Brother's at War - Part 25

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It was one of those adrenalin rushes, where everything you do just happens so fast that you only have time to think about it after. Chase and Ian had their darts ready, held in their shaking hands, ready to fire at the two drivers. Chase wouldn’t let himself think about what was going to happen if one of them missed. Sometimes you just have to ‘do’ and not think too hard don’t you.

 The moment came when Ian whispered ‘now!’ and they shot the darts out of the small dart guns. The trucks were designed with no doors so the driver could get in and out quickly but it also meant that a dart could be shot easily through the whole. The plan worked smoothly by some miracle. Quickly and silently Ian and Chase moved into the truck just in time to catch the two drivers before they fell out. Ian drove and Chase moved the soldiers into the back of the truck. Now they had no choice but to slowly follow the procession of soldiers until they could find an opportunity to escape.   

 After about a minute, the procession entered the base. With tinted windows the boys were less worried about getting found out, even so, Chase couldn’t ever remember his heart beating as hard as it did while he was in that truck.  As the procession started to break apart as the soldiers went one way and the trucks another, Chase and Ian knew they better follow the trucks in order to avoid suspicion. The trucks were headed to a large shed, where they would be parked there for the night no doubt.

 Suddenly shouting in a different language and large hazard lights snapped on behind them causing a huge uproar. Ian looked to the rear view mirror and said “shit it’s the other’s” under his breath. Chase jumped from his seat to the back of the truck and moved the tarp enough so he could see what was happening. There in the middle of the base, lights now fully exposing them, was Hudson, Lerman and Anders. “What the hell are we going to do?!” Chase yelled back to the front of the truck. Hudson, Anders and Lerman were surrounded by armed soldiers. There was not much they could do. The other’s capture did however create a distraction big enough to allow Chase and Ian to escape. Many soldier’s would have taken an opportunity to do that in a heart beat and under orders they would have been told to go. However, thinking alike, Ian and Chase exchanged the same look before each knew what had to happen. They had to cause a bigger distraction. Ian scanned the base in front of him, there would only be about a minute before the captured soldiers would be quickly questioned and then probably shot. A fueling station. Perfect. Ian thought to himself.

 From the back of the truck, gripping his gun, Chase felt the truck swerve in another direction. He moved to the front of the truck and looked to where they were headed, Chase understood the plan. With about 200 feet between the truck and themselves Chase held up his gun, ready to fire. He concentrated hard before letting about 10 bullets fire at as many parts of the fuel station as possible. As he did, Ian swung the truck around. Explosion after explosion erupted at the base. By another miracle, the truck stayed ahead of each explosion. Chase watched as soldiers ran in every direction as the truck made a straight line for Hudson, Lerman and Anders. – Or where they had been. Were they too late? As running soldiers moved and the view became clearer they saw three American soldiers lying motionless on the ground. Ian stopped the truck near them and both men jumped out. Three bullet wounds to the head. It looked as if the enemy hadn’t even bothered to question them. Even though it would have probably gotten Chase and Ian killed they loaded the three bodies into the truck. Nobody noticed amongst the commotion caused by the explosions. Back in the truck and inconspicuously among the chaos they made their way out of the base. Chase stayed in the back watching through the tarp curtain to see if they were noticed and knew if anyone did notice he’d have to shoot them. Nobody did. That evening stayed with Chase for a long time. The miracles that had occurred for Ian and him were not miracles as much as luck. They had been lucky and Hudson, Lerman and Anders had not.

 Half an hour after leaving the enemy base they approached the allied base in Letshin. Chase stood out the window, holding onto the bar on the roof waving the American flag from his pack in his free hand. They were stopped at the gates and then let in. Medical staff and higher ranked soldiers quickly approached them. Chase and Ian were led in one direction and watched as they walked as the bodies of the three men they had spent a whole day with that day were carefully taken out of the van. The limp bodies of the tranquilized enemy soldiers were removed also; no doubt they would have a rude awakening.

 Here he was again. Unscathed and uninjured as he watched others have their lives taken. That was probably one of the hard things about war. Watching friends, even friends you knew for a short time, die – while you stayed uninjured. Sure Chase was thankful he was safe, but it was still unfair.  

                                                              ***

 By the time Gerard arrived in the pacific with the rest of the platoon Chase had already been at the Letchin base for two months. The platoon arrived by ship in along with the many other companies on board in Auckland harbor on May 10th 2017. In New Zealand the United States and other allied nations were building up their military forces, Army bases were being expanded and a huge amount of soldiers, such as Gerard’s platoon, were being shipped in. However it would take close to a month to build up a force large enough to launch the next major American offensive attack on the enemy occupying Australia. However until then the troops were to wait and recover.

 On board the navy ship Gerard had made a friend that like him had just come from leave in the United States and was adjusting to what had been missed while they had been gone.  Lucas was from New Hampshire, and although he was a little bit younger than Gerard they had a lot in common in terms of music and personalities. Gerard wrote a letter while on board the ship telling Claire about his new friend and told her he was glad he had someone to stick by there now that he and Chase were separated.

 Three American navy ships arrived in Auckland Harbor that day and as the soldiers, with their rucksacks over their shoulders got off the ship they were met by hundreds of civilians waving a mixture of American and New Zealand flags and cheering – welcoming them like heroes. There was an amry band in dress blue's playing american army tunesi. The men didn’t know how to take it, sure they were glad to be somewhere that felt a little more like home but they weren’t really sure they were the ‘heroes’ the people thought them to be. They hadn’t achieved very much yet. Leaving the ramp and stepping onto firm flat ground for the first time in several days Gerard and Lucas followed the others, smiling shyly at the crowd of people. He understood how they must feel, their country was under threat and the fact that they had arrived must be bringing them a great deal of comfort.

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