Vignette:Zero Hour

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Zero Hour
Special Operations Base Adrados, Adrados, People's Confederacy of Arbenz
September 24th, 1979

t’s wet, it’s sticky, it’s humid, and his trigger finger’s starting to itch.

Not far away, he can see figures dressed in a ragtag fashion patrolling the perimeter; their red armbands, scarves, and headbands mark them clearly as communists. Just behind them, he can spot fresh recruits doing their rounds; one group is running in circles, another is doing firearms training, and another is headed towards what he presumes to be a mess hall. Intelligence wasn’t overexaggerating anything; it’s a massive base.

He’s just glad he’s not the only one assaulting it.

To his left, hidden behind some shrubbery, is a New Valentine officer peering through his binoculars. From what he can tell looking at where he’s looking, the fuel storage area, chock full of gas tanks and stray petrol cans, has caught his eye. A little pyromancy in this situation would be a nice addition to all the monotony of the operation, but a burning fuel depot in the middle of the jungle would be stretching it a bit too far. As his gaze shifts towards an open cache of ammunition smack dab in the open, there’s a bright grin on his face and a shiver down his own spine.

The officer lets off a muted giggle. “We could kick them right in their jewels, right now.”

“Stick to the plan. Wait for our air to throw them into a frenzy, then stab them in the back.”

“You have no idea how tempted I am to blow them sky high.”

“With what weapons?”

His grin turns towards him as he shakes a radio at his face. “Communication is key.”

Not so far away, he can hear the sound of jet engines racing toward him. It isn’t long until the camp’s sirens start blaring; the figures in the distance scamper away into cover like rats in a sewer. As he looks up, he sees two distinctly bomb-shaped dots in the sky gently guiding themselves down from the heavens. The jets scream away and out of his view, but all he can see right now are the bombs as he tightens his grip on his rifle and steadies his footing. He's ready to pounce on them as soon as the bombs go off.

As his gaze follows the path of the ordnance, there's a problem that arises when he meets ground level. There’s a delay when the first one hits the ground next to the fuel depots, kicking up copious amounts of mud. The second one plummets through the roof of a sprawling building with similar results. For a moment, he wonders if they're both duds.

As he stares into the complex, the intense glow of two explosions and the shockwave of musty jungle air that kicks his grinning face prove otherwise.

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