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Sting of the Scorpion Part 9 "Evasion"
Before we start
I just want to say thank you to all the folks who are reading this series and giving feedback. The last time we caught up with the team they'd just gotten into the fortress, found Chambers and all hell has broken out as the team got seperated before having time for the 'extraction'
Let'd find out what happened
From the previous
Sandy was terrified, the Halo had been terrifying yet fun, this was just sheer terror, the ground was whistling by below them less than a hundred feet away, yet they were picking up speed and didn’t seem to be getting any closer to the ground, then all of a sudden it disappeared, only to reappear directly ahead of them as she heard Joey shout “Left hand and foot down now” she did so and found herself performing a steep banking motion as they skirted the edge of the cliff, she swore if she’d tried she could have touched the mountain.
Just ahead of them she could see something or maybe things running, it was only a few seconds later that she realized it was a flock of sheep, the shepherds had heard the explosion and came to look only to see two black clad things that looked like bats coming down on them at incredible speed, convinced they were being attacked by evil spirits or ‘Jinn’ as they are known in the Islamic world they were half running and half turning and firing their AK47s at the apparitions in a ‘spray and pray routine’ as they fled screaming “Allah U Akbar” trying to ward off these evil demons!
“You OK?” Joey asked through the mike he was slightly ahead.
“I’m hurtling through the night at some ridiculous speed, no idea where we’re going, being shot at by locals who think I’m a demon with a maniac adrenaline junkie and you ask if I’m OK?”
“Well. Are you?”
“No bullet holes if that counts”
“Good” Joey didn’t even seem to notice the insults she’d just hurled at him, “Get ready for landing” ten seconds later he gave the word “Pull” and they both reached for their rip cords again, the chutes opened and a few seconds later they were on the ground.
How it was done
Alexander Gregorovitch was furious, not just your average everyday type of furious, but an absolutely blood vessel bursting needing to strangle the first one who crosses him type furious! Somehow somebody had sent a team of Special Forces into the fortress that he was in charge of and wreaked absolute havoc.
Whoever it was had somehow gotten two hundred miles into Iran, past all their allies, into the Lion’s den totally undetected and wreaked incredible devastation, how the hell was he going to answer for this? ‘Who the hell were they?’ was his immediate thought, there’d be time to sit and work that out later, but for now he needed to find out just how much damage was done, and track these swine down, hunt them down like the dogs they were!
The fires were under control, the Command building was totally gutted, two levels were just heaps of burned stone and rubble, the third level, the dungeons had collapsed ceilings, the last floor had the walls still intact, but the rubble from the other floors were in the cells.
The front of the fortress was a little better, at least only the gates there were burned, there were only the gates capable of burning there, the burned out hulk of what used to be a Toyota Landcruiser flipped onto its roof and facing the wrong way, the smell of cooked flesh was strong there.
“Get that heap out the way” he screamed at the men trying to shift the vehicle, they were rocking the vehicle trying to get it back onto its wheels, or wheel rims so they could use one of the other Toyotas to shunt it out of the gates where they can push it off the road. “and where ‘s that chopper?” he took a Satellite phone out of his pocket punched in a number and carried on his rant “Get your idle arse into your chopper and get everyone and I mean everyone here NOW! I want search teams on the ground and searching within the hour DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
Whoever he spoke to clearly did understand as he hung up, turned to the nearest man and shouted “I want all commanders we have left in my accommodation in ten minutes with damage reports and casualty estimates, pass the word” turned and stormed off, now to get the Iranians involved.
Upping the stakes
General Omar Sherhaz was only dozing when the phone rang, he lifted the receiver on the second ring, “What?” he shouted angrily into the handset, more frustrated at not being able to sleep than disturbed at the phone ringing at this ungodly hour.
“Sorry to wake you General” It was Gregorovitch on the line, “but we have a situation with the pipeline, we’ve had a terrorist attack on the pipeline”
“WHAT?” the General bolted out of bed, “When? Where?” he made a grab for his clothing, his aide came running in with a message that had just come off the fax machine, there’d been an attempt to blow up the Gas pipeline, the report said it was unsuccessful but a second attack at the security company’s HQ at Alamut had caused some damage! He stood waiting for the General to indicate he wanted the report. “How bad?” he asked down the line.
“The Pipeline itself isn’t damaged, but Alamut has sustained moderate damage” Gregorovitch continued, “My men killed some” he lied, “but we’ve got at least five or so still at large and fleeing westwards!”
“Those Damned Iraqi sons of dogs” The General screamed, “I presume that in calling me you want my men involved in a manhunt?” he asked.
“The sooner we catch these terrorists the better” Gregorovitch led the conversation, he wanted the General to buy into the idea of taking credit for mounting the manhunt, that way he’d get more co-operation.
“I’ll mobilize the Republican Guard” The General spoke a command to both his aide and the phone line, “You’ll have roadblocks and search parties within the hour throughout the whole northwest, a hundred mile radius, will that be enough?”
“That will be wonderful General” Gregorovitch commented, “But there is one more request I have”
“Don’t bother me with little things Gregorovitch” the General shouted into the phone, “Just do what you need to in finding these people, you have control, but you answer to me, GOT THAT! Now, bring in what you need!” with that he slammed the phone down and shouted “Anis, get my car ready, it appears there’s a lot of work to do this morning”
What do you do with fear?
Joey and Sandy came to a stop in a field, by some miracle neither of them had been hit and apart from Sandy still shaking.
“Hey, it’s alright” he said softly as he placed a hand on each shoulder, gently pulling her to himself in a brotherly hug, “We’re out, we’re safe” he held her for a moment before looking directly into her face “It’s OK to admit you’re afraid you know”
“Huh” that wasn’t what she expected to hear from this ‘tough guy’, “I’m alright, I think I’m alright really” she didn’t sound all that convinced”
“I didn’t think anything else” Joey replied, “but I do want you to know that it’s okay to admit to being afraid! It’s not being afraid that’s the problem, or even admitting it, that’s healthy, it’ what you do with that fear that counts!” he turned and started gathering the parachutes up.
“What are you on about” Sandy was s bit stumped, it’s not what she expected to hear, she’d been trying so hard to hide her fear, so desperately wanting to appear to be one of them, she started gathering the ‘chutes’ “are we repacking these?” she tried changing the subject.
“No. Not really” he explained, “Its going to be light in a couple of hours, they’ll be after us then and the villages will give them a good idea of the way we went, it’s only going to take them about an hour or so to find where we landed, then everyone and his dog will be after us!”
“This is Iran” she replied, “they hate dogs here!”
“This is KURDISH Iran” he replied, “The Kurds use dogs for guarding their sheep, I’m surprised we didn’t run into a couple last night, and I’m really thankful we didn’t as they’re about the meanest things in these mountains, bred for hunting and killing!” he pointed to some bushes about a hundred meters away that they could just make out in the moonlight “We’ll hide the ‘chutes’ in there, they’ll find them pretty quick, but there’s a road a couple of miles away, hopefully they’ll put two and two together to come up with five and think we’re meeting up on the road there”
“But Jacko and the rest headed northwest” She replied, “we’re south!”
“There’s a road that joins their road a couple of miles from the fortress, but you’re right, they’re heading northwest and will try and loop round but further out, our RV point is about fifteen miles away, west of here and we’ve got four hours” he peeled back his suit to look at his watch, “Hopefully this will buy us a couple of hours while they look the wrong way!”
It took them ten minutes to ‘hide the chutes’ enough that made it look like a hasty but plausible location and not something that might be a trick, then they were ready to move, Joey’d already explained the way they were going to go, literally taking the most direct route, over any obstacle in the way, that was a high ridge between two peaks. Joey was in the lead, but Sandy was only a couple of paces behind.
“What did you mean about ‘what you do with your fear’?” she asked as they made their way up the mountain.
“Being afraid is natural” he replied, ‘and good, it’ll keep you sharp in a dangerous situation, but if you let that fear paralyse you then it’s going to kill you!”
“Yeah, I know that” Sandy replied, “the old fight or flight response”
“Yep, both of those are valid responses” Joey went on, “But the being ‘afraid’ can be used to help you make sure you prepare properly for the ‘fight’ when you realise you’re afraid then you pay more attention to what your senses tell you, that’ll keep you alive as the brain takes notice more of what’s happening around, you make sure your equipment is working properly, and then the ‘fear’ makes sure you check it again, just to make sure it is! That’s what I mean by what you do with the fear”
“That why you’re constantly checking the equipment?” she asked, trying not to sound offensive.
“Partly” Joey replied, “using the natural instinct to give me the edge the good Lord meant me to have, making sure I do my best to come through the fight in one piece, and bring my mates through it as well!” he held up his hand, he’d heard something, very faint but there it was again, Sandy heard it too this time. They both froze, then very slowly went to ground behind some rocks.
It was still semi-dark so they had the advantage but if they could hear then they could be heard, it was a human voice they’d heard and it was coming closer, the safeties were flicked to ‘double shot’ hopefully they wouldn’t be seen but better to be ready, Mr Colt and Mr Kalashnikov were ready ‘to speak’ if need be.
“Joey and Sandy got away clean boss” Smithy spoke as he climbed into the spare seat in the Landcruiser; he’d been at the meeting point waiting as they came down the mountain. They were on the move again.
“At least that’s good news” Jacko replied relieved, though they hated that the team had gotten split “What direction?”
“They were heading South, down the valley that way!” the ‘Cruiser’ was picking up speed, “I’d say he’s going to be able to make the RV point from there!”
There was no ‘pursuit’ from the fortress, but anything could be happening, they were keeping an eye on the road for any signs of problems coming from there, so far there was none.
Everything went well for about fifteen minutes, they were making good time and would be at the RV with an hour or so to spare, then disaster struck, they were slowing down.
“What’s wrong?” it was Chambers who asked what the other two were thinking.
“Engine’s overheating” Jacko replied, “We’d better have a look before she packs up altogether!”
They pulled off the road onto a dirt track and hid the vehicle in some bushes, “Mac, you take a look at the engine” Jacko spoke turning to Mac, “Smithy and I’ll take up defensive positions until you tell us what’s needed”
“Okay boss” Mac replied, “Steve, you stay with me OK?” he got out, Jacko popped the hood and got out, he and Smithy took up defensive positions , one at the front and one at the back.
It took Mac about a minute to find the problem, “Boss, we got a bullet wedged in the radiator, but I think I saw what we need just a little way back, we’ll be back in about ten minutes.” He turned to Steve, “Come on, I’ll need your help, Grab those spare water canteens”
Ten minutes later they were back with water bottles filled and a couple of eggs, “Shit Mac!” Smithy exclaimed, “we’re in deep shit and you’re thinking about bloody breakfast?”
“Sorry Smithy” Mac replied with a grin, “I know you love my gourmet meals, but this is to fix the radiator with!” and with that he took a canteen mug from off the top of his water bottle, cracked the eggs and poured the whites of the eggs into the mug. Next he took the top off the radiator and poured the egg white into the radiator.
Taking a roll of duct tape he wrapped the end round the hose that had been creased by the bullet, he kept wrapping it round until the hope was tightly sealed and firm, then he cut the roll. “fire her up boss” he told Jacko.
Jacko did and as soon as the engine started Mac poured the water into the radiator until the radiator was full, then he put the cap back on and closed the hood, “Right boys” he turned to the two still stood there, “That should hold for about thirty miles or so, but the radiator is completely buggered after that, let’s get the hell out of here”
“Boss, get the shit off the road NOW” Mac screamed as they came round the corner, he was watching their backs and had just caught a glimpse of their worst nightmare, Jacko floored the gas and found the first place he could get off the road then floored it as he headed for cover, anything would do. They just made it when a BMP 2 armoured troop carrier came round the bend loaded with troops and guns bristling, it was the lead vehicle in the lead element of a massive convoy. The Iranians were looking for them and they were bringing serious firepower!
"That's all the Bloody well need!!"
All for now folks
That's where we've got to leave things for now folks, it's clear they're not going to get out without a fight and this team is more than ready for that fight, but I want to pick up on something that came out in this part and it's what Joey said about fear.
You know it's so easy when we get into difficulties to get all 'tied up in knots' about fear and the whole Bull Shit that we shouldn't show fear in any circulstances, the truth is fear is a natural and good thing to have, but it's what we do with that fear that counts!
Joey said that the fear made him check the equipment that much more thoroughly, he acknowledged that fear was real, and that it could keep him alive, but giving too much to that fear could also get him killed, so the team used it to get the best outcome by making them that much sharper in the situation.
Here's my question, how do you handle fear?
Maybe if you want you can leave a comment, or better yet write a hub about it, I'd love to read them.