Johanna Sanchez had lived for this moment. All the cat calls, the muttered word “whore” under women’s breaths, spending nights with men she despised. All that was coming to a head.
“Hey, Chu,” she laughed as they approached the first house, “it’s all coming to a head! Get it?”
“Yeah,” said the fifth generation Asian American, “I get it. Way too much, cholo.” Even before the war, she had endured her own tormentors, and when ODA 352 had been assigned to this town, it had gotten worse. Both she and Sanchez had been outsiders in this mostly white community, but for a while, refugees hadn’t cared. When things had settled down, and some had begun to become fat and happy under Invy rule, the subtle discrimination had started again. Maybe it would have been different, but by their own planning, Staff Sergeant Gina Chu and Lieutenant Sanchez had become, for all intents and purposes, the town whores.
What it had allowed them to do was develop actionable intelligence, granting them access to floor plans of houses, and even get escorted through the Invy buildings. Along the way they had identified those who held hatred of the Invy, all military veterans. Most were just trying to survive, but some had indicated they would fight, if only someone would organize it. They had said nothing, but made careful note. A week before, ten of them had been brought, individually to a deserted warehouse, by other team members and been told to each reach out to a list of ten more, to be ready for action. The following weeks had been tense, and one had sought to gain favor with the Invy by going to the Greenies. He had never gotten there, courtesy of a knife in the kidney by Chu while she was in bed with him.
They and their two other soldiers split up, going to opposite doors on the street, and, when they opened to hammering fists, told the men who answered one word. “FREEDOM!” they each said, and hurried down the street. Behind them, the doors closed, and then quickly opened again, the notified men hurrying out into the night. They had just reached the ninth house when the night erupted with a CRUMP, the explosion taking down the power lines, and the street went dark.
“Good enough!” said Sanchez, and they both broke into a dead run to their safe house. Charging through the unlocked door, followed by Sergeants Jimmie Patton and Dave Cofer. The four of them pushed hard at a wall, and on well oiled hinges, it rotate slightly, to reveal a narrow room, perhaps four feet wide. Enough room for the olive drab military hardware cases lined up in rows. They started breaking them out as gun fire echoed up and down the village, and the first volunteers showed up a minute later, staring at the four in their CEF uniforms. Sanchez stood on top of one box as even more showed up, and held up her arms for quiet, just as the antimatter containment bottle let go on the APC.
“Listen up! My name is Lieutenant Johanna Sanchez, Confederated Earth Forces, Special Operations Detachment A 352. The time has come, and we’re striking back all over the world.”
They all stared at her in amazement. For the last decade, almost, they had known her as a high priced prostitute. Hell, some of them had even had her themselves. This was a little much.
“Dave,” said one, talking to Sergeant Cofer, who was his neighbor, “what is all this about?”
“Like the LT says, Joe. It’s time to hit back.”
“And y’all …”
“We don’t have time for this,” interrupted Sanchez. “Do you hear that gun and plamsa fire? If we don’t beat them tonight, what do you think is going to happen? They’re going to flatten this town, and every other one.”
“What about the orbitals?” asked an older man.
“We’re hitting them tonight. Don’t ask me, I don’t know the details. We’re only concerned with here and now. Captain Ellison, isn’t it?”
“You know damn well it is, Johannna,” he grinned, thinking of a few nights her had had with her.
“You’re in charge of the town defense forces, now, Sir. Major Cliff has overall command. We need to get our shit together and hit those Invy bastards. It’s do or die time, gentlemen. You’re all restored to your last rank, get an armband and sort yours hit out. You have five minutes, and then we’re moving out to hit the Green Militia Barracks.” She jumped down and started opening cases. The rest of the Special Operations team joined her, and started handing out M-6 carbines. Each was accompanied by a bandolier of pre-packaged forty round magazines, and a blue arm band with the CEF flag under the American flag.
The explosions and gunfire continued, and they worked feverishly. When several dozen men had received weapons, She had them count off by numbers, forming three squads. The veterans quickly fell in, remembering their training and fueled by hatred, each led by one of the CEF operators.
“OK, Captain Ellison, can you stay here, Sir, and organize the rest of the men into a QRF?” She handed him a squad radio, and turned it on. “There’s anti-armor weapons in there, we’re going to need an ambush on the main road to the next town. There’s no ODA there, and the Dragosn wil be screaming for help.”
“Can do, LT. It’s great to be back in the saddle again. Take care, and kick their ass!”
“I’m all outta bubble gum, Sir!” said Sanchez with a grin, saluted, and motioned to each of the Sergeants leading a squad. “Alright, let’s move out! First squad on point, second follow, third set up a blocking position for against anyone who might be coming to help the Greens. If they’re adults, kill them. If they’re kids, taser ‘em.”
They headed out into the darkness, lit by flashes of plasma from behind the village buildings.
It was time to kill, and time to die.
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