“Alpha team prepare to initiate the Emergency Action,” our sergeant yelled. The lives of the hostages were now in the hands of the Tactical Operations Unit alone. “Ready yourselves boys, we’re about to go in!” Boom! Another shotgun blast went off inside the café.

“What the fuck is happening in there?” I said out loud. “Is he executing hostages?” It took every ounce of my strength and discipline not to break rank and run in. I was like an over-wound watch spring.

“Just give us the order for Christ’s sake,” one of the younger boys in the stack called out.

“Hold!” our sergeant roared.

Boom! A third shot went off inside the café. I felt the blood pulsing in my ears. Over the sergeant's radio I could hear, “Hostage down, white window two. Repeat, hostage down, white window two.” I checked my [      ] laser pointer and light source one final time and with a single sharp slap of my left palm I confirmed that the magazine of my M4 was firmly seated. I was completely focused. I slowed my breathing and stared at the café entrance door just waiting for the code word …

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