Somali Republic, East Africa
Chief Petty Officer Chris Waldron waited, belly down on the top of a low lying building in a decidedly unsafe zone. Keeping his eye on the goddamned prize. The doorway of the windowless dwelling where one of east Africa’s most wanted al Qaeda militants the SEALs had been sent to take out had hunkered down to wait out the latest U.S. Troop invasion.
They’d been in country for sixty-seven days and thirty-six hours on this particular op at last count. His CO, John ‘Saint’ St. James was next to him, taking his rest. They’d been spelling each other the entire time. Chris was the sniper, Saint his spotter, although either man was fully prepped to take this shot.
But Chris was a master sniper—the best of the best, they called him.
The men’s only movements had been head up, head down, even when the skies opened angrily to produce a warm rain that left the air sticky and full of godforsaken mosquitoes and tsetse flies.
“Son of bitch,” he muttered as a fly bit the shit out of his neck through the netting he wore. He was sweating, jonseing for a cigarette but keeping the rest of his mind purposely blank.
You’d go crazy if you didn’t, and he was already halfway there.
Chris checked his scope and then he froze, not from anything in his vision but from that familiar feeling that had been a part of him for as long as he could remember—some called it sixth sense, his father called it the sight and Jake called it that psychic Cajun bullshit and no matter what it was, it had saved Chris’s ass more time that he could count.
Now, it would do so again. Next to him, Saint’s head jerked up like he’d sensed the problem as well.
“Incoming,” Chris told him quietly. It wasn’t surprising—they’d learned of the Al Qaeda militant’s location from a Somalian warlord who was paid for his cooperation. Now, the warlord would no doubt start an attack so it wouldn’t look like he sold the operative out.
Everything in this part of the world was tricky, touch and go and no one could be trusted for very long. This trust lasted longer than most.
A short moment later, the series of explosions started, came from both sides of their building without actually harming it, tearing down the walls of one structure next to them and upending an old Land Rover on the other side.
It hadn’t been meant for them, but they weren’t the only ones with a bounty on the militant’s head. Still, if they didn’t pull out now, they’d be headed back to their makeshift base and command center under the line of direct fire.
If they pulled out now, Chris would lose the shot.
It took a second of eye contact between the men and the decision was made.
“Get the shot and we’re gone,” Saint said, and since it was his direct order, Chris would follow it. He settled back in behind the scope to wait for the militant to evacuate.
With the heat sensor, he could make out shapes through the covered window and the stone and mud mixed walls. But he’d prefer not to expect a bullet to go through stone. And they’d been told to get a clean shot and Chris wanted nothing less.