Chapter 17

Walker Chapter 17

Copyright 2011 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Major M – Chopper flight


Sgt. Reynolds came back with the tracking device he recovered in Ms. Sedankina's room right before our chopper landed to pick us up. I turned on the device, watched as it acquired our signals and confirmed right away this was going to be a great find for us. And I also realized the L.Cpl. was correct when he told us we'd be a detriment to the mission.


I looked at Sgt. Reynolds' blank face and remarked, "This is good as gold. I bet you're a hell of a poker player."


We boarded the chopper as he grinned at me and answered, "Oh I'm not that good." But I knew when I was being set up.


I watched it track us as we traveled to the main building and remarked, "Sgt. you're going to need to change back into your Marine gear." I thought about his clearance and knew there were areas I couldn't take him. I would need to rectify the situation since he and the L.Cpl. were now my men.


Then I thought about the L.Cpl. and how lucky he and Sgt. Reynolds were that I talked the Old Man into assigning them to me, instead of being sent to some oblivion shithole assignment. But even more important was how lucky I was to have the two of them - they were perfect for the plans I had.


You see the L.Cpl. didn't really fit in as a Marine because he was too much a loner and the Marines are all about being part of the team. I had read and analyzed his record and where others missed it, I realized he'd always been a loner and if I hadn't grabbed him now that was going to be a huge problem down the road. Hell, the L.Cpl.'s loner problems started the night he arrived at boot camp on the bus. One of the recruit's first assignments was to call home and read a script - to let their family know they arrived safely. The L.Cpl. told the DI he didn't have anyone to call (which was the truth). The DI wrongly thought the L.Cpl. was lying and being a pain in the ass so immediately he was labeled a malcontent. The DI rode his ass until he finally called someone. I checked later and determined it was the answering machine for his family lawyer.


Marine boot camp is longer than any other service's boot camp and is mainly about cultural immersion and indoctrination. It's where we instill in the recruits the Marine's warrior ethos, the importance of the team and the way everyone is expected to conform. The L.Cpl. had no issues with the warrior ethos and the importance of the team but he never really conformed and became part of his squad.


He never developed the friendships with the rest of the squad members the DI's constantly looked for. So the DI's rode the hell out of him, thinking they would break him - but there was nothing to break. You see, I had looked at his school records and even spent some time interviewing individuals in his home town and realized the L.Cpl. had never had a school friend in his whole life – his bastard father isolated and probably abused him. My greatest insight into the L.Cpl. was when I interviewed the retired Lt. Col. and his wife since that was where the L.Cpl. spent a significant amount of time. They were closer to being his parents than his real parents and they confirmed the mistreatment of the L.Cpl.


So the DI's didn't have the whole story and gave him an extra dose of hell during boot camp but the L.Cpl. never complained or flinched. In fact he excelled under the pressure, and the greater the pressure the more he excelled - and also the more he pissed off the DI's. They tried every trick in the book and even created a few new ones just for him but as I said earlier there was nothing to break. The DI's had decided they would fail him and his whole squad during 'the crucible.' The crucible happens during week ten of training: It's a simulated mission which requires the recruits to stay awake and functioning for 52 hours. The crucible is designed so that no one man can complete it since it requires a dedicated team effort. To fail the crucible either meant repeating boot camp or being kicked out of the Marines.


But something amazing happened during his squad's 52 hours of the DI's crucible from hell. The squad started to fall apart just like the DI's wanted but then when the squad was ready to give up, the L.Cpl. took over (he wasn't even the squad leader) and helped his squad complete what the DI's had set up to be an impossible to complete crucible. But it came at a great personal cost: The L.Cpl. collapsed right after he finished the run back to the base (where he spent part of the time carrying members of his squad) and spent three days in the infirmary.


So like it or not, the L.Cpl. was going to become a Marine. But he was still a thorn in the Corps' side. The command didn't know for sure what to do with him, so they made the decision to send him off to scout sniper training, probably the best thing they could have done…


I looked at Sgt. Reynolds - now he was a different story. He was at one time one of the best scout snipers there ever was and rose quickly in esteem, until the one fateful mission where he came back and his spotter didn't. It was one of those black-op missions so hidden that even for me much of it was classified or redacted. Something about that mission 'broke' Sgt. Reynolds and no matter what was tried, he never said anything about that mission. After that mission the Sgt. became a huge thorn in the Corps' side. He was belligerent and insulting to the officers, got into fights all the time, drank too much (yes this was possible for someone in the Corps), became a loner and no one wanted to work with him.


He was well on his way to being kicked out of the Corps when the L.Cpl. latched onto him. Something indefinable clicked between those two and suddenly two thorns in the Corps side became an elite team of two. The Corps tried to integrate them into regular scout sniper squads, and they would work together with the squads. But much like the L.Cpl.'s boot camp experience, they never quite fit in. So command farmed them out to 'the agencies' as a two man team where they didn't need to fit in. Shit! They'd still be doing that if the L.Cpl. hadn't dated the Old Man's underage daughter. I still wasn't sure how the hell that happened or even what exactly happened. But the Old Man wasn't amused and gave them a permanent assignment to Mr. Smith and his agency.


Mr. Smith didn't have the sense God gave a head of lettuce and had no idea how to handle these two Marines. Imagine sending them to the school, and then constantly complaining to the Old Man about their performance (which in light of this piece of shit school was exemplary). The Old Man was ready to do something drastic when I offered to be a liaison between Mr. Smith and the Old Man. He jumped on it just so he wouldn't have to hear from Mr. Smith again even though my reports to the Old Man were boring as hell. Now all I had to do was wrestle control of the L.Cpl. and Sgt. away from Mr. Smith, which wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Mr. Smith felt he needed to break them and if a Marine DI couldn't do that, there was no way Mr. Smith and his cohorts could.


I smiled at the Sgt. - he was the key. If I could gain his trust, then the L.Cpl. would follow and tonight's 'deal' with him was the first time he'd shown any trust in me and even displayed a bit of the old Sgt. Reynolds' spirit.


He asked…


Flashback – Sgt. Reynolds – Chopper flight


I watched Major M during the flight; he was deep in thought. I had more respect for him than most officers, not that I would ever admit that to him. First he didn't waltz into being and officer, he came up through the ranks and that's not easy. Second he didn't treat me like the other officers did, like damaged goods. Oh he still gave me hell, but he didn't do that to piss me off, he did it because that's what all officers do.


But something about him and what he did in the Corps – well it wasn't quite right. First, I'd never even heard of the group he was in. I checked like hell and found out anyone who knew anything about it, never talked about it. I finally determined he was part of a clandestine unit in the Corps that did things that no one else did or were supposed to do. If even half the rumors were true about this group, then one thing was sure: You didn't want to fuck with them because bad things happened to the people who did.


Plus, from the things I found out, the Major was right there in much of the action with the Corps: The Combined Action Program and other missions in Vietnam; a return to Nam during the evacuation of Saigon; Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada; and the Beirut Barracks bombing both about the same time. Now that was interesting because I'd heard rumors that while President Reagan waffled on attacking the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon. The barracks were supposed to house the Iranian Revolutionary Guards believed to have trained the Hezbollah militants who attacked our barracks. Some group went in there but didn't just kill them, they were brutally tortured and executed. At first it was thought to be Mossad, but now I wasn't so sure that it wasn't the Major's group. And of course his group was all over the normal hot spots.


However when an officer gets too quiet it was never a good thing. The longer it went on the worse it was and I'd had enough of this. The Major looked at me and smiled so I asked, "Sir, you seem to be deep in thought. Is there something I can help you with?"


He surprised the hell out of me when he answered, "Sgt. as an officer in the Corps I want to apologize to you for the lack of support and the mistreatment you have received over the mission where you lost your spotter. I'm not going to ask you what terrible thing happened on the mission, but I do know the Corps failed to support you correctly when you came back from the mission. They also haven't made an effort to understand you since then. I will try my best to rectify the mistakes which the Corps has made."


What the hell was this? Was it some sort of elaborate trick? I replied with what I thought was a good test for him, "Sir, I'm not sure what you're talking about."


He looked at me, pulled off his headset and motioned for me to do that same. Then he said, "Look Sgt. no one can hear us so let's cut the crap. I don't know what happened on that mission, but I do know you feel like the Corps bent you over and gave it to you after that mission. You resent everything about that mission and how you've been treated ever since then and I don't blame you. In fact I resent the hell out of how both you and the L.Cpl. have been treated and I plan to do everything I can to rectify this situation."


I replied, "Sir, while I appreciate the apology, I find it hard to believe all you're telling me."


The Major laughed, "Sgt. you must be from Missouri because you want me to show you everything. I know you like to make deals, so what would I need to do or show you so that you could trust me."


I wasn't sure I liked this but I needed a moment to think so I asked, "Sir, permission to speak freely."


He replied, "Jack call me Mike and tell me what the hell I can do for you and Ben."


I thought and answered, "Mike, first I know we fucked up when we didn't tell you about the tracking devices."


He interrupted, "Jack that's forgotten, now what else?"


I looked him in the eyes and asked, "Mike, just what are your plans for us?"


Mike smiled and answered, "Jack you and Ben are loners and don't really fit in with normal Marines. So what I want is to develop a new area within the Marines designed for loners like you and Ben. You two will be doing missions similar to what you've done in the past with a few changes here and there."


I decided to press him, "What happens if you give us a mission we don't like or don't want to do?"


He smiled and promised, "Jack, I won't blow smoke up your ass. There will be some hard missions that you won't like but there will be a good reason for doing them and you will know those reasons."


I thought for a moment and said, "What about us working for the bastard Mr. Smith and this damn spook school."


He shook his head and answered, "Jack, I'm working on that problem right now and it's harder than I thought it would be. But know this, Mr. Smith was giving the General hell about the way you and Ben acted at the school and the General was ready to ship you and Ben off to some shithole assignment and forget about you two until I stepped in as liaison between the two of you."


Hearing that made me feel better because the Old Man had a habit of doing exactly that and I believed that was going to happen to us. I decided to see if I could really push his buttons and asked, "So what if we decide to not work with you?"


He said, "Jack that's your decision and I won't stand in your way. You will continue to work for Mr. Smith and I will still be the liaison between him and the General."


I got bold and questioned, "Okay what are your expectations from Banzai and me?"


Flashback – Major M – Chopper flight


I made real headway with the Sgt. and he asked, "Okay what are your expectations from Banzai and me?"


I simply replied, "Jack, all I want from you and Ben is to know that you are part of my team. As I’m sure you found out at Gunny's last night when you were asking about me, I take care of my team members. I will make sure you don't catch any flak from any other brass even if you fuck up."


Jack answered, "You know what I discovered last night at Gunny's?"


I replied, "Jack, I know and hear more things than you'd believe. So are you and Ben on my team?"


He shook my hand and said, "Major M, yes, but on a provisional basis. I want to see how things go with this mission."


We landed at the building as I replied, "Sgt. Reynolds that's fair enough. I know I can work with and trust you and the L.Cpl. but you two need to decide that you can work with and trust me. Now it's time you see some of what I can do."


We got out of the chopper. When the Sgt. saw where we landed, he asked, "So we're going in there?"


I could tell Sgt. Reynolds was impressed as I answered, "Hell yes we are! This is one of the main places I work from."


Flashback – Ben – Mission


The XO knocked on the door and announced, "Thirty minutes to station. Be ready in ten minutes for a briefing."


I yelled back, "You guys have any coffee on this tin can?"


He replied, "We'll have some at the briefing."


We grabbed our packs and prepared them for a water assault. I pulled out my rifles, slipped condoms over the muzzles on both of them and used a twist tie to secure them to the barrels behind the cans1. Then put them both into separate dry bags and double checked that everything inside my pack was in waterproof bags and finally put my whole pack into another dry bag. I looked over and saw that Tom and Howard just finished the same procedures. It was damn nice working with guys that knew what the hell they were doing.


1 This is done not for waterproofing but is done to keep debris from blocking the muzzle. It's cheap, easy, works well and upsets the hell out of the mothers at home when their sons or daughters keep asking for more condoms – especially in extra large size.


 I began to think and I said, "You know, I don't think the XO has any idea who we are or who we work for."


Tom chimed, "Yeah, I bet you're right since we came in on a Navy chopper. As far as they know we could be Spooks or Seals."


Howard added, "And it's to our advantage they don't know who we are, what our ranks are and that we're Marines."


I nodded, "Yeah, I agree. Let's keep our facemasks on as much as possible."


Just as we pulled our masks back over our faces, the XO came back, knocked on the door and said, "Follow me to the briefing room."


I was surprised when we walked into a very busy and mostly full briefing room…


Howard whispered, "It looks like all the teams they are sending in are here on this tin can."


Tom added, "Yeah they are, it would have been nice to know about this ahead of time."


We were the only team wearing face masks. I assessed the room, also noticed we were the only team that brought our gear and answered Tom, "I'm sure the Major knew about this and would have briefed me if he was here. I already recognized two of the teams here and they're damn good."


I was going to say more when the briefing started. The Captain looked at my team and ordered, "The team with the skull masks needs to remove those for the briefing."


I changed my voice as I lied and replied, "Sorry but neither you nor anyone one in this room has the security clearance to see my teams’ faces." Yeah it was a huge lie, but the odds of the Captain calling my bluff were very slim, and the benefits of my team being unknown might be a huge tactical advantage.


He stared at me, then backed down and began the briefing. I already didn't like things since all the teams deploying from one ship meant this tin can was a single point of failure. If something happened to the tin can we were SOL.


The teams were all deploying by zodiacs to different locations on the island – I was not impressed! This mission had all the makings of a cluster fuck waiting to happen. The Captain finished the briefing and announced, "Okay all the teams will meet aft in thirty minutes to deploy simultaneously."


While the other teams began to bullshit and posture each other, I quickly grabbed Tom and Howard. As we headed out the door I whispered, "This OPPLAN is seriously FUBARed so here's what we're doing."


Flashback – Major M – Command OP


It took forever to get Sgt. Reynolds through security and then settled in for the mission. My team was mildly amused that I had a Sgt. sitting beside me and working with me today. It was a first for me and I was sure they would have some questions about it later.


Sgt. Reynolds took a look at the main screen and asked, "That's a high resolution satellite feed of a destroyer stationed off Bimini. Is that where we were headed?"


I replied, "Affirmative, the L.Cpl. and his team plus all the other teams are going to deploy from the destroyer."


As we watched a small boat moved away from the destroyer, one of my team announced, "Sir that's an unscheduled departure of one of the zodiacs. They weren't supposed to leave for another twenty minutes."


The com immediately crackled. The Captain of the destroyer was pissed as hell because one of the teams commandeered a zodiac and left ahead of schedule. He didn't know which team it was because they were wearing skull masks. All the other teams were raising hell because they wanted to leave early too.


I looked at the Sgt. as he smiled at me and said, "Yes Sir! I'm sure that's Banzai and his team."


Then we received a call on our private scrambled com channel, "Graveyard this is Skull candy acknowledge." I chuckled at the L.Cpl.'s choice of call signs; we hadn't set them up ahead of time so he made them up on the fly. But I wasn't concerned because this was an encrypted com link and any conversation was safe.


I responded, "Skull candy this is Graveyard acknowledging your message. Please justify your actions in commandeering the zodiac and starting the mission ahead of schedule."


The L.Cpl. replied, "Graveyard, the OPPLAN as stated had several serious flaws which endangered the completion of the mission. First we were all being deployed simultaneously from the same platform: Not only is this a single point of failure, it's also bound to attract too much unwanted attention. Second, all the teams were going to be in each other's way and there was bound to be some collisions and other problems during the initial deployment. So I took the initiative, developed our own OPPLAN and left early."


I replied, "Skull candy it would have been nice to know about this ahead of time, but I'm sure you didn't have that luxury. I approve your mission deviations from the OPPLAN now proceed to the following coordinates and advise me when you have reached the beach. Also stand by for a FRAGO2" When one of my team gave them the coordinates, we watched as the zodiac changed course. I smiled and looked at Sgt. Reynolds when he said…


2 FRAGO – Fragmentary Order Change – a change to the initial OPPLAN which happens frequently.


Flashback – Jack – Command OP


Shit! I hope Banzai didn't fuck up. I needed to do some damage control so I commented, "Sir! I don't know the entire OPPLAN, but from the little I heard from Banzai it was seriously FUBARed and I think he did the right thing."


The Major continued to smile and replied, "Sgt. Reynolds relax, the L.Cpl. without knowing it did exactly what we were going to do if I was running the mission. However I might have used a little more tact and subterfuge than he did. Now watch and observe how we work, because I need to do a couple things."


The Major ordered his team, "Please notify the Royal Bahamas Police that they can now intercept the destroyer." We saw a ship leave Bimini and head toward the destroyer.


One of the team announced, "Sir! The Captain of the destroyer has seen the police launch headed in the direction of his ship and is questioning what he should do."


The Major called, "Skull candy this is Graveyard acknowledge and prepare for FRAGO."


Banzai replied, "Skull candy ready for FRAGO."


The Major continued, "First I compliment you on your insight to leave early. The Royal Bahamas Police is on its way to confront the destroyer and the destroyer will leave before any other teams are deployed. You are now the only team on this mission. When you arrive on the beach, you will rendezvous with our resource on the island. His location will be transferred to your computer. Finally when you complete the mission, you are to ex-fil in the zodiac and we will have a Martin P5M seaplane land and extract your team and the package. Good hunting!"


One of the team members announced, "Sir! The destroyer is bugging out."


I looked at the Major and asked, "Did you know Banzai was going to commandeer the zodiac early?"


He smiled and said, "I was about ninety percent sure he would, because it was the right thing to do."


One of the team said, "Sir! Everyone's trying to figure out which team left the destroyer."


The Major ordered, "I need to take care of this. While I'm gone the Sgt. is in command."


I was shocked as the Major left the room leaving me in command: I don't even know this mission!


No sooner did the Major leave the room, than the shit hit the fan. One of the team announced, "Sgt., it appears the Royal Bahamas Police vessel has changed course and is heading after the zodiac."


Shit! What to do now! I questioned, "Will the zodiac beat the police boat to the island."


The team member replied, "Yes Sir they will easily outrun the police ship to the island."


I thought for a moment and asked, "A zodiac is a pretty small target on the ocean, do we have any idea how they are tracking the zodiac?"


The team member answered, "I am not sure Sgt., may I speculate?"


I replied, "Hell yes, speculate away."


He answered, "Sgt. they can't be tracking the zodiac from radar because it's radar signature is too small. I would guess they have someone on the shore with binoculars that sees the zodiac and is directing the police ship."


I thought for a moment and asked, "Is there a secondary landing location?"


They responded, "Yes Sgt. there is however it will delay the mission."


I asked another question, "If the zodiac is destroyed after the team lands, is there a way to supply the team with a new zodiac?"


One of the team answered, "There is a chance the seaplane could drop one to them."


I made my decision and called, "Skull candy this is Graveyard acknowledge and standby for a FRAGO."


Flashback – Ben – Mission


Jack surprised me when came on the radio and I replied, "Graveyard it's good to hear you. Skull candy acknowledges and is ready for FRAGO."


Jack said, "Skull candy the police boat has changed course and is pursuing your zodiac. Reach the beach as soon as possible, hide the zodiac and move your ORP further inland. If the zodiac is destroyed, we will try our best to air drop one into you for ex-fil."


I replied, "Message understood Graveyard."


Tom was driving the zodiac so I turned, looked at him and yelled, "Kick this thing in the ass, we have a police boat after us."


He said, "Grab on to something because this is going to get rough." Then the zodiac took off like it was a bumper car being driven by a drunken sailor.


I yelled at Howard, "Give me a hand with this." We grabbed some supplies out of the ORP drag bag and set them up.


Howard laughed and said, "Don't tell me."


I laughed right back and answered, "Okay I won't…"


Flashback – Major M – Command OP


The bureaucrats had their tits in a wringer! They were upset as hell that only one team (my team) got off the destroyer. Before they could do something stupid (which is the norm for bureaucrats), I called and assured them I had everything under control and that we'd soon rescue the Senator's daughter.


Then I watched as Sgt. Reynolds handled the issue with the Royal Bahamas Police boat. It was a good thing I let him take care of it, because the damn bastards double-crossed me when they went after the zodiac and I probably would have ordered the destroyer back to blow the bastards out of the water. Even though he didn't know the OPPLAN, he asked the right questions and made the right decisions.


I walked back into the command room, took my seat beside him and laid on the praise, "Sgt. Reynolds, you did a hell-of-a-job while I was gone. I couldn't have done better."


He answered, "Thank you Sir! I could have done better if I had known the whole OPPLAN."


I replied, "Sgt. from now on you and L.Cpl. Blaine will not only know the whole OPPLAN, you will help me develop it."


One of my team announced, "Sir, the zodiac has reached the beach."


We watched and expected to see the zodiac hauled up on the beach, but we were surprised when it left the beach and headed back out into the ocean.


I asked, "Does anyone know what's going on?"


Not one of my team answered, then Sgt. Reynolds remarked, "I would say that Banzai has improvised."


I ordered, "Show me the location of the tracking device in Skull candies clothes and radio."


The map changed and showed the radio tracker was on the beach and the clothes tracker was in the zodiac with the damn police boat closing on the zodiac. Next thing we knew there was a flash, the zodiac and tracking device disappeared and the Royal Bahamas Police ship slowed. One of my team announced, "Sir! The Royal Bahamas Police craft is broadcasting a distress call. They have been disabled and are sinking."


I looked at Sgt. Reynolds and asked, "Sgt. Reynolds, your analysis on what just happened."


Flashback – Ben – Mission


The minute we hit the beach, I threw all the clothes the Major gave me into the zodiac. Then we turned it around, opened the throttle and sent it back out into the ocean and watched. The police boat didn't even slow up but started firing on the zodiac as soon as they were in range. I let Howard detonate the claymores we attached to the front of the zodiac. He jumped up and down and said, "Damn! That fucked up those bastards!"


I just finished getting into the clean gear my guys brought me. Tom checked everything and said, "Don't you think you'd better contact the Major?"


I laughed and said, "Yeah he's probably pissing in his REMF panties."


I called, "Graveyard this is Skull candy acknowledge."


The Major was back and replied, "Skull candy this is Graveyard. You had us worried for a few minutes. That was an interesting tactical move."


I answered, "Graveyard, I kept the radio so I know you knew we were still on the beach. And disabling the police ship was necessary collateral damage to keep them from pursuing us and endangering the mission. We placed the mines in such a way that we hoped we didn't kill anyone. We are also notifying you we have reached the beach and will deploy further inland and set up the ORP. Your tac-radio with the tracking device inside will be left with my team member at the ORP and he will forward any FRAGO's to the rest of the team."


The Major complained, "Skull candy the change of the radio is not acceptable."


I tapped on the mic, scratched on it with my fingernail and answered, "Sorry Graveyard you're breaking up, it must be solar flares. I will try to establish contact again at the location of our ORP."


Flashback – Jack – Command OP


It was all I could do to keep from laughing my ass off. Banzai pulled the bad radio reception trick and the Major was majorly pissed. He asked his team, "Are they really having radio interference?"


One of the team members announced, "Sir! We do seem to be having some issues with the reception of the radio which we don't understand. It seemed fine during his last broadcast then the signal gain rapidly decreased and now we can't even get a fix on their position."


Damn! I was sure Banzai pulled one of the tricks I'd taught him and I had to bite my lip to keep from smiling. I asked, "Sir, permission to use the latrine and get a cup of coffee."


He answered, "Sgt., permission granted. Just make sure to take the guard with you because you're still not cleared to freely roam the hallways of this building."


I headed to the latrine and finally I could openly laugh…


Flashback – Ben – Mission


We headed inland and as luck would have it the area was pretty deserted. About a half a klick from the beach, we found an empty house. I ordered, "Cover me." Then I pulled the lockpick set out of my pack and went to work. A couple minutes later the door was open and we proceeded to check the house. Once we were sure it was empty I said, "Okay Tom, here's the lead lined film bag with the tac-radio in it. Unfortunately you're going to catch the brunt of the Major's wrath when you take the radio out of the bag."


He interrupted me and complained, "Thanks a hell of a lot!"


I laughed and said, "Just remember he doesn't really know who the hell you are so if he starts acting too much like a pissy little girl, just give him some shit and throw the radio back in the bag. Once we get the Marine's position it's not like we need anything from him until ex-fil."


Howard asked, "By the way, have you figured out just how we're going to ex-fil?"


I laughed and said, "Hell yes I did and you two are going to love it." Unlike the Major, I told the guys and they did just about bust their guts from laughter.


Tom had the computer up and said, "Just as we thought, those bastards tried to snag our location from the computer. But I took care of that before I connected to the satellite uplink. Here's the location of the Marine who's watching the girl and this is the building they're holding her in."


I asked, "Okay Tom give us a route to the Marine and the building. Howard let's get out of this gear and into something that fits more with our Spring Break paradise."


We changed out of our tactical gear and into very loose fitting summer shirts, shorts and beach shoes. Now we looked like a couple of tourists. I looked at my rifles and decided on this urban mission my M40 would be a hindrance so I left it and unpacked my Whisper. We left our long term gear and tossed all our essential gear and rifles into a couple duffle bags, grabbed them and headed towards our AO (Area of Operation) to meet up with the other Marine and see what intel he had for us…


Flashback – Major M – Command OP


One of my team announced, "Sir, we have excellent radio signal again."


And we heard a different voice say, "Graveyard this is Skull candy ORP acknowledge."


I replied, "I don't know who you are, I need to speak with the team leader."


He answered, "Sorry Graveyard, but Skull candy leader is currently on mission and unavailable. However if you're nice to me, I will relay any messages to him."


What the hell! Be nice to him, I'll nicely kick his ass! I muted the mic and asked my team, "Any luck on getting his location from his computer?"


I almost detected laughter in my team member's voice when he said, "No Sir! His computer reports his position as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington DC."


I blinked my eyes and said, "You're telling me his computer says they are in the White House? How in the hell are they doing that?"


My team member answered, "Sir! We are still trying to figure this out. But given enough time we're sure we can find the actual location."


I called, "Skull candy ORP, please give us your current latitude and longitude."


He replied, "Graveyard, it's 38° 53' 53.3" north latitude and 77° 02' 09.9" west longitude."

The coordinates didn't sound right, but then my team member announced, "Sir that's the latitude and longitude of the White House."


I started swearing, "Skull candy ORP, what the fuck…"


He interrupted and said, "Graveyard, your signals breaking up again, it must be sunspot activity." And the next thing we knew the radio went dead.


I asked, "Tell me we got a fix on him from the tac-radio?"


My team announced, "No Sir something is blocking the GPS signal from the tac-radio."


I looked at Sgt. Reynolds and could tell he was fighting back laughter.


So I asked…


Flashback – Jack – Command OP


Shit! I let the cat out of the bag and couldn't control my laughter. Major M figured it out and asked, "Sgt. Reynolds you'd better not lie to me. Do you have any information on what's happening?"


I already knew better than to lie so I told the truth, "Yes Sir I do, permission to speak freely."


He nodded his head and said, "Speak Sgt."


I answered, "Sir, Banzai could do this mission in his sleep and doesn't need you holding his hand or talking into his ear distracting him. That and the tracking device you have in your tac-radio is why he left it at the ORP. He will call the ORP if he has any questions or needs any help."


The Major continued, "Do you know how they are blocking the radio signal and who the rude person is at the ORP?"


I replied, "Sir, I do not know who is manning the ORP but would suggest if you want any information from him, you'd better not yell at him. They are dropping the tac-radio into a lead lined pouch used to protect camera film from the x-ray scanners at the airports."


I had the attention of the team and one of them asked, "Do you know how they have the computer reporting a false location?" Another asked, "And how are they blocking the GPS signal from the tac-radio."


I had a good idea how they spoofed the GPS location. Someone (not Banzai because he wasn't that good) substituted their own computer for the computer the Major provided for the mission. They had to grab the information they needed off the Major's computer while they were on the tin can. This computer must have its fake GPS location hard coded into the software. However I had no idea how he blocked the tac-radio's GPS signals.


Yeah, I could have told the Major, but until this mission was over and I made sure that Banzai or I didn't end up getting bent over again. The Major's still provisional. So I lied and answered, "Sorry guys, I'm just an old fart and don't know anything about computers or blocking GPS signals."


Major M asked, "Well, since you're the only one here who seems to know anything at all about what's going on, what do you suggest we do?"


I replied, "Well if I was running this mission I would give everyone a break and leave rotating people manning the radio. Because Banzai kept your tac-radio he will call his ORP when he needs anything or has anything to report. But knowing him, we probably won't hear from him until he's ready to ex-fil."


The Major added, "That was my next question. With the zodiac gone, how the hell is he going to ex-fil?"


I smiled and explained, "You can bet he's already figured something out. Now Sir, if you don't mind I'm going to take a nap because I didn't get much sleep last night. Have your team wake me when Banzai reports."


I crawled off to the back of the command center, found a nice looking piece of carpet and sacked out…


Flashback – Mira – After conversation with Ira


Ira provided me with interesting information. It appeared there was tremendous turmoil taking place on a little island called Bimini located a small number of kilometers away from the state of Florida.


A naval vessel was chased away by a police boat, but then the police vessel decided to pursue a smaller vessel. When they attempted to capture the smaller vessel, it explosively detonated and devastatingly destroyed the smaller vessel while seriously damaging the police vessel. Concerns consumed me that my L.Cpl. was on that smaller destroyed vessel. These concerns were not ameliorated to any degree by my continued cranky cranium.


I exhausted my limited resources at the intelligence educational institution then attempted again to contact my sister Ira without success. That was atypical behavior for her and I postulated that she was providing educational training in response to my failure to answer her multiple phone calls the previous night…


Flashback – Ben – Mission


So far my OPPLAN worked perfectly because we fit right into the spring break scene on Bimini. Hell we were even being hit on by drunk and horny college girls. Most of them wondered what we had in our bags. We lied and told them it was video equipment and asked them to meet us at the docks in the early afternoon. We had them promise to bring all their friends because we were going to hold a contest to find the most beautiful co-ed on Bimini. That bit of news sent them scurrying to put on their makeup and find their smallest bikinis.


We finally reached the building where the other Marine was located. I called Tom on our tac-radios and asked, "ORP do you have any more news on our mystery man?"


He answered, "One minute, I will contact the Graveyard."


Howard grinned and said, "I wonder how pissed off he made the Major?"


I didn't get a chance to reply because Tom came back and answered, "Graveyard called him and verified he's still in the same position. I would approach with caution because he could be a 'Major' hostile."


I answered, "Message received and understood ORP and will follow the suggestion."


I looked at Howard and ordered, "Okay let's see if this guy's going to be a 'Major' problem."


Normally we would have changed into our tactical gear and that would have worked well during a night mission. However for a daylight mission like this, the tactical gear would have attracted more attention than shit attracted flies – attention that we didn't need. However we did need to change some things. We entered an empty room that reeked of booze and sex, pulled on our t-shirts and tactical vests and put our loose fitting summer shirts over the top of everything. The shorts weren't going to work so we changed into our tactical pants and added our elbow, knee pads and boots.


I ordered, "Lock and load, it's time to go hot. I'll take lead as we head to the roof and you cover my six."


Howard asked, "What the challenge response?"


I replied, "Yours is Pain and mine is Major. Now let's go check out this Marine. If he gives us any shit we're going to put some Major hurt on him."


Howard chuckled, "I like that Major Pain."


We worked our way to the roof and I slowly and silently slipped open the door and pied the roof with my periscope. I saw him sitting under an umbrella in a lawn chair with a drink in his hand.


I moved back inside and whispered, "Howard this guy's pretty smart. He's acting like a college kid resting on the roof. There also a guard with weapons on the roof across from us where the girl is being held. I'm going to crawl across the roof and make contact with this guy."


I slipped out onto the roof and began my crawl towards our contact. I got right behind him and whispered, "You look damn comfortable."


To his credit he only jumped slightly, picked up his drink and replied, "Damn! You guys are good. I knew you were coming and I still didn't hear you. I don't know what you did to piss off the Major, but he told me I was supposed to tell you that payback's a bitch. But I wouldn't worry, he said it in such a way that I think he's going to try to pull a prank on you."


I answered, "He doesn't like the fact that he can't tell us what the fuck to do like a couple of trained monkeys. And if he thinks he can prank me then he can come and get some. I'm B and my other team member is H. Since he hasn't told us jack squat about this mission, what sort of sitrep can you give me."


He answered, "I'm G and other than when I went behind the stairwell to piss, I've been here the whole time. They have one guard on the roof and change shifts every two hours. So far I've counted four different guards on the roof. I've kept an eye on the windows and the only movement I've seen is on the third floor, so I think that's where she's being held. There was an original group of six that took her and I've counted another five which have come in a vehicle for a confirmed, but not solid total of eleven."


I said, "G that's not bad, now stay still because I'm going to rise up behind you and glass the building over your right shoulder."


I use my binocs to check out the sentry on the roof and asked, "This guy looks to be carrying a battle rifle and a pistol, are they all armed this well?"


G replied, "Yeah they all seem to carry the same weapons. Did you guys bring a rifle for me?"


I continued to watch the sentry patrol and said, "No, we didn't have room for an extra rifle."


I called on my tac-radio and informed Howard and Tom of the situation and asked, "ORP is there any way you can cut the power to the building? I'd love to kill the air conditioning and heat things up in that building so they'd have to open the windows."


Tom replied, "Not without a direct connection to the power grid."


I watched the sentry's route, came up with an idea and said, "ORP, that's okay I think I figured out my own way to take out the power."


I told G, "Now I'm going to slip my rifle up over your right shoulder, you need to sit perfectly still."


G complained, "Won't it blow my ears out."


I answered, "Hell no, it's subsonic suppressed."


I slipped my rifle up over G's shoulder, used the mildots on my scope to range the sentry on the roof and waited. You see, he walked the exact same circular route and performed the exact same procedures on every circle. He made a point to lean over the edge of the roof and observe the ground around the building and I was going to use that fact to kill their fucking power.


I waited and warned G, "Okay don't even fucking breathe." When the sentry leaned over, I touched off a shot, hit him square in the head and watched as he tumbled off the roof and onto the main power lines for the area. He shorted the hell out of the lines, and even up here you could hear him sizzle like bacon in a skillet. Sparks erupted and all the buildings went dark. G remarked, "Damn! That was a hell of a shot!"


I barked, "Don't talk, there's someone else coming out on the roof to see what's happening."


I watched as the new sentry ran to the edge of the roof, looked over the edge, saw the other guy hanging from the power lines. When he realized that the other guard was still burning, he then puked his guts out. I toyed with taking him out but decided it would be better if he was allowed to head back into the building and tell the others what happened. I called on my radio, "H head downstairs, prepare to cross the street and in-fil the building."


I pulled an extra tac-radio out of my pack, handed it to G and said, "You need to keep an eye on that building and let me know on which floors and locations they open the windows. And if anything changes or if another sentry comes out on the roof call us immediately. Do you have any questions?"


G asked, "Am I going to ex-fil with your team?"


I answered, "No, there's no reason for you to leave unless it becomes an all-out war, then we will call you on the radio and tell you where to meet us. Otherwise when this is over just slip off the roof, head back to your hotel and forget we were ever here."


I headed downstairs to regroup with Howard and was surprised there was no one around. I called, "H where are you and where the hell is everyone else?"


He replied, "B I'm standing by the alley door waiting for you and everyone else is out looking at the guy hanging in the power lines."


I ran down the stairs, joined Howard, watched the crowd and said, "Well I guess my little plan worked better than expected. I didn't think about it attracting the attention of everyone that was here."


We watched as the kids took pictures with their mobile phones which would soon end up on the Internet and Howard remarked, "Now that's just fucked up - wait look at that."


Three of the OPFORs came out of the target building (unarmed) and started yelling at the kids. I said, "Now's our chance!" We opened the door, sprinted across the alley and into the doorway of the target building.


Our tac-radios crackled, "B this is G there are two sentries on the roof. However they aren't patrolling, they are busy watching the kids in the street."


I was concerned and asked, "Are they targeting any of the kids?"


G replied, "Negative, they are just looking and pointing at the guy you shot. I think they are trying to figure out how to get him down."


I questioned, "Have they opened any of the windows yet."


G answered, "Negative."


I didn't like the fact that we still weren't sure where the Senator's daughter was, but we had already confused and separated the OPFORs, eliminated one of them and had reached the doorway of the building. Howard pied the room with his periscope and said, "Their weapons are unguarded on a table in the middle of the room."


I ordered, "Howard these three are yours. Take my rifle, in-fil the room and prepare for a hasty ambush."


I gave him about a minute to get into location, then I walked into the crowd where the three OPFORs were still yelling at the kids and the kids were taunting them. I looked up at the guy in the power lines and yelled, "OMG that's so gross, I think I'm going to puke! Where's a bathroom?" And then I sprinted towards the doorway of their building.


My act had the desired effect and the bastards yelled, "Hey stupid kid, you can't go into that building."


I called on my tac-radio, "Major! H, I'm headed through the doorway now with the three OPFORs on my ass. Don't blue on blue me."


Howard answered, "Pain!"


I ran through the doorway and kept moving towards the exit in the back of the room. The three OPFORs stormed in behind me, I heard Howard's suppressed rifle spit its deadly rounds three times and the OPFOR's were down."


I came back into the room and re-acquired my rifle from the table in the middle of the room. Howard had already started moving the OPFORs to the corner of the room. I took the time to field strip the bolts from their weapons and tossed them in the corner of the room with the bodies. Then I moved to the doorway, locked the door and rigged a flashbang to trigger if the door was opened.


Many would feel the hard part of the mission was already over since we'd already successfully infiltrated the building. But we both knew that was the easy part: Now we had to clear the floors, find the girl and get her along with ourselves safely out of the building.


If the count that G gave us was anywhere close to being right, we were down to about 7 or so OPFORs left. I called, "G, are the two sentries still on the roof?"


He replied, "Affirmative. I will notify you if that changes."


It was getting muggy in the building so I asked, "Have they opened any windows yet."


G answered, "Negative."


Oh well, so much for that part of my OPPLAN. Howard and I began moving through the first floor of the building using bounding overwatch, pied each room with our periscopes and got a feeling for the layout of the building.


With the power being out the elevators didn't work - a bonus for the good guys! Just to make sure we wouldn't have any issues if the power came back on, I shot a couple holes in each elevator door adjacent to the frame then jammed a spent case part way into each hole.


We found the other entrance to the building. Howard locked the door and set up a flashbang to warn us if someone entered the building and moved to the stairwell. Stairwells can be real bastards to clear and this one was one of the worst I'd seen. It had a huge opening in the middle that went all the way to the roof so if you moved incorrectly, anyone on the stairway above would see you. I pied the hell out of it with my periscope, hugged the sidewall and worked my way slowly up the stairs stopping every couple steps to SLLS. Now was not the time to get sloppy!


I watched as Howard set another flashbang tripwire at the bottom of the first flight of stairs as an added precaution. I was at the intermediate landing and had eyes on the doorway for the second floor. I motioned for Howard to follow me, waited until he reached my location then hugged the wall and started to slip up to the second floor when I noticed a trip wire. I visually followed the trip wire and saw it was connected to a fragmentation grenade - now I understood why these OPFORs didn't post sentries on the stairs. It also told me the OPFORs for the most part were staying put. Otherwise they would have disabled the grenade. I double checked to make sure the trap wasn't an even better trap, reached down, grabbed the grenade and clipped the trip wire. We then continued up to the second floor door.


Opening a door, without knowing what's on the other side is always dangerous. I touched the doorknob, started to open the door, then stopped and decided taking the time to clear the second floor right now was an unnecessary risk. I pulled out a flashbang and set a trip wire across the second floor door. Howard came up to me, we pied the stairwell and I moved to the next intermediate landing. I motioned Howard to me, then I motioned for him to hold pos and SLLS. I was going to head to the roof and take out the other two sentries before we in-filled the third floor.


I reached the roof access, pied the roof and saw not two OPFORs, but three OPFORs on the roof. G fucked up and didn't tell us someone else came up on the roof. Three shots later the OPFORs were down. I called, "Team change freq." I changed to the next arranged frequency and waited until I heard, "This is H change good." Then I heard, "This is ORP change good."


I replied, "G fucked up as there were three OPFORs on the roof so he's now off the mission."


Tom replied, "That's good because until you killed the power to the whole island I think he had been using his mobile phone to tell OP command what we are doing."


I said, "Shit! The bastard! I didn't even think of that. And are you telling me all the power's out on the island?"


Tom replied, "It sure as hell is. That's the only reason you guys don't have police swarming all over the place."


I asked, "So what's going on then."

Tom laughed, "Shit! The college kids are using this opportunity to their advantage and are raising hell in the streets. The police are too busy trying to keep the kids from fucking up everything so they don't have time to mess with you guys.


I made sure the roof was clear, and took the time to setup a rappel line at one edge of the roof just in case we needed it. There was no need to set a tripwire on the roof so I headed back inside and approached the third floor door.


Howard crept up the stairs so his head was level with the landing and we were as ready as we'd ever be. I slowly turned the doorknob and opened the door just enough to pie the room with my periscope, sure enough there was a guard scanning the room. I pulled the periscope back in, signaled Howard, slowly opened the door and shot the OPFOR bastard. Howard joined me at the doorway, I slipped into the room and then one of the flashbangs triggered below us. I ducked around the corner of a wall as three guys boiled out of a room and Howard and I opened up on them.


A second flashbang went off and this one echoed in the stairwell. I looked at Howard and said, "The bastards are coming up the stairs, you hold them off while I find the girl." Howard headed into the stairwell and must have started dropping grenades down the stairs because it sounded like fucking World War Three! I headed towards the room the three OPFORs came from - chances were the girl would be in there if she was anywhere. I reached the doorway, pied the room with my periscope and there she was, tied to a chair. And I couldn't believe what else I saw in the room…


I called, "Guys I have eyes on the girl but the bastard OPFORs have her wired. H, how are you doing?"


I heard a couple more explosions in the stairwell and he answered, "B, I could sure use your grenades."


Tom added, "There's still chaos in the streets and the police are busy as hell. But with all the noise you guys are making I bet they're going to head in your direction soon."


I ran back, gave Howard my grenades and said, "This is going to take at least ten minutes, do you think you can hold them off that long?"


He answered, "Do I really have a choice?"


I yelled, "Semper Fi!" and headed back into the room with the girl. I walked around in front of her, waved and said, "We're here to rescue you."


She motioned with her eyes towards the bombs and I answered, "Yeah I can see them and if they had a way to set them they also had a way to remove them."

 I reached over, pulled the gag out of her mouth and she said, "Thank God you guys are here. They told me if I moved at all the bomb would go off."


I answered, "Miss, you really need to keep quiet so I can concentrate on disarming this bomb." I studied it then asked, "What did they do when you needed to go to the toilet?"


She replied, "I'm not sure, they always blindfolded me first. Then they lead me to the toilet, watched me and made rude comments."


I continued and questioned, "How long did it take for them to get you out of the chair?"


She answered, "Oh not long just about a minute or so."


I reached up, pinched off a piece of the explosive, rolled it in my fingers and laughed. She looked at me and questioned, "What's so funny."


I answered, "Well it didn't make sense for them to cover you with explosives and yet remain in the same room with you. If this much explosive went off it would have killed not only you, it would have also killed them. This whole bomb was just a fake to scare you."


She looked at me in disbelief and asked, "Are you sure?"


I answered, "Hell yes, this is just modeling clay. Now let's get this fake bomb off you and get the hell out of here."


She was still scared as hell as I removed the fake bomb. We ran to the stairwell and Howard remarked, "That was a fast ten minutes."


I answered, "The bomb was fake. Now let's head to the roof and get out of here. Give us three minutes then follow."


We ran to the roof where I told the girl, "We're going to rappel off the side of the building to the ground, you need to hop on my back and hold on like hell to my neck." I checked the ground and all I saw were college kids watching the building from a distance. I threw the rope over the side of the building, took a short piece of webbing out of my essentials pack and tied it around the girl using a bowline knot. Then I connected my rappel device to the molle straps on the front of my tactical vest, threaded the rope through the rappel device, looped the webbing attached to the girl around my body and ordered, "Hold on tight." She grabbed the hell out of me with her arms and even wrapped her legs around my waist. We went over the side of the building and less than thirty seconds later were on the ground. I ordered, "Stay down on the ground behind me." And pulled up my rifle, covered the area and waited for Howard.


I scanned the crowd and watched as the fucking college kids filmed us with those damn ubiquitous camera phones they had and wanted to shoot each and every one of them. Howard hit the ground beside us and I said, "Let's get the hell out of here. Miss you stay right behind us and hit the ground if anyone fires a weapon."


I called, "ORP acknowledge primary mission partially completed we have the girl and she is in good health. Secondary mission totally completed, all OPFORs eliminated. Notify Graveyard and meet us at the ex-fil rendezvous."


Tom replied, "ORP acknowledges message will relay and see you soon…"


Flashback – Major M – Command OP


We did take the Sgt.'s advice and took a short break, until Skull candy reached Geoff the Marine on the roof. Then he provided real time intel to us from his mobile phone. The reports sounded good until the whole island lost power and the mobile phones went dead. After that we watched as the island appeared to descend into anarchy. We could see people running in the streets and small fires broke out everywhere.


I remarked, "I don't know what the hell happened, but it looks like the whole island is a huge mess."


Sgt. Reynolds laughed, "I would say Banzai has done his usual thorough job."


I questioned, "Explain yourself."


Sgt. Reynolds elaborated, "Knowing Banzai like I do, he probably did something to take out the power in the AO building to give them a tactical advantage. Whatever he did, he did too well and it knocked out the power for the whole island. But this will be a blessing in disguise because the police are going to be so busy taking care of the looting and rioting that they won't have time to go after Banzai's team."


I answered, "That's a good analysis Sgt. do you feel he has an ex-fil plan?"


The Sgt. replied, "Oh hell yes I'm sure he does. He knows to never go into any mission without having a firm exit strategy."


We continued waiting and finally received a tac-radio transmission, "Graveyard, this is Skull candy ORP acknowledge and prepare for a mission sitrep."


I replied, "Graveyard acknowledges and awaits sitrep."


ORP announced, "Graveyard, primary objective is in process. The girl has been recovered, is in good health and she and Skull candy team are in transit to ex-fil. Secondary mission is completed – all OPFORs were eliminated. ORP is dismantled so expect next communication when ready for extraction."


Then the radio went dead again. I didn't think we would, but I still asked, "Do we have an accurate location on any of the team?"


My team member replied, "No Sir! The computer is shut down and the GPS from the handset is still being jammed."


Sgt. Reynolds remarked, "If I was running this mission, I would tell the boys in the seaplane to keep their engines warm and let everyone else take a break because other than the extraction this mission is as good as over."


I looked at my team and said, "You all heard the Sgt., call the seaplane, work out a com rotation and the rest of you take a break."


Sgt. Reynolds headed to the back to take a nap and I decided it was a good time to grab a cup of coffee and talk to the bureaucrats…


Flashback – Mira – Late afternoon day eight


I was terrifically troubled! My sister Ira would still not answer her phone. I think she was being a petulant child to make me maximally miffed. The school impeded my resources and I could not receive adequate information on Bimini. However there were tragic news reports about the island losing all electrical power and descending into a state of anarchy. If the malodorous Major ordered my boyfriend there and if he becomes damaged, I will acquire retribution for all my hostilities on him utilizing very slow and extremely agonizing methods. As I cogitated further about which methods I would employ, there was a knock on my door. Without thinking I threw open the door and what in Hades…


Flashback – Major M – Command OP


I just finished my call, headed back into OP command and studied the satellite feed. I asked the tech on duty, "What's that ship leaving the port?"


He answered, "Sir it appears to be the second Royal Bahamas Police boat."


The Sgt. wandered up from his nap and asked, "Is something going on?"


I mentioned, "The second Royal Bahamas Police boat just left the port."


He laughed and said, "I'll bet you a hundred bucks that Banzai's commandeered the police boat."


I shook his hand and said, "I'll take that bet." And no sooner had I finished, than we got a tac-radio transmission from the L.Cpl., "Graveyard this is Skull candy. I heard you guys might have a seaplane waiting for passengers." The tac-radio's GPS came back online and showed the position to be the police launch.


I ordered the tech, "Get everyone back in here right now, call the seaplane and tell them to rendezvous with the Royal Bahamas Police boat."


I replied, "Skull candy it's good to hear from you, congratulations on the mission. I can't wait to shake you and your team's hands."


The L.Cpl. laughed, "Good try Sir! But you know my team won't be landing with me…"


Flashback – Ben – End of mission – day eight spook school


Yeah we commandeered the second and last Royal Bahamas Police boat. After all, it was just sitting on the docks unguarded and taking it seemed like the right thing to do. Besides it's not like we sunk this one like the first one even though Howard wanted to drop a couple frags on it when we left.


The mission and the excitement were over. Now nothing was left but the boring travel back to Washington. I did get Major M to call and authorize dropping the guys off early. It was a good thing he cooperated or I would have insisted with the help of Mr. 45.


We spent the rest of the time shooting the breeze. I'd really enjoyed working with Tom and Howard and would miss the hell out of them. We laughed about all the good times we'd had at the school and they gave me some good advice.


The pilot announced, "We're going to be landing in ten minutes."


Tom said, "I suppose we need to give the gear back."


I answered, "Look you guys keep it because you've earned it."


Howard remarked, "Hey thanks this is a great rifle and I was looking forward to using it some more."


The plane touched down, taxied to a stop Tom and Howard jumped up. We bumped fists and yelled, "Semper Fi until we die hang them high and eighth and I."


They left the plane, and as I sat back down I really missed Tom and Howard. No wait that's not exactly right! I realized I really missed Mira! I checked my watch and realized it would be too late for dinner so once again I'd miss her costume, but yes I couldn't wait to see her!


It seemed like it took forever to get to the airport and then drop the girl off. Her dad, the Senator was there, shook my hand and congratulated me. The two of them left together then Major M said, "L.Cpl. we need to debrief you."


I gave Jack and exasperated look, and Jack said, "Sir, Banzai's tired and if this could wait until tomorrow I think he'd appreciate it."


The Major looked at me and answered, "Sure, what the hell, tomorrow will be soon enough. L.Cpl., return to the school and rest."


Jack said, "Come on Banzai it's time we get you back to the school."


And for once I really was glad to be heading back to the school but not because of the school. It was because soon I would be with Mira. We climbed in the chopper for the short ride back. Jack looked at me and asked, "Banzai, what's on your mind?"


I looked at him, and knew I couldn't tell him so I requested, "Jack, not right now." And we rode the rest of the way in silence.


I was shocked when the chopper touched down because Mira wasn't there to greet me. I headed towards my room and said, "See you in the morning Jack."


I walked to our room, opened the door and there she was. Mira saw me, walked towards me and asked, "L.Cpl. Blaine you have been indisposed all day and you are very late arriving back to my room. Now come inside because there are things which we must discuss."


As she turned away from me, I ran up behind her and put her in a guillotine choke hold. She fought like a wild woman for a few seconds before she passed out…