Problems Arise in Operation

As the armed guard approached the yellow Mercedes Benz outside the gates of the compound, Gus Fortan made the difficult decision to call the operation off. Speaking through Hope Hearst, in Akkadian, over the radio to Ed Fluegel, who translated the Akkadian back into English, Fortan directed U.S. Army Specialist 334-678, the driver of the Mercedes Benz, to turn around and return to the convoy. The vehicle did this, attracting the suspicion of the compound guards. The guard who had been approaching stood with his automatic rifle at the ready, visibly confused and agitated, but held his fire. The Mercedes was able to return to the convoy of two Humvees, which had exited the jungle and was ready for departure.

Gus Fortan directed them, through Hope Hearst, not to return the direction they had come from, as there were six unidentified trucks approaching, possibly containing soldiers from the rebel group providing Humbaba with protection. The Mercedes Benz rejoined the Humvees where the road from the compound intersected the mountain road, and the convoy proceeded along the mountain road.

After travelling less than a mile along the increasingly treacherous mountain road, the convoy was forced to stop. A large tree, broken in the storm of the previous night, had fallen across the road rendering it impassable. Ancilla radioed, via Gordon Doe, to report this to Gus Fortan. The observation helicopter, able now to approach the convoy, as the element of surprise had been compromised, also reported the obstruction. Ancilla directed his men to clear the tree from the road using a winch attached to one of the Humvees.

The observation helicopter reported that the unknown trucks had not turned off onto the road to Humbaba's compound, and were continuing to approach. At this point, civilian code-talker Bruce Springsteen, from his position outside the compound, reported, in Akkadian, that armed guards had entered two jeeps and left the compound, apparently in pursuit of the Mercedes Benz.

Ancilla then directed his men to place charges, in case it should prove necessary to detonate the tree.

After the sound of gunfire was heard on the radio, a transmission in Akkadian came from Gordon Doe. Hearst recognized his statement and correctly told Fortan that Doe was quoting Akkadian literature, not relaying a message from Ancilla.

To the house that none leave who have entered it,
On the road without a way back,
To the house without light,
Where they eat dust and clay.

A transmission than came from Ancilla in English. Heavy gunfire was audible over the radio.

Charles Ancilla: The talker is hit, repeat, Doe is hit.

After a moment there was another English transmission from Ancilla.

CA: We need medevac now, immediate, the talker is down, he is critical.

Gus Fortan relayed a message to Ancilla in Akkadian, via Hope Hearst: masvâru harrânu? Why can't you take him out on the road?

CA: English, English, my talker is hit, the other talker is not here. Talk English.

GF: Why can't you drive him out?

CA: We are pinned down. Trucks have unloaded about fifty indigenous personnel with small arms, apparently rebels, they are blocking us from behind, and a fallen tree is blocking the road out in front. The road is cut into a cliff and we cannot proceed left or right. You will need to break us out.

GF: What? You are pinned down?

CA: Affimative, we need medevac for the talker now, and we need other forces called in to break us out of this position, we are pinned down.

There was no reply for a few seconds.

CA: Please confirm you are sending medevac. We have two other men hit, also.

GF: Uh, hold for confirmation with that, it's going to take a moment.

CA: Gus, we are going to lose the talker unless you get him out now.

Gus Fortan radioed to US Army Special Operations in Bogota and described the situation, requesting immediate assistance.

GF: We have ten men pinned down, a U.S. Scientist down, repeat U.S. Scientist down, civilian casualty, we need reinforcements now.

Radio Operator: What operation is this?

GF: Um, be advised it is black.

RO: Please repeat?

GF: The operation is black.

FS: Give it. This is General Sanders USSOC. What the fuck operation is this?

GF: Operation Shift Lock, sir, drug interdiction with political interest.

FS: Who is this?

GF: Gus Fortan, CIA DO, LA Division.

FS: What shit are you in? Tell me the situation now.

GF: We need reinforcements to take the Humbaba [PLACE DELETED] compound, our men are pinned down outside because extra cartel forces arrived. There is a U.S. scientist down, one ... two soldiers down, they need medevac now, one is critical.

FS: You tell me total forces there now, both sides.

GF: Twelve Rangers under Lieutenant Colonel Ancilla, three of our men with DO, three civilians who are, ah, they are assisting in comm, in field comm. Cartel forces are about fif ... about sixty men, more may arrive from the compound.

FS: Rangers? Civilians for comm? We are going to talk about this later on, Mister Fortan. You should be appraised that there is a fucking signal corps for this. You give me command of this clusterfuck right now.

GF: Yes, sir.

Fortan radioed back to Ancilla.

GF: What is your situation?

Sgt. Walter Peeler: Sir, this is Sergeant Peeler, the talker is dead and command element has been hit.