Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How I Lost Half My Right Arm (Part II)

(Part I found here.)

There are several keys to game theory. When the game enters the point of brinksmanship, the man that stands to lose a multi-billion dollar investment loses every time. I agreed to help hunt down the marauding creatures, but on my particulars. Everyone armed with either a Franchi SPAS-12 - 12 gauge or a Kalashnikov. Shoot to kill. All men under my immediate command. I had to browbeat an ex-Marine into leaving his M16 behind, but the argument was necessary with my life on the line – I ain’t gonna risk my life over a Russia versus America principle invoking some damn jam-prone gun. Claymores. Mark’em on a map if you’re worried about other dinosaur casualties and want to safely detonate them up later, but it’s easier having one of them raptors go the way of an unlucky Cambodian cow than face it mano-a-mano.

The mines quickly paid off, as we discovered one crying out in pain within hours. One indiscriminate killer had taken another’s leg at the hip, and the raptor had almost bled out by the time we arrived. Its partner demonstrated a ruthless mentality, as only pieces of the bait goat were found and a second set of tracks leading to the machine shed were left behind. The lucky one sat there gnawing on brunch while its partner lay crying in pain. Literally cold blooded.

With ½ the threat eliminated, an obvious change consumed the men. They became less vigilant, almost cocky. Personally, I liked my chances better with two raptors and an alert crew than a set of careless cowboys hunting a solitary bird. Johnson was the first to go down – wandered off alone to piss in the bushes without a lookout. His screams made the company walk a little warier. We’d gone from 7-on-2 to 6-on-1. The new ratio was an improvement, but a betting man would be well advised pursuing a different gamble.

I never underestimate an enemy, but the raptor showed more intellectual instinct than anyone could have predicted. I still take full responsibility for Frenchie’s death, as I failed to fully vet the suggestion preceding his demise. The other men thought we could somehow coax the raptor into the open, and the former Foreign Legion sniper would do the rest with a Hecate II that had lain waste more to than a couple Taliban rebels. So he scurried up a tree while the rest of us set the trap: another goat, this time deliberately injured. Between the scent of blood and cries of pain and fear filling the air, we knew this temptation would be too great to resist. Had to be.

Approximately 2 hours into his wait, Frenchie moved to gain a better view. The branch he stepped on was termite-riddled and frail. It snapped, and he went plunging 20 feet into the underbrush. Following were the same blood-curdling screams let loose by Johnson that morning. That bastard wasn’t interested in our trap – he’d set his own. Rather than approach our well-armed group, he sat patiently waiting for a prey he knew would eventually come down. The raptor never even had to chase his quarry. Broken leg splintering through the skin, Frenchie had zero chance of escaping. 5-on-1.

No idea what happened to Richards. One minute he’s climbing a ravine to scope out the surrounding territory, the next he’s missing. We searched for over an hour. No trace. No sign of struggle, no remains, no trampled vegetation, nothing. At this point, Adams decided he’d had enough. Chickenshit jumped into a jeep, made a run for the helipad, and piloted off with the helicopter. It was 3-on-1, and time to call back your bookie.

(To Be Continued…)

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