Angry Apes Collection

'I guess you want that quick liberty.'

'Thank you, James.' Dutch Maxwell turned in his swivel chair and looked at the side panel affixed to his wall, blue aluminium from his F6F Hellcat fighter, with its even rows of red-and-white painted flags, each denoting a victim of his skill. It was his personal touchstone to his profession. 'Yeoman Grafton,' he called.

'Yes, sir?' a petty officer appeared in his doorway.

Cassius, he thought. No, that wasn't right. Casca, perhaps. But it was too late to change it now, and besides, who would have have seen the humor in it? Glazov reached in his pocket for his shopping list.

'Anacostia, Master Chief, the helo pad.'

'Gary, we're going to need that transport we talked about.'

'People like you need to be protected. You will be contacted when you get home.' George paused. 'Peter, I am a father. I have a daughter who is six and a son who is two. Because of your work, and mine, they will grow up in a much better world - a peaceful world. For them, Peter, I thank you. I must go now.'

'Yes, Admiral.'

'Anacostia, Master Chief, the helo pad.'

'Aye aye, sir.'

'Have my car come around, then call Anacostia. I need a helo in about fifteen minutes.'

'See you, George,' Henderson said. It caused George to turn and smile one last time.

'Gary, we're going to need that transport we talked about.'

Maxwell's car was waiting at the River entrance, a master chief aviation bosun's mate at the wheel. 'Where to, sir?'

'Make signal to Admiral Podulski on Constellation: Olive Green.'

Vice Admiral Winslow Holland Maxwell, USN, rose from his desk and headed out the side door into the E-Ring corridor. His first stop was at the office in the Air Force's section of the building.

'Yes, Admiral.'

Maxwell's car was waiting at the River entrance, a master chief aviation bosun's mate at the wheel. 'Where to, sir?'

'There is danger involved. You know that,' George warned. It was a struggle not to react, but now that Henderson was indeed swallowing the hook, he had to set it firmly.

Kelly was working on his woodcraft, again, as he'd been doing for several weeks. He'd picked his weapons load-out in the fervent hope that he would not need to fire a single shot. The primary weapon was a CAR-15 carbine version of the M-16 assault rifle. A silenced 9mm automatic went into a shoulder holster, but his real weapon was a radio, and he would be carrying two of those, just to be sure, plus food and water and a map - and extra batteries. It came out to a twenty-three-pound load, not counting his special gear for the insertion. The weight wasn't excessive, and he found that he could move through the trees and over the hills without noticing it. Kelly moved quickly for a man of his size, and silently. The latter was a matter of where he walked more than anything else, where he placed his feet, how he twisted and turned to pass between trees and bushes, watching both his path and the area around him with equal urgency.

'Thank you, James.' Dutch Maxwell turned in his swivel chair and looked at the side panel affixed to his wall, blue aluminium from his F6F Hellcat fighter, with its even rows of red-and-white painted flags, each denoting a victim of his skill. It was his personal touchstone to his profession. 'Yeoman Grafton,' he called.

'Anacostia, Master Chief, the helo pad.'

'I'll take my chances. It's worth it.'

Overtraining, he told himself. You should take it easier now. He stood erect and headed down the hill, surrendering to his instincts. He found the Marines training in small groups, miming the use of their weapons while Captain Albie consulted with the four helicopter crews. Kelly was just approaching the site's LZ when a blue Navy helo landed and Admiral Maxwell emerged. Kelly, by chance, was the first one there. He knew the purpose and the message of the visit before anyone had a chance to speak.

'See you, George,' Henderson said. It caused George to turn and smile one last time.

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