From the safety of a dark, musty back-room somewhere in down-town Columbus, Ohio, a corpulent man watched a TV screen, a sinister grin on his face. The TV showed a team of men, all clad in dark fatigues and brandishing guns, quietly wiring up grey bricks to the wall of a house. The men fell back and from the TV's speakers came a crackling voice of the Team's leader.
“We're all set Sir,” he said.
“Very good,” the man replied, speaking into a microphone set beside the TV. “Proceed when ready.”
“Yes Sir,” came the reply. The man, still grinning, ran his tongue over his stained teeth. The TV screen focused on the house, a standard suburban affair, with flowers growing beside the drive and against the sidewalk. In the corner of the image, one of the men held up three fingers and lowered them, one by one. At the sight of his fist, there was a brilliant flash of light and a distorted cracking sound from the speakers.
“Go! Go! Go!” came the point man's voice again, and the men could be seen surging into the now gaping side of the house. The image on the screen followed the men in, as though attached to another member of the team, switching to heat sensing mode as they plunged into the smoke and dust from the explosion. The team, now depicted as rainbow hued blobs, spread out, searching through the rubble and ruined furniture.
Moments went by. The fat man began repeatedly running a hand through his greasy locks, when there was a shout from one of the men. The image panned around to show a figure, buried beneath the rubble.
“Looks like we found her Sir,” said the leader.
“Excellent.” The man grinned and pulled out a small box of white powder. He took a pinch of it, brought it to his nostrils and sniffed. The grin relaxed into a self satisfied smirk, and he returned his attention to the screen.
The team had hurried over to their fellow and begun digging, shifting bricks and timber away, when suddenly one of them gave a slight jerk, before falling to the floor, a knife protruding from his chest. Another followed, before the rest of the team had a chance to react. The fat man leant forward, his hands gripping his microphone, watching as the image panned around wildly, listening to the yelling of his team. Suddenly the camera picked up an unknown outline and the bearer's yell sounded loudly through the speakers, followed by rapid-fire gunshots. There was a muffled cry of pain, then silence. The man in the chair clenched his jaw, watching the image pan around again and not pick anything up.
“It doesn't matter,” he said to the microphone. “Just get the girl and return.”
“Yes Sir,” said the leader. The image on the screen returned to the men digging. Soon they had uncovered the figure, and it was slung over the leader's shoulder.
“We got what we came for,” came the team leader's voice. “Let's go.” The image followed the team back out into the clear air and, unneeded now, heat-sensing mode was switched off. The watching man steeped his fingers, a wicked smile spreading across his face, as he watched his men carrying a young woman, her clothes torn and her body bloodied, towards a parked SUV.
“Well now,” he muttered to himself. “Let's see how you like being the one pushed around, my author.”