I lay there gasping, feeling the tiredness in my muscles, thinking to myself I was too old for this shit. Chasing through a hot jungle ten thousand miles from home, after a fugitive about whom I knew nothing except that some deskbound agent had decided she had to be caught, dead or alive he said, but who was only trying to survive, as far as I could tell. I'd been trailing her for ten days now, trying to get a feel for her habits. I was fairly certain she didn't know I was on her tail.
My mind was a jumble. Thank god my skin tanned easily and quickly. I bet I'd smell terrible to someone in civilized society. Who the hell was Anita Sanchez? What kind of name was that anyway? Geez, I stink so bad even the bugs leave me alone. How did I get here, over all these years, toting a sniper rifle, an old antique Bowie knife, and fifty thousand dollars if I completed the mission?
It had seemed romantic and masculine, joining the Seals after college, all the macho bullshit about being the baddest of the Navy. Frogmen. All that manure. What it had been was dreadful punishment for three months, and then training with the nastiest toys the Navy had available for another three months. The seductive thing was, I was good at it. I had been a swimmer in school, used to being in shape, and the habit has lasted to this day. To be an officer in that outfit you had to be very tough, cause the enlisted guys wouldn't listen if you weren't. They didn't stand on ceremony, or military rank. I had to kick a young West Virginia kid's ass on my first posting, but after that, I never had any problems.
I think for a couple of years, I really enjoyed it. Its hard to remember now, but it was a hard, demanding, busy time, and the missions seemed dramatic and exciting. Even the first time I killed someone, a greek guarding a suspected bio-terrorist site, it all seemed reasonable and heroic. When the raid on an African prison to free a CIA agent went bad, and I was held responsible, it was a shock I had trouble with for years, even though I got rich doing "special" jobs for my country, notably the CIA.
And of course I started to learn how things really work. My third job was an assasination of a minor official in Bosnia. I planted a bug in his apartment, and discovered he was already cooperating with the Agency, and that my assignment was part of a power play in the beauracracy. I sat on my hands for two weeks, and finally reported it up the line to someone I thought was above that. I saw the local agent get blown up a day later, by a Seal team. I cornered the officer and found out who ordered it, and reported that too. I didn't work again for three years, but by then I had some private contracts, and managed to get by.
Well, there was a big purge, and I found I had acquired a reputation as a contractor who did the right thing, so I had a lot of jobs after that, and believe me, its very lucrative. I drifted for damn near ten years, always being careful to assure myself that whatever I was asked to do was legitimate. It was mostly getting people out of countries, or executing fugitives who had flown the coop. The job I was on now had involved getting an agent out of an Indonesian prison camp, and when I got back to the sub, they told me to find Anita and bring her in.
I found the agent I freed a very unpleasant fellow. He was treated like a hero when we got aboard the USS Starfish, but turning around to the small island group where she was supposed to be hiding had happened fast. There were several little flaws in the story they gave me.
She was supposed to have turned this guy in. Then why was she hiding? She had been a prostitute in the only western style bordello in Jakarta. Why did they need a pro to chase her down? She was dangerous, and I might have to kill her. A pros?
There was no one to talk to, the one message I got to a guy I thought I could trust was unanswered, and I kept getting nasty looks from the guy I rescued. I pulled the standard inflatable up onto the beach a day later, my old suspicions boiling up. Years later, I found out they had not wanted to use me, since they knew I didn't follow orders without good cause, but they felt they had to move fast. I was the only choice. Decide in haste, repent at leisure. The Godfather had it right. I refuse to be a fool.
It took me a couple of days to pick up her trail, and another day to catch up with her. Once I did, several more issues that caused me to doubt my mission surfaced. In the first place, she was no former prostitute. She moved around the island very cleverly, leaving very little trail. She never started a fire, and ate the fish raw. She was clearly experienced at hiding and surviving, which takes training. Her body was muscled and strong, not the fleshy softness that I had been led to expect. Observing her in camp, she was alert and well prepared, and slept with what looked like an AK 47 at hand.
She had a radio, and listened to it every day at sundown. Clearly she was waiting for instructions from someone, or an all clear. I was careful not to get too close, but what I could see through my Zeiss's was a latin kind of face, thick dark hair she kept up during the day, but let fall at night. There were several ideas I had for how she got on the Agency's bad side, but the only way to know for sure was to talk to her. I knew that was not going to be easy.
The only mistake I could see her making was that she religiously bathed every morning. A real operative would never be either that predictable, or that worried about hygiene. I thought it was possible she was expecting to be there for a long time, which would be a good reason not to let yourself become, well, smelly like me. So as I rested beside a big rock, shaded from the sun and watching her settling down for the night, I decided to take her the next morning.
The wind always blew from the south, so as she waded into the stream I crawled carefully toward her from the north. You learn to do that very silently as a Seal. She was only about ten feet into the stream, and her weapon rested against a tree. I watched her carefully through the underbrush, and realized what a good looking woman she was.
Her skin was a light coffee color, and the nipples of her surprisingly large tits were brown. Latin for sure. Her face had the ruddy, healthy look of a person accustomed to being outdoors, but she had big eyes, and very full lips, that combined with a small nose to make a very pretty, seductive affect. Her body was fit and even more heavily muscled than I had realized watching her through the glasses. I waited until she turned away, admiring the ripple in her shoulders as she ran her fingers through the black hair that wet fell to the middle of her back, then vaulted to my feet and picked up the gun.
Right away she fooled me. Instead of coming at me she dove underwater, out toward the center of the stream which was a good ten feet deep. A good idea I thought, as I stripped off my clothes, walking along downstream, catching occasional glimpses of her gliding powerfully through the water, trying to put distance between us. She might have had a chance at getting away with someone else, but not an old swimmer.
After a couple of minutes I could see her releasing bubbles, a sign she was running out of air, and slid into the water myself. It was nice and cold, and felt wonderful on my dry, scaly skin. I stroked close enough to her underwater to see her give up and surface, then came up below her, and pulled her under while I figured she was gasping for new air. I got her in a hammerlock, and started for the edge. She relaxed, and let me pull her, coughing bubbles but not fighting. As we surfaced in the shallow bank, she gulped a couple of times, spitting out water, and her ankle came up at what I'd have thought was an impossible angle, and caught me in the balls.
It was a good move. I felt her jaws clamp on my forearm, but pulled the arm away as she tried to sink her teeth. We're trained to take a lot of pain, and in spite of the tremors spreading out from my groin, I rolled her onto her stomach, and tried to pin her arms over her head. I got one, but she flailed away with the other. I finally got both of her wrists trapped in one hand, while I felt her trying the kicking thing again, but all she was accomplishing was tapping my thighs. We were both gasping as I held her like that.
She was amazingly strong. And she didn't quit. She kept struggling to free her arms, and bucked her ass up at me, but never said a word. Just fought. I finally got my breath, and yelled into her ear. "Listen. I could have killed you already if I was going to do that. You're very good, but I'm better. And bigger. Calm down and lets talk." She struggled for another minute, then relaxed suddenly. I smiled. What a tough bitch. Now she'll try to con me.
She had a little accent. It sounded maybe mexican, anyway spanish. "Who sent you? CIA? I spit on the fucking CIA. How are your balls?" I grinned. "Sore Baby. Too bad, 'cuz you got a nice butt. Listen, your next move will be to try to get me to relax, and then hit me or whatever you do. Well it won't work. I spit on the CIA too. Why don't you tell me whats going on?"
She twisted her head around to look at me. "You look like shit, you know that? Why should I tell you anything? You're gonna kill me anyway." I chuckled into her ear.
"I've been watching you for a week. I've got a sniper rifle that can put a round through your eye from two thousand yards away. Why did I take all this abuse from you if I was going to turn around and kill you? But I do want to find out why they sent me. Does it have to do with Grimes? I don't like that asshole either."
.... There is more of this story ...