------------CHAPTER 5: "INFILTRATOR"
Stryker rifled through the thick dossier on his way to the drop zone. They had chosen to enter the region by helicopter - stealthier that way. The pilots - a bunch of guys from the 160th, as they bragged - all used NVDs, not floodlights, allowing them to fly stealthier - or, at least as stealthy as a fully loaded MH-60L Blackhawk helicopter can be. However at night in the pitch black desert environment, they were pretty much invisible.
The time was 4:03 AM - right in the sweet spot. Pre-dawn nautical twilight, or "Darkest Before Dawn". The darkest part of the night - that offered the best concealment to soldiers like Stryker.As a SEAL, Stryker always preferred stealth missions. He thought it was more skillful to never be seen than to just blow up everything. And, by God, Afghanistan allowed for very good stealth. With no light pollution, it was pitch black at night in the countryside, and aside from wind there was absolutely no noise. He could hear a target coming way before they could get the drop on him. That’s why their entry point was right outside Kabul - the biggest city in this shithole of a country.
“We’ve arrived at the drop zone”, the helo pilot announced. Stryker looked up at Jenkins and Remirez. One look in thier eyes and he could tell his squad was fully kitted out and ready for infil. He thumbed the tac-mic.
“Razor Mike, deploy” he yelled. His squad mates quickly opened the helo door and jumped to grab the fast rope, quickly rapelling down to the ground as they hung from the rope suspended 30 feet above the air. Stryker looked out into the barren desert, with the terrorist hub of all of Iraq - Kandahar - brightly lit up the dark horizon. He knew this was going to be a tough op...probably his toughest. And he knew he was going right into the belly of the beast. Nobody expected him to come out alive... and he was going to prove them wrong.
He sighed, cocked a round into the chamber and grabbed the rope. Down he went, grabbing the rope for dear life. He hit the ground on a hill, and tucked and rolled. The helicopter was already pulling away. He got his gear and stood up... “Im getting too old for this shit”, he said hoarsely. Jenkins gave him a laugh and they proceeded to the base... It was going to be a long hike. The mountain ranges of Kandahar were deadly with sudden drops and nasty cliffs, but the last thing Stryker needed was to touch down in a hot drop zone. He was going to play it by the book, and he knew that by landing under the cover of night, well outside the “Area of Operations”, he could approach silently before anyone knew he was on-site.
He looked over at Jenkins and Ramirez who were stacked up in a defensive position to cover his landing. He keyed his mic. “OK move out”, he said. Jenkins and Ramirez formed up in a line and they set on their way across the rocky landscape.
“Someone must have heard that chopper”, Jenkins said nervously. “Those bitches ain’t quiet...” He gripped his gun tightly, scanning the horizon for threats.
“That’s why we’re SEALS. No fuckin’ water in the desert to swim in”, Ramirez joked back.
“Cut the chatter guys...”Stryker said. Man it was going to be a long night before they were safe.