Call of Duty: Ghosts

Chapter 3: Shorelines

As he stepped out in that stairway, Ghost was reminded of a quote that a SEAL once told him, about how he left his three-month old child to go on a six month deployment in Iraq. My family is so important to me, but so is serving my country, and my friends. That's my code, my shoreline; it's what guides me home. Trust me; you're always trying to get home. Those three sentences had dictated how Ghost had served for the last eleven years. Now he was scrapping that entirely. His country had screwed him more than his girlfriend back in Hereford, and he had no family. Not anymore. It was just his men, and him. Soap and Price had gone silent; they could be dead, or worse. There were two Russians in the room, aiming AK's at him. Scarecrow was missing his helmet and balaclava, his hazel eyes betraying his fear.

"Okay, lower your weapons, this guy's on our side." He said to the Russians in their native language. They refused to do so.

"Why should we. He'd have killed us half an hour ago." The older one, the leader said. He was clearly a combat veteran, with a brutal-looking scar on his face, black hair graying at the edges and green eyes.

"You would have killed me too, half an hour ago." Ghost said, stating the obvious. "You'd have killed Scarecrow too, half an hour ago. But now we need to work together, otherwise it'll be us, not them that get killed." He said, also in Russian. The younger Russian, Karzov, lowered his rifle at this. The leader looked at him, annoyed at his agreement.

"Come on Dima. The Englishman's right." Finally the older Russian lowered his rifle, a scowl on his scarred face.

"You fuck around with me; I put a bullet in your head. You understand?" He said bluntly.

"Same here, mate." Ghost nodded, whilst muttering in English. He was glad that the confrontation was over though. "So what's the situation?" He asked Scarecrow.

"Shadow Company has taken the upstairs rooms, but we've got them pinned down up there now. There's another two of us downstairs, in the office. But they're running low on ammo, and they could really use a hand."

"What about you?" Ghost asked. He'd need a soldier he could trust, and he hoped Scarecrow would be alright.

"I'll be okay. Took a through-and-through in the calf, but I can manage." The American said, before pushing himself up using his SCAR-L assault rifle.

"Come with me then. We're going upstairs to clear those rooms, and get any supplies from there that we can." Ghost replied, before turning to the two Russians. "I need you two to check the basement, make sure no one is there, and gather as much as you can from the armory down there.

"Why should we take orders from you?" Dima, the older one snapped back. Ghost was getting annoyed by his attitude.

"Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize you wanted the option that involves unknown number of hostiles in a tight environment, where you only have one mucker behind you? If you want to go upstairs, feel free?" He said in a patronizing, sarcastic manner. The Russian scowled, before standing up.

"This isn't over Englishman." He growled, before running to the basement. The younger Russian, Karzov, apologetically smiled.

"Sorry about Dima. He's a bit grouchy at the best of times." He said meekly, before following his older comrade downstairs.

"Alright then, let's go. Once we're done here, I'll take you to where Roach is being treated for his injuries." Ghost said to Scarecrow.
"Wait, you mean Roach is hit?" Scarecrow said, horrified. He and Roach were close friends, so it would be natural for Scarecrow to be worried.

"Hey, stay focused. He'll be fine." Ghost said, trying to keep Scarecrow's mind off Roach. He knew from experience that worrying about someone in a combat zone never turned out well for you. He beckoned for the American to follow him, whilst raising his ACR to his shoulder. The two men had their rifles raised at the staircase, walking sideways to keep their rifles trained on the staircase. They reached the foot of the stairs, spotting the two men that Scarecrow had mentioned. Wielding two L86A2 LSW's, looted from Makarov's armoury; they were in a prime suppressive fire position. Ghost remembered wielding an L86A2 in his first tour of Iraq, as his fire-team's machine gunner. They gave the two 141 men thumbs up, which they returned. At least these seem friendly, Ghost thought. He and Scarecrow worked as he had done on the basement stairs. Step by step, second by second. Sweat was beginning to cloud his sunglasses, and not for the first time did Ghost wonder why he wore them, and his mask. Then images flashed through his head. Bad ones.

Two Years Before

"Again." The smack of a punch and the flash of pain brought Simon back from his daze. The harsh Mexican sun glared down on him. He was wearing nothing but a pair of grubby, bloodstained once white boxers. There was no life around him, just him, Roba and two of his men. Manuel Roba. He'd learnt to hate that name so, so well recently. He couldn't remember the date, not that he cared either. Now it was just survival. He was past being scared. He'd wet himself for the first time since he was three, after he'd been thrown in a pitch-black box no bigger than the inside of a family car with a cobra. Heavy metal had drilled its way into his skull, repeatedly torturing his eardrums with its screeching vocals, thrumming guitars and crashing bass, as he sat in there, shivering, listening to each bone-chilling hiss the cobra gave. They brought him out two days later, finding the cobra's neck snapped, and two bite marks on Riley's arm. He was delirious, dehydrated and desperate for escape. Any escape, just a way to scream a 'Fuck you!' at Roba with a two-fingered salute, to scream that he wasn't theirs, nor would he ever be.

"Give in Riley. It won't work." It was that traitorous bastard, Vernon, which spoke. He said nothing. Roba gave a nod to his man. Another smack, another flash of pain. His hands were resting at his sides, the bonds cut. He hadn't had them replaced after Vernon had taken him on that day.
"How's your nose Vernon?" He asked, his throat parched, his voice raspy, but still with his distinctive British accent. If he remembered rightly, he'd broken Vernon's nose during their bout.

"You did that a month ago." Damn. He could have sworn - another smack, another flash of pain wrecked his train of thought. Roba just stood there, the fat bastard, with his arms crossed, an impassive look on his face. Vernon stood a little closer, arms at his sides, bald spot burning under the intense sun. He looked slightly annoyed. Roba's man was even closer, a couple of feet away. He had a gun tucked into his belt, a Walther PPK by the looks of it. Simon wasn't really a fan of the Walther, but it'd do for now. He was on his knees, giving him extra momentum. He might not have been thinking straight, but it was his only plan.

"So, Mr Riley, you want to give up now?" It was Roba, the slimy prick's smooth accent crystal clear to Simon, even in his state.
"Why give up now?" He asked no one in particular, discreetly balling a small rock into his right fist. "The fun's just beginning." Simon sprang up smacking Roba's man on the head with his right fist while wrapping his left arm around the mans waist. Roba and Vernon pulled out handguns as he smashed the rock into the man's head, leaving a large dent and small cut. The man would die from massive internal bleeding and brain damage within minutes. Judging that Vernon would be the biggest threat, given his SF training, Simon threw the rock at his head. He went down, bleeding from a gash. Simon grabbed the PPK, firing it twice from the hip at Roba in rapid succession. The sharp crack of the pistol echoed in the desert, and pumped adrenalin through him. He raised his arm and squeezed the trigger twice more at Roba. The Mexican crouched low and recoiled away from the bullets, which were tearing up chunks of the dried dirt. Simon threw down the man he had a hold of and turned to run.

He didn't look back to see if he'd hit Roba, no time. He stumbled through the desert, keeping a good hold on the Walther, finger off the trigger in case he shot himself. He was staggering and stumbling, half-blind thanks to the sun glaring down on him. He turned around, and fired a couple of wild shots from his pistol. He kept on stumbling, and turned around. He was around fifty metres away from Roba and Vernon, who was still down. Roba was another matter. He was on his feet and was pulling out a handgun from his holster. He aimed this time, and fired. Bang, bang, bang, bang. The gun kicked back four times, before the slide locked back and he heard a dull click. He threw away the empty gun, turned and started running again.

Simon guessed he was at least seventy metres away. He was going to make it. He screamed and whooped with joy, whilst continuing to run. He was free. He was – he felt something smash into his side, spinning him round. He gasped with the shock. He somehow picked himself up and kept running. His hand reached down to his side, and felt wet. He looked down and saw red running down his fingers, trickling like a deadly stream. Then the pain hit. His side was suddenly on fire, and Simon fell down again, but picked himself up. His vision was blurring, ear's ringing. He was gasping for air. He looked behind him. Roba was walking at a lazy pace, casually holding a Beretta 92F in his hand. A bullet had grazed his cheek, which had a long gash on it, blood flowing down his flabby cheek. Simon turned around again and kept moving. Can't give in, he thought, got to make it home, back to Tommy, and Sarah. That's my shoreline.

Sarah. Oh God he missed her. Missed her so much. He only just realized it now. He remembered how they first met.

"So you're in the army?" The pretty brunette said, smiling at him.

"Yeah. Just come back from Iraq." He took a sip of his beer after he said that. God, she was pretty. He could stare at that face all day. The music was good, the beer better, the woman the best. He was enjoying that night.

"Was it scary?" She asked, curious, taking a sip of her own beer. Suddenly, a really drunk guy, small but wide, came up to her. As in, stumbled up to her.

"Hey girl, suck my dick?" He blurted out, followed by a hiccup. She looked disgusted, and anger flared in him. He hated it when men talked to women like that. His mother had taken enough of that from his dad. Thank god the old bastard died a year ago.

"Fuck off you disgusting prick." She scoffed at the drunk. Unfortunately, he wasn't taking no for an answer. He grabbed her wrist and yanked her close to him.

"That wasn't a question." That was it.

"Oi, show her a bit of bloody respect you knob!" Simon barked at the man. He turned to him, startled.

"I'm sorry. This doesn't concern you. So fuck off." He slurred, before turning to the pretty brunette again. "Lets go somewhere more private." He tried to drag her off, and she slapped him. He turned round, and threw a lazy punch at her direction. Simon caught the wrist before he hit her, and punched him in the face. The small men fell to the floor, with clubbers everywhere backing off. He picked himself up, and charged at Simon. He threw a punch. Simon ducked, and wrapped the drunk's arm around his waist, spinning round so the man could only hit his back, which was much harder than his chest or waist. He sent his left elbow into the man's face; colliding with cartilage and hearing it crack under the brutal impact. He let go of the drunk, and let him fall to the floor. His nose was broken, and he looked like he had a tooth missing from Simon's first punch. He staggered off instantly.

A small crowd cheered and clapped for him, as they had seen the events that had happened. But the best thing that he saw was the look on the pretty brunettes face.

Jesus, she'd be worried. He kept on staggering, his thoughts full of the girl who he loved, and his brother. He'd cleaned himself up, and had gotten married. Tommy had nearly been the proudest man at the altar, but his big brother Simon was even prouder. That was his shoreline. He would see Sarah again. He swore he would. His legs gave out from under him, and everything went dark.

A/N: Well isn't this nice. Two chapters within a fortnight of each other? What madness is this? Anyway, hi again. I wanted to do that little flashback then, just to add a little personal depth to Ghost, so you know what he's been through, and you know what his 'shoreline' is, to make him seem more real as a character, whilst adding some action in it. Don't worry, there won't be too many flashbacks, and they'll add a little sub-plot to the story. Next chapter is going to be a brutal one, as Ghost and Scarecrow take on unknown (to them and you!) number of Shadow Company. And these aren't like the Texan. Speaking of the mysterious Shadow Company soldier, more will be revealed about him later in the story, and he is meant to keep you guessing, like Ghost did when he originally charged onto your screens in MW2. So, that's the chapter.

Bradykins out.