Yeah that Interesting Landing should have been a big clue as to the state of this op. A really bigclue the size of the Ike… but nothing to do about it but soldier on and hope Murphy was just funnin’ with us.
Who was we kidding?
After we cleaned up, stashed the chutes and pitched their guns, we set out towards this dot on the map that was the large ville of Ivanjica. Seems our man maintained a little dacha on the mountain a dozen kilometers north of it and would be there for a three day window some two days from now.
As we were about forty kilometers from there, we had some serious ground to make up and that little festive occasion at the LZ only made it more important to get out of the area.
We covered some serious ground that night, managing about 12 kilometers over that terrain in the dark…. And no one’s Night-Vis crapped out either. As sunlight began to peak across the mountains, we found shelter in a cave high up on a hill. Very defensible and out of ready sight of anything so there was no accidental discovery to be chanced.
A quiet morning and afternoon passed… and we rose with the sunset to beat some more feet on our journey.
About halfway into the night’s jaunt, it began to rain.
“Bloody zoomie weathermen. Can’t they ever get a fookin’ thing right?” Scottie grumbled as he found a puddle.
“You are surprised how?” Came the amused whisper from Tiger. “Its just a bit of rain…”
“Mate, the bloody weatherman said it would nae be any rain. Cold maybe but nae rain.”
“It’l pass.” I said. “Ain’t like you never been muddy before.”
“I’d like one time when I ain’t mate.”
Like a ghost, the LT was there. “Gentlemen…. I really would prefer you all to shut the fuck up cause they can hear you in Belgrade.”
“Aye lad. Sorry”
“That’s better… now let’s get going again, shall we?” And back into the misty night he faded.
That’s when I started to worry. Phantom does *not* cuss. Ever.
Hayseed, never the brightest among us, noticed that too as he passed me for my turn as tail-end-charlie. “LT’s a bit off ain’t he?”
“Tell me about it, Gus,” was my whispered reply. “I don’t like it either…”
We made awesome time, despite the rain and made it to the outskirts of Ivanjica before the sun would think about rising, a light rain the entire way.
Finding a small house on the outskirts, we busted a small window and slipped inside. One by one we entered and covered each room as we made a fast sweep of the house. No one was supposed to be here and barring any intell goofs, it should be right. No cars at least and no kids toys either…. so no one here, right?
Of course, there was…
It was Hayseed and Tiger that found them- a pair of lovers locked in an embrace and asleep, covers askew and barely covering their nakedness. The female must have felt or heard something as she opened her eyes as Tiger got close with some duct-tape. “Ah-” Her scream was cut off in mid syllable as the Flip was on her like white on rice… tape over her mouth and a strong hand planted in the middle of her breasts pressing her to the bed. She was not moving easy…
Did I forget to mention the little bastard could bench the weight of any three of us combined?
Hayseed came in and planted the barrel of his M4 in the face of the boy, the muzzle stuffed into his mouth. Kid instantly froze, his eyes wide with fear and shock.
Irish came in and saw what was going on and immediately reached into his leg pack for a pair of one-use syringes. In each was enough knockout juice to put both to dreamland for a day, maybe two if they were skinny and not junkies.
Checking their arms, he nodded to himself and slammed home the syringe into the girl’s thigh first. A muffled scream and thrash as she struggled again… which only served to make the drug course through her veins in a hurry. Within two minutes, she was out cold.
Irish jabbed the boy mere seconds after her and got much the same effect, the howl of surprise seeming very loud in the house and instantly quiet afterward.
Phantom checked with Irish when he came out of the room. “Well?”
“Sleepin’ like lambs. They will be out for twenty four to thirty six, easy.”
He nodded. “Good…” Coming over to me, he lifted an eyebrow. “How much?”
I did the mental math of how much I brought of various currencies. “I got maybe enough with me to give each a grand in local bucks. If I dip into the euros, more than that.”
“Dip… it will help keep them quiet when they come too.”
“You’re the boss.” I said as I plopped my pack on the ground and began pulling the cash stash I always brought for contingencies.
Moving from team member to team member, Phantom checked each man and directed a double watch. Something had him buggin and even Abdul noticed.
Little did we know that he had a premonition about our target… and how screwed up Intel got things.
And boy did they screw the hell up.