OM2: Not Quite Ordinary
by Paul Diaz
by Paul Diaz
Chapter 9: Signs of Life
Erick woke up and looked around, he noticed the tent was still and all he could hear were the mild snores. The sandstorm was over so he stepped outside to be greeted by the blinding sun. Erick stretched his arms and took a deep breath, before he could exhale he froze and his jaw dropped.
Erick wiped his eyes as he could not believe what he was seeing. There in front of their tent was Rahim, tied up to a chair and fast asleep. He quickly got back inside the tent, took his firearm and silently woke the others. “Everyone get your gear on, I think we have a situation outside” he whispered.
A minute later everyone was suited up, they got on all corners of the tent and on Erick’s signal they moved out slowly. “Fan out everyone, move carefully” he ordered and his troop had their guns pointed as they fanned out to check the perimeter.
“This is Desert Frank 1 requesting for satellite imaging on our location” Erick said on the radio as his men kept guard. “Sir, the coast is clear” one soldier said. “We better make sure, do we have it yet?” Erick said and the soldier handling the laptop showed him the satellite image of their location. “No signs of bad guys around Major” the soldier replied.
“Everyone hold your position, two of you check out his body if its booby trapped” Erick commanded and two soldiers carefully checked the body of Rahim. One soldier gave the thumbs up and Erick approached their target. “What the hell is going on here? Did they just give him up?” he asked and the soldiers laughed.
“Sir I think we have something, it’s a hard drive” one soldier said and Erick stepped back and looked worried. “Are you sure that is a hard drive? Maybe that is a bomb” he said and the soldier laughed. “Yes I am sure sir, I have one just like this. It’s a portable hard drive” the soldier replied. “I was just kidding you! Okay go check what is on it” Erick instructed.
Erick walked towards Rahim and noticed an envelope attached to his chest. “To Valiant” he read so he quickly took the envelope and looked around. Erick could not believe his eyes, there were only four people who him that and the three he is sure are hundreds of miles away.
“Everyone at ease! Head back!” he instructed. “Sir, are you sure?” one soldier asked and the Major smiled and nodded his head. “Check out if he is the real Rahim, and will someone prepare breakfast!” Erick told them as he quickly walked towards the back of one tank and opened the envelope.
“To Valiant, Happy Birthday my friend. I know you are surprised but I will explain everything soon. So, this one is on me buddy. I am sure you will know what to do” the card inside said and Erick was in tears. Even though there was no name included he well knew who sent the card. Seconds later he started laughing and he let out a shout of relief.
“Sir! Are you alright?” one soldier asked as Erick quickly hid the card. “Hell yeah! Gather everyone inside the tent immediately” he said and he still kept laughing.
Inside the tent, Erick was still in a good mood as the last two soldiers got in. “Where is he?” he asked. “tied and secured inside one of the tanks sir” one soldier said and the major nodded. “Men! We have to get our story straight, so this is what happened” Erick told them as he narrated to them what they supposedly had done.
After talking everyone was still shocked, “But sir we didn’t do anything” one commented. “I said we did it, get your head straight boy!” Erick countered. “Okay sir but who could have done this? His own men?” one asked and the major grinned. “One of ours” he told them and his soldiers paused.
“Oh my God, you all have to see this” one said as he showed the rest the images on the laptop. It was the satellite image of Rahim’s palace and everyone noticed the hole on the roof. “How can one of us do that alone and bring him here?” one soldier asked and the more Erick grinned. Everyone started to look at each other as the soldiers were still baffled. “Sir are we the only ones after Rahim, or is there another troop? If there is all I can say is they are damn good, look I don’t think even Rahim’s guards have noticed him gone” one soldier told him.
“Trust me, he is one of us” Erick said. “Come on sir, if you know something tell us. How are we supposed to stick to our story when there is something else bothering our minds?” one soldier said. “If I told you, you all would not believe me” Erick said. “Try us!” one quipped and Erick looked at him.
Erick brought out his birthday card and showed his men, “Oh we forgot! Happy Birthday sir!” one shouted. “Stupid! Look closer” another soldier commented as everyone moved closer and looked at the card. “Frank! That is Frank’s hand writing!” one said and the whole tent erupted in cheers and disbelief.
“Is he alive?” one asked. “Dumb ass of course he is, but sir how?” another asked. “Trust me I really don’t know how but I sure am happy as hell knowing he is alive” Erick told them and the more laughter and glee filled everyone. “I knew it! I always knew there was something different with Frank” one said. “Wait!” one shouted and everyone looked at him.
“So does this mean that he is…” he said but Erick stopped him. “Whatever he is he will explain everything to us I know. For now we have to keep this to ourselves. So as I have explained earlier we hit the palace with great skill and precision” the major told them. “Hell yeah! No fires shot even” one commented and they all started laughing.
“We have enough time to get out stories straight. Call the base and request for extraction, and tell them we have Rahim” Erick commanded.
Hundreds of miles away from the desert, William was busy conversing with his five allies. The six of them obviously enjoying as they watched their stocks rise in value. “I told you gentlemen this was effortless” William boasted. “Don’t worry William we left you some” one said and again everyone laughed.
Tina entered the room and William got angry. “Don’t you know how to knock? I told you to never enter when we are having a conference!” he told her. “I am sorry sir but I am sure you will want to hear this” she said. “What is it?” William asked.
“They have Rahim” Tina said and the man’s jaw dropped. “Did I hear her right? Who has Rahim?” one man on the screen asked. “The troops have him” Tina clarified and William could not believe it. Tina set her laptop in front of William as she showed him the troops request for extraction. “How did this happen?” he asked. “William! Is this true?” one man asked.
“It seems so. Tina show me the satellite coverage of Rahim’s palace” William said and a few seconds later he saw what the troops saw. “I don’t believe this” he said as he started to dial his phone. “Hello! Will you go check on Rahim” William said on the phone. “Sir he is still asleep in his room” the man on the line said. “I said go check on him now!” William snapped and signaled Tina to leave the room.
A minute later William could hear panic on the other end so he hang up the phone and slammed his desk. “You told us you had everything under control!” one man said. “I did! I never saw this coming. How should I know that the troop was going to invade during the sandstorm. As of last communications they said they were standing down for the moment to let the storm pass” William told them.
“So are we in trouble?” one man asked. “Obviously! He has not even told Rahim of our leverage on him. Now we cant talk to Rahim and tell him we have his family. What are we going to do William?” another man replied.
“We have to kill him” William said and the others were surprised. “How are you going to do that when we cant get to him now” an elder man asked. “Leave it to me, they are bringing Rahim here so once he sets foot on this country he is good as dead” William said. “What if he talks before he gets here?” one asked.
“I don’t think they would have time to speak to him. They are occupied at the moment and their priority is to get him here to be tried” William explained. “Are you sure you will be able to get him?” a man asked and William stared at him. “Consider him dead” he said as he shut down the monitors.
Tina entered the room and looked at her boss, “Tina, I want you to follow every movement and communication of that troop. Send some men to greet Rahim upon his arrival and make sure he does not get to set foot on this country. If he does make sure its not only his foot that sets ground” William ordered and Tina nodded her head.
At the FBI office, Team Frank was having a late night conference as they were getting nowhere with their case. John suddenly pumps his fist on the air as everyone looked at him. “What is it John?” Yehleen asked and he showed them his laptop screen. “They have him!!!” he yelled.
Jennifer stood up and grabbed the laptop to confirm what John told them. Yehleen was in tears as she hugged her fiancée who was still pumped up with the news. Jennifer closed her eyes and bowed her head as tears started falling from her eyes. “Congratulations, its late so we better continue tomorrow” Ed said as he and Kevin left the conference room.
Yehleen and John moved closer to Jennifer and comforted her, “They have him Jen” Yehleen whispered. “Thank you Erick” Jennifer whispered as she wiped her tears. “Wait! Isnt it Erick’s birthday today?” Yehleen asked. “Oh yeah! Don’t worry they are coming back. When he gets lets throw him a big party” John said but Jennifer again bowed her head.
“Whats wrong Jen?” Yehleen asked. “He has done something, he found the mastermind. He is useful, but we are not” she said. “Don’t say that Jen, I am sure we are going to crack this case. It just happened that Erick caught him first which is good right?” John said.
“No! I wanted to be the one to catch Rahim, I kept wishing that he was just here in our country so I could look for him” Jennifer explained and Yehleen hugged her. “I know exactly what you are feeling, even I and John want the same but he was so far away and only Erick and his men could be able to do that. I know you wanted this badly but so did we” Yehleen told her.
“Yeah, still I wanted to be the one” Jennifer said as she looked at the two and smiled. “Its getting late, we should go home and continue this tomorrow” John said so the three went home.
Back at home Jennifer could not sleep, she got up and stared at her digital clock. It was only one in the morning so she laid back down and sighed. Seconds later her phone rang so she quickly got up and answered it.
“Hello Jen” the voice on the other end said. “Erick is that you?” she asked and the man laughed. “Sorry for waking you up” Erick told her. “No, no I was awake. Congratulations and happy birthday” Jennifer said. Erick laughed and Jennifer stood up and walked to the terrace.
“I called because I need you help” Erick said. “My help?” Jennifer asked. “Yes, let me explain” the major said as he began to explain. As Erick was speaking Jennifer noticed something on the terrace floor. She knelt down and saw sand.
Jennifer looked around and didn’t understand why there was sand on the floor. After Erick spoke she had to let Erick repeat everything since her mind was wandering. “Okay, I will get the group” Jennifer said. “Jen, this is a secured line so keep a low profile” Erick told her. “Yes I know, leave it to me” she told him.
“Oh okay so I will be seeing you in a few hours then” Erick told her. “Wait, there was sand in that place right?” she asked and Erick laughed. “Of course, it’s the Middle East Jen” the major said and Jennifer smiled. “Tell me how you did it” she said.
“Oh I can tell you all about it later” Erick said. “Did you get some help?” she asked. “Jen what are you talking about?” Erick asked and Jennifer laughed. “Oh nothing Erick, okay then I will see you later” she said as she turned off her phone.
Jennifer knelt down to observe the sand on the floor, she didn’t know how it got there so there was only one thing on her mind. She stood up and looked down and saw Papo looking up at her. “What are you looking at Papo?” Jen asked as she looked up but saw nothing. The dog started to bark so Jennifer looked at him, “Okay, head to the door and meet me there” she told Papo as she headed downstairs to let the dog inside.
The house roof was filled with sand as there lay Frank who was fast asleep.