Chapter 028

Together Chapter 028

Copyright 2014 - 2015 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Jack and Ben – The trip to hell… Ramadi


The driver called back to me, "You two are Marines, correct?"


I replied, "Damn straight! I'm Sgt. Jack Reynolds, your gunner is Banzai Ben and Captain M is our wounded."


The driver laughed and said, "Shit! That explains a hell of a lot and also makes my job easier."


I had to ask, "What the hell does that mean?"


He continued with a chuckle, "You guys are legendary. Everyone heard you two were coming, even the fucking towelheads – hell, they already put a price on your heads. And it makes my job easier because I can drop you guys off at Shark Base which is right outside Camp Ramadi. If you were Army I would have to figure a way to get you to the east, west or south part of the city. It also explains why your gunner is so damn good."


I commented, "So the Marines are coming in from the north of Ramadi."


He added, "The Marines and the Seals. They have some damn good snipers who can't wait to meet the two of you."


I felt good that we were famous but didn't like the fact we were infamous - hell, every towelhead in the city would be gunning for us.


Then he gave me a bit of information that worried me more than just a little, "We've been battling a hell of a good sniper named Mustafa who's been taking a huge toll on our men. They say he's from Syria and used to be on their Olympic rifle team."


As suddenly as the firing started earlier, it stopped and the driver remarked, "Well, thanks to you two we made it. This is Shark Base and there are medivac choppers waiting for your Captain and my gunner."


Banzai ducked inside the Humvee and said...


"Damn, that was some fierce fighting."


The driver heaped on the praise, "And thanks to your excellent shooting we made it! Hell, I'll be a driver for you any day of the week."


I replied, "You did a great job driving."


Then I turned to Jack and asked, "How are the other gunner and Captain M doing?"


Jack answered, "The gunner is still alive but I think he's in shock."


Captain M swore, "Unfortunately, I'm still god damn alive and I still can't feel my fucking legs."


I was pretty damn sure the Captain’s spinal cord had been severed and he would never walk again, but I lied, "Shit Sir! It beats the hell out of pushing up daisies."


The Captain countered, "Like hell it does! If I turn up as a paraplegic, it's your and Sgt. Reynolds fault and you'll pay."


I didn't want to get into it with the Captain so I was glad when the driver stopped the Humvee. It was like we were met by a fucking swarm of locust. Marines came up to the Humvee, opened the doors and I yelled a caution, "Captain M has a broken back, we need a corpsman to move him."


The swarm parted, Colonel Maggie walked up, Jack and I jumped out of the back of the Humvee and we gave her our best salutes. She returned the salute and said, "You three look like a hundred miles of bad roads."


Jack answered, "Well Sir! That was about how many miles of towelheads we fought through to get here."


The corpsmen came up to take care of Captain M, Colonel Maggie motioned me to the side and asked, "Is it as bad as I heard?"


I looked down, shook my head and said, "Probably worse. I think his back was pulverized. Even worse than that he blames me and Jack for it."


Colonel Maggie tried to offer comfort, "Of course he would blame the two of you - he's sure not going to take responsibility for it himself. It's a shame since he was a good officer and showed some great prospects. Now they will stabilize him here then ship him out to Germany."


Jack limped up, Colonel Maggie watched him and demanded, "What the hell is wrong with you?"


Jack gave her a fake smile (which she didn't notice) and lied, "Nothing that a little time won't heal.  The MRI showed that I strained the hell out of my back."


She looked at the two of us and said, "Unfortunately, time is the one thing we don't have. We need you two on missions as soon as you get your rooms, clean up and grab some chow."


Jack surprised me when he said, "Yeah, I heard we're having our asses handed to us by a Syrian sniper by the name of Mustafa


Colonel Maggie answered, "Yeah, he's damn good and is taking down too many of our men. But we have others hunting for him. We have a special mission for the two of you."


She turned and ordered, "Corporal, take the Sgts. to their rooms, make sure they get cleaned up, fed and then bring them to C&C1."


1 C&C – Command and Communication.



The Corporal lead the way, I looked at Jack and said, "Damn, we aren't even getting a chance to wind down. And what the hell are you doing lying about your back."


Jack glared at me and answered, "Come on Banzai, you know if I told her the truth about my back, I'd be benched and you'd be working with a new spotter. And if this fucking Mustafa asshole is as good as I heard, now is sure as hell not the time to be breaking in a new spotter."


I said, "Okay Jack, but we need to figure out just how many of the meds you can take and still function."


Flashback – Masha – child care


I was shocked when the police officers drove me to the market, helped Linda and me out of the car, retrieved her stroller from the trunk and even helped me to get her into the stroller. The one officer smiled again and said, "Ms., if you need anything at all do not hesitate to call us."


I replied, "Thank you very much, how much do I owe you?"


He laughed and said, "Nothing, it was great meeting you. Have a nice day."


They drove away and I was shocked! I walked into the market, Louise saw me and asked, "Masha, is everything okay? You arrived in a police car!"


We went back to the employee break room and sat at the lunch table. Louise brought over some food from the microwave and we began to eat. Then I looked at her, explained everything which transpired on our way to visit her and asked, "Louise, is this the normal way the police act in your country?"


She smiled and answered, "Sometimes yes and other times no, it really depends on the officers that you meet." She leaned close and continued, "Some of them are real assholes. I don't know how many times they've stopped me about my car and tried to give me a ticket. Many times I can smile at them and get out of it. Other times – well I have to do things for them I don't really enjoy doing."


I was shocked and decided I was very lucky to have met two of 'the better' type of officers. But I still didn't trust them and if any of them wanted one of 'the other' things I would use my skills to alter their attitude.


I questioned, "Couldn't you go to their superiors when they wanted those 'things'?"


Louise said, "No way! If I did that then every officer in the city would be out to get me."


I realized that in some ways, and not necessarily good ways, America and Russia were similar.


Louise changed the subject, "Masha is your husband a Marine?"


I replied, "Yes, he is but he is currently deployed."


She asked, "Have you ever been to the BX?"


I gave her a questioning look and asked, "What is a BX?"


Louise answered, "BX stands for Base Exchange - it's a store where only military personnel and their family can shop. They have some great deals on food and other items."


I replied, "Jack wasn't here long enough to show me the BX."


Louise offered, "Sometime, if you would like, we could go there together."


I questioned, "Is it legal for you to go to the BX?"


Louise answered, "Only if I accompany you. Perhaps we could go on my next day off?"


That seemed like an excellent idea so I replied, "I think that would be great."


Louise looked at the clock and said, "Well, I need to get back to work. Thanks for bringing Linda by."


She gave Linda a big kiss, hugged me and walked us out of the store. Thankfully the police car wasn't in the parking lot when I exited. I hurried home while I kept looking over my shoulder...


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


We finished our wonderful meal and I said, "Thank you Daniela that was so tasty, sort of like Chinese and some other flavor I couldn't describe."


Daniela replied, "Thank you Ms. Jennifer, Lomo Saltado is a favorite dish from my home country of Peru. Many Chinese immigrated to Peru years ago so we call it a fusion dish of the Chifa, which is how we say Chinese food in Peru and our own indigenous cooking."


I began to take Daddy's and my plates to the kitchen and Daniela complained, "Ms. Jennifer that is my job."


I argued, "Daniela, like heck it is! You may have grown up in Peru but in America the daughters are taught to help."


Daniela countered, "Yes, but in a house where there is a housekeeper it is her job."


I continued to resist, "Then tell me Daniela, how am I supposed to learn to be a good wife?"


Daddy chuckled and interceded, "Daniela, please allow Jennifer to assist with the work around the house. You are our housekeeper but you are not a slave."


Daniela conceded, "As you wish Sir. If Ms. Jennifer would like I could also teach her how to make some traditional Peruvian dishes."


I answered, "That would be great! So, what are we having tomorrow night?"


Daniela smiled and replied, "I think I will give you both a real treat and will make ceviche mixto."


I asked, "What the heck is ceviche mixto?"


Daniela answered, "I will tell you tomorrow - after you try it."


Now I was curious as heck at why she wouldn't describe tomorrow's dinner. So, I excused myself from the table, ran up to my room and searched for it on the Internet. After I read about the ceviche mixto I wasn't sure I wanted to eat it.


I moved to my bed, sat down and wondered why in the fricken-fracken heck mother left us. I mean I know I'm not the best or most compliant daughter in the world but I sure didn't think life here was that bad for her.


Daddy knocked on my door and asked, "Jennifer, may I come in?"


I answered, "Sure Daddy."


He walked into my room, took one look at me and asked…


Flashback – Alexi – At the laboratory


I fought the impulse to dance around the room in victory! I had won a huge battle - Chow Mein was gone. Well gone at least for now, and I would no longer be bothered by her. However, I knew I was being observed so I did not perform my victory dance. Instead I went back to the vexing problem of trisecting an angle. I was deep in thought when there was a knock on my door which interrupted me. I angrily groused, "Please enter my room."


The psychologist walked in and inquired, "Alexi, are you angry about losing Chow Mein?"


I was concerned that if I said yes he would bring Chow Mein back so I told him a version of the truth, "Sorry Sir, I was concentrating on this geometry problem and you interrupted my thought process. Please forgive me for being so abrupt. What brings you back into my room?"


He gave me a sad look and said, "Alexi, I have some very bad news for you."


I was concerned that they discovered my 'games' with Chow Mein so I said, "Sir, please do not leave in in suspense. Give me the bad news."


He answered, "Alexi, I hate to say this but Chow Mein has become totally unhinged. We had the veterinarian take her away and we are not sure when she will be returned."


I could tell from the expression on the psychologists face there was more to the story so I inquired, "Sir, please tell me what happened."


He began the tale, "We thought that Chow Mein might enjoy some time with your mother, so we took her into your mother's room. Your mother was not ready to see Chow Mein in her current denuded state so she shrieked at Chow Mein which greatly annoyed the already volatile Chow Mein. Your mother tried to run from Chow Mein; however she attacked your mother and inflicted many serious bites on her before we could recapture Chow Mein. In the process of recapturing Chow Mein, she seriously bit two orderlies. Now the veterinarian is concerned that Chow Mein might have rabies."


This was the best news I had ever had: 'Mother' got her just desserts from that devil cat of hers. I had my hands in my lap and again I wanted to dance but squeezed my testicles so hard it made me cry a little and lied, "Sir, I am sorry that Chow Mein has bitten you and so many others, especially my mother. I do not understand what has happened to her. Do you feel it is something I have precipitated?"


I hoped they had not discovered my ruse and was happy when he said, "No Alexi, other than your ill-advised bathing of Chow Mein we have observed nothing in your actions toward her that caused her mental breakdown. I do want to assure you that we will do everything in our power to correct Chow Mein's mental problems and return her to you."


'Father' knocked on the door frame, entered my room and said, "Alexi, I just heard of the problems with Chow Mein and thought that perhaps a movie might cheer you up."


I made sure to display no joy as I replied, "I guess that might help. Could we also get some food before we attend the movies."


'Father' hugged me and answered, "Of course, isn't that what we normally do?"


This night was better than ever…


Flashback – Mira and Ira – back in Kazakhstan


We traversed the tributary at the same velocity as the water so as to mask the mire our locomotion created. However, many times we exited the tributary making sure our boot prints could be occulated by any who pursued us. Then I recalled another possible ruse and commanded Ira, "Ira, we must sit in the tributary."


Ira complained, "Mira I do not desire that my nether regions become any more frigid."


I informed her of my diversionary tactic, "Ira, we will sit in the tributary, remove our boots and attach them to our pedal units in a reverse direction. This will further confound our pursuers and allow us to reduce our time navigating the tributary."


Ira smiled and stated, "Mira, for such a plan I will subject my nether regions to the frigid tributary."


We sat in the tributary (Ira was correct regarding its frigid nature), removed our boots, reversed their directions on our feet then we traversed to the shore as I reminded her, "Make sure your pedal digits impact the ground first, elsewise the imprint will be incorrect and subject to closer inspection."


Ira smiled as we left the tributary and stated, "Now the prey, of necessity, must become the predators..."


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


All jungle environments have their own unique signature of sounds, encompassed by the insect and animal life. One of the largest challenges in moving through the jungle is to not upset the fauna that create the signature sound because once it changed you could be sure that something large changed it. Thanks to Liu's excellent training I was passing through this jungle without the telltale disruption of the fauna. The game trail I was on deviated slightly from the direction in which I needed to travel, so I had a decision to make: Stay on this game trail which could take me many clicks away from my target, or move back to the main trail and deal with any possible booby traps.


I had decided on the latter course and prepared to move off the trail when the jungle suddenly became quiet - as quiet as a crypt. Since the signature sound had already changed, I quickly and quietly moved into some shrubbery and concealed myself. I listened intently for the presence that modified the signature sound, but heard nothing. I strained all my senses to no avail but felt something, somewhere was watching me. However in the darkness I could not perceive it. But in this case where my eyes failed me, my sense of smell did not…