I'd found the information Beth had seen. Security protocols and personnel lists for the bunker. The names were essentially useless to us. We didn't need to know who worked for Seuk. He was the head which controlled the arms so he was our only concern in terms of terrorist membership. What was more interesting were the security protocols. A list of the surveillance systems and code locks which ran inside the underground bunker. It didn't give us any of the codes to unlock them though. The only thing Beth could have assumed was that there was a need for this information. Naturally the easiest way to find it was to find enemies. Enemies whose descriptions she had on the personnel list. Sifting through the names a couple of technicians had come up who were known to frequent a bar on the outskirts of the city. That's where Beth was and that was here I was headed.
I kept trying her phone as I walked, three times it went to answerphone before I gave up. Either she was really, really busy, or this was trouble. I was almost at the bar when I realised I didn't have a weapon. Guess I'd have to wing it if things got ugly. I stepped inside. It was fairly quiet for almost midnight. Maybe this was a regular hangout for criminals and murderers? She wasn't in here but I dialled Beth's number one more time. I heard it. Her ringtone, one of the songs off her favourite album, not coming from anywhere inside the bar, but through the side door to my right. My phone went dead. Someone had hung up for her. Which means she wasn't in a position to be answering at the very least. I heard voices through the door, one in Korean and one in English.
"She knew about the security protocols of the bunker. Call King and tell him we have a leak and an assault is imminent."
King must mean Seuk. I heard dialling and the other man speaking in Korean. He hung up shortly and spoke again to his colleague. At this point I was really wondering if I should invest in some Korean lessons.
The other man replied in English again. "What should we do with her?"
More Korean and harsh cold laughter. "Yeah and we could sell her after that too."
Okay, time to move. I edged the door open a crack. I could see an alleyway dimly lit by the inner lights of a van. The one of them had his back to me, the other was facing towards me, both were looking at Beth's unconscious form on the floor. I watched as one opened the van doors and bent to pick her up. This was my opportunity, they were both focussed on getting her into the truck and neither were facing me. I moved. Swiftly I slipped out of the door and headlocked one of the men in a chokehold whilst kicking his leg out to put him off balance. All his weight slid out from under him putting all that pressure straight onto his neck. He struggled and writhed as he started to suffocate but I held on and drew his pistol from his hip. The other man turned around but not before I'd shot him in the kneecaps. He collapsed to the floor wailing in agony. The other man passed out from lack of air within thirty seconds and I shoved them both in the back of the van. I checked Beth's vital signs. She was okay, just a mild abrasion on the head where she'd been hit. She'd have a headache but otherwise most likely be fine.
"Beth. Wake up." I shook her and her eyelids fluttered. She moaned in pain.
"Ugh. What happened. I feel like I got hit by a brick."
"You probably did Beth. Get in the van."
She stumbled into the passenger seat while I got into the driver's side. The keys were in the ignition. I took us back to the war room as fast as possible.
"You f*cking idiot Beth."
"I know, I know I'm sorry Steve, I'm-"
"You could be dead. There's no way you should have just gone off on your own like that. These aren't small time crooks who you can charm information out of. They could have done unspeakable things to you, just like-"
"I KNOW STEVE. I'm sorry. And I'm glad you're awake and better."
I'd brought Beth back and Crow had gone ape on her. I was surprised at the amazing reversal of psyche he was having. Then again Dani seemed to give him this sort of limitless positive energy whenever they were together. I smiled. Well if anyone was good for my daughter then it'd be him, even if he was a bit of a psychopath. But the time for chat was done. We were on a time limit. It was about half past midnight and we had to prepare for the operation.
"Alright guys, enough talk. Beth is sorry and Steve was just worried, now we have a mission to prepare for. I trust you're all filled in on the plan?"
"I take Beth and Jagan and infiltrate the cave network, disabling inner security and rescuing the hostages," Steve answered.
"Correct. I'm with Dani on sniper detail. She could use some payback for all those times people have gone for her," I added.
"Then we call in the cavalry, i.e. Jung's army once the SAMs are down," Jagan finished.
"Right. We leave here at 0300, HALO in at 0330, reach the base at about 0400, just before first light. We're going back to callsigns again. Dani is Fox, Beth is Wolf, I'm Sherlock. Steve, you can't use Scarecrow for now, they know you use that identity. For this mission you're Shadow, how's that sound?"
"What about me?" Jagan looked almost hopeful, like he was expecting James bond to burst out of the wall and tell him he was a double O.
"Do you know the root of your name Jagan? It's from the German Jaeger. Means Hunter. That's who you'll be. Hunter." He looked like he liked the sound of that. "That's Sherlock, Shadow, Fox, Wolf and Hunter. Everyone clear? Good, load up."
We picked out our weapons. Everyone took K11 assault rifles as standard. The other weapon would be personal choice. Scarecrow got himself an automatic pistol. He could pin the trigger and spray over a thousand bullets a minute with that. Great for close quarters. Jagan and Beth both took shotguns. Capable of blowing limbs clean off, they'd be very useful in the corridor style combat of the underground base. Dani picked up the sniper she'd been using the other day. The DSR-1. I was packing its bigger, armour piercing brother the DSR-50. We all had full mountain snow combats on and body armour. Everything was ready. The room was filled with the mechanical click of guns being loaded, checked, safetied and holstered. Once there was silence we were ready.
"Mr. Lewis!" Kim burst into the room. "Mr. Lewis, bring your team. We have another call."
We rushed into the War room. Seuk's face was back on the screen. The subtitles read; "You have betrayed my conditions. By sunrise they will be dead."
I turned to my team. "We move out now. Let's go. Everyone get to the plane."
"It's not even 0100 yet! Our army won't be ready!" Called Kim.
"It's doesn't matter. If we haven't contacted you by sunrise then bomb the crap out of the place. Just level it. Destroy everything."
Kim didn't protest. He just saluted. We ran, heading for the airstrip and our plane. We needed to get in and save the hostages and get out before sunrise. The clock was well and truly ticking.