Betrayal: An Op, Part 1

Betrayal: An Op, Part 1

Posted on April 23, 2024 at 10:38 pm by Steve Solex

June 18, 2004
1700hrs
Parwan Province
Bagram Afghanistan
Captain Rocco’s Office

“Why the fuck would we do this? This mission makes absolutely zero goddamn sense, sir!” Solex shouted, his thunderous shouts piercing right through the plywood walls of Captain Rocco’s makeshift office.

Rocco watched with a mixture of annoyance and concern as Solex paced the small room with his fists balled and the vein from his neck visibly throbbing. The tension in the room was thick as Solex’s demeanor was uncharacteristic and borderline disrespectful to his OIC (Officer in Charge).

“We’re in Bagram because we’re supposed to be on the next thing smokin’ back to Fort Bragg. And now you’re telling me you want us to head back out into hostile territory? Without our gear, which is  already packed up and on a pallet ready to get on the bird? Are you out of your fucking mind?” Solex asked, his tone stern and filled with anger.

Solex and his team had been in the shit for six months, and while only half the time of a conventional unit deployment, they had executed five times the number of ops that a team of 300 would execute on a yearly rotation.

They were beat down and dog tired.

Despite Solex’s lack of military bearing in this moment, Rocco was a seasoned commander and  stayed composed, allowing his top guy to get a little of the frustration off of his chest. He knew what kind of shit Solex and his boys had been through the last six months and sometimes he let Solex get it out. He knew that on the other side of this frustration and insubordination was the best leader and Operator that he had on the battlefield…so sometimes, he took a little flak from the future professional wrestler, certainly more than he would from any ordinary Joe.

“You done?” Rocco asked rhetorically, as he leaned forward and pressed his hands firmly against the surface of his desk.

Solex scoffed at the invitation to put a lid on it, but he knew there was no getting out of this. He had to refocus, recalibrate and get ready to get back into the fight.

“I hear you,” Rocco said, his voice calm and firm. “But the mission is from the top of the food chain, there’s no turning it down. We’ve got intel that cannot be ignored, and very specific instructions from the head shed on this one. We wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t critical. I need your team to do this one last op. Precision is key, and you and your boys are the best that we have.”

Solex took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. His eyes burned with intensity, but his respect form Captain Rocco grounded him back to the reality of the situation.

“We’re gonna need all the support we can get. I gotta get these guys home to their families, boss,’ Solex said, his tone more controlled but still intense.

“You’ve got it,” Rocco assured, nodding along. “You’ll have a Predator in the sky, QRF with Bradleys ready to roll, and a medevac on standby if the shit hits the fan. The whole nine years. It’s a quick in and out op. Get the intel we need, and get the fuck outta’ there and I’ll make sure that you are the guys are homebound before sunrise.”

Solex paused, shook his head, and said, “Alright, sir. We’ll get it done, but I’m going to hold you to that promise.”

Solex gave Captain Rocco a nonchalant salute and quickly made his way out of the makeshift office, slamming the door behind him. Rocco took a deep breath and collapsed into his leather chair. Rocco opened up the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a cell phone. He lit it up and typed up a text to a number labeled USASOC.

Op confirmed. 0110hrs gate departure.

June 19, 2004
0116hrs
Route Three-Leaf
Bagram, Afghanistan

“Get the fuck down, and put your hands on the back of your motherfucking head!” JImbo shouted at the top of his lungs as he pointed his M4 Rifle, outfitted with an ACOG, at a suspected Taliban soldier who laid face down in the Afghan dirt.

Solex and his team were on their way to their intended target to secure the intel that Captain Rocco had sent them out to get when they were suddenly ambushed by a few pickup trucks filled with military aged males wielding AK-47s. The enemy troops had opened fire on Solex and his men, but without night vision capability, Solex and his men made easy work of the Taliban troops, capturing or killing all of them in only a matter of minutes.

The feeling of the op never sat right with Solex. He sat in the passenger seat of his humvee and keyed through the FBCB2 mounted to the dash.

“They said we were to go to these coords, but there’s jack shit there. And where did these dickheads come from? Something ain’t right, Hank,” Solex said.

Hank listened, but just enough to hear the words, not enough to truly comprehend them.

“Chief, we need to bug out. This shit doesn’t smell right,” Hank said, his voice tinged with a nervous edge.

“No fucking kidding. Grab that mag and lets get the fuck outta dodge,” Solex said, pointing to the coyote brown, 30 round, M4 magazine that had fallen down on the driver side floor board.

Solex chirped into his radio, “Fuck that guy, Jimbo. Kick him in the nuts and lets get back to the FOB. Hank’s right, this shit don’t smell right.”

“Roger that,” Jimbo chirped back as he grunted and planted a stiff kick right into the enemy trooper’s sack.

Hank bent down to grab the magazine, taking his eyes off of his sector for only a moment…

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

June 22, 2004
1132hrs
Bagram Airfield
Bagram, Afghanistan

What the fuck….?

Solex’s eyes snapped open as woke up from unconsciousness. He quickly surveyed his surroundings. The IV needle inserted in his forearm, the uncomfortable sensations of the breathing tube lodged in his nose, and the blue spotted gown were all immediate tells that he was in a hospital room, sterile and eerily silent except for the beeping and humming of the monitors that were patched to his chest.

“Hey, killer,” a deep, raspy voice cuts through the silence of the room, startling Solex into an upright position. “Didn’t think you’d be up so soon.”

Solex’s head nearly flew off his shoulders as he jolted his head in the direction of the man at his bedside. The shot of adrenaline is short lived, however, as he immediately recognized his trooper and friend, Jimbo.

“What the fuck, Jimbo? What’s going on?” Solex asked urgently, demanding answers.

Jimbo put his head in his hands and shook his head before he looked back up at his team leader with a somber expression. “Shit got sideways, chief. Fuckin’ suicide bomber ran up on the driver side of the truck and took you and Hank out,” Jimbo explained, the gravity of the situation apparent in his tone.

Solex immediately whipped his head to his left and then to his right before he asked, “Where’s Hank?”

Jimbo once again buried his face into his hands before he forced himself to take a deep breath and look back up at Solex.

“Hanks gone, Chief,” Jimbo said as his voice shook with sadness.

Solex’s eyes immediately began to well up with tears. Hank wasn’t just Solex’s driver, he was one of his best friends and a cornerstone of the team. The guys gave Hank a lot of shit, but they all loved him and they did it with affection. They all knew the critical role Hank played on the team and the news of Hank’s death was devastating to every one of them.

Solex shook his head in disbelief as he ripped the IV from his arm and fell back into his bed. He didn’t want to believe it, but he knew it was true. Flashes of memories from the suicide bomber rushing the truck began to flood his brain.  The room seemed to close in around him as he attempted to process what had happened.

“Motherfuckers,” Solex muttered to himself. “We never should have been on that mission in the first fucking place, and now Hank’s … dead.  Goddamnit, I fucking told Rocco this shit would happen!”

Jimbo stood up from his chair and placed his hamhock-sized hand on Solex’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Chief. And I know you don’t want to hear this shit right now, but General Cannon from USASOC called about thirty minutes ago. He said for you to give him a call ASAP,” Jimbo said before turning and heading toward the door.

General Cannon? What the fuck does USASOC want with me?

Solex wondered to himself. USASOC, or United States Army Special Operations Command, is  the command responsible for the elite of the elite when it comes to Army Soldiers; Green Berets and Army Rangers. General Cannon, however, is no Green Beret or Army Ranger. In fact, he’s never even been to Iraq or Afghanistan, at least not for more than an overnight morale visit. But somehow, this slicked sleeved Lieutenant General – mostly referred to as a Three Star General, managed to politic his way to the top of the most elite command post in the entire US Military. And now, he’s due to earn his fourth star.

“See ya, Chief,” Jimbo said as he walked out of the room and gently closed the door behind him.

June 22, 2004
1325hrs
Bagram Airfield
Bagram, Afghanistan
Captain Rocco’s Office

Rocco sat behind his desk with his arms folded across his chest. He had the unmistakable expression of regret written all over his face. His cell phone, right in the middle of his desk, vibrated repeatedly as it lit up with a phone number labeled USASOC.

In his head, Rocco debated with himself on whether or not he should answer it. He knew that General Cannon would be on the other end, and this was a phone call he had been dreading since the mission that Solex and his team carried out last night.

Reluctantly, he answered the phone and put it on speaker.

“Captain Rocco,” he said.

“Rocco, you fucking idiot! I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for hours!” General Cannon shouted into the phone from his USASOC office in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Rocco shook his head as he buried his face in his hands.

“My apologies, General,” Rocco said, his voice muffled by his hands covering his face. 

“How can I be of assistance?” Rocco condescendingly asked his superior officer.

‘Assistance? You fucking nitwit. I just got a phone call from the Navy Commander of the hospital on that shithole FOB you live on and he’s informed me that Staff Sergeant Solex is nowhere to be found!” 

Rocco, with a spring up his ass, shot up out of his chair. His eyes widened as his heart sank into his stomach. He grabbed the phone off of his desk as his hand trembled.

“What?” Rocco blurted out.

“What?! WHAT?! Take the dick out of your ears and listen you fucking moron! The most elite trooper under your command, who we are trying to have arrested has fucking escaped! And right out from under your nose, no less!” General Cannon shouted out.

Rocco didn’t know what to do, so he quickly hit the end button on his Nokia phone and dropped it like a live grenade.

“Shit,” he muttered to himself as his heart pounded like a drum in his chest. Sweat began to bead on his forehead as his mind raced with questions.

What went wrong?

Where the fuck was Jimbo? He was supposed to be watching him.

How did he manage to get out of that fucking hospital?


Where the fuck is he?

Coming to the realization that there was no time to waste, Rocco darted for the door and headed out of the makeshift office to mobilize the QRF he had on standby.  

Every second counted.

He needed to fix this…and now.

—-

Rocco was my friend. A lot like you are, John. But the fact of the matter is that in combat, there are no friends. People do shit that serves them best, and I know that at Chaos, you’ll do the same. The minute the bell rings, all bets are off and it won’t be two friends standing across the ring from one another, it will be two men. Two of the very best that this company has to offer.

Two men that are willing to do whatever it takes to bring home the HOTv Championship, no matter the cost. Two men that have one mission and will not quit until that mission is completed. Unfortunately, for the both of us and for the Final Alliance, only one of us can bring home the gold Friday night.

You are the Gold Standard and the level of respect that I have for you is beyond comprehension, and I think you know that. I’ve done nothing but sing your praises the last few months, and you’ve done the same for me.

When I locked in the Camo Clutch at March to Glory and I looked over and I saw you stretching the ever living shit out of Silent Witness I knew that I had to pull with everything I had. I knew that eye-patched fuckwad would give up, but I also knew that I had de Lacy at the end of his rope.

There was nothing that was going to stop me in that match, not even you.

I’ve never been this determined, John, and the HOTv Championship is something that I take very fucking seriously. When the two of us were in that locker room together last week, I knew this would happen. I knew that this match would be made. Greatness only comes along every so often, and a Steve Solex – John Sektor match…you have to make that while the gettin’ is good.

We are generational talents.