Blaze of Glory

The Counter-Strike series does not belong to me. The SAS is Britain's elite counter-terrorist unit.

Almost every soldier joins the army with hopes of becoming a hero, either that or going out in a blaze of glory.

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Fear.

It controls my body, my mind, freezes my muscles, blood and clouds my thinking.

We cower behind meagre cover, 5.56 Avtomat-Kalashkinov rounds tearing into metal and wood.

Eventually one will tear into flesh. It is inevitable. We are hopelessly outnumbered.

The lieutenant, across the corridor, rams a fresh magazine into his Heckler and Koch MP5. His masked face betrays no emotion, but like the rest of us, he is frightened and confused.

Getting up from his crouching position, he kneels and fires, 9mm bullets guided by a glowing red laser sight.

A quick ping!, and he falls, a neat hole punched in his helmet. Schmidt Scout, most likely.

I shift the M249's weight. I am the machine gunner for this squad, but blood is pouring from a wound in my chest. I am in no condition to fight. The medic is working on me, slapping a poultice on since he has no time to remove the round.

The gunfire seems distant; I have gotten used to it now. It used to be a hammer banging away in my eardrums.

Every minute of this battle, this thought is in my head.

Will I die here, now, in this hellhole?

The two warren officers behind me fire grimly with Glock-18 pistols, trying in vain to hit at least one, and be rewarded with the ear-piercing scream of a dying enemy.

The moment never comes. Arcing over their heads comes a cylindrical object, hitting the floor with a metallic clang. My eyes widen in fear and I heave the Para onto my shoulders, and leap across the corridor, hitting the rapidly-stiffening corpse of my superior.

The explosion fills my ears, the melody harmonizing with the sounds of automatic weapons. There is the bitter taste of blood in my mouth, having bitten my tongue. My two superiors' charred bodies hit the ground.

Will I die here, now, in this hellhole?

One of the two snipers in our unit is dead, the other bleeding badly from a shoulder wound, but yet his eye is still glued to the scope of his Arctic Warfare Magnum. He fires and rebolts, his operations like clockwork.

A round jams. The corporal pulls the charging handle frantically, but the round is stuck fast.

The clock stops.

He is cut down by a hail of bullets. The faceless terrorists feel no remorse. In my mind's eye they are likened to machines, machines which only purpose is to kill.

Will I die here, now, in this hellhole?

There are two left in our unit. Me, and the staff-sergeant. The latter's M4A1 is dry, his only weapon a Heckler and Koch Tactical USP. He pumps the trigger, the reports quietened by the silencer.

That, too, eventually runs out of ammunition.

As he drops the pistol and reaches for his combat knife, a round strikes his forearm. The bone splinters and blood spills in a torrent from the gaping wound.

Another drives its way into his neck, and he falls to the floor.

I am alone.

I always had high hopes when I joined the SAS. I was on the uppermost rung of Britain's military. I knew the risks I had to take.

I now know the answer to my question.

Will I die here, now, in this hellhole?

Yes.

I leap out of my cover, and send a stream of lead flying towards my opponents.

But I will go out in a blaze of glory.

END