I saw the helicopter come in for a landing. From what Will had said, the local Sheriff was on board, along with his three boys. Of course, I knew Kevin, Randy, and Danny, and I knew their dad was the Sheriff, but they sure picked the wrong time to make a house call. I watched as Billy set the Chinook down and they all scrambled out of the back. I had to chuckle when I saw Fluffy, and the looks the man was giving the big cat. Few people really understood Fluffy, and I certainly wasn't one of them. But Tommy says she actually has a wicked sense of humor... and I'm starting to believe him.
Once they got over to us, Kevin spoke up. "Adam this is my dad Eric Carlson."
I turned to him and said "Welcome to hell Mr. Carlson, I'm Commander Adam Casey and this is Major Hayes."
"Just what in the hell is going on here and where's Mike and Sammy?" Eric said after taking a few seconds to get his bearings.
Damn, he had to ask the tough questions right off the bat. "Sir, they were attacked and have been evac'd to an advanced medical facility elsewhere."
"Adam are they hurt?" Kevin asked before Eric could say anything.
"Yeah Kev they are." It would do no good to lie to them, so I didn't bother. I knew how close they were with Sammy, and I'm pretty sure they'd know if I tried to lie.
"Are they…are...?" Eric tried to get out, and I knew what he was asking. Unfortunately, I didn't have lots of information.
"They're all still alive but….well some of them are bad, real bad." The three boys threw their arms around their dad, and started to cry. I knew what they were feeling. Maybe not the depth, as I wasn't as close to Mike, Sammy, and the rest as they were, but I was still worried.
I saw Eric's face tighten, and a look of rage came across it that I knew all too well. This man may just be a local cop, now, but I knew from that look that this man was a shooter. And he just put his game face on. "Who did this?"
"According to Cory, it's a religious group called the FCC." I told him, hoping that maybe he'd have some more information on this group, cause mine was rather sketchy.
I watched as the boys disentangled themselves from Eric, and went over to where people were stacking crates full of supplies. Supplies that were supposed to be used for training. Now, they would be used for the real thing. I just hope everyone's ready.
"Sir, do you have any information about this FCC? I know what Mike told us when he was in Utah, but he didn't have a great deal of hard Intel." Maybe with him being the sheriff, he would know something.
Over the next minute or two Eric went over everything he knew of the FCC, unfortunately, we had already heard all of this. It didn't really help us much, but I thanked him anyways as the Unholy Trinity, as I heard they were called, came back over to us.
Logan had been busy talking into his mic, trying to coordinate the set up of the command center which had just been set into place, when Alvin ran up. He handed me a radio, which I then handed to Eric. "Here, you may need this." he nodded and took it just as Kevin tapped him on the back, "Dad, this is for you."
The look on his face was so funny as he turned and saw them standing there with their guns and armor, and if it wasn't for what we were doing here, I would have probably laughed, but not now.
He didn't say anything for a moment, then he just reached out and, one thing at a time, took the items from us and put them on.
While he was doing that, I took a look around to see what was going on. Everything was going just as planned. 'UMAA' had set the command center in place, and 'Phantom' was about to land and let everyone out of it. 'The Mule' was circling a ways away waiting their turn to let their people off, and the Huey's had already dropped their people by fast rope. Things seemed to be settling down, and if we were really lucky, we may just have scared this FCC off.
"Thank you," he told them, before turning back to me and saying, "You tell me what you need, and I'll try to provide it."
"Well right now…" I started to say, when suddenly over the radio I heard Juan yell "SAM incoming!"
I spun around and saw it, the white streak that came from the woods. "Oh my God," I breathed, as I knew instantly it was heading right for the 'Phantom'." The helicopter was still about fifteen feet off the ground when Juan's call came in, and Charlie banked it hard, and gave the beast full power. He turned hard to the right, desperately trying to climb, so hard that some of the kids even fell out of the back. I knew that there were almost a hundred people in the bird, but my thoughts focused on one in particular. "Kent." It came out more as a strangled gasp than anything else; I had just found him a few months ago, now I could lose him.
With Charlie banking as hard as he was, it didn't take but a few seconds before the back hatch came into view, and I swear I could see the faces of the kids back there. Of course, what Charlie couldn't have known, was that when he banked that hard, it put the back of the helicopter right in the path of the SAM.
Will started to open up with the Black Hawks guns, trying to shoot the missile down. It's a one in a million shot, but maybe, just maybe he'll hit it.
"Oh no!" Kevin gasped out, and I could hear his brother Danny crying desperately as if he could help the bird get away. "Go, Go, Go, come on Charlie Go!"
We all just stood there as time seemed to drag on. It was like someone put everything in slow motion as I watched the SAM streak through the air, and the helicopter tried valiantly to get out of the way. But the big lumbering beast just couldn't move quickly enough, and I watched in horror as the SAM actually flew inside the back of the helicopter before it exploded into a fireball that blew out of the back of the 26.
The 26 seemed to stop in mid air, banked hard on her right side, and just floated there for a brief second before dropping like a stone. The impact of it shook the very ground, and for a brief second, all was quiet.
Then, as suddenly as it was quiet, time seemed to snap back to normal, and I heard many people screaming, myself among them. I couldn't think... I didn't have the time to think, I needed to act.
"Get your asses moving! I want the Med Evac set up right FUCKING now and we need to get any survivors out of that helicopter. Logan, get the Command Center going NOW!" I said, as I broke into a full sprint towards the downed craft. It hadn't blown up, thankfully, but it was on fire, and it wouldn't be long till it did.
Just as I was about to reach it, Chang and Jory were at my side. All three of us jumped the thirty feet up to get to the only accessible door. What I saw inside of that will be burned into my mind forever. It was nothing but a charred ruin in there. I quickly jumped down, and fought to try and find a foot hold. I was amazed to see that there were still people alive. The fire was bad, but the smoke was even worse. I could barely breathe, and couldn't see much at all with all the dark smoke. "KENT!" I screamed, hoping beyond hope that he was one of the one's still alive. Jory and Chang jumped down next to me, and together we started trying to sort out which people were alive, and which were dead.
I was surprised when I heard a bang on the side of the helicopter, and then the sound of tearing metal. Suddenly, I saw daylight start to stream in, and looked over to see that Kahn and Kuan Ti had literally ripped a hole in the underside of the helicopter, and made a sort of doorway. That would make things a lot easier, and soon there were others in there with us trying to get the survivors out.
Everyone stopped short when Juan's voice came over the radio again. "Shit! They got another SAM! Helena, break left!"
Oh God no... not another one.
"Wow it's getting pretty crowded up here." Seth remarked, as I scanned the skies around us trying to keep a safe distance from the multiple other helicopters in and around the area.
"Yeah it is, let's see if the boss will let us take HI-CAP." I said, as I thumbed the mic button on the cyclic, "Viper 8, lead?"
"Yeah, go ahead Dennis." Will responded from his bird.
"Hey boss can we kick it up to about 2.5 or so, it's getting kinda crowded up here." I asked him.
"Sure Viper 8, you're cleared HI-CAP at 2.5 to 3 but be ready to come back down if we need you." Will, said over the radio.
"Roger that, Viper lead." I replied as I raised the collective and turned the throttle, slowly climbing above the other aircraft in the vicinity to give us some breathing room.
"Ah that's better." Seth said as we hit our new altitude and kept up the patrol.
"Yeah it is." I said.
"So you think they bugged out for good?" He asked next.
"Don't know, but I hope so." Was my answer.
"Yeah but we missed all the action and I was hoping to get some." Seth said.
"Why were you hoping to get in the shit, man, I wanna stay the hell out of it." I asked in disbelief.
"Well…ya see, if we came back heroes and all then maybe Sally would give me some." He replied.
"Jesus Seth, is that all you ever think about?" I heard Keith ask disgustingly over the intercom.
"Well…..yeah!" he said, grinning.
"Forget it, Sally ain't never gonna do nothing with you." I said laughing.
"If that's all I'm gonna think about in a couple of years, then I hope I never grow up." Keith replied as we all started laughing.
"Ah kid, it ain't that bad." I said into the mic to a "Hmmmph" in response.
"Really, it's pretty neat." I heard Eric say and figured at eleven and just starting, he might actually know.
"But that's all…." Keith started to say when a scream cut through his voice over the radio "SAM! INCOMING!!!"
"Find it!" I yelled over the intercom as I spun the Huey around trying to get a visual.
"Oh Jesus!" Seth gasped as I turned to where he was looking.
"Dennis it's going for 'Phantom'!" Eric cried into the radio.
I finally got a look at what they were seeing as I got the bird faced towards them and dropped the nose.
Charlie was jinking the bird for all he was worth and I could see kids falling out the back as he tried to get away from the SAM, but I also knew that he was too low and slow to have any maneuverability in that flying boat.
I could hear Seth mumbling, "Climb, climb, climb," as if that would make any difference.
Will was firing everything he had at the SAM, but the chances of him hitting anything were next to impossible.
It was going to hit, there just wasn't anyway for Charlie to escape it, no one could have.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the inevitable finally occurred.
"They're hit, they're hit!" Keith cried out, as the missile impacted straight up their chute and a fireball blossomed outward.
"Oh God!" Seth cried.
There had been over one hundred kids in there was all I could think, as I watched the copter hang there for what seemed like ages, before suddenly plummeting to the ground.
I could hear ragged crying over the intercom from the younger boys and looking over I could see Seth had tears running down his face as well, I knew they matched my own.
We all knew who had been on that bird, all the little ones including Kent, Adam's brother.
But most of all, it was knowing that Lincoln, who had kinda adopted us and who had become our mascot since he found out we were named "Bam Bam" after his favorite cartoon character, was on that helicopter that had just been shot down. That hit us the hardest, although we knew all of the rug rats on it.
"Viper 8 descending to one thousand and we're live." I said quietly, into the radio, as I activated all of our weapons systems from stand-by to active mode.
Fuck them, they messed with the wrong people this time, those kids were our family and those bastards were gonna pay.
"Look alive, we're hot and it's payback time." I said into the intercom, knowing I had to get them focused.
I saw it worked on Seth as he wiped the tears from his face and I heard the crying subside to sniffles from the back.
Then Juan was back on the radio saying something that sent an icy tendril of fear down my spine.
"Shit! They got another SAM! Helena, break left!"
They were heading for the 'Mule' and there wasn't anything we could do about it.
Another hundred plus kids were about to die.
"Do something!" Seth screamed.
I shook my head as I answered. "There's nothing we can do." As I watched, Helena begin trying to evade the incoming missile, just as Charlie had, minutes before.
I knew it would be just as successful too.
"There's gotta be something!" Keith cried from the back.
"Dennis, ya gotta save em, you can't let them die too!" Eric added.
"Guys, there's only one chance, and if we succeed then we won't make it out alive." I said, realizing the only hope those kids had.
Suddenly, I felt a hand squeezing my shoulder and glancing up, I saw Eric looking back at me.
I also realized that Keith was doing the same to Seth.
Both said "Do it." at the same time.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"We can't let em die." Eric said, looking me straight in the eyes.
I looked to Seth and he just nodded his head.
"Hang on to your balls then!" I said, as I maxed the throttle and lowered the collective while pushing the cyclic forward and hard over, sending us straight towards Helena and hopefully what would save her and her cargo.
"Viper 8! Dennis! What the hell are you doing? Get outta there!" Will screamed over the radio, but I just pushed this baby forward with every thing she had.
The engines screamed in protest and warning gages were going off, but it didn't really matter anymore, as I keyed the mic and said simply. "What we have to."
"Dennis, no!" Will cried, but the time for talking was over and I didn't answer as I was almost there.
"I wonder if ya can get any up there?" Seth asked, smiling over at me as Keith moaned "Leave it up to you to worry about that."
"I love you guys." I said, as I turned the cyclic the other way and at the same time pulled sharply up on the collective, bringing us to an abrupt halt and putting us directly between what was coming and what was already there.
Damn, it looked so small.
"Guess we're gonna find out bro." I said, just as I felt Eric tighten his hand on my shoulder and it hit.
Will gasped, "No!" watching in horror as the missile struck Dennis's ship and it blew apart in a massive explosion.
My God, the missile actually went into the helicopter before it exploded. I can't believe this, so many kids in there... so many. We were all silent, and just stared at the horror as the helicopter fell down to the ground and just sat there smoking. A few moments passed and nothing happened. No one moved... no one could move, and then Adam's voice came over the radio. "Get your asses moving! I want the med evac set up right FUCKING now and we need to get any survivors out of that helicopter. Logan, get the Command Center going NOW!"
That seemed to shake everyone out of the horror induced paralysis, and everyone started running around. "Will, get me down there, they need me!" I said into the radio, and Will just looked at me and nodded. He turned the helicopter away from the wreck and started to drop altitude. It was going agonizingly slow, and I had to stop myself from telling Will to go faster. I knew he was doing his best.
The wheels had just touched the ground and I reached up to take the headset off when Juan's voice rang out again. "Shit! They got another SAM! Helena, break left!"
I gasped in horror, as I saw the other MI-26 that was acting as a troop transport suddenly bank hard to the left. I couldn't move, and all I could think about was another group of kids blowing up. I knew the 'Phantom' hadn't exploded, and I'm pretty sure that was because it didn't have far to fall. It was only about fifteen feet off the ground when it got hit, but the other one was a lot higher.
I just sat there watching, as the white streak came into view, I was hoping that Juan was wrong, but the thing was heading right for the other craft. "Viper 8! Dennis! What the hell are you doing? Get outta there!" Will shouted, and that's when I saw it. Dennis was flying his Huey hard and fast right for the 26. It almost looked like he was going to ram into it, but then I saw him pull up, and get right in the path of the missile.
"What we have to." Was all that Dennis said, as he sat there, right in front of the missile, not even trying to move to get out of the way.
"Dennis, no!" Will cried again, but he wasn't gonna move, I knew what Dennis was doing, and at that moment, I couldn't have been prouder to have been called Mom by him. I didn't want to watch, but I couldn't tear my eyes off the scene in front of me, as the white streak got closer, "NO!" Will shouted one last time, and then, nothing but a fireball, and I knew I had lost four more children today.
"Oh my GOD! Dennis just flew into the path of the SAM. Helena, you're clear, get the hell outta here." Juan's voice cried over the radio, and I could tell that he was crying.
I looked over at Chang and he was just as wide eyed as I was. I grabbed my mic and shouted into it. "Will!!!! Clear that damned tree line. I don't care if you blow up half the forest!"
"Gotcha, bro." Will said, as I finally made it to the front of the helicopter. I knew the others behind me were grabbing survivors and getting them out, but I was looking for Kent. When we left, he was sitting right at the front with Lincoln and his mom. Maybe that protected him.
I heard gun fire, and sounds of missiles being fired, and from the sounds of things, the rest of the helicopters unloaded everything they had into the woods. Maybe that'll push the bastards back for a while. But they better come back... I wanted blood now.
"HELP... somebody help me!" I stopped and looked around, trying to figure out where the screams were coming from. The smoke was so dense in here I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me. Finally, I figured it out, and moved in that direction.
When the smoke cleared enough for me to see what was going on, I saw Lynn was on her hands and knees with a big piece of metal across her back. I could smell the burning flesh and I knew that the metal was burning into her. I rushed over, grabbed it, and lifted it off of her. Thankfully, I was wearing my combat gloves.
She rolled off to the side, and that was when I saw them. Kent and Lincoln were lying underneath where she had been. She was using her own body to keep the burning metal from hitting the two young boys. I dropped down beside them and called out. "Chang! Get over here, NOW!!!"
I looked over at Lynn when she spoke softly. "Please... please help my baby." I just nodded and she closed her eyes, slumping down on the floor.
"I am here brother..." Chang said; when he got to my side, but his voice trailed off as he dropped down to inspect the two boys.
"They are alive, but we need to get them out of here." Chang said, as he scooped up Lincoln's badly burned body. As soon as he was out of the way, I grabbed Kent, and moved after him.
"You're going to be okay, Kent." I said softly to him, as I carried him from the helicopter, praying that he would be.
He was burned so badly and I could feel tears stinging my eyes and knew they weren't just from the smoke as I made it out of the door.
The little figure in my arms was even worse to see in the clear light of day and I tried to choke back a sob, rather unsuccessfully, at seeing his poor burnt body and face.
The clothes that he had on had melted to his skin and the burns extended up and onto his face.
Oh God, how could anyone survive this I thought, as I could only thank God he was unconscious and didn't have to feel it.
I could see that Lincoln fared no better and felt the nausea rising, as I looked back and forth, between the two tiny bodies.
As I reached the medical evacuation and treatment area, I gently placed Kent down onto the ground, next to where Chang was laying Lincoln, and looked up at him in mute appeal.
Please tell me they were going to be alright.
Chang just looked at me for a moment before lowering his head and I felt the tears falling, as I looked back upon the brother I had so recently just found and now appeared as if I would lose.
"Don't leave me now, little brother, I just found you." I said softly, as I brushed a lock of hair surprisingly unburned from his forehead.
It was one of the few areas where he hadn't been burned to varying degrees.
Chang called out, "JJ, we need you!" and I looked up as the other boy came jogging over.
I could see him bring his hand to his mouth gagging at the sight that presented itself when he got to us, but then he quickly spoke to that unknown person, calling for immediate transport of Lincoln and Kent.
I watched as both boys disappeared, and I feared that it would be the last time I would see them; I hung my head and felt the tears flood my cheeks as I let out a ragged sob followed by another one.
I noticed Khan laying Lynn down nearby, but all I could think about was that I had failed them.
"I was supposed to protect them and now look!" I cried as I felt arms surround me pulling me close.
"You couldn't have known, and you did the best you could." Eric said, and I realized it was his arms holding me as I let myself fall into them, crying.
"It's my job to know, and it sure looks like my best wasn't good enough, doesn't it?" I said into his chest.
"Sometimes we can't protect those we love most, or know everything, son. You can't beat yourself up over not being a God. You're not." He told me.
"Why? Why did this have to happen?" I asked, sobbing.
"It happened because there are people out there who hate, who hate for no reason other than hate itself." He said softly.
"I promised them that they wouldn't get hurt anymore, and now look." I said.
"Was there anything you could have done differently? Was there any aspect of their training that you neglected? Was there any way you could have known just what was going to happen today?" He asked gently, as I felt him brushing his fingertips against my forehead.
I thought about it for a few moments before finding myself answering, "No," even though I didn't want to.
"They need you now more than ever, Adam, you're their leader and you need to lead now." He told me.
I knew he was right. I had to lead now and that meant I had to somehow pull it together. I would cry for Kent and the others of my family that I had lost today at a later time. Now, I had things only I could do.
"You're right, Eric, thanks." I said as I slowly began getting to my feet with him giving me a hand up.
"Alright, is everyone out of there?" I asked, turning to Chang as I saw the Trinity carrying another child from the wreckage.
"I believe so." Chang replied
At that moment Khan yelled "It's gonna go any minute," and I screamed "Everyone get back, it's going to blow up."
I heard a voice scream "Kevin, come back!" and looked over to see Kevin running back towards the helicopter.
Both Eric and I screamed "KEVIN, NO!!! GET BACK!!!" at the same time.
I heard Kevin call back "There's someone still alive in there" and then he was through the door.
I started in that direction, along with Eric, but before we'd gotten far Kevin was running back out of the now near engulfed helicopter with a small figure in his arms.
"GET DOWN!! IT'S GOING!!!" Kwan Ti yelled, and we all hit the deck, my last vision of Kevin was him almost throwing the child down ahead of him and jumping on top of him as the helicopter exploded.
The heat and flying debris kept us pinned for long moments, before we heard a boy crying out. "Oh my God, Kevin, DAD, CHANG somebody!!!"
I was up and running, with Eric not far behind me, before the echo of his scream had ended and I knew that Chang followed closely on my heels as I ran towards the young boy in question.
I got there and Eric dropped to his knees slowly reaching out to touch his son and cry "Oh Kevin, what have you done?" As he gently turned the boy over.
"Couldn't…let…Andy…die." Kevin gasped out, and I could then see the piece of metal that had entered his back almost on his side, that and the blood flowing out from around it.
"Is…he...?" He tried to ask, but couldn't finish as he began coughing.
Chang had dropped down alongside of the boy and was checking his pulse as he yelled once again for JJ.
"Kevin, you're going to be alright, just hang on, son." Eric said, sobbing.
"Don't die Kev, please don't die!" Danny cried, while Randy who was on his knees staring at his brother and looked like he was in shock.
JJ ran up just as Eric turned his gaze to Chang and pleaded, "Please help him!" before breaking down crying again.
Once again JJ called in and soon Eric was left with nothing to hold in his arms, but that didn't last, as both the other boys threw themselves into them, crying their hearts out.
I looked over at the young battered and burned body of Andy who had come to us with Jeremy and felt sick once again. So many were dying today, and looking at him, seeing the massive burns and the bone sticking through his pants leg I thought this one was going to be another one. Jeremy was going to be devastated as Andy had been especially close to him. All the little ones from Jeremy's group home had been. Chang was working on him and once again as had become all too frequent an occurrence in the last little while, he just silently gazed up at JJ who again called in and moments later Andy joined so many others wherever they had gone.
I turned back to Eric, and now it was my turn to try and offer some comfort, only I didn't know how. Sammy had told me that the Trinity were truly a threesome and I could see that now. It was like a piece was gone from the whole, and Eric was…well Eric looked like a part of him had been ripped out, thinking about, it I suppose it had, but I also knew we couldn't stay here any longer. It was time to turn this around and make them pay for what they had cost us, this day.
"Eric, we have to get to the command center." I said, as he looked up at me with a blank look in his eyes. He was lost in his pain and I had to shake him out of it.
"Eric, we can't stay here, we have to go. Kev is getting the best care out there right now, but we have to start planning how to avenge him and the others. These people have a hell of a lot to answer for, and the only way they're gonna is if we start figuring out how." I told him.
I could see it starting to get through, finally.
"Will Kevin be alright?" Randy asked, suddenly looking up at me with a distraught and totally stricken look on his face.
"I hope so, little guy; they're doing all they can, now it's our turn." I told him gently.
He looked at me for a long time and I held his gaze until he finally said, "Yeah, it is."
I saw a look come into his eyes that should never be in a child's eyes, and I shuddered at it as he pulled himself from his Dad's arms and stood up.
"Come on guys; let's get to the command center." He said and turned, starting to make his way there, as we all followed.
Danny quickly caught up with him, and Eric followed them with me at his side.
"I'll never forgive them, for that alone." He said softly.
"What?" I asked.
"For taking their innocence away, for taking their childhood." He replied, and there was nothing I could say to that, for it was true.
That was the look I had seen in Randy's eyes, something lost, something forever taken away, something else in its place, something I didn't want to think about.
There would be time for that later, since for now, we needed to get organized if we wanted to strike back and that was the place to do it.
"WE'RE LIVE!" Alvin shouted out, and I looked to see that we had indeed gotten the satellite link up in place.
"Daileass!" I shouted out, and was rewarded with his voice coming back through the speakers.
"Jesus Logan, what the fuck is going on out there?" Daileass's voice sounded frantic, and Logan could see by the data flowing across the screen that he was bringing himself up to date very quickly. "I got all the radio frequencies bugged, and there's a shit load of traffic coming in, but I think I've isolated their channel, and just got it cracked. Also, I took the liberty of hijacking a military satellite, and getting it into place."
"Cool!" I said, just as the video feeds from outside the command center came on the screens. "Jesus," I breathed, as I, for the first time, really got a good look at what had happened out there. Of course I heard it all over the radio, but this was the first time I really saw it. "Alvin, Simon, Theodore, you're with me." I said, as I got up and went outside. I saw that Adam was heading towards us, and I figured I'd meet him outside to give him an update.
We got outside and ran over to Adam and the others. I could see Adam had been crying, and knew he was hurting inside. He's had to deal with so much lately. This was just supposed to be a vacation, and instead it's turned into this hell. I did the only thing I could do which was wrap my arms around him and squeeze as tight as I dared. I knew his side still bothered him, but he'd never admit it.
"Hey baby, we got everything set up inside, and Daileass says he's got the FCC's radio frequencies, and they just got them cracked. Also, he got us a military satellite, although he was grumbling about not being able to get a federation one. He says even he can't crack those thing's security quickly enough." I told him everything just as quickly as I could; I knew he had a lot of things to keep in his mind right now. I saw JJ mouth something to the person on the other end of his radio, but didn't have any idea what he said.
Adam nodded his head at me, and was quietly thinking about something for a minute or two, when I heard Daileass's voice ring over the radio. "HOT DAMN! You won't guess what just happened. Someone named Ark just handed me access to a Federation satellite, and then told me to have fun with it. DAMN I could get used to these things. Give me two minutes to get it in place, and I'll be able to count each of the fleas on Vishnu's ass from here." No one could stop themselves from busting out laughing at the excitement in Daileass's voice.
Adam's head snapped up, and he had on a mile long grin. "Cool beans, Daileass, get me pictures of this area, ASAP!"
"No prob boss, I'm already burning up my processors with this shit. You'll have it in a snap!"
Just then, something caught my eye behind Adam. "What the..." I said, and everyone spun around to look where I was pointing. There seemed to be a kid, maybe ten or eleven running towards us with his hands high in the air. From the looks of it, someone was shooting at him from behind.
"Oh god, someone's shooting at that kid!" I screamed, as I pulled my MP5 around and started looking for whoever was firing.
"What the..." Adam said. He was staring intently at the kid, with a weird look on his face. "Something's not right here.... SHIT! Juan, drop that kid!" Adam screamed into his mic.
"WHAT?!?!?!" Came the shout from several people around him, just as a single gun shot rang out from the house, and the kid was thrown to the ground, where he rolled a few times before stopping and not moving.
"ADAM! WHAT THE HELL..." Joe and Mom started to say, but Adam cut her off. "There's something wrong with this, Jory, Chang go check it out."
They both just nodded, and took off at a run to the kid. The shooting from the woods had stopped, and everyone was just staring at Adam. Mom looked like she wanted to say something, but a look from Adam told her not to.
"Adam! This kid's got a bomb strapped to him, it didn't go off, but I gotta do something about it before we can move him, and Chang says he's still alive!" Jory shouted into his mic, and our jaws hit the ground.
"How..." Joe started to ask, then suddenly I was flying backwards. I don't know what's happening, one second, I'm standing there, and the next, I'm flat on my back... and... I can't breathe...
"LOGAN!" I heard someone shout, but from so far away, why can't I move? I have to struggle to even turn my head, what's going on. That's when I realized, I'd been shot.
"What the..." I said. There was something just not right about this situation. Why would a kid be running out of the woods with someone shooting at him, especially since he isn't one of ours. Not to mention the fact that he's wearing a flack jacket... "Somethings not right here.... SHIT! Juan, drop that kid!" I screamed into my mic.
"WHAT?!?!?!" Came the shout from several people around me, just as a single gun shot rang out from the house, and the kid was thrown to the ground, where he rolled a few times before stopping and not moving.
"ADAM! WHAT THE HELL..." Joe and mom started to say, but I cut her off. "There's something wrong with this, Jory, Chang go check it out."
They both just nodded, and took off at a run to the kid. The shooting from the woods had stopped, and everyone was just staring at me. Mom looked like she wanted to say something, but a look from me told her not to. I knew there was something going on here, in my gut, I just knew it.
"Adam! This kid's got a bomb strapped to him, it didn't go off, but I gotta do something about it before we can move him, and Chang says he's still alive!" Jory's voice came back over the radio.
"How..." Joe started to ask, but then I heard the gun shots start. I spun and dropped, trying to find out where they were coming from.
"LOGAN!" I heard Alvin scream, and when I looked over, my blood ran cold. Logan had been hit... my baby's been shot. Oh God no, not Logan.
Alvin jumped on Logan as even more shots rang out, and I saw his body jump, once... twice... three times, then stop moving. I couldn't move, I was frozen in shock, not Logan, not my only reason for being. Time stopped for me, and all I could do is stare. The pool of blood from under them was growing much too fast.
Time snapped back to running, and a soul wrenching cry erupted from my throat, "LOGAN! NO!" and then I was there. I threw my gun to the side, and dropped down next to them. I barely registered that Khan was taking command and ordering the helicopters to strafe the woods again, and for the snipers to lay down cover fire.
I gently rolled Alvin off of Logan, and gasped in horror at what I saw. Logan had taken a hit, center mast, and it blew through his body armor like it wasn't there. The hole was huge, and blood was bubbling up from inside. "Adam! Come on, we gotta get them back!" Someone hollered and then Alvin, Logan, and I were being drug back behind the command center.
I fell down beside my love, and pulled him into my arms. I could see his blood was all over my hands, but I didn't care. Nothing mattered anymore, not with Logan gone. Oh God, my Logan, Why?!?!
"ADAM!!!! You have to let me in there!" I looked up at the voice and couldn't recognize who it was through my tears.
I felt someone pull me away, and I just didn't have the strength to stop them. I fell down on my ass and just sat there and watched crying the whole time. Chang came running over, and started to work on Alvin. The little guy tried, but it didn't do any good, I lost Logan. Nothing matters anymore.
~~~~Amur Khan's POV~~~~
I watched in shock as the snipers started to open up. First to go down was Logan, and then Alvin, one of the most fun loving kids I ever knew, tried to use his body to shield his big brother. Shield him he did, three bullets hit him, while he protected his brother. I glanced at Adam when I heard his screams, and could only guess at what was going through his mind.
We have had many long talks at night, and the one thing I knew better than most was just how much Logan meant to him. Everyone says that it's Adam that keeps them going, but it's Logan that keeps Adam going. I knew I had to do something, so I let my training kick in. This was a war, and Adam would expect those of us that could, to step up and take his place.
"Viper Lead, clear the tree line again! Snipers in the trees, clear them out." I yelled into the radio, I saw where some of the muzzle flashes were coming from, so I opened up to try and make them take cover. I looked over my shoulder, and saw that they had indeed gotten Logan and Alvin to safety, so I didn't have to worry about that, for now.
I looked around and saw all of my brothers here, all trying to keep the snipers down, but it was in vain, most of our weapons couldn't accurately reach the tree line. Then I saw it. Two cases sitting on the ground, and I knew exactly what was in them.
"Kuan Ti... you're with me... the rest of you... cover us." Everyone just nodded, and Kuan Ti and I ran over to the crates. As soon as we got there, he knew what we were going to do, and he had a grin on his face. We ripped open the crates, and sitting inside of them was a 20mm cannon each. These were the same kind that we put on the helicopters. These we had brought along to use as spare parts, in case something went wrong. But I also knew that they could be fired manually if... you knew how, and you were big enough to handle the kick. Both of us were.
It took us less than a minute to get the things out, and the ammo that was sitting next to them loaded in. Kuan Ti grinned at me, and I clicked on the radio. "Everyone near the tree line, get down and stay down till the all clear is sounded."
The helicopters had just made a pass and were circling around to make another one. I saw another SAM get launched out of the woods, and there wasn't even enough time to say anything. Will banked hard at the last second, and it hit the black hawk square in the tail rotor. "Fuck! We're going down... Viper lead going down, and going down hard!"
And then they were down. Unfortunately... they went down in the trees. I glanced over, and my brother's grin was gone, replaced now with a look of steely determination. Upon seeing it, I just nodded. "Cats... let's go get them. We got the lead!" With that, both of us opened up with the cannons.
It was damned hard to keep the guns pointed in the right area, and walk forward, even for people our size and strength, but we had no choice. We chewed up the trees and saw many of the snipers dive for cover and start to retreat. Once we were close enough, we both dropped the cannons, and swung up our MP5s. They were a lot easier to use, and we broke out into a full run, with the others right behind us. One thing we were all good at was running and fighting in the woods. A few of the enemy had the good sense to run, the rest died. Most of them quietly, at our claws. This is what we were made for.
Roaring loudly, we broke into the clearing made by the helicopter going down, and saw that another team had already made it there before us. I could only grin as the team we had named the Tiny Terrors came out from inside the helicopter. Obviously, they had the same thoughts that we did, make sure no bad guys got to the downed crew.
Sean, their Team leader, snapped a salute once we got near the downed craft. "Sir, the craft is secure. Most of the crew is okay, just a few minor injuries. We should be ready to pull out momentarily."
I just nodded, and watched as Will came out of the helicopter, now dressed in his body armor. "Oh, That's fucking it! These assholes are so fucking dead!" I couldn't help but laugh as he grabbed his rifle and looked around for someone to kill.
He didn't have long to wait, as people started to erupt from out of the woods. Will quickly fired off his rifle and dropped two of them. "Everyone back in the helicopter!" We all did, and soon we were engaged in a hell of a fire fight. They were shooting at us from all angles and we were shooting back. They had us surrounded, and for the moment, we were definitely pinned down. I looked over to Will and he just shook his head at me.
I reached down, and grabbed my mic. "Cats to command! We're pinned down where Viper Lead went down... need immediate assistance. Repeat we are pinned down, need immediate assistance."
"Received, we have your location... get ready for your help!" Came the voice over the radio and I didn't have time to respond as I quickly had to take down a few guys who were trying to get close to us.
"GRENADE!" I heard the shout and spun around to see the little grenade bounce into the downed craft, and land right in the middle of where the Tiny Terrors were holed up. I didn't even have time to react, as I heard my brother roar, and then I saw him dive into the middle of the group and onto the grenade. I watched in horror and screamed. "NO!!!" but it was far too late.
Stunned silence reigned, moments later when the roar of anguish and pain filled the beautiful valley from eleven throats crying out their loss and agony for the world to hear and feel.
I struggled with the damned wheel chair as they brought Logan, Alvin, and Adam to the back side of the command center. I heard Khan shouting orders and I was relieved that someone was taking charge. Janet dropped down next to Alvin, as Chang was working on Logan. Thankfully, Janet kept her wits about her and knew that working on Logan wouldn't be the best thing. Soon JJ came running over and after talking to his contact, both boys vanished.
I had to wipe tears from my eyes as it hit me that I had just lost one of the boys I considered my own. Once again, I cursed the damned chair I was stuck in. I turned myself around looking for Adam. I knew he had to be taking this hard. He puts up a strong front for everyone, but I knew that Logan meant the world to him, knew exactly how he would be taking it. That's when I noticed him. He was just sitting there with his knees drawn up to his chest, rocking back and forth, staring at the spot Logan had been. There was a look of such indescribable loss and pain in his face that it stunned me and made me think that just maybe, Logan and the boy Alvin weren't the only ones we were in danger of losing, today. I started to wheel myself over to him when suddenly he seemed to be lifted off the ground. Shouts of surprise erupted from around us as everyone turned and stared at the sight.
Adam now hovered about 3 feet off the ground, and was surrounded by a soft white glow. His eyes were open, and he seemed to be looking at something or someone. Whatever, or whoever it was, it seemed only he could see it however, as we couldn't. Then he started to talk. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but I could see his mouth was moving.
We all stood there in shock until gun fire erupted around us. The first ones that seemed to recover were the Sheriff's boys, but all too soon, everyone was firing back. Since I didn't have a gun at that point, I took one last look at Adam, who now had tears falling down his face, but was smiling, then I went for the cover of the command center. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to worry about Adam right now. If I did, we may all end up dead, these people really had a hard on to kill us all.
I just stared at the spot where he'd been only seconds ago. Dead and growing cold as Chang worked to do something anything, but I knew it was too late.
He's dead, my Logan, my world was gone. Logan had meant everything to me, he was the only reason I could go on, in what this life had made me, and now he was gone, my everything was no more.
I knew I should be angry, hell royally pissed would be a better word, but somehow I just didn't have it in me. I felt like…like nothing. I knew now what the term 'dead inside' truly meant.
For that was what I was now, dead, only no one had bothered to tell my body that yet.
Then suddenly I heard a voice, one I knew. "So Adam, how's it feel to be fully human?"
I looked up from my spot, funny calling it that, but it was the last place I had seen my love, so it became my spot.
I looked up and saw an angel standing there, the same angel that had let me save Jeremy's life, by taking his injury onto myself.
The problem was though, that by bringing back Jeremy to life, I had made a bargain to be a normal human.
I no longer had all the things I had hated that made me special, I no longer had what it took to save my love and because of that, Logan was now dead.
"It sucks." I finally replied.
"Adam, you still don't get it, do you?" The angle asked softly, and looking up I saw that he had tears in his eyes.
"Get what? Get that the love of my life is dead because I couldn't protect him?" I said brokenly.
He was shaking his head sadly, and I could see the pain in his eyes as he looked at me and finally said, "Adam, the only 'bargain' there ever was between us, was in your mind. I can't take away that which The Creator has endowed, only you can do that." He said to me, leaving me confused now.
"I don't understand, I gave up everything to save Jeremy. I became human and now…now…" But I couldn't go on.
"Adam, you can't give up something which you never were. Don't you see? You've always been human, except in your eyes, that is. You've never been this freak that you thought yourself as, just a young child that has more control of his body and can do some special things that others can't, but that never made you any less human than any other on this planet. There is nothing that you can do that makes you a freak, and your new Clan family will soon show you that." He told me gently.
"But…but I don't heal anymore and I can't do anything." I said
He smiled and said, "There is nothing more powerful in the universe than the human mind, and yours more than most. You haven't healed because you told yourself that you couldn't anymore. As to doing anything, do you remember jumping from the helicopter or maybe jumping up on the one that went down? Adam, you are as you were before Jeremy died. You have never changed except in here." He said as he pointed to his head.
I felt elation run through me for a moment, but it quickly faded as reality set in once again.
My head being screwed up had killed him then.
"What does it matter anymore anyway? Logan's dead now, the bastards killed my baby, nothing matters anymore." I spit out and I couldn't help it as I broke down and started crying again.
I felt the angel walk closer, then I was enveloped by his wings in a hug that filled me with warmth as he spoke softly to me.
"Hey, who said anything about him being dead? Where he's been sent has some of the best medical equipment in the universe at it, and I happen to know for a fact that it's not his time, or Alvin's. He's alive, Adam."
What? Did I just hear him right? Logan's not dead and neither is Alvin? "But…I saw the wound…no one could survive that." I told him.
The angel smiled warmly and I felt myself ease in his embrace. "Adam, I would not lie to you. Your lover is going to be okay." I felt tears start to stream down my face. He was alive. My Logan was alive. I couldn't believe it.
"But Adam, I think you have something you need to do, now." I looked up at him with questions in my eyes. "There is a job to do, and you're the only one that can do that. The people that want to hurt and kill the clan are here, and there's a lot of them. They care about only one thing right now, and that's making the Clan pay for hurting them. They mean to kill every single one of you. And if they succeed, it will drive fear into the hearts of everyone that might stand up to them. You can't let them win here. Our Father hates fighting, and killing, but right now, they leave you with little choice... either fight them, or let them kill your family."
I looked up into the eyes of the teen aged Angel, and felt his gentle hand reach up and wipe the tears from my face. As I looked into those eyes I saw something I have only seen a few other times. Unconditional love. In that moment, I felt as if everything was going to be okay. I felt, more than saw, the glow around us brighten and in that moment I felt all the wounds I had, close up quickly. Along with it, all the fatigue and weariness left me. It felt like I was a brand new boy.
As the glow faded, he looked at me one more time. "Adam, your time is now. It's time to go show the world who and what you made in that little cave of yours. These kids would follow you to the gates of hell with smiles on their faces. Go and show the FCC that they picked the wrong people to fight with."
I looked up and smiled at him as he slowly started to fade. And then he was gone. I looked around me and saw that everyone was staring at me with concerned looks on their faces. "It's okay, guys... but I think it's time to show these fuckers just who they're messin' with." Everyone grinned at me, and that's when I took a look around to see what was going on.
I was told later my Mom, that she was actually treating one of the cats, Hermes, who had a gun shot to the arm. She was just getting ready to send him out, when I finally took control. He looked up at Mom, and grinned. "Sorry doc, but I ain't missin' this one." She tried to order him back, but he just turned around and told her that... "If you don't like it, then Court Marshal me." Of course, he had a grin on his face the whole time.
I felt the grin fall from my face as I looked towards the woods. What I saw there made my blood start to boil. Coming out of the woods was Amur Khan at a full run, with many others, including Will, behind him. The ones behind were fighting a running battle with the forces of the FCC. But it was who Khan was carrying that made my blood run cold. I could tell, even from this distance, that Khan was carrying the too still form of his brother Kuan Ti. I could see from the tears flowing from his eyes that Khan knew that his brother was gone, and I couldn't help but force myself to push my own tears back. Later, I would have time to grieve for all those who fell today.
"I want everyone to form up behind the command center!" I shouted into my radio as I saw another one of the helicopters get hit. It wasn't with a SAM, but they were going to have to land. That only left three helicopters. "Vipers, try and keep them pinned down for a few moments. Don't worry about keeping anything in reserve... this'll be over in a few."
I saw all three of them strafe the wood line again, and this time they let loose with everything they had. Billy must have melted the barrel down on one of the guns because it sputtered then literally blew off the side of his ship. Thankfully it didn't cause too much damage.
The "Tiny Terrors" came up with Khan right behind them, and I knew the instant I looked at them, that they had seen too much. They were trying to be brave, but they had that look of people who had seen too much. And why not, they were the youngest of all the strike teams. They trained harder than the rest to try and prove that they were just as good as the older ones were, and they were. In some ways, they were better. But now, now they didn't need to go back. They may never come back from it mentally, and I quickly made up my mind. I walked over to the group. "Hey guys... I need to ask you guys a favor." They all just looked at me questioningly. I could see it in their eyes, they were afraid, but I also saw grim determination, and I had to admire that. "Would you guys stay back and guard the command center. When we go, they won't have anyone there to protect them... I need people I can trust... can you do it?"
I saw all six of them square themselves up and salute. "YES SIR!" They all chorused, and I knew I had said what needed to be said. They saved face, and are doing something that needs to be done.
Khan set the body of his brother down on the ground, and we all knew it was too late. I just grabbed a blanket and laid it over him. Khan had a look of pure, unbridled rage in his eyes, but I could see the sadness in there as well. Tyler spoke up then, haltingly and with tears running down his face. "He saved us. He…he threw himself on…on the…he…" Then he broke down and couldn't continue as he looked at the blanket shrouded form on the ground in front of us.
I grabbed his shoulder and squeezed. I had to fight back the tears as I finally realized what was missing in me. I hadn't felt Kuan Ti die, but I did feel the emptiness. I couldn't lose it now, not now. Now I had to act, I was the one everyone was looking to put an end to this. I squared my shoulders as Amur Khan stood back up and looked at me with tears flowing down his face. "They'll pay for this, Khan, believe me, they'll pay." I told him putting all the pain and loss I felt into that and felt it turning to rage which was good, considering what I was going to do next, what we were going to do. "Come on, it's time they learned what the price of our lives is going to cost them."
With that, I issued the orders, and in a coordinated attack, with the helicopters flying cover, we hit the woods. Thirty five minutes later, we all emerged... covered in blood and gore, but with not a single FCC member left alive.