This is the final chapter of the first V-Trooper novella. The second is titled, V-Trooper-Second Mission—The Demon. The third in the series will be titled, V-Trooper—Third Mission – ISIS; which is currently a work in progress. If readers have comments or questions about the series, please let me know. I’ve enjoyed writing these books. By the way, the second book has two love stories entwined in the narrative. The relationship between Wil and Anna is further explained and Major Vic… well, read and see.
Once the three men landed at the battalion headquarters, a driver was waiting and took them to Vic’s office.
“Guys, go get some rest. Dawn is here, and we don’t expect General Mac to be here before 1800. Captain Hutton will run the office today. Good practice for him. Catch a good nap, but meet me here at 1730 to prepare our briefing,” Russell said.
In his quarters, the vampire finally felt the effects of the night’s stresses. Dawn had arrived and he felt the weariness. He slept as visions of Anna soothed him.
He awoke fifteen minutes before he was to meet Russell and Flynn. When he got the Major’s office, he found the other two men waiting.
“Couldn’t sleep after about 1600, but zonked out until then,” Russell said.
“I don’t sleep well in the day, and I wanted to make sure we were all ready to meet the General,” Flynn said.
The briefing was to be a straightforward narrative, leaving out a few details.
“Wil, only seconds after you went in that big tent, there was a visible flare
through the fabric, visible as a flash of light out the open side. Scared the shit out of us. We were worried that somehow the nuke had been compromised.
That was when Anna appeared. Some things I don’t reveal.
“One of the Taliban tried to pop a flash-bang grenade. I shot him before he could do anything but pull the ring.”
Russell and Flynn nodded.
“That’s our story, then,” Flynn said.
“A question that General Mac is bound to ask is more personal. We’ve been consumed, since the day you grabbed the thieves at the warehouse, with one mission and then another. Wil, why did you volunteer for the mission?
“Major, my family has been military since they came to this country. Some of my ancestors fought with Washington’s army. My mother’s great-grandfather was a part of Lee’s army under Stonewall Jackson. My father’s family settled in Virginia and my mother’s, in North Carolina. I was born in a little town near Roanoke. A grandfather and several uncles fought in Europe and the Pacific in WWII. My dad was wounded in Vietnam and retired as an Army Master Sergeant. I volunteered, expecting to come here. I’d hoped to apply for Officer Candidate School after returning to the States,” Boyd said.
“I don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting that appointment. General McCaskill will support you, particularly after last night’s performance,” Russell said.
Flynn nodded his agreement and was about to add his comments when a clerk tapped on the door and stuck her head inside.
“Sir, the Sergeant Major told me to alert you: General McCaskill’s helicopter has just landed.”
“Okay guys, let’s go meet the General,” Russell said.
McCaskill brought Kincaid with him into Russell’s office and Flynn asked the clerks to serve coffee all around. When the door shut, the General looked around.
“Vic, you out of Jack Daniels? I don’t have time to dine with you tonight.”
“No sir, Sergeant Major Flynn makes sure we never run low on… um…essentials.”
“Good! Let’s see what Art Kincaid has in that bag he’s carrying,” McCaskill said.
Everyone focused on the canvas bag as the zipper slid back. Kincaid reached inside and withdrew a bottle of fine champagne.
“There are two more of those in the bag. It’s the least I can do for your team, Vic. Sergeant Boyd, you did a superb job last night. You saved more than most people will ever know. Let’s wait until you tell me the story and then pop the cork on the bubbly.” the General said.
Russell and Flynn marveled at the relaxed, but respectful narrative Boyd presented.
As usual, the burly general took notes on a pocket-sized pad. When Wil had completed his tale, McCaskill looked at the other men in the room. No one volunteered more.
“Any of you have questions? If not, I have a couple. Sergeant Boyd, what was that flash that the sensors on Spectre and the UAV saw through Dostrem’s tent right after you entered?”
Boyd told the story he’d told Russell and Flynn.
“Damn, son, given the nature of what was in that SUV, it scared the shit out of us until you called and said you were on the way out,” McCaskill said.
“General, may I open the champagne now?” Kincaid said.
“Sure, I only have one more question. Pass out the glasses.” Boyd waited, unruffled.
“The pilot who picked you up said you had bloody scratches on your face and neck. I don’t see anything now.”
“Oh, Sir, those were only tiny things like you may get when you shave. I heal quickly, always have,” Wil said.
“Well, we won’t have any evidence to apply for a Purple Heart, but I’m putting you in for a Silver Star. Congratulations, Sergeant.”
All toasted the vampire warrior.
Although McCaskill watched him with searching eyes, he asked no more questions aloud.
Several glasses of wine later, the General stood up.
“Gentlemen, as much as I’d like to stay longer, I have to leave. By the time I get back, there’ll be questions from Washington about what I’ve heard here. I have the answers I need.”
Kincaid opened the door for him, but the general waved him to shut it. His tone had changed and could have been echoes from the forging of a steel blade.
“Vic, your team needs to stay ready. The word is already out that the Taliban is pissed. The device they were buying is the simplest type; it had only two nuclear elements. You, Sergeant Boyd, took one component of their great prize, but they’re planning to replace it – and soon.