Foster: Lightning Ridge

The enemy dropped while the crack of my gun still hung in the air. Should have known they'd have a backup plan after that chopper was whirling around all over the place.

"We'd better move before more of them start sprouting out of the grass."

Drake revved the engine and we shot down the dirt track, our tyres skidding through the wet gravel as the rain came down. Drake peered through he windscreen as the wipers swayed back and forth metronomically.

"I've got no idea where we're going right now, could use some help here."

"Just keep heading east. The GPS is struggling for signal with the weather conditions. I'll try and get in contact with Crow," I radioed Crow's frequency. "Steve, what's your status? Whereabouts are you?"

His voice came back crackling over the scream of his bike engine.

"I'm f@cking soaked through and freezing. My tracker has their altitude increasing and heading further into the moutains. I'm starting to head uphill mysel. Snow's on the ground around here. I'll check back later when I'm closer to them!"

He cut off.

"Alright guys the slight problem is I kitted us out for urban combat moreso than mountainous warfare. Our weapons might not be perfectly suited to the situation but we'll just have to make do. Drake, floor it, keep following that tracker signal."

We sped into the the darkness as the rain kept falling.

* * *

It was a couple of hours til midnight and the sun had set long ago. Our headlights cut a swathe through the deluge and our car ate up the road flanked by a thick white pine forest. We sat in silence as Drake drove. The GPS signal had stopped moving so we knew Jagan had reached his final destination. Crow had also called in to say he'd arrived and was waiting for us to catch up before he made his move.

As we neared his location we slowed to a stop and hid the car in the trees. The snow beneath our boots was wet and slushy. We unloaded our kit from the back. Dani had her sniper rifle and Beth had a long range automatic battle rifle to back her up. Drake carried his own assault rifle and Crow's, which were both suppressed and laser sighted for precision. I carried Jagan's kit, lightweight SMG designed for speed and maneouvrability. I also had my own weapon, a hunting crossbow. Utterly silent, the pulley system also meant I didn't have to pull back the string myself to reload it. We whispered through the trees in the wind and sheets of rain, spectres in our active camouflage, until we found Crow's bike.

"Scarecrow, we're here!"

He emerged from a bush his hair plastered down over his forehead, his biking leathers dripping with water and half melted snow.

"It's about time," he grumbled as Drake chucked him his stealth suit and weapon. "G36? Nice." He checked and loaded the rifle and slipped the camo over his leathers. That was everyone except Jagan. Now all we had to do was get him back.

I called the team in. "Alright, chances are Jagan hasn't been detected yet or he'd be dead and our goggles would tell us so." The little display in the goggles still had Jagan's pulse blinking away next to all the others'."They won't have come up here for nothing either so there's probably a small compound or communications station up here, basically a safehouse. It'll be well guarded so we'll have to split up to better avoid detection. I'll find Jagan and check for any intel inside the compound. Beth and Dani find and eliminate Marissa. Crow and Drake need to immobilize that chopper to cut off an escape route and take out Jerry. It's likely that those two will flee into the forest and try and get off the mountain once they realise we're here to kill them. They won't be stupid either though, they'll probably have troops with them and attempt ambushes and other guerilla tactics, anything to escape us. Remember, they've hired the stalker's Red division so the enemy won't be pushovers. Try to avoid direct combat until necessary, we want clean kills here. Are we all clear? Good. This place is called lightning ridge guys, the rain's still falling so let's bring the thunder. Move out."

The End

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