Karachi Civil Hospital, Pakistan
Deckard crouched next to the body of a dead Pakistani doctor.
His white jacket was stained red as blood leaked into a pool beneath him. Ripping a few buttons on his shirt, Deckard could easily spot the entry wounds. A veteran of countless firefights, he quickly identified them as being from 9mm bullets. Two shots, each with impeccable round placement. The shooter had used the doctor’s collar as a point of reference when aligning his sights.
Aim small, miss small. The entry wounds were almost touching each other.
Leaving the corpse behind, he strode up the steps, taking them three at a time to the front door of the hospital. The door had been locked so the shooters had used an explosive charge to breach and make entry into the structure. Deckard had heard the detonation as he had drove towards the hospital. He was just a minute behind them. One critical minute.
The door looked like it had been sliced in half. They used a cutting charge, probably explosive cutting tape which used RDX explosive and a metal filament to blast through obstacles. With the building’s exterior lights turned on, he saw a tangle of clear wiring laying in a heap next to the door. The remnants of the shoc tube that had been used to detonate the cutting charge.
The sharp scent of the explosives hung in the air as Deckard stepped inside. Deeper in the hospital, he could hear the sound of gunfire. The Liquid Sky team was clearing a path to their target.
With his Kimber 1911 pistol leading the way, Deckard picked up the pace. Jogging halfway down the hall he slipped and nearly fell on a pool of blood. Two Pakistani policemen had been slaughtered before they could even draw their weapons. The Paks had put security on their man, but not very good security. At a glance, Deckard could tell that they had both been shot numerous times in the torso with added shots following up as the shooters moved towards the policemen to make sure they were really dead. One shot looked like it had flayed the skin right off one of the policemen’s neck.
Aghassi and Jager were right behind him and grabbed him under the elbows before he could topple over in the thick liquid. Leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind him, they kept moving.
“This is Shooter-One,” the earbud connected to his cellphone crackled. “In position.”
“Roger,” Deckard replied into the mic.
Nikita had taken an over watch position outside where he could cover the front of the hospital while Pat stayed with their vehicle.
The Samruk International mercenaries had a week to get themselves to Pakistan and conduct mission planning to intercept the Liquid Sky team. Considering the ad hoc nature of the mission, everything had come together fairly well and they were confident that they could catch the Liquid Sky shooters, whoever they really were, in an ambush before they even got near their target.
Then someone had set a fire in the basement of the hospital and the patients had to be moved across town to the Karachi civil hospital. It seemed the Liquid Sky had been conducting their own surveillance and didn’t like what they saw so they induced a situation in which their target had to be moved to a location where the conditions would be more favorable to the assassins.
It worked. Deckard’s plans were tossed out the window and now they were improvising on the fly.
What else is new.
Expended brass casings littered the floor.
A Pakistani policemen, this time with tactical gear, including body armor and an assault vest, was sprawled on his back. The shooters had fired center mass and when the bullets failed to penetrate the body armor they walked their shots up into his face and fired until he went down. It was known as a failure drill. Put the first two shots center mass and then shoot into the skull until the target is no longer a threat.
Deckard rounded the corner with his two comrades and continued in the direction of the sound of gunfire.
Now he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. ECT on the door, failure drills, and the information contained in the roster they had recovered in Nevada. These guys were Americans and not any ordinary Americans.
These were the type of Americans that Deckard had worked with for years, trained with, conducted combat operations with. These guys were Special Operations, it was just a question of which tribe they had come from.
Following the trail of destruction, the trio took another turn and bounded up a flight of stairs. They stepped over several more corpses in tactical gear. It looked like some kind of police para-military unit had been assigned to guard Liquid Sky’s target.
Only one of the bodies was interesting. Deckard paused for half a second, noting the deep cuts on the face, neck, and forearms of the body. They were made by a short defensive blade as the Pakistani had tried to defend himself. Someone who knew what they were doing and had made quick work of their opponent, taking him apart like a chicken.
Racing down the hall they passed under a broken florescent light, the adjacent lights blinking on and off due to a flash bang grenade that had exploded. The door of the target’s hospital room was ajar. Several sets of bloody boot prints trailing out and back down the hall. Deckard stood in the doorway.
Abdulkarim Al-Khalifa lay in his hospital bed, one arm hanging lifelessly over the side as blood ran down it and softly pattered onto the floor. He had been a social organizer and protest leader in the country of Bahrain. Al-Khalifa had been so successful in organizing pro-democracy movements that he had to flee the country with state security services nipping at his heels. Eventually he found his way to India where the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, had kidnapped him. It was to be a for profit operation for ISI.
The Pakistanis had been in the final stages of negotiating a ransom with the Kingdom of Bahrain. Al-Khalifa had continued to be a thorn in the government’s side by utilizing social media websites to communicate with the opposition groups. Bahrain wanted him back so that he could be imprisoned, and eventually, permanently silenced. But the ISI was driving a hard bargain so somebody decided to take matters into their own hands.
A third party called Liquid Sky.
Gunfire sounded back on the ground floor, the staccato bursts rattling the windows. The mercenaries could distinguish between the initial shots, from Nikita’s sniper rifle, and the return fire that came a moment later.
“Fuck,” Nikita cursed as he hot mic’ed the radio. “Fuck me.”
“I’m on it,” Pat’s voice came over the net. His PKM machine gun was now shaking up the party.
“These guys are good,” Nikita transmitted. “I took down the first one and the others immediately hit the ground. One deployed a smoke grenade and the others returned fire on my position.”
The full auto gunfire broke off into stunted bursts and the gunfighters returned fire one more time.
“They’re breaking contact,” Pat reported. “Flushing them back in your direction.”
Deckard took a final look into the hospital room.
Al-Khalifa’s wife lay sprawled out on the bed on top of him. She had been trying to protect him from the onslaught of gunfire and had died alongside her husband.
Deckard keyed his radio.