Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Tales of Raythia: Trojan Horse | Chapter 3: "Assignment"


The Tales of Raythia
Trojan Horse

Chapter 3: Assignment

    “Alright. One last time.” The NCO said as he cycled back a few slides to the topographical map.
    Pvt. Marie LeRoux let out a long, slow sigh and sat up straighter in her chair after realizing that she was beginning to list off to one side out of sheer, absolute fucking boredom. Her hand drifted up to her hair and traced the valleys of her tightly knotted locks with her fingers; the old habit of running her fingers through her curly hair replaced once she joined the army and had been required to wear it regulation.
    She glanced over at Diego, or Sergeant Olvera as the baby-faced Team Leader insisted on being called, as he stared intensely at the slide for the third…no…fourth? Fourth time they’d gone over it.
    LeRoux had always thought the Sarge was a little cutie and she’d even taken a swing at him the first time they’d met, but he’d been just as straight-laced then as he was now. Hell, he was actually maybe a bit MORE straight-laced, but that wasn’t here nor there. He was a good lead but not her type when it came to personality.
    Still, he was good eye candy. Sharp brown eyes, brown skin, and clean-cut brown hair that shaped his face nicely even with that softer chin.
    “You day-dreamin’, girl?” Johnson whispered.
    “Only about throwing you through a window, Johnson.” She whispered back with a side-eye towards her Grenadier Rifleman.
    “You promise to try?”
    If she was honest with herself, it would probably take hitting the massive man with a dump truck to actually do so, so try was really all she COULD do in that scenario. Part African American, part American Bison, and probably part cinder block, Pvt. David Johnson worked out about as religiously as a priest went to church and probably was near three-hundred pounds of pure muscle.
    “Yea. If you promise to eat shit, lug-head.”
    “Stow that shit.” Sergeant Olvera barked, glaring at both of them for a half second before looking back at the map.
    Spc. Andrew Merrick, FireTeam Bravo’s remaining member and the team’s Dedicated Marksman, gave them both the side-eye before smirking wordlessly and looking back towards the map. LeRoux frowned and did likewise.
   The blonde man always made her just a little bit uncomfortable. He was practically her antithesis. Cold, calculating, and collected, not to mention tall, thin, and was always perfectly trimmed well beyond regs. She knew he could rely on him like a brother, but that didn’t make his silence and cold perfection unnerving sometimes.
    Still, she liked the college boy. He tended to be unexpectedly fun even if she didn’t see it coming half the time.
    “As I was saying…” the NCO began again. “Satellite and Drone imagery have confirmed the presence of an enemy encampment here on this hillside.”
    The man motioned towards the far end of a topographical map that had been highlighted with a red circle and a variety of scribbled information.
    “While we have been aware of it for several weeks, it appears well-fortified and, while it could hypothetically be taken care of with drone strikes, we believe a high value target Hassan Asghar calls this place home. If we can take him alive, the rest can be dealt with cleanly.”
    “Now, as of yesterday, we have identified movement on the far end of the hillside.” The NCO now motioned towards the opposite side of the map. “Here.”
    “Following this discovery, we scanned the hillside and confirmed with thermal imaging that there are a series of tunnels that appear to potentially lead directly to the enemy encampment and that these individuals are potentially using the tunnels either as a primary or secondary route into the camp.”
    “Unfortunately, we cannot confirm this at this time as the individuals we have spotted have been dressed primarily in civilian clothing, mostly robes and shawls. Additionally, we have been unable to confirm any weaponry, leading to the possibility that this is an unrelated farming or herding community, though we have not identified any cattle or produce as of yet.”
    “Now, it’s possible that this community, if one exists, may have ties to the enemy encampment and are providing aid or it’s possible that undercover operatives dressed as civilians are using it as a backdoor before slipping off into the cities. We need to find out what’s going and, more importantly, if whether we can use this backdoor ourselves to secure Hassan before calling in the big guns.”
     “Your mission is simple. Recon. Go in, investigate the tunnels, see if a community exists and extrapolate what their purpose is. Identify if a route exists through the tunnels to the enemy encampment and report back. Engage only if engaged and no heroics. In. Out. Debrief.”
    LeRoux looked up and down at the faces of her team. Sgt. Olvera’s eyes were hard set and he was giving a curt nod. Spc. Merrick was motionless as a statue except for his eyes being ever so slightly narrowed. Pvt. Johnson was also nodding, though he looked about as bored as she felt.
    “Any questions?” The NCO asked.
    No questions.
    “You have your orders. Dismissed.”
    “Man, I fuckin’ hate Recon.” LeRoux growled.
    “Trust me, we all know you do.” Johnson said with a barking laugh.
    The four of them were geared up and on their way towards the Humvee that would be dropping them off in the middle of bum-fuck-egypt. They’d get to hike the lovely two miles across open terrain under the cover of night to keep anyone from spotting the transport bringing them in. When they got out, they’d call for a ride and get the fuck out.
    “No listen to me, man…” LeRoux began before Johnson perfectly echoed her next words. “…it’s because it’s so fuckin’ boring. We go in, we look, we don’t shoot any-Hey. Stop that. The fuck? Stop that, man. Johnson. I swear to God you…”
    Johnson stopped echoing her when LeRoux reached up and slapped him on the back of his helmeted head.
    “Fout toné! Get manman ou! Tét zozo…” she swore.
    “Knock it off!” Olvera snapped at the two of them. “I swear, you’re both like bickering children.”
    “She started it.” Johnson said with a smirk.
    “And I’m ending it. Straighten the fuck up. We’ve got a job to do.”
    “It’s shit-detail, that’s what it is, Sarge.” LeRoux muttered.
    “Yea.” Johnson agreed, far louder than the little Creole woman. “It’s, how do you say it, LeRoux? Makakri?”
    “ENOUGH!” Olvera bellowed, stopping short and getting his face not inches from theirs. “You will pull your heads out of your asses this instant or I will ensure that the next time you want to do so, they’ll have to be surgically removed, comprende putas?
    Johnson and LeRoux’s jaws both snapped shut and they both gave a quick nod.
    Malditos chicos estúpidos…”Olvera mumbled and turned to keep walking, Johnson and LeRoux trading glances before Merrick walked up beside them.
    “You know,” he said in a whispered tone. “maybe if you ask ‘are we there yet?’ enough times, he’ll turn the hummer around. Won’t get McDonald’s, but what’s it worth to ya.”
    Both Johnson and LeRoux snorted, looking at the tall man as he passed, his hands in a shrugging gesture.
    “I don’t know, man. I like my McDonald’s.” LeRoux whispered.
    Johnson snorted again but said nothing further before the entire FireTeam gathered into the Humvee; the armor vehicle heading out into the darkened desert towards their next mission.


  1. I have a bad feeling about this.

  2. .. "heading out into the darkened desert towards their next mission."
    I wonder what it may bring!

    All the best Jan

  3. hmm, okay I wasn't expecting the story to pick up here after chapter 2. I feel like I am going back and forth in time. You do have a way with words. I can imagine the whole scene playing out, the language is believable. I don't think it's going to be that simple of a mission in and out and a whole lot of drama in between is what I see coming.

    Keep it coming...