NaNoWriMo 14 Chapter 3 Revision 1

Hello all, below is Chapter 3 from my NaNoWriMo 14!


 

I stepped off the plane into the summer heat I proceeded immediately to baggage claim where I picked up both of my duffle bags, the first one had my Air Force gear, the other my personal belongings that I might need while at Bragg.  With my new posting being classified I had decided to wear civilian clothes, they were also more comfortable for the flight.  As I stepped out into the open air I was even more glad for the civilian clothes because the temperature only got hotter.

Looking around I found the sign for the airport shuttles and I headed off in that direction.  I didn’t have a car here so I was going to have to rely on the provided transportation.  A man moved into my way, blocking any way to the shuttles.  He was tall with an average build, short black hair, and sun glasses.  He wore fitting black jeans and a black button down shirt.

“Lieutenant Taylor, my name is Staff Sergeant Randy Douglas.  I am here to bring you to Bragg.”

“Who sent you?”  It was unusual to have someone to come pick up a single officer on a change of station, especially a training assignment.

“Captain Derrick sent me.”

At James’ name I relaxed.  If he knew James’ name there was little chance he was there to spy on me or to do me harm.

“SarahJane.”  I offered my hand to him.  “Sorry I was just surprised that they would send someone for me.  Also wanted to make sure you weren’t trying to gather information.”

“Randy, come with me the car is this way.”  He didn’t seem to be one for words or emotion.

He grabbed for one of my duffel bags and at first I refused.  Then I gave it over to him.  We crossed the street and he led me to a black sedan with dark windows.  Both of my bags went into the trunk and I climbed into the passenger’s seat.

As we drove through the city I tried on several occasions to get Sergeant Douglas to talk but he had nothing to say to me so I ended up watching the scenery as we drove.  The city around Fort Bragg was no where near the size that I was used to.

The entrance to Fort Bragg had a sign that read “Fort Bragg, Home of The Airborne and Special Operations Forces.”  Trees and decorative plants were put off by the metal cover that sat above the eight lane entrance to the base.  The base itself was something I could get used to.  It was a mix of modern buildings and older buildings.  Landscaping lined the roads and sides of buildings.

We continued on through the main portion of the base past the barracks.  Douglas stopped the car out front of an older three level apartment building.  It was painted white but time had faded the color.  My old Base Maintenance Unit would even have been embarrassed about the appearance of the building.

Getting out Douglas opened the trunk and before I could get to it he had removed one of the bags.  I took my second bag and followed him up the stairs to the far end of the second floor.  My hand carrying the bag was hurting by the time I got to the door.  He removed a key from his pocket and opened the door.

“This is your apartment for the duration of training.”  Douglas said.

A smell of oldness wafted out of the door.  It was one of those smells that while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it didn’t smell right.  As I stepped in I was greeted by an old carpet with equally as old furniture.  I set my bag down next to the door.

Douglas carried my other bag over to a small dining table and set the keys down on the table along with the bag.

“These are the keys to the apartment.”  He pointed to another set of keys.  “These are to a gold Honda Civic parked outside.  It is yours to use during training.  Make sure it is fueled before the end of training, just like a rental car.  If you need anything else during training contact the instructors.”

“Will do, thank you Staff.”

“My pleasure Ma’am, maybe I will see you around.”  The mystery in his voice was the first real emotion in his voice.

I set off to bring my bags to the bedroom and explore what little space the apartment appeared to have.  The door led into the apartment let out in a small living room/dining area, the wall here was an off white.  A small hallway led to the back of the apartment.  The first open section off the hallway was a kitchen that barely fit the appliances that were in it.  All of the kitchenware appeared to be circa 1980’s.  The next room was a small bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet.  A mirror cabinet sat above the sink and although it looked clean most of its shine was missing.

The last door at the end of the hallway was a bedroom that was about the same size as the living room.  A full bed sat against the wall in one corner while a small, unfinished dresser sat across from it.  Just next to the door was a small desk that matched the dresser.

After making the bed with sheets from one of my duffels I went to the kitchen to inspect my appliances and discover my cooking capabilities.  A note was taped on to the fridge:

Report to TF Headquarters at 0700 hours on Monday July 29th.  You will be issued appropriate uniforms and training will be explained to you.  If you should need anything contact your instructors.

At the bottom of the note was a phone number and the name MSgt. Yates.  After copying the phone number into my cell phone I destroyed the note.  It was what they did in spy movies so I felt it was fitting.

 

NaNoWriMo 14 Chapter 1 & 2

Hello again!  Once again chapter one was revised but this time so was chapter two so I figured I would give you your first sneak peak of chapter two.  And in case you were wondering I am on track to be ahead of the game yet again today.


Chapter 1 – Cpt. James Derrick, US Army

 

Like most Starbucks, the one in the McChord Air Force Base BX was the most modern thing in the building.  Glass walls allowed you to see the hallway outside and wood and metal tables were strewn across the room along with a coach and arm chairs.  The walls were lined with the typical Starbucks memorabilia.  A friendly looking Barista stood behind the counter awaiting the next customer.

As I entered the cafe I looked around.  My training had taught me to always be observant.  Besides the Barista the only people in the room appeared to be military personnel or their wives.  I walked up to the Barista and saw that her name tag read Kristi.

“Hello Kristi, how are you this morning?”

“I am doing good, what can I do for you?”

“Can I please get a strawberry banana smoothie?”

“Of course, can I get anything else for you.”

“No thanks.”

I paid the kind Barista with cash and walked over to the counter to wait for my drink to be finished.  I was here to meet a college acquaintance and offer them a job I was positive they would be excited to do.  I straightened out my suit while I waited on my drink.  Because my unit was officially on the books as a law enforcement unit we frequently wore suits or other law enforcement style clothes instead of wearing the military uniforms.  It also helped us fit in in public when we had to leave base.

While I stood there waiting for my drink she walked in.  With her Airman Battle Uniform on she looked like she was a thin to average build.  I knew her looks deceived because I had seen her train for her martial arts in college.  She had also joined in when my Army ROTC unit had hosted hand to hand tactics training every week.  Red hair was pulled up into a regulation bun and freckles decorated her face.  Almost no makeup touched her face.  The military had regulations against wearing excessive makeup but that wasn’t the reason, that just wasn’t her style.  Her uniform sported second lieutenant’s bars, lovingly referred to as butter bars.
When Lieutenant SarahJane Taylor saw me she smiled.  I returned the smile, seeing her again really made me happy.  She had been two years behind me in college so I had two years of being in the real world while she was in college.  She had graduated last June, had the summer off, then went to Security Forces school.  From there she had been assigned to a holding unit which was where she was still assigned.

SarahJane repeated the process I did and ordered a coffee so complex I didn’t bother tracking it.   When she was done she walked over to me to wait for her drink.

“Hello Army.”  She gave me a friendly punch in the shoulder.

“Hey there SarahJane.”  A Barista passed my drink across the counter.

“You still aren’t drinking coffee?”

“I know you know that I can’t stand the taste that coffee leaves in my mouth.  I see that you are still ordering drinks so complex that they have to write them down.”

“On two pages.”  She joked.

I laughed.  We got along well.  Our personalities had always meshed.  When her drink came across the counter we walked to a table in the corner of the room.  I took the seat facing the door.  Paranoia and habit, I liked being able to see anyone who came in.

“You being here has broken the monotony of the days I have been having since Security Forces training.”

“They still don’t have you attached to a Security Forces unit?”  Of course I knew the answer because that was why I was here but I was going to play it out.  I enjoyed the cloak and dagger nature.

“No they don’t.  Everytime I ask about my orders I keep getting told they are trying to decide where to put me.  I am pretty sure the S-1’s office is getting annoyed with me.  How is Army life treating you?”

“I enjoy every day.  Are there any postings you really want?”

“After some of the tasks I have had to do I would accept any unit that isn’t doing maintenance.”  I couldn’t help it I laughed a little bit.

“I could offer you something more exciting than maintenance or anything that you have thought of doing.”

“What can a soldier do about my career?”  She asked.  “And aren’t you an MP?”

I let out a mysterious chuckle.  “That’s what the books say.”

“That sounds secretive.  What do you really do then?”

“I work for Task Force 172.  Being trained as a Security Forces officer you probably have heard rumors about them.”

“That I have, everyone in the military law enforcement agencies has.  An elite Task Force that is invitation only and no one quite knows the details of what they do.”

“Well there is at least a little bit of truth behind the rumors.  I have been working with them since before I graduated.  I have been given command of my own team and I would like you to be on it.”

“Ha, you must be kidding.  Even if you were part of this elite Task Force why would you want me on one of it’s teams?  I have absolutely no special forces training.”

“You have the law enforcement training which is still part of the job.  The Task Force will provide you with the rest of the training that you will need.”

“You are serious aren’t you.”

Covertly, I pulled a badge off my belt and slid it across the table.  It was gunmetal grey to prevent reflecting light and to be less noticeable.  In black lettering the badge read Department of Defense,  Task Force 172,  Captain.  She picked up the badge and looked at it for a minute then returned it to me.  I slid another badge across the table.  It was similar to mine but it said agent instead of captain.

“What do you think?”

“I am intrigued I have to admit.  If I joined what exactly would this team be doing?”

“Black ops, covert ops, kind of work.  We would be based out of the Pacific Region.”

“You are the reason I haven’t been given an assignment yet aren’t you?”

“Well you had to go through additional background checks for the clearances you would rate in the new position.  Once all that was done I had to send your paperwork up the food chain.  What do you say?”  I asked.

“Is it fun?”

“What do you mean is it fun?  It’s the best work I have ever done.”

“Well then yes is the answer.  What do I do from here?”  She inquired.

“You will get an invitation to attend training.  Go and be all you can be.  Your joining the unit will be contingent on that.  If you fail that there will be no joining the unit.”  I answered.  “Until then, wait.”

She groaned and I am pretty sure the whole cafe heard it.  “No pressure?”

I chuckled.  For a while we sat back and talked about things that were less serious.  I had wanted to get business out of the way first so we could relax more.  Connecting with her again made me happy and I was glad that she said yes but I doubt she would have turned it down.  It was also rare that I got to see someone from my college life.  I had only even seen a couple of people who I had been in ROTC with after, and they were in the Army too.  The Army was a big place and being in special forces made mingling a little bit of a challenge.

 

 

Chapter 2 – Lt. SarahJane Taylor, US Air Force

 

Two weeks had passed since my conversation with James and I was beginning to think it was a prank.  He hadn’t contacted me and I was still attached to my boring placeholder of a unit.  My daily work consisted of waking up, carrying out mundane tasks and training, then going home.

Today started out like just the rest.  I had been assigned with four other people to paint a section of hallway in one of the base buildings.  This was totally not what I had joined the military to do.  About half way through the hallway my phone started to buzz.  I pulled it out of my pocket and held it to my ear.

“Hello.”

“This is Jana Port, assistant to the S-1.  Please report to the S-1’s office right away.”  Her voice was annoyed.

“Yes ma’am.”  I replied.

I let the rest of the people I was working with know what I was doing and departed.

My old car faithfully took me in the direction of the unit’s headquarters.  Being a unit made of people from all over doing mundane tasks the Air Force had decided that we didn’t need an impressive office.  My unit known as a Base Management Unit.

From the outside we had done our best to make the headquarters look nice.  The older building had a recently white paint job and the parking lot was kept swept.

Inside was worse than the outside.  The whole building had a smell that no one could quite identify but if it got any stronger I am not sure people could put up with working in the building.  I walked down a hallway with plain white walls that should look sterile but with the older lighting managed to look just old.

A unit with a crappy headquarters wouldn’t be complete without unpleasant staff.  As I walked into the office that housed the S-1 and his staff I looked around.  No one looked happy.  On one side of the room there were three desks with people working, across from them there sat Jana Port, the S-1’s assistant.  She was looking through documents and making marks on them.  Directly in front of me was the door to the S-1’s office.  I walked up to her and reported that I was there as requested.

“I can see that Lieutenant.”  She was a civilian employee and as such felt that she was entitled to act however she felt like.

“Okay, so can I go report to the S-1?”

“No, he will call you in when he is ready.  He is currently seeing someone else.”  She managed to speak without once looking up from her paperwork as if what she was saying was ingrained in her.

Walking up to the wall of the S-1’s personal office I positioned myself just to the side of the door and took up the position of parade rest.  When she thought that I wasn’t paying attention Jana Port shot me a glare.  I knew from my current posting that having a crappy job could make you have a crappy mood.

After a few minutes at parade rest the door to the office opened quickly.  Luckily I had stood on the opposing side or I would have been hit by the door.  A very upset looking airman stomped out.  The Base Maintenance Unit was a common place for people to be put if the Air Force didn’t want to discharge them but didn’t want to put them in an important position.  So if someone had been attached to the unit for any long period of time it usually meant they had done something to earn that attachment.

“You can go see him now.”  Jana Port said smiling.

I felt like she should be wishing me luck as I walked into the S-1’s office and reported to the major behind the desk.  The major looked like he didn’t belong in his uniform.  He was plump older gentleman whose hair had surely seen better days.  A permanent look of dislike plastered his face that even rivaled his assistant’s.

“Taylor.  Someone finally has an assignment so you aren’t stuck with us unlucky bastards.  From what I understand a unit has actually requested you.  I don’t know much about your orders and don’t really care to.  They are sealed and marked above my paygrade.”  He tossed a manilla envelope marked Classified across the table.  I had to move forward to grab it.  “I don’t know what you did to get a mysterious posting.”

It wasn’t phrased as a question.  I looked down at the envelope and saw that it was marked for my eyes only.  Seeing that made a small shiver flow through my body.  Being part of a secretive world felt intriguing.

I started to open the envelope but the S-1 spoke up.  “Not here Lieutenant.  I don’t care to know what is inside and I don’t have the time for you to be using my office as a reading space.”

“Understood sir.”  I couldn’t help but feel a level of contempt for the S-1.  He represented what the opposite of what the military was supposed to be.

“Dismissed, get out of here.”  He made a shooing motion with his hands.

On the drive back to my on base apartment the envelope was calling to me from the passenger’s seat.  Not only was it an enticing posting and one that would make me extra money but it was my first post college job that I knew I was going to like.  Getting it felt like an accomplishment.  I didn’t think James would offer me the job without believing that I could do it.

I didn’t exactly run out of the car and into the apartment when I got home but it was close.  The door barely had latched closed before I started opening the envelope.  Inside I found multiple sheets and packets of paper.

The first document inside the envelope was a letter from the USAF assigning me to a Department of Defense Task Force and explaining to me how the attachment would work.  The official name of my new assignment was the 172nd Enforcement Task Force 16th Investigative Unit.  James was listed as my new commanding officer but there were also contacts for the Air Force in case I needed certain things that only my own branch could handle.

The next item inside was a small folder that I hadn’t been expecting.  It was labeled Alaska Airlines and sure enough it contained airline tickets to Fort Brag.  Then I saw the date on the tickets and began freaking out inside.  I only had a few hours to pack before I would have to get to the airport.

The last important document in the envelope was a letter on plain paper, not official letterhead.

 

2nd Lieutenant Taylor,

 

Congratulations your conditional acceptance into TF 172.  As you probably have already been told the task force that you are being welcomed into is highly classified.  You are not to tell anyone of your new orders.

 

Now that I have gotten the obligatory classification speech out of the way, I apologize for having to put you on a plane tonight.  You are joining the Task Force late in the hiring session late due to some logistical errors and your specialized training will begin the day after tomorrow.  There will be no need to pack, you will only be spending your training at Fort Brag and the apartment provided to you while you are training is rudimentarly furnished.  After training you will be returning to the West Coast to be attached to a Pacific Region Unit.  Make sure you bring anything that you will need for the duration of training, approximately four months.

 

Good luck.  The specialized training is not a cake walk and will keep you on your toes.

 

Your New C.O.,

Captain James Derrick, Unit 16

P.S. Destroy this letter after reading then bring the rest of the information packet with you to training.

 

The cloak and dagger effect of the envelope made me feel important and I had to smile.  Hopefully I didn’t need luck, I worked out and practiced martial arts to help keep my body in great condition.

After reading through the rest of the packet I was a little nervous though.  Nothing in the packet elaborated on the specialized training.  I could make guesses from stories, books, and television but I had no clue what I was really going to face.  Either way I was excited and I guessed the nervousness was healthy.

I returned everything but the letter to the envelope and set the envelope on my dining room table.  Walking to the bathroom I read over the letter once more and once again enjoyed the sensation I got from the secretiveness.  Then I took out my lighter and lit the letter on fire, dropping in in the bathtub.  I watched it burn then went to pack for my next four months.

NaNoWriMo 14 Week 2 Summary

Howdy folks.  A couple of days where I wasn’t 100% on track but it was all made up for.

Chapter 1 saw another rewrite.


The McChord Air Force Base BX housed the  on-base Starbucks.  It was a medium size establishment as far as Starbucks go, there was a counter and several tables, a couch, and two arm chairs.  Shelves displayed coffee machines and bags waiting to be brewed.  A few airmen were sharing coffee at the table closest to the door and a group of wives sat around a small table in the arm chairs and on the couch.

I walked up to the counter and ordered a strawberry smoothie.  The only time I drank coffee was when I was in the field and needed to stay awake or blend in.  Even then I preferred energy drinks.  The awful taste that coffee would leave in my mouth wasn’t worth the extra energy, especially since not even a mint would get rid of it.  That’s why energy drinks and tea were commonly found in my fridge.

Within minutes my drink was ready and I stood at the edge of the counter waiting for the person I was meeting.  From the counter I could see the entrance and no one could come up behind me.  Maybe a little paranoid for being on a military base but from experience I knew that it was better to be safe than sorry.

I didn’t have to wait long.  A redhead walked in confidently wearing her Air Force Airman Battle Uniform.  Her hair was pulled up in the regulation bun and a cover sat in her cargo pocket.  Second Lieutenant’s bars, lovingly referred to as butter bars, sat on her shoulders.  At first glance someone might dismiss her as being a smaller woman, her build by nature hid the strength that I had seen her train long and hard for.  She would regularly join our Army ROTC hand-to-hand training and she had taken martial arts regularly.

Air Force regulations forbid wearing large amounts of makeup but she wouldn’t have worn it anyways.  That wasn’t her style.  She looked around the Starbucks and when she saw me her face lit up and her light grey eyes sparkled.  I smiled back.

In college she had been in Air Force ROTC and upon graduating had been sent away to train with the USAF Security Forces.  From there she was stuck here on McChord AFB awaiting assignment.  I could only imagine how frustrated that was making her.

During college I had also had a crush on her.  It was hard not to like a woman who was so dedicated.  She lived to better herself and believed in doing the right thing.  She was also very attractive and stood out in a crowd, not just because of her red hair but also because of her confidence.

Today had to be purely professional, I wasn’t here to make a personal call.  I was here for business afterall.  Still I couldn’t help watching her as she ordered her drink.  True to form she ordered a complex drink full caffeine that I couldn’t keep track of.  Complex, that explained her well.

With my free hand I adjusted my suit.  It fit my cover better than my military uniform.  On the books I was now a Special Investigator Lead.

“Hello Air Force.”  I teased.

“That suit fits you surprisingly well Army.”  Our rival dated back to college when I was in Army ROTC.

“They still don’t have you doing anything?”  I already knew the answer but I asked it anyways because I was enjoying the cloak and daggers when there wasn’t anyone actively trying to kill me.

“No, they don’t.  Everytime I ask about my orders I keep getting told that they are trying to decide what they are going to do with me.  What are you doing for the Army?”

“Well that is why I am here.  Are there any postings that you really want?”

“At this point, it has been two months of not being assigned anywhere.  I would almost take any posting that had a purpose.”

“I could offer you a posting like that.”  I offered.

“Aren’t you a military police officer?”

I let out a low chuckle.  “On the books I am.  What I really do is a little more… secretive.”

“That sounds alluring.  What is it you do?”

“I work for Task Force 172.  I am sure you have heard the rumors.”

“That I have.  Everyone in military law enforcement has.”  She replied.

“Well there is at least some truth behind most rumors.  And I would like you to join.”

“A posting like that sounds almost too good to be true.”  I knew I had her, she was going to say yes before this conversation was done.

I pulled my badge from my belt discretely and set it on the table.  It was made out of gun metal to be non-reflective.  “It does say I am a captain.”

“Well what would I be doing?”

“There was a call for a new unit in the Task Force to cover the Pacific and surrounding areas.  I managed to get myself in a position to lead that unit.  I was allowed to pick my own team and you were on the list I came up with.  I am sorry to say that you’re on hold from being assigned to a unit was because you were going through a black ops clearance and background check.”

“I have heard the grumblings that you guys are very secretive and hunt down fugitives and stuff.  Is that what you do in your black ops?”  I let out another low chuckle.  The rumors that got around ranged from plausible to the outlandish.  I even heard someone say once that we hunted aliens.

“To some degree.  We have units that maintain our cover but for the most part we just do black ops that need to be done off the radar.”

“And you are seriously offering me a job doing that?”

I pulled another badge from my pocket and set it next to mine.  It read “Task Force 172.  Department of Defense.  2nd Lieutenant.”

“That will be yours if you agree to join us.”

“I don’t have any special forces or black ops training.”

“Jeez, its almost as if you don’t want this job.”  I teased.  “All of the training that you need will be provided by the Task Force.”

“What do I do from here?”  She asked.

“You will get an invitation to attend training.  Go and be all you can be.”  I answered.  “Until then, wait.”

I am pretty sure the whole cafe heard her grown.  I chuckled.  We sat and talked for a while more and I felt happier than I had in a while.  Connecting with her again was enjoyable.  It was rare that I got to see anyone from my college life.  I had only seen a couple of the people who I had been in ROTC with after, and they were in the Army too.

 

NaNoWriMo 2013

I have emerged victorious from National Novel Writing Month 2013.  This year I have decided to make a NaNoWriMo edition of my story available via Amazon or Createspace.  The Createspace edition should be up and the Amazon one should be around in several days. I warn you though, this is the unedited version of my manuscript, as I wrote it over the month of November.  Stay tuned for more updates!

 

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