Saturday, July 8, 2017

Birthday - Part 1

    With a scream, Ludwig' legs gave out from beneath him and dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
    His arms were locked and his jaw was spasming against the electric current that was arcing through his body, setting his nerves on fire. However, the pain wasn't severe, just restrictive.
    Ludwig's scream was more of defiance than anything else.
    Staff Sergeant Coughlin smirked and gave the downed private a swift kick in the ass. Not hard, but enough to get his attention through the haze of the zapper.
    "What the hell did I tell you about checking your corners?" she said with a disciplinary tone. "That's the third time this month."
    Ludwig growled in response, but given his locked jaw, she doubted he'd be able to say anything intelligible.
    She moved on.
    Coughlin crossed an alley and ducked under an over hang. She could hear the patrol moving slowly and carefully. That was good. But it did annoy her that she could hear them at all. She'd have to chew them out for that.
    Slithering under the low cover of old supply crates, she creeped to the edge and saw an entire fireteam.
    Gorman, Xi, Nunez, and Quinn were all in the alley not twenty meters away. Quinn and Xi were quietly bickering over something...that was hardly new. Corporal Quinn was fireteam leader, but that didn't stop Xi from trying to interject her will and be an all around pain in the ass.
    The flip side was that Gorman and Nunez were waiting quietly, guns trained on the empty alley. Their eyes were scanning the gloomy fog like hungry raptors.
    But the bitching had them distracted.
    She'd have to talk to them about that too.
    Pulling the shock grenade, she yanked the pin hard, but held on to it. Cooking the fuse inside for an extra second or two. And, once she felt the timing was right, she slid the grenade along the wet stone floor right between the four of them.
    She was already disappearing into the darkness when Nunez frantically scream "GRENADE!"
    Of course, they didn't have time to react. The cooked grenade went off before they had so much as twitched.
    All four hit the ground with shouts of anger and shock promptly followed by the clatter of armor on stone.
    Coughlin was tempted to give them all a quick kick like she had with Ludwig, but restrained herself. There was still one man unaccounted for and she'll be damned if he wasn't the biggest threat.
    Sergeant Bullock's fireteam had been dealt with pretty easily, although they at least put up more of a fight than Corporal Quinn's had. They had been ready and focused and had gotten a few pot shots off before she zapped them.
    Kuroba's team on the other hand...
    She had found Kuroba and Cooper stalking the alleys with Cooper bitching about 'just letting them go'. After quickly disabling both of them, she realized that Ludwig and Dixon were unaccounted for.
    It wasn't the first time it had happened. Neither of them played well with others and Ludwig had been taken out just as easily as Kuroba, but Dixon was another story.
    Sliding from the cover, her eyes scanned the foggy rooftops.
    Nothing. Just darkness.
    For the first time in the drill, she felt her heart rate increase. Her squad was good and they all knew the reason she put them through these exercises was to make them even better. No. To make them the best. But there was something about Dixon that always stood out.
    Something predatory.
    Something frightening.
    The Designated Marksman had risen through the ranks faster than any other soldier she had commanded. He'd been put through sniper school immediately after boot due to his aptitude and passed with colors not shortly after. While he'd been on his own sniper team, he'd been busted down and reassigned to Coughlin for 'classified reasons'. She'd raised holy hell about not being told why, but was still quickly satisfied with the results he provided.
    Coughlin glanced down on the readout for her zapper-rifle, confirmed, and started slowly moving through the alleys; keeping to as much cover as she could find.
    The man was a hunter through and through. While he had a bad tendency of breaking off from his fireteam, often with Ludwig going along to act as his unofficial spotter, she couldn't argue with the results. Honestly, they were a little scary sometimes.
    But he got the job done.
    And so, for the sixth time in the last second, her eyes scanned the rooftops and the windows.
    Little did she know that her own knowledge of the DM was working against her. She was so focused above that she failed to think of her own trick being used against her. Down the alley, a good fifty meters out, a single rifle barrel was extended through a large pile of garbage.
    She'd passed by it earlier, literally meters away, when she'd felled Ludwig.
    He just hadn't been ready to strike yet.
    And so, as she stalked, and as she hunted, Dixon held the rifle steady. He had walls on all sides, appropriate camouflage, and, in this environment, only a single target.
    He squeezed the second trigger.
    Coughlin only saw the glint of the barrel a split second before the gunshot.
    She hit the ground screaming in fury as the electricity arced through her body.
    A few moments later, her nerves shot and her body smoking, the dark-skinned sniper appeared over her; his rifle slung over his shoulder, his eyes malicious.
    "Happy Birthday, Staff Sergeant." Dixon said condescendingly with an outstretched hand to help her up.


  1. Nice one.
    And another one bites the dust...

  2. Funny! Switch in point of view but still effective.

    1. Intentional. Definitely debated it because it can come off very badly, but it was small enough and specific enough that it felt like a clean switch.

  3. "Classified reasons". I can't wait to read the next part.

    Greetings from London.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. It's part of the reason I favor my little cliffhangers. Leaves you thirsty and lets your imagination roam a bit.

  5. I mangled my thought before so hopefully this will work. I am anxiously waiting for not one this series, but waiting to see how all the pieces fit together. This space between postings has my brain working overtime imagining possible scenarios.

  6. That's one hell of a birthday present. lol

  7. And I thought Coughlin was tough! She's got nothing on Dixon.

  8. Extra crispy. Sure a birthday present that will never be forgotten haha

  9. this is WAY better than paint ball !!!!!! ☺☺☺

  10. Dixon sounds like a real bad ass.