In late August, 2004 Senior Sergeant Gordon ‘Gerry’ Mannheim is in command of 1st Platoon, D Company, 5th Claymore on Military Police Patrol in the city of Dareena. The patrol is split into two units of two squads with his senior corporal leading one unit while Gerry leads the other. They’re patrolling the ‘entertainment’ area of the city, because it’s well known for its cheap drinking establishments, prostitutes, strip clubs, gambling, and the related criminal types. Many of the off duty Guards and Army troops come here for fun and relaxation. With one Army and two Guards bases close by Guard Command sees the need to provide Military Police patrols for everyone’s security and safety.
Being late Saturday night Gerry is a bit worried, because way too many people have had too much time to get drunk. When they near one very large establishment with an extremely seedy reputation he notices some rough looking men walking into an alleyway beside it. Signalling one squad to follow, and the other to wait at the alley entrance, he follows the men. In the alley a group of twenty-five men are holding knives and standing around six drunken Army soldiers. The leader of the men is telling the soldiers to hand over their money.
Signalling his squad to the shadows at the side of the alley Gerry says, in a loud voice, “I think you boys better put down those knives and surrender while you still can.”
The leader signals to the men nearest Gerry. Three turn men, and attack him. Gerry steps forward while he draws his sword, he swings it up and forward at the full reach of his arm while he draws his combat knife. He decapitates the man in front of him then slices open the throat of the man on his right with his swinging sword while he uses his combat knife to slice open the throat of the man on his left. The gang leader snarls while he moves toward Gerry, and away from the soldiers.
His gang follows him. When the gang moves clear of the soldiers Gerry says, “Drop the knives and surrender, or die!” The gang leader snarls again, and leaps forward. Gerry yells, “Contact.” The drunk soldiers hit the ground while Gerry thrusts his sword into the chest of the charging gang leader, and his patrol fires on the gang to drop them all in their tracks. Standing over the dying gang leader Gerry reaches down to clean his knife and sword on the man’s coat, “You had your chance, and wasted it.” Most of the gang are dead, but two wounded men are happy to tell Gerry about their arrangement with the owner of the nearby club.
When the police arrive a little later the men repeat their story about the connection with the club. This is reinforced with the identification of the gang leader; he’s the brother of one of club’s junior owners. Police go to the club to question the manager, the senior owner, about his extra business arrangements while Gerry gets the soldiers names, and has a taxi take them back to their base.
The next night they get a call of a fight at the same club. When the call comes in the patrols are having a short break at the local office space they use as a rest area. Being suspicious of the call Gerry orders the men into full combat gear, body armour, and helmets with face shields. He directs the other patrol on a slightly longer approach to the club from behind while he takes his patrol to the front door.
When they near the club the number of people and children on the street diminishes, and there’s next to no one on the street in the last two blocks before the club. This area is usually squeezing room only, so the absence of locals on the streets is a concern. The people around here have a very heightened sense of self-preservation, and if they’re not around it’s because they expect trouble, bad trouble. Sensing a lot of nervous and angry people Gerry plays a hunch. Activating his radio he says, “All Mike Papas, Mike Papa Alpha, Python, I say again, Python.” All the Swords in both the MP patrols go to high alert, ‘Python’ is the code word for a trap or a suspected trap. Gerry’s unit splits with a squad sidling up to the buildings on each side of the road while he stays near the few parked cars at the roadside.
At Clay Comm, the Claymore Command Communications Centre, radio operator Laurie Peters sits up, and hits her alert button. Switching to the local circuit while still listening in on her assigned frequency she notifies Clay DO (Claymore Duty Officer) and her supervisor she has a possible emergency developing in Dareena.
Gerry’s two patrols are very careful while they work their way closer to the club. At the final intersection they stop, and use all their combat equipment to look for dangers. They soon spot snipers on roof tops and in windows, all just on the edge and waiting to start shooting.
Activating his radio Gerry says, “All Mike Papas, Mike Papa Alpha. At final cross and have Alligator, repeat Alligator. Mike Papa Bravo, hold position until supported.” He waits while his squad leaders acknowledge the situation, and they set up as best they can now they know the trap is ready to spring shut on them. Meanwhile Clay DO is busy bringing up her list of all units, locations, and status. Reactivating his radio Gerry says, “Clay Comm, urgent, Clay Comm urgent. Mike Papa Alpha Dareena.”
Laurie responds, “Mike Papa Alpha Dareena. Clay Comm heard your prior Python and Alligator calls, Clay DO standing by on frequency to assist. Sit Rep.” She’s asking for a situation report.
“Clay Comm, Mike Papa Alpha Dareena. In Dareena sector One Four, grid Baker Eight. Have forty plus enemy snipers in and on buildings awaiting activation, probably more awaiting contact to move forward. Have two squads with me and two more just outside of the danger zone. All Swords combat equipped. Need UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) for intelligence, and need combat support. Over.”
Clay DO comes on line, “Mike Papa Alpha Dareena, Clay DO copies, Dareena sector One Four, grid Baker Eight. Forty plus snipers. Have two squads on hand and two in close support. Need UAV and combat support. Wait.” A few minutes to finish checking deployments, “Mike Papa Alpha, nearest ground support thirty plus away, nearest UAV support fifteen away, both at base. Can you hold as you are? Over.”
Looking the situation over, and sensing the enemy’s nervousness via his empathy, Gerry says, “Negative, situation too open with too many citizens nearby. Send what support you can, will utilise alternative assistance. Out.” Clay DO looks at the Clay Comm supervisor and operator while they all wonder what alternative assistance he can mean. Meanwhile Clay DO contacts the nearest Guards Base, and has them send a company strength support force in full combat gear.
Gerry activates the radio, “Mike Papa Baker, Mike Papa Alpha. Join me, now!“ After the Corporal acknowledges the order Gerry says, “Watchdog, Watchdog, Puppy needs blanket, now! Full support Puppy’s current location, sending beep.” He pushes a button to send a GPS location beep. All listening wonder what’s going on, because none of the call signs or code words mean a thing to them.
Clay DO is stunned when she hears a familiar voice say, “Puppy, Watchdog copies, blanket on way. Recon, Watchdog, take the high road to Puppy and sterilise as you go. Watchdog to all Strikes, move in at maximum safe speed. Up link to Mike Papa Alpha tactical display. Move it people. Recon ETA is three, Strikes ETA five to eight. Over.” This is followed by five team leaders acknowledging their orders, and confirm they’re already moving to comply.
Seeing the concern on Clay DO’s face the Clay Comm supervisor asks what’s up. Clay DO says, “I swear that’s the voice of my sister’s best friend responding then. Last I heard she’s still in high school. What’s she doing down there, and with Strike Teams?” They look at each other, and both wonder what’s going on.
A few minutes later Gerry radios, “Watchdog, Mike Papa Alpha, Mike Papa Bravo has joined, we’ll now move forward and start to thin out the herd. Suggest you do a Canadian Three-Step. Over.”
That voice comes on again, “Mike Papa Alpha, Watchdog copies, Strike Pack will comply. Out.”
Now he has his whole platoon together Gerry organises them into the standard urban clearance formation, and starts to slowly work down the block while they head toward the club. Everyone is taking note of all the hostiles, but are waiting for them to start the shooting. The longer it takes for them to start the combat the less time under fire before help arrives. Whatever that strange help is. While they near the club they notice some of the snipers on the roof tops are disappearing, and the HUDs in their helmets are showing some friendlies up there now. Some of that so mysterious help has arrived.