Hi, Reader Friends and New Subscribers! This is Dee with some quick news: Today we have TWO-posts-in-one for you. The first is D.I. Telbat’s introduction to his new novelette, Primary Objective: A Christian Rescue Mission, NOW available from Amazon! Click the title to check out our new book page, the new cover, a description, and link to where you can buy this short story. After David’s short Primary Objection intro, enjoy his new COIL Support Staff Short Story, “Tested Efficiency.” Now, here’s David…
Christian Courage in Africa – New Novelette
Dear Friends, The courage required to live as a Christian in Africa should bring every American Christian to our knees. Are you reading the news updates from Africa? Are you following the terrors of evil that afflict our brothers and sisters in Christ? My new story exposes some of the issues that African Christians are presently enduring. Whether we face life or death, no matter where we live, Christians should have a primary objective: to glorify Jesus Christ through our lives.
Primary Objective: Libya
This novelette is about a COIL extraction mission that spans from a Libyan terrorist compound, to an adventure in Egypt. It will give you just a taste of conditions in Africa and the mere survival of anyone who is a Christian in the midst of Islamic bondage. But underlying the book’s action, you’ll also find a love story.
For those of you who enjoy my COIL novels, Primary Objective: A Christian Rescue Mission is a little filler as you await the next COIL books to hit the shelves this winter. Meanwhile, join COIL Operative Rand Lasky and Covert Christian Amber Zilman in a fast-paced thriller along the coastline of the Mediterranean.
In Africa or in America, may you live as Courageous Christians!
See you on the next page,
A COIL Support Staff Short Story
Dear Friends, if you’ve read the COIL novels, then you may have asked yourself, who supports all these Christian operatives? Well, those who support the operatives are just as extraordinary as the operatives themselves. Meet Lukas Thurman, COIL Support Staff…
by D.I. Telbat
Lukas Thurman parked his rental car on the curb of his boyhood home and took a deep breath. It was never easy coming home. He preferred the laboratory in New York where he developed the Commission of International Laborers’ most intricate non-lethal weapons. But family—even one with a lot of problems—was still family.
Before Lukas climbed out of the car, he collected his backpack of clothes for the weekend, and the roller blades he used to stay fit. Eugene, Oregon, had miles of bike paths he couldn’t wait to revisit. As an afterthought, he plucked a pen from the visor. At least, it appeared to be a pen.
The pen was actually his latest improvement on one of COIL’s tranquilizer weapons. The toxin was the same as the tranq-pens COIL already used, except this one alternated between a writing instrument and a toxic needle weapon between clicks. Lukas had yet to consider the finishing touches to have a factory mass-produce the stealth item. What color should it be? Was the length of the short needle long enough? Did the texture of the outer casing still function well inside someone’s sweaty palm? There was much to consider for COIL’s international operatives.
He tucked the pen into his shirt pocket and climbed out of the car. Even though he’d been a track star in high school and a popular teenager in the neighborhood, he’d only returned home once before leaving for college. Maybe it was avoidance. Maybe it was shame. It certainly hadn’t been because of the cost of travel between New York and Oregon. COIL always encouraged its operatives and lab techs to travel and test its equipment through domestic airports before live runs abroad.
Lucas observed a pickup in the driveway behind his mother’s old sedan. Unless his older sister, Naomi, had bought this truck with monster tires meant for rural settings, she’d never owned her own car.
Clenching his teeth, Lukas wondered if he were about to meet a new man his mother had hooked up with. Was he about to meet his stepfather?
No one could ever replace his dad. He’d been the glue for the family before he’d died in a car wreck when Lukas was in junior high. The settlement money from the accident had been the worst thing for the grieving family, especially his mother. For years, she’d been dysfunctional. When Lukas had legally contested ownership of the house four years earlier, he’d won by default for lack of a court appearance by others. Otherwise, he was certain his family would’ve been living on the streets by now.
At the front door, Lukas nudged a beer can off the doorstep into the untrimmed bushes. The lawn hadn’t been cared for. Sure, the West Coast drought was hard on everyone, but his mother hadn’t even made an effort! The other middle class neighborhood houses weren’t rundown, their lawns didn’t host stray weeds or bits of trash.
He knocked on the door, waited, then knocked again. Nothing. It was eleven in the morning.
He opened the unlocked door, and a waft of humid, rank air reached his nostrils—alcohol and sweat. Lukas looked back at his car. He could return to the airport and fly back to New York without his family ever knowing he’d come home to the expected disappointment.
No, he decided, and entered the house. He’d been praying for God to develop him more as a Christ-like man. The family he’d practically disowned couldn’t be avoided any longer. No one else could do what his conscience had urged him to take care of.
He set his backpack on a stack of unread months-old newspapers. Hi mother, Lylia, lay on the living room sofa in a tangle of sheets. Her hand hung off the sofa, fingertips resting on a wine bottle that had spilled and soaked into the carpet hours before. Wistfully, he touched her slender neck. There was still a pulse. At least he wasn’t returning to a funeral.
In the kitchen, he ignored a sink full of dishes and checked the fridge. Beer and pizza. And someone’s misplaced cellphone. He wandered down the hallway, aware of a tightening in his rib cage, but he held back the tears. Entering his sister’s room, the speakers played quiet techno music, muffled by a pair of jeans tossed aside without care.
Lukas crossed his arms and stared down at his sleeping—or passed out—sister in the arms of a stranger. The man had long sideburns and a tattoo of the Grim Reaper on his bare chest. Needle marks spotted the inside of the man’s arm.
“God, tell me what to do here,” Lucas whispered.
A single word penetrated his mind—softer but more prominent than other words that seemed to shout for him to run, to abandon, to forget what he’d once been a part of. That single word was SERVE. He wasn’t even there to clean up their lives. Not that day, at least. No, he was there to serve the people he’d once known.
They needed to be loved. They needed the presence of a caring person to impress upon them by an unavoidable testimony that their lives were precious, that alcohol and the world weren’t the answers to a decade of grief and loss. His work for COIL had prepared him to do what needed to be done.
Lukas walked into what used to be his parents’ bedroom, now cluttered with unwashed clothes. A muted television played outer space animation. He turned the TV off and palmed his phone.
“This is Lukas Thurman. I’m calling to leave a message for Corban Dowler. Yeah, please tell him I’ll be staying in Oregon indefinitely. He was right about me coming home. And I’ll look into setting up a COIL R-and-D office here so I can keep working, if that’s okay. I’ll be in touch. Thanks.”
He pocketed his phone, though he suddenly realized he had a dozen other people to call if he were indeed moving to the West Coast. The local church he’d gone to as a teenager—they needed to get involved in his family’s recovery. At least they could start praying for them. And there was the matter of finances. Like the house, he had legal authority to temper his mother’s spending of the settlement money. It was time to do what his father would’ve done. Rebuild. Start over. Care. And not from a distance.
“Who are you?”
Lukas turned to see his sister’s boyfriend in his shorts, fists clenched, blocking the doorway.
“I’m Lukas, Naomi’s little brother.”
“You ain’t little, even if Naomi did have a brother.” He scoffed and scratched his chest tattoo. “I’ve known her for years, and I’ve never seen you. You need to leave, mister.”
“No, I’m moving back in. But you can leave. In fact . . .” Lukas smiled and plucked the tranq-pen from his shirt pocket. “I insist you leave until you get cleaned up.”
“Oh, you think you’re a shot-caller, huh?” The man took a confident step toward him. “No punk in fancy slacks is gonna tell me to get outta my own house. I ran over your type in prison for years.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Lukas clicked the tranq-pen, wondering if the prototype would actually work. “Any last words before I lay you to rest in the back of your truck?”
“You talk too much!”
The man swung wide and slow. Lukas ducked under the blow and stepped past him. Without turning, he slammed the pen into the man’s backside. Immediately, Lukas checked his watch as his sister’s boyfriend stumbled across the room.
“Three, two, one . . . .” Lukas counted the seconds and set his watch timer.
The man raised an arm, his eyes drooped, then he tipped over to land on the bed, face down. Satisfied, Lukas clicked his pen twice.
“Excellent. It does work!”
Lukas pulled the unconscious man over his shoulder and carried him out to his truck as promised. From his sister’s room, he collected what few clothes and belongings that seemed to belong to the man, and tossed them into the back of the truck as well.
Inside the house, Lukas found a garbage bag and started cleaning up. Beer cans, fast food wrappers, even partially eaten food—it all went into the trash. He needed to go to the store for groceries and real food, but not until the boyfriend was sorted out.
Twenty minutes later, Lukas’ watch beeped, and he took a glass of water outside and sat on the doorstep. The tranquilizer wore off right on time, and the man in the back of the truck sat up.
“What’d you do to me?” He rubbed his forehead.
“What’s your name?”
“Benny. Benny Engles. You really Naomi’s brother?”
“Yep. And I’m here to stay, too. You and I could be friends, but not the way you’re living. We probably have a lot to talk about, but not while you’re committed to drugs and drinking.”
“I’m gonna sue you for assault!” The man climbed halfway out of the truck, then fell on the lawn. “I’m calling the police!”
“Yes, let’s call them.” Lukas sipped his water. “It’ll be interesting telling my old friends, who are now cops, how a drug user is squatting in my house. By the way, the house is in my name. You still want me to call the police, Benny?”
“No. I’m leaving.”
Lukas set his glass aside and went over to help Benny stand against his truck.
“I’m not your enemy, Benny.” Lukas grabbed the man’s shirt from the back of the truck and handed it to him. “I’m not even against you being around the house or with my sister. But it’s time you got cleaned up, isn’t it? Do you have a job? Where do you live when you’re not crashing here? You can’t keep going like this. At some point, you have to take responsibility.” Lukas offered Benny his jeans, and the man took them with a downcast face. “What do you say? Is this something you can think about?”
“Yeah.” Benny sighed and thrust his bare feet into tennis shoes. “You’re really Naomi’s brother?”
“I am. You really like her, huh?”
“She’s fun, I guess.”
“Well, you come back and visit us when you’re ready, okay?” Lukas opened the truck door. “You steady enough to drive?”
“Yeah, it’s just a hangover.” Benny climbed into the driver’s seat and rolled down the window. “You’re strange, you know that?”
“The fights I’ve been in—those guys don’t much want to know me afterward.”
“We can start fresh, Benny.” Lukas offered his hand. “How about Sunday after church we meet at the park up the street?”
“I won’t be clean by Sunday.”
“That’s why we’ll meet at the park. We have to start somewhere.”
“Okay.” Benny loosely gripped Lukas’ hand, then started his truck. “You’ll tell Naomi why I had to leave?”
“Sure. I’ll tell her.” Lukas backed away, shielding his eyes from the sun. “She’s probably been waiting for a guy like you who wanted to get clean and be the man God made you to be.”
“Okay. See you Sunday.” Benny backed out of the driveway.
Lukas waved, then returned to the house. In the living room, he admired the tranq-pen from his pocket. The little gizmo had been trial-tested, but COIL’s weaponry alone couldn’t change lives. Lukas knew he had taken on a role he never had before, but with the Lord inside him to help and motivate, he would be an effective man for his family. Maybe even in Benny Engles’ life as well.
Next to his sleeping mother on the sofa, Lukas sat down on the edge of the cushion and began to pray for her.
NOTES: You can find other longer D.I. Telbat short stories here. Also, Books In Motion is putting the final touches on the COIL Book 5 Dark Zeal AUDIO! Watch our Audiobooks Page for that news in the next few days!
COMING UP: Join us next week for some interesting research for D.I. Telbat’s new COIL Legacy Series, “Research to Chew On.” And for the following post, there’s word of a “Secret COIL Christmas Gathering.” Shhhh…. 😉