August 26, 2016

Worth Fighting For - Entry XI: The Last Bell at Midnight
Worth Fighting For
Entry XI: The Last Bell at Midnight
Location: Midtown Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Wednesday, November 26th, 2003

We used the next few weeks to reorganize the remnants of the Manhattan Resistance. Chelly, Ryo, and Logan had turned up safe and sound a few days after we arrived at our new home. Disappointingly, we never saw Charlie or Manny after the fall of the Manhattan Rebel Base. I was still hopeful that both survived, after all they were some of our most skilled fighters, but the reality of the situation was grim. The extra time spent to find ammunition, food, supplies, and fighters gave my body the chance to heal. The bullet wounds were now scars and the concussions I suffered seemed to have cleared up as well. I still had buzzing in my ears and frequent headaches, but nothing as crippling as before. Everyone else felt revitalized after the short respite and having a clear plan of attacked had raised morale.

The Kid had stolen an SAF computer which contained sensitive information on two of the largest Red strongholds, the Manhattan High School and the Manhattan TV Station. The TV station housed SAFN and was where Tatiana Kempinski broadcasted her nightly news show from. The high school was rumored to house political prisoners along with the headquarters for the SAF top brass and it also functioned as an elite training center. Once Chris and Phil heard this, there was no question which target we would be assaulting first. If there was any chance that Isabella and Coronel Bulba were at the high school, we could not pass up this opportunity. The Kid did warn us that the last fleet of SAF helicopters was stationed near the high school. Again with the helicopters, I think the Reds have a fetish with the machines or something. It was settled then; we were rested and ready for a fight. We all knew that these last missions could mean victory or defeat for the entire Manhattan Resistance.

Location: Manhattan High School
Date: Thursday, November 27th, 2003

It felt like old times, being on a mission with Chris again. He was once again leading his team made up of me, Steven, Daniil, Kat, Chelly, Ryo, and Logan. Phil had taken a few freedom fighters and was working to help the small pockets of resistance that had broken out across the city while the Kid stayed back at the base to help coordinate the recovery efforts. Our first destination was the high school’s track and football fields. The Reds were using these adjoining facilities to refuel their chopper fleet. The Kid was able to obtain enough explosives so that we would be able to eliminate the last Red fleet. After that, it would be a direct assault on the high school itself in hopes of rescuing Isabella and finally finishing off Coronel Bulba.

We made it easily into the vicinity of the fields; the Soviet Armed Forces thought us defeated and had relaxed their security to a surprising level. There were no armed patrols, no spotlights sweeping the darkened streets, and not even a single guard in the watchtowers above us. The only activity we observed as we surveyed the landing area was of the ground crew refueling and maintaining the helicopters. Chris and Steven took the explosives and headed towards the landing pads while the rest of us hid behind the embankment near the fields. It was a strange sensation, feeling like we were not in any danger. I knew it wouldn’t last long because once the sound of the explosions reached the high school; our enemy would be alerted to our presence and prepared for our attack.

I watched as Chris and Steven scampered across the fields. Chris headed to the fuel line at the football field and Steven navigated towards the track field’s fuel tank. They darted past SAF workers and used the crates littered across the area as cover. I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching some new sporting event. Chris Stone and Steven Ryan racing to see who could blow up the Red fleet first. When Chris and Steven reached their destinations, they set the charges, and then sprinted towards the high school. The rest of us covered our heads as we watched the blasts hurl helicopter parts into the air like they were fireworks. I couldn’t help but let a wide grin appear on my face as we watched the last Red air fleet turn into a molten pile of metal. I watched for a few moments more before turning my smirk into a line of seriousness. Now we had the task of tackling the high school itself, the home to the SAF elite training facility. Our adversaries would be highly skilled and lethal; a mistake here could be permanent.

We rendezvoused with Chris and Steven in front of the gymnasium. Chris called out a few commands to coordinate our attack as we charged into the building. Daniil let out a few quick pops of gunfire, taking the SAF soldiers by surprise. The rest of Chris’ team quickly joined in the firefight. The concussive sound of bullet fire caused a twinge of pain in my head but nothing that interrupted my focus on the task at hand. Our team executed like the professionals we had become and it took us less than three minutes to clear the gymnasium. We scanned the area to ensure that there was no surprise attack waiting for us before moving farther into the school.

Chris assumed that the prisoners would be held in the classrooms located on the upper floors. We charged up the stairs and entered the main hallway. Multiple doors lined each side and we paired off in twos to clear every room. Logan caught my gaze and motioned to a door. I nodded and he twisted the doorknob open. I charged in and turned right as Logan covered my blindside. After a few intense moments of breaching into the unknown had passed, Logan patted me on the shoulder to indicate that the room was clear and that we could move on to the next classroom. We cleared every room one by one but found no signs of the prisoners or our enemy. As we regrouped at the end of the hall, Chris motioned to the ceiling. We all nodded, the entire Red force must be hunkered down on the last floor waiting for us to come to them.

We had no choice but to meet the Red ambush head on. There was only enough from for two of us to stand shoulder to shoulder, so I paired off with Logan once again. We volunteered to go up the stairs first and see if we could bait the SAF into giving their position away. Chris gave us the okay and I went back into a classroom to grab a chair. Logan raised an eyebrow at me but his quizzical expression soon melted into one of mirth. He knew what I was planning and gave me the thumbs up that he was ready. We reached the third floor and peered down the hall. There was no one waiting for us, I motioned to the door which had a sign above it that said “teachers’ offices” and Logan raised his gun. I opened the door and slid the chair into the room. Gunfire pelted the chair, highlighting the location of four SAF soldiers. Logan and I fired down on the Reds before they had realized that the chair was a decoy. I could hear behind me the sound of gunfire in the other rooms which quickly died out as our other two person squads efficiently eliminated all resistance.

It was strange, we had expected to fight a lot more Reds but it appeared that the main force stationed at the high school had fled. There was only one room left to sweep, the principal’s office. I readied my gun as Logan prepared to open the door but before he could turn the knob, it swung open with a violent thud, knocking Logan off balance. An SAF commando rushed out with knife drawn and attacked Logan. I couldn’t shoot for fear of hitting my teammate and tried helplessly to pull the commando off of Logan. Metal met flesh as the blade sliced Logan’s face, but Logan was able to land a solid punch to the commando’s stomach, winding the Red commando.

We finally subdued the commando to the ground but he wasn’t going down without a fight. He told us that we would never find the prisoners and that we had already been defeated. I then heard the sound of a pin hitting the ground but didn’t comprehend what has happening at first. Logan recognized the threat, picked the commando up from the floor, and flung him inside the office before slamming the door shut. Logan then yelled at us to take cover, which we did, just before the grenade detonated. After the smoke had settled we explored the area more thoroughly and found signs of people being held here but they had been moved before our arrival. We had failed to liberate Isabella and withdrew back to the Midtown Manhattan Rebel Base in hopes of formulating a new plan.