Outskirts of Mogadishu Refugee camp, 18:35:25, Beyond the city walls of Mogadishu.
They didn’t look out of place. Minutes earlier each team member had donned extra layers of “urban camouflage”. Old clothes placed strategically gave a gun toting bad boy the look of a chubby farmer. Head clothes and arm wraps disguised tight fitting helmets and comms bracelets.
The rendezvous point was at the other end of the camp. A contact would be waiting with two cars.
As they walked amongst the squalid conditions of the camp, they could not help but notice the shambolic state of its inhabitants. Poor farmers from the south, driven wild by the desperations of living under a nihilist movement. Al Shabab made you give your heart to god, and your gold to them. Like cutthroats throughout history they hid behind whatever social truths were available, in this case religion. The reality, that hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers were now starving.
One in two of the population. An awful statistic, until you saw the awfully awfuller truth in front of you. Truth lay somewhere out there in the great camp. Amongst the people with their skin hanging and their bones weakened. The hollow looks and desperate gazes looking in vain for salvation. That silent plea, for something, anything. The burden of a generation born unto abject poverty.
These are a people who are refugees in their own country, too hungry to feed their own children, thought Aimee. Sadness flooded her mind. She was a professional and held to the objectives and parameters of her mission plan. Still she was a human and the unbearable pain of these times made their mark on her.
A small Somalian women hobbled up to them, she wouldn’t have been more than twenty eight, already driven old by hard living, “Are you the one I pray for every night? Help me! Save me!”
She tried to push closer, noticing the rigid looks of the soldiers for the first time. Each having been trained, they looked straight ahead rather than engage her eyesight. It was left to Aimee to push the women to the side of their path. Pressing a small bundle of food into her hands, she whispered, “May god heal your pain sister.” [In Somalian]
The lady gave up with a sullen disgruntled look at her new found source of food, wandering back towards the line of tents.
The two man squad of SAS, codenamed “Tunnel Rats”, jumped in one car with the contact, they would be driven past checkpoints stationed with friendly guards to the start of the entrance to the tunnel. The rest of the team, codenamed “Death Angels”, moved into the second car and sped off in another direction, towards the north east of the city.
Old Power Station Sub-basement 2, 15:30:30, City of Mogadishu.
The lack of clear specific goal early in his life, and a desire to do more than just write research papers, had once again conspired to point his younger self down roads less travelled. In fact it was while studying abroad for his 3rd PhD in as many years that the scientist met the first of a group of radicals that would guide his path for the next twenty years to come. His good friend through college Hasseem Al Haqua had introduced him to a Mullah who believed in true freedom for North Africans.
The two SAS soldiers began removing the outer layer of rags almost as soon as they entered the car. Disguises would be useless. If the guards at each checkpoint weren’t paid off, a careful visual inspection would quickly reveal they were not African or starving. It mattered not.
The smell of the brackish water and associated filth would have been considered overpowering to most. Each step taken was a step into an ever rising stench of shit. Two steps would, or rather should have induced a near fatal reaction. Certainly the human nostril was not designed for an assault of this degree. For the two SAS it was barely worthy of any attention other than as a guide to the age of the tunnel, or their relative location to sources of danger.
Their suits were already performing spectral analysis of the various chemicals in the tunnel. Nothing came up dangerous. Next the suits combined their full spectrum sweep coverage to work over half the tunnel each. Each member of the SAS team was able to review the results of the completed analysis in real time. The suits internal LED retina displays, revealed what they had collectively suspected, that a multitude of traps existed even in the tunnel leading up to the entrance of sub basement level 2. Each source of explosives was marked by a small red circle, a rotating internal arrow indicating the direction of the electronic detonator.
His LED retina display showed more lasers on the upper part of the stairwell. At least two more bombs with pressure pads placed on different steps.
Paul smiled back at his mate Dusty. It was a running joke that the largest most formidable hand to hand fighter in the squad had once come face to face with a lion in the mountains of Syria and lived to tell the tale. To this day he kept the skin on display but refused to say, how, armed only with a knife he had bested it. Only a deep scar that cut across his upper chest bore any testimony to that day of life and death.
The small device with the club like design hit the part of the wall that was partially hiding the bomb. Plasterboard and wood had been partially torn out just enough to hide what was inside. It didn’t matter. Anyone sent to investigate would have been long dead before they got anywhere near that section of the wall. As soon as the device made impact it seemed to pop up three small metallic nodules from around the circumference of its head. Each one glowed blue, then the device released a strange whirring noise. Like a mini-turbine, this was the crucial pre-load stage, the electricity from the suits invisibility generator re-routed along the metal cord to the device. Less than half a second later the device emitted an ear piercing whine! A tiny localised EMP field was the result. Too small to effect either man’s suit it was nether the less powerful enough to knock out both of the bombs on the stairwell and the surrounding lighting.
Cub smiled back at him, “Where?”
“The middle of the fucking Kimberly Cub. We are as far from civilisation as it is possible to be and remain on dry land. Luckily for us, it’s not the wet season. We may still have a chance of survival.”
Each man knew the reality. This place, because of its remoteness and the in hospitability of terrain, was completely unsurvivable.
Flushing nanites required consuming roughly a third of your bodyweight in protein, and the quickest way to do that in the wild was, hunting and eating animals. But first they needed energy. It was no good tracking if you couldn’t move properly. They were like recently arrived astronauts. Weak from space, desperate to renormalise to earth’s conditions.
Everything in the universe was connected. There are not those things now that reflect what I want but those things that matter more now that they are gone? What do you want Davis? What for you is still permanent in this place of non-existence? – Cub questioning Davis, 5 seconds before his initiation began.