The round rocketed through the air... past the ground troops stacking up on the front gates and right into the journalist's head.
He thought of home his job, all the people he knew, the things he did with his life... and how he ended up in this hellhole, 3 thousand miles from home, it all went flashing before his eyes before the very last thing he would ever see: a .50 cal round right between his eyes. In an instant, it was all over for Ken Thompson, an innocent man who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time...
Omar Khadr stood to the side of him, now in cover from the sniper fire, and looked at the body with disgust.
"Throw the capitalist dog off the walls!" he commanded his soldiers who heaved the body out of the hole in the wall that Stryker sniped into and it landed with a thud in the harsh desert sand right in front of the american troops stationed outside waiting for the all-clear to storm the building and go loud on the threats inside.
Unfortinately for him the soldiers had better things to do, and so there Ken laid roasting in the desert sun with his blood staining the sand. He was not just another casualty... he was Strykers casualty. Not the first in the US conflict in afghanistan however Strykers first, the first innocent he would kill and he vowed it would be his last.
"DAMNIT!!" he exclaimed, dropping the rifle to the ground, trying to get the image of the poor dead man out of his head. He watched the whole thing from his scopes - the way they tossed the body out of the building like a useless peice of garbage. Stryker knew he was fighting terrorists...but this...this was a new kind of terrorism. Total disrespect for human life.
There was a knock on the door. "I TOLD YOU TO STAND DOWN!" his CO, Mag, said, barging in. "Hey no offense sir but this is a sniper's nest, why don't you go back to your desk job..." Stryker wisecracked. It was true they had a clear shot on him from here but that wasnt the point.
Ramires began packing up the rifle back into his kit and Jenkins radioed for them to hold off the storm of the building but it was truely too late. Even by the time he could reach them he could hear gunfire cracking from their radios, and see soldiers storming into the front gates with guns blazing. Shouts of "Allah Akhbar" echoed across the radio frequencies as tangos were nailed down in the soldiers sights one by one.
"Listen Stryker i know you think you're some kind of high-flying loose cannon" mag said "but we have Civillian lives on the line here, dude. You are going to need to keep your shit together on the line of fire if you don't want your ass court marshalled faster than you can say FUBAR."
Stryker grimaced at him. Ramirez and Jenkins looked at Stryker expectantly. Finally, he spoke. "Alright Mag. Lets go".
1500 HOURS: Specops Command Bunker
The freight elevator came to a halt and the doors opened as Commander Stryker sauntered throughout the underground bunker. The secret installation was located two miles underneath the ancient city of Kandahar - but it was not your typical bunker. This was a covert command and resupply center for all ground ops in the Kandahar area - and not only that, it was deep underground enough to resist anything short of a MOAB or a small nuke. On all sides of Stryker were reinforced steel, like some sort of high tech underground base. Suddenly though his examination of the base was interrupted by Mag. "You are to report to Captain Amerine for orders, as usual. He's not going to be happy with this situation", Mag said.
"I know..." Stryker said, looking down at his feet sadly.
They entered the bulkhead of the door into the situation room. Amerine stood in the middle of the room at the conference table, studying a map of Kandahar, with all the Taliban hot-spots marked with a red X. Across from him was a squad, obviously just having been briefed by Amerine, checking their gear in preparation for the next assault, planning their attacks as Arms Seargents rushed back and forth to and from the armory carrying armfuls of Weapon Mods. At the bank of servers, Airstrike Controllers piloted Predator drones and shouted kill-orders into their microphones, commanding the gunners of Blackhawks and AC130's.
"Commander Stryker. Come in", Amerine said.
"Sir..." stryker began
"At ease, commander", Amerine said. "There's no time for formalities."
"I'm going to make this quick..." Amerine said, ashing his Cuban cigar quickly. He walked away from the group of people to talk to Stryker privately, speaking in a hushed voice. "This isn't just a standard capture-or-kill. The terrorist you are up against has a fearsome reputation. He's been a thorn in our side for years, but he's been in hiding, and only now has he returned to Kandahar to plan his final attack. We are sending you in to take him out. You will select your own squad and gear, and we'll let you take it from there, but don't count on us for tac support."
"You're sending in just me and my squad? Captain, that's a suicide mission. You know we aren't equipped for that."
Amerine sighed, and looked down at the holographic map in shame. "Listen, kid. The brass wants you out of here for what you did to that journalist. But they're trying to take out two birds with one
stone. They don't expect you to come out of this alive, Stryker."
"I know." Stryker said. Amerine looked up at him, surprised, but before he could say anything, Stryker said "But they're going to have to try harder than that. Because let me tell you something, Captain... My life is like a movie. And this movie doesn't have a surprise ending... the good guys win."
"...And you are the 'good guy'?" Amerine said, looking up at him with disbelief.
"Hell no... but I'm still going to win."
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