Monday 19 January 2009

GREEK FIRE by James Hilton

For all the conspiracy theorists out there...


Alex Brubaker awoke suddenly and realised he couldn’t move. He was secured to a sturdy metal chair, which in turn was bolted to the floor.
Plastic zip ties, like the ones he used in his garden, only much thicker, held his wrists, ankles and neck in an unforgiving grasp.
His eyes darted around the bare room, trying to make sense of his predicament.
“Hello?” he yelped, “Is there any body there?”
“Ah, Mr. Brubaker, it’s so nice of you to join us. You slept well I trust?”
Alex tried to swivel around to see the source of the cultured voice behind him.
“Listen buddy, I don’t know who you are but you’re in deep shit. Do you know who I work for? NO? I’m an agent of the NSA.” declared Brubaker in defiance. He spat out the initials of the National Security Agency as if they were bullets. “If you harm me, they will hunt you down to the ends of the earth!”

The voice behind laughed gently as if a child had made an innocent faux pas. “Mr. Brubaker, I don’t much care who you share coffee with 9 to 5, it’s your extra-curricular activities that interest me.”
“I don’t understand…Who the hell are you? What do you want of me?”
“Yeah, want! What do you want of me? Who are you? I demand an answer!” Brubaker growled.
“Oh Alex…always so direct and to the point. Still, that’s why you were promoted so quickly up the ranks I guess. Your file reads like an adventure novel. Marine core…Navy SEAL Training… six confirmed kills…honourable discharge…demolitions expert…NSA specialist at age 34; all admirable qualities, hmmn?”
“Fuck you, if you know so much, you know I’ll be missed very quickly.” Alex smirked in satisfaction “Do you know what the wrath of God feels like? Well that’s nothing to what my guys will serve up to you – I promise you that!”
“Alex,” sighed the voice,”Let’s move passed the threats and bravado and get down to business.”
Alex Brubaker calmed himself, deliberately slowed his breathing and scanned as much of the room as possible. His eyes looking for anything that might be useful later. Possible weapons of opportunity, routes of egress; tools of survival.

The voice continued; “I think it will be easier if I tell you what we already know and then you can fill in the blanks at the end.”
“We?” asked Brubaker “Who is we?”
“Are you going to interrupt every step of the way Alex?” asked the voice.
Brubaker tensed up involuntarily as the man stepped into his line of site without warning.
The voice belonged to a nondescript looking man dressed in a dull pair of olive chino trousers and a linen shirt. The sleeves were rolled up to his elbows.
No visible tattoos.
No remarkable features.
Average height.
Average weight.
John Q.
The man stared down at Alex Brubaker with a look of mock indecision.
He tapped a finger to his lips as if considering a puzzle in the morning paper.
“Do you know what this is?” asked Mr. Average, pointing to his left lapel.
Alex chose not to answer.
“This is a lapel pin. You can get them for all kinds of things these days. Flags, Sports clubs, political support…you get the idea. Now this one is a little special.” Mr. Average plucked it from his shirt and turned it deftly in his hand. A two inch needle sprang into view with a soft click.
“Now Alex, I’m going to tell you what I already know, and you’re going to answer my questions when I’m ready to ask you them. Got it?”
“Fu..” but Alex’s curse turned to an agonising intake of breath as Mr. Average slipped forward and stabbed the length of the needle into the tip of his nose.
The pain was unlike anything Alex Brubaker had ever imagined. A nexus of incandescent darts filled his nervous system. Pain, agony, words didn’t begin to describe the sheer brutality and overwhelming effect of the needle point.
Alex tried to scream but his vocal chords were paralysed.
Mr. Average looked on impassively then after what seemed like an eternity to Alex, removed the lapel pin’s needle.
Alex sagged in the chair. The plastic ties held him in place, but he sagged spiritually as much as physically.
“Just a little trick I learned from an old friend in the UK” smiled Mr. Average. “Now shall we proceed?...Good”
“Two years ago you were sanctioned onto ‘Operation Greek Fire’. You and your team were tasked with the security of one of our keystone assets. You and seven others of your team were dispatched for a rather unique mission.”
Alex’s blood turned to ice water as the John Q. talked.
“As you know Greek Fire was a very severe response strategy. The thinkers had moved for a scorched Earth response to a very viable terrorist threat against the US.”
“Wait!” warned Alex.
Mr. Average simply held up the pin and warned “Shh!”
Then he began again. “We know your orders were to rig the top thirteen floors of the building with high grade thermite charges. If in the event of a terrorist breach on the roof, the charges could be detonated and the threat neutralised. A very severe response only to be employed if all else failed.”
Mr. Average swayed slightly as he unfolded his facts, not unlike the way a cobra sways in preparation to strike.
“You were assigned to World Trade Centre Building One. August fifth through ‘til August thirteenth. You carried out your mission under the guise of asbestos inspectors. Quite clever really. You could come and go as you please with total anonymity, after all; who would follow a guy around with the threat of asbestosis in the offing.”
“You and your team strategically rigged thermite charges to destroy the supporting infrastructure of WTC 1 only one month before 9/11!”
“We were just following orders!” declared Brubaker defiantly.
“That’s not in dispute Alex”
“Then why am I here? – where-ever here is!”
Mr. Average shook his head in mock patience.
“Alex, did you watch the horrors of 9/11 on the TV with the rest of the world?”
“Yes.” he answered simply, trying to make sense of both his predicament and the reasons for his interrogation.
“Alex, in fifty words or less, I would like you to sum up what you saw.”
Brubaker squinted at the inquisitor, trying to figure out his motives and began;
“Well, two planes were hijacked by Al Qaeda and flown into the twin towers on the morning of September 11th. The towers burned for about an hour and then collapsed due to the fires and impacts.”
Mr. Average laughed out loud into Brubakers’ face. “Come on Alex, stop fucking around here. We both know that’s total bullshit. Now – what did you SEE?”
“What do you mean?”
The John Q waved his hand in a small circle as he spoke; “When the towers came down, what - as a demolition expert commissioned by the United States of America - did you see?”
Alex Brubaker squirmed in his restraints as he began to answer. “As the first tower began to fall, I could see controlled demolition charges detonating, floor by floor in a descending pattern.”
“Please continue...” offered the interrogating agent.
“Well, as I watched, I realised these explosions were about twenty to thirty floors below the charges that my team had placed. Those were NOT our work. Those charges were set by some-one else! Another team had to have been on location at the WTC before or after we were there!”
Mr. Average nodded in agreement, “See, now we’re getting some-where.”
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when the North Tower dropped right into its’ own footprint. Those charges had to have been set on virtually every other floor and deep into the underground foundation structure. That would have taken…weeks and weeks of work.”
“And what of the South Tower?” asked the John Q.
“I was never in the South Tower, but I know the blast pattern was exactly the same. The central core of the building was decimated within seconds and the tower…well both towers, dropped as neat as pins. This was as neat as a job could hope to be!”
“Neat huh…?”
“You know what I mean. Forget the fact that nearly three thousand people died that morning. The JOB itself was a master craft in demolition.” declared Brubaker.
Mr. Average smirked knowingly “We know…” then left any elaboration hanging in the air.
“I never could figure out why they had so much C-4 placed in the towers, it seemed total overkill, but after the planes crashed into them and they dropped like stones into a pond I knew!” Alex Brubaker frowned ever more deeply. “Why are you asking me all of these questions, when it’s obvious that you know all of this already?”
“It’s called being thorough, Alex. Just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”
“So why exactly am I here?” shouted Brubaker “What do you want from me. I’ve told you everything I know! Now I demand that you let me go!”
But Mr. Average carried on as if he hadn’t heard the outburst.
“You see Alex, since the first evening of 9/11 itself, the internet was filled with conspiracy theories. Everyone from Satan to Elvis was behind the attacks. Most of is complete crap of course, but we monitor the web looking for any info that is too close to the mark. Anything too accurate to be chance theories is looked at and the person responsible is put on our watch list.”
“See, your name has come up a few times lately on various chat rooms, albeit in a coded form. But you see Alex, we are the internet and there is nothing we can’t trace and uncover if we put our mind to it. So I suppose the question I’m getting around to is: Who have you discussed Operation Greek Fire with?”
“Nobody! Do you think I’m some fucking yahoo that shoots his mouth off about the people I’ve slotted over the years? No way that’s not me. D’you think I would have even been on that crew if I was like that?” spat out Brubaker.
“Well Alex, this is the problem, someone is getting very accurate with their guesses of explosives used, number of charges, schematics, trigger mechanisms and so on and so forth. So much so, we now believe that a member from one of the initial set up crews is doing their own research and putting the pieces together a little too well. Some-one like you!” Mr. Average stabbed the pin towards Brubaker to emphasise the point.
“No, I’ve told you I don’t pass any of my shit on. I’m a professional fucking agent. I took the oath of secrecy just as I imagine you did.”
“So you, Mr Alex Brubaker, orphan, single, career military service, no real friends, no family; never go on those chat rooms and mull over the New World Order and such like?”
“Fuck You! I’ve said all I’m going to say.”
“Maybe, maybe not.” replied the John Q.
Brubaker spat a gob of saliva towards the interrogator, which he avoided by way of a neat sidestep.
“Alex, we know you’ve chatted on line voicing your concerns. You probably thought you were safe using an alias and only using internet café’s for access but you underestimate our tenacity. If we want to find you – we will find you. Now I’ll ask you only once more…have you told anyone that you were part of the Greek Fire Ops Team?”
Brubaker clamped his mouth shut. If looks could kill, then Mr Average would have died instantly as if consumed by the most virulent disease known to man, such was Brubaker’s hatred for him at that moment.
“Very well.” said Mr Average, his mouth turning down into a frown of quiet resignation. He withdrew a compact pistol form inside his non-descript shirt.
“Scream if you want to Alex, we’re so far underground only a seismologist would hear you!”

A strange thing happens to a man at the point of certain death and each one reacts differently. Some have their life flash before them, some freak out in hysteria; some just lie down and accept it with a cold trembling fear.
Alex Brubaker did none of these; he started to sing a song quietly to himself. He knew that he was about to die and a scene from long ago came to mind.
A fellow Marine called Hayes had caught a sniper round in the right arm just by the shoulder joint and had been bleeding out in record time. Instead of crying out for help, the Marine had begun to sing a slow version of the theme from ‘Happy Days’ that old TV show with the Fonz and Ritchie Cunningham…bizarre but that’s the way he spent his last minutes on Earth, pumping out his blood onto the Iraqi sand and singing to himself.
Brubaker had been amazed at Hayes’ bravery and had hoped at that moment to one day die with the same level of dignity. Now it was his time…and his chance.
“Sunday, Monday, Happy Days, Tuesday, Wed”
The single shot removed the top of Agent Alex Brubaker’s skull in a microsecond.
Alex died without any pomp or ceremony.
Just died.

Mr. Average turned and walked over to a table that sat behind Brubaker’s steaming corpse. He picked up a telephone handset.
A voice that had been listening to proceedings from the start spoke: “How many are left Agent Keithly?”
“Sixteen members of Operation Greek Fire are still under interrogation at this very moment, Sir”
“Has anyone talked?”
“No Sir, no one has talked. They were all solid, Sir.”
“So, we are still secure on Operation Greek Fire? None of the thirteen squads know about the others in the towers?” asked the voice on the line.
“No Sir. And if any of them have put it together for themselves I’m sure they will remain silent. These guys are patriots Sir!”
“Of course they are; that’s why they were chosen in the first place. Continue with the clean up, Agent Keithly!”
“Yes Sir”
“Make very sure they haven’t talked then execute your orders with extreme prejudice!”
“Kill them all, just to be sure. We can’t risk any official trace of our hands in this debacle!”

“Yes, Mr President. Sir”
“Keithly, just call me George, I think we’ve been through enough shit to drop the titles by now…”
“Yes Sir, Mr President.”
The voice on the phone chuckled in his simple fashion.
“Carry on agent Keithly”
“Yes Sir”

A thousand miles away, in an oval shaped office, the man named George turned to the uniformed man beside him.
“Give Keithly two days to finish, then send down Agent Wilson to terminate him.”

The five star General looked back at the President and queried; “You sure you want to send Wilson, the man’s a psychotic – a patriot, but completely insane.”
George chuckled; “That’s why they’re chosen in the first place.”
“Very good Mr President, Sir!”
A wide grin spread across George’s face as he drummed his fingers on his desk.

Jim Hilton writes crime, thriller, fantasy and horror stories, to see more of his work visit


  1. Really thought provoking stuff this Jim. As I was reading it, I couldn't get the pictures of the twin towers coming down out of my mind.

  2. I've watched the twin towers come down on you tube countless times & this story is very close to the bone!
    Any one with eyes can see the detonations blasting down the building just as they start to drop.


  3. The more you look into 9/11, the more you become unsettled - this isn't a conspiracy theory ---the official nonsense trotted out by the Government is the real conspiracy story!

    Look with honest eyes and you will see!


  4. Here's another conspiracy theory A.B.
    You're not the A.B.from the story are you? The one supposedly killed by the CIA? Hmmmm?

  5. Hiya, Jim.
    There's certainly a lot going on in this story! Interesting take and well written. Keep up the good work.
    Ps. George will be discombobulated when he reads this!

  6. Thanks to all for your comments,not least to Matt for hosting it.

    'They say to write about what you know, but sometimes the fun is in the writing of what you believe to be so - rather than know to be!'

  7. Great piece, I think everybody loves a good conspiracy. I'm gonna hold that thought about the moment of certain death in my mind 'just in case' so if you hear on the news of someone hit by a bus and then singing the theme-tune from Diff'rent Strokes whilst crooked on the tarmac; raise a drink to me.