|Esa||Thursday May 26th
Preparations were still ongoing for the battle of Coro. The Federal Bioterrorism Commission was setup just outside the city that was darkened by the clouds that had gathered. Those said clouds threaten rain upon the city and the F.B.C. camp; even so the air was warm and oddly pleasant.
Scouts patrolled the camps perimeter, making sure no one got in or out. On the radios, chatter could suddenly be heard:
"This is Romeo Alpha 1 to FOB; I've got a vehicle incoming, over."
"This is FOB, copy Romeo Alpha. Attempt to stop vehicle, over."
"FOB, the vehicle is blaring it's horn and coming in at a high rate of speed." Pause "Confirm they are slowing down, over."
"Understood. What are they wanting, over."
"Help, FOB. They are requesting help. They claim to a have a FBC officer. One.. Agent Collins."
|Trixie||Trixie had been lingering listlessly near the command tent when the transmission came through. After over two months of the miserable sun and humidity, she was in no hurry to go anywhere unless called or an emergency came up.
All that changes as soon as she hears the words 'FBC officer' and 'Agent Collins'. In an instant she is hurrying toward the perimeter at a slow jog and looking for any loose transportation that would get her there faster. "Get some extra security and a medic to the perimeter /now/," she calls toward a general mass of FBC idling nearby. "Romeo Alpha 1, Sergeant Mackenzie. Am en route to your position."
|Prestige Richard Stadler||This sort of operation was the first time Rick was putting some of his skills learned in the class room to use; that might explain why things were taking longer than expected, but part of it had to be the ever infernal situation of logisitics, trying to figure out exactly how to get enough material and guns and vehicles and people in the right place, but never having enough of any of it. He was used to it, in a way, but one of these days, he was going to find a situation where everything was in abundant supply and it was a boring jaunt to success-
Half an ear on the radio turns to both ears as the magic words of 'FBC officer' and 'Agent Collins', who he had assumed was either dead by now or deep in some much. Glad he wasn't dead. He moved to flick on the radio, "MacKenzie, X-Ray 6-1. Get whoever those people are checked, then up to the CP." He notes, jogging behind a flimsy cabinent and pulling out a medical bag. "I'll see what I can do."
|Cassie||Being an army veteran, Cassie didn't mind the sun and humidity. She learned to suck it up and be ready for a fight any time. Regardless, she was wondering when they'd be moving out, because she knew it was only a matter of time before they'd be called back into action.
When she hears about the F.B.C. and the agent on the radio, she realizes there's trouble, and that they have to move out quickly. She gets her weapons ready and starts to move out fast, following Trixie and the others. She, too, thinks that some transportation would be nice, since they might be sitting ducks out here in the open like this.
|Esa||"Romeo Alpha 1 to Sergeant Mackenzie, X-Ray 6-1 the agent is not in the vehicle. She claims he is several miles to the east and is willing to show us. She states she is unsure how long he can stay there before needing to be moved. Her actions are erractic, possibly scared."|
|Trixie||Noting Cassie's joining of the party, Trixie nods in her general direction and waves her toward the perimeter, in the direction of the sentries. "See if she needs any help or medical attention that we can provide, Romeo Alpha One. FOB, it's Sergeant Mackenzie. Get some transport and a medic to Romeo Alpha One's location ASAP!"
Seeing the perimeter at last, she adds into her radio, "X-Ray 6-1, you may want to meet us at the perimeter instead. With that transport, if you can. Sounds like this package is hot and getting hotter."
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Stadler has to keep himself from sighing (at the situation, certainly). Medical bag is dropped, and he moves over to his rucksack, instead, grabbing his M4 and quickly moving out the flap of the tent he's called home for a rather depressing amount of time, checking the weapon as he leaves. Walking quickly, though not running. People didn't need to see officer's running unless it was really urgent. He does give a whistle to one of the mechanics working on a Humvee to the side, waving him away, checking to see if the damned thing was fueled up (it was), before opening the door and opening in.
A button press and some bumps later, he was down to the permiter itself, the one car waiting. Windows down and yelling out. "Get loaded up, both of you! Really would love to send you alone, Sarge, but I want to see for myself what that sneaky son of a bitch has been up to."
|Cassie||Cassie quickly returns the nod to Trixie, before moving towards the perimeter as instructed. It's only a short time later when Richard Stadler arrives with the transport that Cassie feels a slight sense of relief on her shoulders. Taking the orders of Stadler quickly, Cassie moves to jump into one of the vacant seats. "All right, let's get ready to roll!"|
|Esa||The lady, refusing to stay behind, guides them out of Coro, due southeast, toward the ocean. the area shifts from dense jungle to open farmlands and sporadic jungle. After an hour's drive, she orders the driver to turn down a narrow dirt and gravel road.
Down the road they go, dense jungle surrounding them. After thirty minutes, they come upon a cabin. "Here. stop." She says quickly, opening the door before the driver could even stop.
|Trixie||Trixie is only too glad to climb into the Humvee. "Whoever left the Jeeps in Paris needs to be on permanent latrine duty," she grumbles, letting Cassie take the shotgun seat, just so she herself can comfortably aim her bulky XM8 combo through the left rear window. And keep half an eye on the woman who is guiding them.
It turns out to be a much longer ride than expected, even allowing for the jungle. "Ninety minutes to go 'several miles'? Ohmigawd, I hate this country..." she murmurs, only to grab for door handles as their guide goes for her door. "Keep your eyes open, everyone... no telling what's around here," she says, moving to climb out when the Humvee comes to a stop.
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Richard Stadler gives a nod to Trixie's second statement. "I didn't think we'd have to go this far. A bit nervous, to tell you the truth." He says. Call him paranoid, but that name drop and a strange woman leading them away from base made him glad his rifle was loaded and could be brought pointed toward her. Which does have him utter, in a clear voice. "Ma'am. Don't go any furthur." He says, working the charging handle of his rifle to send the point home. "I appreciate what you're doing, but I don't know you from Eve, so I'm going to take some precautions. You stick behind us, and keep quiet." He says. To Trixie, he gives a hand signal. Head to the side of the door, with him at the other end, and preparing to enter. TO Cassie, he indicates to stack up behind him, and to take the rear when they enter the building.|
|Cassie||Cassie is not one to disobey orders at all. When Stadler indicates to stack up behind him and take the rear, she gives a slight nod as if to acknowledge without saying anything. It's not that she's antisocial, she's just trying to avoid making noise for now.|
|Esa||As they stack up, the woman stands back, saying something in Spanish; her body language seems to show that she isn't worried about who is inside, but she obeys Richard nonetheless.
Stacked up and read to breach, the door swings open slowly with a creak. Standing before them was Esa with no shirt, no shoes and pants. He heard doctor Hosein outside and moved to investigate. He was weakened, dehydrated from constant movement yet oddly enough he didn't look ill. There was no radiation burns on him or signs of radiation poisoning; indeed he seemed fit and healthy.
Eyes on Richard, Trixie and Cassie he blinks. "Rick?" He mumbles quietly, eyes squinting to him then toward Trixie "Trix?"
Doctor Hosein moves ahead of them, pushing Esa back inside and to a chair "Sit.. sit your still weak." she whispers, looking back to them. "He needs escort back to your base. I could not do it. They watch the roads here."
|Trixie||"Me, either," Trixie murmurs, moving to stack up on the opposite side of the door from Stadler and thumbing the safety off of her weapon. Just in case. She glances back at the woman once, but otherwise her eyes are on that door.
And then they're on Esa Collins. "Ohmigawd, Esa... it /is/ you..!" she whispers, a bit overwhelmed with relief.
"Aaaaaaaand you're totally starkers..." she adds flatly, blushing a little and hastily averting her eyes. "Boss, requesting permission to call for the helo to meet us on clear ground, with reinforcements and another medic? If they're watching the roads, we may want some backup that can get here fast."
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Stadler does, to his credit, slowly tests the door open before kicking it down with a boot heel. And that would allow Esa to come to the door himself, looking... well, not the /best/ he's been, but certainly not as corpse-like as he would expect to see the spy right now. "Well. Collins. Glad you aren't dead." He says, deadpanning even though he's relived that it is. "If they were watching the roads her, they would stop us on the war over. A humvee isn't something that'll be noticed like a helicopter would. Let's try to get out of this quietly without a lot of bad guys coming at us. You've got permission to put them on standby if things go pear shapped, though."
And Rick takes another look at Esa. "Got a fresh set of skivvies in my ruck. DOn't know if they'd fit well, but it's better than nothing." HE says, offering an arm for him to move once he's done sitting.
|Cassie||As soon as Cassie sees Esa, she breathes a sigh of relief. "He's alive, thank the stars," She comments softly to the others. "Now we have to get him out of here." She looks around, her weapon gripped tightly, as if expecting someone to try to ambush them.|
|Esa||A dawning sense of realization comes upon the man as he is swiftly placed back in the chair that he indeed was naked, cheeks flushing a bit; the gown he wore was damaged in their escape. Smiling to doctor Hosein, he says "Doctor, I am fine. I cannot thank-you enough for getting me to safety." He squeezes her hand before standing up once more. "We should get going though. Helicopter would probably get shot down if they see us." He notes to Trixie.
The doctor nods, moving to his side "PITE is wanting him dead." She says in broken English, looking from Esa to the group. "We should move before they find us."
Glancing to Rick, Esa nods "I suppose it'd be a good idea to wear some pants in front of the ladies." He jokes, a small smile crossing his face as he moves forward and toward the Humvee.
|Trixie||"They totally would... unless they just decided to follow us and see where an American vehicle was going on a Bolivarian road. Maybe hit us on the way out and see what we found," Trixie suggests, still blushing slightly. "I'll take the turret on the way back... Esa can have my seat," she adds, already moving toward the vehicle. After all, there are only four seats in a Humvee. "I'd loan you something to wear, Esa, but I don't think I've got one single thing that'll fit you."
As she clambers into the turret, she adds, "Permission to tell them to warm up the bird and have it on standby now? Pear-shaped might be too late in /this/ briar patch."
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Stadler gives a nod at that. "Probably lots of people want him dead. I'll add that to the list." Rick states, before openingthe back door to the humvee. Tossing off his pack, and rummaging around for it, a brown undershirt and boxers are tossed over. "Brand new, lucky you." He says, locking it up and heading to the driver's seat. "I think we're going to need that turret, Sergeant. And permission granted. I don't want to lose a helicopter, but I really don't want to die here. Harper, take the front steat with me and stay alert."
Before Rick gets in the driver's seat, he reaches to his holster, and draws his Assault Pistol, handing it butt first to Esa. "Just in case something happens. One extra clip, so don't miss."
|Cassie||Meanwhile, Cassie gets into the shotgun seat again with her weapon ready to be used in case the need arises. "We got the precious cargo, now let's move out before they find out what we've done!" She sounds a tad bit impatient.|
|Esa||Quickly putting the underwear and shirt on, Esa glances to Rick again head nodding in some agreement. "Let's just get out of here." He mutters, taking the weapon and slides into the backseat with the doctor.
As they drive back down the road to the main highway, everything seems normal. No vehicles, no ambushes. The first hour ticks by without an incident.
|Trixie||"Sergeant Mac to FOB... have the bird standing by, with medic and extra guests with party favors. Just in case there's a party over here," Trixie says into her radio, tugging down her goggles and settling in behind the machine gun for what she hopes is a dull ride. "Easy, Corporal," she adds gently to Cassie. "Just keep your eyes peeled and sing out if you spot anything funny."
An hour later, she keeps reminding herself not to relax with an occasional murmur of, "Are we there yet?"
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Rick mimics Trixie with Cassie. "Let's stay calm and ready. A lot of this is probably going to be waiting for something to happen, and I don't want to waste the energy on the waiting." He says, hands on the wheel, and driving. So far... everything seemed to be okay. Nothing dangerous, no problems... if they were watching the road, maybe they knew better than to mess with an American military vehicle. Yeah, like everyone in Iraq right now. Sign.|
|Cassie||Looking to Stadler and Trixie, Cassie nods. "Understood," She replies firmly. She realizes she's getting ahead of herself. "Hopefully it'll be a quiet ride, but you never know." She pauses to take a drink from her canteen. "To be honest, being in the battlefield teaches you more than anything they teach you in basic training!"|
|Esa||The ride indeed was quiet. No attacks and nothing out of the ordinary appears to happen. The Humvee makes it back to base will little issue.|
|Trixie||"Too true. Not that I advocate it as a classroom," Trixie says, in reply to Cassie. "Mostly the field taught me that if it groans and tries to eat your face, you shoot it in the head. Wasn't even Army when I learned /that/." She yawns and tries to get comfortable in the turret for the umpteenth time. "Tell my butt about the waiting again, Boss... I think I'm getting notches in my hip-bone."
She's out of the turret and sliding down the back roof of the Humvee as soon as it comes to a stop, trying to stretch out aching muscles and spine. "Ow..! Damn it... Esa? You're /walkin'/ next time," the redhead groans.
|Cassie||Slipping out of the front seat, Cassie looks around carefully but doesn't ease up on her weapon. She doesn't want to be taken off-guard by any possible ambushes, as they can come from anywhere, anytime. She watches Trixie stretch and silently she sympathizes with her. She knows how it feels to be cramped up for that long, and it's not pleasant. Right now, though, her main priority is ensuring that Esa is OK.|
|Prestige Richard Stadler||"I'd agree with that." Rick says, seeing the base come back up in front of them, and pulling into the parking lot. "Training's meant to get you to the battlefield and keep you alive through it. Sure, you leard a lot in the field, but damn good it'll do you if you take a bullet to the skull peeking up at the wrong time. Or, yes, getting your throat ripped out with the wrong teeth." He says, finally stopping the vehicle. "Also, learning how to bitch. So long as there aren't any weak-willed privates to hear it though, no issue."
As they all disembark from the vehicle, Rick moves to over his shoulder to Esa. "Let's get you over to the medical tent, get you checked out. You can debrief us after the doc clears you for it." He says, before looking to the woman. "Don't think I caught your name, ma'am."
|Esa||"Right, make the naked guy walk back to base." Esa teases Trixie, winking to her as he follows. Looking to Rick, he rolls his shoulders in a shrug "I'm fine Rick; really I am... And I don't know much honestly. They had me in a medically induced coma most of the time."
The Doctor looks to Rick and smiles. "Doctor Hosein. Medical doctor." She replies lightly.
|Trixie||"Nice to meet you, Doctor. Thanks for... well, whatever you did to get Esa here alive and safe. I get the feeling I'm gonna love hearing /that/ story," Trixie adds, starting toward the medical tent, rolling her eyes at Esa's reply and nudging his shoulder with her elbow. "Yeah, upon further reflection... whoever left the Jeeps in Paris deserves permanent latrine duty. Could've taken two of those and had /six/ seats. Minimum. And /two/ machine guns. C'mon, Corporal. Let's make sure there's no ambush in the med tent," she adds, beckoning to Cassie and picking up her pace toward said tent.|
|Cassie||Nodding to Trixie, Cassie replies, "Yes, ma'am." Before heading off towards the med tent. She knows that it would be the worst place for an ambush, where a patient is completely vulnerable for treatment, also leaving them open to an ambush. She rushes towards the tent, peeking inside to make sure it's safe.|
|Prestige Richard Stadler||"Medically induced coma? Definitely get over to the medic, then. I'll beleive it when someone with a knowledge of meicine signs off on it. And it looks like we need to get you up to speed." He says, before extending his hand to the woman. "Doctor, good to see you. If you'd like to go with Mr. Collins, I'm sure our doctor would appreciate your expertise." And then over to Trixie. "You want to drive a land rover, you can purchase one. I'm afraid we're not going to see jeeps for quite a while, if at all. These are the new things the Army has deigned to issue to us."
A nod to Cassie, as well. "Keep those ambushes to a minimum. If you need me, I'll be at the CP."
|Esa||"He was placed in a coma for his own safety while the treatments were injected and allowed to work on his body." Doctor Hosien informs Richard. "He is, medically, a hundred percent better; that much I can promise you." She pauses "I .. I'd like to help around here for a bit if that is okay?" She inquires.
Esa sighs "Fine.. fine." He says, turning and walks without a limp toward the medical tent.
|Trixie||Trixie rolls her eyes at Stadler's reply. "I know what's /standard-issued/, Boss. Just wish some idiot hadn't left those nonstandard and ungodly-useful Jeeps in Paris. We need 'em even more here," she replies, jogging after Cassie, grumbling, "Stupid Senate and their 'regular military standards' bullshit..."
Only once they are in the med tent does she tousle Cassie's beret (or hair, if she isn't wearing the beret). "Just kidding about the ambushes, Corporal. Mostly. Most of those come from the Bolivarian Army perimeter." She looks to the doctor, adding, "Maybe it's not up to me, but I'd be glad to have you. We need all the help we can get medically. But I'm wondering about what you said about Esa being medically a hundred percent better... and where he's been, too. And we totally owe you for saving his bacon. Don't think we're ungrateful or anything."
|Prestige Richard Stadler||"All right, Sergeant, I do get the point. I do wish Congress would simply throw money at me, send me to one of those Defense Expos, and then let me write checks, but tht doesn't often happen. We can always hope, though. /Always/ hope." HE notes, before retruning to the CP tent. He was still wondering /exactly/ what happened to Collins, but that was a discussion for another time.|