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Sting of the Scorpion part 14 "Down, not out!"
A word from the writer
I jutst want to say thanks to the folks who're following this series, You're obviously enjoying it nearly as much as I am (I hope). The team are pushing forward despite the 'issues' they're dealing with.
Just a little heads up is that the novel should be out in a couple of weeks with a few little 'extras' that help explain a few things in.
Anyway, without any more waffle from me let's get to the story.
Moving on, what Joey and Sandy have been up to
They could hear the engines labouring hard as they pushed the freight slowly up the gradient, they finally got to see their transport just as they reached the track, the train was still a ways behind them, but even with the effort of pushing twenty five thousand tons up the mountain the two massive diesels were travelling at about 10 miles an hour.
“Come on” Joey yelled as he started to run as fast as he could for the train. “This is our ride”
“Right with you” Sandy shouted as she sprinted for the train, they were both carrying their weapons slung around their torsos, neither of them even thought of leaving them behind despite the fact it was about thirty extra pounds in weight.
Two massive diesels pulling an assortment of chemical tanks and sealed containers. Three hundred tons of pulling power struggling with about a hundred or so tanks and containers each between twenty to forty tons. The whole lot were loaded onto flatbed railway carriages making it that little bit easier for them to attempt the climb.
Joey got level with one and managed to launch himself on to the deck, grabbing hold of one of the support struts of the tanks he hauled himself up and quickly turned. Sandy was running alongside, her arm outstretched, he reached out and grabbed hold, then she jumped at the same time that he ‘yanked’ her up onto the deck.
‘Sniff’ was already on the deck; he’d had no problem catching the train and was stood there licking both of them as they embraced each other.
“Shit, that was one hell of a run” Joey was the one to break the silence, he didn’t want to break the embrace but they needed to get things sorted out.
“Yeah” Sandy replied softly, she looked directly into his eyes, then reached up and gave him a kiss, just a small one, but on the lips. “Thank you” was all she said.
For a few seconds, it was as if the world disappeared and there was just to two of them, but then reality came crashing back as they took stock of the situation.
The rear flatbeds had forty foot containers at the front with the name of MAERSK line stencilled on it and a chemical tank with liquid oxygen at the back.
The tank had enough clearance that they could crawl through between the two.
Sandy went first; sniffer was right besides her having decided she was probably friendlier than Joey. Joey came through last.
The container had four padlocks, heavy duty ones that would deter all except the most determined of thieves. Sandy paused for a moment then taking the backpack off she hunted for a small purse. As soon as she had what she wanted she set to work.
Less than two minutes later the last padlock popped open, Joey worked the levers and opened the container.
It was like opening the door to Aladdin’s cave! About two feet inside the container were pallets, two wide and two high pallets of tinned food, wrapped in cellophane it was just what they needed.
Joey took his knife out of its sheath and began hacking into the cellophane on the left hand pallet.
“Can’t read the label” he said pointing to the Farsi writing, “but it looks like Beef” there was a picture of a cow on the front. In English there was ‘Product of Pakistan’ written, “wonder if that’s really true?” he asked no one in particular. “Not that it matters that much”
The meat had a little key on the side and a lip. He placed the key in the lip and began to turn peeling back part of the tin.
“Here you are Sniff” Joey shook the tin so the meat dropped out onto the floor, sniff didn’t wait for Joey to stop, he literally ‘inhaled’ the food in about two seconds, the tail came from between the legs and showed the slightest hint of a wag, Joey did the same with another tin that Sniff took about a second more to eat, ‘When were you last fed?’ Joey thought to himself.
“I’d say at least a week ago by the way he ate that!” it was as if Sandy had read his thoughts, she took one of the tins and opened it herself, she ate half the tin then gave the rest to sniff, the tail wagged that little more. Meanwhile Joey looked round the rest of the container and found tins of Apricots and lentils, he threw one tin of the Apricots to Sandy who promptly opened it.
“Better than a meal at the Savoy” he said!
“Don’t know” Sandy replied as she tucked into the Apricots, “But if we get out of this you can take me there and we’ll check it out, I’m sure Gordon Ramsay will appreciate that his food’s coming second best to tins of raw food stolen from an Iranian goods train!”
“What do you mean IF?” Joey replied with a smile, pretending to be indignant, “of course we’re going to get out, and you’re on!” he looked directly at her, that brought a smile to her face, though it wasn’t sure if it was his confidence or the fact that someone else was paying for a meal at one of the world’s top restaurants, one of THE places to eat in London that caused the smile, he liked to think it was his wonderful charm, the thought that she actually earned more than three times what he did never entered his head.
The route they'll take
"We've probably got about half an hour before they show up" Jacko spoke slowly; they could see he was formulating a plan.
"Enough time to bug out boss?" Mac asked.
"Or arrange a welcoming party" Jacko replied, "I don't fancy walking out of here, and our chances wouldn't be that great, how about we get ourselves some transport?"
"You mean 'borrow' a vehicle like we did the cruiser, sounds good to me" Smithy was up for it.
Most places talk about their staff being a 'great asset' and then the bosses make decisions like their staff don't matter, not Special Forces! especially not the SAS. Their decisions are always done by a vote, that way men and women with years of experience have input 'all the way' and everyone 'owns it' and when your back’s literally against the wall with nowhere to go that’s exactly what you need.
“We’ll try not to kill any this time, as the last thing we need is to make an even worse enemy of the Iranians” Jacko spoke for the group, the plan was ‘high risk and they all knew it. “I reckon it’s going to take about half an hour for anyone to show, time enough for you to get a good position Smithy”
As the best shot in the unit it was going to be his job to make sure that the unit that walks into the ambush stayed there and stayed isolated, he walked down the gulley about a hundred and fifty yards then found a place with good cover that gave him a good view of both the approach and the ‘kill zone’ then set down to wait.
The rest of the plan was simple, Chambers and Mac were both injured, though neither was all that serious, they’d taken a few moments to put Chamber’s arm in a sling and the dressing on Macs wound was holding with no blood seeping through, you could see he was in pain, but not enough to hinder what he had to do, and that was play dead.
Mac climbed into the burned out wreck of the vehicle, he sat in what was left of the drivers seat, the lack of charring on his body would probably give the ambush away to the wary, but they were counting on the Iranians being unwary and not expecting anything, Chambers sprawled out in front of the cruiser as if thrown clear in the blast. Mac had his Glock out and Chambers had a Makarov they’d picked off one of the dead back at the fortress, Jacko took up a position near the burned out vehicle, no sooner had they got into position than they heard what they were waiting for.
“Boss” it was Smithy, “Our friends have arrived with the transport”
“Good, now to persuade them to let us have it” Jacko replied. “Smithy, we move on your signal”
“Agreed” they all replied one by one and the radio went silent, no one needed to speak, they all knew what to do.
The ‘Transport’ was a sort of Humvee, in that it was an All Terrain Vehicle but looked more like a Landrover with a fifty calibre mounted on the roof and a tandem axle at the back, there was a soldier in the hatch manning the fifty cal, neutralizing that was Smithy’s job.
The vehicle stopped about fifteen yards short of the burned out hulk and two men got out, one officer and another soldier covering the officer’s moves, there were a couple of others in the back of the vehicle, they stayed in the vehicle.
“On your mark Smithy” Jacko spoke quietly, he probably didn’t need to, but no one argued.
“Roger boss” Smithy came back, “wait until he’s checking the bodies”
The officer moved forward and headed for the body in the vehicle first, the soldier moved round to get a clear bead on the body unencumbered by the officer, he stepped over Chambers and stopped just in front of him, he raised his rifle into the ready position, ready but slightly relaxed.
A dull thud was heard and the soldier at the fifty cal slumped forward screaming as he grasped for his shoulder.
All hell broke loose as Chambers scissor kicked the supporting soldier making contact between the legs, he fell to the floor as Chambers jumped up and grabbed the Kalashnikov out of his hands, he levelled the Makarov at the soldier, “DON’T MOVE” he screamed in Farsi.
Mac spun round and levelled the Glock at the officer who was reaching for his pistol, “DON’T BE SO BLOODY STUPID!!” he screamed in his broad Glaswegian English but it was plain what the meaning was.
Jacko sprinted for the vehicle, flung open the driver’s door and yanked the driver out of his seat before he had time to think about what he was seeing, the driver ended up in a heap on the floor, he came too with a Colt Commando levelled at his head they all raised their hands and began to pray like crazy in their own language and under their breath, a quick jerk of the commando told the rest of them where to go, move to the front and don’t so anything stupid! Slowly and deliberately they moved with their hands behind their heads, the slightest twitch, well no one wanted to find out what would happen as it clearly wasn’t good for the Iranians.
The officer had his pistol, a Chinese 'knockoff' of the more reliable Makarov out of his holster, kind of a reflex action when he realized it really wasn't a good idea. He holstered it, raised his hands and told his men to do the same.
None of them wanted to die, so they all did as they were told and raised their hands. Jacko indicated where he wanted them, he also indicated them to take their boots off. Meanwhile Steve was busy relieving the of all their weapons and ammunition. The ammo would come in handy and replace any they'd used but they took the firing pins out of the weapons, they didn't want to have to deal with these 'clowns' again.
"Any of you speak English?" Jacko asked as Chambers moved round the back of each Prisoner, he'd finished dismantling the weapons and had found some Ziploc ties intended for securing prisoners, that was exactly what they were going to be used for, except not the prisoners they were meant for.
"A little" one of the soldiers, a very nervous looking corporal replied.
Time to save your mates lives
"Any of you speak English?" Jacko asked.
"A little" was the reply
How the Rangers do it
A message for the General
"Tell your officer I have a message for your General" Jacko paused for him to translate, as soon as he stopped speaking Jacko went on, "We're not 'terrorists' or murderers" he paused while the soldier translated, "that's the reason you're being spared, but the people you are working with are!" Jacko carried on, “Those men in the fortress at Alamut planted the bombs in Istanbul, using them to kidnap a British diplomat, and they killed so many just to get at that diplomat, surely they must have known we’d retaliate!” he paused for the man translating to catch up.
“We have no quarrel with the people of Iran” Jacko started off again, “but if you try to stop us from reaching safety make no mistake, we will not hesitate, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” he shouted the last part, all the prisoners rocked back at the ferocity he used. They understood all too well!
They were trussed up and going nowhere, but Jacko wasn’t finished, “We’ll leave you some water and supplies further down the road so that you can get out of here, but we’re taking the transport.” He stopped and turned back to the soldier, “make sure your General gets the message” then he turned back to the vehicle, “Okay boys let’s mount up”
That's all for this week
Sorry folks, but you'll have to 'tune in' next week to find out what happens with the team and if they actually get away!
Don't forget to leave a comment either here or on my Facebook page and let me know what you think of the story.
At the moment the plan is for self publishing Amazon's Kindle (eBook) and CreateSpace (Paperback) but I'll let you know when the book is out.