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Authors: Glen Tate

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BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
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Edwards turned to Ted and asked, “What’s your background?”

“1st Group, sir,” Ted said, referring to his former Special Forces unit at JBLM, knowing that Edwards would know who 1st Group was. “Me and a former ODA team member of mine,” Ted said pointing to Sap, “trained these guys.” ODA referred to an “operational detachment alpha” or A-team, which was the twelve-man Green Beret team that went out into the field and trained guerillas. “I’m proud of this unit, sir.” Ted said, making sure all the soldiers could hear it. It was true, and the 17th needed a little credibility boost with the regular military.

Edwards was relieved. At least these irregulars had some good training. Ted introduced Sap. Better yet, thought Edwards. This irregular unit had two SF trainers.

They talked about the 17th’s capabilities. Edwards acknowledged that, despite the irregular nature of the unit, there were some good soldiers in the group. Edwards met the Team and was fascinated by them. It was very unusual to come across a group of civilians who had that kind of gear and carried themselves that way. Edwards was trying to figure out Grant. It was also so unusual for a regular Army guy like Edwards to work with an irregular commander, especially one with no prior military experience. Not to mention he was also a lawyer.

Ted told Edwards the story about how the Team had done the scouting work. Grant told the story about how they had found the spy at Delphi Road and administered just the right amount of force.

Finally, after they were done swapping stories, Edwards asked Grant the big question.

 

Chapter 299

Volunteers

(January 2)

 

 

“Any of your guys want to volunteer to join Bravo Company in the assault on the capitol?”

They were off to the side where no one could hear them. Edwards didn’t want rumors to fly around. The commanders had to control the flow of information on things like this.

“Of course,” Grant said. He wasn’t thrilled about his unit being handed over to another commander, but “his” men weren’t really his. They belonged to the mission.

“How many do you need here?” Edwards asked. The question reminded Grant of a used car salesman asking a customer “what kind of payments can you make?”

“I’d need at least half,” Grant said. “Five squads. I need my Quadra radio man. I need my medic. I need my Chairborne unit.” Grant explained that term to Edwards. The Chairborne people wouldn’t be much help in active combat, but would make the civil affairs mission go much smoother.

“I need my cook,” Grant said. “Oh, and I need my RED HORSE and his guys,” he said, referring to Don, the Air Force guy who was a whiz at setting up and maintaining bases, and all the guys Don had helping him on wiring, plumbing, base defense, and everything else. Everything they needed to have that brewery running as an HQ, and everything they’d need to get Olympia back up and running as they did their civil affairs mission.

“What about the Team?” Edwards asked. He wanted them.

“They are free to volunteer,” Grant said reluctantly. He wanted his guys to stay with him. He wanted to go through this adventure with them. He wanted them to protect him, but he knew he couldn’t pry them away from a mission like taking the capitol.

“Okay,” Edwards said. “I’d like five of your squads. I’d like one of your SF guys to lead them.”

“Sap,” Grant said. “He can do it. I need Ted here to tell me what to do.”

“Roger that,” Edwards said, appreciating Grant’s candor. Bullshit had no place in a serious situation like this. The absolute truth was required. The truth that people could bet their lives and their buddies’ lives on.

They made plans for half of the 17th to join with Bravo Company. They would leave in two hours. It was 4:04 a.m. now. It would still be dark in two hours. They would be able to leave fed and a little rested, which was a huge advantage.

The next two hours were a whirlwind. Grant, Ted, and Sap coordinated who would leave, what gear they would need, and what people and gear needed to stay behind.

Edwards assumed this would be an organizational nightmare—a “cluster fuck,” as they called it in the military.

It wasn’t. The 17th’s squads were so well integrated with each other that people knew what to do. They formed into new squads, which were very similar to their old squads.

The next thing was for the 17th squad leaders to integrate with the Bravo Company squad leaders. The semi-trained irregulars of the 17th would be taking orders from Bravo Company leaders. This should be interesting, Edwards thought. But, then again, the military organized itself in a way that made it much easier for new people to plop into a unit and work as a team. It was designed that way.

It was almost 6:00 a.m. and time to ship out. Grant went down to the first floor where all the coordinating was going on. He saw Pow, who came over and gave Grant a bro hug.

“We’re doin’ it, man,” Pow said with a smile. “We’re goin’ in.”

“You’ll do great,” Grant said. “Show these regular Army guys what some UCGs can do,” referring to their joking designation of “Untrained Civilian Goofballs.” “Oh,” Grant said, “and take care of the boys for me,” referring to the rest of the Team. “Bring ‘em back, brother.”

“Roger that, brother,” Pow said. “Roger that,” he repeated as he straightened up his posture. Pow paused and then threw out his hand as if to say, “It’s nothing.”

“We’ve done lots of shit that we weren’t supposed to know how to do,” Pow said with a grin.

“I’d go with you,” Grant said, “but…”

Pow cut him off. “Don’t give me this. You’re not wimping out, dude. You have some shit to do here. That’s been the big plan all along. You do your thing; we’ll do ours.”

Pow looked Grant right in the eye and said in a serious tone, “You have skills, Grant. The Man Upstairs wants you to do some things here. Do them.”

That was the most serious thing Pow had ever said to Grant. Normally, Pow talked like a surfer dude, but not now. He was serious about this.

“Will do,” Grant said. “And, if you come back from the capitol and I’m not here because I cut myself on some paperwork and bled to death,” they both laughed, “well, thanks for getting my family out of Olympia. ‘Gonna eat that pickle?’ Classic, dude. Classic. You guys risking it for my family meant everything. Thanks.”

“What?” Pow asked with a questioning expression. “This isn’t some goodbye, dude. Don’t even talk that way. We’ll be back in a couple hours. Couple days, tops.” Pow smiled his beaming smile of confidence.

By now, Scotty, Bobby, Ryan, and Wes had assembled around Pow. It was time to go. They all bro hugged Grant. The Bravo Company guys thought it was weird for some contractor-looking guys to be bro hugging a commanding officer, but whatever. They
were
an irregular unit.

“Let’s go!” yelled one of the Bravo Company squad leaders, and off they went. No one from the 17th looked back. They wanted to, but didn’t want to look like wusses.

As they started walking off toward combat, none of them could possibly imagine what was going to happen in the next two hours. None of them saw it coming.

 

Chapter 300

“Kah-mah-la-malik!”

(January 2)

 

 

It was strangely quiet at the brewery after Bravo Company and half of the 17th left. It was noisy in one sense—radio traffic, people running around coordinating things, everyone asking Ted and Grant to make decisions—but it was quiet in another sense. Not seeing half the unit around was weird.

Grant had thought of a lot of scenarios over the past few months for combat in Olympia, but half his unit getting poached by a regular unit wasn’t one of them. He felt nervous. He always had a plan for everything. Everything. But not for this. He used plans like a crutch in stressful situations, and he didn’t have his crutch now. Everything seemed chaotic. And he was tired, which amplified his emotions.

Grant motioned for Jim Q. to come over. “Tell HQ that civil affairs is up and running in the brewery.” Jim Q. started talking in his code, but Grant heard “brewery” in English as he had before.

A reply came back on the radio. Jim Q. said, “Boston Harbor says they’ll start sending civil affairs assets and problems here. We’re the official civil affairs operation.” Jim Q. smiled. He was very proud of the people he was with.

More weird language on the radio. “We should be getting some MREs here on a couple of trucks. One white pick-up and one black one.”

Ted was way ahead of Grant. “Let the perimeter know,” he told a runner.

“Tell HQ that I could use a field kitchen and some more food here, too,” Grant said. “We can feed our forces and civilians.” Jim Q. started relaying those messages.

There were trucks and troops, friendlies, arriving now. There were so many of them that they stopped trying to identify the good guys. Everyone was a good guy. Grant was starting to get the feeling that there weren’t any bad guys around.

Grant looked at his watch. It was 7:58 a.m. and the sun was finally up.

“Boom!” The explosion was so loud and deep that it shook everything in the brewery. It was far off, but still. Very powerful. Gunfire erupted in the distance, right in the direction of the capitol. It was a full-on pitched battle with what sounded like hundreds of shooters, not the random pops they’d been hearing all night. It sounded like a major assault. Bravo Company was probably in on it. Grant prayed for his guys. He prayed for all the Patriots, but especially for his guys.

Grant tried to keep acting normal. He didn’t want his people to get alarmed.

“What the hell was that?” someone on the fourth floor asked. Everyone was quiet so Jim Q. could hear the radio and tell them.

Jim Q. shrugged. There were no reports yet.

The noise of the activity kept going, like the delivery of MREs, but people weren’t talking much. They were listening.

A few more minutes passed. Everyone was pretending to concentrate on their work but most were really straining their ears for word of what had happened. And what might be happening.

“Kah-mah-la-malik!” a jubilant voice came on the radio speaking in Jim Q.’s language. He was bursting with joy. “Kah-mah-la-malik!” he kept repeating.

Grant had no idea what “kah-mah-la-malik” meant, but it must be really good news.

“Victory!” Jim Q. yelled. “The Limas in the capitol buildings surrendered!”

Everyone started jumping and yelling. It was the happiest moment of Grant’s life. He felt guilty admitting that. The happiest moment of his life was supposed to be the birth of his children, but this was better. The horror was over. Things would be fixed. Finally. Finally.

“That quick?” Grant asked Ted. “How the…”

“Weird shit happens,” Ted answered with a huge smile on his face. “We knew the Limas were weak here, but twenty-four hours? That’s all it took? Wow.”

“The Limas detonated their ammo storage,” Jim Q. said breathlessly, relaying the reports he was getting from HQ. “That’s what the big explosion was.”

Grant looked out the windows facing the capitol buildings. There was a big black mushroom cloud rising in the early morning sky. He’d never seen a mushroom cloud. He always had associated them with nuclear explosions, but a large conventional explosion apparently could cause one, too.

Grant just watched the mushroom cloud. He’d waited years to see that. He’d worked and worried for years. He’d risked his job, then his marriage, then his life for this. And it just happened. A giant cloud of smoke slowly climbing into the air.

The gunfire was starting to die down. It sounded like some desperate people fired everything they had, some confident people returned fire, and then the desperate people dropped their guns. At least that’s how Grant hoped it was going.

Suddenly, the lights came on. Whoa. Grant looked at the other brewery buildings, the ones that were supposedly locked. The lights were on in those, too.

“What the hell?” Grant yelled.

Just then Don, the RED HORSE airman, came running into the fourth floor observation point.

“Ta da!” Don said. He took a bow. “You can thank me later.”

“How did…” Ted started to ask.

Don shrugged and then smiled. “I got skills. My guys got skills.”

Don looked at Grant, “I took the liberty of breaking into all the surrounding buildings and getting the electricity going. Water’s up and running, too. I thought we could use the facilities for all that will be coming our way.” He smiled and said to Grant, “I assume that was okay with you, Lieutenant?”

“Fuck yes, it was okay!” Grant yelled. “Oh – fucking - kay, indeed.” Grant wanted to hug Don, but that wouldn’t be appropriate. Oh, what the hell. He ran over and bro hugged Don. Not a full hug, just a bro hug. Hey, they were an irregular unit. They could do things like that.

Another coincidence, Grant thought. Right now, when wounded prisoners and civilians would be streaming to the only functioning civil affairs operation in the city, they suddenly had electricity and water.

You have a lot of people to help in the next few hours and days. I am helping you help them.
Grant felt that instant calm come over him. He felt the goose bumps on his arms. He soaked in the feeling of hearing from the outside thought, and knowing he was doing what he was supposed to be doing. He realized he needed to get back to work, so he turned to Jim Q.

BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
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