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*Cpt. Aaron Welling
July 10, 2011
Unidentified Location, Lord William’s Former Summer Estate
We were awakened at three in the morning, and it was already well past noon when we arrived. At midnight, the Phoenix Connexion, a radical Islamic terrorist sect operating in Europe, had stormed and taken control of Lord William's estate. Lord William, prominent in British politics as of recent a political target, managed to escape the Phoenix commandos quite narrowly. Had he stopped to retrieve his government-issued self-defense pistol, they may have caught and perhaps killed him. However, the cretins managed to take his wife and children hostage. William told us he was willing and was in fact going to attempt to return and be captured, as the Phoenix Connexion had agreed to release his family only in exchange for Lord William himself. We could not let that happen. At three PM, the order was given directly to us by the Prime Minister. We were instructed to infiltrate the estate and capture or kill all enemy combatants. Hurriedly retrieving and loading my H&K G36, I joined up with the team under my command just outside the massive wooden gate that was the effective enterance. Clearly, the terrorists expected us to come through the front door; instead, we tossed a grapple over the wall halfway to the rear of the estate after a quick UAV flyby confirmed there were no terrorists watching that area. In a moment, all four of us had scaled the wall and entered the compound. The three other men with me took the lead, minimizing the attention directed at me as their commanding officer. Apart from the position the enemy likely assumed I would take, I bore no other rank identification. We made quick work of traversing the grounds. The castle-like structures took time to clear, but it fairly quickly became clear the terrorists were only watching the front, back, and Lord William's family, who were located in his mansion in the very center of the grounds. We made our way to the back, where we put our designated marksman to use. Cpl. Smith was able to silence his weapon and quietly take out the two sentries, raising no alarm. We progressed in circular fashion to the front of the compound and likewise took down the patrolling foes there. However, that time, a sharpshooter in one of the turrets of the mansion spotted one of us and opened fire, missing but alerting the half-dozen remaining terrorists to our presence. We approached the mansion and, after a smoke grenade in the entrance, entered unseen. Shortly afterwards, we encountered enemy fire coming from our left, from the second floor. A lone gunman was on the roof, foolishly running and firing from the hip and missing excessively. Still, in the interest of our own safety, we took cover behind a wall and a crate. He wasted no more ammunition and instead signalled silently to his comrades, who arrived quickly to aid him from the ground level. They took up positions quietly on the other side of the courtyard. We assumed the lone attacker had either retreated or was waiting, not considering reinforcements. It was a terrible mistake, and our confidence at his accuracy only made this worse. Cpl. Smith attempted to dash across to less cover, assuming his skills to be vastly superior to his assailant's.
We watched from relative security with horror as Smith ran half-way across, then shrieked in horror in horror as he realized multiple terrorists had sneaked in. He stopped dead in his tracks as a bullet struck him in the chest. Two more hit him in the back, and he collapsed face-down, motionless. His rifle clattered loudly in the comparative near silence of the courtyard, save for the wind. We were all too shocked to act on what we had just seen. Finally, I managed to grab my radio with unsteady hands, shaken, and called in the casualty. It was obvious Smith was gone without even having to check his pulse. Then Sgt. Johnson, our rifleman, suggested a new tactic. Essentially, his plan was to hold the position for some time and, when the enemy had become confident that we were not going to move anymore, break from our position. I agreed, as there was no real other tactic we could logically perform without risking the remaining team. Having gone straight ahead initially may not have worked either, and the doors were no doubt guarded or rigged.
A half-hour passed. Repeatedly we checked with command about the UAV’s observations, and they radioed back a confirmation that the terrorists were dug in, confident that we were cornered and could not go anywhere. We sent back one more transmission, alerting command that we were going to attempt the risky maneuver. I checked my weapon once over, ordered the two other squad members into position ahead of me, took a deep breath and, resolutely, gave the signal to move forward into the open, straight across to a protrusion from the wall across from us.
Cpl. Richards, our support man, took the lead, rushing out into the open and firing wildly with his M249. Johnson went next, clenching his carbine’s scope in one hand as he dashed after Richards. I took up the rear, firing from hip level without bothering to aim at the terrorists downrange. Amazingly, I managed to strike one of them, dropping him. The tactic had seemingly worked; the terrorists were badly startled by the bold move and, for some time, were largely unable to retaliate. I flew across the cobblestone pavement towards my remaining squad, which had assumed a position behind the extruded section of the wall and was laying down wicked surpressing fire on the enemy.
Only the terrorist on the roof and one on the ground managed to remain alert and fire as soon as we took off. After we took up our new position, a bullet struck the wall just in front of Johnson. I could clearly hear another chipping the gray brick behind me. We were responding equally. When Johnson ran out of ammo, I scooted up in front of him and covered him. Rather than let the others remain ahead, I took up the leading position and fired at the nearest terrorist. He fell, a bullet from my weapon taking him in the forehead, but not before one of his struck me. I almost ignored the round that struck my upper right leg. I may have not noticed until later, except for the extremely loud thud sound the impact produced.
The remaining Phoenix terrorists were routed after I felled yet another of their number. Turning my attention to the source of the thud, I realized I had a large, bloody, seeping wound on my right leg. Undaunted, I pressed ahead, the pain setting in as my adrenaline leveled out. Upon entering the main mansion, I expected to either be killed or otherwise find myself facing a large number of terrorists pointing their weapons at me. Instead, I was greeted by the sight of light streaming in through a shattered glass dome and several other SAS personnel with weapons drawn, their tethers still attached to the helicopter that had arrived, unnoticed amidst the gunfire earlier. The terrorists remaining on the inside had clearly surrendered; apart from two bodies in one corner, they had seemingly given up fairly quickly. The newly arrived SAS nearly shot us upon entering as well.
I was out of the hospital in a week. The round had nearly missed my femoral artery and had also passed my femur closely, either possibility having been disabling or fatal in combat. The ones we had routed in the courtyard had escaped and are likely hiding out somewhere in Eastern Europe right now. Lord William’s family is together again, and I myself returned to service not long after I recovered. Smith is even being considered for a memorial in London. Unfortunately, the terrorists had planted a bomb on Smith’s estate at some point during the standoff, and we had no sooner stepped onto a waiting extraction helicopter than witnessed the estate largely demolished behind us by the detonation.
Following the incident, Lord William attempted to build a new estate elswhere…
If any of you read that and liked it, I might do a series of stories attached to the next few SAS pictures I do.
I did some dodge/burn work, as well as motion blur. Tell me what you guys think.