Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mission Ready

Rudy Callahan hated tactical stakeouts.  He was a big man made bigger by the carbon-mesh armor, full helmet and panoply of weaponry that comprised the standard kit for an urban assault scenario. Cramming himself along with the rest of a Level IV assault squad into the troop carrier made for a tight fit. He could think of a hundred other places he’d rather be and a thousand other things he’d rather be doing, but none of them were viable options. 

He flinched, visibly, when the hand of his lieutenant settled on the pauldron of his suit. Callahan looked up, faking a smile his eyes betrayed.

“Y’know, we got plenty of guys on this if you wanna just take a powder, Cal. You don’t have to be in on this one. None of the team would think –“

“Yeah, el tee, I do have to be ‘in on this one’. This is more than professional. It’s uh…personal. Wasn’t your wife got caught providing aid and tech to the Rebels. Wasn’t your wife shot my partner when he found her out. Don’t…please don’t…tell me I don’t have to be ‘in on this one’.”

The lieutenant found the fortitude to ignore his officer’s reddening eyes and pleading tone. Withdrawing his hand, he nodded and moved away under the pretense of checking…something.

Regaining his composure, Callahan said a silent prayer Sheila and the others would have the decency to just surrender when the time came. Otherwise, he would do what had to be done.

This story was written for the weekly Thursday Threads flash fiction challenge prompt: "It's uh...personal."

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