Entry VI: Bent but not Broken
Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Wednesday, October 15th, 2003
It had been weeks since the Resistance freed Brooklyn from the clutches of the Soviet Armed Forces and we now found ourselves back where it all began, Manhattan. Troy Stone, Chris’ brother, and his trusted fighters were still in Brooklyn, making sure that the Reds didn’t retake the ground we fought so hard to free. The short respite we received once we all arrived back in Manhattan had allowed us to recover both physically and mentally. Charlie Raider's injuries she sustained at the Brooklyn Harbor had fully healed and she was back with the team. She was practically chomping at the bit to get back into action. Daniil Goldobin and Nikolay Tarasov, the two ex-Russian soldiers Chris had saved from execution by the hands of the SAF, were now fully accepted amongst the other resistance fighters. Phil Bagzton used our break from action to train Tony Ramos, who had few fighting skills but a will to help, so that he would be prepared the next time the team was deployed. Billy Hurst, Miguel Bishop, and Steven Ryan also spent the downtime honing their skills, especially with explosives.
The respite also allowed us to grieve the loss of Manny Perez who died so our mission in Brooklyn could succeed. He was one of the POWs that Phil rescued when Chris and I were trying to escape the Reds at the Brooklyn Harbor. Charlie, Tony, and Steven took Manny’s loss especially hard since they were also prisoners of the SAF along with him. But some of us didn’t have time to grieve too long. Chris and Isabella were already hard at work devising a plan to take control of key areas in Manhattan. Questions and doubts were also creeping up in our leadership. I first noticed it a few days ago at one of our briefings. Chris, Isabella, and Phil were all examining intelligence reports I brought in from our advisor, Mr. Jones. Phil was the first to voice concern, stating that Mr. Jones intelligence always seemed too good to be true. He was effective but maybe he was too affective. Chris asked Isabella if she knew what Mr. Jones had done before we were invaded by Russia. She could only answer that she met Mr. Jones right before the attacks when he sought Warning Against Reds! out and shared vital information with her.
We didn’t have time to discuss the topic further because the intelligence that Mr. Jones had provided was time sensitive. We were making an impact in Manhattan but the Reds had increased their presence on the island and it was time for us to strike back. There were three locations that we needed to focus our efforts on. The main objective was the power plant but it was heavily guarded by both ground troops and a fleet of helicopters. There was a warehouse district near the power plant that served as a prisoner of war camp. There was also a forward operations base here, where troop movement was coordinated from. Lastly, the Reds’ choppers were grounded near a movie theater for refueling and maintenance. Chris didn’t hesitate a moment when he declared that we must move on the warehouse district first. The POWs should be our top priority and we would be able to cripple enemy troop movement if we took out the forward operations base as well. While we needed the time off from action, we were all prepared to follow Chris into battle once more.
Date: Thursday, October 16th, 2003
We arrived at the warehouse district just as night fell. There was no moon out and we would use the darkness to our advantage. Chris’ entire team was with him for this mission. Myself, Billy, Miguel, Charlie, Steven, Tony, Daniil, and Nikolay were all poised to accomplish our mission. Phil was leading his own group on a parallel mission a few boroughs over. Chris’ plan was simple; he wanted to blow up the two bridges that the Reds used to transport all their large artillery. We had already succeeded in blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge, so these smaller structures wouldn’t be an obstacle. But the attack on the bridges was to be a diversion. While I led a squad consisting of Charlie, and Steven to one location, Miguel would be leading Tony and Daniil to the other bridge. Chris would be taking Billy and Nikolay into the warehouse district to try and locate where the prisoners were being held.
The three of us headed east towards the first bridge and met little resistance. Only a few soldiers were out on patrol and Charlie stealthily took them out. We quickly reached our destination and planted the C4 on the bridge. After we reached a safe distance, we detonated the explosives and waited to hear the echo of another explosion in the distance. It was only moments later when we heard the successful boom from Miguel's squad. Everything was going according to plan and we pushed forward to our rendezvous point with Chris. But everything wasn’t going according to plan. As we approached the outside perimeter of the warehouse district, we could hear the sporadic din of gunfire. I alertly scanned the area to try and locate the source of the sound when I spotted Miguel and his squad. He gave me a concerned look when we both realized that it wasn’t either of our teams that were under attack but it must be Chris’ squad.
We hurriedly called out a strategic plan. I ordered Charlie and Steven to hang back, making sure that the rest of us weren’t flanked. I joined Miguel as he sent Tony and Daniil down a left alley. We moved cautiously forward, inching closer to the sounds of battle, until we finally saw the backs of Soviet soldiers. We opened fire, aiming carefully as to not hit Chris and the others who were just beyond the wall of Reds. They went down quickly and Miguel and I rushed to Chris while Tony and Daniil covered our position. Chris was hunched down on the ground and covered in blood. My heart skipped a beat as I thought he was wounded but when I approached him,
We had to hurry back to the rendezvous point where Charlie and Steven were waiting for us. We weren’t safe here and it would only be moments before Red reinforcements arrived at our position. We weaved our way through the alleyways meeting no resistance until we reached the perimeter. I held up my gun in the air so that Charlie and Steven knew we were friendlies. They rushed to help Chris and Miguel with Billy’s body. Once they realized that their friend was dead, Steven hung his head and Charlie uttered a sound that could only be described as a growl of disgust. Everyone took a moment to process the loss of Billy before regrouping into the sewers.
I was in the middle of asking Steven and Nikolay to take Billy’s body back to the base when I saw out of the corner of my eye, Chris grabbing his gun and marching back towards the warehouse district. I motioned for them to take care of Billy before I ran towards Chris and grabbed his arm. I demanded to know what he was thinking; we had lost one of our fighters and had lost the element of surprise. Billy’s death had hit Chris hard, after all, Billy and Miguel were the first resistance fighters to follow Chris. He shook off my grip and told me that we had enough soldiers to take over the district. I watched as Chris charged forward, hesitating for a moment until Miguel gave me a nudge on the back. I looked at him and he simply told me that this was for Billy. I nodded back and waved to the others to join us. Chris was our leader and we would follow him no matter what.
The six of us reentered the warehouse district not under the guise of stealth but in open defiance. The Reds had already swarmed the area and were surprised to see that we were attacking them again. Gunfire broke out amongst the buildings and we all scatter to find cover. The fight was frantic and the Reds were moving to flank our position. I scurried across the alleyway that was separating me from Chris; I had to convince him this was madness. I had to scream at the top of my lungs so that he heard me over the whizzing of bullets but I made sure he heard me. I demanded that he think this through, I knew Billy meant a lot but we were in over our heads and needed to retreat before we all died. I told him that we had our people to look after, that the POWs were still relying on us to save them and that we wouldn’t be able to if we were all dead.
Something I said broke through and Chris came to his senses. He ordered us to retreat back into the sewers so we could regroup. The team drew back intermittently; making sure that no one was left behind or cut off by the enemy. We eventually reached the outer perimeter just as Steven and Nikolay returned from escorting Billy’s body back to the base. They provided cover for us while we all escaped into the sewers. This was the first true defeat we had suffered as a team since the invasion started. The team was clearly rattled but after collecting his thoughts, Chris admitted that he led us into battle out of anger over Billy’s death. He vowed that we would return to the warehouse district to free the prisoners the Soviets were holding and that we would persevere against our enemy.