Castle Roland

Changing Connections

by Eric Aune

In Progress

Chapter 8

Posted: N/A

Changing Connections

Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Eric Aune and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Changing Connections LogoOliver landed in a parking and loading dock area near a long narrow building. He kept the building between them and the motor pool to decrease the possibility that the down blast generated by the Dragon would be noticed. It was dark now, but there were a very few scattered lights on some of the streets of the base nearby. With the sound dampening ability of the stealth system, he didn't fear any sound being heard, but any dirt and debris being blown about by blast of the rotors, could give them away. Once they were down, the main cabin lights were turned off and the ramp was lowered. Jamil got into position near the ramp just in case he needed to bring the Minigun into position. The five members of the team jumped out before the ramp was fully lowered, Wyatt was carrying his compound bow and was the last off. The others quickly went to a knee with their weapons up and ready and held their position as they scanned the area. When no threats were seen, Apollo signaled Oliver.

"We're clear, no hostiles seen."

As the rotors spun back up, George and Wyatt realized that they couldn't hear anything, just the force of the manmade wind told them that a huge helicopter was nearby. They both looked back and were astonished to see….nothing. One of the girls looked back at them.

"Eve told us something about their stealth system. As you can see, it's very good."

"Good, I've never seen anything like it."

"We're clear. No hostiles seen. Let's move out. I'll lead, Fiona, left flank, Aleks, right flank. Captain Nim, Mister Blackhawk, please stay behind us."

The motor pool team moved out. They moved along the south side of the long building until they came to the corner. Apollo held up his closed fist and they stopped. Wyatt was a second behind in stopping having never learned military hand signals. They held position just for a few moments as Apollo viewed the area in front of them. He then waved them forward and they were on the move. Ahead of them was a fence line with some containers, equipment parts and other such items stored along it. They moved along the discarded items until they reached the northeast corner of the storage area. They were able to use the stored equipment to climb up until they were able to see the south side of the target area. They moved forward and the three Genesis kids jumped down and went into a crouch behind some low scrub and trees that were at the edge of the empty lot. George and Wyatt joined them and took their position behind the kids. Apollo looked back and then waved them forward.

They moved toward their objective with their guns at the ready until they were able to reach the back of the building. They moved along the building until Apollo held his fist up again. He looked back and pointed at Wyatt before waving him forward. Wyatt moved forward and knelt next to Apollo. Apollo pointed ahead of them and Wyatt looked where he was pointing. He saw a soldier standing guard. His M16 slung on his back as he stood there looking around appearing bored with the duty. Apollo looked at Wyatt and pointed at him and then at the soldier. Wyatt nodded and removed one of the hunting arrows and nocked it to the string. He pulled back and then held it for a few moments before releasing. There was the faint sound of the string thrumming as the arrow was loosed.

The soldier's brain processed the sound of the arrow flying toward him but by the time he realized the sound was out of place, he felt something punch him in the chest. He looked down and saw the fletched shaft sticking out of his chest. He brought his hand up to the shaft and then felt his mouth fill with a coppery taste and felt his legs turn rubbery. Apollo held his hand up to George and Wyatt to tell them to hold position, while he and the two girls started running toward the soldier just as the arrow hit him. The soldier saw the three figures running toward him on silent feet and went to reach for his rifle but found he had little strength left as he collapsed into darkness. Apollo grabbed the soldier and dragged him over to a nearby transport truck and hid the body underneath it and out of sight. He motioned to the two girls and they moved off into the other vehicles that were parked in the area. They returned a short time later and Apollo turned to wave George and Wyatt forward. He and the girls stood up as they neared them.

"That was the only guard out here. Fiona and Aleks go ahead and rig the vehicles. Good shot by the way Mister Blackhawk."

"Thanks. I don't like it, but it was necessary."

"I'm glad you don't like it. I don't either and hopefully we never do like it."

"Apollo, can I ask you to call me Wyatt instead of Mister Blackhawk."

"Okay, I can do that. Can the two of you move over to that point near the street and watch for anyone coming this way. I'll be over at that end the lot. Keep an eye on the headquarters building, if they are any kind of soldiers, they probably have someone in there monitoring any radio calls. I want to make sure no one comes out and sees us. Once the girls finish, we'll join you and then we'll move to link up with Captain Casey."

The two adults nodded and took position where he indicated. Wyatt lay the bow down and unslung the M4 and made sure he was locked and loaded. George crossed the entrance way and took a position where he could easily see to the east towards some nearby buildings and to the south along the road that passed by their position. Wyatt kept his gaze toward the building that had been named as the headquarters. He could see a light coming from the entrance, telling him that Apollo was probably right, there was someone inside on duty.

They were in position for about ten minutes before the others joined them. Wyatt slung the M4 and picked up his bow as he followed them over to George's position and knelt down.

"Charges are in place."

He turned to Fiona.

"How long before they go off?"

"Fifteen minutes. I figured that would be enough time for us to clear the area and allow the others to get in position."

"Good. We'll go to the south side of that building and then move to the east corner and hold until we see Captain Casey make contact with the soldiers, we will then hit them from the flank."

The others nodded. Apollo keyed his radio.

"Command, Apollo."

"Go ahead."

"Charges set, 15 mikes. In position, west flank."


There was a pause.

"Info passed. Move in when the explosion goes off."


"Okay, now we wait."

They settled down to wait. They could see soldiers walking around in the area between the buildings, none appeared armed.

The ramp closed as they lifted off to the final LZ in the abandoned base housing. Oliver made sure that he detoured way to the north of the barracks area. In a few minutes, he was setting down on a street that was surrounded by houses. The ramp was lowered and he shut down the rotors but kept the reactor hot and ready to go, at a moment's notice. Jamil got the Minigun set up and in place as they two teams went down the ramp and deployed to make sure that they were undetected. When they were sure that no one was near, Christina waved them forward and they moved to the west towards the barracks area. They passed one group of houses, crossed an abandoned street and came to the next set of houses. They moved around them and from there, they could see beyond a narrow building nearby, to the barracks about 200 yards away.

She looked at the two teams.

"Chase, you and your team go to the north of the narrow building and then make your way to the officer's quarters. Chase get into the building in any way you can and get to those kids. Once you're there, you know what to do.

"No one hurts the shiny ones."

"Yes, exactly. Sergeant Barrett, you bring your people in through another door in the officer's building. Make your way to where the kids are being kept. You know which part of the building that they are held?"


"Good. You need to get to Chase, so he's not alone. Not that he can't handle himself, but we don't want any kids to become collateral damage."

"Understood. We'll get to you as quick as we can Chase."

"I know. I will be ready. If they are lucky, the dull lovers won't come in the room when I'm there. It will not be very pleasant for them and I don't want the shiny ones to see what I will do to any dull lover that tries to get in."

Eric reached over and patted Chase on the shoulder.

"Me neither."

"Chase head out, you have farther to go. We'll keep an eye out and distract them if anyone sees you."

Chase nodded and then looked at the others with him.

"There are shiny ones to save."

"Before you leave, everyone needs to know that there is going to be shooting. We are not going to be nice, we are shooting to kill. These people are supporting a would be dictator. If it is a choice between any of us and any of them, I choose us. You all know how to shoot, I expect you to shoot. If you don't think you can, stay back here, but if you go, I don't want anyone of us put into danger because you did not shoot."

She looked at them for a few moments. No one moved and she nodded and looked at Chase. He waved and scampered off, the others on his team, close behind him as they moved along one of the houses before heading across the street to the back of the narrow building and moving around to the north side of it and out of sight. Christina looked at the rest of her team.

"Colonel Patterson, take Sergeant McGee, Lieutenant Jamison, Jamie and Josh with you. Go straight across and around the south side of the building. When you get to the front of the building, hold to make sure it is clear and then move into those trees between the parking lot and the street. Take your positions there and wait for the signal. Once you get the signal, move up to the buildings and begin firing. My team will move to the north side of the building and then take position near the buildings on the east side of the position and hold for the signal."

Christina paused for a moment and then nodded to herself.

"Acknowledged Control."

She looked at those around her.

"The charges are in place. In 15 mikes there are going to be a lot of very loud explosions. That will be our cue to open fire on the buildings. Target any that are in the open between the buildings. Do not enter any building but do not let any of them leave the building. With enough of a surprise, we may even get them to surrender. Move out."

The two teams split and went to either side of the building. Gabe's team made sure that they moved slowly so as not to attract attention, since there was no cover other than darkness. He led the team along the south side of the building. At the south corner of the building he looked across the road to the barracks area. There were a few cars in the lot. They could hear the sounds of some of the soldiers. Gabe stood up to get a better view and he could see a few of the soldiers loitering in an open area between the buildings. There were lights pointing to that area and they could hear sounds from inside the building. The soldiers that they could see did not seem to be armed. He crouched back down and then he waved his squad forward across the street and into the trees by the parking lot. He put Jamie and Josh between Doc and Patrick, separated by a few yards between each person before he moved to the parking lot entrance. Once in place the crouched down behind the trees and waited.

Once Gabe had led his team to their position, Christina led her team to the north side of the same building, her team behind her. Moving carefully along the north side of the building opposite Gabe's position, she halted at the front corner of the building and watched as Gabe and his team made their way into position. From where she was, she could see some of the soldiers in the open area between the buildings. She could also hear sounds of the men from inside the buildings. Once she saw that Gabe's team was in position, she waved for her team to move out. Using the trees at the edge of the parking lot and one of the smaller buildings in the complex to block line of sight, they moved quickly and found cover at the back wall of the small building. Above her she could hear soldiers inside the building through the windows. She directed Ram and Jim to take position at the north corner of the building, while she and Dakota took position at the south corner. Now it was time to wait.

Chase led the way, the others following. He had to slow down since they were all squishys but he didn't mind much. So far he liked them. They were shiny lovers like him and they were willing to rescue the shiny ones that were being held by the dull lovers. He remembered what that dull lover who had held Damian had been thinking and there was no chance that any of them were going to lay another finger on any of the shiny ones that they had locked up if he had anything to say about it. Once they were in the middle of the north wall, Chase stopped and looked for the best way to get to the officer's quarters. There was not a lot of cover and they needed to get past the barracks buildings to get to the officer's quarters. He decided to let the darkness be their cover as he led them around an empty parking lot that was just to the north of the building. Once across that, he led them back toward the buildings, but now they were north of the barracks buildings.

Chase had them crouch low as he looked for any sign that they had been seen. Across the street from them were a larger tree and a few shrubs that were between the road and another empty parking lot. Like a lot of things that they had seen around here, it was neglected, even if it had been light, they would probably have barely been able to see the lines for the parking places in the lot as faded out as they were. He looked at his team.

"I'm going to send you one at a time across the street to that tree and those shrubs. We don't have much cover around here and a group of us would be easier to spot which is why I'm sending you one at a time. Once you're over there, stay behind what little cover there is and wait until I tell you to move."

As he talked to them Eric noticed that with the serious tone he was speaking in, his voice wasn't as squeaky as it normally was. The others nodded to him and he pointed at Eric. Eric looked around and then ran across the street crouched over. He went prone with his M4 pointing toward the barracks buildings. Chase pointed at each of the rest of them in turn and when they were all across and crouching behind the trees and plants, Chase went across to join them. They paused to make sure they had not been detected before continuing.

Chase led them along the road keeping the trees and plants between themselves and the buildings. They came to the end of the cover and there was still an empty parking lot and an open dirt lot to cross to get to the building. He looked at them.

"Same as before one at a time, Sergeant Barrett first and then…."

"Chase. We're family. Eric is fine. I haven't been a Sergeant for a while now."

"Coolness. Okay, Eric first, then I'll tap each of you when it is your turn. Remember to stay low and move fast. Go to the end of this parking lot and they cut diagonally across the dirt lot to the trees there at the northeast corner of the building."

They all nodded and Chase pointed at Eric. He turned and began to make his way along the road before cutting across the dirt lot. They were able to watch him because of the low light capability built into the helmets that they were all wearing. Chase then tapped Logan, waited until he was on his way before he tapped the next one, until they were all on their way. He stayed behind to watch for any indication that any of them had been spotted. When he saw none, he moved out. He joined the rest just as the last one reached the rendezvous spot. He looked around and then waved for them to follow him around the north side of the building. There was a tree right next to the building at about the mid portion of the building, so he stopped them.

"I'm going up to the roof and come in from the top. Sar…Eric, you come in from that door back around the corner and that should put you closest to where the young ones are. Christina told me that there will be a signal soon. It will be the explosion of the dull lover's trucks and humvees. When that happens, you go in. I will be waiting for you with the young ones. Then we'll go out the way you came in and make our way back to the Dragon."

Eric nodded and Chase was soon up the tree and disappearing over the top of the roof. Eric looked at the boys with him.

"You guys ready."

They all nodded.

"Follow me in, Logan you are read guard.

They nodded their agreement and then Eric led them back to the corner to wait for the signal.

On top of the roof, Chase headed toward the east end of the building where the kids were supposed to be and went to a vent opening that led into the building. He removed the screen that was latched over the opening and set it down. He looked inside for a moment before he entered it and made his way down into the vent system.

For anyone but him or a small child it would be tight fit, but with as flexible as he was, along with his strength, he was able to easily chimney climb down the vent until he got to a junction. He lowered himself to the bottom and then paused as he listened for a few moments before he moved out. When he got to a vent opening he would pause and look through it before going across and continuing along the vent. For the first few he was looking down into a carpeted hallway. There were junctions that led to rooms. He didn't detect anything that felt like scared kids to him to either side, so he continued through the vent as it followed the hallway. He came to a four way junction and paused to listen. He could hear some faint sounds coming up into the vent. He closed his eyes and listened with his mind. His mental skills were the weakest of the team, but his speed and reflexes were among the best. He heard and felt something to the left, like fear or something like that, so he turned in that direction.

The next vent opening was looking down on a hallway again. He stopped and listened. He thought he heard some slight movement just out of his sight. A quick probe told him that it was a soldier. The soldier's thoughts told him he was close. He crossed the vent opening and continued forward until he came to a vent opening at the end of the vent. He could hear low voices. He came to the edge of the opening and looked down. There was only dim lighting in the room and he could hear the low voices drifting up to him. He couldn't see any movement and then he saw a boy walking by under the vent. He knew he had found them, now how to get into the room without making a lot of noise. He reached down to the grating and carefully slipped his fingers through it and got a good grip on it. He pushed and pulled on it carefully so as to make no noise. There was a little give to it, but he couldn't get it loose.

[Dang it, he was going to have to make noise to get in there.]

There was no way he was going to be able to get into the room quietly. He reached down and grasped the grate again. He heard a voice from below.

"Hey, what's that?"

[No time to wait.]

He tightened his grip, braced himself and then pushed down hard. The grate held for a second and then with a loud screech the grate broke free and he quickly pulled it up into the vent and put it to the side. He removed his wakizashi, just as he heard the door burst open below him.

"What's that noise? What the fuck are you kids doing in here?"

Chase could hear the sounds of someone getting hit followed by a cry of pain. He then heard the guard walking in the room. There was also the sound of scrambling as the kids moved around, probably trying to stay away from the guard. Chase held his swords pointed down and crouched at the opening, waiting for the right moment. He heard the guard coming nearer.

"What the fuck? You think you're going to escape? Someone tell me who did this or I'm going to start kicking some ass in here."

Chase saw the guard just below him, looking around the room. It was time. He stepped off and dropped. The guard sensed something, a change in air pressure or a slight sound, but something caused him to look up. All he saw was a small dark shape dropping down towards him. He started to bring his pistol up just as he felt two sharp points penetrate into his upper chest alongside his neck. The points of the swords came down in a ‘V', cutting through the apices of his lungs, slicing through the superior vena cava, the aortic arch and coming to rest with the points of the swords sticking through the bottom of his heart and touching at the tips. Blood practically exploded out of his mouth and sprayed anyone nearby. The gun dropped to the floor, followed quickly by the body of the soldier that although he was already dead, that information had not quite reached his brain yet and his eyes were wide and he was gasping for air. As he collapsed, Chase pushed off his body and pulled the swords out, completing the destruction of the soldier's internal chest structures and flipped backwards to land on his feet. He had jumped toward the door or at least where he figured the door was located. When he landed, he backed against the door, pushing it closed.

Inside the room, he saw that there were six kids in there, four boys and two girls. They were all naked and were sitting on some thin mattresses that lay on the floor. They were staring at the soldier and the pool of blood that was spreading from underneath his body. There was another door on the opposite wall. He could see through the open door that it was a bathroom. The kids slowly raised their eyes from the body to the small figure standing by the door with two bloodstained swords in his hands. Chase saw the fear on their faces and they shrank back from him. He put the swords down and held up his hands.

"Do not worry, younglings. You are safe now. My family and I are here to get you to safety."

They stared at the diminutive figure for several moments before one of the boys spoke.

"Who are you?"

"I am Chase and I will protect you until the rest of my family gets here. Then we are getting you out of here."

Chase picked his swords up. There was an empty mattress nearby with a thin blanket on it. He carefully cleaned both swords before returning them to their sheaths. Right about that time, there were several explosions, one after the other. All of the kids jumped and the youngest girl screamed and grabbed onto the boy who has asked Chase who he was. He held her as she buried her face against his chest and began to cry.

"That is the signal. My family will be here soon."

"What about Brian and Andrew?"

"Who are Brian and Andrew?"

"They're two of the boys who were kept here with us. A soldier took them out of here about an hour ago."

Chase was about to ask more, when they heard a man's scream from somewhere outside the door. Chase looked at the kids before he turned to the door.

"Wait here. I will make sure your friends are safe as well."

Chase opened the door and left the room closing the door behind him. He took off his kusarigama and held it at the ready as he moved down the hallway to the intersection ahead of him. The carpet on the floor made it easy to move quietly. He heard someone crying from around the corner to the right and then saw someone move from the left side of the intersection toward the right. He swung the fundo over his head and let it fly, the kusari wrapped around the figure's ankles and brought him down with a thud. The rifle the figure carried in his hands, flew away from him. Chase ran forward with the kama raised and ready to strike.

Eric had the four boys with him stay behind him, even though technically, with the armored uniforms that they were wearing, they were probably better protected than he was. They were still kids, and in his mind he cared for them just as much as he did for Josh and he had a lot more combat experience so he would take point. He led them to the corner of the building and he motioned for them to crouch down as he went to a knee, his carbine up and ready. Now it was a waiting game.

The explosion when it came, sent smoke and flame shooting high into the night sky, silhouetting the buildings between Eric and his boys. Immediately following that, they heard automatic gunfire from the barracks area.

"That's the signal. Let's go get to Chase."

He moved forward to the nearby door and tried the knob. It was unlocked so he pointed at Dylan and pointed at the knob. Dylan moved up while he positioned himself so that he could enter as soon as the door was pulled open. He nodded and Dylan pulled the door open. Eric rushed in the gun at the ready and found himself in a carpeted hallway. There was a door on each side. He didn't like it, but he couldn't open both at once by himself, so it was time to see how well the boys had learned some of the lessons. They had been training the boys in military tactics for a couple of months and the boys had enjoyed it as if it was a live action first person shooter, except no one had been shooting back. Now it would be different and he hoped they would come through it okay.

He tapped Ian and Logan and pointed at one door and Ethan and Dylan at the other door. He moved up the hall a little to watch that direction. The boys lined up and then one of them opened the door while the other entered. They swept each room and found them to be empty. The checked each room including the small attached bathrooms, before they headed back into the hallway. They heard Eric order someone to freeze.

Both groups of boys came outside and saw down the hallway a man who was dressed in just his BDU trousers, holding a boy in front of him with a gun pointing at him. The boy looked to about 10 or 11 and he was naked and crying in fear.

"Put it down and let him go."

"Who the fuck are you people. Back off, or I'll splatter this kid all over the place."

Ethan reached out and drove into the man's mind. He sent a loud mental scream directly into his brain and the officer dropped the gun and let the kid go as he let out a scream and clutched his head, dropping to his knees. The kid dropped to the floor and curled into a ball with his hands over his head. Eric darted forward and the boys saw something come shooting out of the side hallway and wrap around Eric's legs causing him to fall hard, his carbine shooting out of his hands. They saw a small black shape dart toward with a sickle shaped weapon in his hand.


The figure turned the momentum of the swing into a flip that sent him over Eric, rebounding off the opposite wall, which catapulted him back over Eric to land on his feet, the kama held in his hand at the ready. Chase looked down.

"Oh, sorry Eric."

Eric sat up and helped Chase unwind the kusari from around his ankles. Chase looped it to hang from one hand with the fundo hanging loose."

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, Chase. I'm okay. Thanks. I'm glad you have fast reflexes, otherwise…."

"I would have been sad if I had hurt you and I would have hated to have made Josh feel not so shiny."

They heard a door open farther down the hall. They looked up and saw a couple of men come out of other doors in the hallway. They were armed. Eric dove forward for his gun as one of the men opened up with his M16. Everyone in the hall ducked down and brought their guns up to fire. Chase ducked back behind the corner as Eric brought his gun up and fired. The men ducked back out of sight. Eric crawled forward and covered the now screaming boy with his body to protect him, using the fallen body as cover. Eric looked behind him for a second.

"Get the boy to cover."

Ian slung his MP5 and darted forward to grab the boy and with Chase's help, pulled him into the hallway where Chase was taking cover. Chase wrapped the kusarigama back around his waist and secured it.

"Eric, the young ones are down this hall. Protect them. Two of them were taken out of their room. This is one of them and I need to get to the other one so that he does not get hurt.'

"We don't know how many others there are down there Chase. I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Don't worry about me. I will be okay. It's them who should be worried. Just make sure the young ones are protected."

Chase then darted into the hallway, jumping from side to side, flipping, rebounding off the walls, as he moved. When he got near the first man, shuriken flew from his hands, taking the man in the neck and slamming him back against the door jamb to fall inside the room. Chase jumped into the room where he fell and made sure he was dead with slash of one of the swords. He cleaned it off and sheathed it. He retrieved his shuriken and secreted them in their hidden pockets as he looked back and waved at Eric to go. Eric and the boys had watched in astonishment. Chase's wave got them moving into the hallway to where the kids were located. Ian was trying to get the kid from the hallway to relax. He was holding him and telling him that he was safe now.

"Logan, stay here with Ian and watch down the hall. We'll get the other kids."

Logan nodded and crouched around the corner keeping his MP5 pointed down the hallway. He saw Chase run forward. Someone else down the hall, opened fire trying to follow Chase's movement. The bullets kept hitting where Chase had been moments before. Logan wanted to help Chase, but he was afraid that if he fired to give him cover, he might hit him, so he held his fire and watched for anyone coming in behind Chase. He could hear that the boy that Ian was trying to comfort was no longer screaming and crying.

Eric led the other two boys to the door at the end of the hallway. He turned the knob and opened the door, but had to duck down and out of the way as two bullets struck the door frame. He waved for the boys to move to the side. He heard a young voice from the other side of the door yell at him.


"Hey kid. Don't shoot, we're here to get you to safety."

"Sure. You're a soldier. The soldiers take us and….do things to us. I have a gun and I'm going to keep you from hurting any of us anymore."

"Listen kid. We're not one of the soldiers. We're here to help you get away from the soldiers."

"I don't believe you."

Eric paused and looked at the two boys across from him. They shrugged. He wasn't going to go in there shooting and he didn't want to get shot himself. He'd had that happened before and it was not fun. Then he had an idea.

"Hey kid. Chase sent us to protect you."

"Chase? The short squeaky sounding guy?"

"Yeah, we're with Chase. He told us to come and protect you."

"Chase said his family was coming to save us. Are you his family?"

Eric smiled and tried to convey to the boy that he was a friend in the way he answered.

"Yeah, we're Chase's family."

Nothing was said for a few moments as Eric waited.

"Okay, you can come in, but I'm not putting my gun down. If you make a wrong move, I'll shoot you."

"Deal. Okay, we're coming in. I have slung my gun. I don't have anything in my hands."

Eric reached down and pushed the door open, paused a second and then slowly moved into the door. He saw several kids. There was a naked boy, a little younger than his boys, holding a pistol with both hands, pointing it at Eric. Eric's hands were out to his sides, showing that they were empty and he smiled to show the boy that he meant no harm as he entered the room. Dylan and Ethan entered behind him, and when the boy saw them, Eric saw a wave of relief sweep over the boy's face and he lowered the gun. Eric let his arms slowly drop, since it looked like the crisis was over.

"It's okay son. Let me have that, so you don't hurt yourself."

The boy looked at him and he became defiant.

"No. I trust that you are who you say you are, but….no, I'll keep this."

"Okay, it's yours."

Eric looked down at the body of the soldier. He reached down and undid the belt from around him and tossed it over to the boy.

"Take this, there are a couple of extra magazines on the belt for that pistol."

The boy looked at the belt on the ground before he picked it up and hung it over his shoulder. Eric smiled at him and turned to his two boys.

"You two stay here. I'll send Ian and Logan in to join you with the other boy. I'm going to go make sure Chase is okay."

They could hear some gunfire further into the building. The two boys nodded and Eric pulled his carbine up before leaving the room. Outside he paused beside the boys in the hallway.

"Ian, Logan, you guys take him in there with the rest. I'm going after Chase."

‘I'll come with you."

"No Logan, you guys need to protect those kids. Chase and I'll be back in a few. Just watch the kids."


Ian got the scared boy up from the floor and they walked with him back into the room where the others were. Eric heard someone call the boy Brian when he entered the room. He looked down the hallway for a moment before he headed out.

As he had moved through the building, Chase had taken out several men, leaving a trail of destruction behind him. He came to a partially closed door at the far end of the building. He listened at the door and heard someone in there talking to someone.

"What do you mean, you don't know what the fuck's going on?…..Well find out and try to get ahold of Blackburn. He should have been back by now."

Chase heard a phone being slammed down on its cradle.

"Fuck! Kid, don't your dare move or I'll shoot that little dick of yours off and let you bleed to death. I'll be back and if I find out you've moved, if you think I've hurt you before, believe me I can make it worse. Do you get me?"

Chase heard a young frightened voice answer the angry man.

"Yes sir."

Chase carefully pushed the door open and darted through when there was just enough room for him. He saw a man standing with his back to him. On the bed was a boy that looked to be about 10 or so. Chase quickly pulled his kusarigama out again and on silent feet he rushed forward. The boy saw him and the flick of his eyes betrayed Chase. The man whipped around and fired at the small black figure. Chase jumped to the side and the man tried to keep the gun aimed at Chase as he moved. Chase bounded off a dresser and swung the fundo at the man. The man saw it coming and ducked to the side, bringing his pistol up and firing again. Chase flipped forward and when he landed he did a perfect baseball slide between the man's legs bringing the kama forward and burying it into the man's groin and ripping it back out. The man's eyes went wide and he screamed as he dropped the gun and brought both hands to his crotch as he fell to his knees. He would have fallen over, but Chase held him from behind with the kama at his neck.

"Now, you can no longer spread your dull ways and no more shiny ones can be hurt by you."

Chase drew the razor sharp blade across the man's neck, and pushed him forward. He wiped the blade on the man's back and pulled the fundo to him, so that he could wrap it around his waist and secure it. He looked at the cowering boy.

"It is okay, Andrew. I am Chase, I am your friend. You are safe now. Come with me and we will go join the others and get you out of here."

"Are you going to take me home to my moms?"

"Do you know where they are?"

"I don't know. The police arrested them and they told us that they were bad, but I know they aren't. They love me and would never hurt me like these soldiers do."

"I know. We will help you find them and these soldiers will not be able to hurt any more shiny ones like you. We need to get going….."

Chase heard someone outside and he drew his swords. When the man entered the room, Andrew screamed. The man held his gun up.

"Oh, Eric, it is you. Can you help me with Andrew? We need to get him out of here."

"Sure Chase."

Eric slung his carbine and went over to the frightened boy. He tried to put as much warmth and friendliness on his face so that the boy wouldn't be afraid as he approached him.

"It is okay Andrew. Eric is part of my family. You can trust him."

Andrew looked at Chase for a few moments and then turned to Eric and looked in his eyes. He saw a different look there. Not like the way that the soldiers looked at him. It wasn't the same look as him moms gave him, but it was close enough that he could see that he would be safe. He lifted his arms up and Eric came forward and picked him up. The boy wrapped his legs and arms around Eric and clung tightly to him. Andrew pressed his face into Eric's neck as he started to cry. Eric held him close and stroked his hair and back.

"That's okay buddy. You're safe now."

He looked down at Chase.

"Lead the way boss."

Chase nodded and left the room, Eric close behind him with Andrew in his arms. They made their way back to the kid's room. Logan was standing at the door with his gun at the ready. He smiled when he saw them turn the corner. He turned back into the room and said something before he opened the door. They came in and saw that the kids were now wearing bits and pieces of civilian and military clothes.

"We raided some of the nearby rooms and got them some clothes at least until we can get them back to the Dragon. We'll get them some better stuff from our suitcases when we get them there."

"Excellent idea boys, well done. I think it's time we got out of here. Since they've only got socks on their feet, we'll stick to the paved ground as much as possible to make sure they don't step on anything that will cut their feet. We won't be able to do that all the way, but we'll stay on them as much as possible. Does that sound okay Chase? You're in charge."

"Yep. We need to get Andrew dressed first and then we can go."

There was a pile of clothes on the ground and they quickly went through it to find something for Andrew. There was a pair of swim trunks that were big, but they could tighten the string enough for them to stay on. He pulled a t shirt on and slipped the socks on and he was as ready as he could be.

"Tim, you and Annie come up here with me. Keep your pistol out, but be careful. Don't shoot it unless I tell you."

"Okay…..uh wait. How did you know my name?"

Chase just patted him on the arm and then turned to the door and led the way. The other boys spaced themselves among the kids with Eric pulling up the rear. Andrew was right next to him as they left. Chase went to the nearby door and looked outside before waving the others to follow him. The sound of gunfire was a lot louder now. It was punctuated by the sound of exploding munitions over where the vehicles were located. They no longer moved one by one but as one group. They kept their eyes moving around to watch for anyone who might see them. There appeared to be some fires in some of the barracks buildings. Chase kept them moving as fast as they could as they stayed north of the buildings heading towards the north end of the housing area.

Christina was watching the soldiers who were moving around the outside. The place was lit up well enough to see them. Many of them were sitting around drinking beers or sodas. A few of them had formed a couple of teams and were playing volleyball in the middle area. More of them were inside the buildings. She could hear shouts and laughter, all the normal sounds she would expect with a lot of off duty soldiers. Even she was startled by the explosion. Every soldier in sight jumped and yelled in surprise. After a few moments of shocked exclamations, some of them started to run toward the motor pool, that's when she opened up on them. Moments later the rest of her team opened up. Many of the soldiers who were in the open went down. Most had been hit, some had dropped to the ground when they heard the gunfire and were trying to find whatever cover they could find in the open area. Some scattered trying to get inside the barracks to get to their guns.

A group of soldiers came out of one of the buildings nearby with their rifles at the ready looking for targets. Dakota aimed and with five quick well placed bursts, one into each one of the men, they fell down dead within moments of each other. Christina glanced at him.

"Good shooting."


The two of them held that side easily. Anyone that poked their heads out, were shot. They learned not to try it. On Ram's side, he and Jim kept anyone from coming out of the main door of the one of the buildings. They could see a number of them gathering just inside the entrance and Jim fired a grenade into the front lobby. The explosion took several of them out. Some of them were starting to fire from the windows of both stories of the building. He and Ram had to take cover, but they were able to return fire enough to keep heads down. Whenever Jim saw a group of them gather, he sent a grenade their way. They learned not to gather too many in one place, at least where he could see them.

Gabe's first action when Christina opened up was to shoot a grenade into a nearby window. The explosion and the yells of wounded inside gave him a grim satisfaction as he fired into another window before firing at the men in the open area. The other two men opened up on those in the open area as well. Surprise was complete, but they could see the soldiers were starting to recover and fight back. They knew that there were about 175 soldiers in this place, so they had to keep their heads down.

When Gabe shot the grenade into the building nearby, it gave Jamie an idea. He went to Josh.

"I gotta an idea. C'mon."

As they went by Patrick he looked at the two boys.

"Hey, where are you going?"

"I gotta good idea, trust me."

Patrick wasn't sure, but when bullets struck the car near him, he had other things to worry about and the two boys were able to do a crouching run to the back side of the building. They were out of the line of fire when Jamie stopped.

"What are we doing Jamie?"

He began to pick up some branches that had fallen off some of the trees and handed them to Josh. He took them but was confused.

"What am I supposed to do with these?"

"Light ‘em one at a time and I'm going to throw them through those windows up there. We're going to start a fire. It'll make ‘em run out and they'll be easier targets for the others."

Josh nodded and held up the first one in his hands and looked at it, and a few moments later it started to smolder and then it burst into flame. Jamie smiled and pointed at a rock and sent it against a window, breaking it, and then he took the burning branch from Josh and sent it through the window. They waited for a moment and then the flickering of flames could be seen through the broken window. They moved along the back of the building, and did the same thing through each window. At one end of the building one of the lower windows opened up and someone stuck their head out and started to pull back in when he saw the two armored figures making their way along the back of the building throwing burning branches into the upper windows. He brought his gun up and fired. Jamie jerked when the bullets hit his side and he went down, but as soon as he realized he wasn't hurt he looked to where the shots had come from and he put his hand out and pushed, the soldier in the window was slammed against the window frame and his head hit it with a loud crack and he dropped from view.

Jamie sent the next burning branch into that window. There were some yells and the branch came back outside. Jamie caught it and sent back in. Someone stuck a rifle out and down firing off several rounds, thinking that there was someone nearby. Jamie saw a small bush and pointing at it, he ripped it out of the ground. He moved it within Josh's reach. Josh put his hand on it while hovered there and he soon had the bush burning. They saw someone starting to look out the window and Jamie sent the bush flying into the soldier's face. He screamed and fell back dropping his rifle out the window. The bush must have caught quickly because flames started coming from out of the window and there were yells from people inside. Jamie then ripped a few more of the scraggly bushes out of the ground and had Josh light them up, before he threw them into the windows. When the two finished, they made their way back to where Gabe and the others were. There was more fire coming out of the upper floor of the building. Men were stumbling out of the building, firing blindly and were quickly cut down.

Across the open area in a couple of the other buildings, they could see that more of the soldiers had taken the time to get suited up with assault vests and helmets and were starting to form up to charge at their positions. Gabe and the other two sent some grenades that way which caused the soldiers to fall back. He got a few through some upper windows across the open area and it looked like there were some fires that were starting in the upper floors, but it looked like they may be in trouble soon, because his view was partly blocked by a smaller building in front of the building he was taking cover behind. They needed to move forward, but there just weren't enough of them to give each other good cover.

Suddenly one of the cars from the parking lot flew through the air and landed in the middle of the smaller building in front of him. He noticed that fire was coming out of the inside of the car and the building started to catch fire as well. Some men boiled out of the smaller building and Gabe and the others fired on them. Most of the men went down under the hail of gunfire. The men who got away, headed to the other buildings across the way, using the burning building to block Gabe's line of sight. At the same time another large group of men started to dash from the burning building nearby and head to one of the other buildings. They had only run a few feet when automatic fire slammed into them from the west. Most of them fell down in the fusillade. The running soldiers tried to return fire as they ran to the far building. Gabe knew that meant that the team from the motor pool had joined the attack. He saw one of the men turn to the attackers and was slammed backward, an arrow sticking out of his chest. Two more fell to arrows. Gabe smiled and waved for his team to move forward.

Another car flew into the building to join the first and now both of the buildings near Gabe's position were on fire. He and the other two men moved forward and began to pump grenades into the buildings across the way. He looked over and saw Christina and Dakota firing from the building nearby. There was automatic fire from the other side of the building. That was Ram and Jim. He looked up and saw a window open above Christina and Dakota. A head and rifle poked out and he whipped his carbine around and fired a grenade into the open window, it struck the person in the head and he fell back. The grenade caromed off the man's helmet, hit the window frame and dropped inside, exploding a moment later inside with some screams following.

Jamie and Josh moved up between the cars until they could see across the open area. They saw the grenade go into the small house that Christina and Dakota were hiding behind. Jamie tried the door to the car and it was locked. He put his hand on the door and a couple of seconds later, he heard the lock click. He pulled the door open and looked at Josh. Josh nodded and put his hand on the fabric of the back seat and it began to smolder and then flames began to consume it. Jamie closed the door and they went around the back side of the car to the next car.

"Christina, Dakota, watch out."

They both looked and saw Jamie pointing at the car where flames were starting to show through the windows. She glanced at the other small house and then motioned for Dakota to back away. She keyed her mic.

"Ram, Sergeant Peterson, move away from the building, it's going to get hit from something big. Watch yourselves."

She nodded and Jamie picked the car up and slammed it into the upper story of the house. Part of the room collapsed and the building began to catch fire. There were yells from inside the house and a few men ran out, and were quickly cut down as they tried to run to the other buildings. The teams were now concentrating their fire on the farthest building. Christina heard the sound of tires crunching on gravel behind her and looked to see two cars rolling forward, behind them were Jamie and Josh. They were rolling slowly and as they reached her position she saw Josh finish stuffing a cloth of some kind into the gas tank. He held the end in his hands and a moment later it was burning. She saw him run around to the second car and light the cloth that was already hanging out of that. The soldiers in the other building starting firing on the cars, thinking someone was driving them. Christina waved for Dakota to follow her and they joined the two boys who were behind the cars. The two of them used the cars as cover while they advanced.

"Jamie, send the car on the left into the building across the way, I'll take this one and send it into the building on the right."

Jamie nodded and let go of the car on the right and pushed forward with both hands, causing the one car to hurtle forward toward the main entrance to the building, while Christina grabbed the other and sent it into the building on the right. The soldiers at the entrance scrambled backwards as the cars buried themselves into the buildings. Seconds later the fumes from the gas tanks hit the burning rags and the cars exploded.

Christina paused for a moment before keying her mic.

"All teams it's time to bug out, Chase has the kids. It's time to go. Those fires should keep them busy."

She received acknowledgements from the others and they began to fall back. The motor pool team made their way behind the building that Jamie had set on fire and rejoined Christina's teams. As they fell back they kept an eye on their six, just in case any of the soldiers decided to keep fighting. They moved at a trot as they headed to the Dragon. No one seemed to be following them, but they did not drop their guard as they moved past the abandoned houses. As they neared the LZ, Christina saw someone move past her and yell.

"Christina, watch out."

Something suddenly slammed into her and knocked her down. She wasn't hurt and she got out from under whatever it was. She saw the Dragon become visible and a .50 cal opened up above her, followed quickly by the ripping sound of the Minigun. Both weapons were tearing apart some nearby buildings. The rest of the group nearby opened fire in the same direction. She saw the .50 cal and Minigun rounds tear through the walls of the buildings and there were screams from inside. When her MP5 clicked empty, she started yelling cease fire and everyone slowly stopped. She could see the bodies of soldiers through the torn up walls of the houses. Apparently a group of soldiers had gotten around behind them and shadowed them, before opening fire. None were moving now. Moments later she saw Chase and his group herding a bunch of kids from the other side of those buildings.

She remembered how this all started and looked down. There was a man lying face down beside her. She slung her gun and rolled him over. it was Brett. She could see three spots of red on his chest and abdomen and he was grimacing at the pain.

"Damn that hurts."

"You idiot! What did you do that for?"

"Didn't….want you to….get shot."

"Dumb ass. It wouldn't have hurt. The armor protects us."

"I guess I kind of forgot that."

"Why did you get in front of me?"

"Instinct….I guess. It's what…..I would do…for any of my….kids."

Brett's eyes closed and his head turned to the side. She quickly reached down and felt for a pulse on his neck. She looked around and screamed.


Several hundred yards away inside the battalion headquarters a corporal was on the radio.

"Yes sir. We're under heavy attack. I say again, heavy attack from all sides. There are multiple explosions on all sides, and automatic weapon fire."

"Who is this?"

"Corporal Allen, sir. Duty radio watch."

"Get the duty officer on the radio."

"I have been unable to reach him sir. He is not answering his phone sir."

"Answering his phone? Where the hell is he?"

"He went back to his quarters sir, for a little while. He said he would be back."

"Shit! I don't care what you have to do, even if you have to drag his ass back here with a gun shoved up his ass. Get. Him. Here. ASAFP."

"Yes sir."

The radio went dead and the corporal left the radio room and ran outside. When he got outside the full import of what had happened hit him. The motor pool was engulfed in flames and the building nearby was burning as well. He went around the headquarters building and headed toward the barracks. When he got there, he saw that several of the buildings were burning and he saw some of his fellow soldiers staggering out of the buildings. He looked up as he heard the rotors of a helicopter spooling up. He saw what looked like a CH 53 lift off and turn to the north. From what he could see, it did not look like it was painted like most military helicopters. He watched it and then suddenly it was gone. Vanished and there was no sounds of the engines and rotors. He shook his head and looked again. It was as if it hadn't been there. The only sounds left were the crackling of the fires from the burning buildings and the groans of the men stumbling out of them.

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