Afghanistan, Iran, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, terrorists, Homeland Security, Espionage, spy satellites, Secret Police, CIA, kidnapping, double-cross, double-agent, U.S. Marines, 82nd Airborne, commando raids, dogfights, data-linked intelligence network, B-52 Stratofortress, conspiracy, Serbian-sniper, nuclear war, TV News, and Manny Luka.
A medium-sized terrorist group, The Protectors of the Koran, attacks a church in Islamabad, Pakistan, and a domino effect of political unrest follows. Eventually, U.S. Marines, Pakistani military units, and portions of the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division have to be called to the scene. Small-scale commando raids are executed throughout the area, and the world watches as a nuclear war looms between India and Pakistan. The entire web of terrorist activity and the battleaxe of military action all stem from the findings of a single data-entry clerk at America’s Office of Homeland Security.
Casualties were mounting. The small arms fire from the north side of the village wounded ten people in Fox Company and four people in Echo Company. The heavy machinegun on the mountain’s cliff wounded four more in Fox Company and five in Echo Company. Worst of all, the WP grenades falling on the bunched up Golf Company killed ten and wounded eighteen. The Serbian sniper killed two people in Echo Company, and wounded three more.
Mosby was standing between the two that were killed. They had each taken a single bullet in the head under their helmets. He glanced at both for a moment, then the familiar bass bark of the three Russian-made DShKM 12.7mm heavy machineguns brought his attention back to the situation at hand. Those guns were designed to take down aircraft or light armored vehicles, and the terrorists were using them at point-blank range against his Marines. A glance toward Fox Company reminded him of their power when he saw a Marine cut in half at the waist by a single bullet.
In the village, the return fire from the Marines was getting intense. The centuries-old cement that held the stones together in the cottages was crumbling. Manny was forced to go down on the floor when the wooden shutters on his windows started coming apart from Marine bullets. Splinters went everywhere, and a choking dust filled the one-room building as the bullets started pounding their way through the gaps between the wall’s stones. Manny knew that he couldn’t hide in the crumbling building for much longer.
On the other side of the combat zone, Major Mosby continued to watch what was happening. 1/3 Of Fox Company was still on his side of the stream. The rest was caught in the open, and taking heavy fire from both the village in front of them and from the woods to their right. Mosby called the Fox Company commander on his helmet-mounted headset, but there was no answer. He was dead, and Mosby guessed it, so he ran along Echo Company’s frontline and down to the Fox Company platoon that still hadn’t crossed the stream.
The platoon’s lieutenant was badly wounded from the sniper on the mountain. Mosby told the men that Echo Company would provide all the covering fire possible, and that they should all follow him. Then he sprinted through the stream and toward the road where the rest of the company was pinned down. Without looking behind him, Mosby kept running along the road. Some of the Sergeants yelled for everyone to follow him, and everyone was on their feet headed into the village.
The surviving members of the sniper platoon stayed in place. Without orders, they split up and took on both heavy machineguns that were chewing up the company. A few well-placed rifle shots into the machineguns’ muzzle flashes, and they were silenced. Only one terrorist in the building at the edge of the village remained in Fox Company’s path. Mosby stopped at the edge of the village and picked off the small group of bad guys who had been firing flares all over. The rest of Fox Company charged into the main study building and the small building at the edge of the village. They lost five more men, and another six were wounded.
On the other side of the village, Golf Company was still getting pasted. An endless rain of grenades, the heavy machinegun, and the sniper on top of the mountain’s cliff were really taking their toll. A few four-man fire teams were eventually able to take out the terrorists that were dropping the grenades on them, and a full platoon had gotten into the closest building in the village. From there, the fighting became house to house.