Title: Back To Barak, Chapter Twelve - Conclusion
Date: March 13, 2006
Archive: Not without Permission of the Author
Disclaimer: "Over There" and all its characters belong to FX Networks and other entities that may have been involved with its production. No infringement of copyright is intended. This story was written for personal enjoyment and to share with other "Over There" fans.
Summary: When Lieutenant Hunter volunteers the squad to infiltrate and capture Iraqi insurgents, all hell breaks loose.
Warning: Be warned that this story does include depictions of war; these depictions may describe consequential injuries and death, and while not overly graphic, they may cause some readers discomfort. Please read at your own risk.
Ma ismok?" What is your name
Hal tatakallumu l-inkliziyya Do you speak English?
Faini a little bit
Kayfa haluk? How are you?
Hazah mosh bikair! That's not nice!
Kefaya That's enough!
"Holy shit!" Tariq yelled as another building exploded.
"We gotta get out of here and now before they decide to knock down everything!
There's got to be a way out of here, a way to get to that bridge instead of walking right down Main Street." Silas said. He looked at the boy. "Tariq? Ask him if there's another way to the bridge from here."
Tariq turned to the boy "Ma ismok?"
Tariq pointed to himself. "Ismy Tariq. Hal tatakallumu l-inkliziyya?"
"La…faini" The boy said. He spoke to him in Arabic for several minutes, and then turned to Silas. "He says the only way out is the way we came in, Sergeant."
"Well then we better go moving. We need to carry Dim out. We need to make a stretcher of some kind, a blanket, a piece of wood." Silas growled.
"Wooo-dh?" Dawud jumped up and quickly ran around into the shed, grabbing the board that had previously been lying across the doorway. He lifted it, though it was quite bulky for a boy his size and struggled to carry it back outside. Angel saw him first and grabbed the board placing it on the ground.
"Alright, everyone take a hold and let's get this under him." Silas said, grabbling hold of Dim. He and Tariq carefully slid both of their arms under Dim as Angel slide the board in place. They tried to be as gentle as possible but despite that, Dim woke up and groan in pain.
"It's okay Dim," Angel said, "we got you. You just gotta hold on and we'll get you out of here."
"You all ready to move out? "
"Dawud?" Dim asked. He raised his head, though the movement was agony, and saw the boy staring at him. "Take him with you," Dim gasped, letting his head fall back onto the board.
"Dim, we can't do that, regulations-"
"He saved my life," Dim whispered. "Take him with us. I can't leave him here. He has no family, he has no one here."
The tanks were moving along the dirt road, and a moment later another building exploded.
"Alright, just shut the hell up and let's worry about it after we get out of here,"
Silas yelled. "Angel, you go first and cover us, we'll be right behind you with Dim."
"Ready to go, Sergeant!" Angel responded, then jumped to his feet and peered around the shed. When the coast looked clear, he inclined his head and motioned for them to follow.
The area where they'd come into the village was devoid of people, but the terrain was rough going and Dim's body was jostled on the board with almost every step they took. They had made it to the brushy area before the bridge and didn't have much further to go when there was the sound of rifle fire; one bullet flew past Tariq's head and the other landed in the dirt behind Angel.
"Get down! " Silas screamed, and all three dropped behind him; on the makeshift stretcher, Dim cried out in pain. "Where the hell is that coming from" Silas asked? scanning the area behind them.
"I can't see anyone," Tariq replied
'Me either, Sarge, "Angel said. " Wait! He's right up there! He's on top of that truck by the bridge!"
The three mean looked up to see that Angel was indeed correct. A lone Iraqi was lying down on top of one of the stolen carrier trucks. From his vantage point, he was able to see everything that moved in the village.
Silas adjusted his icom on his head. " Rawhide Six, this is rawhide one, come in Rawhide six, over." He waited for a response and tried again. When none was forthcoming he grabbed the radio. "Rawhide Six this is Rawhide One, Over. We need assistance immediately! Over."
There was a loud burst of static. "Silas? That you?"
"Affirmative. Who is this? Over."
"This is Colonel Ryan, Sergeant! Good to hear from you! Can you give me your location? Over. "
Silas looked up at the sound of a helicopter over head. "Sir, we're not far from the bridge. Break. Problem is, we have a lone shooter on top of a truck in our way, and we can't get any close to the bridge. Over."
"Sounds like you need some help, sergeant. Well helps on the way. Give me a minute to get someone who can be of assistance. By the way, you find that Dumphy kid? Over."
"Yes, sir, we have him, but he's hurt pretty badly; he's gonna need to be medivac'd. Over."
"No problem! Just got here, ready as soon as you get across that bridge. Over."
A few minutes later they heard the sound of one of the tanks coming back down the road in their direction. The boy, who had pushed himself up to see the tank, was grabbed by Tariq, who gently pushed him back to the ground and shook his head. The tank stopped about five hundred feet from the bridge, and there was a whining sound as the grenade launcher rose to the correct height. The man on top of the truck realized what was about to happen, but he couldn't move faster enough. There was a loud whooshing sound as the grenade shot from the tank. A moment later there was an incredible explosion as the grenade reached its target and the truck exploded, sending pieces of camouflage painted truck everywhere.
Several minutes later two armored vehicles pulled onto the bridge, and had barely stopped moving when a medic and several soldiers dismounted. Silas, Angel, and Tariq picked up the wooded stretcher and carried Dim to the bridge, where it was decided that he needed to be immediately transported to the ARMY base hospital, by helicopter.
The other three men, dirty, tired, and covered in dust, crossed the bridge and were greeted by the rest of their squad. Colonel Ryan clapped Silas on the shoulder and praised them for a job well done.
"Why is this child here, Sergeant? He should be in flex-ties or been left behind like the other insurgents… or are you opening a nursery school?" Hunter laughed at his own wit, but no one laughed with him.
"He saved Private Dumphys' life sir. Brought him food, water, and made sure he stayed hidden. He came looking for us when he realized how injured and ill Dumphy was."
The boy looked at Hunter. He didn't know that much English, but he knew enough, to know the tall man was angry that Francks' friends brought him here. "Ismy Dawud," he said in an endearing voice. "Kayfa haluk?"
"Sorry kid! I don't speak gibberish! I speak English. You should try it sometime!" Hunter said nastily.
Dawud's eyes got rounder and with no warning, he kicked Hunter quite hard in the shin!
"La! Hazah mosh bikair!" Tariq said grabbing the boy and pulling him close, while Dawud watched Hunter hop on his foot and yell at the top of his lungs.
"What's going on here?" Ryan asked as each of the men turned and saluted.
He looked down at the boy who stood up straight and saluted as well, prompting Ryan to reach down and tussle the kids' hair. "Cute kid!"
Silas knew this was his chance. "Dawud saved Dumphy's life sir. Brought him water, food, kept him hidden, and then came to find us when Dim was too sick to move. I figure we owe him something."
Ryan got a thoughtful expression on his face. "Where's he gonna go?"
"I know the woman who runs the orphanage near the base. I'm sure she'll take him. I don't think he has any family."
"He doesn't" Angel replied and looked at Tariq. "Tell'em."
Tariq looked at Silas who inclined his head and at Ryan who nodded. "When we were talking before, he told me that he didn't come from this town. His parents owed a debt to the… well, I guess; call it the local mob boss. His parents couldn't repay the debt, so Dawud had to come work for him. Then his parents died and the boss told him that he'd automatically become his property. He wanted to run away but he couldn't risk shaming his family name, so he's been here, since. About 3 years."
"A ten year old child, a slave." Doublewide said, shaking her head.
"I told them that this is highly irregular, Colonel. We can't be responsible for every stray dog that runs wild in this dump and-"
"Geez Hunter! It's a kid for Christmas sake, not some anima- Sergeant? You have my permission to take the kid with you and find him a place in that orphanage!
"Thank you Sir!" Silas responded as did the rest of the squad, as Ryan walked away.
Hunter stepped right up into Silas's face. "Keep that kid out of my site Sergeant! You might think he's cute, but these Iraqi kids are just like there parents; he'd stab you as soon as- OWWW!"
Tariq grabbed the boy again. "La! Kefaya!"
"Sir?" Silas commented "Maybe you should stay out of his site?"
Twenty four hours later, Silas and his squad stood at attention in Captain Barons' tent.
"You're all aware, I believe, that Colonel Ryan has put each of you in for a commendation in recognition of your outstanding performance during this mission, and I also plan to do so. You did excellent work, and I'm proud of all of you."
"I want to make it clear to you, that despite the fact that the mission as originally intended was scrubbed, it is no reflection on any of you. You all pulled together as a team and did the job you had to do. I know none of it was easy. Our losses were great, especially in losing Sergeant Mallatucci's squad. I've asked battalion to send a few counselors to speak to any of you who wish to discuss anything that happened or anything you're experiencing as a result of what happened in Barak."
Baron stopped there and leaned back against the make shift desk." I also personally wish to apologize to each of you for what happened, for not being able to get you the help you needed, when you needed it. In the future there will be no missions, exercises, or any action that involves my people, that I do not have a direct part in organizing or co-coordinating. "
"Permission to speak Sir?"
"Go ahead, Sergeant," Baron said.
"Sir, we do not, in any way blame you for what happened. I think I can speak for everyone here, when I say that we felt you were doing your best to get us the assistance we needed, but you weren't getting much assistance yourself." Baron watched as each member of squad nodded.
"Thank you, Sergeant." Baron stood up straight. "I received word not too long ago that Private Dumphy is up to receiving visitors. If you'd all like to take some time to visit, I'll give a call over and let them know your coming."
"Well then, you're dismissed. " Baron announced, watching them file out in silence.
"So how long you in for Dimwit?" Smoke asked. They were all crowded around Dim's bed, laughing and joking, despite the evil looking nurse who kept giving them dirty looks.
"They said about another week. I'm on some heavy antibiotics, and stuff for the pain, but they said there's no real damage."
"That's good news," Silas said.
"Yeah," Dim responded. "They called home and scared Vanessa pretty bad."
"You want me to email her? Let her know we saw you and your okay?" Doublewide asked.
He nodded. "Yeah. That'd be nice, Doublewide… Thanks" he said before yawning.
"We should let you get some rest," Angel commented. "We'll come back tomorrow and check up on you."
One by one they all said their goodbyes and began to file out the door. Silas was almost out of the room when Dim called out, "Sergeant?"
Silas turned back around, and seeing the look on Dim's face, returned back to his bedside.
"Sergeant? How was Dawud when you brought him to the orphanage this afternoon? Was he scared?" Dim asked softly.
Silas moved his head from side to side thinking about the question. "He seemed okay, seemed excited to see all the other kids there. Sophie thinks she might know someone in the states that might want to adopt him."
"Yeah. Uh, her sister's there and they can't have kids, so …they wanted a boy. Has to be better then being here."
"All I could think about when I saw him, was Eddie. You know, like if the situation were reversed….." he trailed off for a moment." I was scared, Sergeant. Really scared."
"We're all scared, Dim. It's a war. All we can do is do our job and not get killed."
"Yeah." Dim said.
"You did the right thing, Dim."
Dim nodded. "Thanks for taking him to Sophie…and thanks for looking out for him. I know Hunter gave you shit about him, but I knew you'd find him a safe place-"
" Yeah. Sure. "Silas said getting a bit red in the face. "Get some sleep Dim. We'll see you tomorrow."
Eddie was sitting at the kitchen table, coloring a picture in his large drawing pad, with crayons, pencils and Crayola felt tip markers that actually smelled like the color they were. Well, the colors didn't smell, but the purple one smelled like grape and the orange one smelled like oranges. He couldn't wait until his birthday when his mother would give him the art set with the paints, brushes, drawing and painting paper, and pastels. She had said he might get it for his birthday, but she wasn't very good at hiding things.
He still missed Frank an awful lot. He'd gotten scared when his mom told him Frank had gotten hurt and his mom had been scared when the Army man called and told her about it. He had been at school when Frank had called home today to talk to her. He said something had blown-up and some pieces of metal got stuck in his shoulder and the doctors had to take it out. Frank told her about the brave boy who had helped him. He was only a few years older then Eddie and he didn't have any family. He didn't even have a step-dad like Frank, and Eddie thought he must be very lonely.
He looked down at the picture he'd made; it was a picture of him and mommy at the water park they had gone to and he'd drawn all the rides and all the stuff they had seen there. He placed his chin down on the table and sighed. He wished Frank had been with them.
Suddenly, he had an idea. Setting the picture for Frank aside he carefully tore another piece of paper from the drawing pad, grabbed the colored pencils, and began to draw another picture.
This one was for a ten year old boy in Iraq, whose name, 'Dawud' was David, in Arabic.