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 of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.
Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in.
It took almost an hour to recover. Monroe didn’t come looking for me, so I think they knew it would take some time for me to get my legs back.
And it felt good to stand under the hot shower for twenty-odd minutes, letting the warmth of the water sink into my bones and clear my head.
How long had Bamfield have an eye on me? It was a question that sprung to mind the moment I saw him in the desert camp. I’d heard if you were transferred to one of his commands, at some point, it was not because it was another posting, it was because he wanted you there.
I’d been specially selected by Bamfield personally, out of the preliminary training camp, to further my military career under his oversight. I’d made it very clear from the outset that I was not interested in a commission, that I preferred the lower ranks. Officers were a different breed, and I’d not been cut from that cloth. Bamfield had admitted as much when I was first interviewed by him, and several other’s on what I soon discovered was his selection panel.
They were charged by him to find the best of the best.
And at that first interview, I’d disagreed with his assessment. I’d been in trouble before, and the military was the only place I could go if I didn’t want to serve a stretch in jail. Perhaps it was that innate ability of mine to seek out and become embroiled in trouble that caught his attention.
Certainly over time he and his instructors had honed those skills to a more refined set that, in civilian life, would set me up for a long stay in prison. It begged the question of what I was going to do with myself after the military had finished with me, a question I hadn’t really thought about until I’d been shunted to my last post in a training school of sorts.
I realised now that it had been Bamfield sidelining me until an operation crying out for my particular talents came along.
That disastrous operation with Treen.
Was it his? Or was it someone else who pulled it together, and he just provided the manpower. It had been the first major active offshore operation I’d been on. There’d been a few skirmishes along the way, but that was the first, and in a zone where I don’t think we were meant to be operating.
That had, I thought, been the sole purview of the CIA, and if I looked back on what had happened, there was no doubt the two agents we were supposed to pull out were CIA operatives, it had got too hot for them to stay, and they had clandestinely called for help.
It begged another question, was Bamfield CIA or working with the CIA, with or without the military hierarchy knowing?
The thing is, if it had been pulled off, as expected, no one would be any the wiser in that country, but once they found out, by whatever means it happened, the proverbial had hit the fan. It goes hand in hand with trusting people on the ground who were purportedly working against their country’s regime, for better or worse.
That country had a ‘friendly’ government, that had been ‘supported’ and then been deposed in the usual coup by the military, and, afterwards, the new hardliners got the benefit of those times when the country was a friendly and had military hardware and knowledge to wage war clandestinely or otherwise with its neighbours, given willingly.
Lessons hadn’t been learned after a particular middle east debacle. Maybe lessons would never be learned. Just look at the number of times had relations turned sour after a coup and agents had to hastily withdraw. It seems that my visit had been at the end of another of those ‘diplomatic’ missions that had gone wrong.
If this was such a case, I was about to find out.
© Charles Heath 2019