2nd Squad – Leader: SSG Carlos “The Spick” Goulet
Standing outside his GMV’s passenger-side door and setting down the radio telephone, Staff Sergeant Goulet turned to look out toward the mountains and sighed, “Burkett, Fielden? On me!” he called out to his squad’s fire-team leaders. They approached as he set his Lightweight Helmet (LWH) on the seat of the vehicle and lifted the radio telephone again, “Outlaw Actual, confirm your last. Outlaw 1-1 repeats he’s got two International Security Consultant operators in custody as well as the target, he is secure… We’re requesting permission to bring the two operators to the convoy for questioning by the senior Staff Sergeant before egressing back to FOB Sidewinder.”
“Outlaw 2-1, hold one…” the base replied as Carlos turned and looked over his fire-team leaders, “I want you two to leave one man in each truck and the rest are to set up a forward security Overwatch along that ditch along the road. We’ve got reports from the Predator in, some high mobility vehicles in the area have been spotted, though it is unclear whether they’re coming this way or not. Our troops aren’t really supposed to be in Tajikistan, not until the fifteenth, so we need to tread lightly here… I don’t want any Taji within one hundred me—“ the radio cackled, “Outlaw 2-1, permission for the egress and interrogation is granted, however, ISC Corporate Operators are currently on their way from Kabul to secure their men’s release. I’d like you to return to the FOB ASAP, confirm.”
“Outlaw 2-1, confirm.”
“Right, Outlaw Actual, out.”
1st Squad – Leader: Brian “Slick” Anderson”
Lifting the taller of the two operators off the ground, Anderson looked them over, handing his rifle to Bennett and pushing him toward the orchid and the GMVs. A few seconds earlier he had dispatched a fire-team to bring up the other two GMVs to the other squad’s position before they went ahead with their egress. Hearing Outlaw 2-1’s response, Anderson slung his M16 over his right shoulder and lifted a cigarette from a pack in the MTV, “You boys smoke?”
The man wearing the boonie hat declined, while the one wearing a black beanie hat accepted kindly, “Yeah, if you don’t mind… So, uh, what brings you boys out this way? We weren't counting on backup."
“I could say the same to you, Mister…?” Anderson replied as he handed the man a cigarette and flicked open his zippo, lighting both the operator’s and his own. Pocketing the silver lighter engraved with a Ranger tab, he rested his hand in left hand in his MTV’s pocket and used the other to hold the cigarette’s filter. His shemagh, around his neck, and his Oakleys hanging from the top of his vest, he looked over the man as Bennett helped Clark carry the prisoner, Abdulla Ali Mahmud, a prominent al-Qaeda leader.
"I would've thought that was obvious," the man in the beanie said, "Given that we stole him out right from under your noses."
"Would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling Army boys," added the one in the boonie hat.
Chuckling slightly, Anderson exhaled a trail of smoke, stopping as they reached the convoy of four GMVs. Setting his weapon in the truck, he lifted his radio telephone, keying it quickly, “Outlaw Actual, target is in hands, ROE is still kill, confirm.”
There was a brief pause before, “Outlaw 1-1, confirmed.”
Nodding, he turned and motioned for Bennett to go ahead with his orders. Lifting his pistol from its holster, he fired twice into the man’s chest and cast him into a ditch on the side of the road. Turning back to the Operators, he sat in the truck, his feet hanging out on the road, “Okay gents, I’m gonna be frank with you… This is some serious government shit. DELTA, SEALs, MARSOC… They’ve been searching for this guy for months and we finally find him… Rangers got the green light, we come in… You’re hanging around and dampen the party. SOCOM ain’t gonna be too happy about this shit. So, I want answers… Who’s the fucking employer? Right now, it looks like Taliban or al-Qaeda separatists to me… Or a foreign government. If it is, I’d like to inform you that we are required to put you under arrest and expedite you most ricki-fucking-tick.”
“You're just mad because you got flash-banged," the man with the boonie said with a grin, "Okay, fine, we don't know the employer, we just stood to make an ass-ton of money, which you guys just blew for us. We were finally going to get that fishing boat we always wanted."
“Nothing at all?” Anderson quietly, “Okay, I’ll cut you a deal… You tell me all you know, and we’ll let you walk… And tell our PL that you held us up with sniper teams… And we had no choice… I make myself clear?”
The men looked at each other, smiling maliciously as Anderson lowered his sunglasses in the brightness. But before the two could answer, the Rangers opened fire on an approaching truck that had rolled out of the hills and into the poppy fields. Ducking into the rut with the two men, his rifle and helmet in hand, Anderson looked them over before pulling out his knife and slitting their constraints, pointing to their rifles, “If you really mean the United States Army no harm, then you’ll have no problem following us on your own will to our FOB and assisting us in this egress. It isn’t gonna be an easy walk back to Afghanistan! Let’s move!”