Russell’s stomach lurched. Boyd had been right, Dostrem had had fissile material in his courtyard and it was gone. Now what?
“There is some good news, Vic. The servants working in the house are chattering. They’re giving us some idea of where the convoy may be headed. From what the CIA asset says, the other parts of the device are in a hardened building. The conversations from Dostrem’s domestics indicates his group is going to meet the Taliban buyers at a remote site in the hills. They had to cook extra food for them to carry, enough for fifteen men.”
“Sir, can anyone give us a closer guess as to where they are?”
“Apparently Dostrem doesn’t trust the Taliban. He’s going to call them when he gets to a place where he wants to make the trade. He wants to be able to watch their approach and make sure they don’t rip him off and steal the merchandise. No one has yet talked about an exact location.”
“General, if you can get a drone to start looking, instruct the pilots to look for a convoy that includes three Toyota Sequoia SUVs. They’ll be white, red and black.”
“Vic, how do you know?”
“Sir, that’s what my man saw in the courtyard at Dostrem’s place. The red one, had full-time guards inside. It’s probably carrying the cargo we’re trying to intercept.”
“You’ve got to introduce me to this man and tell me more about him, but later.
Right now, I’ll have my people get UAVs aloft.” McCaskill signed off.
It was almost 0800 when Flynn came into Russell’s office. He looked as if he’d been awake all night.
“Same to you, Bobby. I hope I don’t look as bad as you, but I probably do. We’ve got work to do today, though.”
“Heard anything from the drones looking for the convoy?”
“Nothing yet. They couldn’t have gotten very far, though. By the way, has Boyd moved in yet?”
“Got him a private room in the NCO quarters. He’s sleeping. When do you want to see him?”
“Let him sleep. Make sure he has a CAR-15 and a .45. Use mine if you’d like until we can get more. We may need him tonight. I have an idea that we…”
The secure radio chirped. The men looked first at each other, then at the box. Flynn got to the handset first.
“This is Sergeant Major Flynn.” Bobby’s posture changed. “Yes Sir, I’ll get him.”
Flynn held the handset away from him and pointed at it, mouthing silently. “General McCaskill!”
“Major Russell, Sir.”
“Vic. I think we’ve found your convoy. The dumb shits blew along the major roadways, such as they are, and set up camp in the hills not far off highway A77, near Bamiyan. They’ve been on the radio with known Taliban elements. Their conversations have been guarded and in code, but we have their exact GPS coordinates. A drone’s in the air, but can’t get close enough to verify radiation—too much risk they’ll know we’re watching and do something stupid. We’ll have to do it some other way. What are your suggestions?”
“Sir, we’ll need the quietest stealth helicopter available. I think Boyd can verify and maybe steal the nuke cargo.”
“Damn, son, you have a helluva lot of faith in that one man.”
“I’ll have Kincaid, my operations officer, call you when the helo’s laid on. Vic, this has to work the first time.”
They signed off. Russell and Flynn poured coffee and ordered breakfast from the dining facility.
The radio buzzed before they could finish eating.
“Hey this is Kincaid. General McCaskill is sending a chopper for you and your NCO. He’ll meet you when you get to the Operations Center.”
“I’ll bring two NCOs with me. What else?”
“Give me a list of equipment for the man you’re sending in. No constraints. This is the top priority mission in the theater.”
“Let me call you back within five minutes. When is the chopper going to pick us up?”
“The bird will be at your HQ within thirty minutes. Call me back soon, I want to get started on what you’ll need.”
Russell turned to Flynn.
“Bobby, what do you think he’ll need? Here’s an outline of how I see the operation.”
After listening for five minutes, Flynn sat back in his chair and took a deep draft of coffee and let out a low whistle.
“Whew! Vic, I know Wil is capable of more than normal men, but we’re laying a lot on him.”
“That’s what General Mac said. What equipment do you think he’ll need?”
Within two minutes of the stated five, Russell called Kincaid with a list of equipment and operational support requirements.
“Well, Vic, you took me at my word when I said ‘no constraints,’ didn’t you? I’ll get on it. By the way your chopper should be landing in about fifteen minutes. I’ll see you at the Ops Center.”
When the radio was silent, Vic and Bobby stood and stretched.
“Bring Boyd here. We’ll brief him as much as we can before we take off. He won’t need to take anything but the Ninja suit. The rest will be waiting for him. I hope he’s rested, because it’s going to be a long day and night.”