Incoming Transmission: Fee: ?100000... Job: Evaluate eight highly trained professionals... Brief: Enter the facility and await further orders... The Catch... You're the bait...
Rain falls from the night sky and pummels the empty street, streaming from the cracked pavement and forming fast running rivers in the grime caked gutters. The overbearing heat of the day can be forgotten as the downpour cools the air, bringing with it a freshness that hasn't been experienced for months.
But no one comes out to dance in the streets, there are no celebrations... Not here...
This is a place of fear, a city held in the grip of war. To walk the streets at night is to sign your own death warrant, to do so in the day is to play a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. Only those with a purpose, those who dare to try and benefit from conflict risk standing out in the open after dark.
Two such warriors run out into the centre of the road, their lower faces covered by loosely tied scarves. One of them holds his weapon, ready for use yet the other has slung his rifle across his shoulder. They pause momentarily and look back, seeing those who pursue them.
“Shit!” The hissed curse is not heard over the sound of the rain.
Three armed men step from the shadows of the ruined shop front, weapons raised and unwilling to wait for surrender.
As they fall to the soaked ground the air is filled with the acrid aroma of cordite and copper as thick blood puddles around the corpses, only to be washed away by the heavy rain.
No one is there to witness the execution and the three armed killers turn their backs on their victims with no guilty in their posture as they fade back into the shadows a moment before the street is illuminated by the headlights of an armoured Humvee, the first in a convoy of three.
The first vehicle swerves to miss the two corpses but the second and third show no such respect for the dead, bumping over the bodies without slowing. All three Humvees reach the end of the street and turn into the next, heading towards the sounds of combat.
*** BREAK IN TRANSMISSION ***
The rear of the lead Humvee hasn't been designed for comfort and those riding within are prepared for it. Its what they've been trained to do and its what they're paid to put up with. If they wanted comfort they'd take a holiday.
Four men all sit in silence, three of them waiting for the fourth to talk.