Archive for April, 2013

CHAPTER 31

 

General Wang finally made it back to his office. After shutting and locking his office door he headed for the filing cabinet. He slowly spun the dial of the electronic combination lock built into the top shelve. After disengaging the lock, Wang opened the second drawer and fished out a file labeled maps. He placed a file place marker in the drawer and shut it. Taking the file with him to his desk, he sat down to look through the file for the maps he wanted. He quickly found the maps he wanted. Wang set the maps to the side of his desk and replaced the file in the drawer.

General Wang pushed the intercom’s button. “Have my helicopter readied at once. I want to be in the air in ten minutes. I also three of my security personnel to join me for the flight,”

“Yes sir,” the aide said knowing that the General was not listening. The aide called over to the hanger to tell them to prep and ready the helicopter for flight in 10 minutes. Then he called the Security Officer, a Lieutenant Zhou to have three of his men join the general for the flight.

Having found the maps he needed and arranging for transport. He needed to look the part. General Wang quickly walked over to the other side of the room. There he unlocked the wall locker and proceeded to change into a flightsuit complete with a flight vest, boots, gloves and helmet. After he had changed he place the dress uniform on hangers and carried them and the helmet bag to his outer office.

Wang walked up to his aide and dropped off his dress uniform and shoes on the young man’s desk. “I want the uniform cleaned and pressed and the shoes polished by the time I get back,” he ordered, then turned on his heels and strolled out to the hanger without saying another word.

General Wang was heading for the stairway to the tunnels when he caught sight of one of the guards kept to keep the criminals inline. “Have a few of the workers taken to the tunnels and have them clean them up. It’s a pig’s sty down there,” he told the man.

As the general made his way through the tunnels he could not but help to see that there were many games of chance being played. Nor could he fail to see that there were copious amounts of drinking being done. The racket for all the talking was exceedingly loud. The smell from all the unwashed bodies and trash was overwhelming. There was even bottles filled with what looked like urine lining the walls. With all the smoking that these men were doing the fire alarms had to be taken offline.

The general climb the flight of stairs to the hangers main floor and he made good his exit. General Wang was never so happy to hear the whine of the helicopter’s engine. The General could not hide the look of distain from his face. Soon he would have men here that would only answer to him. Then he could show the mercenary scum where they belonged, with their necks under the heel of his boots. Then he could move on with his plans for the rest of all the artifacts yet to be sold.

The hanger was even crowed but at least here the air was not as foul. Once out of the hanger the general could breath. The general casually walk up to the aircraft. It was a civilian version of the S&T air Viper2 that had been sent to the General from the committee. He had since had the aircraft modified and armed.

As he approached the aircraft he could see that the copilot’s set was empty and that there were 3 guards in the rear cargo area. One of the ground crew was standing next to the open hatch to help the general into the aircraft. Wang handed his helmet bag to the man and climbed nimbly into the aircraft’s cockpit. Then he reached over to accept his gear from the man holding the hatch for him. Once seated and strapped in he reached into his bag and pulled out his helmet and handed the pilot the maps. Wang pulled on his helmet and connected the Internal Communication System (ICS) cable to his mic. “Pilot this is where we are going. But first I wish to inspect the damage to the bridges and the power sub-station. Are we ready to go, pilot?”

“We are green across the board and we have 1000 liters of fuel.”

“Then you may proceed.”

The pilot then air taxied to the helipad and the aircraft rose into the air smoothly and quickly into the bright and clear sky.

“Take us south and follow the road. Once I have inspected the damage, I want you to head north following the highway. We will be looking for survivors from the missile attacks last night. If we spot any I will want you to land near then so I can speak with the men.” The general know that the men in these isolated units, could provide the manpower he needed to keep the mercenaries inline and insure that the chairman’s hired killers never get the chance to ever collect their blood money.

As the aircraft and its passengers were rising into the air heading south the radio came blaring to life in the General’s helmet. It was so loud that the message was garbled. After adjusting the volume for his helmet, he asked that the message be repeated.

“General Wang, sir this is Lieutenant Bing,” said the disembodied voice in the general’s helmet.

“Yes Lieutenant Bing, what is so important that you broke proper radio protocol?” asked the general sternly.

“My apologies General Wang. I must inform you that we have lost contact with the troop carrier and the squad assigned to it. They were in mid transmission when we lost them. We have tried to raise them several times to no avail.”

“What was their last transmission?”

“They reported that they were engaging someone.”

“Who were they engaging Lieutenant Bing?”  Shouted the general as he lost his temper.

“That is unknown, sir. They went off the air before they finished saying. We have also tried raising the squad. They too are not answering their radio.”.

“They are enlisted troops. They were most likely conscripted right off the streets or the farm. I’m quite sure that they don’t even know how to use their radio. As for the troop carrier, it is old and unreliable. Their radio may have just failed. We will check this out.” said the general.

What the general said was true. His troops here had been pulled off the streets and farms to fill boots. They were poorly trained, and in this case they were not really soldiers but prison guards. Their equipment was old, even by the Chinese army’s standards. The fact that only the troop carrier and the squad leader had the only radio’s for that group was lost on both men.

The general looked over to his pilot and motioned for him to hurry up and get on the way. The pilot dropped the nose of the aircraft and increased his rate of speed and his rate of ascent. As they rose above the tops of the trees on the surrounding hills smoke could be seen rising into the air.

“Get us there quickly!” said the general to the young pilot.

“Yes general.”

“When we get there, put us in a hover, I need to see what happened.”

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CHAPTER 30

 

“Okay Diesel, it’s time for us to move cross the river, I want you behind me and Tex while we cross. Tex, is that radio and computer secured?” asked Gunny as he surveyed the rest of the men.

“Radio and computer are secured and watertight Gunny.”

“And just why am I to stay behind you two during the crossing?” asked Diesel.

“I don’t want to give those two yahoos any chance to draw a bead on you at all. I don’t have the time or the energy to break in a new officer.”

“Fair enough, once we got over, Gunny I want you to take the men there and head for the OP. I will stay and bring the balance with me once the rest cross. Tex you’re to go with Gunny.”

The river crossing continued without a hitch and the rest of the platoon crossed over quickly. Diesel stayed at the river waiting for third squad as Gunny and Tex headed for the OP with the first and second squads.

Gunny set a ground eating pace for the men with him. This pace would allow them to fight a pitched battle if need be once they got to the OP. They only had to stop twice on their trek to the down men. On one occasion it was to gather the supplies to make two stretchers. The other was when he stopped on the same hill crest that Greywolf and Doc paused at. Gunny noticed the disturbed earth and crushed plants where Greywolf fell.

“Jefe this is Gunny. Over.”

“This is Jefe. Over.”

“We are at the crest of the hill overlooking your position. We are coming in. Over.”

“We copy, you are coming in, over.”

Gunny then turned to the men gathered around him. “First squad I want you to setup to provide covering fire. Second Squad you are with me.” Gunny changed his radio back to the command freq. “Diesel this is Gunny, Over.”

“Go for Diesel, over.”

“We are on the hill behind the OP. First squad is in overwatch on the hill. Second squad and myself are heading in. Over.”

“Contact me when you get there. Out.”

Gunny turned back to second Squad. “Second squad move out.” The Marines quickly made it to the OP. All they needed to do was to assemble the stretchers and put the men on them. Gunny called Diesel. “Diesel this is Gunny, over.”

“Go Gunny, over” Came Diesel voice through the radio.

“We are loading up the men now. We will be ready to move out in less than five mikes. Over.”

“How are they Gunny? Over,” asked Diesel.

“We’ve seen worse, a lot worse. Over,” stated Gunny grimly.

A vision a firefight from over a month ago flashed through Gunny’s mind. This one in particular really hurt. Joker was lying on his side. Tuffs of dirt were kicked up around Joker as the enemy was trying to stop him. With one bloody hand Joker was holding in his steaming, oozing guts that kept sliding out through the gaping wound to his stomach. The smell was horrible, and the sight sickening. Jokers other hand was squeezing off 20 rounds bursts from his M-384. Even as grievously wounded as he was Joker kept up his withering fire to support his fellow Marines that were pinned down by a superbly executed ambush. Joker knew his life was slipping away, as his guts keep slipping past his hand. Joker roared as he directed his fire into the enemy, his volume of fire increased as the weapon started to cut down small trees as well as the enemy.

Gunny ran to up to Joker and took cover next to the wounded Joker. Gunny could hear the enemy round passing him. Some of the rounds were striking the ground and trees about him. Gunny felt and heard two rounds slam into his body armor. Gunny was firing his weapon one handed as he motioned for the corpsmen to get up there. Gunny started yelling orders and directing the Marines that were with him to form up in a skirmish line. He knew speed and mass fire were the keys to getting out of the ambush. As one the men in the skirmish line opened up on the enemies positions.

Joker knew this also. Joker felt the enemy rounds punching through his armor. Some had pass through his body where there was no armor to slow the rounds down. Joker wedged his finger into the trigger to keep his weapon firing as he died. Gunny saw a blood and dirt covered Grumpy running towards the fallen Joker.

In Grumpy’s hands were two, 2000 round box mags for the M-384. Joker’s weapon had finally run dry. The corpsmen did a quick check on Joker then he was quickly moving off to help other wounded Marines that were screaming for help. Gunny moved off to the right to give Grumpy room to reload the M-384 and take over for Joker.

Gunny, from his new position could see that Surfer had moved his fireteam up into cover, Where they were reloading their weapons. The enemy had planned on this and executed a well timed ambush as three men jumped upped from the bushes and thick undergrowth and made to attach with bayonets. Gunny snapshot one of the three. Surfer bashed another one’s brains out using his rifle. Pipes meaty hands quickly grabbed the barrel of his opponent’s and shoved it away from his body as Pipes stepped in to close the distance. Gunny watched as Pipes’ opponent let his hands slip from the weapon one hand grasping for a combat knife as his other threw a haymaker for Pipes’ face. Pipes slapped the man’s attempt to hit him with a haymaker inside the two of them thus blocking the man’s knife attack. Pipes left hand shot out and the edge of it struck the enemy in the throat with enough force to crush the man’s windpipe. The man dropped the knife and gave Pipes the opening he wanted. Then as quick as a striking snake, Pipes stepped in even closer and grasped the man’s head in both of his massive hands and with a sharp jerk, the man’s neck snapped.  Gunny stepped to his right to get into cover. Doing a quick look around Gunny spotted the platoon leader Lieutenant Smith.

Lieutenant Smith was hunkered down behind a massive tree. He was shouting incoherent orders into the remains of his radio. Gunny looked back to Grumpy, that’s when he saw the grenade looping through the air. Gunny screamed out a warning and dove for cover in a depression. The grenade landed less than 5 feet from the body of Joker and Grumpy. Then the grenade went off. Joker and Grumpy were now a large bloody mess of mangled flesh.

Lieutenant Smith was not even hit.

With a slight shudder Gunny was back in the present “Yeah Diesel we’ve seen worse. Over,” said Gunny.

“Understood Gunny. Out,” replied Diesel.

Gunny turned to look Doc in the eyes. “Will they need a dust off or can they continue with the mission Doc?”

“I don’t think they will need a dust off. The human ear is really an amazing thing. Given time it can repair ruptures. They may have a loss of hearing now, but they might get some or all of it back. I really don’t like calling for a dust of this far into Charlie’s backyard and this close to the objective to boot.”

“I can understand that,” replied Gunny.