Sparks, Nebraska, USA 27 July 2017 1124 Hours CDT I swear, if I never see another MRE it’ll be too soon. They don’t taste bad… unless you are used to eating real food. And boy, do they back you up. I haven’t pooped in ten days.
Michael and Frank had a giant stack of boxes full of MRE’s and it was the only food we had on site.
Since we went dark nearly two weeks ago, we haven’t left the barn, silo and surrounding grounds. We practiced our hand to hand combat every day, both to burn time and to stay in shape.
I have a background in Krav Maga, and it had been at least a month since I had managed to drop in on a class at the studio near my apartment.
Michael favored Brazilian Jiujitsu, a grappling-centric martial art that all too often meant that I ended up on the ground in our sparring matches.
I’m pretty sure that he has more bruises than I do though; I use my elbows and knees. A. Lot.
Frank had a varied martial arts background that I couldn’t quite pin down. He could hold his own against Michael in grappling, at least until they went to the ground, where Michael pulled ahead.
On his feet, however, Frank was a machine. I saw elements of Krav Maga in his movement, but other movements reminded me of I guy I sparred with a couple times who had trained in Muay Thai.
Frank had the same devastating roundhouse knee strike I remembered my old sparring partner using.
I winced, holding a hand to my ribs as I remembered getting knocked back half a dozen feet without a bit of air in my lungs.
I knew Frank had pulled his attack at the last minute, but damn it had hurt. Then there were the hand movements that I didn’t recognize, which Frank said were from Escrima and Silat.
When we weren’t fighting, we were studying the information on the thumb drive I had retrieved from the Asset.
There were reams of data, a lot of which we couldn’t make sense of, but there was quite a bit of information on the Sinaloa drug cartel.
All of the information fit into a much larger picture, but we didn’t have enough to make sense of it.
Tomorrow we would reestablish contact with George, and hopefully he would be able to make sense of everything that had happened. I hope that they found the mole.
Having someone in your organization who could secretly rat you out to the opposition at any time is a damoclean terror.
Michael retrieved the 4runner from the concrete bunker turned garage, and we began packing our gear into the back. I loaded my go bag into the back seat and started checking my weapons.
Frank had helped me set up a serious gun belt and plate carrier, and I now had a pair of thirty round magazines for my carbine nestled against my left hip,
just behind the two seventeen round Glock magazines that usually rode there. My Glock 19 was holstered on my right hip, and I had added a tourniquet to my belt just in front of the holster.
I had noticed that Frank always carried a tourniquet there, and he swore that you could never have enough tourniquets.
I laid my carbine down in the back seat next to my go bag and stepped around the rear of the SUV.
Michael was doing inventory on a comprehensive trauma kit in the 4runner’s cargo compartment,
while Frank was loading his ever present AR-10 into a roof rack in the cab of a Ford pickup from the early sixties.
He picked up a flat wooden crate and hefted it into the cargo compartment of the 4runner. Michael glanced at the case and nodded his approval.
“What’s that?” I asked, curious.
Frank reached into the case, turned and tossed something to me. I caught it and raised an eyebrow at the two guys grinning at me.
“I should’ve known you guys would have a case of frag grenades. Do you have any Stingers?”
Frank’s smile dropped into a scowl. “I tried, but I couldn’t get my hands on a Stinger in CONUS.” I burst out laughing.
I couldn’t help it, Frank’s scowl looked just like a little boy who didn’t get the toy he wanted for Christmas. Michael started laughing too, and Frank’s scowl turned sheepish.
“I do have a couple RPG-7’s though.”
Michael and I headed out in the 4runner while Frank followed us in the pickup. We drove for an hour before we found a town where I was comfortable trying to contact George.
We parked and walked into the local library, where Michael browsed books while I logged onto a secure message board and left a message for George.
We left the library and started back to the 4runner when the smell hit me. Burgers. Oh sweet monkey fritters did I need a burger. And fries. And a milkshake.
I seized Michael’s arm and dragged him bodily towards the burger stand a couple blocks away. I didn’t have to pull too hard.
We were sitting at a picnic table in a nearby park, stuffing our faces with giant, greasy and generally amazing burgers when my sat phone rang.
I hastily swallowed the mouthful of burger and wiped my greasy hands on my jeans before grabbing the phone.
George’s voice was filled with relief. “Thank God. You three left a serious mess at the plaza. Six dead in the plaza itself and five dead in the streets. What happened?”
I eyed the remainder of my burger as I answered. “They were looking for me. When I bailed on the Asset they immediately went after me. We got away, but they ambushed us as we were leaving.”
“Did you get anything from the Asset?”
“Yes, I have it now.”
George let out a heavy breath. “Good, good. We need to meet and soon.”
I had already thought about the meeting location. I was ninety-nine percent positive that George wasn’t the mole, but just in case… “I have a good location.
I’ll post the codename on the message board.”
The spot I had in mind had several excellent sniper perches for Frank to provide overwatch, and half a dozen good exits in case we had to escape.
“I’ll check in a few minutes. Be careful and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I hung up the phone and returned my attention to my burger.