Continued from Twenty-six: Overt Sly
Twenty-seven: Hitting the Fan
Walker watched the exchange through binoculars. He crouched on a rooftop across the street from the alley mouth. He wasn’t happy with the location, but they couldn’t have gotten much closer without alerting the contact.
That contact apparently expected some kind of trouble. That, or he was compensating. Short and squat, with a patchy beard, he spoke with a cigarette held between his teeth like Walker had seen in Hong Kong movies from the 80s. He wore a leather car coat, which spoke to some level of resolve. It had hit 32 degrees, and that didn’t factor in the humidity.
“It looks like they’re friendly,” Becca said from beside him.
She watched the meet through a PSO-1 telescopic sight that appeared factory-fresh. The sight’s mounting on the AKM which Becca held also seemed relatively new. The AKM, though, had seen a few winters.
Both Becca and he had acquired longarms from Gurung’s collection. He had sworn by the AKM with the scope. “Perhaps not an L115 or even an SVD, but it hits hard and it shoots straight.”
Even with Gurung pitching the AKM, Walker had been happy with the M4. While it may have a few years on it, a cleaning had brought out the shine on the weapon. He had test fired a few magazines, and he liked its feel. Top that off with a C79 Elcan optical sight, and it almost felt like he had his trusty old C8 carbine.
The fixer had promised weapons to order would be available the next day, but getting together a nice set on short notice created problems in Nepal. Walker wasn’t about to complain. He had, however, mentioned a penchant for C8 Special Forces Weapon carbines, and a less passionate appreciation for M4A1s. Kitted out nice, of course.
Rudi looked uncomfortable. Everyone’s eyes were on him. While almost nothing reached his face, even the very slight angle of Gurung’s eyebrow’s and the miniscule turn of his mouth made Walker think he must be pissed.
“What was that?” Becca pulled away from the scope. She picked up her binoculars.
“I don’t know.” Walker rubbed the bridge of this nose. “He didn’t say anything. I’m sure of that.”
“Could someone have recognized him?” Becca asked.
“He’s got a heck of a reputation, so maybe.” Walker considered the scene with unaided eyes. Nothing much but multiple shadowy forms through the drizzle. “I don’t know, though. I don’t think he’d be there if he thought anyone could finger him. Gurung didn’t seem to have a problem with it, and I’d expect him to know.”
“Then what happened?”
“Fucked if I know.” Walker went back to the binoculars.
And there was the pass. Gurung got an envelope. Easy-peasy. Then everyone got on Rudi’s case again. Rudi pulled something out of his pocket.
“Ah, shit, the phone.” Walker lowered the binoculars. “Ours is on silent?”
“Ah crap.” Becca put down the binoculars so she could go through her pack. She pulled it out. “We missed two calls.”
“Rudi didn’t turn his off during the meet,” Walker said.
“And we didn’t turn ours on.” Becca worked the phone with quick fingers. “When was the last time I was on an op with a fuckin’ phone? Answer is never.”
“Shit happens,” Walker said. “We were briefed that we’d have no cell coverage, then we get the super phones, and I think everyone kind of forgot about them.”
The phone rang. It seemed loud to Walker, like Gurung’s contact and his boys would hear it. They wouldn’t. Not at that distance and not through the rain.
“It’s Rudi.” Becca took the call. “Rudi? What’s going on? Why did you leave Gurung?” She watched the alley, and Walker did the same through the binocs. “Understood. We’ll cover your escape.”
“Escape?” Walker didn’t take his eyes off the scene. Rudi had trashed his phone and had gone back to Gurung. He heard the crunch. He could well imagine the butt of the AKM smashing the cell.
“We’ve been made,” Becca said. “The phones had some kind of tracking chip. We’re meeting back at the rally point.”
Hi intended reply froze on Walker’s tongue. He saw the fabric fray on the back, and the blood plume on the front of the short, stocky contact. He heard the crack of a rifle.
“What the fuck–?” Becca could not have been watching.
Walker jammed his binocs in his pack. “The contact got shot.” He slipped the pack on. “We’ve got to go.”
Becca had her pack on and AKM in hand as she took the fire-escape down. Walker followed close behind, booted feet smacking metal grill. How much time? How many seconds, how many minutes to get to the floor, to get in the action? Rudi and Gurung didn’t have their longarms. Those were in the car.
They had to get to the car and get out.
His legs jolted. The jarring impact of hitting pavement, of being on the deck, didn’t register. He held his M4 ready. Becca crossed to the alley mouth. The car had died. Rudi had exited the passenger side, had fired bursts in the direction of a rooftop further down the alley.
Sniper. But that one couldn’t have taken out the contact. More than one.
Rudi dropped two of the contact’s boys that got frisky. He reloaded. He must have heard them approach. He spun. He almost smiled. “The car is dead. We need one of the trucks.”
Walker nodded. “Park, cover us.”
The unique sound of an AKM told Walker that Becca was in the game. Walker led to the SUV, taking a couple of snap shots in the sniper’s direction. Holding the M4 in one hand, he pulled open the driver’s side door. “You good at hotwiring these things?”
Rudi’s body hit the car, shedding momentum. “Stealing a car?” Rudi slung his MP5. “Piece of cake.”
“I damn well hope so.” Someone came around the corner. Walker had no more focus for Rudi. Three rounds centre mass, he had no time for anything too fancy. The target dropped.
This time, it wasn’t one of the contact’s boys. The target had the full SWAT outfit, helmet and ballistic goggles and the whole kit. Could these guys be police? A bunch of guys just doing their job, intervening in a gun battle in the middle of their city?
No. Too quick. The police couldn’t have arrived so fast. Certainly not SWAT. Not unless they were in on it. They had no markings on them, no big letters proclaiming identity.
A profile against the side of the building, trying to fire without presenting a real target. There was head enough. Walker proved the helmet didn’t stop bullets and another body lay on the ground.
Not police or army or anyone official. Just targets.
The truck roared to life. Walker looked. Likely everyone did. The perfect distraction. He heard the cry, and he knew what it meant. He turned his head to check Becca and Gurung. Gurung had dropped, blood on the doorframe he had used for cover.
AKM at her shoulder, firing round after round at the sniper, Becca moved from the passenger side around the back of the sedan. Walker took aim. The sniper kept his head down. That was the point. He squeezed off a few rounds until movement at the building’s corner forced him to change targets. Rudi leaned out of the driver side with the MP5 in one hand. He sprayed at the corner, giving Walker a chance to return to the sniper.
There, on the roof, he saw the shadow, saw the shape. Three quick rounds made that shadow duck. He heard the MP5 burp out another succession of rounds.
“We’re begging to get flanked.” Walker yelled it. Maybe he didn’t have to. The fire was intermittent, not the continuous noise one encountered on a real battlefield.
Becca had Gurung. He had his cutdown FAL firing, resting on his left forearm, blood evident on his upper arm and shoulder. Becca moved fast, getting behind the SUV. Walker rose up, stepped back, firing at the sniper and then traversing his fire to the corner. Keeping everyone down. He didn’t want to let go of the M4 for the time it would take him to open the back driver’s side door.
Rudi ducked back in. Becca’s AKM replaced it. As he heard the door beside him click and creak open, he replaced the M4’s magazine. Rudi’s hand came out with the MP5. He fired in the general direction of the sniper. Walker risked one last sighting. Saw the shadow. Got it to duck again with four rounds, then jumped into the SUV.
“In.” He shouted that as well. He shouted it pretty much into Gurung’s ear, who lay along the seat.
The SUV lurched back. Walker grabbed for Gurung’s jacket. Gurung tried to brace himself with his right hand. He grunted with the effort an mewled with something else.. Becca had the AKM out the passenger window, firing wildly. It was the best she could do. In an alley, hanging out the window would likely plant her in the wall. One didn’t control a big vehicle well going full tilt in reverse.
Something impacted on the body of the SUV. Walker made the assumption those were bullets.
“Don’t worry.” Gurung pushed himself back up into sitting position. “The vehicle is armoured against 7.62.”
Walker tried to help him get on the safety belt. “Who was that guy? Who was your friend?”
The SUV swung around as it reached the road. Squealing. Tires smoking. Bullets hitting. It lurched again, forward, screaming away from the alley.
“If I live through this, maybe I’ll tell you.” Gurung smiled. A lot of blood soaked his clothing. It soaked the chair and the floor.
“We need to get clear, but we need to get Gurung to a doctor,” Walker said.
“Not just yet.” Rudi enunciated each word, like he spat them out.
“I have my kit.” Becca already had her first aid pack out. “Give me ten minutes.”
“Not just yet.” Rudi spoke through his teeth. “We are not clear.”
“I’ve been shot before.” Gurung laughed weakly. “Not the end of the world.”
But it just might be for you.
Walker cursed loudly.
Continued in Twenty-eight: Kitting Up