Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chapter 7

A test of true belief – A test of time
Chapter 7 by Tobias Nixon

Advanced Recon Desert Camp, 8:34:04, just North-West of Mogadishu, Somalia

Davis woke sweating from the dream. It had been so vivid. He had been in the dreaming. The place had a distinctively different quality from a regular dream. The elders had taught him to recognise this essential quality of the dreaming versus that of a dream that was just inside your head. They believed that entering the dreaming was a life and death journey because it was a realm just like the samsara of our own reality, and that it was connected to each body by life force. He was fully conscious and able to recreate the reality around him just as he had been taught by the elders.

For Davis, as a dream walker, the act of sleeping was simply a gateway into another type of reality. Being a highly productive individual, as soon as he had discovered this control at the age of twelve, he had put it to work. Closing his eyes had suddenly meant he could be practising; homework, new languages, his passion for finance even different approaches to handling people, rather than just taking a nap.

Once you know it is what is behind those walls, there will come a time when you will stop walking into the next room. Once you know this you will tear down those walls and change them into anything you want. It is at this point that you will become the master of your own reality and enter into the realm of the dreaming.
The voice of bear so small it sounded tiny, hardly there at all.

Davis had known this each time he went to sleep. To dream was to be awake in one’s own mind. Nothing could intrude, into a realm in which he was a god, capable of building up and tearing down the world around him with equal measure. Always though he had thought of it as something he did, inside his own mind, unaffected by the outside world.

Now though he was awake, sitting up, feeling the perspiration of a cold sweat. He thought back immediately to the dream, reminding himself of every detail of it, as he had been trained to do. The world had been a desert, nothing lived in that world, or so he thought. He felt he had been wandering for aeons across that dusty plain. Eventually he would cross this place he thought, and at once he was somewhere else just across the plain on the other side in the shadows of a great rock. Uluru reared up from the desert floor, fifty times more massive in dream than in samsara, its towering height reached up to the skies like Everest. The elders had told him it was still dreaming of younger days when it was a mountain.

Davis had smiled recognising as all dreamers of the Australian bush do this signpost. The great rock spirit was a favourite meeting point for entering the dreaming together. Today there was only one other. He appeared as a kindly old man. A visage of a man that instantly touched his heart, for Davis had known this man from when he was a pup.

The eldest of the tribe, old man Tribett, had taught Davis in ways of his tribe since he could remember. At first Bear and Cub had taken up his training, mainly since the elder Tribett couldn’t speak English very well. Then later once Davis was able to enter the dreaming on his own, it was Elder Tribett that had instructed Davis directly via the dreaming. It was Davis’s first taste of the power of the dreaming realm, where all languages effectively became one if you used the correct mental trick.

Feeling such a comforting presence Davis had felt relaxed, and yet the old man had pointed, then suddenly the two of them were far from Ayers rock. They stood at the start of a dreaming trail. Connecting the outback to the dreaming, these pathways acted as conduits for mixing the life force of reality with the power of the dreamtime. The indigenous peoples believed it was what gave them their connection with the land even after they died.

This trail was different. It ran somewhere else. As Davis used his dream sight, looking down the path, it went black. Everything went black, as a tidal wave of rage-hatred came flooding towards him like a black tidal flow of the blackest bile. Within that blackness small creatures stirred. Each wanted nothing more than to bight and tear with beak or claw. Just looking at the hideous visage was enough to inspire fear. Most disconcerting perhaps, was the fact that the longer you looked at the hideous tumble of creatures the more you began to realise it was really one big chaotic entity, unbound by the trans-dimensional realities that pervaded samsara. An entity never designed to deal with the physics of gravity or entropy.

In front of them two small figures loped. They never stopped moving. Scant metres distant from the leading edge of the monstrosity. Blurs yet Davis was positive, it was Bear and Cub! But these were dead men in their dream bodies coming toward him. He wanted to scream with joy, but like everything about reality it was suppressed, a vaguely abstract feeling of tenderness bound within the dreaming boundary.

The elder Tribett, smiled, then pointed again in the distance, it was just beyond the end of the path. Now Davis was really scared. What he saw seemed to be like a portal. A maw within reality had opened up and was extending along the pathway in front of the running bears. It was just as well the nearest claw was only moments from Cubs legs.

At the last moment as it seemed that truly both would be lost to the tearing of the hideous ball of things that chased them, the old man Tribett reached out his wizened hand. Suddenly he was right next to them, pulling them with a mighty bulging arm of pure muscle flesh, taunt and writhing from exertion. His whole body was huge like a modern day Hercules. Every muscle seemed tensed, the body was beautiful. A walking 3d Michelangelo brought to life.

He jerked them away from the creatures, and then in the next movement flung them forward toward the gaping maw of the portal. It rushed to greet them. Ejecting the two of them out into some form of reality beyond the dreaming realm, where the end of the pathway led.

Just as he felt the chains of samsara tugging at him, the still herculean Tribett brushed a hand softly onto Davis’s left shoulder pressing down.

Be careful young cub your fate is your own, but a being of evil intent even now tries to stalk your dreams. He is as powerful as me, and is the leader of the Blue Tiger clan. He cannot touch you in the dreaming where you are stronger, but in that reality [points away from Davis at receding edge of the dreaming] he can cut you down as easily as a babe. He will carry a dark blade; do not let it touch you. It’s cut is pure death.

He leapt with a start once more, for those images of his father, his uncle, his spiritual grandfather, they had seemed so real. Memories, nothing more. Just a lucid dream. His father. His uncle. They were dead. Weren’t they?

All these lessons he had pushed deep down inside were starting to leak out at an alarming rate. Always he had assumed they were part of his crazy hippie childhood. The last couple of days had made Davis realise that the line between the dreaming and samsara was not as defined as he had believed. Walls existed that could be broken down. Great powers existed, ones that had fealty to neither good nor evil. They existed like all forces, to be used or abused as human leverage dictated.

One of the main reasons he had wanted to come here, apart from making sure Ronnie was safely stowed away with her relatives, was to get away from the crazy shit he had gone through in Sydney in the last day or so. He had wrongly assumed that the problem was localised, a product of fighting those shitbag ninjas. The problem was him, the more he confronted his fears the faster those fears rushed up to meet him.

He’d never wanted to use the old man as an excuse before, always he had looked up to his father as the man that had given his son a golden childhood of adventure, learning and a deep spiritual connection with the land of his birth. In some ways his father was another in a long line of Australian explorers of the bush. At some point you reached a line where you became a protector and a guardian, because in exploring the vast perfection of the Australian outback, all such adventurers discovered the knowledge and power that was held within its character, a character that in the process largely transformed their own. It was what the Aboriginals called being one with the land. It was not something they strove for, it was something that bound them by their own deep affection for it.

Takes time to master doesn’t it young pup? Bear’s words half-faded in the dusk.

Memories of his father bubbled up; Davis stifled a yawn and hopped out of the makeshift bed he had procured the night before. Everyone else was up, making breakfast from rat packs and dry stores dropped by cargo plane the week before. He had brought his own food, knowing that commandos tended to eat about as well as the rest of the army, in other words to a strict and somewhat healthy diet. Davis pulled the food out and took it over to where Aimee was already making hers.

“Ho Blackbear! How are you this fine morning?”  Davis smirked as he looked down at her.

“I’m fine. That looks breakfast of yours’ looks good, Davis.”

“Wanna share?” he said with a charmer’s smile and knowing wink in her direction.

“You’re not funny Davis, not even close. Why are you here anyway, apart from getting all Rambo and wanting to kill these bastards that is?” Aimee seemed to say it casually, but Davis knew it was anything but.

“I’ll be honest with you Blackbear dearest, going Rambo as you put it is only part of my motivation. As I already told you there was a major deal that my firm was negotiating just before I left for Abu Dhabi with you, Tim and Ronnie. It turns out that this deal has become somewhat mired in pirate trouble. I’ve been in contact with my customer and will be meeting up with him late this evening. I’ll keep in contact in case we find out anything useful.”

“So you intend to go after the pirates?”

“Yes” said Davis.

“Good luck, I guess you should know we have Intel on a secret tunnel into the building where they are holding the laser cutter and we believe the lattice uranium. We go in at midday.”

“Don’t go that way Aimee. It’s a trap.”

“What? Why did you say that Davis? What do you really know?”

“Look ask Tim ok, sometimes I have premonitions, if you can’t handle that level of craziness, just chalk it up to my intuition. Whatever. The point is you should at least split up your attack. That way if this place is a trap you won’t be left holding a complete shit sandwich.”

“You want me to just change our plans ‘cause you have feeling? You do realise what could happen if they are in there right now putting the finishing touches on a nuclear super bomb? It doesn’t even bare thinking about.”

“What about the alternative Aimee? Have you thought about that? There is only one way we can get out of this. We have to find that lattice crystal. What if it’s not inside, what if even now they are spiriting it away to another location in the city?”

“Our current Intel suggests all their actions to develop the tech capable of utilising this crystal require a scientist of Tim’s level of experience. We are actively tracking all such known individuals. They would need to relocate to Russia or China at this point to get anywhere close to someone else. No the guy inside that building is definitely up to something, even if he is not in direct possession of the crystal. Shutting this scientist down and interrogating him will in a worst case scenario should still some valuable insights and help us with recovery.”

“Ok. I’d just hate to see anything happen to Tim’s new girlfriend.” Davis smiled as he walked away.

Aimee’s high feminine cheeks had suddenly gone a lovely red, unnoticed as her head was hidden now within an oversized hoodie. Her eyes however were clearly visible, hurling daggers at his back.

He was off to arrange a meeting with a Russian boat, the Illuyuz’s, captain. Captain Albinilovoz had scheduled for a small boat to pick him up from the beach. He’d been given a GPS location and a time.

The trip was pretty uneventful, he’d had one of the SAS drop him at the beach, and then sat down to wait. He waited while the sun rose. He waited while the tide came in. The solitary nature of the beach helped calm his mind.

He adopted a meditation pose then, sitting cross legged in the full lotus position. His head raised, eyes closed he wanted to let the dreaming come to him while awake. He rarely tried to enter into a trance state while awake. Now though he wanted to understand something about these powers that seemed to be awakening within him.

Close your eyes young one. You must be courageous. When the fear seeps in, I will stand beside you, shoulder to shoulder. Now. Close your eyes young one, and keep them closed until the true darkness comes.
Cub was talking to him.

He sat straddled atop Bear’s massive chest. He was only seven years old, and crying uncontrollably, thinking of his mother. Why are you not here mum. Why did you leave?

He was once more a young care free boy. Caught up in a spiritual life, given him, by a father’s grand ambitions.

When the darkness comes tell me what you see, young one.
Cub now more insistent, his voice rising in pitch, taking on a noted urgency.
Tell me, release it, and be free, forever.

He let his mind go free.
Nothing comes when you concentrate little cub.
A still young looking Bear had said to Davis as a child. You must learn to let go. Make your mind empty of the very thing that you need to focus on. Let everything in your head fall away, until without trying the power flows within you.

Inside his head was empty, truly empty, even of the thought impulse to check if it was empty. What empty was. Was there something else called full? No matter for as such things seemed more distant, the eyes of his intent grew close.

The last and the first my friend, whichever comes in between. Words that had never made sense, not once, now seemed to crystallise his thoughts into action.

The purpose of the teaching is to make you have something to grab onto when you are past the point of help. I cannot go to that place with you Davis. Your spirit will guide you and protect you.
Bear had said this with great concern, looking genuinely worried at his young charge.

But we can show you how to get there. There is no eternal truth, only your own.
Cub whispering along the winds.

His insight stirred Davis into action. Closing his eyes, he marvelled at how the soft cold sand seemed to encompass his thoughts. Unmoved, absorbing anything that was not them. Like a sponge that held its shape. He sat smoothly upon a land washed clean by the ocean, given beauty by the sun, and made up of millions upon millions of tiny grains of sand.

There in the middle of his mind, was a black circle; he poured all his thoughts into it. More thoughts arose, he threw them in to. Still more came, he let go thinking only of the circle, forgetting even then, that he was supposed to be remembering something.

For a very long couple of seconds, the world stood still. The waves were paused mid break, a barrel stood unbroken upon the shore break. The blackness became a white light, and he felt a discernable pull as his spirit body began to drift above the body it was anchored to below. The circle was complete; it flared with white light as his spirit body drifted to a spot in the middle of it.

Davis looked around, and could see the desert in all directions. The distance his eyes travelled was far beyond the normal physical boundaries of the optic nerve. He looked now out to sea, and saw the Russian craft. It was easy to make out the white lettering, Illuyuz on the side. How could he not see them? He saw the small boat being launched into the sea.

He saw the captain, Albinilovoz, standing menacingly upon the deck, inspecting the forward fifty millimetre gun that was deck mounted. The ship was heavily armoured, having extra steel reinforcing added to the hull, an additional gun next to the first one, and a crew of the most cutthroat merciless ex-Russian soldiers you would ever find in this part of the globe. The mercs were all carrying scoped assault rifles and body armour.

Next he turned his gaze to the building that Aimee was currently planning to invade. He cast his sight inside, moving his spirit body to the front door and pushing in through the walls. Physical boundaries provided no barrier to a spirit. The body could move anywhere it wanted to, so long as he had seen it before. For some reason you didn’t need to see the inside, but if you hadn’t then you had to start outside. It was as he was entering that he felt a sharp pain. The pain intensified with each step he made until within cooee of the door strip it suddenly intensified and an invisible wall prevented him from making further progress. He assumed that one of the Blue Tiger ninjas must have put some type of protection on the building.

Ok, that wouldn’t work but maybe he could try something else. If they didn’t know about the tunnel? Would it work? He imagined the location of the entrance and was there. He quickly moved as a ghost through it until he reached the area where it connected to the buildings level 3 basement. The entrance to the building was open.

“Things are complicated because we imagine them to be that way. Things are simple because we don’t imagine them at all. Make yourself small and large Davis. Hold to the inside even as you slip beyond the farthest boundaries of reality.” Cub to Davis as they both sat in full lotus facing towards the western sun, as it set over Bangkok.

Davis moved back to the centre of the ground floor once he had finished his sweep. He was hovering half a metre from the ground. His spirit body was arched, powerful chest pumped out, arms splayed at his side forming a downward V shape. He began to let go again, thinking that this spot was so small, like a tiny dot in space. We think we know our bodies, but right then Davis had at once a body that was a tiny dot so small that the world around him was so massive it made him want to scream.

Davis made himself expand from the tiny dot, now his awareness was spread over the whole building, forcing its way into every part. He moved with the tenacity of a cat, looking around for people, their locations, what they carried and possible devices that could be used as bombs or booby traps. Finding nothing he moved on, scanning every available nook and cranny.

He swept through the building and located the scientist and his work, he hunted again for the crystal. Looking at the real world from the spirit realm actually made what he was doing easy he realised. The chi fields were visible, so any living thing gave off a distinctive aura or signature that could be identified by its size and shape in comparison to other such signatures. The mechanical and electrical systems that the scientist was building gave off no such signs.

He had hoped that the crystal would be here but he realised he had no way of knowing if it was. So having seen the giant laser cutter, he noted the booby traps one last time, then returned to his physical body. The last he achieved in the most bizarre way, rolling along a silver cord that seemed to go down instead of across, like you would expect if the body was travelling back across the desert to his actual physical locale.

He began entering everything into a small Galaxy tab using keyboard gloves. Once he was ready he made a conference call to Aimee and Tim, Aimee answering just a second quicker.

“What’s up now Davis?”

“Don’t be like that I have Intel, uploading the raw now Tim.” Davis said.

“I’m processing it. Woah! Is this for real Davis?”

“Of course mate, 100%. Now analysis it.”

“Did you get any indication from this that the Scientist might be there?”

Davis was about to say no, when he thought back to the moment, the moment he’d been a dot.


“No? Are you sure? These maps were drawn I assume with thermal imaging cameras, that’s the only way to explain what your sending me.”

“So what Tim?”

“So Davis! There’s no way of knowing that.”

“No. I know ok Tim? I know that he wasn’t there.” Davis said, not mentioning that it was because of Tim’s own very distinctive oversized chi field that he knew what to look for. The Scientist had not been there. Therefore it was logical that the crystal wasn’t either. Except nothing about the past 48 hours had been logical in any way. He wondered how Ronnie was going in Germany.

He closed his eyes. There was something amiss here. Every time they moved the enemy moved first. In war this level of preparedness was associated only with the greatest generals. It was safe to assume that the leader of Blue Tiger was an expert in the Art of war.

“Aimee? I need you to do a scan of the surrounding desert with satellites. Order full spectrum analysis. Tell them to go deep looking for masked heat signatures, up to ten feet below the surface of the ground.”

“Ok. But Davis?”

“If this is another one of your hunches, I am officially going to kill your ass when I see you next.”

“Aimee babe, who said you’re ever going to see me again? Well ok... maybe at Tim’s wedding. Peace out.”

He just caught the tail end of Aimee swearing like the trooper that she was as the encrypted link cut out into loud static.

The Illuyuz frigate, 16:45:02, The Gulf of Aden

Davis had climbed the rope ladder of the vessel around midday, making his way to the start of the bridge, where Captain Albinilovoz was waiting for him with a firm handshake, followed by a super strong Russian bear hug. The kind that broke men’s backs when friendly and typically, made them explode like jelly in tissue paper when, not.

The ship rocked with the sea. Lightly, but at her masters whim. The captain was nothing if not eccentric. Upon greeting Davis, he ushered him into a cabin that looked like something out of the sixteen hundreds. The cabin had been completely re-designed to be like that of a man o’ war gallery of yore. Wood panelling on every surface, a crystal chandelier dripping from the high ceiling, a map table covered in navigation aids of the sea.

They reclined like gentlemen, against the two green leather backed chairs in the room. This was not the only concession to luxury. Captain Albinilovoz smiled at Davis then nimbly jumped out of his chair and headed towards a large glass drinks cabinet. Pouring two double nips of vodka, he returned to his seat.

“So, Davis.”

Russian’s always left you hanging with that half greeting of theirs reflected Davis, he wondered idly if they did it deliberately to entice you into replying too early. Captain Albinilovoz continued.

“You want to hunt pirates, Ay?” Davis nodded his head faintly.

The Captains held his short glass untouched, it contrasted nicely with his breath which smelt faintly of vodka.

“Your company has assured me that you can be contracted to go after pirates, Captain Albinilovoz.”

“Ay, that is true. Best armed private vessel you’ll find in these waters.”

“And what of the pirates, that prefer hit and run tactics, and are invisible when hunted? Can you find them?”

With that the Captain let out a giant belly roar. His laughter was echoing within the tight confines of the cabin. His chair shook with his mirth. Pushing down, he rolled forward taking some of the weight from his back, pushing his neck up so he could look straight at Davis.

“What exactly do you think this is Mr Lockyer?” The Captain clipped slowly in a thick Russian accent.

Captain Albinilovoz continued on from this rhetorical question.

“The pirates are not ol’Blackbeard and co manning the four deck of a stolen frigate. No!” His voice seemed stronger now, the timbre taking on an intensity that compelled the listener to attention.

“Today’s pirate is a product of technology. They form raiding parties. Attacks are carried out in flat bottomed, fast attack boats that carry half dozen men. Grappling ladders with AK-47’s under the cover of darkness are the orders of any given day. Typically they will loot whatever they can fit into the boats. If the vessel is small enough they’ll take it back with them as well. Otherwise they take the crew hostage. In just one respect they are like the pirates of old.”

“Oh and in what way is that?” asked Davis.

“They are the blackest of curs, the most gutless bunch of seafaring dogs that you will ever meet. Most are taken young from their villages and raised to fight and steal by the age of twelve. They take hostages for ransom, and kill them if they don’t get paid inside a month. Sometimes they kill them anyway. Mostly though they hit and run, avoiding any target that is well defended, striking at night, constantly changing the direction of their attack. Fading into the night, back to their secret base.”

“They sound like a well organised gorilla force Captain. Perhaps you also have a plan for them?”

“I do, however alot depends on whether you are able to give me a fixed location on the hull of the ship.”

“Unfortunately we are unable to provide that information. It seems that while the ship has basic gps systems, they are not very accurate. We know the ship is close to shore, and can give you the location to within a twenty five kilometre area. Which I realise is quite a large distance. The pirates appear to have some type of sophisticated electronic counter-measure that can disable gps systems.” Davis paused, “So can you come up with a plan to get us that boat?”

“Yes. As I alluded to your colleague in Sydney, I have devised a way to locate their primary base. We will construct a ruse. Allow a vessel to be boarded and seized. The pirates will take cargo that is fitted with GPS, we will follow. You will go ashore and locate the missing boat, after you find it we will steam in, and provide close range support, while you get it under power.”

“An impressive plan Captain, however what other forces besides the pirates exist nearby?”

“Well there are those United Kingdom ships running around out in the deep water, and of course there’s a US aircraft carrier, which sits like a floating fortress outside of Yemen. From what we can see so far the British have deployed three destroyers, five frigates and two troop carriers. At least one of the troop carriers has been spotted in just the last week carrying out onshore operations, deploying soldiers and long range four wheel drives.”

“I’ve just heard from my colleague Firehead. He’ll be meeting us in ten hours via helo transfer directly to the aft deck. He’s organised the decoy ship to start making its way down the coast of Somalia tonight. He has also let me know he’ll be bringing along a team of his own.”

“I really do not care how many tourists you bring to my ship, Davis. Just keep them the hell out of my crews way and keep the rivers of gold flowing.” Ol Kap-e-tan said the last with a wry grin.

Advanced Recon Desert Camp, 17:05:04, just North-West of Mogadishu, Somalia

The team were geared up and ready to roll. Planning had been completed earlier in the day, with forces assigned to various assault positions around the building believed to house the uranium and the scientist. The British SAS had made contact and were preparing diversionary measures to draw the government forces away from the area.

Several vehicles had been rigged with explosives and were being driven into position. Later at a pre-planned time the cars would be destroyed, and along with smatterings of random gunfire, it was hoped should draw the ire of the local forces.

At the same time the force of SEAL and SAS troops led by Blackbear would begin their assault. A small force of two SAS would lead a daring raid up from the hidden tunnel, attempting to silence any sentries within. The main force would deploy from the roof. Easy-E had been camped up there for half the day already working tirelessly to cut a manhole in the roof using a handheld laser cutter. He reported no activity going into or out of the building. Ali Barba’s contacts continued to insist that nothing had left the building.

Aimee walked in a line with the Americans. Their rail gun rifles slung low, they sauntered along happy for the English boys to take point. One of the British was up far ahead, dropping disposable wifi breadcrumbs. These tiny devices acted as beacons and relay points, creating a mobile network as the team traversed from point to point.

The captain of the SAS turned to Aimee.

“Two kilometres ahead there is a small encampment of tribal warriors. They are Al Shaber, and will kill on site, if they recognise us as foreign troops. I suggest we go around them.”

Aimee responded, “The desert floor for the next twenty kilometres is dead flat, how do you propose we do that Captain? Unless you have a cloak of invisibility built into your suit as well?”

The captain grinned back at her, his good humour really was starting to become infectious. “I might do at that ma’am.”

So saying he walked slowly and started to shimmer His outline shifted to a blur, and, moments later he had simply disappeared from view. The effect was just like seeing the mirage of an oasis after days of thirst. It was impossible to deny the illusionary effect the eyes had witnessed.

“You will note that knowledge of the technology is classified beyond top secret. All operators are required to agree to explosive suicide measures in the event of capture, as it cannot be made available for reverse engineering. As commander of the team Blackbear you have been given the kill code authorisation. The short term ability of the suits to “go invisible” is what gave the squad the ‘Nightman’ designation.”

Sarge piped up at that point, “On second thoughts they can keep their hi-tech suits.”

The walked on towards the group of Al Shabab militia that were stationed ahead of them. Hard men who had the eyes of killers and the guns to match. Eyes that could not see the Nightman as he stood in their midst. Eyes that went past the shadow as it moved amongst the empty Bedouin tents. Never seeing the timed explosives placed carefully at each entrance near the dry goods and ammunition.

The team was now within four hundred metres of the camp. The remaining nightmen had moved into a defensive formation between the camp’s inhabitants and the approaching group of special forces. If the diversion didn’t work, they would have the wide open range of fire to pre-empt any similar action the enemy might take.

Aimee looked down at her encrypted ePad. The invisible Nightmen all had their encrypted locators enabled. She could see where they should be. In a small window to the side of the main display a text convo was taking place between several Nightmen.

The rest of the team of course had no clue as to their whereabouts, however one nice feature of the stealth suits was that the operator could pulse voice and text to others via a special mouth piece similar to the one used by the disabled.

The solo Nightman pulsed, “Explosives for diversion in place. Timer set to 10 seconds. On commander’s go.”

Aimee tapped her ePad texting back “go” to the SAS soldier. Immediately a digital timer counted down from ten.

Ten seconds later all hell broke loose. The last thing the occupants of the tent cluster were interested in was shadows moving in the desert beyond. Suddenly their transport, lodging and most of their ammunition and food were gone or in the process of exploding. Each man was out of his tent now, cursing and shouting. Each explosive eruption followed by echoes of men calling down empty threats on their enemies.

As Aimee walked past where her ePad told her the British were standing, she noted that the technology wasn’t perfect. One of the SAS must have been moving. In fact if her eyes weren’t playing tricks, he was saluting her. At least it seemed that way according to the outlines of a glass like arm that shimmered in the instant heat of four dusty fireballs that had once been cars. Unlike the Americans as mission commander she had already been briefed on all the capabilities at her disposal. The invisibility was nice but only lasted thirty seconds before requiring a one hour recharge, the advanced comms and counter measures were going to be very useful on the other hand.

The team moved off into the desert. The camp city was still thirty minutes away by the march.

Pirate Camp, 16:45:01, Somalian Coast

The pirate leader tossed noisily. Next to him on the king size bed a nubile twenty something lay stretched out in lingerie. Her dark smooth skin was half covered in blue silk sheets, her left side naked to the hot air. The pirate’s dreams were disturbed by a black dream. Men were coming, on boats to attack him. The dream repeated over and over. Each time he tossed more urgently on the bed. Several times his thrashing disturbed the ebony beauty next to him. The pirate paid no heed. He was locked in a battle now. Powerful forearms were straining against the bed; his whole midsection was rigid with the tension of fighting the nightmare.

He woke then unsure of whom he was. For the first time in a long time beyond his recall, very very much afraid. He climbed out of bed throwing clothes on as he rushed out the door of the tent.

Halfway through issuing instructions he began to think. It was just a dream, why was he worried. Because it had been both vivid and frequent and he was scared. So he called up his men and put them on alert. He had his guards ready his boat and leave it idling. Then he went back to his afternoon siesta, his companion already awake looking over at him with a mischievous grin.


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