Strike Back: Retribution

A/N: Here is my take on what happens between seasons 1 (Origins) and 2 (Project Dawn) of Strike Back, which I will try to update after every Batman chapter.

On a side note, when characters speak in a language other than English, I will be underlining the dialogue to show that it has been translated.



'The Afghanistan/Iran Border'

As the golden-brown desert was baked by the midday Sun that shown down mercilessly upon it, a lone Sheppard was leading his flock back home down a lonely and dusty road. This was a journey he made with his livestock everyday, never seeing another soul as he escorted his livelihood to the grasslands several miles away. And it appeared that today would be no different, since there yet again was no one else sharing this road with him ans his flock.

But suddenly an explosion erupted in the not so far off distance, making the Sheppard jump slightly as he instantly turned his attention to the billowing smoke that rose up into the cloudless blue sky. The Sheep surrounding him began to panic as they were started by the loud noise, which like a large pebble being dropped in a still pond, sent ripples throughout the area.

"Calm down!" he shouted at the animals, only for them to scatter and leave him standing there on the road.

"Damn it..." the Man then remarked with a disappointed tone, before the sound of vehicles and gunfire could be heard in the distance, getting louder as they got closer. So the Sheppard quickly got off the road and took cover behind a a large rock, just in time for a three desert-camouflaged Jeeps to speed past. All three completely ignoring him as soldiers in the last two fired on the car in front, making the Civilian's heart race as he held his hands to ears and fearfully waited for them to leave area.

After the speeding firefight was nothing more than a distant echo of machine-gun fire in th distance, the Sheppard got up from behind his cover and looked around him to see there was no sign of his flock, gaining an angred expression as he looked back in the direction the Jeeps had been heading.

"Fucking Foreigners!"

Meanwhile, John Porter was driving the lead-Jeep as the two closing from behind continued to fire on him, with bullets shooting past both sides of his head as he focused on keeping uis vehicle on the road. But then two bullets impacted on the dashboard, makig him greet his teeth as he picked up the hand-gun lying on the passenger seat beside him.

"Damn Americans!" he spat before firing several rounds back at his pursuers, which did nothing to dissuade them as they continued to press their attack.

'Okay, let's see how you like this!' he thought before dropping the gun back in it's place and picking up a hand-grenade that was lying next to it, quicking pulling it's pin out and holding it for a second, only to then throw the explosive back onto the road behind him, where it exploded under the nearest of the pursuing Jeeps. The force of the blast destroyed the vehicle, killing all on board as it was ripped apart. This made the other Jeep slam it's brakes on, coming to a halt behind the fire and smoke that was rising out of what was left of the first, while it's occupants continued to fire on Porter as he began to make some distance between them.

'That won't hold them back for long...' he started to think while returning his focus to the road ahead of him, as a concerned expression appeared on his face.

' did things get so fucked up so fast?' John mused as he remembered the events that transpired up until this moment.

It all started when Section-20, a top secret branch of MI6, sent him to extract a Computer Hacker called Gerald Baxter from the Helmand Province, Afghanistan. But of course, things never go according to plan or are ever that simple, because both he and Baxter ended up in the cross-hairs of both the Taliban and the Americans, since both parties wanted the latter dead.

And that was the fate that awaited the Brit as he took a bullet to the head from a lone Taliban fighter, leaving Porter on his own. But then things became even more complicated when the Operative found out that his friend/Superior Officer, Hugh Collinson, was the man responsible for the deaths of a number of John's squad-mates back on that fateful mission on the Eve of the Iraq Invasion, back in 2003.

Collinson even came to Afghanistan to kill Porter, posing as his would be rescuer. But after a brief fight, the former told the truth and aided in the latter's escape as more Taliban forces attacked, before dying while taking out a number of their enemies with a hand-grenade.

And now John found himself driving Collinson's Jeep down a deserted road toward Iran, trying to make some distance between himself and Sharq's Men, the ones responsible for Hugh and Gerry's deaths.

'Wait a second!' he thought before braking hard, bring the vehicle to a complete halt as the manoeuvre kicked up some dust from the ground, making the Soldier look back over his seat in the direction he had come from.

'What was it that Gerry had said?' John thought as he remembered back.

"Sharq just did a deal with the Americans, they are going to exchange you and me for arms and intelligence."

'He had a flash-drive on him too...I need that Intel...' the Man added, before then turning the Jeep around and heading back into Pakistan.

'...or I am dead.'

An hour later and Porter parked up near the area where he and Baxter were attacked, looking out at his surroundings to make sure he was alone.

'Looks quiet, but that doesn't mean that I am alone.' he thought, before his eyes fell upon the still body of Gerald Baxter that was still lying in the same spot that he died in,

This made John pause as the Man's death replayed again in his mind, before he shook his head and regained focus.

'Don't have time for that.' he added with a annoyed expression, before then getting out of the Jeep with his handgun and checking it was fully loaded.

'Right, let's do this.'

The Soldier then walked over to the corpse with his weapon ready, staying alert for any threat that might appear while he was out in the open like this.

"Oh, Gerry..." he then started to say in a soft tone after arriving at the body, which still had the photo of his family placed between his chest and right hand,.

"...I am sorry, Mate." Porter added as he knelt down beside him, before quickly taking one more look around him cautiously. Once the Section-20 Agent was sure that he was still alone, he took one hand off the AK and searched through Baxter's jacket and shirt pockets for the device.

'There you are.' he smiled while pulling the small blue flash-drive out and glancing down at it in his hand, before returning his attention to his fallen friend.

"I'll make sure they pay for this, Gerry..." John began to say in a determined tone while putting the drive in his vest's upper-right pocket and taking his weapon in both hands once.

"...I promise you." he added while getting back to his feet, before turning around and heading back to the Jeep. Though the Soldier did not make it even three steps before the vehicle suddenly exploded, with the shock-wave knocking him off his feet and back on to the dirt.

'What the hell!' Porter thought as he grimaced, before the sound of bullets impacting the ground next to him made him suddenly roll to his left, away from the gunfire. The Brit then quickly sat up and fired his pistol back in the direction of the attack, noticing another jeep park just aways, behind his now burning vehicle.

'Got to use that as cover.' John thought as he got back to his feet and charged towards the destroyed car, firing back at his attackers, three Taliban armed with AK's. They continued their attack, but due to smoke obstructing their view, the bullets harmlessly hit ground around Porter as he got to the wreckage of Collinson's Jeep.

'God damn, that's hot.' the Soldier thought as he knelt down as near as he could comfortably get to the fire, feeling the heat on his skin as he reloaded his weapon, before straining his eyes to see through the fire and smoke, hoping to see what the Taliban would do.

'That's good...' he began to think, having noticed that the three Men left their vehicle and started to make their way towards his location, since they did not have a clear shot on him any more.

'...come and get me.'

The three Taliban then split up as they got close to the burning car, with one going either side of the wreck, while the third remained just aways. But just as the left one started to circle round to Porter's side, a gunshot was heard as blood suddenly burst out the back of his head and stained the desert floor as his body fell upon it.

"Ali!" one of the other two shouted in shock, before the British Soldier stepped out from that side of the fire and fired two more shots into the middle's guy's chest, sending him down on to the dirt.

"Bastard!" the last guy on the right of the fire shouted, before opening fire through the billowing smoke. This made Porter dive into a roll as the bullets flew over ahead, quickly ending up in a kneeling pose and finding himself with a perfect aim at the third guy.

"Tough luck." he muttered before firing on the last guy, riddling him with bullets and killing him, leaving John on his own once more as he looked to see the three Taliban lying dead on the desert floor around him.

The Brit then quickly looted the three bodies, taking a AK and their spare clips, before heading to their Jeep that was parked on the ridge overlooking the area.

"Thanks for the ride, guys." he said while climbing into the front seat and noticing a map, two more clips and two hand grenades lying on the passenger-seat beside him.

But before he could do any more, two more vehicles suddenly appeared on the horizon and sped toward his location.

'Shit!' John thought with an aggressive expression, quickly starting the engine and turning the Jeep around as he then tried to escape them.

Back in the present, the second Taliban jeep had restarted it's pursuit of the Brit and was quickly making for lost ground as it's driver put his foot down, making a large trail of dust get kicked up into the air behind as it's other three occupants kept a lookout with their AK's at the ready.

"Over there!" one of them then shouted while pointing ahead to a deserted Jeep parked in the center of the road, smoke rising from it's engine hood.

"Porter may still be here, find him!" the driver ordered as he brought vehicle to a stop and the others climbed out. But before any of them could do any more, Porter rose up from the other side of his jeep and opened fire on his shocked pursuers, with the bullets from his weapon ripping through their bodies as he emptied an entire clip into the four Taliban.

A moment later and Porter was back on the road, with more ammunition and supplies as he noticed the daylight started to dim as the Sun began it's descent.

'Great, I've got to find somewhere to camp for the night.' he thought while taking the map in his right hand, while keeping his left on the wheel.

'There's got to be somewhere around here that will make a good hiding spot.' he thought while splitting his attention between the road ahead and the map, focusing around the area of the Afghan/Iran border.


London, MI6 Headquarters

Meanwhile, Layla entered the Section-20 Command Center and immediately looked at the main-screen, which currently showed a 'no signal' warning in it's center..

"Any luck, Danni?" she asked, gaining the British-Indian Woman's attention.

"No, not yet. We are still waiting for our Satellite to finish adjusting it's orbit, so we can have our eye in the sky over the area where we last had contact with 'John'..." she started to reply, with the blonde Woman noticing the slight feel of affection and worry in the other's voice as she spoke that name.

"...also I attempted to call him via Gerry Baxter's mobile number again, but there was no answer...just constant ringing."

"Don't worry, Danni. I am sure Collinson managed to reach him in time. Plus, it is not like John hasn't been in tough situations like this before." Layla said back with a comforting tone, earning a reluctant nod back from her colleague.

"Actually, I think that this has officially become the worst possible situation..." another female voice spoke from behind the pair, making them and the other workers in the room stop and look back to the door. Standing there in the doorway was a group of four people, two women and two Men dressed in Army fatigues. There was a petite Caucasian Woman with brown pixie styled hair, a tall black bearded Man, a dark-skinned Woman with shoulder length raven-hair and a tall Caucasian Man with short hair and chiselled features.

...because we have just heard via a source in the American administration that Collinson is KIA and Porter is on the run and heading to Iran..." the Caucasian Woman continued as she then entered the room, quickly followed by the others as Danni's expression changed to one of shock and fear.

"What?" she asked in disbelief, but the new arrival ignored her and carried on.

" fact, they have just tasked a Delta-Force Unit with a mission to kill him."

This brought confused look to Layla's face, who then shook her head slightly in reaction, before looking back at the Woman with questioning expression.

"What?...I apologise for any disrespect, but who are you?" she then asked, bringing the older Woman's stoic stare to her in return as she handed the blonde Woman a file.

"My name is Col. Elanor Grant and as of 20 minutes ago..." she began to say, before looking around the room to the others.

"...I am now in command of Section-20."

This brought a surprised look from Layla as she quickly read the file, before returning her attention to the Colonel.

"Oh, I see."

"Also, this is Maj. Oliver Sinclair..." the latter then said, gesturing to the black man standing to her right.

"..., Sgt. Julia Richmond and Sgt. Michael Stonebridge..." Grant continued, returning her attention back to Layla and Danny.

"...and you are Lt. Layla Thompson and Sgt. Danni Prendiville. And now all the introductions are out of the way, I suggest we get to work."

"And that would be...?" Danni then began to ask, bringing the Colonel's focus to her.

"That should have been made clear when I entered the room, Sergeant, because we are going to extract Porter from hostile territory and bring him home..." she started to answer, before then addressing the entire room.

"...but first we must relocate to our 'Crib' on the British Army Base in the Helmend Province of Afghanistan. Get started." Grant then finished, gaining nods from the other people in the room, before they then began to rush around the control room.

Meanwhile, the older Woman return her attention to the group standing around her.

"Once we have set up the Crib, Sgt. Stonebridge will head out to the last known co-ordinates of Porter and begin his search from there." Grant added, before turning to the younger Man.

"I know you will be able to handle this, Sergeant. That is part of the reason why I handpicked you from the SBS in the first place." she said, gaining a nod back in return.

"Of course, Maam. I will find Porter." he replied confidently, as the Colonel looked back to the others.

"We, meanwhile, will support Stonebridge with whatever Intel we can find."

This brought a worried expression to Layla's face, which did not go unnoticed by their new commanding officer.

"What is it, Lieutenant?"

"It's just, what about the Americans? Last time we tried to help John, they just came in and took over, with Collinson putting up little to no effort to resist." the blonde replied, gaining a knowing smirk from the Colonel.

"I think Frank Arlington will find that Section-20 won't be bending over for him and the USA any more."

This brought a look of relief to both Layla and Danni's faces as they nodded back, before Grant's face became stoic once more.

"Alright, People, let's get to work." she then ordered.

Back on the Iranian side of the border between it and Afghanistan, dark clouds gathered overhead as night took over the desert.


Porter sat in a cave with a small fire illuminating his surroundings, while the Jeep was parked in the cold dark outside. The Soldier leaned back against the rocky wall and sighed as he felt the heat of the fire against his skin, with this being the first real calm moment the man had experienced since beginning this mission, this mission that had already ended with failure as Gerry Baxter was now nothing more than corpse, lying out there in desert.

He thought about the photo that his late-friend had shown him, that of his family.

'Those kids are going to have to grow up without their Father, not knowing what happened to him out here.' John thought with a solemn look as he stared at the fire, before a more focused expression appeared on his face.

'No, Gerry's family will know what happened to him, I swear it.' he thought defiantly, before a hissing sound caught his attention from just beyond the fire, making the Soldier look in it's direction to see a Caspian Cobra slither into the cave towards him.

'Come on, stay back there.' he thought while sitting up slowly with a now alert expression on his face, picking up the AK that was lying at his side.

The Animal though, continued to move towards him, attracted by the heat and light of the fire.

"I have no quarrel with you. But if you come any closer, then I will have to put you down and I would rather not waste the bullets." Porter then said softly as he slowly took aim with his weapon at the creature, which moved closer still.

But then the Cobra then suddenly stopped and looked directly at the Soldier, before rising up and inflating it's sides as it hissed loudly at him, making John shake his head slowly in return.

"Sorry, Mate, but you picked the wrong fight today." he replied before pulling the trigger, just as thunder crackled outside, covering the sound of his AK.

A moment later, the snake lay dead just a few feet away from Porter, who closed his eyes and tried to sleep as thunder crackled once more outside. This was followed by a flash of lightning that illuminated the whole desert for a moment, before everything was once more enveloped by the dark of night.


('Short Change Hero' playing)

A/N: Well I hope you enjoyed this first Chapter and I want to thank you for reading it, since it is greatly appreciated. :)

Next Chapter: While Stonebridge begins his search for Porter in Afghanistan, the latter comes up against Arlington's Delta-Force Unit in Iran.

American Embassy, London

A well groomed Caucasian Man in an expensive suit entered his office on the Embassy's top floor and sat down at his desk, before activating his computer and scrolling through his messages. There were a number of files, books and other items neatly arranged on the desk, including a small metal name plaque reading...

'Mr. Frank Arlington, American Liaison to the British Government.'

"Mr. Arlington..." a female voice then spoke from the small Intercom standing at the far right of his desk, gaining his attention.

"...I am just checking that you remember about your 2pm meeting with the British Prime-Minister?" she added, making him press a button on the device and reply.

"Thanks for the reminder, Jenny, but I've already made note of it in my schedule..." he started to say, only to stop as he noticed a new E-Mail appear in his Inbox.

"...Sir?" his Secretary then asked with a confused tone, bringing his attention back to her.

"Thanks again, Jenny, but I have some important files to go through." the US Liaison quickly replied before cutting her off and clicking on the E-Mail from a Zahar Sharq.

'We have to talk.' was all it said, earning an inquisitive expression from Arlington as he activated a video-chat program. And within a couple of seconds, a smartly dressed Afghan Man appeared on the screen.

"Mr. Sharq, I'm guessing from that single, rather negative sounding sentence, that Porter hasn't been neutralised." the American said with a polite tone, though it barely disguised the bitterness that he felt from hearing of Sharq's failure. But if his Ally was affected by Arlington's attitude, he did not show it as he calm and cooly stared back.

"Porter is a far more difficult man to kill than we thought, and he has now crossed the border into Iran, which is a country that we cannot follow him into." the Afghan Politician replied, earning a slight smile from Arlington in return.

"Well, there is nothing out of the Administration reach." he said back, making Sharq stare back curiously.

"I take it that you are referring to the 'Delta Force' Unit that has been spotted in our territory?"

"That's correct. Their orders are to terminate Porter or at least divert him back over the border..." the American Liaison began to reply, only for his Ally to instinctively finish off his sentence.

"...where both our forces can surround and finish him off."

"Exactly..." Arlington then continued.

"...and this is why the Administration and I believe that an alliance with you, Mr. Sharq, will bring great dividends for our respective goals. Because like us, you can see the big picture and know just what needs to be done in order to see it through." the American added, gaining a nod from the other man as he stared back.

"Of course...Mr. Arlington, so you will keep me appraised of where and when your 'Delta-Force' makes contact with Porter?"

"Naturally and in the meantime, my Superiors have agreed to give you whatever information and hardware that you require."

This finally brought a smile to Sharq's cold and collected expression.

"Excellent, then please allow me to give you the finer details of what it is that my associates and I need."


20 Miles from the Afghan/Iran border

Michael Stonebridge focused purely on the road ahead of him as he drove his Jeep down the dusty road that weaved in and out of the rocky surroundings that made up the Afghan desert, all while the hot sun mercilessly bore down on him from above in the cloudless sky overhead.

"Bravo-One, this is Zero..." Col. Grant's voice then spoke through the Sargent's earpiece.

"...our Satellite images have you coming up to the failed EZ that Maj. Collinson had set up for Porter."

This made the Soldier split his attention from the road ahead, glancing down at the GPS device that lay on the passenger seat beside him.

"Roger that, Zero. I should be arriving there any moment..." he began to reply, only to stop as he noticed the burnt-out remains of another Jeep on a ridge just ahead, making him hit the breaks as his vehicle came to a halt.

"...hold on, there is something up ahead." he continued, looking over to the wreck as a little smoke continued to rise up from it.

"We can see it as well, Bravo-One. But there is no sign of hostiles in your current location." the Colonel added over the radio, gaining a nod from Stonebridge as he looked around the area. But then he saw the slightest movement in he corner of his eye, making him look over and see a Vulture pecking at what looked like a corpse lying on the ground aways to his right.

"There's also a body, most likely that of Gerald Baxter." he then stated, before equipping his pistol and firing it up into the sky, scaring the bird away as it took off.

The Soldier then climbed out of the vehicle and made his way over to the corpse, noticing the strong smell emanating from it and the swarm of flies flying around it, making him take a breath and kneel down to examine it more closer.

"Zero, the body has been here for a few days from the look of it..." he started to explain, removing the cap that was covering the dead man's face.

"...and I can confirm that it is Gerald Baxter."

"Well there is not much we can do for him now, Bravo-One. Is there anything else that you can tell us?" his Superior then asked, making the Soldier look away to the ground, only to notice a bunch of boot-prints in the sand next to him.

"Yes, Zero..." Michael started to say as he moved away from Baxter's corpse.

"...there are several boot-prints that look only a few hours and they match the standard military issue that US Special Forces use."

"That just confirms that our sources were correct, that the US are also after Porter, Bravo-One." Grant replied over the radio, earning a nod from Stonebridge as he then saw tire tracks just a few yards away.

"And I know what direction they are heading in..." he started to reply, before glancing down at his compass.

"...which is west of this location."

"That is in the direction of the Afghan/Iran border." Layla then spoke, earning a nod from the Soldier.

"Then I better get moving, because whoever the US has sent after Porter has a good head-start over me." Michael said back as he got back to his feet, making on last scan of his surroundings while he headed back to his waiting vehicle.

"Roger that, Bravo-One. If we receive any new Intel, then we will be sure that you know it." Col. Grant then replied while standing at the Operations table in Section 20's 'Crib', before the Sargent's voice came over the radio.

"Acknowledged, Bravo-One out."

Once the Soldier had disconnected the transmission, the Commander looked down at the table before her with a thoughtful expression, earning curious looks from both Sinclair and Layla.

"Colonel?" the former then asked, making their superior look over to the latter.

"Lieutenant, please gather all our most recent Intel on troop movements along the Iranian border and have it on my desk in the next 20 minutes..." she started to say, before looking at the big screen behind them all which showed Stonebridge's signal approaching the Afghan side of the border.

"...since Stonebridge will be crossing it in the next 35."

"Yes, Colonel." Layla replied before turning away and heading Danni's direction, leaving Grant and Sinclair alone at the table.

"Major, I think it would also be a good idea to keep tabs on Frank Arlington." the former then said, gaining a curious expression from Sinclair.

"The US Liaison?" he said back, making the Colonel nod back.

"Yes, because he was the one who strong-armed Collinson into giving him the co-ordinates for Porter and Baxter's evacuation."

"I heard, it was the old 'America is bigger than Britain' chestnut." the latter said back, while Grant glanced around the room, watching everyone working at their stations.

"Well, it's only a matter of time before Arlington finds out what we are doing. And he will want to put a stop to it, which is something I am not going to let happen..." she began to reply with a determined tone.

"...not so the US can cover-up one more of it's mistakes by blaming it on someone else." she added, earning a mirrored look and a nod from Sinclair in return.

"Colonel, with your permission, I have some contacts in the US Administration. I could speak with them..." he then started to reply, which made Grant shake her head.

"It's a good idea, Major. But at this time, I would rather wait until Stonebridge has recovered Porter, before we reveal our intentions to anyone else." she answered in a respectful but firm tone, gaining a knowing expression from her Subordinate.

"Colonel, with all due respect, if I believed for any second that either of these contacts could do what you are suggesting, then I would never have made the suggestion..." the Major replied, bringing a thoughtful look to the Section-20 Leader's face.

"...and who says that I even have to make any mention of Porter or anything to do with the Section's current objectives." he continued, earning a nod from Grant.

"Very well, you have my permission to proceed." she replied, earning a nod from Sinclair before he turned and walked away. The Colonel then walked over to her desk and began looking over files, while everyone continued to work.


Shileh, Iran

Meanwhile, an hour or so later in the far eastern Iranian Town, Porter sat in his Jeep and watched the crowds moving through the Market-place ahead, keeping to himself so not to bring attention to his being there as foreigners, let alone British were not exactly welcome in the outer regions of the country.

"Damn it!" the Soldier cursed under his breath with a frustrated expression while looking down at Baxter's mobile, whose screen had just gone blank.

'Battery's dead, I need another phone.' he added with a thought as he then looked at his surroundings, with the street continuing to be busy with people walking back and forth. But it was then that he saw at one of the stalls, it's owner finish using their mobile and placing it down on the table there.

'Okay, I guess I have to take his while he's not looking.' he added before getting out of his vehicle and walking into the crowds, making his way to the Stall and his objective.

As expected, this earned some suspicious staring from the locals, who could tell instantly that Porter did not belong there, despite his trying to remain inconspicuous.

'I'm standing out like a Nun in a Brothel.' the Section-20 Agent thought as he persevered to get the phone, moving through the crowds despite the glaring stares that were quickly building up as he passed by. This wasn't the first time that John had to put up with questioning looks, since he had similar experiences with people who had thought that he had killed his squad-mates back in 2003, in Iraq.

'Just keep staring, People. Not like I give a...' the Soldier began to think, only to stop a mere 10 yards away from the Stall as he saw two men just aways from him in the corner of his eye, dressed in uniforms.

'Damn it, Police!' he thought while turning his attention to them, just as they did with him. This made the Brit suddenly change direction and move away from the Cops and the Stall, trying to get out of their line of sight.

But before Porter could move, he was suddenly bumped into by another that was walking in the opposite direction.

"Watch where you're going, Arsehole!" the Man spat as he stormed passed, earning a disgruntled grunt from the British Soldier. Even though the latter did not understand the language, John did get that the other guy's reaction was rather hostile. Now if this was anywhere else, he would probably give that guy a piece of his mind, but keeping a low profile waw more important right at this moment, so he kept his focus on getting out of sight. But then something hit him, like a moment of clarity.

"Wait a minute?" Porter said under his breath as he looked back at the other man, who continued to walk away. Now at first impression, the civilian looked just like any of them in this town, except that he wore a rather heavy looking coat.

'It's a bit too warm for that...' he started to think, before his eyes narrowed as he noticed the guy's footwear.

'...and I doubt anyone here could afford standard military boots.' the soldier added as he clenched his fists in response, before the other then glanced over his own soldier and stared back, their eyes meeting as John's widened in surprise.

'He's not Iranian!'

This earned a similar expression from the other guy as he suddenly turned, opened his coat and revealed an assault-rifle.

"Shit!" Porter spat as he dived behind some trash and rolled across the floor as the other opened fire on him.

The sound of gunfire panicked the crowds in the Market nearby as everyone started running in all directions, while the two Police Officers equipped their pistols and ran in it's direction. But before they even made it three feet in front of them, both men were shot in the head as blood spilled out over the floor, while a nearby woman screamed as their bodies fell to the ground.

Meanwhile, Porter had managed to get behind a nearby wall as his attacker continued to open fire on him.

'Damn it! My AK is back in the Jeep. I need to get back to it.' he thought while moving back along the wall, due to the enemy's rounds breaking through it like it was toilet paper. But then the gunfire stopped, alerting the Soldier to a change in tactics.

'He's coming.' he added while getting into a squat and slowly edging himself along the wall, waiting for an opening. Surely enough, the moment the muzzle of the M4 appeared around the edge of the wall, the Brit pounced and grabbed the barrel as he pulled the enemy around to him.

Porter grimaced as the heat coming off the gun's muzzle burnt into his palm, but that did not stop him from landing a punch to the other guy's face with his other hand. This caused the latter to stumble back

as the former followed through with a kick to the enemy's knee, making the him lose his balance before then having his head slammed into the wall, knocking him unconscious.

"What the...?" Porter then exclaimed with a curious tone while looking down at the felled Man's weapon.

'That's an M4 Commando, a favorite of US Special Forces...' he added, picking up the other's rifle and his side-arm.

' the Americans are still after me...' John continued to dwell, before the sight of two similarly dressed men with M4s appeared from around the corner.

'...hold that thought.' he finished while opening fire on them, making both men take cover as he then bolted back in the direction of his vehicle.

"Gamma-three is down and target has his weapons." one of the Men then shouted into his com, while his comrade noticed their felled team-mate begin to move.

"He's okay, just dazed."

"Good, but now get back on mission. Where is the Target heading?" another male voice spoke over the com-link, making both men look in the direction that Porter ran.

"I reckon he is heading back to his Jeep." the former replied, gaining a nod from the latter.

"I agree."

"Alright, Gammas One and Two, leave Gamma-three there and get back to the Marketplace. It is now deserted and will leave the target out in the open, that is where we will terminate him." the unknown voice said back.

"Roger that, Alpha-One." Gamma-One replied as he and his comrade got up and headed in Porter's direction, leaving their comrade to slowly recover on the ground.

Meanwhile, a sniper was in position on a rooftop that overlooked the entire marketplace, giving her excellent field of view. She could see that despite all of the gunfire and the two dead cops lying there for all to see, there were still a few civilians in the area, hiding in the buildings or behind any cover they could find.

"Everyone, there are more Police on the way, so let's get this done." She heard Alpha-One say over the-Com-link, while always looking through the scope of her rifle as Porter came into view, only to quickly get behind cover.

"The target is here, but I have no shot since he has taken cover behind one of the stalls." she said into her com-link with a calm and collected manner.

"Then take out his reason for heading back there." the leader replied, earning a nod from the Sniper as she placed the rifle down and picked up the nearby RPG.

"Fire in the hole." she then said before firing the weapon, which Porter heard just before the vehicle exploded.

'Shit!' the Brit thought as he peaked from behind a stall and saw the Jeep, which was now had fire and smoke rising up from it's burnt husk.

'That RPG came from somewhere around here.'

So Porter took a quick peak out from behind his cover, looking out at the area in front of him. But his attention was caught by the glimpse of some sunlight reflecting off something on the roof on the other side of the street, which made his eyes widen as the Soldier realised what it was.

"Fuck!" he exclaimed while ducking back behind the stall, just as a gunshot was heard and a bullet struck the ground just behind him.

'A bloody Sniper...!' he added while gripping the M4 in his hands, before looking back in the direction he had come from and heard footsteps approaching quickly.

'And here comes the rest.'

But despite the odds of the situation increasing against him, Porter took a deep breath and pictured where he saw the Sniper.

'I hope this works.' John thought as he equipped the American's handgun and quickly fired blindly in the direction of the hidden sharpshooter, making her take cover as a few of his shots impacted the small rooftop wall she had her rifle balanced on.

"Damn it!" she spat while lying face down on the floor as Porter continued to fire up at her.

But then the British Soldier saw his chance and quickly leaped over the stall and began sprinting across the exposed street, just as the other two Americans appeared and fired their weapons at him. The gunfire narrowly missed Porter as he focused on getting away, before disappearing down the alleyway that was ahead of him.

"Shit!" Gamma-One spat as he quickly reloaded his weapon, while Gamma-four started looking down the scope of her rifle again, trying to regain a visual of their target.

"Gamma-four, report!" Alpha-One ordered over the Com-link, unease and frustration evident in his voice.

"The Target got away." the Sniper replied, gaining a nod from Gamma-two.

"Yeah, he's good."

"I don't care what you think of him, Gamma-two. I just want you to complete our orders, so please tell me that one of you managed to get a tracker on him?"

"Yeah, I did..." Gamma-three then said as he rejoined his comrades, holding what looked to be a Mobile in his hands.

"...and he is heading towards a Warehouse 300 metres from here." he added while pointing across the street, gaining a nod from the others.

" -four, better get down here and join us, because this particular target will obviously take some extra effort to take down." Gamma-One said into his com-link, making the Sniper acknowledge from the rooftop before equipping her assault rifle and heading downstairs.

"...and Gamma-three, don't lose this one." the team-leader then began to say as he handed his comrade his side-arm, before looking in the direction of the warehouse as Alpha-One spoke to them all over their com-links.

"As soon as Gamma-four rejoins you, move in on the warehouse and take the Target down. We don't have alot of time left before more Police show up here and if we are identified, it will give our Superiors an international headache."

All the American Soldiers nodded back as the Sniper exited the building and regrouped with the other, earning a serious look from Gamma-One.

"Okay, let's move."

Meanwhile, back in the Crib, Danni was working purposefully at her desk before something appeared on her screen, making her eyes widen in response.

"Colonel!" she suddenly called out, gaining the attentions of Grant, Sinclair and Lyla, who all quickly joined the former's side.

"What is it Lieutenant?" her Superior asked, prompting the younger Woman to begin reading aloud the data from her screen.

"We just intercepted a message from a Police-station in the Iranian border town of Shileh. Apparently, there has been a reports of an unknown group of people attacking someone and none of them are Iranian."

"It must be the Americans, they have found Porter." Sinclair replied, bringing an inqusitive expression to Grant's face as she then looked back at the map of the region that was on the main screen before them.

"Where did Stonebridge say he was during his last check-in?"

"The Sargent said that he had successfully crossed the border into Iran, which means that he should nearly at that town." Layla reported.

"Get this information to him..." the Colonel then said to Danni, before looking over at Sinclair and Lalya, who lookedback with concerned expression.

"...we can only hope that Stonebridge can get there in time." she added, gaining nods from them.

Bullets were flying around Porter as he attempted to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, quickly turning into an alleyway just as some of the projectiles impacted on a wall next to him.

'That was too close.' the British soldier thought, before taking a quick moment to take in his immediate surroundings.

'I really need some cover.' He thought before taking in his immediate surroundings, noticing a door just to his left. So without even thinking twice, John kicked the door open and ran inside, just as the American soldiers entered the alleyway and noticed the bursted open door. This gained an unsure expression from Gamma-One as he looked between the open door and the remainder of the alleyway, before turning to Gamma-Three.

"Is he...?" he started to ask, only for his comrade to cut him off with a smirk.

"In the Warehouse? Yes, he is." The soldier replied, gaining a nod back from the leader in return as he activated his radio.

"The Target has taken refuge in an abandoned building." He stated, before the voice of their Commander spoke back over the com.

"As Gamma-Four said before, that building is a warehouse. I have access to its schematics and it only has one entrance/exit, so Porter has been backed into a corner."

"Yes, we will get him, Alpha-One..." Gamma-One began to reply, before looking back out at the open street behind them.

"...Gamma-Four, you will guard this entrance when you reach us. Understood?"

"Will do." The Woman's voice spoke back, while the three men then entered the building, finding themselves standing in a tight corridor with stairs to their right and another doorway to their left which they could see led into the large storage room.

"Gamma-Three, take the stairs. Gamma-Three, with me." The lead-soldier ordered as the group then split up.

As Gamma-Three ascended to the first floor, Porter was taking cover behind some supply boxes as he checked his weapons. From his vantage point, the British-soldier could see not only the top of the stairs, but also down to the floor below since the first floor was essentially one long balcony that ran around the walls of the building.

'So, they've split up. That should make things a little easier.' He thought, noticing just two of the enemies entering the room below, quickly separating and searching either side of it. While the sounds of approaching footsteps made him return his attention to the stairs, as Gamma-Three appeared there. But then as he quickly returned his attention to his weapons, Porter noticed that he was low on bullets for his M4.

'Okay, I will need more for this.' he thought before switching to his side-arm and pressing his back up against the stack of boxes, just as the American soldier unknowingly closed in on his position.

"Gamma-One, there is no sign of him up here." he said into his radio.

"He is in here, just keep looking." Gamma-One answered back in an irritated tone, gaining a reluctant nod back from her soldier as he approached a large stack of boxes.

"Well, I want another cracking at this guy, because no one gets the drop on me twice..." He began to say, just as he gripped his weapons tightly and turned around the stack. But before he could say anything else, Porter quickly grabbed him by his hands and pushed the weapon down to help ground.

"Careful what you wish for." The Brit remarked as the enemy-soldier eyes widened in return.

"Wha...?" he exclaimed before Porter followed through with a punch to the face, which made the former instinctively pull the trigger of his weapons, firing a shot into the floor and alerting his comrades.

"First Floor!" Gamma-One could be heard shouting, as the British-soldier hit the other American again, before noticing a flashback grenade on his utility belt.

'That will do.' He thought while snatching the device and elbowing Gamma-Three once more in the face, knocking him to the ground. John the followed through by pulling it's pin and through the grenade down to the floor below.

"Look out!" Gamma-Three shouted, before the room was enveloped in a bright flash of white light and a deafening boom, which disorientated both Delta Force operatives.

Gamma-One, come in." A female voice then spoke over the team-leader radio, as he lied on his stomach and shook his head as he tried to recover.

"Gamma-Four," Gamma-One stammered as he and his comrade got to their knees, while the sounds of fighting could just about be heard from above as the effects of the flashback wore off.

"We have incoming." The sniper replied in an alert tone, earning a curious look from the leader.

"Iranian Police?"

"No, someone else."


Meanwhile, Stonebridge drove his jeep into the town market, noticing how desolate it appeared.

"Zero, I'm entering the market square and I could have sworn that I heard gunfire just now." He said into his com-link, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings as he switched into second dear and slowed the vehicle down.

"Look sharp, Bravo-One. That area is where the trouble started, according to their police's radio chatter." Layla replied over the radio, gaining a nod from the soldier before something caught his attention from just ahead.

'What the...?' Michael started to think as his eyes focused on a flash of light coming from an alleyway entrance about 20 yards away, like something was reflecting the sunlight back at him.

'...oh shi..!' he concluded with his eyes widening as he realised what it was, quickly braking as he grabbed the weapon beside him. But almost immediately, the bullets began to fly as he was fired upon from the alleyway. Stonebridge dived out of the vehicle on too the ground on it's other side, but not before one stray bullet scraped his right shoulder.

"Fuck!" he grimaced before taking cover behind the jeep, with gunfire continuing without pause as it hit and ricocheted off it.

"Bravo-One, report!" Grant shouted over the radio, while the British man leaned back against the vehicle's front left wheel.

"I am under fire, Zero, from an alleyway about 20 yards away." He stated before the Jeep's side mirror was hit, shattering it into pieces on the ground next to him.

"Apologies, Bravo-One, but we are experiencing problems with our satellite-link at the moment, so I am afraid we cannot offer much help at the moment." Danny added with a worried tone, earning an understanding smirk back from the Brit.

"That's okay. I already know where it's coming from." Stonebridge replied with a quiet confidence to his words, before taking a deep breath just as the gunfire stopped.

'Okay...' He thought before rolling onto his front so he could see the alleyway from between the ground and the underside of the jeep, his weapons already locked and loaded as he stared down it's sights.

'...there you are.' He added while noticing a female sniper crouched behind the alleyway's left wall, having good just finished reloading her weapon. She then looked back through it's scope, trying to spot him behind his bullet-ridden jeep, when she suddenly tightened up as she spotted him.

'No, you don't.' the Brit thought as he opened fire on her with three shots from his rifle, with one hitting the wall behind her, while the other two hit her right knee and shoulder.

"Urrgh!" she grimaced in pain while falling down onto her back, while Stonebridge got back onto his knees and quickly scanned the area ahead as gunfire could be heard beyond the alleyway entrance.

"All clear, Zero. I can hear more gunfire and am moving in to investigate." He reported into his radio, before then making his way to the alleyway.

"Roger that, Bravo-One. Be careful."

Back in the Warehouse, Porter dived behind the cover of more boxes as the two American soldiers on the ground-floor had recovered and started firing up in his general direction, while Gamma-Three was still flat on his back nearby.

"Did you hear that?" Gamma-Two asked, making the squad leader shake his head before firing another burst of bullets up at Porter.

"Hear what?"

"Sounded like gunfire outside. Perhaps..." the other soldier started to say, only for Gamma-One to cut him off.

"Gamma-Four can handle it, focus on the target." He shouted over their combined weapons fire, while on the floor above, Porter weighed his options as he hid behind a stack of wooden boxes as the bullets flew over his head.

'Damn it, I heard that gunfire too. Probably the Iranian reinforcements.' He thought before taking a peek out from the side of the boxes at the enemies below, noticing one gesture to the other to head for the stairs.

'Not good.' He added before looking back at Gamma-Two, who was still slowly recovering on the floor next to him and noticed that he was carrying more than just flashbangs. So he stayed low and moved to the enemy soldier, before taking another flashbang and a grenade.

"Sorry, Mate, but I need these more than you." Porter said, earning a groan from the other guy as he armed the latter device and tossed at the stairwell, just as Gamma-Two was climbing them.

"Shit! Grenade!" he exclaimed in a panic before the explosive went off, knocking the guy into the concrete wall behind him.

"Gamma-Two!" the lead-soldier called out, just before another flashbang was tossed over the balcony in his general direction.

"God damn..." he spat while quickly shielding his eyes only seconds before the room was once again enveloped in a flash of white light, disorientating him more.

'Now!' Porter then thought as he quickly got to his feet and jumped over the balcony's railing, landing on the floor below just aways from the dazed enemy-leader. He then started for the exit, but was stopped as a gunshot was fired, hitting a pillar just to his left.

"Hold it!" Gamma-Three exclaimed from the floor above, having recovered and was now aiming a handgun at his target, who stopped and slowly put his hands in the air.

"You're not going anywhere..." the American added before glancing down to Gamma-One, who too had recovered and now aimed his rifle at Porter as well.

"You alright, Sir?" he asked, gaining a nod back.

"Yes, now go and check on Gamma's Two and Four while I execute our Target here." The lead-soldier replied while walking in front of Porter, stopping between the Brit and the exit, never lowering his weapon as the latter stared back with a silent rage.

"You really are a piece of work, Porter. I thought Command was exaggerating when gave us your profile, but you're the real deal, aren't you..?" Gamma-One began to say while the British Soldier remained silent and just stared daggers back at him, before Gamma-Three spoke up.

"Gamma-Two is alive, Sir, but he is going to need medical attention." He shouted, earning a nod back from the leader.

"Call for an evac and go check on Gamma-Four while I finish Porter in the meantime." He replied while quickly switching to his pistol.

"Now I was going to execute you on your knees..." he started to say, his words underlined with a respectful tone as he aimed the handgun at Porter's head.

"...but I don't think that kind of death is worthy of a soldier like you..." he continued, as John just stayed quiet and closed his hands into fists.

"...because I would rather fight beside one like you than put one down, what a waste." he then finished while tightening his finger against the trigger as Porter simply closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable as he remembered his Daughter.

'I'm so sorry, Lexie...' he began to think, only to stop as he felt a fire erupt from within himself.

'...No! I am not going out like this!' the Brit thought while opening his eyes and gritting his teeth, just as the other Delta Force soldier shouted, taking the leader's the attention away.

"CONTACT!" was all that the two Men heard, earning a confused look from Gamma-One as he instinctively glanced over his shoulder towards the door. This gave Porter the moment he was after, so the soldier lunged at his enemy.

"What...?!" the American began to say before he was then tackled to the ground, with Porter punching the guy in the face, making him drop his pistol to the ground as he started to fight back. The pair wrestled there on the floor, exchanging hits as they both fought to gain an advantage over the other.

"I...should...have...known...that it...wouldn't..." the Delta Force soldier managed to say as they rolled around on the floor fighting, before finishing up with Porter on top, who hit him with a right hook.

" that...easy." he added, before managing to equip his knife and slash the former SAS soldier's right arm.

"Arrrgh!" Porter grimaced, before Gamma-One followed through with another punch to the former's face with his free hand, forcing his opponent back enough for the American to then kick him off. This sent the Brit falling on to his back, further away from freedom as the latter quickly equipped his rifle, which was still harnessed to him, and aim it back at his enemy.

"You fight well, but it's over." the US soldier said with a slight tenseness to his voice, since his cheek still smarted from that last right hook. Meanwhile, Porter panted a little before spitting out some blood onto the floor as he slowly began to sit up, never taking his eyes off the other guy.

" just...take the shot, give me...another opening." he replied in a critical tone, earning a slight smirk from Gamma-One in return, who shook his head and chuckled.

"I like you, Porter, but..." he began to say as the pair found themselves in the same situation once again, before starting to pull the trigger.

"Stop right there!" another voice called out from behind the two men, one with a distinctively British accent, gaining their attention as they looked back to see a Man standing just aways from the exit with his rifle pointed at the American.

"Drop the gun, now!" he spat, earning a sigh from Gamma-One, who did just that while Porter looked at he new arrival with a confused look.

"And here I thought, that the British Government had given up on Porter over here. Since doing otherwise would out you at odds with us, your Allies." The Delta Force team-leader replied as the other British Soldier stood over him, never lowering his weapon as he stared down at him.

"Well, you thought wrong." he replied, before tossing a handgun to Porter, who caught it with a bemused look, before checking that it was fully loaded.

"I guess we did, but you guys are going to be in trouble now." Gamma-One said back with a knowing tone and smirk, gaining a shrug from the armed man.

"We'll see about that..." he began to reply, before hitting American in the face with the butt of his rifle, knocking the latter out as he turned his attention to Porter.

"...what do you say to getting out of here?"

This earned a cautious look from the other Brit as he sat there on the ground.

"And you are? He asked back.

"My name is Michael Stonebridge, I'm a Sergeant working for Section 20..." the arrival began to explain, which made Porter's eyes narrow as he then pointed the pistol directly at the former.

"Wait! What are you doing?!" the younger Man exclaimed, holding his hands before him in a none-threatening manner.

"The last person who came for me worked for Section-20 and he wanted to kill me. So am I a dirty little problem that HMG wants go get rid of?" Porter asked with a firm and distrusting tone as he continued to aim the gun at the other soldier.

"No, that couldn't be further from the truth. Col. Eleanor Grant is now in charge of Section-20 following the death and discredit of Maj. Collinson. She sent me into Iran to bring you back home..." Stonebridge began to explain, only to be cut short as Porter interrupted him with a curious expression.

"Eleanor sent you?" he asked, ever so slightly lowering his weapon while doing so. This gained a nod from Michael.

"Yes, the Colonel did."

This made the other Brit lower the gun completely and sigh as he slouched, sighing in return.

"I'm sorry, Mate. I have been running on instinct for a while now, even before this mess with the US and Taliban. It's just been me out here, on my own and usually in the dark." Porter replied with a tinge of regret to his voice, before Stonebridge walked over and offered him his hand.

"Well, not anymore."

John looked up at the open hand and then at the face of the younger man who was offering it, who gave him a reassuring smile. This made the former mirror that expression before taking his hand, before he latter helped him to his feet.

"What did you say was your name again?" He asked.

"Michael Stonebridge." The younger man replied, gaining a nod back as they then shook hands.

"John Porter."

"Nice to meet you. Now pick up what you need from our unconscious friends here, while I contact the Crib." The other Brit said back, earning a curious look from his new comrade.

"The Crib?"

"It's Section-20's Mobile Command Station. Col. Grant set one up at the British Army Base in Afghanistan's Helmand Province." Michael explained as he tapped his radio-earpiece, while Ported knelt down and picked up Gamma-One's rifle and took his spare clips as well.

"I'm getting used to taking these guys stuff." He then said with a chuckle.

"Zero, this is Bravo-One."

"Sergeant, what is the sit-rep?" Col. Grant then asked over the radio, making the soldier look back at his new friend.

"I've made contact with Porter and we are now heading back out of the town..." he began to reply, before turning his attention to the exit and the alleyway beyond it.

"...but I need to know if we should be expecting any trouble."

"Just a moment, Stonebridge." The Colonel replied, before another voice spoke up.

"Sergeant, we have re-established contact with our satellite and have image of the area your signal is coming from. The Iranian Police reinforcements are just under 4 minutes out, while there is an unmarked helicopter approaching from the west, that will be there in two." Layla then said, earning a nod from Michael.

"Thanks, we are on our way out now."

"Roger that, Bravo-One." Grant then finished, before the soldier ended the talk and turned to Porter, who was standing there with weapon in hand.

"Ready when you are." The older Man said with a confident smirk, gaining a mirrored look from Stonebridge in return.

"My jeep is outside. It's a little shot up, but should get us back over the border. Let's go."

With that, both men then headed out of the building, passed both beaten Delta Force members as they left the alleyway and climbed into the Jeep. But as Gamma-Two remained unconscious, lying next to the Warehouse's entrance.

The team's sniper was preoccupied with trying to treat wounds, which had become far more difficult, considering she only had one working arm at the moment. So all she could do was watch as her team's target escaped in the other guy's vehicle, before her attention was caught by her radio activating.

"Gamma team, come in. Your chopper for extraction will be at your location in under 3 minutes. Did you complete your objective, is Porter neutralised?" Alpha-One then said, making the Sniper grimace as she stopped what she was doing and grabbed her radio.

"Negative, Alpha-One. The target got away with some help. But we are in need of some medical attention." She replied while glancing over at Gamma-Two, earning a second or two of silence from the leader.

"...I see, well I will inform the Chopper's crew. Just make sure you and the others are ready for a quick extraction, because the Iranian police are only minutes away."

"Copy that, Gamma-Four out." The woman replied painfully, before turning her attention back to her comrades.

"Well, that went well."


US Embassey, London

Meanwhile, Arlington was in the middle of a meeting with several other people when his phone began to ring.

"Please, excuse me." He said with a polite tone, before getting up from the table and walking to the corner of the room and taking the call, out of earshot of the others.

"Arlington." He answered with quiet confidence about him.

"Mission Failure, target is in the wind." Alpha-One spoke, earning a sudden inflexion of frustration to the US Liaison's face as he sighed disappointedly.

"What happened?" he asked, barely keeping his anger hidden behind his calm voice.

"The team reported that Porter was aided by another British Soldier. One even swears they heard him mention 'Section-20' as they recovered..." Alpha-One answered, only for Arlington to cut him off.

"Recovered? Weren't 'any' of them killed?" he asked with a curious tone.

"No, Sir. It appears that wasn't on the cards for the British."

"Well, that's unfortunate..." Arlington began to say with a disappointed tone once more, before glancing back at the meeting, where the others were talking amongst themselves.

"...but I guess that we will have to make do with the situation as it is."

"Sir?" Alpha-One asked with confusion evident in his voice, even over the phone.

"Send another team in pursuit."

"But we do not know where Porter and the British soldier are heading." The Delta Force Commander said back, making the Politician grit his teeth in return.

"Isn't it obvious! They will be heading back into Afghanistan at the closest side of the border possible. So send a team in that direction. While you do that, I will find out where their extraction point is and have 'someone else' slow them down. So get started and don't contact me until it is done." He then said with a snap to his voice, before turning off the phone and turning back to the meeting, only to find himself being himself at by the others at the table.

"I apologise, but something has come up and I must go back to my office." he quickly said, breaking the moment of silence in the room as he recovered his composure and walked over to his suitcase.

"Yes, we completely understand." one of the suits said back, before another spoke up.

"Each one of us, in one time or another, had to leave during a meeting in a hurry over something that needed our immediate attention."

"So, we will all end this meeting now and reconvene at a later time, which will be convenient for all of us." the former replied, gaining an appreciative nod back from Arlington as they all began to pack their suitcases.

"Until then." he replied before hastily leaving the room and heading up the nearby stairwell to his office, not acknowledging any person who may walk by his person as he did so.

But as soon as the American entered his assistant's office, Jenny focused her attention on Frank as he walked past.

"Mr. Arlington, you have three messages waiting for you on your desk." she said, making him stop and look back at her.

"They will have to wait, Jenny, but please get me the name of whoever is running Section-20 and connect me to them."

"Okay, Sir." she replied before returning to her computer, while Arlington entered his office and sat down behind his desk and activated his computer, bringing up his e-mail.

'Mr. Sharq, we need to talk. Contact me asap.' he typed, before clicking the send button, just as his inter-com activated.

"Mr. Arlington, I have MI6 on the line. They say that a Col. Eleanor Grant is now leading their Section-20, but she is not in the office at the moment." Jenny said, bringing a look of frustration to the Politian's face, since he knew the reason why.

"Then tell them to connect me to wherever she is, because I want to speak to her. It is important." he replied, hiding his growing annoyance behind a calm tone.

"Of course, Sir." the young lady politely said back, only to be followed by an uncomfortable silence as the US Liaison then sat and waited.

'Section-20 are not going to get in the way again.'

Miles from the Afghan/Iran border

Porter and Stonebridge drove over the Iranian desert on their way to the country's border with Afghanistan, while the sun continued to shine down mercilessly on the pair in their Jeep.

"What's the plan for getting over the border?" the older man asked with a curious tone as he looked over at the driver, who kept his attention on the road ahead.

"Considering the trouble we had in Shileh, it would be my guess that the border will have some extra security. So we should find a quiet spot to camp and try to cross at nightfall in the meantime."

"That's a good idea, though I don't like the thought of being stuck on this side of the border with both Iranian and US soldiers looking for us." John replied with a cautious tone, gaining a reassuring look from Michael in return.

"It's only for a few hours, which is exactly what Delta Force will need to prepare and send out another team. By the time we make our move on the border, they will only just be picking up our trail. We will be long gone before they even notice that we have done so, meaning all we have to worry about are the Iranians." he said back, making the other soldier's expression change as he sighed and took a sip of the driver's canteen.

"I guess. Sorry if I sound a little unappreciative, but it feels like I have been on the run for longer than a few days." Porter expressed, earning a glance back from the young driver.

"No need for apologies, Porter. When you've been chased around and had your back against the wall, always only a step or two ahead of being killed. I can imagine that a day or two must feel a lot longer." Stonebridge answered, gaining a curious look from John.

"Sounds like you've had some experience in that regard?" he quizzed, bringing a knowing smirk to Michael's face as kept his eyes on the road.

"In the tours I did for both the Royal Marines and the SBS in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were a number of times when I thought that this might be it. That today's the day that I'm going to be bite the bullet…" the Section-20 soldier continued, before looking over to his passenger with a modest stare.

"…but that's not the same as what you have been through recently." He finished before being handed the canteen from John, who nodded in response.

"Well, we both know that us soldiers can be given up to our enemies by our Government if the situation and timing suits their politics..." John started to say, gaining a nod back from Michael.

"...but with this, I couldn't shake the gut feeling that wasn't the case here."

"And you were right. Layla said that Collinson had been strong-armed into giving up your position to the Americans..."

"Who just happen to be working with the Taliban, which I bet is something that Washington would not like to become public knowledge." Porter added, cutting Stonebridge off midsentence, who nodded back in return.

"The Colonel believes the same thing, which is why I am here and bringing you and the proof back to her." He replied, prompting the other soldier to take the flash-drive out of his shirt pocket, revealing it to the driver.

"Well, it better be worth it. Enough people have died over this."

"It will be, John..." Michael began to reply, only to be cut off as Grant's voice came over the Comm.

"Bravo One, report."

"Zero, we are on our way to the border as I speak." The younger soldier replied, earning Porter's attention as he looked over at him while putting the flash-drive away.

"And the status of the target?" Grant then asked in return, making Stonebridge gesture to the backpack that lay in the back of the Jeep, just behind Porter.

"You can ask him, Zero." The former continued while the latter looked into the pack and found a spare comm-unit, quickly equipping in response.

"Zero, this is...Bravo-Two." John answered before a familiar voice spoke back, one that he remembered for always sounding professional and cold at times.

"It's good to hear your voice, Sergeant." The Colonel replied, with the soldier recognising a crack in her usual armoured demeanour as relief tinged her voice.

"Same here, Colonel. So..." he began to say, before another voice could be heard speaking to Grant, though Porter could not make it out.

"Colonel?" Stonebridge then asked, mirroring the confused look of his companion as he drove their Jeep through the Iranian desert.

"Apologies, Sergeants, but the Colonel has another call to take." A familiar voice then said, earning a smirk from Porter in return.

"Layla! If you're there, then that means..." he began to say, only to be cut off as another woman came onto the Comm.

"Hello, John." She said with a caring tone, making the Man's smirk change into a warm smile, one that Stonebridge noted as he glanced over at him.

"Hi, Danni."

"You know, I swore you told me that you would be careful out there?" the woman then replied with a teasing tone, which made Porter feign a pained sigh in response.

"I know, Danni. I'm trying, believe me." He said back while looking out at the horizon, picturing her face in his mind.

"Well, I'm just glad that you're alright. I have read up on the Sergeant with you, he's one of the best." Danni replied, making the older soldier look over at the driver.

"Yeah, and he should be. Especially if he is a part of our Unit." He said with a knowing look, earning a nod from the latter in return as a other more serious male voice spoke up.

"This line of converse can continue later, preferably when our two soldiers are back here."

This gained a surprised and confused look from John, while it was Michael's turn to look on knowingly.

"And who is this?" the older soldier asked over the Comm.

This is Zero, Bravo-Two. We will call you back when we have our extraction plan ready. So in the meantime, keel your distance from the border. Is that understood?" the voice repIied, earning a nod from Stonebridge as he tapped the comm-unit under his shirt.

"Understood, Zero. Bravo out." he answered before there was once more silence over the radio, while Porter looked back to him with an irked expression.

"Who was that?"

"That was Maj. Sinclair and he is the Colonel's Second in Command. I don't know much about him, other than he is a 'very by the book' soldier." Michael replied, gaining a nod from his older friend in response.

"Yeah, I can see that too." he said back before the driver then drove their jeep offroad, keeping it parallel to the border several miles away.

" Anyway, I'm going to put some distance between us and any of the nearby roads that lead to the border, before making a stop and waiting for our next move." Stonebridge replied.

"Good idea, but let's hope that we don't have to wait too long." Porter agreed as they continued into the desert.


Section 20 'Crib' – British Army Base, Afghanistan

Meanwhile, Col. Grant walked towards her office alongside one of her personal, leaving the others gathered around the operations table.

"So, what was so important that it could not wait, Lieutenant Brady?" she asked in a brazen manner, whilst the younger man remained calm and professional in her presence.

"Forgive me, Ma'am, but you have a call from the UK waiting. A Frank Arlington at the US Embassy has requested to speak with you." He explained, which brought at knowing look to Eleanor's face.

"Very well, I'll take it in here." She replied while gesturing to her office, earning a nod and a courteous smile to the man's face.

"I have already transferred the call, Ma'am. He is on Line Beta.

"Very good, Lieutenant. You may go." She then ordered, with the younger officer doing exactly that as she closed the door and walked over to her desk.

The woman then gave off a sigh as she looked down at the black phone, with it's blinking light for Line Beta.

'Let's get this over with.' The Colonel then thought, before picking it's receiver and clicking flashing button.

"Colonel Grant." she the said, trying to mask her annoyance with her usual professional manner.

"Why, hello, Colonel. This is Frank Arlington, US Liaison to the UK. I have been trying to reach you." The American replied in a friendly tone, which unbeknownst to him, didn't make Grant feel any better as she listened to him.

"I see, and how may I help you, Mr. Arlington?"

"Well, as I'm sure you are aware, Colonel, I worked with your predecessor, Maj. Collinson. I heard about his death, which was a real shame. But I wanted to meet you and offer my services in the hope that we could share the same productive relationship. Instead, I find that you were not in your office...or even the country. Why is that, Colonel?" Arlington asked with a curious tone, making the Colonel tighten her grip around the receiver.

" very thoughtful of you, Mr. Arlington." she began to say, feigning appreciation.

"Please, Frank..." He then began to say, continuing to speak with a friendly tone and manner.

", where are you?"

"Before I answer your question, 'Frank', perhaps you could answer mine?" Grant asked in response, which brought a few seconds of silence before the Liaison answered.

"Alright, Eleanor. May I call you Eleanor?" Arlington replied, making the Colonel narrow her eyes as she sat there in her office, listening to his slimy tone.

"I prefer Colonel, Mr. Arlington. Because I have earned the title." the Section-20 leader said back with an ever so slight sting to her words, which obviously did not go un-noticed by the American."...okay, very well, Colonel. So...ask your question." he replied as his tone wavered, giving Eleanor just a small tint of satisfication.

"How do you know that Col. Collinson is dead? Because I have yet to write up the report on that manner, which means that both my government and your's have yet to receive it." There was then another moment of silence between the two, lasting a couple of seconds as a knowing expression befell the Colonel'`s face as she decided to speak up again.

"Your silence says it all, Mr. Arlington. So let's cut through all this false pretense and get to the facts.I already know that you are working with Zadir Sharq, which I guess is how you know about the late Major. I also know that this call is nothing more than an attempt to find out about Sgt. Porter and try bully this Section in to giving him up." she then said with a fire in her tone, though it did not seem to faze Alrington.

"I'd be careful, Colonel, in how you choose to speak to me. Because as I told your predecessor, America's interests trumps your's."

"I honestly do not care, nor do I have the time to deal with the likes of you, Mr. Arlington. I am nothing like Maj. Collinson and I will not allow this Section to bow to any pressure from your Administration. But then again, I highly doubt that you actually are speaking on their behalf...on 'this particular matter'." Eleanor then replied with a calm confidence and defiance to her voice, remaining professional despite how her gut was telling her how to act.

"Then let's see what your superiors think of this, Colonel. I am calling..." the US Liaison then began to say, his voice betraying his confident tone before Col. Grant put the phone down, ending the call and quickly leaving the room.

While back in London, Frank slammed his own phone down onto it's holder.

"Shit!" he cursed with an aggravated tone while tapping a button on his intercom.

"Jenny, did you get an answer from our contacts at MI6?"

"I am sorry, Sir. But they were relluctant to divulge the Colonel's current location." his Secretary replied, making the American even more furious looking.

"Okay, Jenny. You tried your best." Arlington said back, keeping his temper under control before deactivating the intercom and looking out of the window.

'Well, I have more than 'one way' to find out.'


Back in the Crib, Grant exited her office and rejoined the group at the operations table.

"Alright, People. We have to get Porter and Stonebridge back here now." She ordered, gaining the others attention.

"Colonel?" Sinclair replied with a curious tone, while Layla, Danni and Richmond remained quiet.

"Because I just got off the phone with Arlington..." Grant began to explain, making the two original members of Section-20 glance at each other knowingly.

"...who tried to pressure us into giving up Porter, which I am not going to do." The Colonel continued with a defiant undertone to her voice, gaining an unsure look from Layla.

"But he will probably just call on his superiors to put more pressure on us."

"I don't think so. I think all that talk of America above Britain was just him beating his chest. I have a feeling that his superiors in Washington do not even know what he is doing with Sharq." The Section-20 leader said back, bringing a curious expression to her SEC's face.

"That's an interesting theory, Ma'am, but we need proof."

"That's why we need to get Porter back here, because he has the proof." Danni replied with a knowing look, gaining agreeing smiles from both Layla and Col. Grant.

"Exactly, so we need to move fast." the older woman agreed, before Sinclair spoke up again.

"I have already asked the Commander of this base, if he has any helicopters at our disposal, Ma'am. There is one fuelled and ready on the pad right now."

"Excellent. And what about the extraction site?" the Colonel then asked, looking at Layla, Danni and Richmond.

"We and Sgt. Richmond have found a site not too far from the border and is currently free of any trouble from the Taliban, Ma'am." Layla explained as she pointed to an area on the map, gaining a nod from the Colonel in return.

"Very good..." Grant began to say before turning her attention to Brady, who was working at a station behind her.

"Lieutenant, make sure the coordinates here are given to the helicopter pilot..." she continued, earning a nod from the younger man as both Layla and Danni took a step toward the Section-20 leader.

"Colonel, I would like to be on that chopper when it goes for Porter and Stonebridge." The blonde woman then said.

"As would I, Ma'am." Danni added in quick succession, bringing a thoughtful expression to the Colonel's face as she saw the determination and loyalty for their friend in theirs.

"Very well, Permission granted. Go and get ready." She replied, gaining nods from the pair as they started to leave.

"Thank you, Colonel." They both said back with appreciative tones, while Grant turned back to the Lieutenant.

"Brady, also let the pilot know that he will have two extra hands with him."

"Of course, Ma'am." The younger man answered before turning back to his station, while she looked over to Sinclair and Richmond.

"Richmond, get me Stonebridge."

A moment earlier, back in the Iranian desert. Porter and Stonebridge had parked their jeep in the middle of literally nowhere, waiting patiently for their next order.

"So tell me something, Michael..." John began to say, while the other looked out at the horizon with his binoculars.

"...have you a wife? Kids?"

"Kids? No, but my wife and I are trying for one. Her name is Kerry." Stonebridge replied, before looking back at older man with a curious expression.

"You have a daughter, right?"

"Yeah, she's a teenager..." he answered with a smile, gaining a knowing smirk from Michael in return.

Oh yeah, so she is troublemaker then?" he joked, making the other guy chuckle for a moment, before he went silent.

"John?" Michael asked, turning around to see the other guy looking regretful.

"I really don't know..." the older man began to say with a tinge of sadness to his voice.

"...I mean I should, I'm her Father after all. But I'm a stranger to her, because she thinks that I killed three of my mates, which I did not do..." He continued, earning a understanding look from Stonebridge.

"The Bratton Extraction. I read about that in your file on the way over to Afghanistan. Three members of your squad were thought to have been killed by an Iraqi boy that you let live, leading to you resign in disgrace." he said, making the other man nod back.

"Yeah, I have spent the last 7 years living with the guilt of that moment, believing that I was responsible for their deaths, as well as my best mate 'Steve' being in a coma. In everyone's eyes, it was my fault. This drove a wedge between me and my family, ending my relationship with my wife and poisoning that which I shared with Lexi..." John added, whilst Michael remained quiet and listened as they sat in the Jeep, under the baking heat of the sun above them.

"... but the only hope I had, was that Steve was one day going to wake up and prove my innocence."

"But then he died, which led Layla to the truth about it all. She told us everything about that." The younger man then replied, gaining a hopeful look from Porter.

"So everyone knows?"

"Only the Section knows right now. But once we get back to the UK, the Colonel and Layla will see to it that you are exonerated for Collinson's lies." Michael answered, earning a sigh from John as the former then gave the latter a curious look.

"So what happened to Collinson? I mean, the Colonel had heard from a source in the US that he had died, but we don't know the details." Stonebridge asked, making Porter look back with a thoughtful expression.

"Hugh came out here to kill me, to tie up loose ends. But instead, he ended up confessing to it all. I saw it in his eyes as he told me, the guilt that he had been living with. He was a prisoner of 'what happened in Iraq', same as me." he replied, while Stonebridge gave him a concerned stare.

"Yeah, but you didn't deserve to share in that prison, John. "

"No, I didn't. And Hugh knew that..." Porter started to say back with a look of understanding on his face.

" know for those seven years, he was always finding ways to help me and my family. It made me angry, thinking that he was just doing these things to keep me in his debt. But really, he was just trying to make amends..."

"Except in the one way that would count the most." Michael cut in, earning a slight lop-sided grin from the older Soldier.

"True. But I forgave him none the less. And in the end, he sacrificed himself so that I could get away. He told me to go home and then covered me as I made my way to his Jeep. The last I saw was the house he was in blowing up, taking out all the remaining Taliban with him."

"Really? Well, I guess he came through in the end. Better late than never." The younger man said back with a surprised expression, earning a nod from Porter, who was now the one looking concerned as he looked out in the direction of Afghanistan.

"Yeah, but none of it will mean anything if I don't get back home."

"We'll get you back home, John." Stonebridge replied with a reassuring tone, before their com-links activated.

"Bravo One and Two, this is Zero."

"We read you loud and clear, Zero." Stonebridge replied, recognising Richmond's voice over the com.

"Gentlemen, we are going to need you to make a run for the border right now." Colonel Grant then spoke, gaining surprised looks from both soldiers.

"Zero, are you sure about this?" the younger man then asked, before his new team-mate added his opinion.

"Yeah? You want us to make a daylight break for Afghanistan?"

That is correct, Bravo Two. We don't have the luxury of waiting for nightfall to get you back here, so you are to go now. Charlie team will be taking a helicopter to the following coordinates, which have been sent to your phone, Bravo One." The Section-20 leader added, making Michael take out his mobile and see the message appear on it's screen.

"Roger, Zero. Coordinates received." he replied, before handing the device to Porter and gesturing to the glovebox.

"John, there is a map in the glovebox. Would you...?" he then began to ask, only to be cut off by the older soldier.

"Of course, Mate." He said back before doing just that, while Michael returned his attention to his com-link.

"Zero, how does it look on the border right now?"

"The area of the border directly east of your position is free of any patrols at the moment. But our satellite has picked up one heading towards it from the south, so you should go right now if you want to pass without incident." Richmond then stated, earning a nod from Stonebridge as he activated the Jeep's engine and started driving the vehicle towards the Iranian/Afghan border. But this brought a concerned look to Porter's face as he turned his attention away from the map.

"Zero, what should we do if we do happen to come across this patrol?"

"Bravo, you are to do whatever is necessary to get to that extraction site. Is that clear?" Grant replied with a stoic tone.

"Crystal clear, Zero. We are on our way, Bravo One out." The driver answered back looking out at the horizon ahead as the desert started to pass them by, while his passenger looked back at the map.

"If I have this right, the EZ is just an hour away from the border, on the Afghan side." Porter said with a confident tone, earning a nod from Stonebridge in return as he glanced over at the location the former was pointing to.

"Good, because we are just 15 minutes away from the border. Let's hope we get there before that patrol does." The latter replied before putting his foot down on the accelerator, making their jeep speed across the desert with a dust trail in their wake.

Meanwhile, Grant, Sinclair and Richmond were watching the satellite's live-feed of the two soldiers jeep as it moved closer to the Iran/Afghan border.

"Keep a close eye on their path. If anything appears to be heading their way once they get over the border, I want you to let them know." the Colonel said, gaining a nod from Richmond.

"Yes, Ma'am." she replied before the screen suddenly shut down, earning shocked looks from everyone in the control-center.

"What just happened?" Grant then said, the confusion evident in her voice as she looked at the now black screen.

"We have lost the signal to our satellite." Richmond explained as she worked away at her station, earning a shocked look from the Colonel.

"Again!" she spat, before turning to the Major.

"Sinclair, go to the Base Commander and get us access to their receiver..." she started to say, gaining a nod from him as she turned to the Lieutenant.

"Brady, go with him."

"Yes, Ma'am." He replied before leaving with Sinclair, while Grant turned her attention back to Richmond.

"Notify Stonebridge and Porter that we are unable to help them, Sergeant." She ordered, gaining a nod from the younger woman as she began to use her console, only to stop and look back with confused expression.

"Colonel, something is wrong with our system..." she began to say back, making the older Woman's eyes to widen.

"What's wrong?!"

"Our comms are down. We are unable to contact Stonebridge and Porter." Julia answered with a concerned tone and look, gaining a look of realisation from Grant.

None of this is a coincidence."


Time was not an their side as Porter and Stonebridge raced across the Iranian desert, making a run for the border so that they could meet up with the chopper that Col. Grant had sent them, earning them freedom from those that were hunting them.

"We are approaching the border." The younger man stated as he kept his focus on maintaining the jeep's speed and direction, while the other Sergeant took out a pair of binoculars from the glovebox and started scanning the horizon ahead.

"So far so goo...oh shit!" he responded, earning a curious glance from Michael.

"Let me guess, we have company?"

"Yeah, one jeep with four soldiers and it is closing fast." John observed, before looking down at their vehicle's speedometer with a confused expression.

"Is that it? I thought you were flooring it." He said in concerned-amazement, which brought a steeled look from the driver.

"I am. But...this Jeep is old..." he started to say, before a slight smirk graced his lips.

"...if you think it would help, you are welcome to get out and push." He joked, while the other guy climbed into the back and readied his weapon.

"No, thanks. How long until we cross the border?" he asked while loading a new mag into his assault rifle.

"Two minutes..." Stonebridge replied, before noticing the other vehicle as it appeared on his side mirror.

"...but they will be on us before that."

"Then I guess we should improvise." Porter said back as he looked through Stonebridge's supply bag, bringing a thoughtful look to his face.

"You have some C-4 and a flashbang in here."

"What you're thinking, John?" the driver asked, as the other vehicle got a little closer.

"That we don't have time to waste on these guys." Porter replied as he started to tie he two items together with duct tape.

"Well, they're almost on us, Mate. So, I hope you are ready with whatever it is you've got planned." Stonebridge replied, earning a nod back from the other soldier, before he looked over at the incoming jeep with a curious expression.

"What do you think they've got under hood of that Jeep?"

"You can ask them in a second, if you want." The driver replied with tinge of sarcasm in his voice, before the Iranian's jeep got within 25 metres of their own.

It's occupants then started to shout and point their weapons at the pair, making Stonebridge look over his shoulder at Porter.

"What's that they're saying?" he asked, gaining a confused expression from the other.

"How should I know! I don't speak Persian...but perhaps, 'pull over'." He replied, earning a smirk from the driver.

"Smart-arse." He answered back, making John mirror the younger Man's smirk.

"Takes one to know one, Mate." he said, before pulling the pin from the C-4/Flashbang and throwing it in the direction of the Iranians.

The patrol was immediately alerted by this action and opened fire on the other jeep, making both British soldiers take cover the best they could as bullets impacted and ricocheted off the vehicle.

But then the device exploded, first with a blinding flash of white light, which was followed by an expanding fireball that made the Iranian driver pull the breaks instantly, stopping the patrol vehicle in it's tracks.

"Nice. They won't be able to catch up to us before we reach the border, John." Michael said back with a relieved tone as he glanced at the raising smoke behind them in his side mirror, while the older soldier climbed back into the passenger seat beside him.

"Thanks, Michael. Let's hope we can avoid any more trouble before meeting up with our ride home." He replied, before tapping his com-link.

"Zero, this is Bravo-Two..." he then started to say, while the pair continued closing in on the border before them.


Nearly an hour after crossing the border, Stonebridge brought his and Porter's jeep to a stop at the side of an Afghan road and looked over to his friend with a concerned expression.

"I don't like this." He said, earning a nod from John who's face mirrored his own.

"Yeah, me too, Mate."

"We are less than a mile from the coordinates that the Colonel gave us and..." Stonebridge began to say, only for Porter to cut him off.

"And we have been unable to contact her or anyone at the base. Yeah, the whole thing stinks." he added with a thoughtful look, while his younger friend turned to him.

"So, what should we do? I mean, I have and idea."

"If it's the same thing as I am thinking?" John replied with a curious tone, gaining a knowing look from Michael.

"We leave the jeep here and head in on foot." He said, making the older man smirk at him.

"Exactly, so let's go." he replied before climbing out of the jeep and picking up his weapons, with Michael doing the same.

"So..." Porter began to say as he joined his younger Comrade's side.

"...if Elanor handpicked you for Section-20, then that means you were in the SAS?" he then asked, making Stonebridge shake his head with a knowing smile.

"No, 'Desmond'. I was with the SBS." He replied with a joking tone, earning a mirrored look from the older man.

"Oh great, you're a 'Bubble head'. He said back, making both men chuckle.

"Ha ha. Okay, now that we have that out of the way..." Michael then began to say as, gaining a nod from John as he finished the other's sentence with a knowing smirk.

"...let's do this." He added with a confident tone, as they both left the jeep and began walking to the evac-site.

Meanwhile at the Crib, the atmosphere was frantic as everyone worked to get their communications back online. Grant stood over the operations-table, staring down at the map and various intel reports that lay on it with a stoic expression, not even noticing Maj. Sinclair joining her side.

"Colonel..." he began to say, snapping the Section-20 commander from her thoughts.

"...I spoke with the Base's commander about using their comms, but it appears that they have suffered a communications blackout as well, which also includes our phones." He continued, earning a knowing expression from the Colonel.

"Without our support, both Bravo and Charlie teams will be blind to any dangers that may be approaching or waiting for them." She replied, which made her second in command nod back with a similar look.

"After seeing our communication issue also affect this base as well, I share your earlier opinion that they are part of the same problem. And so does the base's Commander. In fact, he wants to start an investigation into those who have access to the areas in question." He said, which made Grant glance around the room at the others, before turning to him.

"I want you to work with him on this, but make sure to remain discreet. If this was sabotage, we don't want to alert the one(s) responsible that we are on to them."

"Agreed. So we are to investigate personal from both the base and those our's here in the Crib?" Sinclair asked, bringing a pained look to the Colonel's face.

"Yes, though I hate the idea that one of our own could have done this. Especially if it proves that our extensive vetting process on Section-20 personal has failed." She confessed, her body language showed her unease with the idea, earning an understanding look from the Major in return.

"Well, the Commander and I will begin ASAP, Colonel." He replied before leaving, while Eleanor turned her attention to Brady and Richmond, who were working away at the communication console and the large screen in front that showed nothing but static.

'I hope that I am just being paranoid about this.'


After fifteen minutes of trekking under the sweltering heat of the slowly descending sun as the late afternoon began to give way to the early evening, Porter and Stonebridge arrived at the evacuation site, which brought a surprised look to the former's face.

"It look's like a large crater!?"

"I'd say it's about 20 feet deep. That would make good cover if you wanted someone to wait for pickup without prying eyes noticing you." Michael replied, while the older man shrugged his shoulders in response.

"Ah, who cares. Let's just get down there, so we will be in position for our ride out of here..." he began to say, only to be cut short as a confused look appeared on his younger friend's face as he looked around them.

"Can you hear that?"

This gained a curious expression from Porter as he followed suit and listened for whatever Stonebridge could hear.

"...Yeah, I can..." he nodded, before his face turned more to a more concerned look.

"...though it doesn't sound like our ride." The older soldier added as he looked out at their surroundings, while Stonebridge began to squat as the sound got closer and louder.

"That's no chopper..." he started to say, before three jeeps suddenly appeared over the ridge on the other side of the crater.

"Get down!" Michael exclaimed as both he and John dropped onto their stomachs, taking them out of sight of the new arrivals, who continued down into the crater none the wiser.

"They're Taliban." Stonebridge then stated as he looked through his binoculars at the jeeps, watching as vehicles stopped at the bottom and their occupants climbed out with weapons ready.

"It can't be a coincidence that they appear here now, just as we are going to get picked up?" Porter replied with a concerned tone, before the other guy handed him the binoculars.

"You don't think the Americans pressured Section-20 for the coordinates, like they did previously?" Michael asked as the older man looked down at the enemy, making him shake his head in response.

"No. Eleanor...I mean, the Colonel wouldn't do that. She's made of steel that way." Porter replied with a knowing tone.

"Okay. But we need to do something about 'them', because the Chopper's going to be here in less than two minutes and will not see the trouble in this crater until they are already on top of it." Stonebridge said back as he gestured to his watch, earning a nod from the older man who cocked his weapon.

"Alright then, let's see what you can do, Michael."

The younger soldier smirked at that as he readied his own rifle, looking down it's sights at the Taliban below him, with Porter doing the same.

"Okay, I've got the one standing at the front of the vehicle on the far right..." he began to say, before taking a breath as he lined up his sights with his target's head, who was oblivious to what was about to happen.

The British soldier then pulled the trigger, firing the bullet which then went straight through the enemy's head and sprayed crimson blood over the face of the guy walking next to him, which was instantly followed by the accompanying sound of said shot. This alerted all the men standing in the depth of that crater as they hurried to take cover behind their vehicles.

"Take cover!" one of them shouted as Porter joined in and fired down at them with Stonebridge, hitting another who was to slow to react, hitting him square in the chest with three shots that stained his clothes with red as he fell to the ground.

The older soldier then noticed a large boulder that was positioned just aways from the pair on the slope of the crater, closer to the Taliban warriors and more protected then the pair's current location.

"Cover me!" he then shouted over the gunfire, earning a quick nod from Stonebridge in return as stopped for just a second.

"Go!" he exclaimed, with Porter leaping over the edge and sprinted down the slope for several metres, while his friend continued to fire down at the enemies, who were firing back up in return.

But due to their level of training, which was not on the same level as the two Special forces soldiers, mostly consisted of blind fire that hit the ground either side of John's feet as he then slid down the remaining metre to the boulder and started firing back.

"Coming to you!" Michael then shouted as he followed suit and ran down, while Porter killed another Afghan with a shot to the head as he covered his friend.

"Kill the Bastards!" another warrior cried out, while another knelt beside him and activated a radio device.

"We need reinforcements!"

This did not go unnoticed by the Brits as they continued their attack, before taking cover behind the boulder as the enemies fired on them altogether, with the bullets ricocheting off the rock in front of them.

"Changing!" John then exclaimed as he popped the empty mag out of his rifle and slammed another full one in, gaining a nod back from Michael as he picked out and took out another man with a shot through his neck, spraying blood over the vehicle he had taken cover behind.

"The Chopper should be here any moment." The younger man then added, as Porter returned fire at the Taliban.

"I hope so, because it looks like we might be getting overrun, Mate." He observed.

"Yeah, John. I saw that too. .." Stonebridge replied, before noting that he fired his last round.

"...changing." he added, gaining a nod from his older friend as he kept firing on the enemy, seeing that only a few men were left.

"So let's charge at then and take their position. Since their vehicles ae parked that way..." Porter continued as Stonebridge observed that the Taliban were stationed in a triangular formation, with the warriors taking cover in the middle.

" is a more defendable position than up here."

"Agreed..." the younger man replied as he armed a smoke grenade and tossed it over the boulder between them and the enemies.

"...but we shouldn't make it easy for them, even if they aren't very good shots." he added as the device exploded, covering the immediate area inn a grey smoke.

"Right, move!" John exclaimed as the pair left the safety of the boulder and bolted for the Taliban's position, while the latter group stood up and looked at the cloud of smoke with confused expressions.

"Where are they?" one asked, gaining an angry look from another who aimed his AK at it.

"Who cares, just shoot!" he shouted in their native tongue, before he and the remaining fighters opened fire into the cloud, cutting through the smoke with a barrage of bullets.

"We must be hitting them!?" another warrior questioned, before the men's eyes widened as they saw both Porter and Stonebridge appear before them with the smoke dissipating around them.

"Kill them!" the lead warrior cried out, but before the group could open fire, both Brits opened fire on them first with efficient and accurate shots, killing two of the Taliban instantly as the others panicked.

"Shit!" another exclaimed, only to be knocked onto his back from a shot directly into his chest, gaining a painful gasp from him as he started to die.

Those who remained opened fire again, but due to their fear and shock, their accuracy was zero as every bullet missed the British soldiers, who continued to systematically take them down one after another until they were the only ones left standing, with the Taliban lying dead at their feet.

"You okay, Mate?" Porter asked as he reloaded his rifle once more, earning a nod from Stonebridge in return as he checked the bodies to be sure they were dead.

"Yeah, John. The area is secured."

"It is...for now." The older soldier said back, just before a truck appeared at the top of the crater, gaining the two guys attention.

"Incoming!" Porter shouted as both soldiers quickly took cover behind the jeeps, while several more Taliban exited the vehicle and opened fire on them.

John and Michael quickly returned fire, killing two of the new arrivals in quick succession. Their bodies began to roll down the crater's slope, leaving blood trails on the ground behind them as the battle was renewed.

It was then that the younger Brit noticed one of the Taliban take a weapon out the back of the truck, making his eyes widen in shock.

"RPG!" he exclaimed loudly, making his older comrade mirror his expression as the enemy aimed the destructive weapon at their position.

'That's it then...' Porter started think as his immediate death began to dawn on him, making him take a deep breath as he continued to fight back, with Stonebridge doing the same.

But suddenly the Taliban's truck exploded, sending the nearby enemies flying as fire and smoke rose up from it's now burning husk.

"What the...?" John began to ask, only to be cut off as a green Twin Huey helicopter flee through the billowing smoke towards them.

"It's Charlie team!" Michael replied with relief in his voice, which was then echoed in the former's expression as the end was now in sight.

"Great, so let's take care of these guys and get out of here." He said back, noticing that a few of the Taliban warriors were getting back to their feet. So both men opened fire on them and knocked them all back to the ground, like dominoes.

Then as the two soldiers got out of their cover, the chopper circled the area one more time, ensuring that the area was fully secured before entering the crater's center and descending.

"We almost home free, John." Michael stated with a smile, gaining a smirk back from the older man as he looked up at the Huey.

"Who did the Colonel send out to get us?" he wondered out loud, but he did not have to wait long for the answer as the chopper landed just aways and opened it side-door, bringing a big smile to the older soldier's face since Layla and Danni were seated in the vehicle, beckoning the pair to join them.

"Let's go! There are more on the way." The former shouted, making both men run towards them, while the latter just gave John a caring smile as she looked up on him.

'Danni...'[/b] he began to think as his heart warmed, because in this moment he could finally see something over the horizon that did not include bleeding out in this endless desert wasteland.

After what happened in Iraq all those years ago, Porter had long felt like he was lost at sea. Lost in the guilt and despair of those events and the lies that Collinson had fabricated, pointing him as the reason why his friends were dead and losing the respect of his family.

But then the former SAS soldier was given a second chance with Section 20, which helped him get his life back together and Danni was a big part of that.

Yes, she had been ordered to sleep with him to improve his self-esteem, but the pair had become very close in the months since and now here she was now, to get him out of danger like an Angel lifting him out of hell.

As he smiled back at her while approaching the chopper, time felt like it had stopped as he sighed.

''s over.'

But suddenly he was snapped out of his moment as Stonebridge hit his shoulder.

"LOOK OUT!" he exclaimed in horror, pointing towards the burning truck at the top of the ridge as John's eyes focused over there and saw that one of the Talian warriors was not dead and instead was aiming the RPG at the chopper.

'Layla...Danni!' Porter thought as he snapped his attention back to the chopper, his gaze meeting the latter's.

"NO!" the soldier cried out, as he began to sprint towards the vehicle. But then the RPG was fired and it's projectile cut through the air and impacted the Huey's side, engulfing it and it's crew in a fireball that knocked both Porter and Stonebridge onto their backs as bits of it flew past the pair.

Everything suddenly felt like a daze to the older soldier and the sound of the explosion buzzed between his ears, disorientating him as he tried to recover.

But as he rolled over onto his front and pushed himself onto his knees, the man's eyes came upon the now burning wreckage of the Huey. This picture made Porter's blood boil as he remembered the guy who the trigger and turned to see the guy reloading the RPG.

"You Bastard!" he raged while opening fire with his rifle, turning the Taliban into the human equivalent of Swiss cheese with a barrage of bullets.

But then as the enemy's blooded corpse fell to the ground, John turned his attention back to the burning husk. He breathed heavily as he felt his despair climbing it's way out of the pit of his core, making him fall to his knees as stonebridge slowly got back to his feet.

The latter looked at the fire with a pained expression, before looking to the ground as he silently mourned his fallen comrades.

But John kept his eyes focused on the charred carcass of the Huey, knowing that both his friend and his lover were lying dead in it's burning remains. This made him grit his teeth and tighten his grip on the rifle in his hands as his own blood began to boil with anger.

Sharq and the Taliban had just made this personal.