This scene opens with a 1954 baby blue Jaguar XK 120 motoring down a highway.
Inside the car, which has a piece of clear plastic over the roof bows, which are normally used to hold the 'drop head' convertible top, a very properly mustached British officer with a thermos bottle full of coffee for company is driving along through the dark, which is pretty damn 'deserted road at 4 or 5 am' and inside the car is a cardboard box on the passenger side and a suitcase is on the outside of the car on the luggage rack over the trunk. The flapping plastic make shift top duct taped to the windshield and it's a cold miserable ride. The officer is dressed in a Class A uniform, but is wearing a dark brown 'balacava' type knitted cap, and is rather sad faced in the car's interior, motoring along in the dark. The sun comes up and at long last his journey will be over. There is a stop at a gas station where he takes down the make shift roof and, with a bit of gasoline on a rage, removes the residue of the duct tap from the windscreen and folds the top bows and stores them. He removes the balaclava headgear and takes his hat out of the trunk, along with his 'swagger stick' and continues along. He enters a small town and realizes he missed his turn, pulls off the road he is on and while driving down this 'not the main drag but near it' side business street, he comes to an American Half Track that is parked in this furniture store.
A flash back of a guy in the back of the track pretty well loaded and who'd crawled off to take a nap under some tarps is fed into the story line here. He's smiling peacefully and sleeps on as a couple of drunks climbing into the machine and firing it up. The loud mechanical sounds of this beast moving doesn't faze Sleeping Beauty there in the back of vehicle and all we see is this guy in a SF Giants baseball jacket fade out as the machine leaves the tank barn in the night.
Next moment, there is a crash of breaking store window and a head quickly appearing out from under the canvas tarps in the back of the machine and then more crashing and back down under the tarps and a lot more debris falls down upon the guy hiding under the tarps.
A shot from inside of this furniture store and here comes this half track being driven into the store. It's an old fashion sort of show room and on the 'mezzanine' is a red couch. The track hits the wooden support column and the entire balcony tilts forward and dumps this couch into the track's back compartment, where it is pointing up at about a forty degree angle. The falling debris stops and a door is opened and someone runs out of the vehicle and escapes while the guy in the back of the track is sitting up as if to throw the covers back on the bed he'd been sleeping in, but ... this is not his bedroom, and as far as 'recognizing what the hell just happened' goes, well, bit of a rude awakening seems to fit, doesn't it? 'Where the fuck am I? is replaced by 'oh fuck!' as the sound of footsteps hurrying away from the scene of the crime over the debris crunching glass and wood underfoot stops: Okay, I'm awake, this is real, and now what? So he stands up and a chunk of tin falls down off the track and 'now what?'
This Brit out in the Jag, whom we've already seen as a very proper British officer sees this and says, 'Oh BOTHER!' and parks the Jag across from the store and stares at the situation. All righty then! he mutters under his breath and gets out, picks up his hat and puts it on his head, picks up his swagger stick and goes into the store. "Hello?" A pause. "Hello?" He walks down the side of the track and opens the door on the drivers side and there is a rather large (and asleep) gentleman seated there behind the steering wheel. The guy in the back of the track moves and the officer calls up, "You there, I need your help getting this vehicle out of here. Climb down off of there and inside and help me get the driver out from the controls." Okay, guy might be hurt, right? So the guy in back clambers down and into the front and helps this little Pommie officer move the guy behind the wheel over. Officer hands up his officer's hat and swagger stick and climbs up inside. "Well, if that's all you needed me for..." and the guy gives the passenger a writhing look and says, "Sit there, I'm going to need some help in a moment." And without further ado, backs the thing up and swings it around and part of the monster machine dings the Jag. "Oh, bother!" he says with sincere feeling in his voice. He tell the soldier wearing the Giant's jacket to sit still, he has to get something from his car. And that is an order, soldier, so don't try and bolt, eh old chap? Sure LT. Anything you say.
The spiffy little limey officer gets out, strolls over to his now damaged Jaguar, which is obviously not going to be going anywhere very soon, seeing as a track has just run over it's left front fender, gets out his briefcase and pulls the cardboard box aside and hauls out an AWOL type overnight bag. He walks back to the open door on the track and tosses his brief case up behind the seat and then tells the soldier, "When I hand this up to you, please be very careful with it. I don't want any more accidents here this morning." "Family heirlooms, eh sir?" He says as he takes the case from the officer. "No, not quite. Just a bit chilly detonators, which are less stable at lower temperature and I'm afraid the heater wasn't really up for this climate you have here." Oh ... huh? "Unstable explosives, so do be careful old chap!"
This is still early enough in the morning that the flashing red lights on the police car is lighting up the storefront. A police officer comes up to the scene and the Brit coolly opens the armored glass window. "Hey, buddy, get your ass down from there, you're under arrest!"
"Officer, I assure you that I was not driving this machine when it encountered yon window. However, as I am a serving officer of Her Majesty's armed forces, I shall return it to it's rightful owners, whom I sure ought to be very pleased to have it back, as I'm sure it has great sentimental value to them. My motor has the keys in it, and I would appreciate you safeguarding my belongings and I'll have the American Army contact you about reparations for damage claims, which I'm sure they'll be happy to pay. Here is my card and thank you for your offer of assistance, but we'll be off now. Good day sir." And he puts the thing in gear and moves it forward.
The cop bangs on the door and he stops. "Yes?"
"You can't just leave the scene of an accident buddy! This is America!"
"Oh? I am a serving officer attached to the United States Army for temporary duty and this is a United States Army war machine, so I feel it is my duty to promptly returned due to the automatic weaponry aboard. Good day." And he puts the thing in gear and just drives it backwards into the police car. Oops!
"My apologies, officer. Just add it to the bill, please." Then he cooly puts it in gear and drives off. He stops at the stop sign at the corner, puts his turn signal on, checks traffic and turns the corner and drives away, the screeching of the steel treads and the heavy diesel engine noises fade as the machine turns and disappears around the end of the row of shops.
"Well, thanks for the extraction, LT, but if you'll just drop me off here at the corner, I can catch a bus back to the base."
"It's Major, not 'LT', boy-o, but since you are not really in what I think of as a uniform, I'm not going to try and rectify your lack of familiarity with British officers rank insignias. I should imagine, that you might per chance be some type of non commissioned officer in your military establishment?"
"Uh, yessir, I'm a Sargent."
"I see." Pause. "Might I inquire how you happened to wind up inside that establishment while it was closed? Or what this machine was doing illegally parked inside the store?" A slightly raised eyebrow as he gives the EM a measuring glance.
"I wish I could tell you that, sir, but the truth is, I ain't got a fucking clue."
Another curious glance over at the EM as they motor along in this clanking conveyance. Drivers at traffic lights look at them incredulously, but the British officer is totally at ease and nods politely back at drivers staring at them with dropped jaws. "I see."
The other guy mutters something under his breath. "Sorry, I didn't hear that. Could you please speak up a bit, old chap, it's a bit noisy in here."
By now, the ramifications of what is going on have sunk in to the guy in the Giants jacket. "Oh, sorry, Major. It's just that I have twelve years in and was planning on reenlisting next month and this little fuck up here is probably not going to turn out for my ... how would you put it? I guess you could say 'my Army career opportunities' might have to suddenly be reevaluated in light of this new intelligence having to be factored into the situation, shall we say?"
"Ah, yes, quite." The Englishman glances over to the American. "Well, then I guess the first thing that we'll need to do is to insert you back inside the military compound. I don't expect you had to show your pass at the gate when you drove off in this machine?"
"I wasn't driving! Honest sir! I had swapped duty assignments yesterday so this buddy of mine could do the wife and family bit, you know? After I got relieved, we had a little card game going and with a bottle or two, I just climbed up into the track and bedded down, as I was way too drunk to drive and the MP's are hell on wheels about drunks driving around loaded on base. Really 'bad career move' if you know what I mean? Next thing I know, things are falling down all over the place and sometime later, when things quieted down a bit, I came out to see what was going on and that's about when we first meet. Now here I am cruising up to the Main Gate out of uniform and without any idea of what I'm going to tell the Colonel, when, how shall I put it? Oh yes, he inquires of me what the circumstances under which we meet were and I'm dashed if I know exactly how to explain said circumstances when I haven't an actual fucking clue myself!" He's mocking the British officer, but he's deadly serious about what he is saying at the same time, and a bit forceful with his presentation of information: In other words, he's 'up shit creek' and knows just how far, too, and his morning is not looking good at all, at all.
The American gives him a level stare back. "And would you care to give me some 'career guidance' in this matter, Major? If it's not too much of a bother, sir."
"Ah, I see, a bit of a fork in the road you're facing, is it?"
"Oh, you could say that, I suppose, Sir!" The officer glances over, but the glance isn't 'ready to ream the guy a new one' but more just a glance of appraisal.
"All right, you need a bit of career advice then, is it, old chap?"
"Yessir, you might say that."
"Very well. I'd suggest you lose the civilian apparel before we arrive at the gate. I do believe that my proper little stick up his fundament UK popinjay act might distract attention. I shall endeavor to provide you with enough cover that they should not be too upset with you. After all, I did order you into this vehicle, you might recollect, and you are justifiably here under orders. Right now you are helping me escort a prisoner back to base, as well as steadying my belongings from being jostled about in this rather rough riding vehicle. At the next light, hand me over the valise, please, and I'll stash your jacket inside it. Perhaps you might enlighten me as to what an 'SF Giant' does, as I assume it must be some kind of a sport enthusiasts apparel, perhaps you are an aficionado of the organization?"
"You don't know who the Giants are?"
"I'm afraid you have the advantage on me there, sir, so pray do enlighten me!"
"Wow, I thought everyone knew who the Giants are."
"Some kind of Colonial sport, perhaps? If so, pray tell, which type of 'ball' do they play with? That one your tall people pat down the lacquered wood floor, or the oblong spheroid, perhaps? Or the one you swat with that stick with that square four bags on the ground business where the players have to go around the square by foot before they are awarded a point?"
Uh... "They're the San Francisco California baseball team, sir, they were recently World Champions, and you might have heard of the city, perhaps?"
"Yes, quite: That rice dish advertisement."
"That last bit... 'Rice, a roni! That San Francisco treat!' Understand it made the city quite famous."
By now, the Sergeant just flat out knows he's having his mind fucked with. Rice-a-fucking-roni? "Well sir, I hate to burst your bubble, but I happen to be from the area just to the north of there and oddly enough I myself have never enjoyed the dish myself, nor do I know anyone who uses the stuff on a regular basis either. So I'm afraid it's fame isn't quite justified as far as being solely due to the geniuses of Madison Ave." They pull up to a light and the American puts the bag down and pulls off his jacket and is in his on base work uniform. Sleeping beauty had been passed from the American's shoulder over to the British officer so he could remove his jacket, and he picks up the valise on the floor of the truck and goes to open it. It's locked, and he notices this is not a 'simple bag' but has HRH diplomatic pouch punched into the leather of the bag and a very serious dual key system is required to open the bag: He looks over to the officer, who holds out his hand. Traffic is honking by now, but he ignores it and sits the bag down on his lap. He does something to the bottom of the bag and the entire top is lifted off, revealing a very small open topped box seated on some kind of padded square cushion.
"Your jacket, please?"