We got to the mouth of the cave and took off our gear. Each guy had carried the basic necessities needed to survive through our ordeal. Q carried the electronics and medical supplies, Axe carried the nutrition, Pogo had the water, and Sticks carried his explosives and ammunition. I carried the rest: pots, containers, the radio and detonators, among other things.
We had to come up with some sort of direction for what we were going to do. We had never been in this position before. We were free of the mind control and it felt different. I didn’t feel as confident as I usually would on a mission. I was scared because now I could remember all the other missions we had done, all the horrible things we had seen and participated in. Before, when we were being controlled, we feared nothing. It was all just a bunch of laughs in the school yard. I could see that in the faces of Red Band One. I knew each guy was worried. I could see some personality changes in the guys. Bronco even got creative with the cadence, something he really isn’t known for. He is usually just a top notch soldier following orders like a machine. I think my guys are becoming human again.
“Chopper’s in the air, Captain,” Axe announced. “Coming from the east.”
Axe could hear things other guys couldn’t. We all stood at the front of the cave and looked east. We could see off in the distance four CH-47 Chinook Choppers becoming larger and larger silhouettes against the sun. As they approached, the desert grew dark as they blocked out the light. It looked like a man-made eclipse of the sun, and it gave me an eerie feeling.
“Q, get their frequency and find out what they are doing.”
“Already done sir,” Q replied. “Listen up guys.”
We all moved over to listen to the radio.
It was Colonel Clark barking out orders.”RB-1 is no longer viable, the order is to exterminate with extreme prejudice. Subjects last known location is the farm house over the ridge. I am sending co-ordinates now.”
From the mouth of the cave, we could see the farm house being swarmed by six black vans and soldiers surrounding the perimeter.
“What a dick! I would love to make this guy blow up real good!” said Sticks. He paused, “Do any of you guys feel differently?”
“Yeah Bro, this is weird. I find myself thinking about…about stuff…stuff I haven’t thought about in years,” replied Pogo.
“Everybody in the cave!” I ordered as the choppers flew over our position and headed to the farm house. “They are going to track us by our foot prints so we don’t have much time…Bronco, how far back does this cave go?”
“It goes back about 35 feet, Captain.”
We watched the choppers land and Clark inspecting the remnants from the exploded implants. Then the whole crew jumped back into the choppers and started to head our way.
“Get to the back of the cave! Now! It’s our only cover!” I yelled. “They’re coming, boys!”
We could hear them on the radio. “Trail leads to that cave ahead sir. The only entry tracks to the mouth of the cave. They are still in there Colonel Clark.”
“Gimme the radio sergeant,” Clark said. “Red Band One, this is Colonel Clark. You are ordered to stand down and come in for re-programming. Code words octopus, orange, tango. You have 10 seconds to reply.”
“You guys wanna get re-programmed?” I asked.
“Hell no!” They all screamed back.
The choppers got there in seconds, and positioned themselves in front of the cave entrance.
“Last chance, Manny,” Clark stated through radio.
I picked up the radio, “We’ll be coming for you Clark. Payback time!”
Q jumped in, “I am picking up an opening on the other side of this wall with the ground penetrating radar, Captain.”
“Got it,” Sticks said, as he put a small amount of explosive on the wall. “Fire in the hole!” The wall crumbled perfectly in front of Sticks feet. “There ya go Captain.”
“We gotta hole boys, everyone in!” I ordered, as a missile took out the cave entrance. “Let’s see where this goes.”