“Hey, kids, company’s coming.” Bekka’s voice came over their headsets. She had moved to the roof of the office building to have a wider field of fire since the route was off to one side of their vantage point. This also put her well above the stadium so she wasn’t visible from there.
Kara and Angelique were stashed down an alley near the projected path of travel. They had to have a way to slow the truck or van down prior to the hit, so they dumped a couple batches of roofing nails a block or two up. The time it would take to slow them down, they should be right about parallel to the spot they wanted to shoot from. Each was to dump a mag from the AKs into the side of the vehicle. Kara was the one closer to the stadium. This would let her pivot and dump a second mag if necessary.
“Looks like a 15-Pax van. Can’t tell how many on board. You might have too many and have to abort.”
Kara looked over at Angelique, pointing at her earpiece and shaking her head as she talked to her and not the radio.
“**** that, we’ll stop them, right?”
Angelique just nodded, not sure what to say at the dissension in the ranks.
Kara was back on the radio. “We will bail if we can’t handle it.”
Bekka kept looking at the van as it came into the action zone. She knew Kara probably wouldn’t call off under most circumstances. She was hoping having Angelique with her might temper her some.
The van was cruising down the road, headlights blazing like somebody running down the road to the store. They weren’t driving fast, no evasive actions, still on their proper side of the road. It was coming in fat dumb and slow. Something began to feel wrong in the back of Bekka’s head at the same time Kara starts getting the same vibe.
Bekka begins to sweep all around, looking for the hammer.
“Kids, somethings wrong! They aren’t this dumb!” She was beginning to feel a bit frantic. She was scanning block by block, alley by alley, faster and faster, again and again. Finally, they appeared. Two jeeps were running parallel to the main drag. There were three people in each, heavily armed.
“Kids, pincer, one block offset. Three per. Abort.”
Kara was back on the radio.
“Negative. We can do this. We are going to run a twin, offset uphill, then smack the response.”
“I don’t like it.” Bekka knew she couldn’t stop her, so she had to support as she could. By touch, she prepped her magazines next to her, ready to rain hell down.
Kara looked at Angelique, a snap decision pushing her, from where she did not know.
“If they have more than 2 in the van, let it go. I’m going up this way,” pointing left uphill. “Hit them, then run to where I am. As soon as you fire, the other guys will be racing to get to the van and run right into me. We get two at once. Then we reset to get the third.” She was already collecting her stuff and setting off before Angelique gave her the thumbs up.
They sure have made a lot of short term predictions correctly. I'm wondering when that streak of luck will end... sounds like it may have ended, yet they caught it in time, we hope.
Thanks for the new chapter.
The hair on Bekka’s neck was trying to leave her body it was standing up so hard. Things are going too far sideways. She was trying to see everything at once. She picked up more movement. Oh Shit!
“All teams ABORT! Four Jeeps, not two! Acknowledge!” Bekka’s blood pressure shot through the roof and her heart rate doubled. Kara went cyclic.
“****************! Cover the kid! I’m to the east in line for the uphill jeeps! I will try and pull them this way and vanish so she can get free. Kid! Rabbit!” Kara swept her surroundings with new eyes and a new purpose. She had to act fast so they only paid attention to her.
For Angelique, it was already too late. She was set to do the mag dump into the van. They even seemed to be slowing to a stop next to her with several flat tires. She dumped the rounds into the passenger door. She saw the figure in the passenger seat fall backward. She started to run when she saw him still moving enough to open the door and stumble out. He was dressed in battle gear like she saw on the tv from Iraq. Huge vest, lots of pouches and stuff all over. He seemed to still be moving, and the driver was getting out as well. She thought she had hit them both. Crap! She took off as fast as she could run. She tried to get around something to get out of sight quickly, so they couldn’t follow her as well. There were also screaming engines both in front and behind her!
Bekka was watching as Angelique unloaded on the van. She also saw the guys get out as well as the jeeps accelerate to close in on the position. She recognized the bulky outlines of the heavier gear. She hoped that was the only boost in their equipment. In for a penny…. She switched over to the other radio channel.
“Spike! Fire Call! It’s GO TIME!”
Garen snapped awake when the radio next to them broke squelch. He bolted upright at Bekka’s call.
“Allyson, let’s go!”
She looked up groggily, “Go where?” He didn’t answer her. Instead he was on the radio to Bekka.
Her voice came back rushed and punctuated by the sound of her rifle.
“Ground team scattered, five hunter groups in the area. I am engaging so I expect sooner or later to be located. This location is burned so I will make the best of it until they really start closing in. I need your partner up here before they get here, and I need you on SAR to collect the kid. Faith is trying to move east and work the hounds that way. I need the spare bag for my stick, I’m running low.”
Garen tried to take all of this in while Allyson finished grabbing her stuff.
“Allyson, Bekka needs you to join her on the top of the office building. Take your long gun and the spare bandoleer for Bekka’s. She is trying to whittle down the bad guys. It sounds like they did a bigger ambush than we did but that also pulls them out in the open. That means we can kill more of their best fighters. Get a move on! I have to go find Angelique in this mess.” He grabbed his small pack and sped out of the room before she could reply.
Bekka was trying to clear the hunters off Angelique’s tail. She dropped the two from the van, then she killed the van. The next targets were the jeeps. If she could take their wheels away, it took the speed advantage away. This was especially true if they were all kitted up with body armor, vests and heavy weapons. She just had to buy them some time to make their getaway. Crap! She forgot to warn them!
Allyson burst out onto the roof after far too many sets of stairs. Bekka was tracking something over the edge through the scope of her rifle. The VF style goggles the camera feeds were piped through lying next to her. As she walked up, Bekka sent two more rounds downrange at unseen targets. She was about to ask her a question when something else caught her eye. The stadium lights were off. The other thing she saw as she looked that way was the beams of lasers in her NVGs.
“Guys! Bad Guys using NVGs and lasers.” This was a new problem to Allyson. She has only faced this problem a few times in the training rooms at the Center. She now had to think of some ways to counteract the bad guy’s technology without necessarily blowing the curve of who they thought they were fighting. These guys probably were figuring they had the complete upper hand and will just wipe out these pesky kids.
“Allyson, get your ass over here!” Bekka’s voice was harsh and insistent, much like it was that first day on the trail.
“I need you to cover the sector to the right. Anything moving with lasers gets dropped. Groups of three or more get dropped. Anybody coming out from the stadium gets dropped. Solo people, look close Garen is somewhere down to the right trying to get to Angelique. I’ve got the left, trying to keep some heat off of Kara. Questions?”
Questions? Allyson had a thousand questions! None of them really mattered right now. Right now it was about saving the team mates down there, and all the captives in the stadium and the forest camp. She moved to where she can start engaging. There are targets to service and people to engage.
Kara was mentally kicking herself. She should have stayed with Angelique and not let her be caught by the trap. Instead, she split off from her wingman, leaving Angelique high and dry in a potential kill zone. She had to pull them off to give Angelique an avenue to escape. Step one is to be juicy bait or the surprised teenagers they were hoping to slam in their ambush. She darted across the road, firing from the hip at the lead jeep with the AK as she went. About the same time, she heard Angelique do a mag dump on the van. Kara was moving, but not very fast. She needed them to see her go across the road and into the streets and alleys to the east. This will break the encirclement they were trying to pull off against them.
The rear jeep stopped unexpectedly, the bodies spilling out and headed towards the same side of the street she was running towards. Moments later, the front jeep she had sprayed coasted to a stop with two guys bailing out. A third was still in the jeep but not moving much. They also started towards her.
Great! She thought to herself. It was working! Bad thing, it was working. Now she needed to deal with five heavily armed and armored guys trying to kill her! She started moving and dodging to keep them from getting a good long bead on her.
She slid her goggles down into position. She was startled by the lasers streaming past her from the guys behind her. She knew none of her guys were using lasers at this time. Damn! This also meant they are running NVGs and lasers! They needed to take away their tech and soon! This also changed where and how she could do the hide and seek thing. Once she was sure they were off the main drag, she turned up her speed as fast as she could run, she needed to get some time and distance involved for her own survival!
Garen was trying to move quickly to support and extract Angelique from the trap she was in. Kara was trained and capable to bail out her fat from the fire. He wanted to know how this problem happened, but this wasn’t the time for that. Angelique was his focus right now. He was listening to the radio traffic, some of which derailed him somewhat and caused him to alter some of his path and methods. The city was a lot darker compared to earlier in the night. The stadium lights were out. This didn’t make sense until he found out the other side had NVGs as well. Fortunately, they didn’t know their enemy had them, so they were using targeting lasers. The good thing was it lit up the bad guys as they moved. The bad side was, they could see a lot better than he wanted them to.
He made his way over to where the van was. There were two dead guys and no Angelique. This was a good thing. There was a slew of 7.62x39 casings as well. He paused a moment to get some more info on what they were facing now. He scooped up their long guns and crammed all the magazines these two had that were undamaged (not many) and their pistols as well. He heard more activity and started out in the direction he thought she would head. He made sure his goggles were in place, his loads secured and moved out down the alley.
Angelique was running and dodging, trying to break the trail of those around her. She came across one location they couldn’t follow her. She might fit if she hurried, but she would have to shed her gear first. She dropped her belt and unslung her bag, both slithering down the opening to the storm drain. She dropped and slid in after them, not wanting to lose them. The tunnelways here were fairly big this close to the water. It was an eight foot drop to the concrete below, where she landed next to her bag and belt. These she reclaimed quickly by feel. Settling her googles in place, she activated the tiny IR light built into them to survey herself and her equipment. She pocketed the empty mag from the AK, seating another one in place. Moving away from the opening she came in from, she wanted to make distance and get around a corner to avoid being seen.
The sky was getting light in the east. The night seemed to last forever. Bekka and Allyson were worn out from franticly moving and shooting. The rooftop was littered with brass. As they looked at one another in the dawning light, the sensor they had placed in the stairwell began beeping. It was time to go anyway, they had just run dry for the long guns. The original estimates of the bad guys’ numbers were seriously off or they had brought in a lot of reinforcements. There were at least forty bodies on the ground they could account for. Allyson thought she saw at least ten make it into the building they were in. There was still movement in the lot down by the stadium as well. This was going bad to worse in a hurry. They also lost comms about an hour ago. All frequencies just went blank, like someone threw a switch. Bekka and Allyson didn’t know if anybody else was still around, so they only had each other to depend on.
Bekka knew they were screwed when the bodies kept coming, but lied to herself for a good while. The comms blackout was when she couldn’t lie to herself any more. She was already gathering the gear she was taking from the rooftop when the stairwell sensor went off. That meant they had at most five minutes to get to the elevator shaft, get on the rope and close the elevator door. Then they had to pray there weren’t enough bad guys left to worry about any on the bottom floors. She looked over at Allyson and saw a kind of worn out post car crash type of look. She knew her face probably looked like that when she wasn’t paying attention to it. It was time to put the NCO face on and push on.
“Alright Allyson, time to do the hard work. When we hit the bottom of the rope, we check the elevator and outside the elevator doors before we pull the string for the wire. If the lobby is full, we go up a floor or two, then pull the string. They will thing we went out the ground floor and might miss us. Depending on what we run into or see, let’s try to get to the theater. We can reload and regroup. If that way isn’t viable, or we get split up, make your way to the Center. Don’t rush, be careful. You know better than I do that manhunts end when the quarry gets in a hurry and make mistakes. Step one, get out of the initial perimeter, step two, blend in or don’t be seen, step three get away. Questions?”
Alyson looked at her, her words playing through her head, grateful for something to distract her from the blur of images being replayed again and again of all the bodies she saw through her scope as she squeezed the trigger. She also heard the tone in Bekka’s voice. She knew it was an act. Bekka didn’t believe she would make it and wanted Allyson to know what and where to go for when Bekka couldn’t keep up. In that moment, Allyson made up her mind that Bekka would make it, even if she had to carry her.
He was still on the lookout for Angelique as the sky lightened off towards the mountains. He was frustrated he couldn’t raise her on the radio at first, then later, the radios cut out completely, which boded a much bigger problem. This wasn’t the only problems. One of the rifles he had picked up from the first guys in the van had a thermal sight on top. The level of tech they were facing was worrisome. They didn’t come here prepared for such a foe. The style of equipment they brought wasn’t set up for the higher end warfare that arrived. He had killed several pairs of bad guys, but was seriously low on ammo for his sub gun. He was collecting the magazines from the downed bad guys and pitching the bolts away so follow on guys couldn’t use the weapons. Soon he will be using their weapons against them. They had better reach, but were unsilenced so would give his position away more. He also kept one other rifle he picked up. This was to equip Angelique when he found her. Finding her was still his primary mission.
He had maneuvered several of the bad guys into positions where Bekka and Allyson could hit them from above. This had worked for a while, but as the sun came up, there were no more saving shots from on high. He didn’t want to dwell on the whys that sprang to mind as reasons for them no longer up there shooting. He had to focus, and trust Bekka to do what she could where she was at. Every now and then he also heard shooting up and to the east. That meant Kara was still causing problems somewhere.
Allyson was first down the rope. She made it to the elevator roof and signaled Bekka. As Bekka came down, Allyson went into the elevator car. Using a small pry bar, she opened the elevator doors enough to peek out. The lobby and corridor was empty. Visible through the glass, there was a pair of SUVs parked in front of the building. Bekka joined Allyson in the elevator car.
“What do we have out there?”
“Couple of SUVs and no people, no movement. What do you think?”
Bekka’s reply to her question was interrupted by a large explosion overhead that shook the building.
“What the hell was that!?” Allyson fairly screamed, before she remembered they were supposed to be hiding.
“A little present I left for the crew going up to the roof. If I learned my lessons well enough, half those guys that went up, will not be coming back down combat effective.” Bekka’s voice was flat and cold.
They both turned back towards the elevator door and peered out.
“Bekka, I saw about ten go into the building. Do you think they all went up, or did they spread out?”
“I think they all went up to neutralize the active threat. The bigger question is do we wait and hope they leave and pull back, to we hit them when they get to the lobby, do we go now and try to slip away, or do we go steal their SUVs and run off to hide them as well.”
Allyson was thinking on Bekka’s question when she saw three SUVs race past, coming from the direction of the stadium.
“Hey Bekka, I think they are bugging out. Three full SUVs just raced past here from the stadium. It looked full of people. If they were more gunmen, I think they would have stopped to help.”
Bekka was swearing softly to herself.
“Damnit! You’re probably right. This wasn’t a seek and destroy! This was a NEO!”
Allyson gave her a confused look. Bekka proceeded to explain.
“When there's a threat to a fixed location overseas, the US would send in a team to extract the extra people the government has at locations, like Embassies. At these places, people bring their wives, kids and so forth. Well if the situation turns hostile, these same people will hurt the situation rather than help. The plan is to evacuate all non-essential personnel. Usually Marines are sent in with or without Air Force assets. The classic is a method called the collapsing bag. Combat forces push out from the ship or trucks or helicopter or fixed wing aircraft in a big enough perimeter to include the evacuees. The evacuees are brought back into the escape platforms. Then the perimeter collapses back into the last of the vehicles. These guys pushed a big bubble to keep us suppressed while the guys from the stadium escape! Crap!!!”
“Ok, kinda makes sense, Bekka. Now what do we do?”
Garen was following a trail of bad guy bodies. Most of them were hit from a high angle. They went In and around several alleyways. He lost the trail for a block or two till he saw an open manhole cover, followed by a couple more bodies. He moved on until he finally came to a building with a couple outside a broken door. Garen cautiously went inside. There he found a couple more bodies and a trail of blood. His worry and caution increased. He had no way of knowing if it was Angelique’s or other bad guys bleeding all over the floor. There was another one down in a spreading pool of blood. A blood trail continued past him.
The sound of static in his ear startled him. For the last hour or more, the comms were dead or blocked. Their return meant a significant change in the situation. He wondered if this might be related to the sound of several vehicles racing away from the area.
He stopped for a moment and decided to take a chance.
“Ramp Control to all Aircraft in the pattern. Report status.”
He heard nothing. The chill went through him as his mind painted worse case scenarios at a hyper rate. He tried again.
“Anyone up on this net?”
A scratchy voice came over the radio.
“Faith 23, working the pattern to the west, low on gas and supplies.”
Garen breathed a little easier. He wasn’t completely alone. Kara was out there. Between the two of them, they could find the rest and fix them if possible.
“Ramp Control, any others out there? Come up on the net.”
“Ramp Control, this is Winchester 53 and 72, Bingo on offload.”
Garen almost cried at the sound of Bekka’s voice. Allyson and Bekka were still alive. That leave one.
He heard something deeper in the building down the blood trail. A voice calling softly. He couldn’t hear what it was saying but it kept repeating. Moving forward he finally saw a tangle of two bodies. One was another of the heavily armed and armored bad guys. The other one was Angelique under him. The cries were coming from her.
“Garen, help me. Oh God, I hurt! I can’t get him off me!” She seemed to struggle some and then cried out in pain again. Garen moved forward.
“Are there any more here?” as Garen swept the room on his approach.
“This was the last I know of.” She struggled again and gasped. “Get him off me!” She broke down to sobs of pain.
Garen moved to her side and rolled the big guy off of her. She was twisted up under him and covered with blood. He had no idea how bad she was hurt. She was crying and sobbing now. He first keyed the radio.
“I have the missing wingman. ATC can you take over the pattern? My hands are full now.”
“ATC to all aircraft.” Bekka’s voice came back stronger now. “return to the remote field VFR. Keep an eye out for additional aircraft in the pattern not on the net. Faith 23, can you check the punchbowl approach, that pattern appears to be empty now.”
When I heard the other voices come up on my radio, my heart started beating again. We have, for the most part, survived. Garen was a bit cryptic and I’m worried for Angelique, but if anyone can save her, he can.
While Allyson stood next to me in the elevator, I contemplated when to move. We could wait for the sounds to happen above us to give a reference on their location, or we could make the assumption they will keep going until they get to the roof. IF I’m honest with myself, I made the decision to wait for the explosions and gunfire to happen upstairs before we were going to exit the elevator out of shear tiredness.
In the end, that decision saved us. We would have been in the middle of the lobby when the group came back out of the stairwell and streamed out the door to the waiting vehicles. As they sped off, my mind tried to make sense of it. It took a few for my brain to come up with a hypothesis.
Everybody was working so hard to keep us contained and engaged so the remaining people at the stadium could pull out. Once they zoomed past, there was no reason other than revenge for them to keep attacking. They got the call and were collapsing back and pulling out.
If this is true, then at this point, I don’t care. They brought enough firepower and bodies to overwhelm and suppress what we were doing. Me stepping out and killing a couple of the group would make no difference to what they are doing.
At this point we have both won and lost. We stopped them from gathering more into the trap, but we didn’t stop them forever. They will just move down the coast and work on another town, if there are enough left to make it worthwhile and feasible for them. Hopefully we hurt them enough to make it too costly to do this again.