Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss
“Of all the learning in life the one most important is the ability to appreciate what, or rather who makes your life worth living.”
Chapter Eleven: The frail side
There are times in life when one feels something is tearing everything dear to them to pieces and one wishes the whole vicious circle is just a nightmare that will evaporate from the edges of the eyes like morning mist from the green blades of grass. However, life is an emotionless grinding stone that keeps on smashing pulp out of the biggest and strongest of warriors. But then the warriors don’t get destroyed by the atrocities of fate. Rather they treat every adversity as a learning opportunity and improve their repertoire for future battles. Every lesson that life teaches serves as a guiding post to avoid a bigger tragedy in all subsequent entrapments. However, the only determinant as to the survivability of a warrior post a trauma is, what mettle is that warrior made of?
Mishiida now we know has seen more in her life than her years. For someone who’s lost her parents as a child and everybody else when barely stepping into adulthood, she has come a long way and the fighting spirit in her is a testimony to the nobility, grace, unrighteousness and bravery that runs through her blood. Alexander however is still going through his learning phase and only time will answer the questions, will he and his goodness survive the intense experience he is a part of and what mettle is he made of.
“Get out of there, quick,” Rick orders Alexander who’s jaw drops, perhaps at the though of leaving Mishiida, now that he knows her as much as we do, at the mercy of professionals who are yet to see the other side of the coin. He reluctantly gets up and as Mishiida looks at him, he says, “I am just going outside to have a look.”
Mishiida watches as Alexander steps out of the caravan and walks towards the front end while we are standing at the door trying to look deep into the dark engulfing the entire barren solitary neighbourhood beyond the burning bonfire that is already to it’s last bits of wood. As our heart is pounding our chest trying to pop out of it, Mishiida walks out of the caravan straight through us. We try to grab her hand and say, “No! Don’t go there!” Alas! We are no more than powerless voyeurs in this story.
We rush out infront of Mishiida to have a look at what surprises has Rick set up for her but it’s hard to see anything in dark especially when you are not a fighter trained to crack ambushes. But Mishiida is not like us. As we turn around to look at her we realize she has sensed something. She stops for a second trying hard to hear something, her hand slowly resting on her weapon as she tries to carefully see through the blackness surrounding the peripheries of now diminishing luminosity of fire.
The fire burns out and for a moment there is pitch black as our eyes take a few milliseconds to adjust to the light. Next second, the whole area is lit by many powerful search lights all pointing at one person at the centre of the Universe at this moment, Mishiida.
As the lights momentarily blind her and catch her unawares, she lifts her arms to cover her face as if trying to avoid being hit. But we hear not a single shot being fired this time but rather within a few milliseconds of Mishiida dropping her guard and covering her eyes, a rope swings and wraps around her legs giving them a strong jerk dislodging Mishiida of her feet and we hear a hummer race away as Mishiida is dragged from her feet across the sands and into a thick metal container.
“Mishiida!” is all Alexander shrieks but there’s not much he can do.
As soon as Mishiida’s body is dragged inside the container a similarly thick metal lid is pushed back in place to close the container and a heavy fork lift drops another container on top of it. Eight to ten men rush around the container and seal it’s edges with metal bolts to a similarly thick platform on which the first container was resting.
While all this is happening we look around and see how all these things have been transported on wooden carts pulled by horses whose mouths have been tightly tied up so as to avoid making any noise and getting detected by Mishiida. Why Rick is the best, we get a fair idea.
“Common boys, quick lets’ load it on the truck,” we finally hear Rick commanding from top of a hummer.
“Do you think this will work?” Jerome asks.
“Offcourse, we’ve got her,” Rick is confident.
“You’re forgetting, she’s still got her weapon on her,” Jerome reminds him the obvious.
“Sorry I forgot to mention earlier, the inner walls of the container have been silvered to make them highly reflective to all kinds of radiations, including laser beams,” Rick quips with a smile.
“Well! I’ll count my chickens after I eat them,” Jerome replies.
“You can count 'em tomorrow morning if you are in a hurry right now,” Rick answers.
“What was that?” Jerome asks as a sound like faint beats coming out of a subwoofer echo around us, lasting a few seconds before dying out.
“I don’t know!” Rick answers as we hear the beats again.
We decide to check inside the container and walk through the metal walls. As soon as we enter the container we duck to avoid being hit by multiple reflections of laser shots a couple of which graze past our bums. Mishiida is encroached in the middle of the box fully covered and with helmet on, and is firing into the top left corner of the container in such a way it hits the corner and is reflected back to a side from where it enters a reflection loop consisting of about fifty hits of dying intensity. Sensing it to be too dangerous to be around in that flashy environment we jump out of the containers.
“Quick, roll the container around,” Rick is seen ordering his man atop the fork lift as the fork lift moves closer to pick the container up and toss it to the ground.
“Hope you brought some roses for her, for I don’t think she’ll consider this experience a seductive encounter,” Jerome takes the opportunity to make a dig.
As Rick turns around to give him a glare and the fork lift just about pushes it’s forks underneath the containers to try pick ‘em up, the containers are blown to shreds and the guy on the fork lift is knocked over and the next moment, everyone is busy covering their ears as glass from all the spotlights and their globes is blown away and once again we have pitch dark. Laser fire is quick and precise, straight on to the targets even in the dark. As Mishiida quickly takes out each and every soldier, Rick orders, “Fire at will!”
“It’s a big boy’s game son,” Jerome says as he cocks his antiaircraft gun and targets Mishiida who is also just about to turn and shoot at Jerome’s hummer with gun atop. But this time Jerome beats her at speed, simply because he took the start ahead of her. The trigger is pulled and a bullet meant to take out a plane flying kilometres above the ground travels at a speed faster than the plane itself but slow enough for us to watch it march inch by inch to it’s intended target. It hits Mishiida straight on her head. Luckily she is wearing a helmet but only this time, it’s lasting ability is tested beyond the limit it was originally made for. The hit knocks Mishiida off her feet once again and as she is falling down, we notice a big tear on top of her helmet. While the first bullet was still midway to it’s target another had been fired by Jerome who didn’t want to take any chances. The second bullet hits Mishiida on her right shoulder and a painful shriek escapes her mouth as we notice her bullet-proof clothing getting torn at the point of impact and the bullet grazing her skin deep enough to cause a momentary abrasion which heals up quickly, but her clothes are still without a repair.
“Have you gone nuts? You will kill her! I want her alive!” Rick is heard saying as he throws his M-16 at the anti aircraft gun barrel hard enough to turn it’s face away from Mishiida and save her from the third bullet.
“You idiot, what are you doing,” Jerome is outraged but tries to re-align his gun towards it’s target. But vital milliseconds have been lost and before he can even try and look through the sights on the gun, a laser beam hits his hummer and he is knocked off it.
“Mishiida! Come!” we hear Alexander start his jeep and drive it towards Mishiida. Mishiida jumps onto it and takes a shot at whoever she can notice in the dark trying to take aim.
“Stop the vehicle you idiot!” Rick says but when Alexander pushes on the gas he is left with not choice but to salvage another lost battle at any cost, “Fire at the jeep, fire at will!”
But Mishiida gives no one another chance and knock everyone including Rick unconscious as Alexander struggles with his jeep trying to drive it minus the globes. “Thankyou bitch, for destroying my globes as well! Now how is your father supposed to drive this thing in dark,” he cribs.
Mishiida sits down looks at him a bit questioningly but then realizes the condition her gear is in. She pulls off her helmet and sees the crack and shrieks.
“Hold it! Hold it!”
It’s not Alexander asking her to stop shrieking but rather us yelling at him to leave his ears and hold the steering wheel as jeep trudges along the dirt road in a zigzag fashion. Mishiida meanwhile starts crying. Her helmet doesn’t fold anymore and we realize it is one piece of equipment rendered unrepairable for the time being. She looks at her clothes torn at her shoulder. She opens up her waist belt buckle and punches a few buttons. The dress starts to fold as she tries to convert it into a noodle strap top but the torn side fails to develop a strap around her shoulder and falls off revealing one side of her body. She cries out again and punches a few buttons as her clothes unfold again to cover her back to her neck but still torn at her shoulder. She cries inconsolably for a few minutes as Alexander tries to calm her down.
“Hey! Hey! Brave girl! Stop crying! You are the source of my motivation. How will I fight this battle along with you if you will loose your self control?” he tries his best to support her but she is still crying.
“Damn you jerk! I don’t care!” he yells as he pulls out the ear piece from his ear and throws it away. Next is the turn of the pen and mobile, “Come and grab your stuff out of the desert crab poop you scoundrels!” he yells as he drives away. We realize our friends have woken up again and are searching for Mishiida and Alexander. We decide to check up on them leaving our friends out of sight for a while but we all know, these two are where our hearts belongs.
As we rush back to the site of carnage we notice Rick and Jerome exchanging pleasantries.
“You don’t deserve to be in the force at all. Infact, I won’t even use you as my orderly,” Jerome is roaring as we approach.
“Same to you mate. You should be in a meat factory culling animals. Perhaps that will satisfy your thirst for blood,” Rick replies in the same vein as we notice their three big command centre containers roll in.
“What happened guys?” Craig asks as he jumps off one of them, the one with the administration unit, “Ron says we’ve lost audio contact with Alexander and the tracking unit is blinking stationary near the mouth of this dirt road.”
“Your Romeo eloped with his Juliet while your fatherly figure played the matchmaker, the cupid,” Jerome replies.
“Who did what?” Craig is bewildered as he fails to make a head or tail of the whole thing.
“He was about to shoot the poor girl dead if I hadn’t stopped him at the last moment and Mishiida got the chance she needed to escape. And yes, Alexander has driven away with her and I think I know what he’s done with our fancy gadgets,” Rick replies, a bit ashamed perhaps at his failure to capture the one being so hotly pursued, “But next time, I promise they both will be in our hands.”
“Next time? Craig, get this man out of my way and I will get you both of them. Or you can wait for her to get her Uranium and fly back to her friends to launch an assault on us,” Jerome says, “This man of yours is not capable enough of handling this situation.”
“That’s outrageous! Everybody knows we nearly captured her this time,” Rick roars back.
“Yeah, nearly! That’s the catch over here,” Jerome quips with a distasteful look.
“Look guys, lets discuss this issue inside,” Craig says as he motions the two of them towards the administration container. We follow them inside.
“Craig, we need to get this girl at any cost and your friend over here is standing in my way,” Jerome says as soon as we are inside the container.
“That’s an unwarranted questioning of my ability that I have proved over the years,” Rick is outraged, “I am only doing the right thing. Don’t you idiot see we are still alive?”
“Yes I see that and I am greatly indebted to your daughter for it and I will post her a card for it soon,” Jerome replies, “You stupid, who knows she hasn’t even got the right weapon on her to kill us. Perhaps that is the limitation of her weapon.”
“That’s an unfair assessment of a great soldier especially coming form a seasoned campaigner like you. She doesn’t even need that weapon to kill any of us. She can just simply grab us from both our arms and pull us apart if she has to kill us,” Rick makes a point.
“How many of us will she pull apart? And will we give her a chance to do it? She knows these things very well,” Jerome still refuses to see Rick’s side, “Craig, get this man out of my way and I promise the next time either the girl or her dead body will be lying infront of you and their entire technology will be at our disposal to decode.”
“And perhaps we will loose the only side among our enemies who could possibly be our friend and help us win a war against the opposing side if it were to happen,” Rick replies.
“That won’t be necessary as we already know now what calibre is good enough to take them out in a cavalry fight and soon enough we will know how to destroy their vehicles as soon as we lay our hands on hers,” Jerome sounds convincing in his approach.
“That’s ridiculous! We may have friends who might help us and make our job easier rather than putting our own men’s lives and our sovereignty at risk by making enemies with all sides,” Rick reasons.
“Your problem is you don’t trust your own men’s strengths. Perhaps because you know they are all Romeo’s. I know my men and the weaponry we have and I trust my men,” Jerome’s spiteful words are in full flow.
“And your problem is you only want blood as long as it is not from your side,” Rick is not too far behind.
“Guys, hold it,” Craig finally opens his mouth after a few minutes of deep intellectual meandering while our two warriors exchanged literary blows, “Jerome, I think you may have a point over here. From this point forward I am putting the entire mission under your direct command and I am sure Rick would be honoured to help you with whatever resources you may require in our pursuit.”
“What?” Rick is taken aback, “That is not fair, after all the hard work I’ve put in this whole mission. And wait a minute, are you saying you don’t trust me, your own man?”
“Rick, this mission is a lot more important than this pointless discussion. You’ve had your chances but I can clearly see your approach is not working. And we are fast running out of time will be an understatement of the obvious. We need a quick overhaul of the entire plan and I think Jerome is the fresh approach for this case,” Craig reasons.
“Thanks Craig for showing confidence in my abilities. I promise not to disappoint you,” Jerome replies with the content of a victorious warrior writ large on his face and Rick is left speechless for a few moments.
“How can you do such a thing? This is an insult and that too infront of my men, men who trust me with their lives when we go to the field,” Rick finally manages to say what is on his mind.
“Rick, please don’t take it personally. We all know how serious this entire issue is,” Craig says.
Rick stands still for a while looking lost as he stares blankly at Craig. For someone who has been dumped by his own side that too for doing what is right, we feel outraged as well.
“I quit,” Rick says.
“Now don’t be hasty,” Craig says, “You can take a few days off if you want to and we will tell your team that you have suffered an internal injury in this combat and need immediate rest. That will save your face as well.”
Rick is taken aback further by such a heartless comment, “I quit with immediate effect and I ain’t a coward to need excuses to face the world.”
Craig says not a single word as Rick looks on at him for a few seconds before he walks out of the container. He doesn’t look back.
“Colonel, lets’ get on with the job now,” Craig says as they also get off the container and hop onto the control unit container.
“Gentleman, I have an announcement to make,” Craig says as he enters the container.
Everybody looks up to him as he continues, “Rick, the brave honest and upright man that he is, has taken the moral responsibility for the unfortunate failure of our second attempt to capture the fugitive and has quit with immediate effect. But the mission has to continue and be accomplished. After careful thought and deep consideration, I in the capacity of the defence minister of Australia hereby make Colonel Jerome Smith of the US Army in-charge of this whole operation with immediate effect.”
There is a moment’s silence before Lieutenant Charles Heather speaks up, “That’s a bunch of lies. Rick is not a man who quits in the middle of a mission. You fired him and for what?”
“Youngman, have you forgotten your manners? You don’t question your seniors. Has no one taught you this during your training,” Jerome answers on behalf of Craig.
“Mate, you stay out of this,” Lieutenant Ken Pitbull who is manning another of the computer terminals in the command centre speaks up.
“What’s happening over here? Have you guys lost your senses?” Craig roars as the door of the container opens and a soldier jumps onboard.
“Lieutenant Carl Stewart reporting sir,” he says as he salutes the minister.
“What’s the matter Lieutenant?” Craig asks.
“Sir, on behalf of my entire team I am here to request you to restore Colonel Rick Roxon at the helm again,” Carl replies.
“Who are you to make policy decisions over here,” Craig roars.
“Sir, I repeat my request,” Carl says again.
“Have you men no manners at all,” Jerome speaks as Craig keeps mum.
“Sir, I am waiting for your reply. I request again to restore Colonel Rick Roxon’s dignity,” Carl repeats his request third time.
“Else what will you do,” Craig shouts at the top of his voice.
“Sir, your failure to reinstate Colonel Rick Roxon’s dignity is an insult to every soldier of Australia and the Australian pride. The entire team is quitting with immediate effect,” Carl drops the bombshell as Craig and Jerome’s jaws drop.
“Why?” Craig utters.
“Mate, he is one man we depend on with our lives. We’ve been to Iraq and we’ve been to Afghanistan under his command. We’ve seen the worst of battles and haven’t lost a single man under his command. He is a father figure for us. It’s a soldier thing that a politician won’t understand,” Carl says as he leaves Craig speechless in the container.
“Where are you two going?” Craig asks Charles and Ken.
“Where do you think mate?” Charles says with a smile as Craig and Jerome looks on, Craig is taken aback but Jerome is aware of what it means for a soldier to see his trusted leader insulted and ditched the way Rick has been.
“What about you?” Craig asks when he sees Ron still sitting there.
“What about me Sir?” Ron replies, “Someone has to do the job!”
“Thanks Ron!” Craig says and as he says we hear a helicopter landing. We all walk out of the container and try to figure out the faces in dark but to no avail as six tall and huge frames walk towards us.
“Lieutenant Ryan, Mathew, Monty, Ahmed, Sandeep and Private Curt Sommers reporting Sir,” a battle hardened face speaks out as the six men step into the light, halt and salute Colonel Jerome.
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