52 First Salvo
Rickie pulled the radio off his waist and keyed it.
"Ani," he began in a reasonable tone, "You know this isn't going to work. I don't want anyone hurt here. Would you like to meet? I'm willing to see you and discuss your conditions to stop this situation."
There was nothing but slight crackle from the radio speaker, and then…
"I've got the kill switch for our little surprise. Disabling it is, of course, not possible. I'll think about and let you know." There was no further answer or response, even after Rickie tried to talk to her further.
The ringing of his satellite phone interrupted his communication attempt.
"En Ahmad; this is STAR Team Bravo. We have spotted your tower and are waiting just south of your location. Do you have any additional intel?"
Rickie advised them of the explosive attached to the platform, the location of the majority of the crew members, and the unknown position of the two extremists. Rickie took heart that help had finally arrived.
As it approached, the helicopter shone its powerful spot light on the darkened structure. Suddenly, a series of bright streaks from the helipad reached out into the dark sky. A roaring sound ending with a "boom" shattered the darkness as a bright explosion seared the sky.
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The helicopter suddenly turned off its spotlight and veered off. It was impossible to see if it was hit, but Rickie was sure that one of the terrorists was firing from the platform.
Quickly, he determined the fastest way to reach the platform, but before he headed there, the radio came to life again.
"John will keep them away until we are ready to show what we are capable of doing." Ani spoke coldly, "And I will enjoy watching the light show."
Rickie thought that, based on that statement, John, above on the helicopter platform, had every intention of dying on his rig. However, the most important person was Ani and the trigger for the bomb. If she was going to escape and set off the device remotely, her only option was the boat underneath the structure.
For now, radio silence was important. Dialing his satellite phone, he contacted Team Alpha, and swiftly brought them up to date with his thoughts as well as the situation on the tower. They were only several minutes out, and were coordinating their landing with the helicopter. He decided to go down to the landing dock to both look for Ani and to assist the team if possible.
Checking the reassuring weight of the firearm, he hastened down to where the boats were quietly bobbing against their tethers, and crouched down behind a suspended air conditioning unit, affording him both a hiding place and a clear view of the dock.