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Clandestine Club Book Two

By: gr8dragon
gr8dragon's Profile

Real Name: Matthew Teets
Age: 42
Sex: m
Location: Littleton CO

Other Passer Name(s):
not specified

Instant Message Id(s):

Writing Style:
Fantasy,Action, Science fiction

“Salaam Wale Kum”

The veins on Ryan’s face responded first then his eyes. An old man with white sherwani and a bamboo-stick in his hand stared at him.

Ryan’s thirsty throat greeted back, quite fluently, “Wale kum salaam.” Last few months he could figure out the aim of the Asian spoken tones. He found this old man harmless.

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Jul 18 2009 08:39:14 EST

Ryan sat up to survey his surroundings. The place was empty aside from himself and this old man. He began to distrust his situation. It wasn't an optimal one. His men, once right behind him were now strangely gone from his side. All of his weapons were gone. Ryan just had his vest and one other thing, a picture of his little angel, Robyn. She was already a high brown belt in her martial art. He was proud of her and took every opportunity to tell her so. He took the picture out and looked at it for a moment, or maybe it was a few. Ryan didn't know, but one thing was for sure he would get out of this for her. He had to, there are times a young girl needs her daddy.

"Where are my men?" He asked the old man as he put the picture in his shirt pocket.

Nothing. The older man just stood there with his cane. He tried again this time with more intention.

"Where am I? Where are my men?"

Ryan looked around for his canteen. It was still full as he put it to hi lips and poured the water down his throat. The cool water felt good as it rushed don his face. He looked at the picture again knowing he had to get out. Trouble was he didn't know whether or not to label this old man enemy or civilian. He could be either.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Jul 18 2009 12:55:33 EST

Confirmation of Dread

Back at home Robyn was looking at a picture too.It was a favorite of her wonderful Father in his uniform.Her eyes welled up as she thought about him and how much she missed him right now.She knew he would be proud of her and her Clandestine Club team for completing their first mission and receiving medals from the President.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Jul 21 2009 15:21:44 EST

She took the medal of its box. It glistened in the light of the miday sun that shone through her window. She took a breath, "Be safe daddy, I love you."

She touched two fingers to her lips then to the picture. Robyn couldn't help but feel that he might not be safe. Matt was getting reacy to leave for Boston, she knew. It was important though, so she called him hoping to catch him before he had to leave for the airport. The phone rang four times, then five as her apprehension grew. Then the call was answered, It was Robert. Robert looked at the number on the caller ID. It was Robyn.

"Hell, miss Healy. What can I do for you.?" Robert asked.

"Has Matt left yet? I have to talk to him." Robyn inquired.

"Of course dear, he hasn't left for Bostin yet. I'll go get him hold on." Robert assured her.

In a few moments Matt came on the line. His tone was naturally harried. Robyn got a chuckle out of it. It was good to hear his young voice again.

"Robyn is that you?" Matt asked.

"Yeah, I just wanted to talk before you flew off to Boston." Robyn answered.

Matt could sense that something was on the down side with her. Their connection was that close. He rubbed his face trying to wake up some more. He wasn't usually up this early.

"Why so sad, kumori Gosai?" Matt beckoned.

"I just miss my dad, but I think something's not right with him. I don't know what." Robyn told him anxiously.

"Where is he right now?" Matt asked.

"Afghanistan, in a small village on the border with Pakistan. Somewhere outside Kandahar, guess." Robyn reported.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Jul 22 2009 13:37:33 EST

Matt said,"Let me run this by my Dad real quick and call you back.Maybe he knows something about the situation,okay ?"
Robyn agreed and hung up.She felt better just knowing her friends were with her on this.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Jul 22 2009 16:11:34 EST

Ami passed by Robyn's room and noticed her releasing a breath filled with mixed emotions. She tapped lightly on the door jamb. Robyn looked her way with an uncertain smile, tears still in her eyes. She was happy about Receiving the Madal of Honor, but wished Ryan could be there to share her happiness. Somehow though, Ami sensed that it was more. Her daughter's connection with Ryan was always very strong, the same way it was with Matt Macon.

"Can I come in?" She asked

"Yes, mum." Robyn invited as she made her way to her bed to sit down.

Ami joined her, placing a loving arm around her daughter's shoulders. She couldn't help think that there was something more than that underneath Robyn's skin as she wiped her tears away.

"Was that young Mr. Macon, just then?" She asked.

"Yes. I had something to ask him." Robyn reported.

"Why are you so sad?" Ami beckoned her.

"Daddy's away, and I know he'll be back, but I just can't help feeling that something isn't quite right with him; like his situation is less than favorable." Robyn Confided.

"I have felt the same way, today." Ami told her daughter as she pulled her in closer.

A short time later, the phone and doorbell in the Eastlake style home rang loudly as if confirming something. What was it they were confirming? The worst case scenario began to run through Robyn's young mind as she picked up the phone and Matt answered.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Jul 22 2009 18:34:42 EST

As soon as Matt got off the phone he called Robert. "Dad, can you come here a minute?" he asked.

"Sure son," Robert called from the basement.

Robert had been in the basement sinc they got back making it more functional. He made his way up the stairs to th kitchen of their victorian home. He saw the look of concern in his son's. They penetrated him like laser beam in one of his science fiction thrillers as he sat at the table waiting for him to take a seat.

"Shouldn't you finish getting ready to go?" Robert asked.

"Yeah, bu there is something i need to take care of first, dad." Matt answered.

"Robyn's dad?" Robert inquired.

Matt paused for a moment thinking of a good way to asked. After a second or two he realized there really wasn't one. He just spat it out.

"Yeah, she thinks he might be in trouble. Sorry, I can't go on the next mission, but this is to important for me. Can I go give her a chance to say goodbye for the three weeks?" Matt inquired.

"Yeah, your flight doesn't leav until five o'clock. Just be back before one o'clock. You'll need to take a nap before the flight for the jet lag." Robert suggested.

"Okay dad. Has there been any buzz about major healy's unit?" Matt asked.

"Only that they were no where to be found, and didn't report in this morning. They are MIA I'm affraid. Tell her that this does not mean they are dead, judt that they are missing." Robert explained.

"You going to go find him?" Matt asked.

"I'll ask if the mission is necessary if you like and see if they want to send the Clandestine Club in to take a look. My only regret is that I don't have one of my best agents to go with me." Robert preaised.

"I know and I want to go, but I can't just walk out on the extra tech training." Matt pined.

"I know, so can we call you idf we need help in any way?" Robert asked.

"You can depend on me dad, always. If you decide to take Robyn anyway call me if she goes to the deep side of the pool, okay." Matt made him promise.

"Of course I will. Now, you'd better call Robyn and tell her you're coming.

Ami passed by Robyn's room and noticed her releasing a breath filled with mixed emotions. She tapped lightly on the door jamb. Robyn looked her way with an uncertain smile, tears still in her eyes. She was happy about Receiving the Madal of Honor, but wished Ryan could be there to share her happiness. Somehow though, Ami sensed that it was more. Her daughter's connection with Ryan was always very strong, the same way it was with Matt Macon.

"Can I come in?" She asked

"Yes, mum." Robyn invited as she made her way to her bed to sit down.

Ami joined her, placing a loving arm around her daughter's shoulders. She couldn't help think that there was something more than that underneath Robyn's skin as she wiped her tears away.

"Was that young Mr. Macon, just then?" She asked.

"Yes. I had something to ask him." Robyn reported.

"Why are you so sad?" Ami beckoned her.

"Daddy's away, and I know he'll be back, but I just can't help feeling that something isn't quite right with him; like his situation is less than favorable." Robyn Confided.

"I have felt the same way, today." Ami told her daughter as she pulled her in closer.

A short time later, the phone and doorbell in the Eastlake style home rang loudly as if confirming something. What was it they were confirming? The worst case scenario began to run through Robyn's young mind as she picked up the phone and Matt answered. She asked him to talk slow because she was actually litening to two voices; Matt and the voice at the door. It didn't sound good.

"Robyn, the intelligence just came in. Your dad's unit is MIA. They just disappeared from the desert like a ghost." Matt reported.

Robyn feared the worst for her daddy. Her heart sank into her stomach and she laid down on her bed, letting the phone just snap back into her dresser. Robyn didn't cry. Ryan had told her not to.

"You are a ninja above all, if I disappear or worse it is not a defeat, but a call to take action with resolve. Do so, Robyn because I expect it and because it will make you stronger as a warrior."

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Jul 22 2009 18:34:42 EST

‘This old man,’ thought Ryan. ‘Why ain’t he speaking?’
“You.” He pointed at him. “English?” His actions spoke more than his words.
He saw a slight smile on the wrinkled face. The heat kept mounting and the desert aired the sheer silence. Few green bushes stood far-off, reminding Ryan that the hope exists in the world.
His Sherwani kissing the hot air and then the stick thudded firmly on the ground.
Ryan became alert. He searched for the gun in his pocket. He knew he’d lost it days ago.
“Srrr..k.” Ryan watched a shining metal exposed within the two halves of the stick.
‘Ah! The language of weapons. This is understood by everyone, eh? What next? Come on oldie. Shoot! ‘
The old man let loose the stick towards Ryan. Now Ryan was equipped.
He put his hand in his Sherwani’s pocket. Ryan watched him intently.
He took out a photograph of some young Afghani guy. His eyes filled with tears, yet smiling.
Ryan understood the language of emotions. Afghanistan parts got destructed and the people had to seek the most suitable shelters for saving their lives. Families crumbled. Residual residents at the finish of damage ran helter- skelter searching for their fell apart relatives.
Their aims were same but the directions differed. The old man directed him towards the green bushes.
“Thanks buddy.”
The old man raised his thumb up in the air and left the scene.
Ryan took the stick in his hand. He started walking in the direction of the green bushes. It stood smiling at him, miles away.

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Jul 23 2009 01:22:33 EST

The hot sun shined over the yellow and red sand. In the same distance as the bushes, light reflected off of something metallic. Ryan couldn't see the exact color of it. His Springfield M1911-A1. It was his brother's. Wil had finished his tours and decided to settle in with his family in Des Moines Iowa. Last Christmas he had passed it on to Ryan because he would no longer be needing it. It was Ryan's now and he wore it with honor like a family badge of courage. When he arrived at the place where the bushes were, Ryan dug through the red sand. It was the prized possession, buried in the sands of the desert by the wind. It would need some serious cleaning before he could use it again. He had to find his men. It wasn't like any of them to just disappear. Where were they? He had to find them soon and get back to his princess in Virginia. It was the only thing that mattered now. Whoever was watching him, they weren't Taliban. If they were he would have been dead by now his blood seeping into the yellow sand. The ocean of sand would become his grave. That hadn't happened. He was dehydrated, slightly delusional and given to Hallucinations of the desert, but not dead. He was hungry too. He looked around for something to eat, not too much available. a desert asp slithered by and Ryan picked up the gun and shot it dead. Next thing he knew was snake for dinner. No the best perhaps, but until he was found and rescued it would have to do.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Jul 24 2009 14:06:56 EST

The lost gun recovered needed a wash. Running water…he heard the sound of it. His throat went dry; eyes had severe burning sensation and brain pushing itself out of his head. His clothes got wet with sweat, stuck with the lot of dirt and sand.
‘From where the hell this sound is coming? Water…I need water.’ He needed water. Water for washing the gun…water to drink.
With the sound of dripping water a golden aura displayed in front of his eyes. ‘Have I gone crazy?’ His subconscious alerted him. He emptied the water bottle, sprinkled some water on his face. Then he simply sat down and then left his body free to feel the ground.
He opened his eyes, Sun sparkled brightly. He looked sideways.
‘Oh God!’ He mumbled. He found himself in the middle of nowhere. The targeted vegetation stood still miles ahead.
He searched for his M1911-A1. It disappeared leaving behind just an after-mirage gloom.
He remembered the shining object near the bushes. His eyes moved in that direction. Nothing shined this time. Ironically he thanked God for it. Nothing shined meant he was off the mirage effect.
Moving down Sun had restrained its brightness. He realized of his lone existence in the desert.
A sudden thought of the old man he met darkened the inner circles of his cerebral waves.
‘Was he real or simply an illusion?’
His hands moved on sand to get the touch of the bamboo stick. He sighed. ‘He was real.’
He decided to reach the bushes before sundown.

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Jul 25 2009 09:27:55 EST

As with most deserts, this one would only get colder as the dun fell lower on the horizon. Shelter was Ryan's next thought, after his precious daughter, whom he knew would be worried about him. SHe was just that way. He looked up the sun wasn't moving yet, but the air began to feel cooler. The bushes still lay endless meters ahead, how many he didn't know. Ryan kept walking anyway. If there was water out there he had to find it and quickly.

At home, Robyn waited patiently by the phone waiting for Matt to call back. All the while she was listening to what was going on downstairs. The soldier's voice was just loud enough for Robyn to hear it. She tried to swallow back her tears as the soldier delivered his message.

"Ma'am are you Ami Healey?" He asked

The young man took a nervous breath. He had never had to do this thing before, tell someone that their loved one was missing or even dead.

"Ma'am, your husband Sergeant Major Ryan Healey is missing. He and his unit have disappeared in the desert outside Kandahar Afghanistan." The soldier told Ami.

"I understand," she nodded.

Robyn couldn't hold back her tears any longer. Her father was missing and she couldn't do anything about it. She just leaned over on her bed and began to cry in a quiet digninfied manner. The phone finally rang, it was Matt again. He could tell she had been crying, and kicked himself for takign so long to get back to her.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sun, Jul 26 2009 17:06:56 EST

"Sorry to keep you waiting,"he told her,"but I wanted to talk to Dad first.I'm coming to see you right now.Don't worry we will figure it all out together Kumori Gosai."

Robyn took a deep breath of relief,"Do you mean it?Oh Matt you are just the best.I really need to see you right now."

"I need to see you too,"he agreed .

Ami overheard the conversation and came to hug Robyn after she hung up.

"We have Robert and the whole Clandestine Club on our side now Darling.I know it will be alright.My intuition tells me that Matthew isn't the only one going on a trip."

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Jul 27 2009 02:28:10 EST

Though Ami was certain she would on the trip, Robyn was uncertain how she would function. Would she question every mnove she made or would she do what was needed when the time came? Would her emotions overtake her focus, or would her mind be clouded? She had no way of telling. One thing was clear in her mind. If worse came to worse, she would need Matt to bring her down or even to help her not to do something that could Jeopardize the mission. Robyn turned to her mother not knowing how to ask what she wanted to ask. It just came out.

"If I can't do this right, do you think they'll call Matt from camp in Boston?"

"Yes, they might and you really should have more confidence in yourself. I think you can do it, if you think only of the mission. Do you want me to call Mems' father and see if he can teach you some Copoeira it might help you some to be with a few of the others right now." Ami inquired.

"I don't know. Would that be right?" Robyn asked.

"It is time that you need. Take a few moments with your father while i make the call and for heaven's sake put a smile in those young Irish eyes." Ami quipped,"Besides, it is always good to learn something new and it would take you away from this sad energy for a while." Ami suggested.

"Okay, I'll try it." Robyn agreed sniffling off her las tears.

She went tot he dresser again. Her head tilted, still a little sad, but with more resolve to find Ryan. Robyn smiled a little as Ami released her from her motherly embrace. Ami was right. One way or another she would see her father again. She placed the Medal of Honor around her father's picture and fixed the edges so they were neat. The little shinoichi took attention soluting her father, then bowing to him in both traditions of honor smiling again inhaling and releasing a heavy breath of resolve.

"I will find you and bring you back home," she said to herself.

Fundamental Malandragem

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Jul 27 2009 14:26:41 EST

When Matthew arrived he was surprised to see a smiling Robyn meet him at the door.That's my shadow girl ,he thought to himself.She had that amazing ability to bounce back and focus that he admired so much.

After a brief hug,she told him about the Copoeira session coming up.

"Excellent idea,"he commented,"Maybe I could be a part of that too.Do you think it would be okay?"

Robyn laughed,"Okay?That would be great but do you have enough time?"

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Jul 27 2009 17:26:05 EST

Matthew took his cell phone out. He was probably the only fourth grader in the neighbor hood that had one. The call was quick and garnished with a smile.

"Hey, I keep forgetting when is my flight this afternoon?" Matthew asked.

"Not till five thirty, why?" Robert inquired.

"Some of the other kids are going over to mems' house to learn a little Copoeira from her dad. Just neede to know if you thought I could go and still make my flight on time." Matthew explained.

"That shouildn't be a problem. Do you need anything for that?" Robert suggested.

"Some sweats and my "Star Wars: Unleashed tshirt would be cool." Matthew requested.

"Alright I will send them with your brother. Have a good time." Robert bade his son.

"Thanks for everything, dad. It's good to have you home again."

"It's good to be hear. Tell Robyn to have a good time too for me would you." Robert requested.

"Sure, see you later."

He hung the phone up and speed dialed Membaya. It took a couple of rings, but she answered.

"Hey, Matt. What's up?" She asked.

"Me and Robyn are on the way over to join you all for Copoeira today, is there room for two more?" Matt asked her.

"Yeah, just come on over, Tommy's all ready here with your clothes." Membaya reported.

"Good, we'll be right over. Give us about ten minutes to walk it okay." Matthew requested.

"Sure, I'll tell my dad." Membaya told him.

"Thanks, Mems we'll see you in a few." He said turning to Robyn. "Go put on a tshirt and some sweats, shadow. We'll have a little time together before I go to Boston." He told her.

Robyn went up and changed. Ami saw Matt at the door and called him in. It was good to see him again, almost like having a son. After seeing them together in class that first time, Ami felt as if she was seeing a slice of Robyn's future. It made her smile that she connected with a boy they both knew they could trust. Ami didn't know if it was just Matt's way or if it was the fact that he was a CIA agent's kid. Either way she would e happy to have him in her home from time to time on the trust alone. The boy would never betray her and Ryan's princess. She watched them the few seconds they were at the door joining their hands in young love. It was like the first time she had met Ryan on the base when they were twelve. It was an autumn dance and it just felt right being with him. They danced together for the first time that night. Ami never forgot that moment and probably never would. Now her young daughter was having a similar experience with this young gentleman. So mature for nine, and yet still young enough to keep things innocent between them. Matthew waived back to Ami.

"Bye, Mrs. Healey, I'll have Robyn back in a couple of hours. Thanks for the time with her." Matt told her as she watched them go down the street to his neighbor hood wary of his surroundings.

Robyn did the same, "Bye mum, and thanks."

Membaya was waiting for them at the door when they arrived. She pulled them in and welcomed them rushing Matthew off to a nearby bathroom to change.

"Thanks for coming, my father is waiting for you. Get dressed quickly he wants to see how quickly you learn Matt." she hurriedly reported.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Jul 27 2009 18:07:44 EST

Rhythmic drum beats filled the air as Albert and Seleya Oduya greeted the group .
"Welcome my young friends,"Albert said,"Please follow me in a series of warm up exercises before we begin."

As they limbered up,Mr.Oduya asked them,
"Do any of you,other than my family,have any experience with Copoeira?"

"Is it anything like Ninjutsu?" inquired Robyn.

Oduya smiled and said,"Since a picture is worth a thousand words,let me show you as well as tell you."

Putting in a DVD ,they were soon watching a video of copoeira as they stretched.Robyn was amazed,

"It is so much different than I thought,"she exclaimed.

Oduya paused the video and said,

"Notice how the participants have formed a circle.This is the roda.It is essentially the ring inside which the action takes place.Will you please do the same?"

Being young people trained in a variety of disciplines,they were quick to respond to his request.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Jul 31 2009 03:10:07 EST

Albert looked Matt in the eye, smiling. Matt reversed his posture returning the smile and nodding. It was an invitation to the center of the circle. Robyn smiled, too.

"The first movement I will show is the beginner Meia Lua De Frente. Matthew follow me."

Oduya stepped back on his right foot, bringing his left hand to his chest; then forward just the opposite. Matt closed his eyes, searchin for a Tai Chi form that was similar in motion. He found it and translated the motion to capoeira. They went faster together.

"Good Matthew, keep it up!" Albert praised.

They went on another few moments and Robyn was called to the center. She was a little nervous. Matt had given a great presentation. He was remarkably agile and flexible for a boy. It impressed her. Robyn hope she measured up after his performance.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Jul 31 2009 08:00:49 EST

Seleya Oduya started a chant that was answered by her husband.Repeating the same sing song words,the others soon joined in.The combination of music,dance and martial arts was beautiful to see and even more fun to do.

Robyn copied the master's moves and then went into a series of feints and spinning kicks causing Albert to follow her lead."She really does move like a shadow,"he thought to himself.

She was inadvertantly employing the trickery mode of Malandragem
meant to throw off one's opponent .It was all about observing and anticipating and then delivering an appropriate response. Robyn was a natural.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 01 2009 00:54:04 EST

She was forgetting about her troubles for that couple of hours as she moved with Albert. Even Scotty thought it was fun and started to incorporate some of his praying mantis move into it to see what came out. It was like rough play for him, like recess with a twist. He stepped aside and began to work everythign through more slowly. Robyn did too, the shadow was made stronger today or at least she felt that way. Still, the hope for her father had never left her. Again she whispered, "we're coming daddy."

The two hours had gone quickly, and everyone was tired as they sipped some od Seleya's lemonade. It had been a great time and Robyn felt ready to face whatever came along. She looked at her genius boy with a smile of thanks and satisfaction. He had become more graceful than she thought he had. As he came by to see how she was Robyn hugged him.

"You were great, out there." She told him.

"I've had a great partener these last few years. 'Sides you weren't bad yourself. You had Mr. Oduya goin'. He had to change modes to keep up. Feeling better, now?"

"Yeah, a little. I think I will come back and learn more." Robyn exclaimed quietly.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 01 2009 09:15:53 EST

She was forgetting about her troubles for that couple of hours as she moved with Albert. Even Scotty thought it was fun and started to incorporate some of his praying mantis move into it to see what came out. It was like rough play for him, like recess with a twist. He stepped aside and began to work everythign through more slowly. Robyn did too, the shadow was made stronger today or at least she felt that way. Still, the hope for her father had never left her. Again she whispered, "we're coming daddy."

The two hours had gone quickly, and everyone was tired as they sipped some od Seleya's lemonade. It had been a great time and Robyn felt ready to face whatever came along. She looked at her genius boy with a smile of thanks and satisfaction. He had become more graceful than she thought he had. As he came by to see how she was Robyn hugged him.

"You were great, out there." She told him.

"I've had a great partener these last few years. 'Sides you weren't bad yourself. You had Mr. Oduya goin'. He had to change modes to keep up. Feeling better, now?"

"Yeah, a little. I think I will come back and learn more." Robyn exclaimed quietly.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 01 2009 09:15:53 EST

She was forgetting about her troubles for that couple of hours as she moved with Albert. Even Scotty thought it was fun and started to incorporate some of his praying mantis move into it to see what came out. It was like rough play for him, like recess with a twist. He stepped aside and began to work everythign through more slowly. Robyn did too, the shadow was made stronger today or at least she felt that way. Still, the hope for her father had never left her. Again she whispered, "we're coming daddy."

The two hours had gone quickly, and everyone was tired as they sipped some od Seleya's lemonade. It had been a great time and Robyn felt ready to face whatever came along. She looked at her genius boy with a smile of thanks and satisfaction. He had become more graceful than she thought he had. As he came by to see how she was Robyn hugged him.

"You were great, out there." She told him.

"I've had a great partener these last few years. 'Sides you weren't bad yourself. You had Mr. Oduya goin'. He had to change modes to keep up. Feeling better, now?"

"Yeah, a little. I think I will come back and learn more." Robyn exclaimed quietly.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 01 2009 09:15:53 EST

Unexpected Guests

Ryan stopped wasting his energy on speculation.He shifted easily into survival mode.His only focus now was to stay alive and all the years of training kicked in.He set out for the line of trees with new determination.Just before dawn Ryan made it to the woods.His burning thirst drove him on to search for a water source.Desperate for a quick solution to the problem,he was glad to see a thick spagnum like moss growing around the area.Grabbing up huge handfuls,he squeezed it into his mouth.Feeling better,he looked around in the early morning light for a place to get some sleep.Settling on a semi circle of rocks,he threw down some branches and slept with his back to the outcropping.As he drifted off to sleep he saw the face of his beautiful daughter smiling at him and he knew she would find him.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 01 2009 16:30:16 EST

Still, Ryan wondered where his men were. They were with him in that building in the village. As he drifted off to sleep, memories flashed by fron the times his family had in Okinawa. It was sometime before all this terrorism began to happen. His princess was just a baby then, not more than one year old. They spent a great deal of time seeing all the sites there. Ryan almost retired from the military and settled there. It was a quiet place and Robyn would have learned so much. he stayed there untilt he next sunset when it would be cooler to travel. His plans were thwarted by a a couple kicks to his ribs. Ryan dare not wake completely.

They kicked around him some more, every word was in Arabic. Ryan didn't like this. Were these men Taliban come out of their holes? If they were he wasn't quite as erady for them as he would have liked to be. He thought about waking up, but didn't want to chance it. His gut told him that if he woke he could be dead where he stood and he just couldn't leave his ninja princess, not now when she was still so young. Nine years old is too young to lose your dad, much to young, Ryan thought to himself.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 01 2009 17:37:50 EST

"That's enough!"commanded a man's voice,"I don't want him injured."

A tall man of about fifty years,strode into the circle and shoved the others aside.A teenaged boy who was obviously his son followed closely behind the leader.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 06 2009 20:18:50 EST

"Your men are safe,"remarked the commander,"It's up to you whether they remain so."

Ryan stood up shakily and the man tossed him a canteen full of cool water.

"You impress me Healy,You gave us quite a chase with nothing to go on but your training.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 06 2009 20:23:07 EST

Ryan could hear the sounds of the shots fired in the air. Ryan’s eyelids moved slowly halfway up .He heard the teens roaring out the martial schooling.
He looked outside the window.
A figure in the traditional baggy trousers and long shirt, wearing a black striped turban moved around the boys. His creased skin shined in the sunlight. His snow-white hair could be seen from beneath his turban. His Santa beard shivered as he shouted at the boys.
The houses made from mud and wood stood between the trees. A blue colored glass split let in the light from above. Ryan couldn’t see any electrical fittings in his room. The ten feet long and equally wide room had traditional carpets on the floors and patterned fabrics on the walls. Irregularly he got the whiff of the cows and goats kept in the fenced compound outside

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Aug 07 2009 05:41:58 EST

Completing the instructions to boys the figure entered Ryan’s room.
“Meharbani!” His hands up in the air, thanking Ryan. The sparsely furnished room echoed back his strong sound. Ryan stared at the old face.
‘Jesus!’ Mumbled Ryan. His strained eyes reacted instantaneously.
“You are right my dear. I drove you here.”
The same old face whom he met in the desert stood smiling in front of him.
He picked up the cane lying by Ryan.
Pointing it towards the young boy working out outside, he said “He’s my son.”
“Akhtar!” he called his son. “So the prey is entrapped finally, eh?”
“You directed him Baba.” They laughed.
“Khuda ka shukr hai.”
In the desert the old man did not speak a word. Now he conversed in English.
The sun died out off the trees, slowly.

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Aug 07 2009 08:33:31 EST

"Are my men here?"Ryan asked,ignoring the banter.

"All in good time,"the old one said,"All in good time.
First you will bathe,eat,drink and sleep.the body must be cared for before the mind can fully comprehend.When you are refreshed,my young ones will show you around our humble sanctuary."

Ryan watched the teenagers going through their paces.Suddenly it struck him that this was the opposite of the Clandestine Club.The irony of it made him laugh.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Aug 07 2009 21:11:14 EST

They were a little bit rag-tag. Not one of them knew quite what they were doing. Ryan wondered how they would measure up to the Clandestine Club. It seemed that they didn't have a gadget man like the Clandestins Club, at least not one tlike th boy that had one the heart of his princess. He would have to get out of this alive and meet that boy.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Aug 11 2009 12:21:32 EST

Ryan was led into a room with a large mat on the floor surrounded by colorful cushions.He was instructed to wash his hands as a number of bowls were set out before him.His host joined him in a delicious meal of traditional rice and lamb dishes .Ryan took advantage of the nourishment with escape in mind.He needed all the strength he could get.He did not speak as he scooped up the food with a thick chunk of bread in his right hand.He remembered the ettiquette training he had received when he first came to this place.
As the door opened to allow removal of the bowls,Ryan could have sworn he saw Corporal Liam Sheppard digging a trench in the distance.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Aug 11 2009 16:40:26 EST

The young man looked worn to the core. What was the trench for? He didn't see any water coming through it. Ryan could also see some of his other men as Sheppard notices him and lent him a quick, but weary wave. He couldn't determine if this was a ploy to get information from him or not. His ind stayed ever vigilant through the meal, looking for avenues out of their grasp.

"Are my men here?" Ryan asked loudly.

He had to know if the corporal was real, or an hallucination brought on by the desert sun. What's where was he? He didn't have his bearings before, and sure didn't have them now. What was to become of him? Why was he here? Ryan tried to calm his mind so he could be patient and focused as he sat back after the meal to rest no knowing if any of this was real.

Red Sun Day

Robyn couldn't remember what color the sun was this morning. She only knew that she felt sad as she rose from her bed. The very thought she was having, the premonition that had begged her attention had become a reality. She couldn't leave it to her own devices as she walked into the door and the phone rang like the Bat phone int he old "Batman" series. It was always important because it was always the commissioner with a new mission, new crook to catch. Robyn knew the rings by heart, knew Matt's ring and that wasn't it. It had instead that dark, important feeling to it that could only mean that it was Mr. Macon calling. Robyn froze in the doorway.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 13 2009 18:18:28 EST

After the basic amenities,Robert said,

"Robyn,I think you already know what I am going to say ,don't you?"

Robyn sat down heavily and sighed,she was ready for this.

"Yes,yes I do,but I would like to hear you say it sir."

Robert cleared his throat and told the child,

"Robyn Healy you are about to embark on a very important mission."

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 13 2009 19:00:52 EST

Robyn shuddered for a moment, then reclaimed her focus. She knew it wasn't pleasant, but it had to be heard. Robert continued.

"Your father has been picked up by a group of Taliban moderates. From what sources say he is just fine, but doesn't know whether to consider them frendlies or not. We have to go in and get get him. You gonna be able to handle this one, Hon?" Robert asked.

Robyn took a deep breath. Before she could stop it, the words flowed over her lips and into the receiver.

"I'll have to for dad's sake."

"That's my girl. I will be sending Abby with you. Sorry Matt isn't coming with us, but he's earned the break he is taking. He is always with you, just remember to take the ring he gave you. We are going to fort Huachuca in Arizona for Desert combat training, chin up little girl. We'll get 'em out, you'll see." Robert told her.

"Thanks, can I have a day or two before we go?" Robyn requested.

"Of course, we'll come get you Wednesday, kiddo."

Robyn released another breath into the receiver hanging up gently as she said goodbye. She wished she could talk to Matt just one more time, but he was on his way to the airport. About then, Ami came to the doorway and knocked. It was good timing, Robyn needed her love and toughness in adversity as she had lost that edge suddenly, or so she thought.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 15 2009 13:14:15 EST

"I am General Adnan Karzai,"Ryan's host informed him ,"For the time being,you are my prisoner and my guest."

The general stood up and brushed off his coat.Running his fingers through his long white beard ,he smiled enigmatically at Healy.He was an impressive figure in his traditional clothing .No longer appearing to be a frail old man,he seemed to be picture of power and dynamic energy.

"Are my men here?"Ryan asked once more.

"Yes your men are all here,thanks to a harmless sleeping potion.You, however proved to be impervious to the concoction and took a more circuitous route.No matter,the point is you are here now.I must confess,I did allow myself the indulgence of toying with you a bit more than was necessary."

Ryan held his rage in check,it would only make matters worse.

"What do you want with us?"he said.

The General opened the door and gazed out at the compound.A falling star shot across the dark sky and the old man chuckled.
"Did you make a wish,soldier?Isn't that an old American superstition?"
Khazi turned back towards Ryan with tears in his eyes,

"I have a wish that I myself will bring to fruition!I wish to see my sons again.Young men that have been taken by your countrymen."

"Now I understand,you intend to try and make a trade,my men and I for your sons".

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 15 2009 20:36:02 EST

Ryan looked the man over more carefuly this time. He seemed sincere in his value of his sons. Any father would be, and he understood completely.

"You do realize that this could end one of two ther ways, do you not?" Ryan asked.

The old mand nodded. Ryan wanted to put one more thing into the trade, but did not know if the time was right. He had to try anyway.

"I wish to add one more thing to that deal." Ryan told him in confidence.

"And what would that be, Sargeant?" the old man inquired.

"We need to know where a certain Al-Qaida leader is holding himself up. If you want your sons back badly enough you tell me where he is, or at least exactly where to look. He is a terrorist and must be brought to justice; all of Al-Qaida must be." Ryan posited.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Aug 17 2009 15:08:50 EST

"Ahh,Sergeant Healy,you give me too much credit.That promise is far beyond my capabilities.Perhaps it would help if you understood who we are here.I'm sure you know that thirty years ago the Soviets invaded my country.The great loss of civilian life caused many to rise up in a massive movement. The fighters known as the Mujahideen, that is the freedom fighters were the core in the war against the Russians.They were young men from all walks of life who had never known peace. I was one of those men and now I am training a new generation of Mujahideen.
Tomorrow you will meet some of them and watch them train.

For tonight,you must rest .Word will be sent to begin negotiations for your release tomorrow morning."

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Aug 19 2009 22:32:19 EST

"You may still have to give them something aside from myself and my men. They will want information. It may be in your country's best interest to provide it. I am sure that you do not want people like Al-Qaida in your country." Ryan suggested.

Ryan waited for a response from the man. He just smiled and offered a good bed and an evening tea or coffee. These things would just have to wait. Nothing to do now but enjoy a few Medjool dates and some tea; noting but think of a way out and hope that his daughter and her friends could get them out if he couldn't. He sang himself to sleep that night in confidence. These people were not terrorists, they were fighting for exactly what the United States was helping them fight for, Freedom for his people. They would still be fighting alongside one another if the political terms were better. The old man was growing on him.

"Wait!" Ryan called out to him.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 20 2009 12:09:25 EST

"Before you go General,would you mind telling me why your sons are being held ?"

General Karzai hesitated for a moment with his hand on the door and then turned back to face Ryan.Taking off his hat ,he wiped the sweat from his forehead and sighed.

"Perhaps it would be good for you to know,"he said quietly.
"My two oldest sons were in the city of Kunduz gathering supplies when there was a sweep for Taliban.Many innocent men were taken along with the guilty and packed into sealed containers to be transported to prison in Shibarghan.Hundreds of them died from suffocation.Many died when soldiers were told to open fire on the containers.My sons survived the trip but are now being held in Shibargan where the treatment is shameful and inhumane.I have tried every avenue to peacefully gain their release.Now I have received word that my oldest son is very ill.I cannot let him die in prison.Do you have children,Sergeant?
if you do ,try to put yourself in my position.What would you do?"

Ryan dropped his head and thought about his dear daughter.He knew he would do anything to save her.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 20 2009 19:48:07 EST

Understanding flowed through him now. It was time to make peace with where he was.

"I have a brave, beautiful, and resourceful daughter of nine. She and my wife, they are my life. What if I helped them retrieve your sons. Will you help us with the Taliban?" Ryan asked.

The general looked into Ryan's eyes and saw the understanding. This man knew what he was feeling. Karzai smiled and nodded; a connection had been established. They two men were now one. Ryan knew immediately what to do, he just had to wait for Robyn to get here.

Huachuca Sunrise

Wednesday came more quickly than Robyn thought it would. She found herself rushing to get her last few things together before leaving for her flight from Langley. She had been waiting to where her camouflage ninja clothes. Ryan had bought them for her just before he was deployed for her ninth birthday. Robyn knew she might need them in Afghanistan and they were perfect. She looked at her watch; there was still ninety minutes before Mr. Macon would come for her; enough time to practice her ninjutsu.

Robyn practiced for and hour, incorporating what she had learned from Mr. Oduya a few days before. As she did she felt stronger and more confident in her martial ability. There was just one thing left to practice before they came, shadow techniques. She would need them in Afghanistan. Infiltration was the order the mission on which she was about to embark.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 20 2009 20:33:21 EST

Bees And Heights

Akhtar ascended the tree like a Cheetah.

Ryan watched his movements. His thoughts concocted with his instincts, rippled up to converge nowhere. He needed the solution to meet his men, to see his daughter, to reach his land.

Akhtar’s friends cheered him up. He rushed through the trunks and branches.

Tensed and tight body of Akhtar took the clever turns and so did the thoughts of Ryan.

Akhtar after reaching the top took out the blanket tucked in his waist belt. Younger boys shouted something like ‘Burkha!’

Akhtar covered his face and body with the blanket. Then he stretched his hands gripping a burning flame. He burnt a honeybee hive hung on the tree. Bees scattered, attacked Akhtar, he remained intact. Just in few moments he seized the hive. His group yelled and whistled triumphantly.

Ryan, taken up in his thoughts stood calm looking at the spread of bees. An alienated bee rocketed towards Ryan. Ryan shoved it away.

Ryan stared at Akhtar. He remained hanged at the heights trying to pull out the vacated wax abode.

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Aug 22 2009 04:20:19 EST

The General had allowed Ryan the run of the compound and he was on his way to see his men .Watching Aktar struggle,Ryan climbed up the tree to help him with the honey comb.The other men cheered him on,laughing and slapping their thighs in disbelief.Soon the two men had the prize in their hands and jumped to the ground triumphantly .Aktar spoke little English but he said thank you by sharing a hunk of the dripping treat with Ryan.

Ryan had been directed to the area where his men were bivouacked
and he continued on his way .A child of about ten passed him staring at the liquid gold in his right hand.Healy passed it off to the boy and kept on going.He was anxious to connect with the soldiers he hadn't seen in way too long.As he strode along he took note of the layout of the compound and how well it was guarded.He would need that information when his daughter arrived.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sun, Aug 23 2009 02:26:17 EST

Everything was important. AS Ryan looked up he saw a trio of black vultures. He wondered what they were thinking. They seemed to be staring him down. Nodding his head he quietly told them, "not today my friends, not today." They flew off gliding effortlessly on the eddies and currents of the wind. Ryan marveled at their grace for a moment as they circled once, then twice. I'll be able to soar like that soon, he told himself as he continued his trek to check on his men.

Back in Hampton, Robyn and the crew were loading onto a plane for the Fort Huachuca army base in Arizona. Robyn still wished Matt could be with her. She was missing him already and it had only been a couple of hours since he left. Robert and Abby approached as she released a small sigh.

"You okay, kiddo?" Robert asked.

"Yes sir, I just..."

Abby interrupted the thought, "You miss Matt and your dad, don't you hon?" Abby inquired.

"Yeah, I wish Matt could be on this mission." Robyn mused.

Abby took out the ring that she had given Matt. It now hung from an old brass chain Matt had laying in a desk without a use. Now it held something of value along its links,his grandfather's ring. Matt had returned it to her so it could help Robyn through the mission. He had surprised Abby again with his heart of gold and she smiled as she lent it to Robyn for Matt.

"So do we. He didn't say why, but left this for you. I think he means for it to be two things. First, a way for him to be with you though so far away and second he is giving you his grand dad's spirit to be with you for protection." Abby suggested.

"I couldn't. that's his." she said not knowing what to think.

"He wanted you to have it for this mission. His heart is always with you. I guess this is just his way of showing you how completely it is so." Abby told her as she put the necklace around Robyn's neck.

Robyn caressed when Abby was finished, smiling back. It was nice to know Matt thought of her that way. She felt protected now and confident as her thoughts turned to Matt. Now she knew for sure his thoughts were still with her. It was a long flight and Robyn found herself taking a nap, Senior Agent Randall's ring in her smallish hand tightly gripped. Abby looked over to Robert.

"Do you think she'll make it through the mission, Rob?" she asked

"She has Matt's heart to be with her. I keep looking down future paths with them. They all point to something bigger later. I think they are forever and I can't wait to see it when it happens. She will be fine, she's a tough little girl." Robert answered.

Abby nodded, "me too. They are close friends now, but later they'll be something more. You're right I shouldn't be worrying so much."

"You're a mother first and foremost, dear. It's your job to worry about your children, and, if necessary their friends." Robert told her.

Abby took this in great confidence. They got through the last mission because she had worried about them. This mission would be no different. The plane was quiet as they passed over Colorado landing at Shriever Air Force Base to refuel and make the rest of their way to Fort Huachuca. It was a chance for everyone to stretch their legs. At touchdown the Clandestine club roused, unbuckling their restraints.

"Where are we, dad?" Tom asked.

"Shriever Air Force Base, Colorado Springs." Robert Answered.

"So we're almost there then?" Robyn injected.

"Yes, we are. Step outside and stretch a bit while we refuel. Also we called ahead and lunch is waiting for us. It's mid-day mess here." Abby told them.

They filed out into the summer light of the Rocky Mountains. In the distance, Pike's Peak scraped the clear blue sky. They sucked in the fresh air and finding an officer asked him where mess was. He pointed them to it with a fatherly laugh. He was an older man, just older than Robert.

"Paul Kerr!" Robert called out.

"Bob!" Paul called in Return, what are you doing here?"

"Special mission, Paul. Thanks for having us for lunch." Robert reported.

"It's an honor to have you, and especially them, but I count one missing. Where's young Matthew?" Paul asked.

"He was invited to MIT for a few weeks until school starts in August. He's not with us this mission." Robert reported.

"Makes sense, smart little guy that one. Where you headed?" Paul asked.

"Fort Huachuca for Desert Survival Training." Robert told him.

"So these must be the Clandestine Club then." Paul replied.

"Yes, we're only here while the plane refuels and double checks. There won't be much time for catching up I'm afraid." Robert sighed.

"Any amount of time is, good." Paul mused.

"If you boys are finished," Abby suggested, "we had better join the kids."

Paul looked up to see Abby in her finest travel clothes. She had on a women's business suit-charcoal gray, and a navy trench. She was a vision of beauty against the mountain backdrop of Shriever AFB.

"Abby," Paul greeted removing his cover,"lovely as always."

"Thank you, now let's get to lunch gentlemen." Abby replied in a stern business tone.

They entered the mess hall just as Tommy was going through the line. All the Airmen had stepped back to allow them first passage. The kids had been expected. Paul took Rob and Abby through the officer's mess side of things and then they joined the children for lunch.

After a while a Specialist sergeant came in. He explained the the plain was near the end of its life cycle and needed to be replaced for the safety of its important passengers as he handed the acquisition approval forms for paul to sign off on.

"How long before their new craft arrives, Akin?" Paul asked.

"Twelve hours sir." Akin reported.

He then turned to Tommy, "Well it looks as though fate has given us opportunity young man. You all are going to have to stay here at the base fora while and we are glad to put you up while you wait for your new wings to get here." Paul reported.

A corporal went by that Paul recognized from the housing department. He called her over.

"Corporal, can you come here for a moment?" he called out.

She got her southwestern Taco salad and came over to the table. Paul introduced her.

"Corporal, this is Robert and Abby Macon and The Clandestine Club. They they are going to be held up here while they wait on new wings to take them to Huachuca. Can you make sure after mid-day meal that they get good quarters. Give the adults private quarters, maybe two open base houses."

Corporal Stephens nodded, "Sure sir, In know just the ones for them and they are right next to one another. I've been looking for something to do with them for a month now, so how about I make them permanent visiting quarters for the Clandestine Club here." Stephens suggested.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Aug 26 2009 12:00:33 EST

Robert introduced Paul to the children with glowing commendations ,after which Robyn took the opportunity to tap into the older man's expertise.
"Sir,"she began,"Do you have any advice for us as we go into survival training?"

Paul smiled and scanned the youthful group,

"Well,there is one piece of advice I think will stand you in good stead ,"he told them,"No matter where you go,whether it is the mountains,the desert or anywhere else ,you must get the feel of the place.There is always a rhythm,a pattern ,a heartbeat if you will, that is indigenous to that particular area.This includes birds,animals,insects and even human sounds. Learn what is normal and then you will know when something is out of sync and that can save your life."

Robert looked at the group of serious faces and said,"Thank you Paul,that is very good advice.Now I have a tip for you all,chow down before it's too late."

Everybody laughed and began to eat and talk at the same time. Tommy however,wouldn't be put off.He had another question for Paul, "Sir,may I ask you one more thing?"he ventured,"Is it true that there is a satellite operations center here at Schriever AFB? I've read that you can even fix satellite anomalies while they are in orbit."

Paul was impressed, "Why yes." Paul answered,"That is the mission of the 50th Space Wing. I wish you had more time to check us out but that will have to wait until another occasion."

He pointed to an insignia on the wall and said,"Perhaps someday you may choose to be a part of our fine organization."

Tommy grinned and gazed at the grand design,
It was a Pegasus standing above a scroll that read,
"Masters of Space"

"Thank you Sir,"the boy said and settled down to finish his lunch.

It was just then that a clean, sleek female officer strolled over to the table with a file. Flight Lieutenant Rickie Aronson was a very thorough sort of lady. Every part of her uniform was neat proper and she carried the personal a commissioned officer should carry. The blue of her uniform set off the blue of her ever penetrating eyes. From a far corner an enlisted officer stood and called out "Attention on deck!" the whole wing stood up Paul did the same as he told the others to stand as well. The kids all stood in perfect attention looking straight forward almost the whole time. As she came to their table, Rickie bade them,"At ease folks."

She handed Paul a file as she played with him,"Paul why hasn't this plane been replaced. You do know that the safety of its passengers is of the utmost importance to this country do you not?"

"Yes ma'am", he replied playing along.

"Then let's have this requisitioned to replace the old one, shall we." Rickie suggested.

"Immediately, Ma'am. We can have a new one here by 04:30 hrs tomorrow morning and refueled by the time they rise." He reported.

"Good, now introduce me to our guests for the night." Rickie ordered.

"Of course. Ma'am I present to you the Clandestine Club, those that could be here to meet." Paul Introduced.

"They are a fine bunch, I am impressed." She complimented.

Paul then turned to Rob and Abby, "A team is only as good as its leaders ma'am and these are they. Robert and Abby Macon."

Robert and Abby extended their hands to her. She was amazed by the energy she felt from them. This couple knew what they were doing and were proud of it. Rickie also felt the pride and caring they had for their crack little team.

"A pleasure indeed, enjoy your time here people," they heard her say over at least five snickers directed at Paul. Roby was the only one that didn't emit a snicker right away out of a mixture of respect and understanding.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Aug 27 2009 22:48:46 EST

Vultures meant death nearby.

‘God! It did not strike me.’

Ryan turned towards the old man’s cottage. The guard on the door stopped him.

“Come inside.” The shaking tone welcomed him.

“Few vultures flying here General Karzai?”

“Marhabba! Studying the signs of death, Sergeant?”

He then called Akhtar, “Show him the game of death.”


“Yeah. He wants to see Talibanies. Show him.”

“I am interested in meeting my men first.”

“What about my men Sergeant?” Old man roared. “You did not come back with the deal.”

“We are here for treating Talibanies. That’s our duty”

“Mr. Ryan, the situation differs now! You have to save my men first. That’s mandatory. Come with the deal Sergeant. You have to decide. Decide.” His golden ring shined as he raised his finger towards Ryan.

yesbee (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Aug 28 2009 09:26:56 EST

Ryan paused a moment to think of what to say next. This man only wanted freedom for his two sons. It was a reasonable request, one he might be able to fill if he had good communication with those who held them. He himself could not do much, a sat call maybe but that was all. Ryan decided to try and get one.

"Let me make a call, Karzai. Find out where exactly they are held. The Clandestine Club might be able to bring them to you. The Mujihadeen are good men all of you. The Taliban mean oppression for your country. This is not good, every person has rights Karzai man, woman and child. Help me defend them and get your sons back." Ryan pleaded.

Ryan waited for a response in the silence of watching the game of death. It was an unusual activity. In some ways morbid, liberating in others. Either way, the Taliban were terrorizing their country, this felt treasonous to him, and he felt probably to Karzai. The heavy thumb of the Taliban had to be lifted so the country could flourish. It was an absolute necessity.

Karzai thought about the offer for a moment, nodding in what seemed to be approval. One thing was for sure, the man was shrewd. He wouldn't take any unnecessary risks.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Aug 28 2009 10:46:28 EST

Huachuca Sunrise

First sergeant Arthur Jones took off his helmet and poured a canteen cup of water over his head.His face was red from the desert sun.He thought about being eighteen and joining the Army.That was twenty two years ago yet he vividly recalled his excitement at seeing the tanks for the first time.As he headed back from the training grounds, he wondered how this new group would handle the desert survival training.They were very young but he was resolute in his determination not to go easy on them.This course might well mean the difference between life and death for some of them.

He was to connect with the Clandestine Club ,as they were called,early the next day.He was curious to meet the youngsters he had heard so much about.The Arizona terrain could be unforgiving and brutal without the right training.He had seen some tough characters beaten by dehydration and exhaustion out there.He wanted to get these kids prepared for what lay ahead on the other side of the world.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Sep 03 2009 02:22:13 EST

It was just as he had this thought that a packet of six files made an awakening thump on his desk. The packet was marked classified: Secret. This piqued his interest. He opened the packet and began to open and read each file. On top was the file for a girl. It was marked Clandestine Club File: Robyn Healey. Arthur got a unique vibration from this file as if this girl was the reason this group was coming here. What could she have to do with it? Then Arthur had another thought that made him call in his assistant.

"Corporal Thomas could you come in here please," he called out the door.

In just a thin moment Corporal Andrew Thomas stood before his commanding officer. He saw the files on Arthur's desk and wondered what he could want. Was it something to do with all of the files or just the one he had open? She was a beautiful little girl that reminded him of his daughter. She had to be the reason he was called into the office.

"Yes sir, how can I help?" Andrew offered.

"Find me whatever you can on another Healey in this country's Army. Get me as much as you can, Corporal." Arthur ordered.

"Yes sir, Immediately." Andrew acknowledged.

Thomas took out his cover and sped out the door. Arthur watched him in memory of the time when he was like that. He was due to make Sergeant soon and Arthur would be there to see it. He had made fast friends with the younger man. Thomas was the son Arthur never had.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 04 2009 03:31:17 EST

When the info came back about Ryan Healy,Jones knew why the Club was there.Obviously Robyn was going to be the leader of this secret mission.The group needed survival training for the severe terrain where Healy was last seen.
Jones thought about what he was doing at nine years old and shook his head.These kids were an inspiration to him.He looked up to see Thomas waiting for his response to the information.The young man knew him well.

"Corporal,"he said,"Have six survival kits made up special for our new recruits plus a few extra for their handlers.No special treatment ,I want them to feel the burn.Their plane will be landing at 0900 hours ,bring them to me as soon as they disembark.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 04 2009 15:45:55 EST

06:30. The Clandestine Club's C-9B pulling into Fort Huachuca; they were early. Not even Arthur knew they had arrived. Everyone aboard, but the pilots had been asleep for the better part of the journey. They now rose, with gaping yawns and catlike stretches to reach the ceiling of the aircraft. Tommy's eyes were fixed out the window. He hadn't been able to sleep since they left Shriever AFB. It had taken longer than expected for the check on the old C-9 to be performed and to refuel. The young agents had beeen invited to stay overnight, or at least most of the night anyway. They had been sleeping on the plane since 05:00. Outside, they Arizona sky was puting on a grand display. The clouds were ablaze with orange and yellow fire as the sun shot its beams over the Arizona sands. Even Sierra Vista, the town in which Ft Huachuca resides had been turned orange. It looked beautiful as the powerful get gracefully flew in.

Somewhere on the edge of the base, in a split ranch home with a mailbox that read Sgt. Arthur and Renee Jones. A little boy looked out his window at the powerful sunrise. A small winged shadow, blackened by the presence of the orange light descended in the distance as A lone mexican jay sang to him among the branches of a joshua tree that grew in the family patio garden. Nathan loved the morning, especially on Saturday when Sergeant dad, just became dad. He had overheard Arthur talking to his mother Rose and heard that some special kids were coming to see him.

It was early, but in a military household the phone could ring at any minute. Arthur wasn't due in until ten o'clock. The phone rang loudly as if it were a drill sergeant yellig to Arthur to "Get up Maggot!" As fate would have it, Nathan answered it first.

"Hello," his tiny voice greeted.

"Nathan, is that you?" The voice on the other side said, "is your father up yet?" It inquired.

"No sir." Nathan answered.

"This is Corporal Thomas at your dad's work. Do you think you can go scramble him out of bed for me, I have something important to relay to him." Thomas inquired.

"Okay, is it because those kids have come in?" Nathan asked.

Thomas laughed. He actually liked the boy. He had so much energy. Thomas wished he could tap into it. It would probably light up the whole city. Nathan pressed a button on the phonr that sent the call to his parents' bedroom and went to jump all over his dad.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 04 2009 20:22:57 EST

Arthur grunted as Nathan landed on his chest with a thump .His Mother laughed and wrestled Nathan off to be tickled as Arthur
picked up the phone."Sorry Corporal,"Arthur joked,But I'm under attack .What's up?"

Thomas chuckled and said,"Well Sir,I have bad news and good news.The good news is the Clandestine Club has arrived safely.The bad news is ,as you can see,they are early."

The Sergeant swung his legs off the side of the bed and yawned as Nathan jumped on his back demanding a ride.Glancing in the mirror he was once again hit with a wave of pure pride and satisfaction.Nathan was as close to a mini me as a kid could get.
Their blond hair cut in crew cuts and their bright blue eyes were identical.

Thomas was saying,"What do you want me to do with them until you get here Sir?"

"Show them to their quarters and let them freshen up,then feed them.I should be there by then.They are getting off a lot easier this way but maybe that's for the best.I want my son to meet them before they have to buckle down.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 04 2009 23:14:04 EST

Grace Jones was a fun loving woman. There were only three things she loved more than fun. Her two favorite men were at the top of that list. The third was the sunrise. That as something that had been passed on to Nathan. He had been an early riser since the age of four. Being an only child, he was quiet most of the morning. He carried his son into the bathroom and took off his pajama top.

"Did Corporal Thomas make jump on me this morning?" Arthur gently asked.

The answer came swift and true, making Arthur laugh. "Yes, sir."

Arthur emitted an air filled chuckle. At least his kid could take orders from people that out ranked him. Arthur was a career Army man. His career had started early, about the time he had turned six years old. His father had lost his job and couldn't find work anywhere else. Arthur's mother had found a job, but her paychecks were always tapped leaving them almost nothing after the bills were paid and their son and daughter fed. As soon as his sister Sarah was eighteen she told them that she wanted to go to Air Force Academy the next year. The good thing is that the military academies practically paid you to attend them and their father said yes. When it came Arthur's time to go to college, he went to Academy too. He applied to West Point Academy. It made his father proud that his children were being responsible enough to save him money by going to academy. Arthur hoped that Nathan would do the same. It didn't have to be West Point, but he saw the boy going to a military academy and becoming quite successful there.

"You have a big day today. Some special kids have come to the base. They do some tough work for the CIA and the nation." Arthur told Nathan.

"What do they do?" Nathan asked.

"They protect people who can't protect themselves. Remember the news report we talked about a few months ago?" Arthur asked in reply.

"Yeah." Nathan answered.

"They saved a Scientist from that place and a few children while temporarily closing down the work camp they were in." Arthur confided.

"That's sooo cool. I wish I could do that, dad." Nathan exclaimed.

"Maybe you can when you are old enough, but you have to show me you are ready to work with them." Arthur told him.

Arthur sensed the excitement in his young son, but there was something else his heart was feeling, loneliness. It wasn't the kind of loneliness one felt for a mate. This was quite different. Nathan was an only of seven years; seven years with the loneliest number. That was a long time for any child to be an only. Schedules just would not permit another child. Now perhaps they would. It was as Arthur was thinking about this that Grace peeked in.

"Hey boys," she said with a Fey Dunaway sexy voice. Nathan smiled a little and Arthur laughed a little, "I went to the doctor yesterday and he said that we might be getting a new addition." She continued.

Arthur couldn't believe it. The thought of how great it would be to not be an only overtook Nathan. He jumped off the step up his dad has placed him on and began to dance with joy until he fell into Grace's arms with a wide, thankful smile on his face. She could see the thankful joy reflected in his powerful blue eyes too. He left his parents to their own devices and went to take a shower in his own bathroom picking up his PJ top on the way out and hugging his mother.

"Thank you, thank you thank you, both of you!" He squealed with glee.

The two held each other a moment watching their son run off into the hall shrieking in utter joy. Arthur just wagged his head and looked at his wife planting a loving morning kiss on her lips.

"You know you upstaged me again, right?" Arthur asked her.

"Yes, I know but he needed to know that he soon wouldn't be a lonely only anymore. If you want. I could always tell him your news too." Grace offered.

"Could you, I have to get ready to go. Complete it like you complete me." Arthur said.

When she came back out to make the bed she saw what the news was. The Clandestine Club was coming to Ft. Huachuca. This would be an honor for their son, if Arthur was planning to take him to the base to meet them. By the time Grace came to Nathan's room, it was clean and so was he. The Loneliness had kept it messy for a long time. It was as if now Nathan knew he had to be a good example for the new kid.

"Are you all clean and decent?" Grace asked before entering.

"Yeah mom, I am. Beside, nothing here you haven't already seen. What was the rest of dad's news." Nathan asked her.

"The Clandestine Club is here and he is going to take you to meet them before I take you to school. You have to be clean and on your best behavior, understand." Grace explained.

Nathan gave a curt nod. Grace more of his father in him every day. Still, there was still some herself there too. She reached over and pulled him close, hugging him tightly. Nathan hugged her back adn gave her a kiss.

"So which would you like a brother or sister," Grace asked him to change the subject.

"I don't care as long as I'm not alone any more, just thank you." He said.

"You're welcome."

She took out a pair of dockers and a shirt that she thought made her son look particularly handsome and laid them on his bed. Nathan gave her a smile of approval. Nathan sat for a moment to soak up the amazing morning he was having. The now knew that that plane had to mean good luck for him today. Once dressed he knelt down beside his bed and thanked his heavenly father for listening to the longing of his heart and for the day he was about to have then grabbed his Pack and ran down the stairs. No breakfast was waiting. He looked both parents in the eye with sleepy contempt.

"What gives?" he said.

"We're all eating breakfast in the mess today. I told your mom not to make anything so oad up so we can go to chow!" Arthur reported.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Sep 05 2009 21:50:37 EST

The Club piled out and hit the showers first thing.They were all glad to freshen up before meeting their instructors.Finding a survival handbook and lightweight coveralls in each of their rooms,they were soon changed and busy perusing their booklets.
A call to the mess hall was welcomed by everyone and they met up in the hallway to go there together.

"Man."Tommy said,"I have a hunch this is going to be our last real meal for a while gang,so we better make the best of it."

Robyn didn't say anything but she was glad.All she could think about was her Father and the sooner this training got underway,the better.

Laughing and talking,they followed their guide to the mess hall where they were greeted warmly by Sergeant Jones and his family.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Sep 08 2009 10:45:53 EST

As they entered the mess everything went so silent you could hear a feather scrape a person's skin as it escaped their hand. It was almost deafening. Then the silence was broken, they didn't know how they had been heard about but they appreciated the devotion as an enlisted officer shouted for the first time that day.

"Attention on deck!"

The whole room heard the command and stood until they heard Jones release which he did not do until his men had shown the rest of their devotions.

"Salute all!" the corporal in the corner called out. Then Jones released them.

"And two, at ease ladies and gentlemen and thank you!" Arthur calleds out. They all sat down and finished their meals. Nathan was impressed at the respect the Clandestine Club received. He secretly wished that he could be one of them right his minute. There was only one thing stopping him. He was only seven and the youngest of the six was nine and ten in five months. Nathan sized her up before offering his little hand up to her. Robyn's energy was secure, but there was uncertainty in her eyes. Nathan thought one of his best smiles might help as he was introduced.

"Nathan, Renee this is the Clandestine Club. These are some serious kids. This is Robyn Healey, she will be leading this mission to extract her father and his unit from the Mujihadeen in northern Afghanistan." Arthur introduced.

Nathan was still unsure, but extended his hand a bit further anyway. Her spirit seemed troubled. He also saw that she had been promised. Nathan didn't know why fourth and fifth graders did that, he thought they all had cooties. This girl was different. It was if the things didn't like her for some reason. He didn't his usual discomfort that he had around girls, there was a whole lot of nothing but strength and confidence here. It was odd. As she bent down some to kiss him on the cheek with dignity, he didn't even flinch. He just took a breath as she whispered,"two more years, we promise you. Just two years be patient."

Nathan shared a confident smile with her. She knew, but how. Could she feel what he wanted? And if she coud, how did she do it? Robyn was wearing another pendant next to the promise ring it was a symbol in Chinese ot Japanese. It was a round cutout style medallion in gold with the symbol in the middle. Nathan asked his dad what they meant.

Arthur tilted his just slightly. He had seen than symbol once before. The it came to him, hitting him like a very heavy brick. Iga ryu this girl was a ninja. He knelt to meet his son's eyes.

"She's a ninja, son. Not Yakusai or anything like that, but she knows the art the way it used to be in medieval times, feudal Japan." Arthur explained then told him, "turn, bow, say nice to meet you too and back away."

Nathan did just that. Robyn bowed in return with a little smile whic was also returned. This girl was highly trained and that menat that respect was warranted. Nathan didn't hide behind his dad though. He felt there was nothing to fear from this little ninja. Sure, she could kick his but in a New York three seconds, but the sense he got was that she didn't do such things on a whim. It was discipline he felt when he put his hand in hers.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Sep 08 2009 12:58:48 EST

The calls Ryan was allowed to make served a double purpose.They garnered the information he needed for the old man and they alerted headquarters as to his exact location.He urged them to hold off any action until the Clandestine Club could arrive on the scene.Apprising his superiors of the General's demands,he assured them that the men in question were not Taliban but rather innocent victims of a massive sweep.

The exchange would have been simple except for the fact that the General's sons were part of a group that escaped the prison.Dragged along by the escaping Taliban members, they were now being held in one of their camps.They had gone from the frying pan into the fire.

Ryan didn't know how to tell the old man the news.On the one hand they were out of the deplorable conditions at the prison but on the other hand their exact location was now unknown.This was going to be quite a challenge for the Club.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Sep 14 2009 01:04:06 EST

Farhad knelt beside his brother Zahid and helped him swallow a few drops of water.He didn't care how much danger they were in,he was just glad to have his brother out of the filth of the prison.The place was built to house eight hundred men and when they left ,it had over three thousand living there.The Red Cross was trying to help but it was overwhelming.Farhad knew that his Father would find them somehow.He wanted to try and run away but he would have to wait until his brother was better.Until then they would have to pretend to be Taliban.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Sep 14 2009 01:35:54 EST

Robyn said goodbye to her new little friend as Nathan left for school.Soon the group was gathered for their first briefing with Sergeant Jones.Everyone sat nervously waiting and not knowing what to expect.They had heard that this man was tough but after seeing him with Nathan they were a little less worried.

He stood before a blackboard and silently wrote out:

S - Size up the situation
U - Use all your senses
R - Remember where you are.
V - Vanquish fear and panic.
I - Improvise and improve.
V - Value living.
A - Act like the natives.
L - Live by your wits.

This was straight out of the armed forces survival handbook which they all had in front of them.

"Each and every one of you has been handpicked for the Clandestine Club for one reason or another,"Jones said as he turned to face them.Your individual skills will come in handy but the desert is harsh and unforgiving.One mistake out there can mean the difference between life and death.We will go over some basic life saving skills before we take it to the field.Tomorrow we will break up into groups covering heat illness,fire craft,water procurement and much more."

Robyn took a deep breath and said a silent prayer .At last she felt as though she was really close to helping her Father.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Sep 16 2009 00:34:34 EST

General Karzai,stood in the shade of a twisted thorn tree along a dry river bed.He watched carefully as a dozen of his elite fighters staged a mock battle against each other.They were practically children grown callous and hardened by their way of life but he had great affection for them.

Sitting down,he called one young man away from the action.
"Ahmad,come here,"he called to a fellow of about sixteen,"Go and bring me the man Healy."

"Yes father,"the boy responded,running back towards camp.He was glad to escape the violent exercise.He missed his older brothers
but feared that his father was making a mistake by creating a conflict with the Americans.

Healy was relieved to see the boy as he was anxious to convey his new found information though he feared it's repercussions.Ahmad wiped the blood from a cut on his cheek onto his shirt sleeve and motioned for Ryan to follow him.
Ryan grabbed a skin bottle of water and offered it to the boy first.He could see that the young man was hurt and exhausted.
"Here,drink this,"he told the teen .
Ahmad obeyed ,pouring the cool liquid down his parched throat, letting it flow over his chin and down his chest.

As they started to go,Ahmad swayed and would have fallen if Healy hadn't caught him.
"Come,let's sit in the shade for a bit,"Ryan suggested,"It will be alright."

Ryan knew the old man was pushing the youngsters too hard.He wondered if his daughter was being pushed to her limits about now somewhere on the other side of the world.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Sep 16 2009 01:23:40 EST

Matt was praying for her too. He prayed for his grandfather to be with her. This was her time to see how much of a leader she was. Sure, he would go if he was called but Robyn would have to have an extreme need for his skills. His first morning at MIT had gone pretty well. They presented him with meal tickets when he came in. These would give him a way of eating between sessions. For now though, he needed to keep himself fit. It was a warm morning in Boston so he decided to take a morning swim in the college pool, then maybe some light weight on the old bells and some Tai Chi to help him round out his day before bedtime whenever that would be. There was a lot of work to do before each seminar aside from his own experiments. For sometime now Matt had been working on a holographic interface for his predator RC's guidance system. It was really giving him a run for his mental money. He wanted to win the science fair again this year. He had stiff competition with Membaya and the twins working together.

Today Matt found himself in the lab. He wanted no interruptions so he left his blackberry behind. All he took was his laptop and the books and notes he had taken from the advanced Holographics seminar. Matt knew about the normal computer interfaces and how they worked some, but wasn't quite sure how to turn it into a hologram that interfaced directly with a computer or, for that matter the TGIS guidance system used for the Military UAS and UAV aircraft. He was just beginning to work on this with his plane when a sharp looking Student of twenty-four walked in. His name was Jacob Harrison and he was the Assistant professor for the class that used this lab the most. Jacob wondered what this little boy was doing in here. He couldn't be allowed. Jacob walked slowly over and looked at the plane it was an RC version of the real and true predator on the wings was a logo he had never seen before. It was on his laptop computer too. Then he saw the name embossed on the lower right hand of the keyboard.

"You were at the professor's lecture," Jacob said.

Matt finally noticed his presence and turned around,"Yeah, Matt Macon. That was a great lecture. Took lots of notes, though he went kinda fast for me." Matt said.

"It was that way for me too. Jacob Harrison, Assistant Professor." Jacob introduced.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Sep 16 2009 10:14:22 EST

"Obviously you are here by special invitation,"Jacob noted,"Let me know if I can be of any help to you while you are here with us."

Matt smiled and thanked the young man.It was good to feel accepted.Sitting down beside him ,Jacob said,"There are a few others here like yourself.Maybe you would like to meet them.It's a tough schedule with five or six hours of instruction.We encourage our younger visitors to come out for what we call "Techreation".We have video game tournaments as well physical activities if you're interested."

Matt agreed to check it out and then the young man left him to his studies.He took out a brochure and scanned the various lectures available on Holograms.
Hologram Interferometry,read the first class,this was followed by Holography with Diode Lasers but the third entry was the one that caught his eye.It said,Shadow Grams.

His mind went immediately to his sweet Shadow girl.He decided to call her as soon as his day was over.He knew he had to reach her before she went out into the desert for survival training.There would be no cell phones out there.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Sep 17 2009 02:07:20 EST

Matt had one more question for Jacob. The young man was just about to got out he door when when it was asked.

"Jake, Is there anyone in either robotics or aeronautics that knows the Predator guidance software and how it is put together?"

He was having problems cross-linking the normal interface with the laser portion of the new system design. Matt just couldn't get his mind to do the math. This was the first time he had dealt with math at this level.

"Sure, I think I know just who you need. Don't fall asleep in here alright. Maybe you should ask your friend here outside the door for a ride to the Tai Chi dojo. They do open soon, I will be there too." Jake said.

'Friend outside,' Matt asked himself. That meant that the agent that Grimes had assigned to him had followed him out of the last lecture. It was a good thing really and Matt wondered how long it had taken this junior agent to find him. He had used every tactic taught by Masaaki Hatsumi to evade him, have a little fun with him. Jake looked into the kid's eyes, the smile in them meant something. The guy outside the door looked confused and befuddled. 'Pathetic,' Jake thought, 'can't even keep track of a little kid. Some agent you are.' He looked back humming a tune that was distantly familiar to Matt.

Da-duh-duh da-da-duh-duh-da.

Matt just wagged his head back and forth. It made sense, however, and Matt knew what Jake meant by it. He was more than met the eye. Had been since he was born. Matt enjoyed a silent laugh from the insinuation. The agent poked his head in.

"Agent Avery sir," he said, "are you alright. I lost you two hallways back. You're good."

"I'm okay. Don't sweat it, just stay far enough behind that I can enjoy myself." Matt said

"Alright. Is that the plane I have heard so much about?" Avery said

"Yeah, making whatever improvements I can here." Matt said

Avery saw that Matt was busily engaged. "If you need anything knock."

"I will," Matt said with a curt nod, "now if you will excuse me I need to make a private call."

"Of course, sir." Avery said backing out the door.

When the door had shut completely, he called Robyn. He wanted to make sure that she was holding up alright. It was her father they were going after. Complications might have arisen that she might not know how to handle. Heck he might not even know. Matt speed dialed the number. It rang four times and was answered.

Robyn looked to see who it was and smiled. Her guy was checking up on her. It was sweet, but then was Matt ever not sweet to her? She flipped the top open and answered.

"Hi Matt, what's up. Thanks for checking on me." She said.

"You're leading a mission and that's a hard thing to do. Just thought I would see how you are doing with those expectations." Matt said.

"Okay I guess," Robyn said.

"Is there anything you need from me?" Matt asked.

"Just to know you're there. Wish you could be here." Robyn said.

"Who's with you in quarters?" Matt said. He could barely make out the voices. It sounded like Mems and Lacey.

"Grace, Lacey and Mems I can never tell those two girls apart, the twins I mean," Robyn said. Matt chuckled. He was just getting used to which was which himself. They had distinct personalities, sometimes they would switch to keep people guessing.

"Lacy's in her true personality now. Can you let me speak to Mems?" Matt asked.

"Sure," Robyn said. She called Membaya to the phone.

"Who is it Robyn?" Mems asked her.

"It's Matt, he wants to talk to you a minute." Robyn said.

"Hey, genius. What do you want." Membaya said.

"For you to help me look out for Robyn and to see if you can borrow a hunter for the mission. I have a feeling you will need it. Something about finding two young men in the desert mingled with some Taliban." Matt said.

"Will do. How are you doing." Mems asked.

"I'm good, learning a lot. Just thought i would catch you guys before you went out to desert training. Keep me posted on how it goes if you don't get too exhausted." Matt said.

"Gotchya, I'll give you back to Robyn." Mems said.

Robyn took the phone back, "Good to hear from you. See you when you get home, okay." Robyn said and hung up.

'You bet, Kumori Gosai.' Matt said to himself as he put the phone down. It had been good to hear Robyn's voice again. Tai Chi was in an hour and a half he had to get a move on. As he looked down Matt noticed that Jake had left his number. Dinner would have to be at the cafeteria now, there was no getting out of it. He dialed the number and told Avery he was running late and would meet him in the cafeteria instead. Ptolemy would have to stay in the lab for now so he also called ahead for another agent to guard the door. The agent arrived.

"Ptolemy's new systems are to be treated as top secret info. Don't let anyone in here, got it. No one is allowed." Matt said slowly as possible. It made him feel arrogant, but he had to get his point across.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 18 2009 08:49:56 EST

In the Taliban camp,Zahid's failing health had been a protection for the brothers.Farhad warned Zahid to hide any improvement in his condition.Thus Farhad was allowed to stay in camp to care for his brother when the others went out on their missions.They knew their Father would be avidly searching for them so they were biding their time .Either the general would find them or they would escape when Zahid was better.They could not know that their fate would soon be in the hands of the Clandestine Club.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Sep 17 2009 02:53:46 EST

Recovering,Ahmad led Ryan back down to the dry river bed where maneuvers were underway.The General ordered his son back to the battle but Ryan spoke up saying,
"Before he returns,may I ask a favor of you?"He knew the frail young man was in no condition to be thrown back into the fray.

"May I borrow him for a time?I would appreciate being filled in on the history of your great people.I know there is much to be learned from such an ancient civilization."

Karzai was obviously pleased at the prospect of the American's
interest.He immediately agreed saying,

"My son,you will refresh yourself and then return to answer all of our guest's questions." The boy nodded and limped off toward the enclosure as fast as he could go.

Ryan breathed a sigh of relief at the success of the ruse and then remarked,
"General ,your sons are no longer in prison."

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 18 2009 22:29:24 EST

Ahmad poured water over his body and dried himself with a rough cloth.He dressed in clean long pants and a long white shirt with a brocade sleeveless jacket over it.Brushing back thick black hair,he placed a Kufi cap on as a finishing touch.This was an honor and he wanted to make a good impression .He knew the American had only wanted to save him and he was full of appreciation and respect for Healy.Had he gone back into the military games he would surely have collapsed,humiliating himself in front of the other boys.This was not acceptable for the son of the great Karzai.Healy had made himself an eternal friend by his quick thinking on the boy's behalf.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Sep 18 2009 22:45:22 EST

Matt was thankful that he could reach his "Red Shadow" before the rest of the group went began survival class. However, he already sensed that their training had already begun. It was classroom time,but it was still training. The hard part of it lay ahead. This training would test her limits in the type of environment she was going into. Matt was about to start Tai Chi Class when the cal came in. It was Robert.

"Hey son, sorry to interrupt your education so soon, it seems that Karzai's sons are out of the prison." Robert said.

"Do they know that for sure, dad?" Matt asked

"Yes, they do. They left with some Taliban who were also imprisoned there. We will be stepping up the training a bit so we can go find them. Membaya will be with us the first few days and then go to get an overview of the hunter UAV.You ready to mobilize should we need you soon." Robert asked.

"I am still working on Ptolemy, why?" Matt asked.

"Alright, just keep an ear out for your phone then. We'll let you know. Chances are we won't need you any time soon." Robert said.

"Okay, I've got class dad. Gotta go, good luck and God speed." Matt said.

They both hung up the phone. Matt now had to be at the ready. He was nearly there, but not quite. His research would have to be stepped up. Matt couldn't allow anything to stop him now.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Sep 19 2009 09:32:55 EST

General Karzai turned his attention from his young fighters and concentrated on Ryan."What are you talking about?"he said,"I have men who saw them taken in the sweep."

"They escaped,"assured Healy,"They were in with a group of Taliban that was freed.They are in a Taliban camp at this time."

Karzai grabbed Ryan by his shirt front,"What is this some kind of trick?I will not free you and your men until my sons are returned.That I swear!"

"General,listen to me,"Ryan reasoned,"Right now a crack team of young people is on the way here.They are trained to defuse this situation and get your sons out."

The old man let go of his shirt and shook his fist."The reason I brought you here was because I knew the Americans controlled what happened at Shibarghan prison.Your Generals could have had my sons released at their command.Now if they are at the mercy of the Taliban,you are of no more use to me.I must find my sons and save them myself."

Ignoring Healy's protests,Karzai shoved Ryan ahead of him and hurried back to the compound.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sun, Sep 20 2009 22:07:33 EST

The next day the desert training suits were handed out to the Clandestine Club. They were told that they had five minutes to get them on and report for the physical part of the training. It was just the type of day the Sergeant wanted for this training. The Temperature outside was a sweltering one hundred degrees, no moisture in the air. It wasn't the hundred and fifty they would be dealing with in Afghanistan, but it would have to do. In just under nine minutes the young agent and their handlers were oat the sight.

Jones surveyed them all as they ambled out of the jeeps that had carried them in. They were still a fine lot. Even though it seemed the girl was the leader among the children, there was another presence, one that gave her confidence and inner strength. It was masculine in a gentle sort of way.

"Agent Macon, is there someone that is not here today?" he asked.

"Yes," Robert reported, "two of our boy agents opted out for different reasons. One for family reasons and My other son for tech camp at MIT."

"Impressive," Jones nodded. He wondered how old the boy was,"How old?" asked.

"Nine and a half," Robert said.

A little genius, Jones thought. The he crossed over to Robyn, "did he give you any orders?" He asked her. Robyn swallowed the lump in her throat, nervous bu confident.

"No sir," she said, "only to membaya."

Membaya stepped forward with a prepared smile. "I wouldn't call it an order," Membaya said,"more of a request for to make a request. Matt wanted to know if after a few days you could get me ready to operate the Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. He wants you to teach its systems to me."

Hmph, Jones emitted. It was a good crew this agent was running. It always knew what was needed. That need was confirmed whr Robert got a call. It was his intelligence source in Afghanistan. The General's sons had escaped the prison and were now with a group of Taliban fighters. He knew they wouldn't join them as that would defeat their father's cause. This would be betrayal of the worst kind. Robert had seen that happen with one family. He couldn't allow this to happen to another. It was now time to speed things up. This was the second mission for which the speed of training had to be increased. The Clandestine Club would have to get the short version of desert survival training.

"Sergeant Jones," Robert suggested,"We will need to speed this up. Our secondary targets are on the move and daddy's going to find them himself."

Jones felt the urgency in Robert's voice. He took one more look into Membaya's eyes. This girl knew her specialty well too. He wanted to know more.

"Miss Oduya," he asked, "Have you ever flown a UAV before?"

"Yes," Came the answer, "Last mission in North Korea."

Then it dawned on him. This was the cause of the blackout he had heard about down the channel at Hoeryong twenty-two."

"Was the blackout actually you?" Jones asked.

"No sir, that was Matt and his RC Ptolemy. He modified it to be a smaller version of the predator that I flew." Membaya said.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Sep 21 2009 09:38:25 EST

Ahmad opened the tent flap as Karzai shoved Ryan into the dim interior.Karzai was angry and frustrated and wanted to take it out on somebody.

Ahmad saw the situation and said,
"Father,please sit down and let me serve you some refreshment.A cup of cool wine perhaps?"

The old man turned to look at his son and much to Ryan's amazement he seemed to change before his eyes.He held out his arms to his youngest child and engulfed him in a warm embrace.
"Ahmad,my son.I have lost your brothers.Pray to almighty god that I do not lose you too."

Suddenly Healy understood,Karzai had to put up a show of impartial treatment of his most beloved offspring in front of the other young men.In the privacy of his tent ,he could show his true feelings.

"Yes,Ahmad,"Karzai said,"Please bring us some wine."

Ahmad poured two cups and sat down a little further away.
"Father,"he ventured,"The Americans can still be of great value to us."

The old man drank his wine and stroked his beard thoughtfully.
"In what way,my son?Your brothers are out of the hands of their friends now."

Healy knew what was coming but he just sipped his wine and listened.

Ahmad moved closer engaging his father with his brilliant gaze,he was a thinker not a fighter.

"Healy and his men can still be traded for many things.We are in need of food and medicines.If they are returned in good health they will not retaliate against us."

The General seemed to relax,the wine and the soothing voice of his son,combined to make him much more amiable.

"First we will find your brothers and then we will decide what to do with our guests,"Karzai replied,"Meanwhile ,I must send out men to begin searching.You will remain here to enlighten Sergeant Healy as we planned.'

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Sep 24 2009 00:34:55 EST

In Ryan's heart and mind he couldn't agree with Karzai more. He knew he would not die here, but his sons needed to be found. Ryan wondered how his daughter and her friends were doing. Desert survival would take a while. They would have to take a condensed version to get out here quick enough. The other thing was, would they be bringing a Hunter with them? From the last letter Ryan had receives from Robyn one of their surveillance agents was at MIT. Could this girl do it alone?

"Karzai," Ryan said, "There is an American group coming to help us find your sons. Give them another thirty-six hours to be trained for this environment and arrive. This is all I am going to ask."

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Sep 28 2009 11:09:33 EST

Sergeant Jones surveyed the group one last time. They were fit and they were ready for anything. The bad news was that he now had even less time to train then for this type of environment. He had to make sure they would learn what they needed to learn. Robyn's father was a trained Army Sergeant who had probably taken her camping more time than she could count. Arthur didn't know about the others. Still, they were determined and this was a good thing so he asked the great one above to be with them out there; that they would all make it back in the twelve hours they would have.

"Well, if you are all ready it is time to get you out into the desert with nothing but a GPS and light rations. You will be in teams of two. with the last being a three member team." He said looking toward the Macon family members he had present. They nodded, "You will have to find the marked bits of water and learn what it is safe to eat on the fly."

The Clandestine Club was loaded into two Humvees and taken to their locations. As they left, Arthur Jones said another small prayer for their young leader that she would make it through this survival test. "Take care, princess your dad and many others need you. Take care."

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Sep 28 2009 11:17:08 EST

Zahid coughed and sat up in the tent beside his brother.
"They are all gone,"Farhad informed him."In two days there will be no moon.We will leave then.They are getting suspicious of us.You will be well enough to travel by then and I have hidden away provisions."

Zahid threw back his covers and said,"I am tired of pretending to suffer with chills and fever while these vermin pillage and murder the innocent.Let us destroy them before we go!"

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Sep 28 2009 22:36:10 EST

This was an experiment really to see if Membaya could find Karzai's sons with the hunter in total blackness. The moon that night had decided to be only a half moon. That meant that only half of the light would blanket the earth. The others were out there somewhere; Jones knew it and he knew it that Membaya knew as he sent a female NCO to wake her. It was just after 01:00 when she got the knock at the door. At the door was Sergeant Ruthie Mears with an energy drink.

"Miss Oduya, in light of the current situation in you mission region Sergeant Jones has sent me to bring you to the Hunter instruction field. Your goal is to find your friends in the near darkness of the hour." She said.

Membaya had waited two days for this, a real test of her skills. She hoped she would measure up. Secretly, she knew she would. You can't fly something like Predator and not know how to fly its siblings. It comes with the territory.

"I'm ready, just give me a moment." Membaya told her.

Ruthie nodded as she went to get her backpack. When Membaya made it back to the door, her energy drink was already open. Ruthie handed it to her and she drank it up. Now Membaya was truly ready. The airfield was long and black as they arrived. It had to be, this was a night mission. Membaya had flown one once before. This was her second time and she was definitely up to it. They sat her down at the tGIS station and got her started. She inserted the memory card making modifications to the new routine for the black beast of a Hunter. Its twenty-three foot long body and twenty-nine foot wingspan seemed to welcome her with open arms. A few moments later she had the beast started up and was rolling ti down the runway for launch. Everyone watched half-awed as she put it into the air with incredible ease. Membaya still wished she could have her mission partner. In a way, she missed Ptolemy,too. Why not, it was a neat little plane.

"Hunter launched and ready," Membaya said.

"Alright," a young officer said from behind, "now turn on the infrared camera.

"Yes sir," She said.

Matt had been right in what he told her about Hunter. It was almost the same. She went into the systems menus and pulled up the camera section, choosing the infrared. It indicated its that it was powered up. They gave Membaya the first set of coordinates.

"This is where Thomas and and parents were the last time we saw them." Jones said,"see if you can find them."

Membaya nodded and typed in their location. She knew that by now they could not have only made it to within five miles of their last known location. She looked at the GPS and turned the hunter toward them.

"Which way were they last headed?" Membaya said.

The GPS changed as she asked as Membaya asked for the information. They were still four, maybe five hours out. She adjusted course again and let the camera tell her where and how they were. For everyone she did the same thing. As the sun rose, they all began to wander in. It was no surprise that Robyn was first, or even that it was O-dark-thirty when she and Anakin arrived. She and Anakin looked beat though. They loaded themselves into the jeep and nodded off. Grace and Lacey were next in. The Macons came in one at a time with Tom in a tight lead. He dropped too and was handed a bottle of water as he did.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Sep 29 2009 10:14:27 EST

Membaya was exhilarated .This was what she lived for.The exercise had been a complete success .She wanted to discuss it with the team but they were all out of it and exhausted.
"Never mind,"she said to herself,Matt would have been proud of the way she handled the Hunter.She could hardly wait to tell him about it when she could.

Jones checked on his group and set about ascertaining how well they fared.The biggest challenge was always water.Robyn found water by digging down in a dry river bed and one of them had made a solar still.The problem with that was that it takes time and they couldn't stay in one place to wait for it.Tommy chopped the top off a barrel cactus and mashed up the pulp.Then he and his parents chewed the stuff,sucking the moisture out of it and then spitting it out.They were learning the hard way how to survive.They were all good at fire101.He had given them all flints but they even did okay with the grooved stick method.
Robyn went so far as to roast a lizard for dinner.

Jones was very impressed but he didn't show it .They needed to stay on their toes.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Sep 29 2009 18:29:28 EST

She would have to call Matt tonight. He was the leader after all, well one of them anyway. As soon as Membaya returned to the barracks, she called him. Matt was on his way back to the dorms from Tai Chi class when the call reached him. Matt looked at the number and smiled as he flipped it open, reminding himself to splurge on a Blackberry later; maybe tomorrow. It was Saturday, nothing going on until one o'clock in the afternoon.

"Hi Mems, you sound tired." Matt started.

"I am a little tired," Membaya said.

"How did it go with hunter?" Matt asked her.

"Great! I found everyone the first time. Your family moves too much." Membaya said.

"Well you are the robot girl. I knew you could do it alone." Matt said.

Membaya said thanks to Matt and hung up. The others wouldn't be awake for a long while so she went back to sleep herself, waking just in time for the final chow of training. Everyone was seriously hungry. Membaya had never seen the boys eat so much food. She laughed in spite of herself. Anakin looked up and shot a smile at her.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Oct 01 2009 17:34:38 EST

Mems took her plate and went over to sit beside Anakin."Hi,what did you think of our first real test?,"she asked him

He held up a hand to signal that he needed a moment to finish a mouthful of waffle.Swallowing ,he replied,"It was awesome !You were terrific in finding everyone so quickly too."

She blushed,his compliments meant a lot to her."Do you think Matt will join us soon?"she inquired."He has so much to do out there right now and it means a lot to him."

Anakin looked into her unusual eyes and smiled,"Don't worry about Little Mister Genius.He can handle it.We have to focus on the next thing the Sergeant is going to throw at us."

Mems laughed,"You're right,right now I'm going to focus on this plate of waffles ,"she told him as she drenched them in maple syrup .

At another table,Robyn spoke quietly with Tommy and his parents."Do you have any idea when we will be deployed?"she asked Robert.

Robert put down his coffee cup and closed a big hand over her small one."I know you are anxious to save your Father,"he told her,"You are equipped to go now but the others need a little more time.It won't be long now".

Abby reached over and put her arm around the girl's shoulders,
"Come on now,"she coaxed,"Be a good soldier and eat your breakfast.It might be a long time before the next meal".

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Oct 02 2009 23:29:36 EST

"Besides," I heard they are letting your rest today,because Sergeant Jones wants to send us through the course again." Tommy said.

Robert stepped away for a moment to make a call. He hadn't talked with Matt in a week and wanted to touch base with him. The phone rang four times. He couldn't be up this early for a seminar. Matt had to be working on something and just fell asleep at the wheel. He'd been doing that a great deal lately. On the sixth ring Matt roused and groggily answered his phone.

"This is Matt. Who is this and what do you want?" Matt said.

"It's dad," Robert said,"Just calling to see how you're doing over there." Robert said.

Matt sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "Oh dad, sorry.I'm fine was just working all night on Ptolemy. Studying the systems further. What's up?"

"How's that coming?" Robert asked.

"It's coming great dad. Working on some surprises for when I see you all again." Matt reported.

"Like what?" Robert said.

"Dad,I if told you I'd have to shoot you and I love you too much for that?" Matt said.

Robert laughed. "Alright, it's top secret. Got it." he said.

Matt laughed too. Robert had almost forgotten the reason he called.

"Hey, my little mad scientist before I forget, I wanted to tell you that Robyn did well today. Thank you for giving her the confidence you did before you left." he said.

"Anytime dad, you gonna need me on this one because I can some of the books and study on the way,if they will send me a mobile lab." Matt suggested.

"I know Robyn would like to have you here, but there are two girls that need to see that they can operate without you. Which is probably one of the real reasons you opted out." Robert said.

"Dad I think you're startin' to know me again." Matt said.

"What was the other reason,then." Robert asked.

"I needed to sort out the whole concentration camp thing. Why would anyone do that to their own people,dad?" Matt said.

"Control, total and absolute control. It is nothing else." Robert said.

I might come back home though. Who are our new family members staying with while you're on the mission." Matt said.

"Stop missing us and get on with things. We're all okay and Robyn passed the survival test this morning. Thank you for helping us groom Robyn and Membaya and call Scotty, he needs you too."

It was Robert's last parental order for Matt. 'Attend to your best friend'. Matt nodded as he answered to it.

"Alright, soon as I get off with you,dad. Thanks for the call. Good luck and God speed." he said.

"Same from everybody here. Love you from Tommy,your mom and I. See you when we all get home."

Robyn watched Robert as he talked on the phone. She wondered if it could be Matt he was talking to. It was something she had to know. She got up and crossed the room to where he was.

"Is that Matt?" she asked.

"Yes,it is. Would you like to talk to him?" Robert asked.

"Yes please," Robyn said.

Robert handed the phone to her. She was happy to hear is voice. It had been the first time in more than a week and she missed him. Robyn put the phone to here ear.

"Hi Matt, I miss you." She said.

"Me too, but you need to lead this kumori gosai. Your dad and two others are depending on you. I know you can do it. How was training, did you learn anything new?" Matt said

"I learned what lizard tastes like." Robyn said.

"Sorry I wasn't there. Hope the lizard wasn't bad." Matt said.

They shared a much needed laugh together. It lightened Robyn's heart. They talked a little longer and ended the call. Robyn handed the phone back to Robert and said 'Thank you.' She seemed happy to Robert and to everyone else too. Soon it would be time to leave for Karachi. Maybe it would be then that her true emotions would come out, or maybe, just maybe Matt was keeping her balanced. On the other side of the table, had powered up video Ipod. He had asked Matt if he could borrow the glasses for a while. He had okay'd it, but with the understanding that if his most awesome birthday gift ever got damaged, Tommy was to pay for the repairs. Tommy plugged them into the Ipod and turned them on. He turned it to a news station and watched as he ate his second bowl of fruit loops. It was a report on Karzai and his sons. Tommy sat up straighter than he ever had before, watching attentively. Everyone thought that was strange, even Robert. His son's attention was fixed almost to military level. Anakin sat nearby and could hear the report. Jones heard it too. Now he knew they had to hurry with this group or the other two men would be claimed by the desert. Sergeant Jones stood, "It's time for your final test run. no time left. It has to be now." He said.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Oct 03 2009 03:46:29 EST

Grace and Lacey worked as one to start a fire with a flint and tinder.This time the parents were excluded The whole group came together to simulate an escape from an enemy compound.A mock band of Taliban fighters were in hot pursuit.The team had to make it back to base camp with a member with a splinted leg before they were recaptured.In order to firm up the group and keep them from total reliance on Robyn,Jones chose her to play the injured team member.She was not happy with that at all and Jones focused on that to test her.He had finally found her Achilles heel,an ingrained impatience and a tendency to try to do it all herself.

"Robyn,"he instructed,"Your job is to designate duties and allow your team mates to aid and assist you.A good leader knows she can't do it all alone.If the leader falls then the others have to know how to carry out the mission .They can't learn that if you always do things for them."

Robyn frowned but she took direction well.She knew he was right.She sat down in the partial shade of an outcropping of rock and stretched out her splinted leg,"Tommy ,I want you to take the tent poles and rig up a stretcher.We'll give that a try for a while."

Jones turned away so she wouldn't see his smile. "That's my girl,"he said to himself as he left them to their own devices in the unrelenting heat.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Oct 06 2009 01:07:36 EST

He was pleasantly surprised. The others actually took her orders. This was indeed one fine team of young people.

"Anakin, Lacey" Jones heard Robyn,order,"go find some wood so we can start a fire and hurry back, especially if you find dinner on the way.

Rob and Abby were impressed too. They had never seen her in this light before. She shined as a leader and stood apart in the important ways. Maybe, Robert thought to himself, this is what Matt saw in her. Maybe this is part of the reason he stepped back on this mission. He's showing me her hidden talents.

It wasn't long before the camp was setup in true boy scout perfection. Tommy was doing well, too. Even a leader knew they had to take orders sometimes. This was all stuff Tommy knew how to do and do right. Couldn't be a Star Scout and not know it. The stretched was perfect. It looked like it could support a mountain lion,or something even bigger.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Oct 07 2009 09:55:44 EST

After a meager meal ,Robyn angled her seventy pound frame out on
the stretcher and grimaced in sheer annoyance.For the energetic type A personality,this was torture.Her leg was stiff and achy and she couldn't see where they were going .She had to rely on reports from Lacey whom she had placed on point.She needed Anakin and Tommy for their upper body strength with the stretcher.Robert wanted to help but Jones forbade it.
"Let's go,let's go,"urged Robyn,"The enemy must be close now."
Indeed they were close,only Lacey's fast thinking saved them.
Running back , she whispered hoarsely,"Behind that rock,hurry!"

Instantly they moved as one to hunker down behind a wide outcropping.Holding their breath,they waited as the enemy passed within an arms reach of them.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Oct 07 2009 23:37:44 EST

Jones ,monitoring from a distance was amazed."That's a new one on me ,"he said to Robert,"Now what?"
"I think I know,"Abby mused,"Robyn has a sneak attack planned.She's going to beat the enemy at their own game."

She was right.Robyn put Tommy in charge and had them leave her in the shade of the outcropping."Take the team and wait until the enemy stops to rest,"she instructed,"Then sneak in and get the proverbial drop on them from behind.They won't be expecting an attack from the rear".

They did just that to the surprise and embarrassment of the faux Taliban.Abby hurried to release Robyn saying,"Well you really threw them for a loop .I don't think they've ever had a clever girl like you out here before".Robyn smiled and tried to stand but Anakin had to catch her .Leaning on his proffered arm she remarked,"I learned an important lesson from all this,".

"What was that," asked Abby.

"I learned that everyone needs help sometimes and we have to rely on each other,".Loosening up her stiff leg,Robyn hobbled over to Sergeant Jones and asked,"Sir,can we go find my father now?"

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Oct 09 2009 20:41:21 EST

Jones turned and lowered himself to Robyn's eye level. He was impressed with her candor. It reminded him of the first time he had met lovely Renee. This girl would be the same way and the boy that had promised himself to her was lucky indeed.

"Of course you can. You are all more than ready for action, He said, "But first a good meal is in order before your fourteen hour trip to Hungary."

Jones looked up to Rob and Abby in invitation, "That is why I am inviting you to a barbecue I am having for my crew this afternoon. I know of one little boy that would be ecstatic if you joined us this evening." he continued.

Robyn looked back to Robert. Robert nodded in affirmation of the invitation. She accepted, as did the others. They filed into the jeeps that would take them to their not so permanent quarters to clean up. All Robyn could think about is calling Matt, but Matt had his own challenge as the others turned on the TV.

"Dad," Tommy said,"Look."

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Oct 10 2009 12:47:46 EST

"Karzai," Ryan said, "There is an American group coming to help us find your sons. Give them another thirty-six hours to be trained for this environment and arrive. This is all I am going to ask.The old General threw his answer back over his shoulder as he exited the tent,"I have a camp full of young soldiers already trained for desert fighting.I can't promise you anything."

Ahmad jumped to his feet after his father's departure,"I know him,he won't wait.If he rushes in and causes my brothers death,he will take it out on you and your men in his grief."

"What can be done to stop him without causing more trouble?"Ryan wondered out loud,"We just need to stall him for a few more hours.

"I have an idea,"mused Ahmad,"It will probably get me beaten severely but it could save a lot of lives.I'm going to send my father on what you Americans would call a wild duck chase".

"Do you mean a wild goose chase?"Ryan laughed.

"Exactly ."said the wily young man with a wry smile.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Oct 10 2009 20:57:28 EST

"If you wait," Ryan said,"the other group willbe here by tonight. Their skills at finding people are some of the best. I taught by daughter how to survive, her martialarts instructor taught her how to evade capture while she does so. The phone rang, It was for Ryan. Karzai handed it over against the judgement he saw as being best.

"It is for you," He said.

"Thank you," Ryan said. Karzai left the room, but didn't go far.

"Yes Lieutenant," Ryan asked the voice on the other side.

"The Clandestine Club will soon be here. My sources have it that they are currently awaiting final checks on on their wings. They should be there soon." The voice said.

"When?" Ryan asked.

"03:00 our time." the voice said.

"Good, we need them quickly." Ryan said.

"We know the situation Sergeant. Base out." thevoice said.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Oct 13 2009 17:57:43 EST

Robyn knew just what to wear for this occasion. She hoped her mother had packed it. She knew it wasn't a formal affair, wanted to respect her hosts. When she opened the case the dress was there. Underneath a couple of other items of clothing was a set of desert camoflauge ninja clothes. Ami knew her daughter might need them this mission. Robyn had been mostly packed when she put them in. Robyn wondered what Matt was doing right now. Was he in class? Taking a swim before dinner and and all nighter? Probably the latter, she thought, Matt was always been like that. Then she thought, no! head in the mission, Robyn you can't wander now. She freshened up in the head and put the dress on. The rest of the girls watched her enjoy it like she should.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Oct 13 2009 18:10:13 EST

Matt looked around him as he came out of Ninjutsu class. The area around him didn't feel quite right. Something was off, but what? It was as if he was being watched. He could see his appointed shadow's car three blocks down. Everywhere else he lookedalarmswent off in his head. He had to get back to the campus. It wasn't safe here. His shadow met him half a block down where he could park for a few moments. Matt got in.

"Get me out of here. It's not safe, there are too many shadows," Matt said as he buckled up.

He was right. As soonas they pulled out of their spot, two silver Escalades pulled out to the street. Matt thought that this might be what he felt, but he wasn't sure. Avery didn't likethe looks of them either. They wanted something and wanted it bad.

"Want me evade them some?" Avery suggested.

"Yeah, please. They're making me nervous almostto being ill." Matt said.

"Been there, hold on and I'll lose these freaks." Avery said.

Avery went up to their natural turn, but took another turn right into an alleyway. It was a good and dark one. Matt hoped they wouldn't be seen as they pulled in and Avery cut the lights. They waited a few moments looking straight forward as the two Escalades rolled by. As soonasthesound of their engines was gone, Avery slowly backed out of the alley with no lights on and drove a block and a half ona reverse path before turning them back on. Being seen is a risk neither of them wanted to take. It looked likethey wanted to play follow the leader to MIT. Couldn't afford that either. Avery rushed Matt back to the Institute, taking every shortcut he could make the car's GPS give him. They arrived what they surmised was five minutes before their assailants. There wasn't much time to get the boy out of there and he may not besides.

Matt was thinking it two and told Avery to stop when he saw a radio shack along the street. "Avery,stop here. I'll only need five minutes in each store."

In each store, Avery thought, which other store could the boy mean. Then he saw it on the far corner of the lot, a spy store. The kid was planning an escape. This was a tactical stop.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Tue, Oct 13 2009 19:16:17 EST

After Matt left the car Avery parked in an inconspicuous location. They wanted it to look like a father dropping off his son. This couldn't be further from the truth, but it was a cover they needed. Matt entered the Radio Shack store and bought a small Remote control Ford Mustang and some other things that would allow him to modify the car the way he wanted to. After that he needed a wireless micro-camera. He went into the spy store. The owner was a woman slightly older than Agent Avery. She was beautifu, almost like an older version of his Kumori Gosai. It made him feel safe there, like nothing could go wrong. Matt looked around for a short time until he found what he needed and turned to the woman.

"Excuse me, ma'am how much is this?" he asked.

"My name is Shannon Allen, and that is twenty-five dollars." She said

It sounded reasonable enough. He checked his pocket money; thirty dollars. Matt took the device to the counter and set the thirty dollars beside it. Shannom rang him up, but had a question or two.

"You aren't planning anything untoward with this are you, young man," she said with an Irish accent that only came out when she was perturbed.

"Oh no, ma'am," Matt assured her, "it's just for a class project. Need to film something that's kind of low to the ground."

"Ah," Snannon said, "Wee crawlies."

"Something like that." Matt told her.

Shannon smiled. It had been a long time since her own son had done something like this for a good grade. She smiled and snickered withthe memory as she handded the small bag to Matthew.

"Have a good time. My son did." She remembered to him.

"Thanks, I will." Matt said.

As Matt left the store, he saw a martial arts depot store down the covered walk. He discretely signaled Avery to follow him to another inconspicuous parking space and went to the shop. The man at the counter welcomed him.

"How you doing there. Looking for a new TKD uniform, son?" he said.

"No, Ninjutsu Togakure. I need two two one black and one desert khaki. Do you have them in my size. I'll need boots mask and tabi with them." Matt said.

"Aren't you a little young to learn how to kill?" the shop keeper said.

"I chose it for the challenge. There was no other reason, just that. I thought I might learn TKD too quickly. I am mentally gifted with an Eidetic memory."

The shopkeeper looked out the window. Avery was just pulling into the space Matt Matt had pointed out. He thought it unusual that a car would just follow this boy. his namw was Mark Wellington. Mark was a former Army Intelligence Officer, the performance had irked him a bit.

"You being protected?" Mark asked.

"Yes," Matt said pulling out his Government ID, "Matt Macon, CLandestine Club Special services officer."

Mark looked over the ID Card. 'They just keep recruiting them younger don't they', he thought to himself. He handed the card back to the young man leading Matt over to the uniforms his size and left him to look for the shoes and sock the boy needed.

"Here we are, young man," Mark said setting the boxes down on the floor, "These should fit you. My son is your age. That you are a young ninja and a government agent is impressive. You have anything to do with the camp in North Korea?"

"A little maybe." Matt answered.

"Good job, that terrorist needed to be taught a lesson. Did you kids get a medal for it?" Mark asked.

"I could tell you, but I'd have to hurt you and I don't want to do that." Matt said with a smile.

Mark laughed and took Matt's purchases to the counter and rung him up. He nodded and smiled as Matt left. 'This will be one to tell the grandkids' he thought. It would be his son that would ask first and he knew it. The boy carried himself to the car like a born leader. He probaly was the leader of his group or one of them at least. He went back to his counter. Toward the front of the register was a sort of calling card with a red and Blue seal with a gold border. The words in it read, "Clandestine Club We Seek the Truth."

This little boy was part of the group he'd heard about from friends still in the Army. Mark had great respect for what they do. He looked out the window. Kids like this aren't common. Mark looked at the name on the card. It was the same was on the ID card that had been flashed before his eyes. Matt got in the car and buckled up.

"You got everything," Avery asked him.

"Yeah, let's get out of here. My stuff can't get into the wrong hands. They were headed toward the institute. Everyone is in danger." Matt said.

Avery pulled out all the way and put a lead foot on the gas peddle. They were lucky too arrive at MIT just a few minutes before the other vehicles arrived. Avery parked the car where it wouldn't be seen and wished his charge good luck. Matt ran across the campus to engineering building where he had left Ptolemy. He had to get there first.He took the clothing bags out an looked for a place to change. There weren't many places to do that. He finally found a juniper bushes that were just taller than he was and would cover him so he could change. Matt placed the bags in his hands against the building and began his change from mild mannered fourth grader to a denison of the shadows-a ninja warrior placing his street clothes in the uniform bag.

Not far away, avery was keeping watch for him. In a joking mood Matt snuck up behind him. Avery never heard Matt until he spoke in a whisper passing him his other clothes.

"I need my blowgun, Avery." He said.

"Alright, I will try and hurry. Hide in a tree or something and I will leave it nearby." Avery said.

"Thanks, take my regular clothes, I won't be needing them." Matt ordered,

"You've got it kid," Avery said.

"There's a tall tree by the Engineering Library I will be in it. Leave the car there too fully charged and with the camera connected. It should be in a black carryall bag. Don't get seen." Matt said.

"I will." Avery said leaving for the car.

Ten minutes later a lone tree held a nine year old shadow warrior in its branches. Avery set a silver mtal case and a black carry all by the tree and quietly left. Matt climbed down from its branches when Avery was safe, slinging the carryall over his small shoulder. It felt heavier than the car when he put it there. Avery had thought to put his climbing gear in too, just in case. Matt's mouth turned up in a thankful smile. The actual Engineering building wasn't far off. Matt looked behind him the Silver escalades were just pulling up, he looked for a shortcut to the building and found one dashing through the campus as quickly as his tabied feet would carrying him. Everything was going well as he climbed up the walls to the second floor where he was keeping his beloved plane.

The mysterious pack of wolves entered the building just as Matt did. There weren't many places in tha lab for Mattto hide. He would have to use the v entalation shafts to move around. The car needed to be made ready for its mission. Matt wouldn't have long to build the emp delivery system, Just a few minutes. He needed a metal shop. His wish was granted when Jacob ran through the door.

"When did you get back and how did you get past them?" Jacaob asked.

"On campus, five minutes ago; my martial training." Matt told him.

Jacob hadn't noticed it when he walked in. Matt was dressed in a black ninja uniform. He never thought he would see a ninja this young. Not only that, this one was on the right side of things. Matt broke the silence again.

"Who is here? What are they after?" Matt saked.

"Don't know when they aren't talking to us they are speaking some kind of Arabic language." Jacob said.

Matt didn't like this at all. Taliban or Al-Qaida here is too much danger for him and for his project. They couldn't be allowed to have his work. He had to work faster without them noticing his presence.

"Jake, I need your help again. Is there a metal shop in this building?" Matt said

Jacob surveyed his surroundings. On the floor by Ptolemy lay a black bag that the boy didn't have before. A new project, he thought, one for this situation.

"What's in there?" He asked.

"A new...toy" Matt said.

"Let's see it." Jacob ordered.

Jacob was older, so Matt made nothing of it. This was his school and it was in danger. Matt put the bag on the counter and opened it up. Inside was a small R/C car fitted with a spy camera. Jacob wondered what else Matt had in mind for this car.

"What do you need to do?" He asked.

"Build a release system for this." Matt said taking out a single half size model of his EMP device. He thought it might come in handy.

"You're that kid," Jacob said in undestanding. He took Matt to the nearest Materials Engineering lab. Matt picked up the bag and Ptolemy. 'Can't let them get this', Matt said to himself.'

"Yeah, let's go before they miss you," Matt suggested.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Oct 14 2009 18:46:13 EST

"Dad," Tommy said,"Look."Robert turned to see a news bulletin flashing across the screen,"Breaking News,Cambridge Massachusetts.A group of unknown perpetrators have infiltrated
a building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.The building has been locked down and is surrounded by law enforcement officers.At this time the Dean is being held hostage and negotiations are underway to determine the assailants'
agenda .

Abby gasped and put her hands to her lips,"Matthew!"she said with fear in her voice.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Fri, Oct 16 2009 22:20:22 EST

Robyn saw her concern and went over to Comfort her. She wasn't of his herself, but they both needed the comfort.

"It's okay," She said, "Matt's alright, I can feel it. If I know him well enough he's probably using his martial arts and his brain to figure a way out."

Abby knelt so her eyes met Robyn's, wiping the rivers of fear from them. She smiled,thoug wrried she was and thanked Robyn. It was then that she noticed again the two rings had come together. It was an old wife's tale, but for some reason it seemed to ring true in this situation.

"Thank you, Robyn," she said,"I know he'll get out."

"That's right, he has the heart of a warrior and the mind of a genius, don't worry he'll get out." Robyn reassured her.

It couldn't be more true. Matt was hard at work creating things that would make MacGuyver sit up and take notice. He was at the last stage of his creation now. His little car had its realease system and he was testing it. Eureka! Matt thought as it worked perfctly for him. He placed the little charge into it and he and Jacob moved a chair and table over to the hallway door. Quietly Matt guided his newest creation to the main entrance stairway and released its payload. It tumbled and rolled until it came to rest at feet of one of the terrorists. Matt detonated the device as he took Jacob back behind a steel door where they would be safe from the effects of the Electromagnetic Pulse. Everyone on the first floor of the engineering building collapsed and the glass doors exploded outward,shattering into a thousand pieces. The twoof them made their way down the stairs to the first floor. The terrorists were out like a light. Jacob had manageed to find somelong zip ties onhis way down. The Police and FBI stood all amazed, but didn't enter. The senior agent in charge and the sheriff looked at one another and shrugged.

"What the...Just happened?" the Sheriff asked.

Mark had seen the situation on the TV too and rushed over. He parked his car three blocks away on the back side of the campus near the Main Library. There was no getting beyond the tape that cordened off the area. He smiled. EMP device, he thought. Extremely compact and short range. Could this be my young customer? He'd never known a genius, and now he did. This one he liked.

Once all the terrorists were tied up Jacob led Matt out aback door and packed him up. He had meant for Matt to leave the area, but something perhaps it was the quality of the moment drew him to the roof, Ptolemy and laptopin hand. Once there, Matt sat down next to a heating conduit deactivated by his handywork and began Ptolemy's launch sequence. After fulllaunch had been achieved he stood and went to the edge. He had placed a capsule in one of the release drops. The sheriff stood right where Matt wanted him. He changed the linkfron his laptop to his blackberry using the stylus to guide the plane and drop the small tube right into the Sheriff's hands as he stretched them out. The man closed his hand an brought it down to find the capsule in his hand. He took it out and read it.

These terrorists are ready for the FBI to take away. It's their jurisdiction. Let them have this one.
Clandestine Club.

The Sheriff shrugged and turned to the Agent beside him. "Agent Simmons," He said, "they're all yours. Compliments of that young man on the roof."

By the time they looked up again Matt was gone. He'd made his triumphant exit and was making his way to Agent Avery. He left five thousand dollars with Jacob and said,"This is for the damages. Tell the Dean that Iam sorry for them."

"Somehow, I don't think he'll mind that you smashed the doors." Jacob said, "Now get going before the press decides to try and find you."

"Thanks again, Jake. See you in a week." Matt said.

"So you're coming back then?" Jacob asked.

Matt smiled largely, "When things die down some. I'm libel to be seen otherwise. Besides, The best lectures are on the last week's sechedule. Good-bye, Jake."

"See you later, shadow brain." Jacob said.

He watched quietly as Matt wriggled out the lab window. Matt hopped onto the fire escape, his feet making a metallic thump as he hit the landing. He circumspected the area, making sure that no press had thought to look around the corner for him and went back to the roof to recall Ptolemy. As the system interface came up, Matt directed his aerial friend to Agent Avery's car. Avery had gotten out of his car for some fresh air and was leaning against the rear bumber and trunk door. In the distance he could see the small plane slowly reducing altitude. Ptolemy reduced speed as it descended into the courtyard just beyond Mckormick Hall. Avery had to run to get it and not be noticed. He played it cool for five minutes, then went to retrieve it as it rolled to a stop dashing back to his car. Avery wished that he had been assigned a station wagon, maybe an inconspicuous Subaru Outback Legacy. Matt followed ten minutes later laptop and bag in hand. He had changed back to his previous outfit.

Back at th party, the news story had changed some. The reporter came back on the air.

"This just in. It seems that the attack on this MIT lab building has been foiled. Our sources tell that this was done by a shadowy figure on the roof of building, dressed in of all things an old style ninja uniform. Is this some form of intelligence group's doing or a mere fluke of fortune? Only time will tell." The reporter said.

Robyn smiled at the prospect, It's Matt, she thought, he's okay. She didn't noticed she had said it out loud. When she did, her hand made its way to her young lips.

Abby heard it and questioned, "It's Matt, how do you know. We told him never to grandstand like that."

"He's nine, ma'am. We always grandstand a little bit when we feel it necessary for making a statement. That's what Matt was doing on that roof, making a statement." Robyn explained.

"I agree," Robert said, "a statement needed to be made."

All Abby could do is smile and accept. She knew what Robyn meant by what she had said. Her son was at his core, just a young boy. His large brain wouldn't change that by much no matter how much she tried. He would be mature only when the need was absolute. The rest of the time she could toss a coin for it. Sometimes it would go to best five out of seven. Robert joined her, dreawing her close at the shoulders with a small kiss.

"He's alright, that's what counts. He's probablyt already headed back to Langley. Don't worry." He assured her.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sat, Oct 17 2009 12:21:30 EST

Pacing nervously in their tent,Zahid kicked at the floor and grumbled,"I can't take this anymore.Let's leave tonight.I want to get back to Father's compound.The younger fighters need training."

Farhad was about to answer when two men entered the tent with guns in their hands.

"Traitors!"one cried,"Just as I thought.Tie them up .We will decide what to do with them when our leader returns."

Farhad jumped one of them but the other one hit him in the head with a rifle butt.He fell to the ground with blood pouring down his face.The men tied them back to back and left them in the middle of the tent.Listening to be sure that his brother was breathing,Zahid began to pray that his Father might come quickly to their rescue before it was too late.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Oct 22 2009 17:43:46 EST

"I can't stay here," Matt told Avery.

He agreed. The safest place for him now would be where they wouldn't expect him to be yet. Fort Huachuca had to be Matt's next destination. The boy had to leave tonight to be safe. Though Grimes would never forgive him if he didn't give the boy lecture #53 on self exposure.

"That was fool-harty young man. You risked self exposure. One just does not do that. Pride can be a weakness if used the wrong way. Don't over endulge in it,alright? Promise me, kiddo." Avery said.

"Alright, I won't do it again. Besides, they couldn't even see my face, I covered it." Matt said.

"Alright, just be more careful next time. Don't grandstand anymore either. Now, let's get the car and get out of here, shall we?" Avery suggested.

"Yeah, I want to go to Fort Huachuca, tonight." Matt said.

He was on the same page, thinking the same thoughts. Had they connected in some way? It couldn't be, he thought, That's impossible.

They rolled out of the parking spotthey had borrowed from a student, driving slowly out a back drive to the nearest highway on ramp. Hanscom was the nearest base. They would have to go there. Matt had had along day and fallen asleep in the car for the whole twenty miles. Avery was only engaged and therefor not a father yet. He didn't know what to do with Matt when they got to the base. Then he heard the voice of the guard.

"Identifications please sir." the guard said.

"Alright give me a momentto findthe boy's." Avery said.

The guard waited as Avery searched his own pockets and then Matt's backpack finding his ID in the front pocket. He handed both tothe guard who gave them a serious looking over.

"Precious cargo you have there agent." The guard said.

"Yeah, precious cargo that has to get to Fort Huachuca tonight. Got a place he can crash?" Avery asked.

"Housing acquisition is aroundthe corner and five blocks down. You can't miss it, sir." the Guard told him handing back the ID's and raising the gate.

"Thank you. Can you call ahead, we also need wings to Fort Huachuca." Avery suggested.

"Of course sir," the guard said.

Avery nodded as he pulled past the gate. He looked over at his passenger. Matt was still asleep. He'd had a long day; a long and adventurous one. Avery pulled up to the base housing unit, exitingthe car gently and quietly. He wanted to let Matt rest as much as possible. A few moments later he came out with a housing assignment. It wasn't far away from the air strip. He how much the boy weighed as he openedthe door and released the restraints. Before now the most child he had lifted was his forty pound four year old nephew. Matt weighed seventy-one pounds and stood four feet six inches. Avery turnedthe boy to face him picking himm up under the arms. He counted himself lucky he worked out on a consistent basis. Matt was easy once he got a good hold underneath his bottom. The boy stirred momentarily, but never awoke. Avery then scrambled for his bag and brought it in too. The place was a split ranch with three bedrooms. He put Matt's laptop in there on a desk that had been left behind by the last military family to live there, then took Matt to the other room. There was a ready bed for the boy to sleep in. Avery laid him down, took his shoes off and tucked him in bidding him good night.

At the party everyone was preparing for the flight to points unknown. Sergeant Jones recieved a phone call for Rob.

"Agent Macon, it's for you an Agent Grimes." he said.

"Alright I'll take it here." Rob said. He took the phone and answered,"Evening Arthur,what's up?"

"I have your flight plan for the rest of this mission." Grimes said.

"Where we going in at?" Robert asked.

"Tajikistan, Fahr Khor airbase." Grimes said.

"You sound uneasy about that, Arthur." Robert suggested.

"That's because I am, Rob. Tajikistan is still in the throws of civil war. There is now stable government to speak of." Arthur reported.

"Of that I well aware and we will take care." Robert said.

"Come back, Rob." Arthur said.

"Don't worry so much. Do you know the whereabouts of my son?" Robert asked.

"Not yet, Avery hasn't called in yet. Chances are he will try and follow you all. He willbe late though as you will have to leave tonight at 19:30 hours." Arthur said.

Robert looked at his watch. It said seven o'clock. It was time to end his call with Arthur and gather everyone up. Abby watched her husband as he waded through the phone call. Lip reading was a specialty of hers. Because of it she now knew her current duty.

"Alright guys, we know where we're going. Wrap everythingup with Nathan and get out to the car." Abby ordered.

Robert handed the phone back to Jones, "Is the plane ready to go, Sergeant?"

"It should be. Where you goin?" Jones asked.

"Tajikistan. It's the closest point to our destination." Robert reported.

"What of your other son?" Nathan bellowed out.

Robert turned to face the boy, "He's slright and probably planning to follow us."

"Good, I want to meet him when you get back." Nathan told him.

"You may meet him sooner than that, son. He is coming here." Robert said.

"Why would he do that?" Nathan asked.

Arthur knelt down to his son's eye level. It was gettingto be a habit now. No more looking down to tell his sone the important things.

"I think there is something he is working on that some not so good people want. He has to keep it away from them. The safest place for him right now is in the lion's den. That's why he is coming here." Arthur explained.

"Oh, so when is he coming? Nathan asked.

Robert thought it over some. He knew that Matt would probably stop by the house for some things and then come to Hauachuca or do a direct follow, porbably through Saudi Arabia. He made one last call to secure a jump plane for Matt that would get him to Huachuca that night, despite his detour.

"Sometime tonight. Just when, I can't bes sure. Best guess is three now." Robert said.

"Do want me to pick him up?" Jones asked.

Abby cut in then,"yes and make him take a nap. He's a workaholic like his father. I want him in perfect form when he catches up with us." she said.

Both men had no choice but to agree. She was still a mother and had to absolutely sure her little man was mission fit and safe.

"I'll have the airfield keep a watch for a night flying C9. Shouldn't be long before he's in our air space." Jones said.

"I'll have warm milk waiting for him," Renee added,"And make the top bunk for him."

"Let me do it mom. I want too." Nathan suggested.

Arthur nodded to her in approval. Robert and Abby couldn't thank him enough. The two men shook hands parted. Soon after, Jones made the call. It only rang twice before it was answered.

"What can I do for you Sergeant?" A familiar voice said.

"You have another plane coming in with a member of the Clandestine Club on it. Hold his flight out until I can get him some sleep and a snack. Call me the moment he lands." Jones said.

"Will do, sir."

Matt had done exactly as expected, arrving at the house about eight thirty. He emiited a yawn, stretching his arms to the stars. Not wanting to be seen, Matt decided not find the key his motherusually left under the mat, opting to go through the patio door. As he entered, everything seemed fine. Matt punched in his personal code and went in, going for the fridge almost immediately. He hadn't realized just how hungry he was. Abby had remembered that he was out of cherry Dr. Pepper. His sandwich faves were there too- almond butter with apple butter. The Banannas were new too.

He took a couple off the bunch and made a couple sandwiches as quickly as he could, then went looking for white clothes. Matt repacked his bag and backpack. He checked the mail box and front porch for mail. After the Boston affair, he had learned not to trust boxes and son signaled the agents in the nearby van. They'd noticed one another as Matt rolled in. Anagent scanned the box, notifying Matt that it was surveillance and explosive free.

"Would you like to know what's in it kiddo?" The agent said.

"Sure." He said.

"Looks like uniforms, looking up at him, Martial Arts to be exact. Mom was thinking ahead, I think. The ones on the bottom look special. You might want those now, there's something that looks like hoods on the bottom and a small box, wood of some kind" The agent turning the box over.

"What's in the bigger ones?" Matt asked.

"We scanned those when they came in. One looks like anew computer the others were ashed of some sort. Probably one of your dad's projects." The agent reported.

"Thank you. Can you guys get the shed parts to the back? I'll drag this one in. Have you scanned the mail?"

"Will do sir, and yes we have. It's clear too." The agent said.

Matt dragged the computer boxes inside then gathered the rest of the mail. There was nothing for him yet, so he threw it neatly on the counter and finished packing everything for the next leg of his journey. Matt hoped he wouldn't be too late to get on with the rest of the team as he dug through the box taking out the new uniforms. He decided then to try one on. His others had gotten a litlle smaller, or maybe he had grown more than usual this summer. either way these felt better and he took the second one and the wooden box just in case. Matt opened the box to reveal some new darts and vial of something he didn't recognize. He inspected it with care. There was another one just like it on the label it said sodium barbital.

"Hmm, modern ninja's sleeping potion," He said. Rob and Abby had thought of everything. There was no sense in staying behind now. Matt had to join the rest of the team at fort Huachuca. He made a quick call to the airbase.

"Hello," A familiar voice said, "Matt Macon is that you?"

"Yes, lieutenant it is. I need a tha fastest plane you've got headed west." Matt said.

"Alright, I'll scramble the pilot. You need a lift in?" The Lieutenant said.

"No, Agent Avery will be bringing me in. Just have the thing ready, please." Matt said urgently.

"Alright, think you can withstand three g's?" The lieutenant asked.

"Don't know for sure. It would be cool to find out though." Matt said.

The lieutenant laughed, though he could tell the boy was serious. He also knew where the Clandestine Club was and decided to deliver the boy himself. This duty would be a pleasure.

"Alright then, express mail it is my lad. I'll be ready for you within the hour." Kates said.

Matt thought Kates wouldn't be there and wondered why he was. It was late and he should have been at home with his son.

"By the way, why are youworking late?"

"Got some new requisitions in and they caught me at the door." Kates said.

Matt laughed,"Sounds like me and homework these days."

They shared the laughter this time. Matt could relax now and concentrate on getting to this ride. He repacked his his carry-on and left out the back door to meet Avery who waited for him down the block some. It was easier this way because Matt could be more attentive to his surroundings. Everything felt okay, but Matt still couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched and closely too. He looked around some. Nothing seemed out of place, still his own street made him nervous when it shouldn't have. He walked the block and a half more quickly taking a breath as he entered the agent's car and releasing it as he slammed the door shut.

"I don't like this. Let's get out of here Agent Avery." He said practically ordering. He hadn't been aware of the tone he carried. It was fear with an undertone of urgency. Avery knew his charge was afraid of something. It was to be expected after the little adventure in Boston just hours before. Perhaps this was as it should be. After all, it had put the boy on alert and this was good. He was paying greater attention to his surroundings. The base was only ten minutes away. Matt's alarms began to settle as they came to Langley's gate. The guard asked for their IDs.

"Here you go Corporal. We're here to see Lieutenant Kates." Avery said.

The Corporal returned their indentification to them and passed them through, saying, "He is waiting for you by his Lightning Two on tarmac three."

Matt sat up as they came to the place where the F-35B stood. He could feel the power of the machine. Kates stood nearby wearing a brand new flight suit for which he carried the helmet. Kates walked over to meet them with a smile. He threw Matt a small bag.

"Suit up son, you're going for a fast ride. We'll have to refill once on the way. I have a cow meeting us over Ohio. You'd best hurry, kiddo you haven't much time. Your team is preparing to leave as we speak." Kates ordered.

"Yes sir," Matt said as he rushed off to squeeze into the suit. It was bigger than he thought like it was meant for a slightly bigger kid. This was Kates' son's gear. He zipped up and ran back helmet in in his arms.

"Sure this is okay with your son, sir?" Matt asked.

"Asked him twenty minutes ago. He's fine with it as long it's a kid has some cajones to him." Kates said, Climb aboard and we'll get out of here."

Matt climbed up the ladder to the cockpit and fastened in. Kates climbed in behind him. Matt felt om top of the world in that plane as the lid dropped into place. The taxi was quick and skilled. They were in the sky in what seemed like nanoseconds. Kates checked his coordinates and set the heading for McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. He radioed ahead to McConnell to let them know they would need a midair refuelling and estimated time of arrival in air space. McConnell Airbase confirmed. A half hour later they were nearing McConnell's air space. Kates lowered the Behemmoth's air speed to mach 0.5 and prepared for refuelling. Matt looked behind as the KJ-130C connected to the smaller jet's tank. He had never seen this procedure before. This would be something to tell his Elementary class about. In a few moments the refuelling was complete and Kates turned back to an amazed Matt.

"Get ready kid; we're headed for mach three." He said.

Matt braced himself for the excess gravity he would experience for short time as Kates turned the plane south a little and pushed the throttle. Matt felt that his weight had increased by a factor of three as the gravity pushed him back in his seat. He could feel the speed too, all 2284 miles per hour of it. Matt's body didn't know what it wanted to do, stretch or vomit as Kates hot-dogged a little.

"Hang in there kid," Kates added a few moments later,"we're almost there."

Matt couldn't speak yet as his tongue was sealed in his mouth and paralyzed. It was a new experience for his young body. Soon Kates came back to mach one and Matt's small frame was released from the seat. They were in Arizona air space now and getting ready to land. Matt was amazed he'd stayed conscious through the ordeal.

"Huachuca, this is Sierra Alpha Tango 350 porting precious cargo for rendezvous with Clandestine Club. Request permission to land." Kates radioed out.

"Roger that Sierra Alpha Tango proceed to runway four south and land with pride." the controller said.

"roger return," Kates said as he circled one last time for approach. sitting up was even easier now as Kates pulled the plane out of mach. The field still went by like lightning. This plane was aptly named. As the plane slowed to a halt, Matthew untethered his body and removed the flight suit, leaving it in the back seat. Taking his bag and disappearing as the cockpit lid rose. Kates never saw him move. He'd even forgotten that the small UAV was affixed to his right wing with power magnets. All he heard was a small thunk as the smaller craft was removed. Sergeant Jones had rolled up with the rest of the group by then and saw the F-35 sitting a small distance off. He wondered where it came from. Jones looked toward Robert. Robert just shrugged, though he had a hunch that made him smile lips pursed. He leaned his head a bit when he saw shadow just beyond the third set of hangars. His son had made it and would follow behind later as planned. Robyn had looked that way too and snickered inside. Only the shadows knew exactly where Matt was just then. The C-9 was waiting for its cargo and had off-loaded some other things as it refueled once again. It had been to Langley and returned with some medium sized crates that were being directed toward an empty Hangar. Matt followed them until they reached their destination. Sergeant Jones loaded the Clandestine Club into the plane and watched it leave. It hadn't been in the air more than a few moments when he heard a small whisper.

"Good evening Sergeant, don't turn around yet." Matt said

"You must be Matthew. I have my instructions for your care and transport. You need to come with me." Jones whispered.

"Alright," Matt said.

Matt picked up his shadow worthy carry-on and slipped past Jones. He wanted to make sure he wasn't seen and that his situation was secure. All Jones felt was a slight breeze as the boy passed behind his back. He wagged his head. Knowing that Matt wasn't behind him, he went to the family SUV he had used to bring the rest of the group to the air field. To his surprise, Matt was already in the car.

"You're not bad kid," Jones said as he got into the car, "Let's get you to the house and ready for bed. I'll dispatch you in a few hours when you've rested some. My son will be asleep when we arrive, at least I hope he will. If he is try not to wake him. Have you eaten?" Jones said.

"No, I was expecting a bigger plane. Couldn't eat in there. I had to keep my hands clean." Matt said.

"Why the F-35C?" Jones asked him as they drove toward the far end of the base.

"That was the Lieutenant's idea. Wanted something faster, I guess. So what's for dinner?" Matt said.

"We saved you some salmon on you mother's order. Renee made the sauce. I think you'll like it." Jones answered.

"Thanks," Matt said.

Jones pulled up to the house. He was met by Renee who opened the passenger door as Matt yawned.

"Careful Renee," Jones said, "He's not a normal nine year old boy. He's a genius so treat him like an adult on the mental level." Jones said.

"Oh, I don't know. Even the most mature children like to be babied sometimes." Renee said.

"Your mission hon, just sayin'." Jones returned.

"I know." Renee said.

Matt covered his mouth so his look of amusement wouldn't be noticed. It was good to snicker like a schoolboy again. Jones wagged his head, smiling as well.

"It's okay, just this once." Matt said to them.

Nathan was in his bedroom only half asleep. The slamming of the car door jarred him awake. He practically ran down the stairs stumbling a second, but quickly regaining his balance as he caught bottom step and sat waiting. Arthur and Renee came in guiding a tired Matthew. Nathan's eyes lit up as Matthew came to the stairs. He stood and greeted Matthew.

"You're the missing one, aren't you?" Nathan said.

"Yes, I am." Matt said.

"Boston's a long way. How'd you get here so fast." Nathan asked.

"Hopped an F-35 and refueled in Kansas. The thing is fast." Matt answered.

Nathan accepted the explanation and turned to go back upstairs to his bed. He still couldn't sleep very well. Renee could sense it and offered a way for him to help with the other boy's needs.

"Nathan," She called out,"can you make up the bottom bunk for our guest?" she asked.

Nathan turned to face his mother with a smile. He got to help this time and he liked that.

"Sure," he said, "how long before he comes up?"

"Fifteen minutes, and that should be plenty of time. Change your sheets too, okay." Renee told him.

"Okay", Nathan said going to the Linen cabinet.

It took the boy only ten minutes to fix both beds. They looked okay to him, but dad would be the real test. Arthur liked them army perfect. Nathan made a few adjustments on both beds so that the top sheets and blankets would be tight. "Twelve minutes," he thought,"Still not bad."

Matthew gorged through his late dinner. It was every bit as good as his own mother's. He thanked Renee and made his way to the bathroom to clean up before bed. Nathan came down to the kitchen to a cup of warm milk just the way he liked it.
He smiled and asked the question in his young mind. Matt's energy had felt different to him somehow. Powerful, yet still gentle and forward.

"Is he a ninja, too?" Nathan asked.

"Yes, and no." Arthur told him,"Ninjutsu is his primary art, but he studies two others."

"Oh," Nathan replied.

"His chi or life force is powerful because of it. Because of that, you wouldn't be able to tell that he has Attention Deficit Disorder. The Martial arts he studies all work to recirculate his energy and realign him." Arthur further

"So, that's why I can feel him. He makes me feel safe like you and mom." Nathan said.

Matt had just come from the bathroom hair wet and feeling clean. He overheard the conversation.

"Yes, that's why you could feel me. My energy center is open and yours is too. I felt you coming up the driveway. You should have been asleep, but my energy and the excitement kept you awake for a bit." Matt explained putting out his hand,"Matthew Macon, Nathan."

"You pay attention really good." Nathan said clasping Matt's hand firmly.

"Part of being a genius, I suppose," Matt smiled.

Renee brought over a cup of chamomile tea for Matt. Finally, her son had a guest that was trult exciting. She set the tea down at a chair beside Nathan, kissing him on the head. Matt took the seat with a smile.

"Thank you, misses Jones." He said.

"You can call me Renee," Renee offered.

"No, I can't," Matt said

"I guess not. You are just that kind of a boy." Renee said.

Matt took a sip of the tea. It was just the way he liked it, milk and just a bit of honey. He a thumbs up and a smile of thanks.

"Your mother told me how you like it." Renee said taking a dessert plate from the cabinet and placing a few sandwiches on it.

"I found these in your pack bag. I hope you don't mind." she added.

"No, I meant to have them earlier, but there just wasn't time. Thank you." Matt said.

"You're welcome." Renee said.

Renee was amazed at the maturity of this boy and hoped some of it would rub off on Nathan. She could see it was starting to. "Can I have some tea, too?" Nathan asked.

"of course," Renee answered.

The boys connected in some way. She didn't know just how, but knew it was good. Matt shared a sandwich with him, letting out a final yawn. He rose from his chair and made his way up the stairs to bed. Renee gave Nathan her best questioning look. Nathan knew the question and nodded in the affirmative. They shared a smile he too went to bed. A few hours passed and Arthur woke Matt.

"It's time to go kid," he whispered.

"Okay, a couple of minutes?" Matt requested.

Jones nodded. Matt wrote his new friend a note placing a club coin beside it.

Nate, call in a few years. Study hard and be your best.

Matt Macon.

Matt folded it and placed the coin on top. He took up his back pack and carry on placing them on his shoulders ambled quietly out the bedroom door. Jones was waiting for him down stairs. He took the carry-on from Matt and loaded him into the family car. When they arrived at the airfield a new c-9 was waiting to take him to Tajikistan. Jones shook the little hand as Matt boarded the plane.

"See later, Thanks for your influence on my son. I don't think you'll not be easily forgotten." Arthur said.

"Neither will he." Matt said and turned into the plane and the boarding stairs were taken away.

The next morning Nathan awoke to a great sunrise whose beams now caressed something shiny on his desk. It caught the corner of his eye. Nathan went over to his desk to check it out. The coin was beautiful. It had a red edge and a blue ring in the center. on the outside ring it read "Clandestine Club" around the top and "We seek the truth" around the bottom edge. Nathan flipped the coin over it had a diamond there. The team name was there and "Future recruit on the bottom point. Nathan then opened the note it had previously weighted down. "He must be a leader," the boy thought.

He must have said it out without knowing it because Renee heard him msay it,"Did Matthew leave you something?"

"Yes mommy, he did." Nathan said again unaware that his child side was coming out.

"You haven't called mt that since you were five." Renee said.

Nathan wanted to cover his mouth, but thought better of it when he saw his mother's loving smile. He hadn't wanted to talk like a little boy for a long time, trying hard to be more grown up than his four foot two inch height made him look. Using mommy made him look like a baby, or so he thought. Renee was satisified that he wasn't growing up too fast. She joined him at the desk.

"I know, it just sounded like a baby to me. Anyway, yes Matthew left me something." He said handing the challenge coin to Renee.

"There is something in you that he likes, I should think. What does the note say?" Renee asked him.

"He wants me in a couple of years. I don't know if I will be ready, mom." Nathan said.

Renee knelt down to meet her son's eyes. They were blue with a light that she could never refuse. Always smiling, even when his heart was saddened. Today Nathan's heart wasn't sad it was uncertain he would cut the proverbial mustard with the quality expected by the Clandestine Club. Renee moved to comfort him.

"Of course you will and your father and I wil help you in our own special ways. You are much more like your father than you know, Nathan. Just mind your homework and we will help with the other things you need." Renee assured him.

Nathan smiled and hugged his mother tightly. Again the persistent expression of his real age cameout.

"Thanks, mommy." He unwittingly said.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Oct 22 2009 20:39:53 EST

The reast of the team arrived in Fahrkahr the next midday. It was warm and a little too quiet as they pulled in. They all looked around, vigilant of their surroundings. The tension was like London's fog. Deep in the background rounds of popping noises pinged through the air. Rob and Abby hoped they wouldn't get any louder then they seemed at that moment to be. The energy even made Robyn nervous though she didn't show it. Her confidence was growing stronger the closer she came to her father. Robyn knew she had to keep it that way for the mission to be successful. Both of the adult agents placed a hand on one of her shoulders. The uneasy feeling went away, giving way to the confidence she now exuded as she looked up to them, taking a breath.

"It's timed to go," Roibert whispered to her.

Robyn smiled and moved ahead to be welcomed by the commanding officer of the base. He was a man of respectable height and stature. His dark hair framed his face perfectly neat and combed over as he hadn't gotten a chance to recut it before deployment to Fahrkahr six months before. The Clandestine Club files had been transferred to him and he carried them in the leather attache case he carried at his side. He knelt to meet Robyn's eyes.

"This is an honor. You are one brave little girl to come here, especially at this time. Tajikistan is slightly unstable right now, much like Afghanistan. You will inspire many young ladies your age. I am Major Alfred Vynes, welcome to Fahrkahr Airbase, K2 for short. There are a few things you should know. Radical Islamists are still trying to take this country. Tahnkfully, they have pretty much stayed away from the base." Vynes introduced.

Robyn shook his hand as the others joined her. Vynes shook all of their hands from the smallest to the tallest. She returned the greeting.

"Thank you, I'm sure most girls would do the same if their fathers were in danger." She said.

She knew that this might not be true, but the hope for what Vynes saw was inside her now. She couldn't refuse ir access to her heart and mind. Ribyn was also hoping Matt would make it. They were all tired from the long trip and wanted to sleep some more. Later, hunger set in and they went to lunch before their escape across the border.

"Is there any thing else we need to worry about, sir?" Tom

"Only the Russion 201st Mobile Rifle Unit. Just take care that you don't cross over their section of the Afghani border." Vynes reported inspecting them all. Anakin caught his eye. The boy surveyed his surroundings from in a different light that Robyn had. Vynes noticed it immediately and took chance to ask.

"Young man, you in Officer Training Command back home?" he asked.

"Yes sir," Anakin said,"I am."

"Thought about a specialty yet?" Vynes asked him.

"Yes." Anakin said, "Sniper." Anakin answered.

"You seem the type. It should be a good fit, but consider intelligence as well because we need that too and they may profile you because of your work with the Clandestine Club. Beat them to the punch I always say." Vynes said.

"I'll consider it," Anakin said with a firm salute.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Sun, Nov 08 2009 20:41:54 EST

Ahmad walked with Karzai at sunset along the dry river bed."Father,"he said quietly,"Do you remember when you used to give me rides on your shoulders and I would pretend to be riding a great magic camel?"

The old man laughed,"Ah yes,and you were very hard on Mujid the great camel as I recall.You always demanded more speed. Your mother used to tell you tales of Magic Mujid during the great sandstorms.I always listened to them too."

Ahmad stopped to gaze out over the battle ground.Nobody was around except a sentinel in the distance."Father,the American asks for only a little more time,will you do that for me?I know he can save my brothers."

Karzai frowned,he tried to hide the soft spot he had for his youngest son but at moments like this he let his guard down.
Sighing in resignation the General growled,"If that is my decision,it won't be for you Ahmad.It will be for the greater good."

"Yes Father,of course,"Ahmad agreed .As he turned to take his leave,Karzai called out,"I will allow him the time that is needed but if my sons die,he dies!"

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Wed, Nov 11 2009 00:47:30 EST

Robyn emerged last from the plane, holding a file Robert had slipped to her when she was sleeping. It had a tactical map in it. The map showed the location of radical Islamist groups and Russian and UZbeki troops in the area. She couldn't tell by the spaces between the airbase and the small villages where they were. She decided to ask their host.

"How far we from the Islamist groups and the Russian MRUs?"

"A hundred miles or so to the east and west along the border with Tajikistan and Uzbekhistan. The Islamists in in a few of rthe northern villages. They havent made their way here yet." Vynes reported.

Vynes liked this little girl. She was a born leader and acted the part. He knew that there was another person behind that and that her maker wasn't here. Vynes could see it in her eyes. There was a little boy behind her somewhere. It made him wonder as he looked up at Robert.

"Is everyone here Agent Macon? I sense that someone is missing. You have at least one more in your contingent I think." He added

"You're right," Robert said,"There are two missing. One is on his way and the other has family problems realted to the last mission and asked to opt out of the next few missions. My somn Matt was responsible for my current mission leader's fruition." Robert said.

"Impressive," Vynes said,"so he stepped back to help you realize that are the leader you are showing me now?" Vynes said kneeling to meet Robyn's eyes.

"Yes," She answered.

"He did the right thing for you. Your promised one is a good leader and it has rubbed off. Good luck, kid." Vynes said.

"Thank you," Robyn said.

Vynes stood and took them over to their truck. They had final words and salutations and Clandestine Clu departed in to the wilderness of sand. The wind was hot against their skin. They had bee given a GPS locator. Robert had ordered one so that they could be tracked and so Matt could find them and set up shop nearby.

A few hours later Vynes was ending his shift. First flight of the day had arrived. It Matt's flight. Matt looked out the window as the plane landed and taxied across the desert tarmac. He could feel the heat starting to rise outside. Soldiers came to remove Ptolemy from his perch atop one of the C9's wings, setting carefully onto the ground. Matt disappeared again, as did Ptolemy. No one knew where this plane's little passenger had gone until Vynes felt a finger tapping at his back. He laughed as he turned and knelt to meet Matt's eyes.

"How'd you get by them?" He asked.

"Ninja legend. They probably felt me though, just a slight breeze as they came up the steps." Matt said.

"You raedy to leave,young man?" Vynes asked.

"Yes," Matt answered.

Vynes called nearby Specialist Seargent over. He was a tall man,towering two inches over the five foot-eleven inch man. This man was also noticably younger than Vynes. He was still scratching his head in query as he approached the pair and was introduced.

"Seargent Nichols, this is Matthew Macon. He had some security issues backhome and came in behind his group. You know where they are. I need you to take him there, but drop him off with portable Shadow equipment for his predator. He'll be running aerial revon for them. Make sure he has a squawk boxand adequate water for his mission. Stay with him and make sure he stays safe." Vynes instructed.

"Yes sir. C'mon kid let's get you tothe party." Nichols said taking Ptolemy from him.

Matt looked around; he was expected. There was a covered truck not far away from their position. It was loaded with the walls to something. Matt searched his mind and found it. a hut for the two of them. Complete with all needed operations equipment. Vynes followed them and approached as Matt was allowed to inspect everything.

"Is everything there to your satisfaction?" Vynes asked.

Matt gave a quick nod of quiet approval. It was enough for Vynes and he left them to get on with their travels. Matt climbed into the truck as Nichols placed Ptolemy into the back with their ohter things. They rode into the desert for six hours before coming to a plataeu that overlooked the rest of the team. Matt went to the edge and looked out over the high desert horizon. The sun was at its highest and hottest position in the sapphire sky above. Matt and Nichols set up their tents and then the UAV shack. It didn't take them more than an hour. Bright sunlight still reflected off the sand and cliffs. Matt watched as Nichols places Ptolemy on the launch path. He couldn't wait to start watching the ground below for his two targets.

"When do we start?" He called out.

"Soon as you group knows we are here." Nichols said putting out a radio for Matt.

Matt took a quick pace to grab it. Excitement circulated in the air. Down in the base camp Robyn looked up into the cliffs. She couldn't see anything for a while. A squawk box on a fold up table by the main tent started to sound off. Robert made it to the radio first.

"Son, is that you?" he asked.

"Yeah, dad. Just thought you should know that I made it. I'm on an escarpment above and behind you all. We're all set up here." Matt reported.

"Good, glad you made it. I think Robyn senses you nearby." Robert said.

"Me too. Send her a hug for me. We're going to launch Ptolemy soon so I gotta go now." Matt said.

"Alright, keep us posted. We need top find Karzai's sons first." Robert notified his son.

"Will do, dad. Be careful out there." Matt said, "Shadow boy, out."

"American Dad out." Robert said laughing quietly.

He took out the geological area map and laid it across the table. Mems saw him amd came over to help.

"Can I help sir?" She asked.

"Yeah, get your notebook. I need you to be ready to link up with Matt as soon as he calls us back." Robert ordered.

Then he called the rest of the team to the table. They came and Robert briefed them on what they might find out there the Afghani desert. Next,they looked at the map of the area. It wasn't pretty. High mountain desert lie all around them. Robert told then that Matt had arrived and was going to be their angel above for the rest of the mission. Membaya was busy preparing her laptop for the linkup with Matt. It wasn't long after she connected with the Satellite when the link was made and Matt called. The radio rang out with the impunity of importance.

"Hey Mems, you got it?" Matt's voice blared over the conversation. Robert nodded to her and she took the radio aside.

"Yeah, good to have you with us on this one." Mems offered.

They shared a laugh and went back to th mission. Mems looked at Ptolemy's location on the GIS section of the software. She looked around some. On a high escarpment behind was a tiny figure that seemed to bewaving to her. Mems wagged her head and waved back. The little man upstairs was ready to go.

"Shadow boy, you want American Dad?" Mems asked.

"Yeah,for a minute." Matt said.

"Agent Macon,shadow boy want's to talk to you." Mems said handing him the box.

"Yeah son what can I do you?" Robert asked.

"I'm almost ready to launch up here. Can you guys get a move on? We have two men to find for Karzai before the Tally's kill 'em." Matt said.

"I suppose we can do that. Happy flying." Robert wished his son.

"Always sir,always." Matt said. Then he turned to the others. They heard him and were ready to go. "Get out there and find Karzai's sons. Remember to drink as much water as possible and watch for desert asp and cobra. Angel will be launched soon you best get out there. If you start to overheat get to shade and watch one another's backs." Robert told them, "Good luck and God speed."

They all walked off into the spartan desert horizon. Up above, Matt had launched Ptolemy and was busy linking the satellite into the holographic system in the shack. Everything seemed to be working just right. Before now he hadn't been sure it would work. He programmed a few protocols into the system and let the sensors do their job as he put on the gloves and adjusted the new interface. On Mems' laptop came the strangest thing a coding that said,"Holographic interface initiated. All systems go."

He's figured it out, she thought. Ptolemy was flying right on his maiden voyage with the interface as Matt changed his course to the last known of Robyn's father. Mems was tracking his progress as he guided it. As the otherds went out they were each handed a GPS and a radio to the lead in each pair. Abby anf Robyn went out first, nothing but a small tent and a sleeping pad and some clothes and water. Matt saw them immediately on the map Ptolemy was now providing as it picked up their GPS signal. They were travelling in a southwesterly direction. Tom and Anakin were, more or less travelling south southwest. Robert took Grace and Lacey along the northern hills keeping watch on the others from on high. As night time rolled in, they all took refuge under nearby cliffs and in caves where they could be found. Matt had become tired an decided to rest a few hours, setting Ptolemy to return when his fuel tank was less than half full on. Mems had just returned from a nap in the tent and saw that Ptolemy was now autonomous. She wanted to fly him for a whle so she took him off of the auto setting. It was getting dark so she put on the infrared camera. Mems could see everything. She asked for a location on the two men. After a few moments of searching Mems found them huddling under a cliff and notified the closest search unit.

"Mother hen, this is nightbird," She said,"have the target in sight."

Abby wasn't quite alseep yet when the call came through. She took a breath and released it as she picked up her radio. This had to be good news.

"What's up nightbird?" she said.

"Your primary targets are not to far from you. There are two others, probably our Taliban. Their camp area is being watched by Karzai's troops so take extreme care. Use Red Shadow if you must, but return safely with the package." Mems said.

"Advisement taken. How far are they?" Abby queried.

"Not More than two miles, Ma'am. I'll give you a flare." Mems told her.

Abby woke Robyn up, as the flare dropped into position in the sky. Mems set it off from above so it wouldn't be noticed too soon, then brought Ptolemy back out of sight. Karzai's men saw thje light too, and thought it might be the rescuers, and held back to see if the belief would hold. Robyn looked outside as she woke. It was still dark out, a good environment for her blacks to come out in. She dressed quickly and took up her backpack going to the top of the escarpment she and Abby had been camped under, surveying the area as Abby packed up.

Matt was just rousing from his long nap when a call came for him. It was good to hear Mems' voice again.

"Nightbird to Shadow Boy, wake up man." She said.

"Yeah okay, I'm awake. Whatcha need?" Matt said.

"I'm sending Ptolemy, back to you. Whatcha say we give some Tallies a big surprise?" Mems said.

"What do you mean?" Matt asked.

Matt was on his feet and walking to the back of the ledge where he could see the sun rise above the desert. It was as if there was a new energy there with him, a younger one. It was powerful. He knew then that future recruitment of Nathan Jones might be a good idea. Seargent Nichols a little after. He overheard some of the conversation between Matt and Mems and began thinking about things to do to find the other Taliban and maybe even a few Al-Qaida. It took him back to his Geophysics and Satellite Electronics courses.

"I think I know what she wants, kiddo. C'mon we need to find the right space bird." Nichols said.

Matt shot the man an eager glance returning to Mems for just a moment, a smile expanding its way across his young face. Mems had already said what she needed from him before he answered.

"I need a georeflection grid across the coordinates I am sending you now." Mems said.

"Okay, Let us find the right satellite and change some of Angel's equipment. Fifteen minutes Mems." Matt said.

"Rodger that," Mems acknowledged.

She directed Ptolemy to his base. Upon arrival the small Aerial Vehicle was refitted for the launch of Satellite bouys, ten of them and a new sensor packet. Once this was done Matt and Nichols began looking for the nearest GOES satellite. A few moments later the GOES came into range. Nichols n=knew they would only have access to it for twelve hours after connection. It would be enough. Matt made final adjustments to the sensors and relays programming them to show infrared and tomographic representations of the geologic features of the lands on both sides of the bor, Mother Hender with Pakistan. It took two runs to cover each side of the fifty miles they wanted to cover. By noon the task was complete and all Taliban and Al-Qaida positions could be relayed to the Army and Marine special forces units in he area. Matt called Abby to see how things were going.

"Shadow Boy to Mother Hen, what's your status." He said.

"Mother Hen to Shadow Boy; we are on our way to secondary targets. We could need assistance. KNock em'm out for us shadow boy." Abby said.

"Will do, Mother Hen. Give us two by ten." Matt replied.

Matt made the motions to bring Ptolemy back to home position, landing the craft with great care and effortless grace. He was becoming a practiced flyer. Matt smiled in spite of himself. NIchols caught it and smile with him.

"Don't let pride overtake you, kid. It can become a weakness. Still, I can see that you have come quite a long way in so few years. You are growing by leaos and bounds. I think mostly by the second amount, hmm." he said.

"I guess. It's like I get these cool ideas in my head and I have to get them out before they go away, becom nothing." Matt said.

Nichols nodded in understanding. He was much the same way, at Matt's age. Mastery over the flow of ideas had taken him until he was sixteen and by then his thickest journal was full ideas that others had beat him too. Only a handful remaied uninvented. He showed this now to Matt. As he turned the pages Matt that they were overflowing with ideas. The thought then came to hin that they were two of a kind and he completely trusted the man. Matt and Nichols tooktwo cases from a space behind the flight computer. Matt set Ptolemy to taxi to the door of the shack; the plane rolled up as the exited. Time was short so they went right to work. Matt rolled Ptolemy over and made minor equipment adjustments as king for each item he eeded. After twenty minutes the new sensors and transciever as well as the pylons that would form the grid on both sides of the border. Once done Pto;emy was placed back on its runway, and the duo rwerurned to the flight station. All the new systems came on line in what seemed to be seconds. They were more clear now than rhey had been on the earlier trial. Matt brought up the GOES three satellite, linking it with the nearest telecom satellite. Everything was ready and Matt began the launch sequence and Ptolemy was in the air. Operation Curtain Call was under way. Matt brought Ptolemy in low. Mems took over as Ptolemy came into distant view. Soon Matt Saw everything in the desert before him down to the crust. He called up infrared and he could see everything deep inside the stone of thecaves and crevaces. After a while, he checked in with Mems.

"Hey Mems, you seeing this," he said.

"Yeah, its really cool. I can see into everything, because I an see the bodies." Mems said.

Matt agreed, seeing the images himself he wished that that they could pin point one person in a thousand by medical anomalies. It was something he would have to work on.

"Yeah," Matt returned,"I just wish I could see their medical problems."

"That would be cool." Mems said.

The mission went as planned. Every pylon was placed wthin a few hours. In the mean time the rest of the team were making their way to the place where Karzai's two sons were. They now stood surrounding the area. Two teams on overlooking cliffs, the others on the ground not far away. Robert called up to Matt.

"American Dad to Shadow Boy", he said in a whisper.

"Shadow Boy here. What can I do for you?" Matt said.

"Did you leave any packages on the plane?" Robert asked.

"I think I did. Wanted to make sure I could handle both tasks for the group. Just laid the spacebird grid It's working fine can Drop them in your section in..." Matt paused to look to Nichols for an answer.

"Ten Minutes kid." Nichols said.

"Ten minutes American Dad. Turning him now." Matt reported.

"Got that, be looking for it." Robert said.

Matt turned Ptolemy into their area. The image from the camera had a sterile beauty. He brought the small UAV down to tactical altitude surveying the area for hidden weapons. There appeared to be nothing here so Matt began to strafe the area with the small number of nanopulse bombs he had placed on the nds of Ptolemy's wings. Two rows of three were released as the UAV was brought back to ceiling altitude of 12,000 feet and the pulse grenades detonated. Robert called everyone to warn them of the coming wave.

"American Dad to Rescue 1, take safe positions. Angel has dropped his packages." Robert radioed.

They all returned the message. Robyn couldn't wait any longer and had gone in impatiently. Abby tried to stop her but couldn't. By the time she arrived at her young charge's location she had already made it halh way down the path to the ground. A wave caught her as she entered the rescue area and she was knocked back to the foot of the trail, unconscious. Robert was frantic to get to her, revive her. Abby called in.

"American Dad, this Mother Hen. I couldn't stop her." she reported.

"I know and I saw. Get Tom and Anakin in there quickly. Revive her and our secondary targets. Above all take extreme caution. I have a feeling we are being closely watched." Robert said.

"Got it. Sending them now, don't tell Matt just yet. He should hear only the best." Abby told him.

"Rodger that." Robert acknowledged.

Robyn fell unconscious half a mile from the target location. Tom and Anakin found her first laying peacefully in the sand. Tom took out an Ammonium Carbonate stick from the first aid kit,cracking it to release the fumes and placing it under nose and holdin her head up. In a moment she began to rouse, smiling at the sight of the two.

"I know you mant to get to your dad, Robyn," Anakin said,"but this was fool-hearty. Rest here for a few minutes and have some water."

Anakin handed her a bottle of water and she took gently from his hand, smiling sorrowfully. Grace and Lacey arrived shortly thereafter as Tom radioed Robert on Robyn's condition. Robert was glad to hear it and ran tot he site immediately. Tom and Anakin went on the site wher the four men lay and performed the same aid, leaving the Taliban soldiers unconscious and calling for their pick up. Somethi9ng didn't fell right to Anakin and he began to survey the cliffs on the horizon and right around them. Tom noticed his friend's actions.

"What's up Andy?" he asked.

"I don't know. It just feels like we're being watched. I don't know from where, but we are being watched, old friend." Anakin said.

"Shall we find out, then?" tom asked.

"Do it. I don't like the energy on the wind here." Anakin said.

Tom called to Matt. They needed to take a look from the sky. Either or both of the two groups could be watching them from anywhere.

"Number one to Shadow Boy," He said.

"Shadow Boy here. Whatcha need, bro?" Matt answered.

"anakin thinks we might have more than one set of eyes watching us. Can you check it out?" Tom requested.

"You got it, bro. Get back to you in a moment." Matt said.

Matt turned the regular camera in their direction. He could watch everything now. A few moments later he noticed it. Anakin was right. The closest cliffs had Karzai's eyes. Not far from them other eyes were watching. Matt radioed back.

"Ani is right. Both sets of eyes are watching you. The Taliban will picked up shortly, but you should have Anakin standing by with his Springfield to deter the terrorists from the rescue site. Get out of there now and go meet with Karzai's watchers a hundred yards to the southeast of you." Matt suggested.

"Gotcha Shadow Boy, extracate immediately with our targets and leave Hawkeye behind with Molly." Tom acknowledged.

Molly was Anakin's M21 Tactical Rifle. Robert had told him to get one to practice with. When Anakin received it through the company he found out why. It was for him the ultimate sniper rifle in .308 caliber. Anakin was happy to have it in his club locker. Robert told him to check it out and send itr ahead to the mission site. It wasn't too heavy for him to carry because he had been building up the since he turned twelve and had a defined look to him with just a little bulk in the right places. it was just enough to be fit for his age on the high side of fourteen.

"get up top that escarpment there five hundred yards away. Don't shoot to kill just to warn them, fend them off. The Taliban shouldn't have them back. Most of all, take care you aren't seen old friend. You would be sorely missed." Tom said to his friend.

"Understood, keep covered," Anakin said taking out his box,"Shadow Boy this Hawkeye. Can you find me good cover half a cliq away atop the escarpment." Anakin said

"Rodger, there is a burning bush at the very top. Molly will serve you well there. Hide behind it, Hawkeye." Matt's voice said.

"Got that Shadow Boy. Can you give me Angel too." Anakin ordered.

"He's there already making Jericho." Matt voice reported.

Anakin bid his friend good luck and went for the cliff. He found then burning bush and hid behind it with barrel and scope. He could see clearly with the scope from here. That was good. All he had to do is wait, be patient.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Nov 12 2009 14:17:21 EST

General Karzai paced nervously back and forth in his tent.The wind blew flurries of sand against the walls and cut down visibility.He turned to Ryan and growled,"Find out what is going on.What kind of fools trust such matters to children?"

Ryan put down the book of ancient tales he had been reading.It was one of the volumes Karzai used to teach his young soldiers.He insisted they continue their education as much as was possible under the circumstances.He decided to take a chance and said,"In this story Mujid the Magic camel is very wise but no one will listen to his wisdom because he is a camel.Just as in the famous tale of Gulmamadak the Great,he does not look the part of a wise old man so he is disrespected.Much can be lost when judging by outward appearance alone Sir."

Karzai stopped pacing and picked up the battered volume.
"Gulmamad left his village seeking the respect he deserved from others.I have often used this example to teach an important lesson that I am forgetting myself."

"General,these are not ordinary children.They are highly trained specialists ,geniuses in their own fields.As we speak they are working to save your sons and resolve this situation,"
Ryan assured him.

celeritas (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Dec 03 2009 18:44:08 EST

Anakin watched from the escarpment as the others cleared the Karzai's sons from the area. Looking up with his binoculars he couls see the welcome sight of Ptolemy's fuselage and wing edge. It made him feel safe as he surveyed the desert below sands below. The ewo men across the way came to the edge of their hidining place then turned tale. Anakin assumed that these were Karzai's foot men looking for their brethern in arma. He made nothing of them. Three more mad their approach from the northwest. Taliban, he thought. He called ahead and told the others to hurry and get out of his sights. He took careful aim to fire a warning shot. It rang out as he fired, echoing in the wind. Robert and the others took that as a signal to leave immediately. They all climbed into a second jeep and left for camp stopping only for a moment to collect their young sniper.

"Hurry Anakin," Robert called out.

Anakin climbed in aiming as carefully as he could with his next warning shot. It landed between the leader's straddled feet. The Taliban scouts turned around and retruned to their hiding place just over the Pakistani border. The two young men they had rescued were now fully awake and thankful that they had been found before Allah could call them home. Both boys worked on the injured man as they sped back to camp to collect Mems and Matt who had been waiting along with Ptolemy. They had the coordinates of the Mujihadeen camp. It wasn't more than three kilometers away, a twenty minute drive. Robert thought it best that the Clandestine Club present the young men to their father.

"Okay kids, this is it. You will be doing the presentaion of Karzai's son's to him." he said.

They all nodded. it was the last thing that needed to be done. Robyn was gald that it was almost over. Still, they didn't have her dad yet. They all jumped out as the jeep stopped at the edge of a lonely camp sitting in the white hot sun. Anakin helped the injured man out as Robert came to help him carry the man. The group rounded the jeep a young voice called out "Amreki, Amreki!"

Karzai heard it and rose signaling fo Ryan and his youngest son to follow. He walked out meet the visitors carefully suveying each one until he came to Robyn. She had a look in her eyes he had seen in himself through this whole ordeal. It was mixed with something else though. Something he couldn't quite place. There was determination, but the other thing... Contempt? Robyn came forward and stamped on the old man's toe-hard.

"Here are your foolish sons," She demanded,"Now give my dad nad the other men back. Some gratitude this is. We fight for your freedom and you take our men and refuse to give us the one we really want. You oughta be ashamed, sir."

She stepped back respectively. Spirit? and... Consternation? A woman's wrath, Karzai thought. In truth Karzai was ashamed, but less than Robyn probably wanted. He lifted his hand for Ryn and his unit to be brought forward. Ryan was retrieved first. Robyn was happy to see his scruffy Irish face. He smiled as he approached her, kissing her on the head as he passed by to join Rob and Abby. She smiled back and released two men to Karzai's care.

"Now," she said, "My daddy's men."

Karzai looked back and nodded. The men were exchanged and and the mission was complete. Angel flew overhead and what Matt saw through it made him smile too. He was proud of his promised one. Matt hadn't realized it, but he had been flying Ptolemy a small bit low in the sky. Karzai saw it and motioned for ther group to join him in the celebration of his sons' return to the camp. He looked up again.

"Bring your friends who watch over you too. I would like to meet them," Karzai suggested. The call was made and The two flyers were present within the hour packed and ready to extricate the area before Taliban could show up and ruin a perfect day.

Robyn looked up, but couldn't see a thing. She closed her eyes and listened to the wind as it whipped through the sand. It was a soothing sound that relaxed her deeply. Then she opened her eyes and saw the RC plane as her eyes focused in the bright desert light. She smiled, it meant Matt was here. She asked for a radio and Abby gave her one. There was still a small bit of obstinence in her voice as she lifted it to her smiling face.

"Alright Matthew, I know you're here and so does general Karzai why don't you come down from wherever you are and get the hug I've been saving for you."

Back on the escarpment Matt was packing up and heard Robyn calling him. He was far away from the radio as he landed Ptolemy on the field next to Robyn. Abby looked on wagging her head. That boy, she thought. Matt turned to his battle companion. Everything was packed up and ready to go.

"C'mon kid, the party's waiting on us. Shouldn't keep them waiting."

"Right," Matt replied,"I'm ready now let's go Seargent."

Matt helped the Seargent put the remaining equipment in their truck and they were off to join the others. The sun was setting in the western sky as the two of them pulled up. Robyn was glad to see Matt was okay. She had been worried that the terrorists had gotten him explosion notwhithstanding. She hugged him around the neck as he jumped out of the truck. It nearly knocked him off balance. As he laughed aloud, he gently pushed her off.

"It's good to see you too," He said as Robyn gave him a peck of a kiss.

"I see who I am now, the leader inside me. It's like I was a lamp with a genie inside and you rubbed me and the genie was set free. Thank you forever."

"You're Welcome," Matt said.

gr8dragon (Rate Passer) added to this story on Thu, Dec 03 2009 20:27:48 EST
Print Clandestine Club Book Two
Genre: Adventure
Created: 07-17-2009
Word Count: 35245

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