In those rare times Gaz and I are able to commandeer a helicopter, we’ve managed to work out a pretty good system. Where applicable she’ll be on my right side, usually leaning out of the door, idly debating whether to have her long rifle or grenade launcher out. She knows how I like to fly, usually close to the tree tops, and I know where she likes me to post up for surveillance.

She does have some pesky rules though – things like “no landing us in the middle of a firefight” and “don’t hit the trees.” Not that I would ever do either of those … when I can avoid it. Sometimes bullets hitting the motor make precise positioning difficult, and if there’s one thing to be said for cartel-run governments, it would be that they never seem to run out of ammo.

Our handlers, whether back home on the farm or in the local rebellion, always liked to complain about our methods, but they never seemed to mind our results. One of my favorite examples came up recently when we were supposed to infiltrate a drug lab and blow up their power generator. “No fuss, no muss” was the instruction.

We certainly could have sneaked our way through hundreds of meters of land-mined jungle, bypassed a few dozen heavily-armed cocaine-fueled cartel guards, made the prescribed big boom, then try to escape unscathed while everyone was on high alert. We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again, but it sure isn’t my favorite way to spend an afternoon.

Some rebels had “reclaimed” a chopper filled with medical supplies, mainly because we landed it right in front of them, and were happy enough to let us use it for our little outing.

To be completely honest, we were after the chopper in the first place because we just couldn’t stand riding trucks on those terrible roads any more. Anyway, we saw the chopper, made a successful escape with it, then noticed it was filled with supplies. We may be mercenary-minded but we aren’t heartless. We dropped off the supplies and left to take care of business.

For a target at 300 meters most snipers would prefer to use their favorite rifle, from a stable firing position. Gaz? She told me to keep the bird in the air. I sure wasn’t going to complain; flying sure beats crawling through the mud. Staying between the target and the setting sun, I did my best to account for the wind as she lined up the shot.

That she made the shot didn’t surprise me – I’d seen her do that dozens of times – what did catch me off guard was the size of the explosion. We weren’t nearly close enough for her to use her grenade launcher, but I guess her shot went right through some stockpiled fuel barrels on its way to the generator. What can I say, even if the bullet didn’t cripple it, that explosion sure did.

We high-tailed it low over the trees, trying to avoid the missile silos the cartel had so graciously placed all over the landscape, and touched down safely at a local base. Before we jumped out Gaz and I shared a look. We did our job, but were about to be chewed out anyway.