THE MERGE: Mass effect, the Rhino
Rhino had stopped a couple of feet short of the tree, now directly between himself and the two enemy soldiers, something about their uniform and gear simply didn’t make sense. Crouching down, the sweat from the stealthy approach, coupled with the humidity had soaked his Auscam uniform completely through. Lifting up his Beretta he thumbed the safety off, whilst doing this, his left hand slowly reached around his side and checked the location of his two spare magazines, ‘mmm, ok’ he thought, “ They’ve got automatic weapons, but ya have surprise,…..OH SHIT!’, it suddenly dawned on Rhino, just what the hell was troubling him, neither trooper were Indonesian at all. ‘Christ, Cat wont know either’, Rhino thought. The two soldiers, now mere feet away, weren’t Indonesian TNI digs at all, Rhino new where he’d seen their gear and why everything about them seemed so….odd. ‘ Fucking Chinese Naval Marines, I’ll bet my arse’. Any further thoughts that Rhino might have had or even started to consider went straight out the window as Cat unexpectedly opened up……further away. Galvanised into action, Rhino stood up, slightly crouched as he took two big fast strides around the tree to his front. A big man at 6 foot 5 inches, smashing the scales at a almost portly 128 kilograms, Rhino managed to move his mass fast.
As soon as he had started moving, his right arm had come up, extending out to almost eye level, his left hand clasped firmly around the base of the grip. No novice mistakes of his thumb from his left hand being across the top of the right, as soon as a shot was fired the slide would have come back, straight across the top of the left thumb, a normal mistake or novices. But one, that in battle could mean a broken thumb, slashed finger and possibly meeting your maker earlier than planned.
Bounding around the tree now on the move, he could see both the Chinese Soldiers, thankfully they were both looking away in the direction of Cats burst of automatic fire, assault rifles tucked into their hips, pointing towards Cats commotion. The gun jumped in Rhinos hand as the first round discharged, his sights centred on the rearward troop, the Beretta jumped successively as he continued to fire until he first target went down…hard!. Amidst all the noise, the initial shot had gone unnoticed by the two Chinese marines, but as Rhino closed the gap down to mere meters, the second soldier became fully aware of Rhino presence and the immanent threat to his life.
Rhino had now discharged 5 rounds at the first target who had crumpled behind his mate, any later inspection would have revealed three of his 5 shots had hit the soldier in the central chest area killing him swiftly, the others , just spinning off harmlessly into the jungle vegetation. But Rhino had little time to ponder the possibility of such thoughts, things now were happening in a blur of adrenalin charged action.
Automatically shifting aim onto the second target when the first Chinese marine had gone down, Rhino depressed the trigger again and was stunned; the pistol had failed to fire. A moment of instant panic shot throughout his body, sheer disbelief at the pistol not firing, twisting it slightly he noticed the slide jammed fully back, a partially extracted round still protruding from the chamber.
In the brief microsecond this dawned up him and through the mental fog of the engagement, Rhino noticed the still standing Marine start to turn towards him, the barrel of his AKM assault rifle or the PRCs version of it, slowly starting to lift,……. in his direction. The gap between both the soldiers, now locked in a fatal embrace was down to just on two meters. Rhino, still moving at pace, pistol firmly clasped in his right hand, the Chinese Naval marine, starting to spin and bring his assault rifle to bear on the charging hulk, which had seemingly materialised from no where.
Rhino could clearly see the Chinese Marines face in the pre dawn jungle, the shock at seeing such an unexpected enemy combatant, easily registrable on his smooth Asian features, his eyes were like saucers, set against the dark backdrop of his camouflage painted face.
Moving at what seemed like slow motion to Rhino the marine now almost had his assault rifle parallel with the ground, Rhino new, the last half meter or so that he needed to cover was going to give the Chinese Marine all the time he needed. Screaming at the top of his lungs, as he lunged forward in a desperate attempt to shrike the marine, his combat knife seemed to materialise in his left hand, never having made a conscious decision to extract it. “ Fuckaaaaaaar”, echoed from deep within as body slammed the marine. At that instant, when Rhinos sheer bulk hit the Chinese marine, his assault rifle discharged, a searing pain immediately shot through rhinos chest as the pair slammed into the jungle floor.
Cat listened for a call, nothing, dead silence now reigned over the Jungle. “ Oh Fuck, not again” Cat thought. Instantly he started sprinting towards Rhinos position, extracting the old mag, before replacing it with a fresh one, he let the charging handle snap forward and slowed to walking pace. Cat was wired, tense; the steyr was up to his shoulder now as he entered the danger zone of Rhino brief fight with the two Chinese marines, starring over the steyrs battle sights as he closed in, Cat could see in the jungle underbrush, both Rhino and the two Marines, lifelessly lying on the ground.
Quickly striding in as quietly as he could, Cat immediately swept the area left and right, then stopping at the first Marine he fired a single shot between his shoulder blades and quickly moved over to Rhino and the second Marine. Any placement of a shot from his current position would have meant putting a bullet through Rhino to kill the marine, for Rhino was fully on top, splayed out in a grotesquely sexual position on the marine.
Keeping the Steyr pointed at the two bodies Cat circled around to the head of the Chinese Soldier, he breathed a slight sigh of relief, there embedded in the neck of the Marine was rhino’s combat knife, by his other hand, Cat could clearly see the jammed Beretta laying on the ground near the open hand of his Chopper commander.