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By SunriseMaiden

Action / Drama


The Humvee in front of them never had a chance. The convoy was under attack, completely caught by surprise, and the fight to survive long enough for reinforcements to arrive would be a desperate one. She frantically shouted to Pratt before clicking the safety off of her gun and jumping out of the armored vehicle. Ramirez had barely set foot on the ground before the bullets slammed into her, causing her body to collapse in a heap and leave her gasping for breath. It was all she could do to roll onto her right side, away from the wounds, as she struggled to remain calm and reassess the situation.

Another blast hit nearby, possibly hitting the Humvee. She hoped Pratt, who had been sitting next to her seconds before, had secured his side of the vehicle. The passenger door to her left swung open and Jimmy leapt out, shouting an order through the shut door to the civilian inside, telling him to remain where he was. He turned and instantly a hail of gunfire tore threw Jimmy's body and into the metal plating behind him. Ramirez stared in horror, a part of her not wanting to accept what she had just witnessed. Though she felt able to stand, she didn't dare risk raising herself more than two feet from the ground; the attackers had this area extremely well-covered. Ramirez decided to crawl under the Humvee to the other side; hopefully there would be less gunfire over there. Her left arm, shoulder, and upper chest were bleeding badly – there was probably a slug or some shrapnel in it – but there was little she could do but secure her arm to her chest using some of the straps on her uniform as she lay on the ground. This was when the right passenger door opened and the well-dressed feet of the remaining occupant of the vehicle became visible. He had gotten out and started running. Pratt's boots were no where to be seen from her limited viewpoint, but if anything had happened to him, that man was now her direct responsibility.

Finally all that training on crawling is coming in handy, she thought to herself as she maneuvered her body under the Humvee and out the other side. Pratt's body lay near the front tire – he hadn't gotten far either, before he'd been hit. Protecting the civilian was her main goal. Focused on that, Ramirez hauled herself up on one knee, into a low squat, to scan the area. At that moment, a rocket embedded itself in the ground some thirty feet ahead of her and exploded. She was thrown back against the Humvee from the shockwave, but at the same time came to a sickening realization that the man had been less than ten feet away from it, and it was his body that she had just seen violently propelled backward. The smoke from the explosion provided some much needed cover as she jumped up and ran to where she had seen him. She couldn't even feel the pain in her arm or side from the new surge of adrenaline she had just received.

From the way he was lying on the ground, Ramirez expected the worst. He's dead, she thought, no, wait… he moved his arms and legs slightly. She got down on one knee beside him and grabbed his left wrist for his pulse. There was a large red stain in the middle of his chest, probably shrapnel from the rocket; he had been too close to have avoided serious injury.

"Sir! Mr. Stark! Can you hear me?" Ramirez yelled to make sure he heard her above the artillery noise.

The man moved his mouth to say something and his eyes fluttered briefly. He didn't have long; in fact, it may already be too late. She looked around desperately, but couldn't see where the attackers were hiding. If she got up to run now, she'd be picked off for sure. The rest of the convoy seemed so far off. Right now each soldier was probably fighting for his life against the vicious ambush.

"Stay with me sir, I'm calling reinforcements. Don't move."

Ramirez yanked her short-hand radio off its clip on her belt and thumbed the dial. There was either too much static or yelling on the other end so that no one was receiving her message clearly. Suddenly a cloud of dust engulfed the two figures and they were surrounded by about five or six heavily armed men speaking in a language that she couldn't name. They pointed their weapons both at her and Stark. She wasn't about to back down, but she couldn't risk them killing the other man. The moment she let the barrel of her gun point downward, she was struck sharply across the back of her neck at least a couple of times by someone who had snuck up behind her. She was unconscious by the time she hit the ground.

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