Caspian Hope – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 25

Dusk found Swanson and I on the last watch, dug in on the east and west sides of camp. Each of us was primed for action, waiting for some sorry bastard to come into our line of fire. As my watch clicked on six o’clock I looked back at my boys sleeping in a rough circle and saw the first few men start to sit up. We had all been conditioned into waking up at around sundown. As the boys rustled up some tea I made one last check of the horizon and then walked back to them.

I had decided to scout ahead for the next two or three nights, until we got to Karakoyyn. I didn’t want any of my boys walking into something I wouldn’t walk into myself. Thumbs and Longshot were well able to run the march while I was up front and I also needed time to myself in order to set my plans; even just one night.

So, I set out with Big Brin about twenty minutes or so ahead of the rest of the unit, stepping into the musky dying daylight. With my thoughts focused and my will solidified we walked in silence until we got out of sight. Spreading out to cover more ground, we walked twenty yards apart, just at the limits of visibility. Brintock was a great scout. He knew all the signs, and he knew a damn good resting area when he saw one.

Walking alone was so different to being in formation. Time seemed to pass at an accelerated rate and it felt as if somehow I had more energy. I felt more focused on my objectives with the extra breathing space. And with the rest of the unit in earshot of gunfire, I was at ease.

There’s probably going to be trucks or jeeps, or camels.

Which are best to take?

Vehicles need fuel but they move farther faster whereas camels only need water every few days. But that’s water the men could drink.

Enemy numbers could be upwards of a hundred.

That’s plus a hundred chances to get our hands on transport.

And a hundred plus chances of getting shot.

We’ll need stealth and the element of surprise.

We have the training and the discipline.

We have the coordination and the firepower.

We have the will.

I can’t let it come to all an out confrontation. We have to use distraction and all the smoke and mirrors we can muster.

They’re not expecting us. We can land on them out of nowhere…we’ll have to.

There and then I knew. I had formulated the correct action and left room for adjustment. We would distract and attack out of the shadows and once it kicked off we would use our superior accuracy and discipline to force the enemy’s hand. With any luck we’d be out of there before they knew what hit them. I’d need Longshot and a few others to fake a larger presence whilst they picked them off on our retreat.

Once we got our people on the road the enemy would chase us, so we’d have to disable as many vehicles as possible before we made a break for it. Of course, we’d also drive away from the enemy in the opposite direction from our actual heading, then double back. We wouldn’t give them a chance.

Giving the birdcall that night I was relaxed. I knew my plan. Settling in for the first watch with Longshot and Bint, I walked off with Longshot.

“How was the march tonight?”

“It went well, Sir. No contacts.”

“And the men, how’s their mood?”

“Sir, they’re aching for a fight. You know how we are. All this marching has us hungry.”

“Good. We’re gonna have a fight on our hands in the next forty eight hours.”

“Karakoyyn, Sir?”

“If my calculations are correct.”

“Good, I’m hungry too, Sir.”

“You? I thought you were a vegetarian!”

“Steak all the way, Sir! Lenore needs the exercise too, bless her.”

“Well now, we can’t leave the lady waiting, can we? I’ll need you far out and up close and personal on this one. Lenore will get her fair share but I have a little sabotage work I need you to take care of first.”

Lovely, Sir. Be my pleasure.”

“I had a feeling you’d say that. Think you could take Junior and Simon along too?”

“Don’t see why not, Sir.”

“Perfect. Thanks, Tony.”

“Thank you, Sir. And thanks from Lenore too.”

“Give her my love, mate. I’m gonna go check in with Bint.”

Walking back across camp I threw an eye on the lads and noticed three of them were sat up still cleaning their rifles. Hunkering down beside them I took my canteen and had a few sips.

“How are we, gentlemen?”

“Good, Sir,” came their unified reply.

“You boys hungry for some action?”

“Sir. Yes, Sir!” again came in one voice.

“Good, because I’m gonna need some brutal sons of bitches when we get to Karakoyyn. I guess you lads fit the bill?”

“Sir,” started Murphy “we’re ready to fight the whole fucking world! Just say the word.”

“Oh, it’s like that is it?”

“You can count on it, Sir,” added Pretty Boy.

“Good. You three and a few other lucky bastards are gonna be my shock troops. You’ll get covering fire, support and free licence to unleash hell on whoever stands in our way. If you think you’re up to it,” I teased.

“Thank you, Sir. Really, Thanks.”

“Just kill them all when I say the word gentlemen.”

SIR!” beamed all there men with murderous joy.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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