Subject: The Banshee of Jersey
Muis and I patiently waited leaning against the old rusty helicopter we’d dubbed “the Banshee“, a total piece of screaming rust we’d been provided with for the mission to meet with Major Sepp and a mission to Goshawk’s HQ on Jersey Isle. The Prof told us “Ek gee nie om wie van julle dit is nie, maar net een van julle ne.” before marching off to some meeting, Ladybird looked concerned. She’d have to be left behind. I told her he said “Only one of us is needed, we must decide who.“ I placed a hand on her shoulder as a comrade and told her not to worry. I wandered off to the Hanger. We decided to flip a coin on who’d fly but Muis insisted we get a coin from one of those going on the mission. They still haven’t figured out how I manage to win coin tosses nearly every time I’m tossing the coin. I had an uncle, a big burly man who was into magic tricks when I was a kid who taught me a few things. Useful for extra money when needed. It was my turn to do the toss, which was probably why he wasn’t looking too happy.
Finally the two others for the mission showed up. One I recognised as the Jackdaw, Quigley, someone I had interaction with on a couple of missions with Goshawk, an average sized guy that’d put on some muscle and mass since I last saw him properly. He was quite the fighter from what I remembered of him. The other I recognised as Gad from Seán’s Veritas, we had spent some time together beneath Zagreb after leaving Goshawk before coming here. He was looking fit and keen for it. They walked swiftly over to us and we shook hands Quigley and I sized each other up, I could see in his eyes he recognised me and Muis.
“Coin please.” Muis barked holding out his right hand palm up.
“What?” Gad asked. But Quigley caught on quick and pulled out an old world coin out of his pocket. Muis checked it over feeling its weight and checking both sides weren’t the same before handing it to me.
I glanced it over making sure he could see it at all times before shouting “Call.”
“Heads” he almost shouted, and I flicked it in the air and caught it slapping it down on my arm.
“No tricks this time JP!” he muttered.
“What do you mean?” I grinned, and winked at the other two.
“You know what I mean.” he grunted grumpily.
I carefully lifted the hand covering the coin. I knew it had landed as tails and I had won it fairly, but he was likely to be unhappy about it anyway. Muis glared at it then at me "Bliksem!" he growled before marching off back towards the buildings. I grinned at the other two. “Shall we get going?” I said while tossing Quigley his old coin back.
“Don’t we need a pilot?” Gad asked looking around.
“He is one.” Quigley muttered, looking sideways at me. “We’ve met before.” he added.
Gad looked at him oddly, “There some bad blood between you two?”
“Nothing we can’t handle right Jackdaw?” I said looking calmly at him. He just nodded but didn’t look too happy. I shrugged and shook my head. I had got used to enemies becoming friends and vice versa. In my seven years as a mercenary, I had no hard feelings about what him and his group had done to me, not so easy for him I guess.
“Gentlemen.” I opened the creaking side-door of the rusty old “Banshee” we had been provided with, a six seater troop carrier full of rust, blood and with what looked like bullet holes, and motioned them inside, I climbed into the front. I switched on my Comms. “Please make sure all loose items are secured, and seatbelts are fastened, these things bounce around a lot if we hit some chop and we are going to hit some major chop if we’re to get to where we’re going.” I looked over my shoulder. They looked suitably terrified. I then proceeded to secure myself before powering up and getting permission to head out. Muis and I had already done the checks while waiting. I hated flying these Type-2 aircraft after the sleek new choppers I used to flying with Goshawk, but it’s what we were provided with and orders were orders.
Jersey, Lower Normandy, Irish Occupied France
Day 4294 ERT 12:00
A few turbulent hours later we landed at a small private Civ petrol station yard in Jersey near where we were meeting Major Sepp and some of his men. One of his men, a short well muscled man with white blonde hair and a nasty looking scar on the right side of his neck, was waiting for us with a Jeep. He introduced himself as Alex with a faint Euro/American accent, before driving us swiftly out to the small petrol station where Sepp was stationed.
Sepp told us about how his safe house in Prague they had been using had been compromised and they’d had to leave it and the country suddenly. They currently were using two bases one in Israel near Haifa, and an old abandoned one near Dublin in Blessington. We told him about what went down in Skibbereen and Rasa’s mission to break the siege on Liberty Hall in Dublin and plans to make it a permanent base, as well as our current mission to spy on the Goshawk Jersey base and to plant interceptors while we were there. Major Sepp offered two of his men for the mission. Alex, the guy who had picked us up and driven us here, in fairness he hadn’t said much but he looked like he could handle himself, and another called Tideman who I didn’t like the look of at all. I remembered him from somewhere. He was a tall, thin chap who looked a bit nervous, his eyes shifting around every time I looked in his direction, his hands shook a bit, and he had a nervous twitch below his right eye. I was about to say no thanks but Quigley and Gad were already thanking him for the support and now it seemed like we were now stuck with him.
We spent the rest of the day with them, waiting for nightfall before heading to the base. We played cards and I won quite a bit of cash and a few 4’s. I could feel Quigley and Gad’s eyes on me, they probably remembered Muis’s remarks. But I play fair when playing poker with friendlies, can’t help that I’m good at it. Civs, Partisans and whoever else on the other hand are fair game. I do use tricks and I pride myself on getting away with it.
We parked about a mile from the base and walked in carefully. I sent Quigley, Gad and Alex around the sides of the base, but kept Tideman with me. I wanted to keep an eye on what he was doing. After carefully watching guard patrols we cut a long slit in the chain link fence and slipped inside. I made sure to keep him in my eye view at all times while we checked out the building layouts and put down the interceptors at strategic locations.
We were close to the main compound and had just laid the last of our interceptors, when my Comm buzzed. “We’re done here, status?” Quigley’s hushed voice came over it. “Aye, copy that. We’ll meet you outside we’ve just finished up.” I whispered, half turning away from facing the main compound so my voice wouldn’t carry to anyone who might be outside it. I clicked my Comms off and turned to Tideman to tell him we needed to go. I felt a blow to the back of my head, followed by a couple more. I fought to stay conscious and started to whisper-shout for Tideman, when I heard his voice. “Sorry grunt, you’re worth a small nations annual turnover in cash and I need it, gambling debts you understand.” he whispered in my ear. I felt him grip me tightly and realized he was going to hit me again so allowed myself to go limp, forcing my muscles to relax. He lowered me slowly to the ground and pulled my arms behind my back. I kicked out with my right leg catching his knee and he folded down on top of me, I twisted under him and caught him with a fist in the ribs and heard him grunt in surprise. Unfortunately he had kept hold of his gun and hit me on the jaw with it, snapping my head back. I felt a sharp pain before I blacked out for a few seconds, came to, to find my hands zip tied behind my back and him kneeling on me as he zip tied my ankles which he then pulled up and linked to the hand tie, before placing a smelly rag in my mouth. He then proceeded to slowly disarm me. I felt him grip my shoulder and drag me into the shadows of the building we’d been next to. “Be right back.” he hissed in my ear before hitting me again and this time I lost all consciousness.
I woke up to someone splashing water on my face and shaking me. “You okay?” asked a voice I half recognised as Alex, the other of Sepps men asked. “We need to move before he gets back, can you walk?” I put an unsteady hand to the back of my head which was pounding with pain, it had a large lump on it, my hand came away with blood on it. My jaw ached and my mouth tasted like copper and something worse I hoped was oil from the rag. I leaned a hand against the wall of the building and slowly pulled myself up with help from Alex. “I’m fine, where are the boys?” I grunted shaking my head to try to clear it and almost falling with the pain and dizziness that followed. “Better hurry.” a voice I recognised as Quigley’s came out of the darkness. “You’re all here?” I whispered. “Yeah.” Gad’s voice came from the other side of him. “We were heading for the fence when Quigley here looked back and saw you fighting with someone. So we came back, Alex can move more quickly in the dark than us so he reached you first.” My head was aching but it happily coupled with images of me punching Tideman over and over and... “We really need to move before he raises the alarm and brings soldiers. Tideman is with Goshawk.” I said slowly. I took a step forward and almost fell. Gad put my right arm over his shoulder, and placed his left over mine. “You’re alright mate, Come on, lets go, I’ve got you.” he said and we moved as quietly as cats towards the fence, with me leaning heavily on Gad.
Once we had moved to cover 100 metres away from the fence Quigley stayed with me while the others fetched the Jeep. I leaned carefully against a tree while feeling around in my pockets for some Type 4’s, chewing six of them quickly. The sudden rush that followed steadied me. “What’re those yokes?” Quigley asked, with a grimace. I glanced around at him “Type 4s, have to take them for life unless we find a cure for them, don’t you worry about it mate. They’re helping me for now.” I grunted, looking off in the direction the others had gone. “Why did you take them in the first place?” I shrugged “Orders, and once taken well that's it you can’t not take them unless you want to die, withdrawals can kill you in a week, if you take none.” I moved away from the tree, testing my legs. Still a bit wobbly but definitely steadier and saw him nod to himself. “You going to be able to fly?” he queried. “Yeah, nah, don’t worry yourself. Of course, I could fly with my eyes closed if needs be.” I laughed at his expression, Muis and I had actually tried that a few times and the results weren’t bad, resulted in a savage dressing down by the Prof, don’t think he appreciated being flung around in the back of the helicopter, but totally worth it in our opinion, even if it was while on a mission. Soon we heard the Jeep rolling up, its headlights off. We headed back to Sepp and the others.
Sepp had received a radio message from our comrades that we were needed back quickly for the mission at Liberty Hall. He offered his men in Dublin to us and ordered Alex to carry a message to his men. After one of his men had seen to the wound on the back of my head we were driven to our helicopter and we were soon flying back to their base, the helicopter having being refueled by paid Civs, sympathetic to Rasa Blank who had been at the petrol station to keep an eye on it. I’d to pop a few more Type 4’s to steady myself for the flight, and I flew with my eyes closed mid flight just to check my steadiness. My passengers didn’t seem to appreciate it at all judging by the screams in the back of the helicopter, and the white knuckled grip Alex had on his seat next to me when I opened my eyes again, but I got us safely to a new Japanese base outside Dublin near Tallaght that E.L.F had paid for in advance.
I held the back of my head, pulling black-red scabs away from the bandaging when we landed. My passengers quickly alighted, I could even hear some of them puking. Although my head was as foggy as the Irish morning dew creeping back after “the Banshees” blades had stopped whirling I could sense the battle looming over me. Not in a bad way. In a kind of tranquil, light way. Man, Tideman must have added some extra kicks in when I was down because I could see the sunrise, bold as a stamp. Or was it a sunset? Muis is calling me to help with munitions. No rest for the wicked. Tomorrow we storm Liberty Hall. There’s no trick to that other than force.
Captain Jan Peter “JP” van Staden, Chance Unit, Rasa Blank