The sky was blue with slate clouds occasionally overriding the sun’s attempt to raise the temperature above 15° F. The rust and cream-colored VW camper-van’s windows were steamed to opacity from the exhaled humidity of its three passengers.
“I can’t see shit.” Dick Forno rubbed away a one-foot square patch of windshield in front of him. It was so cold the moisture on the glass was icing-up. “I’m goin’ to start the fuckin’ motor.”
“We aren’t supposed to draw attention to ourselves Dick.” Icky Wormwood was the self-appointed second in command of the van group.
“Fuck you and I’m freezing, for Chrissakes.” Forno pressed the button on his hand-radio. “Hux?” This was the single word to alert Huxley to respond.
“Hux.” Was the response. “Give me 30-seconds to get to a secure area.” Huxley was moving the sabotaged Byrd machine to the Respiratory Therapy equipment room. He would be the only one there. He unlocked the door, pushed the green Byrd in and locked the door behind him. He picked up a small hammer and a screwdriver and wedged a green circular piece of plastic into the exhalation valve of the sabotaged machine. Anyone investigating the device could clearly see that “somehow” the valve mechanism had gotten irreversibly stuck.
“Hux here. I’m clear. What do you want? It’s only 0820?” Huxley felt Forno was too twitchy for this job. He was that way in Nam too–always looking up at the sky or seeing imaginary things in the bush around the Marine patrol. He was a good corpsman though (ex-corpsman, he thought quickly).
“We’re headin’ over to the depot to set the charges. Are you sure security isn’t due until 0900?”
“That dick-head Norton runs his people like a Swiss watch. At exactly 0900 he’ll have one of his Officer’s and a few MP Marines over there. What are your guys wearing?”
“Hospital Corpsman whites with pea coats and issue gloves.”
“The lock on the chained gate should be sprung since the last security check at 0730. Bring a bolt cutter just in case. I won’t be at the station. There aren’t any patients needing respiratory care equipment. Over.” Huxley looked at his watch for the fifth time.
“Christ. What if Security shows up early?” Forno was perpetual motion. He could never sit still. Even his face twitched at the corner’s of his eyes. Forno had put in a claim that he got these nervous tics from Vietnam and resented the VA system and the Navy for refusing to grant him a 25% permanent disability pension for the rest of his life. He even defined his diagnosis for them–Spastic Tic Combat Neurosis.” They laughed and told him there was no such thing. He was ripe for Hanoi recruitment.
“You’re in uniform.” Huxley could picture Forno twitching all over. “The ID cards are perfect and you’re an ex-corpsman. They probably won’t even check you guys out but if they do you’ll be okay. I added your names to the Duty Crew list for today. Why don’t you just get going? If you’re quick you’ll leave before they get there. Set the timer for 0935.”
“We already know the time for Chrissakes.” Forno shut off the ignition and opened the door. He and the other two headed for the locked train depot gate. They each carried a supermarket paper bag containing three 3-inch wide by 6-inch long incendiary bricks.
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