"All right team, let's move!" Hondo yelled from outside the locker room, we all jogged lightly to the SWAT truck. A call had just come in, high school shooting, with a hostage situation. I hated this kind of call the most. When kids were involved, everything was tougher.
Our team had been off Fuller's shit list for almost a year now, and we had been getting a lot of action. The whole team seemed to grow up in front of my eyes. I remember them all as fresh meat, and me being the only seasoned SWAT member among them. But now, with the exception of Jesse, we were a seasoned SWAT team.
It was hard to fill TJ's place, and we hadn't had much luck at it. We had a new guy once a month practically. Then Jesse came along. Jesse Gaska had been on the force for less than a year, but Fuller said he was one of the best. Best test scores, best physical shape of all graduates, and best reasoning skills he had seen in a long time. Jesse seemed like an okay guy. He was just new to the SWAT thing. Only on the team about three weeks. He had the whole macho thing going, but I knew in my gut that if it came down to it, he would take a bullet for any one of us. But while I looked at him now, I didn't see any doubt in his eyes. He was stonewalled and confident, ready to take on what was coming.
"Mount up!" Hondo yelled from the front."Here's the situation. We're got a group of teenagers, six fully armed with automatic weapons. They have body armor, and are to be considered dangerous."
"Teenagers? Armed and dangerous? What is this shit Hondo?" Deke said, almost not believing it himself.
"Yeah Deke, they took the lunch room hostage. Apparantly, we already a number of wounded inside, no fatalities are recorded yet. You have to get inside fast, but safe. But these kids obviously have spent a long time planning, and they're gonna make it hard on us. The outside front entrance are wired with explosives, and the others are closely gaurded with automatic machinery. The only ways in are air vents, and the roof."
"Got it Hondo," Jesse stated,"What's our set up?"
"You and Deke will take the roof of the Lunch room, there's a workman's entrance that leads to the upper awnings that has been left open. Street, Boxer, you get us a video link, and then take posts by the entrance doors, Sanchez, you are the most crucial. You'll head up through the air vents. There's an opening that drops out next to the stage where our guys are conducting business. You have to drop out unseen, and give the signal to move out. Street, you cover her from the left door. Deke and Jesse will be on post in the lighting awnings, ready to shoot when you give the signal. Boxer, you have to take out the guards with the most non-lethal of a shot as you can get, and storm the doors to provide back up as neccesary."
"Got it," I replied, going over both the blue prints, and the plan in my mind. I had an easy part this time, link to video, and gaurd the doors. Easy enough. Sanchez looked anxious as she studied the prints closer. I gave her a pat on the shoulder.
"Don't worry Chris, just count the vents," She smirked back at me, as if to say, easier said than done. She pulled out her picture of Eliza, and gave it a quick kiss before stuffing it back under her vest. I have a lot of respect for that, doing this kind of shit everyday for your kid. That girl has one hell of a mom.
"Aright, Let's rock and roll," Deke bounced lightly on his feet, he was obviously getting the adrenalin buzz already.
"Yeah lets do this!" Jesse said. We streamed out of the van, each of us heading off in our respective directions. Boxer and Me got the video link done in about four seconds, and took our posts outside the cafeteria doors. One of us on either side of the building.
It was a long, and nerve wracking wait. This plan was kind of iffy, but it was all we had. Periodically, Hondo's voice would sound over the radios, and the only ones who were in a place to respond were myself and Boxer. I watched Chris drop slowly and undetected into the room. Her hand went up, and motioned forward. The signal, Hondo thundered over the radio.
"Street Boxer, Move move move!" I raised my gun, and kicked open the door, and threw a tear gas canister. A metallic thud sounded as gun hit the floor. I moved quickly, with my gun still raised, and founded a kid on the ground clawing at his eyes. I kneeled down, and shoved my knee ito his back as I cuffed him one-handed, keeping my gun raised and eyes up.
"Got One," I called over the radio. Seconds later Boxer sounded over the radios.
"Two more down," He called out. Half of them down. I moved slowly out to the open cafeteria, as gunshots fired. THere must have been sixty or seventy kids in the lunch room, lying belly first on the ground. No one screamed, they were past that kind of fear. The boy shooting off rounds locked eyes with mine, and stopped to reload, he never took his eyes off me, I checked my clip, and realized I had to reload. I couldn't reach for my clip, and reload faster than this guy. His hand was second away from grasping the trigger. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Chris rifle off a shot with her MP-5. The boy's gun clattered to the ground, and he fell to the gound clutching his leg. Chris sounded off. Four down, two more. A girl fell to the gound in the back, gun in hand. Jesse was next to call out on the radio.
"Fifth man down."
"Explosives disabled," Boxer called again.
One kid left. They were well hidden, I saw no signs of activity. Then, a rustling in the back of the room caught my attention. There was a boy in the back moving around. His back was to me and Chris, who had arrived by my side, gun up. I called out.
"You in the back, turn around with you hands up," as I yelled, my fingers tensed around the trigger. The boy whipped around, launching off a round at the same time. Chris and I both pulled our triggers, only to hit the wall behind the fallen gunman. He had already been shot. I didn't see which direction it came from, and stood silently for more than a few seconds, listening for someone to sound out. What if there was a gunman we didn't catch? Finally, a voice came across the radio.
"All clear," Deke sounded off. Isighed in relief. Chris loosened up next to me. We both must have thought the same thing.
"Clear," Chris's voice called.
"Clear," Jesse sounded next, he sounded, like always, clear and confident.
"Clear," Boxer called in his cocky style.
"Street?" Hondo asked over radio.
"All clear in here Hondo," I said somewhat shakily. That was some crazy shit.
I surveyed the crowd and saw Chris. She was next to a boy about eighteen who was badly hit, trying to comfort him. He took it twice in the left shoulder. Chris knew what that was like. A kid no more than fifteen was up against the wall, blood pooling at his feet from a shot in the shin. Otherwise, the group seemed ok.
"I need two RA units, for hostages with gun shot wounds" Chris's usually strong voice shook across the radio. The medics came streaming through the doors, and they took the kids to safety. The rest of the cafeteria was cleared out by local PD.
"Good work out there you guys." No one replied to Hondo's comment, we were all coming off an adrenalin high and were wiped. We were done. Fuller sent in other teams to search the school Chris pulled out her picture of Eliza again, and just stared at it. I wanted to get inside her head and figure out what she was thinking.
"Sanchez," I whispered softly. She looked up at me and swallowed hard.
"What drives kids to do that Jim? Why do they do that to other kids? Nobody's safe. It makes me wanna go take Eliza and never let her go." She laughed to try and push away tears that were threatening to spill over.
"Hey, those kids weren't in their right minds Chris. They weren't thinking straight. You know, the normal population won't go psycho like that." I didn't want her to cry. It wouldn't be right; it would be awkward. The one thing that got to her like that was Eliza.
"Yeah I know Jim," she said as she stood up, and brushed it off. "Just another job, right?"
We all piled back into the truck and headed home. That was enough to deal with for a day. I took a cab to the bar, and downed a couple of Guinesses before calling another cab back home. I crashed out on the couch, and tried to forget the day.