The Russian Spy The Russian Spy One Prelude: The woman reached over and sipped her water then lay back down in bed. Her baby was sleeping next to her; she reached over and traced her fingers over his beautiful face. She named him Ranger after her husband and his father. Big Ranger had gone on the mission without her, she was part of the team but stayed behind because of being ready to give birth. Something had gone wrong she felt it. Getting up she dressed and looking back at her baby slipped out the door and knocked on the door across the hall. William, the old distinguished man that had lived through two world wars answered the door. He looked good for his age a bit stooped over but thin and still in good shape. “Yes, Mary is there something wrong? Is it time to hide the baby?”
”I feel it is.”
”I will come over with you.” He walked out of his apartment and followed the beautiful young woman with dark hair pulled back into the hallway. There was a commotion outside of the building. “Hurry,” Mary cried. She opened the door to her apartment and grabbed her baby and a bag; she turned and handed him to William. William grabbed the baby and bag running back to his place locking his door and hiding the baby in the bathroom. Mary looked out the window. It was Ron part of her husband’s team. What was he doing here? There was a knock on her door. “Mary, it’s Ron. I have some news open up.” he said. She opened the door a crack. “Where’s Ranger?” He pulled out a gun and shot her in the chest. She collapsed in front of the door pretend- ing to pass out. It hurt so much and she was bleeding badly. Ron shoved her aside and tore up the apartment. He went over and grabbed her. “Where’s the baby? I’m going to find him!” he screamed shaking her. “I will look the rest of my life for him!” She pretended to still be passed out, she would really be soon if she didn’t get help. He threw her down went over to the stove, turned it on and threw a match on the gas then poured some gasoline all around the apartment and threw a match on that. Then he kicked her on the way out and left. Mary had gotten very weak and could barely get herself up. Some strange man appeared and picked her up carrying her out of the apartment. William had called the police and fire de- partment. A fireman took the dying woman and they immediately started working on her
 William ran out of his apartment as the fireman entered to fight the gasoline fire consuming Mary’s apartment. “Is there someone I can talk to?” he asked. “Yes,” said a fireman, “you need to evacuate.” “Let me grab the baby.” William went back in and picked up the baby that was just waking up. He took the child downstairs and outside. He explained all he knew to the Police Chief. Then they drove him to the hospital with the child. When he got there Mary was critical but whispered, “I want to hold my son.” The nurse took the baby and laid him in her weak arms.
She kissed his sweet head and died. ***** 
TWO I woke up sweating; I got out of bed and walked over to the sink getting a drink of water. What a horrible dream! I had to confront my grandfather and get some answers. I hurriedly dressed and walked out into the farm kitchen. There sat my grandfather drinking coffee talking to my grandmother, as she was cooking breakfast. Out the kitchen window I could see the vine- yards and the workers picking grapes. “Good morning Ranger,” said my grandmother. “Sit down breakfast is ready.” “Good morning Grandma,” “Good morning Grandpa,” I sat down at the table. “Good morning son,” my grandfather told me. “It looks like you had a bad night.” “Yes, I had another one of those dreams about a woman; but this one was very detailed and clear. I think it was about my mother and how she died. I’m old enough now to be told.” “You are Ranger, but we don’t know the details. We went to that hospital to pick you up after your mom died. No one knew anything or wouldn’t talk. Our son, your dad and mom were special agents; your dad went on this particular mission alone without your mom. He never re- turned and we don’t know what happened. We know something went wrong with the team and there was a traitor. It’s believed he was the one that killed your mom. That is why I have worked so hard to train you in karate and taught you in all kinds of weaponry. As you know I’m a retired military officer and we bought this vineyard in the South of France to hide you. We don’t feel the danger is over even though it has been sixteen years,” with that Grandpa took a bite of bacon. “Well I think my mom came to me in my dream last night and I saw what happened. I would like to know what really happened and why I’m so important to hide. I guess someday I’ll understand.” I finished saying and dug into my delicious breakfast of scrambled farm fresh eggs and local bacon. I saw the look my grandmother gave my grandfather, but pretended not to. THREE Breakfast was finished. Grandma looked at me. “Honey I have to go into town. Are you going out to work in the vineyard?” “Yes I planned on it Grandma, do you want me to come with you?”
”No honey, Pierre is coming with me.”
”I will catch up with you in the vineyard,” Grandpa told me as I walked out the and he got up from the table putting his plate in the dishwater. “Ok, grandpa.” Then I walked outside and started walking into the vineyard. ***** “Make sure Pierre has a rifle and keep watch,” Grandpa said as he went over giving Grandma a kiss on the cheek. “You know we’ll be careful.” Grandma got up put her plate in sink and Grandpa washed up as I left for the vineyards. Grandma got her purse to walk out the door. “It’s time you know, Sarah,” said Peter to her.” Which made Grandma stop and turn around. “We’re getting too old to protect the boy any longer. If John is not alive, his son is the only thing the spy Ron has to get revenge and any information on his betrayal. Ron will never stop searching until he has destroyed every team member. I need to call Richard, Joe’s team member, to relocate Ranger to a safer place.” “I can’t bear to lose my grandson, we have raised him as our own,” said Grandma crying out! Looking at Grandpa in the eyes she said, “however, if you feel the time has come you have my permission to make the call; I will stand behind you.” Sarah turned back to the door with tears in her eyes and walked out to meet Pierre for their shopping trip into the little village. After getting what supplies they needed Sarah looked around. That’s when she saw them. Sarah grabbed Pierre, “look they’re here, let’s go!” she exclaimed. “I have the truck loaded, jump in,” Pierre told Sarah with urgency.She jumped into the moving truck and shut the door as Pierre sped away. FOUR Arriving at the house they ran into the kitchen. Peter asked what was wrong.
”We have people that look like they are Soviets in town asking merchants about a boy!” Sarah exclaimed. “Where is Ranger?” She looked out into the vineyard trying to see him.
”I just left him out in the vineyard, we need to get him. I have made the call, they will be here shortly.” said Grandpa. Pierre ran out into the vineyard looking for me. ***** I was done for the day and started walking towards the house. There was a car I didn’t recognize parked in the driveway. I ran to the shed and pulled out Grandpa’s old Winchester rifle and snuck up to the kitchen window. FIVE I looked in the window and saw a man and woman sitting at the table talking to Grandma and Grandpa. They were sipping coffee and had a map out on the table. Pierre called my name startling me as he walked around the side of the house. “What are you doing Ranger? I was out in the vineyard looking for you. Come inside and meet some people that have waited sixteen years to meet you.” “Are you kidding?” I asked. “Sixteen years! Why so long?” “Come inside and you can ask them yourself.” Pierre said as he turned around walking back around the corner of the house out of my view. He was a small man, with a dark mustache, short hair, always wore jeans, cowboy boots and carried a big gun. He had been in my life forever. I followed him into the house. As I walked through the door everyone stood up to greet me. The man reached out to shake my hand. “Hi, my name is Rick and this is my wife Jackie, it’s nice to meet you Ranger.” He gave me a firm handshake then let go and Jackie did the same. They were Americans with no ac- cent. Rick was dressed like a soldier off duty in cameo pants; Jackie was small, thin and looked like she could handle herself, dressed in tan pants, a pink blouse and brown jacket. “Nice to meet both of you as well,” I replied. “Sit down dear, would you like some coffee or milk and cookies?” Grandma asked me walking over to the counter. “I’ll take milk and cookies, please,” I answered making her smile. Everyone sat down, I sat with my back to the counter, my grandparents on my left and company on my right, and I had a clear view of our vineyard and driveway.As we were seat- ed around the table, Pierre was outside watching the road to our house. “You asked this morning what happened to your mom, Ranger; we felt it’s time you found out. That is why we asked Jackie and Rick to come over. They will have answers for all of your questions. You see they were part of that elite team with your parents,” Grandpa fin- ished and motioned for Rick to speak. “It all started with an assignment, we were to go in and meet a double agent work- ing for Russia. The contact had a list of double agents in our government, with that list we could take them all out. Too much information was leaking out of our office to the enemy. The team was, Mary and Ranger, Joe, Sam, Ted, Ron, Jackie and myself. Mary had to stay home; she gave birth right after we left. We thought we would be back home before you were born or at least right after. She would be safe in the hospital, surrounded by military people. However, you were born two weeks early and she was home when the traitor, Ron killed her. I will get back to that.” Rick took a break and sipped his coffee then grabbed a peanut butter cookie. After taking a bite he finished chewing and continued. I wasn’t saying a word, but memorizing everything being said. “We got to Berlin late at night and checked into a hotel that would be our contact point. Early the next morning we geared up and got ready for the contact. Your dad and Sam were the ones going through the border. They were to meet the contact in a park nearby. Ted and Ron went in before them and set up their stake out in the park. They were hiding, watching that everything should run smoothly. Jackie and I went through last and hung out on the bridge. From there we were able to see the exchange, and then Ranger or Sam would walk by us and make a drop after meeting with the contact. We would cross the border and go back to the hotel. The others would follow.” I was sitting on the edge of my chair listening to this tale of suspense, Rick continued. “Ranger Joe, your dad, made the contact and made contact with the spy, walking with him. Sam was sitting on a bench pretending to read a paper. Before the exchange could take place there was gunfire, the spy was hit. Ranger Joe grabbed him and ducked behind a tree. Ron ran in from under cover and shot again, but hit Ted as he was going to Rangers aid. Ron shot again and killed Ted then the spy. Sam grabbed the paperwork from the dead spy and caught up with your dad; they ran out of the park into the streets. Jackie and I walked back through the bor- der and bypassed our checkpoint. We got a room in a hotel across the street overlooking the park. We knew Ted was dead and Ron was the traitor. It wasn’t long before Ron entered the hotel, wait- ing for us. We spent a horrible night watching to see if your dad or Sam would show up, then waiting and watching to see what Ron would do. Three days passed and Ron left. Jackie and I went back into East Berlin and searched for 2 days for any sign of Ranger Joe or Sam. Ted was picked up along with the spy, but we couldn’t go to the coroner and claim him. It was during this time that Ron made his way to England and killed your mom. He wanted you as a bargaining chip to get that list from your dad. He has formed a special team and their one dedication in life is revenge, they are looking for you. We can only assume Ranger Joe and Sam have survived, we found out recently that they were captured and sent to Siberia.” Rick took a break. Jackie finished. “if you will accept this mission and join our team Ranger, we are going in for them. We have found out where they supposedly are being held and we have a team set up. Your grandparents are getting too old to protect you any longer. By getting your dad we will flush out Ron and his team, taking them out. I know you are only sixteen, but you’ve had the best training. Think about it, Ron was spotted in the market today by your grandmother, we need to move fast.” “Where would we be going?” I asked them. Rick pointed at the map to Ust-Kava, “we are sure they are prisoners working in the gold mines. We will fly to Moscow, take the Siberian RR to Vorkuta, and then it’s a ten to fifteen day boat trip to Ust-Kava. If all goes right, we will get them out, a plane will pick us up flying us out of Russia landing in Japan. If Ron is still chasing us and we have not taken him out, we will have to confront him in Japan if we can’t them to Quantico, Virginia first.” “Wow!” that’s all I could say, I was blown away. I looked at my grandpa, he was looking proud of me, and my grandmother had tears running down her cheeks. Her beautiful face was slightly wrinkled with years of smiling. “I’m not ready to let you go dear, but they are right. We’re getting to old to keep watching over our back every minute. Even though no one in town would ever betray us; we employ half of them in our vineyard. I want you and your dad to come back here and live in peace, forever after this is over.” “Thank you for that Grandma.” I said. With that she stood up and went into the other room returning with a bag, she sat it on the table by me. “I’ve already packed what you will need.” Reaching into her pocket she took out her favorite rosary and placed it in my hand. “Pray it and come back to us safely Ranger, I love you so much.” Grandma hugged me; I was standing up by then and hugged her back. “Thank you Grandma, but this is your favorite rosary, I have my own.” I whispered in her ear. “I know dear, I took yours.” she whispered back.
That brought a relief laugh out of me.
Grandpa was next; I looked really hard at this man who had given up sixteen years of his life to raise his child’s son. He was now gray, had a slight limp, but still stood at six feet. I was six feet four inches at sixteen so I had to bend over just a bit to give this honorable man the hug he deserved. He thought he had lost his only son, he guarded me all these years from danger only too real, and how could I ever repay him? Perhaps finding his son and bringing him home would be a good start. “I will join the team for this mission,” I said turning to Rick and Jackie. “I’m ready to start now.” “Good, well get going soon. We have another team that will move in here to protect your grandparents. Rick needs to make a call; they will be here by tomorrow. We should stay here until they are in place. Is that ok with you Mr. and Mrs. Davis?” Jackie asked. “Yes we appreciate the extra protection.” said Sarah. “Please call us by our first names, Sarah and Peter. I’ll get your room ready for tonight. The team can stay in the guest cottage when they come, unless they have other plans.” “Ok, we’ll call you by first names, the team will be bringing in their own tents to put up around the area, but thank you for the offer of the guest cottage,” Jackie replied. “Your welcome, dear,” with that grandma left the room and went to make the guest room ready. Rick stepped outside to make the call. When he returned we were all back at the table. “I have a question,” Sarah said. “Do you really think our son is in this horrible work camp and still alive after all of these years?” “Yes,” said Jackie, “Ron started getting interested in finding Ranger,” she nodded at me as she was saying my name. “So we knew something was up. We got word of a rumor that Ranger Joe and Sam were alive under Soviet control working in the gold mines. We were going to call you soon, to let you know we were going in for them, but you called us first.” “This like a dream,” Sarah said. ” When will the other team be in place?” she asked Rick. “They can be here in two days, we hoped to get going sooner, but I refuse to leave here until they are in place. Would you prefer us to stay in the guest cottage than the guest bedroom?” Rick asked my grandma. “No, I want you closer than that, so please stay in the house.” she said. “Ok, we need to go out and hide the car, getting our supplies out as well.” Jackie said, getting up to do that. “Ok, I’m putting dinner on; go do that then everyone get washed up for dinner. Can you tell Pierre he can come in now too, please?” she asked Jackie. “Will do, Sarah.” Then they both left.
We had an uneventful evening and went to bed early.
It was three am; I looked at my clock. I heard something strange outside. I crept out of bed and grabbed my rifle. I wrapped my knuckles on Jackie and Ricks door. “Who is it?” asked Rick. “It’s me, Ranger, someone is outside.” I heard him jumping out of bed; he opened the door with his rifle out too. We crept down- stairs and made our way into the kitchen. There was a car outside with lights on. SIX Rick cracked open the kitchen door. “Who’s there?” Rick shouted. A shot was fired in our direction. That set things in motion. Rick and I slipped outside. Rick motioned for me to go left, then he went right. He shot his gun into the dark and hit the headlights, they fired back and I shot in the direction of the gunfire. By chance I hit someone, because they screamed. Then we heard the engine starting and the car came our way. Rick fired into the windshield and it shattered. He jumped out of the way as the car shot down the driveway towards the vineyard crashing into the old birch tree. By that time everyone in the house was up and all of the lights were on. Rick ran over and pulled out the driver, he was dead. He went through his pockets, “Soviet,” he said. Grandma called the coroner. She said, “he is on his way.” We were in the kitchen sitting around the table, Grandma made coffee. The coroner had just left with the body. We needed to get the car towed in the morning. “Is this the kind of stuff we are going to start living with?” Grandma asked Rick and Jackie. “I’m afraid it is until we get Ranger and leave.” said Rick. “I have to agree,” said Jackie we need our team here sooner than two days. Let me make a call. She got up and got her phone out calling a number. She related the events; we couldn’t re- ally hear her since we were all talking at once. “Ok,” she said sitting back down. “Five of them are leaving now and will be here by to- morrow evening. We need to be vigilant and when they get here we are flying to Germany and meeting our crew there.” “Ok,” said Grandma, “I’m going back to bed, goodnight everyone. With that she got up put her cup into the sink. “Good night Grandma,” I said. “I’m right behind you,” said Jackie getting up and putting her cup into the sink too. “Night Sarah, night everyone.” “Goodnight Sarah and Jackie,” said Grandpa, Rick, Pierre and myself. SEVEN The three men and myself sat around the table for the rest of the night, waiting for day- light. The next afternoon people started arriving. Grandma got everyone settled. It was time for us to go, Rick was getting impatient. I grabbed my bags looking back at my grandparents, I felt anguish leaving them. “Take care of yourself, son.” said Grandpa.
“I will, the next time I see you I will have Dad with me.” I told him with determination. “I hope so, take care and remember what you’ve learned through these years. Come back to us soon.” he said with tears in his eyes. I hugged him and hugged Grandma then walked outside getting in the waiting car. I looked back and saw Grandma and Grandpa watching us disappear. I prayed they would be safe. After hooking up with the team in Germany, it took us two days of travel to get to the Soviet Union, and then we had a ten-day trip by train and boat to find my dad. EIGHT We finally got close after hours of walking through bushes to the outside of the camp. I was relieved that it wasn’t fenced off. This place was too far for anyone to escape from. “Ranger, there’s your dad!” Rick grabbed my arm and pointed. “Let me go over and talk to him. This is going to be a shock!” He let go of me and started running over to his old friend. “Ok,” I shouted quietly. I stared at the man that was my father. He was tall like me, but very very skinny. It looked like he had lived a hard life. He had ripped clothes that were clean, but looked old. His shoes were worn down and his hair was white. He had on an old cowboy hat. Wonder where he got that? He was hugging his old friend and I could hear them talking. My dad was crying with joy. “Let’s go over to greet him,” Jackie urged me.
“Why don’t you go and I’ll wait here?” I replied.
“Ok, I’ll be right back.” she said giving me a sympathetic glance.
Dad looked so happy to see her too, then he looked over in my direction and our eyes met. He came running over to me and gave me a bear hug.
“I always wondered what you looked like, Son.” he told me emotionally.
“I always wondered about you too, Dad.” I said. “I just found out you were alive a few days ago, wow!” I was choked up.
“Come on you too, we need to get organized we have choppers coming in.” Rick said. I got myself under control and just glanced at my dad while we started following Rick. “We need to help Sam, he’s in bad shape.” Ranger Joe said.
“Show us where he is and we’ll help him,” Rick said.
Sam heard the excitement and hobbled over to greet Rick and Jackie.
”Wait,” Ranger Joe said, “We have someone else that needs to come too.”
”Who?” asked Rick stopping in his tracks looking at my dad.
”Her name is Tatyana, she’s sixteen and one-half. Her parents tried to escape when she was a baby and they were killed. Sam and saved her and have raised her. We can’t leave her, she’s like a daughter, and she’s coming with us!” With that Ranger Joe moved as fast as he could over to a hut and banged on the door. The most beautiful ragged girl opened it. “Papa, what is it? Who are these people, are we being rescued?” She asked with hope showing in her blue eyes as wide as saucers, her brown hair was in a braid down her back. “Yes, these are my people and this is my son.” he pointed to me.
I waved, then my dad took her hand and they ran over to join us.
”Hide in these bushes!” Jackie whispered urgently.
We all ducked; there was Sam, Jackie, Rick, my dad, Tatyana and myself. The rest of the team Jim, Tom, Jack and Mike were on the chopper coming in to pick us up.
It landed, Mike and Jack jumped out to help us all aboard. Another chopper flew over spraying the area with gunfire. A hut caught on fire; workers were scrambling to put out the flames. Then the chopper circled, and hit our chopper, it exploded! Jim and Tom were still in it! The rest of us were thrown back. We picked ourselves up. “This calls for plan B!” said my dad. “Head for the river!” We all ran down to the river and Dad pulled a little rowboat out of the bushes. “This will have to do, we’ve been planning an escape for some time now.” We jumped in the boat, Mike was carrying Sam as we pushed off the bank and paddled to the other side. “We’ll keep close to the bank, we might have to jump onto land if we are spotted.” Rick told us. He pulled out a radio and got ahold of the rest of our team coming in from the Sakhalin Islands waiting for us to join them in the chopper. “Chopper down, we lost Jim and Tim. Coming your way slowly any chance of pick up? Over.” said Mike. “Roger that, starting up our bird as soon as we can, where’s the enemy chopper?” “Looking for us, we are sitting ducks should we get on land? Over.” Rick radioed back. “Roger that and hide, calling in re-enforcement’s. Lay very low. Over and out.”
”Ok pull up the boat over there,” Rick pointed to a break in the trees.
We jumped out, hid the boat and made our way up the bank, laying low. There was a waterfall up ahead; we made our way over to it.
We collapsed in a cave off the waterfall. Jackie pulled out energy packs and handed them out.
Jack took canteens over to the water filled them up and put in tablets to kill any bacteria in the water and then brought them back. NINE “I’m sure they’re tearing up the camp searching for us,” Dad said. “What is your name son?” “It’s Ranger after you Dad,” I answered. “Great, so lets do this everyone please just call me R.J. so that we don’t get Ranger and myself confused,” Dad said. “Ok, R.J.,” said Rick slapping him on the back with a chuckle. “You don’t look bad for spending sixteen years in a work camp, a little thin, but I knew you were a survivor. We have to take out Ron and his team or they will never leave any of us alone. We have a team with your folks right now protecting them.” “Good, where’s Mary? Is she home with them?” R.J. asked. “Bad news there my friend, she was killed by Ron during our Berlin deal sixteen years ago. Ranger was born two weeks early and Mary was smart enough to hide him. She was a love- ly, smart lady and I’m sorry for her loss.” Rick told my dad. “Oh,” he put his hands over his face to stop a sob. “I was afraid something had gone wrong, otherwise I would have expected a rescue sooner. Mary would have searched the ends of the earth for me.” “We didn’t know you were alive or even here until we found out last month from an intelligence leak,” Rick said. “Then we got some teams together and got a call from your folks that Ranger needed moving to a safer area.” “Dad I can’t believe I’m sitting next to you, I didn’t think I would ever see you.” I placed my hand on my dad’s shoulder. Dad grabbed my hand and hugged me. “I’m sorry for the way this has turned out. After we ran, Sam and I managed to mail the list of spy’s off to our office in D.C. So I imagine Ron just wants revenge, so when he found out that we were alive, he wants to take us out. He was ex- posed and had to leave the U.S. right after we exposed him as a spy. Then we were arrested by the Soviets. They flew us to the Kremlin and tried to make us talk. We were beaten, tortured and mercifully shipped out here for a lifetime of hard labor. It’s been a hard sixteen years.” “We got notice that the list had made it into the right hands. Then we made sure Ranger was well hidden with your folks in the South of France. We have kept an eye on them all of this time, but Ron seemed to disappear. So when he reappeared recently, we suspected he knew something we didn’t know. We managed to get information that you and Sam might be alive. Your dad, called us and wanted us to talk to Ranger, they didn’t feel they could protect him anymore.” Rick was explaining. “Do you hear that?” I shouted.
Rick stopped talking and they listened. “It’s a chopper, hide! Everyone behind these rocks, move away from the water and cave. It’s too obvious we could be here.” Mike ordered everyone. All of us moved and hid. A chopper landed and we could hear men moving towards us. “It can’t be ours can it?” I asked.
”No, it can’t be.” Rick said. R.J. here’s a weapon,” he handed a 1911 to my dad. “Thanks Rick, I think I remember how to shoot,” R.J. said. Just then there was a shot fired in our direction. “Duck!” Mike ordered. “Ok, Jack you come with me. Ranger stay to help your dad and Tatyana, Jackie, Rick stay with Sam and be ready to go.” “Yes sir,” everyone said. Mike and Jack moved away from us towards the shot. There was another one fired; they shot back. I made a sudden decision, it was me they wanted; I looked at my dad and Tatyana; they had suffered enough. “I love you Dad.” I said getting up to walk away.
”I love you too, Son.” he replied, “sit down.” He tried to grab my arm.
I moved away from him quickly and walked towards Jack and Mike.
”Get back!” Jackie shouted.
Mike looked at me as I approached him and grabbed me pulling me down. “What do you think your doing?” He was clearly angry.
”They want me, I’m going to give myself up and the rest of you can go. Get my dad, Sam and Tatyana out of here, I’ll find my way home somehow,” I told him.
”Your crazy kid, we’ll have to find you now if you do this crazy thing,” he released my arm and looked away from me.
”Ron,” I shouted. “If I give myself up will you let the others go?”
”Yes, it’s you I want!” he answered. “I have people on the way if I need them and we will kill all of you! Come with me now and we’ll go away.”
”We have more people on the way too!” Mike shouted back.
”Ok, Mike, get them out of here and then come find me, I’m going to take him out and escape.” I said raising my hands as I dropped my gun by Mike. “Don’t shoot, I’m coming!” I shouted at Ron.
”Walk slowly,” Ron said sharply.
I did as he said. My dad was shouting something I couldn’t hear, because my heart was pounding so hard. I walked into enemy hands, this was the man that murdered my mom in cold blood and destroyed my dad’s life. I tried to keep hate out of my heart. “Turn around,” Ron patted me down; satisfied he grabbed me then started dragging me towards the chopper as his men covered our backs. We took off and were in the air for about ten minutes when I jumped up kicked Ron in the knees hard, he screamed and doubled over. I grabbed the parachute behind him, put it on run- ning for the open door. I got it hooked and jumped just before one of his men almost grabbed me. I drifted for a while looking at the terrain then pulled my shoot. I looked up; the chopper was out of control and exploded! Men parachuted out before it crashed to the ground. I was not going in the same direction and had a good lead ahead of them. I landed in a field with workers. They ran over and helped me out of my parachute. Once they found out I was an American they buried it and one kind man took me into his house. His wife greeted me; I had just started learning Russian but could not speak it well. I could speak English, French and German fluently. She was a friendly plump woman dressed in a plain brown dress with a yellow apron covered in pink flowers. She sat me down on a rough wood table and went over to the hearth. She placed a steaming bowl of stew in front of me. I gratefully scarfed it up. It had been a long- time since I had a warm meal. She motioned if I wanted more, and refilled my bowl before I could answer. After eating every morsel she took my dish and gave me milk, I had never tasted anything so delightful. She motioned for me to come sit by the fire. She got some scissors and pointed at the American Flag on my suit. She cut it off and threw it in the fire. I understood what she was doing. I thanked her and asked for a blanket by miming. She came back with a soft blue blanket and I pointed to the barn and asked her if I could hide there. She nodded yes. So, leaving her, I entered the barn and climbed into the loft. I buried myself in hay at the back so I could not be seen unless someone climbed up and looked. I was soon dozing off. “Kakon-hngyab Amepnkaheu?” I woke up startled. Someone was asking if there was an American around. I kept very still and held my breath, I heard the farmer saying no. TEN How did they make it so fast? Maybe I was asleep longer than I thought. I looked around, should I try to get out the opening behind me where they threw the hay down? Were they going to come up and search the loft? Or would they burn down the barn, not believing the old man? I could not risk having these people lose their lively hood over me. This was not their war; it was mine. I wasn’t even sure what it was really about, except my parents were special agents and had been betrayed by their country in some horrible way. How could my father sit in a work camp for sixteen years? Ok, I had to think. I quietly got out of my self-made bed and covered it up. I took the blanket and folded it up as small as I could get it. I looked out the opening. There were enemy soldiers searching every house and questioning people. It was getting dark, I heard men coming into the barn turning everything over. The animals were scared; the farmer was taking them out of the barn. I heard them talking and they started climbing into the loft tossing things aside and being loud. I eased myself over to the barn opening and as quietly as I could, I jumped to the ground. To my surprise I saw the woman and she motioned for me to climb into the back of her wagon. It was loaded with wares and I hid among them. A short time after the farmer came out and spoke to his wife, he climbed aboard and we started moving out of the village. I peeked out the back of the wagon after we traveled some distance and saw flames in the town. They were burning the town down! How could I ever make it up to those people? I was horrified. ***** ELEVEN R. J. could not believe his son went with his worst enemy to save all of them. He was very worried, but had so much pride in his son. “I can’t believe you let him go!” Jackie cried out angrily looking at Rick. “I couldn’t stop him, our guys will be here soon. We need to get Sam, John and Katcha to safety. We will regroup and go after them.” He told his wife hugging her. “I agree,” she told him wiping tears of anger out of her eyes. Mike and Jack came running up to them to the others. “We just got radio contact, we have choppers coming this evening.” Mike said as he dumped his pack with the radio in it on the ground. “I can’t believe you none of you stopped the kid from going,” said Mike annoyed. “We need to stick together! Didn’t you explain that to the him before this all began?” “He’s a chip off the old man over there, Mike. No stopping him once the idea was in his head.” Rick retorted looking over at Ranger Joe. “He is that for sure,” said R. J. “We need to find him as soon as possible. Sam is getting weaker though and we need to get him to a doctor as soon as possible.” With that he walked over and offered Sam some water. “Well, we can regroup in a couple of hours. Let’s get as comfortable as possible until our transports get here.” With that Mike sat down by his pack. “Good idea,” said Jack throwing his pack down also and laying his head on it. ***** We traveled for about an hour, then the cart slowed down and we took a turn to the right up a bumpy dirt road. I peeked out again and saw a magnificent monastery tucked up into the mountains, it seemed like that was our destination. What were these people doing? Who where they really? After some time we made it to the top of the mountain, I was so happy to get some- where so I could stretch my legs, and then we stopped in front of the gates. The old man got out and put a code into the panel, the gates opened to let us through. As we passed through the gates closed, I looked out and could see the valley below; we were so high that the clouds were closing in on us. We pulled up to a huge building; there was a covered walkway that attached the build- ing and the monastery. Why were these people helping me, what was going happen now? CHAPTER 12 A man came over and spoke to the couple, the doors were opened and the horses and cart went through into the building. With the wagon stopped and the doors closed the old man got out and came back to speak to me. “You can get out now, Ranger, it is safe here.” He said. I climbed out of the back of the wagon and looked at him. He spoke English perfectly, a bit of an accent, but I understood him. “You speak English,” I said, “where are we?” “You will find out, oh here comes John Thyler. He is an American like you.” The old man turned towards the man approaching and they shook hands. “I’m glad you made it safely, Gregor, I see you have most of your belongings with you, who is this young man?” John asked Gregor turning towards me. “This is a young American that escaped from Ron, the traitor and man you are tracking.” Gregor replied. “Well well, this will perhaps be helpful to finally catch Ron and put an end to this.” John said as he shook my hand. Then the woman came over and in perfect English introduced herself to me as Katcha Petrov. These people had a lot of secrets. “Ok, grab what you need for now and follow me,” said John turning to walk out of the building through a door. We followed behind him, it was a walkway lit up with tiny lights, to the left was all glass and it looked out into a magnificent garden! There was another walkway on the other side of it, with doors. That must be the bedroom wing; I kept looking around as I walked behind everyone. We ended up in a great room; straight in front was a huge kitchen. John led us to a long wooden table and had us sit down. Another man brought water and tea for us. A huge German shepherd came bounding in and screeched to a halt in front of John. He laughed and bent over to scratch the dog’s head. “This is Jesse, my long haired German shepherd dog. He’s seven now; I got him as a puppy out of Yugoslavia after a mission on my way here. We found this old monastery and made our base camp here. I bought it and we put level 7 into the walls, ceiling and floors, it is very thin and protects from bullets penetrating through heavy armor attacks. We have Anti-defense mechanisms on the roof and a special place to hide in a secret underground room below the monastery for our protection. So you see, we are ready for self-defense.” John finished, then stood up and said. “I need to put out a message that you are here so we can get some back up. Katcha can show you to your room so you can clean up. Then we will make a spaghetti dinner, lets meet back here in lets say, an hour.” “That sounds good,” said Katcha, “follow me young man,” she said as she stood up. “Ok, thank you,” I said, not really wanting to go. I wanted to learn more about these people. My room had tile floors, a single bed with warm quilts, the walls were sandstone in color and there were no windows. I thanked Katcha and went over to the sink to clean up. I had no clothes to change into, so I just lay down on my bed for a bit to rest and think about my good luck in meeting these people. Some time passed and I thought an hour was almost up, so I got up and made my way back into the great room. John had just finished on his computer and greeted me. “Hi Ranger, we need to get you some clothes, I’m sure we can find something for you. For now why don’t you come with me, we can help set the table while Katcha finishes cooking that good smelling spaghetti.” he sniffed, wow that smells so good!” he said. “It sure does, I’m starved,” I said also taking a whiff of the aromas coming out of the kitchen. We sat at the table, Gregor came in from tending the horses, and then we all sat around the table. Included were two more men, Ken and Kevin. We introduced ourselves, then said grace and dove into the food. Jesse was lying at John’s feet watching for any scraps to fall. “Ok, tell us about yourself Ranger. Who are you and why is Ron looking for you?” asked John. “I was on a mission to find my father with some of his old military team. My father is Ranger Joe with Special Forces. Ron killed my mother when I was born and we thought my father was dead as well, because my father exposed him as the traitor he really is. It turns out my dad’s alive and was being kept in a work camp in Ust-Kava. We found him and his partner, we were getting them out, but Ron found us. Ron wants to kill me to get back at my father for betraying him to the United States. Several of our men died when Ron blew up our helicopter. We managed to escape, but before reinforcements arrived, Ron caught up with us. I went with him so that my father and his friend, Sam, who is badly hurt, could get some help. Then I jumped from Ron’s copter, and that is how I met Katcha and Gregor, they hid me.” I took a breath. “Then,” said Gregor, “Ron and his men arrived in our village searching for Ranger. I knew it was time for us to get out. Katcha loaded the wagon as I distracted the men. Ranger was in the loft, he slipped out and Katcha had him hide in the wagon. As we drove away we saw smoke, I am afraid they burned the village.” “Well we can help you; we plan on getting Katcha and Gregor safely out of Russia into Europe, you can go with them. If Ron does try to come here searching for you we will be pre- pared. We need to sit tight for a few days and let the dust settle.” Then John got up and walked towards the wall, he flipped some switches, big screens came out of the walls and we could see everything happening all around the monastery outside. “We will keep watch.” he said. “You see Katcha and Gregor have been our helpers for six years now on the outside. They kept their ears and eyes open for any sighting of Ron. In return we are giving them asylum from Russia.” He finished. “Wow,” was all I could muster up to say. This place was like something out of a James Bond movie. Finishing dinner everyone grabbed their plates and we cleaned up in no time. Jesse was fed and after finishing his food he seemed content. He went over to his bed and laid down watch- ing us. We were in for a long night, I just knew it, John got me some fresh clothes and I went back to my room to change. I had just finished putting on the clean clothes, they were a bit big, but they were clean. I heard a commotion in the other room. I dropped my dirty clothes by the door as I ran out into the main room. Everyone was talking, and Jesse was barking. I looked at the screens; helicopters were making their way up the mountain! THIRTEEN
“Wow, what does this mean? Should we hide?” I asked a bit concerned. “No, Ranger, come watch the first show. They can not even put a bomb through these walls and they don’t know yet that you are here.” John was trying to make light of it for Katcha. We watched as five helicopters flew up the mountain and circled our house, and then flew off following the road to Moscow. It was neat because we could watch their every move with all of the computer screens out of the walls. “Well, that’s our excitement tonight folks,” John said as he turned around looking at all of us. “I’m going to sleep in here and keep watch all night, why don’t the rest of you go to sleep and we can regroup at breakfast in the morning.” “Yes, yes a good plan. Come Ranger off to your room young man, you need your rest.” said Katcha. “Ok, ok, lol, good night everyone and thank you so much for saving me from Ron,” I replied walking by Jesse giving him a scratch on the head and heading off to my room. “Good night Ranger,” everyone said to me one at a time. Getting to my room, I laid down and tried to sleep, but the last month just kept playing in my head. I tossed and turned all night. Finally I saw daybreak and got up. Dressing quietly and going out to the great room. John was doing something on the computer and Jesse was lying at his feet. “Good morning John and Jessie,” I said as I walked into the room. John turned his head in my direction. “Good morning Ranger, your up at the crack of dawn, how did you sleep last night?” “Not very well, I wish I could go for a walk around the property, it looks fantastic out there.” I said to him. “Well, it’s been quiet all night and it’s very early. You can take Jesse out, don’t go far and come back in an hour to be safe. We’ll have breakfast then and plan our day. Does that sound like a plan?” John asked me. “Yes! That’s a great idea, thanks.” I couldn’t believe I could go out with Jesse for a walk. “Come on Jesse, let’s go boy,” I called to the dog. I walked to the back door and Jesse followed me out. Jesse ran on ahead, he knew where he was going. He grabbed a big stick and running back to me dropped it in front of me. I picked it up and threw it for him. We played this game for quite a while. I looked up in the sky and could see nothing threatening. Then out of nowhere a shot rang out and just missed me. I dropped to my stomach and called to Jesse, “down boy.” Another shot hit me in the leg! FOURTEEN “Ouch,” I screamed crawling behind a tree. I sat up and looked at my leg. Blood was oozing out of my pants. I grabbed my lower leg ripping off the bottom of my pants. I hurt! I tied the cloth around my wound to stop the bleeding then looked around for Jesse. He ran towards me and grabbed my arm pulling me up. We started making our way going in the direction away from the monastery. Another shot rang out from another direction, so we changed course. We found an old bunker and sat down behind it. I looked at my leg; the bleeding had stopped but it hurt some- thing awful. We had been gone for more than an hour. I was sure that John would notice and come find us. He surely saw the sniper on his screens after we left. The day kept getting longer. I was thirsty and I knew Jesse was too. I looked at him and gave him a pat on the head. He appreciated that but kept up his guard. “Jesse can you go home and get help?” I asked the German shepherd dog. “Woof, woof,” he said wagging his tail at me. Then grabbing my arm he started pulling me with him. Obviously he was not going to leave me. I was grateful, but I wish he could just go home and get help for me. We walked carefully through the woods; I could see that we had made a complete circle. Then I saw Ken from the mission. He was dressed in cameo fatigues, carrying a M-16. He was shot at, rolled and shot back. Jesse saw him too and started running towards him. He motioned for us to lie down and not move. I dropped and Jesse dropped by my side. Then I saw John, he was trying to move in our direction. Jesse saw his master and started crawling towards him looking at me to follow. I crawled as best I could with my wounded leg behind Jesse. Gunfire broke out all around us. Jesse nudged me behind a tree and I laid there with a 90-pound German shepherd in my arms. To my dismay a US helicopter flew over and open fired on the ground. I could see the Soviets taking off in the other direction. The US helicopter flew down towards the mission and landed. John ran over to Jesse and me. “Are you alright Ranger?”
“No, I got shot,” I showed him my wounded leg.
“Ok, lets head back to the mission.” He grabbed my arm and we started making our way back.
Arriving there Katcha started fussing over my wound. It was so embarrassing in front of all of these soldiers, but I let her do it, because she took the bullet out and made me feel better. She was such a sweet person. The U.S. military men from the helicopter were the ones working with John and got his mayday call to come to our aid. Ken and Kevin were still out there, but at least we were safe tonight; I hoped. FIFTEEN Finally John told me to go get some rest, he was searching the screens for any site of Ken. There were two other military men in the room. I knew that Ken must be in trouble, but was too tired to worry about it. I thought I would close my eyes for just a minute but when I woke up it was daylight. I limped into the main room, John was still working on his computer, trying to see any sign of Ken. My leg was throbbing. “What could have happened to him?” I asked walking over and sitting next to him. Jesse came over and I rubbed his head. “What a good boy Jesse, thank you for saving me.” He wagged his tail at me and gave me a high five. “I don’t know, Ranger, but the men have gone out looking for him about an hour ago. When they come back I think we should get you out of here. I’ve contacted the unit that you were with. They’re still in Japan, your dad is doing fine. They’ll be there for another month de- briefing them and trying to get them well enough to fly home.” “I’m so glad they made it!!! I guess it was a good thing I left with Ron so they could escape.” “It was very brave of you to take the action you did. Look!” John pointed at the screen. Our guys were taking fire outside!
“I thought Ron and his men left last night! What should we do?” I asked.
“There isn’t anything we can do, there’s only me in here with three civilians. I’m afraid the men are on their own and we’ll have to wait it out. I’m contacting your unit again, we need to get you to safety. I need to get Gregor and Katcha out of here too. They want to live here, but I think all of us will need to leave Russian soon.” That didn’t sound very good to me, what could I do? Katcha called us in for some break- fast, John said he’d eat at the computer, but I went in and joined her. “How is your leg Ranger?” she asked me.
“It’s sore, but I know it’ll heal soon. Thank you for looking after it for me.”
“That’s ok dear, I don’t like to see you in this position. John tells me we are not safe here anymore and all of us need to leave. I don’t know where we will go. Russia has always been my home.” She looked thoughtful.” I thought for a moment and had an idea. “Would you and Gregor like to come back to France with me? I live with my grandparents, my father will be arriving soon. We run a winery with a big orchard, there’s plenty to do and room enough for both of you! I wonder if John leaves if Jesse could come with us too?” Jesse heard his name and came running over to me. I just laughed. “Your such a good boy Jesse, I wish you were my dog.” “I heard that,” John laughed as he walked in with his empty plate and sat it in the sink. “I’ve gotten ahold of Rick from your unit. He’s trying to send someone in to pick all of you up. I told him about Gregor and Katcha saving you and bringing you here. I think that Jesse should go with you too until I can get to a safer place and go pick him up. Besides, he’ll have fun on your property back in France.” I couldn’t believe what I just heard!
“That would be great! Is there any change in the situation outside?” I asked him.
He got a sad a look on his face. “The men are making their way back. I think they found Ken.”
“That doesn’t sound too good, how is he?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “But we’re about to find out.”
There was banging on the back door. John ran over and unlatched the lock throwing the door open. The two men, Seth and Paul fell through the door dragging Ken behind them. “Ken’s pretty bad, we need to get him to a hospital as soon as possible.” Paul said. Katcha ran over to see if she could do anything. Seth shook his head warning her not to come to close.
“It’s not pretty, he’s barely alive.”
“Hurry, Ranger help me let’s get Ken in the chopper in the barn.”
I helped carry Ken out through the hallway into the barn. We got him loaded in the chop- per, it was shoved out of the barn and as we got the doors closed we heard it take off. “I hope they can get him help in time.” I said.
“Me too, Ranger. I need to talk to all of you.”
Just then Gregor and Katcha walked out of the house. “I need to fly all of you out of here. I can’t man this place alone right now, it’s too dangerous.” John told all of us. “I can’t leave my horses, John,” said Gregor. “I thought of that, we can leave enough food outside and they can free range, there’s a stream and plenty of grass. When I get all of you to safety I’ll come back with help and we can get them out of here. It’s the best I can do right now.” John told him. Gregor walked over to his horse and pet his head. Katcha walked over and put her arm around him. “We are so lucky, none of our neighbors made it I’m sure honey.” “I know dear, this is all we have now except each other. The world is turned upside down.” “I know,” she whispered. Just them Jesse barked, we looked up there was a noise outside. John ran into the house to look at the screens. There was a chopper coming in, it had American markings. “This is awfully fast, it can’t be our back up.” He looked very thoughtfully out at them. “Stay here Ranger, I’m going out to talk.” He grabbed a rifle and slipped out the door. A while later John motioned for me to come out. “There legit, I’m going to send you off with them. They won’t take Katcha and Gregor but they will take you and Jesse. I’m sending him off with you. He’s well trained and seven years old. He’s grown attached to you so I can send him off to help you. I’ll come to the farm in France when this is over and get him if he wants to leave with me.” John ruffled my hair. “You’re a good kid Ranger, you’re going to make an awesome spy when you get older.” “Thanks, that isn’t what I really want to be though.” I answered. “There going to take you to the U.S. Base in Kyrgyzstan then on to the new U. S. Base in Romania called Deveselu. You will be debriefed and from there flown home to France. We have a handle on Ron over here and he has more to do than harm you right now.” I was thrilled Jesse was coming with me, but a bit nervous about leaving this place.
I just smiled.
“Ok, let’s go get Jesse packed and fill in Katcha and Gregor.” I just nodded and followed John into the house.
When we said our goodbyes I left with the men and climbed into the helicopter with Jesse at my side.
“Ranger, now that we have you here we need to talk to you.”
“Ok, what about?” I asked.
“We have heard of your stunts and cunning ways with avoiding the Russians. The Olympic games are to happen in a month from now. We believe there are black widow’s planned to attack people in the games.” “Wow! I was just here to help my dad escape from Ron, the Russian Spy how do I now end up involved in this?” I asked. “It’s complicated and we will explain along the way. We are flying into the Olympic City which is in Sochi, Russia. It’s a place located on the Black Sea it’s located in the Russian Federal Subject of Krasnodar Krai. We need you to infiltrate into the guards. An attack is imminent and it would be devastating to the games.” I sat down and looked at Jesse.
“Did John know about this? Is this why Jesse as allowed to come with me?” I asked. “Yes and no,” said the officer.
“What is your name or am I not allowed to know?” I asked.
“I’m Colonel Mark and this is Colonel Jeff,” he replied.
“Somehow that’s supposed to make me feel better.” I said as we flew off towards the Olympic City location. We flew over the village that Katcha and Gregor fled with me from. The town was burnt to the ground. I wonder if there were any survivors. “That’s pretty devastating isn’t it?” asked Colonel Mark. “Yes, it shows how cruel these people are. If Ron has not been shot down or captured why are we off to this adventure and why not leave me where I was to help catch him?” “This is more imminent, Ron has been around for a long time and we have him monitored. The Olympic games must be secured and we need a young persons’ help. We appreciate you very much.” Colonel Mark added. “I never wanted to lead this kind of life.” I said. He ignored me and handed me a gun.
“Do you know how to use it?” he asked.

 It was a 1911 Night Hawk, “yes I’ve always wanted one of these.” I couldn’t believe what I had been handed! It was beautiful and very expensive. Plus I could conceal it in my pants pocket easily. “Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but if your life is threatened, as it might well be we don’t want you and Jesse defenseless.” Colonel Mark turned around and said something to Colonel Jeff. The helicopter changed directions and we started flying over the Caucasus Mountains. It was beautiful country. I could see why Russia was hosting the Olympics here. “You will have all of your meals paid for in the mess hall with the other workers. You and Jesse will be on patrol during the day, stay friendly but don’t give anyone any personal information. The less the other’s know about you the safer you will be.” Colonel Mark pointed for me to look out the window. We were entering the Krasnodar Krai and we could see the Black Sea ahead of us. “Before I forget here’s some things you will need.” he handed me a backpack. I looked inside. Pulling out a device I asked, “How do I use this?” “That is a wireless earpiece, it will hook up to the iPhone and you can turn on a switch before inserting around your ear. This will enable you to hear conversations across a room. You and Jesse stick together and call me everyday. We’ll be just outside the village in a camper setting up surveillance. You will be our eyes and ears where we couldn’t go.” “I never wanted to be a spy, but I don’t think I have a choice, do I?” I asked him. “Not really Ranger.”
The helicopter landed and Colonel’s Jeff and Mark jumped out, Jesse and I followed. We got into a jeep and they drove us to the entrance of the village.
I looked around, the village was magnificent! I saw the hotel ahead, that was where were to stay. “You need to go into the office and get your pass and room key and food card for you and Jesse. Then walk around and get familiar with the town and people running the shops. I’ll check in with you tonight so be sure to answer your phone.” He patted me on the back. “Good luck young man. Bye Jesse.” He scratched Jesse behind the ears. I grabbed Jesse’s leash and threw the bag over my right shoulder, reached into my right pocket and touched my gun. With confidence I walked up to the office, opened the door and walked in. There was a line so we got in it. An hour later we were out of there. “Come on Jesse lets go explore the town and find our room. Then we can get some chow.” Jesse wagged his tail and walked by my side. We showed our passes and got into the Olympic village. The first thing we saw was a bakery, I looked at Jesse. “Want a snack boy?” I asked him. “Woof.” “That’s good enough for me boy.” I grabbed the door and opened it. Jesse had his working vest on I was hoping we could get him in. So we both walked in. “Hi,” said the man behind the counter. He was of medium height, short blond hair and muscular. He walked from behind the counter and stuck out his hand. “I’m Mike,” he said. “Who’s this handsome fellow?” He bent over and gave Jesse a scratch behind his ears. “This is Jesse, I’m Ranger; we just got here and saw your shop. We’ve been trav- eling all day and both of us are hungry.” “Well I have some good chicken stew and homemade bread.” “That sounds great,” I said pulling out our food cards. These cards gave us carte blanche to eat in any of the restaurants, but I needed to try and eat in the mess hall too. I looked around; it was a tiny place but clean looking. There were six tables; I walked over to the one by the windows facing the door. Jesse sat down at my feet. After we had both eaten I looked over and saw Mike ringing up some goodies for a customer. When he was done I stood up and brought Jesse with me. “Thank you Mike for the great meal. We’ll be seeing a lot of you over the next three weeks.” “Nice meeting you and Jesse too,” said Mike. Then we shook hands, Jesse and I looked outside at my surroundings. In front of me across from the bakery was a small market. I looked to the left, just more buildings. The village seemed built in a simi circle. I looked at Jesse and said, “Do you want to walk with me and get the layout of the town then we can come back and play ball in the park outside the village boy?” “Woof woof,” he pawed me. That meant yes. So off we went. We walked past the shops to the hotel and approached the front desk. I showed the clerk my ID and Jessie’s too. Without a smile the lady handed us our room key. “What floor is this please?” I asked her. She showed two fingers, must mean floor two. I remembered passing some nice homes with little white picket fences around their front yards just outside the village. I was wishing we could stay there. Jessie and I walked up the stairs to the second floor. I found the room and placed the key into the lock. Walking into the room, I could tell that it wasn’t complete. Where the Internet connection should have been, it was hanging from the ceiling. I walked over to the sink and turned it on. No water came out! I picked up my bags and grabbed Jessie’s leash. Looking around I was discouraged at such a mess I was in. I walked out of the hotel and out of the village. We passed the little houses with perfect fences and yards. I picked up my phone and called Colonel Mark. I told him what a mess the hotel was and that there was no water. I wasn’t going to do this. He told me to hang on he would be right there. Jesse and I sat down on a bench and waited. About an hour later Colonel Mark showed up. “Sorry about that Ranger. I have secured a townhouse down the street for you. You’ll still have to go into the village daily to do your job and eat there. Ok?” “That’s fine with me, but that hotel was just not for me. I felt very uncomfortable in it.” “I found out that when the water is turned back on that it’s not safe in the park. You’re much better here Ranger.” That made me feel better, Jessie and I followed Colonel Mark. We came across some town homes, they were brown with white doors and there were numbers above the doors. “Look for number 26, Ranger.” Colonel Mark told me as I looked for our unit. “There it is.” I pointed ahead. We walked over; I placed my bag down and put the key into the lock that Colonel Mark had given to me. I opened the door and we walked in, Jesse followed. The room was small but cozy, it was the living room, it led into a small kitchen. There was a table in the living room against the wall attached to the kitchen. We walked into the kitchen; on my left there was a portable shower. “Ok, that will do right boy?” Jesse wagged his tail. Turning around and walking back towards the door, I turned right and walked into a small bedroom. There was a small bathroom to my right I peeked inside. There was a toilet and sink nothing else. Ok, this wasn’t too bad. I walked back out and thanked Colonel Mark. He told me to be careful and stay in touch, then left. I picked up my bag then tossed it into the bedroom. I walked into the kitchen to see what sup- plies there were. Apparently there would be maid service daily because there weren’t any clean- ing supplies. There was a small container of dish soap though. I opened the cabinets; there were four plates, four glasses, and four teacups. Another cabinet had some tea bags in it and a package of crackers unopened. Must be for me. I then looked in the fridge; there were eggs, milk, cheese and bread. Closing that I looked in the bottom cabinets, there were cast iron pans of various sizes. I needed to go to the market and get some meat for Jesse to eat. I decided to do that after we walked around and played in the park down the way. “Well I’ve seen enough boy get your leash and we’ll go for a long walk.” Jesse ran to the door and brought his leash back to me. “Good boy,” I said as I snapped it on him. Then I remembered his ball. “Stay boy.” I told him to stay by the door. I grabbed his favorite red ball out of my bag and stuck it in my pocket. Then I took my goodie bag with gadgets and stuck it under my mat- tress. I had the gun in my right pants pocket and cell phone and earpiece in my left pants pocket. I needed to remember this was a job to save my life, Jesse’s and whomever else’s life the next couple of weeks. Then Jesse and I would fly home to France, hopefully my dad would be there by then. I shook the thought out of my head. I walked back to the door and Jesse grabbed his leash handing it to me. I gave him a pat on the head, “Good boy.” We walked outside and went to the right. We came to the end of our town homes and had a choice to go back into the village or left into more homes or right into the town. I chose the town. The street names were long and hard to pronounce. We walked down one short street then took another right going into the town. There was a theatre, clothes, stores, and nick knack shops getting ready for the tourists. In a few days this place would be crawling with people. SIXTEEN When we were getting close to our apartment I noticed we had someone outside our door. I got out my gun and told Jesse to stay close. As we got closer I saw to my amazement that it was Rick and Jackie! “Hey it’s great to see you guys!” I shouted as I waved at them and ran, Jesse keeping by my side. “Hi Ranger! It’s great to see you too!” Shouted Rick running to meet me. Jackie stayed where she was

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