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Chapter Three - The Outpost

A small group of UDA soldiers had amassed inside the entryway, firing. SLM troops were shot dead before they could even make the jump from the steel floors of their AC-Ls and the stone landing area. Dead somewhere in between. An AC-L itself had been taken down, its pilot shot through the windshield.

But, of course, this wasn't enough for them. Allen watched the group part for a heavy-set soldier carrying a sort of rocket launcher – an AT-4. Obviously expertly trained for this situation, he quickly knelt and took aim at a helicopter preparing to land, and fired.

The rocket hit the AC-L, sending it spinning out of control, the explosion sending the controls haywire. The pilot struggled against the aircraft, but it was to no avail; it toppled towards the ground as the soldier took aim at another copter.

“Don't fucking stand there!” Blitz pushed Allen out of the way as he fired into the UDA group. Never letting up on the trigger, he let loose his automatic's first clip, Cherzevok and Omith taking up aim behind him. Allen did the same.

As soon as the launcher-carrying soldier was on the ground with a bullet in his head, Blitz pulled back on the tiny lever of a grenade from his belt and flung it towards the UDA troops. The blast sent a a few of them falling backwards or to their sides, killing most of them. Granted precious time to unload their passengers, the pilots quickly hovered above the pad, dropped off everyone inside, and took back to the sky.

Picking off the rest of the UDA troops, Cherzevok sprinted forward, leading the others ahead into the building as the last of the helicopters departed.

More UDA troops opened fire on the SLM platoons with their automatics as they advanced inside the outpost. Soldiers randomly dropped to the floor, killed instantly by the machine fire.

Allen followed Blitz and a couple others into a room to their left, taking cover inside. Blitz poked his head out to take a quick shot, but withdrew as a bullet whizzed past his head and struck the other end of the door frame.

“That's not going to work.” Said one of the soldiers in the room. He moved past Blitz, pressing up against the doorway. He poked his gun out and shot in the UDA troops' direction.

“I could've done that.” Blitz said, moving farther back into the large room, apparently for storage, judging by the stacks of boxes and long metal legs laying around in it.

The soldier at the door went to turn back around to the other three in the room, when a metal clink sounded just outside the door.

“Grenade!” was all he had time to shout. He turned around to duck, but the explosion sent him straight to the ground.

The others in the room had dropped to the floor, watching the doorway intently. When no one charged in, Allen stood up to help the other Ranger to his side to his feet.

“All right?” he asked him. The soldier nodded, lightly coughing.

“What are they doing out there?” Blitz said, moving past the ripped-up body of the fallen soldier. Being careful not to move too far towards the doorway, he peered outside into the hallway, where he could see the other SLM troops trying to move into other small rooms along the walls and back out onto the landing pad.

“What the hell are they...” The firing from down the hall abruptly came to a stop. Taking a chance, he quickly poked his head out to get a look at what was going on.

Down the hall, a UDA solider broke out from the rest of the mass. He was wearing a gas mask with a heavy, gray suit (what reminded Blitz of a spacesuit), a large cylindrical metal tank strapped to his back. Two lengthy tubes stretched from the top and side of the tank around to a skinny, cylinder-shaped sprayer gripped firmly in the soldier's hands.

“Son of a...” He whipped back around to Allen and the other Ranger. “Get down, get down!” he whispered, dropping to the floor. He gestured for the others to be quiet.

“What?” Allen whispered.

“Don't let them know we're here...” He motioned for the other two to follow him to the back of the room. “They're trying to gas us out.” he said as they retreated to the back corner.

“Look in some of these boxes.” The Ranger next to Allen said. “Maybe there's some masks or something in here...”

The three started rummaging through nearby boxes, trying not to make much noise; they could hear the gas being pumped into the hall. SLM soldiers could be heard coughing heavily, dropping to the floor.

“There's nothing here but empty mags and ammo.” Blitz whispered, shoving two boxes aside in disgust. He looked over to the doorway, where the gas was already starting to creep in.

“Nothing here, either.” Allen said quietly. He put the box in his hands down. “Just bottles of medicine and cloth. Some other stuff, too, but no masks.”

“Medicine?” the Ranger next to him set a box down and looked at the bottles. “Is there nitroglycerin in them?”

“Nitroglycerin?” Allen picked up one of the bottles, inspecting the contents label. “Yeah... Exactly how is this important right now?”

“Well, we obviously can't just leap out there firing our guns.” he said, taking the medicine from Allen's hand. “Even if we managed to hit the one gassing us out, the rest'd just pick us off. But if we can make an explosion big enough to make than gas tank explode, it would take a hell of a good chunk outta them, don't you think?”

“That could work.” Allen agreed, glancing at the gas creeping throughout the room. “Hurry.”

The Ranger grabbed another bottle from the box, opening both and placing them on the floor. He took a Cu-tip from the box as well, and dipped it into the medicine. Removing a box of matches from his belt (although not mandatory, he liked to keep them for times like this) and lit one. He touched it to the soaked Cu-tip, igniting it.

“Alright.” he mumbled. He put it out, and grabbed two thin cloths from the box, stuffing them into the bottles. Lighting a match, he handed it to Allen along with a bottle of medicine.

“Be quick to toss it as soon as you light it. You're only gonna have a second before the tissue burns through to the liquid.” He he lit a match for himself and nodded towards the doorway. Creeping forward, Allen following.

Near the door, soldiers could still be heard choking in the other rooms; the ones unfortunate enough to get caught in the hallways were dead by now.

As they approached the door, they could hear the gas spewing outside come to an abrupt halt. Curious, the Ranger with Allen motioned for him to stay put. He walked to the edge of the doorway, bringing his lit Cu-tip close to the cloth stuffed into his medicine bottle, listening. When the gas hadn't continued to spray, the Ranger peeked around the corner, ready to –

“Shit!” the Ranger stumbled backwards, taking two bullets to the chest. He crumpled to the ground, a puddle of blood seeping from his uniform onto the floor. His bottle fell to the ground and smashed, spilling its contents.

Allen stood frozen, watching the Cu-tip, still flaming, hit the ground and roll near the medicine.

“Light the fuckin' thing!” Blitz shouted.

Allen snapped himself out of his trance, and, with what little time and breath he had left, ran towards the doorway. The gas had thinned out just a little, and the soldier with the gas tank was just barley visible. Lighting the cloth in the bottle, he tossed it, and jumped for cover in the room as gunfire erupted.

Just as he heard the gas tank outside explode, ceasing the gunshots, the spilled medicine behind him ignited and exploded as well, throwing him a few feet to the wall.

Blitz shielded his face with his arm and turned his head away, the fire engulfing everything within a four-foot radius of the spill. The heat was next to unbearable, even for Blitz, whose arm and chest were burned in some places.

When the everything became quiet again and the heat had died down, Blitz put his arm down and turned towards Allen, who lay slumped up against the wall, unmoving.

“Allen...” he coughed, getting to his feet. “Allen!” He moved over top his comrade, sitting him upright with a grunt. “Allen, man, c'mon. C'mon.” He took Allen's head in his hands and shook it lightly. “Come on.” No response came.

He let Allen's head fall back against the wall. His eyes remained closed. Blitz wasn't even sure he was breathing. Stepping back, he ran his eyes over his friend.

“Allen, man...get the fuck up!” He kicked the other man in the ribs. When there was still no response, Blitz let out a short breath and turned away. “Duty first.” He reminded himself grimly as he slumped back to where gun lay on the floor and picked it up, replacing the magazine. He cocked his gun and turned back.

Taking one last glance at Allen's lifeless body, he took a breath, and continued for the doorway. But before he could leave, a small moan stopped him in his tracks.

He spun around to see Allen feeling the back of his head, coughing loudly.

“Holy shit...” Blitz took a few steps backwards, peering out into he hallway. The rest of the SLM troops were beginning to slowly move back in – they would be safe for now. Moving back towards Allen, he knelt down, dropping his gun.

“You alright?” he said. He removed Allen's helmet and bent his head forward so he could see the back of it. Moving his hand away, he could see the effect the explosion had on his friend's bare skin. The whole of his neck and back of his head were burnt, glazed over with a bright red veil. Most of his hair was gone, and his ears looked badly burned, as well.

“I think I'll live.” Allen managed to squeeze out between coughs. The gas's just getting to me a little bit, is all.”

“It's clearin' out pretty good, now. C'mon, man, get up.” Blitz helped Allen to his feet and handed him his gun.

“God...my head...”

“You're burned pretty good, but you gotta suck it up and keep movin'. The bottle did the trick, but they'll be back soon. Now c'mon – we should try and find the General.” He plopped the helmet back onto Allen's head, letting him refasten it.

“Yeah.” Allen gave one last spluttering cough and reloaded his gun before the two stepped back out into the hallway.

It was like stepping into an old Rambo movie their great-grandparents would've watched.

Most of the SLM group had spilled back in, their weapons poised, wary of another attack. Others, medics, were tending to the the few soldiers that had been gassed and were still alive, hanging of by a thread. For some, those threads were thin. The bodies of the UDA troops killed by the blast were still aflame, the soldier with the gas tank's body almost unrecognizable.

“Ah, shit...” Allen heard another soldier curse to himself. He turned in his direction, finding him standing over the body of a UDA trooper. He was still alive, but his legs below his knees were missing, blown away by the explosion of the gas tank. Bloodied, he writhed in pain on the floor, unable to speak.

It took a moment for Allen to realize the SLM troop was Corporal Omith. He went to say something to him, when another voice beat him to it.

“Kill him.” Allen and Omith both turned. A tall, lanky Italian officer, his face rugged and unshaven, was making his way towards the crippled troop.

“But, sir,” the Sean argued.

“That's an order, corporal.” the officer retorted.

“But he's bleeding to death.”

“Then make him bleed a little bit faster.”

The corporal looked back to the writhing UDA trooper, then back at the officer.

“Can't we just –” he was shoved aside as the officer upholstered his 9mm Cant pistol and fired. The bullet entered through the struggling soldier's right cheekbone, and was lodged somewhere inside.

Re-holstering the gun, he turned back to Omith. “You lack the will to fight for our freedom!” he barked. “A wonder you have managed to keep yourself alive.” He stomped off down the hallway with some others.

Omith stared at the dead UDA soldier, not noticing Parker sliding over to stand behind him.

“There wasn't anything else to do.”

Sean, slightly startled, took a moment to respond. “Yeah.” He stepped over the body, and continued down the hall with the rest of the advancing group.

Allen went to turn to Blitz, but he wasn't there. He started to call out his name when he was once again cut short. A gun shot had sounded down the hall.

The SLM soldiers broke for cover in the doorways in the walls, firing back at another large UDA group.

“Damn, they have a fuckin' entire platoon down there?” A Boston accent belonging to someone behind him was the last thing Allen heard before the grenades starting going off. Several Rangers in front of him were blown back and onto the ground, sending him breaking for cover once more. But he wouldn't be able to get there fast enough; bullets were already whizzing past him, striking others around him.

“Shit...” Allen fell to the ground, firing, trying to avoid the shots from the other side at the same time. He took a sweep across a small group of three hiding inside the doorway of an enclosed room just down the hallway, taking out two before he had to reload his MPK5. He fumbled with it, dislodging the empty magazine. Throwing it aside, he took another from his belt and shoved it into his gun. But when he looked back up to the doorway, the remaining soldier had already taken aim at him. Without enough time to cock his gun, he closed his eyes, unable to move, as the trooper began to fire....

...Nothing happened. Allen slowly pried his eyes opened. He looked for the UDA trooper, but he was no longer standing, instead slumped against the wall inside the door.

“You are still alive?”

A firm hand grabbed Allen's upper-arm and forcefully yanked him to his feet. General Cherzevok, although smiling, was urgently shoving him to the side, towards a small passageway branching off from the main hallway.

“This way! Move!” he yelled, ducking as he ran. Allen, glancing once more at the lifeless UDA soldier, quickly followed, away from the machine-fire.

“M60s, sir?” he shouted up to his general.

“It seems so. Keep moving!” came the reply.

The two sprinted down the long, narrow passageway. Lit only by the light from the main hall, it contained no doors to other rooms or staircases to any other floors. Allen kept looking back over his shoulder at the ensuing battle. Shouts and gunshots continuously rang through the air, but no one else seemed to be following. Occasionally he could see an SLM soldier's body drop in front of the entrance down this hall, but that was it. He looked ahead, barley being able to see the turn in the passageway six or seven yards ahead.

He watched Cherzevok slow down as he came to the corner, eventually coming to a stop along with Allen. He motioned for the private to stay put. His gun held outward, ready to fire, he slowly crept around the corner. When he was met with no immediate gunfire, he pulled a small, disc-like device from his belt. He held it out in front of him, and clicked a button on its surface. A bright blue light slowly blinked three times. After a moment's pause, a dim, red light slowly blinked back three times from the darkness ahead.

Cherzevok placed the blinker back onto his belt. Looking at Allen, he nodded down the corridor and moved on. Looking behind them once more, Allen followed.

There was no light in this hall, so the two were forced to jog on in the darkness. After a few seconds, a bright yellow light flickered on a couple yards in front of them. Hurrying towards it, Allen found that three other soldiers were waiting at the end of the passage, in front of a heavyset door. One of them was on the floor concentrating on a small hand held of some kind. This soldier was Blitz.

“Elza, what the hell are you doing?” said another soldier, holding a his rifle towards Cherzevok and Parker, a powerful flashlight mounted on it. He kept it focused on them as they came forward. “The General's here. Hurry it up!”

“Shut it, Omith, I'm workin' on it.

The corporal ignored Blitz as he stepped towards Cherzevok. “We've almost opened the door, general Cherzevok.”

“This hardware's some advanced shit...” Blitz said, tapping away on the device's slide-out keyboard. “But...” He paused, and tapped a final few keys. A large metal lock on the door unlocked. “I wasn't an engineer for nothin'.”

“Good.” Cherzevok said. “Any idea what exactly is behind this?” He tossed a gestured towards the large metal door.

“A stairwell. Should lead us down to the floor below us. From there,” Blitz turned his hand held around, pointing at a large blueprint of the building, “we can take this hallway, here, into another room.” Scrolling up the page, he ran his finger between two thin white lines until they came to an end, opening into a large square. “Through another couple of back-door halls, and the control room's right there.” He tapped a large circle at the end of two white lines. “They've got the missile set in the room, so watch where you're shooting. If we can –”

“We can figure the rest out when we get there.” The third soldier standing against the wall, a middle-aged Asian male, cut Blitz off. He was a head shorter than Omith or Blitz, but was thin nonetheless. His voice was stern, hardened with years of service to the SLM. “We don't have the time to be talking about this.” He looked to Cherzevok. “With all do respect, sir, we need to move on.”

“What is your name?” the general asked.

The soldier saluted, his back erect. “Lieutenant Yimir, 19th Ranger Regiment, sir. Shadow Company.”

Cherzevok saluted him back. “Very well, lieutenant. We are short on time here. Move!” He swept past the others. Slowly opening the door, he peered around it. When no one was there, he continued on. Yimir and Omith followed.

Allen stayed behind as Blitz stowed his hand held away in his uniform.

“I thought you got your ass shot back there.” He said, standing up. He turned and passed through the doorway.

“You're not getting rid of me that easy.” Allen shot back, following Blitz.

On the other side of the door, a narrow, stone stairwell led straight down into another dark, enclosed passageway on the floor below them, the only light being dim yellow bulb at the top of the stairs. Any other lights lining the ceiling were switched off.

“Any light switches?” Yimir asked, stepping down the flight of stairs after Cherzevok and Omith. He felt around the walls, feeling only the flat, smooth stone.

“Doesn't look like it.” Sean answered. “We're just gonna have to work with what we've got.” He tapped the flashlight mounted on his automatic rifle, and shined it on the stairs as they neared the bottom, where another large door waited.

Once there, Blitz and Yimir stood to the left of the door, Allen and Omith to the right, their guns poised as General Cherzevok slowly approached it. He pulled on the opening latch, but it stuck fast. Locked.

“Elza?” He threw a glance at the private, then at the door.

Blitz took the hint. As he stepped in front of the door, Cherzevok slid back up onto the stairs, giving him room. He looked at the sleek, metal lock above the handle, studying it carefully.

“Can you open it, or what?” the lieutenant asked sharply.

“Yeah.” Elza said, stepping back. Looking at the lock once more, he raised his gun above his head, and smashed the lock once, twice, three times with the butt before the lock fell, crumpled, to the floor.

Blitz stepped aside, smiling at the General. “Sir?”

Cherzevok blinked, staring at Blitz, then moved in front of the door. “Alright.”

Blitz, content with his work, re-assumed his position to the left of the door.

Cherzevok pulled on the handle, slowly creaking the door open. Elza and Yimir held their guns out, ready to fire at anything that moved. They couldn't risk failing this mission.

“Nothing. Let's move.” Lieutenant Yimir said, moving through the doorway. The others followed.

On the other side, a metal walk wrapped halfway around another dark room. High above the floor, which was scattered with several long tables, dozens of plastic chairs stacked on top of each of them, they stuck close to the wall as they made their way around to the other wall.

“The mess hall, sir?” Corporal Omith quietly asked Cherzevok, who immediately looked to Blitz. Nodding confirmation, they continued, careful not to make much noise.

At the end of the walk, on the wall opposite of their entry, no door was present, just a archway. They pushed through, into a dark, small hall, slightly bigger than the last, which slowly sloped downward, making up for the rest of the descent the staircase didn't cover.

After rounding a corner into another empty hallway, Allen spoke up. “This place seems deserted...”

“The soldiers must all be upstairs, still fighting against the rest of the platoons.” Blitz replied.

“God help them.” Omith silently put in.

“Yeah, but that still doesn't make up for the lack of patrol. We haven't seen a single security officer.”

“Probably all lined up to see the fireworks.” Blitz ventured.

“Quiet.” Cherzevok cut it. “Down there.” He motioned for Omith to shine his light farther down the hallway. Doing so, they could see, once again, a large, heavyset metal door.

“And on the other side?” Omith said, coming to a stop a few yards in front of it with the others.

“The dome. Where they're keeping the missile.” Elza answered.

“Then why are we standing here?” Yimir snapped, quickly heading for the door.

“Let's move.” Cherzevok quickly added to the other three.

The small group made their way down the last few yards of the hall until they came to the door. Careful not to make any noises too loud, Cherzevok pulled back on the handle – but it didn't latch.

“It's unlocked...” he whispered. “Take your positions.” He stepped back as the others took their places next to the door, poising their guns.

Cherzevok waited for nods from the others four before continuing. Lifting his rifle up in front of him, pointed at the door, he slowly stepped forward. “Ready...on my mark...three...two...on –”

The door swung wide open, knocking Cherzevok's weapon out of his hands. Before the others had time to react, an array of bullets found themselves lodged into the general's chest, sending him toppling backwards.

“No!” Blitz spun around to the doorway and pulled the trigger, taking out two UDA guards. But there were more than enough soldiers to take their places.

“Shoot! Shoot!” Lieutenant Yimir shouted, firing into the room as he pressed up against the wall to the right of the door with the others, providing a little cover.

“Tossing frags!” Omith shouted, pulling the levers back on two frag grenades and tossing them around the door into the room. The explosions downed several UDA troopers inside the doorway, sending shrapnel flying. A few squeezes of the four's triggers took care of the rest.

After that, the gunfire ceased. Yimir slowly turned around the door, peering into the room. When no gunshots rang out, he sprung into the room. Shooting glances everyone present, he realized they were all engineers. Engineers who, with the right kind of persuasion, could stop the missile launch. But when he looked at that missile, he could only stare.

“Apparently our intel failed to realize this is a nuclear missile.”

Hundreds of feet high, a thick, tough metal hide, the missile stood firm in the middle of the room, locked in place atop a large platform surrounded by layer after layer of metal. The only way to see it was through large plexiglass slots. Large nuclear symbols were imprinted on two doors in the huge cylindrical barrier, acting as warning signs. Wrapped around the huge centerpiece was a large control board, at which sat several of the technicians and engineers, who, upon the soldiers' entry stood up and rushed to another exit across the room, past two rows of other engineers seated at computers, equally desperate to flee the room.

“I don't think so.” The Lieutenant raised his gun. The crowd of white-clad engineers stopped dead in their tracks.

“Everyone on the ground!” Blitz swept past Yimir, into the domed room. “Hands above your heads!”

The engineers, fifteen or so, hesitated.

On the ground!”

No one moved.

Yimir's finger was pulling back on his trigger before Blitz had a chance to shout again. The engineer closest to the board of controls gave a yelp and crumpled to his knees, a bullet in his temple.

“On your knees.” he said calmly. There were no hesitations. As he moved towards the line of computers, a desperate shout rang out from behind him.

“I've got a pulse!”

Blitz and Yimir adverted their attention from the others. Outside the doorway, Omith and Allen were hunched over the motionless body of General Cherzevok. Omith had his hand around his wrist, concentrating.

“I've got a pulse! He's still alive.”

“For now.” Allen stood up and looked at the two inside. “He needs medical attention. Quick.”

“What're we gonna do?” Blitz lowered his gun. “We're stuck right in the middle of a UDA outpost in the desert. And I'm sure there are more of these fucks on the way.” He nudged the body of a UDA officer with his foot.

“We need to get him to a medic.”

“We don't have the time.” Yimir said firmly. “We need to deal with the mission at hand.”

Omith looked to the lieutenant. “But that doesn't mean we have t–” He stopped mid-sentence, his eyes shooting past the two soldiers and into the room. His face contorted into a look of pure fear. “No!”

Yimir and Blitz whipped around. Four of the engineers had broken off from the rest of the small group and were hammering the control board. The two soldiers immediately fired, crippling three of them. But by the time the fourth was dead on the floor, it was too late.

The launching sequence had started.


Submitted: August 20, 2010

© Copyright 2022 Noah. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Christian Taylor

Uh oh...what's going to happen next?! Can't wait for Chapter 4!

Sat, August 21st, 2010 6:22pm

Author
Reply

Soon...

Sat, August 21st, 2010 11:24am

Green Highlights

Another action-filled chapter!
I could literally hear the bullets flying!
Excellent work!

Sun, August 22nd, 2010 11:01am

Demyx306

yay, countdown! we all go boom!

seriously, loving the story!

Tue, August 24th, 2010 7:05am

Author
Reply

Wonderful. Because I'm thinking of making this into a trilogy. I already have some major highlights planned out for the sequel. A third may follow. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Thu, August 26th, 2010 10:49am

darkman1408

Hahaha we all go boom

Fri, August 27th, 2010 11:53pm

Author
Reply

.

Sat, August 28th, 2010 11:58am

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