Before you begin reading I would like to point out that, yes, I already know I have a load of errors when I started writing about the technicalities of the Air Force and the fine tunings with Ray 'The Beast' Hodges. I am in the process of deleting what's totally wrong and fixing can be fixed... in the mean time, please allow some leeway for the mistakes while in the process of editing.
“To the man who lives his job as his life and has been doing so for the last ten years, I salute you Ray!”
Tom Shaw, my best friend here at the Air Force base, raised his beer to toast me. Everyone else who was off duty raised their glasses and beers as they saluted my decade of service and I chuckled copying them and nodding my head in thanks before we all drank in unison. I thanked the many men and women who came up to me to congratulate me and smile gratefully when I was offered another beer.
“When the hell are you gonna find yourself a woman and give me god babies!?” Tom slurred. He had been drinking straight whiskey for the last two hours and only moved onto beer to help ‘sober up’ before he ended up dancing the hula like the last time he was off his face. I burst out in laughter and eyed him skeptically with one eyebrow raised.
“Who said I’d ever make you god father to any of my nonexistent kids?” I laughed slapping his back and watching him stumbled slightly under the force of my hand. I gulped another mouthful of beer and felt refreshed as the ice cold beverage slid down my throat. Even at midnight the humidity was enough to smother me and we were in air conditioning! I felt slightly bad for the newbie officers on duty but brushed it off... I’d been on duty for sixteen hours in the deadly heat and humidity during the day, this was nothing compared to that.
“As if you wouldn’t make me god daddy!!! I’d shoot any bastard who tried to date your daughter and teach your son all my very best moves!” Tom shouted with a grin on his face as his bloodshot eyes were stretched wide in absolute seriousness. Tom had always had a way of switching from drunkard to serious businessman, it seemed like he considered becoming godfather serious business.
“We’ll see... I plan on serving in the Air Force for a long time bro, I don’t really see kids in my near future. I’d most likely die before I find myself a woman understanding enough to be with me.” I finished off my beer and realised that Tom was already gone to try his luck with one of the nurses.
I chuckled and shook my head at his short attention span and continued to enjoy my party. I grabbed another beer and walked over to the window that overlooked the ocean. I sighed in happiness that I was living my dream of following in my granddad’s footsteps of being in the Air Force. I’d never actually met the man... but my mother always told me stories of how respected, determined, strong and dedicated he was.
She spoke of her father so mesmerizingly that I couldn’t help, from the age of five, to want to join the Air Force as well. I finished my senior year of high school and immediately joined the Air Force when I turned eighteen. In no time at all I was a respected ground defence officer and never took crap from anyone. I wanted to end up being ‘that guy’ who was spoken about like my granddad was spoken about by my mother.
I shook my head in disappointment when I saw one of the younger officers on duty nodding off to sleep and knew that tomorrow every single one of the young officers I was training would hear about it. I believed that ‘we were only as strong as our weakest link’ and if something was to happen to the whole base because of one person... well, the newbies would soon be chanting that phrase in their sleep by the time I was through with them. I looked at the reflection in the window and saw Tom behind me with his lips locked on the nurse’s and I checked my watch.
Half past midnight.
Well, he definitely works fast. My eyes caught my reflection and I took in all of my six foot five height and my build that made me seemingly twice the width of the average man. Due to how tall and wide I was, coupled with my stern expression that I usually wore on duty, I was usually referred to as ‘The Beast’, which soon caught on and became a nick name of sorts around here.
My physical stature helped a lot when it came to my job and I loved every minute of the ten years I worked in the Air Force. My job required a very high fitness standard and my fitness level was at the top of the charts so I applauded as being perfect for the job.
“Congratulations, Lieutenant Hodges.” The General slapped my back with a wide grin. “Soon enough you’ll be taking my place. Speaking of which... your promotion is coming up quickly. Congrats in advance.”
I smiled and felt pride well up inside me. I’d spent so long working my ass off as First Lieutenant and I was finally getting the promotion I wanted. “Thank you, General,” I nodded and saluted him respectfully as he turned to chat with the Lieutenant General.
I was moving forward and getting to places that I always dreamt of going!
Suddenly I felt the ground beneath me shake and in the corner of my eye through the window I saw dozens of men in black gear raid the base taking out the newbie that had nodded off to sleep with ease and without care. “We’re under attack!” I boomed and immediately ran forward needing to defend my base and my trainees. All drinks were tossed aside as everyone sank into defense mode.
I only had my two Beretta M9s strapped to me so my first priority, after killing any threat to the base, was to reach the armoury and load up. “Beast! I’ve got your back!” I heard Tom shout from behind me, his slurred speech was gone but his balance was still off centre.
I spared a glance to see my best friend with his standard gun out and I nodded to him. I saw officers scrambling to keep the nurses hidden and safe as my team rushed to my side.
“Men!” I shouted to my team of both men, “I’ll make this quick! Put down any threat to the bastards who thought they could come into our base and kill us off! Those with little or no weapons follow me to the armoury! Do not get killed!” A quick nod from them all and I turned towards the entrance and ran outside knowing my team had my back covered. I trusted my life in their hands as they trusted me with theirs.
As soon as I was out from the door, shouts and cries filled the air, second loudest only to the bangs and booms of the guns that were being shot from every direction. I had my eyes trained and focused on any man who wasn’t in uniform and my arm was stretched in front of me ready to shoot with the intent to kill. A shrill cry came from my right and I ducked my head a little as I searched in the dark for the person it came from.
A female officer was beaten to the ground as a man in black hovered over her with a gun and smashed the handle against her temple before holding it directly at her face. Without any hesitation I squeezed the trigger of my gun and watched as the man’s head cocked to the side roughly before he slumped lifelessly to the ground.
I couldn’t spare another glance at the woman as I moved forward, slightly crouched, and looking out for more threats. I had no idea where these men came from or what they wanted. I didn’t recognise their clothing and couldn’t see any of their faces so I wasn’t able to see what they looked like either. The humidity was so thick in the air it was like trying to breathe through a pillow and sweat clung to every part of my skin.
I could feel the sweat trickling down from my forehead andthe back of my neck but I kept my mind focused at the task ahead of me. As I led another five men and two women behind me I shot off another few rounds, instantly killing the ten men hidden behind the line of jets. I tossed away my empty gun and took out my last one, hoping that I’d have enough shots left before reaching the armoury.
Explosions were being let off and I could feel the heat from the explosion from where I stood. “Watch for grenades men!” I shouted, hoping none would go off near us.
My hopes were squashed almost immediately when a grenade was thrown into the air towards us from far away. I spotted the man who had thrown it and the many grenades strapped around his torso. I lifted my gun and shot him three times surrounding his heart and watched him collapse in a bloody heap. “Watch out!” someone called as the grenade began to fall down towards our group.
“Grenade!” I called out to them and jumped aside covering my face as I did so.
The explosion that followed soon after was so loud my eardrums wouldn’t stop ringing. I hissed in pain when some metal shrapnel was thrown into my side and arm. I pulled out the large piece of metal that was hanging out from my flesh and threw it away to the side as the pain throbbed painfully. I couldn’t hear a thing and my eyes blurred a little before focusing again. Above me Tom held out a hand to help pull me up. He was mouthing something, but I couldn’t hear anything. The high pitched ringing in my ears made it too difficult to concentrate on anything. I pointed to my ear and shook my head signalling that my hearing was out.
He understood and pointed at the armoury... which was now on fire. Despite my hearing loss I shouted for every man possible to save whatever weapon they could. I followed after my team shooting round after round into the chest or head of the enemy.
I was about ten paces away from the armoury when a scorching pain I’d never felt before sliced through my thigh. I faltered just as another pain shot an inch down from the first pain. I stumbled and fell heavily to the ground as I realised I had been shot twice through the muscle in my thigh. My vision blurred a little at the pain and the tears that collected in my eyes didn’t help either as I shot out rounds to make sure I wasn’t going to be jumped by anyone.
The dead clicking told me I’d run out of bullets and I threw the gun away and grasped at my leg wincing and shouting in pain as my blood seeped through my pants and drenched the ground beneath me. My hearing began to come back slightly and I could hear Tom’s familiar voice in the distance shouting my name.
“Beast!!! Watch out!!!” I heard him shout.
I looked towards my feet and saw a man dressed completely covered in black raise his M16 rifle straight between my eyes. I was looking down the hollow barrel of his rifle, without thinking I quickly kicked upwards with my good leg and the shot rang out as his bullet soared into the black sky. When he was momentarily distracted I kicked at his knee cap and watched in horror as he collapsed onto my shot leg.
We both cried in pain but his were cut short as a stray bullet streamed through his chest splattering me with his blood and he fell backwards forcing a cry out of pain out of me again. The pain was agonizing, it was too much. I could feel the warm stickiness of my blood soaking through my clothes and I knew that unless I was seen by a nurse or doctor right away I’d be dead. My vision grew fuzzy and black spots dotted my eyesight before blackness completely took over.
I could only hope that my team wasn’t going to die as well.