Brian Vance tried to forget how uneasy he truly was going back into the base. He sat behind the wheel of a British Army truck the rebels had stolen earlier. Vance drove up to the gate of the base. Jake, Father Tuck, Jeff and Ben Hinton, Robert Hunt, Marty Smith and Kevin Sorenson were in the back under cover grasping a variety of automatic firearms.
Pete Huggins had just reached the halfway point of a detective novel he picked up a week earlier. As the truck drove up to his window, Huggins was shocked to see who was driving it.
“Brian? Where the hell have you been mate?! Wynne is going to have your hide.”
“Don’t worry. I checked in with Lieutenant Brown several hours ago. He assigned me to deliver some supplies to the bridge crews,” Vance explained.
“That’s a relief. We all figured you went AWOL. Anyway, pass through. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
Vance drove into the expansive compound. Other than two fellow paras who were patrolling the parking lot and tarmac on foot, it was devoid of human life. Vance drove around the terminal into a parking lot. He got out of the truck and opened up the back flap. Benjamin Hinton, his hair cut short and face shaven, wore British Army fatigues. He was disguised as a para.
“Follow me guys,” Vance said.
The group went inside of the terminal. Right in front of them was an elevator.
Vance turned to Jake and Kevin.
“They’re going to shit when they see what we’ve brought in,” Vance said with a smile.
“It’s the last thing any of them will ever do before we send them off to the afterlife,” Jake replied.
Jake and Kevin held their hands out in front of them. Benjamin placed handcuffs around the wrists of both men.
The insurgents went into the elevator. It took a minute to reach the fourth floor of the former airport terminal. Vance and Ben were brandishing L85A5 assault rifles with silencers on the ends of them. The elevator door opened with a pinging sound. They slowly stepped out into a corridor. The entire building was eerily quiet.
“Father Tuck,” Vance stated. “I’m going to get you, Marty, Jeff and Robert just to lay low in that office for the time being. We’ll come back and get you once we get this out of the way.”
The four men walked to an office located along the corridor. Vance and Benjamin escorted their ‘prisoners’ down the corridor until they reached the communications room. Vance knocked on the door. A British Army corporal named Hodges, whom Vance barely knew, opened it. Five other operators-three of them NAP troopers-and two from the British Army-sat at their workstations.
“You’re not authorized to be in here,” Hodges said sternly to Vance and Ben Hinton. “Where did these prisoners come from?”
“We caught them not too far from here,” Vance explained. “Buggers were armed too. We couldn’t take them to the detention centre.”
One of the NAP operators, a young woman in her mid-twenties, was shocked when she recognized Jake Scribner.
“Hey, that one looks like…”
“That’s because it is,” Jake replied with a devious smile.
As the operators reached for their side arms, Vance and Ben unleashed a torrent of lead into them. In less than a minute, all of them lay dead amongst high-tech computer systems that were flaming and smoking from having been shot up. Ben quickly removed the handcuffs from Jake and Kevin. The amped-up rebels retreated into the corridor. Jake knocked on the office door. Hunt answered it.
“Now onto phase two,” Jake said.
Mullen, Wynne and Karlsen sat around the officers’ lounge located on the fourth floor. Wynne listened as though he had heard something. He sniffed at the air.
“Smoke.” He got up from his chair. “My God, there’s a fire!”
At that moment, Vance, Kevin, Jake, Ben and Jeff, Hunt and Smith burst inside the lounge. The military officers reached for the 9mm handguns on their belt holsters but were quickly thwarted by the better-armed rebels.
Mullen was beside himself.
“Vance, what’s the meaning of this?”
Vance pointed his rifle at the colonel’s face.
“Colonel Mullen, you are about to pay for the crimes you’ve committed against humanity. There’s a reason I didn’t shoot at those people you ordered slaughtered.”
“You son-of-a-bitch!” Mullen lashed back. “You took an oath to Her Majesty the Queen. To your country. You’re going to face the death penalty for high treason.”
The smoke from the shot-up communications centre was seeping into the corridor as well as through the roof of the building. Pete Huggins had left his post for a minute to stretch his legs. He spotted the smoke. Huggins quickly went back into the guardhouse and pressed the button signifying a red alert. Within seconds, a piercingly loud buzzer went off.
Inside the officers’ lounge, the rebels and their captives listened at the loud, incessant buzzing sound.
“Appears the only way you’ll be leaving here is in a cadaver bag,” Wynne said evilly.
Jake looked around at his compatriots.
“I say we waste every one of them right now.”
“I second the motion,” Jeff Hinton said.
Mullen, Wynne, Brown and Karlsen looked on in paralyzing fear as the rebels aimed their rifles at them.
“Come on, Brian!” Mullen was breathing hard, begging for his life. “I promise, you will not be punished.”
“Colonel, I know better than to believe such a lie from you. If you have any last words, say them now. That goes for all of you.”
Twelve base personnel, a mixture of British and NAP members, raced up a flight of stairs to the fourth floor of the terminal. Pete Huggins was in the lead. All of a sudden, they heard the sound of screams followed by gunshots. Huggins’ heart raced wildly. He sensed something very bad was happening.
The group moved quickly down the corridor. Without warning, Jake, Robert Hunt and Vance appeared from the officers’ lounge. They opened fire on the base personnel. Two British soldiers and an NAP trooper fell dead onto the concrete floor. A fierce firefight ensued as both sides ducked in and out of doorways all along the corridor exchanging gunfire.
Ben Hinton had difficulty concentrating amongst the rush of violence which the youth was unfamiliar with. All of a sudden a bullet struck his upper arm. He fell back into the officers’ lounge. Jeff rushed to help his son.
Hunt barely missed getting hit in the chest. He ducked into a room and swung back out, shooting Huggins directly between the eyes. Vance felt terrible for seeing his close friend dead but this was not the time for sadness. As the battle continued, Kevin Sorenson appeared from behind a door. The bear of a man handled an L7A2 machinegun as if it were a toy. He unleashed a merciless torrent of 7.62x51mm cartridges into the remaining enemy soldiers and police, mowing each of them down.
Jeff Hinton rifled through the lounge, eventually finding a first aid kit. He began wrapping dressing around Ben’s wound. Although bloody, the bullet had passed through.
“Oh God, it hurts!” Ben yelped in pain.
“I know it does, son. We’re getting it taken care of.”
While Hinton and Tuck tended to Ben, the others walked down the corridor. Kevin kept the machinegun pointed as he moved forward. At the end of the corridor was a middle-aged man with a moustache. He wore the flight suit of an NAP pilot. The man, who didn’t appear to be hit, was traumatized and barely able to move.
“Please. Don’t kill me.” The pilot pleaded in a thick Missouri accent. “I have a wife and three kids back in Joplin.”
“You should have thought about that before coming up here,” Jake said.
“We better waste him,” Vance said.
“Wait a minute!” Smith intervened. “He could prove useful to us. This man is a helicopter pilot.”
Jake turned to him.
“We already have one pilot on this crew. Yourself.”
“I’ve been thinking about something. Each of the bridges around the city is heavily guarded by paras. We’re going to have to take them all out,” Smith said.
“So what’s your plan, Marty?” Hunt asked.
“I’ve flown different aircraft in my lifetime. Figure I can fly one of those Apaches sitting out there on the tarmac.”
“I don’t think that’s a very wise idea,” Jake said. “You’ve never flown one of them before.”
“I know a lot about those types of helicopters,” Smith explained. “If I can learn on the fly, on pun intended, you can use him to pilot one of the Bells and bring all of you into the city.” Smith turned to the pilot on the floor. “What’s your name?”
Jake and Kevin grabbed Hochner and brought him to his feet.
“Alright Bill, you’re going to be flying my colleagues and I into the city,” Jake stated. “And if you try anything funny, it will not bode well for you. Do you understand?”
Hochner nodded. Jake looked over at Smith.
“I really hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Relax, would you? It will be like learning how to ride a bike.”