21 Wounded

Wounded Chapter 21

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

We were driving back to the garage and Natasha had fallen asleep. She twitched, snored and snapped me out of the daydream I was having about the TSIFFTS mission.

 

Matt said, "Damn, she makes enough noise when she sleeps. Is she okay?"

 

I replied, "She told me she doesn't sleep worth shit. She sort of sees what the fucking terrorists are doing to Ben, plus she feels like things are biting her legs."

 

Jim said, "I sure as hell hope she doesn't make this much noise when we're all in the garage."

 

Matt fired back, "What are you talking about, you snore loud enough I doubt anyone will sleep."

 

Natasha jerked, woke up and said, "What the fuck is going on?"

 

I answered, "Nothing Natasha, you were just sleeping. Did you have another bad dream?"

 

She said, "Yeah, they happen whenever I fall asleep. This time Ben was being attacked by scorpions."

 

Jim said, "I bet it was those big black fuckers. They're nasty and sting like hell. I hear they can kill a healthy man."

 

Jim yelled, "Hey Natasha, cut it out, I didn't mean anything."

 

I glanced in the rear view mirror and determined she's kicking his ass. She yelled, "You fucking moron, if you ever say anything like that again. I'm going to kill you!"

 

I ordered, "Natasha, stand down!"

 

She stopped but kept grumbling in the back seat. Jim said, "Shit Natasha! You really have become a bitch!"

 

Jim started yelling again, "Hey Natasha cut it out. That hurts."

 

I looked in the rear view mirror and chuckled because Natasha had a hold of his ear, trying to pull it off the side of his head.

 

She said, "You'd better fucking apologize to me, or I'm taking your ear as payment."

 

Jim yelled, "I apologize, now give me my damn ear back."

 

She yanked it one more time and said, "Keep messing with me and I'll show you the bitch from hell."

 

We pulled up the to the garage door and I said, "Jim, get out and get the door for us."

 

He yelled, "Gladly, anything to get out of here!" He then bailed out so fast he fell down and we all had a good laugh.

                                                      

Flashback Natasha (Jens) – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I had a terrible dream about Ben being stung by big, ugly, black scorpions. It hurt like hell too! I woke up cranky as hell. Then Jim opened his big fat mouth and got me pissed off. So I kicked his ass.

 

Linus made me stop before I'd fully expunged my anger and then Jim had the audacity to call me a bitch! Hell, I'm not half as bitchy as his wife Sally. So, I tried to rip his ear off his head.

 

I was glad when Linus made him get the door, because he's the one who had the accident and he smelled up the whole car. Linus pulled into the garage, I yanked off the fricken burka hood and hopped out of the car.

 

Linus demanded, "Hey Natasha! Where's your belly?"

 

I smiled at him, patted my six-pack belly and said, "Hey Linus! I should tell you where you can put that damn belly! I guess you didn't think everything out?"

 

Matt laughed at my bitchy comment while Jim was over taking care of his mess. Linus gave me a funny look and responded with, "I don't know what you're talking about."

 

I grinned and asked, "Am I the only one who thinks around here? What's going to happen when we go back to the airport if I'm wearing the same belly? Don't you think the security guards will be super suspicious?"

 

He gave me a stupid look and I continued, "Yeah that's what I thought. You didn't think about this. Did you? I guess no more Natasha belly burden for a few hours."

 

Linus sputtered and said, "I think you should still practice wearing it."

 

I went over and said, "Oh really! If I do that then I might not walk correctly without the belly. Is that a risk you're willing to take?"

 

He answered, "I guess you're right."

 

I replied, "Damn straight I'm right! So Jack should be here in another three hours. I'm taking it easy and no fricken belly for me!"

 

Linus said, "I think we need to leave early and trade the BMW for something else. This car is pretty hot."

 

I answered, "Oh Goodie! I get to drive another car! I hope it's better than this piece of shit."

 

Matt asked, "Hey Linus, you mind if I stay here this time?"

 

Jim yelled, "I'm not going if she's driving!"

 

I laughed and said, "What's wrong, boys? I didn't have an accident."

 

Linus answered, "I should make you two go while I stay here. But I need to observe Jens."

 

I answered, "I think all of you should come. The more the merrier."

 

Jim said, "There won't be enough room for Jack so I'm staying."

 

I went over and plopped on my bunk and waited for Linus to login to the computer.

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I flipped on the computer and logged in. The minute I did I knew I'd made a mistake. Everything on the screen went black and the speaker spit out in Natasha's voice, "Mess with the best, die like the rest."

 

I looked over at her and said, "You shouldn't have been able to do that. I had my user account aliased to yours. When you tried to do something to my account, it should have ended up affecting yours."

 

She grinned like a Cheshire cat and replied, "Yeah, I saw that and took care of it."

 

I said, "So what the fuck did you do to my user account?"

 

She grinned even bigger and answered, "When you logged on you ran a little program I wrote when I was a kid called “blackhole”. It set the colors on all the parts of your desktop to black."

 

I asked, "All the parts? How the hell did you change the colors on the windows control buttons?"

 

She said, "That's for me to know and for you to figure out Mr. Wannabe computer hacker."

 

I was going to say something else when Jens voice came across the computer speaker again, "Mess with the best, die like the rest."

 

She giggled and said, "Oh, I forgot to mention. You'll be listening to that until you can figure out how to turn it off."

 

I thought to myself, I'll fix her! At least I had the logoff keystrokes memorized. I logged off as me and tried to login as the administrator. The password didn't work. I looked at her, she was still grinning. I asked, "You hacked into admin and changed the password?"

 

She answered, "Yes, it was much too short and easy to guess."

 

I was dumbfounded. I really didn't think Natasha was that good a hacker. I was messing with the computer when the proximity detector went off. Natasha jumped up, flew over to the computer and said, "Move the fuck out of the way."

 

She logged on her account and brought up the cameras and said, "It's that damn dog again. As much as I like dogs, I'm going to kill him if he keeps setting off the alarm."

 

We watched as the dog came up to the door and then scratched at it as if he wanted in. Natasha went to let the dog in but stopped, then came back, logged off the computer and said, "No way are you getting access to my account."

 

She ran to the door, let in the dog and he danced around her like they were old friends. I went back to fighting with the computer.

 

Flashback Natasha (Jens) – Kabul Afghanistan

 

Wow he was one nice dog. He smelled some but reminded me of the dog in the Russian Movie Собачье Сердце (The Heart of a Dog) by Michail Bulgakov. I found and watched the movie after I discovered it was one of Ben's favorites. He told me he wondered how Bulgakov could have written a story like this, during the Soviet times, and not be sent to Siberia. I read the short story but the movie was even better.

 

It's a crazy story/movie which takes place in Soviet Moscow and opens with a dog (named Sharik) point of view. He's a street dog and gets adopted by a famous research doctor who uses him as a test subject. And unlike most Russian stories/movies this one has a happy ending. I think that is why Ben liked it so much.

 

I yelled to the guys, "Hey we're keeping this dog."

 

Jim yelled back, "I hope you wash him because he stinks."

 

The dog growled at him and I replied, "At least he doesn't smell like shit!" He blushed and shut the hell up.

 

Linus was still fighting with the computer and said, "Make sure he doesn't have fleas."

 

The dog growled and snapped at Linus and I said, "Come on Sharik. We need to give you a shower."

 

He jumped around me and barked excitedly.

 

Matt yelled, "Do you think you can control that beast?"

 

Sharik stopped barking and growled at Matt. I giggled and said, "I guess Sharik is a good judge of people. So far he's growled at all three of you and he loves me." He started barking and jumping again and we went to the shower.

 

I slipped out of my burka along with the rest of my clothes, turned on the water and pulled Sharik into the shower with me. He loved getting a shower and was snapping at the water! I lathered him up very well with soap and then made sure he was totally rinsed before I put some conditioner in his hair. I told him, "Sharik, you stand right there until I shower, then I will rinse out the conditioner."

 

It was like he understood me and patiently stood waiting for me. I laughed at him a couple of times because he looked so funny when he was wet. I finished my shower and then dried off and started drying off Sharik. I was almost finished drying him when he took off from behind the shower.

 

I heard Matt yell first, "That son of a bitch dog just shook water all over me."

 

Then Jim gripped, "That bastard dog did the same thing to me."

 

And finally Linus complained, "That damn cur got me all wet."

 

He ran back over to me. I swear he was almost smiling, and I said as I shook my finger at him, "Sharik, that was naughty. Don't you do that again!" But then when I leaned down and finished drying him I whispered to him what a good dog he was. He wagged his tail and sprayed me with water. I giggled, finished drying him and myself, put on my deodorant and perfume. I sprayed some at Sharik, but he took off running before I could make him smell good. I then walked back out and Sharik was lying on my bed.

 

I called, "Sharik, come here and let me brush you." He ran over and stood while I took and old brush and brushed all the tangles out of his hair. He didn't even growl when I pulled on some very bad knots. When I was done he looked like a new dog and even more like Sharik.

 

I looked at him and used a famous quote from the story, slightly changed, "Sharik, you are handsome. Perhaps you're really a dog prince, living incognito. I wouldn't be surprised if your grandmother didn't have an affair with a Labrador. Now that I look at your muzzle, I see there's a white patch on it. I wonder how it got there." He wagged his tail and let out a single woof.

 

Jim asked, "What's this Sharik shit?"

 

Sharik growled at him and I said, "It's his name and means balloon or small ball. He reminds me exactly of a dog in a Russian movie which Ben likes. So I gave him the same name. Plus he likes the name"

 

I bent down and hugged him, then walked over to my bunk. He followed and lay on the floor beside the bunk. I reached down and scratched him. I loved having a dog, especially a dog prince!

 

Flashback Linus – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I was frustrated as hell because I couldn't get anywhere with the computer. Enough is enough and I decided to order Natasha to fix the damn computer for me.

 

I jumped up from the chair and walked towards her bunk. I got close to the bunk and yelled, "Natasha, get your ass over there and fix the fucking computer for me."

 

Her damn dog stood, started to grow and even raised the hair on his back. I looked at the dog and said, "Natasha, if you don't call off this damn dog of yours. I'm going to shoot it."

 

Quick as greased lighting her hand flashed out from under her pillow as she pointed her pistol right at me and said, "Linus, if you or anyone else ever hurts my Sharik. I will kill them, neither one of us likes your attitude so fix it."

 

I didn't know what was worse, looking down the barrel of her pistol or down the throat of her damn dog. I decided I needed to fix things. So I calmed down and replied, "Sorry Natasha, but I need to get into my computer account. I want to check the news before we go to pickup Jack."

 

She lowered the pistol and the damn dog sat back down. Natasha said, "Hit control-shift-F1 and type in Jens dash rules dash Linus dash drools."

 

I looked at her but didn't know what to say. So I walked back to the computer pressed ctrl-shift-F1 and typed Jens-rules-Linus-drools and it worked. I had my desktop back just like normal. I started poking around to see if I could figure out how she did it and everything went black again and I heard the computer say, "Mess with the best, die like the rest."

 

Natasha giggled and yelled to me, "Don't try to fuck with the program or it will do that to you."

 

I pressed the key combination again, and entered the fucking password and had my account back. I went out to the web, started reading the news and said, "Holy Shit!" when I saw the first headline.

 

Natasha yelled, "What did you find Linus."

 

I said, "You all need to come here and see this."

 

They all gathered around the computer, even the damn dog was there, as we read the news:

 

Massive Taliban deaths in Kabul Afghanistan.

 

In an act which this reporter still cannot believe, Kabul has awakened this morning to being itself an almost Taliban free city. In an act of almost Biblical proportions, which reminds this reporter of the black plague of death which descended upon Egypt in the movie The Ten Commandments, some unknown group went on a rampage last night and has killed many of the Taliban in the part of the city they controlled. The survivors have been seen leaving the city in a mass exodus.

 

There are a few survivors that remain but they are incoherently mumbling something about the black Angels of Death. This group has done what the Marines and Blackwater were unable to do. They have set this city free from the tyranny of the Taliban. We can only hope that now the city is free it will remain free.

 

Natasha yelled, "Shit! Now we're in big trouble!" Sharik barked a couple of times adding emphasis.

 

I asked, "What the hell do you mean?"

 

She replied, "Well, with the fucking Taliban out of the way. Now the Marines and Blackwater will be able to spend all their time looking for us."

 

I thought about what she said and concluded she was right. We were in deep shit because everyone was going to be looking for us.

 

I looked at the team and said, "Natasha is right. Without the Taliban causing problems the Marines and Blackwater will be looking for us. Matt and Jim, you guys need to go out and find us a truck because we need to head towards Khudabah, Pakistan as soon as Jack gets here. Make sure you're not tailed and once you get back here with it, start humping all the gear into it."

 

Natasha asked, "Linus what about your two guys?"

 

I looked at Natasha and said, "I'm going to contact them and tell them not to come. We can't afford to wait around here anymore. Natasha, get into your skinny burka, let's roll and get a new car."

 

Natasha said, "I think we should let the guys take the car and trade it for a truck. I will put on the fucking belly. We will find another car place and play Grand Theft Auto again. Then I will change back into my skinny burka"

 

It sounded like a good plan to me so I said, "This sounds like a better plan so let's all move out."

 

I sent a quick e-mail to my guys and told them not to come and then I headed to the Zuk. Natasha was sitting in the passenger seat and the damn dog was in the back.

 

I said, "We can't bring that damn dog."

 

He growled and snapped at me. Natasha giggled and said, "If you don't want him coming, you take him out of the back."

 

I reached towards him, he growled and bit my hand. I pulled it back and threatened, "I'm going to kill this damn dog."

 

That was a huge mistake because I found out just how fast Natasha could move even with the fake pregnancy belly on. She jumped out of the Zuk and was kicking the shit out of me in the front, and the damn dog joined her and was biting the hell out of my ass.

 

Matt and Jim laughed like a bunch of hyenas, while I fought for my life. I yelled, "Natasha Uncle! Stop fighting me and call off your damn dog."

 

She yelled, "Not until you promise me to never threaten Sharik again."

 

I said, "I agree, I will never threaten that damn dog again."

 

Natasha and the damn dog didn't stop. She smacked the hell out of my face and said, "His name is Sharik, not that damn dog."

 

I said, "Natasha, this needs to stop or one of us is going to get hurt."

 

She replied, "Apologize to Sharik."

 

I didn't want to hurt her or the dog and that was what it was going to take to win this fight, I capitulated and said, "Sharik I apologize to you and I will never threaten to kill you again."

 

It was just like a switch was flipped and they both stopped. Natasha walked over to the Zuk and jumped in, Sharik hopped into the back. I swear the dog turned his head and smiled at me.

 

I grumbled as I climbed into the driver's seat, wiggled a few times because my ass was sore from the damn dog biting it, and started the Zuk. Matt and Jim still laughed but had the door open. We wheeled out into the street. The damn dog barked a couple times and reminded me of…

 

Flashback Linus – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Dogs were raising hell and I said, "Shit Hammer! Someone fucked up, there weren't supposed to dogs here."

 

We started running our asses off and I said, "Hammer if we can't get away from these dogs we're fucked. Listen, you're faster than I am. You take off and I'm going to take care of these damn dogs."

 

Hammer answered, "Linus, nae way in heel aam leavin' yeh."

 

"Linus, no way in hell I'm leaving you."

 

I made a call on the tactical radio, "Overwatch this is Bravo team we have a situation. There's a pack of dogs after us."

 

Byron said, "There weren’t supposed to be any dogs there. Can you bring them past my position and I'll see if I can't distract them."

 

I said, "Roger Overwatch. We will be at your position ricky tick."

 

The dogs were closing on us, Hammer said, "Linus drap y'r pack, it will distract em an' help ye scapa faster. We'll drap back an' pick it up later."

 

"Linus drop your pack, it will distract them and help you run faster. We'll drop back and pick it up later."

 

I slipped my pack off, let it fall in the trail and we picked up the pace. It didn't take long for the dogs to get to the pack; you could hear them tearing it up. It also didn't take long for them to come after us again. At least we had more breathing room.

 

I called, "Overwatch, we're at your location now."

 

We ran under the tree, I glanced up and saw Byron, he gave me the thumbs up and we kept running. Finally the dogs stopped barking. We stopped; I leaned over to catch my breath and said, "Hammer, this was too close."

 

He patted me on the back and said, "Aye it was excitin' wasnae it. Let's gang back an' see whit Byron did tae th' dogs."

 

"Yeah it was exciting wasn't it. Let's go back and see what Byron did to the dogs."

 

We trotted slowly back to Overwatch, as we got closer we heard the dogs growl. Byron said, "Walk in slowly guys so you don't scare the little doggies."

 

We walked in and I saw Hammer's mouth drop open Byron had the dogs sitting in a row. They wagged their tails and he said, "Now you little doggies can't be chasing my friends like this. They are much better than the bastard that owns you."

 

Hammer says, "Damn Byron! Ah thooght thoo 'd killed th' dogs an' haur thoo hae em listenin' tae thoo. Whit ur thoo some sort ay dug whisperer?"

 

"Damn Byron! I thought you'd killed the dogs and here you have them listening to you. What are you some sort of dog whisperer?"

 

Byron answered, "Don't be crazy, I'd never hurt good little doggies like this. And I don't know, I've always had a way with dogs. You go and finish the mission and I'll just play with my new friends."

I said to Hammer, "Well, let's see if we can still finish this mission."

 

Flashback Todd – TSIFFTS Mission

 

Linus and Hammer were working one side of this tango's property while I was sent to come in from the other side. Thom wanted to come with me, but I always work alone. I heard all the commotion about the dogs over my tactical radio and I figured I would have some to deal with here. Linus and Hammer had been noisy and clumsy and let the dogs hear them. I wouldn't make that mistake.

 

I saw the first dog as I crawled to the top of the wall. The stupid mutt didn't hear me or even smell me. I pulled a dart out of its holder loaded it into the blowgun and one chuff later the dog was sleeping like a baby. I took my wounded rabbit call out of my bag and squeaked it. Now all I had to do was wait patiently for the other dogs to show up so I could dispatch them.

 

I heard a call on my tactical radio, "Alpha this is Mothership, is everything going as planned?"

 

I clicked my radio once for yes and squeaked the rabbit call some more. The next dog came flying in like its ass was on fire and ran right up to the sleeping dog - one more dart and one more sleeping dog. Because we had adequate time, I decided to squeak a few more times and make sure all the dogs were taken care of and I'm glad I did since there were two more dogs lured into my trap. I made sure to take all my darts with me as I slipped past the sleeping pooches.

 

With the dogs being taken care of I slipped off the wall and crept towards the house. I jumped another small fence and immediately saw an IR perimeter defense field. I stopped and signaled, "-- --- - .... . .-. ... .... .. .--. --..--   ..   .... .- ...- .   ..-. --- ..- -. -..   .-   ...- . .-. -.--   ... --- .--. .... .. ... - .. -.-. .- - . -..   .. .-.   .--. . .-. .. -- . - . .-.   -.. . ..-. . -. ... .   ..-. .. . .-.. -.. .-.-.-   .--. .-.. . .- ... .   -. --- - .. ..-. -.--   -... .-. .- ...- ---   - . .- --   .- -. -..   .- -.. ...- .. ... .   -- .   .-- .... .- -   - ---   -.. ---"

 

"Mothership, I have found a very sophisticated IR perimeter defense field. Please notify Bravo team and advise me what to do."

 

I heard Jim reply, "Roger Alpha we have received your message and are relaying it to Bravo team. Sit tight while we discuss what to do."

 

I signaled back, ".-. --- --. . .-. --..--   ..   .-- --- ..- .-.. -..   ... .- -.--   - .... .- -   ..- -. .-.. . ... ...   .-- .   -.-. .- -.   ..-. .. -. -..   .-   .-- .- -.--   - ---   -.. .. ... .- -... .-.. .   - .... .. ...   .. .-.   ..-. .. . .-.. -..   .-- .   .-- .. .-.. .-..   -. . . -..   - ---   ... -.-. .-. ..- -...   - .... .   -- .. ... ... .. --- -. .-.-.-"

 

"Roger, I would say that unless we can find a way to disable this IR field we will need to scrub the mission."

 

I hunkered down in some bushes, watched and waited. This really sucked because all the intel on this house was wrong. There were no records of guard dogs or anything remotely resembling this elaborate security system. And now I noticed some movement and saw some roving guards patrolling the inside perimeter of the IR field.

 

I updated Mothership with the new info, "-- --- - .... . .-. ... .... .. .--. --..--   .-- .... .. .-.. .   -.-- --- ..- .----. .-. .   -- .- -.- .. -. --.   -. . .--   .--. .-.. .- -. ...   .- -.. -..   .-. --- ...- .. -. --.   --. ..- .- .-. -.. ...   - ---   - .... .   . --.- ..- .- - .. --- -. .-.-.-   ..   .... .- ...- .   . -.-- . ...   --- -.   - .-- ---   - .- -. --. --- ...   .-- .- .-.. -.- .. -. --.   - .... .   .. -. ... .. -.. .   .--. . .-. .. -- . - . .-.   --- ..-.   - .... .   .. .-.   ..-. .. . .-.. -.. .-.-.-"

 

"Mothership, while you're making new plans add roving guards to the equation. I have eyes on two tangos walking the inside perimeter of the IR field."

 

The tactical radio crackles; it's Thom, "Shit! This mission's going to hell and I think we might have to scrub it."

 

I replied, "- .... --- -- --..--   -.. --- -. .----. -   --. . -   -.-- --- ..- .-.   .--. .- -. - .. . ...   .. -.   .-   -... ..- -. -.-. .... .-.-.-   .-.. . -   -- .   - .- .. .-..   - .... . ... .   - .- -. --. --- ...   .- -. -..   ... . .   .-- .... .- -   - .... . -.--   -.. --- .-.-.-"

 

"Thom, don't get your panties in a bunch. Let me tail these tangos and see what they do."

 

I stealthy slipped along with the guards; they weren't paying attention probably because they thought the dogs would alert them to any intruders. I followed them halfway around the compound and didn't see any deviation in their patrol. But I did see Linus and Hammer hiding in some bushes. They had no idea I was so close to them.

 

I signaled, "-- --- - .... . .-. ... .... .. .--. --..--   .- -.. ...- .. ... .   -... .-. .- ...- ---   - . .- --   .. .----. --   .- -... --- ..- -   ..-. .. ...- .   ..-. . . -   -... . .... .. -. -..   - .... . -- .-.-.-"

 

"Mothership, advise Bravo team I'm about five feet behind them."

 

The tactical radio announced, "Bravo team do not worry, Alpha team is approaching your position from behind."

 

Linus said, "That sneaky SOB one of these days I'm going to kill him when he sneaks up on me."

 

I slipped up beside the two of them and we waited.

 

Finally we get a call on the radio from Thom, "Guys were scrubbing the mission for now. We need to come up with a new tactical plan. Come back to the Mothership and make sure you don't leave any evidence behind."

 

I motioned to Linus and Hammer to take off and I would follow them. I wanted to make doubly sure they didn't leave any evidence.

 

Now I totally understood how the dogs heard them. It sounded like two elephants heading through a jungle. Someday these guys need taught how to be quiet in the woods.

 

I was not happy having to head back to Mothership like a beaten dog with its tail between its legs.

 

Flashback Matt and Jim – Kabul Afghanistan – Getting a truck

 

It was funny as hell watching Natasha beat the shit out of Linus and then Sharik biting the hell out of his ass. For once she was after someone other than us!

 

They drove off and I looked at Jim and said, "Damn, remind me to never fight with those two."

 

Jim still grinned and answered, "Shit! Remind me to never say anything bad about that damn dog again."

 

I answered, "Then you better start calling that damn dog Sharik. Let's go and see what sort of truck we can get."

 

I drove the Beemer out the door, Jim closed it, jumped in and we took off. Jim said, "I think you should head into a crappier part of town, we might have better luck."

 

The streets were alive with people, I guess with the Taliban leaving they felt much safer to be out. At least they moved out of the way when I hit the horn. I kept a close watch on the rear view mirror because I didn't want to pick up a tail.

 

We drove past a couple of car lots and didn't see any decent trucks. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to find anything we liked. Finally I saw a lot which looked promising, pulled in and parked.

 

We jumped out of the car and looked at several trucks. The salesman came over and said, "So you are looking for a truck. With the Taliban leaving these are the only trucks left in town."

 

I answered, "Yes, we would like a truck and would like to trade our car for it."

 

He laughed and said, "I am sorry but I do not need your car."

 

I looked at Jim and realized with the Taliban taking all the trucks they could as they left, we were fucked. I motioned to Jim and we headed back to the car. When we got out of earshot of the salesman Jim said, "Well what the fuck are we going to do now?"

 

I answered, "I think we have to chase down the Taliban and see if we can trade this car for one of their trucks." We hopped in the Beemer and went to make a deal with some devils.

 

It didn't take long to find the convoy on its way out of town. We drove up alongside the trucks and watched as they kept their rifles trained on the car. I saw a truck I liked and pulled up alongside, rolled down the window and Jim shouted to the driver, "Nice truck you have."

 

He looked over and replied, "But not as nice as your car." And I knew we had a possible trade.

 

I told Jim, "Tell him we might give him our car for his truck."

 

Jim answered the truck driver, "It must be tiring driving that truck for so long. This car is sure comfortable to ride in."

 

He answered, "This truck is a good truck, but it is no BMW."

 

Jim finally said, "We are looking for a good truck and might be willing to trade you our BMW for your truck."

 

He pulled to the side of the road, slowed and said, "If you are serious, I will trade you right now."

 

Jim answered, "Then it's a deal." I stopped the Beemer and Jim and I grabbed our gear and jumped out. The driver of the truck came over and said, "Allah has been good to me today."

 

I asked, "Don't you want what's in the truck?"

 

He grinned and suddenly I felt apprehensive when he said, "No, you two can keep everything in the truck."

 

He jumped into the Beemer and sped off; I looked at Jim and said, "We'd better see what the hell he left in the back of the truck."

 

We walked around back, opened the back flap and Jim said, "Son of a bitch! We certainly fucked up!"

 

Flashback Dariush – Kabul Afghanistan

 

After reading the note from the Black Angel, I got out of bed, went over to my safe, unlocked it and put it inside. Now it is time to check and see what's going on.

 

Ahmir came into my bedroom with my morning tea and a pain pill. I took the tea, but refused the pill and said, "Ahmir, I do not need that this morning. I feel much better."

 

He replied with a worried look, "You might need it after you hear what happened last night."

 

I rushed right over to my computer and logged in. Then, I saw what he was talking about! All the Taliban leaders and many other Taliban were dead and the remaining Taliban were leaving the city.

 

I looked at Ahmir and ordered, "Why didn't you wake me up for this."

 

He smiled and said, "This note was on your door."

 

I grabbed the note out of his hand and read:

Mr. Faisal, is fine and needs his sleep.

 

Do not bother him under penalty of death!

 

The Angels of Death.

 

Ahmir said, "We were all worried about you but knew better than to bother you. I waited until I heard you move around before I came in."

 

I replied, "You did the right thing Ahmir. I was visited by one of the Angels last night. She told me I am their friend because I have taken such good care of Ms. Morgan. I guess she is a very good friend of theirs. Then they said Ms. Morgan would soon be able to travel anywhere in Afghanistan without any worries." I watched his eyes as I told him this and they grew bigger. I knew he would tell others and my esteem in the community would grow. Now, if I could just find Ms. Morgan…. but then again it might be better to let her hide under the wings of her angels.

 

Flashback Glen – Kabul Afghanistan

 

The damn doctor gave me awful tasting shit that made me throw up the pill. Then, he gave me some nasty charcoal anyway and kept me in the hospital overnight for fucking observation. I did send my aide out to try to find out more about the notes and the mystery lady that delivered them. He came back before I went to sleep but had no further information.

 

I hit the call button for the nurse again. When she came into the room I asked, "Where the hell is the doctor, I want to get out of here?"

 

She answered, "He'll be here in about another hour."

 

"Well how about something for my headache?"

 

She replied, "Sorry, nothing for you that might impair your level of consciousness." With that she turned and left.

 

I looked again at my helmet, re-read the last note and decided to leave Liz Morgan alone. Besides, she'd never tell me where Jens was.

 

I leaned back on the bed and was resting when my aide tore into the room and said, "Sir! You aren't going to believe this, but the Taliban leaders are all dead and most of the rest of them are leaving the city."

 

I sat up in bed too fast and my head throbbed. I replied, "This had better not be some sort of fucking joke."

 

He answered, "Oh no Sir! This is the truth and is even being reported on the news."

 

I thought for a moment and said, "Okay, you need to help me get dressed because I have things to do and lying in this fucking bed isn't one of them." I gave him a look that said ‘don't fuck with me’.

 

He went to the closet and brought me my uniform and I started to put it on. The nurse came back into my room and said, "What do you think you're doing."

 

I looked at her and replied, "I have work to do and I'm going to do it. You can tell the doctor when he gets in he can come by my office if he want to check me."

 

She started to give me crap but I gave her the same look as I gave my aide. She turned and left the room. I finished changing and headed out in the hallway with my aide as two sentries fell in beside me. I looked over as my aide put on his helmet and I said, "Did you bring a new helmet for me?"

 

He looked sheepish as he replied, "Not yet Sir."

 

I ordered, "Then give me your helmet and you hold my old helmet."

 

He handed me his helmet and I started adjusting it. I got it close enough, put it on and said, "Don't worry, no one's going to mistake you for me and shoot you."

 

We got to my office, and I verified the information my aide gave me. Well, well, well, with the Taliban out of the way I can concentrate my men on controlling the city and looking for Jens. I called a briefing and gave my officers their new assignments.

 

Flashback Liz – Kabul Afghanistan

 

I woke after a great night's sleep and still wondered how Dariush had pulled this off. I walked into the kitchen and noticed a letter under the front door so I walked over, picked it up and read it.

 

Ms. Morgan, we hope you enjoy the apartment we acquired for you and that you slept well last night. We have made sure that you will be safe wherever you travel in Afghanistan. So feel free to go and report on the Taliban leaving the city.

 

It wasn't signed and I wasn't sure what the note talked about, but I was going to find out. I went and banged on Bernie's door and said, "Rise and shine sleepyhead. We have work to do."

 

He yelled through the door, "For God sakes, can't you let a person rest?"

 

I giggled and said, "I'm making the coffee. Get your lazy ass out of bed because we're leaving in thirty minutes."

 

He yelled back, "Don't burn the water this time when you make the coffee."

 

I thought: Smart ass bastard, wait until he tastes the coffee I make for him this morning!

 

I walked into the kitchen and although they didn't have a coffee pot, they had a French press. I boiled some water, put a couple scoops of coffee in the press, poured the water over it and waited. Three minutes later I poured both of us a cup, then added a bunch of salt and pepper to Bernie's and threw it in the microwave until it boiled – twice! I sat his cup in his place and sat down and enjoyed my great cup of coffee and waited for Bernie.

 

He stumbled out of his bedroom half asleep in his underwear! I said, "Bernie, go back in your bedroom and put on a robe! It's not like we're an old married couple."

 

He looked at me, yawned and replied, "Well you sure bitch at me like we're an old married couple." And he went back to his bedroom, grabbed a robe, came back out and sat at the table. He said, "Where's breakfast?" Then he took a drink of coffee, spewed it all over the table and said, "Damn! That's the worst cup of coffee I've ever had!"

 

I laughed and answered, "Glad you liked it since I made it especially just for you! Would you like me to make breakfast for us too?"

 

He gave me a jaundiced look and answered, "Not if it tastes anything like this cup of shit you call coffee!"

 

I got up and traded cups with him and said, "Here have my coffee and I'll make some more, next time you want a good cup of coffee don't bitch at me about my cooking. While you're at it take a look at this note and tell me what you think." I handed him the note, went over to the counter and started making more coffee and breakfast.

 

I rummaged around in the well-stocked fridge and found some blini1. I pulled them out, inspected them and determined they were already filled so I all I needed to do was fry them. I found a skillet and some butter and started heating it up as I made some more coffee.

 

1 Blini - A small light pancake served with melted butter, sour cream, and other garnishes.

 

Bernie said, "Thanks for the great cup of coffee, sorry about earlier. It's been a long time since I felt safe enough that I could really sleep. This note was written by a woman and if it's true then I think we will be sleeping much better for a very long time. Did you check the news when you got up?"

 

I became upset and answered, "Shit! I was distracted and forgot to check. Bernie, go see what's happening while I finish breakfast."

 

He took off for the living room. I hear the TV start and then Bernie yells, "Liz! You've got to come and see this."

 

I ran into the living room and couldn't believe what I was seeing.

 

Flashback Aaron Copeland – Kabul Afghanistan

 

After reading the note I jumped out of bed and raised hell. I called my aide and said, "We had a huge security breach last night which almost cost me my life. I want to know how someone was able to get into my room without being apprehended."

 

He answered, "Sir! I will look right into this, but you really need to look at the news, it appears the Taliban are leaving Kabul."

 

I ran over and flipped on the TV and sure enough, the reports show a massive exodus of Taliban out of the city. I rubbed my hands together in glee - perhaps I won't have to cancel my contract to find the Donaldson bitch, now that the Taliban are out of the way.

 

I yell at my aide, I want all my team leaders in the briefing room ASAP. Bring me a cup of coffee, two ibuprofens and a bagel.

 

I headed to the briefing room and started preparing my plans.

 

Flashback – Zarika and Yasmeen – Tajikistan Day Twenty-five

 

I woke up again with a bad headache and a little confusion until I saw the bars. Then I remembered the fight with Yasmeen (the little suka) and her hitting me on the head with her arm. She must have one of those cast things on it because it is very hard. This time I will be more careful and much smarter.

 

I saw her setting on her bed with her back to me and messing with her hair. She spent too much time on her hair, valuable time she should have spent on important things like getting out of this prison. I slowly got off my bed and grabbed my blanket. I walked behind her, threw the blanket over her and jumped on top of her.

 

She yelled, "Help, someone has me."

 

I punched her and yelled, "Shut up you little suka! I'm going to teach you to never to hit me again."

 

Yasmeen screamed, "Zarika, no! Please don't hurt me."

 

I was very angry and hit her some and yelled, "Don't you ever hit me again or I will break your nose and pull out all your hair."

 

I was so distracted I didn't hear her come up behind me. Someone grabbed me and pulled me up. I spun around and tried to kick them but she blocked my kick and smiled at me. I lunged towards her and swung at her but she blocked my punch and said, "Yasmeen told us you were a little tiger. Fight me all you want because you cannot hurt me."

 

I attacked and attacked and attacked her! She was faster and stronger than I was and blocked all my kicks and punches. I was getting tired and needed a new plan, so I pretended to give up and said, "I give up I cannot beat you."

 

She smiled at me and relaxed, I attacked again but again she blocked my best moves. I glared at her and said, "If you are the nice lady Yasmeen told me about, why are you keeping us in your prison."

 

She laughed and said, "This is not a prison to keep you away from people. This is a safe place to keep bad people away from you."

 

I spat on the floor, "Then why are we behind bars?"

 

She answered, "Because you would have run off when you woke up and I wanted to talk with you before you made that mistake."

 

I answered, "Why is freedom a mistake and you don't know what I have gone through to earn my freedom."

 

She smiled and said, "Zarika, you are very wrong. More than anyone else I know what you have gone through to earn your freedom. I know what Hussein and his men did to you. I know what you had to do to help SM. Blaine escape and I know you have killed too many people for a young girl of your age."

 

I looked at her and I knew she told the truth, somehow she knew the pain which lived inside me. The feeling of how, because I had been abused, I would never be 'good enough’ for any man, let alone my husband Ben.

 

I felt the tears start in the corners of my eyes as she held out her arms. I rushed into them and she hugged me tightly and comforted me. I cried and cried and she said, "It is okay Zarika. You need to cry many tears for the terrible things they did to you. Then someday, when you are all done, you will be good enough for any man."

 

I felt someone hugging my back and I squirmed around to see it was Yasmeen. She had blood all over her face. I looked at her and said, "I am sorry Yasmeen for hitting you."

 

Yasmeen answered, "It is okay Zarika, I know you are upset."

 

I turned and asked the nice lady, "Do you know anything about our husband?"

 

She let go of me and said, "Yes, SM. Blaine is alive and is being taken care of by medical doctors."

 

I answered, "When can we go and be with him?"

 

The nice lady said, "He is not in Tajikistan anymore and we are trying to get permission for both of you to leave the country to be with him."

 

I could tell she was hiding something from me and I stated, "You are not telling us everything."

 

She got a very serious look on her face and said, "You will not like to hear this, but both of you need to know. First I know that neither of you are really married to SM. Blaine. And next, SM. Blaine is very much in love with his fiancée Jennifer Donaldson, and in his country they do not allow men to have more than one wife."

 

Yasmeen answered, "We do not care about his fat cow American fiancée or the rules in his country. We are both his wives and will fight for him if we have to!"

 

She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Then you both will have a very big fight and I am not sure you can win."

 

I looked at Yasmeen and smiled, because I knew that when we both fought together we were almost unbeatable.

 

Flashback – Jens – Late 1999 Navy Cross for Ben

 

Daddy took care of things with Mommy and I could still see Megan, my best friend. So I made plans with Meg the next day to finish my medal mission. I sent her an e-mail.

 

m39,

1T w45 $0000 5C4Ry, i +h0U9hT m0MMy W4$ 9o1ng to kEEP m3 PHROm 5eeIn9 j00 3v3R 4G41N. but d4DDY +4lKEd HER 1N+0 L3++iN9 mE 5+IlL 533 YOU. W3r3 j00 @8L3 +O 93+ +h3 k3Y pHoR B3n'5 h0U$3?"

j3n5

 

 

 

Meg,

It was soooo scary, I thought Mommy was going to keep me from seeing you ever again. But Daddy talked her into letting me still see you. Were you able to get the key for Ben's house?"

Jens

 

I was looking at the picture of Ben and imagined how surprised he would be when he came home and found the Navy Cross I made him. My computer beeped and I knew I had an e-mail. I jumped up and it was Megs reply.

 

JeN$,

I wouLd D-1-e ipH WE c0uldN'T 5E3 E4CH 0+h3r. We n3eD TO B3 C4REPhUl 50 yOur moM d03SN't 9et +o0 up$3+. Y35, I hAv3 +h3 KEy. CoM3 over +OmoRroW 4t +eN @Nd wE wiLL $nE4k ofPH +He 8A5E +O ben'5 HoU5E.

Me9

 

 

Jens,

I would D-I-E if we couldn't see each other. We need to be careful so your mom doesn't get too upset. Yes, I have the key. Come over tomorrow at ten and we will sneak off the base to Ben's house.

Meg

 

I talked to Daddy and he said it was fine I went to Megan's tomorrow if I didn't cause anymore problems. I was soooo excited I barely slept last night and was up and over to Megs house early, while Mommy was still sleeping. This time I was glad she slept in. I laughed because Daddy always said, 'let sleeping dogs lie.' And I was letting her lie and didn't use the phone call back thingy from the bookstore to wake her up.

 

I knocked on Meg's door, she opened it and said, "Ohyay ymay Odgay! You'reay earlyyay!"

 

"Oh my God! You're early!"

 

I laughed because Meg was speaking Pig Latin I said, "Etiam , EGO sum fervidus impetro is perfectus. EGO iustus vota EGO could vigilo Ben's visio ut is vultus procul Navy Crux crucis."

 

"Yes, I am excited to get this done. I just wished I could watch Ben's face when he looks at the Navy Cross."

 

She shook her head and said, "Ensjay! Eakspay inyay Igpay Atinlay! Otnay ealray Atinlay."

 

"Jens! Speak in Pig Latin! Not real Latin!"

 

I giggled and answered, "Okayyay Egmay, isyay isthay etterbay?"

 

"Okay Meg, is this better?"

 

"Uchmay etterbay! Akeshay youray utiecay ootiebay andyay etgay inyay erehay."

 

"Much better! Shake your cutie bootie and get in here."

 

We walked into the kitchen, Meg said, "Wouldya like a cup a coffee?"

 

I was shocked and asked, "Your mom let's you drink coffee?"

 

Meg laughed, "Natch, Jens. Don't be a newb! I even make her coffee in the morning."

 

I had never had coffee, but I didn't want to look like a newb, so I bit my lip and said, "Sure I'd love a cup of coffee."

 

Meg replied, "What do you take in it?"

 

I nonchalantly said, "Oh, I don't know, just the usual."

 

Meg laughed and replied, "Jens you've never had coffee so stop trying to fool me and act all adult."

 

"Rats Meg, I can never fool you! But I would like a cup of coffee."

 

She grinned at me and said, "Are you sure you're big enough to have a cup of coffee?"

 

I replied, "Itebay emay Egmay andyay ivegay emay ethay ickenfray offeecay."

 

"Bite me Meg and give me the fricken coffee."

 

She giggled and said, "Youay owknay you'reay otnay ymay ypetay," and handed me a cup of coffee.

 

"You know you're not my type."

 

I sniffed it and took a sip, it tasted nasty and I made a face. Meg giggled some more and suggested, "Jens try putting some milk and sugar in it."

 

I poured in a bunch of milk and four big spoons of sugar and Meg started laughing, "Jens, that's way too much sugar."

 

I took another sip, made a worse face and Meg laughed so hard she fell out of her chair - it was too sweet. I said, "I don't know why anyone would drink this nasty stuff." Then I walked to the sink and dumped it out.

 

Meg stopped laughing and said, "Jens, it's a taste you have to get used to."

 

I looked at her and answered, "I hope I never get used to that. It tasted nasty. Hurry up Meg I want to go to Ben's house."

 

Meg jumped up and said, "Okay Jens, come up to my room while I change."

 

We tore up the stairs and into her room. It was its normal huge mess with clothes, dirty dishes and things everywhere. I looked around and said, "It looks like there was a war in here and you lost."

 

She gave me a dirty look and replied, "Isskay ymay uttbay! Atyay eastlay ymay oomray oesn'tday avehay otay asspay inspectionyay."

 

"Kiss my butt! At least my room doesn't have to pass inspection."

 

I was shocked and replied, "Ewwwyay Ossgray! Youray utt'sbay ootay igbay andyay inkystay!"

 

"Ewww Gross! Your butt's too big and stinky!"

 

She looked at me and answered, "Atwhay idday youay ustjay aysay?"

 

"What did you just say?"

 

I giggled and teased, "Your butts so big you have more crack than a drug dealer!"

 

She shot right back, "Your butts so big when you were born the doctor said, 'Congratulations, twins.'"

 

This was one of our favorite games so I replied, "Oh yeah, well your butts so big it has its own congressman."

 

Meg giggled and said, "Well your butts so big you beep like a garbage truck when you back up."

 

It was my turn and I answered, "Your butts so big it was zoned for commercial development."

 

She replied, "Oh yeah! Your butts so big, it's bigger than your IQ."

 

I laughed, blushed and said, "Your butts so big when you haul ass you need to make two trips."

 

She blushed got an evil look on her face and ended it by saying, "Your butts so big, it looks like two pigs fighting over a milk dud."

 

I gasped, put my hand over my mouth and we both started laughing! She was changed and said, "Well, let's go finish your medal mission."

 

We ran downstairs, I grabbed my pack and we headed out to the garage. She pulled out her bike and we rode towards our secret spot in the fence with the hole in it. We made it to the hole in the fence, hid our bikes and crawled under the fence and through the hole.

 

Meg looked at me and said, "We can't get caught or we'll both be grounded forever."

 

I replied, "Promise me if you get caught you won't tell on me."

 

Meg smiled, held out her hand and said, "I pinky swear." We wrapped our little fingers together and shook on it.

 

I pulled out a map, checked it and started running towards Ben's house. It wasn't very far and soon we were in his neighborhood. Meg said, "Jens we have to act like we belong here otherwise people will be suspicious of us." So we slowed to a walk and turned down the street for Ben's house.

 

I was so excited I was almost peeing in my pants. Megan said again, "Jens, just relax." We walked past an older man and he waved at us, Megan said, "Hello Sir, how are you today?"

 

He stopped and said, "I'm fine and how are you two young ladies doing?"

 

Meg replied, "We're fine too."

 

We started walking away and he said, "I haven't seen you two in this neighborhood before?"

 

My stomach did a flip-flop and Meg held my arm to calm me, she answered, "My name's Megan, I'm Anna's niece from out of town and this is my friend Jennifer."

 

He smiled at us and said, "So you here for a visit?"

 

I got really brave and said, "Yes Sir, we are here for a short visit."

 

He looked at my camo hair and smiled, "Nice hair color."

 

I replied, "Thank you Sir. My Daddy's a Marine."

 

He laughed and said, "I bet he liked it but I bet your Mother didn't."

 

I was going to answer when Meg interrupted, "Sorry Sir, but we need to get home." We turned and walked right up to the front porch of the house. Meg took out the key, put it in the lock - I was holding my breath – she turned the key and the door opened right up and we walked into Ben's house.

 

The house was spotless, except for just a few dishes in the kitchen. Meg said, "Wow this place is nice and it's sure clean. I wonder if Anna spends all her time cleaning."

 

I answered, "I think my Ben does most of the cleaning."

 

Meg replied, "Of course you would think that. I bet you even think he can walk on water."

 

I stuck my tongue out at her and said, "I am sure if he needed to he could, he is a Marine! Let's go find his room."

 

We walked down the hallway into the furthest back room, opened the door and I giggled and said, "For a minute I thought we were in your room, look at how messy this is."

 

And it was messy as there were women's clothes and undies everywhere. Meg walked over and picked up a pair of very sexy thongs, held them up and said, "Do you think Ben already has a new girlfriend?"

 

I got really worried and said, "I bet this is Jack and Anna's room, not Ben's." Then I tore out of the room, opened the door closer to the kitchen and knew right away it was my Ben's room. I shouted, "Woo Hoo!!!" and started dancing around!

 

Meg came running in and said, "Jens that's the funniest looking dance I've ever seen…" She stopped in mid-sentence whistled and continued, "Wow, this room is even more clean than the rest of the house."

 

I proudly answered, "That's because it's my Ben's room." I jumped on the bed, pulled his pillow to my face and inhaled deeply and said, "Double RATS! I was hoping this pillow smelled like Ben, but he must have changed the sheets before he left. It smells like laundry detergent." I lay on my back and imagined what it would be like if Ben was beside me in the bed and got lost in a daydream.

 

I was just getting to the really good part of my daydream when Meg interrupted me and said, "Jens you need to see this."

 

"Triple RATS! Meg, you interrupted a great daydream I was having."

 

She giggled and answered, "I wondered what all the moaning on the bed was about."

 

I looked down, realized what I had been doing, got very embarrassed and said, "Meg, you can't tell anyone about this."

 

She laughed and answered, "Jens, don't worry about it - it's natural and I do it all the time."

 

I was shocked and wanted to ask her more about it when she said, "Come over and look in his dresser drawers."

 

I jumped off the bed and went over by her and the drawers were perfect! I looked around the whole room and realized the room was perfect. I looked at Meg and said, "Meg, his room is perfect and I don't know if I can ever keep my house like this when we're married."

 

She held my arm and said, "Jens, you have a few years before Ben is going to even be interested in you. You can use those years to practice."

 

I started dancing again, kissed Meg on the cheek and said, "Meg you're so right. I will do everything I can to be the perfect wife for Ben."

 

We looked around the room and Meg said, "Hey Jens, think you can hack into his laptop?"

 

I answered, "I brought all my hacking tools so it doesn't stand a chance." I went to the computer and booted it - it was Windows XP. I laughed and said, "Hey Meg, he's running XP. I'll be into his computer in less than five minutes."

 

The computer finally booted and Meg came over and said, "Jens that took too long to boot."

 

I answered, "Yeah, I bet he's got something on it that shouldn’t be here." I pulled out my CDs, put in my NT hacker boot disk and rebooted the computer making it boot from the CD drive. I waited for the Linux kernel to boot and then received the prompt.


 

 

NOTE: There is a long section on computer hacking here, if this bores you skip down a couple pages.

 

 

****************************************************************

* This utility will enable you to change the password of almost

* any user (incl. administrator) on an Windows NT/2k/XP installation

* WITHOUT knowing the old password.

*

* The program is now able to actually parse/follow the internal

* registry structure completely.

* There is now support for adding and deleting keys and values.

* Tested on: NT3.51 & NT4: Workstation, Server, PDC.

*            Win2k Prof & Server to SP3. Cannot change AD.

*            XP Home & Prof: up to SP1

* Now also works with syskey, read warnings if applicable.

*

* You may either let the scripts try to figure out your configuration,

* or you may do it manually from the shell prompts.

*

* Good luck!

 

Press return/enter to continue Enter

$_

 

I pressed the Enter key and waited.

 

* In /etc/main.rc....

Calling scsi.rc to probe for SCSI controllers

Mounting /dev/CD to fetch drivers from /scsi on it

SCSI-drivers found on CD:

 

BusLogic.o.gz  aic7xxx.o.gz

 

Do you have your NT disks on a SCSI controller?

  y - this will autoprobe for the driver

  n - no, skip SCSI, I have IDE drives

  or give the scsi-driver modules name (without the .o or .gz)

  + optional parameters to go directly for a known driver

 

Probe for SCSI-drivers:

$_

 

Because this was a laptop I didn't think it had any SCSI drivers so I pressed n and the Enter key.

 

Calling part.rc to select partition

Partitions found on the disk(s):

Device     Boot  Start    End      Blocks    Id     System

/dev/hda1   *      1      1859    14932386     7    HPFS/NTFS

 

Probable NT partitions:

/dev/hda1   *      1   1859    14932386     7  HPFS/NTFS

What partition contains your NT installation?

$_

 

I typed in /dev/hda1 and pressed the Enter key.

 

FAT: Did not find valid FSINFO signature.

Found signature1 0x66024a1e signature2 0xc88b6602 sector=4.

VFS: Can't find a valid FAT filesystem on dev 03:01.

mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/hda1,

or too many mounted file systems

/dev/hda1 is NTFS.

Trying to mount as readwrite on /mnt

NTFS volume version 3.0.

Success. Mounted NTFS /dev/hda1 on /mnt

Calling path.rc. to select path

What is the full path to the registry directory?

$_

 

I typed in winnt/system32/config and pressed the Enter key.

 

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 AppEvent.Evt

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 default

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 default.LOG

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 default.sav

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 netlogon.ftl

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 SAM

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 SAM.LOG

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 SecEvent.Evt

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 SECURITY

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 SECURITY.LOG

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 software

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 software.LOG

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 software.sav

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 SysEvent.Evt

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 system.sav

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 TempLey.LOG

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 userdiff

-rw-------  1 0       0         65536 Jan 15 09:00 userdiff.LOG

Which hives (files) do you want to edit (leave default for

password setting, separate multiple names with spaces)

$_

 

 

I typed in sam security system and pressed the Enter key.

 

Copying sam system security to /tmp

 

Now running chntpw

chntpw version 0.99.0 030112, (c) Peter N Hagen

Hive's name (from header) (\SystemRoot\System32\Config\Sam)

ROOT KEY at offset: 0x001020

 

File size 32768 [8000] bytes, containing 7 pages (+ 1 headerpage)

Used, for data: 319/26472 blocks/bytes, unused: 6/1976 blocks/bytes.

Hive's name (from header): (SYSTEM)

ROOT KEY at offset: 0x001020

 

File size 2555904 [270000] bytes, containing 584 pages (+ 1 headerpage)

Used, for data: 44209/2524072 blocks/bytes, unused: 19/9048 blocks/bytes.

Hive's name (from header): (SYSTEM)

ROOT KEY at offset: 0x001020

 

File size 49152 [c000] bytes, containing 11 pages (+ 1 headerpage)

Used, for data: 859/42568 blocks/bytes, unused: 5/2136 blocks/bytes.

Hello, this is SAM!

Failed logins before lockout is : 0

Minimum password length         : 0

Password history count          : 0

 

()========() chntpw Main Interactive Menu ()========()

Loaded hives: (sam) (system) (security)

  1 - Edit user data and passwords

  2 - Syskey status & change

      - - -

  9 - Registry editor, now with full write support!

  q - Quit (you will be asked if there is something to save)

 

What to do?

$_

 

I typed 1 and pressed the Enter key.

 

==== chntpw Edit User Info & Passwords ====

 

RID: 03f2, Username: (Administrator)

RID: 03f2, Username: (ASPNET)

RID: 03f2, Username: (Guest), disabled or locked*

RID: 03f2, Username: (IUSR_Ben-SRV)

RID: 03f2, Username: (IWAM_Ben-SRV)

RID: 03f2, Username: (Ben)

RID: 03f2, Username: (VUSER_Ben-SRV)

RID: 03f2, Username: (VUSER_Ben-SRV1)

 

Select: ! - quit, . - list users, 0x(RID) - User with RID (hex)

or simple enter the username to change:

$_

 

I typed Administrator and pressed the Enter key.

 

RID     : 03f2

Username: Administrator

fullname:

comment :

homedir :

 

Account bits: 0x0215 =

[ ] Disabled        | [ ] Homedir req.      | [ ] passwd not req. |

[ ] Temp. duplicate | [X] Normail account   | [ ] NMS account     |

[ ] Domain trust ac | [ ] Wks trust act.    | [ ] Srv trust act   |

[X] Pwd don't expir | [ ] Auto lockout      | [ ] (unknown 0x08)  |

[ ] (unknown 0x10)  | [ ] (unknown 0x20)    | [ ] (unknown 0x40)  |

 

Failed login count: 0, while max tries is : 0

Total  login.count: 2

Account is not disabled

Crypted NT pw: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Crypted LM pw: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

MD4 hash     : 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

LANMAN hash  : 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

 

* = blank the password (EXPERIMENTAL! but may fix problems)

Enter nothing to leave it unchanged

Please enter new password:

$_

 

 I looked at Meg and said, "Meg, he's only logged into the Administrator account twice. I bet he never uses it."

 

She came over and replied, "Jens, that's great. I'd go ahead and change the password on it."

 

I pressed the * key and hit Enter.

 

Blanking password. This may actually fix things if previous password-preset did not work. Or it may even make things worse. Happy joy!

 

Do you really wish to change it? (y/n)

$_

 

I typed y and pressed Enter.

 

()========() chntpw Main Interactive Menu ()========()

Loaded hives: (sam) (system) (security)

  1 - Edit user data and passwords

  2 - Syskey status & change

      - - -

  9 - Registry editor, now with full write support!

  q - Quit (you will be asked if there is something to save)

 

What to do?

$_

 

I typed q and pressed Enter.

 

Hives that have changed:

 # Name

 0 (sam)

Write hive files? (y/n)

$_

 

I held my breath, typed y and pressed the Enter key.

 

Calling write.rc to select write back sam file

About to write file(s) back! Do it?

$_

 

I was annoyed because it always asked twice, typed y and pressed the Enter key.

 

Writing sam

* end of scripts.. returning to the shell..

* Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to reboot now (remove floppy first)

* or do whatever you want from the shell..

* However, if you mount something, remember to umount before reboot

* You may also restart the script procedure with 'sh /scripts/main.rc'

$_


 

NOTE: End of computer stuff!

 

I gave the laptop the three finger salute and held my breath. It seemed to take forever, but the laptop finally booted again and gave us the choice of the Administrator or Ben account. I clicked on the Administrator account and went right into XP, but again it took forever to load the account. I needed to fix this and asked, "Meg, how much work do you think I should do on this?"

 

She came over and answered, "I think you should totally clean all the crap off it since I bet he got it looking at porn. And then I think you should put our bot2 on it so you can control it later."

 

2 Bot – Short for robot, a small program that runs as an agent and lets someone control the computer remotely.

 

I got all upset at Megan's comment and snapped at her, "I'll bet you anything we don't find any porn on this computer."

 

She answered right back, "Okay sister you're on! If we find any porn on his computer, you owe me a pedicure."

 

I grinned and said, "You're on sister!" I went out and downloaded a bunch of tools and put them to work scanning his computer. I jumped up and decided to explore his room some more. I looked at the mess I had made out of his bed and decided to fix it. When I was done I asked Meg, "Does his bed look okay?"

 

She looked at it and replied, "I don't know. I didn't see it before you jumped on it."

 

I figured it was close enough so I pulled out the Navy Cross I made and put it on his pillow. Meg picked it up and looked at it. She said, "Wow Jens, this is really good. I love what you wrote at the bottom."

 

I grinned at her and answered, "Thanks Meg." I walked over and opened his closet and looked at his clothes. Then I called Meg, "Look Meg, his clothes are so old looking. When we get married I'm going to make sure he has the best new clothes I can buy him."

 

She walked over and I pulled out his dress blues, I got dizzy just thinking about seeing him in them. I don't know how long I was day dreaming, but Meg grabbed my arm and said, "Jens! Wake up."

 

I shook my head and replied, "Sorry Meg."

 

She giggled and answered, "Jens, you are totally twitterpated3. I hope that someday I will find someone I can love as much as you love Ben."

 

3 Twitterpatted – Having one's pate (head) in a twitter (confused). First seen in the Disney movie Bambi, means smitten or love struck.

 

I giggled and replied, "Yes Meg, you are right and I do hope you will find your love one day." I looked in the bottom of his closet and found a clothes basket; I looked inside and yelled, "Woo Hoo! I finally hit the jackpot!" I pulled out a dirty t-shirt of Ben's, held it up to my nose and inhaled deeply, it smelled like Ben – or at least what I thought he smelled like. I ran over and put it in my backpack.

 

Meg asked, "Do you think he will miss that t-shirt?"

 

I answered, "I don't care, I need something from him and I'm taking this t-shirt. I plan on sleeping with it every night…"

 

I was going to say more, but the computer beeped. I ran over and the scan had found another bot and few trojans. I cleaned them all off, rebooted the computer and it was much faster. Meg came over and said, "It’s not that I don't trust you Jens, but I think I should be the one to look for porn on his computer."

 

I was going to fight with her and she said, "Jens please let me do it." I moved away, she took the chair and started searching his hard drive for documents, pictures and anything else that looked like porn. She finished, looked at me and said, "Shoot Jens! No porn, just a bunch of music files. That must be where he got the bot and Trojans."

 

I smiled at her and replied, "I told you so. My pedicure is going to feel so good."

 

Meg looked at the clock and said, "Jens, we've been here a long time and need to get going."

 

I looked around the room and wished I could just stay here forever, but I knew that would need to wait for later. I grabbed my backpack as we headed out the door and back to Megan's house.

 

Flashback – Ben – Late 1999 - Return from the mission with the Seals. (From the end of chapter 15 – Yeah it was too many chapters ago!)

 

The flight back from Diego Garcia wasn't as much fun as the flight out. Linda Sue wasn't the flight attendant. And the one we did have had her hands full with the Seals which were traveling back with us.

 

I was in the back with Jack and had seen everything the Seals were doing. They were being rude and nasty and finally I had my fill of it. I hobbled up to the front of the plane, past all the Seals, turned around and looked at all of them and yelled, "What the fuck is wrong with all of you!"

 

They all stopped laughing and looked at me until one of them said, "What the hell are you talking to us that way for? I thought we were friends?"

 

I glared at them and answered, "The way you are treating this young lady is abominable! What are you a bunch of animals? At first I was proud to have helped to save all of you, now I wonder if I shouldn't have just left all your asses there. You're no better than the animal that captured all of you!"

 

One of them stood up and I thought it was going to be a fight but the Lieutenant said, "Sit your ass back down, Banzai's right." He stood up and continued, "Miss, I want to apologize for me and my men. We were totally out of line and we will treat you with honor and respect."

 

I looked at him, looked at the rest of them, hobbled back to my seat and slumped down into it. Jack looked at me and said, "I wondered when you were going to go do something about the Seals."

 

I glared at him and snapped, "Jack you should have done it, not me."

 

He laughed, "Banzai, I was waiting for you to do it because it meant more coming from you."

 

I looked at the Seals and they were behaving themselves. I was just getting ready to settle in and take a nap when the flight attendant came back towards us, Jack jumped up and said, "I think I need to go and talk to the Lieutenant."

 

She smiled real big as he went past her, she stood beside my seat and said, "My feet are tired, mind if I sit for just a little bit?"

 

I scooted over into Jack's seat and she took my seat, looked at me, smiled and said, "My name's Carrie and I want to thank you for talking to those Seals for me. Normally I can handle myself, but they were wild men."

 

I looked down and answered, "You seem like a nice girl and I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner."

 

She put her finger over my lips and said, "Shush now, I don't want to hear anything about that." Then she gave me a huge grin and said, "You do know the difference between a good girl and a nice girl?"

 

I shook my head and she smiled at me and said, "Come with me and I'll show you."

 

I glanced up front and the Seals were all busy watching a movie. Carrie took me to the back of the plane, into the bathroom and – well did something to me that Susan had never done before. When we were done, she stood up, smiled, swallowed, and then she said, "Nice girls always swallow. Linda Sue told me about you and if we didn't have all these Seals on board I'd thank you in other ways." She slipped a card in my pocket and said, "Call me sometime and I'll show you what I mean."

 

She walked out of the bathroom and headed back towards the front of the plane. I stood there and tried to collect my wits. Then I smiled and thought of her joke and decided I liked nice girls much better than good girls. Then I wondered what a nice and good girl would be like?

 

I walked out of the bathroom and headed back to my seat. There was a drink sitting in my place, I looked up and Carrie waved at me. I sat down, took a sip of my drink and found it was a Gin and Tonic. I liked it and downed it in a couple big gulps. Then I reclined the seat and drifted off to sleep.

 

Flashback – Jack – Late 1999 - Return from the mission with the Seals.

 

When Banzai came out of the bathroom, I headed back to my seat. The flight attendant stopped me halfway back and said, "You make sure he gives me a call so I can finish thanking him." I looked at her and she winked at me. I thought, Shit! Banzai gets lucky all the time.

 

I ambled back, sat down and he was already sleeping. I looked at him and decided Anna and I were going to have our work cut out for us making sure he didn't end up with another bitch like Susan. The kid was too nice and way too lucky! I chuckled and thought about how excited Anna was going to be when I told her how lucky Banzai had been – she might even forgive me for getting hurt and I might even get lucky.

 

I called her on the phone and told her we were coming back but she'd have to pick us up because we both had been hurt. She cussed me up one side and down the other! I wasn't sure if she was more concerned about Banzai getting hurt or me getting hurt. Since Banzai moved in with us, Anna's mothering instinct had kicked in and I wasn't sure I liked it.

 

Well he had the right idea so I kicked my seat back and joined him in sleep. It didn't seem like I'd slept at all when my ears started popping from the descent and woke me up. I looked over and Banzai was still asleep so I nudged his shoulder and said, "Time to wake up sleepyhead."

 

He almost jumped out of his seat said, "What's going on?"

 

I laughed and said, "Nothing, we're just landing and you need to get ready."

 

He answered, "Okay, sorry about that. I was just in the middle of a dream."

 

The plane touched down and the Seals flew off the plane. I got up, grabbed my crutches and worked my way down the aisle with Banzai behind me. He asked, "Jack what's going on with the crutches? You haven't used them the whole trip."

 

I said over my shoulder, "This is my insurance policy."

 

Banzai replied, "Insurance against what?"

 

I laughed and answered, "Insurance against getting my ass kicked by Anna. She's pissed as hell that we both got hurt."

 

He questioned, "Isn't that sort of like lying to her?"

 

I chuckled some more and said, "Someday son you will learn about women and know that I am doing her a favor."

 

We got up to the front of the plane and I said goodbye to the flight attendant and pilots. Then I heard a bunch of funny noise behind me, turned and saw the flight attendant playing tonsil hockey with Banzai. It was all he could do to keep standing. When she let him up for air she instructed, "Now don't forget to give me a call. Please let me help you down the stairs." She put his arm over her shoulder and helped him walk towards the door.

 

I turned sideways through the door and saw Anna waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me. At first she looked pissed, but then she saw me on the crutches and got a worried look on her face. I started down the stairs but she came up to help me and complained, "You cranky old fart, what did you do to yourself?"

 

Great, I was getting some sympathy and answered, "It's nothing, just a little wound in my foot."

 

Banzai was behind me and the goofball said, "Don't worry Anna, Jack just stepped on a nail."

 

She took one look at Banzai and the flight attendant helping him and blew by me almost knocking me down the stairs. Next thing I hear her and the flight attendant talking a mile a minute. All I heard was, "saved five Seals, blah, blah, blah," - "shot in the leg, blah, blah, blah" – "yelled at the Seals for grabbing me, blah, blah, blah" – "come over for dinner tomorrow night, blah, blah, blah."

 

I made it to the bottom of the stairs, looked up and Banzai was grinning from ear to ear. Anna was on one side of him and the flight attendant was on the other side. Anna took one look at me and said, "Now Jack, don't go getting crabby at me. You can be sure I will take good care of you. We just need to get Ben into the car."

 

They walked right past me with the women still flapping their lips and helping Banzai. They loaded him into the back seat and then Anna ran back to help me. She ran up, gave me a smoldering kiss which almost knocked me over and said, "You are my hero and are going to get so lucky tonight!"

 

As we turned and walked towards the car, the flight attendant was giving Banzai another goodbye kiss. Anna smiled at me and said, "Jack, you did good with Ben. She's a nice young lady."

 

I replied, "Not as nice as the one on the way out."

 

She shot me a look and said, "Really, you have to tell me all about it."

 

I answered, "All I'm going to say is it's a good thing you gave that package to Banzai because he needed it."

 

She grinned at me and said, "I guess he's over that bitch Susan."

 

I smiled and watched as Banzai and the flight attendant were still saying goodbye and decided, yes he is over Susan.

 

Flashback – Ben – Late 1999 – Jack's house

 

I could tell Jack got upset at me because I told Anna he stepped on a nail, and I wondered what devious thing he would do as revenge. Carrie was sure thankful for my little talk to the Seals, but it was quite embarrassing. Finally it was time to go and she leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Just so you know, I'm coming to dinner tomorrow night and I'm not leaving until the morning."

 

I blushed furiously. Anna was looking at us in the rear view mirror and said, "He's so cute when he blushes." Carrie kissed me once more and then made a big production about walking away from the car, adding lots of sway to her hips.

 

I thought the ordeal was finally over until Anna said, "It's good to have both of you back. I really missed you. Ben, Jack told me you had an interesting flight out, tell me all about it."

 

Son of a gun! Jack got even with me by telling her just a little bit about the flight out, just enough so she'd bug the heck out of me. I blushed and replied, "I guess it was okay."

 

She asked, "Did you like my little present for you?" Jack turned and grinned at me, I mouthed at him, "You're going to pay for this." I tried to lie and answered with a question, "What present?"

 

She stopped the car, turned, looked at me and said, "You are an even worse liar than Jack so don't you try that again!"

 

I blushed and replied, "I'm a gentleman and we never kiss and tell."

 

She grinned and answered, "That's okay, your blush tells me everything I needed to know."

 

She talked to Jack and I had a reprieve for the rest of the drive home. As they talked I envied their relationship, yeah Anna was a little pushy, but it was in a good way and she never put him down.

 

We pulled up to the house and Anna got between us and helped both of us into the house. She said, "It's good that both my wounded warriors are home. You two take it easy and I'll finish up dinner."

 

I looked around Jack's house and yes, it was nice to be here. I noticed the house looked like Anna had spent some time cleaning. It was nice to have someplace to go where I wasn't ashamed of the mess. I limped into my room and right away noticed the paper on my bed and it also looked like someone had been sleeping on my bed.

 

I was upset that someone, maybe Anna had been in my room. I hurried over, picked up the paper and turned it over. It was a very nice picture of a Navy Cross and at the bottom it said,

 

To my hero! I tried to find you a real Navy Cross but I couldn't so I drew you one. This will have to do until the day you get one for real.

 

Thank you for saving those five seals from those terrible men with clubs. I saw on TV what they do to those baby seals and it made me sick.

 

Your secret admirer.

 

There was a big kiss at the bottom in red lipstick.

 

I was very confused and thought it might be some sort of joke from Anna. So I took the drawing out to the kitchen where Jack was sitting at the table. I said, "Jack, look what I found in my room," and handed him the drawing.

 

He looked at it and then called Anna over, "Hey Anna, did you do this?"

 

She came over and asked, "What's this?"

 

I replied, "I found this on my bed and it also looks like someone's been sleeping in my bed."

 

Anna answered, "Well, I didn't do this and I have no idea how someone got in our house to do this. Jack I think we need to call the police."

 

Jack replied, "Look at the size of the kiss. I think this was some kids playing around."

 

I answered, "I'm going to go and make sure they didn't do anything else in my room." I took the picture and went back into my room. I stood in the doorway and closely looked at everything, the computer had been moved some and the sheet music on the desk was all out of order. I went over to the closet, opened the door and I could tell someone had been messing with my dress blues. I checked my dresser drawers and someone had gone through them.

 

I was very upset as I walked over to the bed and laid down. My head hit the pillow and I could very faintly smell perfume and a different shampoo than I used. Well, everything was here even if someone had been here - then I chuckled because I thought about the story of The Three Bears. Now I know what those bears must have felt like when they came home. I held up the picture and looked at it again. My secret admirer had done an excellent job, but I had to laugh – whoever she was she didn't know the difference between Navy Seals and baby seals. I traced the outline of her kiss and smiled since it felt really good having a secret admirer, even if she was ditzy.

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