Sophia Kell Hagin - Whatever Gods May Be by Sophia Kell Hagin

Sophia Kell Hagin - Whatever Gods May Be by Sophia Kell Hagin

Author:Sophia Kell Hagin
Language: es
Format: mobi
Published: 2011-12-25T22:53:30+00:00

Chapter sixteen

MerCy

Jeezus, not again!” Rhys’s voice crackled through Jamie’s comlink. “Elliott, snipers up on the double!” And then Rhys ticked off the coordinates and directions that two teams from third squad would need to create crossfire.

Jamie checked her shadowscreen grid. Yeah, Marty, just right.

Thank god you’re so wicked good.

EBC148 and marines were moving through an especially viscous August heat toward Narra on Palawan’s southeast coast some sixty-five kilometers below Puerto Princesa. They’d have to fight for every building, every street. Ahead of the Three-Eight’s infantry companies, its snipe platoon crept into the town to scout and report.

Almost immediately, Gwynmorgan’s ghosts, as everyone called them now, discovered that the PIA had pretty much disappeared; mostly Narra was occupied by Chinese Army soldiers. And the town was full of way too many civilians. Why hadn’t they evacuated, the surprised officers in the Brigade FOBCOC asked. The snipes quickly discovered the answer: Chinese Army units were corralling groups of civilians and executing them. Rhys had just come upon another roundup.

As third squad’s drama played out, Jamie had to relegate it to a corner of her shadowscreen and focus instead on traversing several rooftops with first squad. By the time she hunkered next to Ramirez and again centered her shadowscreen on Rhys and third squad, it was over. The Zhong execution squad commander and two of his soldiers had been shot dead; civilians unharmed. Rhys reported the encounter, finishing with the words Jamie always wanted to hear: “Zero-zero.” Nobody in the platoon wounded, nobody killed.

• 155 •

sophia Kell haGin

On several rooftops to Jamie’s left, first squad fanned out. She cringed as she watched them. They were getting sloppy. She wagged a finger at Ramirez and clicked up the platoon’s NCO frequency. “Gotta keep your people frosty,” she barked to her sergeants and fire team leaders. “And hydrated. We’re not done yet.” They’d been at it for nearly eighteen intense hours, approaching from the northeast through Aborlan. Now, as they slipped deeper into Narra itself, they were dog-tired. But they had hours to go; sloppy wasn’t an option. Sloppy caused real numbers to replace the hallowed zero-zero.

Jamie took a moment to upsize the Narra grid on her shadowscreen so she could study the distribution of forty-two bright green dots, one for each member of the platoon, including her. Second and third squads were moving precisely where she thought they should. Soon first squad would be, too.

“Whaddaya say, Ram?” she asked.

Ramirez pointed to a low concrete block structure about three hundred meters in front of them—a school, according to their shadowscreen overlays.

When Jamie gave him a thumbs-up, he comlinked instructions to his squaddies. Two four-person teams would approach the school on the ground. The third team would split into two two-person units and, along with Jamie and Ramirez, provide overwatch from the nearby rooftops.

A hundred meters later, Jamie saw it—the sixth one of the day, but the first time it was happening right in front of her: Some fifteen civilians, adults and children, huddled against a playground wall while four Chinese soldiers belligerently pointed assault weapons at them.



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