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Messages - James Hendricks

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Sully listened intently to her explanation. Needs and wants often blurred in these circumstances. They had lost so much more momentum, and here this woman - unverified and unwelcomed - was asking for them to wait longer. When everyone had spoke, and the Canadian had given his idea, Sully nodded.

"First off, I need to know how we can trust all of what you've told us." He said. "If you know Cate, and I mean truly know her, you'll know her countersign." He added, eyes scanning the woman's face for any sign of falsehood. "That aside, it doesn't explain how you found us. How you knew exactly where we were."

Vegas nodded his agreement. "Boss, I think this chick knew because the cartel told her. They had to have reported in before we smoked that patrol."

Sully turned back to her. "Well?"

The native woman was silent for what seemed like a very long moment before she spoke again. Her eyes were defiant now, challenging the statement that Vegas had made. "Senor, I found you because, to be blunt, you are not natural here. The very jungle itself reacts to your presence." She said, and got a nod from a few of the operators. Indig personnel often knew the terrain better than the operators who trained years to work in it.

"You are also being watched. The Frente Nacional de Resistencia know you are here, and wish to help." When she saw some of the men stiffen at the mention of being watched. "Cate told me to say Breaker Morant, and that you would help." She offered, finally.

Sully turned to the group. "It checks out. It's apparently a favorite film of hers." He told them. "The resistance fighters are a new wrinkle. They're not supposed to be those close to the border." The FNP, a CIA funded resistance group, had long been working in Argentina as the eyes and ears of the company.

"I need to check in. Hang tight." He said, moving away from the group and hitting his PTT.

"Crusader actual calling Palace Actual, how copy, over?"

Palace Actual, back in Bragg, answered. "Palace actual receiving. Solid copy on all. Send it, over."

"Palace, be advised, Crusader and Assassin elements are in place and ready for assult, break, we have a local girl here stating she has intel that package needs more time, over."

"Crusader, can you verify, over?"

"She has the right countersign, over."

"Crusader, be advised, you are to use any intel you have. QRF and CAS are tied up at the moment, over."

"Solid copy, our plan is to infil via a cistern then exfil with QRF. Who is on station, over?"

"Redneck you will be in contact with a relief SBS team from Falklands. ETA to your position is two hours, CAS provided by forces from Falklands, how copy, over?"

"No other assets from the strike group, over?"

"Not at this time. They are observe and report only, over."

"Rog. Will proceed with secondary assault plan and exfil via SBS pickup. Any further traffic, over?"

"Not at this time, Crusader. Have a good one. Palace out."

Sully returned to the group. "Alright gents. Here's the plan." He said. "Our friend here is going to draw us a map of the cisterns. You Canadian boys have a good plan, but I say we make it one better. Use your explosives as a diversion to pull forces away from the main complex, and then hit them with warheads that the Rangers can supply."

He took a breath. "CAG and the SBS team will be the main force, with Ranger and JTF acting as a control element. Our QRF is a secondary SBS team with CAS from RAF Falklands. Questions?"

Castle spoke up. "Boss, we've lost way too much momentum here already. Why are we waiting on Falklands?"

"Politics and press, buddy." Came the reply. He turned to Luciana. "Is there any chance the FNP would be willing to stop 'watching' and get their hands dirty?"

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 20, 2017, 04:09:05 PM »
Sully felt his breath catch in his chest when she opened the door. The entire childhood, he'd never viewed her in that way. But as they'd grown older, their relationship had changed, and he still remembered the first time he took her out. The same tight chest that he'd felt when she opened the door, they were in high school, but even still he saw that same girl who'd saw through his bluster.

He finally caught his breath. "Red, I'd wait for you all night long if you asked nice." He said as he saw that sweet smile that meant she was genuinely happy.  "You look so amazing, by the way." He mentioned as he offered her his arm and then escorted her down the walkway after she locked up.

When they got to the truck, he opened the door for her and helped her climb up into the cab. It wasn't that high up, but still, in a dress that tight she'd need some assistance.

He got back in the driver's seat and pulled down the driveway. "Did you have a good day at work?" he asked.

<The Jungle Highlands, Near the Mountain Complex, Argentina>

Sully gave a grin to the Brit as he quipped back. "Remind me to avoid the parks you frequent, if this reminds you of them." He laughed and knelt as Vegas continued to get intel pushed to his tablet. Vegas was over coordinating with the ranger element, marking targets and routes.

They were mid-conversation when the civvie broke through their lines and announced herself. His team turned, weapons raised. The girl came a hair's breadth away from getting smoked. "Put your fucking hands in the air!" Sully said, remembering the young kid from before. She was well within kill distance if she was packing too.

The girl, shaken, put her hands up slowly, bottom lip trembling. "Catherine sent me to find you. Please senor."

"Assassin-four, cordon us off. Fuck knows who else is out there meandering. Stay frosty, out." Sully radioed back to Damian and his group. "Voodoo, Speedy you got her?" He got nods from the two operators. Slowly, he moved forward, he fished a zip-tie from off his MOLLE loop and reached up, taking a hold of her left wrist. "Don't move. If you move we will shoot you." She nodded silently. Taking her hands back down and behind her back he zip-tied them together, then did a quick frisk of her emaciated form. "She's clean." He stepped back but let his team and the ranger keep their weapons trained on her.

"Now, start from the beginning. What do you know about 'Cate'?" He asked sternly.

<The Jungles Near the Border of Argentina/Brazil, 1015 LOCAL>

The CAG element shadowed their Ranger counterparts silently as they moved through the jungle. Sully listened carefully to all that was said, but kept quiet. He was brought out of his thoughts by Castle.

"Boss, they're right ya know." He said. "If we can't get her out, we should prepare to bake the area and haul ass."

Sully gave a nod. "I hear ya brother, this has fucking Roberts Ridge written all over it." That elicited grumbles of acknowledgement from his team. The Battle of Takur Ghar, as it was formally known, was a major loss for the special operations community. And this terrian, enemy, and mission nearly mirrored that.

Vegas chimed in to change the subject. "Heads up, Stingray is on station." He said as he kept pushing through the underbrush. "They're going to push us intel as they have it."

They finally reached the grid coordinates for their OP and fallback point. As CAG and the rangers emerged from the brush, he caught sight of the SAS element nearby.

"Friendlies in the brush." He said out loud, loud enough to be heard by all. He signalled his team to hold up and pull security while the rangers set up their OP. He was reminded just how disrupted his original tasker had been, and the fact that he owed the CIA a strongly worded memo.

He moved over to the SAS team, holding up a hand in greeting. "Mornin', brothers." He said, smirking. "How's the jungle finding you gents this morning?" He asked of Alistair.

Vegas was busy networking. "Palace be advised we are checkpoint bravo, I say again, checkpoint bravo. Push Stingray intel to me, over." There was a pause. "Roger that, out."

Vegas pulled out a tablet, looking at the feed. "Boss, I've got the Stingray feed. We've got bookoo heavily armed assholes roving up there. Looks like they just pulled in two military APCS. And some high speed, low drag mother fuckers just got out."

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 11, 2017, 03:37:00 PM »
Sully left the engine running and made the quick walk up the walk to her front door. He made sure his jacket was straight and knocked on the door firmly. He had to admit he was slightly nervous, which was an odd sensation for him.

When the door opened, he smiled. "Hey there." He said as she greeted him. "You about ready to head out?"

<The Jungles Near the Border of Argentina/Brazil, 0915

"Christ almighty." Sully exhaled as he dusted himself off and looked around. The concussive force had knocked the wind out of him but he did a quick check and didn't notice any damage. They were outside the danger zone, but the way that body came apart he was more concerned with biological shrapnel at that point.

"Sound off!" He said quickly.

"I'm up boss." Voodoo said from his left.

"I'm good to go, jeffe." Speedy said from somewhere behind him.

"Solid here." Vegas said.

Mother called out from directly to his right. "I'm five by five. You good?"

"I'm up. That was fucked up, but I'm up." Castle said finally.

"All good then." Sully said with a sigh. He turned back to the Ranger element and gave a thumbs up. "Nice work, quick thinking. We owe ya one." He said, and then set about listening to the plan. He nodded as the Rangers explained.

"Good idea. We're gonna push to those fucking Brits and get the fuck over to that bird. By now she's likely either in E&E mode or captured." Sully said.

"Or worse." Paul added wryly.

Finally able to get to his PTT, Sully called into Tango 4-2.

"Tango four-two actual, Crusader actual. Solid copy on all break." He answered. "Be advised, runner is EKIA - break - we have split an element off to get eyes on that shot. Likely came from crash site. Request that you rally with us at grid 142847."

Once that was done he turned to the group. He knew that by the time they made the crash site the main group would likely be set up on the road. "This is turning into a shit show. Like you heard, we're going to keep hauling ass and try and keep any assholes off the path."

In the distance, he could see the smoke rising from the burnt wreckage. Their secondary task was complete, but their primary was now in the wind.


They were about ten minutes away from the site when the radio call came in.

“Assassin 4 Actual to all Assassin, Crusader, and Tango 4 elements… we found the downed jet, and evidence of a struggle. All evidence points to possible capture, I say again, the possible capture of our pilot. Over.”

Vegas took comms for the group. "Roger that Assassin 4. Heads up, we're ten mikes, I say again, ten mikes from your current pos. Request you continue on that path. We will flank your route with Tango four two, how copy over?"

Sully's radio crackled.

"Crusader actual, this is Palace six, copy?"

Sully pressed his PTT. "Solid on last Palace, send traffic."

"Be advised, we have a Stingray launched from the carrier strike group pushing your pos, break, will be on station in fifteen mikes, say again, one five mikes for recon bird, over."

"Rog Palace, will convey to the team, any further traffic, over."

There was a pause. "Be advised we have intel coming in now that the pilot may be in the hands of the resistance front, break, we are waiting on further confirmation, you guys need to get on station. Palace out."

Sully turned to the ranger element. "Alright, here's the deal. We've got an MQ-25A coming on station, we're gonna keep on this route and link up with the Brits, then follow the path and try and get eyes on our fallen angel." He took a breath. "And it appears our pilot has gone and gotten captured. So our mission continues as planned. Input?"

The gunshot pulled him out of his thoughts. There was a possibility that it was a straggler from the firefight but he doubted it. This didn't change what they needed to do. He turned to the Ranger element to adjust. "Fan out, let's try and catch this runner before her gets too far."

He swapped his channel to communicate directly with the SBS element. "Tango 4-2 actual this is Crusader actual, interrogative do you have eyes on where that shit came from, over?"

As they walked they could hear the sounds of limbs and brush being trampled. Sully held up a closed fist to halt the formation. Voodoo passed it down the line. The CAG shooters raised their rifles almost in unison.

A breath later and the young man, more like a boy really, came crashing out of the underbrush. For a split second he looked like a deer in the headlights. In one hand he held an Ak47. His other clutched a messenger bag.

"ˇDetener! ˇBaja tu arma!" <Halt! Put down your rifle!> Speedy said loudly. The kid hesitated for a second.

Don't fucking do it kid. Sully thought to himself. He felt himself exhale slightly as the kid tossed his AK into the bushes, holding his hands up above his head, Speedy ordered the kid to toss down the bag. Sully took a step forward, eyes on the kid as he did so. It was then that he noticed the bag drop away from the kid's  hand. Grasped tightly in his palm was a old RKG grenade. "Grenade!" Sully yelled as the kid pulled the pin.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 04, 2017, 09:03:02 PM »
Sully smirked at her quip. She did, indeed, know him all too well. He took a moment and texted back:
Sounds good. Unless you want to be dolled up at work, you need to send me your address.

He sent the text and reclined back. He looked at his watch. It was nearly 10. He had an early day tomorrow and the shine was suddenly starting to hit him like a sledgehammer. I'm about to hit the hay, but I'll text when I wake up.

Friday came all too quickly, but he was glad for it. It was 19:30, and he was already getting ready. The time off had made him run out of things to do, so he figured he might as well be early.

He grabbed a shower, and got dressed - a simple pair of gray dress pants, black shoes, and a gray sports coat. He had a button up blue dress shirt underneath that. Before he headed out the door, he slipped his folding knife into his pocket, clipping it to the edge. He also made sure to slide his Smith&Wesson M&P Shield chambered in 9mm into his paddle holster and then clipped that onto his belt.

The drive to her house wasn't far - she was in the city limits, so the quick jaunt from his house near base in Spring Lake.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 03, 2017, 01:58:33 AM »
No expectations..

James smirked. She was playing smart. His momma raised him right, but after a few drinks and staring at her in whatever no doubt stunning number she'd be in, even the stoutest of self control would falter. He thought about his response for a minute before sending it.

Red, I'm just glad you agreed to have a dinner with me. You know me, I don't expect shit.

As much as he hated being dressed up, he was excited for this. He didn't realize how much he'd truly missed her until the opportunity to have her back presented itself. This was turning out to be a much better day than he'd originally thought.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 02, 2017, 03:36:34 PM »
8 is perfect

James couldn't help smiling at that. To be fair, he was shocked he agreed to it. Dress code? The fuck did she think he was taking her to? Wait a second. He knew the question was likely bait. She enjoyed getting all dolled up and being taken to a fancy place.

Wear something fancy. And be prepared to speak Italian.He sent it back, hoping she caught the hint. He knew her favorite restaurant around here was Luigi's, a little bistro in Fayetteville.

The last time they had been there, together, was the night she'd told him she was pregnant - they'd celebrated there. He suddenly hoped she didn't have bad memories of that place, else his plan would be fucked.

"This is Tango 4. Assistance may be needed. Over."

Sully rubbed his beard as he listened. British troops in contact. Vegas looked at him and he gave a firm nod for a go head. Vegas replied, his voice smooth over the heat of battle. "Solid copy on last Tango 4, our element will push your pos - break - ETA 20 mikes, I say again, 20 mikes, over." They were just over 3km from the firefight.

Sully turned to the Assassin element. "I need your RTO to link with Vegas, get us all on the same freqs." He said. Vegas shifted to adjust his radio in order to better enter channels and moved over to facilitate. The CAG element was reporting directly through Palace, the JSOC commander for the area. He figured the Ranger element was rolling up through their company or battalion at that point.

"Boys, we're going to give those Brits some help." He said. "Both our elements will push that pos. Rangers, I want you to form a noose. My team will recon by force, and lay the hate. Any questions?" He brass checked his OBR while he waited. One of his boys was the first to speak up.

Castle was the voice. "Boss, I'd like to hang back with the Rangers, I'll set up in overwatch at our entry point with their observer team." He offered.

Sully gave a nod. "Sergeant, that plan work with your team?" He asked of the SFC that was leading the Ranger element. While Sully was the SNCO in charge here, he also didn't know the particular strengths of this Ranger team. It would've been folly to assume.

They were interrupted briefly "Boss, they got a runner from the fight. Likely cartel messenger. He's hauling ass in our direction." Vegas reported.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 05:10:19 AM »
'Love that'. She said. He smirked, no not a smirk, a genuine smile. He suddenly recalled that first night on their date. The nervous brushes of skin on skin as they held hands. The awkward silences as their deep friendship became a romance.

And here he thought today would be a normal Monday.

I have the next two weeks off rotation. What about this Friday? You pick the place.[/color] He sent the text. And suddenly he realized that if she let him back in he couldn't fuck it up this time. This was the last shot at making it work.

I can pick you up around 8. He said, letting her know so she could plan. She may have had to work, he had no damn clue at this point. He shifted and pulled his paddle holster out from his waist. At home, he conceal carried appendix, and in his current position, it was uncomfortable as fuck.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 04:37:07 AM »
As she poured her heart out he plopped down on his couch. It was old, lumpy but comfortable and it felt like a welcoming place to try and piece this all together. Libya had been a shitty experience for him. And he'd been selfish. He blamed himself, at least partially, for the miscarriage. She'd been on the satphone with him when it had happened.

But then there was this piece of him that was glad. That was relieved it had happened. And he resented himself for it. Because at the end of the day, he had wanted to have children with her. You had every right to be. I got back and didn't even ask you how you were. He looked at the screen after he sent it. I did want it. I was scared of it, but I did want to have it.

Sully looked at his phone I should never have left after that. I should have stayed. And I mean that. I truly do. He sighed. It was worth a shot. Miss Ellie, if you'd let me, I'd be honored if you'd let me take you out to dinner. He said, quoting the first time he'd asked her out.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 04:11:06 AM »
Sully wished he had more shine. It always made feelings easier. He laughed bitterly at that. In some ways, he and Ellie were closer than husband and wife. They'd grown up together. After his mother's death, Ellie's mother had taken James in when his father worked long hours at the factory.

As Ellie and James had grown, they developed a bond. One that lasted until now. And refused to break fully. He wasn't sure what to say. He was never a wordsmith. He was a doer. Actions spoke louder, after all.

I know. I should've been there for you. I fucked up. I shouldn't have waited so long to take time and work on us. He hit send.

And I know that for a long while you asked me to just be there. But I wasn't.
 Not fully. You know after
he looked at his phone for a long minute before finishing the sentence. Libya and the miscarriage I just fucking shut down. That wasn't fair to you. Then we began just pushing each other away. He hit send.

I just want you to know that I get why I lost you. If I could go back I'd do it better. Hindsight and all that shit. He hit send. What the fuck was he doing? This fucking cliche bullshit was the same god damn line he always fed her. Had he really changed? He didn't know. Since Ellie he'd had a few flings, but nothing serious.

What had she asked of him, really? To quit the unit? To leave it all? No. She just wanted him to be hers when he was there so when he wasn't things didn't seem so distant. I wish we could start over. He sent finally.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:43:50 AM »
Sully had moved back inside by that point, his phone vibrated and nearly fell off the counter next to him. He was eating leftover beef and broccoli from the carton. It was cold. But after eating MREs for years, he could pretty much digest anything.

I miss you. the text said. He swallowed, looked at the jar of weaker than necessary shine. He downed the rest. He needed the liquid courage at this point.

No. See, that's it there. I know you're not ok. I get it, you're strong. Have been since we were kids. But it's ok to admit if things suck. He read the text and sent it. It needed to be said.

He added quickly. I never wanted any of this either. But I guess I never showed it, did I? He sent that text. And mulled again.

Did he miss her? Of course. But why was he so hesitant to admit it? I miss you too. For what it's worth. I miss you every day when I come back to this house <1/2>

<2/2>and don't hear you humming while you get ready for work. Or singing in the shower when you don't think anybody can hear you. He looked at the empty jar of shine. Ok, maybe it was stronger than he thought.

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