would be able to provide such a list. So I went to his office, saw George Sumigumo on his door and turns out that he worked with me on a JSDF case during which we became good friends but had lost contact over the years, quite an advantage. When I introduced myself and my purpose here he gave a folio with all pertinent information and told me that if I needed any assistance from the Consul he would be able to get it for us. I left the Consul in good spirits and after arriving at Hotel Royal, I met Carl and Jim, whose real names I cannot mention for obvious security reasons, were checking the equipment sent to us by Takashi. Soon after us finishing my partner came along and gave us a debriefing concerning what he had discovered. “The Shogun is the most likely candidate for being the Weaponmaster’s ride; it is painted a jet black color with dashes of cherry red in various places. It is a large luxury craft designed for world travel however it seems to be designed to double as an attack/evasion craft due to its obvious sleek lines and hidden radar and sonar globes.” He had brought over a medium sized luxury craft called the Katana, which he designed without my knowing in Kyoto. It was an undercover PT boat with a lot of horsepower; it being armed with a Bushmaster as well as a missile launcher one being disguised as a life pod the other as the front observation deck. One of the dockworkers gave him the approximate location of the island which was around a hundred miles West of St. Mark’s. We got a satellite image of that area and from the thirty islands we narrowed down the search to three islands which looked similar in size and amount of activity. It took us two days of to reach within 50 miles of the island from there we pretended to fish and we lazily coasted close by the island and when we did so; Jim spotted large whirlpools surrounding the island so we gunned the engines away from the island and after placing some distance between us and the island we met the Shogun returning from Trinidad. The captain was a tall swarthy Russian named Joseph Petrov a former Major in the FSB who was dismissed when the nuclear convoy he was in was ambushed and only he escaped alive, he is both an assassin and soldier of fortune. The Shogun pulled up alongside and a man of obvious Sicilian descent stepped into view and asked “What are you doing near my island?” “Nothing, just angling until Jim spotted those whirlpools; by the way what’s your name mister.” “You can call me Richard and you are invited to come ashore if you wish just follow Shogun carefully and you’ll be able to avoid the natural barriers this island has.” Jim and Carl were sent down to stow away all of the gear and prepare the self-destruct if anything went wrong, while me and my partner went topside to guide both the weapons and the ship towards the Shogun. Carl came up and handed us both a small switchblade and .22 automatic. As we followed Shogun a large cove became apparent and as we entered the cove, we discovered it was almost as large as the island and it was filled with every warship every designed from a Russian Typhoon submarine to a Spartan Trireme to a German Dreadnought. I was impressed with his collecting even though it broke every international arms law ever written. There were guard towers hanging down from the ceiling and out the sides of the cave covering every inch of the area with small and medium arms. There were several concrete towers jutting out from the water, which were cannon towers to defend the cove from attack, obviously the Weaponmaster was a paranoid man. We docked in the ‘guest’ space and disembarked; Richard took us topside and gave us some background on his extensive collection. “My collection consists of every weapon of war ever used but is still incomplete as I lack a pair of Confederate Jackson revolvers and a Confederate Shotgun model 1832; you are welcome to stay here as long as you wish but please allow me to show you the select pieces of my collection.” “Richard, if I may call you that, I happen to have a pair of Jackson revolvers and the Model 1832 Shotgun you seek and would be willing to part with them for the right price.” “Really, you have them, where did you get them, how much do you want?” “They are in my mansion on Trinidad and I could send Yoshi with some of your men to retrieve them while we discuss business. Yoshi, take Carl with you and retrieve the antiques.” Carl, Petrov, a couple of guys and I left the island on a Hind, I was nervous because I did not know what was going on between my partner and the Weaponmaster. Petrov asked if he had every seen me before, and I told him that I was one of the members of the SAT unit that busted him during one of his assassinations but he had escaped and I was fired because I had accidentally shot a civilian during our firefight. He grinned and said that he was sorry for introducing me to a much more illegal line of business than I was used to. We arrived at the villa and got off the chopper, as I disarmed the security system Carl struck up a conversation with the other guard concerning which soccer team was going to win the cup this year and right before the situation became too heated I ushered everyone inside and whispered to Carl that he was doing a good job of establishing a repertoire with the enemy but to make sure that he did not become too friendly. We entered the ‘piston room’ of the house and I collected the revolvers and shotgun and packed them into a gun case. As we headed out, I armed the code and told Carl to be on guard; Petrov offered us some petrosk, very strong Russian liquor created from fermented potatoes also rumored to be Stalin’s favorite drink, on the way back to the island. I refused but Carl engaged in a drinking contest with the other guards while I talked to Petrov about how our bosses. He said that his boss was vary passionate about his collection and that is was second only to his family in Southern France; however he was also extremely suspicious of people hanging around his island and once they boarded and captured an American destroyer the USS Johnson when it became inquisitive of the various outgoing signals from the Northern Jute. Upon reaching the island we walked towards the house and met Richard and my partner at the side gate; I opened the case for their inspection and he said that he would like a closer inspection in the gun room of his house. On the way in I asked my partner if he had seen it and whether or not it was accessible, he remarked that he had not seen it but he had asked if Richard would show us the sword room. By the time we finished our quiet conversation we had arrived at the gun room and Carl was nursing a hangover from the three bottles of Petrosk he downed. Richard said that the guns were in excellent condition and that he would be willing to pay forty million dollars for all three weapons. My colleague agreed to the amount and gave a bank account number from the Caymans. Once the transaction was underway I asked if Richard collected swords and he looked up with some suspicion but as his gaze softened and agreed to show us his collection and a rare new piece he acquired. As we entered the ‘Circle of Swords’ as he liked to call it, there were swords from every major historical era since the beginning of recorded history, he had many reproductions of more ancient weapons that if found today would be piles of rust. As we walked around I noticed there was another hallway leading to another swords in a different setting than these, I turned and saw Richard looking at me with a grin on his face, “That over there is the Hall of Kings where I keep the gems of my sword collection, weapons that once belonged to the kings of Europe and Asia. Come, I’ll show you my favorites and maybe even give a demonstration of their power.” As we followed him down the hallway Carl came up beside me, “It seems that our group has gotten a bit larger, there are a few more goons following us then before and they seemed to be weighed down, if you catch my drift.” I informed Takashi of our revelation and he simply nodded, by this time we entered the Hall and it was pitch black till I heard a clap and one by one different suits of armor lighted up, from the left there was the armor of a Mongol chieftain holding the sword of Khan and on the far right there was a WWII U.S. GI issue olive green uniform of a Lt. General and around his waist were a pair of pearl handled Colt .44s. This collection was incredible; this man has managed to collect the weapons of history’s greatest ‘warlords’. On the left side there was a set of Samurai swords, and as my eyes drifted towards the Imperial symbol emblazoned onto the hilt and scabbard I knew then it was the sword we had been searching for. “It is magnificent no, my latest acquisition, a good replica of the sword of the Emperor of Japan. I would have liked to see the actual one but according to my knowledge only the Imperial Guard and the Royal family are allowed in the Kyoto Imperial Archive building. Come, it is very late you can spend the night here on the island and leave tomorrow. Dinner is at ten, we will dine in the Swordsman hall. Petrov “Yes, Sir” show them their rooms, on the second floor” “Yes, Sir! Follow me please.” “Thank you for the accommodations, I am sure they will be exquisitely decadent.” Richard grinned and walked away; Petrov showed me and Carl the Napoleon room, and it was filled with Napoleonic era weapons. Once we got our luggage we swept the room for bugs and found none, so we unpacked a set of clothes and began to clean our weapons. I looked at the clock and noticed it was almost ten, so Carl and I put the guns away and dressed ‘nice and heavy’ for dinner. We left our rooms and walked over to the guard, a 6 by 5 monument to warriors that could have broken the Greek statue next to him, near a door marked Squad Room 4 and I asked him where the Swordsman hall was and he pulled out a laminated mini-map and looked at it and told us that he would escort us there. As we walked, I asked him how come he had such a map and if he was new. He chuckled, “I have guarded this house for thirteen years and still haven’t gotten the hang of the place because it is over then floors tall, three up, seven down and all of it is a museum. Here is the Swordsman hall, enjoy you supper.” We entered the hall and saw Takashi and Richard in deep discussion in front of a portrait of Saladin, Jim was off to the left laughing with Petrov. The guard announced us and we took our places at the small table, going clockwise: Richard, Petrov, Carl, Takashi, Jim, and me. Richard blessed the food, which was something unusual because I saw no traces of his religion anywhere in the building. The seafood before us was quite exotic; there were Dragon rolls, Lobster tails, Spider Crab, Sea Snake, various Tropical fish, and a Korean hot pot. It was a self serve kind of thing and Carl, Jim, Petrov, and I were digging in but I noticed that Takashi only took sparingly and was actually in deep conversation with Richard. I began to talk with Petrov about his experiences in the FSB and if he would tell us some of his ‘war’ stories. “When I was just a Captain in the FSB the First Directorate decided to send my unit, consisting of a thirteen men, to go and destroy a mujahedeen base in the Hindu Kush. We flew to Afghanistan where we received a crash course in Desert survival by a Spetnaz Master Sergeant. We set out two weeks later armed to the teeth with an assortment of weapons. We each took a dirt bike to go through the mountain passes as the base was near the Pakistani border and we wanted this mission to be more of a hit and run style, basically we had to light up the camp for an airstrike that was going to take out the came. Two days after leaving the F.O.B. we raced through three ambushes almost consecutively with the loss of only three men, so we were making good time and by the time we were able to see the base it was a pitch black night so we dismounted and left three men to guard the bikes. I sent the snipers to take up positions at three different locations, all three were armed with SVD’s (silenced) and were excellent marksmen. We also set up a pair of RPDs with flash suppressors just so that we could scare Allah right out of their extremist hides. At 2300 hours we opened fire with seven RPG’s we had ‘liberated’ from a mujahedeen patrol we ambushed and it was beautiful, three of the RPG’s hit the fuel and ammo depots and lit up the entire camp providing our snipers with enough light to take out all of the enemy snipers and a technical, a civilian vehicle usually a pickup converted to military use by the placement of a heavy machine gun or rocket launcher on its bed, attempting to flee towards the Pakistani border. They shot a series of flares outward but to no avail since we were all in black and had flash suppressors on our weapons. I called in an airstrike to finish them off but the pilot told me that they were being tracked by a SAM site three klicks east of our current location; I ran back with my radioman to the bikes and took of with the three guards towards the SAM site, being the first one to reach it I noticed that it had a Pakistani flag flying over it so I had to make a decision on where it was an actually Pakistani base or a Mujahedeen disguise. I opened fire with the last RPG round and destroyed the fuel trucks enveloping the entire site in flames, I asked the planes if they could fire on the base and got an explosion in reply. We headed back towards where my men were supposed to meet after the airstrike. Only me and the other four men were their so we waited for a couple of hours and then headed towards the fire pits we had dug into the hill on the Eastern side of the camp. It was overrun with mujahedeen and I realized that all my men were probably dead so we retreated after calling in a napalm strike on the position. It took a week to make the trip back to come through twelve ambushes and three patrols and finally only I was left unwounded, two others had died and the other two were bleeding from various flesh wounds. They died in the F.O.B.’s infirmary, as I was giving my report to an FSB Colonel who was awaiting my return. I asked what was so special about the base and he replied “There was a traitor among them, an informant who was part of a cell we created inside that unit; he was to be eliminated.” Thirteen men for a traitor, that was when I became corrupt, I could not do that kind of mission again because that unit that I led was made up mostly of men from my neighbor hood of Leningrad, and it was a personal loss as well.” At the end of his story and at the end I heard clapping from Carl and Jim and they had a big grin on their faces because that mission was actually led by an FSB Colonel who was shot later as a traitor to the USSR. After dinner a couple of maids brought in desert a simple chocolate mousse accompanied by Vermouth. We retired to the library which was about a thousand square feet and had at least that many books all in different languages and all on war. He had a collection of scrolls with Oriental calligraphy on the covers. We returned to our rooms at midnight and I flipped a coin to decide who would get the queen sized bed and who would get the huge couch, it landed tails Carl got the couch but I pulled rank and got the couch anyway. Carl mumbled something and walked towards the bed and ‘click’ the lock on the door was open, I grabbed my combat knife and moved towards the door’s blind spot while Carl went to answer the door and when he opened it a lady darted in and closed the door. She looked at Carl with suspicion and asked him, “What are you doing in my room? Get out before I call the guards! Guards! Guards!” “Sush! Lady, you must be mistaken because this is our room, given to us by Mr. Richard.” She looked around and spotted me with the knife and was about to yell but Carl clamped his hand on her mouth and I put the knife away and asked her what she was doing. As I got closer I could distinctly smell alcohol on her breath and her gait was unstable to say the least, I asked her who she was and she said “I am Mrs. Richards, the aforementioned Mr. Richards’ wife. Who are you?” “We’re arms dealers and we are here to sell you husband a couple of Civil War weapons we ‘acquired’. We’ll hand you over to the guard outside and he will take you to your room.” “But, the Napoleon Room is my room and I want it back, now.” “All right Mrs. Richards we will exit the room, lie on the couch while we pack our things.” “Okay . . . . . Mr. What’s your name?” Call us Yoshi and Carl; here hold on to each of our necks. We picked her up; she started giggling, and gave her over to the Williams the guard across from our room. He looked from her to us in alarm, “How did she get in your room, Mr. Carl? “She just unlocked the door and came in.” “She is supposed to be in New York with the children; Mr. Richards is going to be very upset if he finds out. Here give her to me I’ll get her to her suite in New York. Petrov this is Williams I have Mrs. Richards in my hands right now and she is supposed to be in NYC, please advise over. You can go back to your rooms sirs we have the situation under control.” We got back inside and bolted the door shut and got some shut eye. We were awakened by the firing of what seemed to be a 330 cm rail gun from the eastern edge of Scimitar Island as it was aptly named by the guards. Carl and I rapidly drew our weapons and waited for an assault team to breach and clear, but only Petrov entered, who we almost shot, dressed in full combat gear. “Get dressed; Boss wants to take you out to the range and show off some of his favorite pieces. That was Gustav, Mr. Richard’s alarm clock; you’d better hurry up because we leave in thirty minutes.” After this he left and we changed into the gear we brought along with us and kept our pistols and knives upon our persons. As we made our way towards the car lot, “Excuse me, sirs, I will escort you down to the lot and you can go in Mr. Richards’ personal vehicle to the range.” We followed the guard to the car lot and got into a huge tank I had never seen before; the hatch at the back popped open and Richards and my colleague stepped out and greeted me. It turned out to be a one of a kind experimental Nazi tank/dreadnought. “Hello gentlemen I was just showing Jim and Takashi the detail inside the ‘passenger/troop’ compartment of Adolf. Come why don’t you join us, this baby could survive a nuclear attack.” We followed him into the hatch and it seemed like we had just stepped into a media room with HDTVs everywhere, providing us with a 360 degree view of the environment around the tank and the center screen offered us a HUD, heads up display, of anything the tank was aiming at. There were an island of black leather couches facing outward towards the TVs and a table in the center containing a mini-bar and on one of the far walls there was a large gun locker containing various small arms. “This tank is not a strict reconstruction from the original plans; I took some . . . . Artistic freedoms in the reconstruction of the tank, instead of a 330 cm railway gun, it now houses an argon laser cannon and the tank is fueled by a miniature arc reactor. The other guns have all been upgraded to their modern equivalents and I placed a pair of Stinger batteries on the port and starboard sides. This will take us to the test range and there I will allow each of you test fire a weapon of your choice and then we will begin the games.” “What games?” asked Carl and Jim almost simultaneously, “I will tell you when we get there.”As Adolf took us to the range, there was a range of conversations going on between various people in the room; I went over to Takashi and asked him what he though we should do. “Leave and soon because I believe our ‘friend’ is planning to do something big and we need to leave in order to plan our retrieval of the sword.” I nodded and walked over and grabbed two Bombays and gave one to him. I looked at one of the TVs and noticed that Adolf had stopped, we arrived at the range; Richard walked out and was received by an honor guard of his ‘guards’. The more I see them the more it seems to me that they are an army instead of a security company; they even have uniform, black BDUs, and their ranks are similar to the ones used by the US Army. We walked out and the firing range turns out to be an airstrip sized patch of dirt with various targets downrange. “We have war games on this island every four months and it just so happens that today is the first day of our S&R war games. Since you are here you might as well participate, being guests and unfamiliar with the island you will be the targets along with Petrov and I will be the hunter along with the rest of the guards. We will use rubber rounds and paintball grenades and any other type of nonlethal weapon to capture you. You along with Petrov will be issued with two AK-47Sus and five Berettas along with combat knives; your objective is to get to the airstrip and make it to the next island without being shot down by missiles or fighters.” We were all enthusiastic except for Petrov who seemed kind of nervous, but we ignored it completely. “By, the way all of the water on the island is drinkable but there are wild animals in the deeper parts of the forest.” Later that night we hopped out of a truck somewhere on the way to the airfield; ten minutes after we jumped out of the truck, the rail-gun fired illuminating the island with light for a brief second. “The hunt has begun and we are three klicks from the airstrip with the guard barracks in-between us and the airstrip so hustle!” We started running through the bush, “Listen, they’ve deployed helicopters in order to discover our location. Get in the water and move slowly so that the FLIR, Forward Looking Infrared, scopes will be hard pressed to find us. Come, let’s go!” We doused ourselves with water and began moving at a snail’s pace through the jungle. All of the sudden Takashi disappeared and then I knew he was going for the sword; we kept right on moving until, “Where is Takashi . . .” Petrov collapsed on the ground and then I knew that it was going to get hairy, we buried him in the dirt up to his neck and taped his mouth shut and surrounded him with rocks and leaves. Then we split up and I went east while Carl and Jim went west. As I walked through the jungle, I checked my ammunition to see if it was really rubber bullets, it was, and as I was checking I heard a snap and there was a patrol ten yards away in my nine o’clock position. I grabbed a couple of rocks and clambered up a nearby tree and threw a rock in front of the point man. They stopped and started scanning the area, and that’s when I threw a rock and hit the last man in the patrol. Then they became alarmed and fanned out, and just as they did I opened fire with my AK and knocked all of them out, but in the distance I heard the helicopters head this way along with the rumbling of Adolf. I got in their midst and picked up an M-556 with a FLIR scope and any matching mags along with grenades. When I went to check the mag I noticed that their rounds were real, I radioed Jim and Carl and told them that the enemy had live rounds. Then I picked up a grenade launcher and a bandolier of ammo after shooting each guard in the head, now it may seem cold-blooded but this ‘war game’ turned into war and there are no rules in war despite what the Geneva Convention says. From there I moved on toward the house which was easily discernable because of all the lights. As I moved through the growth I felt an arm on my shoulder and when I spun around it was Takashi, “I realized that the game was just a ruse because no security company holds ‘war games’ on a remote island, and that Richard knows why were really here because he found the satellite pictures on our ship and I saw him look at it while talking to Petrov as I was getting a better lay out of the mansion.” As he was talking there was a large explosion at one of the ammo dumps and we nodded to each other and moved towards the camp; few minutes later we stumbled across a platoon sized patrol that was heavily armed and moving in a staggered formation towards the patrol I had executed earlier. “We will wait for them to pass before moving forward.” So we waited for fifteen minutes before moving and when Takashi took a step forward, a number of guards popped up from the ground and opened fire; unfortunately for them both of us were crack shots. Soon after this encounter we heard the platoon heading back, so we began to hustle towards the compound when out of nowhere two A-10s began to strafe the Western edge of the island, where Carl and Jim were, ten seconds later there were two missile streaks from the ground and both the A-10s blew up spectacularly. We continued moving, I told Takashi that I would hold back and conduct a stopping action against the guards following us, he nodded and began running through the forest. About three minutes after I set some traps and picked my sniping position the enemy entered my field of fire, there were thirty guards all armed with assault rifles and LMGs. As the approached the first trap, I opened fire and killed a guard on the far left of their formation and immediately they opened fire everywhere. One by one I took out twelve guys before one of them yelled “Hold, hold there’s a sniper out there, spread out in pairs of twos and watch out . . .” he was unable to finish his order because of a large hole in the back of his head caused by an expanding 5.56mm round. They began moving out in twos and almost immediately three teams were destroyed by the claymore traps I had left behind, leaving only one team left which I quickly took out with my rifle. After this encounter I waited for fifteen minutes before following Takashi’s trail towards the mansion and went through the barbed wire he had cut. Once inside I followed the trail of bodies towards the chamber with the swords and upon entering I saw Takashi placing the sword in a special case and he motioned me to cover him while he did so. As I was covering him a large contingent of guards was making their way towards us and I opened up with my M-556 taking out six of them before they could get into cover. Takashi blew a hole in the wall with a shaped charge and I followed him through after throwing a couple of tear-gas grenades. We hustled towards the dock elevator at the far end of the hallway and made it just before the guards following us opened fire. We reloaded on our way down and walked down as the doors opened. The dock was empty except for a few guards whom I took out with my silenced rifle. We then ran towards the Katana and Takashi started her while I cut her lose; he gunned the engines while I started up the weapons and used the missile launchers to take out some of the more modern craft and the forward gun to put down suppressing fire on the towers. This action caught the tower guards by surprise and we were able to make it off the island alive; we circled the island once to look for Carl and Jim whom we spotted jumping off of the rail-gun and into the ocean. We picked them up and just as we did, a pair of Hurricanes right out of WWII opened fire. Takashi gunned the engines as I targeted them with the missiles but their engine signature was masked by something making it impossible for me to get a positive lock; so I pulled out our 30 mm Gatling gun and set it up on the deck with Carl’s help while Jim kept them off us with the deck gun. We opened fire and the Hurricanes were unable to get a positive lock; I yelled at Takashi to hoist the JSDF flag so that we would not be fired upon by any naval vessels coming by. Soon after I had said this we were set upon by a pair of cigarette boats armed with LMGs and as they circled us a US Coast Guard cutter USS Anderson opened fire on them upon Takashi radioing that we were Japanese Special Forces being fired upon by Caribbean weapons dealers. The boats disappeared in a flash of light and the Anderson asked us to stop the vessel which we did; when they boarded us Takashi showed them our immunity papers and they escorted us back to Trinidad where we slept in the Hotel Royal for three days and then took a chartered plane to Japan. Upon arrival in Japan, the real Takashi met us in the airport and when my colleague, who used Takashi’s name when dealing with Richard, showed him the scabbard Takashi motioned with his hand and a squad of Imperial Guards in full dress uniform marched over and retrieved the sword in its case, then marched away in perfect formation. “Well it seems that you completed you mission with excellent retention rates.” “Yes, well we want compensation for the damage done to my craft and you owe both of these men a month of paid vacation time.” We parted company with Carl and Jim and now ten years later, my dear friend and colleague are dying from third degree burns he suffered when his apartment exploded. On the next house’s outer wall there was written, “We will kill all of you” right next two crossed swords superimposed by a shield. My colleague told me to recount the story because he wanted the public to know there are real villains out there and they are extremely powerful. In his final moments, my dear colleague told me, “Your next on his list, but do not wait for his assassins rather take the fight to him – he grabbed my hand with a vice like grip, I knew he was fighting for every breath – Carl and Jim were both killed last year by a drunk driver during a routine operation, it wasn’t and accident.” His hand went limp and the doctor pulled me out, said “he is in a coma and the burns will heal but he may never regain consciousness. Then I knew this was only the first battle in a long and bitter war.