Thursday, October 27, 2011
A test of Desert Heat – A Test of Time
Chapter 3 by Tobias Nixon
’85 Ford station wagon 19:02:09 18 km north of Mogadishu (west coast)
The Somali desert was hot. The aircon just never quite worked. Even when you had it cranked up high. At least that’s what the crew of American Special Forces troops holed up in a civilian station wagon thought. The legroom was cramped with boots and the space filled with assault rifles and webbing.
They were coming flying out of the desert on the main highway into Mogadishu. Twin dust trails spun up from behind the car. The reflection of the sun in the distance bounced off the boiling tarmac. Heat spun through every pore of each man’s body. Only eyes remained cool and calm. Unblinking as the city came into view.
It was then that the sedan left the road, and stated to drift along a side road that wound towards the coast and away from the city. They drove for another hour until reaching the dunes near the sea.
The thick tendrils of the sand the only sign of their passing. Within minutes the strong winds had covered any remaining tire tracks. The vehicle was a high end V8 turbo under the hood. It also had long range fuel tanks fitted under the chassis. The boot was full of enough arsenal for the five occupants of the car to take out a small town.
Sargent Henessy worked the open mike in front of him.
“Bravo-Two-Zero-Alpha. Reporting successful completion of movement through echo-two-tango. Proceeding with commencement to objective Alpha-One-Five-Zero.”
“Acknowledged, Whisky-Five-Zero. Your mission is cleared. Proceed to Alpha-One-Five-Zero.”
Alpha-150 was the wait point. Army intelligence had got wind of a meet up between some high levels. Of those in control of large parts of the capital Mogadishu, there was no greater terrorist group than The Deadly Eastern Wind. The terrorists were meeting with their pirate brothers at a remote and deserted point on the eastern Somalia coast line. The pirate teams operating out of this area were incredibly well organised and it was long suspected that they were simply more mobile marine based teams of terrorists. The source of income they provided from ripping off rich pleasure craft (these seemed to be quite rare now) and commercial vessels coming down from the gulf was still impressive. With the wealth of Somalia’s natural resources and its people in almost complete disarray the terrorists needed a source of wealth to continue operations against what was left of the existing government forces.
“Team get ready.”
“Sarge, are we expecting anything to come in hot?”, the youngest member of the team, nicknamed Ali Barba, Ali had the gift of tongues.
One of those gifts was Arabic, but he wasn’t expecting to need that particular gift, more his other an almost supernatural ability to nail pinpoint targets at all ranges, in all conditions.
“It’s possible, but Intel tells us the meeting isn’t scheduled for another three hours. We’ll recon the position then settle in with some snipers and a snatch squad and see if we can’t get close enough to their leaders.”
The Sarge lent back against the front passenger seat. His gaze long on the hot dunes disappearing into the side view mirror. Reflected heat seemed to amplify his thoughts.
“There’s something else boys. The targets may not all be Somalian nationals. Reports are that some of the heat signatures are pretty unusual. Too high to be human, was what Intel said. I want Ali Barba and Mikey on sniper duty. Ditz you and Diego take point as the snatch squad hidden in this shed here”,
He pointed at the digital map on his modified galaxy tab s. Army modified so that the encrypted coordinates could be automatically updated in real time no matter how intense the battle raging around them. Right now it calculated the distance between the tip of his finger and their destination. Distance, duration, time to each objective.
“Easy E, I want AA and suppressing fire from the high ground. This is going to go down. Everyone stay ready.”
Fixed stares became iron hard, as each man said his silent prayers.
“Whisky Five Oh, deploy.”
Sarge drawled from the front seat.
He had been monitoring the route on the virtual map and had his own mental countdown going on. Whisky-Five-Zero immediately burst from the vehicle, still under heavy brakes. Military boots tracks left heavy prints as the soldiers secured armaments from the boot then left single file at a fast jog towards the final recon point.
The squad were just shadowy wrathes in the sands. Each man had dug in under a tarp, then had the last guy standing, Easy-E give them a light covering on top. The results were impressive. Easy-E went back to the high ground, and lay down with his Stingers and light machine gun laid out to the right. To the left were a series of switches and a brace of hand grenades.
Desert sands, 22:01:23 25 km north of Mogadishu (west coast)
Three hours later. Late afternoon cast long shadows across the sand. The ocean not far distant by the rumbling sound of crashing waves. Two cars from opposite directions converge on the ambush point. Tall men dressed in soft white flowing robes and dark rich skin get out of a silver Mercedes. Native Somalians’, these presumably are the terrorists, Easy-E thought. As the only team member with line of sight he was tasked with giving the encrypted voice comm start operations. This group of men walked with casual intent, swinging their AK and M16 assault rifles jovially about, talking quickly in Arabic.
The second group were just as casual but clearly more comfortable at sea. This group was more eclectic, consisting of a Moroccan, two Yemeni’s, an Egyptian, two Somalian’s. But it was clear the older taller Somalian was in charge. He didn’t quite have a skull and crossbones, well not quite. The guy had obviously watched too many pirates of the Caribbean movies though. He had long dark dreadlocks platted with small sun bleached bones, Easy E guessed hand or foot, anything else human was too big. The pirate captain’s clothes were a multi coloured assortment of garish labels stolen from rich wardrobes, the pants were a sturdy black hemp kept up with rope that also kept up the contrasting styles of this modern pirate just nicely.
Each member of Whisky-50 waited and listened to the “chatter” from two parties. Their leaders were arguing. An automated translation program filtered the signal and provided a rapid if sometimes inaccurate interpreter.
“Captain you and your crew should be congratulated for finding the suitcase undamaged. The deadly wind of the east will not forget your contribution.”
The terrorist leader seemed kind almost fond of the captain as he lent in and gave the traditional greeting. His smile would soon turn to a deadly crease of concentration. The terrorist leader was not a man one negotiated with easily, if for that, at all.
“There has been a small complication. The syndicate will not sell for less than $5 million US dollars. Recovery of the cargo was not without significant risk and loss of life. We were not told the boat would be carrying heavily armed guards.”
The terrorist leader’s eyes began to burn. Burn into the captains skull. The captain was blissfully unaware of the hatred being directed towards him. He extinguished a half smoked cigarette in the dirt. Bending back up he smiled at the terrorist leader, knowing that his words carried weight. In the desert the man with the water was king.
“That is Unacceptable. You were made aware of the risks when you were asked to hijack the old frigate Mary-Magee. The cargo in that suitcase is not easily fenced, be reasonable we are offering you a lot of money.”
The captain didn’t seem to hear him. His eyes were blinded by greed. If the terrorist leader didn’t pay, his crew of cutthroats’ next stop would be a meeting with a US forces contact that could facilitate negotiations with the CIA. Given what he’d seen on the boat he could guarantee they would be interested. He didn’t really care so long as he got paid.
“Terrorist leader plainly the suitcase is valuable, we assume at least one other much less preferred client will want this suitcase “back”. Therefore what you say is somewhat ingenious. I couldn’t care less what your group thinks, if I don’t see the $5 Million, this suitcase is going back to the boat with my crew.”
“But surely you can understand? We previously agreed on $2 million USD. It is simply not possibly to arrange an extra $3 million for you without warning.”
“Haw! The very fact you contemplate a larger payment tells me something very useful. I’m beginning to see that Dibra was right when she told me to take it straight to the fencers in Morocco. I did not as we have had many honourable dealings in the past Terrorist leader.”
The terrorist leader’s head went red. His already scary countenance dominated by blood shot puffy eyes, skin pulled tight, and a jaw wide, jawboning his adversary before unleashing his final verbal tirade.
“You fucking cur of a dog. Dog shit eating Scum! Don’t you understand? We must have that suitcase tonight!”
So saying he ripped a throwing knife out of the robes at his front and threw down at the captain’s feet. The knife flew hard and straight embedding itself in the captain’s right foot.
“Ahhhhhhhh! You bastard, kill these fools!”, the captain roared, attempting to walk backwards, raising his hand pistols. The lights of the cars were suddenly killed. Easy-E had thought both groups were with their respective leaders but now it appeared at least one member of each group had remained with the cars. As per the original orders the snipers would be lining up primary targets in their night vision scopes. Snipers should be just about ready to...
“Wait!”, the Sarge screamed over the comm line, encrypted static burbling before and after, “This feels like a trap to me. If you’re the captains men killing the lights is a good move as it causes confusion in the terrorists, but why would the terrorists kill their own light, they don’t have scopes and there’s no moon light in the desert tonight. Stay hidden.”
Indeed, thought Easy-E, the only man with a clear line of sight in the blackness.
“Sarge, I can report no casualties from either side.”
“What about the pirate captain?”
“He is nowhere to be seen. Wait...”, Easy-E pressed his right eye into the receptacle of the night vision scope. Somewhat disbelieving he stared harder to confirm his earlier judgement. “Sarge, pirates are missing. The man we identified as a terrorist leader earlier appears to be in charge. Wait..”, Easy-E scanned the surroundings near the group.
“I can see a dead body of to the side of the pirates vehicle. I can confirm it is the captain. Ah-Haar, he’ll be disappointed not to have had a watery grave dah Capt’n Blackbeard will.”
“Lose the wise cracks Easy”, Sarge focused his breathing, it was the time before combat when his nerves pulsated like this, blood to be spilled, the responsibility of command. But he needed clear thoughts, something was not right out there among the dark dunes.
Desert sands, 22:10:10 24.6 km north of Mogadishu (west coast)
The terrorist leader stroked his thick black beard. He was lying face down on a dune less than five hundred metres away. Away at the bottom stood an off-road bike, tied to it, a shiny silver case. By now the pirate captain would be on his way back to the small clipper that would make the run back to base. Carrying $50 million in diamonds.
He looked down with night vision goggles at the chaos unleashed. They had planned this operation, but had only expected the Americans to watch by satellite. That they were here already with an armed response told the leader everything. They would risk international outrage to get the silver suitcase back again. He had several contingencies, but the warriors below were tearing his guys to shreds. Time to even the odds. He reached for his small mobile. Touching it he activated an encrypted web based chat service. Each time the user account was brand new.
“Activate Archangels. Allah Akbar.”
The terrorist leader stretched to his full height and with that he scooted back down the dune. Kicking the bike’s clutch hard he gunned it back towards Mogadishu.
Desert sands, 22:11:05 25 km north of Mogadishu (west coast)
Sarge got them ready for battle,
“Listen up troop. We assault in 5-4..”
someone else took up the count, “3-2-1”.
Like well drilled soldiers it started with a distraction, Easy-E opening up on the engine block of the terrorists’ car igniting it in less than five seconds with armour piercing ammunition. The fuel line caught, and a giant fireball exploded from the direction of the fuel tank, causing the back half of the car to jump into the air.
As he turned the barrel to increasing his personal terrorist body count, the twin sniper positions opened up on the group by the car who on hearing he explosion had scattered like frightened ants in the hot noon sun. Nowhere was safe. The long barrelled thermally scoped experimental AR-18 rail guns ripped there targets apart.
“Double kill!”, barked Ali Barba.
Mikey swore, then made a 500 metre kill look Eaasy. The rail gun made no messy explosion the bodies just dropped like potato sacks. He had been waiting to get a double kill with the new rail gun. It’s lethal penetration capability on soft targets made it ideal for punching through wood and light building materials into infantry.
As the mayhem reached its zenith, the three remaining men exploded from their hidden positions in the sand. Even rising bullets were flying. Each squeezing the contents of a clip into those running from the car ten metres away. It seemed to be a wildly successful ambush if for one small detail, they needed some Intel to keep the desk jockeys happy.
“Easy, report have you got a visual on the remaining enemies?”
“The terrorists are accounted for, six dead.”, Easy said, and the Sarge’s assault troop checked the bodies in front of them.
“The pirates are nowhere to be seen, but that’s odd, I swear I see the Moroccan pirate from earlier in the outfit of that terrorist leader.”, Easy-E was tracking his scope across the dunes now, searching for any trace of movement.
The Sarge had moved straight to the terrorist leader and was checking the body with his free hand. The others had now formed a defensive triangle around him.
“Mutha fucken cocksucking whore!” he roared. “We’ve been played. That terrorist leader is on the loose. Who knows where the pirates are. Ditz hold the pirate captain up in the air. Easy, that look like the Pirate Captain to you?”
The Sarge, pushed a tab on his Bluetooth squad link secure comm. Transmission switched to include the squad on a call patched directly through to USSCOM.
“Requesting immediate close range imagery at Alpha-One-Five-Zero. Pan thermal for targets vacating the vicinity.”
“Confirmed, I have the sat-link; he is in egress by motorbike back toward Mogadishu. Time to follow n bag em boys, everyone mount up now!”
The assault team moved quickly past the burning wreckage of the cars, and got going. The hunt was on!
Mikey began to move his scope to the left tracking the assault team as they made their way to the car. A gigantic explosion rocked the car to from the right. The whole car jumped a foot from the ground, as the team dove to take cover across from the car. Diego was off to the side, and he never saw the two pirates that came at him from behind. Five bullets, three through the throat from the first, two through the chest from the second. Honour be, honour thee, the others silently echoed the chant.
These weren’t your grandpa’s pirates. Their preferred choice of weapon the humble AK-47 original. Sold out of an arms dealer with gun shop huts along the beaches of western Yemen. The Sarge needed to act fast. Before his teams’ rage revenge motive turned things into a blood bath. He was holed up with Ditz near the car.
The dead lifeless body of Diego was just metres away but it might as well have been a mile. The distance cut by the field of fire from the remaining pirates. They seemed content to keep the squad in position.
A giant ruse to keep the high tech Americans from completing their mission. Sarge should have known the pirates and terrorists were collaborators. The Intel had been solid for months that these two groups had staged joint operations. The terrorists acting as buyers for some of the pirate gangs harder to store items, and excess weaponry.
The snipers moved. The angle was useless with the pirates camped behind the car, they would have to take out the only ride out of here to ... “Sarge what if were to take the pirates car? Do we have permission to destroy our vehicle?”
“Do it, now!”
The snipers moved through a 90 degree field of view until they had located all of the pirates via thermal vision. Easy relayed in advice from his alternative angle to their right halfway down the highest dune on the high ground facing the killing field. Ali Barba moved his right eye into position. Focused his breathing. Stopped his breathing. Moved his right hand with deadly precision into place. Now the kill shots. Mikey acted as spotter calling in the changes in height and distance.
“Target acquired. Shoot to kill!” Ali’s finger curled, and holes started to open up in the side of the car. Precision holes that the rail gun ripped at half an inch in diameter. The effect was amazing. Crouching bodies became falling corpses. Their cover completely comprised the remaining pirates broke hastily from cover. Ali Barba cut two more down with another double kill. Easy E opened up with his light machine gun as the final two pirates ran from cover. Bullets spilled onto the dirt surrounding him, the hot gun was throwing out metal slugs at a voluminous rate that tore through the walking corpses of the pirates. Heads popped back, as bodies fell to the ground.
“All enemy within range of close range sat scans are accounted for. Only the leaders of each group appear to be missing, Sarge.”, Easy-E was back in contact with imaging.
“See if they can track down Capt’n Blackbeard. Tell ‘em mission parameters have changed, where going after the Terrorist leader. We believe he is in possession of the target.”
“Sarge I thought capturing the terrorist leader was the target?”, queried Ali Barba over the comms. Already he and the other two were jogging down the dune hill kit shouldered, Easy just ahead of them.
“This mission is top secret, even I have no idea what is in the suitcase. Capturing that terrorist leader alive with the suitcase is our top priority. All I know is that we got sent because the contents of that suitcase cannot under any circumstances enter the capital Mogadishu.”
The squad were soon in hot pursuit. The car they occupied was considerably slower than their own car, but made good progress, and, crucially had fuel in the tank. Easy was cruisin’ with one of his RPG’s shoulder mounted and half hanging out the rear left window. It was probably all that saved them. Several seconds later they saw what looked like twin flares descending at incredibly speed through a high altitude arc. Swooping lights, with the glint of what was it thought Sarge? Steel? No!
“No!” – he screamed.
Easy-E reacted without thinking he dropped the hammer on his RPG pointing in the direction of the flares. Massive percussion sounds exploded in their ears. The peace of the desert was ripped apart as a fireball exploded from within the pitch horizon. Still one to go.
The driver Ditz never even blinked as he took extreme evasive manoeuvrers. The car swung violently to the left from the road to the flat desert sands beyond. It raced as though the road was a snake. In truth it was. Ditz was running full speed perpendicular to the road.
The lights were advancing through the western sky rapidly now. Mikey spoke aloud to crack the intense and paranoiac atmosphere that was building within the car. Surfaces seemed to drip with humidity, pulses raced.
“Aircraft, 3 o’clock. Assume approach hostile.”
Data streamed into the Sarge’s pad, the others crowded over.
Easy-E had got his other RPG out of the window. This one was gonna have to count. Easy-E placed his weapon arm on the top of the car, draping it across his other.. face focused on targeting the approaching lights.
Ditz drove the car, now parallel to the road and once they were once again in pursuit of the terrorist leader.
The pad was showing disturbing images. The aircraft appeared to be unmanned drones. Armament level was assumed to be lethal to infantry. These must have been the unusual heat sigs registered by the high level scan earlier mused Sarge.
The drone came screaming in.
At three hundred metres it levelled its descent. The car started to swerve violently from side to side, moving in big twenty metre arcs.
At two hundred metres the retractable machine gun barrels extended from their pods.
At one hundred and fifty metres the bullets started to trace a path along the ground towards the car. Bullets chewed up the dirt in two neat little rows as the nose of the drone dipped and then rose towards them.
One moment they were tense cats coiled inside the car, the next two dozen bullets had crisscrossed the cabin. It was shooting fish in a barrel and they all knew it. Incredibly only one of them was hit. Mikey took the hits like a champ. His massive front rower body relaxed as the first two drove deep into his chest, the back seat was suddenly awash with blood. The final bullet was enough. It ripped right through the roof and into his skull.
“Poor damn bastard never stood a chance.”, Sarge grunted. The others clung to his words, seeing your mate murdered in front of you was soooo fucked. Ali Barba just kept swearing, until Sarge eventually had to give him the look to shut it.
Easy-E was the only one not to witness the gruesome killing. His body was tensed half hanging from the rear left window. Guiding the sights of his RPG through a tight arc as the drone ran past its target to circle for a another kill run. He waited, he knew he had only one chance. This was the only weapon that could damage something moving so quickly. Even so its evasion was superior to a regular aircraft, it had no need to slow down a human. The drone could pull 15g’s on the fly, then back up for another change of direction time after time. It meant he had to wait till the drone was committed to another attack run. Just at the end of its turn arc, just about now.
“This is for Mikey you metal piece of shit”, said Easy-E as he thumbed the trigger squeezing tight, holding steady guiding the rocket towards its destination. The drone had just come out of its turn and was heading back towards the car. The rocket came smack bang straight into the front of its nose, resulting in a colossal explosion that ripped the metal bird apart. Clearly it hadn’t just been carrying bullets. From half a click away they could feel the warmth of the explosion wash over them.
Terrorists leader bike 22:31:09 2.9 km north of Mogadishu (city limits)
The terrorist leader knew he had a healthy lead on the Americans. Even so he did not have any intention of relying on his benefactors air support. At forty he was a veteran of the gulf wars, insurgencies in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Palestine. He had fought in Lebanon, blown up bridges in Syria and most recently helped with operations against the Turks. To survive as long as he had, meant that he was a man that always planned meticulously and then assumed the worst.
He never went anywhere now without two contingency plans. His entire life was given over to battle, and so his every move was calculated on the premise that his world was a battlefield. Now these Americans had got wind of his plans. Somehow. How had they? Who had talked?
No matter it was too late now, soon, very soon from the chaos would come a new Somalia. One.
One that was? Hmm he didn’t really know. Then his heart felt heavy and invisible tears soaked his mind. One that was not a warzone for his people. One that was not a living hell of starvation, or a place of casual brutality, or of the intercine warfare or murders that were left to be unpunished. From this lawless hell would come a new Somalia. It’s people deserved another chance. They would be given the means to build a new society.
Knowing you were winning was never the same as winning, unless you were Charlie Sheen the leader reflected. He ripped the throttle down and the bike accelerated an extra five kilometres an hour to eighty kilometres. The fastest that he dared given the sandy uneven terrain. He needed to get to the capital before sun up.
Terrorists car 22:31:26 5.3 km north of Mogadishu
The Sarge had rolled Mikey’s body forward in the passenger seat. He had carefully placed a poncho over the body. The mood was incredibly sombre but also focused. These men were elite soldiers. Each knew the risks of his chosen field. Each accepted the dangers without question. Nothing prepared you for the gut retching feeling of sudden death.
The men sat stoically. No one had congratulated Easy-E. It was as though they had all pulled the trigger and downed the bird. The shared sense of revenge was all that kept Ali Barba from cursing once more.
Ditz didn’t hold back, “Fuck!! Mutha fucker has turned again he’s heading to the northern edge of the city.”
Then the car swerved once more and was flying of a low lying sand dune through 2 feet, before bottoming out the suspension. The bike was somewhere ahead. The pad was feeding higher resolution pictures now that they were in the same grid as their quarry. Alarmingly another car was approaching on an intercept trajectory with the bike. It looked like they would meet before the team could catch up. Ditz floored the car, desperate for extra speed. Ahead the car and bike were drawing close.
As the Sarge watched both vehicles drew closer but never slowed to a complete stop. The icons for each vehicle shifted slightly, Sarge immediately order a more detailed analysis to see what had happened. A couple of seconds later the screen updated with high resolution photos of a silver briefcase being passed into the car. Then both were speeding off in opposite directions.
Sarge was starting to get really suspicious, none of this made any sense. He ordered another scan of the bike. It still had a silver briefcase. What the hell? He wondered if the switcheroo was deliberate.
High tech drones, awareness of sat imaging, it seemed incongruous that terrorists that fought with low tech AK’s had access to sophisticated tech and training. Maybe command had this one all wrong. Something was missing. Something he just couldn’t quite pinpoint. Command responsibility. The pressure to lead. His drill instructor was on his mind.
<Drill yard, Kentucky SEAL training facility> 15 years ago>
The voice of old Jed, “When so m-thing dohn’t loook right, it ain’t! Now keep your eyes peeeled for Charlie.”
“Stop the car now!” Sarge ordered.
Ditz pulled over. Brakes schreeched, as he rammed his foot onto the pedal.
“Ali Barba out.”
Ali stepped out into the cold desert sands. He removed his kit and the car was off again. No questions only a solitary figure, trekking to the top of the nearest king dune. By chance this happened to be in the same direction as the departing car. The cold skittish grit kicked up from the wheels and spat into Ali’s face. He didn’t care. He popped broad shoulders, puffed his impressive pecs, and set off at march.
Terrorists car 22:32:45 3.5 km north of Mogadishu
“Callin’ it in Sir. We are pursuing the operative rec name “Blackbeard” instead of the primary.” Sarge barked into his comm uplink.
“What makes you think the other car is the pirate?”
“Just a hunch” chewed out the Sarge, annoyed now at his comm link.
“The primary target is classified shoot to kill, the briefcase cannot fall into the wrong hands. What is your contingency?”, said an encrypted voice.
“Yes sir. I have left my remaining sharpshooter to reccy with chopper inbound to final point of termination.”
“Acknowledged. Chopper is inbound on gps beacon in two minutes mark. At current speed estimate point of interception at 0.5 km from city outskirts. Your man will have one shot only.”
“He only needs one. He’ll make it.”
“I hope so” (for your sake) Sarge finished in his head. He then opened another channel back to Ali Barba. A secure data transmission got him up to date.
Ali whistled softly through the link. “Even I have limits my friend.”
Sarge thought of his friend in Australia. Now seemed to be as good a time as ever, so he said to Ali in what he knew was a terrible Aussie accent, “She will be right mate.”
Ali immediately lightened up.
“Sure thing Sarge” (normal self)
Sarge and Easy scanned the surroundings with their night vision goggles whilst Ditz focused steadfastly on the road, or lack thereof ahead. Up till now every five hundred or so metres they had been seeing small clumps of desert bush but not much else.
Suddenly they were closing in on the pirate vessel. The pirate car screeched around. Taking a massive right turn on the desert floor. Ditz let them get close then slammed hard on the brakes. Both cars were at standoff one hundred metres apart. The US soldiers stayed relaxed and in their vehicle, while the motley crew inhabiting the other car quickly dispersed.
But it would be completely wrong to say that those soldiers had been lazy or brazenly stupid. They were simply extremely cunning.
Quite intentionally Ditz slammed the manual gear stick into the lower right of the H working the pads so that the car positively leapt backwards. As the team made steady distance away from their quarry, the quarry in turn took chase in pursuit.
Thus set the trap was sprung, the explosives left by hand to detonate did so. And in the ensuing aftermath men still walked albeit dazed in stupor. The US team had deployed chemical grenades. They were taught during classified sessions that targets would be “Doey” once overcome and could then be subdued. This proved the case. Only the leader of the crew who had been standing back somewhat distant seemed unsubdued. Instead he was cackling like a madman.
The leader laughed as Ditz tackled him to the ground.
“What’s so funny you dirtbag?” Ditz screamed at him, he wanted to say “You killed my friend. You fuckbag why did you do it?” but he knew he wouldn’t.
The pirate just stared at him with a smile in reply. Ditz pushed away from him and grabbed hold of a silver suitcase that he had been holding in his left hand. He flung it back towards Easy, he then used that arm to spin the pirate around. He deftly pulled both arms up at the elbow into a nelson lock.
The pirate started to laugh again.
Easy went about opening the case. In so many tens of seconds his electronic wrist tool had already cracked the lock. The case opened under its own motion. Inside was ten million US dollars. At least Easy-E was pretty sure you couldn’t fit any more cash inside. Sarge whistled toothlessly.
“What a fortune ai boys?”
Easy snapped the case back shut and retreated to the car. Throwing the case on the backseat, he pulled out his machine gun.
Sarge said to the pirate,
“Unless you want my boy here to toast all your dazed looking comrades, I suggest you unload with us on what the fuck is going on.”
The pirate sneered back,
“You’re picking on the wrong players Sergeant. My people died for this country, and will continue to do so until you are all gone.”
“Sorry not interested”, Sarge sounded flat.
“Boys give me your comms.” They did so. He stomped all three sets into the dirt. Busted tech good no more.
“Kill them all Easy!”
“What! No, you cannot do what you say?!?” screamed the pirate leader. His eyes were white with naked fear. His legs trembled. Suddenly his seaborne cockiness evaporated.
Easy-E held his machine gun two handed dominant position pointing down at this targets. It was a heavier grip to master. He squeezed the trigger briefly, bullets spat down at the leaders feet.
“Ok! Just please do not kill. Come I will show you.”
The others hustled him to the car as Easy went about using the butt of his weapon to knock the other pirates unconscious. Driving back to base, a relaxed Easy-E sat back on the seat, stretched his muscled frame and reflected that now was the perfect opportunity to see whether his buddies would object to a few US denaros going missing between here and base.
Chopper, 22:38:01 0.55 km from outer city districts of Mogadishu
It was coming in low, really low. Ali was perched ready to respond. The clear night made the game so electric he thought. The bike rider ahead was speeding on looking straight ahead. The chopper slowed and rotated slightly to give him a full field of view. His gun arm adjusted and he used his knees as stabilisers.
The rifles thermal scope registered the target. The target bobbed up and down constantly due to slight variations of movement from the chopper and the extreme distance of the shot. Breathing out he held his breath and calmly squeezed the shot. The terrorist leader was spun from his bike. He flew head over heels, rag dolling towards the ground. The bike ditched into the hard sands, along with its cargo.
Without thinking he grabbed a rope already attached to the side of the cargo bay and flung himself from the chopper. Because they were so low, by the time he came to a stop half way down the rope he was nearly at the bottom. He broke fall landing lightly and immediately began sprinting towards the bike.
At that moment, noises went off in the cockpit and the pilot began screaming about incoming missiles. Down below Ali could only suspect that this too had been a trap. But he had no time to lose, this silver suitcase needed to be returned. He climbed aboard the bike, dropped the clutch and gunned it back towards the open desert.
The chopper exploded in mid air. Its flaming wreckage tore from the sky and came crashing down towards the ground troops. They fired impotently past the wreck into the night, at the faint sound of a dirt bike at maximum engine revs.
Desert floor, 22:45:03 0.5 km from outer city districts of Mogadishu
Elements of the Deadly Eastern Wind gang moved back towards Hamid’s body. The terrorist leader had been in charge of a team of ten originally. Now only two were left. Such was the burden of operational success reflected the leader Urqa. The remaining men would be reassigned to other important missions. Some would not return. It was as Allah willed it.
Hamid’s last request to Urqa had been to check his body. A slightly odd request but one that Urqa obeyed. He had his men carefully pickup the dead body of Hamid and bring it with them. As they went to pick him up, Urqa reached down and pushed his left hand through Hamid’s jacket.
“Allah be blessed!”, Urqa was in shock.
It was the object Hamid had been after. So, it was not in the silver suitcase after all thought Urqa. Hamid’s last act of defiance against the soldiers had been to secret the object on his person. Urqa smiled picking it up carefully and wrapping it in his own jacket.
“We return to Mogadishu at once! Ride out and summon everyone immediately. I don’t care if you have to wake them up, assemble everyone at once.”
Men dispersed to the four corners of the city, while Urqa and a small band of elite cadre walked back towards the city centre.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
A test of Australian Character – A test of time
Chapter 2 by Tobias Nixon
Tim Multzein turned his head and stared across at the screen. A large chart inhabited most of the screen. It floated gently up across a line marking positive territory. The chart was showing the amount energy being emitted by the laser. His laser. A laser he had designed to smash atoms. He had spent two years just designing and building the diagnostic equipment that monitored and controlled the laser. It had taken another year of effort to get the laser working. Now three years later he was finally powering on this awesome beast of subatomic power.
His lab was well lit. White walls and tables evoked a clean room feel. His fellow researcher, Aimee Jackson looked back at the monitor and smiled. Her beautiful smile lit up the already bright room.
“You’ve done it Tim”, her smiled pursed, as she looked at the line.
“Increase the gamma emission range; I think we can get more output if we do.” She said.
“Ok”, said Tim and smiled back.
Over the time they had been working together both had become something more than just good friends. Being highly dedicated scientist types, neither had yet quite decided to act on the nervy loved up feelings that had both rushing whenever they thought the other person wasn’t looking. Suddenly there was a noticeable increase in the energy output, reaching the required level and stabilising. The generator in the background was humming steadily.
“Oh yeah Aimee, we’ve reached output capacity. Let’s put this baby through some hoops.”
Aimee went over to the side panel where several more monitors showed the rate of decay for a small chunk of uranium isotopes. The yellow cake was in the form of a super high density crystal held securely in place by a robotic arm that could position the modular design along a rail that similarly provided the variety and multitude of different laser components to also be reconfigured. Systems were in a constant state of test. Production systems had independent maintenance schedules that required autonomous re-engineering of both onboard as well as chip level components. These could range from a new cybernetic arm or eye, to the latest in silicon injection of digital signal gates and nano-circuit overrides onto existing chipsets.
Lines of inch thick power cables crisscrossed the floor like giant anacondas. Smaller pythonesque yellow and red data cabling rested within its recesses connecting each substation to the server bank. A final set of conduit cabling carried the many network and optic lines that were used by each device for running the server management application. In effect Tim reflected, one team of two people could now achieve more with automation than the entire human race working together could have less than twenty years ago.
Aimee twirled her cute golden locks of hair to her customary right side. She was so cute when she did that. At least that always seemed to be the cue for boys to start fawning over her. Her thoughts though were on another plane entirely. Completely consumed not by the high grade laser design skills that she had supposedly been brought into the project for, but by her assignment.
“Keep Dr Multzein alive. Even at the expense of your own.”, Chief of the armed force, General Clifford had said.
She looked back over at the man standing at the fold out control station for the server core. Steel rack mounted server assets were positioned neatly into every available slot. Upgrades had had to be ordered twice during initial testing. He had been the one both times to identify the bottle neck early before they had got to phase trials. His intelligence on systems integration was almost limitless. Whereas other specialists would become brilliant in one domain, Tim seemed to be the master of whatever he needed that day. From electronic re-engineering, to assembly programming or higher level C++ and C# applications he was an adept. Right now he stood casually, wide shoulders cast in a relaxed and powerful manner. A manner she found rather attractive.
Her own field of specialisation was somewhat different she reflected. She had been trained first as an ASIO undercover operative, but then in access to restricted government technologies. She would never be a mad scientist like Tim, but her skills were enough to understand the hidden databases she had access to. Databases controlled by shadows that didn’t trust civilians. Well she reflected.. Unless you were someone like Tim. Someone that they wanted to catch up to. Someone that needed to be watched and protected from other nations.
Tim strode back to the central control panel for the lasers now. Full of purpose. A giant of a man he stood at over six foot three and worked out regularly on his footballers physique. He turned the knob adjusting the density of laser saturation to full. Her locks shone under the halogen lights.
“You know I never mentioned it to you before Aimee..”, Tim started, keeping his eyes focused on the feedback readouts coming from the central panel.
“but you’re not really a civilian laser specialist are you?”.
It came completely out of the blue, almost innocuously, such that Aimee didn’t really have time to adjust, instead she said,
“Tim I’m not sure what game you’re up to, but the uranium could become unstable if you increase the energy levels too quickly.”
“Aimee, listen to me”, Tim paused and looked up at her. “My best friend taught me a trick, so that I’d know if someone was lying to me. Look into my eyes and tell me your a civilian laser specialist.”
Aimee held his gaze and delivered a cold and impartial response, “Tim, what is this about? We have been working for months and months together. Whats wrong?”
Tim looked down, thinking to himself, an innocent mind answers the question, that was what Davis had taught him.
“Aimee I knew from the first week you started, when you had to consult your computer for the difference between the purple and green diodes we installed in the vacuum tube.”
She knew this moment was coming. It hadn’t been a question in her mind of if but when. However her superiors were not as convinced of Tim’s ability to see the truth. She knew, as she calmly turned to face him chin down staring demurely into his eyes, that she would have to reveal some of the truth, if only to avoid Tim becoming suspicious.
The glare of the iridescent globes seemed to perpetrate the intense mood that had been simmering these last several minutes. Moments of science prevailed upon them both. It seemed in these last months that she had really felt what it was like to reach ones true intellectual potential. Einstein’s ladder to infinity was opening up to her mind and she was loving it. Aussie girls were known for being both archly conservative and carefree. Aimee had an amazing figure. All through school she had been her families primary bread winner. Magazines had lined up, following a national campaign which had left her very well of. Except that it was because of that reason, that she had really never thought her lifelong ambition of being an elite Australia spy, would be realised. It was a hardly a modern phenomenon that spies had to be invisible. Modern times however had given the spy game a much trickier recruiting path. Facebook had ruled out vast swathes of the population. Google ruled out most of the rest.
“Get ready!”, Tim smiled over at her, “1..2..3..”
The room lights were dimmed. The neon glow of the server racks glowed tumescent blue. Red laser suddenly ebbed from the quad head 1200 Megawatt power lasers. Each one had fat power cables flowing greedily out to the power generation facility located in the primary sub basement. Both of them quickly flicked on heavy anti glare goggles designed specifically to reduce the effects by thousands of times. Suddenly her world was made up of darkness and the straight edges of four high intensity beams, each far far more powerful than an industrial cutting laser. Each impacted, or at least appeared to naked eye to do so, on the yellow cake. In reality they each targeted four very specific points in the object’s chemical structure. The phased laser technology that they had designed and built was capable of modifying the molecular structure of the uranium without changing its underlying physical state.
Even Tim had struggled with the math needed to construct the time matrix necessary for implementation of phased tech. Phasing had been just another theory lying in governments secret blackbox before Tim had done this she reflected. She giggled as she had when she was a girl. Then shivered and felt a rush of happiness down her body. He was so sexy right now, a man taking his first steps at titanhood. This discovery once proved would pave the way for the creation of completely theoretical compounds and agents. In turn leading to the development of advanced bio meta organisms and nano powered cyber tech.
Twenty minutes later the machine powered down, but to Aimee it seemed like no more than a minute had past. Her senses were on high alert now. A mechanical arm extended into the secure irradiated metallic egg shell that extended around the lower two thirds of the uranium diamond. The robot arm’s three elbows (a neat enhancement from Tim) all shifted down in perfect unison. The seven fingers spread in a perfect half circle around the thumb gripper. The “open” hand cupped the diamond, plucking it from its perch. The arm then receded into the chemical analysis unit, a massive twelve foot rectangular box that occupied the entire north wall. It was a complete lab and quickly produced a result. She whistled as she read from the display.
“You’ve done it Tim, come on let’s go celebrate your triumph!” she followed with an unconscious wink that she knew would drive him wild.
“Our triumph Aimee, our triumph..” he looked down at his feet.
“I don’t feel triumphant, not yet. I won’t be happy until this technology is used to bring true peace to this world.” Now his head was fully erect staring with a messianic gaze directly into her eyes.
“I’ll come out with you now. You’ve worked hard for me and I owe you a drink.”
She smiled. “Let’s go. One sec.”
She punched in the code as they left the room that would shut everything down and lock the room.
They walked to the car park of the secure facility. Tim just thought she was a brilliant scientist, like him a contractor brought in to solve a problem that had eluded the governments own scientists for too long. They caught a ride in Tim’s XR8 Ford falcon. The turbo howled, as they cruised the outback roads to the pub. If anything Tim’s eyes had got more set. Great thoughts were in train.
“Do you realise Aimee, with this technology, with the modified nugget of uranium back at the lab, we could power entire cities?...limitless cheap clean energy. It might be the only way we can truly avoid a future war for resources.”
“I think that you really owe me that drink Tim.”, she hid her frustration, why did scientist types need to be so clueless with women. She moved her right hand so that it rested gently on Tim’s braking leg. She felt the muscles momentarily go rigid and then relax. She smiled.
The country pub was nearly empty, and they took a quiet table near the corner closest to a large wooden display featuring the local rugby league and cricketing greats. Both were drinking MB (Melbourne Bitter), the only drink that was on tap other than VB (Victoria Bitter). A true country pub. Red dust, hard work and always the hot burning sun. These were the constants of life in the outback. Such constants required a man to quench his thirst. Generations of Aussies had grown strong on its simple taste. But times were changing, competition had come to the beer industry. Aussies always a discerning bunch, had in their laid back style, quietly shifted their drinking habits to the newer super premium range of beer.
Tim’s head was dropped forward staring into the swirls at the bottom of his glass, contemplating the history of beer in Australia. Such a glorious and proud history. He stopped himself and stared up at Aimee. She was so unbelievable, he still couldn’t believe he was working with someone so gorgeous. So smart at everything she did. Too bad she wasn’t interested in him on that level. She probably thought of him as a friend though, she was always so nice to him. He definitely hoped that that was the case.
There was a strange commotion outside. Like a loud bang but with a ripping noise as well. Many things seemed to happen suddenly. Aimee seemed to blur. The table spilled. She rammed him to the ground with a swinging arm. The perfect arc swung tightly as it made contact with his chest, punching him to the ground. Why was she attacking him? The air filled with the unholy noise of steel rain. The distinctive catch of machine guns loading, punctuated with the shearing force of the steel that pounded every surface. Wood splinters seemed to fill the air. Furniture was confetti. Where the flying fuck was Aimee? What the fuck was going on? He didn’t understand, no, he didn’t want to. He was too shit scared to care what he thought.
“Tim stay where you are, don’t move, and keep your head down” sane words from Aimee cut through the melee.
He looked up briefly at her, crouched behind the upended table. Her slim curved figure was jet black in tight black jeans and a figure hugging black tee. Only her white arms seemed out of place carrying the twin 9mm uzi’s that hung with a gunman’s cold purpose at her side. One pointed down the other half raised toward the ceiling. The metal storm abated momentarily. As if on cue at that exact moment, Aimee rolled end over end in a tiny ball to her right towards the pubs front door. He heard rather than saw what happened next.
“Time to meet your maker you cock sucking bandits”, Aimee roared as she rose from her combat roll.
She held the weapons steady and unleashed a hail of deadly fire through the open door, just as quickly retreating to safety behind the bar.
“Tim, we are trapped this is an ambush. There are six of them outside that I can see. Can you shoot this?”
Her question was accompanied by the sliding of an uzi in his direction. It stopped an inch from his left foot.
“Yeah, pull the trigger right?” His words must have sounded hollow and confused, he was fighting a rising tide of overwhelming fear and panic. Man the fuck up Tim, don’t die like this. His old friend’s words seemed to echo. God dam what he would do to have Davis at side right now.
“When I tell you, and not before mind, point at the door and pull the trigger, keep going till its empty ok?” Aimee was already moving leaving the safety of the bar through the current storm of lead. Moving closer to the nearby window staying out of the enemies line of sight. Staying low.
“Now!!!” Aimee screamed. An ear piercing harpies scream. The storm of lead had seemed to slow again. He raised his right arm and squeezed the uzi. He tried to keep it tight and focused on the door. Aimee was no more than two metres to his left. She didn’t even glance in his direction. She had uncoiled from below the window, smashed it and was hurling grenades from both hands out the window. Then she was running back towards him, jumping the final two metres to slam into him even as the magazine on the uzi was empty. For a second time she forced him hard back to the ground. Finishing on top of him, she looked down and smiled.
“You know I like being in control Tim. If you keep this up... oh, ah” she smiled a wicked sexy smile at him that just as quickly vanished from her face. “Don’t worry these guys are small hit squad. But we have to get out of here before they can call for backup.”
Even as she said it, three ninjas came sauntering through what was left of the door. Each held a straight edged ninja sword in one hand and a smaller dagger in the other. Aimee left him circling back towards the window as they advanced. They all seemed intent on him. Tim shivered with fear. Anyone of these jokers could send him to the afterlife with a single swipe of their blade. He shivered again, the fear was like an ice cold poker that seemed to fill every ounce of his being.
Aimee attacked. Her small daggers whirled into hands that seemed to blur as she moved. Legs constantly sweeping in small quarter arcs making it impossible for her opponents to ever face her front on. The right most ninja’s blade was caught in between her daggers. He stopped and drove his dagger towards her chest. She did the splits dropping quickly to the floor. This had the effect of pulling the ninjas trapped blade arm to the ground and pulled him off balance towards her. She rose out of the splits just as rapidly, pulling the ninja towards her as she did so. In a smooth mini arc her left arm parried the dagger in his left arm while her right disengaged the blade and planted itself in his face. He fell towards her. She released her dagger and pulled his sword away as he fell dead to the ground.
The other two ninjas now realised she was the main opponent. One continued towards Tim while the other advanced on her.
“I’ve had just about enough of ninjas for one day.” Aimee leered.
From nowhere the gaps between the fingers of each hand were alive with small serrated circles, no Tim corrected himself small shuriken. Aimee expertly launched them at the ninja advancing on Tim. The first one embedded itself two inches into his carotid artery, the second at the base of his neck sent him tumbling harmlessly to the floor.
While this was happening the third ninja had started swinging in Aimee’s direction. She seemed to effortlessly dance just beyond each swing. Growing frustrated the ninja raised his dagger and hurled it at her. The power of the throw forced her to dodge to the left. The ninja was ready lunging towards her with his blade. She raised her forearms defiantly towards his swing. It was straight down, and she would be cut to pieces by the heavy stroke. Tim screamed, he rose and charged the ninja from behind. Tackling the ninja as he made contact with Aimee’s extended forearms. Only her forearms didn’t cut in two. The blade made dull contact with metal of even greater strength.
As Tim tried to hold the man down, Aimee quickly grabbed his neck and broke it with a swift pull of the ninja’s head. She dropped the motionless body to the floor. Inwardly drooping slightly, then as she recovered her breath, once more exuding a steely resolve and supernatural speed that had been a constant of the battle thus far. Tim looked at her in awe, at last realising he had far more than a colleague by his side. This lady was a pint sized Rambo. She carried enough fire power to take down a section of ninjas hell bent on ambush. The kamikaze nature of the goons amazed him. These people had a look of professional detachment even in some cases up to the point of their death. Although he had seen at least one say something foul in Chinese before being dispatched to the afterlife by pinpoint flying shrapnel from Aimee.
Come to think of it he mused, thoughts still racing, where was she? He turned through three hundred and sixty degrees of total devastation. Every wall was shredded to the insides. The air was so thick with dust that bits of plasterboard were floating lazily down. The detached logical part of Tim’s mind mused on how much better the pub would look now with the open plan afforded by having no internal walls.
Again he heard her before he saw her. Waves of staccato fire came directly from his left out the front, close by. Crouched now with a low sight through the debris of the second window he could partially see a pale shadow drawing of the side of the car and leaping into the air. Her form gracefully twisted, the lead leg drawing toward a ninjas head even as he fought vainly with the air to make small tiny circles that... Thud! Her foot cracked his chin, music played, another body dropped to the dirt.
The other ninjas were advancing on her from behind the other side of the car. No longer carrying swords, all were armed with heavy AK-47 assault rifles that had been modified for urban warfare. Shorter metal folding stocks, thermal scopes, and larger magazines. Five metres from the car they simply opened up. In seconds Tim saw the car would be ripped apart destroying her cover.
Moments earlier, even as the men had begun to squeeze their triggers, Aimee was lying comfortably in the dirt her right elbow stuffed into a patch of mud. She loved getting dirty, and she hated bad guys. Oh! This was so much fun. Her heart slowed even though she wanted to burst with happiness. Her right eye was pressed closely against the glass. The long black sniper rifle had its barrel hidden beneath the car in front of Aimee pointing back towards the three ninjas.
Like lightening Aimee’s arm’s aimed, fired, cocked the bottle action weapon and repeated. The entire time her body lay in a motionless prone position. Hugging the dirt below the line of fire. More dangerous was the random directions the AK’s could go off from a dead man’s arm. Aimee had been expertly trained. Her first three shots left each man clasping his right arm, or rather what was left of it. One man appeared to be barely holding it on. Suddenly two of them fell backwards, killed from bullseye hits to the forehead. Aimee got up.
She scanned around then looked back at the pub. “Come on Tim, its safe. Please. Come quickly!”
Even as he ran out, a silver helicopter dropped in from the sky. The enormous roar that accompanied it filled his ears. The chopper had official markings, side mounted chain guns on both sides, and a massive bulb that was in fact a state of the art sensor cluster.
Aimee seemed to relax to Tim’s eye. He hugged her protectively with his left arm, looking over at the imposing beast. Casually dressed men with blue eyes stared at him from within it. The chopper was now hovering less than ten feet away, one foot from the ground. Aimee hugged Tim back, shouldered the sniper rifle gingerly with her left arm, racking it back on the strap like a pro. She gave Tim a gentle shove towards the chopper.
“Time to get out of here Tim.” Aimee’s words were like echoes.
Something was happening to his mind. Hands descended from the chopper pulling them bodily into the crew bay. Tim felt someone put a seat belt on him.
“Thanks” he mumbled.
Something wasn’t right here, he could sense his mind drifting away from the present. It had happened before, but never like this. All that death, all those killers... dead. He was their silent witness. His perfect world suddenly felt cracked. Irrefutable intellectual arguments became questionable. Give everyone a second chance... yeah but these guys tried to kill us... yeah but nobody deserves to die... ah huh, so it’s Aimee’s problem? His mind could take on each angle of Confucian logic but in the end it kept coming back to the fact that she had single handedly saved his life.
There was no question that they had wanted him dead.
“Aimee. Who were those guys that tried to kill us?”
Aimee considered him from behind a laptop that she was still typing into. Without pausing she said, “Your assailants were members of a group of Chinese mobsters who call themselves Blue Tiger.”
Tim perked up, “You mean Japanese mobsters? Those guys were ninjas.”
The hulking warrior in the chinos and red flanno next to Aimee sniggered. He stopped when Aimee drove her elbow into his side. But he didn’t seem to recoil at all from the elbow either. The blow seemed to make a dull sound like metal.
“Oh Tim! You’re so cute. No, there not Japanese, they’re Chinese. Blue Tiger hit squads are famous for dressing up as ninjas. They are mercenary thugs with body armour, heavy weapons, blades and Kung fu.”
“But you beat them Aimee! You singlehandedly wiped them out.” Tim knew he was getting slightly hysterical, he could hear the tone in his voice.
“Tim, you have to trust me ok. Now is not the time, but suffice it to say, I had some help.” By way of explanation she removed a clear rounded eye patch that had been covering her left eye and lent over Tim. She cupped over his left eye and pushed firmly until the tiny seals around its edge stuck. Suddenly his vision was filled with tactical data. Streams of information flowed along, but the one he could see related to the people surrounding him.
The stream showed video and text that explained the teams’ current operational status, their designation and mission parameters. It was clear from what he saw that they were an elite espionage squad working for ASIO. Captain Aimee Jackson was there highest ranking field officer. Her latest assignment had been him.
Aimee was to provide him with theoretical knowledge of phased power lasers. She was then to remain on overwatch to protect him from what the military expected was an inevitable backlash. That had come pretty much straight away. Tim didn’t understand it. Security had been super tight since he had started on this project. They had only just generated the first of many possible exotic compounds.
Aimee looked at him, and as if reading his mind said, “Hey look don’t sweat it. They probably had that pub under round the clock satellite coverage. Seeing both of us together may have been enough to trigger a takedown condition. We captured one of the bad guys, maybe he’ll talk...”, her tone suggested she thought that was unlikely.
“We’ll be back at the facility soon Tim.” She smiled up at him, filling him with warmth.
“It’ll be ok, Aimee. This shit happens to me all the time dont’cha know?!?” he looked at her hard, as she started to laugh. A deep belly laugh.
“You make me laugh, Tim, you know your my favourite assignment right?”, he smiled back at her shocked by her sudden admission of interest and the hot glare of the western sun burning his unshaded retinas.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A Test Of Australian Character – A Test Of Time
Chapter 1B by Tobias Nixon
Chapter 1B by Tobias Nixon
No sooner had Davis Lockyer returned to the grass and his corporate buddies than the police descended on him. Inspector Ian Kramer was authoritarian and controlled in what he said,
“I understand you were present when the helicopter crashed into the side of the building.”
“Crashed into the conference room that you were sitting in?”
“Was there anyone else there with you?”
“Well that is fortunate, but I’m slightly confused, were you sitting near the door, however did you escape?”
“I was positioned near the door, by chance I caught a glimpse of something coming towards the window, then instinct just took over Detective.”
“hmmm, you are a very lucky young man, just one last question.”
“We see your firm has declared dealings with the Black Skulls”
“Yes, they have investment needs like everyone else Detective. We provide excellent returns on our investment products. Are you interested?”
Kramer laughed at him,
“Not on my salary mate, but listen I don’t recommend Techred, Coutil and Banks do business with that scum.”
“Why ever not? They are the same as all our other premium customers. They pay up front and have money to invest. We have done extensive due diligence as you would expect when dealing with a bikie gang with links to organised crime, and have never found any reason to believe the equity they bring to the party is problematic.”
“Like I said Mr Lockyer, I don’t recommend it.”
Detective Kramer left with a slightly worried look on his face. He didn’t move far. Back to Davis he crunched over to a cluster fuck of senior police who were “assessing” the devastation that had erupted in one of the busiest blocks of the central business district.
Most were senior officers, however one plainclothes guy caught his eye. The man was casually dressed, his clothes were hard to distinguish. Come to think of it, his face his body language he was almost blending into the scene before Davis’s eyes. He had a cat like grace and seemed to at once be both standing at the shoulder of Kramer, then in the next blink of the eye, be standing at the same shoulder of Kramer’s commanding officer.
Just as Davis was looking away he felt a draw in his eye, and looked back catching the shadowy figure looking directly at him. The man smiled at him. Not in a particularly menacing way but not in a way that could be in any way considered friendly either. Like an; “I see you fucker, and I know who, what, you are.”
The company secretary had worked tirelessly for the last twenty minutes to gather everybody around her boss the CEO Michael Douglas Weyman. He now held court, and Davis moved over to stand at the edge of the assembly.
“Guys! I’m proud of you. Today was an extremely difficult day for us. Thanks to some fast thinking and a bit of luck, everyone will be ok. I can’t ask you to go back in there..”
chuckles and outright laughter are quickly replaced by more silence.
“The company has an offsite recovery site so our server infrastructure is intact and failed over the moment the techies cut the switch. You have all been given RSA tokens, so please head home now and as of tomorrow continue your work from home. Please speak to your managers before you leave. Thanks team!”
Time to bail, Davis said goodbye to his team and started walking back towards Wynyard with Ronnie. The distance and the walking seemed to help him think. He had made lots of money on the thinking man’s walk through Martin Place. It had overtaken the hot shower in the morning as the biggest gold mine of new ideas.
“I don’t know about you Davis, but I don’t really want to go home right now..”
Said Ronnie, the long haired brunette was tilting her head at him, letting the rays of sun glint magically from her long shiny locks.
“There’s something special about you Ronnie”
“But I don’t really feel like an all night bender, off my chops crawling along Oxford Street at four in the morning.”
He smiled realising how lame he probably sounded to this hungry hot young lady.
“Not at all Davis, I didn’t mean that...” She stopped talking and stepped in closer towards him.
“I’m..” he waited patiently, picked up her right hand and held it.
“I’m a bit scared tbh, nothing like this has ever happened to me before.” [pause]
“Can you come over for a bit?” Davis just nodded, it had never been this easy before, especially not with someone as drop dead gorgeous as Ronnie. Girls – what a fucken ongoing mystery he thought.
They swung by the DJs food mall on Pitt street picking up an impressive array of things for dinner, and a bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. The trip back to Ronnie place was uneventful, but Davis could feel his nervousness increasing. His heart beat raced. He’d never really thought of trying to actually follow through with the constant flirting which they enjoyed each day. Now she was asking him to deliver. His skin raced with a feeling of static electricity. His spine tingled.
The sun had dipped, and late afternoon had been replaced by the shadows of early evening. People walked quickly to their ride home. The streets were packed with fast paced salary men.
Two blocks from Ronnie’s place, and the two of them were keeping up good banter, enjoying the warmth and security of each other’s company. The late afternoon of the Emerald isle was always deliciously intoxicating to young couples. The warm air and seductive promise of the night gave purpose and intent to their journey. The sea of suits seemed to thin. The corner was still one hundred metres away, they were walking past the Queen Victoria Building where the crowds were a thick stream unending flow.
The lovey-dovey moment faded. Davis looked harder at the shadows running down each shop wall. Given the events of the day Davis felt justified in being jumpy. The slightest thing out of place and it was making him jump like a bitch in a dead end alley. Loosen up he told himself stop looking for shadows to jump at.
The shadows. The twenty metre stretch of crowd in front of them was covered in unnatural shadows. Davis skin was crawling badly now, years of hard training in Thailand starting in his late teens made what happened next, happen on a purely instinctive level. The shadows were men in dark suits that leaped forward impossibly fast. Davis used his free left hand to push Ronnie well behind him, forcing her back towards the crowd, and in one continuous motion completed a graceful spin move which started him running towards the oncoming ninjas.
There were five of them, each carrying short flat blades that looked like the thinner Chinese or Siamese weapon than the thicker better wrought Japanese version. It didn’t matter the results of being stuck by one were the same. Death cleared Davis’s mind of any thought, his mind was primed for attack. In this case how to survive the onslaught of a squad of death dealing ninjas.
The first ninja warrior to his left slowed as he closed the final metre, rolling past and to the left of Davis so that he came up directly behind him. As the human shadow rose his blade cut smoothly in an arc through the air towards where he thought Davis’s throat should have been. Several seconds earlier the second ninja had also closed the distance. This shadow was then in the act of following up with a second blade directly to where Davis’s sternum should have been.
“In battle sped is of the greatest concern, it is the road to victory.” – Sun Tzu.
Davis was a student of the master. In a moment that seemed to speed up and slow down simultaneously, he had jumped and caught the overhanging roof awning outside the two dollar shop that was the stage for his impromptu street battle.
He dangled for less than a second, just long enough to let the first two get too close to each other, and then he dropped. His right hand came down in a powerful arc, letting the dynamic of falling turn his hand chop, which hit the first ninjas shoulder, into a force equal to over a quarter of a tonne. In an instant the ninja’s collar bone snapped, forcing him to crouch on the ground in agony. As his feet touched the ground he rounded and spun on his back leg bringing his left hand up and catching the short blade falling from the broken mans arm. This was instantly pivoted in the left wrist turning back towards the body of the second ninja, even as a third one glided in from the right making lightening quick short stabs straight at Davis’s midriff. Instead of pulling back he continued moving forward.
Slamming his blade into the blade of the second ninja, he pushed up violently in a brutal motion that forced the man’s arms into his head, a rough punching action that slammed the man’s own sword handle into his nose. He spun hard moving around to face his back. The fourth ninja moved in from the shadows raising a sickle looking weapon high and bringing it down towards Davis’s head, the third ninja moved off balance as his blade sailed harmlessly through the air where Davis had been standing. Davis pushed hard and slammed into the back of the second one, pushing him into the third. At the same time he threw a reverse leg kick pushing out hard and slamming the hardened heal of his foot with a sickening crunch into the balls of his enemy.
The guy crumbled with an audible curse “ta ma de” [Chinese:Fuck], so these guys weren’t true ninjas thought Davis, at least one of them was Chinese, probably all of them. That meant this was likely a gang sent from the mainland. No one that he had seen in the local fight scene had shown these kinds of skills, at least not five guys with this much talent. Lucky he thought that they weren’t really ninjas.
Such idea thought bubbles were like a thin wisp of smoke, when the battle demanded his full attention, demanded he keep a clear head. He pivoted again on his back leg, adopting a low crouching stance, as he grabbed a handful of the fourth ninja’s hooded head and pulling him like a battering ram towards his buddies.
He knocked this one out by ramming him into the second one, who was now off balance. In a flurry of hand movements he threw 10 hard punches to his adversary’s solar plexus. Predictably the forearms protecting the head and neck dropped.
Davis moved in very close, never slowing as in a smooth arc, he wrapped his thick right forearm around the back of the neck of the second ninja. The dark hood shook slightly, groggily, as Davis crashed it down into his sleeping buddy. Blood spilled from head wounds on both men. The ground had taken on a light hue of dark red.
The third and fifth men circled him now, wearily, blades drawn out pointed in. The blades were dancing now.
They had seen how quickly Davis worked without a blade but by keeping distance and moving as a team it would or should be significantly harder for their adversary. The blades rose and dove cutting towards their intended victim.
The victim bit back. Davis ducked then rose in a side lunge to the left, rolling even as he rose and launching from the roll straight into a tackle into the fifth’s left leg. The chop from the swinging sword arm came down off target pulled of course by the tackle in a much wider arc. It caught the other pseudo ninja in the upper right arm, burying deep.
“Ahhhhhhhhh!” screamed the assailant.
Now only the fifth and final shadow man remained. Davis’ left leg shot out catching the guard of the blade, knocking it to the ground. Davis then started a feint, using a combo of two swift left jabs and a right cross to the man’s head, the arms of his opponent went straight up to protect himself. Davis was already shifting to his right, turning inwards away from the ninja.
His next left hook quickly turned into a reverse left elbow to the stomach. The elbow made contact ripping up into the sternum forcing the arms down. Davis was already in another small arc pivoting one hundred and eighty degrees to bring a twelve to six right elbow sailing down from above.
It cracked his opponent right on the crown of the head, forcing him to stumble backwards. Davis spun again this time three hundred and sixty degrees and followed up with a spinning heal kick that landed cleanly on the fifth’s head snapping it back in an audible thud. Knocked out before he even hit the ground.
Davis looked around surveying the carnage. He quickly removed one of the hoods. The Asiatic features were distinctive. As a long time resident of South East Asia, Davis knew his hunch about them being from a Chinese gang was correct.
More worryingly this guy had a gang tattoo of a red teardrop under his right eye. Proof enough of involvement from mainland china. The Blue Tiger were in Australia. Shit had got very serious.
He moved back towards where he’d left Ronnie. She was standing at the front of a small crowd that were transfixed, forming an open ring of people stunned into silence by the intense one way nature of the fight. Clearly no one knew quite whether to cheer or run.
Several were already on their mobiles to the police. Most likely grainy footage would be on the nightly news or at least the local YouTube channels. It was time to move. He held her, whispering to her that they had to clear the scene in case more ninjas arrived.
They shared a long undefined moment of tenderness, lost in a tight embrace of shared nervousness and fear. He could smell her fear.
Davis looked back around at the crowd. A white van with no number plates had pulled up next to the pavement, the unconscious and the dead ninjas were already loaded into the van, the door slamming shut ripping out into the traffic narrowly missing oncoming traffic as it used the other lane to jump ahead.
Why Davis considered, did they not want their identities revealed? Why didn’t they want the authorities to know that the Blue Tiger was on a secret mission into the heart of Australia’s largest city?
By rights the five mercenaries that had been sent would have been able to take down almost anyone. There masters would not make that mistake twice. Blue Tiger were drug traffickers, gun runners and slavers extraordinaire. He had to get out of here.
The timing was too much to be a coincidence, he thought as he pulled Ronnie quickly through the crowd. She was in shock, as many of the watchers in the crowd were. So much blood and violence was to the uninitiated almost inconceivable until you lived through it once or twice he reflected.
As he marched on it was two blocks before the parting crowd started to recede again and the pair returned to a relative state of anonymity. He reasoned even with the lack of hard evidence, some grainy iPhone footage would on the six o’clock news.
Before long he was going to get more questions from Inspector Kramer, and he had fuck all by way of answers. Answers, he needed some.
They marched on desperate now to get to a place of relative safety. His calm even pace and alert protective nature, seemed to feed into her growing sense of panic and need for control.
She looked over at him every five or six paces trying to gauge his thoughts or just ground her thoughts? He could have calmed her but he didn’t even try.
“When times are easy be tough, when times get tricky it won’t be as rough” – Jo-Jo “Muay Thai” Pho,
His kickboxing instructor had often seemed to be far more of a master of the internal arts than just the external brutality for which he was renowned throughout Thailand for. If he let her ride it out now, her own mind would have significant mental defences should she have to go through it again, something he had no way of knowing. If he made her feel better she would be at best a liability, at worst a basket case for the rest of her life. He did however turn and smile at her.
“You really are as pretty as a rose, Ronnie, I don’t know why I never told you that before.”
She smiled exquisitely back at him, her lower lip trembling, but never took her eyes away from his. The moment seemed to slow, as her eyes searched his face looking for signs of weakness. Some common ground for her fear to feed on.
There was nothing. Ironically this seemed to feed her hunger. She stared again, but he was striding ahead pulling her with him towards the entrance to her inner city apartment block.
“Ronnie, let’s get you home, I’ll make you dinner. Also I don’t think its safe tonight, do you mind if I sleep on the couch. We’ll go see the cop shop first thing in the morning.”, Davis had a voice that was at once casual, yet also very firm.
It said I am dependable, something he had found over time that women loved. It said I am a secure human being.
It probably helped that he was also being sincere.
They entered the lift. Her nerves were too much. She.. broke down crying pushing herself into him, and then it was on. The lift was a whirl of two bodies unleashing months of pent up passion. Davis felt her sweet lips and waited trying to savour the moment, praying the lift would rise even faster. He wanted so badly to fuck her brains out right now.
“Slowly Davis” Ronnie cooed, “I want you to hold me, all night. I want you zooo bad. I’m scared and I really don’t want to be alone.”
Lonely darkness descended on the city. Random lights filtered through the bedroom window as they lay in bed together naked. His chiselled stomach was pushed up flat against her tasty curves. His left hand loosely hanging on to her right breast.
Her skin was so soft and peachy reflected Davis as he relaxed in post coital bliss. Her hands never stopped moving, strugglingly to cover every part of his ripped musculature. He could tell she still awake, all they could think of was more of the same. He stared at her, and felt a shiver of pleasure run down his spine. Her body was hot from sex; the temperature was rising.
Hours later, in the small hours past midnight, Davis lay awake by himself, the sleeping body of an angel beside him. The full moon was hanging low in the sky. He deliberately avoided looking at it, preferring to conserve as much of his natural night vision as possible. The one bedroom apartment was fifteen stories up, sitting just behind town hall, on Liverpool Street.
His gaze fell to the bed sheets; the soft duvet was made with Egyptian cotton and duck down feathers. He imagined her curvaceous white body beneath the surface. He knew what he had to do now. He needed to form a circle, enter back into the dream world, speak with his father.
But to do that, to be able to stay long enough and have the strength to hear his father’s words he would need help. He simply wasn’t developed enough to do it on his own. He needed to go and see the tribal elder.
As Davis ideally thought of the magical times of his childhood, spent following the tribe around central western N.S.W., memories of rites and rituals came back to him. The first time he had been taken into the dreaming.
The visions that had resulted, and the endless conversations which his dad, Bear had said were all part of fine tuning his “receptivity” to the practise. Even now he could barely summon the dreaming on his own. Today in the office had been a strange fluke.
“The need comes with the moment, the moment is created from the person’s need.” –Cub.
Cub, his uncle the one who had saved him. Had it been him? Or was it just his imagination? Something had stopped a couple of hundred gallons of jet fuel from exploding in his face. Cub hadn’t done that though. He had seen him fighting with a fire elemental.
The huge fiery being had looked alive with rage. Had wanted to kill him. Cub had calmly held it at bay. Stopped the fuel from igniting? He only had questions and desperately needed to advance his understanding of these strange events.
The ridges and dips of the duvet were like a mini mountain range. It reminded Davis of his adventures in the Himalayas. Looking at a particular spike it reminded him of the ascent up the Eisner, or crossing one of the major ridgelines after base camp on the northern ascent of Everest. That light red line looked out of place though. A laser light coming from... Thoughts stopped, adrenaline pumped hard forcing his muscles to take on super human levels of strength. Rock hard arms wrapped around the sleeping form of Ronnie, and his body rolled out of the bed, letting his back take the impact as they tumbled onto the floor.
“What? What are you doing?”, like an angry bee, she was buzzing, yet confused.
No time to explain, only act. A hail of noise erupted inside the room. The bed where moments earlier they had been asleep was being ripped apart by a storm of bullets. The feathers exploded upwards from the doona. The room was quickly filled with duck feathers floating to the ground.
“Oh my god!, oh my gawdt‽‽” Ronnie shrieked with a wilders eyes.
Aside from this outburst she was shaking, her naked body was calm. Her large breasts rising and falling evenly. A sure sign she was coping with the pressure.
“Crawl to the door, Ronnie, Go!” so saying Davis let go of her and started crawling himself.
Who knew what else would be coming through that window. Clearly they had a night vision or a heat vision scope. The laser light from the sight was military. The bad guys were tooling up and coming in hot.
Outside the room they quickly found some clothes for Ronnie, then headed for the front door. Outside of the apartment, Davis quickly checked the elevator, it was heading up, still five floors away.
He had a basic intuition it was them, and had no intention of hanging around with Ronnie in tow to find out.
“Fire stairs!”, Davis held Ronnie’s wrist and tugged her into motion.
They started to descend the stairs.
“De ja vue?”, Ronnie asked, but Davis silenced her.
“The stairwell echoes sound, shhh”, then he smiled at her.
At each level a digit was painted onto the back of the door leading out to that level of the apartment complex. They had just past “2” and were descending the last four flights of stairs. He was jumping down the stairs as fast as he could behind Ronnie, when he heard the number two door crack open.
“Keep going Ronnie! When you get to the bottom get straight out onto the street and head directly for the police station on George Street. Stand next to someone else at all times. Even though its late, try and find and stay with a crowd of people walking in the same direction. Nothing they have done to this point indicates they are willing to start indiscriminate killings.”
Davis wasn’t too sure about that, but he needed her to be strong. She seemed to vacillate between staying and going. Her eyes looked up into his imploring him.
Davis forced his voice up as high as he dared. “Go now!”
The light footsteps were descending in seconds his assailants would be upon him.
How had they found this place so quickly? He’d ensured they weren’t followed. Doubling back, taking false routes, changing appearance twice. That meant some form of high tech surveillance. Either long range scopes from building tops, or perhaps, illegal access to satellite imaging. Hmm what if it was worse? What if there was someone on the inside? Access to the police database? The level of organisation required was starting to really add up.
No more time to think, those light featherlike footsteps... Davis crouched waiting for his opponent in a small unseen area of the stairs just below the level one landing. Feather feet walked across the flat landing. Davis’s leg shot out hooking and tripping the lead right leg. Dressed all in black, just like the others. Another ninja? Blue Tiger!
His rage intensified, he would make these clowns pay. Davis retracted his leg forcing the ninja to trip forward, keeping a the other’s leg in a tight hold with his own. As he fell forward Davis brought both arms forward using his fists to bury a hail of punches into the upper body. Causing it to fall backwards in the opposite direction. The result was that the other man fell horizontally towards the ground. He brought his elbow down on the other man’s head and throat, knocking him unconscious and leaving a nasty headache for the morning when he awoke. When he awoke, well, the Blue tiger clan were not exactly known to be a forgiving bunch to those that failed on missions.
He heard a scream from below and immediately began running for the exit two flights of stairs below. Hurling himself down the stairs he leapt-ran each flight in two giant strides. His ankles compressed and groaned at the strain of hitting hard concrete. Davis reached the ground exit and immediately hurled an explosive front kick at the doors, which obeyed and exploded outwards with a groan of hinges partially ripping from their housings.
In front of him a helicopter was hovering half a metre from the ground. The blades ripping through the air forcing the air back against his face, throwing up all the debris and loose dirt in the surrounding gardens. He pushed himself forward against the power of the wind. The chopper was a light grey colour with thick blue and red diagonal stripes. A modified, stripped back huey.
He peered into the guts of the door less cargo bay, seeing Ronnie trussed up, arms bound to legs like a pig. The modified nature of the chopper became more apparent. As he advanced, a ninja sitting behind a mounted 50 cal belt fed machine gun opened up.
Reflexes already on edge from a day’s fighting gave him a narrow edge. He drove his body to the left not even knowing what was there. He felt his body scraping against the hard concrete of the path, as he popped into a judo roll and came up behind a short brick wall. All around him the entire courtyard was being ripped to shreds by the untold power unleashed from a storm of .50 calibre bullets.
Davis waited, counting. At the precise time, remaining out of site behind the short wall, he rose, knowing as he did that the machine gunner would have to wait several seconds to allow the weapons barrel to cool sufficiently. This guy apparently had no idea or just didn’t care and continued firing. The weapons firing chamber made a chinking noise, at the same time that the red hot barrel stopped spitting instant death, and like a fat Cuban cigar smoked lazily.
Davis knew he had only moments, he sprinted down the path, the chopper was starting to pull off the ground, he could feel the backwash of air being fanned down from above. The chopper pilot had turned the aircraft away to the right so that the cabin crew could no longer see the path. The tail spun around, the blades narrowly missing Davis as he came forward beneath the rising chopper.
He jumped thick hands wrapping around the legs of the chopper. He threw his left arm over the top locking it in with the right hand. As he kicked his left leg up and over the bar he looked over his right shoulder and saw the ground falling away already one thousand metres distant. Over the engine noise he could hear the faint screams of Ronnie, but nothing else.
This was a Blue Tiger snatch squad, sent to retrieve a bargaining chip. Standard practise in Asia. Use your friends, your family, even your children as blackmail. They must have had extensive surveillance setup to get that far. These days if you wanted to track someone down double quick you needed access to an eye in the sky.
The latest satellites, launched since 2008 could use laser spectral analysis to pinpoint everything from the signature of any electronic modern consumable to the water density of every type of known organic on the planet. They could see under, over and through the sea, a fact that was still not widely known outside of the intelligence community. They could use heat and chemical sensors to detect movement in any direction, through buildings and even underground. In short staying undetected was next to impossible from one of these suckers. And it had been quick. Far too quick. The deal with the bikies had only been on the horizon three weeks ago. The bikies had only committed to terms and transfer protocols in the last week.
That meant that even with an inside rat and state of the art surveillance they had been in place for one to three days. Once again he wondered at the level of his own governments’ involvement. The mobsters didn’t have satellite time. Not even state sponsored ones. Especially not the state sponsored ones.
He knew there would have to have been at least one bad cookie in ASIO cookie jar. A greedy bureaucrat signing away US satellite time. He wondered if Uncle Sam would be pleased to know that its south pacific sheriff was proxying resources to Chinese mobsters. He filed it away for later, when not if there was one.
He had two options. Remain hidden until the destination, or enter the cargo bay and kill everyone but the pilot. The problem with hijacking a chopper which wasn’t a highlight of most Hollywood films was that even if you could fly a chopper yourself, most didn’t have an autopilot. By the time you removed the existing pilot from the seat the whole thing would most likely have pitched sideways and fallen out of the sky. Davis had an ace up his sleeve.
He twisted on the bar so that he was now draped over it, and brought his feet back towards his knees letting them rest on the choppers landing bar. He reached up with both hands and as the chopper rocked to its right, his side was jerked up. Like a panther he launched upwards, inwards towards the cargo bay, past the silent machine gun mount.
Four more ninjas were inside keeping Ronnie company. Arms folded, eyes ahead. His method was brutal but effective. Using aikido leg throws, he grabbed the smaller Asian men and hurled the first straight out of the chopper. Pivoting to the other side, he grabbed a ninja with each hand and pulled them to their feet. As he did he dropped all his weight forward and threw each arm out perpendicular in scything overhand elbows. Each clipped the inside temple of the two rising ninjas. Stunning and pushing their centres of balance dangerously towards the open sides of the cargo bay.
The roar of the chopper screamed. It began tilting more violently. The passenger had turned and was silently screaming at his pilot. The two stunned ninjas stooped low and began to rise, flailing their arms to stop from falling. Davis moved closer and then stepped between them, moving past and spinning one hundred and eighty degrees fast, so that he was behind them. He grabbed each from behind, with a fair grip of skin and black ninja cloth. Then he pushed.
Davis said, “if you can”.
With that they fell towards the ground. The remaining ninja was out of his seat, approaching warily. Without any warning, Davis used a sudden forward tilt of the chopper to lunge at his opponent. This time putting a hand snake like, up, in, in there.
Davis screamed an ancient war cry he had been taught using his voice. Time seemed to slow, for the ninja at least, even as Davis’s arm slid up and past his defensive pose. He struck with his fingers extended in a hard spear like posture. Aiming behind and just below the neck, inserting the index finger into the central nerve point at the top of the spine. It created a mild block, stunning there lower limbs. It was then a simple matter to kick away their legs. And push. Only Ronnie remained lying tied to a seat in the cargo bay.
Her hair was dishevelled. Her eyes had run, leaving thick trails of mascara running down the sides of her pretty face. Her head was tilted slightly to one side as she looked up at him with big dove like eyes. He gave her a quick thumbs up and leaving her to sit and watch, turned his attention to the cockpit. There was only a small sealed persplex window for observation. If he wanted to enter the cockpit, he was going to have to mount an assault from the outside of the chopper and somehow get either door open. This was easier said than done. Even if the doors were unlocked and nobody was holding them in the downwash from the blades acted as a drag holding the door in towards the frame.
It was time for his ace. He positioned himself in front of the small window and focused his mind. True concentration came from completely letting go of thoughts, letting them merge into a single powerful thought. His fist was tight, held next to his ribs. The thought released. Soon he would have this, soon he would unleash his surprise.
The arm sprung forward like a catapult. The fist hit the persplex completely shattering it. The chopper veered violently down and to the left as the pilot was distracted from the plastic shattering on top of him. His fist turned into a powerful grip which shifted to the right.
The passenger had recovered from his shock and was already turning and shifting to the left, bringing his gun up to shoot. Davis used his wrist to slip a lock around the hand holding the gun, forcing it to go off whilst it was still pointing at the pilot, who promptly fell over dead.
Davis’s world seemed to stop. Up until that point everything had seemed somehow sane, in a quirky kind of post modern James Bond kind of way. The ace was trumped. Open mirza. So how exactly was this chopper going to land now anyway?
The control stick pushed forward, the chopper lurched forward. Time slowed down. Rain pellets pounded the windscreen. The passenger screamed an unholy high pitched jarring sound. Massive arms extended out and grabbed the pilot ramming him hard to the left and up against the pilot door. The passenger shifted over to his left, scooping up the control stick as he did so.
For a moment he seemed distracted from the previous minutes. His cold stare was held on the parabolic descent path that the front of the chopper was sliding down. The rain no longer struck the windscreen. In mere seconds the blades would lose their “grip” on the air. At that point time really slowed down. Davis’s own eyes were glued on the scene confronting him. He was looking at the ground rushing up. The blades were straining against the limits of their powers. The engine was emitting a loud thudding noise and a noticeable increase in thermal output.
The passenger’s hooded ninja suit seemed to billow as his upper body rippled with muscular power. Biceps squeezed and ripped massive rippling forearms yanked and pulled. It was immediately obvious that his actions were not those of a noob. Unseen beneath the cockpit his feet worked the pedals, shifting and guiding the arc from straight down to an equally violent arc towards the heavens.
The bird screamed as the motor hit max revs. Oil began to burn from excessive heat build-up. The passenger coolly glinted out at the world that was now passing on a steadily rising diagonal horizon. His head was hidden behind a full face ninja mask, so that only evil intent eyes looked out upon the world. Big black eyes with red irises gave the devil’s own cause for wickedness a good impression of walking the earth. Even as the chopper stopped its heaving, his subtle manipulations of the bird continued.
Davis was taken completely off guard by the choppers sudden wide arc to the left. He had been allowing the passenger time to right things and deliver his surprise. His flaw almost proved fatal. He felt rather than thought that he was in freefall. Unlike Ronnie he was not tied to the floor. The passenger improved the angle turning the entire cargo bay on its side, almost but not quite pushing the rotor blades beyond the vertical limit. Davis had hands. I mean when boxer talk about having hands, they mean fast fabulous hands that dance all day. Davis had hands that were faster. It was all that saved him.
In the moments preceding the freefall he had been standing about one third out from the middle of the cargo bay, closest to the broken cabin window. When he fell his left hand shot out and grabbed the upper rail that ran around the top of each side of the cargo bay. Using a rock climbers grip, he held grimly as his entire body weight time’s six gravities was pulled towards the ground. He knew the passenger could not hold his aerial manuvoure for more than two seconds. By the time the bird swung back into a true line with the ground, his left arm was numb from the strain.
He let it fall to his side. He only needed one good arm. His two feet fell like panther paws to the deck. They sprung him in a single smooth arc that landed right up next to the cabin window.
The passenger sensed and reacted as his senses warned him of impending disaster. Leaving his left arm to guide the bird, the ninja dextrously raised his right arm and twisted his wrist so that the curved dagger that suddenly appeared pointed backwards in a wicked arcing motion towards Davis’s shoulders. The ace was already in play.
Davis didn’t even try to block the knife arm. Instead with complete reckless disregard for personal safety he spun one hundred and eighty degrees so that his right arm was closest to the passenger’s body. His right elbow shot out violently. It’s powerful tricep punching with the forward motion of a air fed jackhammer.
The tip punching the knife forearm, even as it in turned sliced a shoulder to shoulder blade crimson tide. A wide arc of flesh seemed to hand loosely. But that was because Davis had his good arm moving with incredible speed. With a single touch of his index finger, Davis drove into the T4 vertebrae at the base of the neck. Stopping as his nail was mere millimetres away from the spinal nerve. His ace was delivered.
He felt a rush of energy that seemed to mingle with the evil spirit. It didn’t matter he felt the warm rush that signalled his “energy” had taken subconscious decision making capacity away from his adversary. The passenger was also an adept an fought bitterly against the mental intrusion. But it was no good. The point of the physical contact, as Davis had been taught, was to attain an overwhelmingly initial advantage over the opponents mind, so that they could not defend.
It was said some ancient masters no longer needed even physical contact to incapacitate foes, before eventually giving up such techniques altogether. Davis had been gifted with relearning some of the first stages of this technique, the only ones that still existed. The passenger sat rigidly as Davis sat on his ear issuing instructions.
“Find a flat area of ground and descend.”
The passenger, face hidden from view, was sweating profusely. Veins popped out near his temples as he fought with every ounce of his being to break the psychic lock. It was no use it was all he could do just to stop himself from slavishly following the other’s instructions. His dark pool, the part he thought of as himself, was under attack. No it was worse, it was being hidden from him. All he could do was follow the immediate orders given to him, stay busy and wait.
The chopper landed in the green fields of Parramatta park. As if by design the exact moment of landing seemed overly rough, and as Davis looked, the passenger somehow, completely against his own understanding of human physiology managed to grab the pilot door, open it, ram the dead body and himself head first out of the door, and combat roll away into the park surrounds. Before Davis could pursue he quickly had to hit the kill switch on the chopper. The engine seemed sigh as parts cooled back to within standard operating tolerances.
He looked up but the passenger was gone. At least both he and Ronnie were safe. He looked around, and she was crying. The tears of a lady whose purpose was confused and set upon. He immediately went to her and wrapped his huge arms around her, pulling her tight. They looked out of the cargo bay at a small pond. A gaggle of ducks sailed sedately on the ripples from the chopper’s down wash.
“Just hold me Davis”, she said.
“I will. For as long as you want me to.”