Chapter Ten - The Journey Home
Alex walked at a leisurely pace down the street, carrying a bag of food. She was on her way to visit Andrew. There was no news from Mo yet, though the
news channels were showing an apparent success, and Hakan had asked her to have a quick look at Andrew.
She rounded the corner, turning into the street where Andrew’s safehouse was. As she did, she saw a van pulling away from outside Andrew’s place.
Alex frowned, and picked up the pace as the van sped off down the street.
She arrived outside the safehouse, and knocked on the front door. Getting no response, she put her hands on the door, and gave it a push. The door
“Are you lookin’ for Andrew, love?”
Alex turned around. Andrew’s neighbour, Mrs O’Rourke, stood staring at her, a look of concern on her face. “Yes, I am,” Alex replied. “Has
“Yes!” the Mrs O’Rourke answered. “Some people just took him away!”
Alex stepped towards the old lady slowly. “Please,” she said, “tell me what happened.”
“I don’t think I saw everything,” Mrs O’Rourke answered. “I looked out the window, and saw a man dragging another man out of a van. The man
from the van was given a briefcase, and he left. Then I saw some people dragging poor Andrew out into the street. They put him in the van, and drove
off just now.”
“What did the person who was dragged from the van look like?” Alex asked.
Essex, England, May 21, 2024
Daystar stared ahead as he marched, not really paying attention to what he was seeing. His brain was busy elsewhere, dwelling on what had passed that
afternoon. Romanov was out of the picture, but now, they were stranded outside London, and had lost a man.
Daystar bit his lip. Mo was dead by his hand. The mere thought of this made him feel bad. Mo had been a good friend.
Shaking his head, he tried to focus on the journey ahead. He was in command now that Mo had gone, and it was his responsibility to get everyone back
home safely. His plan was to circle north and then west, but he knew that there was a strong possibility that they may be chased by the military.
Then, of course, there was the problem of actually getting back into London. Daystar sighed; it was going to be a hard march.
He pulled his phone from his pocket. No signal. He scowled at the phone, cursing it under his breath, before shoving back into his pocket.
Up ahead, Wasp, who was on point, had stopped, and was waiting for everyone else to catch up. “Shall we turn north now?” he asked Daystar as the
others joined him. “We’ve gone about three miles by my reckoning.”
Daystar looked up. “Yes. Let’s turn north now,” he said. He looked inland, and saw some woods about half a mile away. “Head for those
trees,” he said.
Wasp turned inland, the others following. To their left, the sun was starting to sink into a bank of cloud. As they drew closer to the trees, Daystar
heard a noise. He stopped, and tilted his head to one side, listening carefully. The others stopped and watched him.
“What?” Shorty asked.
“Can you hear that? It sounds like…” Daystar suddenly went white. “It’s a chopper! Move!”
Wasp turned and ran for the trees, the others following. Reaching the tree line, he turned, dropped onto one knee, and pulled his rifle up to his
shoulder, covering his comrades. As they passed him, he got up, and followed.
Shorty was now on point, and he charged through the trees, the others close behind. Behind them, the sound of the helicopter grew steadily, until they
heard it go thundering by, passing over the field they had just crossed, and heading out to the east.
The stopped for a moment to catch their breath. ”That was close,” said Wizard.
“Tell me about it,” Wasp replied. “We probably don’t have long before it comes back. Let’s go!”
They moved off at a fast yet steady pace, ducking the branches of the trees, and avoiding nettles. Shorty remained on point, Daystar behind him.
Wizard walked behind him, with Wasp last.
As they walked, Wizard watched Daystar closely. He seemed to be in a world of his own, despite the urgency of the situation they were in at the
moment. Wizard picked up his pace, and caught up to Daystar. “Are you alright Day?” he asked, drawing alongside.
Daystar stared ahead. “I’m Ok,” he replied, his voice cold, distant.
“Are you sure?” Wizard asked.
“I’m fine Wizard. Just give me a while alright?”
Up ahead, Shorty was beginning to see daylight between the trees in front of him. They were coming to the other side of the woods, it seemed. He
slowed down a little. Peering through the trees to the edge, he saw a road, with another field beyond.
He stopped, and waited for the others to join him.
“See that?” he asked, pointing to the road. “Shall we follow it?”
“Yes, but we’ll move parallel to it rather than on it,” Daystar said quietly. “Just in case we run into somebody, or if that poxy chopper
comes back. We wouldn’t want to get caught on the road.”
“Agreed.” said Wizard.
They turned west, staying in the woods, though keeping the road in view. As they walked, it suddenly began to grow dark. Daystar looked up through the
leaves, and saw that the clouds they had seen earlier were now covering most of the sky. The sun had gone, and it looked ready to rain. Daystar
sighed, and focused on the route ahead.
The woods began to thin out; they were approaching the edge, when Wasp heard a twig snap behind him. He turned, and peer through the gloom. A dark
shape was approaching through the trees at high speed, moving on all fours. “Contact!” he yelled, pulling up his rifle and firing a burst into the
Wizard and Daystar were beside him in an instant, scanning the trees through their scopes, looking for targets. Wasp lowered his rifle.
“What was it?” Shorty asked, joining them.
Wasp stared into the gathering darkness. The shape was gone, and there was no sign of a body. “I don’t know… it was running like a dog, or
something,” he replied quietly. “I can’t see it now…”
“Shh!” Wizard hissed at them. “Over there!” He pointed with his rifle over to the group’s right.
Daystar scanned right with his scope, and saw it. A dog, possibly a Doberman, stood just in sight, its teeth bared.
“In front!” Shorty whispered. The others turned to look, and saw two more dogs approaching slowly.
Shorty took one foot off the ground, and placed it behind him.
“Don’t even bloody move!” Daystar said in a low growl. He turned his head to look at Shorty. “If you run, they will chase you down.” He
turned away, and saw a forth dog appearing from the shadows. “Wasp?” he asked.
“Get your MP7 ready.”
Wasp let his rifle swing down to his side, and pulled up his sidearm. He unfolded the foregrip, and took up a stance, ready to hit the dogs with
everything the weapon could throw at them.
Daystar heard a growl away to his left. He turned and saw a fifth dog, silhouetted against the light filtering into the woods from the road.
”Bollocks! We’ve been flanked!”
The dogs in front moved closer, as did the one to the right. The one to the left circled round a little further, before it too started to advance.
”Wizard, have you got a shot on the one on the right?” Daystar asked.
“When I say, hit it Ok? Then get your Beretta out ASAP.”
Shorty glanced nervously over his shoulder, and saw two more dogs stalking through the trees. “Jesus Christ!” he exclaimed.
Daystar turned to look at the new threat, but at that moment, the dogs rushed in. Wasp squeezed the trigger, and his MP7 blazed into life. He sprayed
the area in front of him with bullets. He saw one dog fall. Another span as a bullet ploughed into its shoulder, knocking it off balance. The third
disappeared from view.
Wizard fired at the dog on the right, but missed. He dropped his rifle, and tried to pull his pistol from his holster, but the dog was already on him.
It knocked him to the ground, and jumped on him. Wizard put his hand up, and gripped the dog around its throat. The dog paid little attention, and it
snapped at him, its teeth closing barely an inch from his nose.
Shorty pulled up his rifle, and opened fire. Daystar followed suit, and they watched as the bullets cut the dogs down, until suddenly, Daystar found
himself laying on his back. He looked up, and found another dog upon him. He snarled, and swung his fist into the dog’s face. The dog yelped, and
jumped clear. Daystar rolled away, and got up to face the dog. It leaped forward, teeth bared. Daystar met it with a punch, the dog yelped again, and
tried to turn tail. But Daystar jumped on it, and locked his arms around its neck. He tightened the hold, and then rolled onto his back, pulling the
dog with him. The dog’s legs thrashed into the air, but as he watched, they grew still. He gave one last crushing squeeze, and threw the dog off.
Meanwhile, Wasp had spotted Wizard struggling with the dog. He rushed over, and kicked the dog as hard as possible in the ribs. There was a sickening
crunch, and the dog flew off Wizard. It landed a foot or so away, and began whimpering. Shorty finished it by stamping down on its throat.
Wasp helped Wizard off the floor. “Are you Ok?” he asked.
“Sort of,” Wizard replied, out of breath.
Daystar walked over to them, picking up his rifle as he went. “Is anyone hurt?” he asked.
“We’re alright,” Wasp replied.
Shorty stared into the woods around them. “Is that all of them?” he asked.
Wizard glanced over Wasp’s shoulder, and saw another dog sneaking through the trees. “Behind you!” he yelled.
Shorty flexed his arm, and his pistol slid into his hand. He took aim, and shot the dog dead. “Now,” he said, resetting the slide, “is that
“Should be,” Wasp replied.
“But still,” Daystar said, picking up Wizard’s rifle and passing it to him, “we are gonna move out slowly. Wasp, me and Wizard will go in
front. You and Shorty cover the rear. We’ll advance twenty paces, and then cover you. Ok?”
“Ok,” Wasp replied.
They moved out slowly, continuing in their previous direction. The trees continued to thin out, and soon, Wizard and Daystar stepped out into a field.
It was now getting dark quickly, and away in the distance, they could see lights, indicating where London was.
“How far do you think it is?” Wizard asked.
“Could be anywhere between five and ten miles,” Daystar replied.
Wasp and Shorty joined them. “Is that London?” Shorty asked.
“Yes,” Wizard said.
Wasp sighed. “You guys do realise we won’t just be able to walk back into London?”
“Well,” Daystar said, “we might as well be moving towards it whilst we try and figure something out, right?”
They set off, and began marching through the field, still moving parallel to the road. Fatigue was beginning to set in, and the group’s pace dropped
Wasp looked up as a drop of water hit him on the cheek. The clouds that had threatened rain looked set to deliver on that threat. Within a minute, the
heavens had opened, and Wasp found himself struggling to see any great distance ahead of him. He gritted his teeth, and made an effort to pick up the
pace, only to realise a minute later that he had slowed down again. Wasp sighed; he knew that his morale was dropping by the minute, and the rain
Behind Wasp, Shorty was getting tired quickly. He trudged through the mud, not really paying attention to where he was going. Suddenly, his foot
stubbed into the ground, and he saw the ground rushing up to meet him. But someone grabbed him, and pulled him back up onto his feet.
“You Ok, Short Stuff?” Daystar asked.
“Yeah,” Shorty replied, “I’m just tired.”
Daystar looked up. “Wasp!” he called.
Wasp turned back. “What’s wrong?” he asked as he joined them.
“We all need to take a break.” Daystar squinted through the rain and saw a large tree close to the road. “Head for that tree over there. It’s
not much, but it’s still shelter.”
The group headed for the tree, moving as fast as they could. They arrived beneath it, and stopped. Wizard leant his rifle against the tree, and then
leant against it himself. Shorty copied him. Daystar stood on guard, while Wasp simply stood under the branches, grateful of what little shelter the
tree was providing.
Daystar was facing east, when he suddenly saw a glow coming from the road. Headlights. He looked at the others. “Follow me! Quick!”
They ran down to the road, and crouched down behind the hedge. “Wasp, have you got your scope?” Daystar asked.
“Of course,” Wasp replied.
“Have a look down the road and see what we are dealing with.”
Wasp pulled his scope from his belt, and stood up from behind the hedge. He switched it to night vision, and looked down the road with it. Heading
down the road towards them was a solitary army truck. He zoomed in, and looked into the cab. It seemed that there was only a driver. Wasp smiled and
crouched down behind the hedge again.
Marc Chambers stared through the windscreen, a feeling of intense boredom surrounding him. He hated having to leave the base on a night like this, but
orders were orders. He sighed, and tried to look on the bright side; his delivery to the Southend Garrison had been made, and he was on his way back
Suddenly, Marc saw a figure laying in the road ahead. He slammed the breaks on, and the truck skidded to a halt. He sat in his seat for a moment,
watching the body, before swearing loudly, pulling the hood up on his coat, and opening the cab door. He climbed out into the rain, and walked
cautiously over to the body. He was shocked to find himself looking at a kid. Marc crouched down and shook the apparently lifeless body. “Hey!” he
yelled. “Can you hear me?”
Marc suddenly felt a gun being pressed into the back of his head. “He can hear you just fine,” said a voice from behind him.
Shorty opened his eyes, and grinned up at the surprised soldier looking down at him. “Hi,” he said.
“What the fu…” Marc began.
“Quiet!” said the voice from behind. “Do as you’re told, and you’ll be fine. If you don’t, then we will kill you. Understand?”
“Yes,” Marc muttered, scowling down at the kid before him.
“Put your hands up, and then get up slowly,” the voice instructed him.
Marc did as he was told, and than watched the teenager get up from the floor, and brush away the rainwater that had collected on his jacket. Cocky
little bastard, Marc thought as he noticed the kid grinning at him still.
He felt the gun move away from his head. Turn around slowly,” he was ordered.
Turning round, Marc found himself staring at a young guy, who was holding a Desert Eagle on him. Behind the guy, two more people were moving slowly
round the truck, carrying rifles.
Daystar glanced over the soldier’s shoulder. “Search him,” he said to Shorty.
Wasp walked up to Daystar. “All clear,” he informed him.
“Excellent,” Daystar said quietly. “Watch him,” he said, nodding at the soldier.
Wasp pulled up his rifle, and took aim. Shorty had found Marc’s wallet, and passed it to Daystar.
“So,” Daystar said, almost to himself, “Where were you heading?”
“London,” Marc replied. “They’re expecting me back, so you better lea…”
“Just answer the questions, please,“ Daystar said. He opened up Marc’s wallet and looked inside. A photograph of a smiling woman and two kids
looked up at him. Daystar looked up at the soldier. “Is this your family?” he asked.
Marc looked daggers at him. “Yes,” he mumbled.
“Relax…” Daystar looked down at the wallet again, “…Marc. We won’t do anything to them. We just need you to help us into London, that is
“If I refuse?” Marc asked, growing bold. To his surprise, the man in front of him laughed.
“I doubt you will, Marc. If you want to see your family again, you will help us. I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I think I need to. So,
will you help us? Or do the Army have to send a letter to you wife and kids?”
Marc dropped the tough guy act. “Look,” he said quietly, “if I get found with you guys in my truck, I’m screwed. Plus, how do I know I can
“One, you have little choice, you are helping us. Two, you have to trust us. Again, you have little choice in the matter.”
“Alright, I’ll help you,” Marc said.
“Thank you,” Daystar said, smiling at him.
Marc was surprised; his captor seemed genuinely grateful. “There are some boxes in the back, and a tarpaulin. Get behind the boxes, and cover up
with the tarpaulin,” he said.
“I’m riding in front with you,” Daystar said. He turned to Wasp. “Cover him while I get in, then make him get in. When he’s in, get in the
back, Ok?” Wasp nodded.
Wizard walked over from the truck, carrying the radio headsets he had made under his jacket. “I think we should use these,” he said, “so we can
all keep each other up to date.”
“Good idea,” Daystar said. “Alright guys, let’s go.”
London, England, May 21, 2024
As they approached the checkpoint, Daystar slid off his seat, and onto the floor of the cab. He made himself as comfortable as possible, and aimed his
pistol at Marc. “Ok,” he said, “Here’s how we’re gonna do this; don’t look at me, don’t look at the gun, and don’t look up into the
roof of the cab. If you get any ideas about signalling, remember your family, because you will be the first to get shot. Ok?”
Marc stared ahead and saw the guards at the barrier waving at him to slow down. He slowed to a halt, and wound down his window. The guard walked up
alongside his door.
“Papers please mate,” he said wearily.
Marc passed his paperwork out to the guard. “Feel sorry for you sods,” he said. “It’s pissing it down out here.”
“Tell me about it,” the guard replied. He scanned the delivery documents from Southend Garrison. “Returning to your depot?” he asked.
“Lucky bugger.” The guard signed the papers, and passed them back to Marc.
“Thanks,” Marc said. He put the papers down on Daystar’s seat, and started to do up his window.
“Hold on mate,” the guard said.
Marc went cold. Daystar held his breath, and felt his grip on his pistol tighten.
“What’s the matter?” Marc asked the guard.
The guard moved a little closer to the window, and lowered his voice. “I don’t suppose you got any ciggies going spare?”
Marc smiled at him. “Sorry mate, I don’t smoke.”
“Bollocks,” the guard said miserably. “Never mind. Take it easy mate.” He stepped away from the truck, and waved to the guard inside the
sentry box, who pulled up the barrier. Marc wound up his window, then sent the truck rolling through the checkpoint.
Daystar breathed a sigh of relief, and loosened his grip on his Desert Eagle. “Thank you Marc,” he said, quietly.
Marc breathed in deeply. “Ok, we’re in London. Where shall I drop you off?”
“Hackney,” Daystar replied. He climbed back up into his seat, placing Marc’s paperwork on the dashboard. “I’ll show you where to go when we
Half an hour later, in a patch of wasteland, the truck stopped. Wasp climbed out of the truck, with Wizard and Shorty following behind. He moved
quickly round to the driver’s door, and aimed his rifle up at Marc. “Out!” he ordered.
Marc climbed out of the cab, and put his hands up. Daystar climbed out the other side, and slammed the door shut. He moved round to where the others
“Got everything?” he asked his comrades. They nodded, and he turned to the soldier. “Thank you Marc,” he said, holding his hand out to the
Marc lowered his hands slowly, and cautiously shook the younger man’s hand.
Wizard leant into the cab of the truck, and pulled the key from the ignition. “We’ll leave these over here for you,” he said quietly, tossing
the keys away towards the back of the truck.
Daystar smiled. “Hands on your head please,” he said, “then on your knees, and cross your ankles.”
Marc complied, and watched as his passengers disappeared into the night.
[edit on 19-2-2005 by Daystar]