Whumptober2021, Drama, Protective Older Brothers, Whump Clay, Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Brotherhood, Team as Family, Relationships, Mission Fic, Injuries, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Rookie Clay, Hero Clay, no.2, no.9, no.19, no.25, no.30, choking, gagged, presumed dead, blind rage, bleeding, stabbing, escape, flight, hiding, left for dead
Just finished my latest novel and needed a slight break, so dabbling in fanfiction for a little fun. If you enjoy whumpage, and my style, you might want to check out my website lauraactonauthor . com
Chapter 1 — Eagle Down
The shit hit the fan the moment they arrived on target, and if they were going to make it out alive, they had to run like the wind. Jason gave the order and waited only a split second to ensure his too-cocky-for-his-own-good rookie moved out with the rest of them. Breathing a slight sigh of relief when he caught the backside of Six entering the tree line, he dropped his NODs into place and raced to follow his men into the forest.
When he got back to Havoc, he would have a nice little conversation with Mandy about the shitty intel that almost got his men killed. Her words still rang in his mind. Small force, only about ten men will be guarding Sharif Gaza. Sneak in without them ever knowing you're there and get out … easy as pie.
Pie in the sky more like it. Ten turned out to be over fifty … Jason lost count. Sneaking in didn't go well either. The perimeter had changed from the time they reviewed the video of the area before HAHOing in. Numerous groups of heavily armed tangos patrolled the location they chose for entry. It sucked not having ISR overhead … it would've alerted them to the changes before they stumbled upon a patrol and the ensuing gunfire alerted the others. Now they would be lucky to make it to exfil in one fucking piece.
Jason hated total mission failures. It made him angry, and the cake-eaters prickly. They would nitpick his team's actions, trying to lay the blame on some non-com … but there was no way in hell Jason would allow that to happen in this case. The OIC, not Blackburn, but a Captain Krasbuckle, refused to authorize the use of ISR, thus sending Bravo in blind and resulting in this clusterfuck.
The green glow of his NODs provided Jason with enough vision to keep pace with his men, though the thickness of the trees at this point, a positive from a tactical standpoint, now prevented him from doing a fast headcount. The only two he saw for sure were Sonny and Ray. Trent, he believed to be on his right just beyond Ray, and Brock and Clay to his left nearer Sonny. Tangos still pursued them, but fortunately, they didn't possess night visions so would be slower.
"Pick up the speed, boys … we want more distance between us and them before we hit the clearing." Jason puffed, slightly winded, but he could run another two miles at this pace without digging into his reserves. He like the rest of the guys were fit and proficient runners, though typically they raced towards the action, not from it. That part stuck in his craw … threatening to choke him.
Running with his team, Clay wondered if Jason would blame him for the screwup. He was the first to fire, but that was to save Sonny's life—not that that would earn him any brownie points. Being the new guy, all shit ran downhill, and he would be the one covered in crap by the time the AARs were finished.
Clay could see the writing on the wall … he'd be off Bravo, and those who always compared him to his PNG'ed father would feel justified in laying this fuck-up at his feet. What Clay couldn't see was the foliage-covered hole.
His boot hit the twig and instead of lifting for the next step, it continued downward, along with the rest of his body. One moment visible, the next the earth swallowed him whole. Down, down, down he went until the natural opening narrowed, wedging him in as tight as a sardine. Both arms were thankfully above his head, so he reached for his radio button near his shoulder and pressed. "Bravo Six, to Bravo One."
He waited and after receiving no response, he said, "Bravo Six to any Bravo element." Dead air met his words. "Bravo Six to Havoc. Radio check." Nothing.
A sinking feeling filled his gut … his radio was dead or damaged. The positive side of him suggested only his receiver was out of whack, and Bravo would be looking for him once he didn't respond back to them.
Clay choked back panic as he realized they wouldn't be able to see him … find him. He peered up, estimating he was about fifteen feet down some crevice he hadn't seen. It would be unlikely for the guys to discover the rabbit hole he fell into. He opened his mouth to yell, his only option, but halted when the sounds of men approaching filtered down to him.
Waiting to determine if those above were friend or foe, Clay held his breath, hoping to catch someone speaking. He thanked his lucky stars he remained silent when angry Arabic met his ears. A stupid, non-appropriate grin, given his circumstances, appeared on Clay's face as he overheard someone being yelled at for allowing the SEALs to escape. That was the universal life of the low-man on the totem pole.
Relieved to discover his teammates had gotten away, Clay began to assess his conundrum. How the hell am I gonna climb out of this damned hole and contact Havoc?
Breaking cover of the trees first, Jason raced for the waiting helo. Upon reaching the waiting transport outta hell, he turned to provide cover fire for his team. He counted one, two, three, four … and waited for the fifth member to exit the forest.
As Brock huffed up behind Sonny, Ray, and Trent to hop in, Jason bellowed, "Where's Six?"
Confusion lit Brock's face as he turned to look behind him. "He was right beside me a moment ago."
"Damned rookie better not be trying to pull some half-assed heroics," Sonny grumbled as he moved to make room for Cerb to jump up next to him. He was in no mood to deal with the kid's shit. Truth be told, Sonny believed Spenser royally fucked up. Sonny could've taken down the patrol without making a sound, but no, Clay fucking Spenser had to go and fire his weapon, ruining any chance they had of snatching the HVT they'd been after for more than four years.
"Bravo One to Six." Jason scanned the area, seeking his rookie. "Six, radio check." When he still received no answer, he said, "Six, double time to exfil."
Gunfire erupted from the cover of trees, causing Jason and the others to return fire. The helo's pilot yelled for the master chief to board because they had to get in the air now. Jason lingered a moment longer, his eyes searching for his last man … his gut at war with logic.
If he stayed much longer, waiting in hopes Spenser raced to them, he, the rest of Bravo, and the flight crew would be overrun and outgunned. His only logical option was to sit and clip in, giving the signal to the pilot to take off. As he did so, a sense of dread and guilt filled him. Never in his whole career had he been forced to leave a man behind—but he couldn't justify getting them all killed when the likelihood of Spenser being alive hovered in the low probabilities.
Bravo Six, a cocky kid who saw the matrix and possessed sniper skills equivalent to Ray's most likely had been cut down in the prime of his life on a poorly executed mission—the kid's death was on him. As the helo rose out of range of the tango's weapons, Jason dropped his chin to his chest, vowing they would mount a return mission to retrieve the kid's body—it was the least he could do since he failed so spectacularly.
With a heavy heart, he communicated, "Bravo One to Havoc … total mission failure … eagle down."
Eric didn't believe his ears. "Say again your last."
"Eagle down … Bravo Six didn't make it to exfil."
His eyes widening, Eric picked up on the last part. "Confirm, is Six MIA?"
"Did you witness him going down?"
Jason's throat constricted, pain lancing across it as if garroted when he realized he made an assumption … a potentially deadly one for Spenser. "Negative."
"So he could still be alive but was unable to reach exfil," Eric spoke his thoughts aloud, and noted Mandy and Lisa beginning to converse … likely strategizing on how the hell to return and find the team's rookie.
"Afirm. Request permission to fast line down a few mics from here and return to search for him."
About to give permission, Eric opened his mouth to relay a yes, but Captain Krasbuckle took the handset from him and said, "Negative. Return to base. Your priority is to salvage this mission and obtain the HVT."