Retired Major John Powers, The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D).
This is an honor to be a able to directly speak to my fans. Thank you for taking the time. Owen calls me his “go-to-guy,” whatever that means, but kindly enough, he’s made me the main character going forward in his action/suspense/thriller series, starting with Operation Black Swan, the sequel to Due Diligence. No, I was not in his DD, you’ll have to ask him why yourself. I’m not bitching, I got a main role now.
I was born in Boulder, Colorado, which probably accounts for my love of the outdoors, mountains and local brewed beers. I attended Boulder High School and later graduated from Colorado University at Boulder with a degree in Film Studies. My mother, bless her heart, taught Calculus in the Engineering School at CU and had wanted me to become an engineer. Not for me, I said to mom. Dad was a doctor at the Fitzsimmons Army Hospital and of course he wanted me to be a doctor. Other than playing doctor while in elementary school and later doing an internship while in high school, I had no interest in being an adult doctor. Sorry dad.
I had a calling to serve my country and so, I joined the Army right out of CU. From the start, my interest had been special forces and I made that known from day one. Well, they took me up on it and after four years of service and Ranger school, upon turning 22, I was able to attend OSUT, One Station Unit Training. From there I went to Fort Benning for airborne training. Followed by Special Operations Preparation Course or SOPC and then finally, Military Operations Safety or MOS. The hardest part of the training, at least for me, was keeping all the alphabet acronyms in order. Just kidding. I don’t want to make light of this training. I became a man while in the Army. The physical and leadership skills I learned, would have made a success at any endeavor I would have chosen after that.
Because of my special skills, good looks and I don’t know what else, I was recruited to join the C.I.A to be part of a group I cannot tell you about. No really, I can’t talk about it. I was there 3 years and loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, I developed a heart murmur as a result, they say, of hyperthyroidism. You can call my dad, the doctor, for a more detailed explanation. Needles to say, I was asked to become an analyst instead and sit at a desk. Refer to paragraph one above, I love the outdoors. No desk job for me, thank you. So, having met Alex Cardenas while at the C.I.A., I asked to join his newly formed company Sect-Intel in Chicago, Illinois. You’ll read about Alex or Mr. C, as we call him, in his bio. I now head the Alpha Team, a diverse group of characters, each with their own specialties and idiosyncrasies.
I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at
Let me tell you about us…
Alejandro “Alex” Cardenas. The Boss or Mr. C. as we all call him.
Alejandro Cardenas. Alex, as most everyone knew him, had arrived in Miami at six years old when his parents had immigrated to the United States, fleeing the newly formed Communist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. The Cardenas family had assimilated well to their new country. They learned the language, found jobs and went about their lives with comfort and tranquility. Alex attended the local high school, and then he enrolled at the University of Florida where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business and later graduated with a law degree from the University of Miami. During his studies at the University of Miami, he was recruited by the CIA with the promise that he would be involved in the overthrow of Fidel Castro’s Communist regime. He had distinguished himself in International Law studies and had spoken in public forums against the oppression of socialist dictatorships in Latin America. Alex had become an American citizen while in high school and had developed a love for his new country. Yet, he could not help but feel a calling to be part of liberating Cuba, a country that his parents had been forced to leave, abandoning everything behind to assure freedom and safety for themselves and their son. Alex saw his role with the CIA as a way he could both serve his new country and help to liberate his country of birth.
At six foot two, he was tall, and his mother, Carla, was always kidding that he took after his American uncle, Peter, who had married her sister in Havana, which would always lead his father, José, to quip, “That’s not funny, Carla.” He never knew that it was Uncle Peter, himself a CIA agent working in the American Embassy in Havana, Cuba, during the fifties, who had recommended Alex to the CIA for recruitment.
Even before his extensive training with the CIA, Alex developed a strong body and an affinity for martial arts. He had played baseball in high school, and then in college, besides baseball, he had also become a good boxer. With the CIA, he had been attached to American law firms as a “Non Official Cover Operative” or “NOC” in Nicaragua, Panama, Washington, D.C., and Venezuela, giving him many opportunities to travel and meet people.
In 2002 Mr. C. opened Sect-Intel, a private security and intelligence company under contract to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the CIA.
Sect-Intel Group had its offices at the Garland Building in Chicago, a few steps from Michigan Avenue’s Cultural Mile and overlooking Lake Michigan. Alex decided to abandon his work as a non-official cover operative or NOC with the CIA. However, having spent much of his life in the tradecraft business, he opted to continue in the same line of work, but this time as an owner of an intelligence and security company instead of as an operative. The many contacts and friendships he had developed through the years would prove very advantageous to him as he opened his new business.
Muller Estrada Palma
Jackie Allison. As part of my team, Jackie Allison is working with Sect-Intel. She had formerly been a covert operative with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA. Jackie is in her early thirties, spoke three languages, is trained as a flight engineer, and is a licensed pilot, checked out on various planes, including jets. Besides all her qualifications, she is a knockout with legs that wot n’t quit, medically enhanced breasts, and long brown hair that caressed her sensuous neck and shoulders. Her dark eyes were warm and inviting as was her demeanor. Not that I am looking or anything. She is a natural for this team, having been covertly embedded in various operations during her years with the DEA.
Melissa “Mel” Harrington. The fourth member of my team is Melissa Harrington, or as we called her, Mel. She is twenty-two years old, born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Mel had been tried as an adult for murder at the age of seventeen after she killed her stepfather. Her defense attorneys proved that her stepfather had physically abused her mother and had sexually molested Melissa from the age of fourteen years old. However, her attorneys were unable to prove that on the day she killed her tormentor, she had been acting in self-defense. I wished I had been there for her that day. I mean, I think this young lady is special. She just got caught in a no-win situation. The case had been pleaded down to manslaughter, and she was found guilty. The judge reluctantly sentenced her to ten years in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama. Not a place I would want to be in. She never really talked about her time in prison. However, from what she did share, I could tell that she suffered more during her first year in prison than she had in four years at the hands of her stepfather. At least then she had her mother to console her. Learning Brazilian jujitsu, a martial arts technique designed for smaller persons and females, she vowed that she would never again be under someone else’s control and she succeeded. At just over eighteen years old, she became the protector of many young women in her cellblock. Occasionally challenged by other inmates during her last three years, she was able to overcome these confrontations and was left alone for the balance of her sentence. Mel had developed a reputation as a badass, and it served her well. She taught the martial arts to others and received her high school diploma prior to her parole. Jackie and I were also well versed in the martial arts due to our own backgrounds, but Mel was having fun teaching Joey all about it.
She wore her blond hair in spikes, cut very short around the sides. She was lean and muscular but not in a masculine way. At five feet six inches, with hazel bright eyes, well-balanced curvatures, and light skin, she was an attractive young lady. Internally, though, she was hardened, cynical, short-fused, and ready to strike at a moment’s notice. We could tell that deep down, she was a kind, tender, loving person. Her past, however, made her mask those sentiments, as the demons inside her prevailed at times. I guess we all have our demons.
Joey Valentine. The third member of my team, Joey, had joined us a year ago.
Joey Valentine was born in Detroit, Michigan to an African-American mother on Valentine’s Day. His birth certificate read “father unknown.” His loving and protective mother and grandmother raised him. Joey showed an aptitude for computers at the age of twelve, and his mother quickly exposed him to programming and writing code in the hope that would be his ticket out of the ghetto. Every day through high school, his mother would walk him to school and his grandmother would pick him up in the afternoons. Their efforts paid off when Joey graduated from high school and won a scholarship to Michigan State. He graduated from there in just three years with a master’s degree in computer science. Something that was totally foreign to me — computers and science, that is.
His future had been bright, and he told me that he had dreamed at one point of taking care of his mother and grandmother as soon as he entered the lucrative world of technology and Wall Street. His only mistake came weeks after graduating, when a local well-organized gang from his neighborhood threatened to kill his grandmother if he did not hack into a local bank and divert funds to a series of fraudulent accounts. Joey made the transfer successfully. However, the authorities tracking his breach were able to identify him. He was charged and found guilty. Appealing for mercy, his mother convinced the judge to place him on probation. The judge acquiesced and ordered probation for five years, after which his record would be expunged assuming no other infractions.
Joey is skinny as a rail, baby-faced, and five feet eight inches tall. He wears large black-rimmed trifocals and always dresses preppy. To me, he looks like a young scholar. This kid’s smile is radiant and engaging, a sign of an outgoing personality and somewhat in contrast to the typical nerd. He loves being part of the team. He thinks he is a spy.
Ret. Captain Javier “Javi” Rodrigues. The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D).
The eclectic Alpha Team is featued in Operation Black Swan and continue their
missions in The Dead Have Secrets.