Roland stood near the closed ramp of the Snake, rigged with parachute, M249 squad automatic weapon strapped tight to one side and dressed in a Level A hazmat suit. His fellow Nightstalkers made an over/under bet whether there actually was a nuke in the site he would be jumping down toward, and then whether it would go off when Roland landed on top of it.
Roland had big feet.
In the cargo bay, between the cockpit and the ramp where he waited, the other five members made their next bets . . . well, four, since Moms rarely joined any betting pool. She considered it unprofessional of a team leader to engage in pecuniary entanglements with team members. At least that’s the way Eagle, the pilot, explained it. On the other hand, maybe she had more important things on her mind, like the possibility of a nuke going off.
The ones taking the over on the detonation didn’t contemplate that none of them would be around to collect if they won.
“Fifteen minutes,” Eagle warned over the team net from the cockpit. “Depressurizing in two.”
“Check oxygen,” Nada ordered. All five in the cargo bay made sure their rigs were pumping oxygen into their hazmat suits from the internal bottles, then gave Nada the thumbs-up. “Ready back here,” he informed Eagle.
Moms held up a finger, cutting the betting chatter on the team net. Her head was cocked slightly to the side, which indicated she was listening in on the secure frequency back to the Ranch outside of Area 51. Which meant she was being briefed by their boss, Ms. Jones.
After thirty seconds, she nodded and spoke on the team net. “Doc, are you getting the alert message Ms. Jones forwarded?”
Doc was seated toward the front of the cargo bay, a laptop open. He’d pulled off his hazmat gloves so he could work the mouse pad and keyboard. “Yes. I have it,” he said in his clipped Indian accent. “It is most strange. I have never seen this alert code before. Rather archaic.”
“Figure it out,” Moms said. “ASAP.”
“Where did the alert show up?” Doc asked he typed. “Are we certain it’s nuclear related?”
“The indicator came on in the old command and
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish