Episode three! Enjoy!
Episode Three – Targets
Date: March 19, 1941
A low, distant rumble shook the horizon as the sky opened up its waterfalls and started to drown the land beneath. Birds flapped their wings harder to gain speed, desperate to find cover from the wet, their cries muffled by the thundering above them. Down in the vacant street a stray dog, coat drenched and rancid smelling; skittered across from one alleyway to the next, letting off weak whimpers as it went.
Raindrops rolled off a sniper’s barrel as it adjusted its angle, attempting to find its target. A hand slid down the length of the gun to gain more stability.
‘Damn this gun’s a lot heavier than the last issue,’ ZZ remarked as he waggled the rifle up and down. ‘This is gonna take some getting used to.’
Brak looked up from behind his glasses as he crouched next to a window, a pair of binoculars clutched in his large hands. ‘You’ve got to carry that thing around with you all the time so why’s the gun any different?’ he asked, pointing at ZZ’s groin with a laugh.
ZZ adjusted himself with one hand and smirked. ‘The wife never knew what hit her.’ He scanned down the street again. They had both set up in one of the many broken buildings in Aylesbury’s north side – a tall building with a good view of the surrounding area and the Nazi base. A rather large ammunition dump had been located in the rural town and seemed to be a key area for fuel and weapons storage. However, ZZ and Brak were not there for the ammunition and fuel – they were there for a certain Nazi general who was reportedly co-ordinating some sort of imminent tactical operation.
‘You gotten any sight of this Nazi tosser yet, Brak?’ asked ZZ.
Brak hummed quietly to himself as he peered through the binoculars, taking in the ruined views of homes, pubs and shops. A few market stalls still stood among their fallen counterparts, the wares of fresh fruit and vegetables either taken or left to rot in the turbulent weather.
Suddenly something caught his attentions. A small group of German officers emerged from the doorway of some tavern, one of them wearing a General’s insignias and carrying a black leather briefcase in his gloved hand.
‘Got something, ZZ.’
ZZ looked out through his scope, following his cousin’s guidance until he saw the officers. ‘That’s the one. He’s got a couple of captains with him too.’
‘I haven’t got a clear shot.’
‘Shit. We might have to relocate. At least we have a fix on him.’
‘You heard the rumours about this guy?’ ZZ asked as he lowered his weapon.
‘Yeah… no surprise really.’ Brak laughed and flicked his hand down, a smile on his face.
‘You might be in with some luck then.’
The rain had somewhat let up, giving one German soldier a divine opportunity to have a cigarette without hindrance. He flicked a steel lighter open and puffed a few times before stuffing it back into his tunic. He watched the wispy plumes of tobacco smoke whirl upwards, disappearing in the moist air before he breathed in the inviting aroma around him.
The ammunitions dump was filled with numerous barrels, crates and trucks that stored everything from fuel to weapons to rations. He gazed over at the far end of the courtyard and hummed a familiar tune.
A pat on his shoulder caused him to drop his cigarette into the pool of water by his feet. He swore to himself before biting his lip, turning around to address whoever had just made him lose it. He nearly jumped out of his skin as a captain stood, steel-faced, in front of him, a flaming glare in his eyes.
‘What are you doing out here? Smoking on duty?’ the captain asked in German.
The soldier gaped like a fish before clearing his throat. ‘Ah… yes sir. I’m sorry,’ he replied awkwardly.
‘Well don’t just stand there looking at me,’ the captain snapped. ‘Get back inside and help move the crates over to the loading bay.’
With a clip of his heels the solider raised his arm and salute and trotted off, a grumble in his throat that quickly fell out of earshot.
‘What is it with these Nazis? They’re all a bunch of morons,’ the captain said to himself, a small smile in one corner of his mouth.
‘Where? For the love of God where?’ ZZ grunted as he refocused the sight on his scope.
Brak sniffed harshly then spat onto the floor. ‘I dunno, mate.’ He looked around again, this time from an abandoned house that looked down the main street of the town. ‘Wait a minute… there in pub down the street on the left, second window on the right.’
ZZ moved his sights onto the pub’s bricked form and breathed slowly, eager to finish his mission already. He waited for a minute, his lips drying up like a well in a drought. ‘Come on you Nazi scumbag.’
He squeezed the trigger.
The bullet travelled with unimaginable speed; spinning through the air with a high pitched whoosh. ZZ grinned widely, watching through the scope as the German general turned in the direction of the gun shot before his head snapped back with ferocious force, a dark red hole now fresh in his forehead.
‘Yes!’ cheered Brak, clapping his hands excitedly, laughing.
‘Got ya you bastard,’ ZZ chuckled as he flicked the bolt action chamber back to release the shell casing. It pinged on the wooden floor with a precious echo. ‘Now let’s get out of this place and go have a drink.’
Brak shot up to his feet and grabbed his cousin’s arm like a startled child, still holding the binoculars pressed up against his face. ‘Wait. Look at this guy outside the ammo dump entrance.’ He let out a guttural sound, confused. ‘The German captain… there.’
ZZ pointed his gun in the direction Brak was signalling to. ‘What the…? Is that a… bomb?’
Whatever the shot had been, the bullet had not been meant for him. Trigger wiped his forehead and kneeled down, the explosive growing heavy in his hands. Being undercover as a German officer was passable, but being a German officer planting a bomb at an ammo dump was not. Silently he prayed, hoping that he would remain unnoticed for a few more seconds.
‘Thank God,’ he muttered as he stood up, his leather boots creaking. He ran his hand on the Luger in his belt and steeled his breathing as he made his way back into the makeshift office, which had been someone’s living room some months beforehand. The ammunitions dump had been erected in the service yard of an old motor garage; chain link fencing cordoning off the areas between old homes and businesses.
Trigger walked through the office authoritatively, eyeing the underpaid secretaries as they sorted through papers, typed up document after document, and signed on numerous dotted lines. He would never understand the need for all these pieces of paper – he was a man who believed in actions speaking louder than words and red tape ever could.
He counted the explosive as bomb number four. There were just another two to go and it was up to his partner to sort that one out.
Blue Eagle stepped on his discarded cigarette and coughed hard. There was a certain chill in the air around the ammo dump; he could not be sure if it was the weather or his unease about the situation. He had one last explosive to plant before moving toward the extraction point to meet Trigger at the car. He was waiting for a patrol guard to head off before he made a move.
He didn’t have to wait long. The guard had strolled off with a puff of boredom.
Blue Eagle moved through the yard, dressed as a run-of-the-mill soldier, with a weight in his belt that seemed to be a pulsing mass of despair to him. He felt a bead of sweat trickle down his neck as he checked his surroundings.
It was clear.
He overcame the initial shaking of his hands and inserted the detonator into the top of the device, releasing a sharp sigh of relief. A small crate proved to be a sufficient form of covering the explosive from being spotted by any other patrolling guard. A quick glance around the yard and Blue Eagle was rapidly making his way through the door of one of the commandeered houses on the north side.
The next obstacle in the plan was the escape.
‘Blue? You’re driving us out of here.’ Trigger stood up in the open-top turret and barked his order like a true Nazi superior.
Blue Eagle furrowed his brow underneath his helmet and puffed through his nose. ‘Are you serious?’ he asked, sceptical. ‘Are we going to drive out in one of these things? How’re you gonna pass that one off to the checkpoint guards?’
Trigger peered around from up top and gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. ‘I’m sure they won’t argue with captain Trigger,’ he chuckled, licking his lips.
‘Let’s hope so,’ Blue Eagle remarked as he clambered inside the panzer wagon and slid into the driver’s seat. ‘Here, take this.’ He handed a grenade to Trigger.
‘Just in case?’
‘No one can escape Blue Eagle’s grenades, you know?’ He laughed.
Trigger smiled. ‘Come on let’s head through the checkpoint and get out of here.
The wagon roared up and started to roll forward, it’s plated hulk an impressive sight. The checkpoint was only a few hundred yards away but it seemed like an interminable wait as they both readied themselves for the worst.
‘Papers please,’ the guard asked at the gate as they pulled up.
Trigger fumbled in his jacket for his identity papers and then handed them to the soldier who had climbed up the side to grab them.
The guard stared at the slip of paper for a few moments before looking back at the yard. He angled his head to look up at Trigger. ‘Do you not know what has happened, sir?’ he asked hesitantly.
‘Of course I do,’ Trigger replied, bluffing it.
‘Why are you taking the panzer wagon out?’
‘It has recently been… repaired. We need to put it through its paces ready for the next phase.’ He hoped that was enough.
The guard mulled it over as he chatted with his partner, a chunky shouldered man with deep blue eyes. ‘You should be careful, sir. That sniper is still out there.’
Suddenly the air around them vibrated with a massive wave of energy as an explosion boomed up from the ammunitions yard, creating a fiery plume of smoke.
‘Go, Blue!’ Trigger bellowed above the din.
The wagon coughed back into life and the wheels skidded in the dirt. Trigger twisted the German hand grenade and dropped at the feet of the startled guards as they fell into a daze over what had happened.
The vehicle rocked slightly from the grenade as it sped away, the two guards falling to the ground in multiple, bloody pieces. Shouts could be heard above the second explosion as German soldiers and officers scrambled for some kind of order amidst the chaotic fires.
‘I told you so,’ Blue Eagle called up over the growling engine. ‘Nobody escapes a Blue Eagle grenade.’ He laughed heartily.
‘Just drive, will ya?’ Trigger grunted as he swivelled the turret around to cover their backs. ‘Shit.’ Another panzer wagon was fleeing from the explosions in the ammunitions dump. ‘I think they’ve sussed us out.’
‘You know they could just be trying to escape from the bombs we planted.’
The wagon suddenly jolted from side to side as a shell smacked off its hull.
Trigger angled the turret and returned fire. ‘You can take that as a no.’
‘Come on! Go, go, go,’ ZZ shouted as a hail of bullets ricocheted off a nearby wall.
Brak powered his legs, running as fast as he could; his breath stinted. They were not far from their extraction point but things looked dire as a squad of German soldiers pursued them relentlessly through the streets.
ZZ turned and fired a shot, catching one of the soldiers in the leg and sending him to the floor. He swore as he fumbled for a clip to reload. ‘Shit I’m out,’ he groaned, tossing the gun onto the floor as he whizzed by, his legs scaling the rubble of broken buildings.
‘Crap. We’ve got an armoured car on our tail,’ Brak said, looking behind. ‘We need to find another way out, ZZ.’
‘I’m thinking, I’m thinking. Give me a chance.’
‘The chance isn’t going to last long.’
The armoured car fired its turret.
Brak and ZZ heard a shower of screams from the pursuing soldiers, much to their surprise. The whir of the engine quickly gained on them.
‘Guys? Get in,’ came a voice from above.
The two cousins stopped in their tracks and looked up to see a man in a German captain’s uniform.
‘Is this some kind of trick?’ ZZ mused defensively.
‘I wouldn’t have just blown up a group of my own soldiers now, would I?’
Brak grabbed ZZ’s arm. ‘Just get the hell on. There should be enough room to sit on it.’
They both shrugged and climbed up the hull, each finding a spot to perch and hold on tight. The wagon roared into life again and sped off.
‘I’m Trigger and the driver is called Blue Eagle,’ Trigger said as he fired the turret.
‘I’m ZZ and this is Brak.’ He looked up at the back of Trigger’s head. ‘What the hell were you doing in there to piss them off like this?’
‘The explosions not enough of a hint for you?’ Blue Eagle asked sarcastically from within the shell of the vehicle.
Brak laughed and tapped the armour. ‘You alright in there, youth?’
‘Fine, thank you.’
‘Trig… try and aim for the wheels,’ ZZ suggested as he peered up over the turret.
Without hesitation Trigger aimed and fired a few rounds and nearly yelped with delight as the pursuing wagon toppled. ‘Fantastic. Nice one, ZZ, thanks.’
‘What were you two doing in Banbury? Was that gunshot earlier anything to do with you?’ asked Blue Eagle, his voice muffled through the armour.
‘We just took out the general in charge of this place,’ ZZ explained, a smug smile on his face.
‘No one told us of another op in this place,’ Trigger remarked blankly, a certain level of irritation in his face.
‘Likewise,’ said Brak. He put his hand into a pocket in his tunic and produced a brown paper bag, handing it over to ZZ. ‘Here’s your sunflower seeds. Get munching.’
ZZ took the bag eagerly. ‘Ta mate.’ He shovelled a handful of seeds into his mouth and began working on them.
Trigger turned in the turret space and leaned over to them both, satisfaction in his eyes. ‘Clear for the moment. We’re heading back to the Warwick base. You’re going to have to come with us.’
‘Fine by us,’ said ZZ through a mouthful of seeds. ‘When we get back I’ll give you a Masonator.’
‘A what?’ asked Trigger, his eyebrow rising.
‘It’s a drink,’ Brak pointed out.
Blue Eagle piped up as he turned the wagon round a fallen tree. ‘Is it made with a mace or something?’
Brak laughed again. ‘No it’s named after someone.’
‘One of the most reliable men around.’ Brak smiled, adjusting his glasses.
ZZ pursed his lips before spitting our sunflower shells. ‘I’m not giving you a kiss again, Brak.’
And there we have it. Hope you people enjoyed it