The Mission 1 (A Ganic Story set in Final Days of America based Universe)

It had been a long two weeks.

By the end of the day, just after the Battalion had settled in around the airfield at Carlisle, Delta was tasked with heading north into Carlisle proper in the area of the Army Heritage Center instead of being pulled back.  The idea there apparently was to occupy the building and grounds with an eye to turn it into a staging facility.  In the run to the airfield to stop Mobley, the place was ignored by the drive. As reinforcements came, the idea of occupying the Army War College facilities was floated as a possible base.

The idea wasn’t bad. But the site was going to need work. And quite a bit.

Until then, the Heritage Center was deemed a good temp location. Plenty of open space around it and oddly enough, some of the path displays could be turned into areas for units to set up camp in- Especially with a little bit of work. Granted, the trench-works really weren’t much to look at but add overhead cover, it was something.

At least that is what I told myself when we pulled in.

The facility itself was in fair shape, considering.  It had been used as an interrogation site by some of the Russian Advisors and investigated for information; after all, some research did go on here but as was likely discovered, you needed power to access the computers- and about the only thing done here was research on ARMY history.  Nothing groundbreaking… but history is meant to be learned from.

But yeah, we pulled in and fully investigated the facility and grounds. We didn’t find much other than a big mess in the paper archives (bastards!) and a handful of detainees in bad shape. Civilians mostly- a couple of officials who had not changed sides and only rounded up shortly before the Op began to clean house. Poor bastards…

But after Delta cleared the place, word came to Kingpin to start setting up shop here… and to try and lay groundwork for a FOB as NSA Mechanicsburg was a giant mess (B-1B bombing raid will do that…).  So, after checking with all us slobs as to who knew what with FOB construction, we began laying the place out. Other Companies from the Battalion showed up not long after… and things really got rolling, courtesy of the captain.

Fisk, when he inherited all the non-Army personnel, got more than a few Marines and Seabees as augments. And in doing that, he got troops that knew hodge-podge Defenses (Marines) and camp layout/construction (Seabees). Once working construction equipment was located, Third Platoon went to work. Hell, even my ass, which hadn’t worked in my original rate (Equipment Operator) in twenty years, was able to pitch in with the build. Bulldozers and backhoes… staples for EO’s… was a welcome trip back in time for me.

 Fisk was a damn quick study on layout for camps- and being the former PENDOT supe he was, he did know how to manage workload and, as the other companies arrived, personnel. Surprisingly, Colonel Johnson was pretty pliable; he didn’t know much about setting up camps but also knew to not get in the way of those who did- and loaned his bird as needed for getting Army gear or permissions… I think because this was all new to him too and he accidentally had a bunch of Subject Matter Experts handy, he was gonna stay in the background and only step up if we needed him. Which wasn’t often, thankfully.

 As soon as scrounge teams scraped up material sites, Kingpin was detailing two-squad groups to go collect using available trucks.  At Doc’s urging, he had pairs of Squads working the areas around the Center, checking on locals and their needs.  The old Hearts and minds thing.

Meanwhile, more of the Brigade began to move into the area, with another Battalion coming to set up here at the Center.

Thankfully, because we were here first, we got to pick where WE wanted to set up for our Company and Battalion areas.  When it was left to me, I chose the Civil War Cabins on the Heritage Trail.  It was right next to the woods, so we had a supply of firewood if needed, the field next to it was perfect for the platoon vehicles and there was plenty of bunk space, with a building per Platoon.  Add in space for Command Tent Shelters… and we were golden. As the rest of the platoons of Delta came in, they got buildings and so on… Within a week, Delta Company’s area was pretty solid.

 We knew it would likely not last- but we were close to everything we needed to be and away from the brass that would be camping out IN the Heritage buildings. And it seemed Johnson was happy- Battalion Command got the Block House on the other side of the woods, with the other companies spread around it, with sandbag-topped berm-walls created when we couldn’t locate enough Barriers or Hesco’s to make boundaries.

During those two weeks, both Nicols and Lieutenant Wilson returned to the platoon. The LT I knew was coming back- he had almost been ready when the retaking of Harrisburg had kicked off so I expected him to reclaim his seat.  Nicols though… she was a surprise.

  She had taken hits back at City Island and I expected her to be gone a lot longer- Bullet wounds are no joke.  Granted, I managed to avoid being pulled (still don’t know how *that* happened*) and had (unfortunate) experience with functioning with them… but being evac’d as she was usually meant forced recovery time.

 Usually.

In this case, she managed to sit put like a good troop until most of the shooting stopped around here before badgering the hell out of Medical to let her go back.  As she put it, all she was going to do was haul the radio around…. And Delta was going to be a Garrison Force.  She could recover in Garrison here as well as in Lancaster- and she was The Radioman for That Crazy Squid Chief. This apparently gave her some fame and apparently, leverage in getting stuff. Who the fuck knew association with me was worth something?

So, she was back with us…. And wound up being the reason I told a few stories…

One night, after all of the platoon was back in our spaces, I had just settled down to enjoy one of the few cigars I had left.  I had set down on a low stump near our sheltered burn barrel on the edge of the woods (told you we got to pick our space) when a chunk of the platoon not on duty drifted in.

  Nicols showed up with some of them and set down opposite of me on one of the few chairs.  Just after she did, she spoke. “Senior… Got a question?”

I glanced at her as I took a puff on the cigar.  “I might have an answer…”

She pulled out a notepad. “Back in E-Town, that Russian…”

Oh here it comes… “Yes?” I answered.

“What was he talking about you being dead? And how the hell did you know him?”

I was quiet as I looked around at the now thirty-ish pairs of eyes in the circle. To include Gunny’s, who had found a damn crochet needle from somewhere.  This was most of the damn platoon, which was both a surprise and humbling. “That’s two questions, Specialist,” I replied with a half-smile. Yeah, my response was a stall… I knew someone was going to ask about that shit back there- just didn’t expect it in this fashion though.

“Senior,” The voice of Lieutenant Wilson was heard as he walked into the group, troops giving him space. “Consider the second question from me then. I’m curious too… and I got to see the pissing and moaning in the back areas after you left. That Army Intelligence Major was a right pain in the ass… Especially after you got Mobely and then his brother’s ass in a sling with that Marine Colonel’s help. By the way, neat trick that was…”

 Some laughter from the gathered platoon followed that statement. The story of what happened in the Delta CP two weeks ago got around fast… “So there is more than a few questions surrounding you and some of what’s cropped up.”  The LT took a seat on one of the home-made benches and settled in with an expectant look.  “You’ve become legendary in a few ways, Senior. Be nice to know how all this began.”

I sighed; the LT had it right.  And I did want to tell the story…  But oh man, the potential trouble I could get into. “Ok… which sea story you guys want? Please bear in mind, the second story on how I met that Russian… is kinda sensitive, especially if the wrong people hear of it.”

 Kinda my ass…  The fine details of who that asshole is likely was STILL Burn Before Reading classification. But right now, these guys needed to know- at least some of it.

And it’s not like anyone can rush right out and post to Facebook…

Reed, who was seated off to the side with those of her squad still with us, answered that. “I wanna know the part about getting him… makes the You Should Be Dead thing have reasons to make sense.”

 Nicols agreed. “Yeah…  I mean, hearing Belov say you were supposed to be dead is one thing…. But knowing WHO he was and WHY he wanted you d-e-d is another.”

“You would ask about the sensitive stuff first.” I groused. Shouldn’t be surprised, really.  But I was.

Wilson answered that one. “Senior, you are their platoon sergeant and the Platoon Daddy is supposed to be a mentor, full of stories and wisdom.  I’d say there is a lesson to be learned in hearing about what happened. At least in what you can talk about…”

I looked at the LT. “True enough sir… true enough. Someone find me a coffee and… Well shit.”

 From out of the darkness strode Specialist Li, a travel mug she found from somewhere in her hand. “I believe I won a bet, Senior,” She said as she walked up and handed me the mug.  “Said you would want a cup of coffee before you started telling stories…”

A laugh. “You’re not wrong, Li.”  Taking a sip of the brew, I savored the taste before I looked around at the platoon. Fuck it- they earned the right to know this shit… And no one was gonna talk out of school.

“It all began in 2012…” I began as my brain went down memory lane…

Author: John T

Warrior-Sage and full time healer. Gamer and Arm Chair Analyst (who isn't these days?) who isn't afraid to read up on what I don't know.

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