My memories of all past jobs came flooding back to me in the plane, as it always does. My life as a soldier seems totally separate from my civilian life. Now, I am focused on the task at hand and it’s as if I have two separate lives: one as a husband and father, and another as an undercover combat operative who is programmed to carry out orders at all costs. This is the moment I always have, when I am in between conversions of consciousness. This is when I remember both lives. As I experience more combat memories, my civilian life fades away. I am a soldier for two to three weeks at a time and then with a sound of a few code words I am a civilian, sometimes for a year or two. We all volunteered for this special ops role years ago, but didn’t really think it would be to give up control of our minds for a short time each year.
We were on our way to Las Vegas to recover a scientist named Chin Lo. His code name was “The Caterpillar”. He apparently perfected a weapon that could control weather through microwaves being directed over a specific target to create hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, and earthquakes. A weapon like this could change the world and swing the balance of power to a new way of life. Our Intel said The Caterpillar wanted to defect from China and bring his knowledge to a country that wanted all humans to benefit from what he had discovered. He didn’t want it to be used as a weapon, but as a way to create environments that could feed the world. The control of the weather could benefit all of mankind.The only thing was, he was scared! He agreed to meet and be extracted ASAP or it was no deal.
The Caterpillar was to meet us in the Mirage Hotel at 0100 hrs in front of the Waffle House Restaurant. We were to be his escorts out of the hotel and get him to Roswell Air Force Base, 130 miles away. A two hour and forty min drive seemed pretty easy, but The Caterpillar had security all around him. He was a big gambler and frequented The Mirage often. Our job was to secure him and avoid a confrontation with his security team. We would dress as civilian gamblers and when he left his table to hit the john we would take out his guards quietly, and transport him to Roswell without any scenes before the rest of his security detail could realize.
The only snag was we were late. Our flight had hit some bad weather and we would be cutting it close to meet at the extraction point. We needed to prepare, physically and mentally. We needed to see the extraction point, calculate and measure the distances, the timing, and predict all and any possible obstacles. That’s what Red Band 1 does. We are always prepared, but this time seemed different. I don’t know why, but I could feel my buds were not all on the same page. Something was different this mission.
I could see it on the Band’s faces. They all knew we would be cutting it close for our preparation and then extraction. We all knew if Red Band 1 is not fully prepared, there is a bigger window for error, which could mean collateral damage, meaning civilians could get hurt.
Just then I was awakened from my own thoughts of preparation.
“Ladies and Gentlemen this is your captain speaking. It is 10 pm in Las Vegas, Nevada, skies are clear and it is a lovely 79 degrees. We should be on the ground in about 10 minutes so please stay in your seats until the plane comes to a complete stop. Thank you for flying Unified Airways, enjoy your stay in Las Vegas, and may lady luck be with you all.”
We all knew collectively in that moment, we would have enough time to prepare and put that Caterpillar in its Cocoon.
Written by: Stephen Brown; Mansfield Grey