Here we go again! Things got a little crazy there with Graduation and Law School applications. Thanks to everyone who has stuck with this so far. I know the random updates are not ideal but I am committed to finishing this thing for all of you. Thanks especially to those who PM'ed me and reviewed recently. After my hiatus it was encouraging to come back to such positive feedback. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it!
My commitment to the readers: I will finish Veracity. I owe all of you that for reading and supporting this story. If you take issue with anything I have written please do not hesitate to PM me and let me know your issue so that I can fix the story and make these last chapters as enjoyable as possible.
The third night patrol passed less than a meter in front of Yassen's camouflaged form. Tucked into the underbrush Yassen had approached his position earlier in the day, cautious not to trigger the notice of the monitoring system spread through the woods. However, the irregularities in patrols left him with an uneasy feeling that he had been discovered. The patrols traditionally occurred once an hour by one unit. So far Yassen had seen 3 on this side of the camp and could only guess how many were stationed throughout the woods near Pen y Fan, the easiest approach to the camp. Tension hung thick over the area making it obvious that the soldiers had been prepared for a possible attack tonight. He had seen numerous sentries reflexively finger their triggers whenever an animal rustled. The two standing at the entrance to the med barracks seemed to be particularly affected.
Alex must be there; the man mused and took a stilling breath. Everything in his body screamed that something was not right, that he should abort this and return to Scorpia for back up. But he wanted Alex back by his side and unfortunately that came with a high price. He brushed aside his feelings and cautiously lifted his gun from beneath the brush.
With two muffled pops the men guarding the med barracks collapsed. Yassen shrugged off his camo began his sprint across the open field to the doors, keeping low to the ground to avoid detection as much as possible. Cracks of gun fire trailed after him and he leapt for cover behind the wall of the med wing catching his breath as he hurriedly loaded his rifle again. Distantly he could hear the sound of gunfire, but shook it off; he needed to identify the location of the shooter targeting him. He pulled a black face mask from his pocket and dangled it close the edge of the hut. Another round of gun fire exploded, shredding the fabric.
'Sniper' he mused, only they would be able to see the dark fabric in this light.
Yassen paused, counting the shots under his breath before rolling out from behind the wall and taking aim at the Sniper's nest. Firing a few rounds he heard a muffled yelp and the sound of crashing branches. Taking this as a good sign he shouldered his rifle and grabbed his pistols before planting a solid kick to the door of the med barracks. Stepping dispassionately on the splintered wood he allowed his instincts to take over and threw himself behind the receptionist desk as a hail of bullets rained onto his previous position. He waited until the volley stopped, careful not to make any noise before raising his arm and firing blindly towards the area where the gunfire had come from.
Shattering glass and splintering wood meant he had missed his mark. But it also gave him an opportunity to find out how many soldiers he was up again. Gun fire once again exploded from that side of the room, slamming into the area of the desk where his hand had been and raining shards from the mirror over the desk down on him. The shots came at sporadic intervals meaning that there was probably only one unit stationed on the other side and since no reinforcements had responded to the gunshots they must be the only ones in the building. Which meant that Alex was not here.
Yassen's eyes narrowed in displeasure and he quickly snatched a shard of mirror and once again began shooting toward the unit. He held the mirror piece up and angled it to see that the men were taking cover behind a metal gurney flipped on its side. Smirking Yassen lowered the mirrored piece as his first pistol ran out of ammunition, clipping it back into his belt he seamlessly switched to the other pistol to his hand. He stood swiftly moving to the opposite wall, careful not to step on any debris and give away his location.
Yassen watched in grim amusement as 2 heads barely appeared over edge of the gurney. With two shots they were gone, replaced by twin sprays of blood against the white, cement walls. He kept firing at the gurney, the metal finally giving way to his bullets. One of the injured men rolled out from behind the gurney first, firing at Yassen as he dived for cover behind some nearby couches.
The assassin quickly moved out of the line of fire, taking refuge behind a filing cabinet. The stream of bullets kept steady which could mean only one thing. Cover fire. When the bullets stopped Yassen rolled back out from behind the cabinet to face the Unit standing around his position, guns trained on him.
"Drop your weapon!" one of the men barked.
Yassen placidly set the gun on the floor and held his hands aloft. The men quickly moved in, kicking the gun away from the man.
"Against the wall!"
Yassen obeyed, planting his hands firmly against the wall and waiting for the inevitable. A few seconds passed as the Unit signaled to each other on how to apprehend the assassin. Finally one of the men approached his right side, placing his gun at the base of Yassen's skull and reaching up to pull the man's hand behind his back.
The assassin took the opportunity to break the man's hold and swiftly spin the soldier against his chest. With a wet pop the man's neck was snapped and the assassin threw the body towards the stunned team, using the distraction to disarm the soldier closest to him with a punch to his kidney. Hooking an arm around the winded man he spun the disabled soldier in front of him as the other two opened fire. The body sagged onto Yassen's chest and the assassin swiftly grabbed the soldier's pistol and placed two shots into the nearest soldier's torso, the blood splatter coated his friend and in his shock Yassen put a swift bullet in the man's leg. The soldier collapsed to the ground and feebly raised the gun at the assassin and with another bullet to the arm he collapsed to the ground. Yassen calmly kicked the gun from the man's hand and knelt down, pulling the moaning man up by his BDUs to face him.
He needed information if he was going to find Alex. Hopefully this soldier would be willing to cooperate and provide him with it.
"Ple…please don't kill me." The man begged.
"Where is he?" Yassen sneered.
"They…they took him to the Major's quarters." The man stuttered, flinching when the assassin's eyes narrowed and he looked to the man's lapel.
"Why should I believe you…Crow?"
"I swear, I swear he is! They told us that Scorpia would be invading tonight so they moved him!"
"They knew Scopria was attacking tonight?"
"Ye..yes sir, one of their scouts showed up on one of our cameras this afternoon. We tracked their movements after that."
Yassen's mouth thinned, that was disheartening. He had resolved to end his and Alex's dangerous connection with the terror group. Their appearance now was….inconvenient, even if it did draw fire away from him.
"How many units are with the boy?"
"There's 2 Units posted there to guard him!"
"Is K Unit posted with him?"
"Ye…yeah, wanted to stay close with the brat, Major's there too! I swear on my life that's the truth, now don't kill me!
Yassen searched his eyes to gauge sincerity then he unceremoniously dropped the man and stood. "I don't trust a coward." He sneered and raised his gun again. The man's scream was cut short by a curt gunshot.
"F Unit has not signaled back that engagement has ended." Eagle reported formerly.
"Sniper Unit X?"
"Nothing, sir, that entire side of camp has gone silent."
The Major leaned back in his chair, contemplating the situation. F unit had been sent to fortify the med barracks but when fighting had broken out on the other side of camp they had been left with sentries and Sniper X as a last line of defense. Obviously Scorpia had planned a 2 pronged assault, however, none of his sensors showed any sign of movement in the woods on that side of the camp.
"Let's hope they've been able to engage the enemy long enough for back up to arrive. Have the rest of the Units reported?"
"Yes, sir, we briefly lost contact with N Unit but they reengaged." Eagle replied
"There's a significant firefight on Pen y Fan and scattered encounters throughout the rest of camp."
"18 reported, sir." Snake replied, looking up from the paper where he was quickly scribbling from the radio chatter.
"3 reported, 7 unaccounted for, sir." Snake pressed the headset closer to his ear "Make that 4, sir."
The Major nodded solemnly, "How long until the Rendevouz?"
"20 minutes, sir." Fox reported "MI6 has established radio contact they will be landing in the field 50 metres north of our location, sir."
"C Unit" the Major barked to the men standing guard by the door.
"Sir!" they replied, jumping to attention.
"Secure the perimeter of the landing pad. We need that clear when the chopper arrives."
"Yes, sir!" they returned and quickly filed out of the room.
The Major stood walked to where Wolf was sitting with a blanket wrapped Cub.
"How is he?"
"Better than he has been, he'll make it, sir."
The Major nodded, "He's a pretty strong kid. But you know that now."
"About that, sir, thank you."
"For what, soldier?"
"For the file, it…it cleared a lot of things up."
The man nodded "I can imagine. He has quite the story."
The room lapsed into silence as both men fell into their thoughts. They were quickly brought back when the boy began to stir, pulling against the blanket wrapped around him.
"Snake" Wolf barked waving the medic over from his post. The man quickly grabbed his bag and crossed the room kneeling beside the child to begin taking his stats. Alex's unfocused eyes finally opened to meet Wolf's.
"How are you feeling, Alex?" Wolf queried.
"Better, Yassen," He slurred.
Wolf sighed; he had hoped that Cub would have broken from his fever dreams after nearly a week in detox. It was becoming obvious that the drugs had a stronger hold on him than they had originally thought.
"Put this under your tongue, Alex." Snake ordered, handing Wolf the field thermometer as he moved to check the boy's pupils and pulse.
When the thermometer beeped and Snake snatched it from Wolf, holding it towards the light to get the reading. "Fever is constant at 102, pulse has lowered slightly, pupils are still dilated." The man sighed, packing his bag back "We need his fever to break for him to make more progress."
"What'll break it?" Wolf queried
"An ice bath would be ideal, though a stable environment would help too, preferably not one where he is moved around in a laundry bag." The medic snapped, though the ruse to get Alex to the Major's had been necessary given the situation. They never knew who was watching. "The sooner we get him out of here the better."
Wolf nodded returning to stare back at the young spy in front of him. He blinked when hazy brown eyes met his.
"Yassen?" the boy slurred
Wolf, alarmed, looked to Snake who nodded. "Keep him talking, maybe it will pull him back to reality."
"You said they were evil, Yassen," he slurred "But they weren't."
Wolf sighed and licked his lips, "Who's 'they'?"
"K Unit, you said they tortured me when MI6 was training me. They couldn't have."
"And why not?"
" The….they wanted to keep me safe, Yassen, just like you." Wolf bristled at being compared to the assassin but froze at the boy's next words "I think I like it with them, Yassen, I think I would like to stay there."
"With my unit, they would keep me safe. They could train me so that you could go back to your old job to help people."
Wolf audibly growled "Yassen does not help people, Alex."
"Then what do you do?"
"He hurts people, very badly. He has hurt you too, Alex, he killed your Uncle, your last living relative." The boy's eyes seemed to lose their glossy sheen.
"Yassen said that he would never hurt me."
"Yassen lied." Wolf returned, plainly.
"Yassen would never lie to me."
"I'm sorry to tell you this, Cub, but Yassen has ALWAYS lied to you."
The boy closed his eyes allowing the room to lapse into silence for a few minutes before his timid voice once again broke it. "Wolf?"
"Would you hurt me?"
He looked taken aback, but a reassuring nod from Snake brought him back to reality.
"No, Cub, you're part of my Unit."
The boy visibly relaxed in his arms, and opened his tired eyes and cracked a sad smile. "I'm glad I'm back."
"Go to sleep, Cub, you look exhausted." The older man sighed
"Yes, sir" the boy replied, curling tiredly back into the blankets.
A pointed cough from Fox brought the group back to reality, "C Unit just checked in, you need to RV."
"What's the battle status?"
"Scorpia's gained ground on the East side of camp and have pushed our men back to the obstacle course. They came prepared."
"ETA on reinforcements?"
"Half an hour, sir."
The Major sighed "Wolf, grab Cub. Snake you will join C Unit to support the RV. As soon as he's off I want both of you back here for orders."
"Yes, sir." Both men returned, Wolf gathered Alex into his arms and followed Snake out the door.
Finding the major's quarters had been relatively easy given the situation. After scouting the camp for the past week Yassen had become reflexively familiar with the layout. This knowledge had provided him with a conundrum of how he was to going to infiltrate the fortified building. It would have been a significant task without the additional challenge of the building crawling with SAS personnel poised for attack.
He had taken a risky position on the roof of the empty Administration building, which he had chosen for its perfect view and close proximity to the major's quarters. However, it was the activity occurring on the field directly in front of him intrigued the assassin. It was obvious from the sound of gunfire that the firefight was still quite a distance away. Scorpia would not advance on this part of camp for some time. While their soldiers were very well trained, they could not help the initial advantage held by SAS trainees on their own turf who had prior knowledge of the attack.
It became increasingly clear based on the movements of the soldiers that a defense was not their current objective as they quickly lit four landing flares in the field.
'A helicopter must be coming, probably with reinforcements.' The man thought sourly. That would not help him retrieve his ward.
The positioning of the landing pad did seem odd. It would be much more practical to use the field near the medical barracks which was much larger and safer for a landing. This brought to light the far more likely possibility that this was a transport to keep Alex from being brought back to Scorpia. If so this would be Yassen's only opportunity to retrieve his ward before he was back in MI6's hands.
The steady beat of chopper blades carried through the night air providing all the information that Yassen needed. It was stealth helicopter not the heavier, double rotor models used to transport soldiers. If he was going to get his ward back his opportunity was at hand. Pulling his rifle off his back the man carefully took aim at the soldiers surrounding the landing area. The door to the Major's quarters opened and two men hustled out, one carrying a limp figure wrapped in blankets. 4 soldiers instantly surrounded them, obviously serving as their cover.
Yassen inwardly smirked, watching as the men walked meters in front of his position, waiting until the group was standing in front of the landing pad before he opened fire. Dropping two of the soldiers surrounding the helipad before the others caught on.
"Sniper!" one of Alex's protective unit yelled. But the overwhelming sound of the helicopter blades overhead scattered his voice, preventing all but those closest to him from hearing.
The two remaining men guarding the helipad returned fire, their bullets ricocheting off the cinderblock walls. Unflinching Yassen quickly picked them off but it was too late, his position was blown. Two of Alex's protective group broke off to return cover fire as the remaining group retreated back to the Major's quarters. Taking a quick shot he downed one and quickly rolled to the right just in time as the other man's bullets tore holes in the tin roof where the assassin had once lain. Regaining his bearing he quickly gunned down the final man and with two more shots the escorts fell to the ground leaving only Wolf on the sprint to safety.
Yassen quickly jumped from the building, rolling into a run to block the men as they neared the front of the building. He quickly pulled a pistol and momentarily stopped to a take a final shot in a bid to halt Wolf's progress to the door. The man hesitated as his teammate vanished from beside him, by the time he looked back up Yassen was in front of him, gun pointed at his head. Even in their close proximity the assassin knew that words would be useless, the chopper blades were too loud. He jerked his gun toward the ground and Wolf silently obeyed, laying the boy on the ground in front of him. The soldier stood once again and Yassen jerked his gun to the side. Wolf defiantly met his gaze before taking a protective step in front of Alex.
He would not give up without a fight.
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Next Chapter: Scorpia, Wolf vs. Yassen, and Alex's fate