The Pandora Effect Ch. 02byboneams©
1600 hrs, Adam Dawson's house, six miles from the base.
Adam Dawson opened the front door to his house in Chesapeake. As he walked in, Garrett Brown followed him while studying the inside. The décor was modest with one wall in the living room adorned with Navy memorabilia the SEAL collected over the years.
Throwing his keys on the end table, Adam turned to Garrett. "Need a beer, Garrett?"
"Does a one legged duck swim in circles?"
Adam laughed at the reply and went to the kitchen. There he found his wife Kristine cutting vegetables for the soup that was simmering. He walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her slender waist. She quickly stop cutting and spun around in his muscular arms.
"Welcome home Sailor. I thought I'd make some homemade soup for dinner tonight."
"Um – can that sit for a bit? I need your help in the living room with something important."
Kristine looked into her husband's eyes. "Oh you want to do it in the living room again? You have some strange ideas, Lieutenant."
"I have company out there Sweetheart. What I need is your opinion on something. The kind of something you're not supposed to see," Adam said as he kissed her forehead.
He grabbed two beers and headed into the living room with Kristine following close behind. As they entered, they saw Garrett Brown looking at Adams pictures and awards on the wall. When he grabbed the beer from Adam, he studied Kristine carefully.
"So you're the best CIA Intelligence Officer ever huh." Garrett said with a hint of sarcasm.
"I don't know who you are, but I do two things really well – intelligence is the other one," she replied as she moved closer to Adam.
"Kristine, I'd like you meet Garrett Brown. He's with the S.A.D. and he has a small problem."
"Oh you're with the agency? Well what you need is a frontal lobotomy. That should take care of all your problems."
Garrett studied her closely, while Adam just smiled and sipped his beer. He liked the fact she had a quick response, not many Intel Officers did. He took a long pull off his beer, and then walked over to the couch. Sitting down, he pulled his briefcase over and opened it. When he pulled the folder out, he placed it on the coffee table.
"Given your last comment Mrs. Dawson, I sense you have little use for the agency anymore. That means they pissed you off too. Why don't you sit down and I'll let you in on the situation."
"With all due respect Mr. Brown, I don't give a fuck what your problem is. Even if I did help you, you morons wouldn't follow my advice. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kick your ass out right now."
Garrett looked at Adam who was chuckling softly. "Is she always like this, or is it just when you have company?"
"I told you we'd help. I didn't say anything about it being easy. Kristine, sit down and just look at the pictures. You'll just have to trust me on this one baby."
Kristine took a seat to the side of Garrett Brown. She had an angry look on her face as she pulled the folder over to her. When the first photo appeared, she caught her breath. The mangled body of Aaron Lancaster was in plain sight, she silently cursed herself for even opening the folder.
"Mrs. Dawson, I know the photos are disturbing, but I really need to know what I'm up against. I don't want to lose any more teams."
"How – how many..."
"To be honest three so far, two of mine and one British team. This team was led by Aaron Lancaster, he was my finest team leader and a very dear friend."
Kristine looked up with teary eyes at her loving husband. She knew he was going to be involved and what he was up against again. The damage was unmistakable. He was going to have to track down and kill another werewolf.
"Honey, he needs our help. I know how you feel, but you also know Kevin and I are the only ones who can do this."
"You're insane! We went through this in Predjama and now you're asking me to help do it again?"
Garrett looked at her with a puzzled expression. "Mrs. Dawson what happened in Predjama? What could inflict this kind of damage? This is the only team we have ever found after the insertion, the rest are still missing."
"I – I don't – all I ever saw – I don't..."
Adam could see the hesitation in his wife's eyes. "Garrett, I want to make it perfectly clear, I have no evidence to back up what I'm about to say."
"I understand. All I want is some answers."
"Your team was killed by some kind of a mutant wolf. It's large and very deadly, with lightning fast reflexes. We killed one in Predjama, but trust me, you won't find that in any report I ever filled out."
"You're saying some kind of wolf did this? What the hell was one doing in that part of the Ukraine?"
"The question is, what the hell was one of your teams doing in the Ukraine?" Adam asked quickly.
Garrett looked at the Navy SEAL hard for a moment, then reached into his briefcase again. He pulled out a brown binder and opened it. The director of the S.A.D. placed three photos on the coffee table over the bloody pictures of his team.
"These are the people we're going after. The weird thing is, every time we get close, we lose a team. It's like they know we're coming, no matter what we do to prevent it."
Kristine picked up the picture of Rashida Turk. "What do you want them for? Are they planning some sort of terrorist attack?"
Garrett remained quiet. He didn't know how much information he could give out before it became a security concern. Adam reached forward and picked up the other two photos. He knew Garrett was hesitant, but maybe he could coax a small piece of information to put it all together.
"Who are these two morons?" Adam asked.
"The more muscular one is Bashir Haddad. We're pretty sure he's the leader of the group, the other is Mansur Abla. The lone female is Rashida Turk, but from what we have on her, she's just as deadly as the men."
"Are they Iraqi or Saudi?" Kristine asked.
"Actually Mrs. Dawson, they're Lebanese. They have no ties to any known terrorist group and we think after training they started their own little faction."
"So – you have three terrorist, highly trained, and freelancing. I'm thinking they want a nuke so they can make a statement. That's why they're in the Ukraine, possibly Sevastopol or Kherson."
"Very good Adam, you're smarter than I took you for," Garrett said, then he reached into his briefcase again, retrieving another set of photos.
Adam scanned the photos and then handed some of them to Kristine. The further he went, he realized he was looking at just one woman. There were shots of her entering an apartment building, going shopping, but one caught his attention.
She was wearing a white lab coat and checking in at a security checkpoint. The building in the background however is what he was studying. Other than one door, it was totally sealed off from the outside world. No windows or vents on any of the cement walls. It did have six large air conditioning units on the roof.
Adam handed the photo to Kristine, and then sat back to gage her reaction. It took just a few moments of looking at the picture to figure out what it was. She looked up at Adam and shook her head. She couldn't believe her husband was thinking about going after these people.
Kristine handed the photo back to Garrett Brown. "They're not after nukes, and if that's not a bio research lab, then it's the most secure ice cream parlor in the world."
"Who's the hot chick in the photos Garrett?" Adam asked but got a stern look from his wife.
"That is Major, Nadia Karpov. She's a biological weapons expert who was top in her field during the cold war. After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, she stayed on to oversee the destruction of all bio agents."
"So you think these three are after Karpov to get their hands on a bio weapon?" Kristine asked.
"We started picking up traffic between her and Haddad. We suspected something was up, so the agency got an operative inside to monitor her. The operative found out she stole four canisters and we waited for the sale. You can imagine our displeasure when we found out he lost her a few days ago," Garrett said as he placed all the Intel back into his briefcase.
Adam dropped his head in his hands. He couldn't believe how incompetent the Central Intelligence Agency was. In the past, his SEAL team was brought in to clean up their messes and he was getting tired of it.
"You ok, Adam? I know this is a lot to take in," Garrett said.
"Yeah, it's just that I've heard this story before. You would have thought by now the agency had a handle on keeping track of people, even more so when bio weapons are concerned."
There was a knock on the door, and Garrett immediately moved his hand to his back, palming the Siq Sauer P226. Adam stood up and approached the door cautiously. He normally didn't have to, but with the kind of Intel in the living room, he wasn't taking any chances. As he placed his eye to the peephole, he saw Kevin and Jake Newton.
"Take it easy Garrett. I don't think you want to shoot our point men," Adam said as he opened the door
"Hey Boss, everyone knows about tonight and they're ready. How's your day going so far?" Kevin asked as he and Jake entered the room.
"Let's just say I'm getting too old for this job. Come on in guys, you know where the beer is, Kevin," Adam replied.
Kevin, headed for the kitchen as Jake took a seat next to his director. He quickly studied Kristine whose was looking at him intently. She had the look of displeasure on her face, it made Jake a bit nervous. From the conversation at the Officer's Club, he knew she was prior CIA, but looked more like a trophy wife.
"How do you do, I'm Jake Newton. You have a very nice house Mrs. Dawson," he said politely.
"Thank you Jake, but it seems your boss here is trying to disrupt my delicately balanced household today," Kristine replied as she glared at Garrett Brown.
"Kristine, may I call you Kristine? We got off on the wrong foot I think. I work for a bunch of idiots that constantly put my men and I in impossible situations. I don't like it any more than Adam does I suspect, but like him, I do my job. I've never asked for help outside the division until now. If Adam doesn't want to help, I'll be on my way and do it myself."
Kevin entered with two beers and handed one to Jake. He then walked over to Kristine and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "Nice to see you Kristine. I see you still have a sore spot for the agency."
"Yes and you seem to forget that as an operative, I don't miss much. What are the guys ready for tonight? Adam, you going on a secret mission that you didn't tell me about?" Kristine asked with a sharp tone in her voice.
"Calm down honey, Doc Sharp is rotating to Coronado for Instructor duty. We're having a farewell party tonight."
"Oh I just love Doc! You're going to have a hard time replacing that one. So where's the party? I can be finished with the soup in an hour and then get ready to go," Kristine said excitedly.
All four men looked at her with a smirk. She had no idea where the party was and might balk at the idea of a strip club for a going away party. Kristine looked back at the men with a confused look.
"It's Doc's last party with us. I am invited, am I not?"
"Um – Kristine, we're meeting up at Jackie's for the party. You may see some things that aren't quite right honey," Adam told her shyly.
Kristine stood up and started towards the kitchen. "After Kevin, nothing really shocks me anymore. Dinner will ready in an hour, make yourselves at home gentlemen," she said as she kissed her husband then disappeared.
"Adam, where's the bathroom?" Garrett asked.
"Down the hall and on the left, I think I'll help my wife with dinner. Sounds like I might be in the dog house for the party," Adam said as he and Garrett exited the room.
Now that they were alone, Jake Newton put his beer down and stared at Kevin. "Let me guess Dvorska, she knows too."
"It couldn't be helped Jake. Both she and Adam were in danger. The only way to solve the problem was to show them what they were up against," Kevin said as he sipped his beer.
"Jesus, why don't you just put it on a billboard Kevin? Who else on your fire team knows?"
"The rest of the team is oblivious of my other side. The only other one is my girlfriend Laura. She's my true love and enjoys the time she spends with me when I change."
"Is she going out tonight with us also?"
"She told me earlier she wouldn't miss it for the world. Actually, it's kind of funny, she said that Kristine needed some company if she was going to a strip club. I guess she knows Kristine better than any of us do."
"See, that's why I'm glad I joined the Marines. You SEALs are really weird people."
Jackie's Runway was a favorite club for the local men, along with a few adventurous women. The club was by no means large, but the fact it was located in a beach community, the deeply tanned dancers drew crowds in.
The actual runway stretched from the back of the room. It extended out about twenty feet before breaking off to the left and right. A table like platform with cushioned chairs surrounded the entire runway. There were very few nights that an empty chair was available, but a group could always find seating at one of the polished tables that filled the rest of the club.
The L-shaped bar ran from the entrance and along the mirrored wall. The costumers that just wanted a cold beer and some eye candy, found the bar a more appealing place to sit and watch. Those more mature men let the younger, more enthusiastic costumers crowd the stage.
Machinist's Mate Second Class (MM2) Carl Werner, and Aviation Ordnanceman Second Class (AO2) Dan Vasquez, were among those enthusiastic costumers. Both Carl and V-man, held their empty beer bottles as they stared at the blond-haired dancer. She wore a hot pink G-string and matching pasties, which glowed brightly under the black lights of the stage.
Both SEALs turned around when Alpha's team Chief came up behind them, placing six cold beers on the table. Boatswain's Mate Chief Petty Officer (BMC) Bob Holiday, smiled at the blonde-haired girl as he took a sip of his beer. When she saw his interest, she turned around and bent over. As she touched her toes, she turned her head and winked at him with a bright gleaming smile.
"That looks painful sweetheart. Try not to hurt yourself on my account," Bob said as he stared at her tight shapely ass.
"Oh don't worry about me, Daddy. I'm very flexible." The tanned stripper teased him further by running her pink tongue across her ruby red lips.
V-man leaned his head back to look at his Chief. "Thanks for the round of beers – Daddy," he said with a laugh.
"You obviously haven't had your ass kicked in a while, V-man. You call me that again and I'll rectify that problem."
"Aye, aye Chief."
"Carl, you didn't lose Doc did you? It's your job to make sure he doesn't die tonight," Bob asked his team's heavy weapons expert.
"He didn't go too far Bob. V-man and I got a few of the girls to entertain him for a few songs. We couldn't let him just stare at them all night. He's over there in the corner." Carl then pointed off to a dark corner.
Chief Bob Holiday turned and looked towards the far corner of the club. He saw two women, one blond, and one brunette, grinding on the outstretched legs of a man. He couldn't see the rest of his body as they women rubbed their almost naked forms against the smothered man.
When the two women slid to the side, he saw Hospital Corpsman Third Class (HM3) Don Sharp. His light brown hair was a mess from the stripper's fingers, his face smeared in lipstick. Bob knew Doc was in heaven from the ear-to-ear smile across his boyish face.
"Looks like he's getting his twenty bucks worth," Bob said.
Carl looked at him with a shit-eating grin. "Actually we gave each one sixty to make it extra special."
"Christ Carl, you're supposed to make sure he gets to Coronado for Instructor duty. What will the Navy say when they find out he had a heart attack before reporting?"
"Then I guess it's a good thing we all know CPR," Carl replied as the song ended.
Meanwhile at the front entrance, Adam and Kristine entered. Following close behind them were Kevin, Laura and the two S.A.D operators. Adam shook hands with the doorman and bouncer, Richard Black. The ex-SEAL smiled at the Lieutenant as he took the five-dollar door charge.
"Hey Adam, nice to see you out tonight," the burly bouncer said.
"Hi Dick, I'd like you to meet my wife, Kristine. Kristine, this is Richard Black, he used to be with the teams."
Dick extended his large hand and gently held Kristine's more petite one. "Nice to meet you Kristine, but I'm afraid I'll have to see some ID. We don't need any underage women getting in and having the cops shut us down."
"Oh well aren't you the sly one. You truly know a way to a woman's heart," she said with a bright smile, as she pulled out her driver's license.
He studied it and handed it back to her. "Ladies get in free so enjoy your night, and if someone bothers you, then just yell."
"I'll be surrounded by Adam's team. I don't think I'll need any extra protection, but I'll keep you in mind."
The rest of the group came into the dimly lit strip club. Kevin headed to the bar with Jake Newton to get drinks, while the rest of them moved to an empty table near the runway. Both Garrett and Adam took seats against the wall as Kristine and Laura sat across from them.
Kristine looked around at the strip club. There were women giving lap dances and a few up on the runway. She watched a dark haired beauty spinning on a brass pole as dollar bills littered the runway. Her eyes drifted off to one side of the room where she saw Bob Holiday, who was standing behind Carl and Dan.
"There's the rest of your team Adam," Kristine said as she pointed to the stage.
"Looks like they're really caught up with that dancer, I hope they have a good supply of small bills."
Kevin came up and set a tray of drinks down. He handed Kristine a gin and tonic, then placed a strawberry daiquiri in front of Laura. Garrett and Adam reached in and pulled the beers off as Jake sat down. Kevin meanwhile looked over towards the stage and saw Bob. He kissed Laura's cheek and walked over to the rest of Alpha's fire team.
Adam leaned over and looked at his lovely wife. "Well what do you think of the place?"
"Oh I don't know Adam, I guess as a man you could find yourself enjoying it here. As far as the women though, I think Laura and I have them beat. I know I'm a much better dancer than them. What do you think, Laura?"
"I agree with you Kristine. This is my first time in a strip club and I didn't know what to expect. I don't understand why men would sit down and pay a dollar just for some girl to spread her legs a foot in front of them?" Laura said as she shook her head.
All three men laughed at her comment, then took a long pull off their drinks. Kristine leaned in towards Laura and brought her lips up to her ear. "I don't know about you dear, but I'm gonna have a few more of these drinks, then tease the hell out of my poor husband."
"I agree. We'll show them there are better things to look at back home," she said with a giggle.
Garrett set his beer down and looked at Adam Dawson. He needed an answer on whether or not he was going to help. He knew Eason would never agree to it, but if they all showed up tomorrow, he'd have no choice but to let them.
"I don't mean to seem pushy here Adam, but I really could use your answer on my problem."
"I'm sure you do Garrett. Let me get my team Chief over here and we'll discuss it."
"I thought you were the Lieutenant, why don't you make the call?"
"Because of what we might have to go after Garrett, it could get my men killed if it's like Predjama. SEALs discuss everything because our very lives are in each other's hands."