Title: The Dark Side of Honor
Summary: “Even those who protect honor can fail it.” Everyone has their breaking points, including the K-Unit, one of the best SAS units in Baghdad. But with the dire circumstance that they live in every day, the consequences can be devastating.
Warnings: R for a reason. Swearing, violence, torture, sexual violence, various vices/addictions, typical army boy misogyny, that sort of thing.
Spoilers: Set vaguely sometime before and/or during Scorpia, though it contains hints to things that happen in the later books, as the story complies with canon (so far - I don't know if that can change upon the release of Crocodile Tears).
Because I’m started to get tired of the slight kiddish way most people are starting to depict the K-Unit as, I introduce this fic. Do I think my fic is entirely accurate in terms of military/SAS characterization? No. But, it’ll hopefully be just a little bit closer than most.
Warning: this is going to be a fairly heavy story, enough so that I will advise caution for delicate souls, especially ones that happen to love the K-Unit. You have been warned.
Oh, and, important: the nicknames! They won’t all be animal names. Why? Ask me yourself. Get over it.
Happy Birthday, arithilim!
The Dark Side of Honor
Chapter 01 - HALO:
“Kilo Unit, standing by?” the pilot’s voice came over the radio pieces in the soldiers’ ears.
Wolf looked back at his unit, all waiting, hanging on to the upper strap, and Snake, Fox, and Eagle all nodded.
“Kilo Unit, affirmative, standing by,” Wolf said.
“Juliet Unit, standing by?”
Wolf watched as Motor looked back at his own unit, Red, Panther, and Lock. They did the same thing as K-Unit, and Wolf heard over his radio, “Juliet Unit, affirmative, standing by.”
“Kilo, you’re up first,” the pilot said. “Better start your prayers, gents.”
Wolf just rolled his eyes, looking over at Motor, the J-Unit leader. Motor smirked, and, using his one free hand, exaggerated crossing himself, before clasping his hands around the upper strap with his other hand, and saying, “Please, God, let me live! I promise not to wank on Sundays, anymore!”
“Shut it,” Snake said, with Red nodding behind him. “Some of us are actually praying, here.”
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” Wolf stopped listening to Red at this point.
“Shouldn’t Red be praying to Michael or something?” Eagle asked, sardonically. Red just kept going.
“Why the fuck would Red be praying to me?” Snake asked.
“I meant the archangel, you twat, not you,” Eagle said. “He’s Catholic.”
Red was apparently finished with the Lord’s prayer, as he tapped Eagle’s shoulder, and held up a small medal. “Michael the Archangel – I’ve already said my prayers, and you better, too.”
“I was following along in my head, I assure you,” Eagle said. Though, even as he rolled his eyes, Wolf didn’t doubt that he did follow in his head – or at least did pray to God in his head to let him live past this mission.
“Yea, well, put in an extra prayer for me, too,” Snake said. “I’ve got a daughter to go home to, thanks.”
“What happened to your wife?” Motor asked. “Did you have one?”
“She left,” Snake said, coldly. “I’m just glad the cunt didn’t take my baby girl with her.”
“Where’s said baby, now?” Motor asked, while Wolf took another deep breath as he looked out the window and realized just how fucking high they were. It was one thing to read an altitude monitor on his wrist, it was another to look outside a window and see how high he was and realize that one misstep up here would result in a ‘pancake him’ down there.
“She’s with my brother,” Snake said. “In Cardiff.”
As Motor and Snake continued discussing family issues, Wolf swallowed, and decided maybe joining in was better than looking out the window again and again.
Looking back at Motor, he asked, “Any siblings?”
“Nah,” he said. “I’m the spoiled brat, only child. You?”
“One sister,” Wolf said. “And knowing her, I’ll end up with a bunch of nieces and nephews and not a single brother in law.”
“What, sleep around a lot?”
“Nah – she loves kids. Runs a horse riding school right in between Cardiff and London. Hates relationships. She can afford to be a single mum if she wants.”
“Aw, Wolf-man’s going to be a little uncle,” Eagle said. “You should introduce her to my sister.”
“Isn’t your sister a fucking dike?” Lock muttered.
“Hey,” Eagle said, tone immediately hostile. The man was very overprotective of his sister, and by extension, anyone gay. “Watch it.”
“Isn’t your sister getting married?” Fox asked.
“Dikes can’t get married,” Lock said.
“A,” Eagle said, coldly. “She’s bisexual. B, civil union. It’s chaos, back home – both the mothers are trying to get their stake in the wedding, which is already hectic enough with two brides in on the party, and no groom. And my sister is considering asking me to be in the wedding party.”
“As a bridesmaid or maid of honor?” Red asked, laughing.
“And what color will the dress be?” Lock asked.
“If she asks me, I’ll just tell her you want the job,” Eagle said, yet again coldly.
“Fives mikes to Lima-Zulu for Kilo, ten mikes for Juliet,” the pilot’s voice came over. “And I can hear you, y’know – you lot are shite at praying. You better damn well hope God is feeling generous, today.”
Five minutes till their jump.
Wolf swallowed, and shut his eyes for a moment, while his unit (god bless them) suddenly stepped up the conversation, and its level of engagement, with the Juliet unit to let Wolf compose himself in peace.
Their job was easy – Eagle just started fighting with Lock over gays, again, and the others just made sure nobody killed each other.
The brass didn’t like blood on the aircraft interiors before a mission even started.
He thought back to all the jumps he made, and, hoping to god he was never stupid enough while drunk with the others to tell them, mentally imagined Cub right behind him just as the rear door of the plane started falling open.
Embarrassing as it was, imagining Cub was right there, behind him, ready to literally kick his arse out the plane if need be, had become a great help over the course of his jumps since he switched into Air Troop.
“Three mikes,” the pilot called out, again. Three minutes until the jump.
“…just because your sister is out licking cunt-”
“More than you, at any rate, probably in the last-”
“Why the hell would I lick it when I can just fuck it?”
“Oi!” Wolf finally yelled back, stepping out of ‘scared of heights’ and into ‘pissed at brats’. “I don’t give a damn who fucks who or what fucks what, but we’ve got two and a half minutes till we jump, so can it!”
“Good luck!” Motor called over the din of rushing air.
“Don’t worry,” Snake yelled back over the drone of air all around and outside them and their aircraft. “HALO is our specialty. Besides, we’ve got those new rifles, those close-range snipers? Scope’s got a pre-adjust for the MOA. We’ll be fine.”
“Primary and Secondary chutes have been checked over, right?” Motor asked, jokingly.
“A bit late to ask that,” Eagle yelled dryly. “But yea. Hopefully, none of us will need the secondary ones.”
“I hope you lads remember your opening altitudes,” the pilot said. “Thirty seconds.”
“We’ll see you back at base!” Motor yelled at them. “And come back in one piece, damnit – the football match against the Americans is this weekend!”
The K-Unit all nodded, Eagle and Lock glaring at each other one last time, before Wolf took a deep breath, and imagining the little brat behind him, ran and jumped out of the plane.
Oh, sweet, sweet, solid land. And he was alive! Wolf always felt sure he was going to die on each jump.
Looking around, he could see Eagle landing off within shouting distance, and while they were too far to hear, he could still see Fox and Snake.
Ah, well – he’d follow protocol, if Snake, the signals man, didn’t first.
“Delta-Kilo-Two, do you copy?” Wolf said. There. Voice procedure and protocol, to the letter – literally.
Take that, High Signals fuckers.
“Ten for ten,” Snake said.
“Copy,” Fox said.
“Ten for ten,” Eagle said. “So we’re all not dead?”
Wolf laughed, pulling away the mouthpiece out of courtesy, before saying into it, “We’re all alive, and within a few hundred meters of each other. Rally at that dune with yellow tarp over it.”
And they did, meeting up there, before quickly pulling out their maps and GPS units.
“Okay, for once, we got a damn perfect landing,” Fox said. “Target’s only about ten kilometers east. Plane’s going north, so those villagers – and any ragheads that’re there – won’t see it at all.”
“Tab five klicks, rally, sit rep, then the last five,” Wolf said. “Keep your GPS scanners open and on – take in all new data for the brass. Record anything unusual by hand that the GPS units don’t. First five kilometers are easy. It’s the last five we’ll have to worry about.”
“We’d best maintain radio silence on the last five,” Snake said. No fucking dur. “Sub channels for emergency transmissions. Stick to the emergency net.”
“Do we try counter intelligence?” Fox asked. “Use the primary channels, make ’em think we’re coming from another direction?”
“No,” Snake said. “They can trace which direction we’re coming from, and these days even these remote, rural villages would be able to even triangulate our exact positions. They’d know more about where we are than we would. It’s best to surprise them completely.”
“We’ll work out those details at Rally-Two,” Wolf said. “For now, let’s go, while we’ve still got sunlight on our side. And let’s move slowly – save energy for the actual ambush.”
The men nodded, and headed out.
Of course, nothing of interest happened for the first five klicks – besides Eagle apparently spotting a goat dancing on top of a cactus (which Wolf chalked up to the whiskey), and they rallied again with no trouble.
“Okay, we get within two kilos of the village,” Snake said, handing each of them a basic scanner that even those like Wolf who nearly failed the signals sector of their training could use. “Take in radio and electrical paths with these – I’ll deal with analyzing them. Maintain complete radio silence.”
“I want one of each coming in from the cardinal directions,” Wolf said. “I’ll take north. Fox, east, Eagle, west, Snake, south. Take in the data, and meet back at Rally-Three.”
“I still say we should’ve done a fucking counter intel,” Fox grumbled.
“That sounds like something Cub’d be trained to do,” Eagle said, bitterly, to which Wolf rolled his eyes, before glancing down almost reflexively at his right arm, which now, underneath all the uniform’s layers, sported the scar from the bullet he took for Cub.
They’d all been equally shocked to learn that Cub had actually worked for MI6, and wasn’t just the son of some pretentious brass to send him for ‘survival training’ with the SAS. It had been a…bitter, experience, seeing first hand just what Cub could do at that freak school in the French Alps. Eagle, in particular, the one with a soft spot for kids, had hated that such a young child was being used in the adult world like this.
“Well, Cub isn’t here, thank god, so no, Fox, no counter-intel,” Snake said. “Just stick to these basics…hold on, I think I’ve got the J’s!”
A moment later, the radio crackled and Motor’s voice came over the radio.
“You got us,” Snake said, laughing, messing with the radio settings.
It was true – all signals men were tech geeks. All of them.
“You get to your target, yet?”
“Almost,” Snake called in. Wolf took his opportunity to check their med supplies, while Fox continued grousing over the maps, and Eagle took to his demolitions role and started double checking the mines and making sure the wires were in all the right places.
Snake confirmed that J-Unit still had quite a bit to go for their target – some cave giving off suspicious radio signals. They quickly got back to radio silence, and the rest of them finished up their last check-ups before they headed off for the ambush.
He looked up as they started taking some drinks from their canteens, and frowned as he saw Eagle sipping something from a flask.
As the man lowered it, he grabbed it from the man with a distinct growl as he sniffed it.
“Calms the nerves,” Eagle said, glaringly, snatching it back and capping it.
“What the hell have I said about drinking in the field?” Wolf growled. “One day, you’re going to-”
“Mate, we don’t all fit your psych profile – some of us need a little help every now and then. I can shoot fine, and it won’t be your foot.”
“C’mon, let’s go,” Fox said, impatient.
As they started splitting up to tab to their respective ambush directions, he heard Eagle call in over the radio, ignoring Snake’s yells for radio silence, “Stop worrying, Mother – we’ll be fine!”
“OFF THE RADIO!” Snake yelled.
Rolling his eyes, Wolf tuned to the emergency net, and went for his starting point. Idiot. They’d be fine.
They weren’t fine.
A/N: Yeah, sorry, but I don’t ascribe to Amitai’s version of the K-Unit. I’ll use my own, thanks.
NATO Alphabet: Used on radios and as callsigns, a different, but specific, word stands for each letter, to avoid confusion in hard-to-hear situations.
Simply, A – Alfa, B – Bravo, C – Charlie, D – Delta, E – Echo, F – Foxtrot, G – Golf, H – Hotel, I – India, J – Juliet, K – Kilo, L – Lima, M – Mike, N – November, O – Oscar, P – Papa, Q – Quebec, R – Romeo, S – Sierra, T – Tango, U – Uniform, V – Victor, W – Whiskey, X – X-ray, Y – Yankee, and Z – Zulu.
(Try spelling out your name with it in your head)
So, the K-Unit is the Kilo Unit, and the J-Unit is Juliet Unit. (Oh, and, heads up – there are no units past ‘P’ – there are 16 units per squadron, so stop using units named Q-Z).
Tab - forced march, aka walking/marching with purpose (basically a tactical advance, on foot, over long distances that doesn't involve jogging or running)
Mike – in this context, it means minute
Lima-Zulu – LZ, for ‘Landing Zone’
Klick – slang for kilometer
MOA – minute of arc/angle…basically means how far off center your scope is. One MOA is roughly 1 inch to 100 yards, and about 2.91 centimeters to 100 meters.
Sit rep – situation report
Net – comm. radio channel
~November - Yankee - X-ray - India - Echo~
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