Thirteen

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It’s November 14, 1934. A squadron of bombers is in flight to drop their payload on two targets, as we speak, and it’s time to eliminate the anti-aircraft batteries located around the locations. (Over the intercom the pilot speaks) “Alright men we are three minutes away from the drop off zone so have your equipment checked and ready”. “Sergeant Mac, have you checked your chute yet?” a soldier asked. “Yes it’s in good condition and I’m ready to jump! How about you private?” asked Sergeant Mac to the private, who is a new recruit fresh from basic training. The private doesn’t answer back to the sergeant, and a red light goes off. “Alright boys, good luck, and don’t get yourselves killed; you have ten seconds left” (from the overhead intercom). “Sound off!” now ordered Sergeant Mac; (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine) from the soldiers. Sergeant Mac thought to himself - thirteen men under my command, thirteen that’s not a lucky number, thirteen wives and mothers hoping their sons or husbands don’t get killed, thirteen. Down on the ground, two batteries spot the almost invisible low flying plane and the enemy start aiming and shouting “Get ready, it’s a bomber, brace yourselves!” Shells are now heard by the airborne troops and one begins frantically yelling “They’re firing at us! How did they anticipate us? We were supposed to be covert!” Two more soldiers from the dark corner of the plane shouted “Let’s jump, for god’s sake, I’m not going to die like this!” The men headed to the door, jumped how they were trained, and started falling through the mist like ghosts creeping through the fog of night. “Pull your cords men” shouted Sergeant Mac, when they arrived at the correct altitude. Instantly, the sky from the ground had the shape of floating dandelion puffs. The plane’s presence were known and blasted at over and over again, but the soldiers landed undetected in the forest near the reinforcements. The surrounding village and farms were quiet once again, once the bombers left the area. Mac’s soldiers, during this time, started unhooking equipment, grabbing ammunition and weapons, and suiting up in the guile suits. Sergeant Mac ordered his two squads to fan out and to stay low. They all knew that the guile suits only work when in close proximity to vegetation. As soon as they were all geared up, the sergeant’s men oriented themselves to their mission. They all knew they were going to run into heavy resistance in the nearby village. A special new soldier was in the Sergeant Mac’s squad. The commander, after reviewing the file of this soldier, decided to transfer him to this airborne unit because of his prior achievements and the recommendations of prior unit leads. Before the mission, the commander asked for a meeting with all of the division’s sergeants and officers, to discuss the assignment of this soldier. His credentials were astonishing; recently he was part of a tactical assassin program brought together by the commanding general in charge of the assault on Europe. Usually he went on lone missions - the corporal somehow disabled entire squadrons with only his rifle and some C-4. Using learned methods for assassinating troops, he rarely was even seen, accomplishing several documented missions. Sergeant Mac seen that his skills would be helpful in accomplishing the mission that was upon them now. The private was given the task of “over watch” using his scoped rifle, and to “take care of unwanted attention”. When the other squad got into trouble, they asked for help on the radio: “Sir, we’re getting pounded over here! We could use some assistance!” “We’ll send the sniper (the corporal) over right away.” Mac commanded on the radio “Corporal, head over to second squad’s position. See how many of your bullets can help them. They’re almost in position to take out the anti-aircraft guns.” “Yes sir”. The corporal sprinted through the backside of the village to avoid detection. He used his expert skills to stay elusive among the gardens and weeds around the edge of the settlements. He crawled up to a ridge and got a good overview through his scope. “Four men on mounted turrets, three flanking from the right and two guarding the aircraft gun. Piece of cake!” The corporal quickly switched to his grenade launcher and loaded a shell. He fired, the shell whistled and headed towards its target. “Ka-boom!” he said, after he looked back into his scope to look for any stragglers. Three of the buildings became piles of brick, collapsing on the aircraft guns, and forcing the turrets and remaining troops to turn their attention towards him. The enemy soldiers started firing the weapons at his position. They were working their way towards him. This freed up the second squad to pin them down in some tall grass. The private quickly got to a new position to get a better view of the remaining soldiers. Sergeant Mac interrupted his progress, ordering on the radio “Corporal, we’ve finished with the remaining anti-aircraft guns. Go ahead and link up with second squad. They will contact the bombing squadron to join the party.” The corporal heard the sound of running, disoriented soldiers coming from the village, as the bombers approached from the west. “Time to finish the job” he whispered, as he unsheathed his knife. The enemy, once they were clear of the village, stopped to talk over their next move. The private sneaked up on their location, not making a sound. They had made defensive positions looking for a sure attack from the forces in the area. Little did they know that an enemy soldier was in their midst. “Here we go” whispered the private. One guarding the perimeter thought he heard something, so he went to investigate. This soldier did not have a chance when he met his dagger. The corporal unsheathed two more blades, but they were smaller in size. He repeated what he said to his first victim and bullets started flying from inside the perimeter. They were in the right direction of where the private had been, where he wanted to them to aim. He climbed up a tree in front of the assailants shouting “Hasta luego!” He flung the two blades, which perfectly hit both his targets in the back, leaving them speechless and without life. The sun started to rise and the sound of more bombers was arriving from the west, taking out the remainder of the defenses of the enemy.

Sergeant Mac had chosen this soldier wisely. He came with thirteen good soldiers, and he left with thirteen. One was as good as a dozen though.





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