Chapter 21

Walker Chapter 21

Copyright 2011 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

 

Present – Linus – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I sprint to the C-130, not because I'm worried, but because I can really use the exercise. The normal guards are on duty and I announce, "Crypt."

 

They respond, "Kicker."

 

I state, "You guys need to ramp up security because there's a chance someone might attack us."

 

He says, "Sir, you need to tell the pilot about this immediately. He's inside the C-130."

 

I command, "Well, for right now I want you to go on alert status. I have two more men coming which you haven't seen but they know the challenge response. Also remember we have two of my team away from the plane, but they should also know the challenge response. However, we do have Jennifer Donaldson and three others that might not know the challenge response, so don't get trigger happy."

 

They respond, "Yes Sir" and I watch them start springing into action. Now to find the pilot…

 

Present – Matt and Jim – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I run into the office and see Jim and Megan asleep hugging each other so I smile. Megan could be just the thing Jim needs to snap him out of his divorce depression. I slip up to the side of his cot and nudge his shoulder. He wakes and whispers, "Matt, what the hell is going on?"

 

I answer, "Jim, I don't have time to explain everything, but Jens feels like the airport, and more specifically us, might come under attack. So, it's time for us to earn our keep. I guess there's some sort of special C-130 here where we're to meet Linus and then deploy to defend the airport."

 

He responds, "Matt, with that kind of a situation, I'm not leaving Megan here."

 

He tries to wake her but she doesn't wake up so he says, "Fuck it! I'm going to carry her!"

 

I smile as I watch how carefully he picks her up and I agree, "Okay let's haul ass!"

 

Jim's doing a hell of a job carrying her as we run towards the C-130. I see it's a beehive of activity. Jim looks at me and asks, "Are they deploying what I think they are?"

 

I answer, "It sure as hell looks like a ground based anti-aircraft Gatling gun. Shit! It even has radar and I bet it self-tracks any target."

 

Jim comments with obvious surprise, "These guys really mean business if they have the resources to field something like this!  Didn’t you say Linus has something to do with these guys?"

 

The guards see us approach and I yell, "Crypt."

 

They respond, "Kicker! If you are the two that Linus sent, he's waiting for you inside the C-130."

 

I answer, "Thanks, we're the guys."

 

We barely get to the C-130 ramp as Linus meets us and orders, "It's a good thing you brought Megan. Jim, take her inside and get your ass right back here."

 

Jim heads inside as Linus continues, "Matt, here's your equipment now gear up. Make sure your comset works and get your ass up on the roof of the hanger across the way. Make sure you don't release any of your weapons unless we authorize it."

 

I look and I'm fucking shocked because I have an M-4 and a tactical harness loaded with mags and frags and two shoulder fired stinger missiles. I gear up, put in my comset and check communications, "Radio test, this is Matt."

 

Linus replies, "Matt from now on your call sign is Sierra one."

 

I reply, "Sierra one, in transit to OP."

 

Present – Jim – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I'm distracted as hell when I see the inside of the C-130, but I sure don't have time to fuck around gawking. I place Megan on a bed as a guy comes over and says, "I'm a doctor. What's wrong with her?"

 

I reply, "She really tied one on last night, passed out and hasn't awakened since. Please take care of her."

 

He responds, "Well, she's in the safest place she can be. I'll take good care of her for you."

 

I don't want to leave her, but I have a fucking job to do. I run back outside where Linus catches me and states, "Here's your equipment, gear up, do a radio check and get to the top of the main building. Don't release any weapons unless I command you to."

 

The M-4 and tactical harness don't surprise me but the two shoulder fired stinger missiles are a pleasant surprise. Now I know I can keep the C-130 and consequently Megan safe from any attacks by air. I put in my headset and call, "Jim requesting a com check."

 

Linus replies, "Okay Jim, you're Sierra two now get into position."

 

I take off and reply, "Roger, Sierra two headed to OP."

 

Present – Mike (Capt. M) – Undisclosed location – Washington D.C.

 

I finish my phone call with Jennifer Donaldson and wonder how the hell she's taking the information I gave her. It was probably a breach of security, no - it was a huge breach of security! But it's about time she knows, as Paul Harvey would have said, 'the rest of the story.' I know eventually she's going to be pissed as hell at me, but…

 

I never finish my thought because one of my team comes into my private office and interrupts, "Sir, we have several issues which require your immediate attention."

 

I think oh hell, what's gone wrong with the OPPLAN now as I wheel myself back into the control room. I study the main screen. It's split between the rescue of Elizabeth Morgan and the Robinson airfield and I immediately realize what's going on.

 

I go into command mode and order, "Connect me to Lima November (the call sign of the cobra gunships escorting the rescue helicopters)."

 

I hear, "This is Lima November over."

 

I command, "Lima November, there are hostile aircraft over the rescue site which appear to be attacking the survivors. You are weapons free to engage and destroy all aircraft in the area."

 

The pilot replies, "Acknowledge order to go weapons free; will be in range in five mikes."

 

I smile knowing that problem will soon be taken care of - now on to the other issue. I ask, "What resources do we have available to provide support for the Robinson airport?"

 

My team replies, "Sir this wasn't anticipated and there are no resources in the air. We could have a pair of jets in the air in ten minutes."

 

I look at the screen and realize in ten minutes it will all be over but I give the order anyway, "Get those jets in the air!"

 

Present – Jens – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I can't believe what Mike tells us next… I don't know if I'm pissed and happy or happy and pissed or if I can even be both at the same time! This information certainly changes things…

 

After Mike drops the huge bombshell on us about my Ben, I'm fricken speechless. I try several times to say something, then finally blurt it out, "Jack, dammit! Did you know anything about this?"

 

Jack answers, "Jens, this is the first fucking time I've heard about this."

 

I question, "Do you think Mike is feeding us a line of bullshit? I mean, when did this happen?"

 

Jack says, "Jens, I know Mike and I don't see any motivation for him to lie about this. And there were times that I wasn't with Banzai when this could have happened."

 

Masha interrupts, "Excuse me, may I voice my opinion on this subject?"

 

I wonder what the heck she could have to say, but I'm curious so I answer, "This discussion is open for everyone."

 

Masha smiles and replies, "Even though Jack is my husband we often disagree, however concerning what Mike told you about Ben, I agree with my husband. What Mike said is probably true and if you think rationally about it, it explains many things."

 

Maria says, "Jens, if this is true, then it changes everything…"

 

I just get ready to answer when Jack interrupts, "Jens, I'm not sure what the hell I see coming toward this airport, but I sure as hell don't like the looks of it! Let's get the fuck out of here and find someplace better to hide!"

 

Present – Byron – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

By covering his six, I'm helping Thom find out who the hell is messing with Liz Morgan. I look up and see trouble headed toward the airport. I shake Thom's shoulder and strongly suggest, "Thom, we need to get the hell back to the C-130 because something wicked this way comes."

 

Present – Thom – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Byron interrupts me and tells me trouble is coming. I look up to see what he's talking about, drop my phone and agree, "Byron, let's get the hell out of Dodge!" We then take off as fast as we can towards the C-130…

 

Present – Jack – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I see a group of choppers coming in, too low and too fast for my liking! My training screams that we're sitting ducks in this grounded chopper and I order, "Jens, I'm not sure what the hell I see coming into this airport, but I sure as hell don't like the looks of it! Let's get the hell out of here and find someplace better to hide!"

 

Everyone looks where I'm pointing as we boil out of the chopper like mad hornets out of a nest and I command, "Quick! Follow me!" We run toward the far side of the building away from the approaching choppers.

 

I make sure I hold tightly to Masha's hand - she must be scared shitless because she's not used to this sort of action like I am…

 

Present – Masha – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Jack is squeezing my hand with such great force it hurts. I know he has great concern for me, and it is touching that he loves me so intensely. I am very thankful I made arrangements for our son Ivan to have a babysitter at the hotel because I would be very nervous if he was here with us.

 

My greatest problem is determining which of my actions will be most appropriate during this crisis. My instinct is to withdraw the pistol I have concealed in my purse and prepare to engage the helicopters. But I am hesitant because I do not want to deal with the many questions that act would illicit.

 

I have already revealed too much of my former life and I cannot afford to reveal everything. If more becomes known, I might lose Jack…

 

Present – Jens – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Dammit! We're caught flat footed! Not a one of us has a weapon and we have multiple Loaches1 headed toward us in obvious attack formation. I'm not sure, but it looks like they carry ground assault teams. I can only hope Linus had the time to deploy everyone to protect the airport.

 

1 Hughes OH-6 Cayuse (nicknamed "Loach", after the requirement acronym LOH - light Observation Helicopter) is a single-engine light helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor used for personnel transport, escort and attack missions, and observation.

 

I look at Maria and complain, "This is a hell of a time not to have any weapons."

 

She shakes her head, "Jens, who would have believed that we would be attacked at a civilian airport. Who the hell do you think it is?"

 

Jack interrupts, "I would say it's the same people that have been hindering the search and rescue of Liz."

 

Masha surprisingly adds, "Jennifer, there are many intrigues in the political world for which the Truth Network broadcasts have caused much caustic consternation. The parties involved feel that you, your fiancé Ben and Elizabeth Morgan are to blame for their misfortune and have chosen this most inopportune time to attempt to exact revenge. They wrongly believe if they eliminate you three then it will precipitate the demise of the Truth Network."

 

I look at Maria and she shakes her head…

 

Present – Maria – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Just who the hell and what the hell did Masha Reynolds do before she married Jack? First she kicks not only Megan's ass, she kicks my ass at the same time. The truth still hurts even though she was somewhat lucky because I was distracted at the time. Since that time she's been providing us with excellent intel – soccer mom my ass! She fights better and knows more than any soccer mom I've ever heard of. Something about her reminds me of… yeah the twisted sisters! Now, I have someone else to add to my growing watch list!

 

Thanks to the crusty old fart being alert, we make it around the side of the building before the 'real fun' begins. I worry about Linus because he's at the C-130 and that has to be a huge target of opportunity for whoever is attacking us. I'm distracted as Masha pulls Jack to the side, they have an animated conversation and she hands him something out of her purse… I watch as Jack checks the pistol she handed him… Okay, now I know she's no fucking soccer mom!

 

I mention to my Princess Boss, "Well, it looks like we're not totally without weapons."

 

She's been watching the choppers and says, "What do you mean?"

 

I answer, "Masha had a pistol in her purse and she just gave it to Jack."

 

My Princess Boss replies, "Well that's better than nothing, but as Ben always said, 'a pistol is only good to fight your way back to where you left your rifle' and unfortunately we have no rifles. Look here they come!"

 

Present – Thom – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

With my messed up leg, I can't move fast enough to make it to the C-130 before the choppers arrive. I tell Byron, "Look, I'm slowing you up. Leave my ass and get to the C-130."

 

He answers, "Thom, forget it! I'm not leaving you behind. Look, there's some trucks over there, lets head for them."

 

As we head toward the trucks, it suddenly gives me an idea and I remark, "Byron, if you weren't so old and ugly I'd kiss you!"

 

He answers, "No thanks Thom, you're not my type!"

 

As we reach the trucks, I explain my idea to Byron and he says, "Thom, you're still one devious old bastard."

 

Now to see if I can do what I do so well - cause a distraction…

 

Byron helps me with the truck as first we find the keys behind the visor. Then we start it, wheel it out of the parking place, point it towards the choppers and troops at the end of the field and then we find a big assed rock to smash down the accelerator. The engine sounds like it's going to explode as I slam the automatic transmission into gear and the truck takes off like it's being driven by Mad Max headed right towards the bastards that are attacking us.

 

I look at Byron as he dryly comments, "Well this should stir things up."

 

He's right again as we see one of the choppers jump back into the air

 

Present – Linus – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Because this is America, even though I'm damn sure we're under attack, I don't dare give the order to fire until they fire first. The choppers are – well they're being cagy. They stop at the far end of the airport where they approached, and then set down – shit they're deploying troops.

 

I hear Jim in my com, "Sierra FOP permission to fire."

 

I reply, "All Sierra, this is America and we're not sure who these guys are. For all we know they might be the government and we don't want to start a war with America. Hold your fire until we're fired upon."

 

Everyone starts to complain. I'm pissed at the com chatter so I add, "This is an order, keep this com channel clear of chatter!"

 

Present – Jim (From TSIFFTS) – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Damn! Linus is both right and wrong. Yeah these bastards could be the government, but if it is the feds, they are deploying troops in such a way that they pose a very imminent threat! But we have our orders and we all hold our fire.

 

Personally I'm itching for a chance to redeem myself after the whole mess on this last mission. Not everything was my fault, but I did mess up some. And now is the perfect damn chance for me to seriously kick some ass to show the team my real value is more than just driving boats and running computer and com systems. I cut my teeth on anti-aircraft guns and this one is one of the best. Now if I could just fire it!

 

I obey the orders even though I don't like it! I watch the choppers deploy their troops and get ready to take off when something surprising happens. A truck starts speeding towards them at break-neck speed. I continue to watch to see how they react…

 

Present – Linus – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I watch as a truck, apparently an out of control truck, heads towards the attack force and smile. This has to be the work of Thom - it has his fingerprints all over it. However I'm not sure it's the best plan since whoever is storming the airfield, even if it's the government will take this action as a hostile threat. And I'm right as one of the choppers jumps back into the air. Two men that stayed on the side racks open fire on the truck so I order, "All Sierra teams can release weapons, Sierra one and two make sure of your targets with those stingers.

 

I call the pilot and order, "Sierra primary prepare to ex-fil."

 

Now we're at war with someone but who the hell is this strange someone that was foolish enough to attack this C-130. Because we're sure as hell not sitting ducks…

 

Present – Jim (From TSIFFTS) – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

Finally I can fire! Linus put me in charge of a really nice anti-aircraft gun (oh we have the robotic Gatling gun here) but it can't fire at ground targets. But, I can do the anti-aircraft thing plus a few more tricks I learned in my spare time. Time for me to kick ass and take names!

 

Present – Jens – Private Airport – Washington D.C.

 

I'm watching what looks to be a major battle developing from around the side of the building. A truck heads towards the invading choppers and troops, a chopper jumps up into the air and fires at the truck. Then I hear the beautiful sound of Gatling guns (which sound like cloth being torn) as our team opens fire on the choppers.

 

I jump as two stingers head toward the choppers and smile as three choppers blossom into fireballs and fall into the troops they just deployed. Nothing causes mass troop confusion more than a flaming chopper falling on your ass! I yell, "Wooo Hooo! Linus and the team just took out three of the choppers!"

 

Jack grabs my shoulder and says, "Jens, it looks like the C-130 is…"

 

He's interrupted when two more stingers are launched at the choppers. I watch as one misses and hits a building, but the other one finds its target and a fourth chopper goes down. The remaining choppers have had enough and start to bug out, deserting the troops they deployed. I laugh knowing how much that must suck - being left for cannon fodder.

 

Jack continues, "The C-130 is starting to warm up and we need to be on it."

 

I order, "Jack, you're right let's move our asses to the C-130."

 

The Gating guns continues to tear holes into the sky, then it's joined with small arms fire, some of it directed at us.

 

We race towards the plane and I yell over the noise and confusion, "I sure hope to hell we don't get shot!"

 

Present – Mike (Capt. M) – Undisclosed location – Washington D.C.

 

Dammit! This is one of those times I wish I had four eyes which could independently focus. I ask my team even though I know, "What the hell is going on at Robinson airfield."

 

My second replies, "Sir, it looks like the choppers opened fire on a truck and now there's a huge battle."

 

I add, "It looks like whoever is attacking the airfield is having their asses handed to them."

 

My team confirms, "Yes Sir! Four of the choppers are down, three from MANPADs, and it appears the others are leaving, but not without being damaged too. They have left many ground troops who appear to still be fighting."

 

I watch the flashes of a Gatling gun close to the C-130 and remark, "Ground troops against the firepower we're seeing won't last long. I want more information on the owner of that C-130. Also notify our in-bound pilots they are to hold position at a safe distance from the airfield. I don't want them to be perceived as threats."

 

My second remarks, "Sir! It looks like one of the choppers attacking Elizabeth Morgan's team is down and it's not from our resources."

 

I look at the other screen and say, "Give me a replay of what happened on my local screen."

 

I watch and I have no idea what happened, but something shot down one of the choppers just as it was getting ready to…

 

Present – Liz – on the life raft

 

I suddenly realize these aren't rescue choppers! Instead they are… Shit there's just enough time to yell, "Quick everyone get out of the rafts!"

 

Alexi yells at the girls and we all tumble back into the freezing water just in time. Automatic weapons fire from the chopper tears the hell out of the rafts.

 

We surface beside the destroyed rafts and I realize not only are we sitting ducks, we're also royally fucked! Even if the choppers don't shoot us, without the life rafts our chances of survival become diminishingly low.

 

I hear a bunch of screaming and wonder who the hell's been shot? I'm beside Bernie and Alexi so it must be… Shit! It must be one of the girls! I yell, "Bernie watch Alexi, I'm going to check on the girls!"

 

Alexi responds, "Ms. Morgan, I am fine and will accompany you."

 

I get ready to argue with him, when I hear a noise and yell, "Oh Shit! Here they come again!"

 

Only this time it's different, the chopper doesn't make a pass at us. It slowly approaches, hovers right over us and slowly descends. One of the girls is still screaming bloody murder, which this is going to end up being very soon.

 

I yell, "These bastards don't want the rest of you. They just want me."

 

I push away from Alexi, swim like hell for a short time and stop - the chopper has followed me! I scream, "You fucking bastards want me! Well come and get me!" I pull up the flare gun, fire it at the chopper and then something surprising and unexpected happens. Gunfire erupts, not from the chopper, but from somewhere close. I watch as the canopy of the chopper is riddled with bullet holes, the pilot slumps and the chopper loses control. Shit it's going to crash right on top of me! I swim like hell and it barely misses me.

 

I rise back to the surface and cry when I hear a familiar voice ask, "Ms. Morgan, are you damaged?"

 

I forget about the attack and the other choppers and yell, "Mira! My Mira! Are you still alive? Where are you?"

 

Present – Mira – in the water

 

I giggle at Ms. Morgan's silly questions, swim over beside her and respond, "Yes Ms. Morgan unlike my unlucky sister…"

 

I do not get to finish my sentence because Ms. Morgan hugs me very vociferously and begins crying on my shoulder. She exclaims, "Mira, I thought when the airplane sank you died. How did you survive?"

 

I additionally respond, "I was able to extricate myself, the injured pilot and deceased co-pilot from the airplane shortly after it submerged. Unfortunately, the pilot did not know the proper procedure for expelling air from his lungs. When surfacing, you must ascend at the same rate as the bubbles out of your lungs. He failed to follow this procedure and he is suffering from a mild case of nitrogen narcosis. I must find and attend to him. Please accompany me."

 

Ms. Morgan follows me and says, "Mira, I think one of the girls has been shot. She's been screaming the whole time."

 

I giggle some more and elucidate, "Ms. Morgan your assumptions are fallacious. That is Yasmeen: She is terrified of the water and is screaming that she is drowning although she is not grievously endangered."

 

Then I hear the call of a calm voice and my heart quickens, "My sister Mira, I knew you did not expire."

 

I answer, "Alexi my brother, please continue your vocalizations so we might triangulate your location."

 

He answers, "Mira, we are all here and I have also retrieved the pilot and the expired body of the co-pilot."

 

I question, "Alexi, are you co-located with Zarika and Yasmeen?"

 

He responds, "Yes my sister and we cannot get Yasmeen to stop her infernal screaming."

 

I order, "Zarika and Alexi, use whatever force you deem necessary to subdue Yasmeen."

 

The continuous cacophony of caterwauling finally terminates. I smile with the knowledge that one of them must have rendered her unconscious. Zarika says, "Nice Lady, I have done as you requested but Yasmeen will be angry with me."

 

As another helicopter becomes annoyingly close, I quickly employ my Tokarev TT-332 pistol and apologize, "Excuse me a moment; I must swat at this annoying mosquito."

 

2 The TT-33 Tokarev is a Russian semi-automatic pistol. It was developed in the early 1930s by Fedor Tokarev as a service pistol for the Soviet military to replace the Nagant M18953 revolver that had been in use since tsarist times. It never fully replaced the M1895 until after World War II. While Mr. Dirty Harry might say his precious .44 magnum was 'the most powerful handgun in the world,' his assumptions were fallacious. My Tokarev fires the potent 7.62x25 round which propels the 85 grain projectile at 1645 fps and will easily penetrate level II body armor and the PASGT (Personal Armor System for Ground Troops) Kevlar helmets.

 

3 Nagant M1895 – I am footnoting this revolver because of it's unique design. It is a seven-shot, gas-seal revolver designed and produced by Belgian industrialist Léon Nagant for the Russian Empire. The Nagant M1895 was chambered for a proprietary cartridge, 7.62x38R, and featured an unusual "gas-seal" system in which the cylinder moved forward when the gun was cocked to close the gap between the cylinder and the barrel, providing a boost to the muzzle velocity of the fired projectile.

 

The first helicopter required two magazines to destroy but I only have two magazines left with an excessive number of helicopters left to eliminate. I accommodate considerable concern for the safety of Alexi and Ms. Morgan. I commence firing then a most curious thing, even for me, eventuates…

 

Present – Jens – C-130 somewhere in flight

 

Thanks to my intuition, Linus's excellent resource deployment and Jack's attention we escaped the airfield, but not without some problems…

 

James (now that there are two Jim's around I will use James for the one from TSIFFTS), is moving between Hammer and Todd, making sure they're okay.

 

Byron is taking care of Thom. I guess Thom messed his leg up getting back to the C-130 and somehow Byron carried him, even while nursing his broken arm. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing as Thom was swearing up a storm the whole time. Those two remind me of 'The Odd Couple.' But I haven't figured out which one is odder than the other.

 

I watch as Maria is hovering around Linus as the docs work on him. It's just a flesh wound from an unlucky for Linus shot, but you'd think he was dying by the way Maria is acting.

 

Jim is taking care of a very sick Megs (I'm sure as hell glad it's him and not me since I don't need another worry right now) who has alcohol poisoning.

 

Jack took off from the C-130 to go and get his son Ivan. We will rendezvous later.

 

I'm sitting with Masha: She caught a round in the upper shoulder which missed all the major blood vessels but broke her collarbone – that's going to hurt like hell. She's been sedated and is out of it.

 

And sadness, extreme sadness overwhelms me! Everyone has someone – except for me. Oh I've got Ben, if he doesn't marry that little Stacy Summers bitch, but with what Mike told us, I'm not sure anymore that Ben won't marry her. I feel a few tears slip down my cheeks…

 

Matt comes up beside me and offers, "Jens, I've never seen you this sad and depressed. Look on the bright side, we all escaped with our lives."

 

I wipe the tears from my eyes, the snot from my nose and explain, "Matt, it's a good thing we all escaped. But look, everyone has someone here except me."

 

He reminds me, "Jens, don't forget you still have Ben."

 

I shake my head and begin to explain to him what Mike told us and why I might not have Ben…

 

Present – Linus – C-130 somewhere in flight

 

Damn! I'm sure glad I'm not one of the doctors taking care of me! Maria has chewed their asses until they don't have any left. Shit, if Maria wasn't here I'd just slap a Band-Aid on it and get back to work.

 

I finally get Maria to mellow out and say, "Thanks Maria for taking care of me. But, I still have work to do."

 

She gives me a dirty look but pleads, "Linus, you need to rest and heal."

 

I answer, "Maria, if we don't find someplace safe and defensible, we'll all be resting six feet under. Now let me go talk to Jens."

 

She helps me up (even though I didn't need help) and walks with me over to where Jens is talking to Matt and watching Masha. I state, "Jens sorry to interrupt, but since we were attacked at an airport on the outskirts of DC we need to find someplace safe that we can adequately defend."

 

I watch her think for a moment as she decides, "Linus I know the perfect place…"

 

Present – Matt – C-130 somewhere in flight

 

Shit! If what Jens told me is true, and from what I know about Mike it probably is, now I understand why Ben took off on Jens…

 

But I also, perhaps more than anyone else, understand just how careful we will need to be when and if we confront him…

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