Entry 37 – Another Stupid Idea
In the morning, Ferguson welcomed us with a disapproving frown on her face – in person. Apparently she flew all the way overnight only to find the ship full of mercenaries and sailors with a killer hangover. Me and Gail weren’t the only two letting off some steam last night and things got rather rowdy from what I heard. Not that I remember all that much from the evening but Jim, who had a cabin next door, gave us both a knowing smile with a nod. Awkward.
But not as awkward as the group who got into a fight with some other mercs and, what was worse, they lost. Thankfully they were in good enough shape to get the hell out of there before the cops arrived; otherwise we’d have had a serious problem on our hands. The law doesn’t take too kindly to drunkards and louts around here.
But Ferguson was not one to be taken aback too long and took everything in stride. After a few minutes of moaning and feet-shuffling followed by tea-sipping sounds (if you’re ever hangover, make as strong a black tea as you can with a lot of sugar), we were all busy laying down the plans for the journey.
As per the memo, the easiest path (at least road-wise) seemed to cross war-torn Libya all the way to Cairo and then south along the Nile, some three thousand miles. I wasn’t looking forward to it after the Spanish experience – where Spain is in a state of a cold civil war (or occasionally a lukewarm one), the Libyan conflict is, in comparison, a blazing inferno – regular large-scale warfare, no supplies, no food along the way, no fuel either – only a desert hungry to devour more souls. I was taking it all in, thinking about various aspects of the plan already. Gail, not so much, she just leaned on me with her eyes closed – and yes, everyone noticed, even Ferguson. Unlike Jim’s, her expression was a strange one, perhaps confused? She hasn’t mentioned anything though.
The next item on our list was the supplies. Once again, Ferguson turned out to be a miracle worker as she managed – how, I cannot fathom – an entire American supply ship our way. This may sound weird or super-convenient but in reality it’s a part of the American military resupply system. Every day of the year, dozens of supply ships loaded with everything you might need for a quick operation are crossing the Atlantic (and the Pacific for that matter) as a part of the U.S. readiness system. That way, whenever something goes down, America can react on moment’s notice. No other country has that kind of capability and it costs a fortune but Uncle Sam can afford it.
And we’ll have the contents of one of those ships for us. Spare parts for our Pumas will get flown-in extra, a reminder that the operation’s getting to its final phase with all previous budget restrictions lifted. Perhaps I’ll earn a bonus by the end, buy a ranch, settle down with...
My reverie was broken by Ferguson’s discreet cough and I forced myself to focus on the task at hand. An Algerian armored platoon will escort us to the borders with Libya. Upon crossing, we’ll try to keep a low profile as we can’t afford to get involved in too many skirmishes. I closed my eyes again. Why Libya... why? It’s hell on Earth, perhaps even literally. Why couldn’t we have landed in Cairo?
The answer to that question was plainer than I would have expected. The supplies are available here, not there. End of story. Right. I suspect there’s (as usual) more to it than that but we’ll take what we can get.