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Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




chitoryu12 posted:

As far as I know, the Soviets never produced 75mm anti-tank guns or 88mm anti-air guns. That's all Nazi Germany.

P. sure Soviet guns would be 76mm and 85mm.

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chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Sperglord Actual posted:

P. sure Soviet guns would be 76mm and 85mm.

Right you are, Ken!

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



So what plan has Khrash come up with that the Americans need to counter?

quote:

It had come courtesy of the Iranian military, at the urging of the Iranian intelligence community, should the city someday be attacked by enemies of Kundez Sharif or by a refurbished Afghani army or even the U.S. military. This plan laid out several different ways to defend the city. It was based on tactics used in Iraq by Al Qaeda insurgents battling U.S. forces. The Iranians were helping these people, too, if just to bring even more instability to the region.

It was in Iran’s interest to keep Khrash as wild and woolly as possible. There were two ends to any pipeline. Just as Khrash served as a conduit for Al Qaeda fighters who needed to cool their heels in Iran, the dirty little city also served Iran as a pathway for its agents to move into not only Afghanistan but also the countries of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and beyond. Next to oil, Iran’s main export was Islamic terror. Having a way station right over the border helped them vastly in this enterprise.

Plus, should the American military ever come to the region in force, the plan set up Khrash just like the Iraqi insurgents set up Fallujah, except in a mirror image. Fallujah was a large city with a small percentage of terrorists; Khrash was a small city with a large percentage of terrorists—more than 80 percent in fact—and again, they were hard-core. If properly implemented, any attempt on the city would be long, slow, and bloody for the Americans. And the Iranians just couldn’t pass up seeing something like that. Thus the blueprint for a bloodbath in Khrash.

Having a plan was one thing, though. Getting it to work was another. That Khrash was filled with more than 15,000 seasoned Islamic fighters was not in dispute. But they were from many different groups, with no one leader.

One man then would be in charge of implementing the defense plan.

The man they called the Chief.

As the Psyclops plane buzzed the city and shattered all the windows, the Chief of the religious police was badass enough to just strip naked and go back to bed. Why should he be afraid? With the Crazy Americans throwing down the gauntlet, he's finally getting the opportunity to rid the world of them. He wakes up a bit past noon, dresses in his usual ratty clothes that he's worn for the past month, eats one of his many meals of the day, and makes phone calls to the three faction leaders in the city to let them know that the Americans were attacking Khrash.

In the mid-afternoon, the Chief leaves in a heavily armored Land Rover surrounded by technicals. Chewing some qat, he makes his way on a tour around the city to check on the defenses; he's got just about everyone stationed on the roofs, predicting the Americans will make an aerial strike.

quote:

The Chief visited the city’s trio of mosques next, one of which was located in the Old Quarter. These buildings were another key part of the defense plan. It was well-known throughout the Muslim world that the American military never fired on mosques. In fact, they always went to great lengths to avoid even going near a mosque during military action. It was a stupid policy. Whether it was Fallujah, Sadr City, or Khrash, every Muslim fighter involved in such things knew that because of the Americans’ obsession with political correctness, by not firing on mosques the United States was handing them safe haven in the middle of a war.

"What the Americans really need to do is blow up churches! That'll win everyone over and surely have no negative consequences whatsoever!"

quote:

This was why all of Khrash’s extra ammunition, weapons, explosives, and fuel was kept in the city’s mosques.

The Chief’s driver finally brought him to the place known as Kibosh. It was an old blockhouse located on the western edge of town, about a dozen blocks away from the center of the city. This was the Chief’s office. This was where the Chief’s top lieutenants could usually be found; it was also where his own substantial bodyguard force was barracked. The Chief maintained separate living quarters here as well, away from his wife and kids. There were torture chambers and a small jail here, as well as a rape room. The Chief arrived to a flurry of handshaking and rear end kissing by his officers. They had much to report to him, but he demanded a cup of tea and for someone to light him a hashish cigarette first.

He dealt with several small matters first: The moving of two more field pieces up to the city’s front gate. An increase in the ration of the hallucinogenic qat to be dispensed to his fighters starting with their evening meal. The testing of the city’s half-dozen huge bells, located in the minarets as well as atop the Holy Towers. These bells would be rung as the signal for the visiting Muslim fighters in the city—the Taliban and Al Qaeda—that they would be needed after all in the defense of the city.

The Chief then heard a report on the city’s pride and joy—the huge SA-6 SAM. He wanted to make sure that the batteries inside the big missile’s launcher were fully charged—this weapon had to be ready at all times. He was assured that everything was hot within the missile and that the backup batteries were also fully charged. These things done, the Chief sat atop an old, moldy rug and called on each of his cohorts to give his latest report.

The Chief takes reports from mullahs worried that the civilians will try to flee the attack, so he orders the first group that escapes to be rounded up and brought to the Holy Towers. His arms master reports on their latest shipment of weapons and explosives for making IEDs. One of the lowest deputy officers makes a shaking report that they still can't find any VHS tapes in the city.

Finally, he gets a report that Kundez Sharif's compound has been destroyed. This finally gets him to worry, as he's lost his best source of protection.

Angered, he returns to the square by the Holy Towers to find the group of 26 men, women, and children who attempted to flee the city and were captured by his religious police. His men whip and beat them into position against a wall, then take aim with their AKs for a mass execution. But before they can fire, they hear the roar of airplanes approaching and everyone (both executioners and victims) scatters.

quote:

The two planes arrived over the square a moment later. They were the F-14s, crudely converted into Bombcats. Each was weighed down with 12 five-hundred-pound bombs, way over the expected safe load of the F-14, especially poo poo boxes like these two. To add to the stability of this very risky attack, both planes were flying with their movable wings extended fully, as if they were landing. Between the weight, the swept-out wings, and the generally bad condition of both planes, they were moving very slowly.

To the surprise of just about everybody on the ground, a siren began blasting away across the city. Then two searchlights stabbed into the early-evening darkness. Suddenly the sky above Khrash looked more like World War Two Dresden or Berlin. There were streaks of tracer fire coming up to meet the two planes. So-called golden BBs were being sprayed over the sky.

The two planes turned almost painfully to the south. They were so low, they both nearly clipped the tops of the Holy Towers as they banked left. It took a while, but finally the F-14s went level again. Straight ahead, about a half mile away, was the city’s Grand Mosque. The two jets went down even lower, if that was possible; they reduced their airspeed, too. Now just a few blocks away from the huge ornate mosque, both planes put their noses up sharply and dropped four bombs each. This slow-motion lobbing technique resulted in all eight bombs—two tons of explosives—hitting the mosque squarely on its minaret. The impact caused an explosion that turned night into day. An instant after that, there was another explosion, just as grand, just as bright. Then came another, and another.…

The bombs had found the huge stockpile of weapons and explosives hidden in the basement of the mosque by the Chief’s men. Things started lighting off in a big way, this as the two planes rode right through the massive fireballs, turning this time to the east. The noise was incredible. The flames rising so high and being so concentrated, they created a mini–mushroom cloud.

When the smoke was blown away a few seconds later, not only was the Grand Mosque gone—every building within two blocks of it was gone, too.

They circle around and turn the small mosque in the Old Quarter into another mushroom cloud, followed by the Red Star mosque that all the poor people in the city attend. This one is full of diesel and gasoline and blowing it up touches off a massive conflagration that quickly begins consuming the poor district. gently caress the poor, right?!

The planes come in for a landing at Obo Field; their takeoff loaded down with bombs on such a short runway nearly destroyed the planes, and the Spooks had to use information found online to figure out how to set the tautness for the portable arresting cables because they forgot to steal an instruction manual with them. Curry volunteers to land first, since Ryder would be more valuable to keep alive, and finally succeeds after 3 tries. Ryder comes in next, the impact shaking him to the bone.

The pilots quickly jump out and begin repairing their aircraft with patches where they took ground fire and refueling and rearming to make an immediate return; they're attacking ASAP instead of at dawn like the Chief predicts.

quote:

The miracle was that either F-14 was flying at all. Again, the Tomcat was the Navy’s premier fighter-interceptor. Its job was to protect America’s supercarriers from incoming aerial threats, be they enemy airplanes or missiles. But the team had done a field modification that even the Navy was somewhat reluctant to do. Starting around the time of the first Gulf War, the Navy began flying F-14s in the expanded role of dropping bombs as well as carrying out fleet defense. Some results were mixed, but when it happened, the F-14 Tomcat went from being a purely defensive aircraft to one adapted for offense as well. The Tomcats became Bombcats.

The two Iranian poo poo boxes carried rudimentary equipment that would allow them to perform this offensive capability. But it was only the minimum setup: just two hard points on each plane on which to attach five-hundred-pound bombs. The Ghosts had stolen two dozen of the mud movers from the Iranians and wanted to drop them all, and not just two at a time. So prior to the Khrash raid, Ryder, Curry, and a gaggle of the Marine mechanics had jimmy-rigged a system that allowed the F-14s to carry up to 12 of the five-hundred-pounders each, hot-wiring a number of temporary hard points that could each drop bombs separately. All these wires and the Rube Goldberg devices that controlled them took time and attention during the bombing run, hard to do especially while getting shot at and trying to zero in on the target.

But Ryder and Curry’s raid on the dirty little city had gone surprisingly well and everything had worked. So now they were back to get bombed up and go again. They were just hoisting the last two bombs onto Curry’s jet when the chief of the Marine mechanics called Ryder out from under the F-14. He had some bad news. He and his men had looked over both fighter jets, and both were now unflyable.

“It’s not the combat but the landings and the take-offs,” the chief mechanic told him. He explained that their most recent departure, with both jets insanely overloaded with bombs, had literally twisted the fuselages on both planes out of whack, the torque had been that severe. Rivets had popped near the tail section on both planes, their fuel tanks had sprung leaks, and some secondary interior wing systems were now all jammed up. As for the landings, the runway at Obo was not really “soft” asphalt or the relatively flexible surface of a Navy aircraft carrier. It was solid rock, with no give when many tons of airplane slammed into it, going 120 mph. The jets’ landing gear were the victims here, the chief mechanic said. On both planes, there were cracks from the wheel wells right up the hydraulic extension and into the retracting gears. Any shock-absorbing properties contained in the undercarriage were now nonexistent.

In the chief mehanic’s opinion, the two Bombcats might be able to weather one more takeoff. But neither the gear nor the twisted fuselage would survive another arrestor hook landing.

Ryder heard him out but then just smiled. The guy was being sincere as hell, but he was missing part of the picture here.

“Don’t worry about it, Chief,” Ryder finally told him. “Once we take off from here this time, we won’t be coming back.…”

Meanwhile, the Psyclops plane has been jammed into the third support building at Obo and the crew is huddled waiting in the interior of the plane, over 24 hours past due from their scheduled landing. Any search-and-rescue teams would be about 200 miles off course, so they predict they'll have about 48 hours before they get found and the news of what's about to happen at Khrash hits the airwaves. Every member of the crew has agreed to stick around and help the Ghosts; they donate their box of hundreds of little American flags (normally air dropped for a psy-ops operation with propaganda leaflets) to the team.

The White Screen blinks on with Bobby Murphy again, and he asks them if the Snowball on the bottom of the plane can do what he thinks it does. It's super mega ultra tip top secret, so they don't reveal to the reader just what it does yet. They just confirm to Murphy that yes, it does what he thinks it does, and it's just a last resort. Murphy smiles because he's an evil motherfucker and hangs up.

30 minutes later, Ryder's plane is slowly taxiing to the runway. They have to use hand signals to perform the takeoff because of the lack of working radios. Only two Marine volunteers are staying behind at Obo Field just in case the helicopters need to come back to refuel or rearm with the last remaining ammunition, with orders to march to friendly lines in eastern Afghanistan if the helicopters never come back. Otherwise, not one member has backed out.

As Ryder prepares for takeoff and ruminates on poo poo, one of the Marines brings a ladder up to the cockpit and raps on the canopy. He's holding the ultra-secure yellow cell phone.

quote:

Ryder lifted his canopy and the kid handed the phone to him. It was indeed Murphy.

“I didn’t know whether to make this call or not,” Murphy told Ryder. His voice sounded very somber and far away. “But I thought I owed it to you at least.” Ryder really didn’t know what he was talking about.

“It just arrived,” Murphy told him. “Li’s execution video. We just dragged it down from the Al-Qazzaza tele-link.”

Ryder felt his chest cave in. His ears began burning. His eyes filled up. He’d been waiting for this inevitable piece of bad news ever since they’d left the Ocean Voyager. He’d been steeling himself, expecting the crushing blow he knew it would bring. Now that it was here, it was almost too much for him to take.

“I just thought you’d want to know,” Murphy went on. “The thing was time-stamped. It was filmed four days ago. So, at least she went quick.”

Ryder choked up. Li had been dead for only four days? It seemed like four years.

“Bates has the footage now, down in the White Rooms,” Murphy concluded. “He volunteered to watch it. God knows I could never do so. But he’ll study it, see if we can come up with something that might help us, in the future. If there is a future. But again, I just thought you should know.”

Ryder thanked him, hung up, and gave the phone back to the mechanic, who promptly disappeared. He breathed deep from his oxygen mask.

And that’s when he finally had his answer. He would have liked to think that they would still be doing this if it had been himself or Fox or Ozzi or Curry or any of the team members, right down to one of the Ocean Voyager’s sailors or the Marine mechanics who had been kidnapped by The Patch and executed. That they would come here and kill those who had killed them. But this was different, because it was her. Li … This beautiful girl … now gone.

He took another deep breath, and got back into himself again. Between his legs was the bag of money Murphy had given him back on the ship. He’d kept it with him this entire time as well. Now, he threw the bag back into the unoccupied space behind his seat. Then he revved up his engines and started moving again.

Once last look around told him they were all as ready as they were ever going to be. Ryder would be the first to take off. The others would follow. He was about to hit his throttle and pop his brakes when he caught himself looking down at his wedding ring again. He closed his eyes and it was Li’s face he saw, waving to him as she left aboard the CIA helicopter, the last time they would ever see each other. He opened his eyes again, and wiped them.

He thought a moment … then slowly, with shaking fingers, he removed the wedding ring and put it in his pocket. Then he popped his throttles and took off, climbing steeply and quickly becoming lost in the stars.

61% of the way to the end of this bullshit, folks. Ryder is already forgetting his wife (the motivation for him joining the team in the first place) for the hot Asian chick he barely knew by comparison.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


drat it is easy to write patriot fiction. Iran is funding AQ, a city can work while having 80% terrorist population (that's why it's ok to bomb the poor, because they're poor terrorists), nobody can shoot the jets down, you need to have a dedicated rape chamber, VHS tapes are important in TYOL 2004, when even the first book was all about CDs...

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




JcDent posted:

drat it is easy to write patriot fiction.

It's so easy, I'm seriously tempted to try my hand at it.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Yeah, me too. Wanna start a two person project where we both motivate each other to write lovely fic for Amazon self publishing?

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




If I had lots of time to burn, I would.

Unfortunately these carpenter ants and termites aren't going to exterminate themselves.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


I bet the carpenter ant queen is ugly and misshaped, and the termites are lead by a seven legged, one pincered drone that stinks.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


OK, lads, I came up with a horrible idea, probably inspired by Yooper's LP.

*rips bong*

what if it's a story about a guy/guys building a libertarian utopia in Iraq/Syria, with Kurds being so attracted by the ideas of libertarianism that they abandon the stinkin' YPG and become "enthusiastic serfs" for the bitcoin caliphate?

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




If there's one thing I've learned from these Let's Reads, it's that any poo poo will sell if you spin it the right way.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



I went to do the next chapter before leaving work, only to discover that it's massive. The following update is a single chapter that mostly consists of things exploding and Muslims wetting themselves for a very long time.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



This chapter is long as gently caress.

Two minutes before midnight, the first Superhawk lands on the outskirts of Khrash near Weak Point East, what the team has labeled an area where three drainage culverts merge. The 1st Delta squad of 10 soldiers leaps out, led by the infamous Dave Hunn. They're about 3/4 of a mile from the Khrash slums, a series of clay and wood houses on a dead end street before the city proper begins. There are still lights on in some of the houses and armed men milling about.

After 30 seconds, right on time, there's the sudden sound of jet engines overhead in the night sky and the whistle of bombs. Anti-aircraft fire fills the sky as the Delta guys stuff cotton in their ears; it's not actually a bombing, just the Psyclops plane broadcasting the sound of a B-52 run with their God's Ear speakers. The Psyclops plane roars overhead and dispenses flares that light up the whole city, and right on cue the Delta squad rushes in.

quote:

The next two minutes unfolded like a dream for Hunn. It was always like that for him in combat. But this—this was particularly surreal.

They hit the edge of the slum just 10 seconds out of the trench. They were all firing their weapons, from the hip, as they were running, adding even more to the substantial confusion. Because Hunn kept his NV goggles down, to him, it looked like they were running into a green hell. The Blackhawk helicopter that had dropped them off now reappeared and laid a barrage of .50-caliber machine-gun fire into the first house in a row of buildings. Despite the racket being made by the now-circling Psyclops plane, and his blocked ears, Hunn could hear people screaming inside.

He and his men reached the first apartment building a few seconds later. There were many Taliban inside who were trying to jump out of the windows after dodging the copter’s bullets and still thinking that B-52 bombs were about to pulverize them. Hunn’s guys opened up on them; at least 12 mooks died in this initial fusillade.

Hunn hit the house’s front door running. It exploded in a storm of wooden splinters. Two Taliban fighters were in the hallway, bent over, hands covering their ears, trying to block out the horrendous sounds coming from above. Hunn shot both of them in the head. His men poured into the building after him. They began a split-second clearing operation. The place was full of Taliban, but like the first two, most were in shock or were jumping out the windows. Those who remained were shot, stabbed, and kicked to death. The first and second floors were cleared inside a minute. Somehow a fire had started in the kitchen.

Hunn and his guys headed for the roof. Up here they found another knot of Taliban who, incredibly, were in the process of pouring a barrel of rainwater through a hole in the roof onto the kitchen fire below. Seemingly unaware of what was happening, five of these six men died in a hail of bullets. One was spared intentionally.

The Psyclops plane went overhead again, the roar from its loudspeakers now mimicking strings of bombs hitting the ground. The plane was also shooting out an incredible number of flares now. It was as bright as day in the slum. Even through their blocked ears the men of 1st Delta could hear the commotion; without any protection, it was deafening.

Still, Hunn was able to yell down through the hole in the ceiling, telling his men below to verbalize the securing of the building. Five shouts back confirmed the building was clear and under their control. Their Blackhawk helicopter went over again, firing at mooks in the next apartment building over. Suddenly half that structure was on fire.

Hunn turned to his guys up on the roof and said: “Get the rope.”

They took the surviving Taliban fighter, so frightened he had soiled himself, and pulled a noose over his head. Then they dropped him over the side of the building. His scream pierced the chaos of the night—caught short only by his windpipe collapsing, his neck breaking. He was dead in a second. Then the Delta soldiers unfurled one of the dozens of American flags they’d carried into Khrash and draped it over the still-twitching body.

As Rich Kennedy of the 2nd Delta squad hits the ground, he's knocked off his feet by two 500-pound bombs from Ryder's F-14 blowing a hole in the wall for them and destroying some random part of the city on the other side. They're attacking the Old Quarter of Khrash from Weak Point North, an ancient part of town with whitewashed buildings and neatly packed dirt roads.

2nd Delta is assigned to clearing the religious police (armed with RPGs) from the rooftops of the Old Quarter. The terrorists inside are convinced that a gigantic American attack is underway thanks to the Psyclops sound effects, the flares dropping, and the actual bombs being dropped and Superhawk firing machine guns. Within less than 5 minutes, Rich Kennedy's squad has cleared 5 buildings and hanged a mook or two with an American flag from each to signify their capture. Getting pinned down, Kennedy fires two green flares into the air to signal for support; not long after, their only pair of T-72 tanks crashes through a wadi to back them up.

The third squad is being led by Ozzi the tech guy, of all people. His group is 3rd Irregular Forces, made up entirely of 20 Zabul tribesmen. They were dropped 1/4 mile south of Hunn's terror squad, set up to capture the utilities buildings in Kuhada Circle to shut off the city's electricity, phone, and water lines and blow up sewer manholes to deny the tunnels to the enemy fighters.

quote:

They blew up a half-dozen manholes in the first two minutes. It didn’t have to be pretty: Two hand grenades down the spout usually did it, as the tunnels were old and for the most part were made of dirt. A few times his fighters wanted to go down into the tunnels and look for the defenders of Khrash, but each time Ozzi managed to diplomatically talk them out of it. There really was no need to be tunnel rats here, like in ’Nam. All they had to do was seal the tunnels from this end. That might be enough to trap a whole lot of mooks inside.

Another ten manholes were taken out before they reached Kuhada Circle itself. The first building they faced was the waterworks. It was a two-story squarish structure; built of typical red bricks, it looked like something built in the nineteenth century. It was unoccupied. There was a massive pipe and a huge control wheel running right next to the building. It seemed as simple an act as turning this wheel would shut off all water in the city.

Ozzi instructed his Zabul friends to prepare four explosive charges. Two would go on the pipe; two would go beside the building itself. It took five minutes of skulking around, wrapping sticks of dynamite and laying fuse wire, but the building and the water pipe went up in a grand explosion.

The Psyclops plane flew overhead just as the four blasts were going off and had to bank violently to the right to avoid getting caught in the fireball. Ozzi watched the plane go over, nearly lose its flight envelope, and then recover again, only to fly away. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Through the whole thing, the plane had continued broadcasting the earsplitting mimicry of a huge B-52 raid.

Next is the phone lines, with the forest of poles being toppled by more blast packs and yanking down the wires until the whole town has a busy signal. Their final stop is the power station, a 3-story clay structure shaped like a tent and surrounded by wires and transmission poles. Suddenly tracer fire begins flying over their heads; there are troops inside setting up heavy machine guns to shoot across the way toward Hunn's group.

Ozzi pulls out a Czech 25.4mm flare pistol (pretty sure Czech pistols were 26.5mm and the 25.4mm, or 1 inch flare, was used by European countries like the UK's Very Pistol) and fires a green flare right at the door of the power station. The guys inside start shooting at Ozzi's group, but it isn't long before the flare summons a Superhawk that turns the building into flaming debris with a Hellfire missile.

After nearly 10 minutes of fighting, Ryder's plane has 8 of its original 12 bombs left. He's been swooping at supersonic speed over the city repeatedly, aiding in the terror created by the Psyclops plane. On a few occasions he flew no more than 50 feet off the ground, leading to the mooks shooting down at him. Apparently the terrorists didn't buy a single anti-aircraft shell with a working self-destruct because many of the shells have fallen back onto the city, some of them taking out their own gun crews. The dozens of American flags hanging on captured buildings makes it look like a wave of America taking over the city; they plan on killing every last man they find in the city to take out the Patch.

quote:

It was on one of his buzzing runs that Ryder noticed somehow a flash of light out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t coming for a weapon of any kind. It was more like the light for an acetylene torch. The strange part was that he’d spotted it in the southern part of the city, a place where absolutely nothing was happening at the moment. No fighting, no confusion. Nothing. Very weird.

He swung out extra wide this time and rocketed over where he’d spotted the light. It was actually coming from an unblocked window in one warehouse that sat among a sea of warehouses.

It was strictly on instinct or maybe a whim, but he turned again and laid one of the five-hundred-pound bombs right through the window of the place. It went up like a fireworks factory. In seconds a huge fireball was rising in the sky above the southern part of the city.

“drat,” he whispered to himself. “I wonder what that was?”

The Chief is sweating bullets. He's at the intersection where Rich Kennedy's group is fighting, though not by choice; on the way back to the Holy Towers to coordinate their defense, the convoy heard what they thought was incoming B-52s and leaped from their vehicles to find cover. They've made intermittent attempts to retreat, but keep getting waylaid by the F-14 and the black-suited ghosts chasing after them.

Without a way to call for help thanks to the dead lines and electronic interference killing his cell phone, the Chief enacts a plan: he orders them to arrange the flimsiest barricades they can find, hoping to encourage the enemy tanks to crash through; thinking it's an easy breach, they'll find themselves flanked by RPGs. It's the first time the Muslims in this series have actually been depicted with good tactics instead of just making GBS threads themselves. Just as expected, the first tank lobs a smoke shell in front of the barricade and proceeds to crash into it.

Of course it couldn't be that easy. As the Chief's men charge out to attack, they find themselves under a hail of tracer fire and explosive shells. The smoke disguised that the tanks broke through with their turrets already turned backwards, having seen through the trick, and are firing their mounted machine guns and coaxials in all directions. Nearly wetting himself, the Chief and his bodyguards turn on their heels and run.

While all this is going on, Red Curry is floating overhead at 5000 feet and barely 150 miles per hour in his F-14. He watches for three red pickup trucks to escape Khrash; figuring they must be Al Qaeda because they have access to vehicles, he blows them up with a quick burst from his 20mm cannon.

quote:

Nothing was routine in combat. But what Dave Hunn and the guys in 1st Delta squad had been doing for the past twenty minutes came very close.

They’d moved steadily out from their jump-off point, Weak Point East, and been methodically chasing the city’s religious police fighters and leftover Taliban out of their slummy buildings, pushing them west, toward the center of town and ultimately the Farāh River. They had already cleared three blocks beyond the slum, this after being on the ground not even 30 minutes. What they were doing quickly fell into a pattern.

They came to a building and more often than not, especially in the past 15 minutes, these buildings were either empty or holding a few die-hards or mooks wounded and left behind by their comrades. If that was the case, instead of wasting time and going inside, Delta would riddle the structure with their heavy weapons, hurl in a few hand grenades, or fire an enemy RPG they had captured during their miniblitzkrieg. There would be explosions, bright flashes of light, and a minor quaking of the earth; sometimes part of the building would come down. The Delta guys would spray the rubble with gunfire and pepper it with more grenades. No screams from those trapped under the tons of rock would confirm that the leftover bad guys had been killed. Delta would then mark the building by planting an American flag somewhere nearby and move on. If they thought there were still people alive and unbroken beneath the rubble, they would leave the house unmarked—as a signal, for those following in their path.

This was the second wave, coming in behind 1st Delta, made up entirely of the Zabul tribe foot soldiers, essentially mountain men with weapons. Their role was nasty but necessary. They would come to a house that wasn’t flying an American flag. They would first yell into the house, “Akbah! Salama-La-kin?” Roughly translated: “Brothers! How are you?”

If they received any reply, they would douse the rubble with something flammable and set it ablaze, finishing off those Muslim fighters still alive inside. Once the screams died down, then the Zabul would raise an American flag. And then they, too, would move on.

And coming right behind them was a third wave of invaders: hundreds of regular Zabul villagers who had created a small army of organized looters and were now spread over the liberated part of Khrash, robbing the bodies of the dead.

Of course the Americans win every fight. They're bigger, stronger, better equipped, better trained, and not doped up on qat. Muslims fall to white blades like enemies in a video game. By the 30 minute mark, 1st Delta had cleared 8 blocks and hung American flags and dead bodies to mark their territory. They come to an industrial part of town populated by gas stations, repair shops, and opium processing plants; the Psyclops plane begins broadcasting the noise of a massive ground battle instead of B-52s.

Hunn finds a massive (several hundred gallons) propane tank and knocks on it to see if it's empty. He figures it's almost empty, from the sound it makes when he raps on it, but he can't leave it there (for some reason?) and decides to step back a bit and shoot it to make a nice fireball.

Because Hunn is an idiot, he discovers that it's full.

quote:

Hunn saw the bright white light first. He never heard the sound, never really saw the flames. It was just the bright white light and the sensation that he was floating through the air. His first thought was one of amazement: I must be dead.…

Actually he was flying through the air—and three of his troops were up here with him. The force of the blast literally blew them right out of the alley and onto a major thoroughfare, nearly a half-block away. One of his men crashed through the window of a scarf shop, landing out in the sidewalk. Two more came down on top of a kaffee cart.

Hunn himself, all 250 pounds of him, just missed smashing into a wrecked and burning car and came down in a relatively soft mud hole instead. He landed facedown, the bright white light replaced by the very dark brown mud. He sat up immediately. He couldn’t believe he was still alive. More incredibly, the other three troopers thrown by the explosion were alive and unhurt, too. The rest of his men came barreling around the corner moments later. They helped Hunn back to his feet and checked the three others. Cuts and bruises were the worst of their injuries.

Meanwhile, the repair shop, the gas station, and the opium factory were all now reduced to flaming embers, this as the small mushroom cloud the propane explosion had created was still going straight up into the night sky. One of the copter pilots flew over, more curious than anything else. Its rotor blades neatly cut the mushroom in half. Every window within a quarter mile had burst in the explosion.

Except those in the storefront next to the mud puddle Hunn had found himself in. Once he cleared the crap from his eyes, he took a long look into this shop and realized that they had just hit pay dirt. It was a store that sold cell phones.

Hunn immediately led four men into the store. The one thing the American strike team lacked was communications with one another. In that respect, they had hit a gold mine—or so they had thought. They found the clerk cowering behind the counter of the very cluttered store. The Americans looked down at him. He was shaking all over.

“Where are all the loving phones?” Hunn screamed at him in English. The man looked up at him in terror.

“No more! No more!” he screamed. And it seemed true. The shelves were empty, at least of cell phones.

Then, still terrified, the clerk added: “I don’t have any videotapes, either.…”

Ozzi's group is making good time as well, their volume of fire driving away any terrorists they don't outright kill. They progress beyond their original plan and come across a tall building with a machine gun nest, which they mark with a green flare for the F-14 to destroy (the entire building, not just the machine gun) with another 500 pound bomb. He bursts in the front door of the hotel on the opposite corner to the destroyed building and stops dead in his tracks; there are 8 bodies, women and children, with their hands bound and throats slit in the lobby.

They fight their way up the stairs through the terrorists on each floor, who even throw Molotovs down at them. Ozzi becomes a madman, screaming in English and Arabic and spraying gunfire as he charges upward. When his M16 runs out of ammo, he drops it and picks up an AK from a dead fighter and keeps going. A Molotov hits him directly in the shoulder without exploding, so he throws it back up.

They make it to the roof, where the terrorists try to hurl a gas stove down the ladder to stop Ozzi from making it to the top; they've run out of ammo, and Ozzi mercilessly shoots them both off the roof. Unfortunately, he's overextended a bit in his zeal: there's a small army surrounding the building, including three technicals with 75mm anti-tank guns, and Al Qaeda fighters streaming into the building. And he's out of flares and almost out of ammo.

quote:

It was now 0040 hours. Forty minutes into the battle, Ryder still had six bombs left. The last one he’d dropped, in support of Ozzi’s attack squad, had been a direct hit. Ryder had followed it up with a strafing attack right through the middle of the city, once again scattering Islamic fighters who had foolishly gathered in the central square, weakly firing up at him as he bore down on them, no more than 50 feet off the ground.But after this, his latest low-altitude supersonic buzzing run, he put the F-14 on its tail, turned completely over, and found his nose pointing south again.

It was strange—there were now smoke and flames rising over more than half of the city. The Old Quarter was almost completely obscured by the results of the battle as Kennedy’s 2nd Delta team continued to clear the ancient neighborhood with help from the Zabul tanks. The fire in the east-side slum that had housed a lot of the Taliban fighters had already burned itself out. The city’s utilities centers were still aflame, as was its midsection as the twin prongs of Hunn’s and Ozzi’s attacks continued marching westward.

But in the southern part of the city, down by all those warehouses, nothing was going on except the fire Ryder himself set off about ten minutes before. This part of the city was almost completely dark. No headlights. No streetlights. No one in the streets at all.

Confused, Ryder circles around the southern part of the city to try and spot anything useful. He thinks their SA-6 SAM may be installed there, but he can't find any trace of it and it doesn't make sense that they'd black out a whole section of the city for one missile. Without much else to do, he opens up a warehouse roof with his cannon and drops a bomb in it, which sends it up with a massive explosion indicating that it was probably full of fuel and/or munitions (literally every random building and mosque they've destroyed without checking their target has gone up with a gigantic explosion indicating that it was full of weapons, rather than a small explosion indicating that it had women and children). Spotting two more green flares, he circles off to assist.

quote:

Somehow the Chief made it back to the middle of the city. He’d run from the carnage at the intersection, commandeering a technical several blocks away. The first thing he did after climbing aboard was ask the driver if the middle of the city was still there, or had it been hit by the B-52s as well?

The driver didn’t know, so it was a surprise for both of them that even though they had to drive through a lot of smoke and flames, they found the city square virtually intact. Upon seeing this, the Chief thought the B-52s must have hit the southern part of the city then, down near the warehouses. There was almost a dark amusement about this. How strange would it be if the south end got flattened and the middle of Khrash was saved? Would that mean that Allah had a cosmic sense of humor?

The Chief runs into the first open shop he sees and grabs the owner's AM radio. Of the three channels in Khrash, two are blocked by interference and the third has an unknown man's voice in Arabic saying to stay away from Khrash because it's being bombed and invaded by the US 4th Army. He's sent out messengers to try and contact the Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders and bring in every reinforcement they can, but nobody's returned. In desperation, he enacts a plan to equip some of his lowest ranking officers and assistants with improvised spears, dope them up with qat, and give them civilian clothes and suicide vests to go out and become "instant martyrs" against the Americans.

While making plans at his HQ on the ground floor of the second Holy Tower, he meets with his subordinates. Some of his men were caught trying to flee to Iran and were executed as an example to the rest of the fighters to stay and keep fighting. The good news is that the Iranian secret police have delivered their arms supply and a box of VHS tapes. The bad news is there doesn't seem to be anybody to start ringing the bells to summon reinforcements....except himself.

Arriving at the huge bell at the top floor of the Holy Tower, he puts his hands over his ears to prepare for the noise of the B-52s flying overhead....but it's quiet. Khrash is still standing below him, with only intermittent fires and muzzle flashes. He can only see about 30 Americans and not a single B-52 in the sky. It's at this point he realizes they've been fooled.

Before he can ring the bell, however, a helicopter appears right in front of him. He and the pilot and gunmen inside stare at one another, and then they open fire.

quote:

Again, there were five bodyguards up here on the roof with him. None of them had seen the copter approach—in fact, they didn’t know if it had come up behind them or had being flying at such a low altitude it had risen straight up after spotting them. In any case, the fusillade that came out of the copter was devastating. Four of the Chief’s bodyguards were literally torn in half. His fifth guard had his head blown off. The Chief himself felt a great weight hit him at the same time the barrage from the helicopter did. He was thrown on his back, what seemed like molten steel washing over his body.

But somehow he saw the helicopter depart; the men were still shooting at him as it sped away. That’s the only reason the Chief knew he was not dead, not yet anyway. He looked down at his chest and saw that he’d been hit not by bullets but by pieces of the bell that had been shattered in the fusillade. It was now in a million fragments—yet somehow he was still in one piece.

And right then and there, the Chief lost it. He felt an ice-cold shiver go up and down his spine and back again. He’d been through combat. He’d murdered innocent people in the name of bloodlust and Allah. He’d seen and felt and smelled and even tasted the worst aspects of war. But he’d never felt anything like this. Just like with the Patch, the Crazy Americans were now after him. And it was the worst feeling in the world.

He looked out on the city again, this time from a horizontal position, as he could barely move. There were more fires and more smoke and more noise and more gunshots—but suddenly these things weren’t forefront in his mind anymore. Suddenly it was his own neck he was thinking about, always a priority but now even more so. They got under your skin; that’s what everyone said. First you ignore them. Then you laugh at them. Then you fight them. And then they beat you.

The Crazy Americans. One close encounter with them was all it took. They got into your bloodstream, and after that it was only a matter of time before they hunted you down and sliced you up. Who wanted such a horrible way to go? It was at that moment that the Chief began making plans for his own escape.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Man, urban warfare was easy. If only those pussies in Fallujah had wanted to win hard enough!

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



JcDent posted:

Man, urban warfare was easy. If only those pussies in Fallujah had wanted to win hard enough!

"Hey sarge, what's in that mosque?"

"I dunno. Blow it up. If the explosion is big enough, it was clearly bad."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


If we make a lot of noise, the terrorists will be too scared to shoot us.

Eediot Jedi
Dec 25, 2007

This is where I begin to speculate what being a
man of my word costs me



Yessir, this fancy psyops system that only works if our enemies have never noticed sounds change dramatically if the source is moving towards or away from you, surely a great investment.

Maybe they meant to operation nifty package North Korea with it or something

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


OP Nifty Package posted:

Although the operation was successful, National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroftwould later point to the psychological harassment of the Papal Nuncio as "a low moment in US Army history," noting that their approach had been silly, reproachable and undignified.

So Mack's books, basically.

PJOmega
May 5, 2009


Knobb Manwich posted:

Yessir, this fancy psyops system that only works if our enemies have never noticed sounds change dramatically if the source is moving towards or away from you, surely a great investment.

Maybe they meant to operation nifty package North Korea with it or something

I doubt that the sounds projection is the psyop's fancy system. It's not dumb enough.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



PJOmega posted:

I doubt that the sounds projection is the psyop's fancy system. It's not dumb enough.

It really was projecting sound from the speakers. As for the Snowball, that won't be revealed until another update or two. It's basically a war crime machine.

PJOmega
May 5, 2009


chitoryu12 posted:

It really was projecting sound from the speakers. As for the Snowball, that won't be revealed until another update or two. It's basically a war crime machine.

Oh I figured the speakers were on the plane. I was referring to the snowball. Glad to know we haven't yet seen its stupidity.

muscles like this!
Jan 17, 2005



Man, our heroes sure are badass, what with killing a bunch of guys cowering on the ground because of the deafening sounds playing. Also like how they just start shooting every single person they see because obviously the guy trying to put out a fire in a building is a hardcore AQ terrorist.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Dieter Dirlewanger in Superdraches posted:

Two minutes before midnight, the first Superdrache lands on the outskirts of Pokhorovka near Weak Point Ost, what the team has labeled an area where three drainage culverts merge. The 1st SS squad of 10 soldiers leaps out, led by the infamous Gunther Konig. They're about 3/4 of a kilometer from the Pokhorovka slums, a series of clay and wood houses on a dead end street before the city proper begins. There are still lights on in some of the houses and armed men milling about.

After 30 seconds, right on time, there's the sudden sound of engines overhead in the night sky and the whistle of bombs. Anti-aircraft fire fills the sky as the SS guys stuff cotton in their ears; it's not actually a bombing, just the Wotan plane broadcasting the sound of a He-111 run with their Fuhrer's Voice speakers. The Wotan plane roars overhead and dispenses flares that light up the whole city, and right on cue the SS squad rushes in.

The next two minutes unfolded like a dream for Konig. It was always like that for him in combat. But this—this was particularly surreal.

They hit the edge of the slum just 10 seconds out of the trench. They were all firing their weapons, from the hip, as they were running, adding even more to the substantial confusion. Because Konig kept his IR goggles down, to him, it looked like they were running into a gray hell. The Drache helicopter that had dropped them off now reappeared and laid a barrage of MG 42 machine-gun fire into the first house in a row of buildings. Despite the racket being made by the now-circling Wotan plane, and his blocked ears, Konig could hear people screaming inside.

He and his men reached the first apartment building a few seconds later. There were many Bolshevik inside who were trying to jump out of the windows after dodging the copter’s bullets and still thinking that He-111 bombs were about to pulverize them. Konig’s guys opened up on them; at least 12 ivans died in this initial fusillade.

Konig hit the house’s front door running. It exploded in a storm of wooden splinters. Two Bolshevik fighters were in the hallway, bent over, hands covering their ears, trying to block out the horrendous sounds coming from above. Konig shot both of them in the head. His men poured into the building after him. They began a split-second clearing operation. The place was full of Bolsheviks, but like the first two, most were in shock or were jumping out the windows. Those who remained were shot, stabbed, and kicked to death. The first and second floors were cleared inside a minute. Somehow a fire had started in the kitchen.

Konig and his guys headed for the roof. Up here they found another knot of Bolsheviks who, incredibly, were in the process of pouring a barrel of rainwater through a hole in the roof onto the kitchen fire below. Seemingly unaware of what was happening, five of these six men died in a hail of bullets. One was spared intentionally.

The Wotan plane went overhead again, the roar from its loudspeakers now mimicking strings of bombs hitting the ground. The plane was also shooting out an incredible number of flares now. It was as bright as day in the slum. Even through their blocked ears the men of 1st SS could hear the commotion; without any protection, it was deafening.

Still, Konig was able to yell down through the hole in the ceiling, telling his men below to verbalize the securing of the building. Five shouts back confirmed the building was clear and under their control. Their Drache helicopter went over again, firing at ivans in the next apartment building over. Suddenly half that structure was on fire.

Konig turned to his guys up on the roof and said: “Get the rope.”

They took the surviving Bolshevik fighter, so frightened he had soiled himself, and pulled a noose over his head. Then they dropped him over the side of the building. His scream pierced the chaos of the night—caught short only by his windpipe collapsing, his neck breaking. He was dead in a second. Then the SS soldiers unfurled one of the dozens of swastika flags they’d carried into Pokhorovka and draped it over the still-twitching body.

As Heinrich Kohl of the 2nd SS squad hits the ground, he's knocked off his feet by two 50-kilo bombs from Jager's Stuka blowing a hole in the wall for them and destroying some random part of the city on the other side. They're attacking the Old Quarter of Pokhorovka from Weak Point Nort, an ancient part of town with whitewashed buildings and neatly packed dirt roads.

2nd SS is assigned to clearing the NKVD from the rooftops of the Old Quarter. The Marxists inside are convinced that a gigantic German attack is underway thanks to the Wotan sound effects, the flares dropping, and the actual bombs being dropped and Superdrache firing machine guns. Within less than 5 minutes, Heinrich Kohl's squad has cleared 5 buildings and hanged an ivan or two with an swastika flag from each to signify their capture. Getting pinned down, Kohl fires two green flares into the air to signal for support; not long after, their only pair of Pz. 35(t) tanks crashes through a wall to back them up.

The third squad is being led by Otto the tech guy, of all people. His group is 3rd Irregular Forces, made up entirely of 20 hiwi. They were dropped 1/4 kilometer south of Konig's terror squad, set up to capture the utilities buildings in Lenin Circle to shut off the city's electricity, phone, and water lines and blow up sewer manholes to deny the tunnels to the enemy fighters.

They blew up a half-dozen manholes in the first two minutes. It didn’t have to be pretty: Two hand grenades down the spout usually did it, as the tunnels were old and for the most part were made of dirt. A few times his fighters wanted to go down into the tunnels and look for the defenders of Pokhorovka, but each time Otto managed to diplomatically talk them out of it. There really was no need to be tunnel rats here, like in Warsaw. All they had to do was seal the tunnels from this end. That might be enough to trap a whole lot of ivans inside.

Another ten manholes were taken out before they reached Lenin Circle itself. The first building they faced was the waterworks. It was a two-story squarish structure; built of typical red bricks, it looked like something built in the nineteenth century. It was unoccupied. There was a massive pipe and a huge control wheel running right next to the building. It seemed as simple an act as turning this wheel would shut off all water in the city.

Otto instructed his hiwi friends to prepare four explosive charges. Two would go on the pipe; two would go beside the building itself. It took five minutes of skulking around, wrapping sticks of dynamite and laying fuse wire, but the building and the water pipe went up in a grand explosion.

The Wotan plane flew overhead just as the four blasts were going off and had to bank violently to the right to avoid getting caught in the fireball. Otto watched the plane go over, nearly lose its flight envelope, and then recover again, only to fly away. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Through the whole thing, the plane had continued broadcasting the earsplitting mimicry of a huge He-111 raid.

Next is the telegraph lines, with the forest of poles being toppled by more blast packs and yanking down the wires. Their final stop is the power station, a 3-story brick structure shaped like a tent and surrounded by wires and transmission poles. Suddenly tracer fire begins flying over their heads; there are troops inside setting up water cooled machine guns to shoot across the way toward Konig's group.

Otto pulls out a Czech 26.5mm flare pistol and fires a green flare right at the door of the power station. The guys inside start shooting at Otto's group, but it isn't long before the flare summons a Superdrache that turns the building into flaming debris with a Werfer-Granate 21.

After nearly 10 minutes of fighting, Jager's plane has 8 of its original 12 bombs left. He's been swooping at near supersonic speed over the city repeatedly, aiding in the terror created by the Wotan plane. On a few occasions he flew no more than 5 meters off the ground, leading to the ivans shooting down at him. Apparently the Marxists didn't buy a single anti-aircraft shell with a working self-destruct because many of the shells have fallen back onto the city, some of them taking out their own gun crews. The dozens of swastika flags hanging on captured buildings makes it look like a wave of Third Reich was taking over the city; they plan on killing every last man they find in the city to take out the Patch.

It was on one of his buzzing runs that Jager noticed somehow a flash of light out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t coming for a weapon of any kind. It was more like the light for an acetylene torch. The strange part was that he’d spotted it in the southern part of the city, a place where absolutely nothing was happening at the moment. No fighting, no confusion. Nothing. Very weird.

He swung out extra wide this time and flew over where he’d spotted the light. It was actually coming from an unblocked window in one warehouse that sat among a sea of warehouses.

It was strictly on instinct or maybe a whim, but he turned again and laid one of the fifty-kilogram bombs right through the window of the place. It went up like a fireworks factory. In seconds a huge fireball was rising in the sky above the southern part of the city.

“drat,” he whispered to himself. “I wonder what that was?”

The Commissar is sweating bullets. He's at the intersection where Heinrich Kohl's group is fighting, though not by choice; on the way back to the Hall of the Soviets to coordinate their defense, the convoy heard what they thought was incoming He-111s and leaped from their vehicles to find cover. They've made intermittent attempts to retreat, but keep getting waylaid by the Stuka and the black-suited ghosts chasing after them.

Without a way to call for help thanks to the dead lines and electronic interference killing his radio, the Commissar enacts a plan: he orders them to arrange the flimsiest barricades they can find, hoping to encourage the enemy tanks to crash through; thinking it's an easy breach, they'll find themselves flanked by anti-tank rifles. It's the first time the Soviets in this series have actually been depicted with good tactics instead of just making GBS threads themselves. Just as expected, the first tank lobs a smoke shell in front of the barricade and proceeds to crash into it.

Of course it couldn't be that easy. As the Commissar 's men charge out to attack, they find themselves under a hail of tracer fire and explosive shells. The smoke disguised that the tanks broke through with their turrets already turned backwards, having seen through the trick, and are firing their mounted machine guns and coaxials in all directions. Nearly wetting himself, the Commissar and his bodyguards turn on their heels and run.

While all this is going on, Fritz Immelman is floating overhead at 5000 feet and barely 150 kilometers per hour in his Stuka. He watches for three red pickup trucks to escape Pokhorovka; figuring they must be NKVD because they have access to vehicles, he blows them up with a quick burst from his 20mm cannon.

Nothing was routine in combat. But what Gunther Konig and the guys in 1st SS squad had been doing for the past twenty minutes came very close.

They’d moved steadily out from their jump-off point, Weak Point Ost, and been methodically chasing the city’s NKVD fighters and leftover Bolshevik out of their slummy buildings, pushing them west, toward the center of town and ultimately the Bondarchuk River. They had already cleared three blocks beyond the slum, this after being on the ground not even 30 minutes. What they were doing quickly fell into a pattern.

They came to a building and more often than not, especially in the past 15 minutes, these buildings were either empty or holding a few die-hards or ivans wounded and left behind by their comrades. If that was the case, instead of wasting time and going inside, SS would riddle the structure with their heavy weapons, hurl in a few hand grenades, or fire an enemy flamethrower they had captured during their miniblitzkrieg. There would be explosions, bright flashes of light, and a minor quaking of the earth; sometimes part of the building would come down. The SS guys would spray the rubble with gunfire and pepper it with more grenades. No screams from those trapped under the tons of rock would confirm that the leftover bad guys had been killed. SS would then mark the building by planting an swastika flag somewhere nearby and move on. If they thought there were still people alive and unbroken beneath the rubble, they would leave the house unmarked—as a signal, for those following in their path.

This was the second wave, coming in behind 1st SS, made up entirely of the hiwi foot soldiers, essentially mountain men with weapons. Their role was nasty but necessary. They would come to a house that wasn’t flying an swastika flag. They would first yell into the house, “Tovarishchi! Kak dela?” Roughly translated: “Comrades! How are you?”

If they received any reply, they would douse the rubble with something flammable and set it ablaze, finishing off those Soviet fighters still alive inside. Once the screams died down, then the hiwi would raise a swastika flag. And then they, too, would move on.

And coming right behind them was a third wave of invaders: hundreds of regular hiwi villagers who had created a small army of organized looters and were now spread over the liberated part of Pokhorovka, robbing the bodies of the dead.

Of course the Germans win every fight. They're bigger, stronger, better equipped, better trained, and not doped up on meth. Soviets fall to white blades like enemies in a Thomas Mayne Reid novel. By the 30 minute mark, 1st SS had cleared 8 blocks and hung swastika flags and dead bodies to mark their territory. They come to an industrial part of town populated by gas stations, repair shops, and meth processing plants; the Wotan plane begins broadcasting the noise of a massive ground battle instead of He-111s.

Konig finds a massive (several hundred gallons) propane tank and knocks on it to see if it's empty. He figures it's almost empty, from the sound it makes when he raps on it, but he can't leave it there and decides to step back a bit and shoot it to make a nice fireball.

Konig discovers that it's full.

Konig saw the bright white light first. He never heard the sound, never really saw the flames. It was just the bright white light and the sensation that he was floating through the air. His first thought was one of amazement: I must be dead.…

Actually he was flying through the air—and three of his troops were up here with him. The force of the blast literally blew them right out of the alley and onto a major thoroughfare, nearly a half-block away. One of his men crashed through the window of a puttees shop, landing out in the sidewalk. Two more came down on top of a kielbasa cart.

Konig himself, all 113 kilograms of him, just missed smashing into a wrecked and burning car and came down in a relatively soft mud hole instead. He landed face down, the bright white light replaced by the very dark brown mud. He sat up immediately. He couldn’t believe he was still alive. More incredibly, the other three troopers thrown by the explosion were alive and unhurt, too. The rest of his men came barreling around the corner moments later. They helped Konig back to his feet and checked the three others. Cuts and bruises were the worst of their injuries.

Meanwhile, the repair shop, the gas station, and the meth factory were all now reduced to flaming embers, this as the small mushroom cloud the propane explosion had created was still going straight up into the night sky. One of the Drache pilots flew over, more curious than anything else. Its rotor blades neatly cut the mushroom in half. Every window within a quarter kilometer had burst in the explosion.

Except those in the storefront next to the mud puddle Konig had found himself in. Once he cleared the crap from his eyes, he took a long look into this shop and realized that they had just hit pay dirt. It was a store that sold radios.

Konig immediately led four men into the store. The one thing the German strike team lacked was communications with one another. In that respect, they had hit a gold mine—or so they had thought. They found the clerk cowering behind the counter of the very cluttered store. The Germans looked down at him. He was shaking all over.

“Where are all the loving radios?” Konig screamed at him in Russian. The man looked up at him in terror.

“No more! No more!” he screamed. And it seemed true. The shelves were empty, at least of radios.

Then, still terrified, the clerk added: “I don’t have any tape rolls, either.…”

Otto's group is making good time as well, their volume of fire driving away any Marxists they don't outright kill. They progress beyond their original plan and come across a tall building with a machine gun nest, which they mark with a green flare for the Stuka to destroy (the entire building, not just the machine gun) with another 100 kilo bomb. He bursts in the front door of the hotel on the opposite corner to the destroyed building and stops dead in his tracks; there are 8 bodies, women and children, with their hands bound and throats slit in the lobby.

They fight their way up the stairs through the Marxists on each floor, who even throw Molotovs down at them. Otto becomes a madman, screaming in German and Russian and spraying gunfire as he charges upward. When his MP-40 runs out of ammo, he drops it and picks up an PPSh from a dead fighter and keeps going. A Molotov hits him directly in the shoulder without exploding, so he throws it back up.

They make it to the roof, where the Marxists try to hurl a gas stove down the ladder to stop Otto from making it to the top; they've run out of ammo, and Otto mercilessly shoots them both off the roof. Unfortunately, he's overextended a bit in his zeal: there's a small army surrounding the building, including three trucks with 45mm anti-tank guns, and NKVD fighters streaming into the building. And he's out of flares and almost out of ammo.

It was now 0040 hours. Forty minutes into the battle, Jager still had six bombs left. The last one he’d dropped, in support of Otto’s attack squad, had been a direct hit. Jager had followed it up with a strafing attack right through the middle of the city, once again scattering Zionist fighters who had foolishly gathered in the central square, weakly firing up at him as he bore down on them, no more than 5 meters off the ground. But after this, his latest low-altitude almost supersonic buzzing run, he put the Stuka on its tail, turned completely over, and found his nose pointing south again.

It was strange—there were now smoke and flames rising over more than half of the city. The Old Quarter was almost completely obscured by the results of the battle as Kohl’s 2nd SS team continued to clear the ancient neighborhood with help from the hiwi tanks. The fire in the east-side slum that had housed a lot of the Bolshevik fighters had already burned itself out. The city’s utilities centers were still aflame, as was its midsection as the twin prongs of Konig’s and Otto’s attacks continued marching westward.

But in the southern part of the city, down by all those warehouses, nothing was going on except the fire Jager himself set off about ten minutes before. This part of the city was almost completely dark. No headlights. No streetlights. No one in the streets at all.

Confused, Jager circles around the southern part of the city to try and spot anything useful. He thinks their Bofors may be installed there, but he can't find any trace of it and it doesn't make sense that they'd black out a whole section of the city for one AA gun. Without much else to do, he opens up a warehouse roof with his cannon and drops a bomb in it, which sends it up with a massive explosion indicating that it was probably full of fuel and/or munitions. Spotting two more green flares, he circles off to assist.

Somehow the Commissar made it back to the middle of the city. He’d run from the carnage at the intersection, commandeering a truck several blocks away. The first thing he did after climbing aboard was ask the driver if the middle of the city was still there, or had it been hit by the He-111s as well?

The driver didn’t know, so it was a surprise for both of them that even though they had to drive through a lot of smoke and flames, they found the city square virtually intact. Upon seeing this, the Commissar thought the He-111s must have hit the southern part of the city then, down near the warehouses. There was almost a dark amusement about this. How strange would it be if the south end got flattened and the middle of Pokhorovka was saved? Would that mean that universe had a cosmic sense of humor?

The Commissar runs into the first open shop he sees and grabs the owner's radio. Of the three channels in Pokhorovka, two are blocked by interference and the third has an unknown man's voice in Russian saying to stay away from Pokhorovka because it's being bombed and invaded by the German 4th Army. He's sent out messengers to try and contact the NKVD and Bolshevik commanders and bring in every reinforcement they can, but nobody's returned. In desperation, he enacts a plan to equip some of his lowest ranking officers and assistants with improvised pikes, dope them up with meth, and give them civilian clothes and suicide vests to go out and become "voluntary Matrosovs" against the Germans.

While making plans at his HQ on the ground floor of the Hall of the Soviets, he meets with his subordinates. Some of his men were caught trying to flee and were executed as an example to the rest of the fighters to stay and keep fighting. The good news is that the NKVD had delivered their arms supply and a box of celluloid tapes. The bad news is there doesn't seem to be anybody to start ringing the bells to summon reinforcements… except himself.

Arriving at the huge bell at the top floor of the Hall of the Soviets, he puts his hands over his ears to prepare for the noise of the He-111s flying overhead....but it's quiet. Pokhorovka is still standing below him, with only intermittent fires and muzzle flashes. He can only see about 30 Germans and not a single He-111 in the sky. It's at this point he realizes they've been fooled.

Before he can ring the bell, however, a helicopter appears right in front of him. He and the pilot and gunmen inside stare at one another, and then they open fire.

Again, there were five bodyguards up here on the roof with him. None of them had seen the copter approach—in fact, they didn’t know if it had come up behind them or had being flying at such a low altitude it had risen straight up after spotting them. In any case, the fusillade that came out of the copter was devastating. Four of the Commissar ’s bodyguards were literally torn in half. His fifth guard had his head blown off. The Commissar himself felt a great weight hit him at the same time the barrage from the helicopter did. He was thrown on his back, what seemed like molten steel washing over his body.

But somehow he saw the helicopter depart; the men were still shooting at him as it sped away. That’s the only reason the Commissar knew he was not dead, not yet anyway. He looked down at his chest and saw that he’d been hit not by bullets but by pieces of the bell that had been shattered in the fusillade. It was now in a million fragments—yet somehow he was still in one piece.

And right then and there, the Commissar lost it. He felt an ice-cold shiver go up and down his spine and back again. He’d been through combat. He’d murdered innocent people in the name of bloodlust and Stalin. He’d seen and felt and smelled and even tasted the worst aspects of war. But he’d never felt anything like this. Just like with the Patch, the Waffen SS were now after him. And it was the worst feeling in the world.

He looked out on the city again, this time from a horizontal position, as he could barely move. There were more fires and more smoke and more noise and more gunshots—but suddenly these things weren’t forefront in his mind anymore. Suddenly it was his own neck he was thinking about, always a priority but now even more so. They got under your skin; that’s what everyone said. First you ignore them. Then you laugh at them. Then you fight them. And then they beat you.

The Waffen SS. One close encounter with them was all it took. They got into your bloodstream, and after that it was only a matter of time before they hunted you down and sliced you up. Who wanted such a horrible way to go? It was at that moment that the Commissar began making plans for his own escape.

goatsestretchgoals
Jun 4, 2011

in soviet russia, you shove robot

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Holy poo poo.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



While all this murdering is going on, Gil Bates is in the White Rooms aboard the Ocean Voyager. He has the tape of Li's execution, and is steeling himself to watch it.

quote:

As he was head of the Spooks, this would not be the first Islamic execution tape Bates had ever seen. Nick Berg. Eugene Armstrong. Jack Hensley, Daniel Pearl—Bates had watched them all. It was part of his job as the senior intelligence person on the ship, even though he was barely into his twenties, the result of his being a child prodigy and graduating from MIT at the age of 17. Bates had to watch Li’s execution video because it most likely contained clues about the people who had killed her, the people whom Ryder and the rest of the team were in the process of stomping, on this, the Ghosts’ last mission.

Bates also wanted to see the video in its original form before the CIA got ahold of it and doctored it, as they would surely do, seeing as they were responsible for Li’s death in the first place.

The signal from Echelon finally completed the endless downloading. Bates immediately made a backup copy and then ended the connection to Echelon. Then he took a deep breath—and pushed the video to play. The first image was the Al-Qazzaza TV station identification slide. Then it switched to two news anchors jabbering about what was to come. Both men seemed positively orgasmic in announcing that a new execution video had been received.

There was a burst of static and electronic snow. This cleared up in a few seconds, and then Li’s image came on the screen. Bates gulped hard; he hit the pause button. These beheadings were always brutal, gory stuff. His hands began to shake. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to handle this.

The ship lurches and brings Bates out of his shakiness, and he plays the video. Li is blindfolded and kneeling in front of a large black and green flag covered in "Islamic scribbling". On either side of her are men that he recognizes as Filipino laborers kidnapped by Al Qaeda from Iraq recently. Five men in black balaclavas are standing behind them, and the one with the machete reads a prepared statement that they have been convicted for crimes against Islam and sentenced to death.

They begin chopping at the first Filipino man's jugular, and we get an honestly realistic description of the slow and gory process of chopping a head off with a knife. Having seen this myself, I don't think I need to reiterate how it goes.

There's another burst of static, and the remaining two victims are moved closer together. They kill the next guy, same as the first. More static, and now Li is the only one left.

quote:

The seconds counted down. The executioner was more than halfway through his spiel. He began pulling the machete from his waistband. The men on either side of him braced themselves for what they knew was about to come.

Ten seconds …

Bates’s finger hovered over the pause button. Could he do it?

Seven seconds …

The guy was folding the paper; he knew the last few sentences by heart.

Five seconds …

He raised the machete over Li’s neck.

Four seconds …

Bates nearly hit the stop button, he so didn’t want to see this, but he knew he had to.

Three seconds …

Sorry, Li….

Two …

One …

Cut (har har) to Bobby Murphy's cabin. Murphy is standing at the window, praying for their plans to succeed. Suddenly, Gil bursts in. He's in hysterics, laughing and crying. He hands Murphy the disk with the execution tape on it and forces Murphy to load it into his laptop and play it.

quote:

Bates put it in slow motion. Murphy watched, horrified, as the knife was raised over Li’s head, as the executioner began his swing down—and then suddenly a burst of static, followed by a series of scratch lines across the screen. Then among the electronic snow Murphy could see the ghostly figures of the five men again. The tape became jumpy, and still full of static. But it was clear enough to see the men were discussing something; they seemed stumped by something. The knife was now back at the man’s side, and Li was still unhurt.

More static—then the men changed positions abruptly. It was as if they were starting the execution all over again. But then more static, more scratch lines, and more fuzzy scenes of the men, once again discussing something, being stumped by something. The very last scene showed the man with the knife literally throwing up his hands in frustration. Then the video finally ended for good.

Murphy just turned to Bates. The young Spook was now laughing more than he was crying but still doing a lot of both. “Don’t you get it?” he asked Murphy excitedly. “All that static and scratching things at the end is them twisting it backward and going over it, again and again. Three times total. There were trying to get some use out of the last few inches of it. But they couldn’t, because there’s not enough of it.”

“Enough of what?” Murphy finally asked him. Now Bates was just laughing. He was happy.

“Videotape,” he replied simply, boisterously. “They ran out of videotape.…”

Murphy just stared back at him. He had to let this sink in. “They ran out of tape?” he asked, looking back at the blank screen.

“Yes,” Bates replied. “They’re rewinding it, thinking they can tape over it—but they can’t, not without erasing the tape of the Filipino guys getting it. But you can’t rewind cassettes by hand like that.”

Murphy just shook his head. “They ran out of videotape?” he repeated Bates’s words back to him.

Murphy grabs the yellow phone, connecting the dots to the reports of the people hunting around Khrash for video tapes. He needs to call Obo Field.

That's the twist. Li is alive because the terrorists ran out of tape. They couldn't finish their execution without filming it for everyone, so they've postponed it until they could hunt down more tapes. I'm honestly aghast at how unbelievably stupid this is. Even Murphy seems to find it unbelievable!

Of course, the team has already charged into Khrash by this point so the Marines left behind at Obo Field are forced to tell Murphy that they've already left. They hear a helicopter approaching after they hang up and grab their rifles, but it's the third Superhawk (the "Scramble Copter") coming in to pick up the Marines and the last of the ammo.

Fox is in the back of the copter, and the Marines tell him the news that Li is alive. He calls Murphy on the way back to the city and he confirms the theory about the tape, but they're concerned that their total lack of caution with blowing up everything in sight could have accidentally killed her. Regardless, they need to hit their target: the Holy Towers.

The other two Superhawks and Ryder's F-14 perform strafing runs on the Holy Towers to dissuade any return fire as the Scramble Copter lands on the roof of one; the roof is empty except for the corpses of five mooks already shot dead by the aircraft. Right on cue, they unfurl a 6x10 foot American flag and attach it to a flag pole, mounting it on top of the Holy Tower. They fire flare guns in the air to illuminate their victory over Islam.

Suddenly, gunfire begins zipping by them from the opposite Holy Tower, 10 feet away. Two terrorists begin charging across the roof, preparing to leap over the gap.

quote:

This was insanity, and Fox knew it. Why would these two want to jump over to their roof where they would be killed immediately … unless.

Fox instantly opened up on the two gunmen—everyone around him did too, as if they all figured it out at the same time. The two mooks both jumped off the first tower together. The American fusillade caught them in mid-air. Suddenly both mooks blew up in twin balls of flame and dust. Then everything got quiet again.

Fox felt all the air go out of him. These guys hadn’t just been gunmen, they were suicide bombers.

And that was not good.

The two Black Hawks begin strafing the other Holy Tower as Fox and company trade fire with it. He finds it suspicious that they're fighting so violently to defend the towers while fighters on the ground are retreating for the safety of Iran. Delta fights their way down from the roof to the ground floor, but the tower is virtually empty and only a few fighters high on qat offer token resistance before fleeing or dying. Kennedy's 2nd Delta squad and the two T-72s arrive shortly after.

Getting a thought, Fox checks around the Chief's office and finds a false wall with a secret door leading down to a basement behind it. Inside is a dark hallway lined with white doors; Fox shoots the lock off one and finds it packed with smelly, living bodies. Filipino women, hostages, POWs, kidnap victims. All awaiting execution. Unfortunately, Li isn't among them.

quote:

The Farāh River ran swiftly from north to south. Flowing out of the mountains in Afghanistan, it bordered Khrash on the west, at points defining the border with Iran.

The river had been a lifeline to Khrash for centuries. Where the river cargo years ago had been such exotic things as fresh fruit, figs, and cooking oil, these days it was almost always guns, ammunition, and explosives, along with some luxury items such as C-size batteries, Bic lighters, and blank cassette tapes, including videotapes.

The river caravan of seven boats had left the Iranian city fifty miles downstream just after sundown the day before. Because they had to sail against the current and the 30-foot boats were powered by small diesel engines, those fifty miles upstream could take as long as 10 hours. But because the smugglers, who were actually members of the Iranian military police, knew there was a sudden desperate situation in Khrash, they’d traveled the night full out, in an effort to get the much-needed arms and ammunition to their Islamic brothers.

That’s why they were now just a mile from Khrash, hidden under the overhanging trees on the Iranian side, looking into this city where nothing ever really happened and wondering whether World War Three had suddenly broken out there.

On the seven boats were tons of military supplies, especially guns and ammunition, a cargo too expensive by weight and too dangerous by origin to be driven over the mountains to Khrash. Usually these deliveries would be made with no muss, no fuss, on one of the many docking areas that could be found up near the Habeeb Bridge. But at the moment the Habeeb Bridge seemed to be on fire. The smuggled weapons would have to be dropped off at a more secure location farther downstream. There were 21 Iranian military police scattered along the seven boats. The boats themselves were simple wooden carry-alls, long, flat rowboats that were supplemented by diesel engines. All of the cargo was stored up top. Wooden boxes carried the AK-47s and RPG rounds. Waterproofed plastic tubs held the ammunition, plus the batteries, the lighters, and the tape cassettes. The seven boats were lashed together to prevent their getting lost in the dark. They had no running lights and there was no radio communication among them. Wherever the first boat went, the others had to follow.

A man named Zbeg Kamani was riding in the last boat. He was an officer cadet in the regular Iranian Army, assigned to the military police’s smuggling operations. This was his first ride up the Farāh River.

As the boats round the bend, they see the city of Khrash glowing in the night. They can see the helicopters and F-14s zooming around the sky, and the strange Psyclops plane circling overhead. Suddenly, two figures shoot out of the water and land on the boat, slitting the throats of the Iranians they land in front of. The two boats in front of him explode as their high explosive crates are detonated, and Zbeg can see other "water creatures" climbing over the boats, killing everyone in sight. His own boat explodes, blowing half his clothes off and flinging him into the water.

Zbeg grabs onto a plastic tub floating from the wreckage and uses it as a life preserver to float to shore, the only survivor of the attack.

quote:

But a bigger surprise was yet to come, because no sooner did he get his wits about him when he heard a voice above him. He looked up to see two men in uniforms with rifles staring down at him. Their faces were highlighted by both twin glows of the riverboats still burning out on the water and the flames coming from Khrash itself not far away.

Zbeg remained frozen with fear as one of the men literally stepped on him to get to the plastic tub that had held just enough buoyancy to save his life. They seemed unconcerned about the seven boats in flames farther out on the river. The soldier ripped the top off the tub and reached inside. But instead of coming out with gobs of ammunition, he had a bunch of batteries and video cassettes in his hand.

“We’ve been waiting for you, pasha,” one of the soldiers said to him. “And you have brought us just what we needed.”

Only then did Zbeg realize these people weren’t Americans—he recognized their uniforms. They were Iranian military, just as he was.

But what were they doing on this side of the river?

The Psyclops plane continues its circling, coming over the river. They shine their spotlight on the Ghost SEAL team that just destroyed the Iranian boats, and they give a thumbs-up to the crew despite having their presence shown to the whole world by having a goddamn spotlight shining on them. The DJs put in a disk that's literally titled "More Confusing Sounds of War" and continue their flight over Khrash; Red Curry has been strafing the bridge to Iran and the road beyond so many times that the road is literally soaked in blood. They still have their own confusion about why the southern end of the city is so dark, but before they can think any further the White Screen comes up with Murphy's face.

And I'm going to bring this update to a halt, because the rest of the chapter is just as long as what I've already posted and this battle is so loving long. We're 83% of the way to the finish line.

Psion
Dec 13, 2002






What do you say to criticize a twist that's so dumb simply reading it out loud is all the critique it needs?

also JcDent's post, god drat

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Psion posted:

What do you say to criticize a twist that's so dumb simply reading it out loud is all the critique it needs?

"Wait for the ending".

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Fukken knew Li was not gonna die off screen, I just couldn't fathom that the twist would be that stupid.

Nice to see Sunni-Shia divide not being a thing.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Ozzi survives being surrounded because the technicals just leave. As he slowly makes his way downstairs, he feels a sharp pain in his leg and realizes that he took a wound while under adrenaline. He has only 3 rounds left in his stolen AK and the only light is a burning building nearby. Stumbling over the dead bodies of both militia fighters and civilians, he finds his Zabul squad (that hadn't followed him in his crazy charge onto the roof) around the corner greeting some rescued civilians.

quote:

Ozzi staggered to the middle of the street and called out to them. They spotted him and waved and smiled back. drat, I’m going to make it …, Ozzi thought.

At that same moment, one of the civilians, a middleaged man, embraced the head Zabul officer. As he was doing this, he reached into his shirt and pulled the detonator on the belt of TNT he was wearing around his waist.

The bomb went off a split second later. It was so powerful, it blew Ozzi back ten feet and landed him on his already painful right leg. When he looked up again, all he saw was bodies, some torn limb from limb, others looking like they were just asleep. But they were all most certainly dead. All the Zabul. All the civilians and the suicide bomber himself.

And Ozzi was alone, lost and bleeding, once again.

The Chief hastily packed his bags with some dirty clothes and as much money as he could grab, from dollars to euros to gold coins. He's leaving his wife and 17 children behind to flee Khrash; even if he survives and pushes back the Americans, he'd be left living in rubble. His driver is taking him to a secret route along the river and southern edge of the city that will lead to a bridge owned by the Iranian military, giving him safe access across the border.

His driver is also carrying one important object: a CD containing the names of all 22,517 people in the valley and their loyalty to the religious police. He's going to turn it over to the Iranian secret police as soon as he's safe, with the less loyal ones being disposed of after the attack is over.

The Chief's Land Rover speeds past the bleeding and retreating terrorists to the rough trail on the river's edge, the water still aflame from the destroyed weapons convoy. They follow it to the southernmost part of the city, then turn onto an even rougher trail toward the mountains. They're only an hour away from safety....when a helicopter appears right in front of them.

quote:

It was if the aircraft materialized out of nothingness. How could it have flown in here so stealthily? The Chief didn’t want to believe it was there at first. Only after he blinked his eyes several times was he convinced this thing was real. And that meant real trouble.

This helicopter was definitely not of the same type as had been attacking the city relentlessly all night. This one had two huge rotors, one at each end; it resembled a nightmarish flying banana. There were heavily armed men jumping out of its access doors and heading right for the Land Rover.

The driver slammed on the brakes, which was probably the worst thing to do. It gave the hovering helicopter the time to finally set down on the trail, blocking any hope of speeding under it and getting away. The Chief now threw up, he was so scared. He screamed for his driver to open fire on the men. It was clear that this he did not want to do, but the Chief’s screams caused him to take the AK-47 on the seat beside him and fire it out the open window at the black-uniformed soldiers. At the moment this happened, the Chief bailed. He opened the door, grabbed his bags, and was out of the truck, this just as the first fusillade of return fire hit it.

There was a storm of tracers, but also two pumped grenades came flying through the night. They hit simultaneously and the Land Rover went up in a ball of flame, taking the hapless driver with it. In that moment of smoke and chaos, the Chief rolled himself through the grass and into the river.

The Chief can't swim and is caught by the current, ripping the bags from his hands and the CD from his pocket. It drags him toward one of the huge walls of fire left by a destroyed boat; by fire or water, he's dead. In his last seconds of life, the only thing he sees is that every soldier in that helicopter is black.

It's Delta Thunder, coming to save the day in a Chinook! Murphy got a helicopter from the USS Ronald Reagan to pick them up, with the one condition that the Navy guys flying not actually get involved in the fighting. That's why they're being dropped so far outside of town.

To the astonishment of the Delta Thunder squad, they see a helicopter passing over them. It's the same French "Bell-72" that left them to die in the jungle in the first chapter. They raise their weapons, but are too stunned to fire and let it pass into the night. None of them can figure out what it's doing here.

Meanwhile, Dave Hunn has finally reached his squad's goal: Al Sharim, a flattened berm 150 feet tall half a mile from the center of Khrash. On the other side is the western neighborhood of Hasha, an Al Qaeda nest of junkyards and old factories and garages. Hunn is under orders to switch tactics should he make it here, and for once he decides not to just snort amphetamines and charge in with a hatchet to decapitate all the women and children he sees. Instead, Tarik Aboo's second or third cousin has some 188mm artillery pieces sighted in on the neighborhood and Hunn has the flares to signal them.

quote:

Hunn fired off his three flares and the barrage started almost immediately, this after 1st Delta had safely dug itself into the east side of the berm.

They watched as the large 125mm shells went over their heads, causing faint yellow streaks of light as they fell onto the grimy neighborhood beyond. The noise was so loud even the cotton in the troopers’ ears didn’t do them much good. They kept their heads down like this for the full five minutes. Only then, after a break in the barrage, did Hunn dare to peek over the top of the berm.

He was astonished by what he saw. There was nothing left. What had been a crowded, overloaded section filled with everything from cement mixers to hundreds of wrecked cars now looked like the surface of the moon. It was as if the place had been hit by a real B-52 strike.

Hunn knew nothing could have survived the massive bombardment, so he sent up three more signal flares and told his guys to get down again. Within a minute, the shells were going over their heads once more, this time at a little longer distances. The noise was no less horrific, though. Nor was the new glow coming from the west. Once this segment of bombardment was over, Hunn took another peek and was heartened to see that the section of housing on the other side of the junkyard had been leveled, too.

Were there still some Al Qaeda in those rat holes? Or had they already moved out or escaped? Either way, Hunn was sure they wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon.

He checked his watch. He still had ten minutes of artillery to be used. But where to shoot it? Everything to the north of him still had friendly personnel operating in it. Straight ahead was nothing but the demolished west side and the burning waters of the Farāh River. So he turned his eyes left, to the darkened south end of the city. Except for the two hits Ryder had delivered earlier, the blocks of warehouses had stood mute during all of this. Hunn just shrugged and start shooting off flares in that direction.

What the hell, he thought. Maybe we can kill something interesting down there.

What a wonderful way to treat artillery! "Hm, maybe there's some bad guys there. May as well demolish everything and kill everyone without even checking our targets! This never comes back to bite you in the rear end!"

And what's Ryder doing? He's joined Curry in the sky over the western edge of the Habeeb Bridge to Iran; now even the snow on either side of the bridge is turning red from all the people they've massacred on it. Mack compares the massive traffic jam of wrecked vehicles and corpses to the Highway of Death from the first Gulf War in a positive sense.

quote:

As fighting was winding down in the city itself, two of the Blackhawks crossed the river and joined in the destruction. Then Ryder showed up and began adding the last of his cannon shells and bomb load to the carnage. It was all brutal and without mercy, but no one involved ever considered bringing it to a halt. They knew if they let just one terrorist get away, that same mook might one day step on a plane with a bomb or smuggle a nuclear device into the United States and more American deaths would result. The Ghosts had a chance to kill as many terrorists as they could, here and now, and they were going to do it.

"Is it possible that some civilians may have tried to escape down this road?"

"Never! Keep firing!"

The Psyclops plane flies overhead, then pulls up next to Ryder's F-14 because that's a thing C-130s can do to fighters in the middle of strafing runs. One of the crewmen, Dow, holds up a sign to the window that reads Li still alive--maybe....Follow us.

Through the frantic three-way conversation they have, Fox lands the Scramble Copter on the Al Sharim berm. Ryder then makes a harrowing, low speed landing that comes to a screeching halt not even 100 yards from falling off the edge.

Fox tells Ryder what he learned from the POWs; the Patch took Li to execute her once they got new tapes, and there's a rundown TV station where he does the executions....in the south end of town which is currently being flattened by artillery.

Hunn, you dumbass.

Ryder goes nuts and doesn't even listen to Fox try to tell him about the dangerous poo poo they heard about down there. He grabs an M16 from one of the Delta guys and barrels down the berm into the storm of artillery shells. Fox jumps in the helicopter in the hopes of reaching the Zabul guns and stopping the bombardment before Hunn's stupidity kills everyone.

Ryder runs through the bombardment, so far around the bend that he barely even hears the explosions. He's hunting for a white door with a red stripe in it, which he was told marks the TV studio.

quote:

He stopped at one corner of the wrecked warehouse and looked in. Incredibly the first thing he saw was an American Stealth fighter—an F-117 Nighthawk—in pieces, smoldering on the floor. It wasn’t his bombs that had torn it apart. It had been in pieces before his attack and had obviously been in the process of being rebuilt.

How did a Stealth jet get into a warehouse in Afghanistan? Ryder had no idea. His only guess was that it had been shot down somewhere and the mooks or someone they were in cahoots with was trying to put it back together. He moved on.

He began running again, wildly trying to find his way through pitch-black here, blazing light there, artillery shells still coming down all around him. Three blocks away, he found another building he’d hit. It was still totally engulfed in flame, but again, he could see somewhat clearly inside. Glass bottles—hundreds of them, some broken, some steaming—littered the warehouse floor. What were these things? He didn’t know. They all had Arabic writing on them, but he had no idea what the words said. However, more than a few were carrying an image he did understand: the skull and crossbones. The universal symbol for toxins.

Dirty bombs were the first two words that came to his mind. He ran around the front of the building and was once again relieved to see that it was not painted white with a red stripe going across it. Two for two, he thought. Neither of which looked like a TV studio.

At least, he’d not killed Li. But maybe someone else had.

The Psyclops plane flies overhead and drops flares about 3 blocks over; figuring they must have spotted the building, he turns around and runs to follow them. They drop more flares, and he follows them to a line of white aluminum warehouses with a red racing stripe painted down the center, going over the doors. The building he's looking for is here, but which one?

The first one is full of old Iraqi 1000 pound bombs, each with the skull and crossbones logo on the nose. Once again, good thing he didn't impulsively blow up this building like everything else.

The second door opens, and it's more bombs. But they don't have toxin symbols.

quote:

Instead they bore the very distinctive black triangle with the bright yellow cut-out circular icon inside. The universal sign for radioactive materials.

And that’s when it hit Ryder.

The missing WMD …

The reason for the war in Iraq. Here it was.

But he didn’t have time to think about this now. As globally significant as it was, Ryder had something even more important on his mind.

He still had to find her.…

I actually burst out laughing when I reached this part for the first time. Mack just loving throws the missing Iraqi WMDs in like an afterthought, and then has Ryder completely ignore the world changing event so he can find his Yellow Fever dream.

Before he can open the third door, it opens itself. Two soldiers come out, but they're not the terrorists he's been seeing so much of; they're wearing proper uniforms and boots. He blasts both with his M16. A third comes out and gets shot in the head, then a fourth comes out, trips over the bodies, and gets shot in the throat while begging for mercy. A fifth charges out but gets impaled by Ryder's bayonet, and he pauses to take a look at the patch on his shoulder. All the soldiers are Iranian.

quote:

Like the first two, it was dark inside here—except for one spot, in the corner the farthest away from him. Down there he could see bright lights, like movie lights, burning as if on fire. He could also see a man, holding a large video camera; he was inserting a tape cassette. Ryder could see wires and cables and large car-type batteries. There were other people around, too, technician types. But for whatever reason, they seemed so intent on their work, they hadn’t heard the battle taking place just outside the door. No doubt about it—he’d stumbled upon a barebones TV studio.

Ryder kept his cool and crept into the murk. The closer he got to the klieg lights, the more people he saw in the illuminated corner. At least a dozen or so, maybe more. Five were dressed in black robes and rags. They were standing in the light, in front of a black curtain that had been hung on the far wall. There was Arabic scribbling all over this backdrop. One of the men was holding a huge machete-style knife.

And on the floor in front of him, blindfolded and once again awaiting the fatal blow, was Li. The way the light was hitting her, she almost seemed aglow.

Ryder goes into a dreamlike state, flying forward and firing precise single shots that take out everyone perfectly. Rather than try to fight back, the terrorists amazingly keep trying to roll the tape and execute Li until Ryder shoots everyone standing behind her and destroys the camera and lights.

Another two mooks appear, and he shoots one in the groin with his last bullets.

quote:

He fell forward in an instant, his bayonet catching the man in his ribs. The man fell over but grabbed onto the razorlike weapon, slicing off three of his fingers. The scream that came out of him was bloodcurdling. Ryder finally yanked the blade from his rib cage and quickly stabbed him again, this time the bayonet going right into the man’s open, screaming mouth. There was another sickening crackling noise, and the man finally died. But in killing him Ryder discovered he’d snapped his bayonet in two, leaving half of it in the man’s skull and rendering the other half useless.

That’s when Ryder saw one more shadow rise up from the floor. The last man, with the machete in his hand. He’d pulled the mask over his head and now Ryder was face-to-face with him. He looked like something from a horror movie. His hands and body were, for some reason, covered with blood. But it was his face. Gnarled and bloody, too. And he was wearing a patch. He raised the hatchet—Ryder had no defense. No gun, no knife. Nothing. Everything froze—now he awaited the blow, supremely pissed that he’d made it this close to rescuing Li, only to be dispatched by this monster. Ryder looked up at his executioner. The man was literally foaming at the mouth. He started to swing down with the gleaming hatchet.…

When suddenly he stopped. Just for a moment. His eyes looked to the right—it was almost as if someone was calling his name. At the exact same moment, the unmistakable rumbling of the Psyclops plane going over filled the empty warehouse. In all this took maybe two seconds, but it was all the time Ryder needed.

He hit the Patch with a rolling block. They both fell over; suddenly Ryder was on top of the terrorist. And suddenly the hatchet was in Ryder’s hand. He put it right to the terrorist’s throat.

“Ryder Long,” he spit at the man. “Colonel. United States of America. This is for all the people you killed on September 11th.”

The Patch went white. He tried to say the Arabic word for “mercy”—but it never came out. Ryder pushed the hatchet into the Patch’s throat, severing his jugular, his windpipe, and his vocal cords all at once. The look of horror froze on his face. His one good eye went to his right—almost as if he was looking at Li.

Than he mouthed his final words: All for that American bitch.…

Then he died.

Ryder grabs Li and removes the blindfold, and they fall onto each other kissing and laughing. The building begins to collapse around them, from what Ryder later learned was the Superhawks firing on a group of bad guys trying to get into the building.

So remember how Ozzi nearly got blown up? Yeah, he's still stumbling around bleeding from his leg wound. He collapses from the blood loss, his life flashing before his eyes, dragging himself across the broken glass. Right before he passes out, however, he crawls right to the feet of Delta Thunder.

Also, remember Saheeb the Syrian? Yeah, probably not. But he's somehow survived all this insanity thanks to deserting the Patch in the TV studio. Being unarmed, battered, and bleeding, he's mistaken for a civilian and allowed into the city square by the surviving Zabul fighters. In the Holy Towers he finds that all of his possessions were looted or destroyed, probably by the religious police.

Wanting revenge, Saheeb stomps over to the Chief's blockhouse on the edge of the Old Quarter. Inside the garage is the Chief's supply of qat...and the SA-6 missile launcher.

quote:

He stuffed another handful of qat into his mouth and, getting even higher, started examining the controls to the missile’s launcher. He was surprised to see it was one of the newer models, a Russian export version that took all the brain work out of launching the drat thing, a must when selling exotic weaponry to Third World countries. With this model, all it took was to snap on the control panel, put the radar on search, and then just wait for a target to fall into the weapon’s electronic web. Once the fly was close to the net, with one push of a button the missile was off.

It was that simple. Any idiot could do it. Even him.…

He sat back and chewed some more qat and contemplated just how penniless he now was. But then he looked back over at the missile and thought of something. It was like a lightbulb turning on in his head.

Is Al Qaeda still paying rewards to anyone who shoots down an American aircraft? he wondered.

One update remains.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




chitoryu12 posted:

Mack just loving throws the missing Iraqi WMDs in like an afterthought

There is no big enough.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



It's like a cartoon where a kid is rooting through the trash and pulling out random stuff looking for something specific.

*rustle rustle*

"Jimmy Hoffa!"

*throws away*

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


You need more and bigger eyes to do the needed rolling. I think this outshines everything in the Ringo thread.

I want to complain about terrorists all being game robots who blindly follow the quest or how and why the gently caress would anyone be trying to rebuild an F-117... but why?

muscles like this!
Jan 17, 2005



Another thing that's super distasteful about this is how he keeps mixing in real events with his stupid fake stuff.

Preechr
May 19, 2009

Proud member of the Pony-Brony Alliance for Obama as President


JcDent posted:

You need more and bigger eyes to do the needed rolling. I think this outshines everything in the Ringo thread.

I want to complain about terrorists all being game robots who blindly follow the quest or how and why the gently caress would anyone be trying to rebuild an F-117... but why?

The way this is going, I can only assume something about traitorous LIEberals from the State Department undermining are troops for reasons.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



More flares are fired at the Al Sharim berm to gather the team and regroup. A few of the team is still missing, but they have some wine and try to get some sleep in the glow of the burning city.

At 9:30 AM, a Navy Chinook sets down on the field nearby to pick up Delta Thunder; the helicopter crew looks at the Ghosts like they're aliens from another world, which Mack attributes to their unkempt appearance rather than them having just depopulated an entire city single-handedly.

quote:

The guys from Delta Thunder climbed aboard the waiting Chinook, this after shaking hands and embracing the Ghosts, now truly their brothers in arms.

Fox above all shook hands warmly with Johnson. “You know, usually after going through the wringer with us, people tend to join up,” the DSA officer said to him. “I mean—look at this crew. We got all the flavors of the rainbow.”

Johnson replied: “Your reputation is well-founded. And we could all do great things together. But we’ve got something else going on that at the moment is as important. We’ve got to get back to our place. A lot of problems back there. We have to do our part in trying to fix them. You understand, I’m sure?”

Fox did—but he hated to see them go. They all did. The Delta Thunder guys would have been a perfect fit for the Ghost Team.

“I hear you,” Fox told him. “Maybe we’ll hook up again then.”

Johnson saluted him. “Count on it,” he said. Then he climbed aboard the Chinook and closed the door. The big copter rose into the air, turned, and headed southwest.

That’s when Hunn came up beside Fox. “They have things ‘as important’ to do?” he asked the DSA officer. “Like what?”

Fox watched the copter disappear over the horizon. “Like trying to save an entire continent,” he finally said.

I have absolutely no idea what this means. I'm going to spoil you right now: we never find out what Delta Thunder is up to. I don't think there's another book series about them, either.

Another helicopter from the USS Ronald Regan lands at the Zabul village, and Bobby Murphy comes out to greet Tarik Aboo and take a drag off his Afghani blunt full of tobacco and hashish. Tarik explains that the Zabul fighters will remain in the city as long as it's necessary, but Murphy reminds Tarik of the promise he made him a long time ago: he needs to offer total freedom. Freedom of religion and behavior, no women beating, etc. and threatens that "you know what we can do" if things slide backwards.

Murphy tells him to enjoy his money, but Tarik is confused. Murphy mentions that he was supposed to be paid $2 million in cash, but Tarik laughs off that he would ever need American money.

Regardless of whether or not Tarik was supposed to be bribed, the battle for Khrash is over.

quote:

How many terrorists had been killed? It really didn’t make much difference to the Americans now lounging about the city square, many of them taking their first rest break of the night. If they’d gone through all this just to kill one Al Qaeda member, it would have been worth it. That was the measure of hatred the Ghosts had for the Islamic terrorist group. They had vowed to get them all, one by one, and all of the Ghosts truly believed that someday they would reach that goal. The fact that there were at least 10,000 dead mooks currently lying around and that many were hard-core Al Qaeda was just a small step in that direction.

Gradually the civilians started coming out of their hiding places. Many were wailing, twirling kerchiefs over their heads. Happy and sad at the same time, the subtitle of this story. Once they got over the initial shock of seeing Americans standing in their city square, they began thanking the Ghosts and the Zabul for what they’d just done. The triple plague of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the religious police was now gone. The people had their city back again. They could sing. They could dance. They could fly a kite. They could read a book. They were free.

They were also being frisked now for explosives before they were allowed to mingle among the liberators, offering them figs and much-appreciated cups of water.

One of the Superhawks appears overhead to pick them up, but about 300 feet above the ground it stops. The pilots seem to be squinting, staring off to the south, and one of the crewmen inside leans out the door and begins yelling and wildly pointing...before an HE shell smashes into the city square, killing two dozen civilians instantly. More shells hit the Holy Towers, blowing the top floor off one of them and blowing more civilians into red paste. One of the Zabul T-72s turns its turret to look for the attacker, only to be hit by two shells simultaneously that blow the tank into the air.

The team runs for cover as two dozen tanks roll into the square. They're T-80s wearing Iranian liveries, a tank that the real Iranian army doesn't operate.

quote:

There was never any doubt that Khrash was important to the twisted old men who ran Iran. It provided deniability on everything from WMD, to stolen aircraft, to hostages, to brand-new Russian weapons. That was the same French Bell-72 the Thunder guys had seen earlier in the night. It was dropping off the parcel of plutonium it had picked up in West Africa that it never disposed of. The Iranians were into nukes, too. So, what was lurking in the warehouses at the southern end of Khrash all this time? As it turned out, just about everything that couldn’t be found in Iraq—hostages, weapons, WMD—and a whole lot more.

And to guard it all? An entire mechanized battalion of the Kvak, the Iranian Special Forces. Twenty-four tanks. Twenty-four armored personal carriers. Twelve mobile guns and more than 2,000 men. Very well hidden, from the Americans, even from the people who used to run Khrash. But now they were on the loose.

Someone somewhere had decided the Americans had seen too much in Khrash and that there would be too many tales to tell. So they’d dispatched this column to make sure there weren’t any witnesses. And being just about out of bullets and bombs themselves, the Ghosts didn’t stand a chance.

So in Mack's world, Iran is responsible for everything that "went missing" from Iraq, like the WMDs Saddam never had or claimed hostages that didn't exist. All this time and we were just building up to Iran being the bad guys.

The Psyclops plane appears overhead, flying so low that the 12.7mm heavy machine guns on the Iranian vehicles could easily shoot it down. The sky quickly becomes thick with tracer fire, the EC-130 taking hits all along its wings and fuselage. Suddenly, the Snowball on the bottom of the plane glows a bright white and a high-pitched whine comes from it.

quote:

And just as suddenly the column of tanks and guns ground to a halt. All firing stopped. The Ghosts peeked out from behind their cover to see a very strange sight.

The Iranians were abandoning their vehicles en masse. Here the stories would differ as well. Some on hand said the Iranians stumbled out of their trucks holding their ears. Others said they had their hands over their eyes. Still others claimed that many of the Iranians appeared to be vomiting or bleeding from the nose and mouth. Whatever happened, one thing everyone agreed on was that when the Persians bailed out of their vehicles, they weren’t carrying any of their personal weapons.

And that turned out to be the end for them. Because at that moment, the helicopter that had been hovering above the square all this time was joined by the other two Blackhawks and they started firing the last of their ammunition down at the admittedly hapless Iranians. At the same moment, the Iranians began taking fire from the rear of their column as well. This barrage was coming from the ground and from heavy-caliber weapons similar to those carried in the copters.

It took just three minutes for all the Kvak troops to be killed. By the helicopters in the air and, as it turned out, by a combined unit of Delta Thunder and the Ghosts’ SEAL team moving up from the rear.

In that time, no one saw any of the Iranian soldiers fighting back.

The Snowball, as best as I can see it, appears to be a device that completely disables Muslims and nobody else. That's the only explanation for why nobody is affected except the Iranians.

Suddenly, there's a flash from the Old Quarter and a missile streaks into the sky, chasing the Psyclops plane (which is burning and smoking from the ground fire it took).

quote:

Just as the missile was about to strike the ailing plane, there came another streak of light flashing across the sky. It managed to somehow get itself in between the missile and the big plane. It was Red Curry in his F-14.

The missile locked onto his jet, forgetting about the Psyclops plane. The ghost pilot jinked one way as the EC-130 went the other.

The SAM hit two seconds later, blowing the F-14 to smithereens. Those on the ground were stunned.

Captain JC Dow, piloting the Psyclops plane, takes advantage of Curry's sacrifice to steer the EC-130 toward the same old soccer field Ryder crash landed his F-14 on. It digs a huge furrow in the ground, the wings slicing trees down and sending rocks flying into the air. The plane skids a good 1000 feet, all the way to the end of the field, but slows down enough that it's able to come to a bone-shaking stop.

The crew (all of whom survived) looks back into the main room, where all of the equipment has been completely destroyed and fizzled out. The Snowball, which costs a few billion dollars alone, was inevitably crushed in the crash. They burst into laughter at the thought of who's going to pay for all this.

Fox lands the Scramble Chopper nearby and runs up to the crew, revealing his Level Six security clearance and demanding to know what the Snowball did to those Iranian soldiers, theorizing on microwaves short-circuiting their brains or ultrasonic sound waves. All Dow will say is that he still needs to get bumped up another few levels of security clearance before he can be told.

Mack makes a small mistake here and says that everyone has gathered on the Al Sharim berm at 9:00 AM, after already establishing that it's "around 0930" at the beginning of the chapter. Having gone slightly back in time, the city is finally in bright daylight. Khrash looks surreal, covered in American flags on hundreds of buildings. Incredibly, Red Curry emerges from the western side of the city dragging his parachute behind him; he was smart enough to eject instead of getting blown up, but his ejection seat got caught in the fireball and he landed in the river.

By noon, everyone is accounted for...except Ryder and Li. One of the Superhawk pilots confirmed that he had directed them to his crashed F-14, where he seemed to recover something from the crash site. They were last spotted driving a Range Rover back into the city. It wouldn't be until much later that the Ghosts would realize the bag of $2 million given to them by Murphy on the Ocean Voyager had disappeared with them.

quote:

The news of the Battle of Khrash soon flashed around the world. Though the U.S. government at first tried to downplay the event, describing it as a simple skirmish between warring Afghan tribes, once the media jumped on the story it was soon clear that a huge firefight had taken place and that a major blow had been dealt to Al Qaeda. TV images showing American flags fluttering over the corpse-laden terrorist city only confirmed that.

And there was no doubt who had so decisively defeated the terrorists: It had been the Ghost Team, the near-mythical anti-terrorism unit that had been battling the perpetrators of 9/11 while the U.S. administration was preoccupied with invading oil-rich countries overseas and lining the coffers of its political friends at home. The deeply secret special-ops team’s fingerprints were all over the Khrash operation.

So it was strange then, that at the moment of their greatest triumph, true to their name, the Ghosts disappeared. No victory parades. No medal ceremonies. No press conferences offering praise to Bobby Murphy and his crew. No sooner was the battle over than the mysterious black ops team simply vanished.

And though it tried very hard to find them in the next few weeks, the U.S. government never did figure out where they went.

Not exactly anyway.

What happened to the Ghosts? Well, I hinted a while ago that it would be the worst thing Mack would ever write in his life. This would be the most offensive ending he could have possibly thought of. And here it is.

quote:

Several months later, a tantalizing clue was found.

One night, very late, a stray short-wave radio transmission was picked up by several U.S. listening stations, outposts hidden in some of the most desolated areas of Southwest Asia and the Middle East. From far down the channel, a voice spoke in a very distinctive drawl with a perfectly American timbre. As if caught in the middle of a private conversation, the voice was heard to say: “My friend Nietzsche once wrote: ‘He who fights against monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster himself.’”

That was all that was captured of the transmission before it faded back to static. When analyzed by audio experts from several U.S. intelligence agencies, however, the unanimous conclusion was that the voice belonged to Bobby Murphy.

Several months later, a curious entry found its way into a top-secret briefing paper being prepared for the National Security Council’s Terrorism Task Force. It concerned more than a dozen reports of strange Caucasian men spotted during routine undercover surveillance entering and leaving prominent mosques in locations around Europe and the Middle East. Observed in groups of twos and threes, some of these men looked to have had surgical procedures done recently to their faces; others appeared to have had the pigment in their skins actually darkened. And though all were poorly dressed and generally unclean, they were also seen carrying rolls of American dollars in their pockets. More intriguing, the number of different individuals observed totaled 55, the same number of soldiers thought to be in the Ghost Team.

But these strangers were not infiltrating the mosques to do them harm. This fact was confirmed by informers the United States already had imbedded inside the Muslim temples. Rather, these individuals had been seen taking part in hours of solemn prayer, attending brutally long religious education classes, and participating in intense discussions about the teachings of Allah. In other words, they were learning to become Muslims.

By the time the NSC thought to act on this report and track down the strangers and question them, the 55 men had completed their religious training and had dissolved into the ever-murky world of the Persian Gulf. If these people were the Ghosts, they had disappeared again.

This turn of events only became more baffling when six months to the day after the Battle of Khrash ended, another faint radio signal was heard around the Middle East. Like the one months before, this transmission was ethereal, barely audible from the loneliest end of the shortwave radio dial. And like the first, its point of origin was unknown. It could have come from a transmitter located deep in the mountains of West Pakistan, or a radio house aboard one of thousands of container-ships at sea, or a solitary aircraft flying very high over the troubled region.

But it was the same voice, that same drawl as on the first message. And the words were just as enigmatic, if not chilling: “This problem of Muslim terrorism,” the voice had said, “with all the hate and destruction and misery that goes with it is, in the end, a Muslim problem. Even with all its might and resources and manpower and bravery, it just cannot be fixed by Americans. Muslim terrorism can only be fixed by Muslims themselves.”

The answer to Muslim terrorism is brownface. Through surgical procedures and skin darkening, the Ghosts have turned themselves into Arabs and infiltrated Islam to try and convince Muslims not to be terrorists.

To this day, I remain baffled by how anyone could think this was a good idea. Never mind all the technical and grammatical errors, this remains the biggest proof that Mack Maloney has no editor. I can't see anyone, especially not someone who would ordinarily be a fan of these racist and jingoistic books, allowing this ending to slide.

With the most bizarre form of racism I've seen yet in literature, Superhawks has come to an end. Four books of dense stupidity, from over-the-top 80s movie gore and sociopathic heroes to pants wetting Muslims and pus-discharging eye sockets, have closed out with Operation Al Jolson.

With that said, this thread is far from over. Superhawks is actually a semi-sequel to a few books Mack wrote back in the 90s, the original appearance of Ryder Long. These books share a similar weirdness to the Wingman series, but transposed to the "real world" instead of the Crimson Skies-esque world of Hawk Hunter. It does include some callbacks to Wingman, but is otherwise within the same universe as Superhawks and written before 9/11 and thus before Mack suffered a terrorism-induced brain tumor. I'll be starting another thread in a while to cover those few books, as I feel they deserve a little separation from the insanity we've just witnessed.

Colonel Ryder Long will return in Thunder Alley.

PJOmega
May 5, 2009


quote:

The Snowball, as best as I can see it, appears to be a device that completely disables Muslims and nobody else. That's the only explanation for why nobody is affected except the Iranians.

Okay, I laughed at this.


quote:

Brown face "fixing" Muslims from within.

Wow.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




Well that was terrible.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


OH NO THE ENEMY'S ELITE FORCES HAVE APPEARED AND OUR HEROES HAVE NO AMMUNITION OR STRENGTH TO FIGHT WHAT WILL THEY DO
*the enemy is promptly neutralized and killed without even holding weapons in their hands*
FREEDOM

Mack, the writer all 8 year olds aspire to be.

Gotta love how simulatniously
1) everything US said about Iraq pre invasion is true
2) the US is bad for invading Iraq instead of chasing terrists.

And that ending

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chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Also I'm sure absolutely no blowback will occur from the United State annihilating a large Iranian Army unit. There's definitely no way that will cause an international incident with a belligerent nuclear power!

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