First Blood, absorption by cyberjnkee
Chief Petty Officer Roman Crandall was in the shit…..and he knew it.
Leading a small,
surgical strike against a particularly stubborn cell of El Qaeda had seemed a
straightforward goal. Army intelligence, and yes that IS an oxymoron in this
case, had supplied the intel . The group was supposed to be holed up in a cave
system ion the hills just outside of Towraghondi on the
The staging went as
planned and insertion completed quickly. Things went well right up to the point
where they got to where the cave was….or was supposed to be. Checking the
“Ok, Jim, time to earn your keep.Start messing with your toys, man, and see if we can locate this target.”
“Aye, sir” came the reply.
“The rest of you, in a circle, ten meters out, eyes open, weapons hot. Let’s give the man a work space.”
Taking his point in the circle, he shook his head at the blank wall where the cave should have been.
Almost immediately DeSalvo had an answer for him.
“Chief, this is strange. According to everything I am seeing, the cave is right there.” the the young man pointed straight at the blank wall. “I can’t be sure, but I think it may be a hologram.”
Narrowing his eyes in disbelief, he began a retort and was cut short by the rest of his team rushing back to their locale and reporting. “Motion at our six, Chief.”
Instantly in battle mode, Crandall used hand signals to position the men strategically, hidden among the scattered boulders. Splitting to either side of the direct path to the cave they waited. Silently, the moments ticked by and a group of nine men emerged. Eight men with AK-47’s surrounded one man, bound and blindfolded. Stripped to his waist, the prisoner was pushed along the rock strewn path. Stopping in a semi-circle around the hostage, the armed men watched muzzles pointed at him, as he strode haltingly toward the base of the cliff. As he approached, the air became palpably thicker with something akin to static electricity, but thicker somehow. Time seemed to slow to a quarter speed as the next minute played out. Stepping right at the seemingly solid wall, the bound man’s leg disappeared up to his knee. Merging with the very rock, then a flash of what seemed like lightning and a crack of thunder. When Roman’s eyes cleared, the prisoner was gone. The rock wall was solid and the armed locals had turned their guns on them.
Chief Petty Officer Roman Crandall was in the shit….and he knew it.
Military instinct and training kicked in and he barked orders to his team even as he dived behind a boulder dragging DeSalvo with him. Turning and pulling his own weapon to bear in a smooth motion, he joined the firefight. The nine armed locals didn’t stand a real chance, out in the open, but had the advantage of drawing down first. Two of his men were hit and down befor his team had a chance to fire. After that, it was over quickly. To DeSalvo’s credit, he got the first kill. His sidearm flashed twice and one man went down, dust and blood flaring from his chest. Short controlled bursts came from the M-4 Carbines, each set of three tap tap taps taking down another threat. Blood and bone spraying as bodies are torn apart by the Remington .223 ammunition, the scene went quiet in just under three minutes. Immediately, Crandall ordered DeSalvo to call for extraction, rounded the boulder he was shielded by and ran to check on his downed men. Two were hit, one a flesh wound in the arm, already being dressed and the other a chest shot. AO techVanessa Mothe’s eyes fluttered as she came back into the sunshine. Her body armor had stopped the round headed for her heart.
“You do know you’re never going to live down the fact those double D’s stopped a bullet, right?”
Smiling, she responded “Tits of steel, just call me a Valkyrie!”
Roman chuckled as he helped her to her feet.” Shake it off, sailor.”
Knowing their gunplay was bound to draw attention, he gathered his team quickly.”Any response from extract, Jim?” The response was a silent shake of the head. One hand on his weapon the other on his hip, Crandall surveyed the area. “how about the cave?”
That comment got him quick looks from his team. “Chief, the energy signature from that place is odd. It looks like a hologram, just a picture, but we all saw what happened to that man. Nothing on my instruments changed when he disappeared and the video shows nothing. Just there, then gone.”
Nodding, he considered “Ok, we are in a box gentlemen. One way in, one way out. We can safely assume there are more unfriendlies back the way we came and we need options, fast!”
As he spoke he moved toward the cliff face at an angle. Keeping close to the rock face, he noticed an anomaly. “Sigler, take a look at this will you?”
Pointing at the spot where the cave was, the two men saw a “shimmer” of sorts when viwed from the hard side. Behind that, what seemed open space. They had found the cave. Putting a hand on Sigler’s shoulder, Crandall smiled “gather the team, we have shelter.”
Managing the tight squeeze through the gap between the shimmer and the cave opening, the team slowly inched into the cave, Chief at point. One by one they slithered into a gap made by a fairly recent rockfall to the inside of the cave. Sweat beaded and rolled into eyes as the progress was slow, broken by a low chuckle as Mothe had to suck in her breath to keep her chest from touching the shimmer. Finally, they were inside the cave and surprised to find that what looked like a solid rock face from the front, looked like a wall made from the shimmer of heat from blacktop on a hot summer day. Getting only a brief respite to wander the confines of the cave, the group was instantly on alert, weapons ready as a squad of about twenty men rounded the large rocks at the the path.
A large man, heavily armed began barking orders poiting to different spots around the clearing and the sailors readied for a firefight. Cocking his head, Crandall held up his hand in a “hold your fire” gesture. As the locals, searched the bodies of their comrades, the unfriendly leader walked slowly toward the cave opening and fingers tightened on triggers. Suddenly, one of the subordinates grabbed the gruff-looking leader and spoke into his ear. With a start, the man gazed back at the cave, waited a moment, then waved his men back. Glancing a few times over his shoulder toward the cave mouth in what looked to be fear.
At that very moment a chill crept up the Chief’s neck.
He was in the shit……and he knew it.
Quickly, the Al Qaeda trrop gathered what equipment they wanted from their dead and moved away.
“Chief,” DeSalvo whispered “there’s something back here.” The entire team looked first at the chief, then at the seaman, then the back of the cave, deep in shadow. Rubbing the back of his neck, Crandall sighed at that feeling he didn’t seem to be able to shake, ever since this mission began. He motioned for the team to split and move to the edges of the cave. DeSalvo in tow, the Chief took the direct path to the back, right down the middle.
As he strode the short distance slowly, Crandall thought about his career, his wait during the boards and induction into the goat locker. How these were crowning achievements for him, but not like the birth of his daughter and later his son. Truly miracles had blessed him throughout life and if he had to cash out now, he had no regrets. That wasn’t completely honest, of course. A multitude of thoughts and desires flew through his head as he paced closer to the back wall of the cave and the brass colored object there. An ovoid shape, about two and a half meters tall, it had a slightly dimpled or rippling appearance to the surface. Roman seemed to see it more clearly as he stepped nearer. The light hadn’t changed, had his eyes adjusted to the gloom at the back? He never noticed the bright flash of lightning that encased him, nor heard the thunderclap that deafened his squad temporarily. One moment he was a US Navy Chief Petty Officer, the next, something different. Something more and less at the same time. With every fiber of his will, Crandall fought against the dark tide that was threatening to engulf him until, with a palpable snap, he saw himself on a plane. A barren plane where all he saw from horizon to horizon was unending white light and his own naked form. From one horizon he saw a black dot come toward him impossibly fast and recognized the shape as the brass ovoid from the cave. It stopped mere paces from him and spoke.
“Man, you are the first. We will be one and the universe shall know us.” A flood of images poured from the shape into Roman. They merged with his own memories and feelings seamlessly. Images of terrible creatures like giant centipedes and others resembling octopi on land. Demons and angels, a Cyclops and harpies flashed through his mind. The past and future merging into his awareness he had one overwhelming thought…..
I am Chief Petty Officer Roman Crandall, I am in the shit…….and I know it.
It's a first draft so be kind, lol
It's a first draft so be kind, lol
Who me? I do NOT know what you're talking about......grin