Rainbow Six: Cross Training
Legal stuff: I don't own anything related to Rainbow, Tom Clancy, etc., except for the books and a couple of the games. However, the Singaporean commandos, their unit, and this story are my ideas…and you can expect to hear more of the first two when I decide to go professional.
Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
Prologue: Initial Visit
Army Special Operations Command
'Major' Domingo Chavez entered the single-storey building, accompanied by a captain named Christopher Wong. Both men were dressed in Vietnam-era jungle camouflage uniforms to blend in with the soldiers walking about. Chavez's lack of height helped in his disguise; not even the Eurasians in Singapore were very tall. Wong worked there…at least, somewhere in there.
Looking around, he saw several imitation-leather sofas scattered around in front of him. A pair of tables stood at the far end of the room, surrounded by some cheap-looking wooden chairs. A couple of vending machines selling snacks were mounted on the right wall. White-painted walls stared out at the American visitor.
The men were in a mess, more specifically, the mess for a very special Singaporean unit like Rainbow, though with some differences. In America or Britain, this would be the NCOs' or Officers' Club. Here, at least for this unit, there was only the Mess.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore visited England some weeks before Chavez arrived in Singapore, ostensibly as a courtesy call and to discuss some trade-related issues with his British counterpart. What the press didn't know was that both PMs had agreed to let each other's special forces train each other, specifically Rainbow and Singapore's black ops unit. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, pronounced 'nay-to', though some Singaporeans insist on 'nah-to') agreed to release Rainbow as well.
Right now, Chavez was visiting the Singaporeans' base, and Wong would do the same in two days. Then, the training would start.
Another glance around the room revealed a TV in front of the sofas, which was hooked up to an…XBox…?
"…Wong…what the hell?" Chavez asked, turning to face his host.
"We use computer games to think of new tactics and to sharpen our own. For example, we use Full Spectrum Warrior, since it's the best MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) simulation around short of actual US Army training simulations…but we call MOUT FIBUA over here. It stands for 'Fighting in Built-up Areas'. As I recall, the US Army is using computer simulators for training," Wong replied with a voice devoid of accents.
"…Hmm…In Hereford, we have a virtual reality simulator, called SWAT 6.3.2 or something like that. We use that instead."
"Yeah. It actually lets you simulate an actual hostage rescue, from planning right down to execution. It even throws in the element of luck."
"Yeah," Ding replied, grimacing. "On my first time, I got iced. A bullet supposedly hit me in the face just below my virtual helmet."
"Is the program any good?" Wong asked.
"…I'll give it a B+ overall. During the takedown phase, we've encountered many glitches, like a terrorist getting up after being shot in the head. The computer said I missed, when my sight picture was perfect!"
"We've got a…small budget. Don't be fooled by what you just saw; all those toys required extra funding, and we're not going to receive more money for this year's budget. This VR thing's going to cost a bomb, right? Our budget's tight, but we can buy some cost-effective equipment. 'B+' isn't enough for the bureaucrats."
"…Yeah. Six bitches about budget once a month, and the budget meetings with the bean counters."
"We call our CO 'Six', too. The whole of the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) follows the Israeli practice of using 'Sunray' to denote officers or leaders, but…we're not official SAF."
"I know how it's like, man."
"Sure. My guys will be coming in shortly. Make yourself at home, sir."
"It's 'Ding'. I'm no major, just a mere E-7, our equivalent of your master sergeant, before the CIA kidnapped my ass. John's fault," Ding said with a smile, one pro to another.
Chavez found a chair, and settled himself into it. The Singaporean commando followed suit. Wong wasn't tall, not even by Asian standards, but he was actually taller than Chavez, much to the former's amusement and the latter's surprise. Both men were now equals, after a fashion.
"So Ding, what do you think about the men?" Wong asked.
"They're…almost as good as mine," Chavez allowed. Rainbow was better…by maybe a fraction. After all, Caucasians have an advantage in strength and height.
"Sure. That's why our PM wants us to cross train with you. And the CQB (Close Quarters Battle) demonstration?"
"Perfect. Your shooting was perfect, command and control was perfect, coordination perfect…I can't think of anything else. And you've got to teach the guys how to do that."
"Shooting while rappelling down. Remember, during that demonstration…"
To showcase their skills, the Singaporeans put up a CQB demo that would have impressed even Clark. There were two buildings the commandos had: one conventional-looking Killing House, and one warehouse-like building. The Singaporeans used both for the day. In the latter building, the plan called for one team to enter via the skylight and another to secure the entrance/exit to the warehouse.
During the execution, the men abseiled from a helicopter, turned around, smashed through the skylight, and shot the dummy terrorists with their MP5A5s while sliding down, using one hand to aim and fire their guns. Damn, Chavez thought.
By the time the commandos had landed, the terrorists were all 'dead'. Wong said that they didn't use this technique very much, for obvious reasons. However, it was spectacular, inserts the men in through an unexpected route, and surprises the Tangos all around, so why not use it?
The door opened, and nine men stepped in. They were dressed in jungle camouflage, called 'Smart No. 4' in SAF-speak. Really, it didn't differ from the American tropical jungle camouflage design. However, unlike the American or Singaporean custom, the uniforms had no badges on them, nothing except nametags and ranks.
The men were all young, clean-shaven, and wore their hair just slightly longer than the average soldier, the better to disguise themselves as businessmen. They were also of different races, with two Malays, two Indians, and five Chinese.
"Morning, sir. How's your day?" one of the Chinese spoke up. His nametag read 'Tang'.
"Good. But…it's damn hot. Reminds me of Columbia."
The Singaporeans had the good sense not to ask for elaboration, and Ding didn't volunteer any information.
"Guys, my name is 'Ding'. I'm no major," Chavez said.
"Okay. I'm Chris. Ding, these are the men who will be going with me to England next week," Wong said.
The commandos introduced themselves. Ding shook hands with every one of them, but he had a sneaking suspicion that the commandos' names weren't theirs. He confirmed that when one of the Chinese said his surname was 'Gan' but his nametag read 'Gao'.
"So, what do you think of us?" Tang asked.
"I say you're almost as good as Rainbow," Chavez replied, forgetting that 'almost' wasn't enough for these men.
"Ding, you haven't really seen us in action yet," Tang chided.
"Sure. Go ahead and take a seat," Ding offered. The men found places to sit down, and did just that.
"So…Ding, do you foresee any difficulties?" a Malay named Muhammad Imran asked.
"Hmm…tactics-wise, no. Your CQB tactics are roughly similar to ours, though there are some differences. You have to teach Rainbow how to rappel and fire accurately at the same time; we might need it.
"I haven't seen your hand-to-hand combat repertoire yet, though I heard you guys are trained in tae kwon-do, and you're all black belts."
"Sir? We're not, at least in this unit. Here, we don't even use martial arts," an Indian named Kumar clarified.
"What do you train in anyway?"
"Can't say right now, but I'll demonstrate in England," he promised.
"Okay. As for equipment…you use different weapons. In Rainbow, we use Heckler and Koch MP5/10s fitted with Brügger and Thomet sound suppressors, and Beretta Cougar 8045s."
"MP5/10s?" Wong asked, a slight glint in his eye.
"That's right. We received the last batch. HK stopped building them in 2000, though it still provides parts and services," Ding replied, noting that Wong's eyes had widened. Wong's a gun freak? Chavez wondered.
"Ding, the 10mm Auto bullet isn't for everybody, you know. I don't think we can handle it. The same goes for the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) for the Berettas."
Ding frowned. Damn…that'll be a pain to deal with. The logistics weenies on both sides are going to get headaches…but it wasn't his problem, Ding and Wong decided at the same time.
"Chris…as for you…well, I saw four different sniper rifles, three types of carbines, two kinds of rifles…why the hell do you need so many guns?" Ding asked.
"It's like this," Wong started.
"We're a black ops unit, not just counterterrorist. For deniable operations, we use weapons that are found either in the country we're in or not used in the region. That way, we can't be traced using our weapons. Our ammunition is special; we use bullets with no lot numbers on them…call it a special order. That way, the bullets, too, cannot be traced.
"In Singapore, in countries that we train in, or in countries that specifically request for our help, we use our 'signature' weapons: the SAR-21 rifle and SAR-21 MMS (Multi-Modular System) carbine, along with our compensator-fitted Vektor SP1s. Of course, we bring along our MP5s and special equipment when necessary."
"Personally, though, I don't like the SAR-21 or the SAR-21 MMS," a voice called from the door.
Everybody looked up in surprise.
The speaker was an Asian, short even by Singaporean standards, standing at about 5'5½". He was dressed the same as the others, though his hair was military-regulation length. He was wearing a pair of black thin-rimmed spectacles, which made him look older than his true age. He had black eyes, but as he approached the men, they shifted to a deep brown as he entered the influence of the light within the Mess.
Like the men, he only had a nametag and rank badges sewn onto his uniform. His tag declared that he was 'Cheah K W' and he was holding the rank of a second sergeant.
But, there was…something…about him that made him stand out. No one exactly knew what it was. His uniform, his yellow skin, his black glasses, they were all…too vivid, too…real, if such a thing were possible.
"Who the hell are you!" everybody asked simultaneously.
"Cheah," he replied, a slight smile playing across his lips. He had an accent that sounded like a mishmash of every American, European, and Australian accent.
"I'm the…writer," he continued.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Wong asked.
Cheah reached into a trouser pocket, removing a notebook and a pen. Looking up, he stared into Wong's eyes.
"You're thinking 'who the hell's this?'" Cheah said.
Turning, he looked at Tang, and said, "You are thinking 'what the hell is going on?'"
Cheah then settled his gaze on Gao.
"You've a problem with me being here? I've been cleared by the colonel. Hell, I created him. Wait, wait, you're going to say 'The hell you say!', right?" The 'colonel' referred to the Singaporeans' CO commanding officer.
"What the…how the…" Ding started.
"I'm the writer of this story, dammit. You're all my characters. Of course I should know what you're thinking, what you're going to think, what you're going to say, and what you will do. I planned it, see, and I can change things just by writing…"
"Hell? Best if I demonstrate to you."
Cheah clicked the pen and turned around.
He wrote, "Chavez and the men stared incredulously at Cheah, wondering how he had managed to bypass security, or even knew about this place. By doing so, they failed to notice that a cockroach had crawled in under the door. Soon, it crawled up and onto the table where Gao was sitting at. The commando looked away, and saw the cockroach. He frowned, grabbed a nearby newspaper, rolled it up, and brought it crashing down on the cockroach. Predictably, the insect was crushed, a loud 'crack' signifying its death."
The men turned around, seeing Gan with the newspaper.
"I killed a cockroach with this newspaper," he explained. Wait…newspaper? There weren't any newspapers in the Mess…
Cheah turned around, and tossed the notebook casually to Ding.
"Read it and see, Major Chavez," Cheah said with a grin.
The men gathered round, and read the words he had written. Then, they looked up with their mouths agape.
"You're—" Tang started.
"About time," Cheah said. "I know I look different from real life, but, dammit, you all should have recognised me!"
"…Gee, Cheah, we didn't know. Sorry," Wong said.
"Now, back to what I had first said," Cheah said.
"There are seven problems with the SAR-21 and its carbine form.
"The biggest one is that it cannot be used by left-handed people. It's of a bullpup design, see, and if lefties use it, empty brass will fly into their face. There's no conversion for left-handed people right now, so left handed people have to use their left eye to aim, and fire from their right shoulder. It's highly unnatural…hell, I tried doing it once, and damned near sprained my neck. According to a left-handed soldier, it took him dozens of live-fire sessions before he could hit one target.
"The next is its so-called safety. It has two safety…buttons, I guess, a little like the Thompson M1921 and its successors…though it really should be called 'Auto Ordnance'. Anyway, the safety device is at the rear end of the handguard. It can be engaged and disengaged just by pushing the protruding end. The second button is really a fire selection switch. However, the bloody thing's in the stock, so you have to take your left hand off the handguard to switch between semiautomatic and full auto. In a firefight, the delay is long enough to get you killed, especially if you're ambushed. I prefer the M16's safety: it's very instinctive and very fast.
"The third problem is with the sights. It uses a 1.5x sight that is pre-zeroed at the factory, and is one of the best sights I've ever seen. However, there are no good iron sights, just the pistol sights mounted on the 1.5x sight. I mean, for CQB, you can use the crude sights, but what if the optical sight breaks in open combat? Frankly speaking, you'll be screwed. Also, in cold weather, the sights will fog up…and the same thing will happen if you fire sixty rounds through it at full auto. An assault rifle should be able to be used in all weather conditions, not just in some.
"The fourth is its laser sight. The bloody thing can be knocked out of true just by a hard blow to the handguard. Imagine what would happen in wartime.
"The fifth problem is that it's incompatible with the M203 grenade launcher we're using. Now, a modified version called the CIS 40 has to be built so that the SAR-21 can be fitted with a grenade launcher. Hell, a laser sight is incorporated into the CIS 40, since it blocks off the original one.
"The sixth problem is with the MMS. I mean, standard issue MMS carbines come with a CCTV (closed circuit television) fitted on its accessory rail, a HWS (Holographic Weapon Sight) on top of the CCTV, a pistol grip, a bipod, and another CCTV fitted on the accessory rail below the barrel…the handguard has to be removed, Ding, in case you're wondering. It's replaced with some sort of platform built of polymer and fitted with that rail. If necessary, the bipod can be replaced with a laser. Now, that makes three or four sights that you have to zero to point of aim. That's bloody tedious. Plus, the CCTVs only work if they're connected to a wearable computer, which is connected to some sort of monitor fitted to the soldier's helmet. That adds weight, and reduces peripheral vision in CQB.
"The final problem follows. The gun is of a bullpup design, right? So is the MMS. Now, it's touted to be able to fire around corners with the CCTV equipped, right? If the corner turns to the right, you've got a problem. The ejection port is facing you, and is in your face or chest. If you pull the trigger, that's where the brass will land. And, in accordance with Murphy's Law, the brass casing may land inside your clothing, and you'll have to remove it before it burns a hole in either your or your uniform, or both. For conventional arms, the ejection port is facing your arm or the wall, so it's not so bad."
"Precisely!" Wong exclaimed from his seat. "That's why we don't use the SAR-21 or the MMS unless necessary. I'd rather stick with our M4A1s. Besides, you forgot one more thing. The charging handle of the SAR-21 is not what I consider ideal. It's folded under the sight. To cock the rifle, you have to flip the handle out before you can use it. The M16 series have charging handles that can be accessed immediately, and is ambidextrous to boot, so it does not waste more time than necessary," Wong continued.
"The M4s aren't as reliable as the SAR-21, you know," Cheah countered, "and reliability is everything in battle. If a gun is unreliable, it's no good."
"Yeah, well, if you take good care of it, it can be very reliable in combat."
"…Well, you're the operator, L—I mean, Wong. By the way…I suggest you guys practise shooting while abseiling with your carbines, especially from a helicopter."
"Why?" Tang asked.
Cheah answered the men with only a slight smile. Then, he turned around and walked to the door.
"Where're you going?" Ding asked.
"I've got a job to do. I'll see you in Hereford," Cheah replied.
Cheah opened the door, stepped outside, and disappeared, leaving the commandos in their thoughts.
Author's note: Once upon a time, this used to be a military guide. However, I was forced to do this since it was taken down. I don't like inserting my own ideas or myself into my stories, but…needs must, when the devil drives. No alcohol is allowed in Army Messes or cookhouses in Singapore (only in the canteen, only cans of beer, and at your own expense), so nobody's drinking. Abseiling' means 'rappelling' in American English. The complaints about the SAR-21 and the MMS are my opinions, based on my so-called experience with it as well as the opinions of some gun writers. When I asked, the engineers who designed the CCTV for the MMS didn't know what MMS stand for, but thought it was 'Multi-Modular System'. Don't expect this story to be updated on a regular or even irregular basis; I'm going to be very busy in 2005. Finally…are there any professional writers reading this, y'know, writers who have published stories in print? I've a question…it's nothing to do with partnership, I assure you.
Disclaimer: SINGAPORE DOES NOT, TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, MAINTAIN A BLACK OPERATIONS UNIT. The closest we have is our 'Special Operations Force', a little like America's SEALs and Britain's 22 Special Air Service Regiment…the best of the best. Singapore's SOF is also about as secret as the above units: it is acknowledged to exist, but little more is known about them.