Chapter 7: First Steps: 3 Weeks After Training

The team was relocated to Groesbeck, Selena and moved back into my safe house, I had designed the house myself. The furniture was still in there, for her and me, it was a homecoming, for the team, it was just relocation from NAS. She loved Holland, the slight humidity, the sunshine, the people, hell our old neighbors were excited to see us. About a week before we left, Lena had went into labor, and two hours later our daughter was born, Hailey Madison. I came up with the Hailey part, I disagreed with the Madison part,(ex).

The Operation in Holland was to take three months, dismantling the cell in the country, then next it would be Belgium, operating out of Holland,, the operation in Europe would take a total of five months, or so it was planned. The op was open ended, as long as the job got done, it didn't matter.

Selena and were laying on the downstairs couch, watching a movie, when she mentioned when she first told me she was pregnant, I remembered it well, we were on the exact same couch, doing the exact same… the baby was crying, interrupting my thought. "I got her," I smiled, I walked up stairs, and into her room, leaning over I could see why she was crying, her stuffed dog was on the floor, she never seemed to sleep without it, I picked it up and gave it back to her, then kissed her forehead, she went right back to sleep, "You're a good father,"

"She's going to be spoiled Lena."

"Don't spoil her to much soldier, come on, you look stiff, let me work out those knots in your back,"

I missed this, just her and I, even though we were scheduled to start tomorrow morning, having Selena's hands on my back took me out of reality, I wanted this to last forever. At least I'd be coming home every night, just like an average dad would. I was tired of the constant moving and deploying, but somehow I still saw what I was fighting for, and it was still worth it. Combat gave me a rush, a rush I couldn't find anywhere else. Raven said that the way I handled the Operation in the arctic was flawless and near perfect. He had trained me to be that way, the NASOF needed me to be that way, and the retraining program made sure I was always operating that way, it was good to get away from being perfect and get back to being normal.

The next morning the team I and were on the streets of Amsterdam,

"Hawk, I've spotted six tangos entering the structure,"

"We can confirm that the building is definitely a ligament target, Dex your up,"

"Tour starts in five mikes,"

"Do you have the FMG?"

"Copy that,"

I took a sip of a coke I had bought from the store down the street, and then looked behind me, "Raven's target is on the premises, Sniper Team solution?"

"Spec Rounds are loaded, and I have the solution,"

"Copy, keep your eyes on him, I'm rolling to secondary," I picked up my coke and put my hat on,

"Rampage, you've got trailers,"

"Solid copy on that Bear," I started moving to the crowded streets of the red light district, "I'm going to Red Street to lose them,"

"Tour is starting,"

I walked into the most crowded ally, and slide through it, then took a right, then left, into a restaurant, the two guys walked right past the shop, I bought a cookie and walked back out, "Hawk is back in the game,"

"Mac, I'm seeing somebody I recognize but can't put a name to it,,"

"Give me location,"

"Ten feet from original position,"

I walked back over, I could see a passport wallet sticking out of her purse, I didn't see her face, as I picked the wallet, turned my back to her, snapped a picture of the passport and credit cards with my phone, dropped the wallet back in the purse and walked on, "You think of where you've seen her from before Bear?"

"I want to say High School,"

"I've got the ID photo on my phone, Dex, status,"

"Half the micro cameras are planted,"

"Rally in ten mikes, train leaves in fifteen mikes," I moved to the central train station and boarded the train at platform six, "Rampage clear,"

"Eagle clear, eight seconds to your position,"

"Raptor clear, fifteen seconds to your position,"

"Dex clear, twenty seconds to your position,"

I sent the pictures too Raven, then called,

"Mac, we got your pictures,"

"Raven, I don't think her being there was coincidence,"

"Student group from Faulkner State,"

"Raven, she did a report on Illuminati Senior Year."

"You plant a bug on her?"

"Dropped a tracker in her purse, should be active, team's on exfil, we've got one confirmed Illuminati safe house, J-P counted twenty members in going in and out,"

"Prepare to go on a raid with the Dutch Special Forces,"

"Copy,"

The team sat down just as the train started to leave, just as a text came in, it was the number for the US Embassy, then my phone started ringing, "Troy MacMullin?"

"Yes?"

"Agent Chimes, US Embassy Staff,"

"What can I do for you Miss Chimes?"

"You pick pocketed me today without saying hi,"

"You were considered a target saying "hi" wasn't an option, I didn't even know you were going to be a Embassy staff operator,"

"US Dutch Embassy, three hours,"

I knew what this was about, there was going to be a turf war between the NASOF and whatever agency Miss Chimes worked for. As far as we knew, we were the only group to have combat contact and experience operating against this group. The mess of an operation in the arctic was the only time these groups had surfaced.

The meeting went as expected, J-P and I sat there while Agent Chimes bitched about our lack of information sharing with the CIA, I didn't even know she was a government agent. Then again I hardly knew her, we exchanged conversations from time to time in high school. After she finished bitching, I bitched right back, telling her no one outside the Special Operations Community could know about the Operation. Hence the above top secret title on the file, not even the leaders of cooperating nations knew the details, all they knew was it was an international man hunt. When the dust settled that night, the office of Foreign Affairs and Embassy Securities Staff (Better known to us as the CIA) was now working under us. This was about to get a hell of a lot more annoying, De said to send them were ever the operations weren't, even Gillings was okay with it, as long as I didn't get fried, I was too.

25 Hours Later: Operation Costello: Amsterdam

The alleys were dark as we approached the rear of the building, we had linked up with the Dutch SOF about three blocks back. Our mission was clear, four other elements of Oxide Platoon would lock down the block, then we would insert and use the cover of darkness to our advantage, the bad guys were not using night optics, because they weren't expecting a night assault. We knew what happened in Mogadishu in the nineties, we had taking that plan and revised it completely, suppressed weapons, no helicopters, night instead of day, and good solid intelligence on what kind of OPFOR we were facing. The insertion plan was simple, one team would infiltrate through windows on the tops floor from the roof, and at the exact moment the smashed in, the ground team would secure the front and rear exits and work their way up to the rally point, all watches were synchronized to the milli-second

"Oxide 1-1 to Oxide Security, Sit-rep,"

"Oxide 2 in position ,"

"3 is in position,"

"4 in position

"Operation begins in twenty seconds, remember, radio silence until rally," Then the radios squelched out. "Dex, get the charge on the door," He planted the kicker, ten seconds, "Oxide Team, Weapons hot"," I thumbed the select fire on my C8 to three round burst, then the timer went, the second Dex heard the beep from my watch, he detonated the charge, I followed by throwing a nine banger through the now empty door frame. After it went off, we charged in and shot everything that moved, we weren't interested in taking prisoners, not on this raid, Raven declared every person in that building a target.

We cleared the first floor, and moved up to the second, meeting lighter and lighter resistance with each step. We had found the Intel that Dex had located on the tour then rallied with Raptor, "That was a little too easy boys." Smith whispered,

"We got the Intel we need, Dex, take your team, rig the building for explosion,"

"Gas leak or C4,"

"We weren't here; trucks will be here five get it done."

"Raptor team, C4 the bodies, wireless det with one push for everyone, I've got your gas leak." We exited the building forty five seconds later, and were well clear when it erupted into an enormous ball of fire, "Raven, this is Oxide One, mission complete, heading to the exfil point, eta three minutes."

The Operation went better than planned; we had meeting locations, addresses, radio frequencies, anything that we could use to break the organization. We just didn't have the major figure heads, Gillings met us back at the warehouse to go over the Intel, and by the end of the night, and we knew that we were headed to Normandy, the historic city of Carentan.

Dex and I were suiting up in our woodland camouflage, when I heard the squad bay door open, "Hello?" someone called,

"Shit," I thought, "I forgot about her birthday,"

"Hey Mac," De called, "I got you covered," he pulled a bouquet of roses and a movie basket with smelly soaps and shampoo and all the things twenty year old women love.

"How the hell do you do that?"

"Cover your ass, been doing since freshman year bro,"

"I owe you around of shots and dinner Dex, put it on the bench." I walked around the corner and cut her off, "Hello beautiful,"

"Gillings said I'd find you here, she smiled, "You're heading out?"

"Day long operation, be back tomorrow,"

"You're roping in?"

"What?" I asked,

"Your mouth guard," she pointed to the case strapped to my belt, "You only use it when you're on the ropes,"

"Yeah," I laughed, "guess you're right,"

"I think you…"

"Have something for you, right in front of my locker," She peeked around the corner, jumped, then kissed me on the cheek,

"I love it,"

"Thought you might baby,"

She kissed me, "There is something I thought you might want to see," she handed me her Iphone,

"Justin Bieber has new skin art, see what it means at eight,"

I knew the symbol, "Dex!" I yelled, he bolted back into the room, "Right forearm, check the symbol,"

"Shit,"

"Call Raven, tell him we've got a class one security breach,"

"Why class one?"

"We provided security for him on one of his tours in the Deep South, he knows our contact information,"

28 Hours: Operation Dispatch: Los Angeles, California

"Target is entering the building, range three hundred, fifteen meters, wind, zero, no adjustments to make."

"Dex, we're about to kill a pop star," Eagle whispered,

"Jeff shut up you're going next, number one rule, don't open that can of shit," I whispered,

"Movement, his hotel room,"

"Hawk, target is entering hotel room, construction crew is ready to seal door,"

"Nobody kills the fucker, Raven wants this one alive, Raptor are you in position?"

"Floor charges are set; hope he doesn't mind a little bit of cement in his corn flakes,"

"Tango spotted, roof top, three quarters of a mile, one Remington seven hundred, confirmed Illuminati,"

"Dex take out the sniper, Eagle stay with me on target room," I disengaged the safety, "Shadow, hit the power now," all at once I watched the neon signs go out to the entire block and the dust from Raptor teams floor charges cut through the floor,

"Target secure, moving to primary evac point,"

Dex had just taken out the sniper with his suppressed M110. "Oxide two your path is clear, Raptor proceed to the rally,"

"Oscar Mike,"

We moved from roof, down two flights of stairs, and around the corner, then came under heavy contact, we were lightly armed, with minimal ammo, "Command, this is Oxide, we need fire scout,"

"Ten seconds,"

""Frag out!"

The hall way exploded, then Fire Scout ripped through the windows and tore up the bad guys. "How the hell do they know we're here?" I yelled,

Fire scout did its damage, tearing through everything infront of us, "Reaper have the trucks started, we're coming in hot!"

"Victor two to Oxide one, one, Assault team is on board with the package, proceeding to the rally,"

"Copy that Victor,"

We hustled down the stairs, "Contact rear!" Reaper yelled charging out of the vehicle for better cover, we turned and laid down suppressive fire down the road with our Submachine guns,

"Reaper, get your ass back in the vehicles, we'll cover!"

"Copy that,"

I signaled Dex, he dove behind a mailbox and hauled out the M110, "Eagle go!" I yelled, Jeff took off for the truck. I was quick to follow, I opened the rear passenger door and rolled the window down, "Dex move it!" he sprung up from his prone position and hauled ass to the truck, he leaped behind me and across the back seat of the F-150 Raptor APV, "Reaper we're all in get us the hell out of here!"