Williams was about to light his fifth cigarette of the day when the report came in.
The admin assistant who came rushing toward him, nearly tripped and fell, in her rush
to provide Williams with something which she thought would make his day. He looked
up at her and smiled, almost laughing as she came tumbling towards him, her hands full
of papers, trying desperately hard to stay upright in her heels.
‘Agent Williams,’ she puffed as she got closer to him.
‘Careful there Vanessa,’ he warned, jumping to break her fall, ‘what’s the problem?
I’m sure it’s not worth breaking your neck over. Or preventing me from having a
cigarette break come to think about it.’
She tried a smile, unamused by his comment but determined to be the one to break
the news. He helped her by taking the papers from her and looked inquisitively at her
as she tried to speak.
‘Agent Williams, we have the latest satellite imagery from our Algerian contact. Ain
M'lila Airfield seems to be active and fortifying its position.’
‘You what?’ he exclaimed looking stunned at her as she spoke, ‘Your joking right, is
this Rachel trying to take the piss?’
‘My god, what the hell are they doing?’ he asked, shocked.
‘We don’t know yet’ Rachel’s voice from behind them made them both turn to look,
‘looks like they are preparing for world war three from what we can gather. This place
has been demilitarised for some time now so we’re curious about what they’re up to.’
Williams looked, horrified through the series of satellite images as he looked to
Rachel for answers.
‘Come on,’ she said, grabbing the cigarette from him, ‘I’ll fill you in on the way.’
The both walked towards the ops room and Williams eyes widened as she explained
’Twelve hours ago, some heavy weapons were spotted by out Aerial Reconnaissance
Drone after the locals complained of building noise coming from the airfield. Naturally
this information reached our ears, and we conducted an over flight. Several armoured
vehicles and a large number of troops were seen entering the base under cover of
darkness. Intel suggests several large garrisons seem to be fortifying their positions.’
‘Yeah but fortifying them against what?’ Williams asked.
‘We don’t know yet. We’ve checked with local intelligence and nothing seems out of
place, no fall outs, no gang issues, and no political differences that we know of.’
‘You think this has something to do with Azidi?’ he asked her, looking suddenly
‘Possibly. He was sighted in Algeria last year, in fact, he spent three days there
before returning to Syria, and then we lost him for a while.’
‘Well I have to get out there now, this could be our only chance to get him.’ he
insisted, making a move towards the direction of his office to pick up his weapon.
‘Hold your horses Nathan.’ Rachel said, holding his arm, ‘we have to wait for
authorisation from the Algerians first. Until we know exactly what they are up to, our
orders are to stand down and await further Intel,’
WANTED Azidi, and he wanted him badly. He would not pass up an opportunity to take
him out, even if it cost him his job.
‘Listen, Rachel,’ he placated, putting his hand on her shoulder patronisingly. ‘I know
you and I have had our differences, but I have been after this guy since before you
came here, I KNOW him, I know how he thinks, how he acts, what he does, everything,’
She pushed his hand off her shoulder, glaring at him with a look that reminded him
whatever had happened between them both before this job meant nothing now and
she was still his superior.
‘Agent Williams,’ she said quietly but firmly, staring at him all the while, ‘may I
remind you I am the senior agent and you’re superior; you will NOT try to undermine
Williams gulped, realising he had pushed her too far. But he still wasn’t going to back
‘I want answers’ he hissed at her, his body language suddenly changing as he stood
taller, shoulders back, back straight, almost in a defensive stance.
‘I understand that,’ she replied in a slightly more relaxed tone, ‘but it won’t get us
anywhere If we burst in there, guns blazing and not asking questions.’
Williams sighed. He knew she was right, but it didn’t make him feel any better.
‘What did you have in mind?’ he asked. She smiled as she motioned him to follow
The rooftop looked like was a war-zone as Mark and El Toro wandered through the
sprawl of bleeding, dead corpses. Spoke grenades that had been fired aimlessly at
moving targets, sat slowly smoking, the smoke blowing gently across towards Mark and
El Toro, making it difficult for them to see. They both stood around staring at the
carnage that lay before them. El Toro spoke
He’d left this life behind many years ago and had lived on this island in relative peace
and quiet. Retired to a life of happiness, laughter and history, El Toro felt the familiar
pain which always used to precede a firefight. Now it seemed this man, this friend of his
closest friend and ally Nial Atkinson, had brought death and destruction to this once
peaceful safe-haven. He didn’t blame Mark though, he blamed his old enemy and shed
a silent tear that someone he used to call ‘’brother’’, had still not learned from the
mistakes of the past. Lundon still believed that anything or anyone he couldn’t control
or understand had to be shot at, blown up, pursued across the world, and killed. It just
didn’t bear thinking about.
Mark was breathing heavily and struggled to see through the plumes of smoke which
almost engulfed him as he staggered to his feet, after dispatching the last of the dying
men, with his Kadet knife. He was giving no mercy if someone tried to kill him or El
Toro, especially as these soldiers, brave though they were and had put up an
extraordinary fight, had been sent to kill and followed orders blindly, without thinking
about the consequences of what they did, nor who or what the ‘enemy’ were and
asking themselves if perhaps THEY were the bad guys. Mark felt like a bad guy as he
stumbled over falling weapons, pools of blood and spent shell casings towards where
he could make out the outline of El Toro. Once he reached him, he put a friendly and
supportive hand on El Toro’s shoulder and the two men gazed around them in silence
at the scene of utter devastation.
The smoke grenades were dying down as Mark left El Toro to wander the bodies to
see if anyone else was still alive, and to collect any ammunition, weapons, radio’s and
anything else which could prove useful. These men had families and their loved ones
deserved to know where they were. Mark was considering how best to pile the bodies
up and how they would explain all this if the authorities came calling.
It was all too much for Mark to bear and he collapsed to his knees, head in his hands,
trying to make sense of it all; all this needless killing and suffering, for what? For the
good of mankind, to make Lundon feel better or to amuse those who pulled the strings,
knowing they had conditioned these men, and probably thousands of others like them,
government with the weight of worldly decisions on their shoulders, they were a group
of power mad playground bullies, driven mad by the lust for control, dominance and
perceived superiority over anyone who would serve them.
Mad wasn’t mad anymore, or angry, or vengeful, he was sorry. Sorry for Lundon,
sorry for Marie and the children, sorry for El Toro, dragging a war to his doorstep which
had nothing to do with him, and above all, sorry for himself for believing he had no
option other than to follow this path until he found Marie’s killer. He didn’t expect this
feeling to suddenly overwhelm him and he was unprepared for it.
He looked up and El Toro was busy taking dog tags from around the necks of the
dead and putting them in his top pocket. Now THERE was a man who had seen wars.
Wars no one else should see and probably didn’t even know about. Here was a man
who had suffered and seen suffering at its most prominent, and yet he maintained a
steely, cold silence as he stood, knee deep in blood, death and carnage, yet seemed to
still stand tall and let it all wash over him. How he managed it, Mark thought to himself,
he didn’t know, as he searched around for dog tags and useful items. The smell of the
smoke grenades caught the back of Marks throat and he coughed, reaching for his
cigarettes in his pocket and lighting one up. El Toro whistled him and Mark looked up,
just in time to catch El Toro’s hip flask. Mark gratefully drank heavily from it, hoping it
would numb him enough from the surrounding sights. It didn’t, but it quickly made him
feel less ‘there’ and slightly more spaced out.
Mark heard a noise a few feet in front of him. A cough mixed with a splutter and
froze, looked around him to see where it was coming from. He saw movement and
slowly moved over to where the noise had come from. As he crawled across the bullet
ridden concrete, he realised what it was, and suddenly hardened again, he slowly drew
his weapon and released the safety catch with a ‘click’. He found the soldier, wounded
but alive, trying to get up and the soldier froze when he saw the barrel of Mark’s
suppressed pistol, right in his face, almost touching his nose. The soldier looked up and
saw Mark’s dirty, tear soaked face with his bloodshot eyes from the smoke grenade and
prepared himself for his imminent death.
him, but his co-ordination seemed fine, it was just that everything else seemed to
vanish into a while haze and all Mark could see, was the soldier, staring at him in fright,
his flak jacket torn and with several visible bullet holes punched into the chest
protector. All Mark could think about was that someone who tried to kill him was still
alive and Mark had to defend himself. Mark tried to stand up on his shaky, weakened
legs, and they trembled as all he could do, was lift himself up to his knees. He leaned
back a little further and closed one eye, taking aim at the soldier who had propped
himself up on the body of someone who had fallen next to him and probably saved his
life by doing so.
The two men’s eyes met and widened. Marks were that of a possessed madman.
The soldier thought that Mark was suffering being ‘trigger happy’. He knew it was a
form of hysteria where someone couldn’t stop firing, even when everyone around them
was dead. If this was the case, this man pointing a gun at him, would likely kill him, so
he propped himself up on his elbow and leant against the body behind him, ready to
face his enemy. He watched as Mark’s finger slowly moved towards the trigger and
glared at Mark for all he was worth.
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