Cole surveyed the jungle below them through his night-vision glasses, searching the terrain for any sign that they might have company. He wasn't completely satisfied when he saw nothing. His gut was telling him that it had been way too easy and that was always a bad sign.
Particularly when he knew from their first fly over that there was an encampment of guerrillas less than ten clicks from the site where the spy sat had gone down. It had to have sounded like a 747 coming down considering the amount of jungle the damned thing had cleared. It bothered the shit out of him that they hadn't seen any sign that the racket had stirred up the guerrillas.
Shaking his uneasiness, he patted the pilot on the back and signaled for him to drop the stealth chopper lower. They had a hell of a job ahead of them. The quicker they could clean up and hump it to the coast with the debris, the better.
Signaling his best men--Maurice 'Beau' Beauregard, Remy Cavanaugh, and Gabriel 'Hawk' Hawkins to take point--he killed the light and checked his harness one last time as they bailed from the chopper and repelled to the ground. The minute they passed the halfway mark, the next wave bailed from the chopper.
Sergeant Cole MacIntyre, Mac to his men, surveyed the perimeter one last time before he hooked up and leapt from the chopper, noting that the other chopper had already dropped its load on the other side of the clearing and begun to peel away.
"See ya when ya get back to base," the co-pilot said.
Nodding, Mac gave him a thumbs-up and leapt out.
As many times as he'd repelled from a chopper, it still gave him a rush. He welcomed it, scanning the jungle with his heightened senses as he dropped. The men had already begun laying out a grid when he hit the ground. Issuing a low, warbling whistle, he signaled to the men designated to keep watch to take their positions and then moved to the other men, urging them to form small groups and begin scouring the broken brush for pieces.
It wasn't his job to question his orders, but he sure as shit couldn't figure out why the hell it made any difference if they left a little debris as long as they made sure they got everything important. That was the order, though, and he had the men search each grid in pairs for the tiniest scraps of what was left of the spy satellite that had mysteriously dropped from orbit and crashed in the jungle. They started at all four sides of the grid, worked their way to the center and then crossed, working outward again.
Mac checked his watch when they reached the halfway point, cursed under his breath, and surveyed the jungle around them, listening intently.
He doubted there was a fucking piece of the son-of-a-bitch more than an inch square. It had still been smoldering when it hit the ground and churned up the jungle floor.
Catching a glint in the forest out of the corner of his eye, Mac whipped his head in that direction. Through his night-vision goggles, he spotted a pack of wolves just in the edge of the jungle, watching them intently. Uneasiness slithered through him, but it was a small pack. Despite their intense focus on the men in the clearing, he doubted they would attempt an attack. It almost made him more uneasy, though, when he glanced around the second time and discovered the wolves had vanished as silently as they had approached.
Twenty minutes passed. The men finally reached the outer edge across from where they'd begun. He strode to check their discoveries. Garbage! Shit! He couldn't tell from looking at it whether it looked like it might've once been an entire satellite or not. Just to be on the safe side, he had men fan out and walk a line on either side of the grid that had been laid out.