Chapter 19: Weapons FreeEdit
The feeling of the Zeppelin taking off felt like being weightless for a few moments. And then everything settled down inside Eagle’s stomach again as he walked over beside Zach.
“Good luck, Zach.” Eagle slouched his back onto the wall beside him.
“And yourself,” Zach replied, looking out of the small slit in the steel frame of the Air-ship.
“I just hope... I hope things go-” Eagle was interrupted by a very loud buzzing sound. It came from the speakers aboard the vessel. Eagle’s eyes brightened in realization, a radio transmission!
Eagle and Zach both ran through the three Iron sectioned-rooms into the cockpit, where Vulcan sat on a comfortable looking leather seat, and all the other pets stood. The room was packed full, but everyone had just enough room to stand. The voice on the radio slowly came into focus: “Is anyone left up there?” It said.
“Eagle, get on the radio.” Matrix’s eyes searched the room for Eagle, until he found him and beckoned him over. The other soldiers made a path to the radio by shuffling in either direction.
“Hello?” Eagle’s voice shook as he pressed the button for speak on the microphone.
The reply came back as, what sounded like; a room full of pets all shouting “Hello!” At the same time.
“Hello? We are the survivors of the Reefwater attack, we need assistance! We’re trapped in Base 17, underground! Identify yourselves? Who are you?” A pet on the other end desperately shouted.
“We’re Delta Squad, the 23rd Squadron of ex-Phoenix division.” Eagle’s words fell calmly out of his mouth.
“Ex-Phoenix? Are you for real?” The pet on the other end spoke slower, and calmer.
In Base 17
Time seemed to freeze before the 23rd Squadron speaker said his next word.
The room in which DA High-command, Wulf, John and his squad sat burst into the sound of confused chatter and gasps. After a few seconds, the small pet sat at the head of the table stood.
“Enough!” He shouted. His voice reverberated through the room, echoing off of the old dull green walls. He banged his fists on the iron table in the middle of all of them as well, and walked over to the radio receiver, which John held. John quickly offered it to him, and he took it briskly.
“Matrix, are you there?” The Commander’s voice was that of an experienced, war-bitten veteran.
Indistinct sounds were made, as the microphone was presumably passed over.
“Yes, Commander?” A new voice spoke over the radio. The Commander instantly recognized it as Matrix.
“How far away are you?” The Commander said, resting his hand against the wall-mounted-radio box.
“Only about eight clicks East, ETA two minutes.” Matrix said.
Wulf specifically noticed the Commander’s brow dropped, the corners of his mouth twitch slightly and his shoulders slouch. Within a few seconds he regained his posture. And carried on:
“How many soldiers do you have?”
“Enough.” Was the short and somewhat cold reply.
“How many is enough?”
“Between ten and twenty.”
This time the Commander’s mouth quivered into a small smirk, he quickly wiped it away with seriousness.
“What is your transport?” The Commander turned around and rested his back on the radio-box, giving his arm a deserved break.
“Airship, Zeppelin, basically a big badass steel balloon, and it’s 1 minute and 37 seconds away from starting to save you all.” Matrix said, and then a loud sound came in through the radio, which was probably the squad cheering.
“Matrix Out.” Was the last thing received, before the familiar beeping sound of the transmission ending, and a whole lot of white-noise.
The Commander, a few moments after the end of transmission simply stated:
“Excuse me,” as he walked straight out of the door, down the intersecting corridor, and into the elevator that lead to the civilian level of Base 17.
When the elevator began to rise, The Commander flipped out a small portable radio from his pocket. He threw it in the air and caught it again, in a sign of confidence. He turned it on, and didn’t need to tune which frequency he wanted, because he’d done that before the meeting.
“Major?” He spoke closely into the radio.
“What is it, Colonel?” A ruffled voice spoke back after a few seconds of waiting.
“How far into the base are you?”
“We’re at the front door, it’s weak enough to be blown off with a few barrels of TNT now.”
“Good, but we have a problem. There is an enemy squadron moving in from the east, they’ll be here in less than a minute, they’re in some kind of Airship.”
“Just one squadron? I have over one thousand pets just sitting lazily in guardtowers and overrun bunkers, some are even eating lunch in their tanks. It will be no problem, I’ll set my pets on the East-bound AA guns at once.” The Major’s voice got louder and clearer as he spoke, as if his confidence grew as he realised that the odds were very much against his enemy.
“Roger.” Replied The Commander. “Sir? Listen closely.” The Major’s voice had returned to its original ruffled state.
The Commander then heard, what sounded like a lot of metal crashing together. He immediately knew it was the explosion of the elevator shaft-door: Which meant SAWAT had breached, and in a few seconds, DA soldiers would start being killed.
“Remember, I am going to be wearing the Blue Headband, don’t shoot me.” The Commander said as he tied a navy-blue headband around his sweaty forehead. He had betrayed his country, his homeland. All because he was scared, he knew the War was a lost cause. He knew it’d be over soon, and the DA Island would be annihilated by the new SAWAT ‘V2’ weapon, and other horrors from their new chemical weapon scheme such as the gas that turned people on each other. He’d ordered one of these gas-attacks on a nearby military-hospital. Because the SAWAT Commander made him do it, just to test his allegiance: As if he hadn’t already, when he ordered the destruction of Lotterick with a V2 Vengeance missile. And once Reefwater was captured, that left the whole coast undefended. The island would be in range once they built missile silos there.
The Commander was broken out of his thought bed by the sound of the elevator doors hissing open, and the sound of The Major’s reply on the radio;
“There has been a slight change of plan.” Matrix stated to the gathered squadron.
Hawk spoke; “We’re going to remain above the clouds until Matrix gives the signal, we want the surviving SAWAT to remember this day. So Matrix is going to make the first appearance.”
“I’ll talk to them, get them wondering. Get them over confident, gain their concentration and maybe they’ll group together a little. So that our first strike makes a big dent.” Matrix continued.
“Then, when the ground is cleared, Delta drops in with Matrix, and the others remain onboard the zeppelin to provide air support and an eye-in-the-sky.” Hawk looked at Matrix while speaking, who nodded.
“Delta will then work their way through the village area to the lighthouse, where we will enter Base 17 and clear it out. Hopefully; saving the day. Understood?” Matrix finished off their duet of tactical planning with a salute.
“Sir, yes Sir!” Came the ground-shaking reply.
Five minutes later, and Matrix was with Zach in the cargo bay. He was kitted up for a HALO jump. And Zach was just helping him to tighten his parachute straps. Vector and Ranger had decided to join them, giving Matrix a small pep talk.
“Make it epic, Sir.” Ranger nudged Vector.
“Yeah, make sure they remember the name Delta.”
“I’ll try boys, now get to your posts.” Matrix said as Zach finished tightening the straps, and he turned towards the now opening bay door. Vector and Ranger quickly left the scene.
“Good luck, sir!” Zach shouted over the now dominant wind that came from the opening.
“Thanks, I’ll see you at the end of the battle!” Matrix shouted back. He ran towards the door, his red-tinted goggles protecting his eyes from the wind. He jumped out, arms spread like an eagle. Then gravity took him and he began to fall, his hair splaying everywhere, and his clothing filling with wind and giving a bounce-type effect. As he came through the cloud belt, he could see Reefwater and he aimed himself for the road towards the village. As he approached the ground, he reached for his parachute pull, pulled it. After a few seconds a violent jerk sent a shock through his body, and as it faded away, his feet touched the ground.
He cut the parachute’s cords away with his knife, then pulled out a megaphone from his belt.
“Greetings Reefwater!” He bellowed. All the nearby SAWATs turned his way, tank turrets aimed at him. MG emplacements aimed at him. He definitely had their attention. More SAWAT flooded into the nearby area, keen to hear what this ‘messenger’ had to say.
“So, I can see that you’ve managed to take this place by force. Well done.” Matrix clapped slowly. The SAWAT cheered, this guy couldn’t be serious.
“But, now that you’ve taken the last DA outpost, there is a Protocol that is to be used only as a last resort. It involves your slaughter.” Matrix smiled at them all.
“Would anyone like to guess the name of the Protocol?” He asked.
When SAWAT gave no reply but a short moment of confused mutters, Matrix continued.
“Together it’s killed over ten thousand SAWAT troops. It’s saved thousands of innocent lives, and taken only those that are necessary. It’s never failed a mission. And it’s never afraid. Most importantly, it’s invincible.” The SAWAT just laughed, this guy was so full of it.
“No guesses?” Matrix smirked.
“Then I guess I’ll just have to destroy you.” He drew his pistol, and unclipped an unseen object from behind him.
“Oh yeah!?” A young SAWAT shouted, walking to the front of the now large SAWAT army.
“No?” His heart pounded faster.
“You and what army!?” He laughed, and the other SAWATs joined in.
“Well...” Matrix threw a red canister high into the air. He shot it with the pistol at its highest point. It exploded into a large ball of fire, and made an extremely loud sound. The sort that could be heard in the heavens.
The SAWATs laughed, was that supposed to hurt?
“I think... I think you missed.” The young SAWAT said, doing a strange mocking dance.
Matrix coughed, “This army.” He continued.
As soon as he finished his short and abrupt sentence, a shadow spread across the entire SAWAT army. Whatever the object in the sky was it was partly in front of the sun, so that it couldn’t be focused upon. Slowly, it covered the sun, and the glare was reduced to nothing. On the large Airship in front of them, the SAWAT could now read... ‘Protocol Delta.’
“Oh,” the young SAWAT managed to stutter, before the Zeppelin opened fire and he was torn apart.
Onboard the ship, Vulcan could see everything that was happening from the gun cams. The grenades were doing the most damage, destroying everything they came into contact with. No exceptions. The MGs were aiming specifically for those who escaped the grenade barrage.
Ranger had decided to leave his post and go into the cargo bay, where he sniped from his wide view position.
Nothing escaped this punishment. No fire was returned because the Airship had aimed for the AA guns first. Hundreds of pets were slaughtered in less than a minute, by a small team, with some big guns. The little resistance that did come, was from SAWATs who had tried to shoot down the vessel with their handheld weapons, which had no effect on the thin steel armor.
All was fine, until a SAWAT tank managed to fire a shot towards the main hull. Every pet aboard the ship thought the same thing at that moment, minus one. Ranger exhaled slowly, this shot counted. He fired, the recoil of his silenced rifle was soft, but the tension that followed was not. He had to calculate the wind at this altitude, the distance, the speed of the tank shot and the speed of his bullet all in less than two seconds, then put them together and choose where to shoot. There was a two and a half second delay, and to his relief, the tank shot exploded before it hit it’s target. Everyone onboard gasped with relief, and a million thank you messages came through Ranger’s radio.
“Alright Delta, get down here. We’re moving in.” Matrix’s voice came through the radio.
“On my way sir,” Ranger said. Along with all the other Deltas.”
Chief stumbled back through the last corridor, he stopped as the elevator shaft stood in front of him. He remembered what he was doing and began to run again, straight at the ladder, then climbed like a frightened pet. He’d betrayed his own nation. Killed five of his comrades. The Gunny and other pet were both going to kill innocent civilians, he had no choice. And he had ran into three more SAWATs, who were posted to stop any escaping civilians. Instead they’d tried to stop him, so he had to kill them as well.
At the end of the ladder, he was so tired. He’d not rested at all since he’d began running. He flopped over the top of the shaft, and crawled slowly out. He was met by a hard steel object to his head. His vision blurred, and the pain shot through him. He tried to crawl away from the source, but he was hit again. He touched his hands to his head, blood covered his fingertips. He lay his back to the floor. Looking up, seeing the Major’s angered face.
“I knew you were a coward.” He spat in Chief’s face. Chief could only mumble meaningless words back. “And cowards must die.” He kicked chief in the ribs, and punched him in the gut.
Blood ran down Chief’s chin and nose. His head hurt so much right now, to be honest, he wouldn’t mind if he died. The Major pulled out a revolver from his holster, cocking it back. It was pressed hard against Chief’s bleeding head.
“Goodbye, coward.” The Major said, and in return Chief kicked him hard in his ‘man area.’
He dropped the revolver, and fell to his knees.
“You play dirty, I play dirtier.” Chief murmured at him.
Sitting up, he grabbed the loaded revolver. He slowly managed to bring himself to his feet. When he did stand, he was punched in the face, by the now standing Major. He just ignored the pain and aimed the revolver at The Major’s ugly face. But he was quick, he ducked and he tackled Chief, just as the revolver went off. Chief hit the floor and his vision was sent into that all too familiar blur. The Major stood over him, and placed his foot on Chief’s head, trying to crush his skull. Chief struggled but his neck hurt if he tried to move. He tried to grab for the revolver, before realizing it had fallen down the elevator shaft. Then he saw a sharp metal shard within reaching distance, his head was pounding. And he could hear his skull starting to crack. He lunged for it, grasping it with his two longest fingers. He managed to slide it into his palm where it cut him slightly, but that was nothing compared to what his enemy felt when he slammed it into The Major’s calf muscle.
The Major cried in pain and stumbled back, hopping. He started trying to pull the shard out of his leg, but before he could: Chief charged him, knocking him backwards into the elevator shaft. The Major hung onto the top of the ladder, his fingers were covered in blood and sweat. Chief’s eyes were merciless. He stamped on his hands, until The Major was forced to let go.
Chief watched as the pet he once so respected, fell to his doom. He turned around, there was a grappling hook attached to the top of the cliff the lighthouse once stood on, he peered over the edge. It appeared to be a viable way down. He took of his jacket and twisted it round, then placed it over the grappling hook line. He then ziplined down to the beach below. Chief’s body was in such massive pain, he thought he’d pass out at any moment. But he forced himself to crawl into the first engine boat he could see. It was a small four pet infantry carrier, with an engine that had just enough fuel to get this place out of sight. That’s all he wanted. To get away. He started the engine, and set course for away from the beach. Then he slowly passed out, his final thoughts being:
‘I am a deserter.’
‘I am a coward.’
‘I am a traitor.’
End of Chapter 19: Weapons Free