Scorpion one, "First Strike"
They're back, and with a new (or is it old?) adventure
From the Author (a little apology)
Thank you for your visit today, we do have a new adventure from the people of 'Scorpion one' that I want to share with you, but first I think I need to say sorry for being away for so long.
Life here got so busy that I just didn't have the time to devote to the writing that I really wanted, and I need to apologise for not being around on HP to share stories and enjoy the friendship here, I have been writing (finally finished off the story 'Coyote' and published it under the title of 'Safe Haven, nowhere to run' on Amazon and also began working on another 'Scorpion one' adventure that will be out later in the year.
I thought that I'd take the time to put out the series here on HP of the first drafts of the story, but bear in mind they are 'very rough' first drafts in the story.
I had thought of writing a short story that I could publish (maybe for free) on Amazon but as I began I realised it was growing into a full-fledged novel without he even trying, so I thought I'd put it out for people to enjoy, let me know what you think.
Anyway, without too much more from me, let's get into the story, and get your desert gear ready, you're going to need it.
LOCK AND LOAD
Zakho, Iraq, 2015 (Prologue)
“Hello Mr Stefan” one of the guards, went by the name of Mohammed greeted him as he approached the house, “want to join us for some tea?” he slowly rose to greet the young man he had a lot of respect for. Mohammed’s arthritis was playing up this morning, not that he would even admit it, he was much too proud for that, and besides, as the breadwinner in the family he had to earn his living somehow, and being a guard for a foreign aid worker was much better than working the fields around his village in the mountains.
“No thanks Mohammed” Stefan replied in Kurdish, he was one of the few who spoke the local language, though the others in the team were trying to learn it, “looks like we’ve got some visitors here!” he pointed to the two brand new Toyotas sat just by the guard hut, “When did they get in?”
“Got in late last night” Mohammed replied, “from somewhere out east I think, meant to be crossing the border later today”
“I thought the border was closed at the moment?” Stefan was curious, they’d been told that the Turkish border was closed while the fighting was going on, had they opened it?
“Far as I know it still is” Mohammed replied, “but apparently the word never got out East, they’d have been better going down to Baghdad and flying out!”
“Ah Baghdad” Stefan took on a slightly sarcastic, though not offensive tone, the Kurds don’t like the Arabs who live there, but they love the city, and take a great deal of pride in it being a ‘jewel’ among cities, “Most beautiful city in the world, isn’t that right?”
Mohammed began to laugh, “Yes, and don’t you westerners forget it, come join me for some tea” he gestured towards the guard hut
The dark red liquid was warm and welcome, “This isn’t local tea is it?” Stefan asked, it didn’t have the sharp bitterness of the locally available Turkish tea, Mohammed just smiled.
“No” he replied, “My brother was over in Iran a few weeks ago, he brought back some really good Iranian tea, please, take some more,” he poured the Swede another glass.
“Okay” Stefan knew not to refuse hospitality when offered, especially when the man offering it is responsible for keeping you safe! “But only one more, I have a meeting this morning”
“I know, but not everyone is here yet, they’re waiting for you!” Mohammed had a huge grin on his face, he knew they’d be frustrated, but he loved it when he could tease them and show them something of Eastern culture, that people are far more important than times and appointments.
“Then I better get in there” Stefan wasn’t annoyed, at least he wasn’t showing it, that wasn’t something you did with the man you’d just drank tea with, something about eastern customs, you just don’t offend the hand that has just fed you!
Mohammed went back inside the guard hut just as Stefan went into the house, he didn’t really have much to do, so he did what he always did in the morning, he started stripping his AK47 down and cleaning it.
A memory of Beauty
He’d just finished reassembling the weapon when he saw them drive up, two vehicles, they looked like Military vehicles, and the men were wearing full combat gear similar to the local Peshmerga, he went outside to greet them.
“Salaam alaikum” he only got halfway through when a burst of automatic fire cut him almost in half, he was thrown back against the guard hut as the rest of the rounds from the magazine smashed into walls and windows in the hut, he was fading fast and screaming.
Stefan heard the gunfire, as did two of the local staff in the office, both the locals made to grab weapons nearby, they each had an AK47 with a full magazine, “Mr Stefan, get them out of here! One of the locals pointed to the rest of the foreigners in the room, the two ‘locals’ weren’t actually local but Peshmerga or Kurdish soldiers appointed to protect the people who’d come from the east the night before, they knew what was coming, and they prayed they were ready in time.
The door disintegrated just as they made it out to the kitchen, but it wasn’t the front door that went down, it was the kitchen door, a heavily armed long-bearded man with an AK47 in the shoulder ready to fire moved into the room, he looked odd as he didn’t have black hair like all the Kurds, he was a redhead.
“On your knees infidels” he screamed as he advanced, Stefan was stunned, unable to move, he was helped with a kick between the legs, “I said on your knees” the second time Stefan realised the man spoke in English, but he was calling him an unbeliever! It didn’t make sense!
Everyone dropped to their knees amidst screams of terror and pain, hands were forced behind their backs, eyes duct-taped shut and bags pulled over their heads, the strings pulled so tight they almost choked. More large bangs and gunfire seemed to indicate it didn’t go well for their local staff, next they were being manhandled like sacks of vegetables, but he had no idea what direction they were going in. Just that wherever they were going, it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
Leave a man behind? It's not in our nature!
Here we go, 'Insertion'
Early morning, five hours before sunrise, thirty miles north of Mosul.
Three shadowy silhouettes raced across the terrain. Barely four feet in the air, touching close to a hundred and fifty miles an hour, engines screaming at the speed. Yet from upwind of them, the direction where their target lay, not a sound was heard.
They kept that height to avoid any radar that might be brave enough to try and track them, not that it would be an issue if radar did pick them up as two of them, 'the escorts' had a Maverick anti-radar missile each. The rest of what they carried was enough rockets to take out a tank column and seven thousand rounds for the 30mm Gatling cannon. They were just the 'escorts'.
Inside the other sat the 'cargo' four heavily armed soldiers from the elite of the elite, Britains elite '22 Regiment' the famed SAS. Each one was methodically checking their equipment, nothing needed to be said, each knew the job they were there to do, and each knew what would be expected of them.
The two ‘escorts’ were AH64E’s, known to the United States as ‘Apache' attack helicopter, but to the British as the ‘Longbow’ after the famous Medieval weapon with which the English ruled the Battlefields of Medieval Europe for over a century, they were the two leading edges of the inverted V formation, with the third, an ageing Lynx troop carrier bringing up the rear of the formation.
Inside the Lynx, the only light that could be seen as the dull glow of the Pilot’s instrument panel, both pilots were busy, though the seemingly relaxed way they were doing things belied the stress of the situation.
"Five minutes to the landing zone" the co-pilot or 'Aircrewman' as the Army Air Corps calls them turned and spoke into his mike, a nod from the unit commander, none of them was wearing any badges of rank, but from the briefing he knew the commander was a captain, all the rest were non-commissioned officers.
"Okay," the commander, known to the others not by his rank, but either as 'boss' or 'Jacko' turned and spoke to the others, "five hours to daybreak, twenty miles to cover, no time to mess around, everyone knows the plan?" He looked at each one, in turn, only moving to the next when they acknowledged.
"Yes" the sergeant, the unit medic sounded off, "all ready" he patted his kit, a basic field combat medics kit, and a few 'extras' he liked to have. He could do most surgeries with it. Bullet extraction was no problem.
"Ready" the next spoke up, a Geordie who could 'shoot the pimples of a gnat's arse at five hundred yards'. He was their sniper.
The last one was the 'ammo tech' as the title was, but really he was the explosives expert, if they needed a diversion, or needed a booby trap dismantling then 'Joey' got the job. He was also the best at the close quarter stuff. "Ready boss"
The three helicopters were flying in combat mode, all lights including navigation lights were off, even the control panel lights were out as the light from them would blind any pilot using night vision goggles, both had them on.
At eight miles out the two longbows peeled away heading north, they kept the lone Lynx in range of the sidewinders, 'just in case' but stealth was vital and while they couldn't dampen the noise of their engines, they could, however, use that noise to trick anyone who noticed it, they stayed three miles northeast of the Lynx.
The Lynx pilot had found the depression she knew was there, they were hugging dirt at a hundred and thirty miles an hour, heading straight west, the LZ was seven miles due west.
"All looking good" the aircrewman assured the pilot, "they're sleeping like babies"
"Let's hope it stays that way" she was concentrating on the instruments, flying by them. Flicking a button on the console she gave notice, "stand by to de-bus".
And that's all for this week folks
We've only just started and we're already at a hundred miles an hour, didn't expect anything else did you?
Seriously though, when I watched that video I was impressed as the man they rescued was from my corps!
US Marines aren't the only ones who don't leave a fallen comrade behind, Royal Marines are the same, and they'll go to extreme lengths, even strapping themselves to a gunship! (I just might have to put that in the story somewhere!)
Hope you enjoyed the story so far, and please don't forget to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.
There will be another episode next week, but until then hold on tight, as the ride is going to get 'hairy'
By the way, yes, this story is set before 'Sting of the Scorpion'.