I needed to spend several hours today at KCC for a building update and a meeting with the board of directors. A new Suburban for KCC was still several weeks away. In fact the insurance company was dragging its feet coming to an agreement on the value, along with a suit against the Jeff Justice Insurance company.
I was using one of the unmarked Jones security cars that KCC was now leasing until the Suburban came in. I noticed a tractor trailer and a utility truck were at the gym on the side of the building with the loading dock, just as I was leaving the driveway – so I went to check it out.
Our forklift was struggling, carrying pieces inside the building. Inside, crates were being opened by the night Fed workout group. When I saw what they had been opening inside the gym I knew why the Feds were helping.
The day before all the Rochester and airport commotion Vicky and Ching Lee had ordered a large climbing wall. They were finally getting popular in the area. One of the big sporting goods stores had one on the western shore and several gym regulars had asked about one.
With the 30 foot clearance below the girders in the gym, Vicky had ordered two of the 25 foot models with the attached controlled descent safety devices for when you fell. The units could be climbed on both sides. That made for four different levels of expertise.
They came with a complete set of fall harnesses for use with 50 pound kids to 300 pound football players, along with helmets and a set of mats to cover the floor completely around it.
The agency guys had been talking about modifications they could add to it for use after midnight to help with wall scaling and rappelling training on some of their missions. They had taken one of the sale pamphlets with them to their rig shop. I was sure that some morning the girls would come in to find ropes and attachments on pulleys fastened to the beams.
The manufacture’s installer was drilling holes in the concrete for the anchors to fasten the walls to the floor. I was satisfied with the goings on and left for the college. I assumed that by the time I finished my meetings and returned it would be assembled and in various stages of testing.
Patti had piled my desk full of paper that I needed to deal with today. Most of it came from the pile that had accumulated on her desk in her week absence. It was going to be a longer day than I thought.
It was nearly three when I finally made it back to the gym. I had an hour and a half before Ching Lee and I were to meet the first of Rodney Stokes’ group. I wondered what kind of mission they were training for that they thought they needed the kind of close-in hand to hand combat that had been my specialty.
As soon as I went through the door into the gym I could hear the commotion from the back of the gym. The rock climbing wall was obviously a big hit; there was a large crowd. From where I was standing I watched Ching Lee reach the top and ring a buzzer before rappelling to the floor to much cheering from below. With a glance around I could see the gym was busy.
If she had done much of that today, she would never hold up to tonight’s training session with Rodney’s pros. I expected it to be a tough one and they were early. Rodney and his group were walking in the door behind me.
I corralled Ching Lee so we could change. We met the men out at the mats to get started. The men were smaller than I thought they would be. For some reason I was expecting they would be six foot six and 225. Only a couple of these guys were taller than I was at 5 foot 10, but they did have a weight advantage over me and a lot more over Ching Lee, but I doubted that any of them were over 200.
We were both going to need all the speed and finesse we could muster to not get our asses whipped tonight. After a talk on the mats in which they reveled nothing about any mission, I was still in the dark with what they wanted other than they wanted to wear the padding.
If they did, I knew damn well Ching Lee and I were going to as well. It took another half hour to get them all fitted in the padding. Even with that, they had to wear tight gym tee shirts to hold the body armor tight. I didn’t say anything but was glad because the body armor takes time to get used to and restricted their movement. Ching Lee and I had used ours so much it had become like a second skin to us and some advantage at least for a couple nights.
After I gave all of them the rubber training knife we used, I pointed to one and said, “On the mat; you are my first victim.” We stood ten feet apart.
Without knowing anything, I could only assume they were going to some Middle Eastern country for a snatch and grab.
As best as I could remember, I shouted in Arabic, “You swine, I am going to gut you and hang your head on a hook.” I then charged him in the fashion that Arab fighters normally did to show their bravery.
We were now less than six feet apart – with his eyes big as saucers – he tried to turn and run. You cannot, from a standing position, turn and run from someone that is ten feet away running full out – and get away. I was on him before his turn was complete. I pulled him down on the mat, put the rubber knife to his throat and said, “You are dead.”
I immediately knew these were not field ops people; they were technicians. Wherever they were going, they were going to sabotage, hack, or bug something. They were not fighting their way in or out; someone else was going to do that. Rodney simply wanted them to be better than other technicians if they met them, otherwise they were expendable. A cleanup crew would take care of the mess afterwards.
“Ok we have a lot of work to do and now I know where to begin,” I said. I looked around to see relief in nine other faces and Rodney behind them doing his best not to laugh out loud.
Everything else in the gym had come to a halt and everyone was looking at us. My shout in Arabic had everyone’s attention.
I gave Rodney the dickens, including a few choice four letter words in Arabic for not telling me these people were novices. I figured that no-one else in the gym could understand and I would bet he could as I was walking towards him.
Expecting experienced personal, I had put on camo fatigues instead of gym shorts and put some real goodies in the pockets, including the serrated k-bar strapped to my leg. It was the same one I had carried in the sand box.
I pulled the k-bar from its sheath as I continued moving towards him, and was berating him with the Arabic onslaught. I was amazed that I remembered so much of it from so long ago, “I should remove your manhood for that.” The nine that were standing in front of him scattered like a flock of birds in all directions as the sight of the k-bar further reinforced that they were novices.
Rodney started waving his arms, “Ok, Ok they said you are good, I just wanted to see how good! You know what you have to work with. You have 4 weeks to work them in shape. I am working on the other part of the plan; this part is up to you.” With that he walked out the door.
Ching Lee took four and I took the other five and started with the basics, but not before she asked, “What the heck did you say to him?” It was going to be a long night and four weeks. It was midnight before I finished with them.
I changed the schedule. There was another ten coming Thursday night. Both groups were going to need more than once a week. Each group was going to be here two nights and one on Saturday and another one on Sunday. That would give them twenty four sessions in the four weeks and a real chance to survive whatever they were getting into. DHS and the CIA would just have to pay the bill. None of the nine objected to the change; they would be back tomorrow night and Saturday.
Edit by Alfmeister