07 Home 2
Chapter 41

Copyright© 2013 by Banzai Ben

Present – Liz – In the equipment room

Maria, Bernie and I are speculating on the origin of Jens' hallucination about the wolf (the one running with Ben). Ivan speaks and we're shocked when he says, "Unca Ben bringing big bad wolf to puff and huff and blow all bad men down!"

I begin to ask him how the heck he knows that when we hear Jens wake up and also hear a series of small and some larger explosions that feel like small earthquakes...

Present – Maria – In the equipment room

Jens sighs, we quickly move to her side and I ask my Princess Boss, "How are you feeling?"

She gives me a huge smile and says, "I feel fine now that Ben's here because he's going to take care of everything. But I'm sad that he's busy and can't stay connected to me."

I smirk and skeptically give her the third degree, "Jens, what the hell are you talking about? What's all this nonsense about being connected to Ben?"

She reaches over, pats my hand and answers...

Present – Jens – In the equipment room

I can plainly see from the look on her face that Maria doesn't believe that I can connect to Ben and I'm not sure how in the hell I can convince her. So I answer Maria's question the best that I can, "Maria, I'm not exactly sure how it happens, but somehow, when Ben allows it, our two minds connect and I can see and feel what he does. Before he went batshit crazy and took off we were connected all the time but since he's been gone the connection is also gone and I've really missed it. It's like a part of me died. Just being connected to him now has been wonderful. I feel so much better."

Maria scrunches up her face and challenges, "Okay Jens, since you know what Ben's doing now then let me know."

I smile and answer, "No problem! The small explosions you are hearing are flashbangs, the big explosions that you hear and feel are half sticks of dynamite. The wolf lady ties them to her arrows then fires them at the target as directed by Ben. Then he shoots the explosive with his rifle and they detonate."

Maria continues being skeptical as she interrogates me like a fucking lawyer, "First it was a wolf and now it's a wolf lady. The next thing I know you will tell me the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are going to help. Jens I think you're hallucinating."

I get ready to argue when Ivan chimes in, "I would like to see Easter Bunny and St. Nicholas, but they not fight good and well like wolf who is also lady."

Maria voices her disbelief in a complaint.

Present – Maria – In the equipment room

I've had my fill of the bullshit connection to Ben mumbo jumbo! Now she even has the little brat involved in her hallucination so I complain, "Jens, now you have Ivan believing your stories about the wolf lady."

Ivan gives me a dirty look, crosses his arms across his chest and sasses, "Bad lady that say many bad words, why you bother Ms. Donaldduckson? She not make me see wolf who is also lady, wolf who is also lady let me see her and tell me no worry - we will be good and fine."

I'm exasperated and can't handle much more of this so I look at Liz and demand, "Liz, what the hell is going on here? Do you think Ivan really sees this ... This ... Wolf woman?"

Ivan stands up and angrily announces, "Bad big mouth lady! I not never tell lies! Otherwise, my mama make me stand in corner for long time. If you no want to hear what I see then I not talk any or more!"

With that Ivan walks away, begins to mess around with something and pouts. Thank God the little brat is going to finally leave me alone.

Liz comes over beside me, takes my hand and tries an answer, "Maria, I've never understood this whole Jens/Ben connection thing. However, I did some research and it's not an unheard of phenomenon. I do believe that Jens can connect to Ben, however I have no idea how Ivan can see this."

Jens (who is quickly losing her Princess Boss status and is headed toward Moonbat Monarch status) adds her two cents, "Guys, I'm not going crazy – well no crazier than I normally am. I don't think Ivan is connecting to Ben. I think it's like he describes it - the wolf lady somehow talks to Ivan."

We hear a noise, turn, look at Ivan and see he's busy doing something...

Present – Ben – At the cabin

Destiny finally questions, "Ben, what is that whirring noise you're so concerned about and why do I sense someone or something is watching us?"

The worst of my nightmares has followed me home from the sandbox so I answer, "The fuckers are using a drone to track us."

She's looking around like crazy and questions, "How did it get here so fast?"

I did my homework on this years ago so I explain, "Hell, the Air Force's major base for drones is Creech Airbase at Indian Springs Nevada - just outside of Las Vegas. By car it's a little over seven hundred miles. If it's one of the upgraded Reaper drones, because of its increased range and speed they just flew it up here. I'm sure it has thermal imaging capabilities which they are using to track us. Quick, follow me."

As I said, I did my homework on this and have a plan in place. Now I hope my plan will work...

Present – Mike (formerly Major and then Captain M) – At his hotel.

I finally get the phone call I've been waiting forever for from the commander at Creech Airbase and he reports, "Sir, we have a Reaper on station and have acquired your targets."

This is news to me so I question, "Targets? As in more than one?"

He immediately answers, "Yes sir, we have thermal on two tangos. What are your orders?"

I think for a moment about telling him to pull the trigger and take them out, but Ben still has intel that I need so I decide to forgo this option. But two tangos? Who the hell did Ben bring with him? I know it can't be Stacy because I have men watching her and she's at the site where they are trying to access the tunnels.

I reply, "Take no action for now just keep them under observation."

I'm up and awake already so I call my chopper pilot and start to dress and head to the cabin. The thought of someone working with Ben bothers the hell out of me. Capturing him alone is going to be bad enough, but if he's teamed up with someone close to his talents, I might not ever capture him and will probably have to eliminate him.

Present – Ben – At the cabin

We take off at an easy run toward one of the many weapons caches I hid on my property - the one I designed specifically in case I had to deal with a drone. I keep hearing the damn whirring noise of the fucking drone as it follows us. Yeah, they must have thermal on it and that's how their following us. However, it's a bit noisier than the drones in the sandbox so my guess is it must be a new Reaper drone. There will be no problem if my special surprise works as it won't be an issue. As we approach the area of the weapons cache I order, "Destiny, it's imperative that you do exactly what I do. I don't have time to explain things right now because we have to get the fucking drone off our asses."

Destiny sounds peculiarly unsettled as she answers, "Ben, I will follow and obey because I truly hate being chased by flying things."

This is very unlike her and what the hell does she mean? So I ask, "Flying things? You mean like birds or the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz?"

From the tightness in her voice I know I need to drop the subject but wish I could ask more when she says, "No, birds don't bother me and I always thought the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz were cool. I've been chased by helicopters far too many times, but this drone gives me a worse sensation than any helicopter I've experienced."

Now I know she's one weird chick since everyone I know hates the hell out of those flying monkeys. She's been more of a help tonight than I ever thought she could be. In fact, it's been good having her with me. I can tell I need to calm her down so I respond, "Well, if my plan works then we won't have to worry about the drone."

She has doubt in her voice as she asks, "And if it doesn't work?"

I simply reply, "Then I go to plan B or plan C and we blow the fucker out of the sky."

We get to the site, I run up to and press my body close to the huge rock wall and Destiny mimics my move. She says, "The heat radiating off this south facing wall feels good because it's getting cold tonight."

I smile and agree, "Yeah, that's part of my plan as the heat from the rock wall will help to confuse the thermal imaging on the drone. Now don't actually touch the wall but sidestep along the wall with me."

We sidestep along the wall, reach the weapons cache and Destiny has calmed as she remarks, "Ben, that drone seems to be circling and doesn't seem to know where we are. But we can't stay here forever and sooner or later they will direct men into this area to search for us"

I reply, "Well, part one of plan A worked and you're right that they sure as hell will send men to patrol the area. We will now use part two of plan A to escape from the drone before those men get here."

Present – Mike (formerly Major and then Captain M) – At his hotel.

I'm almost prepared to leave, start to head to the chopper and I get another call. Once again it's the commander from Creech. He doesn't beat around the bush and reports, "Sir, we've lost them."

Hells bells, perhaps I should have told them to pull the trigger when I had the chance! I swear, "What the hell do you mean you've lost them? I thought that Reaper has thermal imaging."

He replies, "Yes Sir, top of the line. However, they confused the thermal imager by disappearing against a hot rock wall."

I continue to ride his ass, "So you're telling me that you're million dollar, top of the fucking line, piece of equipment was defeated by a hot stone wall. This isn't going to look good in my report to your superiors especially with our new reliance on these ineffective pieces of crap."

He tries to save his ass, "Sir, I'm sure it's just a matter of time until we find them again."

I continue to light his ass on fire, "Commander, I want continuous drone coverage of the AO until those two tangos are found. If you fucking find them again notify me immediately for a possible FRAGO (fragmentary or change of orders)."

I snidely question, "Did you inform the Captain?"

He replies, "Yes sir, he sent men to the area and they were unable to locate either tango..."

I interrupt, "So you're fucking telling me you lost the tangos against a hot rock wall and then you couldn't even find them when they left the area? What the hell did they do, grow fucking wings and fly away?"

He backpedals and tries to cover his ass, "Sir, we easily saw the Captain's men as they approached the rock wall, lost them just like the tangos as they came close to the wall, but unlike the tangos we were able to easily track them after they moved away from the wall. So we know the drone is functioning within NOP (Normal Operating Parameters). The tangos must have figured out some way to mask their thermal images. We have contacted General Atomics, the manufacturer of the Reaper, and they are highly concerned about this situation. They are sending a team of engineers here and another team of engineers to the cabin site to try and determine how the tangos evaded us."

I'm at my chopper and end the call with, "Well, you and these fucking rocket scientists had better figure how two tangos defeated the thermal imaging on the drone, otherwise I can see the contract for more drones being canceled! Which means Commander, you would have nothing to command."

Son of a bitch! I knew better and should have pulled the trigger when I had the chance...

Present – Ben – At the cabin

I pull my weapons stash out from between the rocks, open up the barrel, pull out two mylar emergency tents, a roll of duct tape, two pairs of boots and two other devices. I hand one of the emergency tents to Destiny and order, "You need to completely cover yourself with this tent, including your head and especially your face. Use a knife to slit a couple of eye holes in the tent so you can see where you're going but don't make them too big or heat will leak out of them. Use some of this duct tape to patch the edges of the eyeholes so they don't shred. Once you're done with that, put your moccasins in your pack and put on these boots. Sorry if they don't fit well, but I never thought I would have a woman trying to escape from a drone with me."

Destiny starts unfolding the tent, begins to cover herself and comments, "You seem to be well prepared for this."

I hastily answer, "He who is not prepared for today, will be less so tomorrow."

She answers, "Did your grandfather teach you that wisdom?"

I reply, "Not formally in those exact words, but he did hammer home the need to be prepared for anything. The Marines refined and reinforced the teachings of my Grandfather."

She continues with her questions, "So, does the mylar tent shield our body heat from the thermal drone?"

I ignore her 'thermal drone' mistake but continue my explanation, "That's right. The mylar tent will block out our thermal images, however the problem is that if we're not careful we will create thermal black holes where the thermal energy from the background will be blocked. If their operator is good, he could track us by following the lack of heat."

She is slipping on her boots and questions, "What are these, some sort of cold weather boots?"

Damn she asks as many questions as Stacy used to (I wonder if it's a woman thing, but Jens never did that). I think about it and realize I miss the good times I had teaching Stacy - it was fun as hell. Yeah, it's good to have someone to teach again so I happily answer, "They are designed to be used in artic weather and are called 'bunny boots.' I'm not sure how good the thermal imaging on the drone is. It's possible without these boots they might be able to track us by the thermal images our footprints would leave through our normal boots. By the way, make sure not to touch anything with your hand or it will leave a thermal hand print."

I was expecting the next question Destiny asks, "How is it that you know so much about thermal imaging."

I'm suited up and ready to go. I'm glad it's cold tonight otherwise we'd both be roasting under our mylar tents. I answer her question, "There were many times in the Marines I used thermal scopes on my rifles so thermal imaging became a topic of professional interest."

Destiny finishes suiting up and asks yet another question, "What is this valve on the side of the boot? Can I put more air into the boot to make it fit better?"

I quickly give instructions before she fucks up, "That's an air valve and is only used for flying, so don't open it. You only use it if you are flying in an unpressurized plane to keep the boots from over-pressuring and exploding."

Destiny comments, "These boots are the warmest thing I've ever had on my feet, do you mind if I keep them when this mission is finished."

What is it about women and shoes or boots? I guess they all like to collect them, so I reply, "Hell, after all the help you've been already, you've earned them."

She additionally questions, "What's in the other package you put in your pack and that long tube you have?"

I pat the tube and answer, "What I put in the pack is plan B which we will use tomorrow. The tube is called plan C and is for the drone in case it does find us again and plan B doesn't work. Now, the night's not over and I need to get some different weapons to continue our campaign. Follow me."

I wait until the drone's whirring seems softer than before and decide it's now turned away from us. We leave the area and immediately head under some trees because the trees will help to mask any thermal black holes we create. We pause, listen and thank God the drone doesn't follow us.

Present – Jack – In prison at the cabin.

Linus brings up a question I wish he had not asked because I don't want everyone going off half-cocked, "With Ben occupying the idiot greenies, do you think it will be safe to slip out of here?"

I need to nip this in the bud so I order, "Even though they are greenies, I highly doubt they all left to chase Ben. I think you would be authorizing your own death certificate if you walked out of this tent."

I'm reinforced when Masha supports me, "I agree. To attempt escape at this time would be foolhardy. We need to wait for a better opportunity. However these handcuffs and shackles are too restrictive and that must be remedied." With that Masha sheds her handcuffs, then her shackles, flexes her feet and hands and then puts them back on less tightly. She orders, "Jack, give me your hands I will loosen yours."

I comply, she loosens my restraints and suggests, "I would suggest we need to get some sleep for tonight."

However there's a chorus of requests from the other Marines for her to loosen their handcuffs. She gladly complies. While it seems to take forever, she finally comes back and states, "Jack, I feel silly for complaining about my handcuffs since the handcuffs were so tight on some of the Marines that they were affecting the circulation to their hands."

Hells bells, that pisses me off even more so I ask, "Masha, were any of them permanently damaged?"

She smiles, touches the side of my face and surprises me when she says, "Jack, your concern for others is one of the reasons I love you so much. I feel they will all be fine, however we will need to make sure to loosen the handcuffs each night."

She leans against me and I question, "Masha, could you make that your job so I don't have to worry about it."

She kisses me and answers, "My husband, I've already done that."

We're almost asleep when...

Present – Stacy and Samantha – At the cabin

After lighting several fires under the engineer's ass by telling him he'd better finish this job tomorrow, I'm finally happy with the progress of the work. I get a call, answer it and announce to Samantha, "The helicopters are almost back with the supplies."

She nervously inquires, "All the supplies?"

I smile and answer, "Of course, all the supplies."

She gets ants in her pants and suggests, "I would like to get some of my supplies immediately because they could be very useful."

I agree and order, "Samantha, you're right. We could certainly use some of those supplies. Bill, make sure the engineer keeps making progress, we will be back later."

Samantha is so excited I almost have to hold her hand to keep her from running to our campsite. We get close and are challenged, "Who goes there? Stop and give the word of the day."

Fuck me, I forgot to get the word of the day from Bill! I hope this will work so I reply, "I didn't get the word of the day from Bill but this is Stacy Summers and Samantha Stevens, we are coming to meet our helicopters."

The guard says, "Hello Ms. Summers, it's a good thing I recognize your voice; otherwise you wouldn't be allowed access. Next time, please make sure Bill gives you the word of the day and please don't let him know I let you in without it."

I smile at him and say, "Thank you very much, I will do that next time and your secret is safe with us."

Our helicopters land, the rotors spool down, we meet the men unpacking them and ask, "Do you have some special packages for Stacy Summers and Samantha Stevens?"

One of my men hands me a package and says, "Here you go Ms. Summers."

I reply, "Thank you very much and make sure you thank the pilot for us."

Samantha and return to our tent, I turn on the light and close the flap. Samantha's hands are actually trembling as she opens the package and says...

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