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 The Search for Silent - Chpt 3

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TerishD


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PostSubject: The Search for Silent - Chpt 3   July 29th 2009, 8:30 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Three

Part 1

Silent carefully put amounts of food on his fork in order not to prevent himself from missing a morsel as he also chatted to those around him. A plate of Szechwan pork had been given to him that evening, and he was obviously enjoying it. Those around him had to ask about the meal causing Silent to relate tales of encountering other variations of the entrée. At present the discussion was on the frozen versions of the dish, something a number of those sitting with him could relate to, so the noise level in the mess hall had climbed.

Sergeant Andrews was glad that none of the other soldiers with rank challenged the conversation with the recruits. Seeing Silent participate with his peers he thought to be a good sign. The young man's presence in the company actually kept them from excelling, although he also worked to keep them from being at the bottom of the performance list of companies. Sergeant Andrews actually wondered how one man, one man who seldom spoke, could maintain such control over his surroundings, but he watched it happen. It helped him to occasionally see the young man as just another normal recruit, even if it did take a special preparation by the cooks to gain the revelation.

The room went quiet as Major Ruston entered. Truthfully, the mess hall was one place that most interaction could occur with little formality, but those in charge of the recruits looked for every opportunity to stress chain of command. Major Ruston returned the salutes, then strode to the one for which he was looking. Silent looked back in recognition of the one who had delivered a message on his first day on the base.

"Recruit Silent, I have a message from Top Secret."

The erect stance of the man disappeared as he said, "I don't think so."

Sergeant Andrews saw the face of the officer grimace before calmly handing Silent a cell phone. A message had obviously been set up, because the young man needed no special button operations to start the recording. Sergeant Andrews truthfully was not surprised to hear that the strident voice was a female.

"Silent, I need you to activate. I am on my own in position to move upon the location of atomic bombs. Let me know when you are in position."

Major Ruston added his own comment, "The message came over military frequencies, although not using the proper codes. Top Secret has disappeared."

"I know that she disappeared, Major. Your security on the inside is good, but not that good as it is mostly focused on threats from the outside. I have been able to spend my own time on a computer around here. Still, this message is not from her. Do you have a pen?"

The kitchen staff produced a mechanical pencil and a writing pad, which was passed to Silent. None in the room spoke as he wrote a note. All thus heard Silent as he handed the paper to the major.

"Have someone with a deep bass voice, or a female, send this message back. My name is Silent, because I don’t speak. Top Secret gave me that name, so she does not speak to me either. I cannot maintain my name if I have to give verbal responses. Trust me, on the day she needs my help, there will be a company of Air Force helicopters challenging the security of this base to get to me."

"I was told to …"

A general now walked into the mess hall and loudly said, "What the major was commanded to ask you, Silent, was your take on the message."

"The message mentioned 'atomic' bombs, General. Who has said anything about 'atomic' bombs?"

The superior officer thought for a moment before responding, "I believe that word was used to get our attention."

"No, it was said because it was supposed to render the message threatening. Only credible threats are threatening. In order to render that message credible, I believe that our opponents have supplied information that we did not have." Silent paused to study the two officers before saying, "I would like permission to properly use time on a computer, General. Top Secret might be in more trouble than she realizes."

The superior officer looked around until meeting the gaze of Sergeant Andrews. He really did not seem concerned that a matter of potential security was being openly discussed. The scan of the territory implied that the general did concern himself that certain ears were indeed listening. Seeing the sergeant attentive, the general turned back to the special recruit.

"You are far enough along in the training to allow a few liberties, Silent. I will authorize Sergeant Andrews to find an opening in the schedule for you." Almost in a whisper, the high ranking officer asked, "Don't you wish that you were there?"

"I have a degree, General. I wish that I was out in the real world attempting to get experience at a real job. It would have made it easier for the Air Force to contact me and for me to get free to go."

"One of the failings of a volunteer military, Silent, is that we seldom get recruits of your caliber."

"Well, if the Air Force does send a regiment onto this base to get to me, please let them in. If Top Secret really needs my help, I want to be there for her."

"Don't worry, Silent. This is a matter of national security. Whatever our differences, I will assure you that the Army will work with the Air Force to resolve it."

Almost dejected, Silent looked back to the table as he said, "Well, I will have to take your word for it. Can I return to my meal?"

"I had to approve that meal for you, Silent. You like things hot?"

"I am not into so much burn that it will eat my fingers, but, yeah, I like things hot. I however like the actual peppers. Tabasco sauce is good when I feel something needs ketchup, but I would rather have actual peppers with my meals. I consider peppers to be a proper vegetable."

Sergeant Andrews found himself surprised at hearing such a long answer, although was glad to hear the general push for Silent to say more. "If it is not hot, you simply eat it?"

"Blame Top Secret for that. I had to hide. I learned to keep watch while eating, and not to gripe about what I was eating. If I had been found, Top Secret and I would have been in trouble."

"Do you eat that way at home?"

"Sometimes, Sir, as I eat that way when I am not comfortable. As for this place, I don't like it here, General. I am only here due to Top Secret."

"Well, I am glad to have you here. Return to your meal, Recruit."

Sergeant Andrews rose as the high-ranking officer said his last name while leaving the mess hall. Major Ruston also moved to the door and held it open for the NCO. Sergeant Andrews moved while hoping that he was finally going to be given answers.

The general asked, "Andrews, Silent does not talk about Top Secret, does he?"

"No, Sir. I did not even know Top Secret was female until I heard that message."

"She is Colonel Stacy Terrell of the Air Force. She was in charge of a number of intelligence matters correlating the Air Force with the CIA. She gained her rank by managing certain missions personally and seeing to their success."

"Thank you, Sir."

Sergeant Andrews listened intently as the General continued to supply information. "Only Silent calls her Top Secret. If you had been watching the news, you would know that a United Nations inspection committee has run into problems. Colonel Stacy was a part of that committee, and she disappeared during one of the host nation's little displays. We, of course, are saying that the host nation abducted her. They are saying that she is a spy, and is working for us."

"Is that true?"

"Not officially. Truthfully, I believe that she and Silent suspect something, and she is acting to ferret out the truth. What is important for you to know is that it is important for Silent to have some computer time. If he does need to be activated, it would help to have him slightly up to speed."

"Will the computer in my office work?"

"Ask Silent."

"Yes, Sir."

"Thank you, Sergeant."

As the two officers left, Sergeant Andrews opened the door and looked into the mess hall. He saw that Silent had finished his meal, so felt free to call the man out. The young man had resumed speaking to his peers, but quickly excused himself to speak to his superior.

"Silent, I was told the name of Top Secret, but still have not been told yours. Could you at least tell me why you are here? I mean, you did not even know that they had changed your name to David Manner that first day."

"I agreed to come, but did not suspect the name change. They switched wallets sometime while they prepared my cover story. I guess that they thought I would check my clothes, but I didn't. I mean, this was my own country, so did not hold the level of suspicion I maintained when overseas. I did not like where I was going, and basically sulked while coming here."

Sergeant Andrews felt good that an honest came to his question, but sought more information. "You said that you had a real degree. What is your degree in?"

"Electrical Engineering."

"Do you know where Top Secret is going?"

"No. I hope that she does. She was basically forced to return to a certain country just like I was forced to come here. Back in the country, she very possibly found the clue she was looking for."

"She was looking for a bomb?"

"The plane we stole had odd attachments in the bomb bay. She was looking for what was supposed to use it."

Sergeant Andrews could not conceive of a question that would develop the topic, so advised himself to feel happy with answers he had. "Okay, Silent. I felt that you were trouble that first day we met. I still believe that you are trouble, but not my trouble. I am going to take you to my office later today, and see if my computer will fit your needs. I can put you on assignment in my office for a limited time each day."

"Your computer will work, Sergeant. I could not get into your building without making my entry apparent, although I tried. I won't tell you which computer I have used, but I would prefer using yours."

Sergeant Andrews nodded, then moved to the door as he thought he was ending the conversation. "I don't doubt that you are good at what you do, Silent. Just don't consider me an enemy. We are both on the same side. I will help however I can, but I also have my own duty."

"We have not been antagonistic, Sergeant. As much as I don't want to be here, I accepted the fact that I was to be here. I have been going through the process. My only problem with you is that our relationship is temporary."

"It would be nice if you would write."

"Deal, as long as you write back."

"Okay, Silent. Call out the others. We have things to do. I will let you know when you can spend time on my computer."

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PostSubject: Re: The Search for Silent - Chpt 3   July 30th 2009, 10:20 am

I liked this line: "One of the failings of a volunteer military, Silent, is that we seldom get recruits of your caliber."
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PostSubject: Reply   July 30th 2009, 12:58 pm

Once again I need to tell you thanks. That was an odd line to pick out, but I admire you chosing that one. It was placed there on purpose. I know a number in the military, and they tell how all jobs are broken down into steps that any monkey can follow.

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PostSubject: Re: The Search for Silent - Chpt 3   July 31st 2009, 11:37 am

Some lines are gold when you never planned them to be.
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PostSubject: Part 2   August 3rd 2009, 8:16 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Three

Part 2

The young man was given a two-hour block to work in the office, and Sergeant Andrews quickly noticed that his workload began to decline. Silent really did not spend that much time on the computer. He did not waste the period, but went to work cleaning the office, doing minor paperwork, and basically giving his superior no reason to reduce the allotted time or alter his decision in some other manner.

Sergeant Andrews came into the office during one period to find Silent working on cleaning up a spreadsheet that had been left open. The experienced soldier knew certain things about the program, although still had to stare for a few minutes before realizing that what the young man was doing was not odd, but only using features of the program that the Sergeant had not bothered to learn. He thus took a seat near Silent to get him to explain how to use the improvements that were being made, although his opening words were on another topic.

"I looked at your file again, and it said that your MOS was to become a specialist working with our radar."

"I doubt that is where I am actually going to be placed."

"I left your file out a couple of times for you to read."

Silent turned his eyes from the computer to look directly at the NCO as he asked, "Do you want me to support the lies?"

"I thought that it was your job."

"To support the lie, I would have to talk. I don't talk, so everything everyone needs to know is revealed as certain people want it revealed without me having to be part of the conspiracy. I like it that way."

Wondering about his relationship with another superior, the sergeant asked, "Are there secrets between you and this Top Secret?"

"She is a female, so, yeah, there are surely some. We did however talk about more than business, on those occasions that we talked."

"How about sex?"

The eyes of the young man moved between the monitor and the sergeant in a clear display of not wanting to answer the question. The elder stayed quiet hoping that some secret might be revealed. Silent decided to go ahead and speak, but it was not to simply answer the question.

"You said before that you were told the name of Top Secret. What were you told?"

"That she was Colonel Stacy Terrell of the Air Force."

"If you know that much, then you should know that she is over forty years old, although I first met her right before she turned forty. She is thus past her child bearing years, so was not worried about certain results of being with me when in private."

It was actually a mature response, so Sergeant Andrews first decision was to back off. He however found an inner voice telling him that he had gained one piece of information, so to push for more. The man thus found himself feeling nervous and repositioning his seat while his mind sought for another method to ferret out another detail. Having no idea about what to ask, except probably Silent's true name which he suspected would not be revealed, he decided upon simply making a comment along the present topic.

"Okay, I will stop asking you if you are gay."

"I see the pictures of your family, so I won't ask you either. I assume that you consider this job your career."

"Well, you guys don't give me all the love and attention that I need, but watching over you does pay the bills for those that do make my life feel worthwhile."

Silent did not immediately speak, but Sergeant Andrews had seen the expressions of enough young men to know to wait for the words which were forming. "Yeah, well, I helped my country, and I am glad that I did, but this life in the military is not what I wanted or what I want. I am not happy here."

"I was told that they are keeping you safe, Silent. I was told that there would be people that would kill you if you were identified."

"That is what Top Secret said as well in her letter to me. She said that they had killed two others who had been identified as me. I protected Top Secret. That is all I did. They now have her, or had. They could have gone ahead and killed her. She is the spy."

"It seems that they are more afraid of the hole you revealed in their intelligence network than the information that we gained from it."

"Yeah, but then they mentioned atomic bombs in their attempt to get me to reveal myself. They're stupid."

Sergeant Andrews was extremely pleased to actually be speaking with Silent. While he had originally pegged the young man as being a problem, he was learning that there was just a deep complex personality being penned up. Any animal would fight back if put into a situation with limited options. Silent had not been attacking however, and Sergeant Andrews could well believe that the young man did not consider himself threatened. He was wary, and very alert to any changes in his situation, but still acted as if he had some control. There was no doubt in the elder's mind that Silent could be a problem, but it would not be the release of aggressive frustration of a normal recruit that would explode in front of him, but a quick deadly blow. Sergeant Andrews thus worked to hopefully allow some seepage of whatever fuel was being kept ready to ignite within.

"Do you think Top Secret can handle it on her own?"

"No, she is going to need me. I believe that there is something to be found, and that she will find it. She will make certain contacts at that time, then you will have that squadron of helicopters descending upon my position."

"How much has my computer helped?"

"Frankly, none, but it is not your fault. I cannot presently chance tapping into certain databases. I probably could have you forward certain requests for information, but I don't want to involve you. The work that Top Secret and I did was not that far into the past that I fear losing any useful knowledge or skills."

"How about that other computer you were using before you had access to mine?"

A smile came to Silent's face as soon as he heard the question, although his answer was quite soft, "What? It wasn't as good as your computer, remember? Trust me, I am checking as many news sources now as I was when using that other computer."

A shocked expression came to Sergeant Andrew's face as certain facts came to him. While his time training the recruits did fill his day, his family lived on base not that far away. He spent as many nights with his family as possible, and as much other time as possible. Coming and going he had noticed some activity on base, which he had asked one of the regular duty guards about. What he had been told enabled him to ask a question.

"You were tapping into the base mainframe?"

"A section of it was not shielded properly. After I got access to your office, I did one more visit to report my crime. You know, a thank you. You should have seen the reaction after the mainframe issued itself a certain memo. I thought you would have noticed that I had been up to something, as I really got no sleep that night as I watched the ants move around the anthill."

Truthfully, recruits showing a need for more sleep was common. Sergeant Andrews thought he had noticed Silent acting slightly passive one day and not just quiet, but had taken the man off his list of major concerns. Attempting to build trust with the man, the NCO allowed himself to deliver a piece of information.

"They are securing it."

"It should have been secure already. Computers and electronics are beginning to become old technology, so they should expect a certain level of sophistication as available to anyone. I have a few more weeks here, so might try again just to see if I can issue another memo."

"Is that your idea of fun?"

"I don't enjoy sleeping, even as little as you provide. I mean, we all need to sleep, but I don't like sleeping unless I need to."

Sergeant Andrews felt a need to lighten the conversation, so said, "You must have been hell on your parents when you were younger."

"Yeah, and my father still complains when I am at the house. He will wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, then notice a light on and come looking for me to lecture about wasting electricity."

"I blame kids like you for getting my boys into trouble."

Silent laughed before saying, "Well, yeah, it's more fun having somebody to do things with."

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

The countenance of Silent suddenly went blank, and he turned back to the monitor as he said, "That, Sergeant, was a personal question."

"Well, I will write you, Silent, and I expect letters in reply. One day I would appreciate some answers."

"Yeah, well, need-to-know and deserving-to-know are two separate things. Don't blame me for having to make distinctions, as I did not ask to join the military."

Sergeant Andrews picked up what paperwork he had to do, or check, and left the room. He accepted what Silent had said without any animosity. A life in the military taught one that chain-of-command influenced a lot more things than simply whom one had to take orders from or salute. That facet of the military he felt was a good thing in most situations. It was annoying when encountered, but knew that it could work in one's favor as well. He hoped that Silent would never regret not passing along his knowledge.

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PostSubject: Re: The Search for Silent - Chpt 3   August 3rd 2009, 11:51 am

I liked this line "Yeah, but then they mentioned atomic bombs in their attempt to get me to reveal myself. They're stupid."

Has a good level of spunk not previously reveled about this Silent guy.
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PostSubject: Reply   August 3rd 2009, 9:33 pm

Urs wrote:
I liked this line "Yeah, but then they mentioned atomic bombs in their attempt to get me to reveal myself. They're stupid."

Has a good level of spunk not previously reveled about this Silent guy.
Oh, if he didn't have spunk, he would not be where he is. Top Secret (Stacy) definitely has spunk, and she found Silent able to match and support her actions. He is subdued at the moment, but he slowly gets his chance to return to his true personality.

Oh, once again - THANKS FOR RESPONDING!

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