The attack proceeded with stunning swiftness within

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The attack proceeded with stunning swiftness. Within seconds, the gorillas had breached the perimeter and trampled the mesh fence into the mud. Unchecked,
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231 they rushed into the compound, grunting and roaring. The driving rain matted their hair, giving them a sleek, menacing appearance in the red night lights. Elliot saw ten or fifteen animals inside the compound, trampling the tents and attacking the people. Azizi was killed immediately, his skull crushed between paddles. Munro, Kahega, and Ross all fired laser bursts, but in the confusion and poor visibility their effectiveness was limited. The laser beams fragmented in the slashing rain; the tracer bullets hissed and sputtered. One of the RFSDs went haywire, the barrel swinging in wide arcs, bullets spitting out in all directions, while everyone dived into the mud. Several gorillas were killed by the RFSD bursts, clutching their chests in a bizarre mimicry of human death. Elliot turned back to the recording equipment and Amy flung herself on him, panicked, grunting in fear. He pushed her away and switched on the tape replay. By now the gorillas had overwhelmed everyone in the camp. Munro lay on his back, a gorilla on top of him.- Ross was nowhere to be seen. Kahega had a gorilla clinging to his chest as he rolled in the mud. Elliot was hardly aware of the hideous scratching sounds now emanating from the loudspeaker, and the gorillas themselves paid no attention. Another porter, Muzezi, screamed as he stepped in front of a firing RFSD; his frame shook with the impact. of the bullets and he fell backward to the ground, his body smoking from the tracers. At least a dozen gorillas were dead or lying. wounded in the mud, groaning. The haywire RFSD had run out of ammunition; the barrel swung back and forth, the empty chamber clicking. A. gorilla kicked it over, and it lay writhing on its side in the mud like a living thing as the barrel continued to swing. Elliot saw one gorilla crouched over, methodically tearing a tent apart, shredding the silver MyLar into strips. Across the camp, another arrival banged aluminum cook pans together, as if they were metal paddles. More gorillas poured into the compound, ignoring the rasping broadcast sounds. He saw a gorilla pass beneath the loudspeaker, very close, and pay no attention at all. Elliot had the sickening realization that their plan had failed. They were finished; it was only a matter of time. A gorilla charged him, bellowing in rage, swinging stone paddles wide. Terrified, Amy threw her hands over Elliot’s eyes. “Amy!” he shouted, pulling her fingers away, expecting to feel at any moment the impact of the paddles and the instant of blinding pain. He saw the gorilla hearing down on him. He tensed his body. Six feet away, the charging gorilla stopped so abruptly that he literally skidded in the mud and fell backward. He sat there surprised, cocking his head, listening.
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232 Then Elliot realized that the rain had nearly stopped, that there was now only a light drizzle sifting down over the campsite. Looking across the compound, Elliot
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