It was nearly two hours later when the group called back. The first thing I was told was that the C5 was being loaded as we speak. I was given a quick overview of the plan and orders from Vicky
“You need to get with Eric. He needs to order the border patrol agents not to bother a group of vehicles coming across the border at the Highway 1 Laredo crossing to reduce the chance of collateral damage. I will send the approximate time,” Vicky said.
Collateral damage; what had Vicky ordered them to do that I was not briefed about? Vicky was assuming more and more control of the SOPs team, RRS and Embassy security division. I knew she had been spending a lot of money for equipment and gear for the teams.
We talked a few more minutes and then closed the conversation. I would be home when the operation hit the ground at 0100 Texas time.
A look at Google earth again – in its largest size – showed the villa consisted of four buildings. A main house, a stable and two smaller bunk houses; not a luxurious place for a drug dealer. But then maybe that was public for his business and he had a palace in a town not far away to keep his family away from it.
My thoughts were interrupted by my phone again, “Hello Bradberry, I hope you have good news for me,” I said.
“Yes, the factory will have all 120 units completed by noon Sunday and will ship them out Monday morning,” he replied.
“I will do you one better than that; give me the address of the factory and I will have trucks there to pick them up at noon on Sunday,” I replied.
“29 North Century Street, Rapid City South Dakota,” he replied.
“Send me all the contact information. Thanks Bradberry! I owe you one,” I replied.
I sent a text to Lorrie to get 2 C130 to the Rapid City airport in time to get rental trucks to the factory and make all the connections.
The rest of the afternoon was spent planning for the delivery and distribution of the scanners. I wanted them at the sites Monday morning to allow adequate setup, testing time and training.
The C130s were to split up on departure; one was to stop first at West Lafayette Indiana, then to Lexington Kentucky with the last stop at Baltimore.
The other was to stop first at Gainesville Florida, then Columbia South Carolina and the final stop at Raleigh North Carolina.
Ching Lee sent instructions and ticket information for six of the scanner operators from each of the three college sites who had been training operators. Three were going direct from KCC to Baltimore.
The real issues would start Monday when the six colleges would be told by an assistant director of the DHS the changes that they would make and would be made or else. The meetings between the directors and colleges officials were to happen at 8.
I left Section 12 a few minutes early and made great time. I was home in plenty of time to sit in on the meeting. When I walked in I noticed that Vicky was gone and Cindy was sitting in her place with Stacy James and Lynn Smart, her administrators.
“Where is Vicky?” I asked.
You could have heard a pin drop with eyes casting glances.
“She is on the C5; she went with one of Roberts men to operate the new big communication drone. She has been busy upgrading the RRT and OPS team gear while you have been with the task force. All new military grade body armor, helmets with night vision and helmet mounted mini cameras, laser sights, the latest boots for comfort and high end silencers for the Glocks and m16s.”
“The drone will allow us to watch the action first hand, and have instant communications; it will act as a receiver transmitter to an internet satellite. Vicky was pushing hard to get everything loaded and checked out. I guess she is so busy she forgot to call you,” Ching Lee said.
“OK, she is a big girl; I know she did what had to be done,” I replied.
What I did not know now but would in a few hours was that Vicky had ordered the complete gear for all of us. We each had our own SWAT style M16 with laser, night vision and lighted sights.
I didn’t even know what the final plan was but I had trusted Ed and Bill with my life more than once. I knew they would do the right thing and whatever was necessary.
The meeting was busy. We had a lot of things to talk about; one was money. Marcy had submitted several large bills to the DHS for the work Robert’s group did on Diya’s phone and the phone surveillance. We paid for it, why give it away.
The update on the tarmac was good news, the weather was still holding. A total of 12 pours had been made in the three weeks and there was a solid pad now curing. It would be a month before it could be used. It would take 2 more months to get the rest down.
On more good news, there was close to a plane load of goods for the refuge camp. The ads in Elmo’s paper paid off even if it was 500 dollars a week. Local churches were having fund and clothing drives.
Rachael, Phil and Robin had been speakers at some of those events. One of Ching Lee’s PR clerks had helped them put together their programs.
Vicky and one of my other mates would have the honor of going with the freight this time.
Robert’s group was manning the EIT room 24 hours a day and would until things were over with.
I finally received a long text from Vicky with a time line of planned events for the villa. It still did not make me feel any more comfortable and the itchy feeling on the back of my neck just would not go away.
Another waiting game that I was not liking! Supper and then early to bed I wanted to be in the command center when things started, so did the rest of the girls.
It was midnight when the texts started. I transferred my text to a computer terminal and screen so it would be easier to do in the darkened room. “We have arrived and are unloading at Laredo general aviation. We should be crossing the border in 30 minutes. As soon as we get across the border and set up, the video should go live.”
My phone rang; it was 0100, “Where are you?” It was Eric.
“Command center,” I replied.
“I will step in the elevator, bring me down,” he replied.
Not only did Eric step off the elevator but so did Frank and Marty Coeburn.
“None of you should be here,” I said.
“Since you’re the one with your neck stretched, we might be able to provide some cover,” Frank replied.
There was another text from Vicky, “Martin broke his ankle on the tarmac. I am replacing him on the attack team; he can run the drone.”
“OK,” I replied with four very concerned faces looking at me.
Thirty minutes more and the night vision drone went active on the big monitor. That meant that the communication drone was on station tending somewhere near the villa at less than 500 feet so radar would not pick it up.
All the helmet cams and audio went live next; Robert and Abigale were scrambling to divide the big screen into boxes for each cam. He was assigning names of the individual to each box – including one for Vicky – from a chart.
The night vision drone did sweep after sweep looking for any posted sentries or anyone outside.
We listened as Martin informed Ed there was no one outside of the villa. They were so confident in the cartel mystique that they did not post sentries. The drone went high and did a 360 to be sure. I could see the men closing in on the villa
The group had split into two separate assault teams; the 360 showed they were less than 150 yards away from the villa. There were eight to ten trucks and cars parked outside.
I was getting ready to send a text to have the drone do a close up on the cars to make sure there was no one sleeping in them, when the drone began to do that on its own.
Each of the six trucks with materials in the back had someone sleeping in it; I guess they were afraid of the cartel members stealing the trucks.
Ed got the word that there were people in the trucks; men were sent to dispatch them to the hereafter when the group got close enough and set.
Then the drone flew low to do close in 360 views of the buildings. By then all the men and Vicky had taken assignments by the buildings getting ready to assault them.
By needing six to handle the truck terrorists, the teams were light to enter the buildings. I was watching Vicky’s camera when man came out of the villa and walked towards her end of the adjacent building that I thought was a stable.
They were warning Vicky he was coming, “OK I got him,” she replied.
When he opened the door that was near the end corner where she standing, she was there. From the actions on the screen I could only imagine what was going on.
The combat knife she carried and trained with was like mine. Vicky had shoved the knife into his lung under his raised arm and she was strong enough to shove it through the lung and into the heart from that angle.
As he stumbled forward she pulled the knife out and secured his death by a slash of the neck that was clearly visible in the night vision. She shoved him forward into the floor and did a head sweep looking for anyone else.
There were gasps and groans in the command center.
“He is dead; it’s an outhouse and it’s clear,” she replied as she stepped out and closed the door.
Ed gave the command, ‘Go, now, now, now.’ Six terrorists sleeping in trucks instantly died. Gunfire erupted as the teams burst through the doors.
Someone screaming in Spanish jumped out the window followed by another near Vicky, two three shot burst from her M16 ended the screams.
Gunfire was everywhere, the images on the screen showed druggies pulling handguns from under pillows and lunging for automatic weapons leaning against the wall before dying.
A minute later, “All clear” came from all the men in the bunk houses and main house.
“Vicky can you come in here, you need to make a command decision,” it was Ed in the main house.
On the floor in the center of the main house was a huge stack of cocaine in bricks.
“Send someone after our trucks, also pull the bodies out of the terrorist trucks. See if there are any keys in them and if they will run. Check the bodies for cell phones; do the same in here. If there are any, we need to take them. Let’s load the cocaine and carry it with us. The DEA can use it as part of the press conference after all this is over,” Vicky ordered.
“What about this?” Ed asked as he pulled 5 duffle bags out from under the table. The night vision showed the bags were American money.
“We take it. That will pay for this trip without going through channels, keeping it off the record,” Vicky replied.
30 minutes later they were ready to leave. The last thing to happen was Howie placing several charges and incendiaries in each building; the cartel would use these buildings no more.
When they were done loading up the drones and operators, and about two miles from the border, the sky lit up with fire and explosions.
When they were a short distance from the border crossing, Eric made the call to get them through. An hour later the C5 was airborne and headed north east.
The next text from Vicky, “Have an ambulance standing by to take Martin to the med center. I am tired, I am taking a nap on the flight back.”
“The first whimper on ZNN about the explosions; you need to do a travel notice for the La Jarita area of Mexico because of a cartel turf war,” I said to Eric.
“Good idea,” Frank replied.
“Do you guys want to take possession of the guns and drugs or wait until after the news conference after Thanksgiving – good or bad?” I asked.
“You can lock it up until then,” Eric replied.
As I walked them out Eric asked, “Are all your mates that capable and ruthless?”
“We all train together. They decide how and when to use it,” I replied.
“I will give Ben the warning; he was only wary of you. His expression should be priceless,” Eric said with a laugh.
Frank looked at me and smiled one of those smiles that said, “If he only knew.”
Vicky had done well and I would tell her so when I met the plane in a couple hours. I wondered if I had created a monster when she helped feed the chipper the other night.
The team had done extremely well carrying this off on such short notice. Bonuses for all were certainly called for.
I wondered how long it would be before Saif and Rafi Quastri realized there were no heavy weapons to use and they were down six fighters. I would bet the phone link would go crazy sometime Monday or before.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.