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.
Lallo delivered that statement with deceptive calm, and I didn’t miss the inference. That is if he was trying to say that anyone associated with that operation was likely to end up dead sooner rather than later.
Food for thought indeed, and suddenly it explained the reason for this interrogation. And though I didn’t want to believe it, or even think it possible, Breeman might be in some way connected with that operation. Or someone involved in it.
Suddenly I found my mid connecting dots, real or imaginary, that led back to Breeman requesting my transfer, knowing who I was, and then becoming closer in a way that was not expected, or could be explained, which had consequences if it came to light.
That was what Bamfield was alluding to in the desert camp.
But even Lallo had to admit it would be stretch at best to tie what was a random event being selected for what was basically an off-book training flight to being shot down, and link to a failed operation, and a suspicious suicide by Treen.
Especially when it was Bamfield’s own men who shot the helicopter out of the sky because we had so-called encroached the no-fly zone. Yet, by extension, if those people knew the proximity of the helicopter to the ground, and how thorough my survival training had been, that posed a whole new raft of questions, which, right then, I didn’t want to think about.
No, it was utterly ridiculous. My thoughts were simply the manna which drove conspiracy theories. Lallo was jumping to conclusions, and even I was guilty of the same offence.
Time to put it out of my mind, and answer the question, even if it sounded rhetorical. “It was the Colonel who tried to kill me, not the person who sent me on that operation. Are you trying to tell me Bamfield is involved in more than one conspiracy?”
Lallo simply shook his head, made a note in his notebook, and turned the page.
“Let’s go back to the day you were assigned to the ill-fated exercise. How many of your number at that particular base, are available for helicopter duty?”
“Who assigns the missions?”
“Not the commanding officer?”
“And in this particular case, when you were sent on the fatal mission?”
“I had to countersign the order. I didn’t see her name on the form.”
“But she would know, or be able to make suggestions.”
There was a group who made those decisions, not any one person, and it was possible anyone of that group could make a suggestion. But, as for Breeman, I doubt she was interested in that level of micromanagement.
Yet there was a suggestion I’d been moved off the active roster, and that it was possibly on her orders. Perhaps it would be best not to say anything about that. It also begged the question of why. Had she known something might happen to me? Or did she have an idea what might happen for another reason?
“Anything is possible, but I’m not privy to the machinations of command. I just do as I’m ordered.”
He smiled thinly. “I’m sure you’d say that even if it wasn’t true.”
Lallo was becoming an annoying little gnat, so I decided to treat him like one. “Is there an actual point to these questions, other than to dredge up past history, make erroneous accusations, and base all your conclusions on conjecture?”
“I simply deal with the facts before me.” It was almost a childish response.
A face hovered outside the ward door, and he noticed it.
“Excuse me.” He put down the notebook and headed out the door. Monroe remained, looking menacing.
Was someone else listening, and didn’t like the turn of events?
© Charles Heath 2019-2021