First things first – “is it confirmed?” I ask him. “Yup, source checks out, as does satellite images and local intelligence”. I have an overwhelming desire to order a chopper, fly over with a few teams and just blow the place up. I lost 15 people to them last time – eye for an eye, but that’s not what we are about. We are the good guys – right?
As we go our separate ways and I head to my office, I ask frank to prepare a briefing for the team in 15 minutes. I start to imagine the ways in which we could get payback. I wonder if I want to kill the people in there slowly or whether a high yield detonation would be more appropriate.
I log into the computer and quickly check through the emails, nothing interesting – no voicemails. I have another five minutes and imagine how nice it would be have a cigarette but I quit a few months ago. Darn those health kicks…
I sit back, pop my feet on the desk and just sip on my coffee. I wonder if I’ll be able to get my hands on a sniper rifle and find a location high enough – if the building catches fire, they would all have to evacuate. I could then pick them off one by one. I wonder if they would panic.
Frank knocks once, open the door and tells me that they are ready. I walk over and can’t stop thinking about more interesting ways to kill these people. Where could we place the C4 charges, all around the building?
Frank fills us all in on the intel that we have on the base called “Glaucia” – who picks these names I wonder? As the deeper recesses of my mind imagine watching as a napalm bomb is dropped on the base, we are told that the base is surrounded by acres of woods, lakes and plains. “Well, that removes the option to sniper”, I think to myself. The boundary of the base is marked by a tall electrical fence that detects intrusion and reports it. It will take roughly five minutes for drive from the gate to the base. It is likely that road is booby trapped with explosives although we haven’t been hit by that before.
The satellite imagery shows a few hundred people in the base so it certainly looks in use. We’ll need to manage a strike that is lightning fast to avoid alerting them to our presence since we want to get in quickly so they don’t have an opportunity to destroy all the data as they have done every time we hit them before.
Frank then tells me something that I didn’t expect, and it makes me smile. “We have an in this time…, The west wing of the building is in disrepair and they have contracted a local company to make the repairs. We have intercepted them and will take their place.”
There is a problem with the plan. It has to be a smaller team, about twelve people in total. I interrupt and tell him that there will be thirteen – I am going! Frank starts to object and I make it clear that it was not up for debate.
I tune out as Frank goes through the rest of the plan…
I am in the lead car, Frank is driving. There are three cars in total, two with four people, and mine with five. As we drive the quiet streets, I take a moment to enjoy the snow and imagine it covered in blood spatter… Not long now.
As we approach the gate, Frank lowers the window and shows his fake id to open the gate. This is the first time that we have entered one of the bases without alerting them. This is going to be a success for us. The first one. I can feel my skin tingling with anticipation. I pick up a cigarette from Frank’s pack and light it up – screw quitting. Life is too short! As I take the first draw, I feel the nicotine pulsing through and it calms me down. I forcibly ignore the guilt and just push it to one side. I’ll deal with it later.
Its hard to ignore the beauty of this place and even harder to imagine the snow covered in blood spatter – it somehow feels wrong – just plain wrong. I want to turn around and leave – I don’t want a part of destroying such beauty and we keep moving.
I can see the building now, like a fairytale, majestic and so beautiful. It towers so high that it makes me feel like an ant and it looks so old that I have to wonder how they would have taken that heavy stone all the way up to the top. I wonder how much blood was spilt in making this beautiful and powerful structure. I wonder how much C4 it would take to blow it into the ground – probably a lot more than we have. In front of the building, there is a statue, which looks to be very old but well kept.
The car comes to a stop behind the statue and I feel the cold air caress my skin softly and the snow crunches under my feet. The cold air fills my lungs with enthusiasm. I take a moment and close the door. I close my eyes while filling my lungs slowly drawing on the cigarette as the rest of me fills up on the cold, crisp beauty and serenity of the place. By the time I open my eyes the teams have already scouted the perimeter and come back to report.
I take a moment examining the statue, it is difficult to tell if it is merely hundreds of years old or thousands but a lot of care has gone into maintaining its glory. It starts to snow softly as I look up to see the face of the statue, a man with a look of power and serenity and I can sense a feeling of deep peace, but only for a moment as it is interrupted by quiet radio chatter.
There are no other entry points. The windows are inaccessible and there are no other doors. The main door is the only way in. I notice that there is music coming from the building. I can’t make it out yet – I wonder why they might be playing music, and so loudly.
Two of the teams line up either side of the door. My whole body is tingling, I can feel my heart beating, I concentrate on my breathing to help me focus and relax. They count down silently from three, open the door and enter, I can hear the radio repeating “clear” which the music in the background. I was expecting gunfire but heard none. I go in with the two other teams coming in behind me and the music is louder. The rooms to each side are cleared and we enter a hall which must be the center of the building and it is massive. There are murals over the walls and the ceilings, of gods, angels, demons, war, peace, beauty, everything. I keep focussed. In the center of the room, there is a display panel.
The music is coming from here. The size and the acoustics of the room makes the sound so imposing and majestic. It feels like we should all kneel on the floor and submit to the music but we keep moving, spread through the room. I hear the door close and click behind me. I see a couple of the team try to get it open again with no luck.
As I walk over the panel in the center of the room, I look up and spot someone standing on a balcony looking down. He hasn’t spotted me. I can get him and I have two choices – shoot him or trace him. As he looks over to spot me, I grab my tracer pistol as quickly as I can, aim and fire. He spots me, smiles, walks to wall, opens it and walks out.
I radio central to pick up the trace as I spot what it says on the panel – its counting down from 5. By the time I realise what is happening, its already at three. Fuck! If im going down, I’m taking at least that one bastard with me! I radio central to fire the rockets – they ask for confirmation – and I confirm. After 1, it shows a smiley face and in that moment, I felt time slow down, almost stop. I saw my life. The crush on Lisa in school, joining the force, my wedding, the birth of my son, the divorce, the sadness on my sons face when he asked me not to go to work today, the way he wrapped his whole hand around my little finger the day he was born and I can’t help but smile.