Thursday, October 11, 2018

Stub 6.8: Going to ground

Zev Azrael stepped from the swim platform at the rear of the 60’ Cantius power yacht into the inflatable Zodiac. It was the first time he had made the transfer in the dark-of-night since training back in “the old country”. He carried a modest backpack, really no more than a day pack as he hopped nimbly into the bobbing boat. He was also carrying an AR pattern rifle taken from the anti-pirate stores and two, thirty round magazines of ammo.

The run from Frisco had taken more than twenty hours. Every second of it had been a nail-biter from Zev’s standpoint. He understood the reason for the pedestrian pace. Authorities would stop anybody who looked like they were running. The yacht had a range of 1600 nautical miles at most-efficient-speed and nobody was likely to question the captain until he stopped...or sped up. At six knots the boat would not make Jalisco for another ten days.

The Cantius had not slowed down from 6 knots at the drop-off. The captain knew to not change course or speed lest he tip off authorities. It did mean, however, that Zev had to step lively and it made for a long run into shore.

The boat had a small electric motor and he easily vectored to the GPS coordinates of the small, cobble beach just south of Slates Hot Springs. He pushed the inflatable boat back out into the surf and willed it to float south.

A small path made by fishermen led up to turn-out on Highway One. Zev quickly crossed the highway and made his way inland. He took his time moving at little more than one mile per hour. He made a cold camp after three hours. Dinner was granola bars and water. He would not move again until the late evening hours when shadows were long and the boulders had been heated by the sun and created a razzle-dazzle if IR differences.

Zev’s destination was an outfitter’s cabin in the arid region in the lee of the mountains west of King City. Zev had hunted mouflan and other exotic sheep in those hills. The cabin was small and extremely austere. The only concession to comfort was an LP pig and gas stove on account of the lack of fire wood. Zev was counting on the fact that the outfitter was a Mormon and there would still be a years worth of food cached nearby.

He had two, thirty round magazines for the AR. One was loaded with regular issue Israeli Defense Forces SS109, barrier defeating rounds. The other was loaded with 50 grain V-Max “Quiet” loads. Neither load was optimal for shooting game, but that was not his intended target.

The SS109 ammunition merits special attention. The bullet had three parts. The thin outer jacket was a soft copper alloy. The base of the core was a hardened lead alloy and the front third of the core was a sintered steel cone designed to defeat automobile glass, sheets of plywood or corrugated metal that would otherwise shatter or deflect an all-lead core.

Where the military issue IDF rounds differed from other SS109 rounds is that the sintered tip had been treated with a rust inhibitor that had been doped with a small amount of waste product from the C. botulinum fermentation. That waste product had a special affinity for the nerves in smooth the human heart.

Solid body hits resulted in the projectile breaking into its three parts, exposing the sintered tip to flesh. Under circumstances of low blood volume or high oxygen demand, say after bleeding out 700ml of blood or sprinting 300 meters, the amine based rust inhibitors caused a large drop in blood pressure while the neuro-toxins tripped the heart into afib far sooner than it would otherwise. Thus, the duplex effect of the "rust inhibitor" perfectly mimicked the effects of hypovolemic shock.

The amounts of toxin were infinitessimally small and the toxins were in no known database. The use of the neuro-toxin “enhancements” were a very, very closely held secret. Few military analyst noted the Israeli’s extraordinarily high hit-to-kill ratio. Those that did attributed it to superior marksmanship.

Israeli decisionmakers justified the enhanced lethality of the ammo on the basis that the terrorists who survived otherwise-lethal hits from "wounding" ammo tended to come back as suicide bombers. They saw their "miraculous" survival as a sign from on-high. The only viable countermeasure was to ensure there were no survivors of solid hits.

Zev Azrael's placement and and ongoing technical support by the Mossad was two-fold. One was to create plausible deniability regarding the origin of the neuro-toxin, should its existence ever be discovered. The other was to have a highly placed person in the Cali hierarchy to keep an eye on developments.

Most people would have found the landscape incredibly bleak but it was far lusher than Negev near Mitzpe Ramon where Zev had grown up.

It was a good place to disappear. And a good place to plan.


  1. Thought on use of nautical terms, range is expressed in nautical miles(nm), which are about 1.15 statute miles(5280 feet). A knot is a nautical mile per hour. Speed is expressed as knots not knots per hour. So a ship sailing at 10 knots is going 10 nm or 11.5 mph.