Chapter 002

Together Chapter 002

Copyright 2014 - 2015 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Jack and Ben – A new mission


I couldn't fucking believe it! We barely got back, Masha and I didn't even get the house completely setup and the Old Man was sending us out on a new fucking mission – no, mission wasn't the correct word, it was more like a mass fucking deployment. Rather than taking a commercial flight, we were in a huge fucking jet that was nothing but fucking row upon row of seats, five in the middle with an aisle on each side and then two seats on each side. That's fucking right, each row sat nine Marines and the flight was full! Hell, it was like being a sardine packed in a can. Thank God Banzai and I sort of had a reputation (from Russia) and we got to pick our seats. We naturally took one of the whole middle rows in the back of the plane. We had the luxury of three extra seats because Banzai had some sort of new rifle in a hard case that he refused to let out of his sight so it occupied the middle seat while we stretched out in the other four seats. He was so in love with his new rifle that I was surprised he didn't take it to the head with him. Oh yeah, that was the other problem on this flight, not enough heads for the number of Marines so the lines for the heads stretched down the aisles.


Thank God the flight was scheduled to be about fourteen hours with a short layover, then a one hour flight to Baghdad and then another short hop of about 100 klicks. I do have to say one thing, the Marines could certainly teach the airlines how to board a plane since we were all on the plane in no time at all, the door was shut and the flight was on its way. I tried to see out the window but some other fucker was in the way. I missed the hell out of Masha...


I could tell Jack missed the hell out of Masha but we barely had time to catch our breath and were headed to Iraq. It made me realize once again that my dream was more of a premonition. My time having Jack as my spotter was limited so I needed to figure out what the hell to do when the time came and the old fart retired. Thank God I got Jack and Masha a place off the base because it insulated them from the constant harassment I got about our time in Russia. Marines are sometimes a hard headed bunch and our trip to Russia, the women we were seen with on TV and the medal I received from Putin rubbed many of them the wrong way. Especially since many of them were in the sandbox fighting with the towelheads during our time in Russia. I don't know how many times I'd been called a 'Ruskie' or a 'Commie' since we'd returned because I lost count – but I had kicked a bunch of asses and taken many names over it and for the most part they now left us alone. The great news was nobody wanted to sit beside us on this flight so we had the whole middle back row to ourselves and my new rifle.


And she was a real beauty: A Sako TRG rifle in .338 Lapua with a Nightforce NXS scope (5.5x22x56). I barely had enough time to get her setup and sighted in with the available ammo and made sure to buy as much ammo as I could because there was no way, other than doing reloads, to get the ammo in Iraq. Hell, she was so new Jack hadn't even seen her yet.


Jack of course complained that I put the rifle in the middle seat until I shut him the hell up by asking if he'd rather sit in the middle. The old fart was trying to look out the window to hide the fact that he missed Masha but he finally looked my way and asked, "So did the Old Man tell you anything about this mission?"


I answered, "He sure as hell did - we're headed to Ramadi to take it back from the towelheads."


Jack looked at me and wanted confirmation, "Hell, isn't that in the Al-Anbar province and didn't the Marines just fight a hell of a battle for Fallujah in the same province while we were in Russia?"


I nodded my head and answered, "That's right, it was some of the worse urban fighting the Marines had seen since battle of Huế City in Vietnam."


Jack whistled and being old as dirt he said, "I remember that battle. So we're heading out of the frying pan into the fire."


I scolded him for his lack of situational awareness, "Jack that analogy is fucked. Russia certainly wasn't the frying pan for us, it was more like Club Med. Yeah, more correctly it should be out of Club Med and into the fire."


A Marine walked by on his way to the head and whispered an insult, "Fucking Commie bastard."


I reached my leg out and tripped the fucker. He fell into the rest of the Marines in the line for the head and all hell started to break loose. Of course that attracted the attention of one of the officers on the flight. He came back by us and I was shocked when I saw who it was...


Flashback – Captain M – A new mission


I couldn't fucking believe it, not only did the Old Man send my ass back to Thule with the boney bitch, the fucker demoted me to Captain – yeah, fucking Captain. A demotion to an officer in the Marines meant that any chance of advancement again was most likely gone so I would be stuck a fucking Captain now for as long as I was a Marine.


Thank God this deployment came up so I could get the hell out of cold-assed Thule. I did hate having to fly on this fucking bus but with the hit my career took, the days of cushy arrangements were gone and I was now stuck with babysitting these fuckers.


There was a hell of a commotion in the back of the bus and the boney bitch traveling with us (that's right the Old fucking Man assigned her to be over me) ordered, "Captain, go see what the hell is going on."


I jumped up, headed to the back of the bus and God must have smiled on me: Sgt. Blaine was in an altercation with several Marines. As I walked up, one of the Marines noticed my approach and announced, "Ten hut."


They all snapped to attention while Sgt. Blaine recognized me and looked like he was going to crap his pants. I glared at him and hoped I could take advantage of the situation, "Don't tell me, did Sgt. Blaine precipitate this mess?"


A Corporal who had been fighting questioned, "Permission to speak?"


I gave affirmation and he answered, "Sgt. Blaine tripped me as I was getting in line for the head."


Sgt. Blaine began to open his mouth and I ordered, "Sgt. I didn't give you permission to speak."


Sgt. Reynolds interrupted, "Captain M, I was watching the whole thing and the Corporal must have two left feet because he tripped over his own damn feet."


I glared at everyone and threatened, "I'm going to have my eyes on all of you so unless you want to face 'office time' when we get to Iraq you had better stop the fighting."


I turned and left to plan my revenge against the two Sgts...


Flashback – Masha – At home


I never dreamed that life with Jack could be so terrible! I guess I was naïve and dreamed that all his missions would be like our time together in Moscow. And I terribly misjudged what being a soldier's wife would entail. We had a very few days in the new home, that luxury thanks once again to Ben's generosity, and now Jack was 'deploying' and he couldn't even tell me where. I made a call to my 'company' and discovered he was going to Ramadi in Iraq, one of the worst places that they could send him.


I had no idea what I would do here in America since I had no friends, now no husband and there was no public transportation here as there was in Moscow. It was almost like I was a prisoner in our wonderful house.


I also didn't really know how poor Jack's financial position was! We were essentially bankrupt. I didn't tell Jack but Ben gave me ten thousand dollars in cash right before they left. He called it a 'wedding present' but I could tell he knew that Jack didn't have any money and wanted to make sure I would have money while Jack was gone.


Why, oh why didn't I think about things more comprehensively before I married Jack...


Flashback – Jennifer – At home and wondering


What in the fricken-fraken heck was happening to me? It seemed like ever since mother had been home, I had stomach problems! I had gone between having terrible gas and diarrhea to being constipated. I walked into the den where Daddy had parked, I looked at him and started, "Daddy, I have something a little embarrassing to ask you."


Daddy looked at me and said, "Jennifer, there's really not much that you can ask me that will embarrass me."


I shook my head and replied, "Daddy, it's embarrassing for me, not for you.'


Daddy embarrassed me some more when he commented with a grin, "As long as it's not about any monthly issues it shouldn't embarrass you."


I countered, "Daddy, I don't need to talk to you about that!" I held my stomach with both hands and said, "Daddy, I am having stomach problems…"


Daddy interrupted, "Hells bells! You too? I am either shitting like crazy or I can't shit at all. I thought it was something I was doing or taking."


I nodded my head, "Yes Daddy, I have the same problems. And they started when mother began to cook for us."


He motioned to me, I moved closer and he whispered, "Tomorrow, come to work with me and we will both have a doctor check us. But this needs to be our secret."


I felt better and said, "Thanks Daddy." Then I rushed off for the bathroom…


Flashback – Alexi – At 'home'


It had been some time since I had been home. At first my 'parents' were happy I was 'home' and things were different since they treated me like I was special. Then ever so slowly, things morphed and became exactly like they were before, except for one thing. I realized that the love that my 'parents', especially my 'mother', lavished on Chow Mein should have rightly been mine. This greatly angered me so I retaliated by making Chow Mein's life a living hell.


However, I was very careful about how I did this because I didn't want my 'parents' to determine I was the cause. I observed Chow Mein and every time that she went to use her litter box, I would take a spray bottle and squirt her. It only took a couple of days until Chow Mein refused to use her litter box and began to make a mess out of the house. 'Mother' was aghast, was certain that Chow Mein was sick so they took her to the veterinarian who suggested that my 'parents' were not cleaning the litter box often enough so now 'father' had to clean it daily, which of course did not help.


Next I attacked Chow Mein's food. When my 'parents' were not watching, I put 'father's' spicy hot sauce on the food. Chow Mein would now stand by her bowl and yowl. 'Mother' was certain that Chow Mein didn't like her food so they kept changing brands of food - of course without good results. When they would switch to a new food, I would add laxative to it for a few days to exacerbate the litter box issues, then I would switch back to the hot sauce.


The most entertaining was when they left me alone at home with Chow Mein. I loved to put tape on her feet and then chase her around the house with the spray bottle. One time I even gave her a bath (she hated baths). She was still wet when my 'parents' came home so I lied and told them she had diarrhea and got it all over herself. Chow Mein finally started to yowl at the door whenever my 'parents' were leaving so they would take her with them in the car…


Flashback –Mira, Ira and Safia – In Japan


We had a most excellent adventure traveling through Japan with Sensei Kwan. Each day had presented us with new challenges and new techniques to learn. But now with much sadness the time arrived for us to leave. Kostia's grasp was significant and even though we were well hidden here, he finally found us and ordered our return.


We approached Master Kwan who was instructing Safia and I informed him, "Sensei, it is with weighty cardiac muscles we inform you that we must depart Japan this evening."


Ira humbly bowed and added, "Yes Sensei, unfortunately our handler has discerned our location and we now must recompense the flautist."


The Sensei motioned to Safia to desist her training. He walked to us, reached out his hands and encompassed our cheeks, raised our craniums and said, "I have been blessed to have two such eager and apt students. It is a shame that you have to leave and return to the demon who tortures you."


Ira requested, "Sensei, because of the demon we request that you continue to train Safia."


Safia exploded…


I… I… I… cannot believe it! My sisters are leaving me! I loudly complain, "What the hell! Don't I get a choice in this?"


Sensei Kwan turned in my direction and admonished me gently, "Safia, control the loudness of your voice."


I begin to sob and state, "But Sensei, my sisters are leaving so shouldn't I leave with them?"


He smiled at me and answered, "Young one, you do not understand because you cannot see the blackness the demon has inflicted upon your sister's souls. They are wise to shelter you because you would suffer more greatly than your sisters if you returned with them. So Safia, you will continue here with me because you are still a work in progress and have many things to learn, while your sisters' training is complete."


I didn't like it one bit, but I had learned the hard way (by way of many applied blows) that you did not challenge the Sensei. I bowed and answered, "Sensei, I will obey you until the time I become adept enough to defeat my sister's demon."


The Sensei said something I did not understand, "Young Safia, you are not to be the one that takes the life of the demon. I can see that it is another's job. Come now, let us share one more meal with your sisters…"


Flashback – Todd – Back


I was back at work and the first thing they did was give me a full medical workup, with special emphasis on my injured throat. The tests were over and I sat in the office with the doctor. He flipped through my chart, looked up at me, smiled and said, "Todd, I have to say that for you, this is the best physical condition that I've ever determined. Your time on that island must have done you good."


I signed to the doctor, "And what about my throat?"


My translator translated, the doctor shook his head and continued, "Todd, I'm not going to lie to you. The surgery on your throat was excellent. I know you said a woman on the island performed it; well, she did a great job. However, you have no vocal cords left and the only hope of speech is to learn to use an electrolarynx - that's a device that you would hold against your neck. The vibrations generated by the device would resonate inside your throat creating a voice. In this manner you could use it to produce speech. The limitation is that the device produces a single tone at a single volume. Your speech would be understandable; however, it would be a robotic sounding, electronic voice."


He handed the electrolarynx device to me and showed me how to turn it on. I activated it, placed it against my throat and tried to talk. What came out wasn't even close to what I was trying to say.


The doctor shook his head and said, "I was concerned about that. Because of the surgery on your throat, you have lost most of the elasticity in your throat which allows it to work with the electrolarynx. I still feel if you continue to practice you will get better but if not we can try more surgery on your throat."


I thanked the doctor, left his office, went back to my house, pulled out a bottle of whiskey and got ripping drunk…


Flashback – Jack and Ben – A new mission


After Captain M left I gave Banzai a ration of shit, "What the hell were you doing tripping that Corporal? Captain M is just looking for a reason to put us both in the brig."


Banzai glared at me and replied, "Jack, you may not know it but our names are mud. He insulted us so I did the closest thing to kicking his ass."


I was confused as hell so I asked, "Banzai, I don't know what the hell you're talking about? I thought we were famous for what we did in Russia?"


Banzai gave me his 'I can't believe you said that' look and set me straight…


Jack had lead an isolated as hell life since he has been back and he needed to get his eyes opened. I replied, "Jack, you were living off the base with Masha and didn't catch any of the shit that I did. We're not famous, were fucking INfamous! While we were in Russia taking it easy, many of the rest of the Marines were in Iraq fighting the second battle of Fallujah and most of them are pissed at us because of what they saw."


Jack looked at me with amazement on his face, then he snapped his fingers and answered, "Hell Banzai I didn't know, but that does explain the bruises on your face." He paused for a second then asked, "So how many fights have you been in?"


I tried to remember, shook my head and answered, "Hell Jack, I've lost count."


He turned away, I could tell he was thinking, then he turned back around and answered, "I ran into a situation like this in the past and I think we can fix this."


I smiled since this was one of the benefits of having an old fart like Jack as my spotter. He'd been through most of the shit before and had figured out ways to cope with it. I leaned over and asked, "So what do we do to fix this…"


Flashback – Jennifer – At the doctors


It took like for-ever for me to make poo in the little fricken cup they gave me! I didn't understand it, this morning I couldn't stop making poo and now I couldn't make poo if my life depended on it. The only thing I'd had since breakfast was a cup of coffee.


The doctor told us he would have the results in a couple of days, I looked at Daddy and whispered, "Daddy, I'm not sure I can stand this for two more days."


He whispered a reply, "I don't know if I can either, let me see if I can do anything."


Daddy asked the doctor, "We're both really uncomfortable, is there any way to speed this up?"


The doctor shook his head and answered, "Sorry but the lab tests I'm running take time."


Daddy continued, "Is there anything you can give us to take?"


The doctor looked at us and answered, "Sorry, because your symptoms switch between diarrhea and constipation I don't dare give you anything because it might make either symptom worse. You're just going to have to hang in there. Now if there are no further questions I do have some other patients to see."


Daddy answered, "I can't think of anything else." He looked at me and continued, "What about you Jennifer, do you have any questions?"


I replied, "No I guess we're going to have to live with this."


The doctor left, Daddy looked at me and complained, "Hang in there my ass! Jennifer we're going to stop eating at home until the test results come back. How about we go and get some lunch?"


I hugged Daddy and answered, "Thank you Daddy for doing this but aren't you afraid of what it will do to mother if we don't eat her cooking?"


Daddy smiled and answered, "Not if we include her and take her to some of her favorite restaurants."


I smiled because sometimes Daddy was a genius…


Flashback – Alexi – At 'home'


Chow Mein was hiding somewhere, we were eating breakfast and 'father' questioned, "I cannot determine the nature of the problems with Chow Mein."


'Mother' agreed, "Yes, lately she is acting crazy."


'Mother's' statement gave me an idea so I presented my most innocent facial expression and simply said, "Perhaps Chow Mein contracted my madness and needs to go to the psychologist?"


'Mother' and 'father' looked at each other, I could tell they were thinking, and 'father' suggested, "Perhaps Alexi is correct."


'Mother' added, "Yes, that is an inspired idea, thank you Alexi."


She left the table and ordered, "Father, find an animal psychologist for Chow Mein."


Once she was gone I instituted another of my new schemes, I leaned over and whispered to 'father', "'Father' why do you need to be the one to find the animal psychologist for 'mother's' cat?"


He gave me a surprised look and answered, "Alexi, because she asked me."


I continued, "'Father' do you always do whatever 'mother' asks?"


'Father' blushed and replied, "Alexi, do not be silly!"


I gave him my most innocent smile and further inflamed the situation, "If you say so 'father' however that is not what I have observed…"


Flashback –Mira and Ira – headed back to Kazakhstan


It was highly obvious that Kostia was irate with us as evidenced by the mode of transportation which he arranged. I hugged Ira tightly to conserve what little body heat we generated as we both uncontrollably trembled from the cold. I yelled to Ira over the noise of the airplane engines, "I do believe Kostia desires us to expire."


Ira's dentitions chattered as she concurred, "Yes Mira, I cannot believe we are in this flying pullet coop. Occulate that many of the pullets have succumbed to this intemperate journey."


Ira's statement gives me an idea so I presented it, "Ira, we should use the pullets to help prevent our eventual demise."


Ira concurred, "As much as I dislike the odor of pullets, I dislike personal expiration greater."


We gathered the expired pullets to use them and their feathers to prevent our expiration…


Flashback – Todd – Back


I woke up in my bed with a hell of a headache and the sound of ringing in my ears. I finally determined it was my telephone so I walked over to the phone, ripped it off the wall, opened my front door and threw it out on the lawn. Then I climbed back into bed and my mobile phone chimed from an arriving e-mail.


I debated about performing the same task with my mobile phone, but decided to look at the e-mail. I was glad I didn't destroy the phone because the e-mail interested me.


I climbed out of bed, got into the shower, turned up the hot water and tried to flush out the results of last night’s debauchery. I finally started to feel semi-human again as the hot water was running out. I toweled off, chucked my dirty cloths into the hamper then I went into the kitchen and fired up the coffee maker and threw a couple eggs into a pan to boil. I went back to my bedroom, put on a nice light blue dress shirt, dark gray slacks, took a look at my dress shoes and decided to polish them. It took about ten minutes but they looked great. I went back to the kitchen, had a couple cups of coffee and finished the eggs right as my doorbell rang.


I answered the door, my interpreter was there and asked (in ASL), "Are you ready to head to the company?"


I signed, "Sure, why the hell not?"


I followed her toward the waiting car while I admired the sway off her ass; if I was lucky, she just might get lucky…