Kelly awoke suddenly, first to the sound of Shadow’s barking roar and then to the sound of breaking glass and gunfire from the front of the house. She grabbed her handgun and bag of magazines and leapt off the bed toward the hallway where she dropped to the floor and looked both ways down the hall. From the front door she heard more gunfire and saw a man coming down the hall firing into all the rooms. He was still 20 feet from her room. She rolled on her right side and fired three times into the mass of the attacker. He went down and almost slid into her. Kelly shot him twice more in the head and raced to the front door. Mrs. Minh was on the floor with her husband tending to her, while he kept his shotgun trained on the broken front door. He looked up at Kelly and motioned for her to get to the back of the house. She sprinted to the sliding glass door leading to the pool deck, slipped outside and crouched behind a long three-foot-high cement planter. She hardly noticed the cold falling rain on her bare skin. Putting in a fresh magazine, she heard Kathy calling her on the radio. She gave Kathy her position and a report of what she saw.
Kathy said, “I don’t how many there are. Jack and Shadow are hunting outside in the marsh grass. I haven’t heard from them. Hold your position. I’m giving you perimeter lights. Stay undercover. The Minhs have the front covered. Her wounds are not life threatening. She’s a tough fighter.”
“Okay! I have good cover and can hold here. Let me know when help is arriving. I have to get something on. I’m totally naked.”
“Never mind. Just stay focused. This isn’t over yet. I can’t see any movement on my screens.”
Jack and Shadow were motionless in the high marsh grass. They were almost invisible. Shadow’s wet black coat and Jack’s black tee, black baseball hat, and a mud-darkened face and arms reduced their image to a mottled dark spot. Jack called for Kathy to turn on the perimeter lights on the marsh side. The light was no threat to them. It produced faint mottled shadows. The January rain was picking up with a rising wind, masking the sound of moving through the marsh grass and diminishing the effectiveness of his quadrant search for the intruders. Fortunately, he only had to search the area in front of him. Shadow was standing with his attention fixated at a point directly in front of Jack, who was kneeling with his back to the light coming from the house and scanning the marsh with night vision glasses. He knew somewhere in front of him one or more attackers were concealed. He could wait. His experience as a Marine sniper in the beginning of the Iraqi war guided his every movement and plan. Instead of the heat and dryness of the desert, he had the mosquitoes, mud and wetness of the marsh. All his senses were on high alert.
Shadow was quivering with repressed energy. Jack knew one word from him, and Shadow would be on the attackers and would probably be killed if there were more than one. He heard Kathy and Kelly on the radio and felt they could control the house. Kelly must have some Celtic blood to go into battle naked. The two Vietnamese guards were on the other side of the house. Jack trusted them to hold their flank.
Just then Jack saw the grass move. It could not have been the wind. These people were clumsy. Concentrating on the area of the slight movement, he could make out the shapes of two men. Flipping his M-16 to full auto, he fired an entire 20-round magazine into the area. Slamming in a fresh magazine, he fired again into the spot where he could now hearing thrashing and someone calling for help. Reloading on the run, Jack and Shadow quickly covered the 100 feet and charged into the area. Two men were down. They both looked dead. Jack told Shadow to stay and checked carotid arteries. Both were dead. Neither of them had any ID.
Wondering if there were any more, Jack called Kathy. Before she could answer he heard rapid firing from the back of the house. One of the weapons was a SOCOM and that must be Kelly. Jack and Shadow ran to the back of the house.
Kathy told the two Vietnamese guards to pull back to the house, but be careful, there may be more. Shadow beat Jack to the pool and leapt upon the man trying to drag himself away from the house. Kelly ran up and pulled a growling Shadow off the dying man. Jack saw that the man Kelly shot would not live until the medical help arrived. He heard the sirens coming and knew it was time to wrap up. Jack looked at Kelly and said, “Very well done. You probably saved Kathy’s life.” Kelly was standing holding Shadow who was still growling. Jack thought he had never seen a woman or a man so natural in their nakedness.
Kelly saw Jack looking at her and said, “I guess I better get something on before the cops come.”
“Before you go, are you okay with killing two men?”
“Yes, but I don’t know yet. They were shooting at me. I had no choice. I just did what Kathy taught me. It worked. I hope Mrs. Minh is all right.”
“I don’t know yet. The police will want to split us up for questioning. I may not be able to stop that. Just tell the truth about the attack but don’t mention we were ready for it. The two Vietnamese the Minhs brought in can just disappear. Their truck is parked a few streets away. No reason for them to be involved. I’ll take care of that now. Take Shadow with you and get dressed. Give me your weapon. If they ask, tell them you and Kathy were shooting today, and you borrowed the handgun from me and just hadn’t cleaned and returned it yet.”