Back when I was in college and writing for ObsceneNewg.com (which doesn't exist anymore) My buddy Greg needed two people to write stories that he was then going to do something with for his college English course. The stories were supposed to some how be connected to the myth of Theseus. Naturally I was willing to help out my buddy when he asked me to write him a story, and I knew I'd turn it into an article for Newg. I wanted to include photos of action figures acting out the story so I'd use GI Joes for my little army story. I used GI Joe file names (although I changed one) to help me keep the characters straight. So, I'm re-posting this story here... knowing that the photoshop skills may leave something to be desired. At the time my roomate was in ROTC and this was shortly after 9/11 and Black Hawk Down, so my mind was on military stuff a lot.
General Abernathy sat at his desk in his office with the lights turned off. The sun light from outside filtered in through the blinds causing a strange striped pattern to streak across his face and uniform. He knew he needed to find a team of soldiers to complete a dangerous mission. This is the kind of mission that makes men heroes. The soldier who could lead a group of men into this situation and come back and tell him, “The mission was a complete success sir!” would be the type man who could some day replace him as general.
Just ten hours before, someone had penetrated the base’s outer wall and slipped into a small office in the unmarked bunker near the air strip. Surveillance video revealed it was a man of average height wearing urban camo and a mask. The masked intruder incapacitated several guards and escaped into the desert.
Sources point to a small apartment complex in the center of Baghdad. It is believed that the thief is an ex-green beret that has been accused of numerous terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage. General Abernathy had read Lt. Henderson’s files, and knew this man was capable of such a convert mission. In fact he had done similar work for the Military while he was enlisted. He knew that this would be one of the most impossible missions he had ever sent any of his men on. Since the objective was in a highly populated area and he could only send a small task force, the men he chose would need to be the best of the best.
As he looked through the gaps in the blinds, the General saw Sgt. Conrad Hauser and a small group of men running some advanced drills. As Hauser barked commands at the men, Abernathy knew who he would have to lead the mission. He sent a message to Sgt. Hauser telling him to report to his office immediately.
After running several obstacle courses and unloading a few rounds of ammunition at the shooting range, Sgt. Hauser dismissed the troops and retuned to the barracks. As he walked to his bunk he wiped the sweat off his forehead. He picked up the note and read it to himself:
“TO: Hauser, Conrad S. (E-8) Master Sergeant
FROM: The Office of General Clayton M. Abernathy
Sgt. Hauser the General request your presence
in his office ASAP for combat assignment.”
A drop of sweat rolled off Hauser’s chins and landed on the paper. He folded the paper and shoved it in his pocket. He grabbed a towel and headed out towards the General’s office. As he walked he wiped his face on the towel and straightened his shirt. He entered the General’s Office and stood at attention. The General eyed up the sergeant and begins to brief him.
“Hauser, good to see you. Oh, at ease soldier.”
“Thank you sir,” the sergeant replied.
Hauser looked at the General and got that feeling he always received when he was in the presence of Abernathy. Abernathy was a born leader. His dirty blond hair combed perfectly in place. He uniform was perfectly pressed and his name patch was perfectly parallel with his belt. Just by looking at the General, Hauser could just tell that this man deserved every star that he proudly wore on his shoulders.
The General leaned back in his chair and began to brief the sergeant.
“I need you to put together a small strike force; you get one hummer and all the men and equipment it can hold. I need you and your team to sneak into an apartment in Baghdad and recover the plans for the Taurus Weapon. You have heard about the Taurus Weapon, right? Well of course you have, but I can’t say anymore about it because it is classified. Those plans must be recovered. The man we believe stole the plans is a former green beret. Everything else you need is in this folder.”
The Sergeant and the General talked for a few more minutes and then the Sergeant walked out. As he walked out he assembled his team in his mind. Hauser walked towards the other barracks and began tapping men on the shoulder and telling them to gear up and be in the briefing room in thirty minutes.
In exactly thirty minutes all six of the strike force had taken a seat in the briefing room. Hauser opens the briefing by saying “Well, we all know each other, but to follow protocol I’ll take roll.”
“Private First Class Kibby?” asked Sgt. Hauser.
“Here,” replied PFC Kibby a highly trained communications expert.
“Private First Class Gambello?”
“Present,” replied PFC Gambello as he finished cleaning his M-16.
“Private First Class Graves?”
“Ready and able,” shouted back PFC Graves.
“Private First Class McConnel?”
“I’m here,” the machine gunner replied in an uneasy voice.
“Private First Class Steinberg?”
“Ready to roll,” replied PFC Steinberg a driver on many past missions.
“Private First Class Brown?”
“Yep, I’m here,” called back PFC Brown. He was an excellent marksman, but was know for his skill with shoulder mount rocket launcher.
The Sergeant briefed them and gave the order to move out. The men grabbed their equipment and pile into a hummer. PFC Steinberg drove the team off the base and into the city. He weaved in and out of streets and alleys towards the address given to them in the briefing. The men were all concentrating on the objectives. PFC McConnel sat with his eyes closed and slowly slipped into the mental state he likes to enter before each of his missions. His machine gun becomes like and extension of his arm and forgets how heavy his gun and ammunition is. The trip was long, but of course they did not travel on a direct path to the apartments. They needed to come in from the rear in case Henderson was expecting them. They spotted the building were the spy who stole the plans is allegedly staying. Before they stepped out of the hummer Hauser laid down the final game plan. Kibby and Steinberg would stay in the hummer and keep watch from outside. Hauser and Graves would be working together as a team and Gambello, McConnel, and Brown would be a team once inside. They would be inside for fifteen minutes and then were to get out. As soon as a team had the plans they were to radio to Kibby and let him know they were on the way out.
The team snuck into the building and splits up. Each mini team went up a different set of steps and met up at Henderson’s door. Hauser motioned with his hand to take down the door. McConnel moves in front of the door and attempts to kick it in. The door did not budge.
“He knows we’re here and barricaded the door” yells McConnel.
Hauser called out, “PFC Brown you know what to do!”
PFC Brown slung his M-16 over his shoulder and unhooked the bazooka that was hanging from his backpack. He loaded a rocket into it and placed the bazooka on his shoulder. “Stand back!” he shouted. Then he let the rocket fly. As it contacted the wall flames shot towards the solders. They all ducked and covered their faces as the wall evaporated into a cloud of dust and debris.
They swarm into the empty room. As soon as they all entered the room they heard gun fire from behind them.
PFC Graves turned around and screamed, “It’s that bastard Henderson! Prepare for incoming fire!”
McConnel set up his machine gun and started to lay down cover fire. Henderson is once again dressed in his urban camo uniform complete with face mask. He was in the door way of the room directly across the hall from them. Brown fired a missile into the room were the traitor was and the two halves of the Strike Force ran out of the empty room in two different directions. Hauser and Graves ran towards the room Henderson was in. Henderson fired off a few more shots and ran out. Hauser and Graves quickly searched the room while the other team ran after Henderson.
PFC Gambello fired a shot that hit the brief case Henderson was carrying. The handle on the case broke and fell to the floor with a thud. Henderson let off a quick burst of fire at the window in front of him and dove through it.
Brown ran up to the case and carefully opened it up. Inside were the plans they had come for. Gambello looked out the window and down towards the street. He saw Henderson running down the fire escape. His shots were rushed and bounced off the metal frame of the fire escape and flew off in different directions. Brown grabbed the plans and started to yell to Sergeant Hauser when the floor beneath the three soldiers collapsed.
Hauser and Graves finished searching the room and ran; Graves informed Hauser that they were running out of time. They left the ransacked room and ran out of the building the way they had come in. When they got to the hummer, Hauser asked how much time was left on the mission clock. Kibby reported that there was two minutes and thirty seconds left. Hauser waited and waited for McConnel’s team to check in saying they had the plans or to emerge from the building.
By now every criminal and terrorist hiding out inside the apartment building was awake and ready to go to war. McConnel and his team were now taking heavy fire from other occupants of the apartment building who thought they were the ones the soldiers were after. The men took cover behind the rubble from the floor they had just fallen through.
Brown told PFC Gambello to give the hummer the signal that they had the plans, but the radio was smashed when they fell through the floor. The small group of soldiers was trapped and had no way out and could not report their status.
Hauser looked at the clock again. “They should have been out thirty seconds ago” he snarled.
Steinberg replied, “It’s thirty seconds… give ‘em time!”
Hauser waited a few more seconds. He was mad at himself because it was looking like the mission was a failure and Hauser was not about to leave a man behind.
“I’m going in!” Hauser called out as he ran in the main door.
He burst through the door and shouted “all men out now!” and with that he felt a cool breeze go through his side and collapsed.
“Sarge is hit!” McConnel yelled. He stood up and ran for the door. As he approached Hauser he crouched down and picked up the sergeant by his belt and ran out. The rest of his team followed while trying to provide McConnel with a little cover fire.
They piled into the hummer and raced through the city. Twisting and turning down the unlabeled road back to their base.
“Hauser, speak sir!” Graves shouted at the lifeless sergeant as he lightly smack his cheeks. PFC Kibby was rummaging thought a first aid kit trying to figure out what he could do for the injured commander.
When they returned to the base General Abernathy was glad to see they had returned with the plans and medics raced to save Hauser’s life. There was nothing they could do for him. PFC Kibby explained about how Hauser had thought the mission was a failure and wanted to try to save his men and had no idea what he was racing into.
“He didn’t look before he leaped” Steinberg chimed in.
The General promoted PFC McConnel for his bravery and leadership on the mission and Sergeant Hauser was given purple heart for his service and a proper military funeral, complete with a twenty-one gun salute.