Countdown, Part Five

Continued from Part Four

Colonel Morgan awoke to tapping on his door. He groaned. Dear Lord, what is it at this hour? The clock by his bed read 03:09.

Colonel Morgan said, “Who is it?”

“Sir, Corporal Perry, sir. There’s a priority red message from Army Intelli-gence.”

“I’ll take it. Feed it into my HV.”

Private Snyder appeared in his bedroom window inside what looked like the stockade.

Colonel Morgan frowned. “Private, what are you doing on this frequency? Priority red messages may only be sent by officers.”

“Sir, my apologies. Were you aware the information you had me send you could only be released by the commanding Colonel?”

“I asked Intelligence and was denied. I have a responsibility to protect Latah County. I can’t waste precious time jump-ing through bureaucratic hoops.”

“I feel the same way about using the Red frequency.”

“Fair enough. By the way, Private, is that the stockade?”

“Sir, this is where honoring your request got me, and I need you to get me out. I’ve uncoded the last part of Oerz. End game is tonight. And I can’t stop it from in here.”

“What’s going to happen?”

“Oerz’s endgame asks the player to buy certain items. I haven’t been able to identify the purpose of each, but I can positively identify that a couple chemicals are key explosives. The rest I’m having the computer decode.”

“Snyder,” said a dazed female voice behind Snyder. “What’s going on?”

Colonel Morgan asked, “Who is that?”

“Oh,” Snyder said, “Get up, Sarge, it’s Colonel Morgan.”

“Colonel Morgan? Who’s he?” A female master first sergeant pushed up off the floor, her eyes drooping, with her short blonde hair in a permanent.

Colonel Morgan frowned. “You okay, Sergeant?”

She snapped to salute. “Yes, sir.”

“And what are you doing?”

Snyder said, “She’s guarding me, but was taking a little rest. It’s been a long night.”

“I’ll be out in the morning. Get a little rest yourself. We have a busy day ahead of us.”

Continued Next Thursday

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Snyder reviewed Kendell’s message history to ensure he captured her texting style and didn’t arouse suspicion.