Unknown Heroes

The force of the explosion, rocked the floor as it seismically slammed through the corridor, shaking fixtures and piping from the ceiling and almost knocking him to his knees as he struggled to keep moving before the guards could find and repay him for his attack on their missile. As chips of ceiling plaster settled, he heard sirens begin their electric wailing. The whole base would now know they are under attack.

 – = Ξ = –

Wayne, leaned back into his chair and reread the paragraph. Good, good.  I like it and think the fans are going to love, “seismically slammed”. 

 – = Ξ = –

misisile exploding smallIn his mind, Darius replayed how the timed charge he had attached to the giant fuel tank, would have blown through the hull of the missile to and ignite the fuel. It would have lit the midnight sky, consumed the missile and the launch tower in huge plumb of blinding orange-white plasma. 

If killed now, Darius Mace would be an unknown hero back home for saving a city of 1.3 million souls from a terrorist missile threat that only a few knew was imminent.

The shock wave passed and he resumed running. He still had to rescue Emma.

The lights flickered as normal power began to fail but emergency batteries cut in and the lights stabilized. He could see without pulling out his torch and the corridor was still passable.  Perfect, he thought.  Emma’s cell is about 85 seconds away.

He pulled his arm away from the wall as he stood and noticed a blood smear. Surprised, he lifted and rotated his wrist to check his arm and sure enough, something had cut right through his shirt and left him with a nasty gash and a spreading blood stain. I’ll live, he concluded and resumed his run, jumping over fallen file cabinets and sparking conduits while following his memorized map to Emma’s cell. He almost slipped at the first right turn turn then again while taking the second left to reach the holding cells. Ah, windows in each door — excellent — but why is one door partially open?

There was a scuffing sound from inside the cell as he quietly approached  while pulling out his H&K USP 9mm pistol.  He glanced inside and was relieved to see that this was indeed Emma’s cell and she had already neutralized a guard who, why was he here? likely was thinking of recreation and was interrupted by the explosion but then — what?

Holding his gun on the downed guard, he said, “Good evening, Lieutenant Parker. What did you do to this guy? It looks a lot like  . . . “

“. . . A flying roundhouse kick to the neck?  Absolutely. You know me too well Colonel but you can relax, Sir. I felt his neck snap. He bought my poor defenseless woman act last night, lowered his guard a few moments ago so I excused him from the gene pool.”

“Underestimating you really is bad for a man’s health.”

She ignored him and answered, “Give me a moment. He’s laying on a pistol I’ve taken a fancy to. — Ugh! Come on — move already. Got it! Let’s go.” She released the magazine to check the ammo on her new weapon, snapped it back into place and pulled the slide to chamber a round. “Don’t we have a sub to catch?”

 – = Ξ = –

Wayne, paused to think. Some are going to be annoyed that I didn’t have her found with her clothes off again, but they can go back and reread chapter four if it’s that important to them..

 – = Ξ = –

Emma, took the lead as they ran toward the exit. As soon as they entered the long main hallway, they heard a door slam in the distance from the direction Darius had just come. Then they heard Arabic yelling. They both knew that this part of their escape would likely be discovered and they would be chased as they tried to leave the building.

“Emma, hold on, I’ve got the hallway charge ready.” He pulled the small explosive from his belt, pealed off a paper backing to uncover the adhesive pad and slapped it against the wall beside a cabinet where it would be hard to see from their pursuers view.  He pressed a first button to arm the charge with a default 20 second delay. A second press added 10 more seconds and his third press made it 40. Pressing and holding the button started the countdown.

“Go – go!” he said and they both continued their run down the long corridor. The yelling behind them got louder, and louder. Someone fired a shot which only dug into the wall someplace well behind them. Darius thought he could make out that the shooter being reprimanded for trying such a shot while running, but the voices got even louder and closer.  “Emma, be ready. Any moment now.” BLAM!

The force of the charge, focused by the corridor walls almost deafened them and the shock wave pushed them forward. Emma kept her balance but Darius could not help but fall forward. He slid on the titled floor for several feet, but was instantly back up and running.

They no longer had any pursuers.

 – = Ξ = –

Yea! Now that’s a fun scene!  I can hear readers cheering.

 – = Ξ = –

Minutes later they rounded a final dog-leg set of turns and arrived at the exit but quickly dodged into a nearby cabinet shadow when they heard a small group of guards coming. They sat silent and unseen as the guards ran in the direction of the cells.

Darius thought, Must be their duty to check on the prisoners. They’re going to find quite a mess.

“Emma, just outside and to the left is a small shed with a shadowed blind spot. We’ll be able to see our ride from there.” They quietly opened the door and slid out. Emma closed the door holding the handle open to secure it without a sound while Darius scanned the road with his pistol. Emma tapped his back when the door was secure. He silently raised a hand to signal it was time to move to the shadow beside the shack. 

Sure enough, there was one of their abandoned military-grade Hummers, parked kitty corner from their hiding place – right where Darius had left it an hour ago.

 – = Ξ = –

No one is going to like being reminded of all the equipment we left for our enemy to just pick up and use, but it’s a political reality we should never forget.

 – = Ξ = –

Together they stepped into the shadow between the shed and the building. At the end, Darius paused to verify that the street was still clear.  Silent and exposed, they kept their backs to the shed as they stepped to the nearest corner of a four-way intersection with their pistols up and scanning.  “Clear” she whispered over her shoulder barely loud enough to be heard. Darius did not reply so she tapped his back.

Turning his attention to their ride, Darius noticed a guard stepping out from a shadow near their Hummer. His back was turned to them as he looked over the vehicle. He knows it’s out of place — must be a patrol guard who walks this way on his rounds and after the explosion is looking for anything out of place. He knows it was not here earlier.

“Let’s finish this,” he whispered back to Emma. “Cover me as I take this guy out.” He picked up a rock, crept across the street fully exposed and silently approached the man from behind. With the sirens still wailing and about 10 feet separating them, he threw the rock high and into the shadow behind the hummer to draw the man’s attention. It worked and Derek easily stepped close behind him and slit his throat.  He also kicked his rifle away as the man dropped to his knees and clutched his neck.

Darius waved for Emma to join him as he covered each of the streets with broad sweeps. As she took the drivers seat and started the Hummer, Darius took the passenger side and adjusted the rear-view mirror so he could watch behind them as they drove off for the coast. “Keep your ears open Emma. That last explosion left mine ringing. I can barely hear anything now. “

zodiac boatThey made it to the beach unchallenged and parked near his hidden Zodiac boat. The sirens were still whining as they pushed off the shore. Emma started the nearly silent electric motor and turned the boat for open water. Derek climbed into the bow to balance their weight then glanced at his watch. Eleven and a half minutes from explosion to to boat launch — not bad. He turned to look down the shoreline to see what used to be the missile tower still engulfed in rocket fuel flames.

After motoring nearly silently for 10 minutes, through a low coastal mist they could just make out the sub’s tower.

Darius met her at the bottom of the sub’s tower ladder, patted her shoulder and said, “Very nicely done lieutenant.  The captain promised to have a warm dinner waiting for us. Let’s see how good his word is.”

“Thanks but I haven’t seen a clean bathroom in a week. I’m going to take over a shower to clean up first but that’s all the head start you’re going to get. You should keep the plaster dust and dried blood look for a while though. It helps sustain your hero image.”

Darius snorted and smirked.

Emma continued, “These two heroes maybe damned dirty and hungry but at least one of us isn’t going to stink up the place. I’ll catch you in the mess hall Colonel after I de-ree.” She tried to straighten her soiled and torn shirt and push her matted hair back away from her eyes and sarcastically added, “I also need some fresh clothes, and just a few minutes to perm my hair and apply some makeup — Sir.”

Darius shook his head, smiled and thought, heroes — indeed.

 – = Ξ = –

Wayne pressed SAVE and closed his laptop. He pushed from the desk and expertly spun his wheelchair towards the bathroom. His bladder and bowels were full after the long afternoon focus on his story. Losing both legs and most of the muscle in his right arm three years ago in Afghanistan had left him with a complicated process of transferring from his chair to the toilet but he landed  just in time to safely let everything go. Whew, he thought — still enjoying the adrenaline rush of his closing chapter, Damn but I miss being that unknown Navy Seal.

Thanks to the Naval Open Source INTellignence organization for the free use of the photo used in this story.

GW bio card 4

9 thoughts on “Unknown Heroes

  1. From :: Dale Johnsen via Facebook
    Gary- this is fantastic and definitely publishable!!
    This is the best thriller writing I’ve seen in a while — so double kudos


  2. This sentence made me laugh, “Wayne, leaned back into his chair and reread the paragraph. Good, good. I like it and think the fans are going to love, ‘seismically slammed’. ” I had been thinking that the word seismically was great and even re-read that first bit of the sentence to enjoy the word. Haha.

    I notices that in that first paragraph the word keep is duplicated and in paragraph 26ish the word whispered is duplicated.

    Fun read with lots of excitement. I like the story within the story idea. Nicely written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shari,
      Ugh – but THANK YOU.
      No one else called me on these.
      This is why I more than owe you a story review. Once they happen, I can’t see these things. Both are fixed now.
      I have an editor friend who often reads my stuff. He and I had the same writing teacher in high school and I live in fear of him finding things like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a newish reader so I hope you’re ok with some editorial comments. I like the beginning of the story, I’m a sucker for military spy drama. I was an English/Reading teacher. I don’t know if this is the place you polish up the editing.

    “would have ignited to blast through to and ignite the fuel” – (you may want to change one of the “ignite” words for a synonym)

    “He pulled his arm away from the wall as he stood and notices a blood smear.” – (“notices” is a different verb tense than others in the sentence I think)

    “‘Good evening, lieutenant Parker'” – (comma after evening, Lieutenant should be capitalized)
    …pulled the slide to chamber a round. Don’t we have a sub to catch?” – (should be ” before Don’t)

    “door slam far behind them in the distance.” – (redundant or just awkward sounding or maybe not? “behind them in the distance.” “far behind them.” “in the distance behind them.” “in the distance far behind them.”

    “arrived at the exit but quickly dodged into a nearby cabinet shadow while a small group of guards ran past heading for the cells.” – (this was visually confusing at first, maybe, “arrived at the entrance but quickly dodged into a nearby cabinet shadow when a small group of guards ran towards them heading for the cells.”

    “Emma closed the door holding the handle open so she could secure it without a sound while Darius scanned the road with his pistol. Emma tapped his back when the door was secure. He silently raised a hand to signal it was time to move to the shadow beside the shack.” – (you wrote this, then some info sentences then wrote this – “Emma held the door hand unlatched to let the door close silently. Darius scanned the street before them with his pistol ready – looking for any threats. Emma tapped his back to let him know she was ready to move and together they stepped between the shed and the road to get to the shadowed spot and both scanned the four-way intersection with their pistols. “Clear” she whispered just loud enough to be heard. Darius did not reply.” (It was a bit confusing, but maybe not to everyone)

    “..shower to clean up first but that’s all the head start you’re going to get…after I de-reek, get some fresh clothes, perm my hair and apply some makeup…” – (If cleaning up is all the head start she’s going to give him on a meal, and she’s “damned hungry” as a warrior she would not take the time to “perm” her hair. She would wash it, put products in it like conditioner and gel, dry it, but perming takes a few hours and isn’t something she’d do before a meal on a sub. Just sayin’ 😉

    “His badder” – (bladder)

    “left him with a complicated process of transferring” – (I’m being bold here. You may or may not know someone who is a double amputee. If you don’t and you want to write a book, and this plot may be worth a book, you should talk with one. My mom was a quadriplegic. My mother-in-law was an amputee and had dementia. I’ve known people who are paraplegics and amputees for many years. A double leg amputee with a military background who has stayed in good physical shape with no upper body injuries should not have any issues transferring from a chair to a toilet in an accessible bathroom with or without a transfer board. Upper body, arm, or hand injuries would create complications making transfer difficult as would upper body or arm paralysis. Just a thought for you.

    I hope you continue this story idea, it reminds me of good military dramas like Where Eagles Dare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Zuzu.
      Wow! I am so fortunate that you happened across my story and invested some time with it, but where do I start o give a suitable reply?
      I might be wrong, but don’t think we’ve met before and you don’t reveal much about yourself on your blog that I could find with a quick review. Not a problem, but I do like to be polite and call folks by their name and am guessing that you prefer “Zuzu” over what looks like a statement in your blog title, as in Zuzu says . . . but I would be pleased to be corrected.
      Then, your review. You were so respectful with your feedback, which anyone would (or should) appreciate – and I do.

      I’m a writer who only recently decided to start producing and collecting stories to share for the shear fun of both. I don’t make $$ from my blog or writings but want my work to be as flawless and accessible as possible. You really helped me clean up this story. I sorted through all your feedback and made the needed corrections and now find I’m in your debt. Your feedback was very useful and I’m very grateful for the time you gave me both to read and to call out points that needed polish.
      One of the things I do with my fiction is try new things and this was my first attempt at military action. I hope my confusing points did not prevent you from enjoying the images I was trying to create. Thanks to you, future readers won’t have see the same problems.
      My biggest regret – was you missing my attempt at sarcasm with the whole “perm my hair and apply some makeup” scene. I was trying to have her having some fun dropping back into military protocol after being an abused prisoner. I have no excuse for the rest of your points. You were just correct and my wording fell short.
      It’s all better now.
      One of the best things about a story blog is that I have the unlimited freedom to go back to any story and improve it.
      You really helped me shave away a lot of problems with your review.
      I don’t think I can thank you enough, but I do hope you’ll come back to try out some of my other or future efforts.
      If you like longer stories, I’d value your reaction to my other sort-of military-ish story, but this one is closer to an hour to read. I certainly don’t expect another review of such detail but would welcome anything you would care to report back. As I looked over some of your posts, it seems like you and I agree on some points that come out in this second story. You may not like Science Fiction, but I bet you would like . . .

      Defending Canopy Station

      Regardless of whether you ever read anything of mine again, I am so thankful that you read this story and helped me improve it. Please come back any time.

      with my kind appreciation,
      ~~ Gary ~~

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Why I’m an old Petaluma girl myself. I came across your stories because you invited people from the “You Must Have Lived in Petaluma” FB group to read some of your blogs a while ago after posting some short stories on that page. I enjoyed them so signed up and have read a few of your stories here on your WP page. I think I liked this story best. You are right that some of the tone didn’t come through about Lt. Emma, and that’s because you’re doing a short story that picks up in the middle of a complete novel, so no problem. Then the “perm” comment makes total sense (it could be helped along with some facial smirk or wink).

    I have a friend that writes screenplays and she tends to think only in movement which means her dialogue tends to rely too much on physical movement and scenery or props. I think novel writers rely sometimes too much on what they visualize and forget the reader doesn’t see what’s inside THEIR head. I’m not that kind of a writer and don’t know how great writers convey what they want in subtle ways that make the story flow but so admire when they do, then wonder if when the writer reads their own story if it actually reflected what they had intended. Does that make sense?

    I have enjoyed your stories about life in Petaluma because they allowed me to wallow in home. I lived there from 1971 to 1978 when I left to move to NC. My dad worked for Fireman’s Fund Insurance – dad at the home office in SF, and mom was the principal’s secretary at Casa Grande HS. Dad was transferred to Greensboro in ’76, but I finished college at Sac State and tried to get a teaching job before moving in ’78. Dad was transferred back to SF in early ’79 but I had started graduate school at UNC-Greensboro for an MEd in Reading so stayed. I didn’t move back again. My parents lived in Petaluma at Youngstown MHP until Dec. 2017. My mom died Jan. 1, 2017, she had been a quadriplegic since an accident in 2002. My husband and I came to help care for them once or twice a year. I usually stayed with my cousin Kelli Michelucci who had been the Attendance Queen at Petaluma High where her mom, June Snyder, had been the Attendance Lady when we attended there in the 70s. So I still come to visit Kelli at least once a year when I’m allowed into the state because she’s my family. My dad now lives with a sister in Las Vegas and another sister lives in Ceres, CA.

    Thanks for understanding my editorial comments were meant for good and not for evil. We must all help each other attain our goals. I’ll keep reading if you keep writing. When I get back to the brown hills of tarweed and poppies I’ll find a way to have a cup of tea wit’ ya. Deborah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah.
      So we were nearly neighbors in the 70s.
      I’d buy you that tea or coffee the next time you visit.
      I’ve got a big work project today so need to get on it, but know you are always welcome to my little story blog.
      In particular, I’d live to hear your thoughts & findings from my Roadhouse Stew story.
      There also has to be a story around “Zuzu”.
      Thanks so much for your time, kind feedback and readership.


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