We'd got him. No idea who he was but we'd got him. Frankly he was a poor excuse for any sort of agent. I'd never seen someone break so easily under pressure. He'd started gobbing off in Korean before we'd even taken him to the interrogation chamber. He'd totally crack if we just let him sit there on his own for maybe ten minutes. In the meantime we still had to rescue Jagan and Steve. Minister Jung immediately understood when we excused ourselves, every second wasted was another one Jagan and Steve moved closer to the border with death. That is if they were even still alive. We briefed on the situation and went straight to the armoury for loadout.
There were enough weapons to run an entire army down there. Considering that this base supplied the North Korean army that wasn't too much of a surprise. Kim loaded out his men quickly and efficiently, this was a full on military op. We meant business. Kim handed me a K11 assault rifle. It was a new weapon, hot off the production line. State of the art infrared sights and laser targeting gave the soldier a tactical edge in a darkened environment. Perfect for a night op. Combined with a dual feed system allowing instantaneous switching between 20mm airburst grenades and standard NATO rounds meant you could take out a squad on your own with this baby. This was the weapon we were all carrying. Score one for the good guys.
We left the building by another tunnel, Kim leading the way with his squad. We were all dressed in Woodland stripe camo with helmets and headsets hooked up ready to go. We crowded into the transport helicopter and sat in the darkness. The moon was bright shining upon a night soon to be dyed red with blood. We were a squad of six. Kim and two of his men, me and Dani and Beth. I leaned over to my team as the others sorted out their gear.
"No names when we're out there. We can't afford the enemy knowing anymore information about us than necessary. We only use codenames. I'm Sherlock as usual, normally we pick something characteristic or an animal. Dani you can take Fox, Beth you'll be wolf. If you don't like it tell me some other time and we'll sort you out a new one but for this mission those are your callsigns."
"Time on target, ETA ten minutes."
The voice over the intercom crackled with static and we all double checked our gear again. That's pretty much all you can do on the way to a mission. Check and double check your gear. The last thing you want is your gun jamming on you or your armour slipping. It's life and death. You can never check too many times.
"Sherock." Kim was speaking to me. He'd picked up on our callsigns pretty sharp.
"It's an honour to be working with you sir. These are my team; Viper and Python. My callsign is Cobra." I smiled at the recurring theme in their codenames. Snakes. Fast and deadly.
"T-minus five minutes. Prepare for drop off."
The red light flicked on as the pilot gave his time check. We were ready. No going back. We passed the rest of the flight in silence, all of us quietly meditating on the mission. Primary objective, find Crow and Jagan and secure them. Secondary objective, eliminate enemy presence in the area. Finally regroup at the chopper and return to base. That was it, pure and simple. It was always simple in the planning stage.
"All callsigns ready weapons, we're at the drop zone, mission is go, good luck and God's speed, out."
The last part was a bit of a mantra before missions. It was a familiar send off. The chopper landed and the back doors opened and the team streamed out into the night.
The silence was thick and claustrophobic as we moved further into the dense forest up the mountain. The tracking beacon in the plane was maybe two klicks away on the mini radar I was carrying. We moved in a loose double file formation, Kim, or Cobra leading on the right and me on the left with our teams following behind maintaining distance of about five metres between us. I caught movement in my peripheral vision immediately dropping to one knee and signalling a halt. The whole squad mimicked my action and at once six weapons were trained on the spot. False alarm. Just an animal. We continued at a steady walk through the forest. Before long we had eyes on target. The plane.
"Hold up," I said. Switch to Infrared optics. Beware of enemy ambush."
Even as I said this and checked the infrared scope on my rifle I heard the click of a scout flare. Trouble.
"Down! Down! Down!" We all dropped on our fronts as a white magnesium flare arced overhead and a bunch of korean voices kicked off.
"Estimate maybe fifteen hostiles. They know we're here but can't see us," Cobra whispered through the mic.
"Roger. Fox, Wolf, on me, arrowhead formation, peel off to the left, let's go!"
I pushed myself up off the ground and scrambled off through the trees towards the left flank just as the flare went out. Fox and Wolf covered my left and right in a triangle. We all faced towards the plane as the hostiles began to clock our movement. I could see Cobra, Viper, and Python forming the same formation to our right. We were both facing towards the plane and our ambushers in a two pronged arrowhead.
"Tangos twelve O'clock. Use 20mm ammo, fire when ready."
Our two fireteams had set up a perfect crossfire. We all switched to our 20mm grenade launchers and fired. The black forest was lit by the starburst of red explosions. The hostiles barely had time to cry out as the impact of the shrapnel tore at their flesh. We'd decimated half of them in less than five seconds.
"Switch to 5.56mm! Fire at will!"
As one unit our teams flicked our rifles to normal bullets and started firing. Through the infrared sights the enemies lit up like christmas trees. It was too easy to pick them off. They didn't stand a chance. Five seconds later there were none of them left standing.
"Hold fire. Check ammo. Watch your targets, beware of survivors. Fox, Wolf, on me."
We all moved forward. Cobra's team covered the rear while Fox, Wolf, and I checked the plane. No sign of anyone and no traces of where they'd gone or been taken. Sh*t.
"We're pulling out. Regroup on the chopper, let's go." I led my team out of the forest, victorious yet defeated. Now we had yet more hostages on our hands and no idea where to find them. We'd just have to hope Scarecrow and Jagan would be alright.