Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Latest

Heads up

My phone was stolen, so any contact with me is likely NOT me.    Am in the process of shutting it down now.

Be advised, I will be back online Thursday, and I will try to contact all with new number as needed.

 

(sad note, that also means the stories are offline for a wee bit.  I will get them up as I can.)

UPDATE, Phone is now shut down and with an Android Factory Reboot in order for whoever stole it.  Fuckin Thieves

 

Recent addition

Since my first endeavor cracked up (literally), I decided that this time, I would spend a little more to potentially save me later.  I purchased an ARF (almost ready to fly ) unit.  The guy at the hobbyshop cut me a pretty good deal, (more to clear shelf space I think) so making the purchase didnt hurt near as much as I expected.  

Get it home (and I had an inkling of what I was getting into by the box this plane came in) and oh jeez!  What did I get myself into.  This thing has a 5′ wing span, weighs 5.5 lbs assembled and should be able to be seen from 1/2 a mile.  LOL  but by God, this thing is SOLID!  


Spent a few hours putting rhe final assembly together, setting servos and linkage, working on getting the CoG just right, and making a motor mount. (Plane is set up for a nitro engine, not electric. The way I put things together, I can still go that route, later, if I so desire.)

Set her in the drive this morning to test engine thrust and controls, and have to say,  very very pleased.  Maiden flight will have to wait on weather though.  Soon, I hope.

Man, this thing is BIG.  

Title to be decided pt13

An intermission :

Aug 2016: T and G hook up with a group of anarchists outside of Tucson AZ. One has a hangar in the desert, and that is where T and g part ways for a spell. 

Nov2016 :Trump wins the presidential election and the lefties start to blow up.

T sells off the dually and trailer in Oklahoma.  ATF is tracking his movements.

Dec 2016:Trump wins the electoral college vote with room to spare and the lefties start making plans to disrupt every aspect of his presidency. 

G starts laying framework for a carbon composite F18 Eagle in 1/4 scale.

Jan 2017: Trump takes office with almost nothing getting out of hand in DC.

T is apprehended by the ATF in Montana, but no charges filed, and he is released 2 days later. 9 hours after release, the local ATF office is destroyed to its foundations in the middle of the night. Evidence indicates an LPG tank wrapped in tannerite was the method.  T is not a suspect due to the nature of the bomb, Agents on the case say the bomb was too crude to indicate his involvement. 

Feb 2017. New Supreme court justices are sworn in, tipping the conservative progressive stance 5 to 4.  Justice Ginsberg retires claiming health reasons and Trump adds another Conservative justice to the bench making the ratio 6-3. The progressive scream can be heard on Mars.

G gets delivery of a large crate from Sweden.  Inside are two quarterscale turbo jet engines with afterburners and variable diameter exit nozzles and hardware/software package.  G’s new friends get to see how a guy in a wheelchair can dance.

April 2017: Work begins on “The Wall”. Contrary to media reporting, Mexico provides 90%of the labor force, while the remaining 10% comes from Army Corp of Engineers.  All material is sourced from local providers.  The dollar hits a new high in the markets.

Jihadists begin attacks on public venues along the eastern seaboard.  National Guard is called in to support local police forces.

California Governor fails a recall and a new election ensues. State Congress  immediately starts Secession proceedings with approval of the Governor Pro-tem.  Trump shuts off all water transfers via the Colorado River saying “when you can pay for it, you can have it.”

T returns to AZ, but maintains a discreet distance from his friends by getting an apartment in Phoenix.  ATF is still watching him.

G makes a maiden flight of the new F18.  Top speed of 387knots. His friends get to see that dance again.

Late July 2017: T makes a trip to the Slabs in California. There he purchases a full size Sportsman RV and a small 4×4 pickup with a towbar already mounted on its front bumper. 

September 2017: President Trump, President Putin, and three leaders of Independent European countries meet to work on trade relations.   The IMF collapses, followed by the remainder of the EU and the Federal Reserve implodes. China closes all ports and all shipping is recalled, while the Chinese navy takes an agressive stance in all of its shipping lanes. 
T returns to Tucson and retreats to the hangar. There both G and T begin modifying the RV to accomadate 2 planes, flight rig and a workshop/chemlab. ATF had dropped his trail when he went into California.

Oregon and Washington State join California in Secession; all three enter into negotiations with China.  China plans to establish a base on the old Camp Pendleton  and uses Coronado Bay as a naval base. War drums begin to be heard from DC.

October 2017: President Trump  in a move to alleviate Government spending cuts all welfare benefits with the exception of disabled Veterans.  Social Security is suspended for any not already in the system, and Medicare/Medicaid is eliminated entirely.  Riots break out in every major city by months end.

November 2017: Martial Law is declared and all overseas military are recalled home.

Our heroes begin trekking with the new rig, eastward.

Intermission

Was over at GAB this morning and looking around and found encouragement all over the place.  Maybe its the fact that GAB users tend to the more pragmatic vs narcissistic of most twits, but one theme kept popping up, and I have seen signs of it around here as well.   

People are investing again.  Just in the past 30 days, i have seen 6 new construction projects start up, and two are nearly completed.   1 apartment building, 2 retail spaces, 2 garages, and another is an expansion of an existing business.

 Another point of growth; where a year ago, we may have seen 1-3 trains of coal rolling out every week, (often less) now we are seeing 2-5 A DAY. Last year, one or two would be returned for ‘cleaning’ but not anymore.  I haven’t seen any come back, except when empty.  

And the man hasn’t even been sworn in yet.  (Not that he is the full reason, but peple are feeling hopeful again.)

Wow!

I dont want to seem the pessimist,  but there are a lot of globalists that are just a touch pissed off.  I have to wonder how long this can continue before something derails. (Like the economy getting hit with the reality of uncontrolled debt)

 I’ll  be back on the story tomorrow. 

Title to be decided pt12

“So you’re headed to Montana?   Lots of good places to lay low there.” Captain Maerteens asks through the drivers window of the dually. 

“Yes.  I have a few friends there still.  Some throwbacks to the Clinton days.  Figure we will hide there for the winter, retool and regroup .  SAC Spencer rattled me, won’t  lie.”  Says T.

“Hell T, she rattled me.  And she wasn’t aiming at me.” Agrees the captain. “Anyway, you guys did good here even if we got off to a rough start and had such a strange ending.  I pulled together 3 grand for you guys though.  That should get you to Montana and settled in for the winter.” He says, as he hands an envelope to T.

“Thanks Cap, its a lot more than we asked for but very appreciated, you know how to get ‘hold of us should need arise.  I only ask to wait some.  Don’t put word on the network just yet.  We need to fade,not just up and vanish. ” 

“Gotcha.  Take care T, you as well G. Maybe we’ll meet again.  Time will tell.” The Captain then gives us a salute and turns  back to his tent.

 T puts the truck in gear and starts pulling down the trail headed to the main road.  G just stares straight ahead, silently chewing his lip.  The energy from him is like that of a child caught red-handed, just awaiting the punishment: nervous and anxious at the same time.

Once on the pavement, T looks over at G and chuckles, “just waiting for me to drop the hammer on ya, ain’t ya?”

“Like you aren’t gonna?  I’ve been waiting ever since my wheels touched down.  Been afraid I’d  have to scoot around on a creeper board cuz my ass would be too sore to sit in my chair.  I fucked up T, I know it and I don’t know how to make amends for it.  To you at least, I could care less about IceCube agent Carlyle or Spencer.  Brrr! Just thinking about her gives me chills”

“I hear that.  Hell, at one point on the way back from there, I thought about getting you in the air and going back to wipe that trailer off the map.  She’s dangerous, very dangerous.”

“Why didnt you have me do that?  I’d’ave happily smeared her and her icey buds.”

“Why not? Ok,,I’ll bet ya lunch that the trailer we were negotiating in, wasn’t  there 5 munutes after we pulled out.  Ya wanna bet on that? ”

G pauses only a second and replies”No, you’re right of course, and I would lay good money that if we went looking for her flightline we would never find any tarmac  like she stated.”

“Exactly.  People like her will stay fluid and thats not necessarily a bad thing to be.  Look at us for example, always moving around, staying fluid.”

“Yeah.  It gets old though. ”

“I completely agree. But people like Andrea back there are hardwired for it; I don’t think she could imagine settling down let alone doing so.”

G sits back and sighs.  “Well, I’d like to get this ass ripping I know you’re all geared up for, so go ahead, lets get it over with.”

Again, T chuckles.  Under his breath,  ‘ass-ripping, tha’s funny, “aint gonna chew on ya G.  Fact is, if you hadn’t kicked that off, we wouldnt know what we know, and thats why I have forgiven you.  Plus, we do know a few more things about our little bird back there that we didn’t know before,  as well as some weak points that need addressed before we kick this back off. ”

G just looks at T , kind of wide eyed. 

T chuckles again “I also learned that there is a time and place to smack you upside the head, BEFORE you shoot from the hip.  No worries, I will have  my eyes wide open from here on out.”

G gives a small grin, “yah, that whole fat lip of mine, along with my attitude of ‘git-r-dun’ .   So,now that we can talk:  Montana?  You’ve never mentioned that that before.”

“Because we aint goin’there.  But since you asked, its time to crunch ideas with you.  I hate to say it, but for a time, I think ‘WE’ arent going anywhere.  I am thinking  of having you hole up with some friends of mine, do some training and research on things, while I head off in another direction doing a little hunting and intel gathering. What do you think?”

“Practical, prudent, and I don’t  like it.  And that means, to me, that’s probably the best way to go.  You can lay a false trail or something, they will be looking for the pair of us and we won’t be a pair to be found.  Ok.   But what training and research on my end do you want done?   ”

“Your little sky dance with a blackhawk started something in my brain, that and some of what you  told the Captain about speeds of certain airframes over others.  I want you to figure out what fighter jet you would prefer, and then get on the simulator and learn it inside and out.”

“Ooh,,,. Only problem I see there is, sims are only so accurate,  and reality is always just different enough to goose you when the chips are down. And, we would need a place to build. And have to work together. And-”

“Ok, stop ripping it down before its built.  I have an idea here and it has merit, don’t you think? ” 

” Oh yeah, plenty of merit, but I am not seeing what you are seeing so I will remain the cynic for now.  Like you say, ‘your idea is thought out, now sell me on it.'”

“From the mouths of babes,,,,”  T mutters.

“I heard that. ” G says, laughing.

“Alright,  heres what I see.  We need better vision capabilities, right?”

“Definitely. ”

“In case of contacts,  we need more speed?”

“And protection.  Speed and protection or armor or something.”

“Noted,  but speed is a protection in itself as well.”

“Agreed.”

“And right now we need to be on separate tracks to confuse our hounds.”

“No doubt about that.”

“So, we will go to Tucson,  and I will make some calls, and we will figure out rhe next move then. But I am thinking about us renting another warehouse space and ditching this rig.  Its too big and obvious.   We can replace it with something else when we get ready to head out again.”

“And its not like either of us will need it for the next couple of months. I agree with you there.  Plus I wouldnt mind settling down for a spell.  A real bed even, not some rack.”

“With the warehouse, you could have the Sim wired to your flight rig.  That should make the transition easier.  ”

“And what to do with Damocles? We aren’t going to drop her, are we?”

“No.  She is perfect for  ground support, which is what we intended for her.  Granted, there are some things we need to tweak, but, overall, good to go.”

“Good.” G says, sounding very relieved. 

“So, Tucson, and you will stay put for awhile.  Hopefully our hounds will head to Montana,  and I intend on heading that way as well, but not quite make it.  Part of that false trail.  I think I’ll keep the rig until I make that ‘hard right’, just to keep the image alive in their heads, and to pull them off of you as well.” 

“Sounds good to me.” G replies as he stifles a yawn.  “Just curious though,  why’d ya make that promise to Ice Lizard Queen? I mean, I realize she had us in a vise, but isn’t what she wants technically contract murder?”

“Bingo!  What we did in Brownsville was a tactical move in an ongoing campaign.   You saw as well as I that the Cartel there was gearing up to wipe out that militia group.   I can justify our deed there. What the lizard queen wants is or will likely be murder and potentially mass murder, and she will want us to do it for her, then set us up to take the fall so she comes out clean as a whistle. ”

T pauses for a second as if gathering his thoughts, “as for why I  promised, consider it insurance.  I did not tell her we would do her bidding, I only said ‘you call, we will come.’ and I also  didn’t say that we would be coming for her.  Which IS what I promised myself.  I want the insurance that when she calls, I know where to find her.  Does that answer your question?”

“Oh yeah. My only other question then, is, which one of us pulls the trigger?  ”

Laughing.  “I think that will depend on circumstances at that time, more so than personal desire right now.”

“Good enough.  So, I pick a fighter, we already have enough spares to work one up without having to dig too deep in the accounts, and you run false trails to buy us more time.  Like I said,  I don’t like it but I do understand.  Do you have any suggestions for jets, or is it all on me?”

“Well, for starters don’t limit your reviews to American designs; look at what other countries are doing to.  But I would suggest staying with fixed wing.  The f14 has cool variable swept wings, but we would have to do some real structural hi-jinks to make it work at scale.   Another thought would be to compare several and take design clues from each and come up with something unique.  I’ve  seen you eyeball wings and be close enough to what calculations said it should be, that the difference could be measured, but not seen. But this is your project, mine is going to be a lot more off the cuff.”

“Yeah, thats part of why I dont like it.  Out there, they could catch up to you and then what.”

“I’m not too worried about that.   I won’t have any evidence they can use against me, and I sure as hell aint gonna tell ’em anything either.  All the gear will be with you and I want to make sure that they have no clue where you are.”

“I guess I have to accept that.  Keeping me hid is priority, more specifically,  Damocles and all the rest of the toys, need to stay hidden. And I need to stay out of the public eye, ’cause a double amputee is memorable to all but a blind person.”

“Yeah, there is that, but I don’t think you will find that as challenging as you make it sound once you meet my friends.   They are gonna love you, ex-jarhead and all.  Norma is going to try and ‘educate’ you and if you think my old conversations bugged you, you ain’t  seen nothing yet.”

“Your friends are anarchists aren’t they?”

“Don’t  say that like its a dirty word.  It only means ‘without rulers’,and you will find them to be some of the most stringent people when it comes to how they live.  They don’t play games like our lizard queen back there, and despise people like her because of her thinking she has power over others. ”

“I don’t  have much choice here do I? ”

“Not really.  I have to trust some people and these people I trust with my life, and I guess you could say I trust them with yours as well.  Don’t worry, they won’t shove anything down your throat, but they will make you rethink pretty much everything you think you know. And the beauty of that is, they also have answers, though you may not realize it at the time.”

“Gonna trust ya here T.  But I’m falling out on you for a few, tired as hell.  I don’t know how you are still up n moving.”

“I’ll be stopping for breakfast and coffee soon, and Tucson isn’t all that far away.  I’ll  be fine till then. Grab some shut eye, I’ll wake you up for breakfast. ”

“Deal, g’night.”

Title to be decided pt11

Continued from 10

Admittedly,  I took my time getting back to base camp.  Once in sight though, all I could do was throttle back, lower flaps and bring it in.  If I took a bullet anywhere,  it didn’t hit any vitals; retracts, flaps and spoilers all worked just fine.  As I was rolling to a stop, I heard T come out of HQ and start barking commands.  Time to pay for my little dance I guess. I killed fuel to the engines and powered down, and as I was taking my VR helmet off, heard T coming into the trailer.

“T, I’m sorr-”

“Stow it!  Get out of that rig and get cleaned up.  Meet me at the dually in 10.  Move!”

What the fuck?  Ass chewing I expected, but this????

========

10 minutes later, freshly washed face and clean t-shirt, I roll out to the dually.  T and the Captain are waiting.  Without a word, they help me get in and stow my wheels in the bed.

“Alright T, whats going on?  I just shot up a DEA chopper and instead of making tracks, we are going somewhere close.”

T has that look and says nothing.  Instead the Captain responds.  “The head of the DEA team wants to meet up.   She says its time we share some info so we can avoid any more blue on blue accidents.  She specifically wants to meet YOU as well.”

Oh shit.  I think I just dropped a testicle.   I also think when I meet this woman, shes going to want to cut off the other one.  Hell, I just crippled a million plus dollar piece of gear, with a “toy” no less.  Someone is going to have to pay something for that; and I have no doubt who that someone might be.

T jumps in, “G, keep your mouth shut as much as possible. Right now, they think you were IN Damocles and just no VHF radio.  I don’t  want to enlighten them as to what they were up against. Keep your trap shut and the Cap and I may be able to salvage this fuck up.  ”

“Yes, keep the mouth shut.  I’ve seen what happens when you shoot from the hip once tonight.”, agrees the Captain.

“And keep in mind, they think you were in the bird and had no radio contact.  If you are asked direct questions, lie around that little detail; I’ll  back you, even though I want to kick your ass all the way back to Kansas.” T says, forcefully. 

I just give an affirmative grunt in response.  I’m  trying to figure my angle if approached, using what they just told me.

========

20 minutes later, we pull up outside one of those nasty looking FEMA trailers.  Lights are on and as we are getting out, someone opens the door, light spilling over us.

“Good morning Gentlemen. Lets get inside and I have coffee on.  I think we could use it in light of the time and circumstances.” Says a womans voice. All I can make out is her silhouette. .  She’s right though, its nearly 4 am and we have been running nonstop since yesterday morning, coffee sounds great to me.

Sadly, no chair ramp, so I had to monkey cling to the Captain’s back while T managed my chair inside.  Somedays, being a double amputee is really embarrassing. Once inside, I got a good look at our host.  Not bad, if you like a woman in MarPat cammies.  Her two associates had cut and dried fed agent written all over them, cammies and all.

“Gentlemen,  I am Special Agent in Charge Andrea Spencer.  The two men behind me are Agent Carlyle and Agent Brant.  We are tasked with this section of the border and have 100 more agents on site or near hand.  I can’t delve into details about our mission here, other than to tell you that it will not interfere with yours, and may even provide some overlap were we can work together at times. ”  She states all of this so matter of factly, you can tell she’s been in this role for years.

“Thanks Agent Spencer,” says the Captain, “I’m Captain Maerteens with the Arizona Militia.  The man on my Right is T and the one in the wheel chair is G-”

“Just initials?  What are your full names?” Asks Andrea. Both T and I look to the Captain but say nothing.  “Ma’am, they aren’t  a part of the militia, but contractors.  For brevity, and for reasons of their own, I leave that disclosure to them.”  Both T and shake our heads negative.

“Ok, I’ll play that game for a bit.  Lets discuss what happened an hour ago.  I have people in charge of me wanting to know how and why I have a crippled blackhawk on my tarmac when all we have around here are a bunch “weekend warriors”: their words not mine.  I put it in their laps that we need more cooperation with you, and while they didn’t like it, that wounded bird swayed them.” she says, to all of us, but looking directly at me for the last. Damn, there goes that other nut, I just know it.

“Agent Spencer, you know we have been down here off and on for 3 years now, mostly on.  My group rotates through about every 6 months in alternating tours.  4 months ago we started hearing equipment moving at night, and thought maybe the cartels were up to something, yet we never were able to peg anything down.  I contacted T through our network, asking him for some air based recon.  Tonights actions are due in part to that recon.” 

Andrea glances at Agent Carlyle and says “I knew we needed to get these guys in the loop, even if just a little.” Carlyle just nods. This guy is like solid ice, I get chills just looking at him.  I think Andrea caught it out of the corner of her eye and says, “G, you’re the pilot of that warthog, aren’t you?”

“Yes ma’am”

“I would like to introduce you to the pilot of the blackhawk you shot up tonight.   Agent Carlyle,  meet G, the pilot  of the warthog. G, Meet Agent  Carlyle. ”

Gulp! There went that other testicle for certain. No wonder this guy is ice cold, knowing an amputee grounded him.   If only he knew I was almost 30 miles away when I did it.  I see now why T was so forceful about playing our cards close to the chest. 

Politics steps up and I nod and say, “pleased to meet you in person, sir.”

“Likewise. “He responds, still ice cold and I think the temperature dropped another 10 degrees in the process.

“Gentlemen,  we have a problem. One that needs addressed tonight before we leave here. I have a wounded bird and a story to come up with, you have a secret to hide and hounds on your trail.  We can help each other or not, but we need to do something tonight,  right now.”

T looks shocked for a second, but only I spot it.  That ‘hounds on your trail’ tipped it.  

Or so I thought.  Andrea is good at poker, I can tell.  “Yes T, I know just a little something about your little enterprise, and I can tell you that another agency is getting closer.  And there are three that want a part of you guys, though only two are actually looking. ”

Flat voiced, T asks, “what do you want from us? And do you have any idea how close they are?”

A smile. Yeah, she knows when shes got us cornered. “What I want is a promise for the future, and how close? Likely a week out if you don’t shift gears soon.”

“What promise would you like? I make no promises I can’t keep, but I figure you already know that too?”

“Indeed I do.  What I want is a promise that at some point in the future, you guys come back here and take care of something my hands would be tied on.  I may need another Brownsville. Can we deal on those terms?” 

I think both T and I went pale at the mention of that.  This women knows far more about us than we do about her.  I suspect that T is planning on making that a short term problem though;  he hàs his ways.  The Captain is just sitting back watching this little tennis match, poker facing it all the way.

“Well, you definitely have information, but how can you help us in return, before I make this promise.”

“Like the information I have, I can feed a false trail for you, but I can only do so for a small window of time.  And that window started around 1 am this morning and is closing soon.  What say you, deal or no deal?”

T looks my way, I just give him a raised eyebrow. This woman is ruthless, and she seems to get off on it.  She will be a great ally, or a terrible enemy; but either way, one you want to keep an eye on.  I can see why her guys are walking icecubes.

T nods, I can see he read my thoughts, even if we arent psychic.   “You have a deal ma’am. Reaching us will be best through the channels in the militias, but we will come when you call.”

“Wonderful!” She then shifts her gaze to the Captain.   I can now see the lizard profile in her: I used to have an iguana that turned its head with that same steely move.  Jeez this woman is getting creepier by the minute.

“Captain.  I need you to file a report about armed coyotes with ICE as soon as you are back at camp.  Let them know that they ran your guys back west and that they had also heard rotors during  the retreat. I will fill in the rest of the story on my end.” 

“Yes ma’am”

“T, as soon as you are back, load up and reverse direction.  I dont know where you were headed, but scratch it out.  I would suggest some time off for a month or two, and just lay low. I’ll get some misdirection going in the rumor mill just like we used to do back in the 90’s.  ”

I grab T’s coffee cup and my own, and crunch them up into a pocket on my chair.  No need to give her anymore ways of figuring us out.  At this stage, I don’t even care if she notices.  This women is giving me vibes the same as I get around snakes. Brrrrrr!

“Well, I think we’re done here.   T, Captain, G.  We’ll be seeing you again, and I do look forward to it.”

I just bet you do, and I’d bet you like torturing fluffy bunnies too’  I think to myself, but reply ” anytime,” and start wheeling to the door.  I’d climb on my stubs to get away from this nest of vipers.  I think the Cap agrees because his chair almost tips over as he gets up.  T on the other hand is sitting there, I can see the gears turning, but not the direction.   Guess I’ll find out soon enough.  “Ready T?”

“Yeah, be right out.”  Oh yeah, he’s  thinking.   That response is one of his automatics. I climb on the Captains back and we exit.  Amazingly, one of the icecubes helps with my chair.  

Its gonna be a chilly ride out of Nogales.

Title to be decided pt10

Continued from pt9

One of these days, my mouth is gonna get me in some really hot water.

Let it not be this day dear Lord.

“I need 4 guys ASAP to help me get this bird airborne!” I yell as I am bouncing and rolling across this gravel.  Luckily, we had already pulled her out and set the wings in place.  Batteries are full up and fuel loaded, but no missiles set yet.  I want speed tonight so I think 6 should be enough.  More just in case than actual need.  My daddy taught me enough to know never leave it behind, you will need it then.  As I roll up, two young guys run up “whatcha need sir?” one of them asks.

“There are tubes in the trailer.  Grab 6 of the blue ones and fit three to each wing.  As soon as you got that come get me or T to show you how to arm them.  I’ll  be in the nose of the trailer getting things fired up.  Got that?”

“Loud n clear sir.  You’re gonna give bravo a woody when they hear you are on the way.” He grins broadly as he he heads into the trailer.  I run my wheels up the ramp behind him and make sure they understand the mounts, then roll forward  to get my rig fired up.

“One of these days,”

“I know T, I already said the same thing rolling out here.  Can you give those guys a hand, I am firing up the radios and pre-checking.  Then I need you to work your magic on this IR unit ”

“Dont worry about the IR, already done, channel 11 is your sensitivity.  Keep it low until you really need it or you may shut it down.”

“When did you do that?”

“You know how I am, somnambulist n all. Did it during my nap, just in case.  My hunches about your fat lip tend to pay off.”

Laughing, “glad to know I am so predictable.  Hopefully I can stay unpredictable in the air, otherwise I am gonna have a wreckage strewn career. ”

“Yah, unpredictable.  That may keep us aloft tonight.  Still no word on whats out there but I am going to have my laptop and headset with me in the tent.  I’ll  let you know as soon as I know, k?”

“Sounds better than what I think Napoleon had in mind.”

“Cool off on him G, he knows you somehow from one of your tours, just didnt realize it until you jumped the shark in there.   He has in mind an apology; I told him to hold it until you got Damocles back on the ground.”

“T,  I wasnt kidding about taking it out of his hide if she gets shot up, you know that right?”

“Yeh, I know it, and I think he knows it as well.  Just bring her home and we’ll  worry about the rest later. ”

“Mhmm, excuse me guys, we have the rockets on, whats next?” This from the younger guy that ran up.

T replies “be right there.  You guys got ear plugs? These engines are about to go hot and they are really loud.” As he walks out to help them.

I have a moment of out of body experience everytime I get in this rig. I know I am in the trailer, but my vision is elsewhere and with the radio set on my ears, so is my hearing. And i can ‘feel’ the plane around me, even if that’s mostly imagination.  Its a strange feeling for certain.

T is standing in front of Damocles now and signalling.  Here we go, final checks: rudder, check, elevators,check, ailerons, check, flaps check, spoilers, check , barrel spin, check. All go signal and he runs to my left. I dial up the IR a touch and can actually ‘see’ the runway: five by five baby!  Throttle up, and I am rolling.  40, 50 55 touch of up elevator and suddenly all my images go calm as I am airborn.  75, 85, 90 knots, climb speed, see y’all at 3000′

“Team Bravo is 15 miles east of base camp.  They are on a ridge overlooking POS2. No signs of assets at this time but keep your eyes open boy, copy?”

“Loud and clear Papa, let  Bravo know I am 5 minutes to over head and will loiter at angels 3 .  I should be near invisible from the ground unless these guys have thermal or radar.”

This is my world now.  I can see to the horizon, which is blacker than the ground thanks to what starlight there is. Its an incredible view honestly, but much bleaker than a day run.  My GPS is saying I am over Bravo now, and I can see some lights down there, switch back  to IR and the view gets a little more interesting.  I can barely make out Bravo on the ridge, but then, I am at 3000′ and they are just two guys.  Time to throttle back a hair and hang out.  Touch of flap and I am cruising at 50 knots airspeed.  Gotta bit of wind out of the west, have to play with that in my turns.  Looks like this may just be a milk run.  Right now, without changing anything, I can stay here for 5 hours and then need to go fuel up: that leaves me a reserve of 20 minutes, or 5 minutes hard knocks.  Yup, she can sip or guzzle, but not much in the middle.

“Raphog, do you see anything in the vicinty of POS2, Bravo says they can hear rotors just north of their location, but cant get a visual.”

“Checking Papa, wait one.”

“Copy that”

Looking down, orient on Bravo, track north. Nothing nothing.  Shit. Hotspot!  “Verify with LP Bravo.  Looks like a turbo jet spooling up.  I may have company soon.  Advise over.”

“Standby Raphog, advise angels 5 and loiter.  Keep me informed of bogey, over.”

“Roger, angels 5 loiter, and eyeball on bogey. Copy that.”

Flaps in and throttle up for climb, still keeping my loiter pattern just in an upward spiral now.  That heat signiture is hot even from here: whatever it is, its no Bell Ranger.  My question is this, what does it have under its wings?  Cannon or pods?  I highly doubt its a sneak n peek type.

“Papa, advise Bravo to seek cover.  If I can see them, so can others. Over.”

“Raphog, message received and relayed. Advise if bravo is still in view in 5, over”

“Copy that, report in 5.  Angels 5 ceiling and loiter.  Bogey is still ground bound at this time. Over.”

“Negative, belay last.  Bogey is airborn and climbing.  Advise bravo to freeze and hold.  Bogey is bound straight over them. Over.”

“Advised raphog. Will advise as info arrives soonest. Over.”

Well, I wanted an interesting life, I thinking that Chinese proverb is more true than comfort allows.  The way that bird moved, I do believe we have a blackhawk in the ‘hood.

“Raphog, Bravo states Blackhawk on move.  Bravo has left surveillance behind and is in exfil. Bring it home Raphog. Over.”

Yeah, bring it home, and have a stray follow me, Dont think so.  I’ve 4 hours of fuel left at current burn and I think it may just need to be used to visit Mexico for a few.  Lets see if I can get that stray confused.

“Raphog to Papa, advise playing wounded dove, flying southwest airlines to Chihuahua for a Dos equis. Be home soonest.”

“Negative, negative negative!  Return base!”

“Say again Papa, some static broke you up.”

“Dammit G, bring that bird home! You are 30′ from this tent, no way did I break up.”

The whole time of this conversation, I have been dropping speed and altitude. I am now at 2500′ and I have a pretty good view of a blackhawk, nacelles showing white hot in my camera. And he sees me too.  I can tell he is confused by appearances, but knows I am not where I am supposed to be. Time to turn tail and get a move on.  See if he follows or not.  30+miles to Mexico from here, and he has at least twice the speed of me running flat out. 500’ aughta give me some play room.  I know I can pull some moves he can’t even think about, but can I stay far enough out of reach. Guess I am gonna find out. Hard left bank, throttles to 105% and here we go!
Oops.  I can’t see backwards.  If he’s there, he is invisible to me. That rear mounted camera is daylight only.  Shit!

25 miles.  Keep the burn.  Roll, jog left, jog right, roll back.  Dunno if hes there or not.

Yup, those are tracers. Throttle back ,hard left rudder, full up elevator, snap roll.  Better than a roller-coaster!  And there he is! Throttle up, barrel spin, fire!  BRRT! BRRRRT! “AINT THE ONLY ONE WITH A GUN, BITCH!”

I know I hit him, but now its time to get a little crazy.  He may be fast, but he ain’t got airbrakes like my old hog does.  Yup, hes bringing it back around, time to go wide open again.  20 miles to the border, come on baby, we can do this.

Tracers again.  I am thinking thats all he has.  Hope I’m right.  Hard up elevator, vertical climb, cut throttle and hard left rudder.  Hammerhead!  And there he is again, Fox  1 fire, miss.  BRRRRT!  ouch, that left a mark,  skeedaddle again. 15 miles to go.

“Raphog break off contact repeat  breakoff contact! Do you copy!”

“Headed mexico way papa, brother bear keeps wanting to play though”

“Roger that, so called brother bear is limping home on one engine.  Get your bird home soonest. Copy?”

“Who is brother bear Papa?  Advise over.”

“DEA, radio contact is clear.”

Oh shit.  A fat lip gets me fired up and now I really goosed the girls in DC.  Not good.  Time to go home with my tail ‘tween my legs.  T is really gonnna thump my nose over this.

“Return to base copy over”  time to pay the piper.