Sunday, May 9, 2010

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

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