Monday, 29th May 2023 - 16:41:24 pm

Kincaid turned his attention forward.

They were approaching the same check point that they had passed on the way in, only this time it was manned. The wooden crossbar had been lowered. There looked to be about a dozen soldiers there.

"Run it," Kincaid said as he got a missile launcher ready. But there was no decent target. The largest thing he could see was a cluster of men. He could home it in on them but the armor piercing missile would go right through a man without exploding. Kincaid let the missile fly anyway, switching off the guidance system. He reached for his Hackler & Koch without waiting to see the effect of the missile.

"There are extra clips for the M-16 in that box," Kincaid told Mohammed Parsee.

The Ayatollah was unconscious in the back seat. He had blood trickling down from a bruise over his right eye.

"What happened to him?"

"I put him away for safe keeping," the CIA agent said. "You take the right and I take the left?"

"Okay," Kincaid said.

The missile had scattered the soldiers at the checkpoint. Some were running across a field. Kincaid hadn't heard it explode.

"Clipped a chap's head off," Ahmed explained. "Without a sound. Scared them pretty badly."

Kincaid opened up with the HK-91 on those that remained at the post. Mohammed Parsee joined in with the M-16. Only a few wild shots were fired in return.

"Oh damn!" Ahmed said. "Get down!"

Kincaid had seen it coming. The crossbar barricade was at windshield height across the lane they were in. It was too late to swerve around it.

The three men ducked just before the windshield smashed into the suspended crossbar. Thousands of shreds of glass flew in as many directions.

The Jeep wasn't slowed down.

Once through, Steve Kincaid and Mohammed Parsee swung around and fired short bursts behind them to keep the soldiers" heads down. There was no return fire.

"Anyone hurt?" Ahmed asked.

"Good question," the CIA agent said. His hand was bleeding from a glass shard. "Nothing serious."

Kincaid had a cut on the back of his neck. He pulled the splinter out. "I"ll live," he said.

"That village is ahead," Ahmed said.

Kincaid put a fresh magazine in his rifle. "Same thing," he said. "I've got the right."

"Okay." Mohammed Parsee reloaded the M-16.

The Ayatollah was coming around again.

Some startled chickens squawked out of their way at the edge of the village.

The wind coming over the hood made their eyes water.

"Police on the right," Ahmed said.

"I see them," Kincaid replied.

Two gray uniformed policemen had seen them enter the village. One reached his hand to the butt of his pistol.

Kincaid aimed his assault rifle at them.

The two policemen, keeping their hands in sight, turned around and faced a wall until the Jeep was well past. Kincaid didn't fire.

They were suddenly through the little village and on the open road again.

Where the road made a "T", Ahmed kept going straight. "Shahabad next, old boy." He slowed the Jeep so the wind didn't hit them as bad.

Steve Kincaid didn't relax. They weren't out yet.

"Where are we going?" the CIA agent asked.

"There's a landing strip somewhere around Shahabad," Kincaid told him. "That's where we get out."

"What are you going to do with me?" the Ayatollah asked. His face had been cut further by flying glass from the windshield. He dabbed at the blood with a sleeve.

"You claim to be leader of the Kurds," Ahmed said. "I"ll put you with some of your followers and see if you can lead them."

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