Awaking from the deepest sleep I’ve had in what seems like years, I check my watch. Ten-thirty hours. Shit! Have I really been asleep for 13½ hours? I gotta finish this inventory and get to work checking the comm gear.
A long 2 hours later with the inventory done, I find something to stand on and check the shadowbox I located yesterday. I find the button that drops the box and press it lightly. The shadowbox drops down as smooth as silk. Judging by the layer of dust in this place it has to have been quite some time since Scotty last made it down here.
I deftly remove the stack of papers from the shadowbox and replace it in the ceiling. Going through them, I find another note left by Scotty:
I know you found the inventory list and the rest of the paperwork I left lying on the table. As you know me like a brother, I’m sure you also knew immediately that the comm freqs and challenge codes were bogus. Since you found this note, you’ll have also found the REAL comm freqs and challenge codes. I’ve kept in sporadic contact with most of the guys on the list up until last year. I can’t tell you which ones you’ll be able to get in contact with or if they’re even still alive. Remember Capt. Wilson? He sure remembers you. He was the one I kept in contact with the most. Last I knew he was in the Portland area. He’s going to be the one you want to contact first. The frequencies listed on the sheet have both a secure and unsecure frequency. Everyone on the list has been told to keep the batteries charged, their comm units in good condition, and always on the secure channel, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting ahold of them. Good luck, my friend. I’m sorry I can’t be there with you as you take the fight to them.
Choking back my tears once again, I read back over the last line he wrote: Love, Scotty. I knew we were close, but I guess I never looked at it quite that way before. Yeah, Scotty was like a brother to me and reflecting back I loved him like one as well. Serving so many years together in the Techno Marines does that to you , I guess. I’m gonna miss him. I shudder to think what those bastards did to he and Carla. Knowing the tactics they started employing during the war, I have no doubt they tortured the hell out of them both. Probably starting with Carla. Carla was just as mean and ornery as Scotty was, so I doubt those goons got much out of either one of them. Either way, it will serve me well to remain as vigilant and inconspicuous as possible going forward.
While I was completing the inventory, I made sure to start charging the batteries for the comm gear. Now, it’s time to fire it up and see if I can reach Capt. Wilson. Referring to the sheet Scotty left, I see this:
secure 199660xm (extended modulation)
challenge “Sure could go for some crawfish pie.”
answer “Back in New Orleans, we used to have it every night.”
I punch in the frequency for secure communications and press the call button. I wait. And wait. And wait.
Twenty-five minutes later with my finger numb from repeatedly pressing the call button, I hear a familiar voice:
Rod: Al-low! Who dat dere?
Me: Just a guy who’s a bit hungry. That’s all. How bout you?
Rod: I sure could go for some crawfish pie.
Me: Man, when we were back in New Orleans, we used to have it every night.
Rod: Gawddamn it Johansson, is dat choo? This line secure?
Me: You know full well it is, sir.
Rod: Enough of the sir bullshit. I ain’t servin’ anymore and neither is you. You was the last person I thought’d be calling me.
Me: Yeah, well I never expected you to be part of the resistance. Not with how dedicated to the Corps you were. Enough of the chit-chat though. Is it safe where you are?
Rod: Bout as safe as it can be considering. You coming to meet me?
Me: I’m gonna have to. The only problem is how to transport all this gear and equipment undetected. Do you have any way to get here? I’m at Scotty’s right now, but it’s not at all safe here.
Rod: I got a way to get there. Gonna take about 3 days though. Think you can wait?
Me: I can wait. Scotty stowed enough rations and supplies to keep me going here for a couple years at least. When you get closer, raise me on the comm and remember to keep your ass safe. Sir.
Rod: Will do, Jake. Will do. Rod, out.
Talk about bringing back some memories! Rod was always a stand-up guy who took care of his Marines. He kept me out of serious trouble on more than one occasion. He also kicked my ass all over the squad bay for my transgressions but that was to be expected with Rod. Every single one of the guys who served under him would have followed him into Hell and back had he given the order. I’m still not sure why he joined the resistance, but I know I’ll find out once he gets here. If Scotty stashed any liquor down here, I’ll have to buy him a drink.
Looking back over the list Scotty left, I recognize some of the other names printed there:
Jimbo “Wade” Dean
Steven “Go-Go” Riggs
Frankie J. Fordham
Hector “Chico” Gonzalez
Now Gage, Scotty, and I go way back. We all served together in the same unit during the war. With Scotty gone now, it’ll be good to see him again. If he’s still alive.
I finish looking around this place and come to realize that Scotty did indeed procure enough weapons, armor, and supplies to keep us fighting at least until the next century. I start organizing the equipment into groups of four. After all is said and done, that’ll probably be all that’s left to fight.