Entry 13 – Plans for the Future
These past two days had been a nightmare. We picked several promising vehicles and had them moved to our own camp for the troops to check. As expected, each of us had a different idea what to do, what to buy and what to recommend, but Ferguson’s last instructions (before she boarded a helicopter home) were clear – we were to agree and present David Murdoch and her a joint decision about what to do with the Perihelion outfit. Who to let go, what vehicles, uniforms, small arms and about a thousand other things to buy and, most importantly, the overhead.
We all somehow felt like this was above our pay grade, like this was all another test, perhaps to find out how we’d tackle a challenge and get along. If that was the case, we were about to receive some fat Fs. I wasn’t about to give up without a fight, though.
“Well, what are you thinking?”
“So,” she started, rubbing her temples, “we’ve got a few options. We need force multipliers, that’s for sure...”
Made sense to me.
“I feel like we need to pack a punch, you know.”
A slow, tired nod was her reaction.
“You know what? Let’s gather the troops and talk it through, so we can FINALLY get to some business. Oh and do me a favor and change your shirt, will you? That hole,” she waved vaguely towards a rip near my waist, “doesn’t exactly scream ‘professional’. Don’t you have a better one anyway?”
I stopped mindlessly fidgeting with my knife and put it away.
“Yeah, I do, in Chicago. I really need to do some shopping,” I mused.
“Take a car. Walk. I don’t care. Just look presentable.”
“Roger that, ma’am,” I saluted mockingly. She was right though. We all need to get a grip, rather sooner than later. With that thought I walked outside to find Jim.
Several hours later, we found ourselves once again in front of the comms station.
Ferguson peered at me on the screen over her rimless glasses. She clearly wasn’t back in CChicago yet but the hotel room behind her looked fancy enough to be anywhere in the world where Murdoch mattered – maybe even Dubai? Why do I keep thinking of Dubai?
“Right. To the matter at hand. What do you and Miss Espinoza think of the vehicles provided to you? What do you believe would be the best course of action?”
I looked back at Espinoza standing behind me and she nodded quietly. We both weren’t exactly sure about our decisions but Jim seemed to agree and that was confirmation enough for us.
“We’ll take a couple of anti-aircraft systems. These things are really good against soft ground targets and who knows – some bad guy might have a gunship or two stashed for a rainy day. We’re going to need to figure things out though – this isn’t exactly low tech we’re talking about. It might take a while longer. But...”
I sighed. I was about to lie a bit... no, not lie. Exaggerate. Big difference there... or was it?
“...the rest of the troops are more or less ready and awaiting their orders. We’ve had some rough patches but we seem to have ironed the worst issues out. We’ll have a fire support unit and a few squads of mechanized infantry. I hope we’ll get something better than some rusty old BMPs, but unless you want us to take on the whole U.S. Army, it’s going to be enough.”
Ferguson stared at me in silence for a short while and then nodded.
“Very well. Keep me posted.”
With that, she broke connection.
“That went well.” Espinoza patted me on the shoulder, visibly happier now the call was done and over with.
“Now, ma’am, are you taking me somewhere fancy?”
“Only the best MRE’s for you, sir!”
“Oh my,” I retorted, “what will people think?”
It was her turn to laugh.
“That everyone eats the same shit. Which is good. For morale, I mean,” she added.
Had I known these were the last hours of peace, I’d have enjoyed them much more.