Fiddlestix and her platoon are on their way. She’s found herself in charge, and isn’t happy about it. Hoping that things will go well, she’s prepared for the mission to go horribly wrong.
CAUTION STRONG LANGUAGE
“I have the feeling I’ve got cross hairs trained on me,” she mused, not voicing her disquiet to her people.
Her attitude was cocky and confident. She was damned if her troops were going to see her scared. Her gut might be tied in knots, but they wouldn’t know it. She’d learned a long time ago that the leader’s worry could transmit itself to the troops.
Less than five miles into Shine territory, strange things started to happen. Kaz contacted her over her headset. He wasn’t very clear, his signal breaking up.
“Uh, Master Sergeant?”
“Talk to me, Kaz.”
“The point team just disappeared.”
“Do you mean you lost sight of them?”
“No, Master Sergeant. They fuckin’ disappeared. Right off my screen. I sent Diaz and Harmony out to look for them, nothing. No sign.”
“On my way.”
Using hand signals, she brought her people in to tight formation and sped up. She was with Kaz in less than two minutes. Looking at the screen, she saw he was telling the truth. There should be a readout of all the squad members, but the bars for the point team were blank. Not flat lined, just blank. Not even their names appeared by the bar.
“Shit! Sound off!” she growled into her headset.
For the next thirty seconds, her soldiers stated their names. She came up another three short. That made, with the point team, seven.
“What the hell?”
Something was happening she had no control over and didn’t understand. Was it Shine Clan or the cyber unit? They weren’t finding bodies, so maybe they were still alive. She didn’t like it, but she didn’t have to like a situation to get the job done.
“Sound off every five minutes,”she ordered.
Walking slowly, cautiously, quietly, they proceeded deeper into Shine territory. The hairs on Fiddlestix’ neck danced with nervous energy. The feeling that she was being watched through a powerful scope increased the closer they got. She’d picked up the trail of the cyber unit shortly after the point team disappeared. They might be super soldiers, but they sucked at covering their trail. It occurred to her that they might have done it on purpose to lure them in. Her paranoia increased and she tightened security.
Five minutes later, three more of her people were gone. She called a halt. No one had seen the people disappear. It was as if they melted into the mist that surrounded them.
“It isn’t possible,” she muttered. “Grown people, soldiers, don’t just disappear! It is not possible!”
After the next sound off, four more were gone. Stifling a scream, she called another halt. Anticipating that the Shine Clan had sophisticated surveillance equipment, she ordered her people to stay put.
“Set up a perimeter patrol. No one leaves for any reason. I don’t care what you see or hear. Take cover and stay put. Kazinski, Harmony, you’re with me. Diaz, you’re in charge.”
“Yes, Master Sergeant,” she responded.
“I don’t give a shit what McLain says,” she told Harmony and Kaz. “I’m looking for the Shine Clan leader. If I can talk to the person in charge, I’ll feel better.”
They kept walking and she kept talking. To the men, it seemed like she was babbling, but she was banking on the fact that the Shine Clan could hear her.
“I don’t want my people hurt. We didn’t come here to cause trouble. We want to get the cyber unit and go home, then everyone’s happy.”
Kaz and Harmony looked at her like she was crazy. They knew this, why was she telling them something they already knew?
“Master Sergeant?” Kaz sounded worried.
“What?” She stopped babbling long enough to listen to him, but she kept moving.
“The rest of them. Diaz and them. Just like the others.”
“What?” She rounded on Kaz who looked at his computer screen helplessly.
“They were there a second ago, then poof! Gone!”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes