The Desert Scorpion (The Scorpion #1)

If You Cross The Scorpion, Beware Of Its Deadly Sting

In The Renegade Spy, the Scorpion is a merciless and psychopathic assassin, hired to murder the German chancellor. But years before, he used to be a Foreign Legionnaire, a man of honour. What happened?

It’s 2007 and the Iraq conflict is at its height. Sergeant Jens Schacht is a German soldier in the French Foreign Legion. A man with honour and integrity.

So when he walks in on an attempted sexual assault on an Iraqi civilian, he can’t look away. He breaks up the assault and the perpetrators, led by a British army Major, subsequently vow revenge. The Major calls in a “friendly-fire” airstrike, intended to both settle scores and to silence Schacht and his men permanently.

But against all the odds, Schacht and another soldier survive the horrific attack. They know immediately who is responsible and both vow to track down the attackers, one by one, and watch them die very slowly….

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The blazing hot desert sun beat down mercilessly on Sergeant Jens Schacht’s back as he stretched his muscles and drank deeply from the water canteen in his hand.

Schacht was deeply tanned from his time in the desert and from his postings elsewhere in the world with the French Foreign Legion. Sweat ran down his glistening back and pooled at the rim of his beige army camouflage trousers. 

But what was most striking was the large tattoo of a scorpion on his back. The product of a drunken night in Bangkok when his comrades baited him into getting it. Now he was stuck with it and he tried not to think about it too much. At least being on his back, he didn’t have to look at it.

Schacht looked around and saw his Legion buddies doing the same as him. After he had called a break, everyone had stripped off their shirts and were drinking water, as well as giving one another an impromptu shower with the rest.

“Hey” said Schacht, “stop wasting water. Who cares if you stink? Do you expect to get a date out here or what?”

This earned a few grins and also a few sheepish looks. But Schacht’s mind was elsewhere. The hairs on the back of his neck were sticking up. There was something wrong and he couldn’t put his finger on it. That was never good. 

“OK let’s go” said Schacht urgently, “pick your stuff up and let’s move….”

It was then that a loud high-pitched whistling noise could be heard and Schacht knew instinctively what was about to happen.

Somebody had called in an airstrike. On them.

“Move!” he screamed.

The men though seemed to be paralysed, as if they were unable to comprehend what was about to happen to them. Schacht however had no such hesitations. He launched himself into the nearest soldier, randomly picked a direction and pushed the soldier with him.

That was when the missile hit, and Schacht and the other soldier were lifted right off their feet by the force of the blast. They landed heavily on the hot sand and all went mercifully black.

* * *

Three Days Earlier

The light armoured vehicle moved cautiously along the Iraqi road. Inside, Schacht sat with his men, who were all tense. The chances of an improvised explosive device was high and they had lost many men this way. Insurgents liked to ambush armoured vehicles with IED’s and if they did, they were not known for taking surviving prisoners.

Up front was one of Schacht’s men who was driving the vehicle. Corporal Siegfried Ritter, a fellow German, was only twenty-two years old but he had seen things that no twenty-two year old should ever admit to seeing. The Iraqi conflict had aged him prematurely and he vowed this would be his last tour of duty.

“Sir” he called to Schacht, “village coming up. There are civilians running towards us.”

The others in the back snapped up when they heard this. They assumed the worst, that they were about to be ambushed.

“Take it easy” said Schacht, “I don’t want anyone going all half-cocked before we find out what’s going on.”

The vehicle slowed as an elderly man ran up to the vehicle, his hands up in a gesture of submission. He clearly did not want his intentions to be misinterpreted.

“Open the back door” commanded Schacht.

“Sir” protested one of the soldiers, “we don’t even know if this is a trap or not.”

“Well there’s only one way to find out isn’t there?” retorted Schacht, “the Legion doesn’t pay you to hide inside armoured vehicles.”

This caused some of the soldiers to bristle with resentment but Schacht didn’t care.

“Open the door.”

The back door was opened and bright hot sunlight flooded in. A loud chaotic noise could also be heard. As Schacht got out, he was immediately intercepted by the old man who had been followed by more civilians.

“Sir” said the man submissively, “we need your help. Some soldiers are here and they are attacking one of our women.”

“Excuse me?” said Schacht in disbelief, “did you say attacking your woman?”

“Yes” said the old man, looking extremely uncomfortable, “they are attempting to rape her. We are trying to fend them off but they have weapons. Please, you must stop them!”

Schacht’s blood began to boil.

“Show me.”

* * *

Schacht heard them when they approached the front door of the small ramshackle house the man had brought him to.

Schacht was not stupid. He knew that atrocities and war crimes were being committed by every army. Not everyone was perfect and the stress of war was making some men crack and do things they would never normally do. Others were just downright evil and were using the military and the war to carry out their own personal and criminal agendas.

That didn’t mean though that Schacht was going to turn a blind eye to it. The Legion’s motto was “Honour and Fidelity”. That meant everything to Schacht. Without honour, he and the men he served with were nothing. If he turned a blind eye to this atrocity, he would have no more honour.

That meant intervening. Whether he wanted to or not. His men seemed to sense this too and they subconsciously flipped off the safety catches on their rifles.

Schacht didn’t see the point of wasting time or being subtle. He crashed through the door, a serrated knife in hand, and ended up in the next room where a surreal sight awaited him.

On the table was a young girl, no more than fifteen years of age, who was viciously fighting off the advances of an officer, a British major. Next to the major were several junior officers, all of whom were in various stages of undress and drunkenness. They were laughing the major along, who was getting more and more frustrated by the girl fighting back.

But the laughing stopped when Schacht entered with a knife in his hand, followed closely behind by heavily armed French Legionnaires.

Schacht grabbed the major’s arm, spun him around and swiped the knife across his chest. A line of blood immediately appeared on his hairless chest and he screamed, clutching the wound. Schacht then grabbed him and propelled him backwards, throwing him on top of his startled and now frightened friends. The girl meanwhile had taken the opportunity to get off the table and run out of the house.

“You fuck!” shouted the major, “you cut me!”

“A superficial flesh wound” said Schacht calmly, “be thankful I didn’t cut your tiny dick off.”

One of the junior officers immediately reached for his rifle but stopped suddenly when half a dozen legionnaire guns suddenly snapped up and pointed at him. He trembled and slowly let go of the gun, his hands raised in surrender.

“They’re legionnaires, boss” said another of the officers, nervously.

“Full marks to your flunky for using his eyes” said Schacht, “pity he couldn’t show the same ability for his brain. Then maybe he wouldn’t have found himself in this situation.”

“Piss off Frenchie” rasped the major, clutching the wound. Blood was still pouring down his fingers. Schacht now doubted that it was superficial. Not that he cared.

“German actually” he said, walking towards the soldiers, “don’t ever call a German French. We have a thing about that.”

Schacht head butted the major which immediately made his nose crack wide open. The other British officers meanwhile looked about in panic, wondering how to get out of the house. But they were surrounded by legionnaires, so getting out was not an option.

But Schacht felt by now he had made his point.

As the major writhed on the floor clutching his nose and his bleeding chest, Schacht walked up to one of the other officers who was looking wildly about.

“I’m now going to order my men to stand to one side and allow you bottom-feeders to leave” said Schacht calmly, “I suggest you take full advantage of the situation and chalk this whole thing up to a teachable moment. Do you get my drift?”

“Er….yes, yes” the officer replied, nodding rapidly.

“If anyone asks, you were ambushed and you didn’t see who it was. If anybody comes enquiring after us, asking if we were involved, well, we will find you and express our anger. I can assure you that won’t be a pleasant experience for you.”

Schacht looked at each of the junior officers one by one until they all started nodding in agreement. The major, by contrast, was lying on the floor, cursing and yelling in pain.

“Shut him up” said Schacht. He looked at the shoulder patches of the officers. “Mercian Regiment? Well I suppose it won’t be difficult to find you again if need be.”

Schacht turned to his men.“Move to one side and let them out.”

The other legionnaires reluctantly lowered their weapons and moved slowly to the side, to form a narrow path out of the house. They glowered as the frightened British officers picked up their badly wounded major and began slowly walking towards the door.

“Remember, you were ambushed” called out Schacht, “and I hope for your sakes that I don’t ever meet you again.”

The officers made no reply as they limped outside, past the hostile villagers. Ritter walked up to Schacht who was looking pensive.

“Do you really think they are going to let this go, boss?” asked Ritter.

Schacht snorted. “Not for a single second. Would you?”

Books in this series

Desert Scorpion spy thriller
Praetorian Scorpion spy thriller

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