My untitled novel.

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:00 pm

United Airlines flight 922 taxied on to the runway at Washington’s Dulles International Airport just before 10:00am. In just over seven hours it would touch down at London Heathrow where Kate and two of her team would travel to one of the US Air Force bases in England and board a military flight to the Middle East. Kate wasn’t the biggest fan of flying and despite having crossed the country many times; she still took valium to calm her nerves. The two Pratt and Whitney engines powered up and the aircraft began to pick up speed. As she looked out of the window, the aircraft angled its nose up and the green, North Virginia landscape disappeared below them. Soon they had cleared the low cloud line and all that could be seen was an ocean of cotton wool like shapes stretching out to the blue horizon.
This morning’s flight was not very busy and the seat next to her was empty. Her two colleagues were sat a few rows ahead and in the centre section which had three seats. Despite all being booked by the same secretary at Langley, they had still managed to be sat apart. If nothing else, it would give her time to look back through her notes to be as prepared as possible for when they arrived in Iraq. Once they had landed at Baghdad airport, they were to be taken to a town in the north called Rayat, not far from the Iranian border. Here they would wait for their contacts to cross the border and brief them on whatever they had managed to find out. Unfortunately, this could mean waiting for hours or days depending on when a border crossing would be possible.
After a few hours and several passes of her notes, Kate decided to try and get some sleep. Jet lag or not, she had been so busy going over her last minute checks for the third, forth and fifth times that when she was sure everything was in order, her black and yellow taxi was waiting outside. Despite not sleeping in the last twenty-six hours and having two seats to herself, she still could not fall asleep. As she looked across the flight desk, she was amazed to see how many people found it so easy to fall asleep on a plane. A bald man with glasses with his head tilted back and his mouth wide open… asleep. A young, skinny lady with long blonde hair sat next to him with just enough space between the elbows of the passengers next to her... asleep. An extraordinarily tall man slouched in his chair, knees pressed in to the back of the next seat, his head bent over forwards supported only by his jaw stuck in the top of his chest… asleep. She had tried soft neck braces, sleeping tablets, dolphin sounds and had even flown business class on a few occasions but had never been able to sleep. Today was no exception.
A few episodes of day time television later, the aircraft touched down at Heathrow airport and made its way to its designated gate at terminal one. Once through security, the three of them were met outside by Brad, a USAF non-commissioned officer based at RAF Lakenheath. While a very outgoing person, it was clear after half an hour stuck in a car with him why he spent his days driving people around or making cups of coffee for aircrew and pilots. Their arrival at the base was greeted by a pair of F-15C Eagles from the 48th fighter wing roaring in to the sky, the blue and orange rings of their afterburners lighting up the now dark sky. The car travelled through the main front gates and directly to a C-17 transport plane waiting on the tarmac. This particular flight had been at the CIA’s request and carried several crates filled with various supplies and equipment mixed in with whatever else the Air Force could fit onboard to make the most of the extra transport space. Kate and her team were the only non-flight crew on board.

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:00 pm

Within half an hour, they were back in the air and on their way to Baghdad airport. Another seven hours of no sleep and, this time, no entertainment before the final leg of their journey.
‘I think they forgot the safety briefing,’ said Arnold Simpson, one of Kate’s team. He was sitting on the metal floor of the plane. Arnold was in his mid-thirties and had spent much of his time in the field. He fancied himself as a bit of a G.I. Joe type typified today by his green, army surplus combat trousers and a slightly too tight olive green t-shirt which showed off his toned physique. If he wasn’t at work, he was at the gym lifting weights or working on his cardio. If he wasn’t in the gym then he was at a local martial arts school where he had studied wing-chun for the last seven years after becoming bored with boxing. He had competed at state level playing football. He had run several marathons including New York and London. He had climbed mountains, ridden white water rapids, spent days cross country riding on his mountain bike and taken part in various other activities where he felt he could push himself a little further, bringing home the bragging rights to all who would listen and plenty who tried not to.
‘I’m waiting for the in-flight movie to start. Haven’t found the T.V. yet though.’ This time came the slow, Alabama tones of Wesley Hoffman. Wesley had been nicknamed Forrest in pretty much every job he had since some time in 1994 when a particularly well known movie had been released. Not only was his voice an almost carbon copy of Forrest Gump but he also bared a striking resemblance to the actor who was cast in that role. Fortunately, the resemblance ended there and he was regarded as one of the top emerging talents in the agency.
‘The United States Air Force doesn’t exactly have a first class cabin boys,’ said Kate. ‘I told you, you should have brought a puzzle book or something.’
‘Oh, c’mon Kate,’ said Wesley. ‘I thought you were organising the entertainment.’
‘I organise your entertainment at work,’ she replied. ‘We’re out of hours right now so you gotta entertain yourselves.’
Arnold raised an eyebrow.
‘I don’t think they got a toilet on board Arnie,’ said Wesley with a wry smile. ‘That’s your entertainment ruined.’

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:01 pm

‘You better be up to speed with everything by the time we get there,’ Kate’s change of tone intending to show her disapproval of the direction the conversation had already started to take. She very rarely let her hair down around any of her team.
‘Alright Kate, let’s spend another seven hours looking through the files which don’t actually have any information in them.’
‘Well you do that,’ said Arnold. ‘I’m gonna find a little spot to get some sleep before we get there.’
Kate buried her head back in to her files, half in response to Wesley’s sarcastic comments and half because of her determination to be as prepared as possible when they arrived. To make sure that she could fit any new information in with everything they already knew without having to go back through the notes. Within fifteen minutes she began to regret shutting everyone out as she always did. Both Arnold and Wesley had gone to find somewhere they could lay down and sleep and she was alone again.
Finally, they began their descent in to Baghdad Airport. With the fear of terrorists targeting any planes landing or departing for the airport, this meant all non-essential lighting be turned off and a much steeper than normal approach. Unusually, Kate had forgotten to take another does of Valium for this flight. As the aircraft pitched its nose down, she took a deep breath and griped on to the seat as hard as she could. A few small buffets of turbulence made the aircraft shudder, a feeling that was intensified by the darkness she now found herself in. A few beads of sweat began to roll down her forehead, her heart felt as if it was trying to hammer its way out of her chest. Just as she felt was starting to lose control, the huge plane lifted its nose and levelled out, touching down on the runway very shortly after. The lights came back on as the pilot taxied the aircraft outside one of the large hangers.
‘Hey Kate, you ok?’ shouted Arnold. ‘You’re looking a little pale.’
‘Yeah, I’m good,’ she replied with a croak, her throat dry. ‘Could use a latte though.’
‘Sorry lady, Starbucks hasn’t ventured as far as Iraq just yet,’ a voice came from behind her as one of the aircrew walked down the aircraft and passed by.
‘And the politicians keep talking about progress here,’ she responded sarcastically.
This time, they were not rushed on to another flight out. The Chinook they were scheduled to fly out on would not arrive until tomorrow.


* * *

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:02 pm

Lucas Rodriguez had been employed by Hartland Hawkes for the last eight years. He had left his seaport hometown of Callao, Peru when he was twenty years old. Being fluent in English and Quechua, one of the native Peruvian languages, his original dream was to move to the United States and get a job as a translator, perhaps for the government. After a few years living in a hole of an apartment in Los Angeles with a family friend and following a promising job lead in Washington which led to nothing, his brother contacted him from Callao saying that a British company had set up a local office in the city. The company, Hartland Hawkes, was looking for Spanish and native language speakers for both the new office and for a representative to be based in London as a direct liaison between the two. Within two weeks Lucas was in London looking for somewhere to live and had his working visa soon after.
Eight years later and he now had to find a new job. As he packed a picture of him, his brother and parents in to a small box he looked around the office. Two desks over, Karim Abykayev was also clearing his desk. Karim was a young man with olive coloured, oily skin and jet black hair. He was originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan and did the same job as Lucas but covered a lot of the ex-soviet states where Russian was often the second language. Mekere Somare was from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and worked with contacts across the Australasian Ecozone and in to the South China Sea. Choummaly Vatthana was from the small town of Phongsali on the slopes on Mount Phu fa, Loas. He had come from picking tea leaves in a nearby village to becoming the official liaison with relations in South East Asia, often working with Mekere. All were packing their belongings.
Across the far side of the room, a glass door separated the main area from the office of the company secretary. It was Serah that had delivered the message to them all just an hour before. Even she was getting her things together. By the end of the day, the twelve employees on Lucas’ floor, plus another forty located elsewhere in the building would be out of a job. The positive news was each would be on full pay for the remainder of their redundancy notice period and each would receive a very generous severance package.
Lucas continued to pack his things in silence. There would be plenty of time to talk through the reasons why during the hastily organised leaving drinks later, but for now, everyone was caught in their own thoughts.

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:03 pm

Chapter 6

The next few days began and ended in much the same way as when they had finished the day they had spoken to Thomas. They had time out of the shed, although under a guard of five or six men, they were fed and given water regularly. It wasn’t, however, until the fifth day that they saw Thomas again. McKnight saw him and the man with glasses walking toward them as they were sitting on the grass outside of the shed.
‘Hey Thomas,’ said Marshall. ‘Where have you been?’
‘Hello. I have some news for you both. You come with us yeah?’ said Thomas.
Marshall and McKnight, tailed by their guards, followed Thomas and the man with glasses up to the main building and back to the room they had been in before. As they walked down the corridor, men and equipment carried on much as it did the last time. Both men sat down and waited for Thomas to speak.
‘We have spoken to your company,’ he said. ‘They will not be paying money.’
There was a long pause. McKnight looked at Marshall to see what his next move would be. Marshall knew that he needed to buy some time. If anything was going to happen to them, it would probably be that evening.
‘I’m guessing you aren’t going to give up with one no,’ he said.
‘This is third no,’ said Thomas. ‘Your people very hard to get hold of yeah. But when we did they were very surprised you still alive. But they said will not give us what we want.’
‘I thought you people were good at getting a deal?’
‘Well, we have tried once more to see if they will deal. They have not responded yet but we give them to tomorrow morning.’
‘Then what?’ said McKnight. Marshall had been trying to avoid the issue of what would happen next in an attempt to not have Thomas think about it.
‘Then time over!’ Marshall and McKnight were taken aback, not from the response, but that the response had come from the man with the glasses. As he said that, he stood up ad walked out of the room. Thomas shrugged his shoulders.
‘What does that mean?’ asked McKnight.
‘It is not my decision,’ said Thomas. ‘You must go back now.’
‘Hold on a minute,’ protested McKnight as he stood up. As he did, both guards raised their weapons.
‘Robbie, leave it,’ said Marshall. ‘Let’s go back.’
McKnight was now thinking the same thing as Marshall, if they were going to get out, it would have to be that night. Both men began to get nervous as they walked back to the shed. It was still early afternoon and anything they were going to do would have to wait until it was dark. As the hours passed, they began to get hungry. Today was the first day that they had not been brought anything to eat which only added to the already tense mood. They were, however, allowed to go outside. The guards seemed oblivious to any discussions or decisions that may have been made at seemed just as confused about the food as they were.
As the sun began to set, the guards were changed. During the 5 minutes of conversation between them, Marshall loosened the nail that had held one of the rear planks in place. The evenings tended to be extremely quiet and any noise cover they could get was taken.
‘Robbie,’ whispered Marshall. ‘We are going to have to take whatever chance we get tonight. Whatever happens, follow my lead ok?’

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:03 pm

McKnight nodded. He was probably the most nervous he had been in his life. The waiting made it worse. Every time he heard something outside, he fully expected Marshall to be out of the gap and in to the trees. What would happen if he did not react quickly enough? Would Marshall wait for him? Would the guards see him and what would happen if they were spotted?
Some time in the night, the moment finally came. A truck arrived in the encampment delivering a fresh batch of men and equipment. The truck was an old Indian army vehicle and was on its last legs, it was making a lot of noise. As the truck pulled up, both guards walked towards it to see what was going on and if they knew any of the men being dropped off. Marshall realised that the whole far side of the shed was now out of their view. As the new men began mingling and talking, he realised it was now or never.
‘Hey, we’ve got to go,’ he said. McKnight took a deep breath as Marshall squeezed through the gap and moved to the back corner outside. McKnight followed. As he squeezed through, a part of his top got caught on the wooden board in front of him. For a brief moment, McKnight thought he had blown it; he was going to get caught stuck halfway out the shed while Marshall escaped to safety. He quickly came back to his senses as a sharp tug got him free. Marshall had seen what was going on and ripped McKnight’s top off of the board. A ripped t-shirt was a small price to pay for now being free. At that moment, McKnight promised to himself that he wouldn’t be the one to panic any more.
As they moved around to the back of the shed, Marshall pointed to the trees behind and motioned for McKnight to stay low. With a push in the back, McKnight made his way over to the trees with Marshall behind. The tree line wasn’t as thick as it had looked. They made their way behind a bush and turned around to see what was going on behind them. One of the guards had now taken his place again but had not seen anything that had happened. The other was now heading back as the contents of the truck had now been unloaded and the driver was ready to leave.
‘Right, we need to get as far away from here as we can as quickly as we can,’ said Marshall. ‘I’m sure the second they know we are gone they’ll be on us.’

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:04 pm

‘Which way? I have no idea where we are,’ asked McKnight’
‘Right now, just in a different direction to them. We can try and work out where to go when the sun comes up. We may have to hole up for a while anyway when it’s light.’
They both turned round and headed further in to the trees. Away from the dim lights of the clearing, neither of them could make out much of what was in front. McKnight followed the noises of rustling leaves and Marshall breath in front. He could also hear the sound of the old truck leaving the camp. Marshall’s eyes were now beginning to get used to the dark and he was able to pick out what was immediately in front of him. There was a faint moonlight that gave the trees and bushes a blue, almost eerie glow.
It had been about fifteen minutes since they had left the shed when they suddenly came out of the bushes and on to a narrow dirt road. As Marshall looked around he became aware of something in the road on his right. He could only see the outline against the road behind and a small, floating ball of orange light. His eyes adjusted once again and he saw that the outline was actually the truck from the encampment. It had pulled over and the driver was now leaning against the side smoking a cigarette. At the same time Marshall realised what he was looking at, the driver threw his cigarette on the floor and turned to walk back to the driver’s seat. McKnight had been looking out in the other direction and had managed to move halfway across the road and was in plain sight. As he walked round, the driver, also having difficulty with the darkness, noticed a figure in the road and stopped. From his spot by the side of the road, Marshall saw the look on his face as the man stared, refocused and realised that the man in the road was a westerner. He knew that there were two English men being held in the encampment and instantly pulled his sidearm and shouted.
‘Hey you, who are you?’
McKnight looked round to see the man pointing his gun but could not see Marshall.
‘Who is there?’ He asked again. The man had made his way to the driver’s door and had reached inside to turn the lights on. As he did, the entire road was illuminated, briefly blinding all of them. McKnight ran back towards the trees in an attempt to gain some cover and maybe find out where Marshall had gotten to. As he got to the tree line, still unable to see, he tripped over and fell in to a particularly spiky bush. The driver’s sight came back quickly enough for him to see McKnight disappear in to the undergrowth and get a shot off. The sound of gun seemed extremely loud compared to the stillness that they had walked in since the camp. As the man looked to fire a few more rounds in to the tree, he was hit from behind with a large stone. Marshall had used the confusion to move around the back of the truck and sneak up on the man from the rear. He had hoped that it would be before anything had happened, but he was a fraction too slow.
With the driver in a crumpled heap next to the truck, Marshall took his weapon and went to see if McKnight had been hit.

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:04 pm

‘McKnight!’ He shouted. Being behind the truck, he had no idea that McKnight had made it to the trees or even which direction he had gone. ‘Robbie!’
‘Fucking trees,’ came a muffled reply. ‘Where the fuck am I?’
‘McKnight,’ he shouted again as he headed towards the noise.
‘I’m over here.’
‘Where, I can’t see anything!’
‘In the fucking bush in front of you!’
Marshall had walked right up to the tree line in front of McKnight. As he looked down he saw two boots sticking out towards him and further back in the leaves, McKnight’s face with an extremely frustrated look.
‘Damn it, that bush is like a pack of razor blades,’ said McKnight as he was pulled back out. ‘Think I would rather have been shot.’
The bullet had, in fact, been very far off of its mark and was lodged in the dirt some way down the road. While happy that McKnight only had a few cuts and bruises, Marshall was more worried about the noise that had been made in the scuffle. Fifteen minutes careful walk in the undergrowth meant that they were probably under a mile away from the camp, definitely close enough for anyone to hear a gunshot.
‘We need to get some cover, if they heard that back at the camp then it’s a safe bet that we were one of the first things they checked on,’ said Marshall.
‘Well, we can’t go back in to the trees and that old truck won’t get us anywhere fast. We gotta keep going the way we were.’
Marshall agreed, turned off the trucks lights and set out back across the road. On the other side was a small wooden fence that sectioned off a large field, maybe six hundred meters in width. They had managed to cross about half way when two vehicles came down the road. The first pulled up alongside the truck, swerving to avoid the driver lying on the floor. The second had already noticed the two figures running across the open ground and had pointed its headlights toward them, illuminating the middle section of the field.
‘Danny, they’re on us,’ said McKnight.
‘Keep running Robbie, there are trees up ahead but when we get there you need to just keep running. They will be on us quickly.’
The men in the cars opened up with their automatic rifles. Lines of bright orange flame exploded from the muzzle of the heavy .50 calibre machine gun mounted on one of the trucks, another technical. As enthusiastic to kill someone as they were, their accuracy was somewhat lacking. Marshall and McKnight were approaching the tree line, the second car made a run for them, crashing through the frail wooden fence which shattered in to hundreds of pieces. The lumpy field offered little to someone trying to aim a machine gun from a moving vehicle. McKnight was flagging and about five meters behind Marshall, his legs felt like lumps of concrete and his muscles burnt. Small cracks from mini sonic booms were all around as hundreds of rounds of lead flew passed, splitting tree bark or shattering small rocks as they made impact. Clouds of dirt popped up, some just inches away from his feet.

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 1:05 pm

Marshall had now reached the tree line up ahead and had dropped one knee unloading the handgun at the oncoming car. He was a much better shot than the gunmen and had the advantage of some steady ground. Two of the shots went through the front windscreen forcing the driver to take evasive action. The gunner controlling the .50 caliber gun was thrown from the back landing in the dirt shattering his left arm and crushing the top of his skull. McKnight made it to the tree line and got himself some cover. The first car had now moved around the fence and was off to their right hand side close to the trees. Men were starting to unload and head towards them.
Marshall turned around grabbing McKnight who was trying to catch his breath against a tree.
‘Move,’ he shouted.
McKnight had no intention of giving up since his promise to himself earlier and was going to run until his body gave out. The sound of the gunfire had now reached a crescendo. Someone had evidently got back on the heavy gun adding to the dozen other automatic rifles being fired in to the tree line. Marshall was now holding McKnight by the arm, half dragging him through the maze of foliage. The trunk of a small, fallen Cedar tree lay across their path. As Marshall jumped over, he felt himself pulled back, his trailing foot landing on and then slipping off of the tree. A stab of pain shot through him as he hit the ground. His left ankle had impacted at an angle, spraining the ligaments as the force of his bodyweight came down on top of it. At the same time, a large thud came from behind, almost like someone had thrown a large bag of flour against the tree. Marshall looked back to see McKnight sprawled across the ground, crossing the tree trunk just above waist level. Two small red circles in the small of his back revealed the point of entry for two 7.62mm rounds from an AK-47. One of the shooters had finally found their mark.
‘Robbie!’ he shouted. For the first time his voice showed a sense of panic. Marshall knew that the entry hole in his back would be small, but the front would not. McKnight did not feel any pain, it was as if he had been hit with a baseball bat in the back and then just gone numb.
‘I’m good,’ he said. ‘I can walk.’
Marshall lifted him up putting one arm over his shoulder. He dragged him to the middle of a thick row of bushes and laid him down. McKnight was now turning a very dull grey. One of the bullets had left a very nasty exit hole as it passed through and he was losing a lot of blood.
‘We can rest here a while,’ said Marshall. The gunmen were still randomly shooting in to the trees but had chosen not to follow in very far. McKnight felt the numbness spread down in to his legs but still felt no pain.
‘I think they are leaving,’ he said. ‘Let me catch my breath before we move again.’
‘We’re good Robbie, take your time.’ Marshall knew that even if they had been in a hospital it would have been a tough job keeping him alive. Judging by the thick red colour and the force of the blood, he guessed this bullet had torn through one of the major arteries taking blood from the heart and down in to the legs.
‘I could do with some sleep,’ said McKnight faintly as he closed his eyes. Marshall waited a few minutes before checking his pulse. As he got up, he knew that he had to get moving before it started getting light. He did his best to cover McKnight’s body with whatever leaves and branches that could be found. Whoever had planned the convoy hit had nearly achieved their goals. Only one of them was left alive.


Last edited by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 4:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 01, 2012 2:46 pm

wow that was thrilling, poor chap, question? why didnt they steal the truck of the Westener? I know its more dramatic the way you wrote it, and more thrilling the chase but they could have escaped better. I guess I was putting myself in their shoes, what I would have done with blood thirsty shooters after me. great story though, I like the change from male to female characters. Very Happy I particularly like the bit where Kate is almost going to lose it on the plane, been there, dont like flying either. Shocked

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 01, 2012 2:51 pm

p.s is it you Halfwise? Very Happy

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Post by halfwise on Tue May 01, 2012 3:27 pm

Nope. Since I hang glide I can't comprehend folks being afraid of flying, so it would either have to be a pivotal part of the story I wouldn't think to mention it.

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Post by halfwise on Tue May 01, 2012 3:34 pm

I'm also incapable of sustained fictional output. 3 pages would be about my limit.

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Post by Norc on Tue May 01, 2012 3:39 pm

I bet it's mrs Figg.
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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 01, 2012 3:55 pm

hmm this is getting curiosererer, so if its not Halfwise, maybe its Farmer Dave? mind you there are no carrot related kidnapping episodes or exploding turnips, so maybe not. The Wobbit? he writes stuff. I think its a bloke and American, maybe Todd from Bree, he is a member here and writes. its not Stu, cos he says Ayup not hullo, darn it, tell me. Mad

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Post by halfwise on Tue May 01, 2012 3:57 pm

Why don't you think it's Turembar? Did he deny it and I missed it?

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 01, 2012 4:02 pm

I asked him and he said no, but he might have been kidding, its someone who knows about boys stuff though like weapons and only a bloke would mention what type of Volvo was used, girls dont bother with those kind of details, for us if its got wheels its a car, a nice car or a crappy car, but a car.

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Post by halfwise on Tue May 01, 2012 4:10 pm

It's got Turembar written all over it. He's just being coy.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 01, 2012 4:13 pm

yes I think its him too. Very Happy Its someone who knows about feeling in danger because I really got the sense of it when I read it, being chased and the reaction people have when they get shot seemed very real, I think people dont scream and shout but just go to sleep, it made me shudder a bit. pale

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Post by halfwise on Tue May 01, 2012 4:20 pm

He'll make the next chapter all about shoes and nice sunsets, but we are not so easily duped.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 01, 2012 4:26 pm

bounce wish he would tell us though scratch study its a mystery. what if its Eldo? Shocked

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Post by Norc on Tue May 01, 2012 4:30 pm

if it's Eldo I will skin him cause he should be working on the needlehole mysteries!

I have a feeling it's turembar.
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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 4:44 pm

Hullo,

Thanks for your comments so far.

Mrs Figg - They didnt choose to take the truck because of wanting to disappear quickly and not be followed by the smaller, quicker vehicles. They would be much easier to find on the road. Maybe I will make that decision process a little clearer.

Thanks for bringing it up. I have tried to make it as realistic as I can, hence naming specific vehicles etc so people could actually look up what I mean if they are unsure.

I would love to tell you who it is, but at the moment this guessing gaming is quite fun. I may well be one of those people you have mentioned, even discounted, but then again I may be someone completely different!

If anyone else has any feedback then please feel free.... I like people questionning the motives of these characters as you may find an angle that I hadn't considered or the I haven't explained very well. I have had a professional critique look over the first 5 or 6 chapters and have had some valuable feedback there too so it all helps.

We will get to the point where I will have to disappoint you where my material runs out though... I am finding it quite inspiring that at least one of you is buying to the characters and story so may spur another writing flurry to present you with.

I will post some more chapters tomorrow I think.

Yours

?

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 5:01 pm

Oh ok....

Chapter 7

Kate looked out of the small, pothole window on the side of the helicopter. Below, the plains of Northern Iraq sprawled out below them. On their journey from Baghdad, they had made a brief stop off at a small base outside of Arbil, an ancient city and capital of the federal Kurdistan region. They were now travelling east to a small forward operating base, or FOB, attached to the US army. Compared to the other areas of the country, the north was relatively quiet with sporadic bombings normally centred around local groups of Muslims rather than insurgency against the coalition forces in the area. There were, however, regular land and air patrols aimed at tackling movement across the Turkish and Iranian borders close by.
The Chinook was following the line of a river which wound its way through the plains laced with fields of wheat and barley, the odd cotton paddy and a few open areas where cattle were grazing. The greenery was soon broken up by a small conglomeration of small, white, adobe buildings. This was the town of Rayat, the camp being roughly a mile further east. The aircraft continued to follow the line of trees for another minute before making a steep, looping turn to the right over a patch of trees. Kate was suddenly reminded of the approach to Baghdad airport the previous day and regretted asking the pilot if it was possible he could have made a more violent approach. Even if he couldn’t have, their current pilot clearly could and had. She fought the feeling of butterflies in her stomach as the aircrafts altitude dropped. With her limited supply of diazepam now gone, she attempted to find something, anything to concentrate on. Instead she quickly noticed that the helicopter had now come to a very slow, forward decent and was still over the trees. Her little vantage point offered extremely restricted views and in her mind, the descent of the helicopter seemed to be taking them directly in to the tree tops. As the branches, now maybe only ten feet below them, were thrust around by the down force created by the huge rotor blades, Kate griped her seat tightly and turned her head away.
Three….. Two…. One…
Kate opened her eyes, her breath still held. As she came to her senses, she realised that she had pretty much adopted the brace position she had seen so many times on the laminated safety cards carried aboard civilian airlines. She also noticed that the helicopter was still in the air and that instead of a tangle of branches and metal, there was in fact a small clearing outside the window. Lastly, and most embarrassingly, she noticed Arnold and Forrest laughing to themselves. They had clearly witnessed some if not all of the last few minutes of Kate’s terror. In some ways she wished it had not been limited to her own head rather than anyone seeing her in a moment of weakness, especially her own team. Trying to act as professional as she could in the circumstances, she gathered together her belongings, a small black briefcase and black holdall, got up and moved towards the back of the compartment. As she did, the rear ramp began to open letting in a sheath of sunlight as it widened. The helicopter was now a few feet off of the ground and slowly descending until it came to a rest.

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Post by Anonymous writer on Tue May 01, 2012 5:02 pm

The team stepped outside in to the clearing and were welcome by Raja, their main contact in the area and the person who had arranged the meeting. Raja’s family were of Syrian origin and had left the country just after the six-day war with Israel in 1967, Raja being five at the time. Unsure how far Israeli forces would push following their capture of the Golan Heights, they packed up whatever they needed and left. After seeking asylum in the U.S. and settling down in Detroit, Raja was sent to school and eventually went on to have a very good college education, funded by the eventual sale of the families’ residence and business back in Syria. Just after his twenty-fifth birthday in 1987 and following a short time in the Detroit Police Department, Raja decided to make the most of his bilingual language skills and apply to become a translator or field agent in the CIA. Now, having crossed the half century, he was very much at the end of his career and mainly worked out of field offices in various places supporting the younger generation in the field.
‘Welcome to Rayat,’ he said in a thick Persian accent. This was clearly something he had not lost in his years in the U.S. ‘I am Raja. Please, follow me.’
Kate and her team followed Raja away from the back of the Chinook. As they moved, a group of six soldiers were doubling timing to the helicopter. As soon as they had boarded, another solider toward the front of the helicopter wearing a helmet to protect him from flying debris, raised his two orange ping pong bats and signalled the pilot clearance to take off. As the engines powered up, Kate and the team felt the immense downwash of the rotors almost push them over as the helicopter lifted off and disappeared over the tree line.
‘I am sorry about that,’ said Raja. ‘Resource like that is relatively scarce here; everything seems to be committed to Baghdad and Afghanistan so they make the most of whatever they can.’
‘When is the next flight due in?’ asked Kate. The last thing they needed was to be stuck in the middle of nowhere for a few days.
‘The detachment here is due relief in three days and then supplies every two weeks.’
‘Ok,’ Kate said sceptically. ‘Any word from our guys yet?’
‘Yes, they had some trouble or their way back so the army sent a couple of D-Boys in to help extract.’
‘D-Boys?’ asked Arnold.
‘Delta. There was a team of four based here for a while on some random mission they wouldn’t tell us about. They had done whatever it was they came to do and weren’t due to ship out until the relief chopper comes in. I think they were getting a little bored and had been harassing the local farmers by shooting cattle and bringing them back for food. They jumped at the chance to go do something and got clearance last night.’
‘Any ETA?’ said Kate.
‘Not yet, but they were only about thirty miles from the border. Should be in the next day or so.’
‘Forrest, better get the cards out. Think this is gonna be a long one,’ said Arnold sarcastically. Kate ignored him and carried on.
‘Okay Raja, so where can we drop our stuff and get something to eat around here?’
‘Follow me.’

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