Johnny faded to the end of the column and kept watch on their back trail. Once the group ascended to the plateau seeking the designated landing zone, and he heard the muted sound of the incoming shuttle, he sought out the captain, crouched in the lee of a large boulder, close to Ms. Immer.
“Just fyi, I’m goin’ for the other woman,” Johnny said. “You have a nice flight home to base. Don’t forget to tell them I’m here. Good luck to you, Ms. Immer.”
“Who the hell do you think you are, sergeant?” The captain’s voice was tense and angry. “You don’t get to change mission parameters to suit yourself. I don’t care if you’re in the goddamn Special Forces or not, I gave you a direct order. We’re not going after any other civilians this trip.”
“No, you’re not, I see that.” Johnny couldn’t keep the contempt out of his voice. “In my branch of the service, we don’t leave people behind. In case it’s escaped your notice, I’m not under your command. Special Forces operates independently.”
Holding his pulse rifle where it could conveniently be considered a threat by Captain Scortun if he was feeling paranoid, Johnny backed away. None of the other soldiers wanted to challenge him.
“We’re not waiting for you,” Scortun yelled. “When our shuttle lands, we’re gone.”
“Good riddance,” he said under his breath, as he faded into the underbrush and slipped away down the steep hillside.
Another small snippet from earlier in the book - the scene where Sara is taken by the pirates: