The pebble shock almost imperceptibly in the dull orange-tinted light cast by the streetlamp overhead. The light fell upon the pebble most intensely, and the score of other incredibly tiny debris covering the asphalt road surface, and dispersed across the road until it lit no more— leaving a gap of darkness between the pools of light cast by the streetlamps all down the roadway. The vibration of the pebble and its cohort of debris intensified as an SUV painted a simple black and without any license plates drove towards it. Its windows were tinted, and not a sliver of light illuminated the interior.
Its engine was a low rumble in the quiet of the night, interrupting the silence that filled the space between the single-family detached homes which occupied each plot of land. The rumble stopped. The doors all opened, even the rear cargo section door, with a practiced silence as black wraiths emerged from the darkened interior. A second vehicle a street over did the same, both teams synchronized remarkably. The wraiths who emerged from the vehicles were little more than apparitions, their dress totally black and without a single reflective item. Their torsos too said nothing of who they were or who they served, not a single unit patch or name tag visible. They moved quickly, one foot placed in front of another, yet made no sound even as they passed directly over the fall leaves upon the ground. They paused a mere few feet from a small concrete pathway that led to the front door, the other group paused directly outside a gate in the garden.
“Gatecrasher to Bishop, teams in position.” The radio channel shared by all the men suddenly blared, audible only inside their helmets. Any outside observer would find themselves hard pressed to identify which had said it, as each of the men stood silent with their rifles at a ready relaxed pose.
“Affirmative Gatecrasher, you have execution authority. Begin Operation. Bishop out.” Came the response, and the men responded in unison. Their rifles snapped up to their shoulders, and they crossed the threshold they had paused at. Two stood at either side of the front door, a third planting a charge to the frame. The last two each selected a window, raising the butts of their rifles to the air in preparation.
The backyard filled with the second team, as the gate was thrown open and they advanced, each stacking up to breach the rear door adjacent to the kitchen— just like the simulations. The radio sounded again, a simple three clicks coming through.
The front door vanished, a muffled boom interrupting the silence of the night, into a shower of splinters and a bright flash. The front windows shattered with an even louder noise. The boots of the men made audible noise now, as they moved with haste into the darkened space, flipping down night vision goggles to reveal the infrared lasers affixed to the end of their rifles. The men spread out, securing individual rooms.
“Ground floor clear.” The radio said several moments later, as the men began to move once again to continue the job. “A team, clear the second floor. B Team, clear third story. C team, clear the basement.” The men advanced up the stairs, the house darker still from the lack of any outside light dripping in. They cleared the landing, a narrow hallway with several doors in front of them.
“Contact!” Someone shouted, a moment before the flash of the barrel illuminated the space and several more armed figures in the room he had just come from. The roar of the rifle filled the air as the men ducked into cover. Their response was more subdued, a single suppressed click followed by a dull thud onto the wooden floor. “Tango down, additional hostiles on level.”
The two men regrouped, advancing in a slight crouch towards the room. They paused, one removing a grenade from their vest. He removed the pin, dropping it on the ground beside him. He let the handle relax and held it for a moment before violently throwing it into the room and twisting his head away with his eyes tightly shut. A bright flash briefly illuminated the whole of the space, showing a simple painting of river in oil colors framed upon the wall of the hallway. The men rose and advanced into the room. A handful of subdued clicks filled the air, followed by a series of dull thuds. “Second story clear.”
“Gatecrasher to Bishop, building secure. Multiple tangos down, we need cleanup.” The radio said again, as the men began to make their way downstairs. The building had been cleared in five minutes and ten seconds. Twenty less than they had allocated for in the simulations.
The men walked calmly out of the building back to their vehicles, climbing in and leaving as silently as they had arrived. As they pulled away, another series of vans pulled in behind them. This time they were labeled police, a misnomer, and a pile of uniformed men piled out and into the building. Collecting, categorizing, identifying. All to feed into the databases.