Peter the Great--The new Praetorian Guard by Jack Corbett
Reincarnated in the 20th century, Peter the Great, 17th century tsar of Russia creates his personal guard army
Peter's estate in the Sierra Nevada mountains was so vast, one could
easily get lost on it. He received his visitors at his house, which
he affectionately called his castle. The place encompassed only five
bedrooms and three bathrooms which hardly qualified it as a castle
or mansion befitting a man of his wealth and status. He preferred
living in and sleeping in modest surroundings and would not allow
himself to invite overnight guests he didn't respect and trust
absolutely. His house, a two story with an ample loft, nestled out
of view in the midst of a pine forest. A visitor could not see the
house until he was within fifty yards of it. Peter had built a
number of outbuildings among the trees where he put up his visitors.
High up in the trees were a number of guards stations artfully
camouflaged from prying eyes. Two utterly unforgettable looking
blondes lived with him. Heather and Loki traveled with him while
functioning as his private secretaries whether on the road or at
home. To the casual observer they could have been twins. The two
women were over five eight and long legged with tight shapely asses.
They could have easily passed for strippers. In fact, the rumor had
long been out that they had both been on the feature entertainer
circuit and that Peter had met them in a strip club. Peter had
deliberately planted such disinformation to help conceal their true
identities as former agents for Israel's Mossad. Both were highly
skilled in the martial arts and very proficient in small arms. And
both had killed on assignment from their former employer.
Although his house was unpretentious he called it his castle and
often referred to it as "The Pine Forest". And it was the Pine
Forest that was his castle since it provided a cover for the network
of buildings and the labyrinth of tunnels connecting the
outbuildings throughout his estate. Several miles from this home
base was the firing range. It was just far enough away that those
staying at the Pine Forest couldn't hear the sounds of gun shots.
It was here that Sergei Soronovich found Peter the Great supervising his
newest crop of students. Peter had spent several million dollars
building the range. What distinguished it from most run ranges
whether run by civilians or the military was the sophistication of
its targets. An elaborate system of cables and tracks covered ten
acres that varied in their topography from forest, grasslands,
marshes, and open areas. Men and women going through the course
would be constantly confronted with an ever changing array of
targets popping up from the ground, moving swiftly on small tracks,
and even seeming to appear out of the mid air.
The purpose of the firing range was to provide the greatest degree
of realism possible while developing an unconscious readiness to
fire in Peter the Great's students
that is sometimes referred to as instinctive
shooting. Peter watched several young men hunkering down in a
foxhole with their M-16's. Suddenly the noise of firing was heard
fifty yards from them out in the trees. Simultaneously several
figures popped up from the ground wearing helmets. Each man raised
his M-16 and fired a three second burst at each figure. Two of the
figures immediately collapsed onto the ground. The third one
continued to stand for a second as its head was blown clean off
while a red liquid exploded into the air and splattered onto the
limbs and pine needles of a pine tree.
"That's as close to the real thing as it gets," Peter said to Sergei
Soronovich. "How did things go with the Supreme Court justices?"
"We got to them too late," said Sergei. "They died in their sleep
before we got the chance to poison them."
"They what?" asked Peter incredulously.
"I am serious. Both of them died at the same time I had---we had,
nothing to do with it."
Peter knew what had happened but didn't say anything to Sergei.
After all, it was none of the man's business. "I'm going to have to
talk to God about this," Peter promised himself. "We need to get a
few things straight. Starting with, if I decide to have someone
killed, then by God, I'm going to do it. I have the means. I have
developed a small cadre of highly skilled operatives. Take Sergei
here for instance.
Sergei had been living in the United States for eight years, taking
jobs as a cab driver, a bartender, and a construction worker. Prior
to emigrating to the United States he had been a Russian citizen and
had served in the Soviet Army before the Soviet bloc had collapsed.
He had done several tours of duty in Afghanistan as a soldier in the
elite Soviet Special forces. While in Afghanistan he had served as a
sniper, as a member of counterintelligence, and had supervised a
number of commando raids resulting in the executions of several
hundred Afghani leaders. Heather had uncovered Sergei's true
identity through her Mossad connections. Sergei's exploits had
immediately intrigued Peter who promptly sent Heather and Loki on a
road trip to make contact with him.
The two women picked Sergei up in a night club and took him out to
an early morning dinner afterwards. At the restaurant they invited
him to Peter's estate where he wound up spending two months as one
of the very few to enjoy a prolonged stay at Peter's private
residence. There the two men found that they had much in common,
starting with a true Machiavellian's profound belief that the end
always justified the means. Sergei also shared Peter's commitment to
the concept of Benevolent Despotism and that a Democracy could not
succeed in the kind of violent world promised by the 21st century,
which most men of common sense prophesied would be far more
tumultuous than the twentieth century had ever been.
Above all, Sergei was Russian. As a well-educated Russian Sergei was
well-acquainted with the legendary exploits and successes of
Russia's greatest leader of all time, Peter the Great. And well
before his two month stay at the Pine Forest was over, Sergei was
firmly convinced that Peter was Peter the Great.
As a good judge of human character, Peter saw the killer lurking
inside Sergei Soronovich. To prove that his instincts were correct,
Peter pitted him against some of the best fighters at his disposal,
who composed the core of Peter's private guard. These were men
highly trained in the martial arts with the exception of one man who
had been a professional boxer and had once been ranked in the top
ten in the light heavyweight division. In the ring, Sergei didn't
waste time with the skills learned in training for either the
martial arts or the art of boxing. His quickness and strength were
phenomenal. He'd simply wade into his opponent without fear and
overpower him with his superior speed and power, pummeling him into
the ground with non-stop ferocity. Sergei later confessed to Peter
that after the first blow, whether he or his opponent had delivered
it, he simply lost it and did not remember throwing a single punch.
He beat every single man pitted against him except for the boxer who
just happened to be even a little quicker than he was.
"It doesn't really matter," Peter said to Sergei Soronovich as
Sergei's cell phone started to ring. "They are both dead and that is
what counts. I can now appoint their replacements and after I have
done that, we will control the Supreme Court."
"It's Heather," Sergei replied. "General Ligori has arrived. Do you
want me to collect him and bring him here or do you want me to drive
you to the castle to meet with him?"
"Bring him here," said Peter. "I need him here to make the right
Peter had a varied group of vehicles to transport people back and
forth throughout his estate from dirt bikes and four wheelers to
jeeps and hummers, four wheel drive pickup trucks, and horses.
Sergei drove off in a bright green jeep.
Suddenly a bearded gruff looking man with a large pot belly appeared
"How'd you get in here and slip by my guard?" Peter asked the man
"That was easy. I'm God," said the man. "Remember me? I'm your
"Well I'm damned glad you showed up," said Peter. "I've got a bone
to pick with you. Why did you kill those two Supreme Court Justices?
I wanted Sergei to do it. He needs more experience."
"I put them to sleep just to prove to you that I am behind you 100
percent," said God.
"Well, can't you prove you are behind me in some other way? Look
God, if you feel like you have to kill someone, can't you ask me
"I wanted all suspicion dropped from Sergei," God replied. Right now
the FBI seems very interested in him. They know he's Russian and
they know he's done some top level stuff for the Soviets in
Afghanistan. Because of that they are investigating his possible
ties to terrorism."
"Well, we are going to just have to have the FBI become uninterested
in him. But that's going to take a little time," said Peter. So does
Sergei have a good alibi?"
"I arranged a good one for him. During those hours the judges died
in their sleep Sergei was out visiting a whorehouse."
"I didn't know that Sergei visited whores."
"He didn't-or at least not until I guided that silky haired long
legged beauty right into him. She had a cab waiting and it didn't
take much for her to convince him to visit her and her friends."
"Jesus, God. Why'd you have to do that? And I'll be the FBI was
watching him all the time."
"They sure were which is the whole idea. He's covered. What better
alibi than for a man to be in a whorehouse getting his rocks off."
"So why are you here, God? And why are you posing as a fat guy?"
"I want the job as your Secretary of War."
"But you already are Attorney General."
"That's why I've got another identity as a fat man. I can't be both
Attorney General and your Secretary of War and look like the same
"Why do you want both jobs?"
"Look, you need me. And you need me right now. In just a few minutes
General Ligori's going to be here and you are going to need all the
friends you can get to drive men like him into line. As Secretary of
War, I will be his new boss."
"Just remember then, that as President of the United States, I am
Commander in Chief of the entire United States Armed forces, which
means I am even over you, God, who will merely be my Secretary of
War. I can make you or break you."
"Let's not get into all that, right now," said God. Just remember,
that with God at your side, how can you lose?"
General Ligori arrived in the jeep with Sergei at the wheel. Seeing
his commander in chief, President Peter talking with a long haired
man with a pot belly he had never seen before, General Ligori jumped
out of the jeep and saluted Peter.
"General Ligori, I want you to meet our new Secretary of War, Mr.
err," Peter searched for a name before remembering that God had
never told him his latest identity.
"Dr. Harry Armstrong, God replied, introducing himself. But you may
call me Army." said God as he extended his hand.
"We don't have much time," said Peter. "All of us have a lot to do.
But you are familiar with the Pavlonian Response theories as it
applies to modern day infantry combat, General Ligori, but here we
are taking it a step or two further."
"I am very familiar with it," General Ligori replied. Back during
World War II and in all previous wars men in combat had only a 15 %
firing rate when facing the enemy. This is because in all men
regardless of nationality there is a natural human adversion to
taking another man's life. Experience has shown that soldiers will
often not fire to kill the enemy even if their own lives are in
danger. It's the other 15 % that do most of the killing along with
long range machine gun fire, bombs, and artillery when combatants
don't have to face each other at close to medium range. The 15 % who
are not adverse to firing on the enemy are not exactly normal, but
thank God we've got them because if we didn't we'd lose practically
every battle we ever fought. But with newer combat training methods
this firing rate jumped up to over 50 % during the 1950's during the
Korean War and over 90 % in Vietnam."
"Exactly," said Peter. Soldiers used to have to fire at paper
targets that bore little resemblance to the human beings they would
be expected to fire upon in combat. But by the time of the Vietnam
War the military had them firing at much more realistic targets.
Silhouettes resembling real men. And pop up targets. They'd have the
men sitting in fox holes and whenever a pop up came into view they
were expected to shoot at it. The pop up when hit would fall down
thus stimulating an enemy soldier who had been just been shot. It
would become a stimulus response kind of thing like Pavlov's dogs
which would be fed everytime a bell was rung. After a time the dogs
would salivate knowing they would be fed whenever the bell was rung
so they would associate the bell with food and their salivary glands
would open up each time the bell stimulated them. It operates in the
same manner. The soldier sees a silhouette target or a popup and he
fires and after awhile he gets so used to it that he operates on
automatic. So when he finally sees enemy soldiers during war, he
kills without a thought. Stimulus...response. He thinks of the enemy
as the pop ups he was trained on. At the same time the military
keeps brainwashing him that the enemy is less than human. He's a
gook or a Chink, or a Kraut or a Jap. He is of a different culture
that doesn't think at all like Americans. The culture is barbaric.
The enemy soldiers kill and torture prisoners. He does not respect
human life, least of all his own. It has all gotten to be very
sophisticated and today's American soldier has become the most prone
of all to fire on the enemy upon instinct."
"But here, we have taken things one step further," Dr. Armstrong
added. Here with our even more modern training methods we are
experiencing firing rates that exceed 95 %. And of even greater
importance, our trainees are getting much more speed and accuracy
out of their weapons than any other branch of the service."
"Nonsense," said General Ligori. "I am a Marine and I doubt very
much that you have achieved any significantly greater scores than
the Marine Corps."
"Wanta bet?" Peter challenged. "You are observing our trainees
shooting melons and how they explode thus even more closely
stimulating a man's head blowing up. Now we are going to give you a
"I really don't think you can prove anything to me," said General
Ligori. "Everyone knows the Marines are the first to hit the beaches
and are the assault troops the military relies on to get in close
when the going gets tough."
"Let's back off a few hundred yards," said Peter. "Everyone in the
Now five hundred yards from the pop up targets, Peter handed Dr
Armstrong an M-16 as he turned to General Ligori.
"Dr Armstrong is now going to give you a demonstration on how
effective our new training methods are. He's our Secretary of War
and he's not exactly a spring chicken anymore. He's out of shape and
yet he's going to shoot from five hundred yards instead of fifty."
"Yeah, and fuck you too, Mr. President, Dr. Armstrong growled.
Amazingly Dr Armstong started to pick off each pop up target from
five hundred yards away and was able to do it within one second of
the target's appearance. Each target dropped after having its head
shot into watermelon puree. General Ligori watched, fascinated, with
his mouth hanging open in disbelief.
"Don't ever ask our new Secretary of War about his credentials.
You've just seen them in action," Peter said pompously.
"I want one thousand of your most promising Marines," said Dr.
Armstrong. They will be your best men when we get done with them
here at the Pine Forest."
"Well, I'll have to say that I'm impressed. No, I'm overwhelmed,"
General Ligori replied.
"One more thing," said Peter. "I will consider you our staunchest
ally. I expect some of the other generals from the other branches of
the service to criticize our new methods. I will depend upon you.
And to further insure your loyalty we have put ten million on
deposit for you in a Central American Bank account. It should
augment your pension most handsomely."
General Ligori was a busy man. After he had left, Peter said to God:
"Dr. Armstrong. We have appointments with five more generals from
other branches of the service. We will wind up with their total
loyalty to our cause and modern training methods. We will get 1,000
more trainees from the Navy Seals, 1,000 from the Army Special
Forces, 1,000 from the U. S. Army Rangers and another 2,000 direct
from elite formations of the Air Force and the Navy. This gives me
6,000 men who are directly loyal to me and me only in addition to
those I already have and our bribe money will help insure the
support of key commanders throughout our Armed forces. Like the
Roman emperor 2,000 years ago with his own personal bodyguard we
have our new Praetorian Guard which will do whatever I ask with
"Well don't gloat too much," said God. "You have been making the
right moves and are smelling like a rose, but only because it is I
who have given you free will."