Mission 7: Scouting Ahead
- Team 1: Angel Ramirez, Nicole Chambers, Wendy Luang, and Diana Bertram
Codename: Angel, Spartan, Ghost, and Chameleon
Where: Gharb Darfur
Location: Enroute to Geneina
When: 2:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Captain Luang left her new teammates to set up camp while she scouted
ahead. According to the satellite pictures and maps proved to the
team by the UN, David Chinua was currently being held in a military
compound. The compound was presumably built during the First Sudanese
Civil War, abandoned by the official government after the end of the
war and in the last 40 so years changed hands from one warlord to
another. While the military compound was only about three klicks
northeast from camp, the terrain was difficult, making the trip slower
than Luang would have liked.
At least, Wendy thought as she moved along, the mountains are cooler,
still hot, but cooler. The schism between Irish and the Suit worried
her and she can only imagine the oppressive dry heat of Darfur desert
adding to the tension. Spartan and Chameleon weren't military
trained, but they seemed competent and professional enough. Angel
seemed to have her demons, at least from what she gathered from her
view through her rifle's eye scope at the end of the last mission.
Wendy shook her head in disapproval. If Daeng had...
Wendy took a sharp, painful breath and after a few minutes decided she
should best suspend judgment on Angel. Wendy reached the crest of one
of the smaller mountains around the Deriba Crater. From there she'd
follow close to the ridge for another klick, but something caught her
eye in the barren valley below. She instinctively hunched down behind
a boulder and pulled out her binoculars. There was a collection of
tents and semi-permanent structures. A village.
Luang spent fifteen minutes observing the village below. It was hard
to tell at this distance, but she estimated a village of roughly a
hundred or a hundred and fifty villagers, though there was currently
little activity. If one had to live in a hell hole like Darfur, Luang
mused, the Marra Mountains would be best place to live. The mountains
created a slightly more hospitable climate. The vegetation was
scarce, but at least there was some and judging by the two empty river
beds she crossed, they probably received seasonal rains, which was
better than no rain at all. Still, Luang reasoned, this village was
too close the the compound to be a coincidence. Luang took her map
out and marked the village location, then she pulled her camera out
and took several pictures to show her comrades when she returned to
camp. This done, Luang secured the map, binoculars and camera back
into her pack and continued on.
As she continued on the ridge Luang was worried but not surprised to
note a trail traveling parallel to her course. At one point, a few
gunmen came strolling down the path. Luang ducked down and took a
number of pictures of the five soldiers as they walked along. They
seemed relaxed and while they carried guns, they didn't seem on guard.
Once they passed, Luang continued on.
As Luang approached the compound she noticed the dirt trail, which ran
parallel to her most of the trip, turned southerly and uphill towards
the compound. To compensate, Luang went southeast, overshot the
compound and then went northwest, so that she would be viewing the
compound from the apparently much less active eastern side. Luang
took out her camera and binoculars and began to observe.
The first thing she noticed, and much welcomed good news after
discovering the connected village, was than the five buildings that
made up the compound were in poor condition than originally suspected.
The forty years of off and on violence in the region showed. The
compound was encircled by a clay brick wall. While some areas have
been repaired or where in the process of being repaired, a section to
the north had crumbled down to the point that one could simply walk
through. That section, however, was heavily guarded. A team of
labors, Luang noted, worked at repairing the northeastern wall. Luang
noticed that the labors would being guarded. She frowned and brought
up her camera. She had serious doubts they were working on the wall
of their own free will.
Besides the breach to the north, there was the gate to the east and an
apparently much less used gate to the west. Five buildings existed
within the compound, besides an outhouse. To the northeast and barely
standing was a large shed that seemed to hold supplies and weapons. A
larger two-story building of clay brick was most likely housing for
the soldiers. A small clinic stood to the southwest. Given Chinua
profession, it wasn't unlikely that they'd forcibly employ him there,
after all, medical doctors were difficult to come by in this region.
The building to the southeast appeared to formally be an
administrative building and was probably used now, at least in part,
for additional housing. In the center the fifth building, and notably
most repaired, was formally and most certainly currently used as a jail.
Wendy was just about to put her camera away and head back when there
was a commotion among the laborers. She took several pictures as on
of the younger laborers threw down his tools and appeared to argue
with the guards, then she switched the digital camera to film. His
fellow laborers appeared became alarmed and began to plead with the
defiant one. Instead of shooting him, as Luang was sure to happen,
one of the guards ran to the jail. Moments later he returned with a
tight grip on a middle age woman. The guard made her knell on the
ground as Laung caught it on film. Word were exchanged, which Laung
couldn't hear at that distance and probably couldn't translate. The
defiant appeared to plead and even took up his tools.
A shot rang out.
"Yet," Wendy whispered in Thai.
As she approached Team 1's camp, she radioed ahead so as not to
startle her teammates. Grim-faced and silent she went immediately for
her laptop to download what she caught on film. She tossed the map
which she marked locations down to Angel before pulling out the
laptop. "You're not going to like this," she finally said as she
plugged in her camera and began to download the pictures and video.