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

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.

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