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 The Search for Silent - Chpt 4

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PostSubject: The Search for Silent - Chpt 4   August 8th 2009, 8:20 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Four

Part 1

Stacy judged her moment, then ran to the troop transport and simply gained a position on the back left bumper. Somebody did notice the action, and a head stuck out from the canvas covering shielding the back of the vehicle to look at her. She waved and gave a friendly response.

"I am hungry. Just want a ride back to the barracks."

"We have had a long day ourselves. The base is not far, so hold on."

Stacy smiled as the man returned to his seat. She had worked a few missions in this country, so knew the language and a number of intimate details about how the military operated. A foreigner attempting to get access into any base was extremely difficult, but to a native soldier the security was rather lax. The local people were not allowed enough freedoms to gain the knowledge or have the ability to infiltrate the military even if they had the inclination. Those who served understood the meager reward for their valor, so thought nothing of allowing a perceived fellow comrade any benefit possible. Stacy thus held onto the strut supporting the canvas covering feeling confident that she would soon be inside her objective.

No inspection occurred at the gate. The guards did speak to the driver, but did not even move to check on those riding in the back or the one riding on the back left bumper. Stacy found herself entering the mess hall with others on the truck without any challenge.

She understood that someone would soon realize that she had no place in the base. Stacy thus looked around her as she decided what would be her next move. One option was to try and become an active participant of the base, but that would also put duties upon her, restrict her movements, and create a daily problem of being discovered as a fraud. Of course, working covertly would present basically the same problems. The strict laws of the land however made the penalty basically the same whatever option she chose, so she considered her objective and not any sense of safety.

The first fact that she knew even before she entered the base was that finding what she sought would not be easy. She and Silent had stolen the plane that would use a certain type of bomb. The plane was experimental, which would require the bombs to be specially crafted. While Stacy was certain that this was the base where the bombs were made, the location of the factory, or simply the machine shop, she had no idea.

Her days of watching the base revealed another problem however. There were more people working at the base than the buildings and design would indicate. Stacy had personally watched buses of workers brought to and from the base, although looked around the mess hall wondering how it managed to feed the regular company of soldiers, much less a few bus loads of additional mouths.

Stacy realized that her decision was about to be made for her as a soldier approached, then crisply said, "Corporal, which division are you with?"

"My unit is clearly stated on my shoulder, Sergeant. I am with the eight-twenty."

"Of course, you run border patrol."

Silent had created that disguise for her. He had wondered about her taking such great risks on her expeditions into other countries. He had gone in with her, but did not have the risks of being discovered that she did. His dark hair and tanned skin enabled him to appear as a native much easier than her lighter hues. While she did the job her country expected of her, Silent had examined the regular flow of personnel around confidential material. When Stacy had returned to the country again, the mission that ended with them stealing the plane, Silent had the knowledge to enable the lady to safely move into normally restricted areas. In the time they had rested after the theft, a new alternate personae had been created, and Stacy trusted Silent to have again assured her protection.

"Chasing smugglers caused my unit to break up, but I continued to follow what I thought were smugglers. I still believe that I was on the right track, but I became hungry, thirsty, and confused."

"Of course, Corporal, but a report will be expected."

"I will gladly write it up. Please, time to eat, drink, and rest."

"As quick as possible, Corporal. You will need to return to your duty."

Stacy saluted as an indication of acceptance, then returned to her meal. Luckily, the phrase 'as quick as possible' did not have the same connotation in this country that it would in America. While she would certainly start to work on some report, she knew that she easily had a few days before anyone would challenge her stay. Of course, if her investigation took more time than that, she would probably have to disappear again.

Leaving the mess hall, a private informed her of where she could stay. She immediately moved to the building to gain some rest and check on her make-up. Stacy found herself surprised to be given a private room. While she was not part of the base personnel, she still expected nothing more than a bunk. Understanding that she was out of place, she set her mind toward quickly accomplishing her goal. Once she was certain that she truly looked like the enlisted soldier she was supposed to be, she turned her attention to succeeding at the intelligence gathering task she was risking her life to perform. She rested and planned her steps while waiting for the next meal, which would give her a chance to safely leave her room.

Eating again that evening gave Stacy some basic information. The first was that her cover was not being challenged. Stacy again noticed that the mess hall could not handle a large number of civilian workers. The base was rather large, but she felt that it was overly evident that the serving area was limited in capacity. While the UN committee had not placed this base on the schedule, Stacy received a strong impression that it had been designed to fool such a visit. She thus became even more convinced that she needed to ferret out secrets.

She went back to her room and actually slept for a few hours. She needed the rest, and what she had planned would not work until the sky was dark. Checking out the bed with the thin mattress, and the stale scent barely qualifying as clean room, Stacy had no fear of over-sleeping. She woke with the room dark around her, and quickly checked her watch scared that her body had claimed more hours than she had considered possible.

Seeing that the time was perfect for her activity, Stacy sat on the bed and calmed herself to set the proper attitude for the job she had planned. Once she considered her body stable enough to not cause a mistake due to a twitch, she put her uniform back on. She picked up a pack of cigarettes that she had acquired during her move. It was a wonderful excuse for moving outside at night. It would not be a good enough excuse if caught in a certain area, but otherwise the pack would help substantiate a number of lies. Showing no fear of getting her job accomplished, Stacy made her bed then moved to the door.

The base was not quiet. While the soldiers on duty were not moving with the anxiety of them believing there to be an actual threat, the fact that there were more than lonely sentries told Stacy that some activity was going on even at this late hour. She thus moved looking for the source of whatever was keeping those who worked here on station.
The ideal situation would be to join a group of soldiers as they went about their work. Stacy was not going after any classified information stored in some locked compartment, but something covert that was operating as a part of the normal routine of the base. She thus could possibly learn a lot simply by participating in the nighttime activities. Whatever business was being performed did not involve the normal soldiers however, but they simply kept up patrols. Stacy thus stayed in the shadows and watched for something that would be out of place in a normal military base.

She thought of Silent as time barely seemed to pass. For someone that did not have military experience, he could normally spot details that were out of place. He actually made the first move towards her because she was attempting to seduce a young soldier. Silent recognized right away that Stacy was at least twice the age of the one she was attempting to get to reveal a secret, and had moved himself upon her to help the other guy get out of her clutches while ferreting out the reason an older lady was seeking a young man. She had brushed Silent off that time, but he spotted her again later and confronted her in a manner that forced some revelation of who she really was. He called her Top Secret after that time, then told her how to get the information she sought. For him the activity was fun, but he understood that it was all business to Stacy and he did nothing to ruin the operation. She gave him the reward he sought of learning, which was just how well her gifts could have pleased her original target. A warm feeling moved through Stacy as memories of being pleased that Silent did work to make her glad to have fulfilled the request. When she saw him again on a later mission, a smile had come to her face, and thinking back on her time with him caused a pleased expression once more to show on her face.

Stacy looked around her wondering where Silent would be if he had been present. He did not have the experience to move as she had been moving, but would be secluded in some spot near a computer data line. How he got there would be by his own methods. Silent was the son of a distinguished congressman, so had grown up surrounded by security people and their paraphernalia. Attempting to perform his own covert activities while growing up had given him an ability at beating security measures better than most of the best agents that Stacy knew. She had thus often been surprised by finding Silent guarding her in situations where she had been moving scared of revealing him.
The thought of Silent's talent with computer line tapping had her look to the wiring on the base. She moved from her position, although staying as much in the shadows as possible, as she followed the flow of wires. Something suddenly struck her as odd, and she moved back to a shadowed open area where a broader view of the base could be studied. Stacy stared at the scene not believing her eyes while knowing that Silent would have made the identification almost immediately.

The lady moved back to a safer position that also gave her access to a computer line. She knew that it would be very unwise for her to advance her mission without support. The wiring of the base had been moved away from an area. While lights and activity continued, it did so on its power and its own communication network. While her cover did give her a small amount of authority, it did not give her access to secured areas. While she was presently safe moving about the regular areas of the base, Stacy knew that she would be captured and interrogated if caught moving towards certain buildings.

Stacy pulled a small device from her pocket, but only held it in her hand for a time. She thought back to the words that she had told Debra, 'Two, we are here and will be considered at fault if we do not take advantage of our surroundings.' Stacy looked around her understanding that she was in position and would be considered at fault for not taking advantage of her surroundings. What gave her pause was the thought that Silent was working hard because of her, and she did not want to interrupt the young man. He had helped her in the past, and had proven his commitment to her cause by accepting his present duty. She almost wanted to cry as she put the device into place, because she felt that she was the one betraying the pact.

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PostSubject: Re: The Search for Silent - Chpt 4   August 9th 2009, 1:13 am

I chuckled at this:

"The strict laws of the land however made the penalty basically the same whatever option she chose,"


Gotta love situations like this.
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PostSubject: Reply   August 9th 2009, 9:11 am

Thanks for reading, and I am glad that you are enjoying it.

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PostSubject: Part 2   August 13th 2009, 7:17 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Four

Part 2

Sergeant Andrews looked through his binoculars while remembering the words of a fellow NCO that had said Silent was deliberately missing targets to avoid gaining the rank of marksman with weapons. The recruits were being put through some basic battle simulations, and Silent had yet to be hit while he had scored a number of kills. What Sergeant Andrews found interesting was the sight of him actually playing chicken and staying under cover except to accurately perform when necessary to cover one of his braver comrades. Silent was a wonderful team player who acted to gain no glory for himself. Others had bet against Sergeant Andrews under the belief that Silent would pull his company down, and a smile came to his face as he considered what spoils would be his after the battle while recognizing that he would have to figure out a way to give the young man a share.

A couple of air craft suddenly flew low over the area. Sergeant Andrews considered it a good action to get the recruits used to the sounds of war. He considered it nothing special, as friendly actions like that were done between the services when possible. A shocked expression however came to his face seeing Silent suddenly stand and begin walking to an open area. While he had been avoiding being targeted by bullets, he now took a few while he continued to walk. One of the leaders of the opposing side started moving out to harangue Silent for not playing by the rules, but stopped to turn as the sound of helicopters were heard.

Sergeant Andrews rushed to his jeep after watching four helicopters move into formation to establish four corners of an area in an open field. He started the engine while commanding his second to take over control of the company. He put the vehicle into gear and raced off not waiting for confirmation of his decision.

Silent stayed focused on where he was going, so did not turn his head until he heard his CO bark, "Get into the jeep, Silent." As the man obeyed, Sergeant Andrews said, "They and this Top Secret might be Air Force, but you are Army and I am your superior officer."

"I told them it would have been better if I were civilian."

Silent plopped into the seat and crossed his arms as the jeep was again put into gear. Sergeant Andrews also said nothing as he had the vehicle head towards the helicopters that were now being watched over by Air Force soldiers as others of their service erected a tent and moved equipment. He figured that discussing the coming situation with Silent would only force the man to state his ignorance of procedure, so left things unsaid expecting the future to explain a number of things.

As the vehicle pulled to a stop, a man with the rank of senior airman ran up to speak to the one with the most rank. "Sir, we are here on official business. There is a Private David "

Silent's uniform did not have the name on it he had been given upon arrival, but the name everyone recognized as being really his. The enlisted Air Force person had thus stopped stunned by reading the name, Silent, over the pocket of the one with the sergeant. Understanding that the proper person was in his presence, the senior airman worked his brain to move up the agenda and remember what he was supposed to say at that time.

The Air Force man saluted Silent, then said, "Sir, we have received a coded message from Top Secret. Your action is needed. I am the person who is supposed to gain your position, but the last two in my place were killed in action. To hopefully not have me make mistakes, I have been given proper clearance to work with you personally."

"You are enlisted and Air Force. I am Army and supposedly to have rank."

"Yes, Sir, Captain, Sir."

"How do you then rate?"

"You and Colonel Terrell are to be taken out of arena and given assignments to train others, such as me."

"Okay, do you have my computer?"

"Yes, Sir. We have the computer specified as important in these matters, along with one of modern quality as requested. Secure accommodations are being erected to keep our actions outside of view."

Sergeant Andrews noticed the look from the senior airman, as did Silent who responded, "That is my commanding officer. He is not to be considered need-to-know, but possibly need-to-pass-information-along. He can be given the station of securing the entrance to where we work, and trusted to keep what he hears confidential."

An Air Force officer, a major, that had been standing near the tent supposedly watching its construction suddenly barked an order for some soldiers to come out from under the tents. As some enlisted men in battle armor came out of the canvas building, the officer stopped one to claim his weapons. He then walked towards the Army sergeant.

"Sergeant Andrews?" At a nod, the officer asked, "Is that weapon you are carrying loaded with live ammo?"

"No, Sir. We were presently conducting simulations."

The weapons were presented as the officer said, "Your job is not a simulation. You will be guarding real military operations."

Sergeant Andrews accepted the weapons, although had to comment, "One member of the Army is enough."

No return statement was made, but the officer moved away giving command to the Army private and Air Force senior airman. Sergeant Andrews moved into the tent ahead of the pair to only see a bare dark area before another wall of canvas. He moved to pull aside the flap allowing the other two to enter.

He really did not expect to hear much, as Silent never said much. While that did seem true for the man he had come to know, such was not true for the senior airman. That man was quick to speak.

"Why did you power that computer down? You said that you needed it."

"This is a covert operation. My whole time with Top Secret was spent outside of the military or any oversight. Technically, there was some on our last mission, but Top Secret got clearance to keep her relationship with me as it had been with me. Nothing that I do is overt. This computer only goes on when there is a need."

"But, there is a need."

"So you say. Get me a phillips screwdriver, then start giving me the specs on that other computer over there."

The senior airman ran out of the tent to perform the action himself. Sergeant Andrews did not look through the flap, but could hear that Silent was doing something besides patting his foot waiting for the man's return. The senior airman again showed his inability to stay quiet upon his return, letting the sergeant know what had been going on.

"You are taking the computer apart?"

"Yes, I had a multi-tool, but this screwdriver will be easier to work with. I need the computer open, although I am also going to check if you have altered anything."

"We tried to use it, and duplicate it, but it should be in order."

"This computer was stolen, because it did the job Top Secret and I needed to be done. I stole it to be specific, but I needed it to help Top Secret. I cannot have this piece of equipment altered."

"Times change, Sir, and the hardware has to adapt."

"The job is to gain secrets from the enemy. It is the enemy's hardware that has to adapt. When that happens, you will need to infiltrate and steal your own computer."

The voice of the senior airman was rather subdued as it asked, "What is the other computer for?"

"It will find Top Secret and let me know her status. That does not happen until I am ready to turn this computer on. Covert operations are not long. The longer you take, the easier it is to find you."

"Why don't you do everything on that computer?"

"Because this one is legal, and that one is not. This one can connect with the internal communications of the country, and that one cannot. I don't want this computer to be recognized as being a double-agent, so I only do things with it that it is supposed to do."

"What are you doing now?"

"I don't trust what you or your predecessors have been doing. I am changing some settings to give this computer a different identification."

Sergeant Andrews could not fully hear a number of phrases that were said next, and what he heard he could not understand. It was all technical computer jargon. Dip switches, binary, and some other words were recognized although had no true reference in the sergeant's vocabulary. He merely held his position while waiting for something interesting to again be said.

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PostSubject: Re: The Search for Silent - Chpt 4   August 13th 2009, 11:12 am

I am not sure why, but this line stood out.

"You are enlisted and Air Force. I am Army and supposedly to have rank."

something about this was just funny... maybe not meant to be funny, but the why it was phrased just made me grin...
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PostSubject: Reply   August 13th 2009, 8:10 pm

No, that is not a phrase I expected to click with anyone. It was actually a statement of fore-shadowing to what happens after boot. I did not want any readers to think that I would leave Silent a private or that I would simply drop the military presence. I am glad that you caught it, because it was meant to be caught - it just was not intended to be anything really special.

Still, thanks.

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PostSubject: Part 3   August 18th 2009, 8:34 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Four

Part 3

Silent spoke a little louder intending to direct the senior airman, "Okay, do you know how to find Top Secret?"

"There is a locator program on your computer, but also a web site."

"The locator program is supposed to be on a CD."

The sound of a briefcase opening was heard along with, "You run the program from the CD?"

"Correct, as there is no file access that could bother my program, but anyone attempting to backtrack and write identifying data will cause an error."

"Do you run it now?"

"No. Open the web site."

"Now?"

"Yes, now." No response came from the senior airman, but the next words were again from Silent. "Okay, are you paying attention?"

"I have a photographic memory, but I am also making notes."

"Then watch and learn how I do my job."

Sergeant Andrews heard some activity before the senior airman said, "Here are the microphone and headset."

"For what? My name is Silent."

"You don't speak to Top Secret?"

"These are covert missions. The less said, the less chances for others to discover you."

"But you were in the field with her."

"So there were opportunities to speak to each other. For her to contact me now, there is simply a need to exchange information. Voice is not a good method. Ah, there she is."

Sergeant Andrews heard some mumbled cursing, then Silent commanded, "Get that base up on that computer."

"How do I do that?"

"You are in intelligence, right? You do have proper clearances, right?"

"Uh, yeah. I do that on this computer?"

"We don't want our legal computer looking into possibly classified material."

"Right. Got it. I am not seeing anything like she is describing."

"Okay, we tell her that."

Sergeant Andrews spent some time only hearing passing remarks between periods of relative quiet or simply someone typing. During this time the Air Force officer stuck his head into the tent, but seeing the Army NCO calmly at attention the head was withdrawn. Sergeant Andrews hoped that his second-in-command was managing without problems while he calmly waited out the time.

Finally, the senior airman crisply said, "I don't know what else we can do."

"She asked for help, so we give it to her. If this was all I did, no one would know that I exist. Hand me that headset you mentioned earlier."

"So far this has not been fun."

"This is not fun. This is where people die. Top Secret can die. If I were in position, then my life would be on the line. You have lost two people who put themselves in this position."

"Still, up to now it has been boring."

"If you do not consider looking at and working with extremely private information as fun, you need another job. What we are about to do is dangerous. Dangerous is only fun in movie theaters. Still, just for your information, I am having fun."

"Yes, Sir."

"Okay. Load that second program from the CD into a separate folder on the computer."

"We are going to write data?"

"We are going to write everything. If we die, if Top Secret dies, if anyone dies, they will not die in vain. Whatever is discovered will be recorded. The secrets revealed will get to those who can use the information."

"That is why this computer needed a big hard drive."

"That is the reason."

"Do I run it?"

"Run it."

Sergeant Andrews actually felt proud of Silent after hearing him lecture the enlisted Air Force personnel. He had worked hard getting the recruits to understand that they were being trained for war. While every effort had to be made to secure the safety of the civilians, encountering the enemy was often a life or death struggle. Having a strong civilian history, Sergeant Andrews actually wondered if Silent understood that concept. Hearing the young man say such words to the other assured the elder that his message was indeed getting through. The Air Force senior airman however sounded like he still considered his job to be an adventure.

"Wow, I did not see any of this previously."

"Well, you are not supposed to be seeing it now. Start this checklist and hope you get through it. You pull the plug on this machine as soon as you sense something is not happening as it should."

"Uh, Sir, is this what it says?"

"Yes, but we check with Top Secret before acting on it. She is on the site, so might have reservations. If she gives the okay, then we act on it. We do not go up the chain of command seeking approval. At this step we are already in trouble, and if things fall apart the shit will slop all over us whether we tried to pass it around or not. The agent on the ground is in deep however, as they face fates worse than one of our prisons. Thus, if the agent on the ground authorizes annihilation, you take it like a message from God."

"Yes, Sir."

"Okay, everything is looking good, so let us contact Top Secret."

Sergeant Andrews was glad that things were quiet outside, as Silent did not speak loudly. "Hi, Top Secret. I cannot see the sentries, but the entrance is to your right about a hundred thirty yards." Pause. "Ah, uh, okay, I think I can see that. About twenty yards." Pause. "Well, that is the system that I believe that I am, so, yes, the code I have should be for that." Pause. "No problem, Top Secret. Second." The sound of movement, some typing, then movement again. "Okay, Top Secret. I gave you thirty-five minutes. Now, this system should be outside their normal system, but I cannot promise that it won't be noticed." Pause. "Okay. Just promise me, Top Secret. I hate this place."

The voice of the senior airman now asked, "What do we do now?"

"We try to see her. If we see her, then the base is alerted and we act."

"You mean that we blow it up?"

"No, I mean that we pull out. Top Secret knows the time limit that she is acting under. She also knows that we will be watching. Top Secret and I have had all good missions before. Trust her, and under no circumstances do you sell her short."

"Truthfully, Sir, I did not believe that we could do this much."

"Well, there are advantages to having your opponent with an overbearing dominating government. Washington could learn a lesson from this. Remember that the best way into a house is through the door, and if everyone has a key then it is easy to get a duplicate. All that we are truthfully doing is following the routes that those in the government use to keep tabs on their secrets."

"But things like destruction sequences?"

"You don't believe that they are going to let anyone else have access? Let me remind you again that not only are we not supposed to be on this system, but almost no one is supposed to be on this system. The exacting specifications of being on this system is why I stole this computer."

Sergeant Andrews softly chuckled with the two young men. He also enjoyed situations where the preparations of the enemy could work towards their own undoing. Those were the type of stories that he enjoyed reading, and he often worked with recruits to look for real-world applications. He thus found entertainment in hearing such an event worked in his presence.

The voice of the senior airman suddenly said, "Uh, oh. Alarms have sounded."

"Yeah, but they are not where she entered at. And she should be already passed the outer security. Let us see if we can find her."

There was a pause before the Air Force man asked, "Do you think that she triggered the alarm?"

"This is where having me on site would be an advantage. It helped before being able to move to a vantage point where I could get some eyeball of the situation." Pause. "She did it, but I don't understand what she did. All that I can think is that she wanted a diversion."

"Wait, Sit, what is that blinking at the bottom?"

"One of our other windows has activated." Pause. "PULL THE PLUG!"

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