Chapter 13:

The Battle Part 1

The Young Knight of the Desert

Jaeinak, Eurasian Tsardom. July 31, 2030; 0057 hours (Tehran Standard Time)

Vahid Farahani and Bakhtiar’s respective Brotherhood of Freedom cells reached Jaeinak, a village near Bushehr. Getting off were Farahani and his cell’s Command Group, Tarou Ganji in the SH-6 Walgear in the cell’s possession, and Yusuf al-Saqqaf. Joining them was Group A, led by Saman Dabri, and Qazvini from Bakhtiar’s cell.

“Saman, you know the plan?” Farahani asked Saman.

“I am to use Junior Volunteer Wattana’s smartphone in receiving the signal to attack from here once the Collaborationists have been distracted,” Saman answered. “However, that is to wait until the airport is taken, where most Collaborationist forces will be focused on taking back the airport that Senior Volunteer Ganji in his Walgear will attack.”

“Good,” Farahani replied before facing Ghasem Madani, Sunan Wattana, Anita Hamilton, and Yusuf al-Saqqaf. “Command Group, Sergeant al-Saqqaf, and Senior Volunteer Qazvini, with me.”

“Roger that,” the Command Group, al-Saqqaf, and Qazvini replied in unison.

“The boat’s far, however,” Qazvini warned.

“Agreed,” Farahani said. “We took too much getting here.”

“We need someone to drive us up to the coast where the boat Senior Volunteer Qazvini is located at,” al-Saqqaf added.

“I’ll do it,” Armin said.

“Then do it,” Farahani commanded Armin upon facing him.


0135 hours

Armin then drove the Sadko truck toward the coast where a speedboat was tied to by a pole in the middle of the flat plain. Command Group, except for Armin, Yusuf al-Saqqaf, and Qazvini got off the truck and rushed to the boat.

Everyone but Qazvini got on the boat with Qazvini placing his RPK light machine gun onto the boat. After Qazvini disconnected the boat from the pole, he jumped onto the boat. Finding oars, Farahani and Ghasem used them to move the boat.


Capital Governorate, State of Kuwait. 0017 hours

In the headquarters of the Middle Eastern League’s Foreign Intelligence Agency, Jamal Sulaiman approached the office of his superior, Yasin Ismail, the FIA’s Director of Covert Operations. In his mid-thirties, Sulaiman had a lean build, dark intermediate skin, black hair in a crew cut, and wore a simple white-colored dress shirt, black trousers, and black shoes.

His boss, by contrast, was of an average build. He was, however, in his late forties and had brown hair.

Sulaiman closed the door behind him. “You called for me, sir?” Sulaiman asked.

“That I did,” Ismail answered. “Apparently, the Director asked me to prepare for another arms shipment.”

“I thought that ended after the Arabia’s second trip to Iran.”

“This time, it’s going to the Kurdish secessionists in western Iran. Documents are on this table.”

Sulaiman found the documents on Ismail’s desk and grabbed them. “Thank you, Mr. Sulaiman,” Ismail said.

“You’re welcome, sir,” Sulaiman replied.

Sulaiman then left Ismail’s office. He then reached a copier, but unbeknownst to him, a female staff member who hid her hair watched without Sulaiman spotting her.

“This is Atwan,” the girl said quietly while using a smartphone. “Target is using the printer. I confirm it.”

“Thank you, Miss Atwan,” a male voice replied from the other end of the smartphone. “Now get out of there before Sulaiman spots you.”


Bushehr, Eurasian Tsardom. 0345 hours (Tehran Time)

Command Group of Farahani’s cell, al-Saqqaf, and Qazvini reached the shores of the Sartol neighborhood of Bushehr. Sartol once housed a notable series of docks until the Revolutionary Guards damaged them to the point the Eurasians found no value with them.

Once the team docked the boat, they got off only for two men to aim their Type 56 assault rifles at them. “It’s me,” Qazvini pleaded.

“Qazvini?” a man with an MP5 submachine gun asked as he appeared. “You’re back.” The man with the MP5 saw Varahani and his men, along with al-Saqqaf. “And you brought company.”

“They came with Commander Bakhtiar’s cell.”

“Commander Vahid Farahani,” Farahani said as he introduced himself.

“So you’re Farahani. I’m Lieutenant Hassan Shooshtari. What are you doing here?”

“We need your assistance.”

“Please discuss the rest of it inside.”

Shooshtari and his men led Farahani’s group, Qazvini, and al-Saqqaf, inside the ruins of the construction site. “What do you need help with?”

“We plan on attacking the Collaborationists tonight.” Farahani answered.

“Are you insane!?”

“My group will attack the airport. That will cause the Collaborationists to focus on us once we’ve fought our way inside. However, we need the patrols around the city distracted. Once my group has taken the airport, the Collaborationists will have to get their heavy armor inside the city. The rest of my cell along with the rest of Commander Bakhtiar’s cell will attack the reinforcements from the rear.”

“That’s a crazy idea but… fine, we’ll help.”


0518 hours

Across the city, Shoostari and men caused a series of explosions, alerting the guards stationed inside and at the outskirts of what used to be Bushehr Airport. These guards belonged to the Iranian Security Forces; derogatorily called “Collaborationists” by not only Iranians who refused to submit to the Eurasian Tsardom but also the Eurasians.

Unlike the Eurasians, the Collaborationists wear the same uniform as the old Iranian Army, which comprised a green-colored tunic, trousers of the same color held up by a black-colored belt, and black-colored boots. Their helmets and ballistic vests, however, are the same as those of Imperial Eurasian Army infantrymen, albeit in green. They also carried AK-2000 assault rifles like Eurasian infantrymen did.

“Attention all soldiers, we are to reinforce the patrols around the cities,” a male voice announced over the airport’s PA system. “All soldiers, board the trucks immediately.”

Every Collaborationist soldier rushed out of their respective posts. Unbeknownst to them, Vahid Farahani, Anita Hamilton, Sunan Wattana, Ghasem Madani, and Qazvini neared the airport but as soon as Collaborationist Sadko trucks, supplied by the Eurasians, began to leave, they waited.

One by one, a truck left the airport. Most of its defenders were not only aware that armed insurgents would be infiltrating the airport but also that they will go inside once the last truck leaves the airport.

As the last truck left the airport, Farahani’s team approached the airport. Using a pair of wire cutters, Farahani’s team made a hole across the wired fence in their way. Once it was big enough to cross into, they walked into the airport one by one.

However, Farahani’s group saw that some guards remained. Wattana brought out her Artashir sniper rifle but placed a suppressor. She aimed after putting on the suppressor once she found a Collaborationist soldier, she shot him.

Wattana continued to find and shoot Collaborationists while Farahani, Hamilton, al-Saqqaf, and Ghasem rushed to the airport proper. Qazvini stayed to protect Wattana as she continued finding Collaborationists to shoot.


0539 hours

A Sadko truck that had left the airport arrived at the Rayani neighborhood of Bushehr. They found a destroyed Loshad with everyone inside as charred corpses.

“Who could have done this?” a Collaborationist infantryman asked.

“We’re under attack!” a male shouted over the radio of another Collaborationist.

“Who’s attacking you?” the Collaborationist with the radio asked.


“Hold on. We’ll-”

Suddenly, the truck was destroyed. Most of the Collaborationists died because they were near the truck that exploded.

Shooshtari and his men ambushed the surviving Collaborationists. Tarou Ganji, in his SH-6, passed by them. The Brotherhood of Freedom members, assured of their victory, cheerfully followed him.


0611 hours

Two Collaborationist trucks had returned to the airport already besieged. As every man got off each truck, Tarou appeared and fired the machine guns mounted in the chest of the Walgear. Some Collaborationist infantrymen attempted to fire at the SH-6 but to no avail, as Tarou was fast enough that he fired before the Collaborationists fired.

“Ganji, have you secured the airport?” Vos asked over the communicator in the SH-6’s cockpit.

“Securing it now,” Tarou answered as he continued to fire at the Collaborationists.

“You got to keep those armored vehicles busy. I’m seeing them less, so that means our plan’s working.”

“Got it.”

By then, Tarou had eliminated the last of the Collaborationist infantrymen. However, he saw the first BTRs appear and as their primary weapon was a 30mm autocannon whose rounds were capable of penetrating Walgear armor if fired repeatedly.

Tarou then advanced further into the airport and hid between the two gates of the airport. From there, Tarou was able to see the BTRs coming and set the selector switch of the SH-6’s rifle to semi-automatic fire.

After that, Tarou aimed at the first BTR he saw. Specifically, he aimed at the turret hosting its 30mm autocannon. Upon pressing the front button of the right lever used to control the Walgear’s right arm, the SH-6 fired the rifle as it using its right arm to do so.

The rifle carried by the SH-6 used 30x165mm rounds. As soon as the round hit the turret, not only was a large hole enacted across the turret, but also the gunner of the autocannon no longer had a head.

Tarou then fired at the front right of the BTR. The BTR stopped because the driver was killed, along with the commander. As a result, the BTR behind it stopped, but it caused the subsequent BTR behind it to crash onto the BTR in front of it.

Seeing the two additional BTRs, Tarou aimed at their respective turrets one at a time. However, the doors to all three BTRs opened with Collaborationist infantrymen charging toward the airport. Tarou then switched the SH-6’s rifle to full automatic, aimed the rifle at the advancing infantrymen, and fired.

Most of the infantrymen died within minutes. Some ran back inside their respective BTRs out of fear. From the screen of his Walgear’s cockpit, Tarou saw Ghasem, Wattana, and Qazvini rush toward the damaged BTRs.

“Ganji, let Madani, Qazvini, and Wattana handle the stragglers,” Yusuf al-Saqqaf ordered through the communicator of Tarou’s SH-6. “I’ve heard from Vos that the Collaborationist tanks are nearing our position. Prevent them from firing at the airport at all costs.”

“Roger that, Sergeant,” Tarou replied.


0659 hours

At the Bagh-e-Zahra neighborhood of Bushehr, Tarou found the first T-99 main battle tank he was told about. Despite the armor being built to protect against 30mm rounds, Tarou fired his SH-6’s rifle at the tank to draw its attention.

The tank focused on Tarou. The latter ran from the tank, forcing the former to pursue it. Through two small cameras found in the rear, Tarou saw the tank pursing him and whenever it fired its 125mm cannon, Tarou was able to evade its shots.

However, both Tarou and the tank neared the airport. The tank moved its cannon against the airport and seeing this on the screen of his Walgear’s cockpit, Tarou turned back, stopped moving, and fired again. It made the tank face Tarou again, which made the latter run again.

Tarou then saw another T-99 approach the airport. He then heard the T-99 behind him firing its cannon, which allowed Tarou to turn away to evade the shot. After that, he stopped briefly to fire at the second T-99 he came across, making that T-99 fire its cannon at Tarou only for the former to evade it.

Unbeknownst to the T-99s, Shooshtari and his men appeared. One of them had an RPG-7 and was having it loaded. Because Tarou had the attention of both T-99s, this allowed the Brotherhood fighter with the RPG to aim the RPG-7 at the T-99 of his choice.

Upon seeing the two T-99 aim their cannons at Tarou’s SH-6, the Brotherhood fighter fired the RPG, destroying the first T-99 he aimed at. Quickly did Shooshtari reload the RPG-7 launcher for his subordinate to fire at the second one while it was continuously distracted by Tarou. Once loaded with an additional rocket, Shooshtari’s subordinate fired the RPG launcher again, destroying the other T-99.


0728 hours

“I got the signal from Sergeant al-Saqqaf!” Saman excitedly told Vos.

“Then it’s time to move out,” Vos proclaimed.


0749 hours

Across Bushehr, Leila Alam roamed the streets in her EG01. She then saw Tarou in his SH-6 being pursued by a T-99.

I best help Senior Volunteer Ganji, Leila thought.

Leila then raced to pursue the T-99 pursuing Tarou. As the T-99's crew focused on pursuing Tarou, it paid no attention to the other Walgear behind it.

As a result, Leila aimed at the T-99. She pressed the only button found in the lever that controlled the weapon found in its right torso, a 120mm cannon. The 120mm round was ejected by way of pressurized gas, which was exhausted from the rear. As the round was out of the barrel, a small explosion occurred at the rear end of the round, increasing its speed.

The round caught up to the T-99, hitting it. In an instant, a ball of fire erupted from the T-99. Tarou looked on with curiosity until he saw why he was saved—Leila’s EG01.

“Are you alright, Senior Volunteer?” Leila asked on the other end of the communicator of Tarou’s SH-6.

“Junior Volunteer Alam, is that you?” Tarou responded.


“Has the attack started?”

“It has.”

“Then let’s eliminate the rest of the Collaborationists.”

“Got it.”


0815 hours

The battle had ended. Corpses and wrecked BTRs now filled the streets of Bushehr as a whole. At the airport, Brotherhood of Freedom members converged to collect every rifle, light machine gun, and pistol taken from dead Collaborationist troops.

In the airport’s control tower, Yusuf al-Saqqaf used his smartphone’s Military Communications to type in a certain frequency. After that, he waited only for Vahid Farahani to join him.

“Trying to contact the FIA?” Farahani asked.

“That’s right,” al-Saqqaf answered. “I need to warn to warn the Operations Director about the Eurasians now knowing about the weapons shipments.”

“And what will they do once you tell them?”

“Who knows?”

However, the smartphone rang with al-Saqqaf, finding that a certain frequency appeared on the smartphone’s screen. It’s the frequency of the Director of the FIA, al-Saqqaf thought. Why is he calling?

Regardless, al-Saqqaf pressed the “Accept” button. “To whosoever is picking up this call, please get Wouter Vos for me,” a female voice requested from the other end of the smartphone.

“You’re not the Director of the FIA!” al-Saqqaf exclaimed. “Who are you?”

“I believe that call is for me,” Wouter Vos said as he appeared in the control tower.

al-Saqqaf stood up and gave Vos his smartphone. “Who’s this?” Vos asked.

“Maria Clara,” the woman answered from the other end of the smartphone.

“Why are you calling?”

“I’m about to get you and your subordinates out of there. The Eurasians appear to be preparing an assault on Bushehr.”

“Should have known.”

“What do you mean?”

“All we fought here in Bushehr were the Collaborators. We’re in the middle of gathering more recruits by giving them the weapons we took from the dead Collaborators.”

“It won’t help. The Eurasians deliberately abandoned their posts throughout Bushehr, as is elsewhere throughout Iran because of you. Chances are, they’ll begin their assault because you might have let your guard down in defeating the Collaborationists.”

“I gets worse for us. Remember that Eurasian Walgear pilot Ganji fought in Sakhalin?”


“He’s here in Iran and he brought friends. He may be connected to how the Eurasians were acting.”

“It’s most likely because of you.”

“We know. Now how will you be getting us out here?”

“I’ve arranged for transport. Now that I know you took Bushehr, we can use the airport as the extraction point.”

“And what makes you think we’ll go with you?”

“You can’t possibly mean to stay and help those guerillas!”

“I don’t see any reason to abandon them. If we have to leave, they must as well.”

“Well, we can’t get to you either because I’m to assist in a plan the Director of the FIA devised in sniffing out who provided information to the OVR, who is the reason why that Eurasian Navy pilot is there in Iran. I’ll contact you, or Mr. al-Saqqaf for that matter, once this mess in Kuwait is sorted out. I suggest you warn your subordinates about this.”

Once the call ended, Vos handed the smartphone back to al-Saqqaf. “So, what will you do?” Farahani asked to Vos.

“I’ll talk to the others,” Vos answered.


Shiraz. 0834 hours

“Leytenant, the rebels have seized the positions they targeted,” Aleksandr Mirov said over the radio in the communications room of the Imperial Eurasian Army’s Walgear training center in Shiraz, with his nephew Vladimir and Tigran Pavlovich Nazarov listening. “Should I allow the counterattack now?”

“Not yet,” Aleksandr’s nephew responded. “Let the rebels act like they’ve won for maybe… an hour. Then, we begin by striking Bandar Abbas.”

“Going for their United Command already?”

“Attacking and capturing United Command will just motivate further rebellion. Since we’ve been struck by the heel, we strike them in the head.”

“Nice analogy. But what about our informant in there?”

“Then ask her to get out if assuming she hasn’t. Without United Command, the rest of the Brotherhood will panic once they lose their headquarters, allowing us to finally crush them.”

“Interesting. I’ll have every unit in Iran strike every Brotherhood position at once.”

“But not Bushehr.”

“Why not?”

“Like I said, my orders are to go after the mercenaries working with the Brotherhood cells that took Bushehr. Kapitan Nazarov will deal with the rebels. This way, I get those mercenaries and that Walgear should it appear and you will be rid of the Brotherhood.”

“Very well. One hour.”



Bushehr. 0841 hours

“Maria Clara wants us to not only leave, but she’s also willing to pick us up?” Sunan Wattana incredulously asked as she, Vos, Tarou Ganji, and Anita Hamilton conversed amongst themselves in Bushehr Airport.

“That’s right,” Vos answered. “Apparently.”

“What of Farahani and his men?” Tarou asked.

“I’d like to say ‘not our problem’ but in the end, that has to be up to Farahani,” Vos answered.

“Speak of the devil,” Wattana said as she saw Farahani, along with al-Saqqaf, Saman Dabri, Ghasem Madani, and Armin Khazem approach.

The mercenaries faced the Brotherhood members and the FIA agent. “Have you decided yet?” Farahani asked.

“I honestly don’t know,” Vos answered. “It is up to you after all.”

“This is too much, even as a commanding officer.”

“Personally, I suggest that you escape with us.”

“We are not cowards!” Saman shouted.

“Even if we get those new recruits before the Eurasians attack, whenever that will be, the Eurasians will resort to using air strikes and artillery bombardments,” Tarou argued. “And who knows what will happen after that?”

“Not only that, we have wounded on both sides,” Hamilton added. “I’d say we leave if we can get them out.”

“As I told my subordinates, it’s up to you,” Vos said to Farahani.

“If the end is coming, I think it’s time I told you who I really am,” Armin said.

“Now that I think about it, other than how you maintain weapons, it seemed odd you know Arabic,” Tarou remarked. “Who are you?”

“If you think Armin Khadem is an alias, then you’re wrong about that. It is my real name and as to how I know Arabic as well as my relationship with Mr. al-Saqqaf, I’m his contact in Farahani’s cell ever since the FIA began arming the Brotherhood of Freedom as a whole. I joined Farahani’s cell when it was first established and somehow, I survived every battle up until this moment.

“In addition, I’m actually a refugee who fled to the Middle Eastern League in 2023. Like Commander Farahani and Mr. Ganji, I too was drafted as a child. I ended up joining the FIA because I hoped to die fighting for Iran’s freedom and joining Commander Farahani was my opportunity to do so.”

“And how did you and Mr. al-Saqqaf meet?” Wattana asked.

“We met on a mission in portions of the old Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dominated by bandits. Since then, we’ve been working together hence why I infiltrated Iran ahead of Mr. al-Saqqaf: to guarantee him a way to contact Commander Farahani’s cell.”

“Now that Armin was honest with himself, I’d like to hear your honest answers about whether you’re leaving or staying,” Farahani requested.

“I’m leaving,” Vos answered. “I’d rather go back to Japan and receive the monthly paycheck for guarding Maria Hoshikawa.”

“Same here,” Tarou added. “I’ve been away from Nishi High School for a long while. I’d rather face the consequences of that.”

“Since Dr. Hamilton was the first one to give an answer, what about you?” Farahani asked, as he faced Wattana.

“I’m staying,” Wattana solemnly answered.

“Sunan, are you out of your mind!?” Vos exclaimed as he turned to Wattana.

“It’s because of Leila. I’d rather not have her die alone.”

“Are you in love with her?” Saman asked.

“I… I guess… it’s because I pity her.”

“Is it because she’s a lesbian?” Vos asked.

“Yes. This country and its neighbors haven’t been kind to people like her, to say the least. If she has to die, someone who understands her can join her.”

“Commander!” Bakhtiar shouted as he and a Brotherhood fighter carrying a radio appeared.

“Commander Bakhtiar, what is it?” Farahani asked upon turning to Bakhtiar and his subordinate.

“We’re picking up a transmission from the other cells,” Bakhtiar’s subordinate answered.

Farahani picked up the radio. “United Command has been bombed,” a male voice said over the radio. “I say again, United Command has been bombed. We need to- We’re under attack!”

“No, no, no!” Farahani shouted as he stopped listening and gave the radio back to Bakhtiar’s subordinate.

“It seems that wasn’t the only cell being attacked,” Bakhtiar’s subordinate added as he continued listening. “The other cells are being attacked.”

“I should have known this was a trap,” Vos said. “The Eurasians allowed us to take the targets of our choosing, based on the other cells being attacked, by sacrificing the Collaborationists so that we can let our guard down.”

“Ghasem, get everyone now!” Farahani loudly ordered as he faced Ghasem.

“Yes, sir!” Ghasem replied.


0930 hours

Every man and woman in Farahani’s Brotherhood of Freedom cell, along with every man in Bakhtiar’s cell, gathered. Ghasem then ordered every man and woman save for the mercenaries for one last foot drill. After that, Farahani and Bakhtiar came before their respective subordinates.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I bear grave news,” Farahani announced. “Almost an hour ago, United Command in Bandar Abbas was attacked. It’s safe to assume the General is dead. In addition, the other cells are currently being attacked and I doubt they will survive.

“It pains me to say this but we are what’s left of the Brotherhood of Freedom. Who knows when the Eurasians will attack but what I do know is that, we must be prepared for their attack.”

“We are outnumbered,” Bakhtiar added. “However, if we will die, we will take out as many of these invaders before we die.”

“Lieutenant Vos has told me that a plane will be coming here,” Farahani continued. “We don’t know when it will arrive but it will be used to evacuate the wounded. That also includes the Collaborationists we took prisoner because of their wounds. The mercenaries, save for Junior Recruit Wattana, have opted to leave. If anyone else wishes to leave, please raise their hands.”

Suddenly, the truck that was used to transport the Walgears appeared. Men and women appeared with the small arms taken from the Collaborationists. Coming out of the truck’s tractor was Shooshtari.

“These men and women have come to fight,” Shoostari said.

“We’ve come to assist,” a man carrying an AK-2000 said.

“Then welcome to the Brotherhood of Freedo-”

At that instant, bombs began to drop across Bushehr. To the combined relief and confusion of the Brotherhood members and the mercenaries, the bombs weren’t hitting Bushehr Airport.


Kuwait City, State of Kuwait. 0830 hours (Arabia Standard Time)

At Ice Oasis, which wasn’t open yet, Jamal Sulaiman found “Gadyuka”, his contact in the Eurasian OVR. “So, why did you call me out here this early in the day?” “Gatyuka” asked.

“The OVR will be conducting another weapons shipment,” Sulaiman answered.

“It’s too late. The Brotherhood is almost finished. All that’s left for the Imperial Forces in Iran to crush are the ones who took Bushehr.”

“In any case, here’s the information,” Sulaiman said before he handed over an envelope to “Gadyuka”.

“Shukran lak,” “Gadyuka” replied.

Unbeknownst to both Sulaiman and “Gadyuka”, a small remote-controlled (RC) car had a recorder attached to it. The RC car moved backward, then it stopped once it was far from the former two. No longer moving, the RC car with the recorder was picked up by a woman wearing a niqāb.


Capital Governorate. 0927 hours

Sulaiman now neared FIA Headquarters. However, two sharply dressed men covering their eyes with sunglasses appeared before him.

“Jamal Sulaiman, we’re DIA,” one man said. “Please come with us.”

“W… What’s this about?” Sulaiman asked.

“Just come with us, sir.”

From his office, Khaled Hassim and Alicia Caguiat looked on with satisfaction. “Thank you for this, Director Hassim,” Caguiat said.

“Don’t thank me just yet,” Hassim replied. “You need to get those mercenaries along with Mr. al-Saqqaf and Mr. Khadem out of Iran.”


Bushehr, Eurasian Tsardom. 1100 hours (Tehran Time)

“Why have they stopped?” Vahid Farahani asked as he, Wouter Vos, Bakhtiar, Saman Dabri, Yusuf al-Saqqaf, and Armin Khadem saw that the bombings had stopped.

“But why didn’t they hit us?” Bakhtiar asked.

“Most likely, this is just a show of force,” Vos surmised. “Which means that they’re planning to converge most if not all of their troops here.”

“Luckily, I had Senior Volunteer Ganji along with Junior Volunteers Alam and Javadi to scout the surrounding area,” Farahani added. “That way, we can prepare for the worst.”

al-Saqqaf’s smartphone rang again. He found that it was the Director of the FIA’s frequency, but he also knew that it could be “Maria Clara” calling.” Despite that, he answered.

“Mr. al-Saqqaf, is that you?” “Maria Clara” asked.

“It is,” al-Saqqaf answered.

“Where’s Mr. Vos?”

“Right here,” Vos answered as he, Farahani, Bakhtiar, Saman, and Armin appeared. “Why are you calling now?”

“I had to help the Director of the FIA with going after the man who informed the OVR about the arms shipments. Now that he’s arrested, I’m on my way to Kuwait International Airport. Once I arrive, I’ll be on the plane and it will head straight for Bushehr.”

“About that… we have wounded. Think you have enough space for them?”

“There’s plenty. However, I brought a mixed infantry-Walgear platoon from the Nomads with me to assist in the evacuation.”

“The Nomads… That’s a surprise!”

“We’re using a C-5. It shouldn’t take too long for the plane to reach Bushehr if the plane is using cruise speed. Problem is, I have to deal with traffic from FIA Headquarters to the airport.”

“Do what you have to do-”

Vos was interrupted by the sound of Walgear wheels. “Hold on,” Vos said before turning his attention to the Walgears.

Tarou Ganji in his SH-6, along with Leila Alam and Bijan Javadi in their respective EG01s, stopped before Vos, Farahani, Bakhtiar, Saman, and Armin. The former three got off their respective Walgears and rushed to the latter five.

“Report,” Farahani ordered.

“We each finished scouting our area of responsibility,” Leila explained. “We found that Eurasian units are on their way to Bushehr.”

“How many?”

“I think we have one division going to the city,” Tarou answered.

“How far are they?” Vos asked.

“Luckily, it will only take two hours for them to arrive,” Bijan Javadi answered. “However, that’s for those advancing from Ahmadi according to what Senior Volunteer Ganji found while scouting Choghadak. Junior Volunteer Alam, however, claims that the Eurasians coming from Bonegez stopped before Alishahr. Meanwhile, I haven’t seen a single Eurasian approaching from Jaeinak.”

“That’s strange,” Bakhtiar remarked.

“Still not good,” Vos warned. “Maria Clara is on her way here to pick us up, but the plane can’t launch without her because of traffic from FIA headquarters to the airport.”

“Who’s this ‘Maria Clara’?” Farahani asked.

“She’s the woman from the New United Nation’s Intelligence Collective who gave us the job of guarding Maria Hoshikawa,” Vos answered after turning to Farahani.

“So what do we do?” Leila asked.

“We buy time,” Farahani answered. “Only question is, what do we do about the families of the volunteers who joined us today?”

“Hold on, I’ll negotiate with Maria Clara on that,” Vos said before he resumed using al-Saqqaf’s smartphone. “Are you there?”

“On my way to the airport,” “Maria Clara” answered.

“Listen, other than the wounded, we also have people we need to evacuate.”

“Like who?”

“You’re not going to like this.”

“Is it the rebels themselves?”

“If it comes down to that. Maybe their families too.”

“Are you out of your mind!? We’re already carrying too much with five Walgears.”

“Five Walgears?”

“Four are with the Nomads. We have the one you requested.”

“Good. Things are going to get hairy around here.”

“As for the hitchhikers, I’ll talk it over with A.K. but he won’t like it.”

“A.K.? The leader of the Nomads is with you?”

“He insisted on coming. All I can say at this point is good luck.”

“Same here.”

The call ended. Vos handed the smartphone back to al-Saqqaf with the Brotherhood officers and Armin facing them. “What now?” Farahani asked.

“She’s coming, but it will take some time,” Vos answered. “I assume you wish to get the families of the volunteers out of here?”

“I’ve thought of that. I understand if your rescuers say no.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Vos said before he turned to Tarou, Leila, and Bijan. “Ganji, Alam, Male Javadi, I need the three of you to resume scouting your respective positions. Contact me, Commander Farahani, or Lieutenant Dabri about any changes in Eurasian movements.”

“Roger,” Tarou, Leila, and Bijan replied in unison.

Tarou, Leila, and Bijan returned to their respective Walgears. After watching them leave, Vos, Farahani, Bakhtiar, Armin, al-Saqqaf, and Saman resumed facing each other.

“Next, we need our respective snipers to station themselves at certain points across the city. They’ll need radios though for to update us on the situation.”

“I’ll provide,” Bakhtiar replied.

“Now, what about explosives?”

“Plenty of that too.”

“Can they be detonated by remote?”

“Those were among the first things the League provided to the Brotherhood,” al-Saqqaf answered.

“Start planting them into any wrecked Collaborationist vehicle. Only detonate once the Eurasians get far enough into the city.”

“I’ll have Shooshtari handle that.”

“How many RPG rounds do we have left?”

“Enough to deprive a Eurasian motor rifle battalion of its armored personnel carriers,” Armin answered.

“We’ll have to make every shot count at this point.”

“Lastly, if in the event Maria Clara and the leader of the Nomads do agree to allow additional passengers, every man and woman makes a run for it. Wounded and civilians go first, however but once they’re in, every fighter must rush to the plane. I know this isn’t what you wished for, but I find it better to live to fight another day.”

“I’ll consider that option,” Farahani replied before facing the rest of the Brotherhood officers, al-Saqqaf, and Armin. “What about the rest of you?”

“The men might not like it, but if it’s an order, they’ll obey,” Bakhtiar answered.

“I’m with you, sir,” Saman replied.

“I’m in,” al-Saqqaf answered. “I really want to go after the man who sold us out.”

“Armin?” Farahani asked as he saw Armin not giving an instant answer.

“I ran away before and now I have to run away again… ” Armin lamented. “… I acknowledge this order.”

“Then inform your lieutenants and sergeants,” Vos said. “We don’t have much time before the Eurasi-”

Vos heard his smartphone ring and found in his Military Communicator that it’s Tarou calling. “Ganji, what is it?” Vos asked.

“From where I’m standing, only the Eurasians from the east are moving,” Tarou answered from the other end of the smartphone. “Junior Volunteer Alam told me that the Eurasians advancing from the north aren’t moving and Junior Volunteer Bijan hasn’t found anything new from the south.”

“Stay where you are. You’ll only move on my word. Please tell Alam and Male Javadi this.”

“Roger that.”


Mirov saying “Since we’ve been struck by the heel, we strike them in the head” – a reference to Genesis 3:15 from The Bible’s Old Testament (“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”; New International Version)

Shukran lak – Arabic for “Thank you”. Original Arabic: شكرا لك

Niqāb – clothing that covers a woman’s entire body from scalp to ankles. This is worn by Islamic women who adhere to a particular interpretation of hijab, where women must cover themselves when dealing with people not related to them. Original Arabic: نقاب