After a dreary four hours of hard work, all of the bodies had been buried and Daniella had read from the bible over their graves, much to the annoyance of Dean. The now worn out grave diggers made their way back up to the house for some rest, whilst Dean and John stayed behind.
'We won't be able to last on the provisions we have, Dean.' Said John quietly, Dean nodded.
'I know, we're going to have to search for some supplies if we don't want to starve, the only problem is as we have just seen, the chinks have all of their bases covered and I'm guessing they are pushing east to more fruitful lands. Therefore most of this place will be covered with detention centres and barracks, so we don't know what's going to happen.' John nodded solemnly.
'Yeah, but how about you and I go for a search? I'm sure the Chinese won't notice us, and we'll leave Saint here on the MG for protection.'
'Yeah, that might work, but we'll have to get Saints take on this.' The two then slowly started walking to the house.
'Go, I'll stay here.' Stated Saint the moment John told him of their plans.
'Are you sure?' queried Dean, though he had no disbelief in the fact Saint would stay if he was asked.
'Yeah, I'm sure, you go.' With that he got up and headed for the roof, 'see you when you get back.' he called over his shoulder. Dean and John looked at one another, shrugged and started getting their gear ready.
'Pack light John, NVG's and five mags for your rifle, pack enough water for two day and I'll carry the tent.' Dean told John as he himself started shoving tins into his bag. When they had finished packing, the two friends went to the front door and stepped out into the warm summer air, it was late afternoon and they knew they had about 2 hours of light left so they would have to leave now. Before they could make down the stairs though, Tia ran out and lunged at Dean.
'Where are you going? You aren't leaving us!' she said, tugging on his combat webbing.
'No, we're not leaving for good, we'll be back in two days max, we have to go get supplies, Saint'll take good care of you, don't fret.' With that he turned and nodded to John and they began to descend the stairs.
'Be careful Dean James Grey!' Tia shouted, Dean paused, that was what Zoë had called him back what seemed like an age ago. He shook his head and set out after John who had reached the other side of the road and was sitting there patiently. Dean jogged up to him, the humid air causing him to perspire already.
'You ready mate?' John asked, Dean took one look back at where Tia stood at the top of the stairs waving, turned back and nodded. They both took off slowly up the road, cautious of their surroundings for who knew what could spring out at them. When they reached the top of the road they decided to turn left, it was a main road and aside it was a huge white school, almost like an old cathedral covered in thick layers of gleaming white paint. They stuck to the inside of the white limestone wall, away from the road, to avoid being spotted by enemy jeeps and the like. As they made their way forward John signaled to halt, he heard something, clattering and indistinguishable voices chattering away. He took a finger to his lips and pointed over the wall. He then lifted himself up and glanced over the wall, in front of him was the magnificently green and overly large school oval. It was what was on that oval that made his eyes widen. A full battalion of Chinese troops, their tents spanning the entire area, there had to be at least 70 of them. He saw about four jeeps and two troop transports, no tanks, which was a good thing. He ducked back down and signaled Dean to leave slowly. Once they were well clear of the oval, John spoke in a hushed voice.
'They've got an army down there Dean, there's gotta be seventy men down there, plus four scout jeeps, and two transports. We're fucking doomed.' He added last of all.
Dean shook his head, 'mate, they've got food, did you see any tanks?' John shook his head, 'okay, that means that we can steal from them, we have to find some way to get food and both you and I know the supermarket ain't gonna be open.' John nodded, 'here's the plan, we grab that banged up bullet ridden hunk of crap and reattach the machinegun to it, then we get Saint on the back of that mother and drive in dead centre into the place…' John interrupted him.
'Killing Saint won't help us get food Dean.' Dean continued.
'We then get the rest of the guys up in those bushes around the oval to lay some suppressive fire on the fuckers, me and you included and see how it goes from there.' John looked at Dean like he didn't know him.
'Are you INSANE? Do you know how stupid that sounds Dean?' Dean looked John dead in the eye.
'Mate, trust me, I haven't led you astray yet.' John resigned into silence and followed Dean back to the house.
When they arrived at the house they weren't met with the smiles they thought they would, instead as they neared the top of the stairs they heard a raging row going on. It sounded like Trey had been having ago at Kevin and now was getting his desserts from Saint.
'Shut the fuck up you little fucking shit, from the get go you've been nothing but fucking trouble! Can you try and for once get the idea of living in peace through you thick skull and help rather than bloody hinder us?' By the time Saint had finished yelling Dean and John had reached the open doorway and Trey was flat against the wall, Saint staring him down with fire in his eyes. Meanwhile Dean noticed Tia comforting Kevin who had obviously been crying.
'What's all this then, we leave you guys for a total of thirty minutes and world war three…I mean four starts.' Said John jovially. All eyes came to rest on the two in the doorway.
'So did you get the supplies?' asked Saint, his anger obviously blasted away.
'Nope, but we know where we can get some.' Dean walked to the centre of the room and began to speak.
Two hours later it was night and Dean had finished detailing the plan to everyone, Saint leaned forward from his chair and sighed.
'Well, its either die by the sword or by starvation, I'm in.' John leaned forward as well.
'I'm in it anyway, no chance I'm letting you two have all the fun.' Dean smiled, Kevin leaned in, and then Adam, then Guy and surprisingly Shannon, and everyone looked at her.
'What, a girl isn't allowed to fight?' she asked, everyone avoided her gaze.
'Yeah, you can, but stick close to Guy.' Said John; finally the entire group, girls and boys, all put their hands in.
'Woah, wait a minute, there's no way you guys are coming.' Said Dean, looking at Tia, Vicky and Daniella.
'Yes we are, and there's nothing you can do to stop us.' Said Tia, adamant in her position. Dean just shrugged.
'Okay, your choice, now lets get the gear ready for tomorrow.' He stood, but Kevin looked at him quizzically.
'Why don't we attack at night? Wouldn't it be easier to take them on if they can't see us?' Dean looked at him.
'Well despite the fact they now have the entire oval plastered with light, even if we cut the wires we wouldn't be able to get in there, we've only got four NVG's.' he hefted the night vision goggles, Kevin shrugged.
An hour later and every weapon available were spread out on the floor of the lounge-room, Dean summed it up from the itinerary, and John stood next to him.
'Okay guys, as I read out the weapons list John will hand you the weapons I've assigned, so just hold up.' He thumbed the sheet of paper.
'Okay, we have nine Chinese type 56's, six Tokarev pistols, three Brownings and ten grenades between the fourteen of us.' He said surveying the group around him. 'The girls can take the pistols, Tia, Abby, Daniella, Victoria, Shannon and Haley all take Tokarev's.' the girls took the guns, Dean was surprised to see that Daniella held hers with confidence. 'Okay, now all the guys take an assault rifle, and Adam can have the spare Tokarev.' The boys picked up their weapons, 'I've taught you all how to use them so it shouldn't be a problem. Three grenades each for Saint, Shadow and I and we're all set.' He picked up the grenades and passed him to the two others, then taking one of the browning pistols for himself and lifting his rifle from the floor. 'Sleep next to your weapons, we're gonna hit these guys at dawn, catch them sleeping, so I'd go to sleep if I were you, we've got a big day ahead of us and I need you all sharp. I'll wake you at 5 o'clock, goodnight.' With that he headed out the door, beckoning Saint to come with him, Saint followed him down the concrete stairs onto the road and looked at Dean standing next to the husk of the ripped up jeep.
'It still runs?' he asked, looking at it warily, Dean nodded.
'Yep, purrs good, are you sure you're gonna be okay on this thing?' he asked, looking at Saint with worry.
'I'll be fine dude, just make sure no fucking chink shows up and decides to send the saint to heaven early.' Saint's face was neutral, but Dean knew that he had his worries. Dean reattached the machinegun and fed a new belt into it, checking it fed alright, he oiled it and cleaned the gas ports, he didn't want Saint to be standing on the back of this trying to un-jam the gun instead of blasting away at the enemy. With that finished he told Saint to hop up and see how it felt.
'Feels good man, you touched it up fairly well, so run through my part of this again.' He hopped off the Jeep to listen to Dean.
'Well the idea is I'll drive this thing straight at the opening to the oval on the west end, they'll all be in bed or at least unaware of us, so I want you to start blasting at the tents and other places they could be. From there I'm going to jump out and let you roll down, tear a path of destruction if you can, chuck your grenades at 'em and stuff, the moment this baby stops though, you get the hell out of there up to the ridge.' As he finished Saint nodded slowly. 'You can back out if you want, I'll ride the gun, it's bloody risky and I don't want you getting hurt for something you didn't want to do in the first place.' He was sincere.
'Nah Dean, I couldn't be happier, but I'm going to write my letter tonight, just in case.' The old tradition of writing a letter to loved ones before facing a firing squad had been used up until the time that firing squads had been banned. As Dean heard him say it he couldn't help but flinch at the idea that Saint thought he was going to his death and he would be responsible for his death upon it's arrival. After Saint had left and gone up to the house, Dean looked at the Jeep, the countless bullet holes in its flanks, the spider web cracked windscreen. It was a dismal image, and as Dean stared he couldn't help but think that this may as well be the last thing he would ever do, so he had to do it right.
Day dawned unnaturally early at quarter to five in the morning; Dean went around to every room and woke his friends. All of them yawned and stretched, hopping out of bed and getting into the clothes they had worn since the attack had started. When they entered the kitchen they were met with an amazing sight, During the night John hadn't been able to sleep so in the morning he got together every scrap of food he could and cooked it all to make the heartiest breakfast he could. They all sat down at the table, speaking their thanks over and over as John just sat silently eating. As they neared the end of the feast of a breakfast Saint stood up.
'Okay guys, this is it, the sun's risen enough for it to be bright as day and our bellies are full, we either force those fucking bastards away from here and take their food or die trying to get it.'
'Hear-hear!' shouted Adam.
'If not for the food, for Zoë!' piped up Kevin, the group nodded in agreement.
'Then let's take the fight to them!' Roared Dean and stood, heading out the door with John and Saint close behind, as he walked he barked orders.
'Saint, get on that gun, John, take the rest of the guys and line them up on the ridge around the oval, careful and watch for mines. The rest of you follow John's orders and make sure you shoot straight, I don't want to be hit by my own friends.'
'We won't miss.' Said Tia, so desperately wanting to hug him and never let go. Dean nodded his thanks and got in the driver's seat of the Jeep.
'John, get them there as fast as possible, it'll take me five minutes to get to the gate, be there.' John nodded.
'Will do, take care of yourself.'
'I thought that was your job!' Dean grinned as he gunned the accelerator and the Jeep leapt off the mark. John immediately started leading the group through the thick brush on a shortcut to the ridge, he heard a couple of them panting already but none spoke.
They reached the ridge within three minutes and John set about placing them at strategic points for an effective cover fire. He noticed the camp was asleep entirely, all of the cars were still there but all of the troops were in their tents, all that is except for two dozy guards patrolling the gate. They're in for a nasty surprise, he thought gleefully, as the time since they had left neared five minutes, he took up his position and carefully took in the camp, he rested the sights of his rifle on a tent and held, waiting for Saint and Dean to arrive.
It turns out that it took seven minutes to get to the entrance and Saint held on for Dear life to the gun as the jeep jittered about the road. Finally they came to the dirt track leading to the oval and Dean slowed to a stop. This is it, thought Saint as he took in the barrel of the machinegun and he went back to the time at school they had fought those terrorists. His senses were alerted, attuned to the environment, he heard every rustle of a leaf, the slow drone of the car engine, he saw every little movement. Dean gunned the engine and the back tires screeched as the Jeep shot off the mark. The Jeep picked up immense speed in the descent down the gravel road and as the Gate to the barracks loomed Saint saw Dean do an anything-but-acrobatic dive from the driver's seat into the bush.
The jeep slammed into the gate with tremendous speed and force that almost threw Saint from the Jeep but the held firm. As the gate opened he saw the entire tree-line start flashing with gunfire and he himself squeezed down on the trigger. The gun jumped around on its mount and he saw the tents before him tear to shreds under the weight of the fire that was now hitting them. He kept the trigger down, walking the line of fire from tent to tent, seeing smears of blood across the insides of the camo cloth. He was so preoccupied with shooting he failed to notice the wall of the school looming up and he noticed a second too late it was going to crash. The Jeep tore into the wall with enough force to crumple the front of the car, but the wall held firm, Saint was thrown forward into the roll-bar, pushing the wind out of his lungs, but he regained himself in a second and leapt back onto the gun
What the fuck is he doing? Thought Dean as he surveyed the scene through he scope of his rifle, he watched as Saint had slammed into the wall, then he expected him to jump off and make for the tree line, but instead he jumped back onto the gun. He shrugged to himself and turned his attention instead to a group of soldiers that had escaped the massacre and were heading in the direction of the safe house. Don't think you're safe there guys, he mused to himself as the group of five stopped behind a pillar, peering at the mounted machinegun and the blood-crazy teenager behind it. He squeezed the trigger and watched as the bullet struck the man in the head, making his corpse do a pirouette before falling to the floor. He whipped the bolt and took aim, but these men were fast, the moment they realized they were at risk they fled for the bush. Dean fired another round and watched the running figure drop to the floor, but after that the final three were as good as gone through the trees.
The battle had lasted all of fifteen minutes when finally after two ammo-belt changes Saint had to ditch the weapon. He lobbed his grenades as hard as he could at the tents and made for the tree line. A few surviving soldiers managed to fire small bursts from the cover of a troop transport and their rounds ripped up tufts of dirt near his feet as he ran. He finally made it up the incline and dropped down next to John, who was on his last magazine.
'How's it look?' Asked Saint, puffing and panting, his back against the ground.
'Looks good mate, we've all but torn them to shreds, Dean's finishing those pests near the trucks and we haven't managed to spot any survivors, I think it was an ultimate victory for us.' He said jovially.
'Well not without injuries.' Said Saint.
'What do you mean?' asked John, looking at Saint, Saint nodded to his leg where a bullet had gouged a clean line across his calf, John just told him to get it looked at by Daniella. They heard two more rifle cracks and then everything went silent, still as the night. They heard something moving behind them and saw Dean had moved up and joined them.
'Where's the rest of them?' Dean asked John, looking at Guy, Tia, Chris, Trey and Shannon.
'They took off after the proper firefight got underway, Adam went after them on my orders to keep them safe.' Dean nodded.
'Okay, lets go check out what we've won.' Dean made his way down the embankment and walked over to the destroyed remains of the tents, poking through them with his rifle. As they al fanned out in search of the supplies, John suddenly called.
'I hear something!' they all stopped and listened, he was right, it sounded like a dull screech.
'TANK!' Roared Dean, ushering the others up the incline into the trees, John started sprinting up to join them and Saint followed suit, but as he was running he tripped on something heavy and fell clumsily to the floor. John had reached the others and looked back to see Saint lying on the ground, and then he saw the tank smash through one of the whit walls to the east. It was huge, or at least it was to John, as he looked at it he realized not even their grenades could stop something like that.
Saint looked at what he had tripped over, it was a tube of some kind under the canvas of a tent. He took out a knife and cut a slit in the fabric and withdrew the cylinder, he recognized it as a disposable rocket-launcher and his face lit up. He pulled the clip on top and the launcher telescoped to twice its original length. He placed it on his shoulder as his finger sought the button. His finger finally rested upon the firing switch and he lined up the non-telescopic sight on the tank, he took a second to aim and finally pressed the button. He heard a huge POP! And a whoosh! And he closed his eyes in case the rocket smoke got into his eyes, but was perplexed when he heard the deafening explosion come from behind him!
From where Dean and the others were seated it was almost comical, Dean saw Saint heft the rocket-launcher and open it up, he then yelled to look at the tube, but obviously wasn't heard. Even from the distance that he was away Dean could clearly see the yellow arrow on the tube, he knew the writing on it would say "this end towards enemy". But the only problem was that that arrow was facing backwards away from the tank. He saw Saint fire the rocket and watched as it flew across the short distance into a tree and detonated. John was cursing in words Dean had never heard him say in a literal sense at the top of his lungs. Saint turned and ran from the tank, which lined up its gun on the point the rocket had come from and fired. The explosion threw Saint five feet and he picked himself up and kept running for the tree line. Once he reached them, John slapped him over the back of the head and told him what he thought of his mental capacity.
Meanwhile the tank was now circling, its gunner raking the ridge with the huge .50 caliber shells made famous by the barrett sniper rifle. The fire was harmless, as they were way wide of the small group's position, but none the less frightening. John walked over to Dean and dumped a bag next to his feet; Dean looked down and laid eyes on three demolition charges, lying placidly in the bag.
'I got them before the tank got here.' He said triumphantly, Dean slapped him on the back.
'Good man, now we need to get those to the tank.'
'Yeah, but what about the gunner?' as if on cue, the gunner ceased fire, out of ammunition, he dropped below the hatch. Dean looked at John.
'Well Shadow, it's now or never.' John picked up the satchels and put the timer on 40 seconds.
'I'll see you on the other side mate.' He said calmly as he pulled the pins and ran flat out at the circling tank.
Inside the behemoth the Chinese driver spotted the young boy running at the tank through his viewing screen. He ordered the gunner back up into the hatch. The gunner arose and took the belt with him, climbing the short ladder up into the gunner's chair. As the driver ordered for him to fire he heard a crack of a rifle and a thump behind him. He looked behind him and saw the figure of the gunner, with a neat hole right between his eyes. The next thing he saw would be the last, a bag of some kind whipped into the area behind him and as the primary gunner got up to throw it out, the bag detonated.
From outside, the effect was enormous, the explosion lifted shadow off the ground and tossed him aside like a rag, the building next to the tank itself crumbled like a cookie as it was hit by the immense shock wave. Dean looked at John's unmoving body for a moment, his heart refusing to believe his best friend was dead. His heart lifted when he saw John get up, groaning and limp up to them.
'Well, that was fun.' He grumbled as he thudded down on a nearby log.
'Well, we best get on with searching the place, undoubtedly other forces would've heard that.' Said Dean, getting up and heading down, the others followed.
They searched the area, and picked up a fair amount of weapons and ammunition, Dean walked around and took a log of everything they took. Once they had amassed everything they could get they loaded it onto the troop transport with the least amount of damage and drove down to the house.