“Hard at work, I see,” Ted said. He had no doubt Alex had known he was coming from the second he’d stepped out of the cafeteria. There was no flinch of surprise, no snap of the ex-commando’s head over his shoulder. That would have been near critical cause for worry.
In reply, Alex patted the butt of his rifle, slung and dangling in front of him. “I’m locked and loaded. My part of the mission is done until we move out.”
Ted stepped up alongside Alex, following his presumed gaze out to the horizon where he watched the sun sink lower towards the horizon. Neither of them said anything further for a few long moments. Alex smoked, the ember at the end burning down to the filter before he flicked it off into the distance and reached for another.
Ted finally broke the silence. “So are you going to tell me what’s going on with you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Ted sighed and shook his head. “You’re brooding like an emo Batman – Christopher Nolan Batman, not Tim Burton Batman – and it doesn’t suit you. You haven’t even made a Jewish joke in days. So, yeah, something’s up and you know exactly what I’m talking about.”
Alex’s soft features bathed in the flicker of his lighter as he brushed the flame over the tip of his next cigarette. It closed with a snap and vanished into his pocket with a sleight-of-hand flash. He plucked the cigarette from his mouth and exhaled smoke in short puffs with every syllable that followed. “It’s this op,” he lied. “Don’t you have a bad feeling about this one?”
“No, I don’t,” Ted replied. “I think it’s going to be an easy hundred grand and that we’ll be back in the States in time to see the Captain Justice movie on opening night. That’s not what’s on your mind, and you damn well know it.”
Title: You Think This is a Game?
Author: Bernard Maestas
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Wisecracking smartasses Ted and Alex are an elite army of two, fighting for fortune under the banner of their private military corporation Reagan Kirwan International. MIT-trained computer hacker and engineer Ted is the brains. Freerunning ex-French Foreign Legion commando is the brawn. With their unique combination of skills, they are in high demand on the blurry and ever-changing modern battlefields.
When oil is struck in a Somalian province, two titans of the energy industry collide head-on over the lucrative rights. The result is a war which rages both in the boardrooms and on the already bloody sands.
Hired for the simple task of tipping the scales, Ted and Alex’s mission takes a dangerous and deadly turn. They learn they are not the only trump cards in play and, this time, they may be on the wrong side. Facing the most dangerous of adversaries, constant perils, and treacherous corporate politics, they must stand together if they want to survive – and, more importantly, collect their paychecks.
Because war is a two-player co-op and all they have is each other.
Bernard Maestas lives in paradise. A police officer patrolling the mean streets of Hawaii, he has a background in contract security and both military and civilian law enforcement. When not saving the world, one speeding ticket at a time, he can usually be found wasting time on the internet, playing video games — or both. Occasionally, he finds time to write books.
On Twitter @BernardMaestas