This story is set in the Jagged Alliance game world, specifically, JA 2. JA is a squad based game set in the present.
It had been a long walk and I knew we were getting close to our target. We slowed our pace and moved silently through the bushes, Ice and I. For this mission to be a success, it would have to be done single-handedly, in the dark. Since coming to the nation of Alruco, I had not had opportunity to build a high enough quality team to tackle something of this order in daylight. Word is, a pilot is hiding away in a cabin in the woods, and if we have any chance at winning this little war, we are going to need some air support. I'm sure Diedrianna’s forces have already beaten me there, and this pilot is going to need ‘liberating’. I couldn’t have been happier when we finally took that mine, and that I could now afford to hire Ice. In the Metavaria campaign, Ice had become a good friend and proved to be an excellent member, easily worth the price. We approached the cabin from the southeast.
“C’mon, dude, let me take these homey’s down.”
“No way, Ice. This is my mission. You just make sure I got a way out if I need it.”
“Ok, boss. You need something, you just holler. But man, I love these night raids.”
I was inspecting my MAC-10. This little beauty had been with me on a few night raids. I’d modified it with a quick loading spring, laser range-finder, muzzle, and scope. Didn’t have near the firepower the M-14 I carried in my backpack, but would get me through this little job, quietly. I slammed the clip shut on the weapon.
“I’ll be here. Keep in touch.”
“I just hope there ain’t no gators out there.”
The air was damp as I headed out into the depths of the swamp, and the night sky had some high hanging clouds, obscuring the moonlight. I was wearing a set of UV goggles, so I was confident of my advantage in the dark. I didn’t have to travel far before finding my first contact.
“Got one.” I whispered into my radio headset.
“Don’t see any.” I waited for him to turn his back on me, and moved in. Slipping up behind him, I took out my combat knife. “One down.”
I continued on track. I could see the lights of the house now in the distance, and would make a circular path around it, looking for guards. We had rarely run into anything of interest that wasn’t guarded by at least ten mercenaries, and I didn’t expect this to be any different. Moving North, I spied my next victim. He was standing on a small peninsula of dry land. I wouldn’t be able to sneak up on him. “One more.”
I took aim and positioned the laser on his temple, and pulled the trigger. His body fell with a dull thud. “Hey, what was that! Louie? You ok?” the voice called out from the dark.
So much for the element of surprise. “One down, one investigating.”
“Got it. Take him down quick.”
I waited and sure enough, Louie’s partner appeared in my sights. I lined up a shot and fired as I noticed two more silhouettes behind him. “S#*#. Three coming.” My shot had clipped the figure in the head, and I saw him stumble, but not go down. “Moving.”
“South. One wounded. Two clean.” I knew I couldn’t handle all three of them on their terms, but as long as they didn’t know where I was, they wouldn’t be able to track me. I backtracked, heading the opposite direction. Looking around, I noticed they weren’t following me. That was either good, or bad. What was I headed into? I was sure they had found the body by now though. In fact, I was hearing a little commotion coming from the house. Things just got tougher, and if there were three backing him up, that could mean as many as twelve or more mercs.
I didn’t go far when I noticed two more figures in the distance. “Damn. Two more. This place is a fucking hornets nest.” I moved up on them. These two didn’t know I was about yet, so I still had the element of surprise. Setting my weapon to burst mode, I moved as close as I dared, and let loose two rounds into each of their legs. Both fell to the ground, and I fired two more rounds into the first ones chest. His armor was giving way, but the other was now getting up. I stood up to run, but as I turned, I found four figures approaching. Now I really had to get it going. I barely turned to run as the first shot whizzed past my head. I took my first step, and the second shot sank deep into my arm. “Ugh”.
I ran a long perpendicular path from the five figures, and hid behind a tree. “Six sighted, three known wounded. I’m moving east, try to circle around them.” I waited and looked back, trying to determine if they were following. No sign of them, so I moved a little further east and pulled out a med kit and bandaged my arm, removing the bullet first. “All bandaged up. You hear anything from your position.”
“Not a sound man. I sure heard those shots though. What were they?”
“Ak-47’s, I think. I slipped them for now, and I’ve wounded three, but I doubt very much. I’m going back on plan and heading North, but I think I’m going to swing to the other side. Hopefully, they keep looking over here.”
“Stay cool, man. If they’re packing that much heat, they’re takin’ this seriously. You sure you don’t need no backup?”
“What is it you’re always saying, ‘Got it covered’. Just keep an eye open. They may be headed your way.” I circled around the area, keeping the cabin lights within sight. I didn’t make any more contact, so I was hoping they were searching the southeast. As I reached the northwest sector of the house, I closed in on the house and got within a hundred feet of the house before I found my first guard. I kept him in view and circled, looking for his backup. None. “Northwest of the house. One sighted. No backup.”
“Cool, dude. Say hi to him for me.”
I cleaned my knife on his jacket and pulled the body to the side. That was three, out of who knows how many. I continued south and found another solo guard. Apparently, they had pulled their forces to the east, so I had to move quickly before they repositioned. This dude was big, and I didn’t want to risk the noise a fistfight might make, so I pulled out my MAC-10 and sighted him up. One quick burst, four down. “Got another one.”
“That’s four. Got a long way to go. These two don’t count against the others, so I’ve got our total now at four down, and six still lurking, with three wounded. Did you see any in the house?”
“No. But I’m still headed south. I’m going to try to come back on them from the other side. Hopefully catch them looking the other way.”
My trek south was the hardest of the leg, not because it was dangerous, but because of who I had to take down. Two solo guards, left to guard the flank, while the main force went looking for me. The first was a young punk, barely out of high school. The second was a young woman, much too pretty to be in this business. Every time I take down a woman, I think of my kid sister, who I rarely get to see anymore. This is a rough life, and the mercenary guilds are not all equal. AIM is pretty good, providing training and supplies. Many of the more unscrupulous ones just promise glory and money, lots of money. These kids hear it and think they will be having the time of their lives, but most end up like these, throats slit, lying in a pool of their own blood, rarely even getting a grave. I hate to kill them, but I still have scars on my back from my more naïve days, and I didn’t need any more.
I reloaded my weapon, and turned eastward, now positioned south of the cabin. I reached the point where I had spotted the two guards earlier. Both men were still there, holding position. I knew they were wounded, but had probably bandaged themselves by now. I spied the one I had wounded the most, and lined up a shot. As I pulled the trigger, the second man turned to his partner, and noticed the laser sight. As his friend fell, he whirled and let off a burst of fire in my direction. Nothing hit me, and I lined him up and burst a round into him. He fell to the ground, but I couldn’t be sure he was dead. I listened for more commotion, but didn’t hear any. I moved up and found the bodies of both guards.
“Two more down. Take these from the six we already know are here. I think they’re thinning out a bit. I didn’t hear any backup after the one let loose in my direction.”
“Hear that. Four more still out there we know of, eight down. You’re looking at 12 guards, maybe more in this sector. They don’t want you to get that pilot. You better be careful, they may have orders to kill him if you get too close.”
“Probably. I think it’s time I move on the house. They should be tightening up around there for the final defense.”
“You sure you don’t need me? C’mon dude, I’m itchin.”
“The north side was pretty clear. Circle north and see if you can spy the pilot. Check for guards in the house. I’m going to approach from the southwest.”
“Alright! Let’s bring them some trouble.”
“You don’t move till I tell you.”
“No sweat, dude. I’ll be in position when you do.”
I made my way back west and headed towards the cabin. I could once again see the lights and stopped when I heard voices.
“There’s nobody left over here. We better head back and tell the others.”
I made my move quickly, coming up behind the voices as I heard them leaving. Combat knife in one hand, Mac-10 in the other, I got right behind the trailing man and put the knife to his throat, slitting it while I aimed at the other. One bullet to the back of the head and they both fell together. A little clean up, and I moved on. “Two more. Don’t know if they’re part of the four.”
“Got it. Ten total. Man, you are racking them up. I’m east of the cabin now. Continuing North. Don’t hear anyone moving over here.”
As I approached the cabin, I could see a head peeking out of the window. “I’ve got one in the cabin.”
“Just about in position,” Ice radioed back. I waited a few minutes while he continued. “In position, and I see your man, plus two more in the rear of the cabin. I don’t see the pilot.”
“They must have him holed up the closet, I hope. Alright, they know we’re here. Time to pull out the stops.” I grabbed my M-14 from the backpack and put the mans head in my sights. “If they make a move to kill the pilot, kill them, otherwise, stay quiet.”
I pulled the trigger and his head exploded as the hollow point bullet blew through it. Now I heard a lot of commotion coming from my right, and turned and saw six figures running my way. “Shit!” I pulled out a hand grenade and threw it in their direction. Two of them sent a volley of bullets my direction, one hitting me in the left shoulder as the grenade went off. I heard screaming and bodies hit the ground as I turned and ran, my shoulder burning with pain. I went about twenty feet, then turned and hid behind a tree.
The first man came into view and I put two bullets into his head, dropping him. The second was not far behind. Two more shots to the head, the first one missing, dropped him to his knees. They were rushing me and I quickly put the gun in burst mode. A third man appeared, and I let loose in the two’s direction. Both men were hit and fell to the ground; one now dead, the other barely alive. I pulled out my MAC-10 and finished him off, quietly, hoping the confusion had kept them from knowing where I was. Things were all to quiet now, and I radioed my kills to Ice.
“Man, his head went BOOM! Out’a sight. That’s four more dude, with five still known. You might break twenty. Is that some kind’a record for single handed kills?”
“Gus claims twenty two, but that number gets higher each time he tells it. Quiet now.” I bandaged up my shoulder. Fortunately, the bullet passed through, saving me the trouble of removing it. “I don’t hear anything. I’m going to move around the house, coming your way. You still tracking the two in the cabin?”
“Ya, man, and they don’t look to good either. You got them spooked, big time.”
I moved out and circled the house. I found one of the three remaining outside guards leaning up against a tree, bandaging the wounds left from the grenade. My knife opened a few more. I continued on and found the last two men barely alive from the grenade blast. Couldn’t leave them to suffer, and couldn’t risk them getting up and putting a bullet in my back. “That’s the last of them out here. Just the two in the cabin now.”
“Three more man. You up to seventeen, and you got a witness.”
“I’ll be sure to remember that.”
I circled back to the rear of the house. I kept a hard angle on the window and found the first one in my site. Once more, the M-14 sang it’s song of death and a burst of ammo shattered the window in a rain of shards, and dropped the man where he knelt. I quickly moved to spy the whole window and found the last man getting up to run to the closet door. He wouldn’t make it. I relaxed a bit, until I felt a hand slap on my back. “Do that again, Ice, and I’ll probably gut ya’ before I realize it’s you.”
“Aw, dude. You take all the fun out’a things.”
We both entered the house and I opened the door to the closet. In it, sure enough, was our prize, all bundled up and ready for delivery. I cut loose his bonds. “Pleasure to meet you, Skyrider. I just might have some work for you.”
Night Raid - A Jagged Alliance Short Story
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