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I meet up with Beck and Delaney as they exit the chow tent.

“What did you find out?”

“Not much. They know very little about a lot of shit,” Delaney confirms.

I figured as much. Places like this rely heavily on foreign diplomacy to help them out in times of war. Help with weaponry, negotiating peace talks, intel, and oftentimes . . . soldiering. It was a long shot that we would get intel from the men on the ground, but it was worth a try. We need to get these people to safety. I signal to Laci and she heads over.

“When Shy returns from the southern section of the border we’re going to start moving the refugees. We will secure safe passage for these people. Then we can get the hell outta here.”

The team nods. I radio Adonis to have him give his men the order to ready the refugees to move in the next ten minutes. Eyeing Delaney, I pull him aside.

“I want you changed into civilian clothes. You will head out with the refugees as added protection.”

“You got it, boss,” he says, leaving to get ready.

Shy shows up with no news of a threat on the southern side.

“Listen up, everyone. Adonis is gathering refugees to cross the border. Delaney will mingle with the refugees as extra protection for when the attack happens. Each of you will have a sector. Keep an eye on the people within it.”

Everyone nods before breaking off into their patrol. It’s T-minus 2 minutes until go time. I can see Delaney leading the pack of refugees toward the border when I hear shouting coming from a distance. Almost simultaneously a soldier runs toward us, shouting in a native dialect. The refugees start panicking, and screaming. They’re scattering in all directions, like rats on a sinking ship. Some of them hit the dirt, taking cover. It’s complete chaos. Delaney does his best to calm them and corral them in. He helps the people off the ground, urging them to make their way to the border. We hear the shooting before the convoy comes over the hill. Each vehicle is equipped with a Dillon Aero M134D Gatling Minigun. This weaponry is state of the art. The Humvee, as well as the guns attached, are US military grade. The six-barrel black Gatling spins at a rate of two thousand to six thousand rpm. Obliterating everything in its path.

I yell through my comm, “Beck, take out the Gatling’s!”

I hear nothing back as I see the first hostile behind the Gatling of the lead vehicle fall. The vehicle comes to a sudden halt. It’s hard to see the four guys jump out, running for cover through the cloud of dust the tires kick up. The vehicle picks up speed again, trying to catch the other two vehicles. Another man grabs the Gatling. This one is mine. Squaring my shoulders, I have him in my sight. Leading the vehicle, I squeeze the trigger. It’s through and through. A clean head shot. I dive for cover as more bullets rip through the tents and vehicles. Everything is so automatic at this point, my body moves without thought. Ducking, I run for cover behind the next solid thing I see. Another vehicle. Shoot and move. Shoot and move. You stay in any one place for too long you run the risk of being pinned down. I can’t see my team, but I can hear the familiar sound of their M4 rifles.

“Split into two-man units if you can. We need those vehicles out of commission,” I yell over the comm.

My focus remains on taking out the foot soldiers. The Sudanese waste a lot of ammo trying to keep the insurgence away from the refugees. A lot of them do hit their marks, successfully keeping all in their charge safe.

Breathing heavily, I bring my M4 up, scanning the area. A friendly is pinned down behind a broken piece of cement. Looks as though his gun is jammed. There are two bogies behind me. If I move to take out the hostile closing in on the friendly, I’ll expose my location. Will I be quick enough to take him down and the two at my back? Time is of the essence. The Sudanese soldier will die if I don’t act now. Unsheathing my Bayonet, I gage the distance. I can make the throw. Grabbing the blade by the tip, I rear back and launch it. It hits him in his side, effectively slowing his progress toward the friendly. I turn, firing two bursts and take out the two at my back. Now I’m clear to finish the other hostile. Staying low with my M4 hugging my chest, I jog closer to the hostile on the ground. He’s not dead, but his breathing is labored. My knife punctured his lung. Staring down at him as he frantically gulps in air, I see fear in his eyes. He tries to lift his gun hand, but it quickly falls as I pull the blade from his side. I watch him a little longer, engrossed with his suffering. I know suffering. I know pain. His will end soon. Mine will continue.

Shots ring out, grabbing my attention as the dirt to my right rises in a brown puff. Two more come in quick succession. My ears are ringing, but I can hear my name faintly. Turning around, I see Shy raising her gun in my direction. I see the muzzle of her gun light up. he air kicks up as the bullets whiz by me. I turn around again and see two men lying dead one hundred yards from me. Looking over my shoulder, Shy lowers her weapon, staring at me. I nod once. She nods back, only slower. I think she’s gauging my frame of mind. She takes off towards the now--empty Humvee.

I look back down at my prey, still struggling to take in air. As much as I enjoy his suffering, I must end it and get back in the fight. I raise my M4, gently tugging on the trigger releasing a single round into his head. The sector is now clean. I wipe my blood-soaked blade on the clothing of the dead insurgent before placing it back in the scabbard.

I’m surprised at the small number of men the enemy sent. My thought is they didn’t expect the extra help. Two Humvees sit empty, while the third one hauls ass back the way it came. We can’t allow it to get away. Not with the weaponry, and not so they can come back with reinforcements.

Out of my peripheral, I see the tires kick up dirt from one of the Humvees. Turning in the direction of the Humvee, I see Shy behind the wheel.

“Shy, hold up,” I shout through the comm. “I’m heading your way.”

The Humvee slows, but doesn’t come to a complete stop as I jump in. Grabbing the Gatling gun, I aim at the Humvee that’s about a mile ahead of us. The armored vehicle swerves as the bullets light up the back. The guy behind the Gatling in the lead vehicle swivels the gun around in our direction. Shy swerves, trying to miss a direct hit. I lay on the trigger, aiming at the tires. Jackpot. The Humvee swerves so erratically it flips, crushing the Gatling and throwing the hostiles from the vehicle. Shy hits the breaks as the tires skid to a stop and we both jump out, making our way to the men scattered on the ground. I walk up to the closest one, realizing quickly, he is no longer for this world. He lies, bleeding with his neck turned in a way not sustainable for life. He’s motionless with his eyes wide open. I fire one shot into his head to be sure.

Looking to Shy, she’s standing over a man as he moans, trying to escape. I don’t come any closer. This is her kill. I’m very curious to see how she will handle this. The AK-47 he must’ve had strapped to his body lay next to him. She kicks the gun away before looking over her shoulder at me. I slice my head quickly right then left. There are no prisoners on this mission. She looks back at the downed man and fires one shot into his head. I turn, knowing she’s close behind and head towards the Humvee. Jumping in the driver’s side, I wait for Shy to join me. Together we drive to meet our group.

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