If a defense contractor faces a crisis, to whom should his loyalties lie: to his client, his country, or his company?
Patrick McLanahan is again retired from the U.S. Air Force and has joined former president Kevin Martindale in a new venture: providing high-tech aerial surveillance and other support missions for the U.S. Army in northern Iraq.
America's withdrawal from Iraq is underway, even though the Iraqi army is not yet ready, and the power vacuum has created new tensions. The Republic of Turkey is becoming much more aggressive against separatist Kurdish terrorists who are attacking targets in Turkey and then escaping to safe houses in Iraq.
As the violence escalates, the Turkish government feels it has no choice...but to invade Iraq.
The last American assistance and training brigade left in northern Iraq takes the brunt of the Turkish assault. Unwilling to have any more American casualties in Iraq, and equally unwilling to return any American troops to Iraq after ordering their withdrawal, President Joseph Gardner orders McLanahan and his contracting firm to watch the border for any more signs of trouble--after all, no one will care if a civilian contractor gets hurt.
But Patrick McLanahan has no intention of getting hurt. Instead of just watching the frontier, he blunts another Turkish assault with his XC-57 "Losers"--stealth bombers who lost the Next Generation Bomber competition and have been converted to multi-role aircraft.
His unilateral actions enrage the President and threaten to spark a war between allies America and Turkey. Patrick's contracts are canceled, and he is placed under arrest until he can return home to face prosecution.
But before he is taken into custody, Patrick receives a new contract and a new client: the Republic of Iraq. His new task: help the fledgling Iraqi army stop the Turks from taking the vital northern Iraqi cities and oil fields.
Vastly outnumbered except for the mind-numbing aerial technology at his command, Patrick and the Iraqi army must hold on long enough for Vice President Ken Phoenix's and Secretary of State Stacy Anne Barbeau's diplomatic missions to succeed. But will they be in time?