This is a second part of a story. Hence the “Part 2” in the title. If you would like to read Part 1, there is probably something wrong with you but you can do so here.
They arrived at the closed base. Their unit operated stateside there for counter-terrorism operations during the height of the Iraq insurgency. Deploying with little to no notice for short periods of time, their team was very successful when allowed to engage and they all felt they deserved the most credit for keeping things as stable as they could be. Being that they were special ops, they knew the credit would not be forthcoming and were pretty resigned (if not a little unhappy) about the credit going to the President’s “surge”.
None of them really felt their country should have been there in the first place. By the time they were mopping up the administration’s destabilization and failure to have an exit strategy, it was clear that no weapons of mass destruction would be found. But they did their jobs, because their training told them to. They had a chain of command to follow, even if they all knew that chain of command was corrupt or just stupid. Joe really began to sour on military service, and decided to get out when the opportunity first presented itself. He kept working hard until his chance for discharge. He loved his force, he loved the guys who fought alongside him, he just hated those who used them.
Steve was the youngest. He was one of the better soldiers Joe fought alongside. He was smart and strong, and very dedicated. He gave Bill serious competition for being the group’s second best. Until he shot the kid.
They were doing a raid in Mosul. They burst through the door as always, dropping a couple of flash-bangs to disorient the people inside. Their target was one of the more brutal leaders of the insurgency, and they knew he was inside. Everything went according to plan as they grabbed him, black-bagged him, and took him away. As they were loading him into the Bradley, a child ran up behind Steve. It was the man’s son, and he was just scared because his dad was being taken away. Steve heard the footsteps running toward him and turned and fired three rounds, dropping the unarmed kid. Joe tried to tell him that any of them would have done the same, but it was like Steve couldn’t hear at that point.
On the next missions, Steve was useless. Joe tried to get him into the fight but he was compromising the safety of the team. Steve began to blame Joe for not training him better to prevent it from happening, and even more when Joe filed to have him removed from active duty.
Before they set foot on the base, Rachel pulled up in her pickup. They met outside the gate and went over the plan. Rachel was tall and tough looking, but with a very feminine energy. She had a .50 military issued sniper rifle on her shoulder. Joe didn’t even want to know where she or Bill got it. He told her to take position on a hill just to the West of the base. He told her to track them through the scope and sweep every five seconds for targets. He told her to fire whenever she had a shot.
Bill and Joe watched as she ran off then they got in the Humvee to storm the base’s gate. They crashed through and hit a small mine, likely a claymore. The blast wasn’t enough to send the shrapnel through the armor on the Humvee, but was enough to knock it on its side and out of commission.
“Steve ain’t fucking around, is he?” Bill laughed as they checked to make sure they were alive.
They got out with as much weapons as they could carry, checking for any targets nearby. With nothing in sight, they walked as much in the middle of the roads between buildings as they could, scanning up for snipers, down for mines, and around for enemies.
As they reached the middle of the base, there stood Steve and Susie. Susie, was held in front of Steve with a blade to her throat.
Joe knew Rachel would not have a shot because the buildings would block Steve from view.
“Let her go!” Joe yelled as he walked slowly toward them.
“Gladly!” Steve replied. “Bill, come get Susie and take her out of here. Once you are clear of the gate, fire into the air so I know you’re clear. This is between Joe and I. Once you do, I’ll have my men let that pretty sniper go…disarmed, of course.”
“Shit, Rachel,” Bill said as he looked to Joe for direction.
“Take her and go, he has no use to hurt the women. He wouldn’t want to hurt an innocent person again.” Joe said, placing emphasis on the word “again” to try to get in Steve’s head.
Bill snatched away Susie and they ran back toward the gate. As he did, Joe drew his .45.
“If you shoot me now, I’ll have my men kill them all,” Steve warned Joe. “I get a chance to draw my weapon.”
“When I know they are free, we’ll finish it,” Joe told him.
There was a shot fired into the air outside of the gate. Then a crackle of the radio on Steve’s hip.
“Boss, they’re out. Should we really let them go?”
“Let them go, they don’t know who you are, right?”
“No, the other ten grand, where is it?” came the voice over the radio.
“In locker 1542 at the station. You’ll find the key in your pocket. Good work, soldier. They are non-combatants, leave and get your money. Give them the radio so they can let us know when they are clear.”
“Will do, Boss, good luck.”
“So, it comes down to this, Joe and Steve. Finally,” Steve said as he holstered his knife and drew his sidearm.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, I tried to help you,” Joe told him.
“You made me,” Steve replied. “As soon as you hear your people are clear, we do this.”
“What, old west style?” Joe asked. “Our guns are already drawn.”
“Fastest shot, best aim. One is quick, one is dead.”
Steve, facing Joe, suddenly dropped to his knees as his head exploded.
Standing behind him, was Susie, with a 9mm smoking from the barrel. “You’re no daisy, you’re no daisy at all,” she said, quoting Tombstone.
She ran up to Joe and jumped into his arms. “We flanked him! We flanked him! I know what that means now!” she laughed.
“What…how…huh?” Joe asked.
“As soon as the guy drove off, (no plated, white van, by the way), Bill decided not to say we were clear right away. He grabbed a 9mm he had hidden on his leg that the guy never checked and we decided to flank this guy and come up from behind. I begged Bill to let me do it.”
Bill and Rachel walked up to the couple hand in hand.
“My place for dinner?” Bill asked.