Crow settled into his flying rhythm as the friendly conversation died down. Even in a jet like this is wasn't going to be a short flight. In a way flying is easier than driving. Once you're on autopilot the adjustments you need to make are minimal. If you were feeling really irresponsible you could put your ipod in and catch forty winks before arrival. It was peaceful up here. This jet was something else compared to the one we'd tried to reach DC in. For one thing the ride was smoother. That and the gatling guns, anti armour cannons, anti-air missiles and hard target AGMs made this plane feel so much more secure. Last but not least it was a stealth plane. Odds of anyone finding us up here, almost nil.
I leant back in my seat a little and flicked open a laptop given to me by Minister Jung. It was an intel dossier, filled with all the information on the terrorist cells he could muster and a little more besides. I pulled up the main case file first. For one thing I didn't actually know what one of our hostages looked like so that'd be a good place to start.
Primary Target: Miss Kirsten Fullman
Location: Unknown. Indications of detainment within NK terrorist bunker. Heavy resistance probable. SAM, Artillery, Helicopter and Tank presence probable.
Status: Unknown. Likely alive. No ransom demands or other contact made at this time.
There was a lot of other random information about her going into everything from her schooling to her friends to her favourite flavour of milkshake. I studied the picture of her. Straight blonde hair cut neatly above the shoulders. Quite pale with rosy cheeks and a sprinkling of freckles. Blue eyes, slim features. 5'5" about 60 kilos. 19 years old. Well, now I knew what we were looking for.
"Hey, whatcha looking at?" Dani leaned over my shoulder and peered at the laptop screen.
"Just reading the file on our targets." I flicked to the next file as I said this. "How are the others?"
"Busy," she said with an exasperated drawl. I checked behind and just caught a snapshot of Jagan and Beth way too close for comfortable viewing. Oh well, I could forgive them for now. Once we touched down it'd be a different story entirely. When tomorrow could be our last day on earth I don't mind them living today how they like.
I turned back to the file. This face was a lot uglier than Kirsten Fullman's. A Korean with dark, deep-set eyes and thick eyebrows. His face was wrinkled and pockmarked and there were a lot of tiny nicks and scratches from years of combat. His hair hadn't greyed yet and he was built strongly. Taller than the average Korean at 5'9" and 80 kilos of pure muscle, and this guy was even older than me.
Secondary Target: Kim-Lee Seok
Location: Hamgyong Mountains, Insurgent command bunker.
Status: Alive, coordinating terrorist movements. Eliminate with extreme force.
"This is our guy Dani. We kill this one and the whole terrorist cell will crumble. Sure there'll still be a lot of angry men out there but without a leader they won't know what the hell they're doing."
"He looks pretty damn nasty. Will killing him save President Fullman and his daughter?"
"Unfortunately not. Chances are if the rest of the terrorists realise that their leader is dead they'll execute their hostages. We need to save one or both of them before we get Seuk."
"But there's no way we can save both of them-"
"Unless we split up."
I could almost see the 'but' forming on her lips but I calmed her with a hand on her shoulder.
"It's not an easy thing being part of SCIT. Sometimes we have to do things that put us and the people we care about at far greater risk than anyone would want. But we're the best, it's our job." I hugged my daughter filled with a deep regret and also a loving warmth at the same time.
"We're a team honey. We're all in this together, and even if it looks like the end, you know I've always got your back." I remembered the look she'd had on her face as I'd pushed her from the last plane we'd flown in. I wished I'd never have to make her cry again as fate drew us closer to the edge of danger through the wavering skies.