CHAPTER THIRTEEN PART EIGHT INTO THE LATAL GORGE
SNOW KINGDOM SYNOPSIS: Two soldiers from the United Northern Alliance, Colonel Castille Tasca and Master Sergeant Rambika Maseru, have undertaken a clandestine mission deep into Snow Kingdom territory to test a new agent designed to kill coca plants the source of the Snow Kingdom’s cocaine, the very foundation of its power and wealth.
Scavenger: General term referring to various groupings of people living outside the areas of the predominate cultures. Found primarily in South America south of the Amazon River with smaller groupings living within various sectors and zones in Northern and certain zones within Sub-Sharan Africa. Used by the Snow Kingdom to guard their more remote areas from Alliance raids. Used by the Greater Kingdoms to raid surrounding War Lord and Tribal territories.
DBS: acronym for Drop and Bury Site
K(s): Acronym for kilometers
SCAV(s): Acronym for Scavengers
WORDS PART EIGHT: 595
FROM PART SEVEN
“That’s strange, sir. From some reason they’ve no desire to lay down suppressing fire to keep us against the wall. My bet, they’ll wait until we’re exposed then open up.”
“Then it’s essential we reach our objective asap. If they haven’t determined why we’re here, they’ll know soon enough.” To Tasca’s way of thinking, the Scavs would act as he’d anticipated due to their tenuous agreement with the Snow Kingdom to be its eyes, ears and executioner. He was banking on the Worlar’s curiosity, their insatiable appetite to secure supplies not under the Kingdom’s influence. “What’s in the container will give the Scavs an advantage over other bordering Scavenger clans until the Kingdom corrects the situation. I’m activating the holo map. If it remains dead on, beyond the site, the gorge continues for another ten k’s then bends left for another nine before ending at the foot of the dune sea. With any luck, we should out of it by zero-two hundred.”
“The magic four-letter word, luck.” I think the Scavs might have something to say about that, Colonel.”
“Then let’s make damn sure they don’t, Sergeant, besides we’re capable of making our own.”
WORDS PART EIGHT 595
“Possibly, Sergeant.” Within Tasca’s mind lay another possibility; the Scavs wouldn’t attack when they reached the DBS, but would wait for them at the end of the gorge, blocking their egress until the Kingdom’s pursuit caught up with them. The last thing Tasca wanted was to be caught in the open. If the Scavs didn’t attack as he expected, they would have to engage the Scavs, killing as many as possible.
Maseru checked his scanner. “Still not a damned thing, Colonel. The thopter shows no Scav activity in front or behind the outcropping. I just don’t get it. They have the opportunity to harass us, but for some reason, they haven’t.
Tasca took his hat off and wiped his forehead. “I’ve never seen them react this way before. Damn odd, Sergeant, damn odd. For now, there’s nothing we can do about it except to maintain our routine. I’ll take point, three-meter interval. I want your focus on the thopter. I’ll scan the area behind and in front of us. If you detect movement you are to stop and give numbers and location. From there we’ll re-evaluate our situation. Questions, Sergeant?”
“None at the moment, sir.” This was not the truth. The Sergeant had questions, but only those fighting the Scavs could answer. Tasca had told him of the brutal firefights he and his earlier teams had with the Worlar. Maseru was determined the Scavs would feel his wrath, that their savagery would pale in comparison to what he would unleash upon them.
“On me, Sergeant. If we see just one Scav we stop.”
“Yes, sir. Hopefully the only Scavs we’ll face are the ones above us.” After a moment of reflection Maseru knew this wouldn’t be the scenario he envisioned; they would be attacked from every direction.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen, Sergeant. What worries me more is when the Scavs contact the complex. Though they’ve sworn loyalty to the Kingdom, there’s no love lost between them. If I’m right, they won’t do so until we’re dead. Based on what I’ve seen before, they felt a corpse was a better bargaining chip than a prisoner who could escape, robbing them of their reward.”
“Maybe, Colonel, but once they see you’ve opened the container, I don’t think their curiosity of what’s in it will delay their attack. I think they’ll come at us hard and fast. With just two targets they’re bound to be overconfident.”
“You could be right, Sergeant. They may not wait to see what’s in the container. They’re looking for anything giving them an edge against another clan; our supplies would provide that edge.” Tasca was conflicted. He had experienced Scavenger curiosity on his first missions into Worlar territory. They had waited patiently for his team to remove their supplies from the canisters before attacking. Yet Maseru’s take also made sense; there had been five to six men on his teams, not two.
“But won’t they think, if we have weapons in the canister, it might give us the advantage sir? If I were them I’d attack as we raise the container.”
“They could, but the Kingdom is the Scavs only source for supplies. Any, especially weapons, that gives them an edge over another clan, would be worth its weight in snow. No, I think they’ll wait and see what we have.”
“I hope you’re right Colonel.” In spite of Tasca’s belief, Maseru felt the Scavs wouldn’t wait to see if there were weapons in the canister to be used against them; they would attack to prevent this from happening.
© 2017, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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