As Belov lunged, I yelled a warning. I didn’t dare pull my pistol- not in a chopper in flight. Bullets have a bad habit of breaking unintended things if you missed. Not that I would but I wasn’t exactly at my best…
Ustinov looked at Belov as the latter reached him with the knife outstretched, the blade plunging into the surprised Russian officer’s chest. The look of sheer surprise at being stabbed… is real. Especially when it is a complete surprise.
Filitov, who had been looking over the wounds on the third Russian trooper, spun and yanked Belov off of Ustinov- the blade staying in the Officer’s chest. As the prisoner fell backward, I lashed out with a boot as the crew chief shifted out of the way. Connecting with Belov’s head, I managed to stun the fucker when Filitov crashed into him.
Pinning him to the floor, the enraged Spetznaz NCO proceeded to punch the shit out of our boy while Doc scrambled to Ustinov. I, now able to move some as the stun from my hits was washed away with adrenaline, shifted to kick the fuck again.
Mind you, this was not an easy trick… While there was space in the back of the Black Hawk series helicopter, using the space as a mini-cage match arena was not good. Tends to play havoc with the stability of the craft while in the air…. And this was fucking with it hard…
To the pilot’s credit, he kept us from falling out of the sky- I could hear the crew chief and gunner telling the pilot what was going on so at least *they* knew this wasn’t us playing fuck-fuck games. However, the donnybrook in the back needed to end fast…
Filitov, with the aid of my second kick, had Belov semi-pinned as he proceeded to use the asshole’s face as a punching bag. Three… four…. Five times, Filitov’s right hand connected with Belov’s face. “*Ganic, open the door…*” He said in Russian as he hit the man a sixth time.
Oh, I knew where this was going… and while I didn’t think he’d toss him, I also knew Belov didn’t know he wouldn’t. Yelling at the Chief to secure Vasiliy, I grabbed the latch and popped it.
The Crew Chief managed to attach a safety line to Filitov’s belt as he shoved Belov’s head and shoulders out the door into space- the only thing holding him from tumbling out being the very pissed Russian’s hand.
“*GIVE ME A REASON TO LET YOU GO COMRADE… JUST ONE FUCKING REASON!!!*” Vasily yelled at Belov “*IF HE DIES, YOU DIE!*”
For his part, Belov recovered his bravado in a retort. “*YOU DON’T DARE- MOSCOW WILL KILL YOU!!*” Well that was a true statement- they wanted Belov bad and his dying by Filitov tossing him from a chopper wouldn’t go over well.
“*I DON’T CARE! YOU WILL BE DEAD SO IT WON’T MATTER, NOW WILL IT?*” Vasily snarled. “*FALLS FROM 50 METERS UP AND 200 KILOMETERS AN HOUR WILL MAKE SURE OF THAT…*”
Seeing the Crew Chief come up with a dozen zip-ties, I called to Filitov. “*COMRADE… PULL HIM BACK IN; SERGEANT CASEY HAS A SOLUTION TO HIS FREEDOM…*” I said. “*AND I’D LIKE A TURN AT HIM TOO!*” Not that I was gonna be able to- I was not up for a fist fight right now. But felt good to say, damnit.
Doc was working like mad on Ustinov; the other Spetznaz trooper helping him stem the blood flow while MacPhearson did his damnedest to prevent the captain from dying of the stab wound and stabilizing him. Judging from the muttered invective coming from the Corpsman’s mouth, it was not going well… Not over, but not good.
Filitov pulled Belov back inside; between him, the Crew Chief and the other gunner who slipped back into the troop compartment to help, they bundled up Belov with more Zip-ties than one would think possible as well as a bunch of 550 cord for good measure. A hogtied steer had more freedom to wiggle than he did when the three were through.
Doc continued to work on Ustinov and keep him stable for the rest of the flight- the blade staying right where it was ‘cause you don’t remove an impaled object if you don’t need to. The chopper pilot, once the ruckus back here settled, milked as much speed out of the SpecOps helicopter engines as he could. A veteran Ops pilot, he knew speed was life…. And the field hospital at Bondsteel was the Russian Officer’s only chance.
Flaring hard to a landing at the dedicated pads for the hospital, both Pave Hawks were met by medical teams- a trauma team for ours- along with a few squads of armed troops. Bloodhound had called ahead, briefing the camp on what was coming in as well as who… so there wasn’t surprises when we landed.
Ustinov was first one off our bird, Doc going with the Trauma Team that came out to get the badly injured officer. I was next- the multiple perforations I was sporting being serious enough to warrant a rush into Surgery to start removing bits. I was certain I was going to set off metal detectors for the next twenty years…
The other wounded Spetznaz troopers were next, my assurances they were cool carried some weight but not as much as Phantom’s. The Boss ordered, as he was being stretchered away, to have someone show the Russians someplace to sleep and stow their gear. Them and their chopper crews- this storm wasn’t going away anytime soon.
The Detail Captain, a former ranger I knew, asked what-the-fuck and Phantom told him what happened in short form. Seconds later, demeanors changed and the Spetznaz guys were led off to the SpecOps huts; those had their own armory and were separate of the regular spaces.
These guys came and fought alongside us. Least we could do was give ‘em somewhere to sleep and food, right?
Filitov and Ving escorted Belov, both men with a secure death grip on a prisoner arm as they frog-marched him to a Medical HMMV to be transported to Detention. Tiger went with them to help pave the way; there was going to be ruffled feathers here with this prisoner and we all knew it. Agency Operations were not popular things here (I remembered that from a long time ago) and what mitigated protest was that it was US Special Warfare working this and not CIA.
Having the Russians present, presented a few problems but nothing that couldn’t be mitigated.
“… and let me tell you, it upset a few chair warmers they were there,” I said as I looked around the fire ring. The crowd had grown some and I noticed Fisk was present too. Jeez… I can draw a crowd apparently. I took a drag on the nub of the cigar that was left. “But it turned out to be a damn good thing for the Russians- that storm lasted three days.”
A voice from the side spoke then- and it was Colonel Johnson’s. He had apparently come up during Story Time and who knows how much he heard. “Some story, Senior Chief… and it answers a question or three for me at least,” he said. “I was at Bondsteel as a Major with the 10th back then. I remember that storm and the Hinds. Never knew why they were there other than a safe place to park in the blizzard. Now I do…”
I looked over at the Colonel. “Sir, happy to have answered a few questions; though I suspect not all of them were from back then…”
Johnson chuckled. “You would be correct, Senior.” He said. “You would be correct…”
Reed shook her head. “Senior, did Ustinov make it?”
I looked back at MA2. “No. The docs there did everything they could but between the blood loss from the other wounds, it wound up being too much on his system. Died on the Table.” A pause. “After he found out, Filitov came close to breaking into the Detention Area to kill Belov but the guys stopped him. Instead, they found him some hooch to get smashed on and toast Ustinov’s memory.”
I smiled then- it was one of the few good memories of that entire affair and I wanted to savor it a few minutes. “Lots of vodka was consumed that night as well as moonshine acquired from somewhere. The Spetznaz guys know how to send someone off…”
Gunny spoke up then. “Senior, sounds like a party, as it should be. He sounded like a good man. What did happen to Belov? I mean, before he got here?”
I tossed my cigar nub into the fire. “When the storm lightened up, Representatives from the Hague showed to get him. A very eclectic mix of GSG9 and some French GIGN showed up to escort him to the Netherlands to sit in a cell. I lost track of him after that; had zero reason to think about him in ten years…” I looked at my watch then and noted the time. “Alright… Story Time with Senior is over. 2200 is in five minutes and I am pretty damn sure there is more shit to do…”
Grumbles and laughter greeted the statement and all of the Enlisted folks departed, leaving Fisk, Wilson and Roach (who had shown up early on in the story). Colonel Johnson also stayed, and he looked like he wanted to say something.
I preempted him. “Colonel, I’m pretty sure I didn’t reveal anything classified. Except maybe us and them really do talk.” I said with a slight smile. “If I did, I’ll eat it.”
Johnson shook his head. “Senior Chief, I wouldn’t know about the Limitations, and I didn’t hear anything odd enough to wonder about them. But I’m afraid I have some news for you.”
News? “Color me curious, sir.”
Johnson looked over at Wilson and Fisk. “Gents, I came over to let you know Senior Chief is being sent back to Lancaster to catch a flight West.” He said. “Apparently, he pissed off someone enough to pull him out of here.”
Fisk shook his head. “Of course…” He replied. “If it’s related to the Airfield incident, do they want me too?”
“It probably is and No they don’t, captain… The Orders came for Senior Ganic alone. I figured I would be the messenger,” the Colonel said. “I figured it would be more than just him for that too… but they just want him. Said they would send out someone special for him too.”
I could hardly believe my ears on this one. Someone had a SERIOUS hard-on for me, it seems, and I had Zero Clue as to why. Well, that wasn’t true- I did fuck up that pompous ass two weeks ago… and I do wonder if he is related to that other major. Something also told me I’d be needing different duds than field cammies…
“Sir, was there a time frame to report?” I asked. “Cause if this is Ye Olde Serious Shite, I am going to need my dress uniform. And that’s at my house up North.” I kinda knew this answer but had to ask.
The Colonel shrugged. “Nothing concrete- the word was to get you back to Lancaster and ready to get sent to Denver on the bird coming for you.” Was his answer. “Depending on the Air Force, that could be now or in three days. Where do you live again?’
“Auburn, Sir. Just north and west of Hamburg; about ten miles driving.” I replied. “A small farm just outside of the boro.”
Johnson was quiet for a long moment then looked over at Fisk. “Captain, you did say at Officer’s Call that your Third was a bit tired and undermanned, yes? 70 percent strength?”
Fisk nodded. “I did. Total Company strength is about 80 percent or so but they are the most beat up.”
Johnson scratched his chin. “Ok… Considering Battalion has worked most of this madness with them on point or separate of us, I think we may be able to spare His Platoon for a while again.”
Fisk chuckled. “So, pull them and send them back with Senior?”
“Yep,” Johnson replied. “I think the Commando Platoon can have some down time… It’s been a long three weeks for them.”
Commando platoon? Oh there was a story there… “Sir? Commando Platoon?” I queried. Something told me I already knew the answer…
Johnson looked back at me. “Senior, between the Battle of East Pete, your rep, the City Island incident and your plunge to catch Mobely, the Third has earned that nickname,” He replied. “And with good reason. As far as Brigade is concerned, on a semi-informal level, that is your platoon’s designation.”
SEMI informal? Oh for the love of… “Sir, someone at Brigade needs a hobby. Or is jealous.”
“Perhaps,” He allowed. “But it is what it is, Senior. You are a big reason for it… and for a scratch platoon of reservists, your entire platoon rose to the challenge like champs.
Roach spoke up then. “Jim, I admit some jealousy over what you and yours pulled. Some crazy work and y’all kicked ass. Some movie level ass kickin’, in my opinion.” Roach spit some dip juice into a waterbottle; swear to god he always had some… “And I reckon this is either an Attaboy or someone really has it out for you an’ has the pull to gank you from the field. One of the two.”
Wilson added to it. “I guess you will know when your ride gets here. If it’s a squad of MP’s collecting you, then you have a problem.
Johnson continued. “And on the possibilty it’s the latter, I think something official can be cooked up to let you go collect your uniform. IF they aren’t waiting for you when you get to Lancaster, at least. I’ll see if Wertz the Liaison can’t get you permission from Wertz the Administrator and General Leyland to go up there. Reading Airport has been reopened while we were out here so it’s not like there isn’t Government presence up there now.”
I was flabbergasted. “Sir…” The surprise must have been apparent on my face as the Colonel spoke again
“I would not do this for anyone, Senior. Never a fan of you Operator sorts… but I have doubts anyone else in Brigade would have had the knowledge, or luck, to pull off what you folks did,” The Colonel cautioned. “I figure if you are gonna be called on the carpet for what you and the platoon did, for good or bad, you may as well look right.”
Well, at least the man is honest. “I appreciate that, Sir.”
“Don’t thank me, Senior Chief,” Johnson replied. “Thank whatever power put you in this position. I’m just able to maybe facilitate you looking the part of Big Damn Hero straight out of Central Casting or the condemned being led to the gallows.” He then pulled a fat cigar out of a pouch on his webgear and stuck it in his now smiling mouth. “How’s that go? If you gonna get in trouble, at least look good doing it?”
The other three officers busted out laughing at the dry delivery and I had to chuckle a bit too. “Something like that, Colonel…” Well, this was all unexpected. And I would not know what comes next until I got back to Lancaster. This was going to be interesting…
Damn Chinese Curses. I really would prefer to be a dog snoozing on my damn porch right now than be in this chaos. Can’t have everything, I guess. Besides, where would I put it?