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Snapshot of My Life
This was after the firefight in hall 23A.
Somehow I'd gotten separated from the rest of the group. This was less of a problem than I'd expected, since I'd managed to retain my mike in the gunbattle. I was dashing up the stairs, not really knowing where they led.
“Sound off,” panted Captain Hymas in my earpiece.
“Three, a little lost,” I said, taking the stairs two at a time.
“Five, slightly wounded.”
“What do you mean, slightly wounded?” Hymas demanded. “Either you are or you aren't. Can you still move, or walk, or shoot, or-” the sound cut off but I wasn't worried. Hymas had probably just zeroed in on Gallardo's channel.
A door burst into view at the top of the stairs- a good thing too, my legs were staring to burn. I grabbed at the handle- locked. But come on! It wasn't even electronic? I had the thing picked in nine seconds flat.
The door swung open, revealing a cloudy night lit up with spotlights that swooped and spun dizzyingly over the compound. I was on the roof. Well, a roof. There were other buildings surrounding me.
There was a loud chopping throbbing noise to my right and down- easily recognized as a helicopter. I ran over to the edge of the roof and dropped down on one knee, watching.
Not that there was much to watch. There was nothing but a big black military helicopter firmly on the ground with its rotors on in the middle of a courtyard. I couldn't see a single person- not even a pilot.
Hymas's voice crackled to life in my ear. “…and we'll get a doctor to look at it when we're done here. All right. Kayson, you said you were lost?”
“Yessir,” I reply, glancing around. “I'm, uh, on a roof. Somewhere. It's hard to tell.”
“Don't you have a map?” asked Hymas in a measured voice. “Use the dumb thing and figure out where you are.”
I checked quickly. “Ahh, yes. Sir-” I stopped suddenly.
There were people coming out into the courtyard. One was wearing a helmet and jogging- across the concrete and into the pilot's seat of the copter. Five more (in uniform) fanned out around the perimeter. Two stood near the machine but didn't board, talking to each other. It was impossible to hear what they were saying.
I was narrating. “I think this is important. I'm near a plaza thing surrounded by buildings. There's a helicopter on the ground, running. I count eight people, two potential passengers and one pilot, five probably not flying. They seem to be waiting on someone, something…”
I caught my breath. There was a new person. Even from up here I could see the cardboard-brown hair. “Sir. Sir, it's Crayman, he just walked in. I repeat, I've got a visual on Crayman.”
“Crayman?” Hymas repeated, startled. “You're sure?”
“Yes, sir, dead positive, awaiting orders.” He was crossing the open area quickly.
Hymas sighed. “Take no action.”
I must have heard wrong. “What?”
“Take no action. Taking subject into custody is not feasible at this point, I'm calling for an abort. Gallardo's hurt and they're combing the compound for us, we've gotta get out quick.”
“Hymas, sir, we can't just leave! Crayman is a passenger on the copter, I'm sure of it, if we don't strike now then we may never have another chance. We don't have any idea where they're headed.”
“And what do you suggest?” he snapped.
“Sir,” I said, taking out my gun, “I'm going to fire on them. Try to injure Crayman if possible, incapacitate the helicopter if not. It should give us another chance. Then I'll meet up with you and we can get out.”
“With your permission, of course,” I added as an afterthought.
He sighed. “This is a stupid idea. Go ahead.”
I aimed at Crayman's leg- no point in bringing him in dead. First bullet.
He moved six inches farther forward than I'd anticipated and it missed. Before I could blink he was inside the helicopter. Shouts bounced off the concrete.
In the next two seconds, I aimed and shot three times for the fuel tanks. The first shot hit, I heard it, but nothing happened to the metal. The second one I saw land clear at the other end of the plaza. The third bullet actually sparked as it ricocheted off.
“It's armored, dang it,” I spat, reeling away from the edge. Quite obviously my presence had been noticed, since there was suddenly a spray of bullets where my head had been. The guards had machine guns.
“I told you,” sighed Hymas. “Now get out of there. We're near the east entrance.”
“Sir-” The helicopter was lifting off. The frequency of the engine changed as it began to rise. An idea thrust itself into my head and I seized it. “Sir, I'm going to stow away on the helicopter.”
“WHAT?! Kayson, no! Hold your position, I repeat hold your position!”
“Stay where you are! What exactly are you planning to do? Isn't it taking off?”
“Yes, but judging from it's trajectory it'll come right past me. I'll jump.”
“Kayson, so help me, if you try it...”
I ignored him. The helicopter had turned and was beginning to come past the roof. I started to run.
“…stay right where you are, that's an order! I can't have a dead operative on my hands!”
“You won't, sir,” I panted, and leaped.
For a terrifying second, I was free falling…out and down and into the night… until my flailing hand closed around something metal.
My arm was almost yanked out of its socket. I had a landing strut in one hand, which was supporting all my weight. I realized that the other hand was still clutching my gun, so I couldn't use it to hang on- the other option was dropping my only weapon. There was no chance now of getting it back into its holster.
The wind didn't help matters. There was a terrific downdraft from the rotors screaming above me, and the wind from moving forward. The slight easterly breeze I'd noticed earlier was completely lost in the storm.
There was a slight hissing nearby, followed half a second later by a far-off report. I was being shot at by the guards in the plaza. Crap. Frantically, I tried to shift my position to avoid the fire- they were strafing the helicopter.
It was at this point that I looked up and saw movement- a door to the copter had opened mid-flight. And there was a guy looking down at me, obviously less than pleased. And armed.
You know what? At this point I realized this had probably been a bad idea.