Chapter 19

Wanderer Chapter 19

 

Present – Stacy (Angelina) – On the road – Fredrick MD

 

Once again I am amazed at Paulo's luck! But how the heck did his bitch ex-fiancée find us. Once we are safely outside and a few blocks from the fast food restaurant, I decide it's time for me to do something. I stop Paulo and say, "Paulo, hold my pack and wait here for me. I'm going back to the fast food restaurant."

 

I notice he's fallen out of character as he argues, "Stacy, do you think it's wise. We've escaped and should just keep going."

 

I smile and say, "Paulo, the first thing is you need to get back into character. And second is that she looked right at me and didn't recognize me. I think I need to go back and see if I can figure out how they found us. By the way, who is the big guy with her?"

 

My gentle reminder snaps him back into character and he responds, "Angelina, that is Linus. He is ex-Navy Seal and is very dangerous. I still do not think you should go back to the restaurant."

 

I state, "Paulo, I am going and you can not stop me. I will be back in thirty minutes or less."

 

Present – Jens – Arrival in Fredrick MD

 

I frantically scan the mass of people on the sidewalks and I don't see anyone who looks remotely like my runaway fiancé. Finally I look over at Linus and complain, "Dammit Linus, we missed him. I could tell he was close to me."

 

Linus gives me 'the look' and asks, "Jens how the hell did you know it was Ben?"

 

He still doesn't believe me so I explain, "Linus, I just know and you're just going to have to believe me." I've lost my appetite and continue, "Linus, I'm not hungry anymore. Head to the car and I will meet you after I use the restroom."

 

I use the restroom and have a good cry about just missing my fucking runaway fiancé. As I start to clean up and repair my makeup some teenage girl walks in and says to me, "Hey aren't you the be-otch who's looking for her ex-fiancée? You did all those embarrassing commercials!"

 

I glare and correct her, "Excuse me miss, but he's still my fiancé and always will be until we're married."

 

She laughs and taunts, "Oh yeah, that's not what I heard. I heard he's the best man in the world and you were such a be-otch you drove him away."

 

Shit! She just nailed what I've really worried about and it hurts like hell. Was I really a be-otch like she said and did I really drive Ben away? He is the best man in the world, perhaps…

 

I never got to finish my thoughts because the bratty teenager continues, "So what are you doing here? Slumming for a man more your caliber?"

 

I'm still distracted so I miss her slam and aimlessly respond, "No, we had a tip from our computer program that my fiancé was here so we came to look for him."

 

She giggles and demands, "What makes you think he would ever want to see you again?"

 

She is one annoying little brat and I should kick her ass for her comments, but she's young and I sure as hell don't want to end up back in prison. So I taunt, "Hey didn't I hear your mama call and say your diapers needed changing?"

 

She snaps right back, "Well, I was going to be nice and tell you I saw him with a girl and I heard where they are going. But forget it be-otch."

 

As she starts to leave, I run over, block the door and threaten, "You'd better tell me what the hell you know or I'm going to kick your smart mouthed ass."

 

She gets a scared look on her face and I feel bad for threatening her, but she says, "I heard them talking about taking a plane to Las Vegas and getting married. Now let me out of here!"

 

Shit! Ben's going to marry the little bitch he was in bed with last night! We have to catch him before he makes the mistake of his life. I turn, throw open the door run out of the restaurant and jump into the car. I tell Linus, "We need to find the airport."

 

He responds, "What for?"

 

I frantically answer, "Linus, some girl just told me she overheard Ben say he was taking a flight to Las Vegas to marry the little bitch he was in bed with last night."

 

Linus speeds out of the parking lot- I just pray we're in time!

 

Present – Ben (Paulo) – On the road – Fredrick MD

 

At first I worry Stacy might be caught by Ms. Donaldson and Linus, but that slowly changes into a hope she will be caught. While traveling with her is a good disguise, especially since we changed her looks, it is also a danger in very many ways and a major pain in the ass. I've done an analysis and have come to the conclusion that having her with me is a total wash. I am close to a little park, so I take her pack over to a bench. I sit and wait to see if she returns in thirty - if she doesn't then I am leaving and the problem will be resolved.

 

Present – Stacy (Angelina) – On the road – Fredrick MD

 

Yeah I was a little bit mean to the bitch, but she deserves much worse than what I gave her! I could see the pain in Ben's eyes when he saw her and know she must have tortured him terribly. Anyway just like Ben takes care of me, I took care of him and successfully diverted the bitch! Ben will be so proud of me!

 

I was so happy I even skipped some as I headed back to find my mentor.

 

Present – Maria – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

I'm in no hurry to get back to the BSB. Working for my princess boss is great, but working for the BSB is a pain in my ass, and I sure as hell don't like pains in my ass. I found out from the security dudes that my princess boss lit out of here like her ass was on fire with Linus, whoever the fuck he is. As I wander some through the station to see what this place is like and I stumble into a room with two guys in it: They are messing with some videos. One of the videos is a hot as hell porn scene. They scramble to shut it off when they see me and I laugh and say, "Hey guys, how's it hanging?"

 

They both blush and one says, "Who are you? We haven't seen you around here before."

 

I give them a big smile and reply, "I'm Maria, Jennifer Donaldson's new personal assistant. Who are you two and what are you guys doing?"

 

The bold one answers, "I'm Turner and this is my good friend Hooch. We are two of the best video editors in the world."

 

I almost laugh since they have the same names as two characters in one of my favorite movies. I smile at them, lock the door and say, "Well, Turner and Hooch. I think you're both about to get lucky!"

 

Present – Megan – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

Where the hell is Maria? I sent her out to find out about Jens and Linus and now she's disappeared. I guess I will have to do this myself. I get up from my chair and head to the security office but find out virtually nothing – only that Jens took off with Linus in Linus's car. I had hoped they used a network car because they all have GPS units in them.

 

Dejectedly I head back to the office…

 

Present – Jack – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

It took longer dropping my family (damn that still sounds nice to me and makes me smile like I am the luckiest man in the world) off at the extended stay hotel. Masha needed to 'take care of my boo-boos and Vanya needed to tell me all about how brave he was. I really wanted to stay with them, but duty calls. It does feel damn nice doing something other than sitting on my ass in front of the computer. Helping Jens find a crazier than a moon-bat Banzai is a great job.

 

I walk into the office and it's changed for the worse. Someone has made a feeble attempt to girly it up and it's ended up as a bastardized, incoherent mishmash. Oh well, I only have to work here not live here. I sit down at the computer, log in and see that Linus's program is running so I start looking at the output. Megan walks in and I say, "Good to see you Megan, sorry about what my wife did to you. So where are Jens and Linus?"

 

She replies, "Jack, now that you're here I hope to find out. She took off with Linus and I have no idea where they are."

 

I ask, "Did you call her?"

 

Megan gives me an exasperated look and gruffly responds, "Yeah, she teased me and hung up the phone on me."

 

Damn is she cranky as hell tonight - must be from the ass whipping my wonderful wife gave her. I fight back a smile and say, "Well, let's see what this computer program has found." She comes over as I continue to sort through the output. After about ten minutes I get an idea and say, "Hey Jens has that new phone and I wonder…" I get distracted by my thoughts, fire up a browser and go out to latitude search and enter Jens' phone number. I turn, smile at Megan and say, "Well, it looks like we can use Jens' mobile phone's GPS to track her because she signed up for latitude. She's currently in Fredrick MD."

 

I flip back to the program, see the police report from Fredrick and shudder. Megan asks, "Jack, what's wrong?"

 

I decide it's probably better to not tell a shrink the total truth about what Banzai did so I lie, "Well, it looks like the program found a report about Ben and that's why they took off."

 

Maria walks into the room and I can tell that she and Megan haven't worked out their differences. Megan barks at her, "Where the hell have you been?"

 

Present – Maria – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

Duh-amn! I feel much better now! That is until I walk into the office and the BSB goes off on me. She gripes, "Where the hell have you been?"

 

I quickly sass, "Getting laid, you should try it some time. It might loosen your overly tight sphincter."

 

Megan just glares at me! I'm hoping like hell she'll pick a fight with me, but the old fart stands up and commands, "Okay you two, I've had enough of this bullshit and with Jens AWOL I'm taking command of this mission. You two have lost the focus of why we are here: We are here to help Jens find Banzai, not to fight each other. Now get your heads out of your asses and let's start working as a team."

 

Megan finally admits, "Jack you're right, we need to concentrate on helping Jens."

 

Jack continues, "Okay Megan, I think we need to have a long overdue talk about the twins who are working for Liz. Are you part of the team or not Maria?"

 

I respond, "It's about time we talk about the twisted sisters! They've bothered the hell out of me since the first time I met them."

 

Jack laughs at my name for them. Megan questions, "Jack, don't you think we need to do something about Jens?"

 

He shakes his head and replies, "Megan, Jens is going to be fine because she is with Linus and it's probably better she's not here to hear about Mira."

 

I can respect that Jack has taken command, anything is better than the uppity BSB. We sit, he tells us a very interesting story and I start to understand why the hell I don't like the twisted sisters. And I'm also glad I haven't called them out… yet.

 

Present – Stacy (Angelina) – On the road – Fredrick MD

 

I excitedly tell Paulo all about my escapade and I cannot tell if he's happy about it or not. Sometimes he is such a mystery to me because it's like he still cares for her! How could that be after all she did to him?

 

We're walking along the street; Ben turns to me and says, "Stacy, we need to wait here until the gun shop is empty." This time I don't bother him about falling out of character because it seems like he did it on purpose.

 

So we stand around across the street from the gun shop and wait. Finally Ben says, "Good, it's empty. Follow me and when we enter the shop, don't be afraid and don't say anything."

 

As we walk into the shop, I hear a shotgun being racked and the proprietor says, "I've been watching you two casing my shop from across the street. Don't even try anything."

 

Ben raises his hands and I do the same. We walk towards the proprietor and Ben explains, "I know you were watching and I wanted you to see us."

 

He glares at us and asks, "Marine?"

 

Ben replies, "Yes Sir, Recon!"

 

He laughs and replies, "Shit, then you did let me see you. What was your MOS1?"

 

1 Military Occupational Specialty

 

Ben proudly replies, "Zero-three-one-seven."

 

The proprietor smiles and says, "Isn't that the new designation for eighty-five-forty-one?"

 

Ben answers, "Yes Sir!"

 

The proprietor puts down the shotgun and says, "Don't call me sir again - I work for a living. Call me Gunny. So, you're a Scout Sniper, you back from OIF2?"

 

2 Operation Iraqi Freedom?

 

Ben replies, "Yes Gunny four tours, got my arm fucked up on the last one and Mother Green sent me home."

 

Gunny tilts his head, smiles and says, "Shit! I didn't recognize you at first with that scruffy looking hair and little mustache…"

 

Ben interrupts, "And I hope you never remember us after we leave. I have a big favor to ask if it won't get you in trouble."

 

Gunny nods his head, "Remember what? Now what the hell can I do for you two?"

 

Ben smiles and answers, "Well, we are headed down south and we need a couple things to make our trip more enjoyable, but only if it doesn't get you in trouble with the BATF."

 

Gunny replies, "So you haven't totally hung it up. That's damn good news because they can sure as hell use your expertise down there. And fuck the BATF! They can't keep me from giving you something from my private collection. What are you thinking of?"

 

I wasn't really sure what Ben and Gunny were talking about, but as I was ordered, I kept my mouth shut.

 

Ben starts, "Well, we could use some sort of sidearm for her and I could use some sort of portable rifle. It needs to be something I can pick up ammo for and will easily fit in my pack."

 

Gunny looks at me, laughs and says, "Well, since she pees sitting down how about a Beretta M93?"

 

3 Beretta M9 – The current sidearm carried by most American troops. Unfortunately it's a 9mm.

 

I sass him, "Hey, some of us can pee standing up!"

 

Gunny laughs, "Well, it looks like she can talk after all. And if you can do that little lady, then my hat's off to you and I'd sure as hell like to see that!"

 

I blush like crazy at his flirt but Ben interjects and saves me, "I told her not to talk because I didn't want you to be bothered."

 

Gunny smiles and declares, "And since when is getting talked to by a sweet young thing a bother?"

 

Ben ignores his comment and continues, "So what about a rifle?"

 

Gunny looks at Ben's pack, scratches his beard and comments, "Well, I know what you'd like to have, but there's no way to fit it in your pack. Let me go get something and we'll see if it will work."

 

He heads to the back while Ben leans over and says, "You're doing a great job."

 

I ask, "Aren't you worried he will tell someone who we are?"

 

Ben smiles and answers, "Stacy, I need to teach you about the Marines. There's no way in hell he's going to ever tell anyone about us being here."

 

Gunny comes back with this short black gun. Ben sees it and curses, "Shit! Not a 'mouse gun4!'"

 

4 Mouse gun – derogatory name for any of the current military rifles in 5.56x45, probably came from the fact that some people feel the round is only good for killing mice.

 

Gunny replies, "Now don't go getting all upset. Let me tell you why I chose this rifle. First, you'll be able to pick up magazines and ammo while you're down there. Second it will break down and with the fourteen and a half inch barrel will fit inside your pack in two pieces and third." He put four metal things on the counter and continued, "With these rounds you'll be effective out to five hundred yards."

 

Ben takes the rifle and holds it like it was poison. Looks it over carefully, and checks again to make sure it's not loaded. Snaps it up to his shoulder and fires it, then lowers it, smiles and says, "Damn that's a nice trigger for an M-four. So tell me about these 'magic bullets'?"

 

Gunny takes a bullet out of one of the metal things, hands it to Ben and explains, "Yeah that's a Timney5 trigger and is set at four pounds. These are experimental Hornady Superformance cartridges which are to be released soon. They have a velocity of thirty-four-sixty-five feet per second and come close to the performance of the twenty-two-two-fifty6."

 

5 Timney trigger – excellent and moderately priced replacement triggers

 

6 22-250 – One of the flattest shooting factory cartridges and not a custom loaded 'wildcat' cartridge. It is a great round for taking prairie dogs, coyotes and other varmints out to about 500 yards.

 

Ben whistles, "That's damn fast, they must have messed with the powder to get that velocity and still keep it within SAMMI7 spec. It looks like a high BC8 projectile too, so the effective range is five hundred yards?"

 

7 SAMMI - Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute – Sets the physical attributes of a cartridge including the physical dimensions of the cartridge, and also the maximum pressure the case head and walls of the brass cartridge will exert on the chamber walls around them for that specific named chambering.

 

8 BC – Ballistics Coefficient – a measure of how much drag a projectile encounters while traveling through the air.

 

Gunny laughs, "Damn, you're as good as the rumors I've heard. Yeah, they came up with some sort of blended powder to optimize the burn rate for the five-five-six. Shit! They even optimized the ogive of the bullet. Now you're going to lose a little with this short barrel, but they say at five hundred yards, you have a drop of thirty-five-point-six inches and still have a velocity of nineteen-thirteen feet per second."

 

Ben looks at the bullet nods his head and replies, "Damn, that's a flat shooting five-five-six, because a twenty-two-two-fifty has a drop of twenty-nine-point-one inches at five hundred yards and is only about one hundred feet per second faster."

 

It's Gunny's turn to whistle then he says, "Damn, what do you have in your head, a fucking ballistic computer?"

 

We both laugh and Ben responds, "Yeah someone else accused me of that once upon a time. I've always felt that the twenty-two-two-fifty would make an excellent urban sniper round. Especially since most SWAT shots happen at less than 100 yards. So what do we owe you for all this?"

 

I secretly wonder if that 'someone' is his bitch ex-fiancée, she was supposed to be pretty butch and liked guns. But I keep my mouth shut as ordered.

 

Gunny says, "Shit! Put your damn money away. If these weapons help you two to end the war then it's worth it. I just wished I could close up shop and go with you two, but I've got a family to take care of. Just drop me a line occasionally and let me know you're both still alive."

 

Ben takes another look at the rifle and says, "Damn that's a BDC9 Trijicon ACOG10 RMR11 sight on this, how accurate is it? And I assume it's BDC for Mil-spec ball so what about these magic bullets you gave me?"

 

9 BDC- Bullet Drop Compensated – gives you the bullet drop at different ranges.

 

10 Trijicon ACOG – Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight - The ACOGs are internally-adjustable, compact telescopic sights with tritium illuminated reticle patterns for use in low light or at night. The ACOGs combine traditional, precise distance marksmanship with close-in aiming speed. Although the ACOGs have many features which are very advantageous for military use, they were developed by Trijicon without government funding. Designed for use with the M16 family, every feature of its mechanical and optical design was chosen for a single purpose: To provide increased hit potential in all lighting conditions -- without failure-prone batteries.

 

11 RMR - Trijicon’s new RMR Sight is a patent-pending new generation Ruggedized Miniature Reflex designed to improve shooter precision and accuracy with any style or caliber of weapon.  Unlike other red dot sights on the market, this innovative solution is designed for superior durability under the most extreme conditions.  The experts at Trijicon also designed the new RMR sights to be as strong as the company’s renowned Trijicon ACOGs, and provide ease of sighting and adjustment, solving important issues often associated with other red dot sights.

 

Gunny laughs, "Yeah, the BDC is for the Mil ball, but you gain just over one MOA12 with the magic bullets, and it'll shoot the hair off a gnat's ass."

 

12 MOA – Minute of Angle – 1.047 inches at 100 yards usually rounded to 1 inch.

 

I laugh and say, "I'd like to see that!"

 

Gunny looks at me and says, "Well, little missy, with where you two are going, and with who you're traveling, you'll probably get that wish. Now you make sure you listen to the Sgt. Major and do exactly what he says and you'll be fine."

 

I am wondering what the heck he's talking about but again keep my mouth shut.

 

He looks at Ben grins and continues, "So, you traded in the old model for something newer?"

 

I can tell Ben gets a little upset, but he hides it by shrugging his shoulders and says, "Nah Gunny, I don't have time for feminine distractions with the way things are right now. She's a patriot that wants to serve her country, just like we all do."

 

Ah ha! I realize I'm the 'newer model!'

 

We load the pistol and magazines in my pack and the rifle and magazines (I found out what they were) in Ben's pack.

 

He says, "Semper Fi! You two!"

 

Ben responds "Orrahhh Gunny. Thanks for everything and we do owe you. Remember, you never saw us."

 

Gunny says, "Saw who?"

 

We walk out the door. I get ready to ask Ben a million questions when he says, "Angelina, I know you have many questions. But I have a plan, let me tell you about it…"

 

Present – Ira – Dushanbe Tajikistan

 

I give Ms. Morgan the lowest degree of data about the girls as possible since it is never good to give out too much information. I still have a concern that she will ascertain our plans and leave them both in Tajikistan.

 

She asks, "So Ira how long will it take to drive to their location?"

 

I want to laugh when I respond, "We will be there in thirty minutes." Yes people have been scouring the whole country for the girls and the gold - Mira and I have hidden them almost in apparent sight. Many times the best hiding place is the place that most will not think of looking.

 

Ms. Morgan says, "They are that close to the city?"

 

I smile and reply, "No, they are in the city."

 

Present – Liz – Dushanbe Tajikistan

 

Shit! Mira and Ira hid the girls and the gold right in the city! What a stroke of genius: The two of them really are quite good at what they do, it's just a shame that I feel they have ulterior motives. I love them like my sisters, shit they've become my sisters and to think the whole time… well, I can't think about that right now. I sure hope the rest of the team comes up with some safe way to handle the two of them.

 

I reply, "Ira, that's a stroke of genius, hiding them in the city."

 

Ira responds, "Ms. Morgan, I do not think I have had a stroke."

 

I laugh because it feels good to have 'the old' relationship with Ira back. I explain, "Ira, 'a stroke of genius' means you and Mira came up with a very smart plan when you hid the girls in the city."

 

Ira smiles and says, "Thank you Ms. Morgan, your compliments always have great meaning to us."

 

However, I become concerned when I see where we are headed…

 

Present – Zarika and Yasmeen – Tajikistan

 

Yasmeen

I am very worried and upset at myself, because we can not wake Zarika. The man with no tongue who can not speak scolds me so much I start to cry and complain, "Why are you torturing me so."

 

He makes many hand motions and I finally understand that the nice ladies and Liz will be here very soon. Oh no, what have I done. I start trying to wake Zarika because the Liz lady might leave us here if Zarika is broken.

 

"Wake up Zarika! I am sorry! The Liz lady is coming and you must be awake."

 

 

Present – Byron – TSIFFTS

 

We are ready and approaching the area so I brief our tiny team. "Okay guys, I had a call from Hammer. Thom was caught by a couple of BATF agents and one of them pulled a shotgun on him. Hammer saved him, but somehow Thom was wounded."

 

Jim interrupts with a laugh, "Damn, I bet Thom is fit to be tied! That's twice he's been shot with Hammer around."

 

I continue, "Keep your comments to yourselves. Hammer is carrying Thom to the location we're headed for, but they are also being chased by some civilians. I'm not sure of the status of the civilians and whether they have weapons or not, but our primary mission is to extract Thom and Hammer - not to injure the civilians. I'm hoping when they see us they will take off running. If they don't, I want all first shots to be warning shots, all second shots to be disabling shots. Under no circumstances are you to kill any civilians."

 

Todd smiles and signs, "Can I at least cut them just a little bit? I won't make it lethal."

 

I shake my head, but then realize he's kidding me. Jim stops the car and we bail out…

 

Present – Thom – Rogue mission - Washington DC

 

 I'm not sure what's worse, being shot in the leg or being carried by Hammer. He's strong as an ox an about as graceful as ten bulls in a china shop. He rams my leg into something again and I yell, "You crazy kilted bastard! Stop bumping my damn leg into things."

 

He responds, "Quit greetin' ur Ah will hae tae change yer nappies."

 

"Quit crying or I will have to change your diapers."

 

It takes me a minute to decipher what he said, then I start smacking him on the back and yelling, "You crazy fool, I don't wear diapers…" The rest of my conversation is cut short when we hear a shot crack as the bullet flies past us...

 

Present – Ben (Paulo) – On the road – Fredrick MD

 

I explain my plan to Stacy and she amazes me twice: First she listens very intently and doesn't interrupt me and second when I am finished, I don't get a load of shit from her. She looks at me and just remarks, "Cool, that's a very cool plan."

 

Women, even young women are sometimes very confusing, and I am totally baffled. My face must show my confusion because she laughs and says, "Paulo, I totally trust you to take care of me and will follow you into the mouth of hell if that is where you lead."

 

We are in front of the bus station so I look at her and ask, "Angelina, please go in and buy our tickets. Just be aware the agent will probably try to talk you out of them."

 

She interrupts, "Paulo, I already know what to tell him."

 

She walks into the station and I wonder if perhaps I have misjudged the value of having her traveling with me…

 

Present – Stacy (Angelina) – On the road – Fredrick MD

 

Grandmamma taught me that you never look a gift horse in the mouth, and I'm certainly not going to complain about anything Ben does or anyplace he wants to take me. I'm still freaked out that those bounty hunters almost caught me on the bus and that even more followed me to the bus station here. If it wasn't for Ben, well, I can't even think of the torture I would be going through. So complaining is not an option! However I do need to find some way to express my gratitude to him. But for right now all I can do is to not be a bitch like his ex-fiancée.

 

I walk into the bus station and head right to the restroom where I strip off my makeup. Now is not the time to appear to be from another country (especially since Latino people headed into the area we are going are automatically suspect). Once I'm satisfied every vestige of brown is gone, I once again become an All-American teenager.

 

I walk up to the agent and request two tickets for our destination on the next bus. He looks at me and says, "Excuse me for asking, but are you sure you want to travel there?"

 

I smile and reply, "Oh yes sir, we must get back to see how our parents are doing."

 

He shakes his head and answers, "Well, I sure hope they're fine. But from what I've heard it's still a big mess in many areas so you take care of yourself."

 

I smile and lie just a little, "My big brother was in the Army and is just back from Iraq. He is travelling with me."

 

He smiles and says, "Good, I was worried that a nice young lady like you might get into trouble."

 

I smile at him, take the tickets and respond, "Oh no, my brother always takes very good care of me. We are just very worried about our parents."

 

He waves as I leave with the tickets. I walk outside but it looks like Paulo isn't back yet…

 

Present – Jens – Fredrick MD Airport

 

Linus makes record time getting us to the airport. The whole way I worry like crazy about my Ben. I'm sure that little bitch tricked him into marrying her, because I know he still loves me!

 

We fly into the airport, check the departure board and see the flight for Las Vegas just left! I stamp my foot and swear, "Son-of-a-bitch! We just missed my runaway fiancé and his scheming little bitch!" And suddenly as I remember something important, I start hopping up and down and swear, "That sneaky, slutty, little bitch!!!"

 

Linus reprimands, "Jens you need to control yourself. You've attracted the attention of a couple of TSA agents."

 

I glance over, see them watching me and respond, "Sorry Linus, it's just that she's the same little bitch!"

 

Linus gives me a stupid look and asks, "Who's the same little bitch?"

 

I shake my head, "Linus, the smart-mouthed little bitch in the bathroom is the same little bitch that was in bed with Ben. I can't believe she fricken lied to me and it's even worse that I listened to her BS!"

 

Linus grabs my shoulders and commands, "Jens, use that head of yours for something besides holding up your hair. If she told you they were flying to Las Vegas, what does that tell you?"

 

I think for just a second and respond, "It means they aren't flying to Las Vegas! Shit! They must be taking the bus again! Let's go get them, Linus. When we catch them, I'm going to kick Ben's ass and then I'm going to make her cry so hard tears come out of her ass!"

 

We run outside to Linus's car and hop into it just before he gets a ticket for illegal parking…

 

Present – Linus – Fredrick MD headed to the Bus Station

 

Damn! Jens is more pissed off than I've ever seen! She hates being made a fool and from the little she's told me I guess that 'little bitch' really put one over on her. I think back to our failed mission to rescue Ben but well, she's different. The 'old' Jens would have caught that sneaky 'little bitch' in her lies and made her pay, but she missed it this time.

 

I carefully ask, "Jens, what's going on with you right now?"

 

She snaps at me, "Linus, I don't know why you're wasting time talking. Either drive us to the bus station, or move over and let me drive."

 

Letting her driving sure as hell isn't going to happen, not with the mood she's in now, so I keep my mouth shut and drive…

 

Present – Stacy (Anastasia) – On the road

 

Yes I am once again Anastasia Liza Fandorin after gladly dumping my Angelina Luciana Fernandez persona. Erast made it back with my new passports. I anxiously looked at the Brazilian one and promptly dismissed it to only be used when I must. As I studied it, I dearly loved my fake Russian passport! Oh if only it was real!

 

We are first in line for the bus. I wonder why but don't want to annoy my brother Erast with more questions. The driver shows up and asks, "Would you two like to put your big backpacks underneath in the storage."

 

Erast replies, "Sir I would prefer if we could keep them with us. They contain everything we own in the whole world and it would be tragic if we lost them."

 

He answers, "I'm going to let you do that for now, but if the bus gets too full they will have to go underneath."

 

Erast says, "Thank you kind sir."

 

He takes part of each of our tickets then we board the bus and head all the way to the back, right beside the stinky toilet. This is too much for me so I ask, "Erast, why must we sit here beside the stinky toilet?"

 

He gives me a funny look and explains, "These are the second best seats on the avtobus, and from here we can watch everyone who boards this avtobus."

 

I giggle and remark, "Erast, this is America and they just use the word bus, not like in Mother Russia where it is an avtobus. I still do not care for being this close to the toilet."

 

Erast patiently replies, "Nastya, do not be a spoiled little princess. Help me observe the patrons boarding the bus."

 

I correct him, "Erast, you know I do not like to be called Nastya, you just use that name when you are annoyed with me. And they are not called patrons, they are called passengers."  I made my point so I help him watch, even though I'm not sure what we are looking for.

 

Present – Ben (Erast) – On the road

 

I adore my little sister even when she is acting like a spoiled little princess and silently scold my parents for spoiling her so. However now is not the time for her to be annoying or distracting. I explain this to her as we observe the passengers boarding the avtobus.

 

She asks, "Erast what are we looking for?"

 

I explain, "Anastasia моя маленькая сестра12, we are carefully watching everyone as they board the avto … I mean the bus to determine if any of them pose a threat to us."

 

12 my little sister

 

Anastasia smartly answers, "So Erast, this is how you determined who the bounty hunters were. Please teach me how to do this."

 

I sigh, and say, "Okay, pay attention маленькая сестра and observe carefully. Tell me if you see anyone that does not look like they belong."

 

A group of kids get on the bus, she gets excited, yanks on my arm and says, "Erast, look! They don't belong here!"

 

I shake my head, "Моя дорогая сестра13 I hate to inform you but you are incorrect. They are one of the three most common genera's which travel via avtobus."

 

13 My darling sister

 

She sticks her tongue out at me and I add, "If you keep doing that I will call you a змея14, because only змея stick out their tongues!"

 

14 snake

 

She sasses, "I'd rather be a змея than a сварливый старый дурак!15"

 

15 grumpy old fool

 

I tire of her silliness and declare, "Perhaps you would rather travel alone…" as I start to leave.

 

Present – Stacy (Anastasia) – On the road

 

I fear I have pushed my brother too far! I do not know why, but sometimes I must act out - it is my Russian nature. As Erast starts to leave, I grab his sleeve and say, "Erast, please forgive me. I am just being silly again. You know I adore you and would simply die if you left me."

 

He gives me a forlorn look, but it quickly changes when a man gets on the bus. Erast sits back down and asks, "Anastasia, tell me about that man."

 

I whisper, "Erast, he looks like he's from another country and doesn't seem at all comfortable being on the bus."

 

Erast adds, "Anastasia, that is only part of the equation which forms this man. First, his age is wrong, second his clothes are new and aren't quite right for traveling by avtobus, third I don't like the way his eyes scan the avtobus, and finally look at how he clutches his bag."

 

I scrutinize him and whisper, "Erast you are right. Is he another bounty hunter?"

 

Erast replies, "Anastasia, he is certainly a hunter however not a bounty hunter."

 

The driver boards the bus, the door closes and we leave the bus station. I ask, "Erast, what will we do about him?"

 

Erast smiles, "Anastasia, this is like a game of cards and we must patiently wait for him to show his hand."

 

Present – Jens – Fredrick MD headed to the bus station

 

Linus shut his mouth and drove to the bus station as I bitch, "Linus, I hope you have new taillight bulbs!"

 

He responds, "Why's that Jens."

 

I answer, "Because the way you're driving, they will be burnt out from overuse by the time we get there." I put my foot on top of his and mash down the accelerator.

 

He yells, "Jens, get your foot off mine or else!"

 

I sass, "Or else what."

 

I get my answer when he shuts of the engine and the car begins to slow. I whine, "Come on Linus, we're wasting time."

 

He barks, "Get your foot of mine and keep your foot away from the accelerator."

 

I pull my foot back, he starts the car and we take off again, at a little better rate, for the bus station.

 

Present – Linus – Fredrick MD bus station

 

Jens almost made me wreck the car and pissed me off to no end. Sometimes she acts just like a spoiled teenager – yeah that's the problem with her – sometimes she acts like a bratty teenager. But what the fuck do you do to a spoiled bratty teenager? You can't spank them, they're too old and it doesn't work. I guess if she keeps it up I will have to figure out some way to 'ground' her.

 

She behaves and we make it to the bus station. She flies into the station before the car even comes to a full stop. I park the car and head in after her but meet her coming back out. She orders, "Come on Linus, their bus has already left. If you can drive fast enough, we can overtake the bus and wait for my runaway fiancé and the slutty, smart-mouthed little bitch at their first stop."

 

I follow her back to the car, we jump in and head off again…

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