Be warned; this gets kind of violent and graphic.
Location: Skies over the Mediterranean, five days after Part 1.
Pyotr scanned through the news on one of the plane's computers. The Iranians had routed a Balkan socialist army and pushed a Russian army out of the Caucasus.
Iran had originally been converted to communism after a military coup against the Shah in the 1970's. Islamic radicals tried to revolt against the new government, but the communists had showed no mercy, wiping out millions of Muslims. Afterward, turbans were banned. Fezzes were banned. Burqas were banned. The Dome of the Rock became a museum. Finally, Islam was only allowed to be practiced in private homes. Even then, it was frowned upon. In the late 70's, the government carried out massive desegregation of women, even sending them into mandatory military service. Anyone who objected was purged. The military was not as high quality as the USSR's or China's, but it was a force to be feared.
Pyotr got up and walked into the main room of the plane. The other soldiers were sitting on the seats attached to the wall. Pyotr also made himself comfortable, pushed his hat down over his eyes, and drifted off to sleep.
Pyotr suddenly fell out of his seat. The entire plane was shaking.
An officer wearing a pilot helmet raced into the room, "We're under attack! A big air fleet of fighters is firing on us!"
Pyotr immediately jumped up and crawled into a turret gun mounted on top of the plane. Sure enough, swarms of Iranian planes were attacking. To the left of Pyotr's plane, another transport plane was on fire and going down, its crew bailing out. Pyotr adjusted the sights on his gun and started blasting away at the Iranian attackers. After taking down three, the Iranians started to get tired of him. They strafed his turret several times, their bullets putting large dents in the gun's armor. To Pyotr's right, a heavy fighter was coming in for the kill. Sweat dripping down his face, hands sweaty, he fired on the attacker nonstop. Finally, the Iranian exploded. Shrapnel blew onto Pyotr's turret, some bits slicing through and cutting him. After checking to make sure he was not badly wounded, he fired again. As soon as he knocked one down, another plane replaced it. Then, he looked down. Anatolia. Fertile green farmland had replace the Mediterranean Sea. Then, he looked up again. His plane's left wing was on fire.
The officer who he had seen earlier rapped on his turret. Screaming over the noise, the man announced that the plane was going down, "Hurry! We're going down, but we're over our objective landing area! Get your parachute and follow me, comrade!" Pyotr immediately followed and picked up and strapped on a parachute. Grabbing hold of a handlebar on the ceiling of the troop bay, he waited for orders. The officer sprinted to the front of the men, near the exit door. "All right, strap on helmets!"
Pyotr and the others adjusted their Soviet-made helmets.
The men made sure that their parachutes would function properly.
"Are we happy, comrades?"
"Da, tovarich!" screamed the Americans. They had a tendency to borrow Russian words and phrases.
"Get ready! Troopers one through five! Ready?"
"Heck, yeah!" they said unanimously.
"Then get off this burning wreck-in-the-making! Go! Go! Go!" the officer ordered as he opened the doors.
One through five bailed out, their parachutes opening properly.
"Six through ten! Go! Go! Go!"
"America!" they cheered as they jumped.
The officer adjusted his own goggles, parachute, and helmet, "All right, comrades, we've got to wait one minute for them to reach the ground. We don't all want to be fried or shot because we don't have covering fire on the ground, do we?" he asked rhetorically. After one minute passed, he raised his fist in a communist salute, "This is it! For your country! For your sweethearts! For the Party! For your Minister! For the memory of your heroic fathers and grandfathers! Go! Go! Go! Let's show those sons of guns you don't mess around with the USSA and its allies!"
"Hoo-rah!" The men, Pyotr, and the officer bailed out. The feeling of jumping out of a plane was like none other. It was scary. It was frightening. It was as dangerous as could be. Then add enemy planes zipping at you and AA guns battering you from the ground. This passed through Pyotr's mind in something less than a second as he looked for the men who had jumped earlier. He saw one hanging limply from a tree, strangled by his own parachute wire. Another had been pasted by an artillery shell. Two more had had their parachutes completely tattered by enemy plane fire and they had hit the ground like a ton of bricks. As he looked over while free-falling, he saw that the officer had been hit when a plane had put a slug in his leg. Still, the officer gave him a thumbs up. Pyotr and the others opened their parachutes. However, the men were horrified when the officer's chute would not open. He pulled and yanked, tugged and strained, but it would not happen. Then, a shell burst near the troopers. A piece of shrapnel beheaded the officer as his body fell limply to the ground. As he drifted to the ground, Pyotr took out his AK-70 and angrily started blasting the nearest visible Iranian ground troops. The other men followed suit.
When they reached the ground, they hurriedly discarded their parachute packs. Beret-wearing Iranian troops were already coming at them, and a firefight broke out. Screaming different slogans in Persian, the Iranians attempted a human wave. Blasting away with their own Kalashnikov knock-offs, they were mowed down in droves, but they kept coming. Pyotr readied a grenade, shouted "Die, you dogs!" and threw it. It went off, massacring 15 of the enemies. He motioned to the others to advance, and they started to beat the Iranians back, yard by yard. Finally, the soldiers retreated.
"Who's in charge now, Captain McCullough?" asked Josef Webb, who had tagged along with Pyotr. "We lost Captain Jones," he sadly added.
Pyotr nodded, "I saw it, too, though I wish I hadn't." Pyotr went around looking for a commander only to find out he was the only one alive who was a captain. "I guess I'm the leader. Fantastic. All right, men, listen up. I just got a radio communication from the Russian Fleet of the Mediterranean. They report heavy artillery bombing of our boots near Belen, a town just east of here. Our job is to go in and take out the artillery and, if possible, turn it the opposite direction and shell the Iranians. It isn't going to be easy, but it's a job that needs doing. Come on, move!" Pyotr and the standard bearer formed the front of a column and the 1st New York advanced across the shell-pocked countryside. "Do we have a sniper?"
Webb scratched the top of his helmet like it was his hair, "I'll check. Be right back, sir!" Webb walked to the back of the column, looking for a sniper. Eventually, one appeared. Natalie Poniatowski, a Russian who lived in the USSA, was an experienced sniper and stealth expert. "You, follow me."
Pyotr was not surprised to find a woman on the front lines; they had served in the Red Army since the Bolshevik Revolution. Nowadays, it was not unusual to see both them and children performing various duties in the Red Armies of the various communist and socialist countries. Unlike the rest of the troopers, who wore green in combat, Natalie wore a black uniform and did not carry a backpack.
"Comrade Captain," she nodded.
Pyotr saluted casually, "You are to walk next to the standard bearer and keep an eye out for Iranians. We don't want to march right into a trap."
She nodded and flipped down the glasses on her helmet, "Roger that, comrade. If I see any Iranians, I'll blast them before you can say Josef Stalin." She looked around, rifle in her hand. "This way, comrades." The column advanced.
Natalie crept through the grass in front of the column. She had not had any action since going to the front of the 1st NY, but she saw that was about to change. Up in a tree about 50 yards ahead was an Iranian sniper; a big, bearded brute who's face was covered with camouflage. She adjusted her scope and zoomed in. "Pow. Chalk up one for me," she said to herself. "Clear, Comrade Captain! Move them up!"
Pyotr nodded, "Forward! Double-time!"
Natalie checked her weapon and proceeded scouting.