11th September 2015 3:30 AM:
He was writhing in bed, sweating profusely, and kept on yelling “Karen! Karen!”. Liz awoke with a start, ever since her husband retired from the Navy, he has been having these nightmares or seizures very frequently. She shook him, forcing him to come out of these dreams.
Olson woke up to see a terrified Liz, it broke his heart to see his wife worry about his recent nightmares, but he couldn’t stop them from antagonizing him. He hugged her and put her back to sleep. He went to the kitchen to grab a tumbler of water.
Operation Snatch Back: One of the most confidential and coveted operations the CIA ever sanctioned. Such was its secrecy that it was only known to the people with the highest security clearance in the agency and on the Hill. It was sanctioned after two extremists bombed America and left a blot on the national security of the country.
Pope Air Force Base: The unofficial headquarters of the United States Army and preferred over the Pentagon by the JSOC (JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND) to brief the dispatch forces on their missions.
21 AUGUST, 2012 10:00 AM:
Commander Olson, a dark-haired man, little over six feet in height walked down the corridor of the building holding a file which contained their rules of engagement of their mission. Since this was a highly classified task, he had selected his best people for the job, and his first choice was Lieutenant Karen.
Lieutenant Karen was the first woman officer to ever qualify for the SEAL Team Six in the history of the organization. She had proved herself time and again, and possessed the aggressiveness which could put many men to shame. It never dawned on her that she would ever enlist in the Army services, but fate had a different story.
It was the spring of 2009, her family left in the morning to the hospital to check on their relatives and then in a flash, a bomb explosion took them away. News outlets reported that it was the work of Al-Qaeda. She resolved then and there that she would do what it takes to stop them from agonizing any other family in the United States. She enlisted in the Armed Forces the very next day, and came out with flying colours, and continued with the same spirit, and never stopped once until she was shortlisted for the SEAL Team.
The burning rage in her was what inspired Olson to select her for this operation, and also for the fact that she was one of the best analysts. She and ten more men were
selected as part of the team. The CIA received intel that these extremists were residing in the mountains in the northern part of Libya, and were involved in guerrilla warfare. The team was under specific instructions not to engage in any sort of warfare unless required. They were to sneak in and finish their targets with minimal noise and sneak out just as quickly.
When the commander briefed them, they all nodded in silence, everyone knew what their jobs were and how grim the situation was. The politicians were under a lot of pressure to solve the issue that has been plaguing them since the attack, and even though the president assured the public about their safety, the public did not find his statement quite trustworthy.
The Armed Forces hated politicians. Their honey-sweet tongues and corrupt minds were bringing the country on to its knees with a national debt of 5 trillion dollars and were channelling funding in areas which neither the public nor the Army felt was necessary.
The code that the SEALs and SOGs ( SPECIAL OPERATION GROUPS ) lived by was filled with integrity and honour. They were the best of the best soldiers that the Army recruited, and they always believed in the ideology of brotherhood and were trained to thwart any attacks that compromised the country and its people. They were obsessed with winning, but would never cheat. They believed in teamwork and were prepared to sacrifice their lives to save their team without a second thought. Such was their devotion to the country and its safety.
6:00 PM:
The air base was getting ready with HMX-I squadrons, and 2 Black Hawk M60’s. The HMX-I squadron consisted of a group of pilots who mastered the art of flying in any condition, be it zero-visibility or close formations, these guys are up to the task. Speaking of the Black Hawk, these are the best machines that the Marine Corps has to offer, and is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, and designed to be silent as death, and lethal to the core. The pilots were making their final preflight checks, while Olson and his team were getting ready.
Each SEAL was equipped with an MP-5 and a 9mm Beretta with silencers and a knife amongst other equipment such as a waterproof headset and radio, night vision goggles and a camouflaged black suit. One member was given a sniper rifle as well. Everyone made their last suit checks with their adjacent members and got ready for the night.
Everyone got aboard the aircraft, and Olson signalled the pilot with a thumbs up that they were good to go, and the birds revved up their engines, and lifted off into the air, disappearing into the night.
The pilot punched the coordinates of the location, and signalled the commander that the ETA was closing in at 20:00 and headsets crackled up with the commander’s voice, “ Listen up boys, we’re going to follow Karen’s protocol to approach the attack site. I want a smooth and clean kill, let’s give these guys a taste of their own medicine.” A split second later, Karen’s voice came on their headsets, “ Okay, so here’s what we’re gonna do, I want us to be split into teams of two. One team goes into the camp, and the other will stand guard and cover their backs. Cyclops will set up a vantage point and cover the second team. Cyclops was a code name given to the sniper. The alpha ( Commander ) and the beta ( Karen ) will go inside the camp and finish the job while team 2 will assess the extraction protocol. Falcon 1 will be overhead and look out for any guerrilla weapons on site while Falcon 2 will take the higher ground and swoop in if Falcon 1 takes heavy damage. Are we clear?”
This was something these guys have been doing as drills for a really long time, so there was no question of failing the mission, so they gave a thumbs up sign and proceeded with their equipment checks.
The mountain area was covered with dark patches of trees and amidst these clusters of trees was a stepped terrain consisting of houses and gave the outlook of a small village. The terrain gave the local people an elevation advantage and helped them have a bird’s eye view of the enemy. Falcon 1 glided silently over the mountaintop and gave the men an overlook of the village. The bird then dipped its nose and bent down to a lower altitude, a plausible 100 feet above the ground. The pilot ran the thermals and relayed Karen over the headset that there were two huts in the middle of the village where weapons and a bunch of people were hustling.
The commander gave the signal and everyone tied a rope around their waist, and dropped from their places, and squeezed their ropes to decelerate their fall just before falling to the ground. Their footfall was so soft, it barely registered in the air. They assumed formations and cautiously approached the extremists’ hideout.
Alpha went over the mic and said, “ Report your statuses, over”, and one by one relayed their status. Beta relayed, “ Cyclops what’s your status, over”.
The sniper replied back in soft whispers, “Cyclops in position, over”. Beta confirmed it, “Roger that. Team 2, establish a secure perimeter. Team 1, move into position, over”.
When they went into the safe house, they found it devoid of people and weapons, rather they found it with maps and strewn papers with illegible handwriting and markings. “Falcon 1, this is beta, there is no one here, over”, said Karen. When Falcon was about to relay back, all of a sudden, dozens of RPG’s were released onto the blackbird and Falcon 1 was destroyed. A split second later, Team 2 yelled into the mic, “ Falcon 1 destroyed, we are surrounded, over”. All of a sudden, Karen could hear gunshots outside, and she rushed outside to find her men being surrounded from all sides. Cyclops was doing all he could to keep the gunners at bay.
Olson barked into the mic, “Mission Compromised, everyone falls back, Falcon 2 proceed to extraction, over”. But there was no response from the team outside, Olson yelled into the mic for a second time, “ Karen, get your ass back inside, abort mission!”, and that’s when an RPG fell on the ground and blew everything apart. Olson was drifting out of consciousness, but the only thing repeating in his head was “Karen, Karen”. He remembered someone lifting him, and getting him on the chopper, and being whisked away from that place. He barely registered what was going on around him when it struck him again, “Karen.” There she was in his thoughts for the second time in the last 10 seconds.
25th AUGUST, 2012 9:00 AM:
He woke with a start in the hospital and was briefed by the director of the CIA what happened after the RPG blew him out of the water. He lost his dearest 8 comrades including Karen, who was like a daughter to him and reminded him of how the world could be if women were given a chance to be what they were destined to be. He could not take it anymore, he blamed himself for the loss of 8 elite members of his team and requested an early discharge from the Armed Services, which was quite unusual, but they had to grant him, given the phase he was going through.
Before he opted out of the Army, he was told the reason for his failed mission: a senator leaked the information to a bartender after drinking way too much, and he turned out to be a spy for the extremist group. It boiled his very blood, he could not bear the thought that a drunken politician who could not keep his mouth shut cost the lives of 8 of the best soldiers this country ever saw. It has been three years since the incident and the onslaught that the day brought, but he never forgave, and he never forgot.
Author: Anirudh Pabba