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Dead Six is a Military Fiction novel co-written by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari published in 2011. The world is currently a hellhole with corrupt governments and secret organizations running it. Veteran and mercenary Michael Valentine is recruited by a secret government organization to conduct a terror operation in the small nation of Zubara in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, a thief and assassin known as Lorenzo is blackmailed by a vicious crime lord who wants him to commit an impossible heist. Their goals bring chaos and terror to Zubara, while Valentine and Lorenzo soon come into conflict with each other. Both men will kill anyone in their way to complete their objectives, but secrets and hidden conspiracies lie everywhere.
Alternate History: It's not specified when the story takes place. But Ling describes her childhood and a Chinese Civil War that left the country divided into North and South, with a DMZ along the Yangtze River. Ling is an adult, so this had to have happened some years prior to the events of the story. Also, the UN seems to have a lot more power than it does in the real world, and Mexico has collapsed into a failed state run by warlords and later occupied by UN Peacekeepers.
"Okay, so you don't believe in my conspiracy theories, but we're conspiring to break into a thousand-year-old vault for a mythical crime lord, so we're trying to track down a secret government death squad that kills witnesses, and there's apparently a conspiracy to overthrow the emir, but the second I say Illuminati, I'm the crazy one."
Bulletproof Human Shield: Averted. Lorenzo learns the hard way that the body of a skinny arms dealer won't stop a .44 Magnum slug.
Bulletproof Vest: Many characters make frequent use of body armor, to life-saving effect. Realistically, soft body armor protects against pistol and submachinegun rounds, but not rifle rounds. Body armor with heavy plate inserts stop rifle rounds, though nothing stops .50 caliber heavy machinegun fire.
Calling Card: Literally. Dead Six takes to leaving an Ace of Spades on the bodies of people it kills.
Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. In one scene, Valentine fires through a wall to take out opponents. In another, its remarked that a large-caliber sniper rifle, most likely a .50 caliber, "turns cover into concealment".
Civil War: Zubara is quickly caught up in an escalating one between the ruling emir who favors the west, and General Al Sabah, who wants to take over the country. Dead Six is brought in to support the emir, though they arguably just make the situation worse. The general wins when the emir is killed by a bomb.
Crapsack World: A secret conspiracy is more-or-less running the US, and a related conspiracy runs everything. Mexico's gone even further to hell and is occupied by UN Peacekeepers. China is/was in the middle of a massive civil war that's stalemated along the Yangtze River that saw Shanghai NUKED after the third major battle for the city. And a hyper-violent, well-organized group called Exodus wages bloody war on human traffickers.
Damsel in Distress: Jill is first seen captured by terrorists before being rescued by Lorenzo. Later she's kidnapped in order to lure out Lorenzo and the scarab. Reaper even jokes that she's like Aquaman, since she gets captured so much.
Expy: Reaper may well be one for Mouse from the The Matrix. He's a shotgun-wielding computer hacker and non-action guy, and is explicitly described as looking "like an extra from The Matrix".
Fat Bastard: The Fat Man. He's not just fat, he's huge, described as being nearly seven feet tall.
Fictional Country: Qurac The bulk of the story is set in a fictional Middle Eastern country called The Confederated Gulf Emirate of Zubara. It's a tiny Emirate that borders Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Go Out with a Smile: Adar. He keeps smiling after Valentine nearly decapitates him with a neck-shot from his big gun.
Hand Cannon: Valentine favors a Smith & Wesson Performance Center customized Model 629. His mentor Hawk carries a similar weapon.
Hollywood Healing: Averted. Valentine suffers scars and a traumatic brain injury during the course of the story. Lorenzo is left with permanent hearing damage after Valentine fires a .44 Magnum inches from his face.
Mission Control: Seen on both sides of the story. Sarah and other operations personnel for Dead Six actually used "control" as a radio handle. Reaper occasionally served in this role for Lorenzo.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Subverted (possibly) during the big heist Lorenzo was forced into. He may have beat the crap out of Michael Moore. Also, the late-night radio host, Roger Genoy, has a name that's an anagram for George Noory, the current weeknight host of Coast to Coast AM. In the original online version, Hillary Clinton is explicitly named as being at the meeting. Also, Big Eddie reads as if he'd be played by Eddie Izzard if they were to do a movie version of the book.
Non-Action Guy: Reaper, who prefers computers to fighting and looses a fight to Jill.
One Degreeof Separation: Lorenzo and Valentine both know Hawk and worked for the same PMC, albeit at different times. Lorenzo's brother Bob knows Jill's friend from the embassy.
One-Man Army: Anders. He single-handedly incapacitates an entire Dead Six chalk. Tailor is scared of him.
Overt Operative: Dead Six's operations are increasingly brazen as time goes on. This includes the leaving of a Calling Card and wanton destruction of property.
Pistol-Whipping: Valentine bashes Lorenzo with an unloaded Korth revolver. Lorenzo notes that being hit with a $10,000 gun still hurts.
Private Military Contractors: In the beginning of the book, Valentine and Tailor work for a company called Vanguard Strategic Solutions International, a PMC large and well-equipped enough that it has its own air support.
Rage Breaking Point: Lorenzo breaks down at one point after being foiled repeatedly by Dead Six. Carl mocks his "sissy tantrum."
Retired Badass: Hawk, who served with both main characters at various times, loads up for one last gunfight to rescue Jill. He may be old, but he's still good enough to win a knife fight and avoid becoming The Obi-Wan.
Revolvers Are Just Better: Valentine's Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum is his signature weapon, and he refers to it as his "good luck charm." He prefers it, even though arguably more practical firearms are available. Hawk has the same preferences.
Sacrificial Lamb: Train is introduced early as one of Lorenzo's companions, and then quickly killed off in order to show that Big Eddie will not give Lorenzo's men a choice in accepting his job.
Sissy Villain: Big Eddie, though his routine of being a foppish, effeminate billionaire playboy is just an act to hide the monster inside.
Spy From Weights And Measures: Discussed. After Jill claims to be with the US Department of Agriculture after being rescued, Lorenzo hopefully asks if it's just a cover story and she's really a spy. Jill dismisses the idea as "Rob Clancy stuff."
United Nations Is A Super Power: Maybe not a super power, but they do seem to have their own military forces. In the opening scene in Mexico, the UN employs a Rafael fighter jet, a transport helicopter, and blue beret-wearing assault troops.
The War on Terror: Dead Six is formed to quite literally bring the war to terrorists' backyard.
Would Hit a Girl: Lorenzo slugs Jill in the gut to get her to quiet down. To be fair, she did hit him first.