Chapter 034

Together Chapter 034

Copyright 2014 - 2015 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


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


I couldn't believe my phone call with Masha - she sounded terrible and cried the whole time. It was so bad I actually considered going to Colonel Maggie and telling her the truth about the MRI and my back. However, I also realized that my medical retirement pay would never cover our expenses: Yeah, I was up fuck creek without a fucking paddle.


When I got back to the room, Banzai took one look at me and asked…


Jack looked like hell when he got back to the room, but I could tell it wasn't from his back. This meant it had to be caused by his phone call with Masha.


I asked, "Jack, what the hell is wrong?"


Jack asked the Corporal, "How about you give us a couple minutes?"


The Corporal replied, "Sure, but don't take too long because Colonel Maggie will have my ass if I don't get you to the C&C soon."


 The Corporal left the room, Jack shook his head and said, "Banzai, something's wrong with Masha - all she did was cry on the phone. Shit, if I could afford it I would head back to the States right now."


I counseled, "Jack, what the hell did you expect? You took her away from her home country and left her in America where she has no friends or support system at all. Shit! I bet she sits in the house alone each night and is lonely as hell."


I knew Jack really loved her when he wrung his hands in despair and asked, "Damn it Banzai! What should I do? I'm over here and she's back in America. Plus, we're going on a LRP and I don't know when I can call her again."


I smiled at Jack and suggested, "Jack, I can tell you really love her so why don't we bring some paper and pens and you can write her a letter each day. We can give them to other Marines to bring back to camp and mail for you."


Jack smiled and said, "Thanks Banzai, that's a great idea. Now I just need to find some paper."


I let him know I had it taken care of, "Jack, I already put some in your pack along with about ten pens."


Jack grinned at me and said, "You sly devil dog, you had this planned all along. But why ten fucking pens?"


I laughed and answered, "Because I know you're going to lose most of them."


Jack glared at me and protested, "Well, I haven't lost the key for the room yet."


I countered, "Are you sure? If so, then show it to me."


Jack reached into his pocket and swore, "Son of a bitch! Where did I leave that damn key?"


I laughed, held up the padlock and said, "You left it in the lock when you unlocked the door."


Jack offered an excuse, "Well, I was distracted…"


I interrupted his bullshit, "… Yeah right! Don't worry about it, we need to give this key to the Corporal anyway."


Jack thought for a moment and asked, "Do you think that he would make sure my letters got mailed to Masha?"


I teased, "I don't know what he’ll do after all the shit you gave him, he might just throw them in the trash."


The Corporal came back into the room and I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing when Jack apologized again, "Hey listen, I really am sorry about being such a pain in the ass earlier."


The Corporal replied, "Don't worry about it, now we need to get you two to the C&C before Colonel Maggie has my ass."


Jack grabbed his pack and rifle, I grabbed my Eberlestock pack which contained my new rifle in the scabbard and Jack asked, "Hey Corporal, if I write some letters to my wife back home, and we send them back with other Marines, do you think you could put them in the mail?"


The Corporal said, "Sure, no problem at all."


I handed the Corporal Jack's key and said, "This is a key for our room. You're welcome to stay here or wherever you want. Just make sure it's locked when you leave."


He smiled at me and answered, "Gee thanks. I liked staying in the room, but it was a pain in the ass to get someone else to watch your ammo while I took showers or ate. Now I won't have to worry about it."


We followed the Corporal out the door, he put the padlock on the hasp and made sure it was locked then we walked toward the C&C.


We entered the C&C and it was a fucking beehive of activity. The Corporal lead us to the briefing room which was full of Marine and Seal snipers.


Colonel Maggie walked up and said, "Perfect timing, we are just going over the missions for today. Grab a seat and we'll get going."


Jack and I grabbed a seat, Jack leaned over and whispered, "Damn, this is one hard assed looking group of men."


We recognized a few of them and exchanged head nods and waves.

The Naval Commander in charge of the Seal teams went first. I was shocked when he reached the ROEs1 as the Seals had to write a shooter's statement for every kill they made in Ramadi. He went on to explain that the report would be separate from after-action reports and was related only to the shots they took and kills they recorded.

1 ROE – Rules Of Engagement – What you are allowed and not allowed to do to kill the enemy.  

The Commander continued with the bullshit when he ordered that the information had to be very specific and had to record the day, the time, details about the person, what he was doing, the rounds they used, how many shots they took, how far away the target was, and who witnessed the shot. All that had to go into the report, along with any other special circumstances.

Jack leaned over and whispered, "What a fucking load of bullshit!"


The Commander told each Seal where they were to deploy. He finished and left the briefing room. The Seals began to move out as Colonel Maggie took the stage.


All that were left in the room were Marines so she looked at us and said, "Unlike the Commander, I know and trust my sniper teams so we will dispense with the bullshit of logging each shot that you take."


You could almost feel us (along with the rest of the teams) sigh in relief. Hell, being a sniper was hard enough but having the brass on your ass to document each shot you took was too much.


Colonel Maggie then said, "I will meet with each of you in private to give you your deployment instructions."


She called the teams up one by one, gave them their assignments and they left. Finally she called Jack and me.


We walked up to her while a squad of Marines followed us. She smiled and said, "We have a special mission for the two of you. You and this squad of Marines are going to infiltrate and clear the building across from Ramadi General Hospital. Naturally, their hold on this building is critical to controlling the hospital.  The insurgents are also currently using the hospital to treat their troops and attack our troops whenever we get close to it. Not only that, if any Iraqi policemen are taken to the hospital, they are later found beheaded. The hospital is a high value target and the personnel would be difficult to replace so we can't just blow the fuck out of it. We need you, Jack and this squad to do a surgical removal of the insurgents while causing as little damage to the hospital as possible. I'm sure you have questions so please voice them"


Jack remarked, "I guess the towelheads don't follow the Geneva Convention, so does this mean we're limited by it?"


Colonel Maggie replied, "That's a good question and you two need to follow the Geneva Convention as much as possible."


I had studied maps of the city, knew the approximate location of the hospital so I asked, "The hospital is a good distance from here, so are you going to send us there in Humvees, because that sounds like suicide to me?"


Colonel Maggie smiled and answered, "Hell no you're not take Humvees to the hospital because you're right, they would blow your asses up before you even got there. You're going to take a SURC2 on the Euphrates River: You will disembark at the closest point to the hospital, which is about three blocks away from the building you're supposed to infiltrate and occupy."


2 SURC Small Unit Riverine Craft is rigid-hull, armed and armored patrol boat used by the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy to maintain control of rivers and inland waterways. They are similar in size and purpose to the much older Patrol Boat, River vessels used during the Vietnam War.


The Butterbar3 asked, "Sir, could you clarify the command structure on this mission and also is there an exit plan?"


3 Butterbar – Second Lieutenant


Colonel Maggie looked at the Lieutenant and answered, "Son, because we lost Captain M, you're the officer on this mission so you will command it. That being said, Sgt. Reynolds and Sgt. Blaine have extensive experience so it would be wise to listen closely to anything they suggest. As far as an exit plan goes, unless you can secure the building and the hospital, we can't send in choppers for extraction because the insurgents would blow them out of the sky."


I smiled at Colonel Maggie, looked at the Butterbar and stated, "Don't worry about it, we will secure the objective."


Colonel Maggie closed with, "Good hunting to all of you and make sure you stay in radio contact with us. Now Lieutenant, you know where we keep the SURCs so get your team there ASAP."


We followed the Butterbar out of the briefing room and toward the river…


Flashback – Masha – a terrible night and child care


It was morning and I was hurting. I couldn't sleep last night because I was too busy crying and berating myself for my foolish display of emotion when my Jack called. I had totally wasted the whole call and even forgot to tell him how much I loved him. Soon Louise will bring Linda to the house and I wasn't ready for them today. My only hope was knowing Linda's sleep schedule since I could take a nap this morning while she took her nap. I drank another cup of coffee, grimaced at the terrible taste because I preferred tea, and forced myself to swallow it.


I heard a car pull into the driveway, looked out the window and knew Louise had arrived. I made sure my hair was in place, walked to the door, opened it and waved at Louise. She took Linda out of the back seat, walked to the house while Linda began to coo when she saw me. Linda's desire to be with me banished all the tiredness from my body.


Louise arrived on the porch, took one look at me and asked, "Masha you look terrible today, what happened?"


I looked at my watch and said, "Louise, we don't have time for me to tell you before work, I will tell you tonight over dinner."


Louise said, "Thanks that reminds me, we're having pizza for dinner tonight and I'm buying. And you're right I've got to get going."


Louise left and Linda didn't even complain this time. I was thankful that she offered to buy pizza tonight. I wasn't happy with her choice of foods, but it would be nice to not cook. That way I could take another nap with Linda this afternoon.


Flashback – Jennifer and Glen – an introduction to a different culture


The alarm scared me this morning when it awakened me since I had a restless night trying to figure out why mother's phone was at the airport. I probably should have woke up Daddy and told him what I found, but I figured he needed a good night's sleep more than I did.


I took care of my morning bathroom business, and even took a shower hoping it would wake me up - it helped a little. What I needed was a big cup of coffee. I threw on a pair of normal BDU pants with a pink camo camisole and headed down to the kitchen. Daddy was sitting at the table with a huge plate of food in front of him. I complained, "Daddy, you know that's too much food for you."


Daniela walked out of the kitchen with a huge plate of food for me: It was covered with chicken, rice, potatoes and bread. She announced, "Good Ms. Jennifer, I thought I might have to wake you up or serve you breakfast in bed."


I gave Daniela my best smiled and slightly complained, "Daniela, this is too much food for us for breakfast."


Daniela countered "Ms. Jennifer this is a traditional breakfast in my country, we like to make sure that the day is started with a healthy breakfast."


I counter countered, "Daniela, you don't understand: Daddy will get even fatter if he continues to eat like this."


Daniela ordered, "Señor, please stand up and let me look at you."


Daddy stood up and Daniela said, "Ms. Jennifer you are incorrect, your father looks very healthy to me."


I could tell I wasn't going to win with Daniela. She went back into the kitchen, I sat at the table, leaned over and threatened Daddy, "If you eat all that food for breakfast I will hide all your beer and bourbon while you are gone today."


Daddy glared at me but answered, "Jennifer, you don't have to worry since I had no plans of eating all this food. Daniela is from Peru and they are used to the women and men being fat."


It made me happy that Daddy was being sensible and now that I knew where Daniela was from I could research the country better because I really didn't know much about Peru. With the overabundance of food situation handled I looked at Daddy and confessed, "Daddy, I stayed up last night after you left my room and logged into our phone providers website. Mother's phone is at the airport and isn't moving."


Daddy looked at me and answered, "Jennifer, thank you for doing that. I think we should take a trip to the airport this morning to see if we can find out where she went. Then you and I have an appointment with the psychologist."


I complained, "Daddy, I'm not crazy and I don't need to see a fracken shrink!"


Daddy placed hand on top of mine, smiled and said, "Well, I need to see one so why don't you humor your old man and join me."


Rats! I hated it when Daddy asked me nicely about things like this so I relented, "Okay Daddy, but just this one time."


Daniela came back out of the kitchen and scolded, "You two are talking too much and your breakfast is getting cold."


Daddy and I both took a bite of food and I praised her cooking, "Daniela, this food is excellent. But, I am a ballerina and have to be careful how much food I eat because I cannot become fat."


Daddy added, "Daniela, there was a time before I sat at the desk all day when I would have gladly eaten all of this food. But if I ate this much food, it wouldn't be long until I wouldn't fit into my uniforms."


I supported Daddy with further information, "Daniela, Daddy also has to pass a fitness test every six months so he can't afford to gain more weight."


Daniela looked at both of us and said, "I am sorry that I made too much food for both of you, and I will not do that again. This is a typical breakfast in Peru and I did not want you to go hungry. I am still adjusting to the culture in this country. I do hope you will take the lunches that I prepared for you."


I was shocked! Daniela actually made us lunch! When mother was here we were lucky if we even got breakfast and if I was with Daddy, we usually went out for lunch.


Daddy answered…


Damn, I hit a homerun when I hired Daniela for our housekeeper. Not only did she make us an excellent and huge breakfast, she made us lunch and I knew we were having something called ceviche for dinner tonight.


I said, "Daniela, thank you for making lunches for us and we will gladly take them with us today. We hope we didn't offend you by not finishing this wonderful breakfast."


Jennifer helped out when she agreed, "Yes Daniela, we are sooooo thankful that you made this great breakfast for us and even mooooore thankful that you took the time to make lunch for us."


I had finished about half my breakfast, Jennifer about a fourth of hers. I looked at Jennifer and said, "Well let's go and figure out the situation with the phone."


Jennifer answered, "Let me first go brush my teeth and use the toilet then I will be ready."


Jennifer looked at Daniela and asked, "May I be excused from the table?"


Daniela replied, "Let me bring your lunch from the kitchen first. I am concerned that my lunch will be too large for you to finish."


Jennifer answered with a question, "Daniela, if it is, would it be possible to share it with others?"


I could tell Jennifer hit her own homerun when Daniela gave us a big grin and answered, "Of course, I made the food to be eaten and it will not be good if you bring it home tonight."


Daniela went into the kitchen, came back out with two large bags of food and I knew we would be sharing much of the food with others. Jennifer took the bag and left the table.


I took the bag, got up from the table, looked at Daniela and said, "Thank you so much for all you have done for us. Remember, if you need anything you can all me on my mobile phone. The number is beside the phone. I will call you later to let you know when we will be home."


She smiled and said, "Do not worry Señor, there is much work around this house to keep me busy all day."


I wasn't exactly sure what she meant since I was always happy with the way Evelyn took care of the house and she didn’t seem to spend all that much time doing housework.


I brushed my teeth, went to the toilet and was mostly happy I wasn't sick! Then I went back downstairs and met Jennifer at the car.


She gave me more information, "Daddy, I checked again and mother's phone is still at the airport."


We put our lunch bags on the back seat, got into the car and I replied, "Well let's go see why her phone is still at the airport." It was obvious to me that Evelyn had taken a flight to somewhere. I probably needed to check the credit cards to see if I could figure out where she went."


Once we were on the road Jennifer asked, "Daddy, do you know what we're having for dinner?"


I answered, "Yeah, something Daniela called ceviche."


Jennifer supplied more information, "Daniela actually said, 'ceviche mixto'. When she wouldn't tell me what it was I looked it up on the internet. Did you know that it's raw fish, calamari and octopus?"


I sputtered, "Raw! You can't eat that stuff raw."


Jennifer added, "Well they put those orange peppers, onions and very strong lemon juice in it. They say the lemon juice 'cooks' the seafood."


I ask, "Jennifer, do you still have all that extra food hidden in your room?"


She smiled and answered, "Of course I do Daddy."


I figured if the ceviche mixto was too bad we could always say we were still sick from Evelyn's cooking and survive off Jennifer's food.


We arrived at the airport, I looked at the parking signs and realized we might have some issues…


Flashback – Alexi – At the laboratory


I had a wonderful night's sleep and awakened without Chow Mein's anus in my face! I went to the cafeteria and acquired some cereal, milk and eggs for breakfast. Then I sat at my normal table and began to eat. 'Father' surprised me when he came in, gathered his own breakfast, came over and sat beside me.


I smiled at him and said, "Thank you 'father' for the great evening last night."


He smiled at me and said, "Yes it was good - until I went to see your mother…"


I boldly interrupted, "'Father' I have been thinking about 'mother' being attacked by Chow Mein and I would like to visit her today. Perhaps I could cheer her up?"


'Father' smiled at me and answered"Alexi, it's shocking how badly Chow Mein injured her, I am not sure it would be wise…"


I interrupted with a whine, "…Please 'father'! I feel it is my fault that Chow Mein went crazy and attacked 'mother'."


He thought for a few moments and answered, "Alexi, I will ask the psychologist his feelings on this and we will abide by his decision."


The answer made me happy because I knew the psychologist would agree to my request.


'Father' said, "Well Alexi, we need to get back to your room for the injections and your other medications."


I complied"Yes 'father', I do not want to miss any of my doses."


'Father' said, "Alexi, you go to your room first and I will present your question to the psychologist."


It didn't take long for 'father' to arrive in my room and he said, "Alexi, I have good news for you. The psychologist feels it's an excellent idea for you to visit your mother. But first he wants to talk with you so you are not worried when you see your mother."


I hugged 'father' and answered, "Thank you, let's get my injections done so I can see 'mother'."


We finished my injections, I talked to the psychologist, he warned me about how bad 'mother' looked and assured me they would fix her injuries after they had healed enough. Then they took me to 'mother's' room. I walked into her room and…


Flashback – Mira and Ira – back in Kazakhstan


Ensconced in our new accoutrements, our level of comfort was greatly increased. I looked at Ira and commented, "We need to discover the locale of our adversaries which escaped."


Ira agreed, "Yes Mira, they cannot continue to abide in the realm of the living."


We partook of a lateral trail which approximated the path of the main trail and had not traveled far when our auditory units detected the sound of grief.


I vocalized at a soft level, "Ira, one of our adversaries expresses grief."


Ira responded…


I cannot believe one of our adversaries is exhibiting grief akin to a young female. Is he a rodent species or a male? We carefully approached the adversary and then the cause of his grief became obvious: One of Mira's traps of stakes was embedded in the adversaries' nether region.


I vocalized softly, "Mira, I am not ready to eliminate this adversary and thus end his pain because he deserves to suffer for a greater period of time."


Mira agreed, "Yes Ira, his desserts are justified. We will bypass his location for the being time and pursue his associates."


We were practically past his position when Mira accidentally stepped on a branch. It cracked and the next thing we knew…


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


I was awakened when the sound signature of the jungle once again changed and I wondered what the hell did it this time. It was light enough that I should be able to see what caused the disruption but the problem was I was too high in the tree canopy to see the ground. I slowly, carefully and silently worked my way lower in the tree and then I saw the disruption: It was a team of men examining the tiger I had killed last night. One of them took out a radio and informed the base of the tiger's death. The voice on the other end swore and shouted in anger.


I assumed the voice was my target. He ordered his troops to bring the tiger back to the base.


It took them some time as they rigged up a long stick, tied the tiger's paws around it. Four of them shouldered the pole and they noisily advanced toward the base.


I slipped out of the tree and silently followed my guides.