ACCIDENTAL VICTIM # EPISODE 28#

TITLE: Accidental EPISODE: 28
***
‘Gentlemen, may I have your attention?’, Col. Coker asked
while facing the men standing in a makeshift tent. They all
shuffled and the tent went quiet.
There were about sixteen men in the tent. Some of them
were personnel from the SSS office, some of them soldiers
attached to the unit, while about three of them were
computer analysts siting on chairs clacking on their
keyboards.
There was a satellite generated map of the area projected
on a screen and Col. Coker was standing beside it.
‘Funmilola Coker and Damien Abbah’, Col. Coker began
while maintaining eye contact with each of the men, ‘were
kidnapped some days ago on the streets of Lagos. We
believe them to be held here by the Taliban group.’
‘Based on the information we have and given the satellite
thermal imagery of the area, this building’, he said pointing
at a particular spot on the map, ‘is where we believe Miss
Funmilola to be held.’
‘You guys would be dropped off here, using the trees of
the forest as cover and taking this path through the trees
to get to the building.’
‘What about the male hostage?’, one of the men asked.
‘He was able to make a run for it’, Mr Daniel, who was
standing beside Col. Coker replied. ‘The last time we were
in communication with him, he was asked to remain in
position, but the last thermal scan of the area indicated
that he was not. He’s definitely on the move and right now
we do not have his exact location.’
‘So how do we get to identify him, sir’, a Soldier asked.
‘He would most likely not be in your area of operation, so
you wouldn’t have to worry about him. As I’m sure you
are aware, you are to treat any contact as hostile and very
dangerous’, Mr Daniel replied.
‘What if he is in the vicinity of the operation, sir?’, another
soldier asked. ‘If he’s really within the vicinity, I believe he
should be able to identify himself with you guys’, Col.
Coker replied.
‘Andrew?’, Col. Coker called as he looked towards the lead
computer analyst.
‘Erhm-m, yes’, Andrew replied, slightly stuttering. ‘The
final thermal scan carried out some minutes ago revealed
that most of the terrorists are concentrated at the
southern part of the area, most likely the major point of
entry when we are to invade. However, there are very few
contacts around the building were we believe Miss Funmi
is held, so there should be little resistance in getting her
out.’
Col. Coker spoke up again. ‘Gentlemen, the time frame of
this operation is ten minutes, from the beginning to the
end. There is no time for any lapse. Six of you have been
selected for this covert mission…’
He mentioned the names of the men selected for the
mission and asked if anyone had objections. No one did.
He continued giving instructions and after several minutes,
his dismissed them and asked them to make their final
preparations….
Immediately after the men were dismissed, Mr Daniel was
still in the tent having a word with Col. Coker when his
phone began ringing. ‘Excuse me sir’, he said to Col.
Coker as he went out to receive the call.
“Hello…””Oh Staci, how you doing?”
“I’m fine sir…”
“What’s happening?”
“Erhhmm, sir… We’ve been synchronizing the data
collected from your end and on analysis, we’ve noticed
that there a chasm formed in the road leading to the
northern entry of the camp. Hope you guys took
cognizance of that?”
“Of course we did, and we would be doing a work-around
through another path, though it’s not on the map…”
“Oh, really?”
“Yeah…”
“Sir, please can I ask a question?”
“Staci, go ahead. What is it?”
“Sir please, would you be going on that mission?”
**Laughs** “I would not. Why are you asking?”
“Nothing sir. I just want you to be safe…”
“Of course I would be. And thank you for your concern. I
really appreciate.”
“Goodbye sir… And stay safe…”
‘Thanks’, Mr Daniel said as he ended the call and went
back in to continue his discussion with Col. Coker.
About and hour later, the six men were ready. They stood
before Col. Coker and Mr Daniel receiving final mission
instructions.
‘Alright guys, let’s move!’, TL1 said after Col. Coker waved
them off. They all ran towards the idling chopper. ‘Safe
hunting, guys!’, Mr Daniel called out after them.
The time was 0600hours. Damien and Mustapha were
exhausted. They had walked throughout the night, evading
sentry posts, trying to find their way out of the forest.
They finally did. They were now on the road directly at the
outskirts of the forest. Both of them stood on the road,
with both palms on their knees, tired, and contemplating
which way to go.
‘North or South? Which way do we go?’, Damien asked
Mustapha. ‘South’, Mustapha replied. ‘Are you sure?’,
Damien asked him again. ‘No’, he replied. ‘Great!’, Damien
muttered.
It was still dark as they continued walking south of the
road. Damien hoped they were walking in the right
direction. He thought about Funmi and how he had left her
behind. He felt bad, but he had no choice. It was either he
escaped alone or they both faced certain death as he was
sure Funmi couldn’t handle herself.
He was jolted back to reality as he heard a sound from the
distance. Mustapha grabbed his arm and they both
stopped at the same time. ‘You hear that?’, he asked him.
Damien nodded. ‘It sounds like a chopper’, he said. ‘This
is wrong… This is wrong…’, Mustapha muttered. ‘What is
it?’, Damien asked. ‘They shouldn’t have sent a chopper
in’, Mustapha replied. ‘Why?’, Damien asked again. ‘This
guys recently acquired surface-to-air missiles. They can
easily shoot it down’, Mustapha shot back at him. ‘Shiit!’,
Damien cursed, ‘this is not good.’
Few minutes later, they both watched as the chopper flew
over them. ‘At least now we know we are headed in the
right direction’, Damien opined. Mustapha nodded. ‘We
have to move faster. These guys have no idea what they
are in for. We have to warn them’, he said while walking
faster with Damien walking behind him.
‘Gear up guys, ETA T-minus 3minutes’, the pilot of the
chopper called out to the men. Then he noticed something
on his radar. A missile had been fired at them. He was
frozen! ‘Shiit! We are under attack! Hang on tight!’, he
screamed.
Immediately, his instinct and training took over. He knew
he had to evade the missile and avoid crashing into the
forest below. He also knew it was going to be difficult,
because a surface-to-air missile had a simple purpose – to
detect the exact heat signature of the fumes of an aircraft
exhaust, follow it until it either hit the exhaust or it ran out
of fuel. But ninety nine percent of the time, it always hit
it’s target.
The pilot immediately twirled the chopper and spit out a
wide fan of gaseous emissions from the exhaust into the
atmosphere. Then the tail of the chopper flipped the other
way, with the engines screaming, and the fumes forming
another random arc.
The missile followed the first arc made by the fumes while
tightening it’s radius towards a second arc. The chopper
continued spiraling violently, forming different arcs with
the fumes.
The missile continued following the various arcs of fumes
the chopper made, arriving where the exhaust had been a
split second ago but not finding it.
The pilot continued his maneuver frantically for several
seconds till the missile finally caught up with the chopper
and followed the trail of heat all the way into the starboard
engine itself, and then… BOOM!!! It exploded directly
against the exhaust.
Immediately, the engine of the chopper disintegrated and
it’s rear rotor housing component blew off. The chopper
stalled in the air for some seconds, after which it slowly
spun into the forest. Several minutes later, an explosion
was heard…

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