(July 5, 2011)
দ্বারা this point, Bolt and I had laid out the plan, me to the humans and Bolt the animals. We'd figured out contingencies, plan B's, C's, D's, and E's, and laid out which team was doing what.
Teams Alpha, Bravo, and Delta were the main assault force, Team Echo was backup, Foxtrot was the sniper support, and Gamma was meant as a distraction. Trudy, being the only pilot that wasn't part of the assault force, was the taxi. She'd drop Alpha, Bravo, Foxtrot, and Gamma off at the compound, then return to my house and keep the chopper on 5 মিনিট standby with Delta and Echo. We were going in so early because people were always the most tired at four in the morning and were never expecting an attack.
She'd drop us off a mile from the compound, making sure to stay out of sight.
We'd make our way to what we had located as the ideal sniper position for Johannes, our tame sniper. He'd be teamed up with Garth, Rosie, and Jonathon, Rosie's mate. Jon was the spotter of the team, and the two নেকড়ে would be some additional security.
"Wheels up in ten minutes!" I shouted, drawing everyone's attention.
I popped into the গ্যারেজ and picked up an Fabrique Nationale FAL assault রাইফেল and a Five seveN দ্বারা the same manufacturer. Everyone except Trudy was packing the Five seveN, Trudy taking the Berretta M9. The weapons everyone was using varied from an AK-47 to an FN P90 submachine gun to the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The four teams that were going on the initial trip piled into the helicopter, loaded to the gills with ammuniton, grenades, weapons, and other assorted military hardware, including night vision googles. The নেকড়ে had been outfitted with Kevlar vests that were gauranteed to repel any small bullets.
The EH-101 Merlin helicopter lifted off, its 23 passengers buckled in অথবা standing in the cargo bay. I picked my way through the throng to the cockpit and sat down in the co-pilots seat.
"You ready for this?" I asked her after I'd put on the headset.
"About as ready as I'll ever be," she ব্যক্ত distractedly, flying the heavy chopper scant yards above the treetops, using night vision to see.
I stood up and went back into the cargo উপসাগর to rally the troops.
"Alright, guys, we're here for one thing: to get Scar back. I've told আপনি all that there could be danger here, and I'm extremely grateful that you're sticking with us."
There was no time for anyone to respond, as the intercom crackled.
"We're landing in 60 seconds."
"Lock and load, let's go!" I called, racking a round into the FAL's chamber. A symphony of metallic gun sounds echoed through the helicopter.
The chopper flared as it descended for a landing exactly one point two miles from the facility.
The rear ramp dropped and everyone flooded out.
Trudy closed the rear ramp and took off, blasting everyone with the rotor's downwash.
"I'll be ready," Trudy ব্যক্ত over the radio.
I acknowledged her transmission and surveyed the troops.
"Foxtrot, আপনি guys get in position. Gamma, বৃত্ত around and flank. Alpha, Bravo, Delta, you're on me. Bolt, take point. Rich, Sweets, cover our six."
The sniper and distraction teams vanished into the trees, and the main assault forces grouped up with a dog in the lead and a নেকড়ে and human taking up the rear. Penny walked right behind her dog and she was the first to signal that there as an enemy only a few yards away. She held up her left hand, balled into a fist, and we all stopped.
* * *
Team Foxtrot reached the sniper post, and Johannes unpacked his rifle. The dragunov SVD sniper's rifle, a current production model, was a lightweight Russian রাইফেল with a range of over a thousand yards.
He screwed the scope onto the rail, picked a ten round magazine out of the bag, slid it into the reciever, and pulled back the bolt. A 7.62 দ্বারা 54 millimeter round slipped into the chamber and he was ready.
Jonathon checked his M16 Grenadier for the hundreth time since the helicopter's engines had started. Having found it in full working order, he settled down পরবর্তি to Johannes and set him his spotting scope.
Behind them, Garth and Rosie kept an eye on the brush. Well, at least Rosie did. Garth spent most of his time looking appraisingly at Rosie.
"Hey, Rosie, how about after this, আপনি and I go get some dinner?" he ব্যক্ত smoothly.
She looked at him disdainfully, then went back to her duty.
* * *
Team Gamma was on its way around the compound at a নিরাপদ half mile distance when its commander, Phillip, saw a sentry in front of him. He signaled everyone else to stop, then pulled his rifle's stock to his shoulder and sighted.
"Gamma to Alpha, this is Phil."
"Go ahead, Gamma," ব্যক্ত Colby.
"I got a sentry. Requesting permission to engage."
Phil closed one eye, lead the target, and pulled the trigger. The AK-47, which was fortunately surpressed, coughed once and the sentry went down from a fatal wound to the neck. Phil quickly covered the distance to the fallen guard and relieved the body of its weapon.
* * *
Meanwhile, Alpha, Bravo, and Delta teams were closing in rapidly on the compounds front gate, I having had to neutralize one lone guard and a pair.
I was now on point, my FAL always at the ready with the safety off and my finger on the trigger. I crept around trees with the grace of a panther, and everyone else was right on my six.
I held up my fist when we reached the বৃক্ষ line. There was three hundred yards of open ground. No searchlights swept the ground, but single sentries patrolled at intervals to make sure that the front door was always in sight.
"Johannes, you're up," I whispered into the mike.
There was no radio response, but a few সেকেন্ড later, a soft crack echoed through the trees. I looked through the ACOG scope on my রাইফেল and saw one guard fall. A pair of additional cracks later, our path to the door was clear.
We rushed with all possible speed across the three hundred yards of open grass.
"Gamma, stand down unless further ordered and meet up with Foxtrot," I told them over the radio.
The response was garbled দ্বারা static.
We crept down the deserted halls with feline grace, except with the wolves, who slunk down the corridors silently.
"Johannes, keep our exit clear," I said.
He tersely affirmed my instructions.
* * *
"Oh come on, babe, why don't we get something to eat? অথবা go do something," Garth insisted.
After hearing this kind of thing for আরো than half an hour, Jonathon had had enough.
"Hey, Garth, come here," he said, trying to appear cheery.
Garth trotted over and Jonathon dealt a heavy blow to his side with the stock of his M16. The impact drove every ounce of air from his lungs and he collapsed in a heap, unconscious.
"Thanks, babe," Rosie ব্যক্ত with a smile.
* * *
With no warning, a guard came around the corner. Having caught me with my weapon pointed down, plus with us needing directions, I lowered my head and charged him. The crown of my skull connected with his stomach and he dropped his gun, a Tar 21.
When he finally realized what was going on, he looked up at me with fear in his eyes.
"Where's Calico's quarters?" I asked.
"I'll never tell you," he spat at me.
I sighed. "Eve?"
Eve was standing in such a way that when she looked down into his face, she was upside down to him. Her teeth were bared in a ferocious snarl.
"If আপনি want to live, I'd start talking," suggested Mittens. The guard looked surprised to hear a cat talk, but that was the least of his worries.
"Alright, alright, I'll tell you!" the guard screamed. "Go down the hall, take the সেকেন্ড left, take an immediate right, and his are the doors at the end of the hall."
"How many guards?" I asked, the Five seveN pressed into his neck to facilitate the truth.
"Four," he said.
Since he was of no further use to us, I thumped him on the head with the butt of the pistol.
"Alright, আপনি heard the guy. Tony, Ela, Bolt, you're with me. The rest of you, stay outside and discourage anyone from getting in."
I lead the way down the hall, FAL raised and ready.
When we got to the hallway, I used the rifle's underbarrel grenade launcher to আগুন a stun grenade down the hall. I followed right behind it, firing controlled shots that dropped the guards.
* * *
Scar wakes in near darkness, sure that she is being watched.
Her fears are realized when she hears the thud of paws in the room with her.
"Remember me, sweetheart?" growls a horribly familiar voice.
"Cujo?" she asks, hoping against hope that it isn't.
"Yeah, it's me. And I haven't forgotten what আপনি did to me."
I broke through the door with one fluid motion, boot first. Calico was alone in the room, aside from the cats, who would have pounced, but Bolt sprang into the room right behind me and let out a devastatingly loud bark that sent them scurrying away.
"How quaint, আপনি brought him," Calico remarked conversationally.
I ignored him and leveled his tall, thin body with a tackle that would have made an NFL player wince.
"Listen to me, আপনি গাধা hole," I said, saying each word clearly. "You kidnapped and injured my wolf, Scar. I want her back, and you're going to give her to me."