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"Alpha One Zero, this is Zero. Be advised, AC-130 is entering your airspace at this time."
So much for professionalism, Dice thought as her features creased into an enormous, shit-eating grin. "Spectre" is about bloody right. Those rag-head wankers are in for the fright of their fucking lives.
She'd done an admirable job of containing her excitement at getting to work with an AC-130 thus far, not wanting to appear unprofessional in front of Jackal, but the prospect of seeing the flying tank in action coupled with the onset of adrenaline all soldiers got before a contact meant that in the end she was just another smiling idiot like the rest of the lads in the company. She couldn't tell whether Jackal was as excited as she was at getting to work with the gunship – the balaclava made it impossible to gauge his expression, and there was an almost robotic deliberation to his movements, his tone about as emotive as a slab of granite.

The Marines advanced slowly. No prizes for being first, and in any case the ground was treacherous – bumpy and stony with sudden cracks that seemed to appear from nowhere. Dice saw one such crack about a metre from her feet, a few scrubby plants bravely trying to force their way skywards. She adjusted her path; the last thing she wanted was to lose her footing.
To her left, a few feet away, Jackal sucked air through his teeth in a curiously high-pitched but quiet little whistling noise to attract her attention. Once that had been established, he motioned for her to join him and pointed with his left hand (the one not holding his rifle) to a ridge directly overlooking the village.
"All right – here's what's going to happen. We're going to set up overwatch and provide sniper cover for the rest of the assault force as they move on the village. We're going to kick the hornet's nest – with any luck, the AC-130 will deal with most of the hornets, and all your lot will have to do is stamp out the stragglers."

Dice nodded, silent, but taking notice of the way he'd referred to the Marines as your lot. Whether it had been intended to remind her that he was SF and therefore in charge she didn't know, but even during her time as a sniper in 3 Commando Brigade there had been a considerable amount of piss-taking and even outright snobbery amongst Marines who thought that they were somehow better simply because they were sniper-qualified. This was true after a fashion; next to UKSF selection, sniper training was considered by many to be the most intense of all British military training regimes, but Dice had never had time for the glory-hounds who got a kick out of putting others down. Upon first joining the Royal Marines, she too had received her fair share of bullying and harassment simply for being female, but she'd since discouraged any such advances in the same way she'd dealt with a bully who had thought it would be funny to pull her shorts down from behind in gym class when she was at school; like the first idiot who'd pushed her too far, a sex-starved Marine who thought he could cop a feel whilst she was asleep had been sent to the infirmary with a bloody nose and a badly swollen set of bollocks.

"Zero, this is Alpha One Zero. Target area in sight. Rifle One is moving to set up overwatch whilst main assault force moves into position."
Rifle One was what their ad-hoc sniper team had been designated for the purposes of this operation. They would alternate between sniper and spotter roles if needed so as to prevent eye strain, but as Jackal was currently the shooter and Dice the spotter, they were designated Rifle One-One and Rifle One-Two respectively. Zero was the call-sign for the Ops Centre back at Camp Bastion; over the net, the name of the Royal Marines' patrol was Alpha One Zero, with the company commander's personal call-sign being Alpha One Zero Alpha and the senior officer at the ops room designated Zero Alpha.
Being a radio operator must be a right pain in the arse, Dice found herself thinking. You get one bloody letter in the wrong place and you've ended up passing an order on to completely the wrong person.
"Copy, Alpha One Zero," came the reply over their headsets.
"Zero Alpha, interrogative; what's the ETA on that AC-130, over?"
"Imminent," came the reply, and although no-one said anything after that besides a bland "Copy" from Jackal, Dice knew that the general reaction was the same as hers.
They'd all heard the transmission. Each member of the patrol carried their own Personal Role Radio or PRR, a microphone and earpiece secured to the user's head by a strap and connected to a box about the size of a packet of cigarettes on their webbing vest. PRR's are designed to be on permanent receive so that everyone can hear incoming radio chatter, but if you wanted to broadcast you had to press the transmitter button; this prevented the net being flooded with noise every time someone talked or breathed.
Jackal and Dice branched off as the rest of the patrol moved on, heading towards a sheer rock face maybe forty metres high that walled off the valley. The crest of the rock formation overlooked the village; it would make a perfect observation post, but there wasn't a slope or any other way up it in sight.
There was nothing else for it. They were going to have to scale the cliff.

"I'll lead," Jackal said, following her gaze and realising that they'd both met the same conclusion.
"Hell of a climb."
"Don't worry," he told her as he shrugged off his Bergen (backpack) and began rummaging through it. "I've bought some friends."
A friend – also known as a spring-loaded camming device or SLCD – was an essential piece of equipment for mountaineering. It was a perforated, crescent-shaped piece of metal that could be wedged into cracks in the rock face, allowing the user to get a line up, and Jackal had apparently bought enough for both of them. From his Bergen he then produced forty metres of tough, prehensile rope and a roll of webbing tape; along with his friends, that was everything he needed to get a line up to the top of the cliff so Dice could follow.
It took him about twenty minutes, scanning for cracks in the cliff to wedge his friends into before threading the line through them. Once he'd reached the top, Dice helped him haul up both their Bergens and the huge valise he'd been lugging around with him ever since the briefing using the line he'd set up; that done, it took her about fifteen minutes to make her ascent. It was nothing too new, although it was by no means easy. She'd done a mountaineering course during a joint training exercise with the Canadian Army not too long ago, and whilst the Alps were a little different to Aghanistan the same principles applied.
Job well done, but there was no time for back-slapping. They had to press on.
Keeping low and moving as quickly and quietly as possible, watching their footsteps so as not to take a wrong step and (A) dislodge any small rocks that could alert anyone in the valley below to their presence or (B) fall to their deaths.
Eventually they reached a rocky outcrop which was dotted with sparse shrubs, little more than skeletal clusters of branches with some tiny, browning leaves on them. Dice glanced at it and grimaced;Iraq had been fucking awful, sure, but Afghanistan was about as close as she'd ever got to hell on Earth. It was like the country just sucked the life out of everything; if it wasn't scorching, barren desert it was harsh, jagged mountains topped with ankle-deep snow. One extreme or the other. There really was no such thing as compromise in this place.

"This'll do," Jackal said, by which Dice suspected he meant "This is a pretty crap spot for an OP but what choice do we have?" There wasn't any cover besides the scraggly bushes and a few small rocks, so they'd just have to hope for the best and count on cover of darkness to conceal them.
Abruptly, the comms crackled into life. "Alpha One Zero, this is Zero; be advised, Fourth Horseman is above you, over."
Jackal shot Dice a sideways glance as if to say Bloody Yanks, and she grinned. Spectre pilots had the kind of call-signs only the Americans could get away with; no Brit pilot would ever be sad enough to call themselves The Fourth Horseman.
"Alpha One Zero's moving into position," Dice noted as Jackal set down the valise and shrugged off his Bergen. Out of the latter came several huge magazines that were far too big for his rifle, a whopping great thermal sight, a sophisticated-looking rangefinder, and two pairs of ear defenders. That could only mean one thing.
Jackal unsheathed the valise at last, and as her suspicions were confirmed Dice's jaw went slack with amazement.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
It was a Barrett M-82 sniper rifle.

Known in the US Army as the M107 and more colloquially as The Big Bad Mother Of All Sniper Rifles, or the Light Fifty for short, the Barrett was a truly fearsome beast. She'd seen one before but never fired it, and it was all she could do not to drool as Jackal hefted it. The thing was so massive and heavy that it couldn't be fired from anything but a static position, and it was every bit as terrifying as it looked, weighing in at five stone (fourteen kilograms to its American designers) and measuring five feet from the end of its square-shaped stock to the tip of its grooved muzzle. The Yanks had designed it primarily for taking out armoured vehicles, and it did the trick for both drivers and engine blocks. Such were the power of the huge .50 caliber rounds it took, it was also excellent for destroying fortified positions – to say nothing of infantry.
Put a round through an AQT's kidneys with that and he'd able to stick a hand through the hole in his guts to wipe his arse, Dice thought, digging her teeth into her bottom lip to stop herself from giggling.
Although Dice knew the basics of how weapons worked, as all soldiers did, she'd never much cared for people who could reel off all the technical data of a rifle from memory. In her opinion, memorising facts you'd read on Wikipedia was no substitute for actually getting hands-on experience, and in any case all she really cared about was whether the gun went bang when you pointed it at someone and pulled the trigger. There was little doubt in her mind that in this case there would be a very loud bang indeed; the .50 cal rounds were enormous, almost twice the size of Jackal's thumb and ending in wicked-looking points. It was her understanding that simply put, the more gunpowder you put in a bullet the further it would fly, and if she remembered correctly the Barrett had an accurate range of up to 2,000 metres. That meant a hell of a lot of gunpowder.

"You ever used one of these before?" Jackal asked her. She shook her head, so he continued. "When I was in Kosovo a few years back, the KLA had one of these that they used to fire from the back of a modified van. Cocky twats played merry hell with isolated UN patrols in bandit country for a good few years until me and a few of my mates got together and spoiled their fun."
She nodded, unsure of what to say in response to that. Jackal's sort didn't speak freely about their jobs to outsiders, even the stuff that was in the past. Everyone knew the game. They didn't say, and you didn't push them. Maybe it was just overthinking on her part, but for him to come out with something like that-
A transmission from the Ops Room derailed her train of thought.
"Alpha One Zero, this is Zero; send loc stats. Fourth Horseman has identified two armed foot-mobiles on a cliff edge at grid: zero, niner..."
Fucking hell, Dice realised as the bearing was read out. That's us!
The Spectre's crew could see both her and Jackal on their little screens, and she was uncomfortably aware of the fact that at the press of a button they could have been reduced to little more than bits of charred flesh and scorch marks on the sand.
To his credit, Jackal didn't hang about in telling the friendlies exactly where they were.
"Alpha One Zero, stand by. Rifle One is going to get the enemy's attention. We'll paint targets for the AC-130 – advise you lot to keep your swedes down whilst that's happening, over."
"Rifle One, Alpha One Zero Alpha. Copy. You are now weapons-free."

It was the sentence both of them had been waiting all night to hear.
"You see that hut at the North-East end of the village?" Jackal asked Dice, without taking his eyes off his rifle's scope.
Dice, who was sat next to him, adjusted her tripod-mounted spotter's scope. "I see it."
"Get eyes on the door to the left. I'm going to put a couple of shots into it."
"OK. Eyes-on, fire when ready."
Between sniper pairs, sharing information is crucial. Whilst spotting for a target, the shooter's number two would give a permanent running commentary to confirm to the shooter what his mind is already telling him and allow him to focus completely on the kill.
Jackal gave the trigger a gentle squeeze, and in the same instant Dice understood why he'd brought the ear defenders. A high-velocity round travels faster than the speed of sound, so she saw the round before she heard it – except she didn't so much hear it as feel it. There was a thunderous BOOM as the bullet erupted from the muzzle of the rifle, followed by the metallic click-clack of the bolt cycling, and if Jackal hadn't been keeping a firm grip on it the thing probably would have broken his jaw. It was like hearing a miniature artillery piece firing; without the ear defenders it could well have deafened her, and the echo from the shot lasted a good ten seconds or so.

She witnessed the results firsthand. The round impacted just to the left of the door, throwing up a huge puff of dust that revealed a massive crack in the wall of the hut once it had cleared. There were frantic shouts in the distance; that had definitely got their fucking attention.
"You're off by half a metre there, mate."
"Alright, stand by. Adjusting."
Jackal reached into a pouch on the side of his vest and selected a yellow-tipped round, which he popped into the chamber of the Barrett. It was then Dice realised that although he'd opted to have his pistol in a quick-release holster on his chest, he'd specifically configured the pouches on his tactical vest so that they were at his sides. It made sense; he was sniping from the prone position, and you couldn't easily reach something if you were lying on top of it. It's paramount for a sniper to be comfortable at all times, and so Dice – who had her ammo and equipment pouches on the front of her vest – was in a sitting position for the same reason.
"Firing...now."
Jackal pulled back the cocking chamber, and let the yellow-tipped round fly. This time it was dead-centre, and on impact it gave off a ball of light that illuminated most of the area surrounding the doorway. It was a flash-tip round, designed to let you know where your rounds were hitting, and in the light she could see a whole lot of guys in white pyjamas flooding out of the huts - all armed, most with rifles and some with rocket launchers.
"Good hit," Dice said. You stirred the fucking hornet's nest with that one."
By her estimation, it was about time the AC-130 crew earned their pay.
The second revised chapter of my Call of Duty: Modern Warfare fanfiction series, the aptly-named Bullet Points.

Just to recap, the aim of the project - which is the first of many Modern Warfare fanfictions I have planned - is to remain true to the established canon of the Modern Warfare series whilst filling in the blanks between Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, dealing with the behind-the-scenes stuff in a re-imagining of sorts that features changes to certain details for purposes of realism whilst not going against any plot-crucial points.

The first chapter, if you've not read it already, can be found here: [link]

Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome, so don't be shy about pointing out anything you think I could improve on - that's the whole reason I restarted this project in the first place.

Chapter Three is coming soon.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series is Infinity Ward
"Jackal" is *metalzerofour
Elizabeth "Dice" Hankard is ~JJesseh
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:iconmotor-cunt:
motor-cunt Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i watch u.
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:iconmetalzerofour:
metalzerofour Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I thank u.
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:iconmotor-cunt:
motor-cunt Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i look 4ward to more!!
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:iconturtleabbikyo:
TurtleAbbiKyo Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Awesom second chapter! I don't know how well I'd be with giving you constructive crit considering I don't write that often and really wouldn't know how to go about it. I will say that I like how you explain the different weapons and gear. I don't do as much research on stuff like that so I'd either be completely lost or get frustrated with going to google every time. I can't wait for the third chapter!
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:iconmetalzerofour:
metalzerofour Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
you'd be surprised how much shit I just find on Google/Wikipedia.

the rest is sourced from reference books.
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:iconcysanic5:
Cysanic5 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Awesome work dude! Git awn teh next chaptah!
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:iconeart1:
EART1 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Loving it.
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:icontombslug:
tombslug Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
a sex-starved Marine who thought he could cop a feel whilst she was asleep had been sent to the infirmary with a bloody nose and a badly swollen set of bollocks.
go dice, go go go.
anyway, another awesome chapter. :D i hope the next one comes soon (it better)
Reply
:iconmetalzerofour:
metalzerofour Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
dice is a strong independent ginger who don't need no man except Jackal

yeah, next chapter's coming along smoothly. should be up soon.
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