Chapter 8:

The Weapons Part 2

The Young Knight of the Desert

Brotherhood of Freedom Cell Headquarters, Eurasian Tsardom. July 26, 2030; 0508 hours (Tehran Time)

Every man and woman in the Brotherhood cell headquarters gathered before Farahani, Saman, and Ghasem. Slung across Farahani’s back was the rifle Tarou took from the Eurasian Walgear pilot the previous day.

“Good morning everyone,” Farahani said. “I don’t have to tell you what today is but I must warn you, we had a mission planned out today and this will only be voluntary. As they’re visitors, Mr. Vos and his men will primarily be the ones conducting the reconnaissance mission, but if there’s anyone who wishes to volunteer, please raise your hands. We only have five minutes and if no one else says anything, I will assume that your silence is your answer.”

“I wish to participate,” Leila Alam said as she raised her hand.

“Anyone else?”

“I do,” Manuchehr Farahmand said as he raised his hand.

“Anyone else?” Farahani repeated to the recruits.

No one else responded. Al-Saqqaf looked at his watch, saw 0512 turn into 0513. He turned to Farahani and nodded with the latter nodding in return. “Very well,” Farahani said. “Since no one else spoke up, it will be the mercenaries, Miss Alam, and Mr. Farahmand who will participate in this mission. In addition, I will also take part.”

Everyone voiced their shock at what Farahani announced. It never occurred to them that the commander of their cell would also take part in a mission on the Islamic day of rest. Only the mercenaries said nothing.

“I know, I know,” Farahani replied to his confused subordinates. “It surprises you that I would do such a thing on a Friday but I have two reasons for that: one, I am the commander of this cell so I must act as such and two, I don’t see any reason to treat Fridays differently from any other days. Therefore, I will also participate in the reconnaissance mission.”


Outskirts of Kansai City, State of Japan. 1047 hours (Japan Standard Time)

Both Jake Crawley and Tatev Mirzoyan reached a house far from Kansai City. The house, made of wood, consisted of a two-floor building with a walnut-colored roof and white-colored walls.

After Crawley knocked on the door, a man in his mid-fifties opened the door. He had short black hair in a crew cut, light skin, and dark brown eyes and gave what appeared to be a never-ending frown.

“What are you doing here, Crawley?” the man asked.

“Hi there, Sarge,” Crawley replied as he smiled and closed his eyes. “Long time no see.”

“What do you want, Crawley?”

“I came here because someone wishes to learn how to use a gun under you.”

Crawley stepped out of the way to show Tatev to the man. “Miizoyan Tatebu desu,” Tatev said flawlessly in Japanese. “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” Tatev followed with a bow.

“I’m Akira Ishiguro,” the man replied in flawless English. “Come inside.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Crawley replied.

Both members of Iron Dutchman Services got inside the house, but stopped to remove their respective footwear. After that, Ishiguro gestured that Tatev and Crawley sit down on a couple of chairs he prepared from the dining table. As soon as the latter two sat down, the former also sat down.

“So why do you want to learn how to shoot?” Ishiguro asked.

“I… I want to be more helpful to someone I work with,” Tatev answered.

“Ishiguro here was my sergeant back when Sunan and I were still with the NUN Ground Forces,” Crawley explained to Tatev. “Like me and Sunan, he too left the military because of what happened in former Zaire.”

“Like I said before, I didn’t leave because of that incident!” Ishiguro growled at Crawley. “I left because I should have retired before that incident.”

“So, will you teach my colleague here?” Crawley asked, as he faced Ishiguro.

“Will you be paying for it?” Ishiguro asked with suspicion in his tone. “Last I recall, you haven’t had much work since Suriname.”

“Y… You know about that?”

“I still go out for drinks and I do get updates about what mercenary groups are up to.”

“Don’t you worry, I can pay for Tatev here.”

“Let me ask Miss Mirzoyan this one question,” Ishiguro said as he turned to Tatev. “Have you held, much less fired, a gun before?”

“I… I have,” Tatev answered weakly. “Once. I still dread the day I’ve done so.”

“And you want to use a gun to help someone?”

“Yes. He’s always focused on the job we’re currently assigned to and I feel useless when he isn’t around.”

Ishiguro sighed. “Very well. However, do not make me regret this.”

“Thank you so much for this, Sarge,” Crawley replied as he stood up and bowed.


Brotherhood of Freedom Cell Headquarters, Eurasian Tsardom. 0555 hours (Tehran Time)

“So, why did you ask that we should talk alone?” Farahani asked Ghasem as they came inside the room of the former, with the latter closing the door.

“Commander, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to participate in such a mission,” Ghasem voiced. “Not only that... ”

“Are you saying this as a subordinate or as a Revolutionary Guard?” Farahani asked.

“I… ”

“Either way, you’re staying because you kept silent minutes ago. Just help Saman guard this place.”

“Yes, sir.”


Shiraz. 0615 hours

Four Kz-28 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) transport aircraft approached the Imperial Eurasian Army’s training center in Shiraz for Walgear pilots. At the training center were the four SH-6s used by Vladimir Mirov’s team.

One Kz-28 descended upon the training center, but it floated above Mirov’s SH-6. On each wing were wires each connected to a hook. The pilots of the Kz-28 lowered the hooks on each of the shoulder pauldrons of Mirov’s SH-6.

The Kz-28’s pilot moved the VTOL aircraft a little forward to make sure each hook connected to a hole found on top of each pauldron. After that was achieved, the pilot lifted the Kz-28 further up and, as a result, the Kz-28 was now carrying the SH-6.

Giorgi Kipiani was next to have his SH-6 carried by a Kz-28. After him was Nadezhda Aslanova, followed by Talgat Yusupov. After the Kz-28s each picked up a SH-6, the four VTOL aircraft carrying the Walgears left Shiraz.


Banak. 0630 hours

“Mr. Ganji, is it okay if I ask you something?” Leila Alam asked to Tarou Ganji as they, Anita Hamilton, Sunan Wattana, and Manuchehr Farahmand were seated at the back of the Sadko truck while it was driven by Wouter Vos with Vahid Farahani seated beside him as they traveled across the ruins of Banak.

“What is it?” Tarou asked.

“Your surname is Persian, yet your first name isn’t. Why?”

“My father’s Japanese and my mother’s Persian.”

“How did they meet?”

“I’d like to know that myself because I never knew them. My mother died after giving birth to me and, from what I could tell, my father left me in the care of a Baloch refugee community. All of this was before the war.”

“What about you, Miss Alam?” Hamilton asked to Leila. “You look Arab.”

“I may have said that I’m from Emad Deh when I joined, but in truth, I came from an orphanage that was located there,” Leila answered to Hamilton. “If I remember correctly, I was told that I may have come from Khuzestan, where Arabs are mostly dominant.”

“Did you run away?” Wattana asked.

“I guess you could say that,” Leila answered to Wattana. “I never liked living in that orphanage, especially when they made you recite the Quran.”

“Ah, so you’re a free spirit? So why did you claim you’d fight to free Iran then?”

“I honestly don’t know. Maybe I like to fight but I really don’t know what I ought to fight for.”

“I’d say fight first, figure that out later,” Tarou replied. “You’re still young to figure that out.”

“What are you fighting for, then?”

Tarou slightly gulped upon hearing Leila’s question. I’ve never even considered what to fight for, Tarou thought. I want to know who I really am, but… what will I do once I find out?

“I… don’t even know,” Tarou answered with guilt evident in his tone. “I never knew my biological parents and I’m only in this mission to find out.”

“I… see.”


0659 hours

The Sadko stopped just neared Banak Beach Park. Vos was the first to get off to tell Hamilton, Wattana, Tarou, Leila, and Farahmand.

“Join me and Commander Farahani here right this instant,” Vos ordered.

Without saying a word, the latter five got off the truck and gathered at the left side of the truck. Vos then joined the latter five as soon as Farahani appeared.

“Allow me again to explain our objective,” Farahani said to his subordinates. “We will be conducting reconnaissance around this area for Eurasian activity. We will be split into three pairs.

“I will go with Mr. Farahmand and Miss Wattana and advance this way. Lieutenant Vos and Dr. Hamilton will go west while Mr. Ganji and Miss Alam will go east.”

Suddenly, the sound of tiltrotors were heard, surprising the Brotherhood members and the mercenaries. Knowing where the sound came found, everyone turned to see four Kz-28s carrying each an SH-6.

“No! No! No!” Vos shouted. “It’s a Eurasian Walgear team being carried by Helpers.”

“What do we do?” Wattana asked.

“Wait, something’s off with these ones,” Tarou said as he observed where the Kz-28s were going. “They don’t seem to have noticed us.

“What do you mean?” Farahani asked.

“Ganji’s right,” Vos added. “If those Helpers had spotted us, the sound of their tiltrotors would be louder.”

“Then what do we do?” Farahmand asked.

“I guess we stay where we are until those Walgears have been dropped off. Then we observe and leave,” Farahani answered.

“Sounds like a plan,” Vos replied.

“Remember, if you notice anything from those Eurasians, use these frequencies for our communicators,” Farahani added. “107.99 for me, 140.10 for Mr. Ganji, and 139.90 for Mr. Vos.”

“Yes, sir,” Vos, Hamilton, Wattana, Tarou, Leila, and Farahmand replied in unison.


0755 hours

Farahani, Farahmand, and Wattana were crawling across Banak Beach Park. Farahani brought out his binoculars and observed that one Kz-28 dropped off the SH-6 it carried onto the beach.

Farahani typed in 140.10 on his communicator. “Mr. Vos, do you read me?” Farahani asked.

“I read you,” Vos replied.

“Do you see that Walgear being dropped off?”

“I do.”

“This is Ganji,” Tarou said over the communicator. “Seeing the same thing.”

“Another helicopter,” Farahani said as he saw another Kz-28 drop off an SH-6.

“It’s a VT- Wait a second, those colors… ” Vos replied over the communicator. “They’re Navy!”

“What do you mean?” Farahani asked.

“Imperial Eurasian Army Walgears use beige for their Walgears in deserts,” Tarou interjected over the communicator. “These Walgears must be Imperial Eurasian Navy because they’re purple.”

“But what are they doing out here?” Farahani asked.

“I don’t kno-”

“Hold on, one of the pilots is getting off his Walgear,” Vos interjected. “I’ll get Doc to withdraw while I-”

“Wait, I’ll do it,” Tarou interjected over the communicator.

“Ganji, you sure about this?” Vos asked.

“I’m sure. I’ll get Miss Alam to join up with Commander Farahani.”

“Good luck, Ganji,” Faharani replied.


0759 hours

“Miss Alam, please join up with Commander Farahani,” Tarou ordered to Leila. “I’ll handle this.”

“Roger that,” Leila replied.

Both Tarou and Leila got up and separated. For the former, he got closer to where the Imperial Eurasian Navy SH-6s were being dropped off. He crawled again and used his binoculars.

He then saw the Walgear pilot that got off his SH-6. Tarou’s eyes widened despite using the binoculars upon seeing the pilot.

I… think I know him, Tarou thought before he brought out his smartphone, used Military Comms, and typed in 139.90.

“Mr. Vos, come in, this is Ganji,” Tarou said. “Please respond.”

“This is Vos,” Vos replied over the communicator.

“I think I know the one who got off his Walgear. I’m also seeing the other pilots getting off their Walgears.”

“You know the guy who got off his Lance?”

“Somehow. He tried to intercept me a month ago in Sakhalin.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I’m not. The fact that’s here in Iran of all places, and that he’s leading a Walgear team here in Banak means that they know we were hired to work with the Brotherhood.”

“What do you mean?” Farahani interjected over the communicator.

“Commander, it’s just as I said: the Eurasians sent in someone who fought us a month ago and if they’re here assisting in quelling your rebellion, the Eurasians must know that Iron Dutchman Services was hired by the Middle Eastern League.”

“But why you?”

“It’s complicated to say the least.”

“I suggest you escape now. In fact, we all ought to get out of here before we’re spotted.”

“Copy that. Crawling back.”

After putting down the smartphone and binoculars, Tarou crawled back in the direction he came from. After acquiring a distance far enough that he wouldn’t be spotted, Tarou stood up and escaped.

The SH-6 pilot who got off, Vladimir Mirov, saw Tarou run. His portable communicator rang, and he answered it.

“Leytenant Mirov, according to my sensors, there’s someone who must have seen us,” a female voice said over the communicator. “Should we pursue?”

“Not yet, Mladshiy Leytenant Aslanova,” Mirov replied. “But don’t use your SH-6’s wheels. He can’t be alone out here.”


0827 hours

Tarou returned to the Sadko. As he stopped, he found that everyone had also returned to the truck.

“W… What are all of you doing here?” Tarou asked.

“Lieutenant Vos told us about what happened a month ago,” Farahani answered. “It seems that we are in grave danger the longer we say here. We must leave.”

Everyone boarded the Sadko. As soon as Vos started it up, he immediately turned it back and left. Unbeknownst to everyone in the truck, Aslanova followed Tarou but didn’t use her SH-6’s wheels.

“Leytenant, you were correct about that interloper not being alone,” Aslanova said as she contacted Mirov through her Walgear’s communicator. “That interloper and his cohorts left of a truck. Should I follow?”

“Da. Again, move slowly and do not use your wheels. Just find out where they’re going, then report back. Only then do you use your Shagokhod’s wheels.”

“Zametano, Leytenant.”


Brotherhood of Freedom Cell Headquarters. 0941 hours

Farahani, Vos, Hamilton, Wattana, Tarou, Leila, and Farahmand returned to the headquarters of the Brotherhood of Freedom cell commanded by Farahani. As the former seven got off the Sadko, they found Yusuf al-Saqaaf, Saman, Ghasem Madani, and a man no one with the exception of Farahani had seen before. As he saw the man, Farahani knew what his presence meant.

“Who’s that guy?” Vos asked to Farahani as he also saw the man with al-Saqqaf, Saman, and Ghasem.

“A messenger from United Command,” Farahani sternly answered.

Farahani and those with him stopped before al-Saqqaf, Saman, Ghasem, and the man Farahani knew as a messenger. “Welcome back Commander,” Saman said. “As you can see, someone from United Command has appeared.”

“What is this about?” Farahani asked the messenger. “I thought United Command doesn’t dictate anything on Fridays?”

“We have an emergency,” the messenger explained. “However, it would be best suited that we discuss this in your room.”


Unbeknownst to the Brotherhood members and the mercenaries, Aslanova followed the truck with her SH-6. Using her SH-6’s “eye”, a glass circular visor that used a red-colored glow to magnify her sight. She saw the former moved farther from her.

Whoever these people are, I must be near their hideout, Aslanova thought. I best report this to Leytenant Mirov.


Banak. 1013 hours

Aslanova returned to Banak Beach Park, which Mirov, Kipiani, and Yusupov witnessed. Getting off her SH-6, Aslanova rushed to Mirov, with the two of them saluting each other.

“I assume you know where those interlopers went?” Mirov asked.

“Da,” Aslanova answered. “They appear to have a hideout of sorts outside Banak. I moved slowly as you instructed in order to avoid detection.”

“Spasibo, Mladshiy Leytenant.”

“What do we do now?” Kipiani asked.

“We’ll contact Leytenant Bodrov for pickup,” Mirov answered to Kipiani before turning to everyone else. “After that, we go to Tehran. I need to report this to the General-Gubernator. I can assume he has an idea as to who these interlopers are.”


Brotherhood of Freedom Cell Headquarters. 1055 hours

Except for Leila and Farahmand, Farahani returned to his room. Following him were Vos, Hamilton, Wattana, Tarou, Saman, al-Saqqaf, Ghasem, and the messenger.

“So, what’s the message you have from United Command?” Farahani asked the messenger.

“Tomorrow, you are to participate in a meeting at United Command headquarters,” the messenger answered. “Every cell commander needs to hear what the General has to say.”

This is just great, Farahani lamented in his mind. “What time do I have to be there?”

“1300 hours.”


“I will take my leave then,” the messenger said before he exited the room.

“Tomorrow?” Vos incredulously asked as he faced Farahani. “If Mirov’s here, that means those Eurasians know that we hired to help you.”

“If they know, someone in the FIA must be working for the OVR,” al-Saqqaf deduced.

“And you didn’t think about that for one second?” Wattana asked as she turned to al-Saqqaf.

“Not my call to act on my personal opinion,” al-Saqqaf answered to Wattana.

“But what do we do now?” Saman asked. “If Tsarist forces are converging upon Banak, it’s only a matter of time until they’ve figured out where this hideout is. I also fear for that messenger.”

“I don’t know. If those Eurasians know Iron Dutchman Services are involved, then that means fighting the Brotherhood is the least of their concern,” Tarou said.

“What do you mean?” Farahani asked Tarou.

“Think about it: Mirov is here. The Eurasians now know about the shipments and that the FIA hired Iron Dutchman Services. It seems like those Eurasians may have devised a plan and that me, Mr. Vos, Miss Wattana, and Dr. Hamilton are the primary targets. If that wasn’t the case, the Eurasians would have just quickly deployed a contingent or three to attack this hideout.”

“I agree with Ganji on this,” Vos added. “All of this started because Mirov caught Ganji fleeing with Maria Hoshikawa while using an experimental Walgear.”

“But you didn’t bring that Walgear here,” Saman said to Vos. “So why would this Mirov come all the way from Iran to go after you?”

“I’d like to know that myself,” Vos answered. “We left that Walgear in Japan.”

“But do the Eurasians not know that?” Farahani asked Vos with suspicion in his tone.

“I hope not.”

“I’m more concerned about how the OVR infiltrated the FIA,” al-Saqqaf interjected. “Only a select few within the FIA knew about this operation.”

“And who within the FIA knows of this operation?” Tarou asked.

“The Director of the FIA, the Covert Operations Director, and I are the only ones who know of this operation. Because I’m here, it’s either the Director of the Covert Operations Director who would risk leaking information about this operation.”

“I doubt we can simply leave and try to figure who and how that leak happened,” Wattana remarked.

“So what do we do now?” Hamilton asked.

“First, I’m going to that meeting tomorrow,” Farahani answered.

“But you’ll need an escort for that,” Ghasem said.

“I know that,” Farahani replied to Ghasem before facing everyone else. “Second, we need to finalize how this cell ought to be divided.”

“Speaking of which, Commander, there’s something I wish to ask you.”

“What is it?” Farahani asked as he turned to Ghasem again.

“It’s about the fact that today’s Friday.”


Kansai City, State of Japan. 1641 hours (Japan Standard Time)

“So, what’s going on with Solbein?” Jake Crawley asked Federico Díaz as he saw the silver-colored Walgear being taken out of the hangar of the Iron Dutchman.

“Did you forget?” Díaz asked. “Today’s the day when Solbein will be delivered to Fuchu.”

“Oh right. Vos must have made an arrangement with the NUN forces here in Japan should something bad happen.”

“I sure hope it won’t come down to that. Señor Ganji might get that Walgear damaged.”

“You can’t blame him for fighting like a demon, after all. It’s how we survive our missions.”

“You’re right about that.”

Though it’s also the reason why he’s with us in the first place, Crawley thought.


1701 hours

Outside the Iron Dutchman, the OVR agent Pyotr watched as NUNGF troops guarded the ship. He brought out his smartphone to use.

“Miss Tsulukidze, I have something to report,” Pyotr said.

“What is it?” Tatiana Ioannovna Tsulukidze asked over the smartphone.

“NUN troops are guarding the Iron Dutchman.”

“Stay there until there’s something worth reporting to me about.”

“Zame- Hold on, I’m seeing something!”

“What is it?”

“It’s a Shagokhod being loaded onto a truck,” Pyotr explained as he saw Solbein being taken to a truck.

“Return to the safehouse right now!”



Brotherhood of Freedom Cell Headquarters, Eurasian Tsardom. 1309 hours (Tehran Time)

Every man and woman gathered in the village used a camouflage for the headquarters of the Brotherhood of Freedom cell with the mercenaries led by Wouter Vos watching them. Vahid Farahani himself then appeared before his subordinates.

“I apologize for having all of you appear after having lunch and on a Friday,” Farahani said to his subordinates. “Allow me to say thank you and that this Sergeant Madani’s idea.

“Now, I will explain why all of you are gathered here. Tomorrow, I have been ordered to go to United Command headquarters in Bandar Abbas. After that, who knows what will happen next but I will say this: we must be prepared for it.

“It may be a Friday today, but Sergeant Madani has told me that Iran’s freedom comes first before religious duty, even if some of us opted not to partake in that duty. It is for that reason that you are to train again.

“After today, we must be ready for what happens next because the Eurasians have now figured out where we are operating, so we must answer their challenges, whatever they may be. I have said enough and will let Sergeant Madani take over.”


Kansai City, State of Japan. 1844 hours (Japan Standard Time)

“Are you sure you saw a silver-colored Shagokohod?” Tatiana asked Pyotr after the latter returned to their safehouse in Kansai City.

“I’m sure of it,” Pyotr answered. “The mercenaries might be preparing to send it to Iran with the NUN forces’ help.”

Tatiana said nothing. Instead, she stood up and began to circle around the room, confusing Pyotr.

“… Shouldn’t we inform the Director about this?” Pyotr asked.

“I could, but there’s a huge risk if I do so,” Tatiana answered while she continued to wander around the room. “The Director warned me about the Gatekeepers infiltrating the OVR and if I do warn him, the Gatekeepers will know.”

“Wait, you mean the Gatekeepers of Knowledge? How are they involved in all of this?”

“Remember that incident a month ago in Sakhalin Island?”

Pyotr nodded.

“The incident happened because of an experimental Shagokhod that mysteriously vanished. I remember hearing from the Director that Maria Hoshikawa was mixed up in this incident and that one member of Iron Dutchman Services saved her life as she was taken to a mysterious facility beneath the border that divides Sakhalin between the Tsardom and the Asian Pact. The facility was discovered to be a Gatekeepers of Knowledge facility but they’ve denied having operated such a facility much less building a Shagokhod.”

“So the Shagokhod I saw was-”

“Could be it. If the OVR know, chances are the Gatekeepers know and that both parties are expecting those mercenaries will use that Shagokohod.”

“So what do we do?”

“Nothing at this point but wait.”


Unknown Location. 1325 hours (Unknown Time Zone)

“Grand Gatekeeper, I have a report from Šap,” a shadowed individual said to the individual he called the Grand Gatekeeper.

“What does she say?” the Grand Gatekeeper asked.

“She says that the Brotherhood of Freedom in Iran will be holding a meeting tomorrow at Bandar Abbas. She requests that she inform the GRU station in Tehran of this.”

“Tell her that I will permit it.”

“By your will, Grand Gatekeeper.”


Bandar Abbas, Eurasian Tsardom. 1500 hours (Tehran Time)

At the city of Bandar Abbas was its airport, or what remained of it. During the last days of the Eurasian Tsardom’s invasion, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran devised a “scorched earth” plan in the event of their defeat. Maritime facilities and airfields, both civilian and military, in cities that faced the Persian Gulf were to be subjected to this plan.

Despite the Eurasian forces using a nuclear weapon against the city of Jam to force the Islamic Republic into surrendering, the plan to deprive the Eurasians of vital facilities in cities facing the Persian Gulf began. The Revolutionary Guards destroyed the airport and maritime facilities in Bandar Abbas to prevent the Eurasians from using it.

Now, the Brotherhood of Freedom, the collective of all resistance groups except for Kurdish secessionists in the west, used the ruins of the airport as their headquarters. In the males’ restroom, an armed guard just as he, or rather she, removed the disguise she was using. The girl had dark intermediate skin, long cinnamon brown hair, and dark brown eyes.

In her trousers was an object that was shaking. It was her smartphone, and it shook, as it was silent to prevent anyone from hearing it. The girl opened it and found that through an application that was called “Messenger for the Gatekeepers,” she found that she received a message from the frequency 108.95.

“Šap, you’ve been authorized to tell GRU about tomorrow’s meeting,” a male voice said.

“Thank you, Gatekeeper,” the girl named “Šap” replied.

“By the Grand Gatekeeper’s will.”

“By the Grand Gatekeeper’s will,” the girl said before the transmission ended.