08 March, 1028 hrs local
The National Mall
Chief Warrant Officer Halsey received the call from Agent Crane, the leader of the guys on the ground, that they had positive ID of the shooters on the roof of the National Gallery of Art, so he turned his bird east and sped as fast as he could towards their location. Once he was hovering above the Archives building he radioed the men on the roof.
“Crane, this is Brahma Two-Three,” he said into his helmet’s microphone. “Which building did you say the shooters were on? Over.”
The radio was set to broadcast the reply to the entire crew so the door gunners could follow along with the conversation and react to the information quickly. “We saw at least two men on the roof of the National Gallery of Art, over.”
Chief Halsey looked over to his co-pilot who shook his head. “Acknowledged,” he replied. “We’ll need you to walk us onto the target, over.”
“It’s that large building immediately to our southeast, over.”
The Blackhawk slowly rotated as the pilots and gunners tried to get a bearing on the target location. “I see them!” Specialist Brunson shouted triumphantly from the starboard gunner’s seat while pointing into the murk below the helicopter.
“Can you positively identify that they are humans and that they have weapons?” Chief Halsey asked.
There was a loud metallic ping as Brunson’s helmet flew off his head and landed in the open space behind the pilot and co-pilot. “Oh Jesus! Oh mother fucker!” Sergeant Helms screamed from the port gunner’s seat.
Halsey didn’t understand what was happening. Specialist Brunson had identified personnel on the target building’s roof and then the crew chief was cursing into the radio. “What’s wrong Sergeant?” he asked as he glanced over his left shoulder where the enlisted man sat.
“Jesus fucking Christ! Craig’s head is lying in the fucking crew compartment!” Sergeant Helms screamed into the radio. “They fucking shot him!”
“What the fu– “ Halsey never finished his question as a hole appeared in the windshield and his throat was torn away. Brahma Two-Three’s co-pilot released the cyclic and threw his hands up the clear the red smear from his goggles. Halsey thrashed wildly as he began to aspirate blood into his lungs and he yanked erratically on the cyclic. The helicopter shot up and banked drunkenly to the left. The left-seater reached frantically for the cyclic control, but the bird was already beginning to flip as it crashed into the side of a building several blocks from the Archives.
The crumpled Blackhawk slid violently down the side of the building and came to rest upside down on the engines.
//Like what you read?! This is an UNEDITED section from “REND” the sequel to my first novel “GNASH”. I anticipate being complete with the book by fall 2014.//