Tales of the Black Art - Jungle Stalk

23 October 1999
By Steven J King

I walk out of the briefing room at base camp with mixed emotions.  Exited, at the prospect of another chance to apply my Fieldcraft and Marksmanship skills in hostile conditions, yet anxious and very nervous.  Scared?  Definitely not.  It amuses me somewhat that with all the latest military technology available today, that to kill a high ranking enemy officer they still look towards the age old "Assassin" of the battlefield: The Sniper.

As night falls I check my rifle and equipment and make my way towards the helicopter.  I climb aboard and the vibration sends a shiver down my spine as the big metal bird rises into the night sky and towards my drop-off point.  After about forty minutes we approach the landing zone and I am full of trepidation.  The cab comes to a low hover and I jump out, instantly taking up a fire position as if it were second nature.  As the drone of the chopper fades away I am suddenly overcome by an eerie, yet tranquil feeling of loneliness.  I sit in the shadows of the landing zone, frozen, waiting for any enemy follow up.  Now the only sound is of the Jungle fauna and insect life that will become my combat indicator for the days ahead.  I can feel the sharp incisions of the mosquitoes as they home in on my virgin flesh.  I will let them have their fill.

I move on towards my objective target, hacking away through the secondary flora until I have "Eyes on".  As I sight the enemy camp and watch their unprofessional, complacent routines I think to myself that the job in hand could not be easier.  If only it was that way.  Even at this early stage I begin to locate my final fire position, trying to make it as comfortable as possible, for the days ahead will pass painfully slow...

Still, silent, focused.  I lay there in my own world, oblivious to my surroundings, as if enclosed in my own personal bubble.  My one and only thought and concern at this moment in time: See without being seen, Kill without being killed.

For three days now I have stalked my prey, this military General, watching his every move.  I now feel that I know his every habit, every trait.  Unbeknown to him, he has become my specialist subject.  My radio crackles.  Finally, the word arrives.  My superiors have given me the "Green light", the signal for me to terminate his existence.

The jungle dawn is breaking through the canopy.  A glimmer catches my eye - the sun's rays bounce from his watch as he rises from his slumber, unaware that his fate is sealed and he has but just a few moments to live.

My heart steps up a beat as I start my routine in the application of death.  I judge the distance to my quarry, assess the wind, adjust my scope and place my finger on the hair trigger.  I take deep, controlled breaths.  I pause and the cross hairs fall to rest on his chest.  With every ounce of concentration I can muster I slowly squeeze the trigger - the switch of death - and wait for the... CRACK!  The recoil sends an almighty shockwave through my body as the rifle spits out the round and sends it towards its intended target.

His expression turns from one of sheer terror to disbelief as the lead projectile rips a hole in his upper torso and sends him reeling back into the undergrowth.

I stay in position just long enough to ensure my nefarious task has been completed.  I observe his entourage taking cover and looking into the distance for their leader's assassin, but their frantic and frightened glances are in vain; for I am a master in the art of concealment.

Do I feel any pity?  Any remorse?  Those feelings are now alien to me, as I have come to realise that there is no hunting like the hunting of man.

Copyright: Steven J King      June 1998
E-mail: sjk@technologist.com

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