It’s still a battle of wits, but our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.
The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because the enemy if it is the enemy, doesn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.
Old friends, new tricks.
Genial tone, trying to win my confidence. I wasn’t going to ask, but wait for an explanation. Asking would be like leaving the door ajar.
He sat after pulling the chair closer to the table and put his clasped hands on the table.
“This is a secret military operation known only to very few, apart from the team that is in situ. Commander Breeman has been, against very specific direct orders, trying to find out what we are doing here.” He stopped.
I think this was the moment I was supposed to ask, what was going on here.
If it was secret, then I didn’t want to know, and he was not going to tell me anyway.
I just looked attentive.
“You have been caught up in a jurisdictional issue. It’s not hard to assume that you were sent here, with the pilot of that helicopter, to do an off the book search for this camp. That, in itself, would be impossible, but the flyover coincided with a provedore run. Just plain bad luck.”
For Joe, the pilot, it was. Or not, if he had been given specific verbal orders, making it out to be a training run. And the odds of me being on board at the same time, given my association with Breeman?
One coincidence too many.
And if it was as the man before had said, they knew everything, then Bamfield would know of my connection to her.
“You said you had no idea where you were when you were shot down?”
Time, I guess, to speak. “No, I didn’t. The desert looks all the same to me.”
“You will forgive me if I say I find that hard to believe. I know you are better than that, Alan. Who sent you out here?”
“I was along for the ride. Standard operating procedure. A helo goes up, someone like me has to be on board in case of trouble. More conventional trouble than rockets.”
“But you specifically?”
“I don’t make the rosters, I just go where they tell me.”
Bamfield frowned. I think he’d finally noticed I was not addressing him as ‘sir’. Until I knew what side he was on, I considered myself a prisoner of war.
© Charles Heath 2019