Read Echo Six: Black Ops 8 - ISIS Killing Fields Online

Authors: Eric Meyer

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Echo Six: Black Ops 8 - ISIS Killing Fields

BOOK: Echo Six: Black Ops 8 - ISIS Killing Fields
11.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


By Eric Meyer



Copyright © 2015 Eric Meyer

Published by Swordworks Books



All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.



"Cover!" He flung himself flat as bullets spat out of the darkness. As he hugged the cooling sand, he cursed yet another foul-up. The worst of his curses he saved for later. There'd be time enough when they got out of this, if they got out.

He lay trapped beneath the streams of bullets that split the air above his head. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. The Major who briefed them said they had it all planned, right down to the last detail. The LZ would be clear of the enemy. He said confidence was high. What was certain was the guy who put together the intel packet also believed in fairies, there was no other explanation. The Major should have come with them. Should be shaking with fear right now, his head pressed into the dirt and abrasive sand, waiting for the bullet that would end it all. Then he could tell them how confident he was about the LZ, non-existent enemy positions, and detailed plans. He should be here with them now, but he wasn’t.

They’d jumped into the pitch-black night from a high-flying C-17 Globemaster. The giant fifty-three meter long Boeing was the workhorse of the U.S. military. Powered by four massive Pratt and Whitney turbofans each pushing out forty thousand pounds of thrust, it flew fast and high.

A switch to oxygen before depressurization, and step out of the rear cargo ramp at an altitude of eight thousand meters. A HALO drop, High Altitude, Low Opening, was a technique that required them to freefall most of the way down. A last minute opening of the chute, and they would land unnoticed, then hike across the desert to the target. In this case, the armed band planning to take control of a chunk of Iraqi real estate. Not a random chunk of Iraqi real estate, but a few thousand square miles of desert that ISIS had decided to make their own. NATO had other ideas.

Intel had pinpointed the ISIS incursion at a desolate region east of Kalar. It was remote, deep inside Iraqi bandit country, close to the border. The small Special Forces unit would hike cross-country to the enemy position under cover of night and eliminate them. Easy. Except they were dying, pinned down by a large enemy force, a possibility the briefing officer neglected to mention.


* * *


They'd watched the 'kid' adjust his large, red plastic spectacles, and Talley swapped a smile with Lieutenant Rovere, a former parachutist of the elite 7
Alpini Regiment. The briefing room was a prefabricated, fiberboard hut, anonymous-looking on the outside. Inside, it was a big surprise, complete with efficient AC and a gleaming new water cooler. Even the overlarge folding chairs were upholstered, unusual in this time of the growing push for military austerity. The cold winds of equipment shortages and rationalization were blowing through the military, although the briefing room, which looked more like a comfortable wealthy man’s den, displayed little evidence of any shortage of money.

The desk warriors had lined the wood-paneled walls with colored maps and charts, pinned to expensive aluminum framed display boards. A luxurious large, stainless steel coffee machine occupied an entire corner, and the mugs were fine china. No paper cups would litter this place. An MP stood guard at the door, his uniform pressed and neat. Black, spit-shined boots and a leather holster fastened to his Sam Browne.

Talley held back a smile.
How does he keep the dust of Iraq off his uniform?

A large screen LED TV stood in the corner opposite the coffee machine. Underneath the TV, a PlayStation 3 peeked out. The owner of the games computer wouldn't be hard to trace. It was hard to think of the middle-ranking officer as anything other than a kid, a geek. He adjusted his spectacles for the tenth time and repeated, "We've double checked, and the area is clear of known enemy activity. That's a guarantee, Bro."

The U.S. Army Intelligence officer, Major Kris Gregson, had to be a would-be hipster. Either that or it was some other incarnation of modern street cred. He looked more like a teenager and computer nerd rather than a military man. In spite of the rank tabs, his face still displayed his childhood acne. He’d probably spent too much time indoors playing computer games as a kid. Maybe he still did. The camos he wore were at least a size too large for his weedy frame. They looked like surplus clothes he'd bought cheap in a thrift shop; a teenager playing soldiers.

It all looked shaky. In Talley’s experience, military intelligence analysts were akin to stock market analysts, prone to making mistakes. "How sure are you, Major? Is this based on recent intel?"

"Commander, we're ninety-nine percent certain. Our intel is always up to date. Our intelligence gathering capability is state of the art. Plus, we have the latest, and most powerful computers to crunch the numbers.”

“I’m sure you have.”

Major Gregson pointed to the maps and charts pinned to the wall, all of them covered with arrows and colored pins, as if they proved his point.

"Something else I prepared for you. These are our ten most wanted men for you to show to any locals you come across. Village headmen, farmers, whatever, you know the kind of thing."

Talley glanced through the pack. One picture caught his eye, a short, plump man, who looked like an impoverished and elderly goat herder. He showed it to Gregson.

"Are you sure this isn't a mistake? He doesn't look strong enough to lift an AK, let alone fight with it."

The Air Force officer examined the picture and frowned. "His name is Hasan Jafaar, one of the most dangerous men in the Mideast. He's one of the Caliph's senior intelligence coordinators. Don't let the image fool you, Bro, he's been in the terrorism business most of his life. The man is very clever, very cunning, and if you get a chance to put a bullet in him, don't think twice about doing it."

He looked at the photo again, trying to reconcile the man with the picture. It wasn't easy.

Talley shuffled through the pack of photos and pulled out another. The man was tall and thin, and looked much younger than Jafaar, despite a long scar on his leathery face. He was staring in the direction of the camera. The result was an image that was fuzzy, a result of taking the picture at extreme range. Somehow, he seemed to have sensed the cameraman’s presence with his dark, cruel, brooding eyes.

Gregson grimaced. “Khalil al-Khalil, he's another man we'd like to see gone. He works for Hasan Jafaar, and he's one of their most successful commanders. Think psychopathic murderer and multiply it by a factor of five hundred percent."

"I get it. When you say gone, you mean killed."

Major Gregson looked to be at a loss, but he recovered. "Uh, yeah. I guess, eliminated."


"Sure." He went on with the briefing, but what he ignored was the most important factor. A factor they'd discovered for themselves during a series of bloody fights. Insurgents, like the men from ISIS, didn't give a shit about maps, charts, or colored pins. They were unpredictable, and a plan to strike at them required the same element of surprise. It needed to be flexible and able to adapt in a second to changing circumstances, unpredictable. The maps and colored pins were the opposite, like a World War Two set piece battle.

Talley was also concerned they'd set it up at too short notice. His Special Forces unit, Echo Six, was part of NATO, currently seconded to the U.S. military inside Iraq to counter the ISIS threat. They’d been due to embark on a night training jump, so it suited the brass to join up the dots. Combine the drop with another operation. The big idea was to turn the training mission into a full-blown combat operation, which made the bean counters happy. All done under the slogan of 'the accelerated implementation of a new strategic plan,' also known as putting men's lives at unnecessary risk to save money.

There was a new mood sweeping through military operations. It had a name. Budget cuts. Anyone unlucky enough to be on combat related assignments could expect to work twice as hard. Yet the risks increased as the support available to men in the field became scarcer. Those with a sense of humor declared they had a new enemy to fight. Tougher and more formidable than ISIS, implacable, unemotional; they called them accountants. The humor dried up when the soldiers went into the field, and the men from ISIS were doing their best to kill them, like they were now.

Talley's number two, Sergeant Guy Welland, a former SAS man, summed up their role. "Firefighting, that's what they're using us for. Not enough men, not enough equipment, not enough air assets, so ISIS makes the most of it while we put our asses on the line. The enemy lights the fire, and the brass sends us out understrength to put it out.”

He'd given him the usual reply, straight from the manual. "We're Special Forces, Guy. It's what we do. What we trained to do, what they pay us to do. They give us a problem, and we deal with it."

His look of scorn was eloquent. "Tell that to the widows of the men who don’t make it back. It's okay, because it's part of the deal."

He didn’t reply, couldn’t reply. Guy was right. They'd become firefighters. Rushed to where the most bullets flew and the bombs exploded. All because there weren't enough boots on the ground to maintain order. Not enough wings in the air to provide adequate battlefield control and support. It meant they passed the initiative to ISIS, who thrived on chaos.


* * *


He ducked away from a renewed burst of firing. The enemy had appeared from nowhere in a place where they weren't supposed to be. All the same, they were here, and Echo Six was doing its best to fight back, to survive. Firefighters, that's how Guy had described them. He had a point. Right now they were trying to extinguish one mother of a blaze.

The firing intensified, and they could only keep their heads down to stay below the hail of lead whistling overhead. A couple of stray rounds whacked into his armored vest, and another ricocheted off his helmet. The insurgents sensed they had the advantage of surprise and superior firepower, and so began to close in. Dark, shadowy figures were green glows in his NV goggles. They darted from cover to cover, and a few began to charge across open ground.

He slammed in a new magazine, took aim, and pulled the trigger. His three-round burst ripped into the belly of a black clad figure leading a new charge to get to them and kill them. The man spun to the ground, and his rifle cartwheeled away across the sand. Fighters behind him kept running, and their response was white-hot fury. The incoming fire intensified as a dozen automatic rifles poured out sheets of lead that raked inches all around them.

He hugged the ground and searched for something solid to put between him and the bullets. Hot lead glowed green as it whistled and hissed through the air over their heads, ripping up spurts of loose sand either side. They were fortunate the incoming fire was wild, meaning it couldn’t have been a prepared ambush. They'd just landed in the wrong place at the wrong time, another intel screw-up.

What wouldn’t I give to have Major Gregson with us?

"Helluva landing," his number two called out. Guy Welland was helping an injured man into cover. Another man lay on the sand, unmoving, and almost certainly dead. He cursed. None of it should have happened, another fatality, following another faulty intel report. The result was always the same, chaos and death.

"It was crap," he snapped back, staring at the body on the ground, "Guy, our one chance is to hit back hard before they roll all over us. They have the initiative, and they’re expecting us to defend. We have to do the opposite, meet them head-on, and kick the crap out of them. Where are Reynolds and Kane? I want those Minimis in action now."

The Minimi was the NATO equivalent of the American M249. A light machine gun, firing a 5.56mm round from a two hundred-round box magazine, it was the NATO standard Squad Automatic weapon. Lightweight, reliable, and devastatingly accurate, once it started firing. At that moment, they needed a big chunk of accuracy and devastation if they were to survive.

Guy sounded calm. Talley thought he must have ice in his veins. He was always calm, no matter how bad the situation.

"They're finding cover and moving into position now. If they shoot from out in the open desert, the enemy will pick them off in seconds. Boss, where did these gomers come from? We were supposed to land five klicks from the enemy and take them by surprise. Instead, they've put us into ISIS’ front parlor."

He paused, seeing the direction of Talley's gaze in the direction of a body; camos, armored vest, and Kevlar helmet, one of theirs. His chute was still attached to his harness, lying limp in the sand nearby, like an abandoned shroud. "That's Bennett. Poor bastard, he got hit before he landed, didn't stand a chance."

"What about Buchmann? We need the grenade launcher like yesterday."

"I haven't seen him, but I'm going out on their flank to stir them up a bit, so I'll take a look around. Have you tried calling him?"

"He's not replying. It could be he's too close to the enemy. Keep me posted..." He stopped when Guy grunted with surprise. He'd been hit. Talley saw him jerk as a bullet slammed into him. "Where did you get hit?"

He looked down at his sleeve and shrugged it off. "No sweat, just a nick in the forearm. Nuisance value. I'll call in when I get on their flank."

"Roger that. And if you see Buchmann, tell him to crank up that damned launcher."

Guy had already disappeared as if by magic, a trick he'd learned in the British SAS. Talley flinched as another hail of bullets punched the air; some were less than a meter away. He knew they were in even more trouble. ISIS had a machine gun, a heavy caliber machine gun. To deploy a 12.7mm like a DShK, a Soviet-built .50 caliber equivalent, they'd have to mount it on the bed of a truck. Probably a Toyota Hilux, the brand of truck they used for desert transport in large numbers. It meant they were out in force, a major incursion onto Iraqi soil.

BOOK: Echo Six: Black Ops 8 - ISIS Killing Fields
11.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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