Jim and I were waiting at the RV point, two blocks from the target house. We were both dressed like locals. Jim had gone more traditional, wearing a light dishdasha and a brown coat. I was wearing jeans, shoes, and a t-shirt with a leather coat. I was still a little big for a local, but in the dark it made less of a difference. First glance was all that mattered at the moment; if it went beyond that, both of us had our .45s hidden under our coats, along with soft armor. The long guns were in duffels in the HiLux.

Cyrus and Marcus approached us, similarly dressed, and we made a great show of greeting each other, embracing and shaking hands. From a distance, it would look like any group of men meeting on the street. We moved to the HiLux and drove around the block to an abandoned construction site where the rest of the team was waiting.

Cyrus and Marcus hadn’t been part of my team before. They’d been Mike’s boys, but with the casualties we’d taken over the last few months, with Bob, Paul, and Juan going down, after Malachi had been medevaced, we’d had to even things out a little. Mike was down one already, so he gave me Cyrus and Marcus. Both had been Rangers with RRD, so I’d picked them for the R&S element for this particular raid.

The rest of the assault element was gathered in the shadows of the partially-constructed building. It looked like it was supposed to be another residential house, but when or if it would get completed was anybody’s guess with what was going on in Basra. Granted, I’d seen these people carry on with an almost inhuman disregard for the chaos around them before. It was entirely possible that the workers would be here in the morning, continuing to build. We should be long gone by then.