19 Wounded

Wounded

© Copyright 2009

Written by Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

banzaiben@gmail.com

 

 

Wounded Chapter 19

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

We were lucky I got the Zuk as driving in it didn't attract the attention a Humvee would have. It wasn't armored, but it was wicked fast. And around here having a rabbit is sometimes better than having a turtle. We pulled out of the warehouse and headed towards the small private airport. I kept an eye on things and noticed as we picked up a tail.

 

I yelled at Natasha over the noise of the motor, "Natasha, don't look now but there's a Humvee following us."

 

She turned and looked and I yelled, "Shit! I told you not to look. Get the fifty ready I think we're going to need it soon."

 

Natasha yelled back, "Hey, I'm the one who's supposed to be bitchy here. After all doesn't that come with being pregnant?"

 

She started getting the fifty ready and I concentrated on driving. I yelled, "I'm sure they're going to try to trap us soon. So when I give the signal, hump the fifty on its mount!"

 

I glanced over and saw she was thinking because she loaded it with AP (armor piercing) rounds. We whipped around a corner and the road was blocked, I yelled, "Now Natasha!" and cranked the wheel hard on the Zuk, did a 180 and floored it.

 

Natasha got the fifty set up in record time, jumped into the back of the Zuk and started blasting the hell out of the Humvee which had been following us. We lucked out because this one wasn't armored and she shot the hell out of the engine. It died a huge smoking death as we flew by it.

 

I looked behind me and the two Humvees which were blocking the road were now moving. I pointed behind us and said, "Hang on! I think I can outrun them." I floored it and I thought we were flying.

 

Natasha yelled, "You drive this thing like a fricken grandma! Stop and let's switch places."

 

I answered, "Get ready around the next corner." We slid around the corner and I stomped on the brakes. I jumped into the empty passenger seat while Natasha took my place behind the wheel. I spun the fifty around and started firing at the Humvees. Natasha yelled, "Hang on!" And we started one of the scariest damn rides in my whole life. She screamed around one corner (I swear we were on two wheels) and I almost fell out so I decided to sit down and fasten my seatbelt. I couldn't stand to watch so I shut my eyes.

 

After another fifteen minutes she slowed up and I opened my eyes, "Shit! I don't know if I ever want to let you drive again!"

 

She replied, "At least I outran them. If you were still driving they would have caught us. We're almost to the airport so I'm stopping to let you drive."

 

She pulled over, we changed places and she pulled the fifty back off its mount. I looked and the airport was just ahead. Being chased combined with Natasha's driving meant we made it to the airport in record time. There was still an hour and a half until Matt and Jim arrived.

 

As I drove around the parking lot I realized I'd made one small mistake - most of the vehicles here were upscale luxury cars and the Zuk looked way out of place. It attracted the attention of the rent a cops patrolling the lot. They flipped on the gumball lights of their car and pulled in front of me. I gassed the Zuk, spun it around and headed back out of the lot.

 

Natasha laughed and said, "I guess we need a slightly better vehicle to be coming here."

 

We drove for about ten minutes when Natasha saw a car dealership and said, "Head there and we'll buy something with some class."

 

I complained, "Buy something? How are we going to pay for anything?"

 

She said with exasperation, "Linus, just do what I said and pull into the fricken lot. You're my chauffer and we're getting me a new car."

 

We roared into the lot and pulled into a parking place. Things didn't look good because no one came out to help us.

 

I looked over at her, "Natasha this isn't going to work."

 

She struggled to get out of the Zuk and answered, "It sure as hell is going to work. Get your fat Seal ass over here and help me. Damn, it's impossible to find good help now days."

 

I jumped out of the Zuk, helped her and asked, "Are you really this incapacitated?"

 

She spit at me, "Did you take your fricken moron pills today. Of course I'm not incapacitated, I'm just acting."

 

I helped her out of the Zuk, she looked across the car lot, saw a red BWM 745 and said, "Linus, that's the car I want. Go check it out and if it looks good go in and tell the sales manager he insulted the very pregnant wife of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And because of it we will offer him half of what he's asking for the car."

 

I said, "Shit Natasha! We can't tell him this, isn't he the …"

 

Natasha interrupted me and bit my head off, "Linus, of course he is and stop being such a fucking pansy. I'm in a fricken burka and no one can tell what the fuck I look like. Go lie your ass off and get me the car."

 

I walked over to the Beemer. It was locked but I looked at it over as well as I could. Finally a salesman came out and said, "We are sorry but this is a very expensive car. Perhaps you would like one more affordable."

 

I replied, "The very pregnant wife of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was interested in this car. I'm her chauffer and her car was damaged beyond repair. So we had to use that worthless piece of junk. She is embarrassed to be seen in it and now has been terribly insulted by her treatment here so I think we will be leaving."

 

I walked back towards the Zuk and he yelled, "Please we did not know. Do not leave." I kept going and he ran inside. I reached the Zuk and helped Natasha get back in when a fat bastard came out and talked to Natasha, she ignored him.

 

As he reached towards her, I pulled my pistol, pointed it at him and yelled, "You do not have any manners! First we are not greeted properly, then your salesman insults us, next you speak to the wife of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and finally you try to touch her. Do you have a death wish?"

 

He turned white and whimpered, "Please, we did not know. Let us make this up to you."

 

Natasha motioned for me to move him away so I pushed him back towards the office. Then she motioned me over and whispered, "Linus, did you ever want to play Grand Theft Auto in real life?"

 

I looked at her through the slit in her burka and said, "Natasha you must be kidding me?"

 

She snapped at me and answered, "Linus I was going to pay this fat bastard for the car, but now he's pissed me off. Get the bastard to let you take it for a test drive. While he's distracted I'll take off in the cute little Suzuki and we'll meet back at the warehouse and switch cars."

 

I asked, "Won't we be late picking up Matt and Jim?"

 

She spat, "If we are, it will do them some fricken good. Now get your ass moving and drive it like you stole it."

 

I walked back to the sales manager and said, "She has been gracious enough to give you one more chance. She has ordered me to take the car for a test drive. If the car is mechanically sound we will buy it."

 

I could almost see the cash register bells ringing in his head, he said, "I will go get you the keys. Would you ask the wife of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if she would care to wait inside?"

 

I went over and Natasha said, "Tell him I am too offended."

 

I walked back and told the sales manager, "She is too offended to bless your business with her presence. Are you going to get me those keys or do we leave now?"

 

He ran inside and came out with the keys. I said, "One more thing, she does not want to be bothered or even talked to. Make sure all your men know."

 

He walked me to the car, handed me the keys and said, "I know you will like this car. I will make sure she is not bothered."

 

I unlocked the car, jumped in, fired it up and drove off the lot…

 

Flashback Natasha (Jens) – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I know we should have paid for the car and I even had Stockman's money with me. But the slimy fat bastard used fricken car salesman pissed me off and I was going to teach him a lesson. Besides we're not really stealing the car, we're just borrowing it and we'll bring it back when we're done. Of course it might not be in the same pristine condition.

 

The fat bastard watched as Linus drove off the lot then he waved at me and walked back inside the office. I took a close look at the showroom and came up with a crazy idea. I jumped over the center gearshift into the driver's seat and started up the cute little Suzuki. Then I jumped the curb, crashed through the showroom window, honked the horn, flipped off the fat bastard and yelled, "Mess with the best, die like the rest!" I dodged all the cars on the showroom floor and then crashed through the window on the other side. It didn't take long to catch up to Linus. This cute little Suzuki is so fast!

 

We attracted too much attention so I came up with another plan. I tailgated Linus and honked the horn. He thought something was wrong so he pulled over to the side of the road. I floored it, blew past him and honked the horn. I let him eat my dust as we sped to the warehouse. He was chasing me and honking the horn on the Beemer.

 

I slid the cute little Suzuki to a stop right before the door. Linus pulled up beside me and was he ever pissed off. He said, "What the fuck do you think you're doing!"

 

I laughed and said, "I was practicing driving so when we get back to Colorado I'll be ready for my Cobra."

 

He opened the warehouse door and ordered, "Get the Zuk and your ass in the warehouse ASAP!"

 

I floored it and kicked up a bunch of dust which covered Linus. He yelled, "Hey, what the fuck are you doing." Then I slid to a stop in the back of the warehouse.

 

Linus drove the Beemer in and then shut the door. He jumped out of the car and came over by me, "Do you realize people saw you driving the Zuk like an idiot?"

 

I yanked off the fricken burka hood, smiled and said, "Yes they did and they saw you chasing me in the Beemer."

 

I watched as he figured out what I did. Then he said, "Sorry Natasha, I didn't realize what you were doing."

 

I grinned, "Yep they thought I was trying to get away from my fricken bastard pretend husband and they thought you were trying to catch me. If they had just seen me driving the cute little Suzuki they would have been more suspicious."

 

"That was a good plan Natasha, just let me know when you come up with a crazy idea again."

I grinned and asked, "You mean like crashing through the showroom windows with the cute little Suzuki and flipping off the fat bastard?"

 

He looked at me and said, "Tell me you didn't do that?"

 

I answered with, "How do you think so much glass got in the Suzuki?"

 

He looked inside saw all the glass and said, "You're going to clean up the mess."

 

I grinned, put one hand on my forehead and the other hand on my back and answered, "Sorry, not tonight dear, I'm pregnant. I have a headache and a back ache."

 

He said, "Shit! Don't pull that pregnant crap with me."

 

"I'm just getting in character." Then I bitched at Linus, "How the hell did you get your man-dress so dusty. Go and change right now because I'm not having any pretend husband of mine going out looking like a dirty camel jockey."

 

He grumped, "Well you made me this way." Then he took off to change.

 

I thought, perhaps being pretend pregnant isn't so bad because it gives me an excuse to be bitchy and a drama queen.

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I changed into a clean man dress and ordered Natasha to help move some the gear into the Beemer. She said, "Sorry Linus, but a lady in my condition shouldn't be moving heavy things." Then she sat on a chair, grinned and watched me.

 

I said, "I should kick your ass."

 

She replied, "Linus, we've already had this discussion and you'd better stop threatening me. You don't want me to get upset and lose the baby."

 

I had my fill of this pretend pregnancy excuse. I looked over and said, "Okay, if you don't get off your ass and help me, I'm going to order you to wear the burka twenty-four seven - even when you sleep."

 

Natasha jumped right up and said, "I might wear this belly twenty-four seven, but no way in hell do I want to wear this fucking burka that much." Then she grabbed some gear and moved it for me, bitching the whole time that a woman in her condition shouldn't be doing this.

 

We finished and I said, "Let's go."

 

Natasha stood by the passenger door and answered, "So you're not going to get the door for your pretend pregnant wife."

 

I started the Beemer, rolled down the passenger window and said, "Hell no! In fact you're going to get the garage door because you're getting fat and need the exercise."

 

She grumped, "Damn, pretend Muslim husbands aren't worth the powder it'd take to blow them up."

 

She opened the door. I drove the Beemer out and watched as she close the door. I waited for her to get close to the car, then pulled up about ten feet and stopped. She walked towards the car and I moved it again. She whipped out her pistol, pointed it at the tire and yelled, "Do it again and you're changing the tire."

 

I backed up so the door was beside her, hit the locks and said, "I just thought you needed some more practice waddling."

 

She jumped in the car and said, "No wonder you're not married. You have no idea how to treat a lady."

 

I looked over and teased, "Lady? I don't see any ladies here."

 

She nailed my arm, went to say something but I interrupted and said, "See, I rest my case. A lady wouldn't have hit me."

 

She snapped at me, "Perhaps I'm treating you the way you're treating me, because you're certainly no gentleman!"

 

I glanced at her and said, "We fight like an old married couple. Tell me do you and Ben fight this much?"

 

I knew I'd asked the wrong question when I heard some sniffles from under her burka, "No, we haven't been together long enough to fight much at all. I hope someday we'll be an old married couple."

 

I needed to get her mind back on the mission, "Well that's why we're doing all this. And the better you are in the burka, the more likely this mission will succeed and then you and Ben can be an old married couple.

 

I heard her say, "Linus, when I sleep I have dreams where I see bits and pieces of what they do to him, it's so bad I hate to fall asleep. I hope he can survive until we rescue him."

 

I laughed to lighten the mood and said, "Natasha, if anyone can get through this Ben can. He's one of the strongest men I know."

 

We pulled into the parking lot at the airport. This time we didn’t draw any attention so I pulled into a parking place and ordered, "Natasha, since we're still early you're going to practice being a good little pregnant Muslim wife. Get your fat ass out of the car and spend some time walking through the airport. I'll be close just in case."

 

Natasha sassed, "Yes Sultan de Sade." I laughed because she referred to my tortures of her all day.

 

"Okay, get your ass out there and fool some Afghanis." She struggled to get out of the car seat and it was a good act. I waited and then fell in about fifteen meters behind her.

 

Flashback Natasha (Jens) – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I was pretty nervous as I got out of the Beemer, pretending to be pregnant for Linus was one thing, but in public it felt totally different. The weight of the belly was annoying but it was a constant reminder of how I needed to act. It was time for this drama queen's debut. I made a big production getting out of the Beemer and then kept my excitement under control as I waddled into the terminal. I was getting some glances from people but didn't attract too much attention other than a couple of security guards.

 

They were giving me the evil eye and I decided I needed to play it cool. I walked right up to them and asked where the toilets were. One looked at me, turned, pointed and said, "The toilets are over there. Tell me, why are you in this airport?"

 

I answered, "I am here with my chauffer."  I pointed to Linus who was following me, then continued, "waiting for my husband to arrive."

 

Linus walked up and corroborated my story then we walked towards the toilet. When we were out of hearing he said, "Damn good job being proactive and talking to them first. They were going to bust you because they thought you might be a terrorist."

 

I thought what sort of fucked up country is it when the security can wonder if a 'pregnant' woman is a terrorist. I asked Linus, "Are you sure I'm wearing the belly and burka correctly?"

 

He answered, "It's prefect! Don't worry because the security guards don't trust anyone."

 

I needed to keep up my charade. I headed into the toilet and was shocked because for once it wasn't a disaster like so many toilets in this country. I waited around in one of the stalls, washed my hands, made sure my fricken burka looked fine and headed back out the door.

 

Linus told me as I walked out, "Matt and Jim are here walking around in their man dresses looking for us."

 

I replied, "I think I will have some fun with them. Follow me but stay far enough back so they don't see you."

 

I walked over behind them and started working my way closer.

 

Flashback Matt and Jim – Kabul Afghanistan

 

So far everything was smooth as a baby's bottom. We didn't like having to wear these man dresses, but knew it was part of the mission. Jim said to me, "I don't see Jens anywhere."

 

I replied, "Jim, remember our orders on the flight, we need to call her Natasha."

 

"Thanks Matt, she'd kick my butt if I made the mistake in person."

 

We walked through the terminal and looked for Natasha and Linus. I asked, "Jim, do you know what Linus looks like?"

 

Jim replied, "I've only seen him once or twice and I'm not sure I'd recognize him."

 

I looked around and noticed we were being followed, "Hey Jim, don't turn around but it looks like some fat pregnant cow is following us."

 

Jim didn't listen and did look back. He said, "Shit that's one fat pregnant cow. What the hell does she want?"

 

"Jim, I said don't look. Oh shit she's getting closer now. Let's get the fuck out of here."

 

We started walking faster to a different part of the terminal hoping to lose her. Jim looked back and said, "Shit! She's still following us."

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I watched as Natasha chased - no, it was more liked stalked Matt and Jim. It was funnier than hell! She purposely let herself be seen and then the guys got worried and started trying to get away from her. They sped up and she sped up chasing them. I guess she fooled them so she passed this test.

 

Finally they ran into the men's toilet and she stood outside the door and started wailing, "Husband, please come back to me. I am sorry I offended you."

 

I walked up to her and smiled, "I think I'll go in and stir the pot."

 

I went into the toilet and Matt and Jim were just standing there listening to Natasha still wailing as they talked to each other.

 

Mat said, "Shit Jim! What's the crazy fat pregnant cow doing?"

 

Jim answered, "I don't have any idea. But she's raising holy hell and someone has to stop her."

 

I walked up and confronted them, "Which one of you is the infidel husband of the very pregnant woman outside?"

 

They both got a worried look on their faces and Jim said, "It’s not me."

 

Matt piped up, "It's not me either! I think she's just crazy because of her hormones."

 

I looked at both of them and answered, "Matt, Jim, that's Natasha and I'm Linus. I guess you two failed the test and can stay here."

 

Matt replied, "Shit! I knew something was wrong."

 

Jim said, "Come on Linus, we don’t have any place to go."

 

I asked, "So she really fooled both of you."

 

I said, "Yeah, but it's not like you can tell who she is with the burka on."

 

Jim added and said, "And she looks fucking huge with the belly. It's a great disguise."

 

I said, "One of you needs to pretend to be her husband because that's what we told the security guards earlier."

 

I offered, "I'll pretend to be her husband and Jim can be my business associate."

 

We walked outside and Natasha stopped wailing. She walked up and whispered, "Crazy fat pregnant cow my ass! You two are going to pay for those comments." I pulled Matt's arm, we walked past her, she fell in right behind us like a good little Muslim wife and we headed out the terminal to the Beemer.

 

Flashback Natasha (Jens) – Kabul Afghanistan

 

Well, I passed my first test, but I knew I would. Matt and Jim are good, but not that good. I gloated and stuck out my tongue under my burka as we walked right by the two security guards. I guess there are some benefits to wearing this piece of shit!

 

I sat in the back of the Beemer beside Jim, Matt took the passenger seat and Linus drove. Jim said, "Nice car you have here. It must have cost a fortune."

 

I laughed and replied, "We got on a special financing plan, called Grand Theft Auto."

 

Matt commented, "You guys stole this car?"

 

I replied, "No we temporarily borrowed it because our other vehicle attracted too much attention at the airport." I was going to say more when Linus interrupted, "Shit rollers!"

 

I turned as well as I could in this fat fricken belly and saw a police vehicle behind us. I said, "Linus, if you can't get away from them. Then at least get some room between us and then pull over and let me drive." Well that motivated him and he was finally driving it almost like he stole it.

 

Matt yelled, "Shit Linus! Don't kill us."

 

He yelled back, "Matt, don't give me any crap. I'm doing us a favor keeping Natasha from driving. She literally scared the shit out of me driving the Zuk earlier."

 

I still wasn't happy because he wasn't losing them and said, "Linus when you pull around the next corner stop. I'm going to drive."

 

Linus said, "Then I'm riding in the back with my eyes closed."

 

Jim asked, "You guys got any weapons in here?"

 

I bitched at him, "Did you freeze your brain and your dick in Thule? We have a fucking arsenal in here."

 

Jim asked, "When did you turn into a bitch?"

 

I laughed, "That's Ms. Bitch to you! Bitchiness arrived when I put on this fucking belly and burka so get used to it." I opened a bag and handed him an AK, "What do you have in mind?"

 

He locked and loaded it and replied, "When you two switch places, I'm going to give us some cover fire to buy us some time."

 

I started taking off the belly so I could move faster and ordered, "Just make sure you don't get left behind."

 

Jim's eyes bugged out of his head when he saw the belly and he said, "Damn! No wonder you're so cranky."

 

I handed it to him and answered, "You mean bitchy. Find someplace to put this piece of shit."

 

Linus said, "Get ready!" Then he slid the car to a stop. I bailed out the back door and ran around to the front door while he headed back to my seat. Jim jumped out and opened up on the cop vehicle. They returned fire but with all the distractions weren't hitting shit.

 

I jumped in the front seat and yelled, "Get in or get left!" Heard two doors slam and then floored the Beemer.

 

Flashback Matt and Jim – Kabul Afghanistan

 

Holy crap! Linus was right! I grabbed on to anything I could to keep from being thrown around and yelled, "Natasha, you're going to kill all of us."

 

She bitched back, "STFU and let me drive."

 

And drive she did! We slid around corners and spun the tires. She'd dodge pedestrians and animals but not before she'd scare the crap out of them. I was sure any moment we would hit something, but she'd spin the steering wheel just in time and we'd miss it.

 

I turned and looked behind me - Linus had his eyes closed and Jim was as white as a sheet. I turned back around just in time to see a road block. Natasha cranked the wheel and we headed down a narrow assed alley. She was on the horn and people were scattering everywhere. We flew out the other side of the alley, she spun the wheel, slid the car sideways, smoked the tires and we headed back the way we just came.

 

She yelled, "Wooo Hoooo! That got rid of the fucking cops." But she still didn't slow down for another ten minutes. I spent the whole time making deals with God!

 

A couple minutes after we slowed Natasha laughed, "Ultimate driving machine my ass, this thing waddles worse than me in the fricken fake belly. It handles so bad I was sure I was going to hit something."

 

I was too stunned to say anything and I think Linus and Jim were still recovering. Natasha asked, "What's wrong boys? Cat got your tongue?"

 

Jim finally said, "Is there a bus stop somewhere close."

 

I laughed and Linus said, "You can drop me here. It'd be safer to be caught by the cops."

 

I added, "…or even the Taliban."

 

We laughed up a storm at our jokes until Natasha punched the Beemer and it leapt forward.  She said, "Keep it up boys and I'll show you how the ultimate woman can really drive this ultimate piece of crap." That shut us the hell up as we grabbed for something to hold onto.

 

Flashback Natasha (Jens) – Kabul Afghanistan

 

At least I'd found a way to make these sorry assed excuses for clown impersonators shut the hell up. I kept the pedal to the metal for about ten minutes and drove even worse just to get even for their childish comments. I even did donuts a couple times in the middle of intersections. I looked at Matt beside me - he had his eyes closed and looked like he’d seen a ghost. I glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed both Linus and Jim had their eyes closed. Linus looked like he was going to puke.

 

I let out a scream, and yelled, "Oh Shit!" I then slowed up again and asked, "Are there anymore jokes about my driving from the insane clown posse?"

 

There was total silence in the Beemer. I sniffed the air and rolled down the windows just a bit because someone had an 'accident'! Even though it was from my driving, it wasn't me. The Beemer was fine – well perhaps driven hard and put away wet.

 

I nonchalantly asked, "Linus, do you think the cops were chasing us because of the Beemer."

 

He cleared his voice and answered, "Natasha, I can't think anything right now."

 

So I asked, Matt and Jim, "Well what do you two think?"

 

Jim replied, "I'm just glad to be alive."

 

Matt answered, "I think I need to call my wife Molly and tell her how much I love her."

 

I said, "Seriously, what do you two think about the police chasing us?"

 

Jim answered, "I'm just glad to be alive."

 

Matt said, "They probably were. Are we going to stop soon?"

 

I giggled and said, "What's wrong, don't you like the way I drive?"

 

Linus answered, "Natasha you are an excellent driver."

 

I punched the Beemer just a little and asked, "Was that some sort of 'Rainman' joke."

 

He sputtered, "Hell no Natasha, I meant it."

 

I slowed back up and asked, "Linus, would you care to drive?"

 

Both Matt and Jim begged, "Please Linus, drive."

 

I shouted and punched it just a little, "Don't tell me that's another joke about my driving."

 

They got silent and I laughed, "I'm tired and going to pull over. Linus you need to take over."

 

I pulled over and stopped, glad I'd beaten all the testosterone in the Beemer into submission. I laughed and said, "Mess with the best, die like the rest!"

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

Jens' words reminded me of the rest of the TSIFFTS mission with the guys. Working with them was working with some of the best. With the cops no longer a problem it was a sedate drive back to the warehouse and I let my mind wander.

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

As we waited for Thom to get back with the phone truck and uniforms I told the guys about my prank on Thom. They laughed and almost fell on the floor.

 

Jim said, "It's about fucking time someone got even with Thom. He pranks the hell out of all of us and we're tired of it. So when are you going to tell him?"

 

I thought about it and said, "I'm not sure, because I want him to suffer some more."

 

Todd signed and Byron translated, "Todd wants to know if you're worried it will endanger the mission?"

 

I smiled and said, "No, I made sure of it." Then I continued, "Well, let's see if we can determine the identity of the mystery man who Thom let escape."

 

I went to the computers and brought up the e-mail from Thom's phone with the picture. Extracted the picture and then used Photoshop to enhance the quality. I looked at it and could tell right away the guy had military training and was sure he let Thom catch him. I fired up the facial recognition program, loaded the picture in and then let the program scan and compare his face against all the databases we had access to.

 

I leaned back in the chair and Byron asked, "So what do you think of Thom's mystery man?"

 

I spun the chair around and replied, "He's certainly military or ex-military. I'm sure he let Thom catch him. I wish we could ask him what he wanted."

 

Byron said, "You think he's going to interfere with the mission?"

 

I answered, "I think he wants something, but I don't know what."

 

The computer alerted me and when I looked there was no response on the facial recognition search. I decided to do some work, and make the search international and run it again. Ten minutes later I ran the facial recognition search again.

 

I spun the chair around and noticed I had an audience again. Thom was back and said, "Damn you're fast on the computer."

 

I stood up, smiled and said, "Thank you Sir!"

 

Flashback Thom – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Damn! I thought the 'sir' crap was done but it looks like I need to do something about it.

 

I scratched my neck. Damn! These clothes are itchy and then said, "Linus, you're mouth is writing checks your ass can't cash. I'd suggest you cut out the 'sir' crap."

 

He gave me a shit eating grin and replied, "Sir! We both know that's a fallacy because I can easily take you. If you'd like to try we can do it after the mission."

 

Shit he called my bluff! I scratched again and said, "Just remember, us old guys can be devious."

 

He laughed and answered, "And that's your mistake. You underestimate exactly how much faster young minds work."

 

I itched some more but this time it was my legs and got ready to say something when Byron interrupted, "Sir! Isn't it time for us to get ready to roll?"

 

I shot him a dirty look, looked at the clock on the wall and answered, "Yep, it's time."

 

Linus walked over to the computer and called Byron, "Hey Byron, here's what you need to do when we leave."

 

I headed to the corner grabbed my tactical uniform off the rack and geared up. For the first time all day my clothes finally felt right.

 

I barked at Linus, "Hey Torvalds, are you going to play your computer games or get your ass over here and get ready."

 

He trotted over to me, stood at attention and saluted, "Yes Sir! Sorry Sir! I will get ready right away."

 

The other three guys laughed like hell at Linus's 'sir' and the salute. I looked at Linus and threatened, "Just remember the hole your digging might just be your own grave!"

 

He grinned at me, "Thank you Sir! I will remember it." They guys laughter annoyed me so I headed out to the phone van and said, "Fuck all of you!"

 

Byron replied, "Yes Sir! You've said that before and we know you'd like to."

 

I shook my head and walked out the door before I got even more pissed off. I sure didn’t want to let it mess up this mission. I climbed into the back of the van. A couple minutes later Linus hopped in.

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

I walked up to Thom, handed him a pistol with four mags and said, "Here you go Thom. I thought you might want to use this."

 

He looked at it then said, "This is sweet, a suppressed Ruger MkII. I assume this is subsonic ammo?"

 

I answered, "That's right Thom. This way if you need to fire we won't alert the whole compound. Just remember you'll need to make head shots because it won't penetrate body armor."

 

He glanced at me and replied, "I wasn't born yesterday. And when did I become Thom again."

 

I grinned at him and replied, "Since I'm primary on the mission and now your commander. Here put this in your ear and turn it on." I handed him a tactical radio.

 

He gave me an evil smile and said, "Yes Sir!"

 

I didn't bat an eye when I replied, "It's about fucking time I got the respect I deserve around here. Now Sergeant!  Cut the jokes, posturing and the crap. Get serious or you'll sit on your ass in the trailer. We need to get into our hiding places."

 

I expected a fight from him but he jumped right up and headed to the big locker on the left side of the van. I watched him get inside and then went to the identical locker on the right side of the truck. I flipped on the tactical radio and said, "Alpha one in position."

 

Thom announced, "Hey these are nice. Alpha two in position."

 

Byron replied, "Mothership copies. Bravo team is on their way out now."

 

I heard the doors open and then slam, the van started and Jim turned on the radio to a country station and we were rolling. I leaned back, relaxed and waited for the mission to start.

 

Flashback Thom – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Linus has really helped the group and has come up with two really cool toys. The suppressed pistol is great because I can fire without worrying and the tactical headsets were great, but I had one question, "Alpha-one aren't you worried someone will listen in on the headsets?"

 

Linus answered, "Negative, they use encrypted transmission."

 

I leaned back and thought about taking out this bastard! I'd wanted him ever since I found out about the crap he was doing to his 'followers.' Shit! They weren't 'followers' they were fucking slaves and play toys to a maniac. I just wished I was the primary, because I wanted to kill this bastard so badly. But Linus was faster and better and the mission had a better chance of success with him. At least I would be there to watch.

 

I was nervous, more so than normal and I didn't know why. With the changes in the mission it should be fine. I felt the van stop, heard muffled voices talking, then the back doors opened. I grabbed the pistol just in case they decided to look in the lockers. But then the back doors closed, the van moved on and I relaxed.

 

It stopped, the front doors opened and we waited. Several minutes later we heard through the headsets, "Alpha team, this is Mothership do you copy."

 

Linus replied, "We copy."

 

Byron continued, "Just did an IR scan of the area and there are still two tangos on patrol. Stand by for further info." I called Linus, "A-one, how did he do an IR scan."

 

Linus replied, "A-two you are ordered to keep radio silence."

 

Shit! I hated not knowing what was going on. I slowly opened the door to my locker and peeked out. Someone was messing around in the back of the van.

 

I closed the door and called Linus, "A-one, someone, I think it's a girl, is in the back of the van with us."

 

Linus replied, "Mothership, did you see anyone enter the van?"

 

Byron replied, "Negative."

 

Linus asked, "A-two are you sure what you saw."

 

I answered, "I may be fucking old, but I'm not blind. Someone with a skirt is messing around in the back of the van."

 

Linus answered, "Okay A-two, you open your door and jump her. I'll wait a couple seconds and be right behind you."

 

I threw open the door, jumped on the girl and…

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

I threw open my door, Thom was on the floor and the girl was above him. I stuck my pistol in the back of her head and said, "You move you die! And don't even think you're faster than I am!"

 

A man said with a strong accent, "Ah am raisin' mah hans slowly, dinnae fire." I stepped back and he very slowly raised his hands.

 

I spit, "Get the hell off him and sit on the floor over there. You'd better make all your moves as slow as molasses in winter."

 

He complied and I studied him the whole time. When he was safely away from Thom and sitting on the floor I asked, "What the hell did you do to him?"

 

He answered, "Sorry abit 'at, he surprised me an' ah twatted heem erse ower elbows."

 

I asked, "Who the fuck are you and what do you want."

 

He chuckled a little and said, "Bludy heel, ah coods ask ye th' sam hin'."

 

I spit, "This isn't a laughing matter. And you could ask me, but I'm the one holding the pistol on you so I'll be the one asking the questions."

 

He said, " We baith ken ye willnae be firin' 'at pistol, it will attract tay much attention."

 

I fired the suppressed Ruger into the floor next to his leg and said, "Guess again Sherlock! The next round goes right between your eyes."

 

He answered, "Blaw me! Huir uv a braw, suppressed twenty-tae. Th' name's Abram but most jist caa me Hammer. Aam haur tae gie mah wee sister awa' frae thes dobber."

 

There was enough light I could see him: He had longer hair, a scruffy looking beard and was wearing a kilt. That's why Thom thought it was a girl. I asked, "You're the one that my friend caught earlier?"

 

Hammer answered, "Och aye. When ah saw heem watchin' th' tois duffers frae haur, ah lit heem catch me tae see fa he was. 'En when he left ah followed heem an' saw heem trade his jam-jar fur thes van. Ah kent summat was gonnae oan saa ah followed th' van tae th' lorry gonnae-no an' 'en hid underneath th' van until it drove intae th' compoond."

 

I asked, "You military?"

 

He looked down at the floor, "Ah was military, a prood member ay th' argyll an' sutherlain highlanders 5th battalion, royal regiment ay Scootlund, Scottish division ay th' British army infantry. Ah resigned sae ah coods come an' rescue mah wee sister."

 

I called Byron, "Mothership this is Alpha one. I'm sure you've been listening, so please run a full background check on Abram Hammer."

 

Hammer looked at me and said, "Sae whit dae we dae noo?"

 

I answered, "We wait and see if you are who you say you are."

 

He answered, "We dornt hae dooze time."

 

I smiled and said, "It's only going to take about five minutes. So just sit and relax."

 

Flashback Abram Hammer – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Mah life hud bin heel fur th' pest tois months! Mah wee sister was coerced by these bastards tae join their cult. Ah didne fin' ot abit it until yin ay th' blokes showed me a porn video wi' 'er as th' staurn. It was called, "The Leprechaun's Revenge" an' was a mingin' farce abit 'er takin' aw their "magic shalalees" at ance. Ah got violently nae weel when ah saw it, 'en ah jist got violent oan th' twit fa showed it tae me.

 

Ah resigned mah position an' cam reit tae colonies tae try tae rescue 'er. Gettin' intae thes compoond proved tae be almost impossible, 'En ah saw th' olde chap tailin' th' tois duffers frae haur an' ah kent summat was gonnae oan.

 

Ah lit heem catch me an' 'en followed heem, it was tay doddle an' ah didne hink these chaps hud onie chance. Sae ah hid it oan th' bottom ay th' van, och aye it was heel, an' figured eh'd gang in an' gie 'er an' 'en gie it ay haur. Ah thooght th' tois repairmen waur th' operati'es an' didne coont oan th' tois in th' lockers. Ah twatted th' heel it ay th' bloke 'at jumped me, but thes other yin wasnae someain tae rockit wi'. An' if it was only gonnae tak' fife minutes tae cheque mah backgroond they main be better than ah thooght.

 

As we waited ah said, "Sorry abit yer mucker. Ah dornt hink he's wakin' up onie time suin. Ah twatted heem stoaner."

 

He answered, "If you gave him any permanent injuries, you will die a very long and very painful death."

 

Ah looked at th' fluir an' evaluated mah chances ay takin' heem. He said, "I know you're trying to figure if you can take me before I kill you. You don't have any chance so give it up."

 

Ah looked back at heem an' speart, "Navy Seal?" He didne answer but ah coods teel he was. Th' auld guy wasnae a Seal but he was some sort ay military.

 

Ah reasoned wi' th' cheil wi' th' gin, "Swatch, aam jist haur tae gie mah sister an' that's aw ah want tae dae. Ah dunnae kinn whit thoo aw ur daein' haur an' ah dornt want tae ken." He didne say a wuid but kept th' gin aimed reit at me. Ah hoped he'd try tae help his mucker coz 'en ah micht hae a chance but he was tay smart fur 'at.

 

Finally he started yakkin' intae his tranny.

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Byron called me, "Alpha one this is Mothership with your information."

 

I answered, "I copy, please proceed."

 

"The guy checks out as who he says he is. I verified it with the picture Alpha two took. But be careful, this guy is bad ass and has won all sorts of decorations."

 

I looked at him and said, "Well, you check out. It's not often I get to talk to a hero."

 

Hammer looked at me, "Eh'd gie aw mah medals jist tae hae mah wee sister back. She's aw I've got left."

 

I answered, "I'm going out on a limb here and I'm going to trust you. Yes I was a Navy Seal and I can probably whip your ass if I have to. But we both might get injured and then we couldn't finish our missions."

 

I lowered the pistol, and he said, "Aam gonnae cheque oan yer mukker." He went over and looked at Thom and said, "Crivvens ah twatted heem harder than ah thooght. Ah hink ah gae heem a concussion." He stood up, walked over to me, pulled a knife, flipped it around, pushed its handle towards me and said, "If ye're gonnae kill me fur injurin' y'r mucker, ye'd better dae it wi' a shenk sae ye dornt make tay much stooshie. Jist dae me a favur an' rescue mah wee sister."

 

I took the knife out of his hand, looked in his eyes and replied, "Here's your knife back, you're not the one I came to kill today." I handed him back his knife, then I went over and looked at Thom, he was out cold and looked more peaceful than I'd ever seen.

 

I stood up and said, "With him out of it, our mission's fucked. You might as well go and find your sister."

 

Hammer looked at the floor and answered, "Swatch aam sorry abit thes. Ah didne pure techt tae bollocks things up. Ah woods loch tae help onie way 'at ah can."

                                               

Shit! I needed to make a huge decision here and it had better be the right one or people were going to die other than the one bastard we were after.

 

I got right in Hammers face and asked, "Did you mean you are willing to help?"

 

Hammer looked me in the eyes and answered, "Ah dornt porky! If thoo can use mah help thoo hae it."

 

I called Byron on the radio, "Mothership this is Alpha one, we have a situation here. Alpha two is down and unable to continue the mission. I am thinking of replacing Alpha two with Hammer. What are your thoughts?"

 

I waited and Byron came back, "If he can follow orders I would give it a shot."

 

I replied, "What do you think about rescuing one of the girls? Hammer came to get his sister and I think I'd like to try to get her out too."

 

The wait was longer this time. Byron came back and said, "It adds a lot of risk to the mission, but it's probably the right thing to do. It's your mission and your call."

 

I looked at Hammer and asked, "Well can you follow orders?"

 

He didn't blink and replied, "Och aye ah can follaw orders."

 

I said, "Let me fill you in on the mission. But understand if you fuck up we're both going to die and your sister won't be rescued."

 

I told him, "Hammer, while you're just after your little sister. We're here to terminate Jim Jones so this never happens again."

 

Hammer answered, "Blimey, yeh chaps ur serioos an' ah feel bad ah was only efter mah wee sister. An' aam sorry ah knobbed up y'r plans. Dae thoo hink efter we kill th' git we can swatch fur mah wee sister?"

 

I filled him in on the plan and then I said, "Help me get Thom into the locker." We gently moved him into the locker and then I called Byron, "Mothership, this is Alpha one."

 

"Mothership here, what do you need?"

 

I answered, "We tucked Alpha two into the locker and are ready to leave the van. What's the sitrep outside?"

 

Byron replied, "I've been doing IR scans and the area's clear right now."

 

I said, "We're leaving the van, so fuck up his power."

 

The yard lights dimmed and then got very bright and went off. The whole compound descended into blackness. We listened and heard yells and shouts of complaints from the main building. I put on my Night Vision goggles and motioned for Hammer to do the same. The previously dark night now became a ghostly green.

 

I motioned to Hammer, we opened the back door a slipped outside. I saw an outbuilding and motioned to Hammer and we quickly headed towards it. He peeked in the door, it was empty and we went inside.

 

I called, "Mothership, this is Alpha one we are in the outbuilding adjacent to the main compound building."

 

"Roger, things look calm and clear. Wait two men are coming out of the main compound and are headed towards the van."

 

I tensed up and motioned for Hammer to be on alert. Byron continued, "Relax, it looks like it's Jim and Todd. Be aware, once they leave we'll lose the ability to do scans for you and you'll be on your own."

 

I answered, "Roger, understood. Look forward to having you down here soon with you BAR1 to cover our exit."

 

1 Acronym for Big Assed Rifle not the Browning Automatic Rifle

 

We heard the van start to drive off and I knew it was time to sink or swim. I said to Hammer, "Okay, let's see if we can get in the main building without being seen."

 

I opened the door, scanned the area and saw two armed guards by the main door. I pulled up a pistol and two thunks later they were down.

 

Hammer asked, "Crivvens, did thoo jist orf those tois guards?"

 

I answered, "No, this is a tranquilizer gun. They're just out of it for about four hours."

 

He said, "Blaw me! I've got tae hae a yin ay those."

 

We worked our way across the open area between the out building and the main building. I stopped and retrieved the darts and liberated the weapons from the two guards. They were AR15 variety, so I removed the bolts and threw them as far as I could. Then I put the weapons back on the guards.

 

I tried the door but it was locked. I took off my NV goggles and said, "Hammer cover me, but don’t shoot unless it's absolutely necessary." I used a flashlight to get a good look at the lock, it was a Schlage deadbolt. I dug out a stethoscope and listened at the door so I was sure there was no one on the other side.

 

I pulled the bump keys2 from my pack, found the one for Schlage locks, put it in the lock and gently tapped and rotated the key. Less than thirty seconds later the deadbolt opened.

 

2  A bump key is a special key used for picking a lock. One bump key will work on all the locks of the same type.

 

There were candles, lanterns and flashlights burning in the hallway so we didn't need our NV gear. We had the layout of the whole building and I knew we needed to get upstairs and to the back of the building to find the bastards room. We started down the hallway towards the center staircase and I saw another guard. I pulled up and nailed him with the tranquilizer gun. Hammer took care of the AR like I did earlier and we slowly started up the stairway.

 

There was another guard at the top of the stairs so we took care of him and Hammer whispered, "Blimey, thes gaff is loch a castle fortress."

 

I shushed him and said, "Listen, what's that noise?"

 

We both strained our ears and Hammer said, "Ah hink it's a pig bangin'."

 

I listened and decided he was right. I knew the room the bastard was supposed to be in, so we walked down the hallway and up to the room. I pulled a bunch of gear out of my pack to get ready. Then I slowly opened the door and saw the bastard. He was in the bed screwing someone.

 

I slipped in the room and walked right up to the bed, he didn't notice me because he was too busy rutting and grunting like a pig! I took the hood drenched with anesthesia and slipped it over his head. He fought and tried to scream but I already had my hand over his mouth and it just sounded like one of the bastard's grunts. I pulled him off the girl and onto the floor and held him until he passed out.

 

Hammer was at the side of the bed and said, "Th' git, thes is mah wee sister an' she's nae movin'."

 

I jumped up and looked at her - she was a mess. There were bruises everywhere, including her private parts, and needle tracks on her arms. I reached over to her neck, felt a pulse and replied, "I think she's just drugged."

 

Hammer kicked Jim Jones in the balls but I stopped him and said, "We have to do this right so it doesn't look like a murder. Get your sister dressed and take care of her while I finish the job."

 

I slipped the hood off his head and felt like setting the bastard on fire to make him pay for all the suffering he'd caused others, but that wasn't the plan. I took a vial of cyanide and dribbled some into his mouth, then put a few drops in the drink beside his bed. Hammer already had his sister moved so I smoothed out the bed, picked the soon to be dead Jim Jones up and put him in the middle of the bed. Then I put a Bible on his chest and pulled the covers up over him. I planted the forged suicide note on the nightstand and we were done.

 

I looked at Hammer holding his sister and knew we'd done the right thing. Now, to see if we can get out of here without being caught or killed.

 

Flashback Byron – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Jim and Todd made it back with the van with Thom. I was waiting for them and opened the door. They carried his limp body in and dumped him on his bunk. I looked at him and laughed because he looked like fifty miles of bad Arizona roads and was going to have a hell of a shiner.

 

I ordered, "Todd, you take care of his sorry carcass. Jim you keep monitoring the computer and radios. I need to get back to the compound with my rifle and provide cover for the team."

I grabbed my rifle, headed out the door and jumped into the rental car. I called when I was on my way, "Mothership, this is Papa do you copy?"

 

Jim replied, "Papa I copy fine."

 

I drove as fast as I could and right onto property that overlooked the compound. I jumped out of the car, grabbed my rifle and ran to the top of the hill. It took a couple minutes to set up and bring up the NV scope. Then I scanned the compound.

 

A couple vans pulled up to the gate. This was something new so I watched it. They drove right into the compound and stopped. I called Jim, "Mothership this is Papa, we just had two vans enter the compound."

 

I continued to watch as they started pulling women and girls out of the vans, they were chained together. "Mothership, it looks like they have brought some new prisoners into the compound."

 

I saw a couple guys head towards the main building and called, "Alpha one, this is Papa, there are two tangos headed into the main building. Be advised they might be coming after the target."

 

Linus answered, "Papa, thanks. The target has been taken care of."

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

I looked at Hammer and said, "We've got company coming. Get your sister the hell out of here and I will take care of them."

 

He answered, "Ah cam haur tae help ye an' aam nae leavin' ye noo. Mah wee sister will be braw an' we will come back fur 'er."

 

I ordered, "Let's get ready and take them when they come through the door." I called, "Papa, could you tell if the tangos had weapons?"

 

Byron answered, "I didn't see any rifles, but they might have sidearms."

 

Hammer put his little sister on the floor on the far side of the bed and we waited on the back side of the door. Several minutes later there was a knock and I said in a muffled voice, "What the hell do you want."

 

The voice on the other side of the door said, "Sorry to bother you Sir. But we have many new women, several are probably virgins. We thought you might want to meet them."

 

I answered, "Come on in." They opened the door, I shot one with the tranquilizer gun and Hammer took down the second one.

 

I called, "Papa, what's happening with the prisoners?"

 

Byron answered, "It looks like they are moving them to a small side building."

 

We moved the two slave bastards onto the bed beside Jones then I opened up the vial of cyanide and put a few drops in their mouths. Then I got another idea and ordered, "Hammer give me a hand." We got everything setup the way I wanted. Then I made one more decision and drastically changed the mission plan. I called Byron and he cleared the change in the mission plan.

 

It took over two hours to finish the revised mission. Then I called, "Mothership we are done and are leaving." I picked up my cell phone and made a call.

 

Flashback Elizabeth Morgan – San Francisco California

 

I was fucking depressed. I didn't get a journalism degree at Berkley for this. I'd been doing everything, literally, to try to get in front of the camera. All that happened was more abuse and misuse.

 

I was at the station early again this morning to make sure everything (including my body) was ready for my bastard boss. Shit! I should spell boss backwards, because that's what he was a double S OB. His phone rang and I answered it.

 

"Hello, this is Elizabeth Morgan Mr. Peters isn't in. May I please take message?"

 

The voice at the other end said, "This is a tip, you might want to send a news crew to the Jim Jones church compound." Then the line went dead.

 

I went out of his office, looked around and just one cameraman was at the station this early. So I walked over to the cameraman and said, "Bernie, I just got a tip. Grab your gear because we need to roll."

 

I thought he was going to give me crap, but he looked at me and answered, "Liz, it's about time they let you do something besides being their play toy." He grabbed his gear and we took off.

 

I had heard about Jim Jones, he was rumored to have a sadistic place he called a 'church.' But he had political connections and no one wanted to do a truthful report about him because they were afraid of their careers being ruined. I thought, Shit! Since I don't have a career anyway, I'm going to fry this bastard. I knew something was wrong when we drove up to the front gate. It was wide open and the armed guards were lying on the ground. I jumped out of the van, checked them and yelled to Bernie, "They're both dead."

 

"Liz, get back in the van and we'll head up to the main building." I complied and jumped out as soon as Bernie stopped the van. There were two more armed guards by the door lying on the ground, I checked and they were dead too. I looked at Bernie and said, "Bernie, these guards are dead too."

 

He replied, "Liz, I don't know what happened here, but it looks like we're the first on the scene. The minute we start broadcasting we're only going to have about thirty minutes before the cops show up. I'll get the camera ready, but I think we need to go inside and see what's going on before we go live."

 

We walked in the main building and I saw another armed guard. I checked and he was dead too. I checked the rooms on the lower floor and they were all empty offices and meeting rooms. We started upstairs and as I opened the door of the first room I saw a young girl lying on a bed. At first I thought she was dead, but when I checked her she was breathing fine. I noticed lots of bruises and needle marks on her arms and determined she was drugged.

 

Bernie yelled, "Liz you've got to see this!" I ran out of the room, into the hallway and then into his room. There was Jones and two other men. One man was leaning back on the bed and Jones' head was in his crotch, the other man was on top of Jones. From their positions and state of undress it was obvious they'd been having a three way with each other when they died. I saw a note on the nightstand, went over, picked it up, unfolded it and read it.

 

I pulled out my cell phone and called the station. Sally answered, "KSUX television station, how may I direct your call."

 

I replied, "Sally, this is Liz Morgan. Let me speak with the control room."

 

She answered, "Liz, I'm so happy to hear from you. Mr. Peters is here and is upset you're not here. He made Jenny bring him his coffee because he couldn't find you. I hope you get here soon."

 

I thought, the fucking bastard! Bringing him his coffee meant you took him a cup hot and black and left with the cream in you. I answered, "Sally, tell Peters to go fuck himself. Give me the control room."

 

I waited and finally heard, "Hello, this is Darrel."

 

I said, "Darrel, this is Liz Morgan. We have a hell-of-a story and are going live in just a couple minutes. You might want to be ready to black out certain parts of the scenes."

 

He asked, "Does Dick know about this?"

 

I chuckled because who the hell would name their kid Richard Peters. I answered, "Hell no, he doesn't. I have Bernie with me and we're first on the scene of a major story, the cops aren't even here yet."

 

Darrel answered, "Liz, it's about time you got out from under Dick and did something like this. I'm locking the control room door. Go get 'em tiger!"

 

I looked at Bernie and said, "It's time for us to go live."

 

Flashback Thom – TSIFFTS Mission

 

I woke up in my bunk in the trailer and had one hell of a headache. I sat up, too fast. I got dizzy and the room turned fuzzy. I fell back on my bunk and yelled, "What the fuck happened!"

 

Linus walked over and said, "Sir, It's about time you woke up."

 

I glared at him, "Did you knock me out?"

 

Some other guy in a dress walked up beside him and answered, "Sorry sairrr! it wasnae Linus, it was me."

 

I answered, "Who's the clown with the speech impediment and the dress."

 

Linus grabbed him as he lunged towards me and the clown said, "Ah shoods kick yeh aris ower teakettle again. Damn bloomin' seppo. Aam Scottish an' thes is a kilt."

 

I was glad Linus stopped him because I was in no shape to fight right now. I answered, "If you're the one who knocked me out it must have been a lucky punch because I thought you were an ugly woman."

 

Byron walked up and said, "Thom, sometimes you are a real asshole! You need to apologize to Hammer. He’s the newest member of our team."

 

I replied, "I don't have a say in this?"

 

The rest of the team came over and they all said, "Hell no!"

 

I grumped and said, "Is he qualified?"

 

Linus laughed and replied, "He sure kicked your ass didn't he. I'd say that makes him qualified."

 

Byron added, "Thom, he was a commando for the British Army."

 

The clown corrected him and said, "Th' Scottish army."

 

I answered, "Hey you're the fucking clown I saw at the hardware store."

 

He lunged at me again and Byron held him back. He spat, "Ah dunnae kinn if ah want tae graft fur a cranky olde git loch thes."

 

Linus looked at me and stated, "Thom, Hammer is one of the best men I've ever worked with. Without him your mission would have failed, because we made a few changes to the mission plan while you were taking your nap and you wouldn't have been able to help me with them. If Hammer goes, I go."

 

Byron added, "I'll leave too." Jim said, "Me too." And Todd signed, "Thom you're a fucking moron. Get your head out of your ass or I'll leave the team."

 

Dammit! I have a hell of a headache and a full blown mutiny on my hands. I looked at the five of them and I can tell they're serious. I said, "Perhaps I should just leave the group."

 

Byron didn't even wait and replied, "Unless you apologize to Hammer I think you should."

 

I relented and said, "You're right! I do need to apologize. But I still might leave the group." I looked at Hammer and said, "Hammer, sorry I offended you."

 

I held out my hand and he shook the hell out of it and said, "Thom, Ah forgife ye but ye'd better nae make anymair comments abit mah kilt."

 

He stepped back, I laughed and said, "But someone needs to teach you how to speak English."

 

Linus held him back and Byron said to him, "Hammer, that's just Thom's way of welcoming you to the group. He insults everyone."

 

Linus added, "I've spent my whole time in the group wanting to beat the crap out of him."

 

Hammer said, "Ah hink th' auld rockit shoods learn hoo tae spick proper English insteid ay butcherin' th' leid wi' his silly accent."

 

I was going to say something else but Byron interrupted, "Hey a news report is coming on about the mission." We all moved over in front of the television to watch.

 

Flashback Elizabeth Morgan – San Francisco California

 

I grabbed the microphone and wasn't even afraid because I was finally doing what I had always wanted to do. The red light on the camera came on and I started.

 

"Good Morning. Liz Morgan here reporting for KSUX from inside the People's Temple compound in San Francisco California where we have just discovered the mass suicide of what appears to be all the male members of the People's Temple, including its leader, Jim Jones. The bed behind me contains his body along with the bodies of two of his men, it's obvious from their positions they were in the midst of a homosexual liaison.

 

"There do not seem to be any physical signs of injury on any of the men, but I did notice the smell of almonds on each of them. This smell is significant because it's the same smell associated with cyanide. We did find a simple suicide note and I will read it to you.

 

I can no longer live with myself for the things I have done to my followers.

 

Jim Jones

 

"We will now move to some of the other rooms here and you will see firsthand what Jim Jones meant."

 

We walked into the closest room and there was the nude body of a young girl who was still drugged, I had covered her with a sheet.

 

I continued, "This is a young girl who can't be much older than fifteen." I pulled her arm out from under the sheet and showed all the needle marks and bruises for the camera. "This is evidence of this child being drugged and physically abused. But it's worse than that, if we were to show you the rest of her body, which we can't, you would see she has been sexually assaulted many times."

 

We walked out of the room and headed towards another room, "It's the same in all these rooms. Young girls drugged, beaten and abused. All of these atrocities went on right under our noses, under the guise of a religion. Why didn't our government put a stop to these abuses? Why weren't Jim Jones and the People's Temple investigated?"

 

We walked into another room and the girl was waking up, she clutched the sheet around her and said, "Where am I?"

 

I sat on the bed beside her and said, "You're safe now, tell me your name."

 

"My name is Amber Smyth. Where am I?"

 

I continued my interview, "Amber, you don't know where you are?"

 

"No Miss, last thing I remember I was playing with my friends in Boston. Then a new girl came up to me and gave me some candy." She made a face and said, "I feel sick and I hurt all over."

 

I stroked her hair and comforted her, "Amber don't worry. There are medical people coming to help you feel better."

 

My cell phone was on vibrate and was going off like crazy, but I ignored it and kept reporting. "Amber, you stay here in bed and the medical people will come soon. We need to go and check on some other children."

 

Amber said, "Thank you Miss, I am very tired and think I will go to sleep."

 

She went to sleep; we walked out of the room and downstairs. I pointed to the guard and said, "This is another one of the men in the compound that's dead. Notice how he has a military weapon. It looks as if he was here to keep the girls from escaping."

 

We walked outside and I heard a bunch of noise from a small building, I looked at the camera and said, "I am hearing some noise from a small building and I am going to go and investigate."

 

We ran over to the building and I opened the door and saw a large group of women all chained together. I looked at the camera, "It appears we have found a new group of women all chained together like a bunch of slaves." They all started yelling and screaming, I heard the sound of approaching sirens. "Viewers, it sounds like the police are finally approaching. I am not sure how much longer I will be able to continue my report."

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

I looked at Thom and his mouth was hanging open, finally he said, "Linus, you two killed all the men in the compound?"

 

Byron answered, "Yes Thom they did. All the men were bastards and had been stealing, drugging and raping the women. If we had left even one of them alive he would have just taken over for Jones. He called in, made the request, and I gave him permission."

 

Thom said, "That had to be, close to fifty men."

 

I answered, "Fifty-three bastards burning in hell's hottest spot."

 

Thom was angry and asked, "I need proof of these allegations. I want to know we didn't murder innocent men."

 

I looked and Hammer brought over his little sister, he said, "Thes is mah wee sister Kathleen. Th' git's captured 'er abit tois months ago. She can teel ye everythin'."

 

Kathleen looked at Thom and said in a sweet lyrical voice, "Och aye, mah older brub is tellin' thoo th' truth. Aw th' men waur mingin swine an' banged th' kimmers aw th' time."

 

Hammer took her away and I said, "They used her in several of their porn videos. Jones was on top of her when we caught him. We found out he was also selling women into slavery. We were just getting ready to leave when two more vans pulled up with the group of chained women you saw, and that's when I made the decision. It will all come out when the police look into his records."

 

Thom said, "Won't the police figure out it was murder and not suicide?"

 

I replied, "After they see the women, I doubt they will look very hard. They might find some of the wounds in the men from the tranquilizer gun, but will probably dismiss them as being from drug use. It will look like all of them used cyanide."

 

Thom asked, "What if the police try to sweep it under the rug."

 

I smiled and said, "I had Kathleen make copies of all the records and we've already mailed them to the reporter you saw on TV."

 

He asked again, "How did the three of you get out of the compound?"

 

Byron laughed and said, "After all the men were dead, they just walked up the hill to me and we drove here."

 

Flashback Thom – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Shit! Shit! Shit! Linus and Hammer took down fifty-three men. I didn't know what to think or how to feel, plus I still had a huge fucking headache. TSIFFTS had never done a mission of this magnitude before and there was a good chance things could go to hell in a hand basket.

 

I looked at the team and said, "Linus, Jim and Todd. Make sure all our electronic tracks are covered."

 

Linus said, "Thom, all our tracks are covered other than the package we mailed to Liz Morgan and it only has Kathleen's fingerprints on it. No one else has her fingerprints."

 

I ordered, "I'm going to go change my clothes and check my e-mail. Let's be ready to roll in thirty minutes."

 

I stood up and was still wobbly, but worked my way to the cab of the truck and changed into my normal clothes, blue jeans and a flannel shirt. I walked back into the trailer, grabbed a cup of coffee, sat in the chair, fired up my e-mail and started scratching myself. Damn have I been itchy lately.

 

I looked at my e-mail; I had one from one of my truck stop honeys. I opened it up and read.

 

Thom,

You fuckin' bastard! Don't you ever come and see me again you son of a bitch! Ever since you've left I've had a hell of a time getting rid of the fucking crabs you gave me. If I ever see you again, I'm gonna cut off your dick!

 

I spewed my coffee all over the counter and the floor. Byron looked at me and said, "What's wrong Thom. You look like you've seen a ghost."

 

I lied, "Nothing's wrong Byron, I just choked on my coffee."

 

I thought, Shit! Now I know why I've been so itchy the skank gave me a dose of crabs. Son of a bitch, if I have them that means all the clothes in the cab are probably infected by now.

 

I looked and saw Byron scratch some, Jim and Todd and Linus were scratching too. Jim said, "Shit! I don't know what's wrong but I've been itchy as hell lately."

 

Todd signed and said, "Same here. I don't know what's wrong but it's driving me crazy."

 

I looked over and Hammer was sitting with his sister on the far side of the trailer. I called him over and asked, "Hammer can you and your sister take a short walk. I need to talk to the guys about something personal."

 

They took off and I was embarrassed as I told the guys, "Guys, I hate to tell you this. But I have an e-mail from one of my girlfriends and I think she gave me the crabs."

 

Linus looked at me and said, "Thom! We're so upset at you. You've infected all of us with crabs. I think you need to buy all of us new clothes."

 

Jim added, "Shit I bet he will have to replace the whole interior of the truck."

 

Todd signed, "Thom, I am very disappointed in you!"

 

I looked at Byron, he smiled and started laughing his ass off and the rest of the guys joined in. Byron said, "Thom! I wished I had a picture of your face right now."

 

A camera went off and Linus said, "Byron you have your wish." He continued and said, "So Thom, tell me how it feels to have a prank pulled on you?"

 

My mouth dropped open and Byron said, "Thom you don't have crabs. Linus put itching powder in all your clothes to get even for replacing his underwear with women's underwear."

 

I was relieved I didn't have crabs, but I was pissed about being pranked and not even suspecting it. I looked at Linus and threatened, "Someday, I'm going to get even with you for this."

 

Linus grinned and replied, "Thom, I figure we're even now and I'm willing to end it all right now. But if you decide to continue, know I won't be so merciful the next time."

 

I thought about what he said and knew it may be over for him, but it wasn't close to being over for me.

 

I said, "I'm going to change back into my tactical uniform, I didn't itch in it." I changed and felt better right away, then I went back into the trailer. Hammer and his sister were back and from the way they grinned I knew someone had told them. I fell on my bunk and ordered, "Let's get the hell out of here."

 

Flashback Dariush – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I awoke and Ahmir sat beside me and held my hand. I tried to sit up but my head hurt too much. I said, "Ahmir, where am I and what happened?"

 

He replied, "Sorry Mr. Faisal, the Blackwater scum were waiting for us and destroyed your Mercedes. You, Ms. Morgan and her cameraman were rendered unconscious. I was barely able to drag you to safety."

 

I yelled, "What about Ms. Morgan? Did the Blackwater scum get her?"

 

He replied, "Mr. Faisal, they we're too busy fighting someone when I carried you away and they couldn't get close to the Mercedes. Every time one of them started towards it they fell dead."

 

I ordered, "Go get her now!"

 

He looked at me and said, "Sorry Mr. Faisal, I called your helicopter and I will not leave your side until it shows up. All the gunfire is over from the crash site of the Mercedes, so if something happened to them it's too late."

 

This was the worst news I could ever have. I ordered Ahmir, "Help me up I need to get back to the crash site and see if she is still alive."

 

He helped me up and supported me as we walked back to the site. The Mercedes was destroyed, but there were no bodies in it so at least Ms. Morgan hadn't died. There had been a war and the Blackwater scum came out on the losing end, they were all dead. I looked at Ahmir, "They've all been shot in the head. Who would do such a thing?"

 

He answered, "I do not know Mr. Faisal. Like I told you they were falling like flies when I took you out of the Mercedes. They were shooting towards the ridge over there."

 

He pointed and I followed it with my eyes, "That has to be a half kilometer away." I heard the sound of helicopter, looked up and saw it was mine. They circled once, landed and Ahmir helped me inside. Then Ahmir helped me into my seat, fastened my seat belt, opened up the first aid kit and gave me a pill and some water.

 

I ordered, "Take me to the top of that hill. I want to see what's up there." The pilot did as was ordered, Ahmir got out and looked around. He climbed back in and said, "Mr. Faisal, there is nothing here, not even footprints. Perhaps Blackwater was fighting ghosts or angels?"

 

I ordered the pilot to take me to my mountain house. I needed to talk to my contacts and find out what happened to Ms. Morgan and then what happened to Blackwater. On the flight I received word about the Marines destroying my T-72 and my head ached even worse. Someone was going to pay for that.

 

My head was pounding even after taking a pill, but my heart was pounding even worse! I didn't know where Ms. Morgan was and I was not sure the Blackwater scum did not capture her. I picked up my phone and made a call. It was picked up right away, "Hello this is Aaron."

 

I replied, "Aaron this is Dariush. I want you to return Ms. Morgan to me."

 

He yelled into the phone, "You bastard!  How the hell did you get my private phone number! Do you know how much you and that fucking tank of yours cost me?"

 

I replied, "Shut up you stupid son of a bitch and listen to me! How much I cost you is irrelevant. I am calling to negotiate the safe return of Ms. Morgan."

 

The phone was silent for a moment, then he said, "And what's that worth to you?"

 

I paused because something didn't feel right and said, "How about twice what I cost you with the tank?"

 

I waited, but not long enough, and he said, "It's a deal."

 

I replied, "Aaron, I have made a living out of being able to tell when people better than you are lying to me. And it is obvious you are lying to me right now. You do not have Ms. Morgan."

 

He started arguing to me and I said, "Aaron, understand this. I am tired of you and your Blackwater scum. You are now my enemy. And very soon you will see, as Blackwater is burning, what a mistake you have made."

 

I hung up the phone and leaned back as the helicopter landed at my mountain home. Ahmir helped me into the house and I ordered, "Put everyone on alert and double the guards. They have orders to shoot first and ask questions later."

 

I went right to my office and logged on my computer to see if I could find Ms. Morgan. If Blackwater did not have her, perhaps the Marines had captured her again. I checked and it did not look like they had her, but I did discover General Donaldson was in the hospital.

 

Flashback Glen – Kabul Afghanistan

 

The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital with a splitting headache. I pushed the call button for the nurse, multiple times and finally one came into my room. Before she could even speak I snapped, "What the fuck happened and what the hell am I doing here?"

 

She stopped, gave me a dirty look and replied, "You can get rid of the attitude right now or your stay here is going to become very unpleasant, very quickly! I would think a man who is lucky to be alive would be more thankful."

 

She was right and I apologized, "Sorry about my attitude. I have a huge headache and my neck feels like someone tried to rip my head right off my body. Would you please tell me what happened."

 

She looked at me and asked, "You really do not know?" Then she turned, took my helmet off the table and handed it to me. There were marks where two bullets had grazed it, one on each side of the helmet. She said, "It looks like someone tried to assassinate you but they missed. You have a headache because the force of the bullets hitting your helmet gave you a severe case of whiplash. Is there anything else you need or can I go and tell the doctor you are awake?"

 

I looked at her and said, "No, I don't need anything else. Thank you." She left and I looked closer at the helmet. The two bullet holes were in almost exactly the same spot on each side. It was one hell of a miss, it almost looked planned. I turned the helmet over and there was a small piece of paper folded up and tucked inside. I pulled it out, unfolded it and read.

 

General Donaldson,

Consider the two shots your helmet stopped as the only warning shots we will ever give you. Do not ever again give anyone any information about Ms. Elizabeth Morgan which would endanger her life. She is protected by us and we will kill anyone who tries to hurt her.

 

The doctor came in the room and saw I was holding the helmet. He said, "Looks to me like you were lucky."

 

I said, "Yes I think I was very lucky. When can I get out of here?"

 

He replied, "I'd like to keep you for another couple hours just to make sure everything's fine."

 

I answered, "How about something for this damn headache and neck ache before you let me out?"

 

He said, "I'll see what we can do and send the nurse in with it." Then he left.

 

I studied the helmet. The two shots were almost perfect. I read the note again and wondered if it was some sort of sick joke. And I thought, how in the hell did the note get in my helmet.

 

My aide came in the room and looked relived to see me sitting up. He saw the helmet and said, "Sir! You were very lucky today."

 

I handed him the note and stated, "Read this and then tell me everything that happened because I don't remember any of it."

 

He read the note and said, "Sir! Where did you find this note?"

 

I said, "It was folded up and tucked inside my helmet."

 

He started, "You put on your helmet and were headed to the MACCS. You no sooner stepped out the door than a shot rang out and you went down. We brought you here and alerted the BCO. He immediately sealed and searched the base but we never found the persons who shot at you."

 

I asked, "You were with me the whole time?"

 

He answered, "Yes Sir. I didn't leave your side until you were here in the hospital."

 

I questioned, "And my helmet?"

 

He said, "It wasn't removed until you were here in the emergency room. They handed it to me and I kept it until you were moved to this room. I didn't see the note when I left it on the table."

 

The nurse came in, handed me a pill and some water, I took it and asked, "Do you have a minute to answer some questions?"

 

She said, "I am pretty busy but I can give you a couple of minutes."

 

I asked, "Who would have access to my room while I was unconscious?"

 

She gave me a puzzled look and replied, "Just the normal hospital staff. Why do you ask?"

 

I handed her the note and said, "Someone put this note inside my helmet and I'm trying to figure out when it was done. My aide had control of the helmet until he left it on the table in this room."

 

She read the note, looked at me and said, "There must have been a security breach in the hospital. I have procedures I have to follow." She handed the note back to me and quickly left the room. I watched my aide because his eyes were glued to her as she left.

 

He said, "She has to be one of the beautiful and exotic looking women I've ever seen. I loved her little accent."

 

I looked at the note again, started choking and pressed the call button. My aide came over and banged me on the back and said, "Sir! What's wrong?"

 

I handed him the note, he read it and ran out of the room. It was now a different note and read.

 

General Donaldson,

This is not a joke and we meant what we said. Do not do anything to endanger Ms. Elizabeth Morgan or you will die. As you can see we can get to you whenever and wherever we want. It would have been easy for me to replace your pain pill with poison. Listen to our warning and live, ignore it and die.

 

The doctor and a bunch of people ran into the room. He yelled, "We need to pump his stomach right now."

 

I held up my hand and stopped him, "Doctor, I don't think there's any reason for you to do that. If she wanted me dead she would have killed me. I think it's more important for her and whomever she works for that I remain alive."

 

My aide ran back into the room and said, "The nurse has totally disappeared. I did call the BCO and the hospital administration. They will be here ASAP. Sir, should I tell the troops to pickup Ms. Morgan when they find her?"

 

I looked at the note and said, "I think we should leave Ms. Morgan alone for right now, until we can investigate this further." I added, "Everyone out of my room and make sure no one enters this room unless my aide personally knows them."

 

They all left, I looked at the helmet and the note again and thought about what it said. Then I remembered the phone call from Aaron the Blackwater commander about how all his men were killed trying to capture Liz Morgan. Didn't he say they were all shot in the head and blamed me for using Recon snipers? I leaned back in the bed and decided I was very lucky to be alive and it might be a good idea to leave Liz Morgan alone, at least for now.

 

Flashback Liz – Kabul Afghanistan

 

Yes, it was time to earn my keep and give Blackwater some hell. I told Bernie, "Get the camera gear all set up. I'm going to go change. It's time to give Blackwater some shit."

 

I walked back into my room and pulled on a clean pair of BDU's, fixed my hair and makeup and walked back into the living room. Bernie was ready for me so I sat on the couch and started my report.

 

"Hello viewers, Liz Morgan reporting for the Truth Network. My cameraman Bernie and I are currently hiding out in an unknown location in Afghanistan because our lives are being threatened by an out of control Blackwater. Earlier today we barely escaped from my hotel room by riding in a tank. During the escape Blackwater tried multiple times to stop us and take us into custody.

 

We finally made it out of the city and transferred to a Mercedes. The Mercedes was ambushed and totally destroyed by Blackwater. Miraculously, we escaped without injury and with all our gear. It's apparent that Blackwater is totally out of control and are endangering our lives and the lives of civilians. They are not even listening to the military commanders here in Afghanistan but they have their own agenda and have to be stopped. So I appeal to and urge all my loyal viewers to call their elected officials. Please complain and call for the immediate removal of Aaron Copeland, the Blackwater commander in Afghanistan. Thank you very much for you support on this."

 

Bernie killed the camera and said, "I'll cut in some video from inside the tank and also the video we took from Dariush's Mercedes being destroyed and from Glen's office where Aaron wouldn't listen to him. Then I'll send it off to the network."

 

I headed to my computer and sent a bunch of e-mails to all my friends in Washington DC. I was calling in favors to bust Aaron's balls. If he still had a job 24 hours from now, I'd be amazed. Then I stood up and wandered around the apartment and wondered how I would ever repay Dariush for all this, he just might get lucky!

 

Flashback Dariush – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I was very relieved, Ms. Morgan's news report just flashed across my computer screen. She looked, not only fine, she looked very fine! But where in God's name was she? She was in an apartment, but I'd never seen an apartment like that before.

 

I made a bunch more phone calls and sent a bunch more e-mails trying to figure out where she was hiding and who was helping her. I had just about given up on finding here when one of my informers sent me and e-mail.

 

Mr. Faisal,

Ms. Morgan and her cameraman are safe. That is all I can tell you or I will be killed.

Spider

 

Finally, some good news, and from Spider. He's always given me good information. I answered.

 

Spider,

Thank you for the information, I need to know where she is and who's helping her. I am willing to pay for it and to keep you safe.

Faisal

 

He replied right back.

 

Mr. Faisal,

There is no place you could send me where they wouldn't find me and kill me and all my relatives. The only reason they allowed me to live was to contact you so I could tell you Ms. Morgan is safe. I would suggest you do not anger them or they will kill you. I will not contact you again on this.

Spider

 

I had never known Spider to be afraid of anyone, except me. I can tell someone has him terrified and he said they could even kill me.

 

I needed to take care of one more thing before I could rest. I made call and leaked some information to a few people and smiled knowing very soon things were going to happen.

 

My head was still pounding, but at least I could rest now knowing Ms. Morgan was safe. I called Ahmir and said, "I am going to lie down and rest for awhile. Please let me know if we hear anything about Ms. Morgan. I went into the bedroom, climbed into bed and fell asleep.

 

Flashback Aaron Copeland – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I tried to call Glen to see if I could get some help because a shit storm had descended upon me. But I found out he was in the hospital because someone tried to assassinate him and barely missed.

 

I wanted to know what he did when the Morgan Bitch got her Washington friends after his ass, because she had them after my ass now. The damn phone's been ringing off the hook! It's all her Washington fat-cats upset as hell. Damn! I laughed when this happened to Glen, but it's not so funny now since it happened to me. They're even talking about special Senate subcommittees to investigate my actions.

 

I tell my aide, "I'm beat and going to bed for the night."

 

He looked at me and said, "Yeah, you've taken a beating today. Cheer up tomorrow will probably be better."

 

I grumbled as I wandered down the hallway, past the guards and into my room. It was nice having this whole old hotel as our base of operations. With the huge perimeter we had around it, it was nicer and safer than the Marine base. Perhaps my aide is right and this will all blow over tomorrow.

 

I took a long hot relaxing shower and climbed into bed. Damn ever since I took the FUBAR assignment to find the Donaldson bitch things have gone to hell. Even though it's a hell of a lot of money, I think I'm going to call tomorrow and cancel the contract.

 

Mmm, the smell of my wife's perfume permeated the room - this was such a nice dream. It felt so real as she crawled into bed with me, her weight pressed me down deeper into the mattress. Wait! This wasn't a dream; someone was on top of me. I struggled to move my arms and legs, but they're tied down. I tried to yell, but my mouth had tape over it.

 

I felt her breath as her body covered me completely. Then she whispered in my ear, "Commander Aaron Copeland of Blackwater. Is it not amazing what the smell of your wife's perfume invoked?"

 

I thrashed on the bed and tried to make some noise, the voice said, "Shhhh, be still and don't make any noise or I will slit your throat."

 

I felt sharp cold steel against my neck and stopped struggling. The voice continued, "Mr. Copeland, I came here tonight to make a deal with you. Here is my offer and it is not negotiable. You and all your men are to totally leave Ms. Elizabeth Morgan alone. She is to never, ever be bothered by you or Blackwater again. If you do this for me then you and your family continue living. If you do not then you will all die. Do you understand?"

 

I nodded my head and the voice continued, "Just remember how easy it was for me to visit you in your bedroom in this secure hotel. If you break this deal with me there will not be anywhere you or your family can hide from me. Do you understand?"

 

I nodded my head. The voice said, "Sweet dreams." I felt a spray on my face and drifted off to sleep.

 

I woke refreshed in the morning and thought it was a bad dream, until I looked at my nightstand. There was a single black rose and a note. I tore open the note and it read, "No it was not a bad dream. Remember our deal and live, ignore it and die."

 

Flashback – Dariush – Kabul Afghanistan

 

Ahh, one of my girlfriends decided to visit me. I wondered which one had decided to bless me tonight. I opened my eyes and almost had a heart attack! It is not one of my girlfriends it is one of the Black Angels lying beside me in the bed.

 

I asked her, "Please kill me quickly and mercifully."

 

She touched my shoulder and said, "Mr. Faisal, I am not here to kill you tonight. I am here to thank you."

 

I blinked my eyes in disbelief and stuttered, "Thank me! Thank me for what?"

 

"We have been very impressed with how well you have taken care of Ms. Elizabeth Morgan."

 

I looked down, "She is very special to me."

 

The lady said, "She is also very special to us and because of the way you have treated her you are now one of our friends. And I have come tonight to grant you one wish."

 

I looked at her and immediately said, "The only wish I can think of is to know where Ms. Morgan is and to know she's safe."

 

The Angel smiled and said, "I will tell you the information you have asked and it will not be your wish. We have Ms. Morgan in a very safe place. And we have taken measures to make sure that everyone will leave her alone. After tonight, she will be able to travel anywhere in Afghanistan in safety because everyone will know we protect her."

 

I was very happy and the Angel said, "Now what about your one wish."

 

I thought a few moments and said, "The only wish I have you can't give me."

 

The Angel laughed and said, "Yes, you want to marry Ms. Morgan and that is something which is out of our control. You are an honorable man in a time when not many men are honorable. My sister and I wish you a long and happy life and who knows someday your wish will come true. Good night, our friend Dariush."

 

She sprayed my face, I yawned and fell asleep.

 

I woke in the morning feeling like a new man and wondered if it was a dream. I saw a single black rose and a note on my nightstand. I carefully opened the note and read it, "Dariush, thank you!" It had a big red kiss on the bottom.

 

Flashback – Mira and Ira – Kabul Afghanistan

 

We had hoped we would not have to become quite as involved as we did. But things had escalated out of control and Ms. Morgan was going to get hurt or killed. When Blackwater almost killed her in Daruish's Mercedes, we knew we had to take drastic actions.

 

We hated what we had to do to the Blackwater troops trying to capture her. They were just following orders, but the orders were flawed and they were going to kill an innocent civilian – Ms. Morgan. Ira and I went back to our flat and cried for hours. Then we found ways to take care of the families we had just destroyed.

 

So we both gave General Donaldson a 'headache' to get his attention, then I visited him in the hospital room pretending to be a nurse and delivered our messages. Ira and I knew he would only partially listen to the message and would still try to get Ms. Morgan to reveal the location of Ms. Donaldson. But we were going to give him some grace and mercy on this.

 

I visited Commander Copeland. It was so funny because at first he was so excited and actually thought I was his wife. But when I told him we would kill his family (not that we really would) I could smell his fear and I knew Blackwater was out of the equation.

 

Now I am waiting for Ira to return from visiting Dariush and then we have one more visit tonight. I barely hear her as she slips into the room.

 

I ask, "Ira how was your visit to Dariush?"

 

She took off her helmet and balaclava, shook her hair and said, "Mira, it was excellent. He is a very honorable man and would make Ms. Morgan such a nice husband. And you were right his only wish was to marry her."

 

I smiled because we had a bet, now Ira would have to give me a pedicure. "Ira, are you ready for our last mission tonight?"

 

"Mira, let me get a drink of water, use the toilet and rest for ten minutes. Then we can go."

 

I jumped up and got our weapons ready, on this mission some terrorists would die. Ira got some water out of the refrigerator and tossed me a bottle. I turned, caught it and smiled at her. "Someday you might fool me and I won't be ready for that trick, but not today."

 

"Mira, you are so good and fast."

 

"Just like you sister. I hate to tell you the bad news, but I heard from the Beast today. He pretended to be all concerned on how we were. I just think he is missing training us."

 

Ira giggled and answered, "Mira, sometimes you are so nasty! You know he is still eating the food we made for him. I do not think he could train us if we played with his training tool for an hour. Remember how embarrassed he was the last time he tried to train us and it would not even work?"

 

I smiled because Ira and I had come up with a plan of feeding the Beast doses of estrogen with each meal. His aging body could not cope with the increased estrogen. We were slowly transforming him into a medical eunuch. He had gotten slower and fatter and his training tool almost never worked anymore. We even caught him one day when we came home early beating a little girl because his training tool would not work with her. For us it was a fitting torture for the Beast to take away the one thing he treasured the most, his manhood, because he had taken so very many things away from us. And the beauty of the plan was it was virtually undetectable and we could eat the same food.

 

I giggled and replied, "Yes I remember. I thought he was going to beat us for it. But it was not as bad as when you had the store deliver the bra for his growing man breasts."

 

Ira giggled, "How about when you had the pharmacy deliver the Viagra and it did not even work?"

 

I giggled and said, "I hate to change the subject but we still have one more mission tonight. I want to get this done so we can relax and just watch Ms. Morgan."

 

"You are right Mira. Too bad this one will not be as fun as the last two. I really like Dariush and I hoped he would have trained me."

 

"Ira, sometimes you are too nasty!"

 

She stuck out her tongue and replied, "Just like you Mira!"

 

We geared up and headed out into the Taliban controlled part of the city. Five blocks from the commander's location shots rang out and kicked up dust in front of our vehicle. I slid the vehicle to a stop.

 

Ira said, "We have been watched for the last kilometer."

 

I added, "There are many terrorists lining the roofs. Are you ready my sister?"

 

Ira smiled and said, "Shall we count our kills today and see who wins?"

 

I asked, "What is the prize this time?"

 

Ira said, "How about a manicure?"

 

I had thoughts of getting not only a pedicure but a manicure and I was motivated, "It is a deal."

 

We opened the doors together, stepped out. The terrorists opened fire on us. We unleashed our fire at the terrorists on top of the buildings and in the doorways. And heard their screams as they ran from the Angels of Death, but most were too late.

 

With the initial terrorists taken care of, we walked up the street towards the Taliban headquarters but we weren't afraid because we had double layers of Herr Henrick's body armor it even covered our legs and arms. Only a very lucky or accurate shot could wound us.

 

I saw some movement in the doorway ahead, Ira must have seen it to because we both blasted the terrorist and others tried to run but they only died tired.

 

I said, "Ira cover me, I am doing a tactical reload."

 

Ira said, "Certainly, then it is my turn."

 

We reached the terrorist stronghold and four men were outside 'blocking' our way. Ira looked at them and said, "Let us pass or you will die."

 

A brave one said, "We will not let you kill the commander."

 

I answered, "If we came here to kill him, he and all of you would already be dead. Let us pass or die."

 

The brave one tried to argue again so I shot him right between the eyes. Another shot me so Ira shot him in the face. I looked at the remaining two, "You can see that your bullets do not harm us. Stand aside and let us pass."

 

 Ira told the other two, "Our bullets are dipped in pig's blood so those who we kill today are unclean. Let us pass or you will die."

 

They moved aside and I said, "Leave your weapons, you will not need them."

 

We stood on each side of the door and I opened it, shots rang out through the empty doorway. I yelled into the room, "If anyone else fires we will kill everyone there and all their family members. We have come to talk not to kill."

 

I heard the commander yell at his men to stop shooting. Then he said, "We will not fire anymore." We walked into the room, the commander was sitting at the table and he was surrounded by men.

 

The commander said, "If you have come here to talk, why have so many of my men have died tonight."

 

I replied, "Because they fired first and tried to kill us."

 

He answered, "Yes that was not wise of them and was a mistake."

 

Ira completed the exchange with, "Their last mistake!"

 

The proximity alarm beeped on my wrist, his men jumped and I said, "You might want to tell the men who are approaching our vehicle, to leave it alone. It contains a very large bomb and if they try to steal it they and many others will die."

 

He yelled at a couple of his men and they took off running out the doorway. He looked at us and said, "So you came here to talk, you must want something."

 

Ira answered, "We do not want anything from you. We just came to deliver a warning." She slid a picture of Ms. Morgan over to him on the table and I said, "Do you know this woman."

 

He looked at the picture and replied, "She is the American sow who reports the news. Yes I know her and I know she is protected by Dariush."

 

I added, "She is also now protected by us. It would be good if you told all your men she is to not be bothered."

 

He laughed, "You do not have to worry about us as we will not bother her. But you will have to worry about the Blackwater infidels, they hate her."

 

Ira laughed and replied, "We have taken care of Blackwater and they will no longer bother her."

 

He asked, "Are you two the ones who killed all the Blackwater swine when they attacked Daruish's Mercedes? We heard they were slaughtered like pigs."

 

Ira said, "That was us."

 

He grinned, "So we fight together against the same enemy."

 

I said, "No, anyone who attacks or endangers Ms. Morgan becomes our enemy. You heard about General Donaldson?"

 

He looked surprised and said, "I heard it was a miss and I thought it was some of his own men."

 

Ira said, "It was us and we never miss unless it is planned."

 

He answered, "You have killed many Taliban in the past, do I understand if we do not bother the Morgan sow you will stop killing Taliban."

 

I became very upset and said, "It is obvious we cannot talk with terrorist pigs which kill women and children with their bombs." I pulled up my rifle, shot him between the eyes and Ira and I killed all the men in the room.

 

Ira said, "Mira, I told you he wouldn't listen. We just should have killed all of them like I wanted."

 

I replied, "You are right. I just keep hoping they will listen. I grow tired of killing them because it is not honorable."

 

Ira answered, "Yes, it is too easy. Well my sister we now have a very busy night ahead of us."

 

And the rest of the night was very busy for the Angels of Death.

 

Flashback – Zarika and Yasmeen – Tajikistan Day Twenty-four

 

I woke up and my head hurt very badly, I looked over and Yasmeen was on a bed beside me, one of her arms was all wrapped up. I wondered what happened and where the truck was. I turned over and saw there were bars - we were locked up in prison.

 

I stood up and my head hurt even worse, but I fought my way to the bars and started banging on them and yelling.

 

Yasmeen woke up and said, "Zarika why are you making noise and yelling?"

 

I yelled at her, "Yasmeen, we are in prison."

 

"Yes Zarika I know we are behind bars, but it is really not like we are in prison."

 

I looked at her like she was crazy and said, "What do you mean! We cannot leave so this is prison."

 

She said, "Zarika come and sit beside me and I will tell you."

 

I walked over, sat beside her and she said, "Zarika, you have been asleep for over a day. They said you have a bad confession and need to rest."

 

I asked, "Where is the truck?"

 

Yasmeen answered, "You wrecked the truck and this nice lady came and took care of us. She had us brought here and the doctors fixed my arm and looked at you. Then she helped me clean up and gave you a bath and put us in these nice new clothes. They are even better than the ones I bought."

 

I was worried, "Yasmeen, what about our husband's gold?"

 

She smiled and pointed to the boxes in the corner of our cell, "It is all right there."

 

I looked and all the boxes were right there. I asked, "So where are we and why can we not leave?"

 

"Zarika, I do not know where we are. We cannot leave because the nice lady told me many bad people have been looking for us because of our husband's gold. She even said that Hussein is looking specifically for you."

 

I yelled, "Yasmeen, how will Ben find us if we are not where we are supposed to be?"

 

Yasmeen smiled at me and said, "The nice lady promised she will find Ben and bring him to us."

 

I looked at her and I couldn't believe her, I wondered if her mind was broken because of the wreck. "Yasmeen, you are even more silly than usual. Where is this 'nice lady' I want to meet her."

 

Yasmeen looked hurt and said, "Zarika that was mean. Get off my bed. The nice lady had to leave but left a very nice man to take care of us. The only problem is he cannot speak."

 

I moved over to my own bed and glared at Yasmeen, she was being such a silly goose! Where is this 'nice lady' or even the man who cannot speak.

 

Yasmeen stuck her tongue out at me and said, "You are more grumpy than an old billy goat."

 

I jumped on to her bed to fight with her, Yasmeen hit me with her bandaged arm, it was very hard. I got very dizzy and fell back to sleep.

 

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