The two people I saw moving towards our rescuers, I suddenly noticed, were oddly dressed. It was the docks, yet they were wearing suits, sunglasses, and single earbuds, just like the people picking us up. Both were also reaching for concealed objects. One of our escorts, a short brown man with a lot of tattoos realized how wrong it was and pulled a pistol, firing three times.
As the man fell back, he suddenly dropped what he was holding: a wallet. As he flung it away, it opened, revealing a glint of gold. Our escort had just shot a cop. The cop’s partner, meanwhile, had gone for his gun. He got a shot off, but our escort had already shifted his aim. Our escort shot a fourth time as he staggered back, and the cop’s head snapped back.
As this was happening, police cars began streaming in, blocking our escape route ahead. On either side, I could hear the same thing happening. Even before they stopped, patrol officers began getting out and aiming guns.
Upon seeing this, our other escort swore and grabbed at his left armpit, his back to the window and rear wheel while beginning to crouch. A sniper rifle cracked, and a small red dot appeared on his forehead. He slid the rest of the way to the ground, the once-black SUV now splattered with dark red blood and his pistol still loosely gripped in his hand.
I hadn’t even waited for the sniper to form a plan. “Warehouse, right side!” I said. “Sunny, John, I need cover fire right now!”
Sunny nodded and began firing from the hip, her AK still concealed under her parka. John waited to shrug his parka off, then began firing his ZMR. Our remaining escort, sensing an opportunity, switched to either burst fire or full auto on his pistol and began firing at the cops.
I didn’t look at the effectiveness, just thanked God that I was right about the boat blocking us from view of the sniper as I ran to the door, making sure to drag Nari with me. Luckily, the door had been left open.
“Ow, ow, ow!” Nari said as I dragged her along, “You’re hurting me!”
“Sorry,” I said as Kyle filed in, followed by Sunny. “But it’s better than being shot, isn’t it?” As she opened her mouth to say something, I turned back to see as John come inside. “Is our friend coming?” I asked.
John looked back outside, reloading his rifle as he did. “He’s just got out from… oh. No.” He ducked back in. A bullet hit the door as he did, and the sounds of gunfire quickly ceased. “He isn’t coming.”
“Close the door and follow me,” I said. “We’re going to see if we can sneak by them.”
The inside of the warehouse was mostly empty, except for a few boxes scattered around near the front. We navigated around them and went to the other side. I pulled the sliding metal door open and peered out.
A bullet whizzed past my face. It came from a group of officers advancing through a maze of shipping crates. Most were carrying pistols, but a few were carrying short assault rifles or pump-action shotguns. I wasn’t able to get a good count on them because they scattered as soon as I opened fire. I did manage to get one, though.
After a few more rounds exchanged, I ducked back inside and threw a flashbang blindly. For a moment, the firing stopped. I used that moment to close the door. Unfortunately, that moment ended midway through closing and one cop began firing in short bursts at the closing door. The heavy metal door absorbed all the rounds, but it was still somewhat terrifying. The gunfire stopped completely as the door closed.
As I locked the door, I said, “Everyone, find all the entrances and seal them up. We need some time to figure out our next play.”
John sighed. “Why couldn’t we have gone back to the boat?”
“Apart from the fact it was running on fumes?” I asked. “One of our escorts was shot by someone out at sea. I’m pretty sure that the person was on a boat. You want to be out on the ocean with a sharpshooter following you when the boat stops working?”
Before John could answer, his cPhone rang. “It’s the company that was supposed to extract us,” he said covering the phone’s microphone with his hand. “What should I tell them?”
“Give it to me,” I said. “Then start securing the building. We need to get out of here without killing any more cops.”
I put the phone to my ear as the rest of my team began to move off. From the speaker, a voice was asking, “Hello? Hey, you there?”
“This is the team leader,” I said. “The guy you were talking to earlier is a little busy.”
“What the fuck happened?” the voice on the other end asked. “We were monitoring our guys that got sent to pick you up and all the sudden there’s gunfire!”
I noticed the hint of suspiciousness in his voice. I sighed. “The police came and everything went to hell. Honestly. We’re way too messed up to risk a firefight. We’re inside…” I covered the receiver and called out to Sunny, “Hey, Sunny, what warehouse are we in?”
“Armacham Korea,” Sunny said.
“…The Armacham Korea warehouse,” I said. “We still need an evac. If you don’t know where that is, just follow the sounds of sirens and gunfire.”
“We’re not coming,” the man on the other end said. “We’ve already lost two men and the cops are obviously on our tail, so…”
I snapped. “You listen here, asshole,” I said, “we have some very important information. Our employer will be pissed if it were to fall into hands other than his. If you know anything about him, you’ll know that he’s got a pretty long reach, and if that doesn’t work, you should know that plan B is turning ourselves in.”
“Ok, ok,” he said. “We’ll pick you up on our way out. We’ll be there in thirty. Just sit tight.”
“Good,” I said. “Be there.” I hung up the phone. “Alright,” I asked the rest of the team, “how are things?”
“We’re mostly sealed off,” John said as he climbed a ladder. “I’m going to see if I can jam these garage doors. Then, we’ll be sealed in pretty tight.”
Kyle, who had just finished extending the stock on his MP-7 with one hand, said, “There’s a second level upstairs. We should check it out.”
“Ok,” I said, “we’ll check it out together.”
Nari, who had been hiding behind one of the crates, said, “What should I do?”
“Stay down here,” I said. “If they’re planning on breaching the upstairs, I don’t want…” Suddenly, there was a knock on the door we had come in. “Change of plans,” I said, “Sunny, answer them. Nari, come upstairs with us. When we get to the top, stay there.”
She nodded. I noticed that she had pulled the pistol she had taken. “You know,” I said as we headed up the metal staircase, “it might help you survive if you just drop that.” Behind me, I could hear Sunny talking in Korean with someone. They both sounded tense.
Nari remained silent. Finally, when we got to the second floor, an office area, she said, “But you’ll need help, won’t you? I don’t want you guys to die.”
We were at the rear of the building. A maze of cubicles separated us from the front. Behind us was a window with curtains drawn. Judging by the light, all the windows had blinds drawn. I wondered if the company that had set this warehouse up had been doing some shady dealings.
I turned to her and knelt down to look her in the eye. “At this point,” I said, “I don’t think you can make much of a difference by fighting. If you survive, you can do a lot more.” I stood up. “Besides, it’s our job to protect you, not the other way around.”
“I guess…” Nari said. She didn’t seem convinced, but after a while, she smiled, pretending to be reassured. Suddenly, there came the sound of glass breaking. “What was that?” Nari’s face was now worried.
“Stay. Here.” I said. I removed my silencer and Kyle and I began moving towards where the sound had come from. The maze of cubicles masked our movements, but they also made it impossible to see the enemy. It also was a completely nerve-racking experience. Every single cubicle contained a chance for a SWAT officer with a submachinegun to pop out and unload a mag into our faces, and the flimsy wood and cloth walls offered as much protection as a sheet of paper.
This paranoia is the only reason I’m alive. Before turning a corner, I always peeked out to make sure it was safe. I’d also check every cubicle. This made us slower than we’d normally be, but because I took a peek that last time, I saw that several South Korean SWAT Officers were standing by a broken window in a triangle formation, with a fourth climbing up.
Before the one facing in my direction saw me, I motioned for Kyle to stop. I then reached in my belt for a grenade. There were only two frags left. I sighed. It wasn’t like there would be a way to take them out in a non-fatal way anyway. I took it out, pulled the pin, then rolled it down the hall.
When the muffled thud came, along with a scream, the two of us turned the corner and headed down the hall. Four bodies were scattered throughout the intersection. One tried to raise his submachinegun, a K-7, I think, but Kyle shot him. Almost simultaneously, another SWAT officer raised his hand and a pistol over the ledge of the window. Before he could fire, I put a bullet into his head.
Then, as soon as the SWAT officer fell, a sniper shot rang out. I flung myself into a nearby cubicle, firing at distant water tower where I had seen a flash. I had fired three, four or five rounds in a panic, then my gun ran dry just before I got into the cubicle.
I looked into the opposite cubicle. There, Kyle sat, breathing heavily, face contorted in pain. Worryingly, his bad arm was bleeding. The sniper was either a bad shot or had been startled by one of his colleagues dying.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps. Yet another SWAT officer leaned around the corner. We both drew pistols as someone called out in warning. Both of us managed to get several shots off. His grouping was perfect. Four shots in the chest, right where my heart should be. The only reason I’m still alive is that I had two magazines and a thick Kevlar plate right above my heart. I staggered back, my chest on fire and rapidly bruising up.
I, on the other hand, fired only three times. My grouping was also terrible. Two shots went in his center mass… and the third traveled up and hit him in the neck. The .357 SIG round completely tore his neck open. He fell backwards, blood spraying everywhere.
As I slid down the itchy cubicle wall, pain shooting through my chest, I realized that .357 SIG and 9x19mm weren’t going to do the job. I dropped the SIG and ejected the empty magazine. Each movement brought me massive amounts of pain, but I could do it on autopilot.
That was extremely lucky for me. Just as I cocked the G-3, what I hoped was the last SWAT officer burst into view. I fired from the hip, and he fired wildly. If I had been standing up, I would have gotten a face full of lead. The SWAT officer didn’t have time to correct his mistake. Four 7.62mm NATO rounds slammed into his chest and he fell back, bleeding heavily.
I sighed in relief, then began coughing. My chest was hurting so badly I felt woozy. Kyle, meanwhile, was trying to bandage his arm with one hand. Despite the pain, he also looked relieved. Then, from back where we had entered the second floor, the sounds of gunfire came. We paused, looking at each other in horror. Then, after a few seconds of silence, there came the single, solitary pop of a pistol.
We needed to move. But to do that, we needed to take care of that sniper. I flipped down my 3x scope and leaned out, praying the sniper didn’t see me. I then tried to find the water tower.
When I did, I saw that I was right. There was a dude with a rifle on the catwalk around the top. Eyeballing the range, as the angle I was leaning made adjusting the range impossible, I drew a bead on the sniper. “Kyle,” I gasped out, when I thought I had a good shot, “When I take the shot, I want you to get the fuck out of here and check on Nari.” The effort it took to talk left me out of breath and in a good deal of pain.
“I’m ready,” Kyle said.
He didn’t sound ready, but I didn’t have much time. I took the shot. Then I collapsed on the floor from pain, nearly blacking out. Kyle began running. For a second, I thought he would get away cleanly. Then the sniper began firing wildly. One of the bullets even ricocheted off the ground in front of me and cracked my glasses.
I considered my options. There was no way I could make another shot, but I couldn’t just sit here and hope I didn’t die. I decided the best way to do this would be to crawl towards the window and hope the angle was such that the sniper couldn’t see me.
After I had used my feet to collect my discarded SIG, I began the arduous journey. When I had gotten to the point where I was under the window’s ledge, I turned back towards the rear. When I was near a wall, I struggled to my feet. The pain was so much I nearly fell back down. After upchucking all the power sludge I had eaten that day, I broke into something approximating a run. My lungs burned and my vision turned black.
When I turned the corner, I almost fainted. The pain had obscured everything so much that I didn’t register Kyle until he said, “Killer! You’re alive!” I looked up. There he was, smiling in relief. “Didn’t think you’d make it.”
“Could… could say the same about you,” I said. “How are… how are the others?”
Kyle’s expression darkened. “You should see this for yourself.”
I began the process of staggering over to Kyle. When I was about halfway there, I stumbled over something. It was the corpse of a SWAT officer. There was one other. I instantly got a sinking feeling.
At the intersection where Kyle was, I looked to the left first. There, almost exactly where we had left her, was Nari. The key differences, however were the expression of shock on her face and the fact that smoke lazily drifted from the barrel of the salvaged M&P that was now in her possession.
As I turned my attention to the right, I noticed the corpse of the SWAT officer on the floor, his brain splattered across the floor. Judging by the vector and Nari’s smoking gun, he had been shot by Nari. His weapon, a K-1, was laying on the floor, as well as a ZMR.
When I finally was able to focus all the way to the right, I saw that Sunny was bent over a prone figure. I couldn’t see his face. “I’ve stopped the bleeding,” Sunny said, turning to face me, “but he needs a hospital.”
The person she was working on was John. His face was pale and his breathing was coming out in gasps. Then, Sunny asked a question that nearly broke me.
“Nate,” she asked, “what should we do?”