| Forest 10 Miles away of Edinboro
“Get up Rusty,” someone said to me as I dazed back into reality.
After a few seconds I could see Sifter’s helmet leaning over top of me as he shook me awake. I leaned over and saw other troopers grabbing wounded and running deeper into the woods.
“What happened?” I said shakily as I tried to stand up.
“The jets swung back around again and destroyed most of our tanks, it’s looking bad and we have to go!” he said as he motioned to where the others were fleeing.
I tried to get to my feet and I wobbled a little and fell to one knee.
“Come on,” he said as he grabbed my arm and picked me up and hoisted me on top of his shoulders.
I looked around as Sifter was running and I saw Fix carrying Blackout the same way over his shoulder. I heard the bullets from the jets as they fired at us but I didn’t see any of them. We came to a steep jagged cliff that was about 25 feet above the ground below us.
“Got anymore rappelling lines?” someone asked as everyone pulled out equipment bags.
The troopers that had some left stuck them in the ground as everyone rushed to make the climb down and away from the line of fire. Sifter came to the line next and paused.
“Hold on tight,” he said as he grabbed onto a line and turned around.
I clung to his back as he started the descent. Every time he landed on the wall and jumped off again I felt like I was going to fall off, but I hung on and he jumped off of the line as the next few came scrambling down.
“Here let’s catch a break over there,” Sifter said as he pointed to a small group of trees in the middle of the woods.
He let go and I swung off of his shoulders and leaned my back up against the trees. Blitz noticed us at this point and he came over and set Blackout down right next to me.
“Boy that was a close one,” Blackout said as he looked over at me.
“Yeah sure was,” I said in response.
Stitchwork and Fix finally came running over and reported on our situation.
“It looks pretty bad, we have no more tanks and the enemy has engaged our air support,” Fix responded as he pulled up the radar and intel on his projector.
“We should probably get going,” Fix said as he pulled the rifle off of his back and reloaded another magazine.
“Let’s go,” Blackout said as he got up and stood very gingerly.
“You’re in no condition to do that,” Stitchwork said as he walked over to see if Blackout was ok.
“I’ll be fine,” was Blackout’s response as he pulled his sniper rifle out.
“I can let Rusty go for this because he didn’t have as much explosives damage, but you have way too much shock trauma,” Stitchwork told Blackout as he looked for us to back him up.
“I’ll manage,” Blackout said in a more serious voice.
“Fine, but if you end up with worse injuries don’t look for me,” Stitchwork says as we walk over and join the rest of the team.
“Alright boys, split up two different sections,” said the main commander of our platoon.
“25th Regiment and 57th Regiment you’ll be following orders from Sgt. Banks,” said the platoon commander as I tried to remember what regiment number we were given.
“That’s us,” Sifter said as he nudged me towards the small group that was assembling in the front of the lines of troops.
“The rest of you with me,” the commander finished as we split up and continued on our way.
After a long trek that took about an hour we got word that there was heavy enemy activity in our area so the walk slowed down and everyone started to be more cautious about noises. Blackout introduced us to Sgt. Banks who he apparently served with before in Special Ops missions to North Korea before the war broke out and turned south for the U.S. Blackout even said that Banks saved his life because Blackout had taken a bullet to the leg and was stranded during an ambush in a North Korean village. Banks burst into the back of the hut that Blackout was pinned down in and picked him up. But, knowing Blackout he left a little surprise for the militia when they got to the hut that involved about 20 pounds of C4 and a trip wire.
“Yep, Ryan saved me and regardless of what he says I don’t owe him one,” Blackout said as he looked over to Banks who was walking just in front of Blitz.
“Yeah you do,” Banks says, the smirk on his face almost visible under his faceplate.
“No I don’t, remember Changyon?” Blackout asked with a bit of exaggeration on the town’s name.
“That doesn’t count,” Banks says as he seems to remember something.
“What, you were going to be shot in the back of the head by mercenaries and I used an explosive charge and blew a hole in the ceiling, jumped down and single handedly took out ten well trained commandos with a pistol and a long African hunting knife to save you,” Blackout says almost laughing under his breath.
“Fine I guess that barely counts,” Banks says as we crouched down again because the group towards the front heard a small pinging noise.
“Let’s go,” Banks whispered as we crept forward towards the front behind him.
We got up to the front and found that the clicking noise was coming from a small bush off of the path that we were on. Fix crawled around the back of the bush and poked his head inside. After a few moments he came out with a snipped piece of trip wire and a land mine.
“There’s bound to be more around here,” he said as he set them down behind a tree.
“Alright well, everybody watch your step,” Banks said into his comlink.
Just about 10 or so minutes later we came across a dirt road that ran farther than we could see in both directions. On each side there was a shallow little ditch that we all sat in and watched to see if anything was happening, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary so we all got up and started across to the other side. I was about all the way across and just behind some other troopers when I heard it. The distinctive click, ping, pop of the bouncing land mines engaging as they came out of the ground.
“Down!” someone to my left yelled but no one needed orders to know to do that.
I hit the ground just as the landmines went off above me. I saw three men go flying backwards as the blast and shrapnel sent them flying.
“Ambush!” someone on the road yelled as I noticed enemy in Ghillie suits starting to rise out of bushes and weeds and leaves.
“Look more coming from the left side,” someone pointed out as rifle fire broke out all around us and everyone sprung into action.
I turned back towards the road and found Blackout, Banks, Sifter, and everyone else in the squad scrambling across. I spun around and picked off a sniper that was sitting behind a tree about 30 yards away. Blackout rolled in beside me once again with his two pistols firing in every which direction at targets I almost couldn’t even see. Fix and Sifter landed next to me and emptied full clips of CC13 ammo in a few directions. Stitchwork and Sifter landed next us as a grenade exploded on the road and sent dirt and rock chunks flying all over the place.
“Man down!” someone yelled as another grenade went off somewhere nearby.
Blitz came in last and pulled up a rocket launcher that someone had dropped on the road when sniper bullets tore into the front of the regiment.
“Trucks coming down the road!” Blackout yelled as we turned to the left and saw three heavily armored jeeps and a trooper transport coming in about half a mile away.
We all looked around at the chaos that was happening around us and realized that only a handful of troopers had seen the vehicles or had heard Blackout yell. As the front jeep drew closer it opened up with heavy machine guns and hit a couple of guys on the road.
“Let me see that,” Blackout said as he half asked, half demanded for Blitz to give him the rocket launcher.
“Sure,” Blitz said as he gave him the launcher and crouched down beside him.
“Get down,” Blackout said as we heard the rapid beeping meaning that the lock on systems had found a target.
The rocket went flying out of the launcher with a roar and trailing smoke. Within seconds we watched it smash directly into the lead jeeps windshield and explode into a giant fireball of car parts and smoke. Another jeep swerved away from the obliterated wreck and smashed into a tree on the side of the road. The third jeep for some reason just pulled off of the road and stopped. Then I saw the trooper transport come barreling through the fire with guns blazing. Someone tried shooting the windshield and killing the driver but the bullets bounced off like they were swatted away.
“It’s armored!” The trooper yelled as he rolled off of the road just as machine gun fire turned his boot prints into a smoking hole.
“You have any more rockets?” Blackout asked Blitz.
“Nope,” he said as he looked for other ideas.
“Do you have any explosives?” Blackout said as he seemed to think of something.
“Yeah, I’ve got some C4 and a couple of ST55A blast caps,” Blitz replied as he dug through his pack on his back.
“Give me those too,” Blackout said as he got up and picked up the explosives.
“Cover me,” he said as he broke out into a sprint towards the incoming truck.
I aimed towards the vehicle and fired some very inaccurate shots at it. Blackout dodged several shots from enemy troops that fired as he ran. With one arm over the explosives that were clenched to his chest plate and in his other hand one of his pistols was sending some return fire occasionally. He made it about 20 feet away from the truck, bent down and went to work on packing the C4 onto the road at both sides. Next, he put the blast caps spread out across the road and wired them to the C4. He ran back to us avoiding fire and shooting back with his pistols. When he got back and crouched down we all turned toward the road and saw that the truck was just crossing over the line of explosives.
“Gotcha,” Blackout whispered as he clicked the detonator and the explosives that were directly under the center of the truck went off and turned it into a giant fireball of scrap.
The last jeep that wasn’t immobilized couldn’t get through and the enemies that were inside got out and started towards the battle. Before they got very far a couple of sniper shots took all of them out except for one who stood still for too long and got taken out as well.
“Push forward!” Banks yelled to the men around him as they started to break through the enemy lines and into the trees.
There were only a few people in Ghillie suits left as we surged forward and pushed through the enemy line. The remaining troopers in the platoon all agreed that we keep up on a pace that was between a jog and a walk combination.
“What are we doing on this mission anyway Sarge?” a trooper came up and asked Banks about 15 minutes through our trek.
“We’re going after some P.O.W.’s about two clicks northeast of our current position,” He said as he glanced down at his wrist readouts.
There were no other questions or much talking as we made our way through the rest of the woods on the way to our destination. We came to another dirt road, except on the other side instead of woods we saw a giant clearing full of tall grasses and in the middle was a giant building complex with a low ridge behind it.
“There she is boys,” Banks said as he stood in front of all of us at the edge of the tree line.
“So what’s the plan?” Blitz asked from my left.
“Yeah if we go in right now they would see us because the sunset still casts too much light,” someone in the back said into the comlink.
“We attack at night,” Blackout responded into his com from my right.
“Good idea,” Banks said as he dismissed us to make some minor rest sight for us to wait until night.