Copyright© 2010 by Terriblethom
I was sitting in the Captain's office waiting to be called in for my mission briefing. I had been sitting drinking the lousy coffee for forty five minutes already and I could hear the Captain shouting at someone in his office. I don't know who the poor soul was, but for the Captain to raise his voice above a whisper, he must have really gotten him pissed. I was somewhat pissed myself because I was still looking for a second and still hadn't found one I thought I could work with. The few I had talked to so far I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw them. Four of the last five had been kicked off a team for one reason or another, and I sure as hell wasn't going to choose any of them. If they put us in jeopardy in the bush Chung would just shoot them if he could beat me to it. The one I had just sent to the hospital had really pissed me off with his remark that he hated those greasy little yards, and would shoot one in a firefight if he didn't follow his orders. So far I had two seconds that any of my yards or myself could trust with our lives and to hear something like that from a fellow beanie pissed me off. I figured the Captain had already heard and was gonna chew my ass about that when and if I ever got to see him. The clerk kept giving me the fish eye everytime I got up for more of the lousy coffee he made so this time when I saw him looking I gave him the finger. I got a glare in return and smiled to myself. Paper pushers I thought, they think they know and own everything they touch. I sat back and unwittingly the picture entered my mind, and I started chuckling which made the clerk glare at me again cause he thought the chuckle was for him.
Ole Gunny had physically thrown a clerk through the door of his office for going through his files, but the whole thing had been Jeffers fault as he had pulled a supply file for me, and we were discussing it when the clerk flew through the door with Gunny cussing him the whole time. We looked at each other with a grin, and the white faced clerk took about three seconds to clear the building leaving his weapon on the desk as he ran out. We were still grinning as we watched Gunny tear what was left of his door off the hinges. He took one look at us standing there grinning and started in on both of us.
"What the hell are you two peckerheads grinning at? Don't you both have something to do?"
"Damn Gunny, no wonder you can't find clerks to work for you. Hell I wouldn't either if I got threw through a door cause you were in a bad mood."
"They keep sending those little pussies over here, and right away they want to go through my files which are off limits. They all think they own everything they lay their hands on and I'm fed up with it. My file cabinets are just that, MINE!"
He glared at both of us and seemed to just notice the file we had on the counter. He walked over looking at it.
"God Dammit Jeffers, if I told you once I told you a hundred times to keep your grubby paws out of my files. Now I'm gonna get my ass chewed again cause you forgot to inform me you took a file out of my office. If you wasn't so damn good at your job I would have you sent to a hot firebase. Don't forget where you got the damn thing when you're done with it."
He gave both of us another of his patented glares, and stomped out the door still cussing. I looked at Jeffers and we both busted out laughing.
"Sarge that's the sixth clerk this month he's thrown out of here. The last one he sent head first down the shithole out back cause he had his feet propped up on the Gunnies desk. At this rate we ain't never gonna get the monthly count out to HQ. Guess I'll have to call and see if they have someone else they can send over before word gets out about this one."
I was jolted out of my daydreaming when the Captains door opened. To my surprise it was a Marine, and he was white as a sheet as he almost ran out the front door. As I got up I noticed the clerk had a smirk on his face and I felt like making him swallow it. I knocked on the door and was told to enter. When I went in the Captain was sitting back in his chair with a frown on his face. I sat down in the chair in front of his desk and waited for him to talk to me.
"Sarge, how many times have you been out in the bush and some asshole at Division tried to reach you on a clear channel?"
"More times than I care to count Sir."
"Well this time it cost us two yards, and one of ours badly wounded when Charley triangulated the signals. Dammit, don't they teach these kids they are sending us anything?"
I could tell he was talking to let off steam so I didn't answer. I heard a brushing noise outside the door and motioned for him to speak. When he started back up again I carefully went to the office door with the Captain talking and giving me a strange look. I waited a few seconds and quickly opened the door. The clerk from out front almost fell inside, off balance from his listening position at the door. Without thinking I kicked him in the mouth and drew back to do it again when the Captain grabbed me saying for me to call the MP outside the front door in. I went to the front door and stuck my head out giving him the message. He almost ran me down he was in such a hurry to get inside. I stopped on my way back in getting a refill and thinking that maybe we had finally stopped the leak we all were worried about. For the last month or so HQ seemed to know every mission we were going on and wanted to run it. I didn't know about the Captain, but I would bet we wouldn't have any more trouble with leaks for awhile.
When I got in the office the clerk was in handcuffs and the Captain was giving orders to the MP. He almost dragged the clerk out bleeding at the mouth, and he had the nerve to glare at me like it was my fault he got caught. The Captain must have seen something in my face because he grabbed me by the arm ordering me to sit down.
"How did you know he was out there?"
"Yea, we don't use it because of just the reason he was caught. It makes anything you touch give off a scratching sound like a branch rubbing a solid surface. I must have heard it when he went to one knee and accidentally rubbed the wall. Maybe we found the leak we been worried about."
"Probably Sarge, he started about a week before we started having problems. Dammit Sarge, did you have to kick him?"
"Cap, I thought I was being attacked when he flew at me, it was just a reaction to the threat."
He looked at me for a moment and started to smile then busted out laughing. It took a couple of minutes for him to stop and get back to business.
"Only you could come up with a cock and bull story like that, and I will put it in my report just as you said it."
I rolled my eyes at his grin.
"Cap, if you do, when he reports to his boss, I will look like I was afraid of a paper pusher."
He busted out laughing again and I just gave him one of Gunnies glares. As you would think it just made him laugh harder. I had to grin at him because thinking about it this was the first time since we had worked together he acted like a normal soldier.
"I really don't want to know why the last person I sent you to interview ended up at the clinic. Sarge you have a hairy one coming up and you need to have a second for this one. You and Chung can't do it all this time. Before you start bitching, the General said to tell you this one is a code red."
Oh shit I thought, not another search and destroy in northern Cambodia. The last one we went on we couldn't get pickup and had to hike out, which took us almost three weeks evading VC patrols which we had riled, because they had gotten mad when we destroyed one of their main ammo dumps. I hated being that far in and the General knew it. Dammit I thought what reason does he have to put our asses on the line again without any support.
"Sarge, we have a guide for you this time, and the General said you would have a resupply whenever you needed it. You set the time and place and he guarantees you will get it."
"Cap you know how I feel about Kit Carson's and Chung hates them worse than I do."
"Nah, nothing like that. This is a yard from a village up there the VC use for slave labor. He escaped and came to one of the outposts to ask for our help to get his village free. The guys manning the outpost almost shit their pants when he showed up in their hut in the middle of the day. They didn't even know he was there until he spoke. This time it was my turn to laugh cause Chung had done the same thing to me a couple of times and almost busted a gut laughing at my reaction.
"All right Cap, lay it out for me and let me think about it. If we are going that far in I will need a second I can trust."
He spent the next hour filling me in, and even I had to admit this one was gonna be a doosie if we made it in and out without getting wiped out or caught. I knew with Chung I had a better chance than most teams, but it was still gonna be hairy. The guarantee of a supply drop would help but only if we could get in the clear somewhere for it to happen. If we were running the supply drop would go to Charlie instead of us. He showed me on the map where the approximate area the village was in and I was shocked about how damn far we would be in.
"Cap, how are they planning on inserting us?"
"AA's gonna be handling that for us. They have a 130 going to a strip near where you need to go. They are picking up a load of rubber for some Colonel here in Saigon."
"Yea, white rubber."
"Sarge, that's none of our business, they will get you in and from there it's up to you."
Damn I thought a poppy pickup, just what we didn't want to get involved in. The security from the Khmer Rouge would be heavy, and we would probably have to shoot our way out. That we didn't need, and I didn't like AA knowing we were in there. I didn't trust any of them because they would sell their own daughters if it was for cash.
"Cap, I'll think about it and give you an answer in the morning. Captain, if I don't like the way they want to put us in I will scrub the mission and you can pass that on to the General. I am not about to get us all killed because some flyboy wants some extra cash."
"Sarge, you know you can scrub the mission right up to insertion. You check around and find a second and I will look some more myself and send them over to you. Sarge, like you I don't like this but I am under orders. The yard will be brought in tonight and if you should introduce him to Chung, it won't be known except by you and him. If you take this one you watch your ass. I know about what happened before and I don't want to lose one of my best teams. Now get out of here and do your thing, and let me know your decision first thing in the morning."
I got up cussing myself as I went out. When I got to the front to my surprise there was an MP sitting behind the clerk's desk. Since he was one of ours I knew why he was there, and knew there would be no more leaks if he had any say about it. He grinned at me as I went out and I just nodded at him before closing the door. I headed for the chow hall glancing at my watch and realized it wasn't 0800 yet. I had already done more this morning than I usually did. I was so deep in thought thinking about the upcoming mission I didn't notice Gunny until he poked me with an elbow.
"Damn Sarge you look like your carrying the whole world on your shoulders."
I stopped looking around before I spoke.
"I just got handed a code red Gunny."
"Aww shit, how far in?"
"All the way, and then some. I don't have a second, and can't find a good one from any of the trash they've sent to me so far. Dammit, why couldn't this one have come along while Jenkins was still here?"
"Sarge, I know this is gonna sound a little strange, but do you have any objections having a Marine as a second?"
"Why, you volunteering?"
"In a second if I thought I could get it Ok'd by the brass."
"I'm honored Gunny."
"Sarge, your one of the best I've ever worked with, and it would be an honor to me to go with you. Hell I might feel alive again. No I have someone in mind, but I know how a lot of the teams feel about working cross branches. Hell I don't know any that ever have as far as that goes. The man I have in mind was a Sniper but when his team called for a drop the pilot dropped the napalm a little too close to them. He got singed pretty good and has to wear glasses now, and you know as well as I do what that means to a Sniper. They refused to let him recertify, so he is going nuts trying to get back out. Sarge, he is damned good and still is a crack shot with about any weapon. I've seen him shoot and let me tell you he is one of the best. He just came back for his second tour and had to fight to volunteer to come back. They haven't assigned him to a unit yet, and he has had LRP training and passed with flying colors. He has 25 certified kills and better than half of them were VC officers. I met him on his first tour and took a liking to him. I followed his career and he is a stand up Marine and would make you an excellent second, especially where you're going."
"Ok, Ok you don't have to beat me over the head. Where's he at, and how soon can I talk to him?"
"He just happens to be here in the transient barracks awaiting assignment. I can have him by your side in an hour."
Ok send him over. Oh, and Gunny? I don't give a damn what branch he's in as long as I can trust him to follow orders without arguing about them."
"I know that Sarge, that's why I mentioned it to you."