Authors: Dirk Patton
V Plague Book Nine
Text Copyright © 2015 by Dirk Patton
Copyright © 2015 by Dirk Patton
All Rights Reserved
book, or any portion thereof, may not be reproduced or used in any manner
whatsoever without the express written permission of the copyright holder or
publisher, except for the use of brief quotations in a critical book review.
by Voodoo Dog Publishing, LLC
N Power Road
the United States of America
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, brands, places, events and
incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a
fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual
events is purely coincidental.
for purchasing Precipice, Book 9 in the V Plague series. If you haven’t
read the first eight books you need to stop reading now and pick them up,
otherwise you will be lost as this book is intended to continue the story in a
serialized format. I intentionally did nothing to explain comments and
events that reference books 1 through 8. Regardless, you have my
heartfelt thanks for reading my work and I hope you’re enjoying the adventure
as much as I am. As always, a good review on Amazon is greatly
The victor earns the title "The Great"
All the mysteries get unlearned
All the history just becomes a string of dates
The hordes overrun in a clean sweep
Destroying everything that was built
Where's the glory in making mothers weep?
Hey I Don’t Know
grenade launcher thumped as I fired the first round. I immediately pulled
the trigger again, sending a second HE - high explosive - round on the way to
the open troop compartment door of the crashed Russian helicopter. The
grenades travel fast, but not as fast as a bullet, and are so large they are
visible in flight.
first one with my eyes, I watched as it reached the door and impacted the
figure of the man who had just hammered the damaged exit into the open
position. The grenade detonated with a thunderous explosion, the body
disappearing as it was shredded. A moment later the second one arrived
and sailed into the maelstrom of the first.
deeper inside the heavily armored helo, the entire craft shaking from the
blast. The ballistic glass windshield, divided into sections and braced
with heavy metal frames, was blown out by the force of the expanding shock wave
and cartwheeled across the surface of the lake. It struck the water with
a large splash and quickly sank. Then the Hind’s fuel tank ruptured.
aircraft shuddered before disappearing in an intense ball of flame and I spun
behind the rocky outcropping to shield myself from the overpressure wave.
It raced across the water and slammed into the snow-laden trees on the
shoreline, blasting them clear of snow and snapping several smaller trees off
at ground level. I checked on Rachel, Katie and Dog, relieved to see all
three of them safe in the shelter of the terrain.
I started to
poke my head out for a look, but decided to stay where I was for the moment
when another explosion caused the trees over my head to sway. Munitions
aboard the helicopter were cooking off from the intense heat of the fire.
No one aboard could have possibly survived, and there wasn’t any point in me
risking being hurt or killed, so I stayed where I was.
OK?” I called out to Katie and Rachel.
good,” Katie responded, she and Rachel moving to where Dog lay in the snow.
his face in her hands and gently petted him, Rachel checking his injuries from
the fight with the wolf. I was worried about him, but they didn’t need my
help and it had been a while since anything additional had cooked off so I
stepped out and surveyed the still fiercely burning aircraft.
The shell of
the Hind was fully engulfed in flames that were burning so hot the icy lake
water was flashing to steam where it touched the white hot metal. The
steam mixed with the thick black smoke from the burning fuel and a massive
column rose high into the air, clearly marking the site of the downed
aircraft. Shit! If there were more Russians in the area they’d zero
in on the location in a hurry.
to move,” I shouted to the girls as I ran to where they kneeled over Dog.
“That fire and smoke will be visible for miles.”
argue or question me, both with concerned expressions when understanding of
what I was worried about dawned on them. With their help I got Dog up and
on my shoulders, his belly against the back of my neck and each set of legs
gripped in front of my body. I knew he was hurting because he didn’t try
to resist the awkward position.
began retracing my steps along the shoreline. I could feel Dog’s racing
heart against the back of my neck. Occasionally he whined softly and I
had no doubt he was hurting like hell, but he stayed still with his head
resting on his shoulder, muzzle next to my face. From time to time his
wet tongue licked my cheek.
As we moved,
Katie took up position in front of me in case we ran into anything that wanted
to do us harm. Burdened as I was, with both hands needed to keep Dog in
place, I wouldn’t be able to respond and fight if needed.
panted in the thin, mountain air as I struggled to catch my breath.
I had no
idea if there were more Russians in the area, or even why they were here in the
first place, but if there were I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere close when
they arrived and found the crash. I desperately wanted to listen for the
sound of rotors, but between my labored breathing and heart pounding in my ears
I couldn’t hear anything other than the sound of my own footsteps as I loped
along the shoreline.
lightly, frequently turning her head to check on Rachel and me. I was
glad she was because I had no idea what condition Rachel was in and wouldn’t
have known if she’d dropped out. After what seemed forever we reached the
campsite and I called out for Katie to stop. With her and Rachel helping
we lowered Dog gently to the ground.
“Why are we
stopping?” Rachel asked, sweat running down her face despite the frigid
uphill from here,” I said, drawing my knife and starting to work on the
parachute canopy she had strung between the trees for a windbreak. “Need
a better way to secure Dog. Keep an eye and ear out for more
turned to watch the sky over the lake as I kept working on freeing the tough
nylon. Once it came loose I quickly fashioned a sling, carefully working
it under Dog’s body. With it in place I paused to rub his muzzle and he
licked my hand before laying his head down.
got about five miles straight up this ridge,” I said, pointing. “Katie,
you lead. Rachel, watch our backs.”
nodded and helped me hoist Dog in his sling onto my shoulders. Once he
was up, I was able to wrap the canopy lines around my shoulders and secure them
over my chest. This held him in place and freed my hands if I had to
I was still
breathing hard and a film of greasy sweat covered my face as I started
forward. Nearly stumbling, I caught myself and had to wait a moment for a
wave of dizziness to pass. Katie had already stepped off, but Rachel saw
me falter and moved next to me, grabbing my arm.
OK?” She asked, concern on her face.
said, swallowing hard and trying to catch my breath. I looked up and saw Katie
coming back to where we stood.
fine. Let’s get…” I stopped when the low thrum of a distant rotor reached
my ears. I didn’t bother to turn and look.
I said, pushing myself forward.
and sprinted up the slope, rifle high and tight across her chest. I
followed her steps, bent forward at the waist to counter Dog’s weight on my
back. At first I tried to keep my head up to scan the area ahead, but
quickly realized it was slowing me down. Lowering my gaze to the ground I
focused on Katie’s tracks, concentrating on keeping my feet moving.
slope grew steeper I had to resort to using my hands to help climb, scrambling
in the snow for something to grip and let me pull myself another step. My
back ached and my quads were on fire. My breath was ragged, my chest
hurting with every breath of the cold air I took, but I pushed the pain down
and kept going. There were occasional shelves where the incline flattened
for a few yards. Unfortunately, they were few and far between.
I lost track
of time as we climbed. Every ounce of my consciousness was focused on
staying on my feet and continuing forward. Sweat was pouring down my face
and dripping off my nose and chin in a steady stream. It was getting harder
to take a breath and all I could hear was the rush of blood in my veins.
My vision was starting to tunnel, limited to the ground directly in front of my
could have been hours or even a day, Katie suddenly appeared in front of me,
placing a hand on my chest to stop me. She was saying something but I
couldn’t hear her voice. My head felt like it was wrapped in thick layers
of cotton and I wasn’t sure whether or not I was standing still. I could
see the concern on Katie’s face, then Rachel moved into my field of view and
both of them were reaching for me as everything went dark.
to support John as he collapsed forward, but the best she could do was slow his
fall. She and Rachel dropped to their knees on either side and worked the
sling loose from his upper body, Dog stiffly stepping out of it and walking a
few feet before lying down in the snow. Gently, they rolled John onto his
burning up,” Katie said when she placed her hand on his face.
touched his other cheek then wiped pink forth off his lips. She quickly
opened his snowsuit. His heart was racing and his pulse was erratic.
Working her hand inside his clothing she placed it on his chest and held it
there for a few moments.
his lungs,” she said. “I think it’s high altitude pulmonary edema.
Never saw it in Georgia, but I studied about it in medical school.”
and what the hell do we do?” Katie asked, the fear clear to see on her
face. John coughed, more bloody froth appearing on his lips and chin.
at high altitude. It’s cold as hell. He just ran up a five mile
hill with Dog and his pack on his shoulders. He’s got fluid building up
in his lungs and his heart’s working overtime trying to get oxygen to his
body. We need to get him to a lower altitude and get him on some O2.
Actually, right now, we need to force some air into his lungs so he can
John’s mouth clean again before bending over and placing her mouth over his, and
began forcing big lungful’s of air deep into his chest.
“How did you
get here?” She asked Katie in between breaths.
“We’ve got a
Jeep at the bottom of the slope.” They had crested the ridgeline that
overlooked the lake before John collapsed. “How dangerous is this?”
Is there a town close?” Rachel turned her head and spit out a mouthful of
blood tinged saliva.
but we passed through one after we got into the mountains,” Katie said.
“Maybe an hour or two with the snow.”
“We need to
get him down there. Fast. I’ll have to keep up mouth to mouth while
you drive,” Rachel said, standing and lifting up an edge of the parachute.
together, the two women spread the canopy out on the snow and rolled John’s
unconscious body onto it. Katie helped Dog move, settling him on the
nylon next to John, then grasped half the attached lines and pulled them tight
over her shoulder. Rachel did the same with the other half and working
together they began dragging John and Dog down the snow covered slope.