: In Country flashback by Bill Schott
Red Appleton, President of the United States, Army private in flashback
Jason Marr, Vice President of the Senate
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin, in hiding
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan, seventeen-year-old in flashback
Millie Connor, twin sister of C.C. Connor, seventeen-year-old in flashback
Dr. Wu, genetic engineer, guardian and mentor to the Connor children
Amps, Bolt, Watt, and Edison, training facilitators for Dr. Wu
End of the last regular chapter (Chapter 9)
The man appeared to be a low-level grunt who worked for someone at the White House. A face that one passes in the hall, but never generated a need for him to interact with or even acknowledge. Still, a name did come to him. It was his final utterance. "Baker?"
End of last flashback chapter (Chapter 11)
He wanted very much to slash her throat as she helped him out of the kitchen and down the hallway to the infirmary. Something kept him from doing it, though; if it were anyone else, he'd have killed them in order to complete the activity. He didn't know why he spared her. It wasn't in his nature or training. The inability to act on his need hurt almost as much as his foot.
June 1970. Officer Candidate School was complete. Second Lieutenant C.C. Connor was commissioned and deployed to Vietnam. Being a college graduate at fourteen, and surpassing all physical requirements, Connor was allowed to enter the Army training at seventeen years of age. Twelve weeks later, having been made the candidate company commander, he graduated with a rare, accellerated promotion to 1st Lieutenent.
One week later, C.C. Connor arrived at Firebase JAY, and was assigned as commander of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. They were in mid-country and five kilometers from the Cambodian border.
Almost immediately, the base was attacked by the 272nd Regiment of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) with mortar and rockets. The battalion commander was seriously injured, and 1st Lt. Connor found he was now in charge.
"Private Appleton!" he yelled, as his armor and uniform were sluffed off onto the ground.
"Yes, sir!" responded the the cherub-like soldier, smile stretched across his pimply face.
"You're the only turd I trust in this shithole, so listen up. I'm going out to settle this thing down. While I'm gone I want you to kill a few folks for me."
Connor smiled; his toothy grin shone like death and the private knew it would be friendly fire casualties.
"I read people well -- Red, is it?" You are a born killer and I don't think you care who it is. Take out a dozen of the higher ups HERE for me."
Private Appleton's eyes were electric and his smile tested the limits of his mouth's flexibility.
"Where are you goin', L.T. ?!"
Now naked, with a fighting knife, canteen tied around his waste with a bootlace, and a .45 Colt, he pointed to the perimeter wire fencing.
"Just taking a stroll, Red. This kind of combat gets old fast. See you in the funny papers. Now, get busy."
The lieutenent ran quickly and passed beneath a break in the fence that was almost unnoticeable to the casual observer. He sped into the jungle like a scorpion, staying close to the deck and keeping both hands acting as weapon-holders and feet.
As the night blasted on, the enemy weapons fire relented. American soldiers had launched a counter attack, but were amazed at the seemingly weakened state of the once aggressive assault.
The fighting ended by midday with fifteen losses on the American side, and seventy-four for the PAVN. No investigations were made to classify the modes of death of the fifteen casualties beyond having been killed. Knife wounds and back shootings went unreported.
Of the seventy-four Vietnamese dead, many had been riddled with bullets, or blown apart by artillery. Many, however, were found to have been killed in hand-to-hand combat. This peculiar observation never made it to official reports, which favored numbers of dead over how death occurred.
1st Lt. Connor went missing in action. A lone witness, a Private Red Appleton, reported that the officer had "Taken the fight to the enemy."
Later, having sliced his way to the Vietnamese commander, C.C. Connor offered his many skills to the local Chinese adviser. Being a trained assassin and expert in military movements in country, his offer was quickly accepted.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, at the age of seventeen, Milliliter Connor made inroads in the world of politics. Her goal was to insinuate herself in any and all power bases and become the indispensible resource for all things. Her teenaged voice had penetrated the many sub-elements of the local and regional governments, which reached the White House at one point, and helped initiate President Nixon's plan to begin talks with Communist China for normalization of relations. Millie's mentor, Dr. Wu, would have been proud of both her and Cube's accomplishments. The eventual emplacement of the Switchblade assets, within a decade or two, would be as smooth as placing the decision-makers in every corner of the world.
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