Andy joined in on the planning session; the first question he had was a stumper right off the bat. “What are they going to store the food in? Boomer said the only thing he saw was a little building with bags of corn in it?”
Ambassadors Morrison and Fauntroy had no real answer.
“Lets plan the trip, and then I will go see what I can find,” Andy replied.
It was 250 road miles to Nimule. With the trailer Andy estimated that the truck would get 8 to 10 miles to the gallon and had twin 60 gallon fuel tanks, so fuel would be no problem.
I estimated that it would take at least 6 hours to get there by truck at the best, four more to unload, 6 more to get back and that was if everything went well.
Andy chose the people to make the trip and put things in motion to make it work. The truck left to fuel up. Boomer and the guys were back with lumber on top of the Suburban to make the tables. As soon as it was unloaded, the Suburban left again.
The truck with trailer and both Suburban’s and 4 heavily armed men each for escort would leave at four AM. At 8 the chopper with the drugs and we three ambassadors would leave and all of us should arrive at the same time.
“OK, I will arrange everything. I have something I need to go check on,” Andy replied as he was walking away.
Ambassadors, you need to be here by 7:30,” I said. They left shortly after that; it was a good thing because Robert sent me another big data file to decipher.
I spent two hours working with the encryption. People in the Kampala terrorist group were not happy. They had put all their people into the assault and knew they had a sure victory for their financiers; that turned into a defeat of catastrophic proportions. Their few injured that had survived may never fully recover.
Anton was very unhappy and was demanding to know why his people were put into the position to die. They were supposed to be observers – not to be participants – and to collect any classified documents they could find after the fact.
Anton’s superiors were putting so much pressure on him for answers that he had demanded a meeting with all the leaders. The leaders on the other hand were so sure of success they let all their key people join the attack – even their key communication people – for the glory of victory over the great Satan.
Now their communications were sloppy; some were being sent in plain language with no encryption, including the time and place of a meeting; Wednesday evening at 6 PM on Nubulagla Road, house 515. Those that were encrypted were done so at a basic level, according to Robert.
I needed an urgent meeting with Andy and Howie as soon as he returned, but for now the tomorrow trip was the priority.
I worked on emails until supper and then more after supper. Andy had only been back a few minutes. He and I, with the team leaders – the men and ladies he had picked for tomorrow’s trip – ate together.
The afternoon meal was a joint meal; breakfast for those getting up for the evening shift and supper for the day crew. My salad tasted really good with fresh bacon bits, something I would remember when I got back home. The cook cooked the bacon super crispy and then broke it into little pieces.
I asked the cook if we needed to get up a food order from home, or were they able to find everything we needed here.
“There is no bacon or sausage available here but we have enough for a couple of weeks; beef is no problem,” one of them replied.
“Maybe we should make a list of things we need from home. I might be able to get them on a military supply flight,” I replied.
We did a general review about the trip; Lexy and Bambi were going to be pilots again. I ask Julie if she remembered how to follow the flight with the tracking programs.
“I think so,” she replied.
“Then you need to get up to be able to do that at 4 AM to track the first group on the journey,” I replied.
I listened while the men talked about all the things they had accomplished today. The east wall would be done tomorrow morning and then the contractor was going to gather the materials to do the west wall.
The men had found a steel supplier all the way across the city. Wednesday morning the truck was going to go pick enough to do the west wall.
In my office I showed Andy the deciphered file Robert had sent me.
“Convenient of them to all be in one place. Is this a coincidence? Are they that afraid of this Anton Pavlenko or just plain stupid or is it a trap?” Andy asked.
“Anton leads or follows trouble, depending on the situation. He is a fixer, Anton carries a big stick, I think, and people in high places in Russia have his ear,” I replied.
“Let’s think about it Wednesday after we get through tomorrow’s special trip,” I said.
I went to bed early after I did a VCATS to the girls. I wanted to get up in time to see the truck off but did not want to set the clock to avoid waking up the other ladies in the room.
I came up with a backup plan; I set my phone alarm to vibrate and taped it to my chest.
I shouldn’t have worried; my natural alarm worked just fine. I was up in time to dress and have coffee in the cafeteria with them. The cook working the late shift had breakfast and packed sandwiches for them to take.
After seeing those off I went to the communications room to meet Julie; I checked all the boxes and keyed in all the numbers of everyone going to Nimule, even the ones going later.
I went back to bed to catch a couple more hours sleep before the Ambassadors arrived.
I had finished breakfast and was helping carry the meds to the chopper when Ambassadors Morrison and Fauntroy arrived in the front office.
With them in tow, I stopped in the communications room to check the progress. The convoy was stopped in Gulu. Gulu was the second largest town in Uganda with 50 thousand people, according to some outdated statistics I looked at several days ago.
“Julie, if they don’t start moving in a few minutes I want to know immediately. Andy had said he was making a scheduled stop in four hours.”
Walking through the embassy towards the rear door I handed the Ambassadors a vest; this time there was no objection to putting them on. When they had finished I asked, “Do you want hardware?”
“What do you mean by hardware?”
I opened the left side of my jacket to expose my Glock.
“Are you proficient with that thing?” Morrison asked.
“Very,” I replied.
“Then I don’t need one,” he replied.
A few moments later we were belted in and in the air headed north-west. Julie called to say the first group was moving again. The flight was normal and an hour and a half later we flew over the first group about 30 minutes from Nimule.
Fauntroy called Doctor Palermo to make sure that everything was OK and still safe at the camp. The Doctor did not use any of the code words to indicate that there was anything unusual or dangerous going on at the camp.
Ambassador Fauntroy told the doctor we would see him soon. Just to be sure, I had the chopper circle the camp to take a look.
Bambi landed the chopper at the same place as before; and as before, the puttering and backfiring jeep made its way to us.
“I did not expect to see you so soon. Did you come so I could check out your injuries from the attempted attack on you?” he asked. “We do get some current news here. There have been a lot or reporters here since your last visit; there are several here today.”
“I am recovering fine, thank you; we came to bring you more supplies.”
Boomer started handing the cases of meds as I helped stack them in the back bed of the jeep. It took four trips to get all the meds into their medical storage container. Dr. Palermo and his staff opened the boxes to see what we had brought. When he had finished, everything on his wish list and more was there in thousands of doses; to say he was elated would be an understatement.
Apparently the Potomac pharmaceutical company had researched what diseases were in the area and sent drugs to help.
I could hear our trucks coming in the distance. Boomer moved to a place where he could see down the road to make sure everything was still OK.
The trucks pulled to a stop in front of the medical tents. Our truck and trailer was followed by a tractor with a Landoll roll-off trailer that had a very big ocean shipping container loaded on it.
I started to look for Andy only to hear his voice behind me, “Find out from the Doc where he wants the container. The driver is antsy and wants to get out of here.”
“What else is on the trailer? When it left the embassy, tables were the only thing on it and now it is stacked to over flowing.”
“We stopped in Gulu and picked up some things. You will see as we unload it.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.