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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