UnCovered, p.1Gary Hancock / Thrillers & Crime
Gary W Hancock
Copyright Gary Hancock 2017
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Table of Contents
54 years old 2017.
My neighbor's small dog saved my life today. He came running up to me as I exited my apartment in New Orleans and started that infernal yapping and wanting to be petted. Just as I leaned over to scratch his head, I heard the ricochet of a bullet off the old river brick wall behind me. My reflexes were still up to par as I turned my motion into a full drop and roll. I continued rolling until I was behind the car parked on my side of the street. Sliding my Taurus PT111 out of my purse, I listened for footsteps headed in my direction. That wonderful dog was the only one in view and it was a couple of minutes before I heard a car door slam and a squeal of tires as the gunman left the area.
Playing the scene back in my mind as I lay on the pavement, I realized that there had not been the sound of a shot. "Suppressor" sprang into my head and this meant that this was no street shooting involving a "drive by" or mugger. I had been "Uncovered".
1979 at a small Jr. College in Mississippi:
I got a strange letter in my mail box on campus today. It didn't have a stamp or return address, just a single page inviting me to meet with a government scholarship program member at the local post office tomorrow. I could sure use it, for I have been working in the cafeteria and every little job I can get on the weekend to help pay for college. I have to get a degree. Just any type of degree. I was determined not to go back to the farm and live my life as the wife of one of my neighbors. I wanted more.
I carried the letter and when I asked the postmaster if he knew anything about it, he just motioned me to go into his office. He said, "I have been thrown out of my own place today. I am not happy about it either, but was not given a choice." This made me very wary of what was behind the door and what was the real goal of my invitation. It was starting to sound less and less like a scholarship. I knocked and a voice said "Come in Miss. Miller."
He motioned to a chair and I sat and looked him straight in the eye and opened my mouth to speak. He beat me to it and said, "Just listen for now and then I will answer all your questions. I am here because of several factors. You are an excellent physical specimen with an athletic body and that is in your favor, but not necessarily critical. The entrance exams you took during the first week of college included a few parts that my organization had included. These were worded to weed out most if not all of the beginning classes. In fact only two at your college were excepted. One did not show up for his interview and there is you. We did a little research on you and found that you speak Farsi." I explained, "My great grandmother on my mother's side had fled Persia during WWI and she taught all her children and grandchildren the old language. We used it as a secret code when we were kids and didn't want anyone else to know what we were saying." The interviewer told me that was interesting and probably would be helpful later on as most of our people know several languages.
The only question I asked at the end, "If I fail the training, will I still get my college paid?" He laughed and told me that they could do that. I held my hand out and asked, "Where is the paper to sign."
2017 still on the sidewalk in New Orleans.
Getting to my knees isn't as easy as it was almost forty years ago, but I moved like my life depended on it and it probably did. A cab was coming down the street and I stepped right in front of it, the driver leaned his head out of the window and yelled, "I already have a fare." I held up a fifty and he shut up and opened the front passenger door. After he dropped off his fare, I got him to drive down to the ferry and I got out. I leaned in and gave him two hundred and told him to drive up two blocks and circle back to pick me up and another two hundred would be waiting. I got on the ferry and slipped below the main deck and I bought a spare uniform from one of the crew. When I came back on deck I had on the uniform and a baseball style hat pulled down as far as it would go. I went to the end of the ferry and help unhook the lines and stepped ashore just in time to catch my cab returning.
I let him drop me off two blocks from the little health club in which I have a membership under a different name. I haven't been there in six months, but I keep a locker with all my needs for a quick getaway. When I emerged from the club I went to the nearest motel and did a hair dye, colored contacts, and a brush on tan. This should do till I can get a professional job. Now to try to contact the company.
Summer of 1979.
My parents think I am at a college in New Jersey that offered me a full ride. Well in a way they are right, but if they knew what I was studying they would have put a stop to their underage daughter's new life. I sent them letters and told them I was learning a foreign language (true), doing physical fitness (true), mastering cognitive thinking (true), drivers ed. (true), but I did leave out the martial arts and firearms. So you see I was getting all of a college degree with a minor in mayhem.
I got into a physical shape that summer that I have tried to keep the rest of my life . When Fall came around I went back to visit my family and told them that I was going to change from the two year college to the four year one that I had been at this summer. The company had made up some color brochures showing this Eastern seaboard college like you see in the movies. Ivy climbing the walls and everything. I told them that the only odd thing was their strict no visitors during the semester and made a promise to come back every three months to catch them up and to let them see how much I was growing in knowledge. There was a little grumbling but my parents knew they could never afford to send me to such a good school on their own.
2017 on the Interstate to New York.
You can get about anything with cash. The three year old car I was driving I bought on Craig list. I filled it with gas and hit the road . I took interstate fifty nine all the way across Mississippi and Alabama before stopping to get a little sleep. If they were still tracking me, then I had no hope to avoid getting killed. I was trying to get to New York and one of the old contact points I hoped was still active. Drive, burger, sleep repeat. I stopped just outside Newark to get a good night sleep, before trying my hand in the big town.
1980 first time to get my feet wet.
Legally we are not allowed to operate in the continental U.S. so I was with a small group of men just on the other side of the border from El Paso in Juarez. There was Intel that a Russian agent would try to get into the country at the interstate one ten bridge. We were going to try to intercept him on the Mexican side and take him back down to the coast below Brownsville and then over to Gitmo, Cuba. They assured me that this had been done several times before and was considered a good training run for the new recruits.
Everything was going along smoothly until we bagged the agent. He turned out to be a she and that was going to make it harder to ship her to Gitmo. The only thing I had learned from the captured spy was her name, Natasha. It was all I could do not to ask her about "Moose and Squirrel."
The Navy was only setup for male prisoners and they can be nit picky about such things. I told them that I would accompany her all the way to Cuba just so decorum could be observed. The agency can let them know what is coming and have me some new orders when I get to the naval base. Boy was that a bad statement to make. Not only did I have new orders, they had a Ensign's uniform ready for me on arrival. I could tell those orders were going to be something more than what a rookie would normally receive.
New York 2017:
I got an Uber ride into New York to the China Town section. I got out on Mort at the bookstore, then I walked a couple of blocks down watching for a tail, before turning into a store with all the signs and banners in Cantonese. I went to the back and made sure no one was watching, I press the wall right under a picture of Chiang Kai-shek and felt a little give and I knew that this was still an active drop. I went into the men's lavatory hoping no one else was in there. As the door closed behind me, the far wall slid into a pocket and two armed Marines stood there with B17-9 bull pups 9mm close quarters weapons. Even not active, I kept up with the equipment, isn't the internet great. I gently handed my purse over to them with two fingers and said, "There is a pistol in it." Flex-cuffs were put on my wrists behind my back. These are better than the metal ones. No key, so a quick knife thrust and you can be freed.
I stepped into the space behind the wall and when it slid close, I was in an elevator heading down. I knew that it only went down about two hundred and fifty feet. The subways of New York deepest station is one hundred and eighty. This gives plenty of room to spread out without hitting one of the tubes. The doors open and I looked into the eyes of a man I had trained oh so many years ago. He smiled and said "Mandy you know we have to follow procedure. You have no official standing and will be treated as hostile till proven not." At least I did feel safe here if not secure.
1980 Mandy Miller secret agent.
With my navy whites I reported to the base commander, he said ,"Have you ever been in a fighter jet before?" My look of bewilderment answered his question. Don't worry, the pilot will not do any acrobatics. According to my orders I was to fly to Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida and report to CAPT James H. Flatley III on the Saratoga. The put a flight suit on me with the helmet covering my face and loaded me into a F14 Tomcat. I was sitting in the rear seat where the RIO usually was. The pilot just looked at me when he climbed in and shook his head.
To say the flight was exciting would be an understatement of major proportions. We didn't land on the carrier, but on the normal field. The pilot said that a tail-hook landing was rough and he had been order to deliver me unscathed. He pointed to the control tower and as I left I realized he didn't even know my name. There was a black town car sitting by the control tower and the man who had given me my first interview stepped out and I got in and received the next leg of my orders.
I flew from Florida to the Rota base in Spain and then a two engine turboprop to the carrier USS Coral Sea off the coast of Iran. I was still in the dark, but the light was soon to blinding. It was the middle of April 1980 and the U.S. was going to try to rescue hostages taken by the Iranian guard. President Carter had order the Navy and the new Delta Force to land inside the country of Iran. I was to be on one of the Helios in case they needed a Farsi speaking woman to deal with the native females. Most of which were forbidden to speak to a man.
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