In the darkness that follows, Nick wonders if he will ever learn to trust a wingman again—or even learn to trust himself. He will soon find out. Despite the black mark on his record, Nick’s application to the elite Stealth Wing is approved. A recruiter for a new covert team has taken note of Nick’s unique combination of skills.
Nick is swept into Operation Cerberus—a top secret mission that will take him from a harrowing flight over a black testing facility to a fight for his life on the Iraqi Dunes.
As he shifted his weight for a roundhouse kick, Nick felt a presence enter the room. He paused for a fraction of a second, pulling the kick to avoid the new obstacle, and then continued to punish the bag. He would not be interrupted; there were sixty seconds left on the timer. Undaunted, the intruder moved to a more obvious position. The two columns of light fell into shadow.
"You're in my way and you're blocking my light," Nick warned the intruder.
"Sir, your presence is requested in the Vault."
The timer expired and Nick brushed the young airman aside as he punched off the alarm and grabbed a small towel to dab his face. "Tell Oso,” he said between breaths, “that if he wants to interrupt my workout, he’s going to have to drag my sweaty carcass out of the gym himself."
The kid hesitated, looked down at his shoes, and then looked up again with renewed resolve. "Sir, we think the United States may be under attack."