Chapter 2

The gorge was dark, and the sky was pitch black with heavy clouds, yet our night optics seemed to light the entire valley. We had arrived three hours before Jimmy and the convoy arrived, the latest report was that the brass had been killed off, we knew better, Jimmy was with them, and if the new Southern Alliance was on their ass, the rest of the Highland militia from the western half of the island were in the area, setting up mortars and MG emplacements and pinch points in case we had to move out in a hurry. "Jimmy this is task force, update,"

"Task Force we're rolling in hot, ETA five minutes, bad guys have three APCs,"

"Get the rockets out, Harvey, Will, get on the 307s," I called, "Highland Actual, site in the mortars on the causeway,"

We could hear the gunfire, sounded like Jimmy and the boys were in deep, "Mac, eyes on Jimmy!"

"Wait till their across the causeway, then give those trucks hell," I yelled,

I could hear the thud of mortars, I watched one of the Southern Alliance trucks explode, the militia were the most gung ho troops in the world, they could pin point a tank and nail it with a rocket a mile away. "Task Force we're across the causeway,"

"Light the three oh sevens,"

Explosions started ripping the causeway to sheds, it was quite a display. When the vehicles stopped at the rendezvous, five of the brass stepped out, "Sergeant MacMullin,"

"Your honor sir," I gave him a slight head nod before scanning the area,

"What's the situation here?"

"The Island has been secured, they come knocking, we've got a sizeable force waiting at the fortress."

"What do you mean Sergeant? How do you have sizeable force Sergeant,"

"Yo Mac, we got to go!" I looked back across the gorge, I could see multiple vehicles lining up on the other side of the bridge,"

"I'll explain when we get there, squads mount up,"

We loaded up the trucks and sped back toward the fortress. One APV in front of the convoy, the other behind it, we kept moving fast hundred clicks per hour. Helicopters from the west highlands were giving us air cover. Night had fallen over the island, the Southern Military, if they even tried to get on the island they were dead, if they tried during the night, their attempt would be twice as bad of an idea. By now the entire Island militia was on the island of the strait. Over seven thousand men with either 303 assault rifles, Anti-Armor Rocket Launchers, or General Purpose MGs were scattered all over the cliffs and beaches. The Danes were back at the fortress, still in reserve.

Dawn broke just as we arrived at town hall, the ambassador, my grandfather, and Kirsten walked outside, a small crowd started to form outside the front gates, "Sir this is the Ambassador to the Danes,"

"We heard you were on our land ambassador,"

"Forming a bigger connection here in Kanata."

"Well you chose the wrong time Ambassador, we apologize,'

"Sir the treaty has already been sealed," my grandfather spoke, "My grandson and the daughter of the Ambassador are engaged to be married in three weeks,"

"Danes already BTG, sir, Lion zero one is ready to deploy out to our line with full gear and weapons,"

"Send them, Mr. Ambassador."

"Zero One this is Mac, roll out, I say again, roll out,"

"Zero one copies,"

"Fortress, this is Canyon, we've got a problem, bad guys using air drop, heading right for your ass,"

"Fox November Golf," I turned to the brass, "We've got to activate the fortress, and we've got low blowers coming down on us,"

"What about air defense?"

"You fucking scrapped our air defense last month," I turned to the team, "Will, Taylor, load the Javelins into Raptor two, take up the high ground mile outside of town, bring the Interventions out as well, set up an OP, prioritize targets, Bell, Brando, take Raptor one, set the perimeter of the fort with AT and AP mines, barbwire at three hundred yards so their tiny two twenty three rounds can't reach the wall load up with three oh three and three oh eight, get the ma deuces up,"

"On it boss,"

"Lion Zero one, this is Guardian One, redirect, redirect all forces to the fort,"

"Lion Zero One copy,"

"Get all HVT's to the Fleet, Kirsten go with them,"

"I'm not going without you Troy," she cried

"I'll be there shortly, go," I lied, I didn't know how long this would be, or even if we were going to survive,"

"Pops, get every civilian to the cove, call the brown waters from western highland get their Shallow water boats here to evac the civilians."

3 Hours Later: The Fort

"Mac, we got five tanks, surrounded by about three hundred infantry, hope you three are ready down there,"

Brandon, Troy and I were a hundred a fifty yards out with one of the Dane Platoons, we were locked an loaded, the Platoon commander was under my elements command, they were armed with a standard combat load out, we were armed to the teeth, our standard .308 assault rifles, Brandon had one of the AA-12s we got from Jimmy strapped across his back, as well as a Long Range APS sniper weapon, and his .45 cal side arm, and his favorite toy, the Bowie knife. Bell's extended load out included a P90, and two Mark 9 nine millimeter side arms, claymores and C4. As for myself, My MP7 and .45 were each strapped to each leg, and across my back, was the Mark 32 Charlie, a 40mm grenade revolver. Loaded with six different type of grenades; frag, airburst, HE, Mercury, flare, and smoke. Taylor, had the standard .308 with a 40mm grenade launcher, a semi-automatic .308 marksmen weapon, and two .45s.

"Mac, South Alliance is bringing in Echo Troops,"

"Oh you have got to fucking be kidding me," Echo Troops Southern Alliances most elite, most lethal militia unit, "Get back to the RP, Lion Zero One, engage the main force,"

We rallied with Bravo, and set up a hasty ambush, getting ready to take out the Echo Troops. Everything except the distant gunfire was dead silent, a small squad of the Echo's walked right into our crosshairs, we took them out anything to lower the number of Echo Squads on the battlefield, because if we engaged them up close and personal, we were outnumbered, and outgunned, not a good combination. After taking out the small squad, I heard a twig snap behind myself and Belsher, an Echo unit, fifteen strong, were pointing their weapons right down our backs, "Uh, Mac, we got a problem,"

"I'm guessing fifteen strong, automatic weapons,"

"Yeah, sounds about right,"

They circled Belsher and I, "Any bright ideas Mac?"

"They've got over thirty, we got five, I am open to suggestions,"

I could seriously feel the laser sites on my neck as Will and Taylor were brought into the circle, 'Where's Brando?" I thought, and then seriously thinking about it, I knew where he was, half a mile out, waiting in over watch, waiting for the signal, my hands were at my sides, I practically knew I was either going to get shot by Brandon by accident, get shot by them, die, or live without a scratch, I really didn't like getting shot, bullets hurt unless you die, well that was the basic theory I was raised on. We were in a tight circle, elbow to elbow with each other, "Well boys, it's been one hell of a ride," I bumped elbows with Bell, the signal went right around the circle, I looked up,

"This is bullshit," Will whispered, "What happened to a blaze of glory?"

"I've got Mac's three o'clock," Taylor huffed, Brandon, three o'clock half a mile out, from his position he could take out half these domers with two shots, the way they were bunched up. I put my hand up, the radios were still active,

"Don't move!" one of the Echo's yelled,

I could feel the guys sweating, they knew we had a man out there, I gauged the time lapse, first second, make hand into fist, Brandon fires, suppressed shot no one here's, second two, boys roll in four different directions, second three, side arms out, second sniper shot out, targets down, "Here we go," I thought, I squeezed my fist, and shot rang out, knocking me on my ass, I was hit. Desperation, I go for my .45, Taylor and Troy roll in to each other, wielding both their side arms, I started shooting at anything I could immediately see, Will had dove for his shotgun, successfully making it on top of one of the Echo's and wrestling the weapon free, he started pounding out troops with it, then all the chaos ended,

"Everyone okay?" Bell called,

"Mac's hit!"

"I'm fine, fuck, I got it in the shoulder, yet the fuck again,"

Troy looked at it, ".223 round alright, stopped at the shoulder blade, missed everything,"

"Yeah no duh Bell, it's the wrong friggin side, patch me up, get back in this,"

"Mac that rounds sharp as your bloody knife, we're taking you into the fort, over watch, get your ass here, call in CASEVAC,"

When the truck arrived, I was loaded onto a stretcher and hauled back to the fort, leaving Harvey in charge of the team. Medics opened up the wound, carefully started to remove the bullet. I screamed, "The bullet's lodged in the blade, we're going to have to cut it out, prep him for surgery,"

The van stopped, I was hauled across the fortress, Kirsten stopped us at the door, and started crying, "I'm okay baby," I tried to move my arm, I screeched out in pain. "fuck, doc get me back in this!"

"He's going to be alright?" Kirsten cried,

"Ma'am you're going to have to give us half an hour," I was then rushed into the base med shed. They then, without my say so, they put me out, as I drifted out of consciousness, I started hallucinating, Kirsten, Bell, Harvey, the Brass, the Huston's, voices swam in my head like fish. Images, of the dead, then things that hadn't happened, my grandfather's tombstone, more machine gun fire, then as if it was like a bears trap, something seized me to wake.

"Mac, they've reached the first barricade, get up," I was still drowsy and out of it, I looked over, an adrenaline injector was on the table, "Mac!" I could hear Will yelling, he started to shake me, trying to come around, I turned over, vomited and started coming to my senses. "Oh shit, you okay dude?"

"Call me in five when the shit really gets bad?"

"We need you now!"

"Hold that…" my stomach churned, I vomited again,

"He's having a reaction to the anesthetic," the medics called,

I laid back on my shoulder, "What the fuck?" I could hardly move it, "Is this fucking permanent doc?"

"Should be normal by the end of the week,"

"Well, I need normal most ricky friggin tick."

"That isn't going to fly soldier,"

"Give me my MP7. I can still fight, McLaren, split the squad, Bell and Taylor on me, you and Brandon link up with the Dane first,"

"Rog,"

"Set up Alamo plan,"

I turned the safety off on the MP7, and started directing any unnecessary personell to the landing bay, when the fort was clear, I ordered the ships out to safety with the main fleet of the Dane Envoy. When the screeching of tank shells were heard, I ordered one last push, we got out a hundred yards before we were pushed back to the fort, we sealed and blocked the doors, "Once again, open to suggestions," I grunted, my shoulder was leaking blood, and the pain was almost to fierce to fight through,

"They've got five hundred left, we've got a dozen left, they're packing heat," we were in one of the court yards trying to catch our breath, I was looking around, we had hardly any ammo,

"The main Euro Force is almost a million strong," the Dane commandant called, "Pull back and consolidate?"

"I like it," I called, "How do we get outta dodge?"

"We've still got one SMA rocket, blow a hole through the wall, and get to the ships,"

"Do it,"

We hauled ass out of that hole leaving nothing for the Southern Alliance, except used surgical supplies four hundred dead, and empty towns. As the sea spray hit my face as we cruised out to the main fleet I thought about the house I was raised in, burned to the ground or untouched, I didn't know, but it made me angry to know that we weren't able to rappel an invasion to keep our home safe. When we were inside the troop ship, I went to the top deck, and looked back, in the night we could see the fires burning in Louisburg. The boys stood next to me, all silent as we slipped away under night's dark blanket. We were making the two day trip too Danes.

I sat awake that night, Kirsten sleeping soundly was not bothered, hell she'd only been on land a few days before the attacks, hell I couldn't put pressure on my shoulder without a burning hell erupting. Doc told me the bone cracked and there was a bit of nerve damage so it would take time to heal properly. But it would never heal completely. My grandfather had given me a decision to make, retire from the team and train the new guys, or keep fighting. Kirsten wanted me to retire and start a family, the boys wanted me to keep fighting, and man cannot serve two masters.

As dawn broke, Kirsten woke, concerned if I had gotten any sleep. I just nodded and smiled, then turned over and crashed. I knew we were in safer waters now.