It was 10 minutes past midnight. The room was in pitch dark with. The only visible source of light was emitted from a red dot of a handheld radio. He slightly hunched his both arms and rested them on his lap. Holding tight on his trusted old JXR-14 assault rifle, it created a silhouette similar to a boxer the moment before he was called to the ring. John's gaze was fixed to the red dot. A blinking dot went off and on in every 5 seconds interval. Each blink, brought back a vivid vision and sharp pain.

Red blink. Multiple stream of torchlight flashed and infra reds lines were everywhere.

Red blink. Thunderous roar of helicopter blades cutting through the air above.

Red blink. Flash banged, blinded glare.

Red blink. Multiple shots fired and then followed by continuing non-stop shots from multiple sources. The air was filled with hail of bullets, broken wood splinter, exploding soil from the lawn, shattered glasses.

Red blink. Then the piercing pain on the chest, stomach. Looking down at the hands - they were all covered in blood.

Red blink. As if in slow motion, the sudden scream froze the time and drown out the chaos.

Red blink. Betty's final gasp of air.

Red blink. Everything was black.

Green blink. John was slightly startled. The quick jolt back to reality.

The radio came to life with a familiar female voice. Feminine yet stern and clear. "Sergeant, Jackpot confirmed."

Holding up the radio close to his mouth. "Thanks Annie. I owe you one," said John.

"That would be the hundred and one favor you owe me Sergeant."

John could almost see a smirk on Annie's face.

"I'm not complaining though. Go out there and bring justice to Betty," added Annie.

"Hoo yah," replied John.

Picking himself up, John opened the door. A sudden of bright light burst into the room and he walked out.


The AXH-46 Mahican helicopter crew was doing the final check inside. Conversation was impossible due to the noise from the rotors. Lt Terry flipped few switches and the engine started to roar.

"Chalk One taking off. ETA 90 minutes. Enjoy the ride boys," Lt Terry echoed through the radio.

John felt a slight weight on his body as the helicopter lifted off. He glanced down and nodded to a few support crew on the ground. They gave him a thumbs up with a smile. This could be the last time they ever saw him, thought John to himself. He climbed in and clicked shut. The helicopter picked up and hovered for a few seconds, then John could feel the nose dip down as the helicopter picked up speed. Once they had cleared the airfield, the Mahican banked to the left and headed to the border.


After fifteen crew got into plane, the first voice crackled over the radio.

"Crossing over the border."

Soon, John felt a slight heavy headed as he dozed. There were updates every time they crossed specific checkpoints, but each time he slipped back to light sleep.

"10 minutes," the pilot voice blared through the radio headset.

That shook John from his daze, wiped his eyes and wiggled his toes to jump start the blood circulation. He stole a glance at his team member on his right, a corporal by rank and hailed from Brooklyn, New York (Sector 1). Similar body-build size and almost the same age range as John. What John saw in him, he saw it in his own self. The deep burning fire desire to fight.

"5 minutes."

All the external thoughts were gone and it was time to get back the focus on the mission. John switched on the combat mode on his helmet. The face armor pulled down and closed in tight to the helmet. Everything was dark. The mounted display with the tactical and technical features started to come online one by one. John turned and looked around the cabin to ensure his helmet is functioning well. He pulled the gun tightly to his chest so it didn't get hung up when he roped out, and checked the safety one for the last time.

"1 minute."

The crew chief slid the door open. John slid the fast rope to the Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES) bar. He gave the rope a hard tug to ensure it was secure and the crew chief checked it as well. Then, John slid his legs out over the edge of the helicopter and got into the breeze, leaned out the door and finally caught a glimpse of the drop point. A rooftop with a square area of approximately 10 by 10 meters.

The engine noise changed as the AXH-46 Mahican started to hover and got into position. The rope was thrown down.

John turned and looked at his ever ready team, "See you guys on the ground."

"GO! GO! GO!"

He swung out and roped down, followed by the rest.

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