“Here” – I pointed at the place on the map spread open on the table between us; “We will come in from the east, along this defile. It gets shallower about a quarter-mile from the edge of the perimeter, but it is wetter, too, and thick with shoulder-tall reeds, so we will have good cover for the entire approach.”
The other three nodded silently. I could tell they were nervous, but still hoped they would be able to man up and keep it together out there tonight. None of us had ever executed a night-time incursion into a secure compound before – we were database analysts, not mercenaries – but the time had come for action to be taken, and we knew of no one else we could delegate this particular action item to. So, three arduous days of clandestine shopping later, we were outfitted in black combat pants and jackets, our faces painted, nylon equipment belts laden with gadgets. I hadn’t mentioned to the others that I was packing two Glocks: a 9mm G18 with a pre-ban magazine at the back of my waistband and a .45 caliber G36 on the inside of my left ankle. No need to make them worry this was going to get heavier than they were ready to handle. They would find that out soon enough.
‡ ‡ ‡
It hadn’t been my idea to bring Lawson on board for the data migration project. I hadn’t liked him in the panel interview, and something about his resume had stunk to me. But there was nothing concrete to point to, and the other folks on the hiring panel had loved him, so he was in. Never mind I was the only one of the three that would actually have to work with the guy; those front office types always get their way with stuff like that.
He was there almost two weeks before I figured out what he was up to. He took a lot of bathroom breaks, although with the epic hours we were working, and the liquid delivery of caffeine that we were relying on to do so, we were all up and down from our workstations a fair bit. But it’s natural to take extra notice of the new guy, and like I said, I had a bad feeling about him from the start, and was looking for validation on that. Unfortunately, when I found that validation, it jumped me right past the “I told you so” phase and into shopping for night-vision goggles and black hats.
To Be Continued…