Hot Call 4 - Rouge Park
Enroute to Rouge Park - 3 pm
"Winnie, Team One ETA twenty-five minutes. What is Team Five's ETA and were you able to recall any of Team Two or Four? I'll be switching to channel three in a moment to coordinate with Sergeants Winter and Cray. The rest of Team One will remain on channel one" Greg said as he entered the SUV.
"Sergeant Cray says Team Five ETA is fifteen minutes. Was able to recall most of Team Two but only Aaron and Frank of Team Four are available. The rest are out of town due to their rotation for a full week break. ETA for all them is about twenty minutes" Winnie replied.
"Copy that, switching channels now" Greg replied.
As Sam reached the truck and swung open the door to jump in he was surprised to see a large brown bag on the seat. He grabbed it and swiftly got in. On the outside of the bag written in bold black marker was 'Proper Care and Feeding of Samtastic'.
He gave Jules a quizzical look as he thought, 'what the heck is this?' and opened the bag. Inside he found a large sandwich, two energy drinks, half a dozen power bars and three bottles of water. Also two aspirin tablets with a note from Ed that said 'take these now Braddock, that's an order'.
Sam grinned and said "Aw guys, thanks. When did you get this?" He was truly touched by the caring gesture. He was hungry so he quickly took a huge bite of the sandwich. His head and chest did still hurt, not that he would ever admit that to anyone. So complied with Ed's order and downed the aspirin with a swig of the energy drink.
"We had a chance to grab something to eat while you were getting checked over by the medics. We thought you might like something too since you think brushing your teeth is more important than eating breakfast" Jules said glibly.
"Yeah well, priorities. Just sayin" Sam replied as he gave her one of his WOW smiles then took another huge bite of the sandwich.
A few minutes later Jules glanced over and noticed that Sam had managed to inhale the sandwich, two powers bars and down an entire energy drink. "Impressive" she smirked.
"What?" he queried, opening a third power bar and another energy drink.
"How do you eat that fast?" she asked.
"Training." Jules looked at him confused so he continued "In the field, never knew when the next meal would be or how long I had to eat. So it was either go hungry or develop the habit to eat as much as I could as fast as I could when the opportunity presented itself."
"Wow, you've got skill; could probably win an eating contest." She smiled at him but was thinking sadly to herself 'he's had too much practice with that' as he was downing the fourth power bar. He tucked the remaining two into his vest and opened a bottle of water.
They were about ten minutes from the scene when Ed said "Hey Samo, I want you to join the tactical planning session. I think your special ops experience and your tactical assessment skills will be valuable in developing a plan in this environment."
"Copy that" Sam responded a little shocked but pleased that Ed had asked him. Things had gotten better between them in the past few months but to have Ed acknowledgment of his abilities like this felt really good.
Damn, today was turning out to be a major study in contradictions Sam thought. The wide emotional swings from the highs this morning with the sense of profound happiness, belonging to a family, and making a difference to the gut wrenching lows that came with memories of Matt, his time as a POW, his sister Sara and taking lives was screwing more than a little bit with his head.
He needed to put all that in a box and deal with it later because right now he had a job to do. A gang war in acres and acres of woodlands, over a dozen active shooters; this was going to be exhausting. So he closed his eyes, leaned his head back against the seat and concentrated on breathing slowly, mentally preparing himself.
Rouge Park - On Scene - Command Post - 3:25 pm
Team One was the last to arrive on scene. Greg, Ed and Sam headed directly to the where the other sergeants and team leads were converged defining the tactical plan. The remainder of the team geared up then quietly walked over to where the other SRU officers had assembled.
They were broken into small clusters engaged in various conversations. Wordy, Jules, Spike and Lou stopped just behind and slightly away from a group of three younger officers. Still lost in their own quiet contemplation mentally clearing the slate and gearing up, they were slow to register the conversation taking pace until they heard Sam's name.
"What the hell is Braddock doing with the TLs, he's the newest rookie to SRU and has no business being there" Aaron said harshly.
"No idea, maybe the cocky ex special ops guy thinks he knows more than our experienced TLs" joked Brett.
"Haven't met him yet but heard Lane is always pissed off at him for not following orders and taking risks. Maybe Lane's just keeping him on a short leash" said Frank.
"Could be. A buddy of mine over in Afghanistan said he heard that Braddock was just a pretty boy all show and no go. That daddy pulled strings to get him into JTF2 in the first place. He said that no unit wanted him. Braddock was constantly getting transferred to new units" Aaron gossiped.
"To get into JTF2 you have to be pretty damned good. Who's his dad and how could he influence that?" Frank asked.
"His dad is General Braddock, aka General Badass. JTF2 is under his command. My buddy also said Braddock was kicked out of JTF2 under a cloud. All hush, hush and covered up but something about him fucking up big time and killing one of the guys in his unit. Shot him in the back. Bet daddy was pretty disappointed to have such as screw up for a son" Aaron said disparagingly.
"Damn, can't be true. They wouldn't let him join SRU if it were. Right?" Brett asked.
"I think his daddy arranged it with Commander Holleran so the General could save face and say his son left JTF2 to join the elite police team. Don't know how Team One stomachs it. Having someone like that forced on them. They had no say in it, just had to accept him. I wouldn't trust him" Aaron sneered.
The team was pissed to overhear Sam being bad mouthed in this way. It wasn't lost on them that they were hearing things that they had once thought or said. But Sam was now one of their own. A proven and valued member of their family and it angered them.
They had to remind themselves they were all professionals and that now was neither the time nor the place to get into a pissing match to set them straight. They had a job to do. They all needed to work together. That didn't make it easy to hear and they would definitely set it right at the proper time.
Wordy decided the best way to stop it for now was to make their presence known. So he cleared his throat loudly. The group turned slightly and saw a group of SRU officers staring at them with varying degrees of hostility and disgust displayed on their faces. Brett and Frank looked embarrassed to be caught disparaging a fellow officer in this manner but Aaron had the gall to smirk back at that them.
At that moment Greg addressed all the officers "Alright listen up everyone. We have two rival gangs in play here, it is a turf war. The Crimson Eagles headed by Pedro Basto controls over a third of the drug and arms traffic in the GTA. The Jackals, are a fairly new Russian gang, headed by Radoslav Yegorovich. They have been moving into Crimson Eagles territory and undercutting them. Radoslav is in custody and said that his gang was lured here and ambushed by the Crimson Eagles. Basto was sighted on scene earlier. Guns and Gangs would really like to take him in alive if possible."
Sergeant Bailey of Guns and Gangs interjected "Be warned Basto is one nasty dude and will not hesitate to kill. He was a middle weight boxer before he rose in the gang's ranks and he is an expert marksman. He staged a coup killing the top ten leaders of the gang and took over the Crimson Eagles about three years ago. He personally killed four of them but was able to get off due to technicalities."
Greg continued "You are to use extreme caution, the gang members are armed with a variety of assault weapons. Goal is to apprehend but given the risk presented, you are authorized to use lethal force if necessary. Don't take any chances. This will be no walk in the park. Ed what's the plan?"
Ed took over "Based on what we know we are looking for fifteen subjects. Three are from the Jackals and the rest from the Crimson Eagles. Sergeants Parker and Winter will coordinate from the command post and communicate between the teams using channel one. We will break into six teams of four and each cover a designated section. Each team has been assigned a channel for team communication. Your Team Leads will give you further instructions. Aaron and Frank, since the rest of Team Four is not here, you will join with Team One today."
The teams separated to review plans for their sections with their Team Leads.
Team One along with Aaron and Frank huddled up. Ed outlined the plan for Team One "Wordy, Lou and Spike you are with me, Alpha team, section five, channel five. Sam is Bravo team lead with Jules, Aaron and Frank, section six, channel six."
When Ed was done Wordy, Lou and Spike all exchanged a quick look with Jules that said 'watch his back'. They didn't see the look that crossed Aaron's face. If they had they would have spoken up then and there.
Rouge Park - Section Six - 6:30 pm
Team One Bravo team had been proficiently clearing their assigned section for the past three hours looking for any sign of the subjects with no luck. It was taking a long time given the rugged terrain in their section. They'd be losing light in a while, that would be bad, tracking at night was near impossible and the subjects might be able to slip away.
"Jules, switching to channel one for status check in. Back in a second. Hold up and take a quick break" Sam notified his team.
"Copy that" Jules responded. "Hey Frank, hold up while Sam's checking in" stopping herself to grab a quick drink of water and a bite of a power bar. This terrain was quite a workout, up and down constantly and she'd needed a little energy boost.
Jules smiled thinking how Sam had insisted she take one of the two power bars he'd shoved in his vest when she found she was out. Said he owed her two from earlier. He'd given the second one to Frank when he was looking rung out. Frank tried to say no but Sam insisted with a lopsided grin saying he didn't want to explain to the boss if allowed Frank to drop from hunger.
Motioning to Aaron to stop Sam switched to channel one "Boss, Team One Bravo checking in. Quadrants one, two and three have been cleared; moving into quadrant four now. What's status on number of subjects located?"
"Copy that. Total located eleven. Basto is still at large. Leaving four still out there if intel was correct" Greg responded.
"Copy that. Switching back to channel six" Sam said. He pulled out his water bottle and took a quick drink.
"Team let's move out, four subjects still to find. Basto is still at large. Let's move. Aaron take point again" Sam commanded.
"Why should I?" Aaron sneered.
Sam nearly rolled his eyes and wanted to snap at the man but said calmly "I'm lead and that's my order. Got a problem with it take it up with Ed when we get back. Until then zip it. We have a job to do."
Jules was pissed that Aaron kept up his bad attitude towards Sam, questioning him at every turn. It grated on her nerves. She was beginning to wonder how the guy had passed the psych portion of the qualification.
She also didn't like his sophomoric comments when he asked her to take point but kept her mouth shut. She was glad when Sam switched up partners. She was not sure why he did but the phrase 'keep your enemies closer' popped into her head. Jules was ready to deck Aaron.
Frank was regretting the earlier conversation with Brett and Aaron. Sam was nothing like what Aaron had described. He was damned good at tracking and tactics from what he could see.
He also knew Jules reputation, she did not suffer fools and if she respected someone it meant they were damned good. Her interactions with Sam indicated that she truly respected his abilities. He was also tired of hearing Aaron's shit. Couldn't he see he'd been wrong?
Frank knew Aaron was hard headed but until now he didn't think he was stupid and blind. Sometimes Aaron had a lot of trouble letting go of a preconception. Frank needed to have a conversation with the Team Four sergeant. He was ready to deck Aaron.
Aaron was pissed. He didn't think he could put up with this cocky SOB much longer. It wasn't too bad when he had been paired with Jules. At least she was hot looking especially her ass. He asked her to take point because he was better at covering the rear; she was stupid and didn't even bite at the innuendo.
In his opinion, they were moving too slow. If he were in charge they would have finished clearing this section an hour ago and be back at the command post resting instead of trekking through the woods. He wanted to deck Sam.
Sam's patience with Aaron was surely being tested. He could put up with his arrogance and bad attitude. He was used to it from the military experience. But he drew the line at actions that put the team at risk.
The first action that crossed that line was when he'd noticed that Aaron leering at her ass when Jules was on point instead doing his job covering her back and scanning for threats. It was absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable behavior. Sam would not put Jules at risk like that. So he'd switched up teams.
Aaron's constant refusal to follow routine tactical procedures was worrisome too. So Sam had decided to put him on point, ahead of him so he could keep an eye on him. Whatever the issue he had it needed to be dealt with. Sam wanted to deck Aaron but decided the best course was to talk to Ed about it after the call was completed.
Bravo team was just cresting another ravine when Jules called "Sam, I think I see movement in the small clearing ahead."
They stopped as she and Sam surveyed the clearing. Three subjects were sitting on large rocks in the clearing.
"Team hold, take cover. Jules send the coordinates the Boss." Sam whispered and switched channel one "Boss, Team One Bravo. We have a visual on three subjects in a small clearing. Jules sending coordinates. Confirmed one subject is Basto."
"Copy that. Switching to channel six with you Sam" Greg replied and both switched to channel six.
"Jules, you and Frank go around left. Jules find a Sierra location. Frank provide cover. Aaron and I will approach from the right" Sam commanded.
Jules quickly found a suitable location and asked "Sam, which subject is my target."
Unseen to Bravo team, Damir and Miro members of the Jackals gang were crouched behind a grouping of small trees and had been closing in to kill Basto when they saw the cops. Two cops had moved into a position a few yards in front of them while two others were still circling around the other side of the clearing. Damir and Miro hated cops with a passion; more so than Basto. They decided to kill the cops first, then deal with Basto.
Sam stopped to scan the clearing and the three subjects to answer Jules question. He was about to answer when he saw a flash of light reflected off metal behind Jules and Frank. He instantly found the subject gun aimed at Frank's head.
He urgently said "Down now. Shooter behind you" as he took aim and fired a fraction of a second later. Sam saw Jules and Frank drop to the ground and did not hear any additional shots but urgently called "Status?"
"No harm" came from Jules and Frank.
"Subject neutralized" added Jules as she quickly turned and checked Damir. No one saw Miro quickly slip away.
Basto and his two guards were alerted by the shot. Two took off running while the third sat with a scared look on his face frantically looking all around. Sam ran in pursuit. Aaron raised his gun, shot and wounded one of the guys running away then ran after Sam. Frank and Jules converged on the men in the clearing.
Still unseen by anyone, Miro took off in the same direction as Basto and the cop pursuing him. He'd kill them both.
"In pursuit of Basto. Jules situation in clearing?" Sam called.
"Frank has one subject contained, one subject requires EMS, applying pressure to wound to lower back. Aaron on your six" Jules communicated.
"Copy that. Hey Jules, Basto must be part rabbit, damn he can move fast" Sam said with a laugh. "Boss, Basto, his two guards and the unknown shooter makes four subjects which brings the total to fifteen. That's all of them according to the intel right?" Sam queried.
"According to the intel. Yes" Greg replied.
"Good, let me just get Basto then Spike can guide me out of here. Taken so many twist and turns not sure where I'm at anymore" Sam joked.
"Samtastic you couldn't get lost even if you tried. But I got your back. Transponder emitting signal" Spike said.
"Go careful Sam. Remember Basto is dangerous" Ed chimed in.
"Got it Ed. Napping in the forest is off limits too" Sam quipped.
"Sam, I'm serious. Got it! Go careful, no unacceptable risks. That's an order" Ed sternly said.
"Yes sir, copy that" Sam replied only slightly winded.
Aaron was falling further behind. He just could not keep the same pace. It pissed him off that he was breathing hard and that cocky SOB was talking and joking all the while he ran flat out. Within five minutes he'd completely lost visual of Sam and Basto. "Lost visual of Sam and subject but following their trail" he panted out heavily. He stopped to catch his breath for a minute or two then started to slowly jog again.
Sam smiled as Basto started to slow down unable to maintain the pace he'd set. He was ready to end this and get the guy into custody. They were starting to lose the light. Sam called out loudly and firmly so Basto could hear "Police, SRU stop, stop now."
Basto was in top shape and usually left everyone in the dust when running. He was breathing heavily now. As he continued to run he thought, damn, I get a fucking robo-cop on my tail, he's not even winded after running flat out for fifteen minutes. I'm not gonna fucking out run this guy. He suddenly stopped, turned, raised his gun and fired at Sam.
Sam reacted with instinct, ducked his head as he launched himself in the air for a flying tackle. The bullet hit Sam in the arm. Sam hit Basto squarely in the chest.
Hearing the gunshot Jules called out "Sam status."
The force of the tackle sent them over the edge of a short but steep ravine. Bodies slammed into branches and rocks all the way down. Sam and Basto were sprawled on their backs at the bottom of the ravine both trying to get their breath. There was a deep, bleeding gash over Sam's right eye.
Basto recovered first. Straddling Sam's legs Basto slammed a fist into Sam stomach. Sam gasped for air. Basto rained punches on Sam's ribs. He slammed Sam's head hard to the ground twice.
"God damned cop" Basto huffed out.
Sam lay dazed unable to answer the frantic calls for status coming from his still attached headset.
"You're dead cop" Basto sneered as he climbed a short way up the ravine to retrieve his gun he had lost on the tumble down.
Sam's head was clearing as he regained his breath.
He rolled over and dragged himself to his knees sitting on his heels.
Sam swiped away the blood obstructing and blurring his vision as he drew his sidearm from the holster.
Basto grabbed his gun from the ground and was turning to aim at Sam.
Sam was raising his gun towards Basto preparing to fire as blood dripped into his eyes again.
Aaron appeared at the top of the ravine and yelled "SRU drop your weapon" as he pointed it at Basto.
Miro appeared just to the right of Aaron gun aimed at his head and yelled "You're dead cop."
Basto looked at Miro surprised.
Sam wiped the blood out of his eyes.
Basto and Sam fired.
"Officers down, need assistance" Sam said and dropped.