The Inevitable Fear

Base Camp, Mt. Elberus

Unrest occupied the room as the two military personnel sensed tremendous stress about Commander James. He sat on a swivel chair a few steps back from their desks and often the Commander will linger at their monitors as they felt his breathing touching their nape. Redundant questions were being asked and the same answers the two military personnel delivered.

"Anything? Any signs of the Kill squad?"

"Nothing sir."

Every minute took longer than before as sudden fear crept into their skin, not for their Commander but for their comrades' safety. It was highly unlikely for the mission to fail, or so as they expected every Kill squad to be a success. Following mission protocols, they must have considered all options, barricades, and anything that could pull the mission down, but seemingly they did not.

'Could this be our first failed mission?' The military personnel was perturbed with questions in their minds.

At last, a blue moving object appeared on their dark screens as it revealed itself beyond the grasp of the forest trees. They sensed hope.

"Commander, something's moving. It is coming back to base!" One military personnel said, his voice jolted.

For a few seconds, the Commander glanced at the moving object and went out immediately without saying a word nor a sense of happiness replacing his distress. 

"It's our armored vehicle, Commander." He continued with delight.


(At the gate)

Suddenly, an armored vehicle was fast approaching and it stopped as it reached the front gate. It was halted by two black-clad military guards holding sub-machine guns. 

Situated on top at both ends of the gate were guard towers with heavy machine guns and snipers with bright halogen lamps. Captain Luke showed his face and said to the operatives in a depressed manner. "Captain Luke Mason, code KS-718964."

The two guards recognized the Captain while searching the interiors of the vehicle and they found nobody. The other guard waved his hand to signal the tower to open the gate. Captain Luke drove immediately inside.

Driving to the parking lot of the mission center, the Captain's hands grasped the truck's wheel hard as if his knuckles were going to burst out. As he had his full stop, he had not realized that he parked the armored truck lazily without regard to the parking street signs.

A large hiss loomed as the wide Bunker door slid open. Came out was the Commander and escorted by two military personnel. His strides were long and fast as he came down from the ramp and towards the Captain.

He was then approached by Commander James who trained his eyes on another soul inside the truck. The Commander stared into the eyes of the Captain and demanded some answers, and the Captain slowly shook his head as he gave the Commander a non-verbal gesture that his fellow agents were gone.

"Prepare for your report, Captain Luke. We will talk when you are ready." The Commander said.

"Understood, Commander." The Captain responded sheepishly. The Commander turned his back away from the Captain as if he was showing no remorse for how the mission had transpired. The Commander was hard to read but some knew that he was pissed as Hell like a school teacher who just lost all his class records.

The Captain was debriefed in the bunker, sitting down comfortably on a metal chair in front of an empty table that only held a glass of water. He stared blankly at the mirror in front of him behind the two agents who were standing in front of him then alternately at the glass of water which moisture droplets had loomed on the sides of the transparent glass.

The Commander swung the door open and entered. The Captain was shaking and heavily perspiring, noticeable by the Commander. Neglecting the Captain's emotional state, the Commander immediately asked in a stern voice, "What happened!? I need some answers!"

Captain Luke said with agitation and stammering, "We were ambushed. It was so…. dark, not even the stars are visible due to… the thickness of the trees. They…they... flanked our team and my…my…. comrades were out one by one as we walk cautiously into the…. territory of the hidden village. I heard no answer from them. I kept on calling them via radio." His lips were trembling and his breathing was fast.

Captain Luke stopped and reached for a glass of water prepared for him at the center of the table. He had large gulps and his eyes stared past his commanding officer trying to recall the horrifying details of the ambush. He drank the whole glass composing himself, decreased his breathing, and continued,

"Agent Rick was the man next to me." He sighed having the first straight uttered statement.

"He suddenly saw a tall silhouette figure of a man, not so visible even using our night visions. But the man's eyes were glaring red and his face was vaguely dark. Agent Rick quickly aimed his weapon at the figure but it moved very fast, closing the gap between them and grabbed his weapon by his left hand, and the other held Agent Rick's neck. He was choking him to death.

I cannot shoot him for I could hit Rick. Instead, I grabbed my knife and quickly ran to them. Out of nowhere, I was shoved backward by the arm of another silhouette of a woman or a man... I am not sure.. It came in my left peripherals and eventually, my head hit the tree. My lights were out. The second silhouette was not there before. It suddenly appeared."

He had small sips of water this time. He collected his breathing again and structured his thoughts.

"Then when I woke up, I surveyed the area, and it was so quiet. No one was there anymore. Even the bodies of my comrades were gone. It was like I am being spared." Captain Luke paused and exhaled heavily, his eyes wandered to the Commander and the Agents standing in front of him. His jaw was shaking again and continued, "I immediately went back to the rally point and drove back here."

"Then…" Captain Luke's voice staggered after a short pause.

"Then what?" Commander James interrupted with a sudden tone.

Captain Luke, fixed his eyes on the Commander and said,

"ahm…nothing sir. That was all, sir. I have here my helmet's cam recording, I will turn this over to the specs team to retrieve the file."

"Is that all Captain?" questioned the Commander,

"Yes, Commander." His eyes were weakly staring at the Commander. Sweat had now loomed on his forehead and he wiped it with his right hand. 

"Are you sure? It looks like you are hiding information from me." The Commander stared at the Captain sharply as he assessed if the Captain demonstrated signs of false statements.

"No, sir." The Captain answered in a faint voice as he bent his head down. "All of the information you need is in that recording, sir."

Commander James felt the tremor in the deepest of his bones hearing Captain Luke cascade the story. "You keep this to yourself, Captain. That's an order! We do not want unrest in my department. This is a crisis that we are going to solve but we need to plan this carefully.

Next time, our attack will be cautiously thorough. I want you to rest and condition yourself for the next mission. I will give you 3 weeks to do this. I need more time and intel regarding this village."

"Just follow your orders, Captain! I will send the Recon squad to monitor the territories. If there are vast movements, we will know if that happens. This time, we will be ready."

"Copy sir!" The Captain affirmed.

There was a moment of silence in the room. The Commander said no more and left.

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