I'm a huge fan of Rogue Spear as well as Tom Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising. I worked for the DoD during Desert Storm and was assigned to an Army detail and I found a special respect for USAF Commando 'PJs' Which is why I have a couple of them in this story. I also admit there are multiple technical mistakes here but I find that too much accuracy can be tedious (for example, I realize that Langley AFB is an odd muster point for the team but Ft Monroe, the previous home to TRADOC, has been BRACed and I have never been to Ft Eustis which is the new home; so it wound up having to be Langley instead). For the sake of this story, 'Team Bravo' not only refers to the reserve unit but also to the fact that the Team is made up of operators from the so-called SpecOps 'BRAVO File' of operators which aren't considered élite 'enough' for consideration into RAINBOW's membership. The theory of this story is the saying 'the best laid plans can go wrong' and in order to pick up the pieces, the planners sometimes are forced to make decisions they don't like.

Even though I didn't care for the inclusion of the 'roll-call' in another story, I have since changed my mind and included one in chapter 3. I have also updated some of the chapters so be sure to read all. Chapter 5 now posted.

In response to inquiry, I doubt if I'll be incorporating elements from the new VEGAS scenario. Since I live near Atlantic City, New Jersey I may have a scenario for that…if I can convince my family to let me do some on-site empirical research.

It had started out as a straightforward strike on a drug gang's operation centered in an abandoned set of warehouses in rural Ohio. The intel had been accurate and reliable. The surveillance handled by two recon specialists had confirmed the intel. The raiding party consisted of 5 teams of 4 and was initiated right at dusk when the extra generators were turned on. The breakers for the complex's illumination had all been replaced by 5 amp versions which had immediately tripped, throwing the residents into confusion.

At least that had been the plan.

Team 1 had been only a few meters from making entry into the main warehouse when they had all been struck down by a rapid volley of sniper fire.

Team 2 was just starting to fast-rope from a Blackhawk helicopter onto the roof of the next warehouse when the unmistakable roar of an M-60 spat forth its lethal carnage across the cockpit of the ill-fated craft. The stream of autofire followed the helicopter as it spun crazily from the sky to land mercilessly atop the helpless commandos dangling like marionettes from the open bay doors.

Team 3 was in a compromised position and was cut off from its fourth member who was one of the hidden Recon specialists.

Team 5 sprang from its position of 'covering the back door' and wound their way through what used to have been a series of residential huts. No longer acting in a reserve capacity, 5's Lead broke radio silence to coordinate with 3's Recon to get a better fix on the opposition. They were clearing the last set of huts when the distinctive sound of a rocket-propelled explosive registered on the ears of all of team 5. They didn't even have time to react when the hut they were hugging to conceal their progress exploded. The instant after the explosion, team 3's Lead heard over the radio what sounded like their Recon specialist suppressing a gasp of surprise before the link went dead.

Team 4 had the sole surviving sniper and he dropped rocket launcher man with one shot from his M-21 when the explosion illuminated the plume of smoke from the grenade which literally made a pointer locating the enemy's position. The remaining Recon specialist was only armed with a suppressed H&K .40 but she had spotted the location of one of the enemy snipers. Her team had been the ill-fated team 2 and the Blackhawk's crash had nearly made her sick.

She smoothly broke from her position of concealment and eased her way along the superstructure of the ceiling to a position where she was within point-blank range to the sniper. It took her only a few moments and during that time her target shifted positions so that he could get a better field of fire. He was using a Kalashnikov with a bipod and simply switched from one side of a corner window to the adjacent window. During his switch, someone approached to hand him more ammunition and he actually looked in her direction from where he was crouched! She froze although the likelihood of him seeing her was extremely slim. He peered through his scope and made a satisfactory comment as he began to pull the trigger. He never finished the move courtesy of one shot from her.

She quickly retreated to the roof and informed team 3 she'd rendezvous with them as they proceeded along their original path. In the wreckage of the helicopter, she found the satchel which contained the body armor and MP-5 she was supposed to be given. She heard several more rounds coming from the direction of the other sniper and she went prone until she realized she was not the intended target.

Team 4 was progressing quickly but the sniper was beginning to irritate the Lead. Their own sniper could not get a clean shot despite several tries. Finally success was achieved when operator 4-Delta, the 'tailgunner', saw where the shot which nearly hit her came from and she fired off a sustained burst from her SAW in response. When the team's sniper whispered the move was 'crude yet effective' the dark-skinned woman replied to the effect 'red and black may be nice for her U2 version iPod but these fools have another think coming if they…' but Lead cut off her though with an upraised fist.

There was the sound of a truck starting followed by more of the same. At least 4 vans sped from the far warehouse and disappeared into the night. A sedan raced to the adjacent empty lot where a helicopter was waiting.

Team 4 immediately went into action by applying a unique type of leapfrog maneuver called 'bounding'. Their opponents were all firing Kalashnikovs on full automatic from the hip. Two others were firing PDW submachineguns singlehandedly, one of these was illuminated briefly and was either a MAC-11 or Mini-Uzi. Both of those with PDWs made it to the helicopter but the SAW made that a deadly place to be as it chewed the craft into swiss cheese. Two of the men with Kalashnikovs were struck by the M-21 but one was still alive enough to continue firing as he fell. Several rounds got lucky and the dying man took 4's Lead with him.

The last guy got smart and switched his Kalashnikov to 'select fire' before he charged from behind the bullet-riddled hulk of the sedan. The man was solidly built and running on pure adrenaline as well as whatever drugs were in his system. As he advanced on the remaining members of team 4, Bravo pumped multiple 5.56mm rounds from his M-4 into the man's torso to seemingly little to no effect. The Kalashnikov, with its 7.62mm ammunition, was much more effective against Bravo.

The sniper, who was in the Charlie position, had chosen that moment to fall behind Bravo to reload as he'd counted either 1 or 2 rounds left in his magazine. When he saw Bravo's body spasm as he dropped the M-4, Charlie instinctively dropped the rifle and whipped out his Sig-Sauer P228 but only managed to get off 3 shots before he found himself unable to fire any more. As the ground rushed up to meet him in a confused blur, he noted with satisfaction his burly opponent had stopped firing and was staggering to one side as though drunk.

Having the SAW in the Delta position meant that she was to the rear of the others during the assault. Two rounds had impacted her thigh and she'd stumbled just enough to cause the SAW to strike the ground and jam. In the seconds it took to clear the jam, Lead and Bravo had been struck down and Charlie had switched to his secondary. Charlie continued to empty his magazine as he fell and at least one of the rounds impacted the Kalashnikov. The attacker dropped the weapon and began to stumble erratically. Being wounded and unsure if he had another weapon, as well as a part or her psyche wanting revenge for the loss of her teammates, she unleashed about a dozen rounds at her opponent.

Team 3 had met little resistance while clearing the final warehouse. The computer/electronics expert was in position Bravo and had taken out the sole occupant of the office with a shotgun blast before securing the computer. Lead had breached the door and gone right while the Tango was on the left and Bravo had nearly collided with the man while entering.

While making egress, Lead did collide with a man who was entering the warehouse right as team 3 was exiting. Lead rolled out of the way while grabbing at the man's AK-47 but the man was just fast enough and took a step back while firing. Bravo never had a chance against the sudden assault while Charlie tried to bring his weapon to bear as the 7.62mm rounds stitched across his torso as the weapon continued its track to the left from the shooter's perspective.

Both Lead and Delta, who had been team 2's Recon specialist, found their marks and each managed to put a 3-round burst into the man's chest.

Five hours later, in a nondescript office in D-Ring section of Pentagon South, a phone rang. The uniformed man at the desk paused briefly as he noted the line in question had a piece of yellow electrical tape below it. It could be only one of 3 people calling him. He didn't even get a chance to announce himself before the unmistakable voice spoke,

"Out of 28 people assigned to this operation only 3 returned and one of those may be crippled? I don't know about you Colonel, but I'm not happy at all!"

"Understood." He managed to catch himself before he said 'sir' out of habit. "The project is being initiated as we speak."

There was no closing formality or platitude as the other man simply hung up. The Colonel had been in the thick of combat on missions of international significance which never officially happened and the brinkmanship could turn like the flip of a coin on the location of one fired bullet. He had never once broken a sweat from nerves but as he reached for the file in his bottom drawer, his hand trembled ever so slightly from the import of that 30 second call.

He opened the folder and sighed heavily. He'd been vehemently opposed to the idea from the outset. When he'd been in command of RAINBOW, they'd been the best and brightest from around the world. Even the teams that the public knew of and held in such esteem were considered 'average' by comparison. He respected his friends in Delta Force, SeALs, USAF Commandos, and others but RAINBOW was still a breed apart.

Their current 'Six' was someone he'd trained to take his place and was a capable leader but did not share his style. Contrary to the Colonel's opinion, the new Lead felt that if an operative excelled in other areas, certain 'failings' could be overlooked. The Colonel certainly agreed that his replacement wold not have been his original first choice.

But now things had changed.

Due to yesterday evening's incident, RAINBOW was down to less than 1/3 of its complement. Something about this whole deal stunk but he didn't have time to think about that right now. He had to have a plan ready to brief his superiors a mere 12 hours from the execution point of the failed mission. If he succeeded, he'd be a hero and could write his own ticket for the rest of his career. If he failed…

He stopped himself in mid-thought and tapped the intercom button on his phone,

"Bring them in"