Action/Adventure similar to Indiana Jones & the DaVinci Code.
May 22, 2012 – Langley AFB, Virginia
“What’s our destination Sir?” asked the pilot. He was one of the volunteer Arianni pilots and resembled a young Howdy Doody; big ears, freckles and wide sparkling eyes.
“Langley Air Force Base. It’s located near the city of Hampton, Virginia,” Chester replied. “We need to be there yesterday.”
The pilot looked puzzled.
“It’s an American expression,” Chester shrugged. “Meaning we need to get there as fast as possible. We have less than two hours to complete our mission before the general pulls the plug.”
The pilot looked puzzled again.
“Just get us there.” Chester smiled then walked back to the room where his Team was assembling their equipment and going over aerial photographs of the base. According to the Ranger Team Leader on the ground, the families were being kept in two houses on Flight Line Road. They were guarded around the clock by Secret Service Agents.
“When you said Langley, I thought you meant CIA headquarters,” Oddball stated. “Never heard of this Langley.”
“The Base is located north of Hampton, Virginia, and is home to the United States Air Force 1st Fighter Wing and the 480th Intelligence Wing.” Chester answered. “It also hosts the Air Combat Command, and the 192nd Fighter Wing. Back in the 1920’s Brigadier General Billy Mitchell led bombing runs from Langley over war ships anchored off the coast. These first successful tests set the precedent for the airplane's new role of strategic bombardment.”
“Why an Air Force Base and not some government complex?” The Geek asked.
Chester shook his head. He did not know the answer to the question. “We’ll land in the Chesapeake Bay and move underwater to the Base. We’re scheduled to meet the Ranger Team on the north side of the Base where they have several pleasure craft rented to pick us up. This is a huge recreational area so we shouldn’t have too much trouble. Our biggest difficulty will be making an underwater exit from this aircraft. The airship will hover just below the surface so we will have to enter the water and float up to the waiting boats.”
“How do we get out of the aircraft sir?” asked Lt. Garnier, the SEAL Team commander.
“The interior is pressurized so that water cannot enter when the door and ramp is opened. All we have to do is walk to the end of the ramp and step into the water.”
Half an hour later they entered the warm murky water. They had no problem floating to the surface, which was no more than twenty feet above them. Their weapons bags were rigged with flotation devices and they simply followed them up. As promised, two large recreational boats met them at the designated coordinates and quickly pulled them aboard. They were given towels to dry off and directed to the cabin below decks to remove their wet clothing and put on their combat uniforms. As soon as Chester was dressed, he joined the leader of the Ranger Team.
“Lieutenant Campbell sir.” The Ranger saluted Chester and pointed to a small table inside a canvas overhang. Maps were spread out on the table and several senior sergeants were standing near by. Chester recognized one of them as an instructor at the Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Sergeant Rapp.” Chester reached for the man’s hand. He noticed that Rapp now wore Sergeant Major chevrons. “Looks like they’ll promote anyone these days.”
“It sure does.” Rapp grinned, pointing at the full eagles on Chester’s collar. “Thought you retired as a light bird?”
Before Chester had left on this mission, General Jones told him he was out of uniform and placed Colonel’s eagles in his palm with the order to put them on. Chester had given them no further thought.
“Reckon they will,” he smiled. “What’s the operations plan?”
“Don’t like the idea of a daylight operation,” Lt. Campbell sighed. “However, since time is not on our side, I guess we’ll use the clear and snatch scenario.”
Chester knew exactly what the Lieutenant meant. In essence, they would be broken up into two assault forces, one for attack and security, another for kill and snatch. The first team would assault through the objective and secure a perimeter on the other side. The second team would assault the buildings, eliminate any resistance and grab the hostages and retreat through the security cordon set by the first team as it withdrew. All members would then assemble at a predesignated rendezvous point to assess the reaction of the enemy.
“My team will be the assault and security force, your team will be the grab team,” Lt. Campbell stated. “The assault will start as soon as the enemy spots us. After that, my team will clear through the objective allowing your team to take it out. For good measure and to create a diversion for Air Force Security, I have four men posted on the other side of the base. As soon as we launch our assault on the buildings, I will give them the signal to start shooting up several towers and other targets. Hopefully they will draw Air Force Security personnel to their position, and then they’ll make their withdrawal. Signal for retreat to the rendezvous point will be a green starcluster. The rendezvous point is where we will dismount from our vehicles, approximately three hundred yards from the objective. Once all personnel are accounted for, we will return to the bay where these cabin cruisers will be waiting to evacuate us. Any questions?”
“Enemy force and positions?” Chester asked.
“There are two buildings with sixteen hostages in each. According to the changing of the guard we counted four guards in each building. The buildings are open like bay areas, no extra rooms, but each contains a bathroom. Night reconnaissance showed the guards hanging out in an improvised kitchen area in the southwest corner of each building. They may or may not be doing the same during daylight hours.”
Chester nodded his head. “Lt. Garnier, you and your four SEALS have building one, the southern one, me and my Team plus Sergeant Major Rapp will take building number two. Standard clearance techniques using flash bangs. Targets dead on, which meant, shoot to kill. We depart in ten minutes. Any questions?”
Meanwhile, inside the building to the north, Barbara Schmidt went to an ice chest to get a bottle of water. The chest was not too far from where the guards were drinking coffee and telling each other jokes. As she opened the lid and removed the water bottle, a cell phone rang. One of the guards removed it from his pocket and talked for a few seconds, then flipped it shut and nodded at the other guards. Out of the corner of her eye, Barbara saw another guard move his hand in a zipping motion, mimicking cutting someone’s throat. She knew they had just received orders to terminate their hostages.
She walked back to where her daughter and grandchildren waited then glanced at several of the other hostages. “They’ve been ordered to take us out,” Barbara whispered. “Everyone ready?”
They all nodded their heads, fear evident on their faces. They knew their only chance was to make a mass rush at the men when they least expected it. Some would be killed but the rest, combined with speed and surprise, may be enough to overpower the four guards. As the leader of the rush, Barbara knew her chances were slim, but, for the sake of her daughter and grandkids, she had to take it.
She turned back to look at the guards who were huddled together, probably deciding who got to kill first. They were sadistic men and definitely not America’s finest. Barbara was also certain they were not even Secret Service, their demeanor indicated cold-blooded killers.
All of a sudden her ears were ringing from several incredibly loud explosions. “Hit the floor!” Barbara yelled, grabbing two of her grandkids and forcing them down. She instinctively knew that this was a hostage rescue attempt.
As they watched, the door burst open and several men wearing camouflage uniforms rushed in. They surveyed the situation in a split second and opened fire on the four guards huddled at the end of the building. Their assault rifles ripped the men to shreds before they had their weapons half way out. As soon as the firing stopped, two men ran over to make certain the guards were dead, while two others turned and walked towards the hostages.
“Chester!” Barbara screamed, standing up and launching herself towards the tall imposing figure walking towards her. She instantly recognized Oddball as the other man. She ran into Chester’s arms and hugged him tight. They held each other for a long spell. The rest of the hostages were quickly recovering from the harrowing ordeal.
“I don’t know what this is all about,” Barbara finally stated. “But those goons just received the order to kill us. If you were a few minutes late…” She didn’t finish the sentence.
The Geek and Sergeant Major Rapp walked back to where they were standing. Rapp opened his hand and showed Chester four silver rings. Each ring had the Nazi SS emblem on them.
“They’re SS Honour Rings, or Totenkopfring,” Chester stated. “These men were not Secret Service they were men dedicated to a different SS.”
Chester turned back to Barbara. “We’ve got to get out of here and fast. Another team is clearing the next building and a Ranger unit is providing security. We don’t know how the Air Force will react to our attack on their base, but, they are definitely not on our side.”
“Our own Air Force is against us?” Barbara blurted. “What in hell is going on Chester?”
“Long story.” Chester glanced at the smiling hostages. “Everyone OK?” After receiving nods of yes he continued. “We have vehicles about three hundred yards down a side road. We need to get to them and they will take us to several boats waiting to evacuate us from the base.”
The Ranger unit on the other side of the base did a good job, no Air Force security forces responded to the attack on the two hostage buildings, but they could hear sirens in the distance. Since there were no counter attacking forces, Lt. Campbell silently withdrew his men from perimeter security and followed them to the waiting vehicles. Luckily, there were no casualties from the assaulting forces.
Within minutes they were all aboard the two cabin cruisers and heading out in to the bay. Several miles out they were met by a speedboat carrying the four Rangers who had conducted the diversionary assault. Air Force security helicopters were starting to swarm all around the base and slowly working their way further out. One passed right over their position but assumed they were a civilian party boat when they saw Oddball wearing a Hawaiian shirt and waving a beer at them.
“You’re gonna see something you won’t believe at first,” Chester addressed the people in the cabin cruisers. “As soon as I give the word, a flying saucer will surface and let down a ramp. We will have only a few minutes for everyone to get off the boats and into the saucer because the Air Force will be after the saucer like white on rice. The reason I’m telling you this is we can’t afford for anyone to hesitate. Do you all understand what I am saying?”
They all nodded their heads in unison.
“As soon as we are safely on the airship, I will explain what has been happening.” Chester pulled a communication device the size of a cell phone from his breast pocket and spoke into it. Seconds later, the water around the cabin cruisers begin to bubble and a huge cylindrical object came out of the murky water and hovered just above the surface. A door and ramp opened into the side of the aircraft and Chester motioned for the person at the helm to maneuver the boat so people could step onto the ramp and enter the airship.
As soon as everyone was aboard, the airship submerged and headed out into Chesapeake Bay into deeper waters. Several miles later, the airship left the ocean and shot into the sky at an incredible speed.
Inside the craft, Barbara hugged Chester tight against her chest. For the first time in a long while, Chester smiled.