02-11 / 02-12 Kelly / A Changing Year

by Ernest Bywater

Tags: Crime, Drama, Violence, Military, Extra Sensory Perception, Royalty, Young Adult, Vignettes,

Desc: Action/Adventure Story: In October 2002, Geordie's sister Kelly is kidnapped and he searches for her. Finding her he takes action to recover her. In doing so he loses more than he can imagine and learns he's only human. A boy is forced to take on the mantle of adulthood. WARNING - stories includes euthanasia, the mercy execution of a loved one. It is not graphic, but is described.

Born Keorn Kelly Ingrid Mary Amir on 10 November, 1990, a very bright and vivacious young girl not as smart as most of the clan, but no dummy, either. Due to being born late in the year, and her younger brother being born early in the year the year after next, she's in the class just ahead of her brother, Gordie. When she and Gordie walk to school you'd think he was the older. She's short for her age while he's tall for his, and he's a little taller than she is. Gordie is much smarter than her and his academic level is very high (he does most of his real studies at home after school), which is why he often helps her with her lessons. Because they use different surnames few people outside the clan realise they're brother and sister, most at the school think their families just work together. Kelly has many friends at school and around town.

The Danger

In 1994 U MAMA bribes a member of the Berant parliament. By 2000 they own him outright and have helped his political ambitions. Now he's a senior cabinet member in the current parliament. In the course of his normal duties he puts together some public facts and digs out some not so public facts. Everyone knows the King lives at the Royal Palace and Residence called Highcliff near Carmel. They know the royal clan name is Amir. The U MAMA spy finds out some of the King's children attend school at View Port, he passes this along to U MAMA in late 2000. Other U MAMA spies spend most of 2001 spying on the View Port schools and tracking the movements of any children by the name of Amir. They realise not all children with this name are the King's children because some are just very close relatives. By Christmas 2001 they've identified two children they're fairly sure belong to the King's immediate family. Kelly Amir, eleven years old, and Isobelle Amir, fifteen years old. Isobelle is a member of the school martial arts team and old enough to be a much harder target. The U MAMA team leader decides to target Kelly Amir. The plan is to kidnap Kelly and to force her to give them information: access codes needed to gain entry to Highcliff. Once inside they intend to murder the King and his family. Thus opening the way for the U MAMA agents in the parliament (they now own about one fifth of its members) to do away with the monarchy and invite the U MAMA companies back into the country. The U MAMA spies know most of Kelly's friends. In 2002 they target her friends' families to see if they can influence or bribe anyone to assist them. They also move one hundred mercenaries into the country, keeping them in the capital city of Berana until needed.

Evil Strikes

At 4:00 p.m. Thursday 17th October, 2002 Kelly Amir is on her way to spend the afternoon at the home of a classmate. While she walks down the right hand footpath a van pulls up beside her. Two men jump out while two more men on the footpath jump to grab the girl. She's only eleven, nearly twelve, years old and they expect no trouble. She's quick to realise they intend her no good, and defends herself.

Throwing her bag at the two on the footpath she kicks the front foot of the lead man exiting the van. When he falls she snaps her left hand down, breaking his neck. At the same time she draws her belt knife with her right hand and slashes it up across the throat of the lead man on the footpath. Spinning away from the van she stabs the other man on the footpath in the chest while she hits the alarm on her belt with her left hand. Pulling the knife from the man's chest she throws it into the throat of the second man from the van, killing him. All this has taken only a few seconds, much less than it takes to recount. Another man who's watering the yard of a nearby house shoots her from behind with a stun gun. She drops like a stone, unconscious. He drops the hose to jump the low fence and pick her up. He jumps into the van and it drives off down the road at high speed.

Meanwhile, her security squad, who are spread out along the street in their normal deployment pattern, draw their hand guns and head for the fight. A number of armed men appear from yards and vehicles, a short gun fight ensues. The security squad are all killed. The surviving ambushers don't have time to collect their dead. They leave four men killed by their juvenile target and twenty-two killed by the security squad, three die later from their wounds. They'd expected to lose four or five men to the security team, but lose twenty-nine. This is a great upset to the organisers, especially because of the ones killed by the eleven year old girl; a supposedly soft target and no danger at all.

The alarm brings an instant response from the command centre with a general alert to all Guards and police in the area. Although they reach the scene in minutes they're too late to catch the kidnappers. All they find are the dead and her bag.

Investigations

Police and security personnel interview everyone who lives in the street, to no avail beyond the van's description. It turns up a few streets away, abandoned with all of Kelly's clothes on its floor. Checking the dead is hard, because they have no identification on them. Although it's clear the kidnapping was set up in advance no one knows why Kelly was in that street at that time. There are no leads to follow up on.

That night a clan meeting is called. Everyone is told what happened and asked if they can spread any light on why Kelly was in that street. No one knows a thing. Because of the kidnapping security tightens for everyone, double squads until further notice and everyone to miss school the next day.

Sunday the news arrives they've identified some of the kidnappers. They're known mercenaries who work for U MAMA companies and one is a CIA agent. The King, the clan, and the Claymore aren't happy, to say the least. The kidnapping of a young school girl is made public knowledge, because there are too many witnesses. But the relationship to the King isn't made public. They identify her as the unnamed daughter of a wealthy local businessman. The police and security forces are doing everything in their power to find her and the kidnappers.

Monday morning and all the children are back at school with larger security teams about the schools. Determined to find his sister Gordie speaks to all of Kelly's school friends and classmates. No one at the school is surprised to find him looking for Kelly because they're always looking for each other, many think they're going steady. At the start of lunch he speaks to Ingrid, one of her closest classmates.

He says, "Do you know where Kelly Amir is, have you seen her lately?"

Ingrid says, "No, not since lunch on Thursday. And she stood me up Thursday afternoon! When you find her tell her off for me, please."

Gordie is interested in this, asking, "What was the plan for Thursday afternoon?"

"Wednesday afternoon Daddy bought me the latest Spiderbait CD. I spoke to Kelly about it at lunch on Thursday, because she's a big fan. She said she'd come around after band practice to listen to it. She never showed. I waited at home all afternoon for her, if she wasn't coming she could've called to let me know."

Quietly, he asks, "Who else knew she was going to visit you?"

She says, "Only Daddy, when I got home I had to let him know I was expecting a visitor, and who it was."

He says, "When I see her I'll let her know you're upset and why." Turning away, he walks out of the lunch room and out of the school.

Gathering his security detail he leaves the school to go to the town square and study a large scale map of the town. The street Kelly was kidnapped from is the only street anyone going from the school to Ingrid's house has to go down. There are many choices at both ends, but that one is the only one linking the two suburbs. It passes between two natural bush areas on ridges. If anyone knew Kelly was going to call on Ingrid they can easily and quickly set up an ambush. The leader of his security detail, Senior Corporal Amy Jones, is watching closely while he reads the large map. When he taps the school, kidnap point, and the suburb beyond it she immediately sees the connections. He reaches a decision.

Climbing into the van the security team are using he directs them to Ingrid's house. Pulling up down the street they notice a brand new car in the driveway. Gordie knows Ingrid's family doesn't have much money, so this is very interesting. They're about to get out when a car pulls up and a man gets out. Amy recognises him as a known U MAMA agent. Bingo! Opening the van's glove box Gordie gets out a tracking device, they keep some in there. Exiting the vehicle he walks up the road to cross near the car and slip the tracker onto the car when he passes it. Going around the corner he's soon joined by the van.

They wait until the U MAMA agent leaves. Geordie walks up to the house with Corporal Jones. They knock, no answer. They enter the house. Ingrid's father is lying face down on the kitchen table with an almost empty bottle of whiskey beside him. Also on the table is an envelope with a large amount of money in it. Checking his pulse they find he's dead. Taking the packet of money for safe keeping they place it in a plastic bag. They do the same with the whiskey bottle after they put the lid on it, because they suspect it's poisoned.

Leaving the house they check the tracker, and see the vehicle is leaving town. Since it's a short range tracker they hurry after it while they report the situation to command. Twenty minutes later the tracker disappears off their display. When they near the top of a low ridge outside of town it reappears and is stationary. They stop the van. Leaving the engine running Gordie and Corporal Jones exit the van. They walk through some brush on the hill top and examine the glade before them.

Discovery

About half way up the opposite hill is a small grove of trees with several cars and mini-buses parked under the trees. Hidden in the grove is a wooden one or two room hut and a number of camouflaged tents. The grove is surrounded by some prepared fire points. Plenty of people are moving about and it looks like they're getting ready to move out, because they're packing things into the cars and mini-buses.

Back at the van they contact command and give them an update, but help is about thirty minutes away, because all the usual support troops are spread out around the town as extra security. They drive the van into some nearby bushes and hide it. Gordie gets everyone out of the van. He has them get their rifles and vests out from under the seats to put them on. They're all soon ready for heavy combat; wearing vests, helmets (with squad radios built in), hand guns, and rifles. Even Gordie has on a vest, helmet, and two pistols.

Talking with both squad leaders Gordie explains he's not prepared to risk them getting away. They'll work their way around the glade, keeping just below the ridge. When at the point of closest approach they'll await developments. If help arrives then the larger force can take them. If they start to mount up before help arrives they'll go in and take them. Neither corporal is happy with the plan, but they can't think of anything better, and there isn't enough of them to properly cover both exit roads. Ten minutes later they're all waiting patiently in bushes about thirty metres above the grove of trees, and no one saw them get into position. Activity in the grove is high. All the tents are down and most of the gear is packed on the buses. Armed men are climbing into the mini-buses. Corporal Jones looks at Gordie, and they nod their heads at each other. She speaks into her squad radio. The ten Swords of 2nd Platoon, E Company, 1st Claymore, and Gordie are up and running down the hill like silent ghosts.

They cover half the distance before they're seen. At the moment one of the armed men in the grove sees them and yells the Guards all open fire, dropping eleven of the men in the first volley. In the few seconds it takes for them to reach the grove three of the Guards are down, wounded in the legs. They stay in the fight by taking aimed shots from the ground. Most of the armed men are down, dead or wounded. The Guards are in amongst the trees and the enemy with only scattered pockets of resistance left to deal with. And the enemy are growing weaker with each passing second. Corporal Jones leads the charge on the wooden hut.

Corporal Jones hits the front door of the hut. The door goes down, and so does Corporal Jones. The sound of a light machine-gun comes from the building when it punches her back out. The Guards in front of the building find cover behind trees. Gordie, who'd followed orders and lagged behind, is still approaching the hut from the uphill side. Drawing his second pistol he takes a running jump through the hut window nearest him. Though tall for his age he's still only ten years old and about chest high to most adults. Thus he crashes through the window in an almost upright position with his feet out before him and both guns tracking targets in the hut. He opens up in rapid fire, and the three armed men near the machine-gun are soon headless. The gun stops, two Guards enter the front door. The other people in the room drop their weapons and surrender. Outside the shooting stops when the remaining enemy troops surrender as well. Of the seventy-one mercenaries protecting the hut forty-six are dead and the rest are wounded prisoners. Only the five senior U MAMA organisers in the hut have surrendered without being wounded.

Looking around the hut, one large room, Gordie sees recording equipment and a bed with Kelly tied to it. Going to the bed he finds her gagged and bleeding in numerous places. While he removes the gag one of the medics walks over and speaks to him about Corporal Jones' injuries. The injuries are so bad no doctor can save her life, she's in great pain and dying. She wishes to speak with him. Gordie tells the medic to check out Kelly while he speaks to Corporal Jones. The Guards in the room watch him cross the floor, because he's walking like a robot. They didn't hear what the medic said to him about the corporal, but having seen her injuries on their way in they've a good idea of the situation. They're not gentle in tying up the prisoners.

Reaching Corporal Jones Gordie kneels and gently strokes her face. She looks up at him, and smiles. In a soft whisper, she asks, "Please, my Lord, have mercy on me?"

He starts to cry, saying, "I love you, Amy!"

She half smiles at him, and whispers, "I know, I love you too!"

A single gunshot rings through the grove and her head jerks when he gives her the merciful quick death she'd asked of him. Though twice his age they'd become lovers six months earlier, and the whole platoon knows about it.

Walking back into the hut with a face of stone and tears running down his cheeks he approaches the bed where Kelly is. In answer to the unsaid question the medic shakes her head no. Kneeling beside the bed he looks at Kelly. She starts to smile, but the pain is too much. The medic shows him her notes on Kelly.

Groaning with pain, Kelly looks into his eyes, saying, "Please." One word, but all know what she's asking.

Gently he caresses what's left of her face while his other hand lifts. Another single gunshot rings through the grove. Standing, he turns and walks to the prisoners in the room. To the prisoners, he says, in a quiet and emotionless voice, "Soon my people will question you and you will tell them everything you know. Your lives are mine, your future is mine to decide. At the moment I've no mercy left. I've used up all the mercy I have." They're shocked; they're looking death in the face, a very young face. Turning, he walks out the door. Exiting the building he finds one of the Guards has retrieved their van. Their wounded, treated by the other squad medic, are sitting in the van. The mercenary prisoners are kneeling in a group. Their hands tied behind their backs with two Guards watching them. He walks off up the hillside and all watch him go with concerned looks on their faces. Junior Corporal Hedley, the leader of the second squad, contacts command to give them an update. Fifteen minutes later two full platoons arrive with two extra empty trucks.

When they get out Gordie approaches Senior Lieutenant Matthews, the officer in charge, and gives him orders. The lieutenant starts to dispute them, Gordie stares at him until he nods. The prisoners are placed in one of the trucks. The bodies of Corporal Jones and Kelly Amir are placed in a troop transport. The enemy dead are placed in the other truck. The site is cleaned up and troops assigned to drive the enemy vehicles out. While this is going on Gordie is reviewing the recordings they found in the hut. He learns how they'd serially gang raped and tortured Kelly to get her to talk, but she kept quiet. He keeps the recordings with him when he climbs into the lead truck. They drive out of the glade and head back to town.

His original security detail are sent back to their barracks, so is one of the support platoons. The second platoon and the two trucks drive to the local recycling plant. All three vehicles back into the receiving dock area, troops dismount and move the normal workers to one end of the area. Gordie gets out of the truck while wearing a combat jacket and helmet with HUD visor down to disguise his appearance. Under his direction the prisoners are lined up along the railing near the crusher's feed slope. The enemy dead are removed from the truck, clothing removed and placed in numbered bags, so is any jewellery. Photos, finger prints, and DNA samples are taken. The bodies are fed into the crusher.

While this is being done Gordie is busy questioning the living mercenaries. All refuse to speak and claim the protection of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Gordie says to them, "You forget the Geneva Convention only deals with military prisoners captured whilst wearing the uniform of their country and acting under the command of their authorised military command structure. None of which applies to murdering brigands and kidnappers, which you are. You'll talk to me or you go into the crusher next." None believe him and none talk. They all think the adults will control the boy. They're sure he's bluffing when his orders have them stripped, photographed, finger printed, and DNA samples taken. They get a rude surprise when he grabs the first one by the arm to simply drag him towards the crusher and push him into it. The prisoner stumbles in, screaming all the way. Gordie personally throws each of the enemy troops into the crusher, the last few are struggling and trying to run when he grabs them.

Only the five U MAMA organisers who did the actual torture are left. Calmly, with a voice like frozen helium, he says to them, "You'll be taken elsewhere and questioned. You'll tell them everything, if not, you'll wish I'd thrown you in there today." He points at the crusher. One struggles to break free, but they're dragged back into the truck. The plant workers watch the whole episode with very wide eyes.

Everyone climbs into their vehicles and they leave. One truck to the barracks, the truck with the prisoners to the Royal Intelligence Service (RIS) interrogation facility, and the troop transport to the View Port Funeral Home.

At the funeral home Gordie gets out to walk into the reception area, and asks for the manager. Despite Gordie's unusual appearance the receptionist leads him to the manager. The manager, a retired member of the Foresters (2nd Claymore) recognises the unit patches on Gordie's jacket, and raises an eyebrow.

In a level voice, Gordie says, "I've two beloved dead outside I wish you to take care of them. One of my staff will contact you, later, about payment."

The manager nods, and reaches for his phone. Calling an internal number he orders people to take two trolleys to the front car-park. He stands and accompanies Gordie back to the troop transport. He's a stone faced professional while they bring Corporal Jones out of the transport and place her on the trolley. But when they bring Kelly out he starts to cry. His daughter is one of her close friends and he knows her well. Turning, he looks closely at Gordie. However, the helmet and visor hide his face enough to make identification impossible, but he can still see the tears rolling down his face and off the bottom of Gordie's chin.

Reactions

Leaving the funeral home the troop transport returns to the 1st Claymore barracks and Gordie uses the short-cut between the barracks and Highcliff to return home to Far View. Once home he finds his mother and tells her of his activities. She's already aware of most of what's happened, because Guard Command have told her what they know. He also says, "Mother, I'm no longer a child, so I'd best accept the mantle of adulthood. Gordie was an innocent child, but he doesn't live here now. Please inform the clan I wish to be called Gerry from now on, because that's what my initials come out as, and to treat me as an adult in all things from now on."

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