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GI Joe HQ/P.I.T. III, Utah

August 1995

Hawk stood with Flint, Ambush and Hollow-point in the PIT’s briefing room, looking at a map of Kalingaland.

“A source with the Agency has confirmed Lyle is hiding out in this village in Kalingaland. Since the government declared all Skull Squad members to be traitors and the organisation to be a terror group along with Cobra and The Coil, he seems to have gone to ground. Action Force have already tangled with Skull Squad once,” Hawk explained.

“Oh?” Flint looked up from the map, where Hawk had indicated a small village near a river.

“Last week, they raided a Skull Squad camp in Somalia, where they were transporting chemical weapons from Iraq to Coil operatives in Europe. They captured one of Bludd’s British associates, Robert Shaw, and killed the South African, Neils Lukaas. But like I said, Lyle is our priority. An ex-Green Beret trained in demolitions, covert ops, insurgency operations and a highly skilled hand-to-hand fighter is too dangerous to be allowed roaming around the world associating with terrorists,” Hawk reiterated.

“Does the Agency source say where in the village we find him?” Ambush asked.

Hawk shook his head. “Two possible locations, a building near the edge of the village and another nearer the centre.  The whole area is crawling with militia troops, fighting against the government. Since the Crown Prince’s referendum and subsequent abdication, trouble’s flared up again. Democracy is struggling to take hold. The Kalinga Rouge has been waging genocide in the highlands. Bitter about losing the civil war and more bitter that they did badly in last year’s elections. The whole village is a non-permissive environment and should be considered extremely hostile territory. The government won’t know you’re going in.”

Hawk traced the route of the river to the border. “You’ll insert via Zodiac from the Commonwealth, cross the border on the river and then make your way into the village.”

Flint looked at Hollow-point. “So, looking forward to your first mission with the Joes?”

The Marine sniper gave him a brief smile. “Sounds like fun,” he said completely deadpan. Flint smirked in return.

Hollow-point was one of a number of new members of the GI Joe team since they’d been reformed during the Red Shadows’ assault on Washington earlier in the year. A former range instructor at Quantico’s Marine training centre, Hollow-point was one of two snipers added to the team, but one of only two Marines, along with the former Steel Brigade member Jarhead. Hollow-point had recently returned to the US following a stint in Bosnia on a secret operation and had yet to get rid of his long hair and beard he’d grown during his time in the Balkans.

“Flint, you will lead the team,” Hawk went on. “Hollow-point, your job is over-watch. Ambush backs up Flint to capture Lyle.”

The three men nodded.

“You fly out to the Central African Commonwealth tomorrow. This is a black operation, so no dog-tags, no US clothing and you’ll be taking Soviet-bloc weapons,” Hawk told them. He turned to Hollow-point, “I hope you’re familiar with the SVD Dragunov.”

The Marine nodded, “Yup. Used one in Bosnia.”

“Talks a lot, doesn’t he?” Flint commented to Ambush. The other man grinned under his bushy moustache.

“Makes a change from some Joes,” Ambush replied.

“Well, you need to remember not to talk too much on the mission,” Hawk said. “But you’ll have these,” he took out a small radio with two cables attached. “Latest from ArmsTech Systems. Throat mics that will pick up any quiet speech, in-ear headphones to allow you to hear better, plus digital scramblers and encryption to insure no one can listen in. They’re a step up from our normal gear. You can hear someone talking from a hundred yards like they were whispering in your ear.”

“Cool,” Hollow-point commented.

Kalingaland

Shortly before dawn, the next day

The small rubber dinghy drifted down the river, Flint had cut the engine. The small boat bumped against the bank. Flint slowly climbed from the boat, followed by Ambush, Hollow-point bringing up the rear.

“The village isn’t far from here,” Flint whispered. “Hopefully Lyle will be there. Keep it silent. Let’s move.”

The three men moved quietly through the short grass toward the village visible ahead. Flint was dressed in a brown rough woven shirt and British Army camouflage-pattern trousers and cheap sports shoes. Ambush wore a floppy-brimmed bush hat, a green tunic and tan trousers with similar sports shoes. Hollow-point wore a short-sleeve blue sports shirt, a knock off of a European soccer team, his jeans were similarly an illegal copy of an Asian brand. His sports shoes were also fakes of a designer label. A plain black baseball cap completed his ensemble. He was barely sweating, despite the pre-dawn heat.

“Vehicles approaching,” Ambush warned as he saw two pick-up trucks rumbling along a track to their right. “Get down.”

The three Joes dropped prone in the grass.

“Don’t… move…” Flint whispered.

One of the pick-ups halted and a militia member climbed down, speaking to his fellow passengers before the truck drove off. He began wandering toward the three Joes, his AK47 held loose in his hand, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

Hollow-point tensed as the militiaman approached. Then he saw Ambush slowly pulling a knife from his belt. The militiaman stopped right next to Ambush, but even as he looked down, the concealment specialist sprang to his feet, whipping his knife up and stabbed the militiaman in the throat. Ambush lowered him to the ground 

“Move,” Flint said, quietly.

The Joes stood up and began moving forward once more.

Within moments, they were near a house at the edge of the village.

“Two hostiles, eleven o’clock,” Ambush whispered.

Sure enough, two militiamen were dragging a third man from the house. One shoved the man to the ground, as the second picked up a can of petrol. He began sprinkling it over the cowering man.

“They’re going to torch the poor bastard,” Ambush whispered, looking at Flint.

“Let’s light them up, before they light him up,” Flint replied. He lifted his AK47 and Hollow-point moved up next to him.

“Allow me,” the Marine said.

The man with the petrol can was standing over his victim, talking to him. He produced a lighter.

Hollow-point put a round through his head. He swiftly pivoted on his foot and dropped the second militiaman with a second round.

The victim stayed put, looking horrified, as the Joes approached him. He suddenly leaped to his feet and ran off, not looking back.

“You’re welcome,” Ambush growled.

“Quiet,” Flint said. “Move up.”

The moved onward, passing a group of four militiamen lining up six villagers in front of twelve more militiamen.

“There’s too many of them for us to engage,” Flint snarled, before the others could say anything. Indeed, two of the militiamen in the firing squad carried Soviet RPD light-machine guns.

“We need to find Lyle and get out of here,” Flint went on. The trio passed on. Behind them they heard the clatter of automatic gunfire. Hollow-point looked at Flint. The Warrant Officer looked like he was ready to disregard his own words and go back, but he kept walking.

All three Joes' heads turned at the sound of approaching vehicles and loud music.

“Get down!” Flint snapped, dropping to the ground. The Warrant Officer crawled into the darker shadows of the nearest building. Ambush seemed to melt into an alley as Hollow-point threw himself over a wall.

Don’t do anything stupid,” Flint’s voice sounded in Hollow-point’s ear as he lay in the ditch he’d dropped into.

Hollow-point couldn’t see the vehicles, but he could just make out the sound of three engines, they sounded like Toyota pick-ups, under the blaring rap music. The Marine frowned, recognising the familiar sounds of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s ‘1st of tha Month’.

The sounds faded as the vehicles moved away.

Clear,” Flint said. Hollow-point carefully got to his feet and climbed back across the wall as Ambush and Flint came out of their hiding places.

“Let’s move,” Flint said, heading off.

The three Joes jogged along the edge of the village. Finally, Flint slowed down and they approached a ramshackle shed missing its doors at either end.

The three of them moved toward it, when Flint whispered, “Hold it.”

Ambush waved Hollow-point back as Flint lowered his Kalashnikov on its sling and pulled out a combat knife. A militiaman walked past the door to the shed. Flint’s arm shot out, hauled him back into the shed before he could react and then Flint slammed him into the shed wall before stabbing him. Hollow-point watched as Flint lowered the body to the ground, not out of respect, but necessity that the corpse didn’t make a lot more noise.

“Move up,” Flint said.

“I see the first target building,” Ambush said.

Hollow-point turned to see the building Hawk had shown them a photo of up ahead. The whole village seemed to be subsistence-level poor with a rough and ready construction. Some kind of watchtower was to their left.

“Ambush and I will advance. Hollow-point, you’re on over-watch,” Flint said pointing to the tower. “Get up there and cover us.”

Hollow-point nodded and jogged to the tower, scrambling up the ladder at its side as Flint and Ambush headed up the street.

In the tower was a dozing militiaman. Hollow-point pulled out his K-bar and slit the guy’s throat. Shoving the body aside, he knelt down and brought his rifle up, looking through the scope as Flint and Ambush flattened themselves against the wall of a house 

Hostiles approaching, five metres,” Flint said over the radio.

Hollow-point didn’t have time to make many adjustments to his rifle’s scope; instead he lined up a snapshot and fired, hitting the first of the two men in the throat. He quickly lined up his second shot as the militiaman turned to his stricken colleague. The shot took its target in the temple.

“Tangos down,” Hollow-point whispered.

Two more from the west,” Ambush reported. “Take them down.

Hollow-point adjusted his scope as he turned before lining up his shot. The two men walked into line with each other as Hollow-point fired. Both men dropped.

Nice shot,” Flint said. “One shot, two kills, never seen that before.”

“I’ve never done that before,” Hollow-point replied.

Moving up,” Ambush said as he led the way along the street.

Hollow-point made another adjustment to his scope as he tracked the pair up the street.

“Another patrol on the street, take ‘em out quick,” Ambush said.

The Marine sniper fired, quickly adjusting his aim to take the trio out in rapid succession.

Moving,” Flint reported.

The pair reached the door, quickly separating either side of it.

Breaching now,” Flint said, before kicking the door in. He and Ambush disappeared into the building.

“Clear,” came Flint’s voice over the radio a moment later. Hollow-point tried to relax, as he realised he was tensing up.

“Clear? This place is bloody deserted,” Ambush replied.

“Hollow-point, there’s no sign of Lyle here. This place is a dead end,” Flint informed him.

“He must be at target two,” Hollow-point replied, “At the centre of town.”

“Roger that, we’ll move there now. Regroup on me.”

Heads up, we’ve got company!” Ambush cut in.

Sure enough, there were dozens of militiamen converging on the other two Joes. Both immediately opened fire.

Hollow-point started picking targets and sniping them as fast as he could, cutting down several militiamen to help thin them out as Ambush and Flint engaged with their Kalashnikovs.

We need to get out of here!” Flint yelled, “We’re getting pinned down!

Before Ambush or Hollow-point could reply, Flint threw out a pair of grenades. They detonated, sending militiamen flying and knocking others off their feet.

Hollow-point slung his sniper rifle over his shoulder, dropped down off the tower on to a roof below it before dropping to the ground.

He sprinted up the street, pulling his AKM off his back to use instead of the sniper rifle.

As Hollow-point reached Flint and Ambush, they moved up the street to an intersection.

Hollow-point caught up to them.

“Nice work back there, supporting us,” Flint said. “Thanks.”

Hollow-point nodded, catching his breath.

“Let’s move,” Ambush said.

The trio pushed on into the village, jogging along the streets. The gunfire had attracted more of the militia who were now charging along the streets toward them, barrelling out of side streets and alleys.

Hollow-point collided with one skinny teen, toting an RPK light machine gun. The teen crashed backwards to the ground, swearing in his local language. Hollow-point didn’t even miss a step as he kept running.

Ahead of them, more of the militia were setting up for an ambush.

“Through here! Let’s go!” Ambush called, turning to crash through the door of a house. The other two followed him as bullets began to hit the house and the muddy street.

They crashed from one room of the empty house to another, before slamming through a door in the back of the house and down another street.

“Do you even know where you’re going?” Flint managed to ask.

“Away from them!” Ambush replied, turning down another street.

Hollow-point glanced down a side street and saw militiamen paralleling them, he fired a burst down the street without aiming before he was out of the way.

“Militia are in the street parallel to us,” he called. “They know we’re here.”

Ambush kicked open a rusty metal gate and charged into a walled compound. Flint and Hollow-point followed, the Marine trying to remember the layout of the village to know where they were and where they were going.

At the back of the compound, Ambush kicked open another gate and they came out into a wider street.

Militia were pouring around the buildings and over the flat rooftops.

“Fire at will,” Flint said.

All three opened fire immediately. The militia managed to completely miss all three even as several of their members were cut down.

A roar of engine noise prompted Hollow-point to turn to his left. A battered Toyota pick-up truck was speeding up the street. A Ma Deuce .50 cal machine gun was in the back. Hollow-point immediately sprayed the driver’s compartment with a long burst of automatic fire, killing the driver. He next took the two seconds he needed to line up a shot on the gunner, killing him.

Flint, ducking away from one burst of fire, saw the technical.

“Hollow-point, man the gun and lay down some fire!” he yelled.

Hollow-point fired at a couple more militiamen before running to the technical, scrambling into the back and shoving aside the dead gunner. He swung the M2 around and opened fire, the belt-fed heavy machine-gun sprayed out rounds, cutting down the militia, smashing apart thin walls of the shacks and taking chunks out of the brick walls of the proper houses.

“Enemy, rooftop, right!” Flint yelled as he back-pedalled to the side of the Toyota.

Hollow-point turned the gun on its tripod and sprayed rounds at the target Flint had indicated, dropping two militiamen carrying RPGs.

“Contact front!” Ambush hollered as he ran toward the Toyota.

Hollow-point shifted the gun back around and continued blazing away.

“Contact left!” Flint yelled, even as he fired in that direction.

Hollow-point shifted his aim once more.

“Incoming technical!” Ambush yelled, “Take it out!”

Sure enough, another machine-gun armed pick-up was charging up the street toward them.

Hollow-point immediately engaged the other technical, shredding its engine block and driver compartment before killing the gunner.

For a few seconds, silence fell, aside from the moans and groans of the injured militiamen.

Then there was the whistle of an incoming mortar shell. It exploded to the right rear of the technical.

“Mortar fire!” Ambush yelled. “Get to cover!”

A second shell landed only feet from the technical as Flint and Ambush were moving clear. The explosion threw the technical up into the air, dumping Hollow-point off the back.

As he struggled to regain his bearings, Ambush hauled him to his feet.

“Get up!” he yelled, “We’ve got to get the Hell outta here!”

Another mortar shell landed behind them as Ambush half-dragged Hollow-point toward a nearby house.

More mortar shells were landing outside the house as they ran inside.

“Come on! We’ve got to keep moving or they’ll dial us in!” Flint yelled. He led the others through the house, out a back doorway and along a narrow alley.

A mortar landed straight on the house they’d just left.

“Go, go, go!” Ambush yelled as Hollow-point ran past him. “Keep running, the whole bloody village is after us!”

Another shell blew up the house to their left just after they ducked down another alley.

“Incoming mortar, left side!” Flint yelled, immediately cutting right into the garden of a house.

The three Joes cleared the garden, crashing out the front gate, as another shell landed behind them.

“They’ve got to have spotters out there somewhere,” Ambush called out to Flint.

“I know, we’re being screwed with, they seem like they’re trying to herd us somewhere.”

Hollow-point didn’t have the breath to comment, but he agreed with Flint’s assessment.

They trio charged around a corner straight into a on-rushing horde of militia.

None of the three Joes wasted time aiming, instead they simply fired from the hip, laying down fire that would make the militia turn and run.

Several militia were hit, but it was more by luck than skill on the Joes’ part. They ran, firing wildly as they did before crashing into another house.

Ambush sneaked a look out the window, before ducking back.

“I see a tower out there,” he said. “It must be where they’re firing the mortars from.”

Flint moved to the window and risked a quick look.

“That’s got to be it. Hollow-point, can you take them out?”

The Marine moved forward, bringing his sniper rifle off his shoulder as he did. He looked out the window, drawing fire, which hit the walls.

“Yeah, I see them,” he replied. He made an adjustment to his scope, then moved back to the middle of the room, lined himself up on the tower through the window and then knelt down to steady himself.

Two more mortar shells landed nearby.

“Any time you’re ready,” Ambush commented.

Hollow-point ignored him as he took aim, held his breath and gently pulled the trigger.

“Tango down,” he said. He lined up his second target.

“Second one’s down. Tower’s clear.”

“Good, we need to find Lyle and get the hell out of here,” Flint said.

“How the hell are we going to find him now?” Hollow-point asked. “The militia are all over us, I’ve got no idea where we even are any more, we spent so much time running around, dodging mortar shells.”

“Target 2 was a building near the village church,” Flint answered. He pointed out the window. “Which is over there.”

Hollow-point peeked out the window. Sure enough, there was a church nearby.

“Let’s move,” Flint said.

The three Joes headed out the house’s back door and along a narrow alley. They were moving quickly, but more stealthily now; trying to avoid the militia gunmen who were still taking pot shots at the house they’d left.

The trio moved along a narrow street, passing a group of militia still firing at the house.

They finally reached the target building; a large two storey house in a walled garden.

Flint nudged the door open with his Kalashnikov before moving carefully inside. Hollow-point, now carrying his AKM in his hands, followed him in. Ambush brought up the rear.

The front door of the house was ajar. The team moved in quietly.  A growl echoed in the house, Hollow-point turned to see a Hyena charging across the kitchen toward him.

The canine leaped toward him, but he brought up his carbine, allowing it to clamp its jaws on the weapon’s magazine. Hollow-point pulled out his Makarov pistol, put it to the animal’s head and fired.

The Hyena dropped to the floor. Hollow-point stepped over it.

“Who the hell has Hyenas for guard dogs?” he asked.

“Someone who can’t afford dogs?” Ambush replied.

The team moved upstairs. Lyle was sitting in a chair in an office, smoking a cheap cigar as they walked in.

“Welcome to my humble home,” he said, somewhat sarcastically. He looked the Joes over.

“Not talkative enough for SEALs,” he commented. “Not scruffy enough for Delta.” He cocked his head, looking more intently at Hollow-point as he stubbed out the cigar.

“You’re a jarhead if I’ve ever seen one, so that means you’re GI Joe,” he concluded.

The Joes said nothing, keeping their weapons trained on him as he picked up a shot glass with whiskey in.

“I guess I should be honoured that the DoD care enough to send the best after me. But what’s your extraction plan?” Lyle went on. “You can’t possibly be planning to walk me out of here for a helo pick-up. You can’t believe your going to take me back to the rubber raft you arrived in. Not in broad daylight.”

Hollow-point glanced at Flint at the last comment.

The Warrant Officer was smirking. “What makes you think we’re not here to kill you?

Lyle returned the smirk with one of his own. “Because you would’ve just shot me already. And if the DoD wanted me dead, they would’ve got the Langley guys to do it or those clowns from DOA.”

“DOA?” Hollow-point asked. “Who are they?”

“Domestic Operations Agency,” Flint replied. “A spook squad who are less choosy about who they work for in the government and what they do.”

As the others had been talking, Ambush had slipped closer to Lyle, unnoticed. Finally, he was close enough to smack the mercenary around the head with his rifle butt.

Lyle collapsed to the floor unconscious.

Hollow-point blinked twice, turned around and looked at Flint before looking at Ambush.

“How did you do that?” he asked. “I didn’t even see you move.”

“Skill,” Ambush replied.

Flint grinned as he moved to grab Lyle and haul him up. “Ambush is our concealment specialist,” he reminded Hollow-point. “Pulling tricks like that are his speciality, literally.”

Flint hefted Lyle over his shoulder. “Now, let’s get out of here. There was a car parked downstairs.”

The trio were soon in the car, driving out of the village before the militia had even noticed.

Ambush sped them along the rough roads back toward the border. A few miles short of the border, Lyle began to come around as Ambush pulled off the road.

As the former Green Beret looked around in confusion, Flint pulled out a small radio.

“Flint to Lift-Ticket, we’re ready for pick-up at LZ one,” he said.

“What?” Lyle asked.

“Go back to sleep,” Hollow-point replied and punched him in the face, knocking him out again.

The Joes got out of the car, with Hollow-point dragging Lyle out of the back. As they did, the sound of rotors began to beat the air.

A battered looking Puma helicopter flew in from the east, before dropping toward the ground. Lift-Ticket was visible in the pilot’s seat, wearing a plain blue flight-suit, sunglasses and a radio headset.

Flint ran to the door, ducking under the rotors, before opening it and stepping to one side as Ambush ran to the helicopter, whilst Hollow-point dragged Lyle by the collar to the door.

Once the Joes and their prisoner were on board, Lift-Ticket took off and executed a tight turn to head back toward the border.

“Nice one,” the pilot said as Flint settled into the co-pilot’s seat. “How’d it go?”

Flint snorted. “A walk in the park.”

Hollow-point gave Flint a disbelieving look that the warrant officer missed.

“Another of Major Bludd’s dirty half-dozen captured or killed,” Flint went on. “Three down, three to go.”

Lift-Ticket smiled and nodded. “Wonder who’s going to get number four…”

Notes

This story’s based on a mission from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, ‘Back on the Grid’. Hollow-point is Yuri, Ambush and Flint are Soap and Price. 

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