He jumped a small stone wall and headed across a neatly mowed field and lit another cigarette, stopping to admire the view again and drink from one of the cold bottles of water he had purchased at the village shop. It was truly a beautiful view, but one tainted with pain. For in a short time, Mark knew the air would fill with the sound of gunfire, people dying, and bullets ripping through wood, glass, flesh and body armour. The innocence of the British countryside would be forever stained with the blood of both the good and the bad as both struggles for supremacy. Mark, however, was determined that the blood would be purely that of Invictus Advoca.
Mark quickened his pace as he got angry at the thought of what Invictus Advoca had put him and his family through. His face flushed with rage as his hand toyed with the HK MP5SD in its holster. He wanted to empty the entire magazine out on the plants, flowers and trees surrounding him, in rage at the pain it bought him. It was a beautiful sight to behold, but it also reminded him of a life he USED to have, one he didn’t have anymore. He needed to hit back at this organisation, this ‘occultist’ power machine which mowed down anything that got in its way and murdered anything that didn’t give it what it wanted or allowed it to take what it liked. He wanted to rip the head off of the beast and kill it so it never bothered humanity ever again.
Mark’s adrenaline was kicking in. The beautiful scenery had been but a momentary distraction as his blood pumped so fast through his veins, that he could hear it rushing around his body, through his ears. He would not stop, not until every last one of them was dead. If anyone thought what he had done so far, was bloody, wait until they saw what he had inside of him; an uncontrollable rage, like a volcano that had been smoking silently, boiling towards the surface ready to explode all over them in a murderous rampage. He wasn’t afraid; he wasn’t concerned, he wasn’t sad. He was angry. He reached the outskirts of Sunningdale, walled by a seven foot high stone wall, covered mostly in vines and creepers. Trees jutted out at intervals along the wall, and Mark could make out the outline of the building as the sun was setting. Now he would have to wait.
Frustrated, Mark had checked to see if the lights were flashing in any of the rooms before he entered the grounds, a warning sign Mark and Atkinson agreed would happen in the event of Atkinson being attacked.
‘So far so good,’ Mark said aloud to himself as he broke into a run around to the left of the building, searching for Atkinson’s window.
Nial Atkinson had been sat in his chair, in his room for some time now watching the events unfold around him. He had dismissed all but his trusted nurse and had given instructions for the building to be emptied via the kitchen and into waiting mini busses about an hour before he noticed anyone moving around outside. So now it was just him, and whoever was out there.
He pulled himself to his feet and revealed the flack vest under his dark brown corduroy suit jacket. Atkinson was nobody’s fool and had worked out that, sooner or later, he would have to face this moment, but not before he had made several calls. He took his phone out of his pocket and dropped it on the floor, not noticing the amount of missed calls from an unknown number, Mark’s burn phone. He lifted one of his crutches, custom fitted with titanium plates on the ends, and bought the crutch down hard on the phone, piercing through it and wincing at the sharp spark as the phone was destroyed. He smiled and took the safety catch off his Walter PPK, reached over and took the spare magazine and sat back against the bed, feeling underneath the bedframe.
Satisfied, he glanced around at the screen on the table which showed a black and red map screen with heat sensors. He watched intently as the four individuals he had spotted an hour before; enter the building, their typical tactical silhouettes holding their weapons, moved silently from room to room. He grinned and hissed at them as two of them approached his door and stood, weapons pointed at the door.
‘Come on you buggers,’ he sneered. He kicked away the laptop and shut it down, typing a secure code into it before he did so and throwing it at the closed and bolted room door.
He then counted steadily to five, taking a breath with each count,
‘One,’ he began, pulling off the safety catch. ‘Two,’ he made his way towards the door, ‘three,’ Atkinson positioned himself flat against the wall which lead to his bathroom, ‘Four,’ he closed his eyes as the explosion rocked the room, ‘FIVE!’ he shouted.
What the two men on the other side of the door didn’t know, was exactly what kind of force they were up against, nor did they expect the massive explosion which sent sharp shards of the wooden and metal door, spattering into their faces, hands and any exposed areas. They fell back, and the explosion was quickly followed by two, very precise shots from the Walter PPK coming through the smoke that billowed out of the room.
Through the smoke and the ruins of the door, Atkinson stood smirking menacingly,
‘Ready or not, here I come!’ he laughed.
Upon hearing the sounds of gunfire and an explosion, Mark threw himself against the wall away from a window. He noticed movement on the roof opposite and realised it was a sniper. The sniper waved at Mark and hand signalled that they spotted four men on foot, armed and she had no clear shot. Mark motioned back using the thumbs up motion and signalled to the sniper he was making his way around the back. The sniper put the thumbs up, then swung the rifle round and fired off two rapid shots. Mark glanced back again and the signal this time came that the sniper had taken out two but that two more were spotted entering the building from the south entrance.
‘Thanks ‘’friend,’’ he whispered as he readied himself, taking a flash bang grenade out of his bag and throwing it through the window above him.
He ducked, waiting for the explosion before standing up and firing three rapid burst shots into the room. He waited: no sound so jumped through the shattered window and worked his way, through the smoke, to Atkinson’s room.
What Mark heard next made his heart race, and he broke out into a run. He heard the painful cry of his friend coming from the corridor ahead of him. He moved quickly and stealthily towards the sound.
Atkinson fell against the bed, forced backwards by several shots from the machine gun of the assassin who had been hiding behind a wall further down the corridor when Atkinson had blown the door up. The assassin laughed but his laugh was short lived as Atkinson had retrieved the ASI - MAX-UZI Top Firing Machine Gun he had hidden under his bed. He cursed as he hauled himself up using the bedframe
‘Clumsy old fool’ Atkinson said as he checked his Kevlar vest and staggered towards the door, spitting on the body of the assassin he had just killed. ‘Amateur’
‘NIAL!’ screamed Mark realising what situation he was in and rushing to help. Atkinson looked around and smiled wryly.
‘I was wondering when you would join the party!’ he panted as the silhouette of Mark appeared around the corner of the corridor,
‘Please move,’ he asked Mark politely.
Mark, knowing this old soldier for as long as he had, didn’t need telling twice and ducked as Atkinson let off the rest of the magazine from his Uzi at the 3 assassins charging down the corridor behind Mark.
‘Getting sloppy, King old boy,’ Atkinson warned Mark as he approached. Mark chuckled and nodded at Atkinson in gratitude. Atkinson’s eyes sparkled, and he nodded back.
‘Try to keep up’ Mark remarked as he patted Atkinson’s shoulder and they made their way towards the kitchen area.
Atkinson took insult to this and his eyes narrowed into a frown as he followed Mark down the corridor.
Armour clad men armed with automatic weapons stomped through each room at the quiet, rural nursing home and Mark and Atkinson despatched them quickly, their heads on swivels as they assessed every inch of their surroundings. This wasn’t Atkinson’s first time in battle, in fact, he was hardened to it and as it had been many years since he had seen the sight of a proper battle, Mark could tell he was enjoying it, handling his weapon with experience and great skill. Occasionally he would opt for the use of one of his crutches, taking shots at the assassins in the face, chest and stomach, forgetting his age, joint problems or crumbling bones as he manoeuvred and dodged punch after kick after bullet. Mark marvelled in this man’s ability and wondered how he stayed alive. However, Mark could see this fight was taking its toll on Atkinson, as he noticed his brow was covered with sweat and his breathing was getting heavy and laboured.
‘Fire in the hole’ Atkinson screamed as he tossed a grenade he had removed from a dead assassin. Mark held back, and they shielded their eyes from the blast. From behind a large walk in cupboard, two armed assassins fell, dead from the blast and Atkinson shot his hand up, fist clenched in celebration. Mark shook his head in disbelief as Atkinson directed Mark around a corner. Suddenly, the pair came face to face with a heavily armed assassin. Mark and Atkinson looked at each other and back at the assassin. Mark quickly decided this man must be the unit commander and Atkinson resorted to talking, rather than shooting,
‘Commander,’ Atkinson said, standing to attention, ‘I assume your unit is all but destroyed and that you are awaiting further orders?’
The Commander laughed but indulged Atkinson for a few moments,
‘Affirmative. We have sustained heavy losses and are currently regrouping to form a counter attack,’ he replied.
‘Oh I wouldn’t do that if I were you,’ Atkinson replied, taking a few doddery steps forward, ‘number one rule of combat my friend,’ he laughed, ‘when under sustained attack, pull back to a safe location and reassess your attack plan before re-deploying your resources to a different objective,’
Mark shook his head in disbelief. With all the riotous slaughter going on around them, yet Atkinson had time to stand around discussing tactics with the enemy. But it was working, and to Mark’s surprise, the Commander lowered his weapon, thinking about what Atkinson said.
‘We could re-group beyond the perimeter and use grenades….,’ he began but Atkinson cut in,
‘Grenades, yes, Frag Grenades I suspect, well of course you COULD, but that would depend on the type of grenades you had and whether they would be effective,’ he laughed.
Then, to Mark’s amazement, the commander passed Atkinson a grenade for inspection. Atkinson glanced at Mark and flashed his eyes at him, Mark smiled, amazed at the sight before him.
‘Of course,’ continued Atkinson slowly, ‘you know you have already made a monumental mistake my lad,’
The Commander looked confused as he searched around him as if that would give him the answer to his mistake. Atkinson pulled the pin slowly and quietly out of the grenade and held the trigger with his thumb. In a flash, Atkinson had thrown the grenade at the commander, and taken cover, with Mark, back behind the wall. The Commander caught it, looking puzzled, but only long enough to ensure Atkinson’s wry grin was the last thing the he saw before he exploded, sending the floral pictures that adorned the walls and masonry, flying everywhere. Mark looked desperately over to Atkinson who was on his back in the corridor, laughing as Mark hauled him to his feet.
‘You crazy old fool,’ he said dusting him down, ‘what the bloody hell is funny?’
‘Idiot’ Atkinson said pointing at what remained of the Commander, ‘number one rule of combat’ he explained to Mark, chuckling as he did so, ‘never allow your enemy to distract you from your mission’
Mark smiled, ‘so how did you get him to engage in conversation?’ Mark asked curiously as they continued their walk, with Mark going ahead and checking each turn before ushering Atkinson towards safety.
‘Simple,’ he replied, ‘he was a die-hard military man and when I stood to attention, it automatically triggered a routine psychology only the army can install in someone,’ he grinned.
‘Ha,’ Mark replied, amazed.
‘Sometimes Mark, it’s not always about out-gunning your enemy, sometimes, it’s about out SMARTING them!’
The pair pushed open the emergency fire door which led out onto the grass and Mark, noticing the small red dot on Atkinson’s chest, stopped him and they froze, Atkinson looking confused at Mark. Mark motioned with his eyes down to where the red laser sight was pointed. Atkinson looked and chuckled
‘It’s alright Mark, this one’s with me.’ Atkinson said as he waved and the red dot vanished before there was a ‘ziiiip’ sound on the wall behind them.
A black abseiling rope had been thrown down from the rooftop above them and a thin figure could be seen quickly abseiling down the wall to the ground, a sniper rifle slung over the back.
The figure made its way towards them before saluting at Atkinson and removing its balaclava. Mark was surprised to see it was a female, and he recognised her as Atkinson’s nurse. He looked, surprised at Atkinson for an explanation
‘What? You really didn’t think I’d come here ALONE?’ Atkinson smiled, putting his arm around the nurse who took his arm to steady him.
Before he went, he leaned into Mark and whispered quietly
‘1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta,’ he said with a wink.
Mark smiled and nodded before the sound of two black military helicopters deafened any conversation attempt. Atkinson smiled again as both Mark and Atkinson said at the same time
‘Back-up call!’ exclaimed Mark and Atkinson simultaneously.
The two helicopters landed on the lawn and the trio stood, waiting for the rotors to stop. Atkinson spotted Mark eyeing up the nurse and frowned at him in displeasure before leaning in again and
‘Delta-force don’t ya know,’ Atkinson whispered to Mark.
Mark nodded and smiled in amazement as Atkinson, helped by the nurse, made their way towards the waiting helicopters. Mark could hear Atkinson flirting with her.
‘Tell me my dear, now that our secret is out, did I ever tell you about the time I was in Syria?’
The nurse shook her head, smiling flirtatiously and seemed impressed. As the conversation faded, Mark shook his head, watching Atkinson give the nurse a flirty pat on the rear, making her squeal and giggle. Mark put away his weapons and followed them to the helicopter.
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