High Value Target
The sun had just dipped over the horizon and the men of Lima 2 were prepping their gear for their task ahead, adjusting simply by feel alone. This 4-man squad consisted of: Sgt. Asher, who, at 5'4" would make you doubt the amount of strength and endurance he had, who had exceeded instructor's expectations whilst he was grinding through selection. Cpl. Curtis, a man who preferred to operate solo though still a worthwhile and vital team player, he was always the first to leave and the last one back making sure all were accounted for, and Troopers Urban and Shepherd; the "Fucking New Guys" to their Troop, and so lacked the experience of the other half of the squad, though beamed potential. Shepherd hadn't seen active service before joining the Regiment and was certainly chucked in the deep-end when assigned to this mission. Urban on the other hand was a veteran in comparison, though only joining the Regiment in the last summer's selection, having completed tours in both Northern Ireland and Iraq; and a real ladies man.
Red and green tracer flew through the air, like lasers in a sci-fi movie, before the distinctive metallic sound of a dozen .50 cal's echoed through the valley, causing what life there was around to scarper to the nearest place of safety. The diversion had started and Lima 2 were prepped to leave their temporary Observation Post, they would be leaving in 'assault order' which consisted only of the essentials: ammunition, water bottle, explosives, a sidearm and a KA-BAR combat knife. Shepherd cocked his Heckler and Koch MP5SD, the brass rounds glinting dully before they disappeared into the firing chamber, with a quick slap on the cocking handle; to Sgt. Asher's disapproval, "Keep it down back there, Rookie, let's not get ID'ed before we even set off." Shepherd looked to the dusty earth in a sulk, there was a lot still to learn.
Cpl. Curtis motioned to Asher, his finger tapping on his watch. 01:15. Asher nodded and lifted his hand to his ear, pressing down the transmit button on his Personal Role Radio,
"Sunray, this is Lima 2. Message, over."
"Send message, Lima 2, over."
"We are commencing Op. Swipe now; make sure we have that evac on time, over."
"Copy, Lima 2. Your evac is on stand-by, commence your run. Out."
The radio went silent, giving the squad the cue to depart. Sgt. Asher gave each man a look, his version of both confidence building and checking to make sure that they are ready. Asher took point, followed by Urban, Curtis and Shepherd who was to be "tail-end Charlie", protecting the squad from an attack from the rear. By now, the .50 cal's were met with hostile fire which could be heard further East in the decaying town. Lima 2, however, were situated on a hill to the West but they were here for one man; Abu Massab Al-Zarqawi. Though, despite pleas for a straight manhunt, this was to be a "Snatch & Grab" mission which is why Lima 2 were chosen - they are expertly trained in Close Quarter Battle and hostage extraction, and the UK Government needed him alive for interrogation.
Asher raised his fist, the sign for the squad to stop, and then turned to face his troops, "Right, the compound is at the end of this street, due left. Keep quiet on the way up and go loud once we're in. Remember, the top brass want this guy alive and screaming; and we're going to give them both, got it?" The response was unanimous, though they remained silent, these were smart soldiers and they didn't even need to murmur the reply. The squad had to keep focussed and achieve their target.
Asher ran through the plan in his head, reassuring himself that everything was accounted for; breach the entrance to the compound, split in half and work their way through the building from opposite ends, grab Al-Zarqawi and rendezvous at the Landing Zone for an extraction. It sounded simple enough.
The troops stacked up at the end of the road against a mud-brick wall, Curtis proceeded to go prone and edge around the corner of a wall looking through his Multi-purpose Aiming Reflex Sight attached to his MP5, "One Tango on the roof-," Urban lifted his C8 Carbine, took aim at the hostile and professionally pressed on the trigger twice causing two suppressed whistles to awaken the silence of the compound. The hostile dropped to the floor, dramatically, though Curtis continued as if he was blind, "-no visuals elsewhere, the rest must be inside."
Shepherd's hands were clammy and shaking, the nerves on your first mission could be devastating to your team as it can cost lives. Upon seeing the shaking, Asher crouched over to him and offered some words of encouragement, "If you fuck this up, I'll get you sent back to your unit before you can say Abu Massab," surprisingly, the words ceased the shaking as Shepherd feared the wrath of Asher over the risk of entering a hostile compound.
Asher rejoined Curtis at the front and motioned for his men to follow him to the compound entrance. As they reached the doors, they split into their respective two man CQB teams and hugged the wall. Curtis instinctively unbuckled his side pouch to reveal a block of plastic explosive and began to layer it on the metal door; he needn't put a large amount on due to the age of the already rusting entrance. The explosives were set and Curtis returned to his position, raised his thumb; "Breaching!", came the raised whisper, followed instantaneously by a deafening detonation as the door buckled in on itself, showering the inside of the compound with debris.
Without a word spoken, both teams knew their mission and like a practised routine made their way to the nearest entrances to the U-shaped building. Five seconds in and the hostiles still bewildered by the sudden entrance went to meet their maker as both Asher and Curtis fired off their rounds in a double-tap, two rounds were all they needed to end a life. The men were, after all, trained to do one thing. As the two rookies's approached their respective entrances, both summoned a gargantuan amount of energy in order to kick the doors in to allow access to the building. Ten seconds. Both teams were inside and making their way through the building, almost easily killing the excuses for enemy soldiers. The shouts of "Room clear!" were echoed throughout the building over and over again as they dispatched their foes and checked for their target. Fifteen seconds. Asher and Shepherd were the first to come across the room; Shepherd grabbed a flashbang and rolled it into the room, bang! Shepherd spun around the corner, dropped to one knee and took down the bodyguard with two shots, right between the eyes.
Asher turned the corner ready to unload his magazine.
"Shepherd! What have you done?"