I could have shot Jagan. What the hell did he think he was doing? Did all common sense and logic go out of the window in my absence? I stared aghast as he took off into the undergrowth at lightning speed, Crow hollering after him like a madman, Beth desperately torn between chasing Jagan and staying with her brother, Dani in a state of disbelief and Drake staring with a look of mild distaste on his face. Gunshots rang out of the bushes and Jagan burst forth and flung himself at the slowly levitating runner of the chopper. It wheeled to take off into the thick black clouds as the first drops of rain fell onto my face, the downgust of the rotors whipping up dust into the dry mountain air. I felt Drake jostle me as he rushed past and trained his gun at the chopper. I rushed forwards and tackled him to the floor, the both of us tumbling into the grit and grass, damp mud smearing onto our DPMs.
"What are you doing? I had a clear shot! I could have taken..."
"Your shooting would have only endangered the life of one of my soldiers. You have no guarantees you wouldn't hit him. You're trying to shoot down a chopper with a pistol for Christ's sake. It's not a long range weapon for starters..."
"And that's why I had to act fast to fire while they were still within effective..."
"Think! Even if you did fire the perfect shot, piercing the cockpit and killing the pilot what good would it do?"
"It would stop them escaping!"
"It would bring ten thousand lbs of helicopter down on top of my agent!"
"Well maybe he should show some more consideration for the mission!"
My voice lowered menacingly.
"That, my friend, is why you aren't a part of SCIT."
I got up and turned to walk off.
"What do you mean I'm not a part of SCIT? I was assigned by the DoJ..."
"You can shove what the DoJ tell you straight up your arse mate. In SCIT the lives of our comrades come first. We're a unit. This isn't life for queen and country, medals of honour in your coffin before the president. If we die, we get no dramatic military funeral. No national hero status. If we die, as far as the government is concerned, we cease to exist. Learn to put your team first. Before then, you'll have no respect in the SCIT."
I wasn't here to fight this man. Whether or not he was part of SCIT, he was not my enemy, and there were more important problems to tackle.
"Beth, Dani, Crow, we're moving, Drake get up and fall in. Whether or not I approve of your conduct I'm not leaving you behind here, let's go."
The dense clouds seemed to descend ominously over us as we descended the mountain in the downpour, the thunder rumbling through the earth and sky. As we reached the vehicles I tossed Crow a small GPS watch.
"Now you've gotten over your little spitz and feel a lot better, perhaps you can thank Jagan and apologise for shooting him by saving his life. Again. The tracker will take you to his location. Get on your bike and go ahead. We'll follow. Don't take any action without the rest of the team. We'll gear up on site. I need you onside Crow. As I told our friend here, we're a team."
Crow nodded. His eyes were focussed and fierce, but not the black holes of a remorseless murderer they used to be. He was a new man, and we had a job to do. He gunned his bike and shot off down the road. The rest of us piled into the car Drake and I had brought with all the gear. I got on the radio with Crow straight away.
"Alright Steve, take us to Jagan. We're expecting the chopper to land at Marquis Point Heights, but there could always be another hideout so stay frosty," I redirected my attention to Dani and Beth in the back. "You need kit. We got you some weapons from the Hegemann place and you can get on your chameleon suits later. Check the weapons are all in order though, I think you'll like what you find."
I heard Dani gasp and a burst of excited chatter issued from the back seat. So I guess she liked her gun then.
"Alright, Drake. Sorry I was harsh to you back there but you were out of line. I'm the commanding officer here so let's get down to business. GPS has Jagan West headed due east. We're in pursuit."