Saturday, 4th February 2023 - 3:39:49 am
"Let's go," Kincaid said, his voice muffled by the mask.
They stepped quickly through the fallen bodies. Kincaid switched the canister to his left hand and pulled the Beretta from its shoulder holster with his right hand. Just in case.
The man at the wall was wearing fatigues with US Army insignia on them. One thing for sure, this wasn't Edward Camacho. Kincaid wondered who the hell it was. The guy looked more Iranian than most Iranians. Ahmed was probably right.
Kincaid put the Beretta back into its holster and lifted the little man easily over his left shoulder. The live canister he carried in his right hand.
Ahmed was twenty meters away bending over someone. The people who had been standing on the fringes had either run away or been overcome by the spreading gas. They had the square to themselves now.
Kincaid started out the way they had come. Ahmed picked up the man he had been bending over and followed him.
The Kurds were still waiting down the street. When they saw Kincaid coming toward them, some started for him. Kincaid waved them back. Most of the Kurds were now holding pistols and rifles.
When Kincaid reached the Kurds he gave them his burden and turned back to help Ahmed. Ahmed was struggling under his over-weight load. Kincaid handed Ahmed the canister and took the unconscious man over his own shoulder. He could see the gas advancing down the street.
"Get them out of here," he shouted to Ahmed through the mask.
The Kurds moved down the street ahead of them. Two of them were carrying the man in the fatigues.
They didn't strip off their gas masks until they reached the grain store.
Ahmed was elated. "We have the Ayatollah!"
"Great," Kincaid said. "Now let's get the hell out of here."
They made room for the two unconscious men in the back of the Jeep between ammunition boxes and missile launchers. The store front opened again and Ahmed backed the Jeep out into the street. Kincaid checked out the Heckler & Koch and got a missile launcher within easy reach while Ahmed picked his way through the narrow streets.
They came out on the main road near the edge of town. The roadway was blocked ahead of them. A wagon had been overturned on the center of the pavement. Ahmed stopped the Jeep and studied the blocked road while Kincaid brought up a launcher and rested it on top of the windshield.
Ahmed suddenly smiled. "Our chaps," he said.
Kincaid saw the black clad men coming out from behind the wagon. Ahmed started the Jeep forward. Kincaid checked the road behind them. A half-track was coming fast. It was at four hundred meters and closing.
"We've go company," Kincaid said.
As if to punctuate his words, a machine gun opened up from the half-track. The range was too great for it to be effective but an unlucky shot dropped one of the Kurds at the roadblock. Kincaid swung the missile launcher around and rested it on an ammo box.
Ahmed saw the half-track in the rearview mirror. "My chaps will handle it," he said. He started to pull the Jeep onto the shoulder and around the barricade.
"Hold it," Kincaid said, putting a hand on the steering wheel.
Ahmed stopped the Jeep.
"Your chaps," Kincaid said, "will get their asses shot off."
He found the oncoming half-track in the optical sight of the missile launcher. It was still firing a forward machine gun wildly. Kincaid launched the missile and watched it as it blew the half-track into a heap of burning junk. The Kurds cheered loudly.
"Now we"ll have two roadblocks behind us," Kincaid said. "Let's go."
The guy in the army fatigues started to stir.
Ahmed got the Jeep around the roadblock and back on the pavement. They were soon at top speed. The fresh wind quickly revived the man they had rescued. He sat up, blinked his eyes and looked around.
"Welcome back," Kincaid said.
The man gave him a blank look. He said something in Farsi.
"What did he say," Kincaid asked Ahmed.
"The usual thing, old boy. "Where am I? Who are you? Dreadfully unoriginal. I told you, old boy, wrong man."
"Are you Mohammed Parsee?" Kincaid asked him.
A light dawned in the man's eyes. "Ah, ah," he said, pointing at himself and shaking his head up and down. "Mohammed Parsee. Mohammed Parsee."
"Me Tarzan," Ahmed said, "you Jane. I think you've established communications, old boy. Now point at yourself and tell him your name."
Kincaid ignored Ahmed. "I'm Colonel Steve Kincaid," he told the little man. "I was sent to get you out."
Mohammed Parsee looked Steve Kincaid up and down. For the first time he noticed the unconscious Ayatollah alongside him. He grabbed the back on the Ayatollah's head and lifted it for a better view of his face. Apparently satisfied, he let the head drop back with a thud. He gazed around at the landscape they were passing. Then he looked back at Steve Kincaid.
"Are you shitting me?" he asked in perfect American accented English.