The First Commandment - Brad Thor

The First Commandment

Brad Thor

Chapter 1

CAMP DELTA

U.S. NAVAL STATION

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA

When it was hot and humid, life in Cuba hovered somewhere between absolute misery and “the bath is ready does anyone have some razor blades?” But when it was cold and raining, Cuba was downright unbearable. Tonight was one of those nights.

When the guards arrived at the isolation cells of Delta’s “Camp 5,” where the most dangerous and highest-intelligence-value detainees resided, they were in a worse mood than usual. And it wasn’t because of the weather. Something was wrong. It was written all over their faces as they pulled five prisoners from their cells and ordered them at gunpoint to strip.

Philippe Roussard hadn’t been at Guantanamo the longest, but he had definitely been interrogated the hardest. A European of Arab descent, he was a sniper of extraordinary ability whose exploits were legendary. Videos of his kills played on continuous loops on jihadist websites across the internet. To his Muslim brothers he was nothing short of a superhero in the radical Islamist pantheon. To the United States, he was a horrific killing machine responsible for the deaths of over one hundred U. S. soldiers.

As Roussard looked into the eyes of his jailers, though, he saw more than the usual pure hatred. Tonight it was coupled with absolute disgust. Whatever middle-of-the-night interrogation tactic the Joint Task Force Guantanamo soldiers had in store for Roussard and his four colleagues, something told him it wasn’t going to be like anything they had experienced before. The guards appeared on the verge of losing control.

Had an attack been successfully executed against the United States? What else could have put the soldiers in such a state?

If so, Roussard felt certain that the Americans would make the prisoners pay. Undoubtedly, they had devised yet another humiliating exercise designed to insult their prisoners’ Muslim sensibilities. Privately, Roussard hoped the torture involved the attractive blond soldier and that she would disrobe down to her lacy, black lingerie and rub herself against him. Though he knew it was wrong, his fantasies of what he wanted to do to that woman were what kept him nicely occupied during the long, lonely hours of isolation he endured.

He was still speculating about his fate when he heard the door at the far end of the cell block shut. Roussard looked up, hoping it was the blond, but it wasn’t. Another soldier had entered carrying five paper shopping bags. As he passed, he threw each of the prisoners a bag.

“Get dressed!” he ordered in awkward Arabic.

Confused, all of the prisoners, including Philippe, removed the civilian clothing from their bags and began to get dressed. The men cast furtive glances at one another as they tried to figure out what was happening. Roussard was reminded of stories he’d heard about Jewish concentration camp prisoners who were told they were being taken for showers when they were actually on their way to the gas chambers.

He doubted the Americans were dressing them in new clothes only to execute them, but nevertheless the uncertainty of what they were about to face filled him with more than a little trepidation.

“Why don’t they try to make a run for it?” one of the guards whispered to his comrade as he stroked the trigger guard of his M-16. “I just want one of these fuckers to rabbit on us.”

“This is bullshit,” replied the other. “What the hell are we doing?”

“You two, shut up!” barked their commander, who then called in a series of commands over his radio.

Something definitely wasn’t right.

Once they were completely clothed, shackles were placed around their wrists and ankles and they