Note: This is an excerpt from a new writing I'm doing. It's a combination of political thriller (the stuff I haven't posted) combined with Special Operations-type actions that are performed by various high-speed groups. This is just a small segment of something I intend to work on in my free time for the next several months. Hope you enjoy. Yeah, it's in the S&S universe. Earlier writings focus on Naval and AF battles. See here: http://acecombatskie...522-citrinitas/
There’s something to be said about a man that can effectively vanish from the world for as long as he had. From what had started in a cave 10 years ago was about to end in a small chateau in what was honestly the most unlikely of places. Three months had been spent detailing his routine, and all of it was coming to a head tonight. This old, beleaguered man was finally at the end of his journey. He’d been through a lot, it had to be admitted; two years relentlessly pursued, five years clearly unable to be a real human being. It brought a small sense of satisfaction to know that his beliefs, his passions and more importantly his actions had cost him a sane life. What kind of hell could it be to know that the biggest nations on this Earth wanted you dead? Tonight though, this grand game was going to end. Sheikh Ibn Al-Sud’s ‘holy crusade’ was finally going to bring him to the maker he claimed to embrace.
“Fatal Actual, this is Hide 2. Eyes on four shooters on the roof, three on the perimeter. Tagged and ready.” They’d been in this location for the past two days, notwithstanding the half day hike to get to the site; all under the cover of darkness in this mountainous terrain. Shooter/spotter teams had been set up in several areas along the perimeter, but no one had eyes on any of the probable targets supposedly within. Spooks had made it clear that the target rarely went outside; his only refuge a small patio with 10 meter high walls surrounding. This guy had a full compound at his disposal, with probable tunnels buried into the mountainside. Whatever was going to happen, Hide 2 had his target.
“Hide 2, Fatal Actual copies,” said Captain James Eaglen. “Continue SR and keep us updated.” It had certainly been a long couple of weeks; CEU along with the New Haven CIA had finally felt confident that out of the 15 places Al-Sud could have been, this was more than likely the location. All of the intel gathering because a junior level Air Force Intel guy noticed burning coming from a sat image. Now this had blown up into perhaps the largest intelligence and special operations mission in the past 3 years; someone at Foggy Bottom was sure as hell confident in this being the most wanted man in the world.
Captain Eaglen and his team were the closest assets to the mission, and being a CIF team had certainly given them preference over other Special Operations outfits in the region. That didn’t exactly matter with something this important; two Delta fireteams were sitting in two MH-60M Blackhawks ready to take the top of the mountain and sweep through the compound while ODA 853 with a team from SAD rolled through with non-descript local two-tons half a click away. Both elements, Fatal and Striker, would then both enter the compound of 4 buildings and systematically clear through. Shooters from Delta had already been in position, and would take out the four confirmed sentries before the team proceeded through. Intel had suggested that escape and reserve tunnels could be a possibility, so speed was more than essential for the raid. Should things get hectic, Eaglen and his Delta CO counterpart had access to two platoons of Rangers 30 klicks to the south already in their MH-47G Chinooks with rotors hot.
It was quiet, as was expected by everyone. Not that it was pre-mission jitters, but a necessity permeated into the core of how these kinds of missions went; a cough could be enough to rouse the suspicions of a passerby. The team was bunched together, tight and without much space to even scratch an itch. These trucks had a purpose that had roots back to New Haven prohibition; transportation of goods you didn’t want exposed. The back had been hollowed out to look like it was transporting a wide selection of fine rugs and furniture while the interior was of wooden construction with padding to hold anywhere from 6 to 18, depending on desired comfort level. These trucks had been used a couple times for earlier raids, but their use had been selected to avoid a call of military helicopters being anywhere near the primary target. Two trucks carried a full load of 12 Sea Haven Special Forces ODA members as well as 6 CIA Special Activities Division shooters that were tasked with keeping the aftermath as easy as possible. All of them were in full regalia for this mission; it was a display of Sea Haven SOF prowess, meant to scare the living hell out of any poor bastard on the receiving end of their fury. Each shooter was wearing ballistic helmets and vests, a heavily modified AR-style rifle as well as the accompanying ammo, medical and explosive equipment to get the job done. For three hours they’d been sitting in this truck, waiting for the chance to start their trek up the mountain.
“Fatal Actual to Striker Actual, time to rally point Charlie in 10 mikes. I say again, rally point Charlie, 10 mikes,” breathed Eaglen as quietly as possible. “You guys can start your descent down.”
Rather than a reply, two clicks from Striker Actual’s receiver confirmed the schedule. The Delta team had been dropped off by New Haven 160th SOAR birds behind the mountain 15 klicks away two days ago and had not roused suspicion; they’d been slowly making their way to their designated position.
Now Eaglen needed to make it to their jumping off point without a hitch.
“So we’re sure this is him? Absolutely sure?”
“We’ll know in about 25 minutes.”
“4 years this fucker has been on the run, 4 fucking years he’s been taunting not just us, but you as well. We cannot afford to have this carry on any longer.”
“Both of our militaries, our nations, have been together against these savages for 4 years now, and tonight we’re going to end it. Sat surveillance is going to have eyes on with the compound in real time, but we’re not even risking a drone over the area. Our boys will handle it, and I fully expect a call with the success code within the next hour. I have to get to my people. We’ll talk soon.”
The truck ride had been bumpy, everyone had been crammed in and level IV plates didn’t do much to help with comfort, but at least they were at the designated drop off point. Not even two minutes under no-light and the ODA and accompanying spook team had exited the vehicles, secured the perimeter and begun their ascent up the mountain. The trucks lumbered away, the stop took no longer than a standard traffic light.
“Fatal Actual to all signs, we’ve hit phase line green. Progress check in 10. Get your dicks hard, folks.” Eaglen directed the rest of his ODA upwards, with a shooter spread out every 15 meters. It was close to 0200 local with visibility down to a couple meters due to the cloud cover. Everyone was equipped with dual-tube NODs and PEQ-15s to allow for night-time fighting, but few were risking IR pollution; even the badguys were getting rudimentary Rodinian and early-generation night vision, and they were starting to learn. Doctrine had been picked up from the Delta guys and several terrible learning lessons over the past couple of years. Guns weren’t black anymore. Neither were boots or holsters. It was sticking out too much and people were taking hits in areas close to non-camouflaged areas. Everything was Multicam this mission, not even the Delta wore their customary full-color jumbo sized flags for this mission; this one had to go off with a hitch.
That made for a slow, but calculated trek up the 20 degree slope. The plan had afforded 45 minutes maximum for both elements to get to their phase lines. From there, it would be Eaglen’s call to get things going.
They lumbered slowly, stuck to a column on the rough and steep terrain. Shooters had been spaced every 10 meters with guns pointed in just about every direction under the sun. Movement was a slow pace; the risk of alerting any possible sentry was always on their mind. Even on a simple hike; slow was smooth and smooth was fast, and the smoother things went, the higher likelihood of a couple beers by the end of the night with the team.
45 minutes passed in what felt like twenty minutes. Adrenaline was pumping for everyone, they had to be tight and focused throughout, and had thus far things had gone well enough. A large set of boulders that had been identified from a sat-pass had been designated as their final stopping point before things kicked off. “Fatal Actual to all elements. Fatal has made it to phase line Red. How Copy?”
The mic keyed from the Delta team, “Striker at phase line blue, ready on your go.”
“Hide 2 reports all shooters on their mark. No sign of abnormal enemy activity, no disruptions. We’re good to shoot.”
The call had been made for this mission after lengthy discussion, and tonight all of those decision makers were sitting in a conference room within the Sea Haven Ministry of Defense building in the Capitol. Prime Minister Rothschild had been in the building for three hours, transported from her residence to the building through tunnels underneath the Capitol. Her Chief of Staff, Hendrick Flynn was manning the computer within the room while a litany of uniformed men and women from various branches were focused on the situation. The door opened, the final guest had arrived.
“Mr. Yates, is everything finished with your team?” The Prime Minister did not turn her gaze from the screen, currently displaying a black and white set of buildings set against an incredibly forested mountainous terrain.
“We’re pretty confident this one still hasn’t leaked with press either here or within New Haven,” replied Yates. “President Hartwell is keeping a lid on things pretty well. Pretty sure the OP is staying within his Joint Chiefs, the leadership and his counsel for legal considerations.”
“And exactly how will I be addressing this?”
“Deal is that New Haven gets credit, the party isn’t too keen on keeping our boys in-country any longer and this is just going to continue a slide on negative opinion towards our military posturing.” He was brunt, but he had to be to bring spending down. Even in the face of an operation like this, the warhawking had to end. “To that end, we’ve given a full set of briefings to President Hartwell, who has advised that he’ll be making a public statement saying he authorized the mission.”
Several members of the Ministry of Defense were in attendance; JSOC and J-SAEW’s commanding officers were sitting at the table, as well as the heads of each branch. PM Rothschild had specifically asked for her Minister of Defense to handle public response to what was about to occur, and it would play out that few outside of this room would ever be aware of just how much involvement Sea Haven would have in this affair.
They’d set up in no time at all, everyone had confirmed their location and the teams had already gotten their charges set to get through their pre-designated walls and doors. Just so happened that all that needed to happen was Eaglen’s go-code.
He had a vantage point about thirty meters from the main entrance behind a set of boulders. Most of the team was ready to rush the wall while one of the ODA had set up his Mk.48 in overwatch. About 150 meters to his left on a perch, Hide 4 had clicked his IR laser from his SR-25 twice to denote his target. That followed with three other lasers under NODs that confirmed their targets. The Delta team had confirmed their final position.
“All Hides, this is Fatal Actual. Railway.”
At once, four IR lasers popped onto the four shooters barely paying attention. They didn’t see them of course, but less than half a second later they didn’t feel anything at all anymore. Before the bodies had even crumpled to the ground, both elements had hit their designated breach points, it was an all-out sprint; two points of entry per team, with enough explosives to ensure that a success would occur first shot. Fatal split into their ODA and allowed the SAD guys to handle themselves on the secondary breach point. Delta split into two fireteams and made for the main compound where Al-Sud was suggested to be after too many briefings from the spooks.
Four charges detonated through two walls and two entry doors; no hitches and only 25 seconds in. Without a word, the team pushed through. While Delta was situated as the premier counter-terror and direct action unit, the CIF team was no slouch; each fireteam was born and bred for this job and everyone had their area covered like clockwork. Through his NODs, Eaglen saw brief flickers of IR laser and illuminator cover each window and corner ensuring that they weren’t about to be ambushed.
Suppressed fire immediately started at Building 2, followed by the detonation of several fragmentation grenades; the smaller guest house that was tasked with one of the Delta fireteams. The badguys inside hadn’t even gotten the chance to put fire on their attackers. A very loud bang followed by an even louder bang denoted the sound of an AT-4 going off.
Things for Delta sounded fine, but in the twenty seconds since the breach, the ODA was already prepping a breach on Building 4; the secondary house adjacent the main residence. While the residence was smaller, this building easily took up the majority of the complex and the entire ODA would be needed to clear things out. First things first, charges had been placed on the wall 5 meters from the entryway.
A quick line up takes no more than four seconds as Eaglen and the team give the press-squeeze to confirm they were ready. Being third on stack, he has the first 9-banger ready to go immediately after the detonation, two more would be accompanying his while his first two shooters had guns up, dominating each corner as everyone flowed through as quickly as could be done.
An explosion, a slight disorientation, but training and practice has given his team the edge. Within three seconds the foyer has 12 shooters inside amidst the roar of multiple Flashbang detonations. Without a word, the team had dominated the wall and fanned out, covering each entryway and door with slight bursts from their PEQ-15s, searching for any potential threat and confirming to one another that everything was being watched. The flow of movement had been practiced, precise and oddly calming for every man on the team; they had done this before.
45 seconds had turned up two incredibly scared women, now in fisticuffs. A younger man at the end of the foyer had been knocked on his feet with his AK thrown from his hands. He’d been put down after he went for his rifle, poor bastard probably went for it instinctively but that made him a threat. Not a single enemy round had been sent their way, but the team had only broken through the main foyer and first set of rooms on the floor.
Instinctively, the CIF team broke into two fireteams; one taking the main floor while the other started moving up the main stairs. Eaglen took his customary third position on the stack with the first floor team and they began their voiceless and almost-liquid flow through room by room. Gunshots rang out from the second floor, followed by fragmentation explosions, the other team had hit contact but that wasn’t his responsibility right now.
The team slinked down a long hallway towards what was now a completely dark kitchen. The hallway wall on the left extended into the kitchen while the right side opened up into the main area, the team had started moving to break past the funnel when shots rang. The ODA member had gotten lucky, the enemy, clearly jittery about the fight, had opened up too quickly and only managed to put rounds into the Mk18 and not the teammate. Immediately pulling back while transitioning to his secondary, another Special Forces member already has his hands primed on a 9-banger; he didnt’t need permission to throw it. While AK rounds continue to spit at the fireteam on the exposed wall, a detonation gave just enough time to disorient the defenders. A heartbeat and three SF shooters turn the corner and drill several rounds into the two targets with their Mk18s suppressed with Knights QD cans.
“Clear!” Two SF shooters are already on their downed targets near the end of the kitchen, kicking the AKs away and checking for traps. The rest of the fireteam was already taking position on security; their area of responsibility cleared. Three minutes had passed.
“Fatal 4, this is Fatal Actual. Good?” Eaglen keyed his mic waiting to hear news on how the rest of his fireteam had handled the second floor.
“Fatal Actual, Fatal 4. Green. Two E-KIA. No sign of Al-Sud.” No one else had to speak; the job was now asset recovery and grabbing any and all documents and computer equipment that they could handle. SAD was tasked with what was more than likely the main communications hub while Delta was more than likely celebrating a clean shoot on the most wanted man in the world.”
“Fatal Actual, Striker Actual. Snag here, no sign on Dirtbag. You guys got him?”
That took Eaglen by surprise slightly, but not exactly so. They had no real confirmation that he was supposed to be in the building, but the security and location had been shaky to say the least. “Negative, we’re running through the place. Birds on the way?”
“Yeah. See ya outside in 5.” The comm went dead.
He didn’t need to direct his team, they all knew what to do and had performed the job multiple times. Documents had been found on desks on the second floor, photos were taken of the dead and the women were about to be brought in for questioning and tasked to the PSYCHOPs guys back at the FOB. While they hadn’t bagged their primary target, some bad guys had definitely been brought down.
“03, over here.” Each member of the team had a patch that denoted quick identification with one another, both verbally and through night optics, Eaglen was designated as 03 within the team. One of the guys from the ODA had placed an IR laser from his rifle on the ground near the two dead shooters in the kitchen and was moving it in a pattern. “That’s definitely a hide-hole.”
“Shit. Alright, everyone back online. Job’s not done yet.”
Opening the hatch had been simple enough; the lock was a simple deadbolt on the other side and they’d brought a couple shorty 870s just in case. A frag down the hole and two shooters immediately through after the explosion confirmed a few suspicions and gave them a good idea that this was no simple storage area.
“05 to 04, looks like a tunnel complex. Several branching areas, but a definite main hall going farther than my IR can pick up,” both of the shooters down the hole had already grabbed as much cover as they could and strained to look down the hole.
The rest of the team pushed down while Eagle hit his radio, confirming the existence of the hole while two shooters stayed up top to secure the position. Delta’s lead would have wave the birds off to allow for enough time to clear this area out. 8 shooters were in the tunnel system, which had a rail-line along the main shaft. At around 10 meters wide, this was a complex system with several branching coves and storage areas that would have to systematically be covered.
A few bright puffs of light from 40 meters down the main shaft confirmed their suspicions, accompanied by the loud bangs that denoted AK fire. Several immediately returned fire while the others found the closest cover, anything from barrels along the walls to the various small outlets that were clearly stocked with weapons, provisions and other warfighting stuffs.
Short bursts rang out for the next few seconds; two shooters opted to run their IR illuminators, only to be shot at in the low light. The team immediately switched to their visible lights, every single rifle had one mounted. This allowed for the team to not only see better in non-tactical situations, but afforded them the opportunity to possible blind out or automatically force the enemy night vision to shut off.
Six visible lights began strobing, while fire started pouring down. Immediately two enemy fighters had been caught in the hallway and dropped, but at least four more were anywhere from 30 to 40 meters away and that distance had to be crossed. Eaglen returned fire along with most of his team, but they’d been stalled and this was not the place to be in an ambush. Motioning to the closest man near him, he got to his gunner’s back to grab a few flashbangs. “Get that damn LAW out!”
Pointing to two of the shooters, he pointed at their extended SureFire mags; they’d need to lay down some suppressive fire to give the LAW-gunner enough time to put the shot downrange. A simple fist pump from the TL gave the signal and the team immediately went to work. Suppressive fire put the badguys’ heads down and the LAW was out and away less than two seconds later. A defining roar and a heavy pressure wave washed over the team and they were up and moving towards the target.
The scene was devastating; at least seven badguys were down, faces and bodies bleeding, most of them covered in dust that had been rocked loose from the cave walls. None of them moved, the overpressure in this space was more than enough to have killed them several times over.
“Fatal Actual to Fatal 7, that was us. Seven E-KIA, secure down here. Tell Delta that we’re good to go.” Eaglen was already flipping his NODs up on his helmet and switching his helmet light on. They needed to get positive identification on the badguys in the room, one of them might yet turn out to be their target; Ibn Al-Sud. Each member of the team had a job in this grizzly task; one shooter watched over the body with a gun pointed center mass, another shooter checked the body for booby traps and set to getting a facial recognition while taking pictures and gathering any relevant details.
“03, I think I have him.” It was 08 pointing the barrel of his pistol and pistol light at the face of a man that had more than likely had his insides completely crushed. His eyes were empty. “I’m pretty damn sure this is him.”
Eaglen moved over, removing a picture of Al-Sud from out of one of his various pockets. Taking a knee next to the lifeless and dirty face, it was pretty damn clear that the man responsible for this war had just been killed from an M72 LAW, a single-shot 66mm disposable anti-tank weapon that had been in service for close to 50 years now. Hell, they cost less than a grand to make. Eaglen’s optic was more expensive than that.
Didn’t matter now; fucker’s dead, he thought to himself. He pointed to one of his men to gather a blood sample while another on the team ran to the entrance to grab a body bag. They were bringing this guy back with them.
“Fatal Actual to all callsigns, I have potential POS-ID on our target. Say again, have potential POS-ID on Al-Sud. All callsigns, Station. Get the birds on the horn and tell them to get here. Our bad on the delay.”
It was a massive breach of the professionalism that they’d trained to achieve over the past several years, but everyone had visible lights on in this storage cave. A few of them took a heavy breather; Eaglen could see one of his men looking at his helmet with a rather stern look.
“What the hell is up?” He motioned to his teammate.
“Uh, sir, your blast gauge is red. Looks like that overpressure hit us harder than we thought. You alright sir, did you get banged up hard, you good?”
“Yeah, I’m good. I feel fine. Pretty fucking happy, actually.”
Another one of his shooters burst out laughing. “Ha, holy shit!”
“That is literally the exact conversation I had with 08’s mother last weekend.”