Chapter 14.2

When this message arrived, it was very welcome news to the crew. They hoped that Steve and his team could have arrived in Virginia sooner, as the deadline to land or fire trans-Earth thrusters was drawing near. Midnight would be the twenty-fourth hour after the communications to Mission Support regarding the explosion set off by the crew, simulating a disaster. Eleven hours, thirty-five minutes remained from the time Steve sent his reply.

Steve had secured the willing aid of all seven of his squad members before they boarded the plane. After a quick computer check of the satellite view of Charlottesville and debate of tactics, the crew created their preliminary action plan. “OK, ladies, get your beauty sleep while you can. You’re not likely to get any prettier, later on,” Steve advised his men, in his standard wrap-up at the end of a planning session. They were all so used to it, most just grunted in agreement and proceeded to hit their airborne racks.

Unable to go to sleep right away, Steve continued going over the details in his head, scrutinizing them for flaws. It’s about a two-hour drive from their base in Virginia Beach to Charlottesville. With flight time cutting it so close, at most they would have only an hour to complete their tasks: rescue Mike and email the results of their rescue mission.

This particular type of operation is what Special Op organizations call a ‘quick and dirty’ mission. The team usually spends at least a week or more in preparation for an exercise like this, but this mission necessitated execution within eleven and a half hours, start to finish. The waning moon was just over half full and if the sky was clear over Virginia, they will have to keep to the shadows. Unlike the Chicago al Qaida takedown, this plan called for surrounding the house late at night and sneaking in. During these late night/early morning hours, most of the targets should be asleep or at least groggy and less vigilant.

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