Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chapter 53: Making a move

After breakfast I wondered down to the range, just keeping an eye on things as the training got started.

I wasn’t really surprised by the fact that most of the guys were not very good with hand-guns on the range. They were almost all ex-military and had focused on assault rifles and larger weapons. There were a very few who performed decently, but they were invariably either ex Special Forces or had received post military training, either as part of a sport activity or as a result of the work that they had done. There were a large number who had spent a number of years working in Iraq and Afghanistan. I had heard somewhere that at one stage there were more South Africans working for PMCs in Iraq than the entire official contingent of the British Army; some eight thousand or so.

The skills represented by these guys ranged the spectrum and I knew I was luck to have access to this bunch as a lot of them were at loose ends with the war in the Sandbowl slowing down and the clampdown on the utilisation of PMCs.

We had some nice exercises set up to test, teach and stretch the abilities of all skill levels. In the normal run of things, my first concern was with safety. Teaching it and ensuring that all actions on the range were by the rules so that we could avoid any accidents. I was really pleased to see that I didn’t have to worry about that with these guys. They had a relaxed professionalism about them that could be deceiving. There was a fair amount of horsing around, but it was good natured and generally involved the natural competiveness of any group of men. More often than not, the teasing was aimed at pointing out faults or prompting someone to try harder to improve their performance.

As the morning progressed, I could see a definite improvement in everyone’s performance on the exercises, and some had even moved on to the more involved exercises, primarily the “transition drills” where the aim was to use both a rifle and a handgun. The range was designed to force the participant to make a choice between the weapons depending on the type of target and the drill involved dropping the rifle to hang from its combat sling, draw the hand-gun and shoot, then holster the hand-gun and retrieve the rifle to engage the next target, all within a matter of seconds. I had taken careful mental notes when visiting the Blackwater range in North Carolina as a guest a few years before and, within my limited budget, reproducing some of the best features of the training I had experienced there.

Just before lunch Bird and Johnny approached me and we sat down to discuss their operations.

“I’ve got a preliminary listing of groupings and teams for you Boss,” Bird started, handing me a clip-board. I took a few minutes to look it over and approved what he had put together. I knew we would have some changes as the teams shook themselves down and Bird observed how they worked together. I wasn’t too concerned about the assault teams yet as we would have some time to work on them more before they were needed.

“What about your side Johnny?” I asked him.

“Ok. Gerrie is displaying his usual smug brilliance, but it’s just weird how differently he is behaving now that there is a female hanging around him,” Johnny said with a slightly bemused look.

“I think Katie is doing more than hanging around. From what I can see, she is soaking up everything that Gerrie is doing and it looks like she has the potential to actually be at least his apprentice if not a full partner.”

“Yes, that’s what’s so weird. It seems as if Gerrie is actually teaching someone else… revealing his closely held secrets. I never thought I would see the day …”

“Well, as long as he keeps focused. Something you seem to have trouble with at the moment..” I teased Johnny.

“Sorry. Anyway, I have been going over the ELINT of Gerrie’s and I agree so far with his initial assessments. I have a tentative list of priorities for observation and I sat with Bird to work out who should be allocated where. You can see on his list where he has marked the person from each team for Recce work, he has allocated a number. Each number relates to the list of targets on the next page.”

I paged over on the clip-board, then flipped back and forwards as I considered the choices that the two had made. After going through the lists, I looked up at Johnny and smiled. “Looks great Johnny. Good work the two of you.”

I went on to explain to them what I had arranged as far as kit was concerned and discussed some of the options that I had considered for concealment while the teams were observing the targets. Johnny and I went back and forth for over an hour thrashing out how we wanted to approach it and what we thought would work with the least risk and the greatest benefit. I was surprised when Daise tapped me on the shoulder to remind me that I needed to eat lunch.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chapter 52: Finding the Enemy

The last call that I made was to Bev. I hadn't checked on her for a while, and while I was pretty sure she would be fine, I needed to reassure myself. As it turned out, I needn't have worried. She had taken her mother to visit her parents in the Karoo, far from anything that I might be involved in.

The rest of the afternoon I spent watching the progress of the training and keeping track of how the different guys were performing. Somewhere during the afternoon, I noticed that Alina had gotten a clip-board from somewhere and was making notes of my observations. When I thought to take a look at what she had written, I was pleasantly surprised ... she had made neat profiles of each of the people I had commented on, with their name and a short description and then a summary of the various things I had said.

In the late afternoon, I called everyone together again and announced it was time for some PT. I decided to start out with a ten klick run, just to establish the basic fitness level. As it turned out, no-one had any issues with keeping up with the pace I set, which was a pleasant surprise.

After supper, Daise, Alina and I settled into the jacuzzi to let the hot, soapy water ease our muscles. After an indeterminate time of just lazing and soaking, Alina and I started talking through our observations of the people. Alina seemed to have all the details memorised, not needing to consult her clip-board once. Daise had to be reminded a few times, but each time she had a problem putting a face to a name, Alina gave her a quick verbal sketch of the person that enabled Daise to make the connection. I was very impressed by this performance by Alina, as it proved to me that she was bright and intelligent and had an increbible aptitude which, I felt, could be applied to any manner of careers.

We all eventually hauled our prune-skinned bodies out of the water, dried off, and clambered into bed. As much as I enjoyed the sensual delight of having these two delightfully nubile girls in bed with me, I faded as if someone had turned off the power switch.

I woke early as usual and headed out to the complex's pool. It was a bit cold in the pre-dawn twilight, but I warmed up quickly after a few lengths in the pool. I was joined after a while by Bettina who started doing lengths of her own. Although she swam a lot slower than I did, she had perfect form, gliding slowly and powerfully through the water.I pulled myself out eventually, sitting on the side and towelling myself dry while I watched Bettina for a while, then I pulled on my track-suit and headed down to see what Gerrie was up to.

As I expected, he was being his normal trogolyte self, hovering gnomishly over his various computers with various empty coffee mugs and half-eaten pizzas scattered around the place. Surprisngly, he was clean-shaven, which puzzled me for a while, until I realised that the vaguely moving lump under the blanket on the bed was a slumbering Katie, then it made sense...

"Morning Gerrie," I greeted him.

"Howzit Boss," was the unusually cheery reply.

"What's happening Gerrie?"

"All kinds of stuff. I have a good track on these guys now. Their OPSEC leaves a lot to be desired. I think they are all used to the cover of a larger organisation. They aren't true professionals, that's clear."

"That's good news, isn't it?" I queried.

"Good for us, yes!" Gerrie replied. "Not so good for them. I've been plotting their operations on Google-Earth. Here, let me show you..."
Gerrie moved to one of the screens and showed me a map of the greater Durban (Etekweni) area. There were little marks all over it. "What are the markers?", I asked.

"The red marks are reported 'Enemy action', the blue are the incidents where you and yours have been involved, yellow are reported incidents of various types which could be enemy action but that I'm not sure of. If you click on any of the marks, the description will tell you what the details are," Gerrie explained.

I spent a few minutes checking the map out, clicking on some of the markers. "Ok," I said finally, "are you ready to brief me?"

"Sure," Gerrie answered. "The first thing you will notice is the clumping in these areas..."
Gerrie proceeded to spend just over half an hour going through the various incidents and point out the trends that he had noticed. Areas where there were high incidences of particular types of incidents. Indications of routes in and out of these areas, places that he thought were bases of operations and various similar things. It broke down to three clubs in Central Durban, two in Umhlanga Rocks and three houses that he speculated were being used as both brothels and drug distribution centers.

"There is one anomaly," Gerrie pointed out finally. This area here is completely black. There are incidents reported all around it, bit nothing within 500 meters. I took a closer look and it seems that there is a house here which could be Dimitri's home base, his HQ if you will. I have a few indicators, but it's not definite."

"Ok. Brilliant work Gerrie. I think this gives us a great place to begin. I think our first missions are going to be recces of these areas to give us more tactical data. You know I trust you, but I prefer confirmation of your ELINT with some HUMINT."

"I knew you would say that," Gerrie grinned. "I would have figured there was something wrong with you if you hadn't ... I have some kit that should make the job a little simpler though."

"So do I," I replied. I proceeded to explain to Gerrie what kit I had ordered the day before and he approved of all my choices.

I was distracted by a noise and turned around to see that Katie had woken up. She sat up in the bed, apparently completely oblivious to the fact that the blanket had slid down to her waist and she was exposed in all her glory while she stretched and yawned. I turned to Gerrie with a smile, about to make some smart-arse comment, but stopped when I saw the awe-struck look on his face. He was staring at Katie as if she was "The Lady" rising from the lake bearing Excalibur, and I decided to make myself scarce. Gerrie didn't even notice me getting up and leaving the room.

When I got back to the dining room, it was clear that the majority of the guys were up and about, in the process of getting themselves something to eat. I joined the queue at the Buffett and loaded up on some carbs and protein to provide some energy for the day. I sat down at a table of my own and was joined shortly by both Daise and Alina. We ate in companionable silence. When I was finished my second mug of coffee, I stretched out and looked around. There was a low rumble of conversation in the room, but everyone appeared well rested and satisfied with their breakfast.

I caught the eyes of Johnny and Bird and summoned them. Daise looked at me with a puzzled expression and it took me a few seconds to realise it might look odd to someone else. "That's how you tell someone to come to you," I explained as I repeated my gesture, grouping the fingers and thumb of my right hand together and tapping it on top of my head. Daise smiled, satisfied with the explanation.

"Should we leave you alone Rupert?" Alina asked as Johnny and Bird pulled up chairs at our table.

"Nope. You stick around. I've nothing to hide from you, and after your demonstration of skill yesterday, Alina, I think you must stick close to me so you can help me with any details I forget," I reassured them.
Alina smiled at this, obviously pleased that her contribution was considered valuable.

"Morning Gents, sleep well?" I asked.

"Yup," Johnny answered shortly.

"Most comfortable bed I've slept in for some time," Bird added. "Nice place this."

"I'm glad you're enjoying it," I answered with a smile. "We go out of our way to make the accomodations comfortable, cause the courses are designed to be very UN-comfortable." We all grinned at each other like kids with candy.

"Ok, down to business. I spoke to Gerrie a little earlier. He has done his usual great job with ELINT. We have some indications of where the enemy is operating."

"And now you want eyes-on?" Johnny asked astutely.

"You know me too well," I replied. "That's 100% correct. Johnny, I'd like you to sit down with Gerrie and take a look at the ELINT and work out some orders for observing the various static locations. Focus only on gathering info please. Eyes only. No prisoners or interrogations. I'd like to build a database of timings and routines and photos of all the players."

"Teach your granny to suck eggs," Johny replied with a smile.

"Bird, There's a house that looks as if it's Dimitri's HQ. I'd like you to focus on that. Johnny's teams can feed you the Int electronically, and I'd like to have a feel for what you think we can do there by tomorrow. We can brain-storm it and come up with a plan."

"Are you thinking of assaulting the place? What's your intention? You want to just wipe out this Dimitri guy or something more?" Bird asked.

"I'm not sure. I'll keep my options open till I have a better idea of what's happening. That is one option though. With the limited Int I have now, I am leaning towards a campaign of attrition, whittling away the various operations that he's got going and isolating him, but we have a number of constraining factors."

"Like what?" Johnny asked.

"For one, we have to keep away from the Police. I will see what I can do to blunt that problem, but the last thing I want is to have any of them caught in the cross-fire. The other issue is the non-combatants. There are a lot of women caught up in this, especially in the brothels, and I'm not sure how we will tackle this in a way which will allow us to take the targets down without any of them getting hit."

"Cool," Johnny jumped in. "I'll get on to Gerrie and start planning. You want to start tonight?"

"If not sooner."

"Ok." With that, Johnny left.

"And me?" Bird asked.

"I'd like the rest of the guys to continue today what we started yesterday. I suggest that you work with Alina here, and start evaluating the the guys. You, Johnny and I will have to make sure we get the guys into teams that will work well together. Some recce teams, then some assault teams. My initial thinking is that we must plan the assault teams, but have one or two guys from each assault team getting together for the recce teams, so that when we do have a go, they can have people with each team who have had their eyes on the targets."

"'K. Sounds good."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chapter 51: Getting Ready

I left the range, after allocating responsibilities to various people, including who should supervise what was happening. In most cases, this meant that one of my team that assisted in training normally, was running each exercise. Most of the guys took it in the spirit it was intended, following instruction quite easily, and those who didn't would be noted and I would probably excuse them from any operations.

I decided that this was a good time to make some administrative arrangements and made myself comfortable on a director's chair where I could be far enough away from what was happening to be out of ear-shot and close enough to still observe what was happening. Once I had settled down, I hauled out my phone and started calling.

I was looking for kit; I realised that with a private operation like this, I would have to provide all the kit myself that would normally be part of the issue if we were working officially. One of my major concerns was the possibility of injuries to any member of my team, so I started calling some connections.

One of my friends owned and operated a factory in Pinetown that made all the protective gear that I could want, and I tried him first. Once I had explained in general terms what I was doing, he was very sympathetic and I extracted a promise from him to donate some of his kit. When I hung up the phone, Daise gave me an enquiring look, and asked "What equipment is that guy going to provide, Rupert?"

"There are two main things I want from him," I answered. "An under clothing protective vest and a jacket that looks like a wind-breaker, but has ballistic protection. We can put plates into the jacket to provide protection against 7.62 rounds and it still doesn't look like a bullet-proof vest."

"Is his stuff that special?"

PASGT protection system Helmet

"I think it is. There's an amusing story that he tells. He was in the parking centre of a shopping lot in Pinetown, and saw some guy stopping his motor-bike. He noticed that the guy was wearing a helmet that he recognised as one that he had made. He asked the guy where he had gotten the helmet and the guy told him that he was just back from Afghanistan and he got the helmet there. Turns out that the helmet was made in Pinetown, exported to the USA, sent across to Afghan where this guy was issued it and then he brought it home and was wearing it not more than a klick away from where it was made."

Daise laughed. "That's amazing. Is his kit good though?"

"Yes. I've seen the tests that they do and if the bullets hit one of the plates, then they are stopped. The vest and jacket will only stop hand-gun rounds though. I figure wearing both the vest and the jacket will provide double protection, and adding the plates to the jacket will add some protection from rifle rounds. It won't stop everything, but it is certainly better than nothing. The real reason that I want his stuff though is that it doesn't look like anything other than normal clothing so the guys won't stand out."

"And what about me? Do I get to wear some of that stuff?"

"Yup. I asked him for a few sets made for women."

"Thank you darling," Daise said, and planted a kiss on my cheek.

I returned to my phone. There were a few other things I wanted to source.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Well… I’ve been away … :-)

For those of you who were wondering (all 2 and a half of you) why i haven’t been writing, it’s been a long stretch for me of real life interfering!

I was in the army for a while, first two months at Infantry School doing the Battalion Mortars Specialist course, of which a fair proportion was in the bush… and then on my return I took over as Alpha Company Commander for two and a half months, specifically to prepare the company for the combat readiness evaluation for deployment.

I’ve also just had the most delightful addition to my family, my third daughter Sophiah Rosanna, who has just turned one month old.


In between all that, my cell phone got destroyed and I lost what I had been working on…

Last, and by no means least, I have been scurrying around trying to earn a living… :Sad smile

I just got a new notebook though, and I’m hoping to be able to start writing again.. so watch this space!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chapter 50: Hand-Gun Range

Bettina, the third woman of my team, joined us as we moved to the range. Lisa stuck to her like glue, although I didn't consider her to be a member of the team.

The refresher on the range achieved my first objective very quickly, which was to drive home the fact that most soldiers shot really, really badly with hand-guns of any type. The problem is normally to get them to admit it, so that alternative arrangements can be made. I had learnt my lesson the hard way though, and knew that actions spoke much louder than words.

Most people who have shot hand-guns, have trained on a static range with paper targets. A lot of these, including professional soldiers, had not been formally trained at all, just taught themselves or picked up what they could from observation and trial and error.

Our range was designed to make the point instantly that this was not good enough. A person can be taught to shoot an assault-rifle sufficiently well in just a few weeks, that he can be considered a competent infanteer. It was my experience that the same was not true of hand guns. They involve completely different skills and abilities.

I took my team through the range first, so that we could get them out of the way, but also so that they wouldn't have any pressure on them as they wouldn't know what was good or bad.

After I had briefed them on the range rules, and test their knowledge, I took them them through the course one at a time. This first course was a favourite of mine with strange things like pumpkins and oranges and water-filled plastic bottles hanging from strings. All designed to be highly visible when hit. A lot of them had movement built in, swinging and twisting in the breeze.

Daise was a lot more confident this time, having used her weapon in action, and managed to score a respectable 60% of possible. Alina and Bettina scored in the low forties, but the big surprise was Lisa.

I had no intention at first of even allowing her to shoot, but she insisted and her mother backed her up. I tried to offer her a smaller weapon, but she refused that too, insisting that she be given the opportunity equal to the adult's.

She turned out to be fairly slow, recovery from the recoil was hard on her, hurting her wrists, but she stuck it out and at the end of the course I was astounded and delighted that she had scored a full possible; 100%.

Once we had all gone through the course, I took my team aside to discuss their performance and put it into context for them. Normally, I had to explain to a very discouraged group that it was normal to fail the course; that's what it was designed for after all, but Lisa had screwed that up for me completely.

It worked out very well in another way though. Once all the men had been through the course, and not one of them had beaten Daise's score, the example of Lisa reinforced the idea that they could shoot these weapons as well as they could.

I made it clear to them that we would be running classes for all those who wished to attend them, and that they qualifying score on this range was 80%. Anything less than that and I didn't want to risk the collateral damage they might cause in an urban environment.

We broke for lunch after that, and I took the opportunity to greet someone that I had really hoped to see, but hadn't been sure would show up.

Jack is a short, quiet man. Completely unobtrusive and the antithesis of flamboyant. He was the person, however, who had designed and built the Special Forces Urban Warfare course on the Bluff, and ho had written the manual for the South African doctrine along the way. He also had the distinction of having been awarded the Honoris Crux, the SA decoration for valour equivalent to the American CMH or the British VC. He had retired from the army as a Major and gone on to fulfill his life-long dream of becoming a game-ranger.*

We discussed quietly what I hoped to achieve and Jack gave me some initial pointers before disappearing. I was able to extract a promise from him that he would visit a few times and help to evaluate and improve the program, and possible even present a class or two, but he wasn't prepared to commit to more than that, to my huge disappointment.

* Read the real life story of Major Jack Greeff, HC (rtd) in his book "A Greater Share of Honour" from

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter 49: Marriage Proposal Squared

Satisfied that Gerrie was on the job, I returned to the crowd around the Urn and grabbed myself a mug of Rooibos tea. As I was adding sugar, Daise grabbed my arm and asked to speak to me. I nodded, told her to follow me and walked a short distance away from the crowd. When Alina spotted us, she hurried out to join us, and I noticed that Daise waited for her to catch up before she began speaking. "Rupert, we've been thinking," Daise began. I shuddered, hoping that this wasn't the beginning of a speech about 'it was nice to know you but...'

"No, I think you've got the wrong idea," Alina blurted when she saw the expression on my face. "Please just listen to what Daise has to say. She speaks for both of us on this."

"OK," I responded, "I'm listening." I schooled my face to try to prevent my feelings from reflecting quite so obviously, and turned slightly to face Daise, but ensuring I could keep an eye on Alina's expression at the same time.

"Well..." Daise began hesitantly, "You remember you and I spoke about marriage..."

"Yes?" I prompted gently, feeling my facial muscles freeze, and steeling myself for the worst.

"Well... Alina and I were talking this morning while you were out and we want to suggest something."

"Daise, please just tell me... The suspense is killing me. Do me the favour of putting me out of my misery quickly."

"Oh Rupert, it's just that Alina and I realised as we spoke that not only do we really love each other, but we both love you, and we wouldn't like to split up, but we wanted to know what you felt and we'll do whatever you want, but we would like to stay together and ..."

Daise trailed off, a little out of breath from her little speech, which she had made without seeming to pause for breath.

Now she lifted her eyes, which she had dropped down while she was talking, to look at my face. I could see that was more than slightly disconcerted to see the broad smile which was plastered there. I also noticed the hope blooming in Alina's expression, as I started grinning like a maniac.

"What are you smiling at Rupert?" Daise asked finally, unable to suppress a reciprocal smile of her own.

"The two of you have no idea how happy you have just made me," I managed to get out past the frog that had taken up residence in my throat. "I've been agonising over the very same thing.

I took Daise's hands in mine, looked deep into her eyes, and told her "You know I love you Daise." She sparkled with happiness as I bent my head down to kiss her deeply.

When I pulled back, Daise's eyes were closed and she had a blissful expression on her face.

I dropped Daise's hands, turned to Alina, and took up her hands in mine.

"I love you too Alina," I told her and proceeded to give her pretty much the same sort of kiss Daise had gotten. While we were kissing, I felt Daise's arms encircle both of us, and I thought I heard a faint sob of relief, but I couldn't be sure.

When we finally parted, and surfaced for air, it was to be greeted by applause and slightly ironic cheers. I laughed happily, and responded "That'll be enough from the peanut gallery please." All I got for my effort was more good-natured laughter.

I bent down and pulled the two women's heads close together, so I could talk quietly for their ears alone. "I love you both equally, and I wouldn't want any of us to be seperated from the others. When all this is over, maybe we can speak to the Sgt-Major's Induna about a Zulu wedding, where more than one wife is perfectly acceptable.

Daise and Alina looked stunned at this thought. I smiled and left them to follow me as I returned to join the crowd.

It took a few minutes, and not a few ribald comments, before everyone was settled again, and I could introduce Johnny. He proceeded to lay out the tentative block program for training over the next few days, as well as some suggestions for the teams of four that we had decided were the best combinations for operational purposes.

These 'bricks' of four would from then on train together and eventually deploy as a team, so we wanted to get the combinations right from the start.

Once Johnny was finished, we moved out for the first exercise, which was to get everyone through refresher training in various weapons, with an emphasis on safety-precautions and range orders.

It came as no surprise to me, of course, that my team consisted of the three women and me.

Chapter 48: First Briefing

The next morning I was up before the sun. I took a long relaxing run around the lake to stretch my muscles and work some of the kinks out of my body. It had been a while since I had run, and I knew that the next while would stress me, and while I normally didn't like running, it was neccessary to start getting myself ready. When I returned to the room, both the girls were up and dressed. I heard their voices coming from the veranda, and when I tried to eavesdrop, was thwarted by the fact that they seemed to be chatting in Russian. I popped into the shower and got rid of the sweat then joined them for a light breakfast. After breakfast, we walked over the ridge to the training area. I was surprised and pleased to see that we had a number of new faces. Well, old faces actually, some of whom I hadn't seen for a long time. It was clear that the drums were beating. I grabbed a mug of coffee, and joined the crowd standing and chatting in the early morning, greeting those that had arrived overnight and just enjoying the sight of the mist slowly dissipating as the sun slowly heated the air. I waited until the last few stragglers joined us from the lodge, brushing off the few enquiries about what was going on until we had a full compliment. "Right," I called to get everyone's attention once I was ready, "let's get this show on the road." Everyone took seats on the benches around the tables on the veranda of the barracks-room, and settled down. "For those of you who don't know me, I'm an old NCO who went across to the dark side, which means that I have both the wits of an NCO and the extra half I got with my commission..." I paused for the expected chuckles and groans, then continued, "This is not an official operation and in fact has no connection with any organisation at all, it is purely a private fight." I could see on at least half of the faces a polite disbelief, but decided to let it go. I would talk to each man individually as things went on to clarify the situation. "What I have in mind is that we start with some refresher training and conditioning. In addition, there are probably a lot of you who haven't done 'Urban in Durban' so some of what we will do will be completely new. In any event, we need to get everyone operating on the same wavelength. Some of the stuff we'll do will be brand new, even to those of you who have done Urban before. We have some people with great experience both old and new, a lot of the new stuff picked up in Iraq from the Pommies and Yanks, and one old instructor that I think will add some very valuable input. While this is going on, we will wait for some decent INT and then start moving the training up from general stuff to OPS specific. Concerns, Questions, Problems?" "What's the actual situation. I just heard that there was a possible fight... " asked a voice from the back. "Thanks for coming anyway Mannie," I greeted, "I'll give you a summary after this of what's been going on. Anything else?" I waited, but there were no more questions. I guessed that those who had questions decided that they would wait to hear what the situation was. None of the men who were here hadn't been around the block a few times. It took me just under an hour to go over everything that had happened, dealing with a variety of questions for clarity and more detail as I went. When I was finished, there was a period of silence while those who hadn't been involved digested what they had heard. I could see that what I had told them had intrigued some, and I got the feeling that they were caught up in the same feelings of disgust and smoldering anger that I was feeling. After looking around for a few minutes, I decided to get the ball rolling. "I'd like to introduce you to someone that most of you don't know and ask him to talk a little about his experiences. he's going to be here for a while to see if he can add any value to what we do. This is Jurgen and he has a story to tell us." At the mention of his name, Jurgen got up and walked over to stand next to me. He started talking in his rather thick German accent. "I'm eighty-seven years old and I've lived here in South Africa for almost fourty years. When I was sixteen, I left school to join the German army. I lived in Munich at the time. I went with the Army to Stalingrad and back." There was a deafening silence. These men knew what was behind those few words. "I made sergeant during the battle but I don't know exactly what I can contribute. I met Rupert some months ago, and we found that we were soldiers of different countries, different wars and different generations, but we still had something in common. After a few beers, he got me to tell him my story. It's not something I have told to anyone else. All my family knows about it is that I still have nightmares sometimes and wake up in the middle of the night." There were a few nods and I could see that what I had seen in Jurgen was also apparent to a lot of those listening. He proceeded to tell his story, and although it was bare of much detail, for those who had experience, that was enough. When he was finished, he sat down, the strain of talking about his experiences obvious. "I called Jurgen yesterday, and asked him to spend some time with us. He will observe and sit in on our planning. I think it's about time for tea." Some throats were cleared as everyone got up and started milling around, grabbing something to drink and chatting about what they had heard. I left them there and went to find Gerrie. He had set himself up in the little room just off the barracks-room, and I was not surprised to see that the walls were already covered with maps and diagrams, and that there were three computer monitors that I could see, with at least seven computers set up. He was busy at a keyboard, and Kate was seated next to him, at another computer. From what I could see, she was browsing the web while he was busy with something completely imcomprehensible. "Howzit Gerrie," I greated him, "anything useful yet?" Gerrie was startled and turned to face me. Kate turned as well, and got a faint blush on her face when she saw me glance at the rumpled bedclothes on the bed against the wall. I smiled at her and waited for Gerrie. "Yes," Gerrie answered, oblivious to the silent exchange, "I'm making some progress, but nothing really concrete yet." "Give me a 'for example' please, ' I asked. "Well, I've traced the ownership of the club that you told me about, and it has no reference to this Dimitri at all, jsut what must be the previous owners, but I got hold of some friends in the Metro Police and they were very happy to let me have a run down of what they know and suspect about the man. I've got Kate on some Russian boards though and she's been very useful there, picking up all kinds of rumours and hints. Seems our man's ex-military alright. An officer. Captain when he left. We'll need to put some electronic bugs onto him and his crew as soon as possible though to get something about what he's doing now. He seems to keep everything behind front-men so it's hard to get much else." "Ok. That sounds like the first order of business then. You tell me what you need and I'll put it together." Gerrie handed me a printed list wordlessly and turned back to his computer. I smiled at Kate and left them to their own devices. Most of you know my story about short chapters and writing on my cell phone yadda yadda... I am also posting this story at where there is often additional information such as appropriate photos etc. Update your vote for: "Mail-Order Bride" Technical Merit: Spelling, grammar and overall readability Plot: Creativity, storyline and character development Personal Appeal: Story's emotional and/or intellectual impact on you This story is in your library. to remove from library completely Or to adjust bookmark settings (type, list, etc...) To Be Continued... Go to BoonDock’s Blog Posted: 2009-02-12 Last Modified: 2010-03-22 / 08:58:08 pm Version: 2.00 If you enjoyed this work, take a moment to email the author. Your comments are their only payment. Name: (optional) Email: To: BoonDock Subject: Mail-Order Bride Message: Home - My Library - Top [Bookmark Next Chapter] - More Info