Entry 12 – Ferguson’s Secrets
The next day turned out to be just as interesting as Ferguson had promised. A military jeep came to the camp in the morning to pick me and Espinoza up. With a healthy bit of schadenfreude, I noticed it was the same driver that had driven me earlier. Someone up the food chain must really hate his guts, I smirked quietly and sure enough, the driver just waved us in and the whole trip passed in silence.
The real surprise awaited us at the airbase. Unlike before, the whole place was literally packed with armor. Tanks, IFVs, APCs, armored cars – hell, some stuff I haven’t even heard about – stood in rows around the runway, ready to be inspected. Swarms of U.S. troops bustled around them, some cleaning them up, some refueling and rearming them and some simply gawking. A small crowd was blasting music from behind a maintenance shed and the whole scene simply felt like one giant fair.
Even Espinoza was not her usual sarcastic self and stared at the hubbub.
“Well then,” I remarked, “what the hell are we supposed to do here?”
I received the answer seconds later as our car stopped in front of an unlikely couple – a colonel (I suppressed my urge to salute) and a young, slender black woman I was already familiar with.
“Finally getting your feet dirty, Ferguson?” Espinoza remarked sourly.
The woman smiled in response.
“Gail. So nice to see you. Again.”
She nodded at the colonel, who just shook his head and went off. Her expression grew serious.
“Like I told you before, nobody’s too happy about us being here, so behave, you two.”
I simply nodded. I didn’t see Espinoza’s reaction, but Ferguson seemed satisfied.
“As you can see, Mister Murdoch’s been able to pull a lot of strings to make this happen, so we now have limited access to, simply put, America’s stock of pretty much every vehicle you might run into anywhere in the world. They do keep their training facilities well supplied and now we get to benefit.”
“Anyway,” she concluded, “walk around, pick some vehicles you’d be interested in and we’ll arrange a temporary loan from the military. Just don’t go too wild. Even Perihelion’s coffers aren’t bottomless.”
Nodding at us both, she joined the colonel waiting nearby, his expression still as sour as before and his stance betraying impatience. He clearly didn’t want to be there, I noted, but had no choice. Now that was something to see – putting an American colonel into a situation where he had no choice must have taken, contrary to Ferguson’s claims of limited resources, a tremendous amount of influence, money, or both.
Espinoza shrugged and started making her way through the throng of curious soldiers. With our weekend warrior clothes we did not stand out too much but we weren’t exactly blending in either and, every now and then, a GI Joe gave us a dirty look. Espinoza didn’t seem to mind though as she was soon jumping from one vehicle to another like an unsupervised kid in a candy store. Not sure why but it did lift my mood to see her enjoying herself.
In the meanwhile, Ferguson and the colonel moved to a truck painted in Perihelion colors and, at his orders, several soldiers started carrying large boxes of what looked like some high-end hardware outside and moving them towards what I thought was some kind of underground storage entrance.
Once again, I shook my head. Politics, I thought. Murdoch was probably smuggling some shit south of the border, something he didn’t want me to know about, and we were here as a safeguard in case anyone tried something funny. What a safeguard we were, bickering over paint jobs and tech, I thought. With a chuckle, I followed Espinoza into the fray.