Chapter 016

Together Chapter 016

Copyright 2014 - 2015 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Captain M – Sgt. Reynolds' MRI


I continued to ponder the question of how Sgt. Blaine could drop so much money on a rifle, then it came to me: He was either running or dealing drugs - that had to be the answer. I quickly came up with a plan then watched through the window as Sgt. Reynolds entered the MRI machine and knew that I had to take care of the results of his MRI before I could accomplish anything else. A nurse came out of the MRI control room so I stopped her and asked, "I need to get these two men to Ramadi as soon as possible. If you could tell me who usually reads the MRIs then I could go and talk with them and ask them to prioritize the results."


She smiled at me and answered, "We are so far behind at this time, the technician takes the first look at the MRI and if he notices anything then it's forwarded to one of the radiologists."


I return her smile and clarify, "So you're referring to the technician that's currently performing the MRI? Isn't that a bit strange?"


I guess she is touchy about my question because she glares at me and responds, "Yes, whichever technician runs the test also does the first analysis. By the way, I am one of those technicians and I see more than fifty MRIs each day so that should make me qualified."


I hold up my hands and apologize, "Sorry, I don't mean to offend you, I am just in a hurry to get my men to Ramadi. So who is the technician running the test on my men?"


She accepts my apology and her reply practically sparkles, "That's Steve - and he's one of the best!"


From the way she talks about Steve I can tell that they have something going on so I motion her closer and ask, "How long has it been since the two of you have had some down time?"


She answers, "It's been months, but we are just too busy to be given any down time."


That's what I assumed, now I have a complete plan and I just need to execute it…


Flashback – Ben – Sgt. Reynolds' MRI


The technician running the MRI machine calls on the intercom which is loud enough I can hear even with my ear protectors on (and because my hearing has greatly improved), "Sgt. Blaine, the Captain needs you outside the room and said it's an order."


Hells Bells, what the fuck is wrong? I hate to leave Jack but I look back through the windows and Captain M is motioning to me and reinforces it by pointing to his Captain's bars. I leave the MRI room, hand the technician my ear protectors, walk out into the hallway and Captain M advises, "Sgt. Blaine, I had something come up and I need to take immediate care of it. So I will not be able to watch your rifle."


I give him a serious look and since I have worked with him for so long it's enough to not like what I see. The bastard is hiding something! I boldly ask, "Would this be approved by the Colonel?"


He laughs and says, "Let's see - I'm a Captain and you're a Sgt., so I don't have to answer that question. You should be happy I just didn't leave your rifle here unattended."


I backpedal and reply, "Yes Sir! I am thankful for that however…"


The Captain interrupts, "… Sgt. there is no how- fucking- ever! I am leaving and will return in about thirty minutes. You and Sgt. Reynolds are to remain here until I return and that is an order."


I throw the Captain a half-assed salute and even click my heels together like a fucking Nazi, but he ignores both actions and leaves. What in the hell is he doing? I dwell on calling Colonel Maggie, consider it for a few minutes and decide it's not worth the bother. Whatever he's doing can't be that bad…


Flashback – Captain M – Sgt. Reynolds' MRI


If I had any hope my plan would work, I needed to play my cards just right and I'm a hell of a poker player so I had faith in my skills. I located the commander's office, looked at his name and knew I had practically 'had it made' - one of my good Army friends went to WestPoint with him.


I walked into the office and asked his aide, "Is Colonel Casper P Jones III here?"


His aide gave me one look and asked, "Who are you Captain?"


I answered, "One of my best friends went to WestPoint with the Colonel and he told me if I ever got the chance I should say hello."


He picked up the phone, buzzed Colonel Jones, relayed my message, hung up the phone and said, "Please go right in, the Colonel can give you five minutes."


I replied, "Thank you."


I walked into the office, the Colonel was sitting behind his desk so I stood at attention and saluted.


He looked at me laughed and said, "Captain this is a CSH and we don't stand on formality around here, at ease. So you're a good friend of Hank, how the hell is he doing?"


I shook my head and lied (because I had no real idea how the hell Hank was doing), "Not well, he was on a mission, got separated from his men and was seriously wounded."


Colonel Jones gave me a peculiar look, then frowned and said, "Captain, you might be a friend of Hank's, however I know for a fact he was never wounded because we e-mailed just last week. So why the hell are you wasting my time?"


Shit! I guess my bullshit didn't work with him so I decided to give him the truth. I said, "Colonel, you're right that Hank wasn't wounded but I am his friend, you can even ask him. Now to be truthful with you, I have a Colonel riding my ass to get my sniper team to Ramadi and I hoped that I could get a weekend pass for a couple of the MRI technicians to – well, sort of grease the wheels for the results. By the way, I was shocked when I was informed they hadn't had any down time for months!"


I knew the last statement would cause Colonel Jones some concern. He smiled at me and said, "You know, looking at you better, I think I remember Hank telling me about you and saying that you saved his ass once. Hell, if you did save his ass then I guess a couple weekend passes for some of my overworked MRI technicians isn't much to ask. However, make sure that you don't pull this bullshit on me again because it was pathetic."


He wrote out a couple of weekend passes, handed them to me and said, "Once again, don't ever try to pull this shit on me again."


I assured him (of course with a lie), "Yes Sir! I know when I am beaten."


He handed me the passes, I headed back to the MRI area and hoped I was in time…


Flashback – Ben and Jack – Sgt. Reynolds' MRI


Jack finally came out of the MRI room, looked at me and asked, "Where the hell did you go?"


I gave him a guilty look and said, "Sorry Jack, Captain fucking M told me he had something to do and couldn't watch my rifle. So I was forced to stand and watch it from out here."


Jack, who was back on the gurney and strapped down, motioned me closer and replied, "Don't worry about it Banzai. The only problem was I fell asleep on the MRI table, jerked like I sometimes do when I fall asleep and ruined the MRI so they had to run it again."


I laughed and filled in the blanks, "Jack, that is called a hypnic jerk1 and you do that every time you fall asleep! I am surprised Masha hasn't given you shit about it."


1 hypnic jerk - is an involuntary twitch which occurs just as a person is beginning to fall asleep, often causing them to awaken suddenly for a moment. Physically, hypnic jerks resemble the "jump" experienced by a person when startled.


Jack laughed and replied, "Hell Banzai, something is certainly wrong if you know more about my sleep habits than my wife."


I continued the levity and laughed, "Hey Jack, it's no surprise because I've slept with you more than she has. Hell, you two haven't even been married a year but we've been partners forever."


Jack began to reminisce, "Hell yeah, I remember when I first chose you for my sniper…"


I interrupted and corrected him, "… Jack you old fart, stop changing the past! You know very well that I chose you for my spotter when no one else would take you."


Jack chuckled, "Banzai, I hate to tell you…"


He stopped because the MRI technician came out of the MRI room and announced, "Well, Sgt. Reynolds, you're not going anywhere soon…"


We began to question the MRI technician when Captain – fucking – M arrived, looked at the MRI technician and ordered, "I need a few moments with you." Then he pulled him back into the MRI control room and they began to have a very animated discussion…


I looked at Jack and asked, "What the hell is going on?"


Jack replied, "Banzai, I know my body and my back is thoroughly fucked. My guess is we're being 'railroaded'."


I asked, "Jack, should I call Colonel Maggie?"


Jack shook his head and answered, "Hell no Banzai! If I can't go on my mission then I will be sent home and I won't make enough on my retirement to support the two of us. By the way since I'm thinking about it, what the hell did you mean when you said you covered my ass with Masha?"


I prepared to answer, when Captain – fucking – M walked out of the MRI control room and ordered, "Sgt. Reynolds! You are trying to goldbrick! The MRI shows that your back is fine so let's get you off the gurney and catch the next ride to Ramadi."


Jack gave me a knowing look and winked. I knew that Captain – fucking M pulled a fast one and I would need to come up with the drugs Jack would require to block his back injury pain. I reached over and began to disconnect the restraints that held him to the gurney, then I came up with an idea…


Flashback – Masha – back home


I decided the lasagna was so good last night that I would sample some other frozen foods that the market offered because the selection was extensive and since I was only cooking for myself the preparation time was reduced. Of course, I would supplement the frozen dinners with salads and 'real' foods so I had a balanced diet. There was only one problem: The selection of frozen entrees was so great I had no idea where to start.


Michal approached me and commented, "You look confused."


I affirmed, "Yes Michal I am. I decided since my husband is deployed I would like to try more of the frozen entrees. However, there is such a great selection I am not certain where to start."


Michal smiled at me, chuckled and said, "Yes, it is almost overwhelming. However, since I am single I do know which of the frozen dinners taste the best. If you wouldn't mind, I will help you."


I returned the smile and replied, "Your assistance would be greatly appreciated."


Michal began to walk me through the better frozen entrée selections, then he provided good information, "If you haven't tried some of the frozen vegetables, then you are making a mistake. Most of them are fast frozen close to the field where they are harvested and not only taste better but also provide more nutrients than the canned versions."


I asked, "How do they compare to the fresh vegetables that your market sells."


He glanced around and revealed to me what I perceived to be a secret, "To tell you the truth, many of the frozen vegetables are better than the fresh vegetables we sell but you never heard that from me."


I once again displayed a smile to alleviate his anxiety and stated, "Do not worry I will not tell anyone."


My basket was full so I looked at Michal and said, "Thank you again for providing such great help. Now I must return to my house and put my groceries in the refrigerator before they defrost."


He smiled at me and inquired, "Are you familiar with cold bags?"


I shook my head and answered, "No, what is a cold bag?"


He walked to a display which had some silver colored bags hanging on a hook, took one off and answered, "This is a cold bag and will help to keep your frozen food cold longer."


I looked at the price, it seemed reasonable, so I added it to my basket and stated, "Thank you one more time."


Michal questioned, "So how did your talk with Louise go?"


I smiled and replied, "I offered to take care of her child for free and she said she would consider the offer. Now I really must return home to clean my house."


Michal waved and said, "Have a good day."


I walked up to the register and to my surprise Louise was there. Even though her line was longer, I waited in it until she could check out my groceries. She made sure to put all the frozen items in the cold bag, took my money (which reflected substantially higher prices when compared to Russia) and then said, "I'm sorry I don't know your name, but if you would like to try to take care of my baby, I think it could be good for both of us."


I smiled at her and answered, "Before we commit to a full time plan, we can try it for a week and see how it works for both of us. What time will you bring your baby by tomorrow?"


Louise wrinkled up her face and answered, "Would six o'clock be too early?"


I smiled at her and stated, "No that would be fine. Do I need to purchase some more food for her?"


Louise giggled and answered, "Don't worry about it, I will bring her food and diapers because I get a discount on the food since I am working here."


I gave her my address, and said, "See you tomorrow at six o'clock."


I practically ran home because I needed to clean my house extra especially well for the baby I was going to be taking care of…


Flashback – Glen and Jennifer – trying to solve a huge problem


I sat on the shitter in the bathroom off our master bedroom that night for what seemed like forever. Every time I thought I was done, I would stand up, wipe and then more shit would come out. Evelyn had the audacity to complain, "Glen, what is taking so long in the bathroom?"


I wanted to yell at her that she sure as hell knew what was wrong, but bit my tongue and answered, "Evelyn, I think the chicken must have been bad because I'm having stomach problems."


Evelyn answered with a slight amount of obvious joy in her voice, "Really Glen, I'm not having any problems at all so it can't be the chicken dinner. Is it perhaps you ate too much food again?"


Evelyn never should have said that because it gave me a great fucking idea…


After seeing Daddy's obvious stomach problems I made a vow to myself to never again eat mother's cooking or any food that she touched. However, I was a little hungry tonight since I guess the beef sticks 'wore off'. I went to my stash of food, looked at most of it and decided to try some of the funny sounding Vienna Wieners with some crackers. I opened up the can of Vienna Wieners and a box of crackers, began to eat them and even though they sounded funny, they tasted great…


Flashback – Alexi – At the laboratory


The psychologist returned to my room with Chow Mein and set her down. She immediately began her infernal yowling, jumped up on my bed and began to rub against me. I hated her and hated her rubbing even more. However, I hid my negative reaction from the psychologist as he stated, "Alexi, it looks like she loves you."


I smiled at him and answered, "Yes, she does and I need to thank you for saving her."


He smiled at me and said, "Well, considering the loss of your mother we made certain to take very good care of your cat."


Chow Mein smelled her food, went over to the desk and began to yowl. The psychologist said, "They had to pump her stomach so I am sure she is hungry."


I jumped up, grabbed her food bowl off the desk, set it on the floor and Chow Mein began to eat as if she had never eaten before.


The psychologist smiled and stated, "I knew it would be good if you took care of your cat. Now I must leave and see my other patients."


I thanked him one more time, "Thank you again for taking care of Chow Mein, and if you see my 'mother' could you tell her how much Chow Mein loves me?"


He promised, "Yes I will, that might be of therapeutic benefit for her."


I knew it wouldn't be, but if he couldn't discern that, then it wasn't my fault…


Flashback – Mira and Ira – back in Kazakhstan


We were translocated in the filthy aft compartment of a foul pullet conveyance. At first we attempted to remain on our pedal extremities to avoid the filth, however the manner the vehicle was piloted made our task impossible. We cleaned a minuscule site in which to rest on our derrieres as well as our naked feet would allow. And even that provided difficulties since the floor of the pullet wagon was rough sawn logs which further wounded our recovering derrieres.


My sister Ira seemed deep in contemplation and her facial display was frightening.


I attempted to converse, "Ira…"


She held up her hand and ordered, "Mira, I do not wish to converse as my mind is presently engaged in a cognitive tactical exercise."


I desired greatly to discover the depth of her thoughts, however I knew better than to pursue that folly…


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


I was not comfortable at all with the ROEs of this mission. Yes, I had before and will again kill targets of primary importance. However, eliminating women and children if they were in the area was not acceptable to me. Of course, I did not tell my handler this, otherwise they would have not given me the mission and the next person they gave it to would probably have no qualms about 'kill them all and let God sort them out'.


This just meant I would have to work harder and probably longer to get my target alone. This would be no problem given my improved skills after training on the island with Liu. I knew that given enough time I could do accomplish my objective without random killing.


In preparation I'd been breathing oxygen for the last 45 minutes and now quickly made the switch to my own bottle of oxygen and waited. The jump light lit on the aircraft and the jump master opened the door. I dove out into the night and hoped this mission progressed better than my last mission - the one which left me seriously wounded on Liu's island…