November 22nd, 2045 - Sagittarius, 1:10, 2:26
"I did not stutter, get up!" Steffen said in annoyance. He paused for a moment and then narrowed his eyes at the two men. "And how, may I ask, did you two bums know my name?"
Cameron glanced over at Gerald as they stood up. When they were both upright with hands in the air, Gerald slowly lowered one of his arms and pointed at Steffen's chest. "Your name tag, sir?"
Steffen glared at the two men and then waved over a pair of similarly dressed soldiers in black uniforms. "By all that is holy you two smell. Men, take these vagrants to the showers and then throw them in with the rest of the 'Freeper' refuse!"
Cameron and Gerald watched Steffen turn and walk away as if he didn't know them.
"Commander Steffen? Hey..."
"Let him go, Cam. That's not the same fellow we know...not yet, anyways," Gerald said in a low voice.
"Man, this is so strange!"
One of the NWUS guards chambered a round in his weapon. "Shut up and move, both of you!"
"We're going!" Gerald said with his hands in the air. "We're going!"
Gerald and Cameron stumbled from the shower tent into the cold wearing gray, numbered pajamas. The color of their uniforms matched the sunless winter sky overhead.
"Get in the back of the truck with the others!" barked an NWUS guard shoving the bare-footed Cameron in his lower back with the butt of his rifle.
"Oh hell no!" The shivering Marine spun around ready for a fight.
One jittery young soldier lifted his weapon and pointed it in Cameron's defiant face. "You got something to say, scumbag!?!!"
The Marine growled. "Oh, I've got plenty to say you skinny little..."
"No sir, we're going," Gerald said glancing around at the other NWUS guards beginning to move toward the activity. The Secret Service Agent quickly stood in between the two angry men with his hands raised. He turned his head to look back at Cameron over his shoulder. "Get in the damn truck, stupid!"
"I would break him in two, you hear me?" Cameron muttered.
"I know." Gerald pushed the Marine toward the truck. "Just shut up and get in there! Time and place...time and place."
"Yeah, yeah." In a huff, Cameron did as told, placed a muddy foot on the bumper of the eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC), and climbed in through the open hatch in its rear. He noted the machine was similar to the vehicle parked in the basement of the MKUltra research labs. Both he and Gerald had practiced driving the massive beast around the parking lot a few times and through a few obstacle courses until they were rather proficient with its use. Cameron considered if he could get his hands on one of those advanced assault rifles from those poorly trained idiots walking around like mindless zombies, he could take the machine and make a break for it.
One shivering Gerald plopped down in an empty seat next to his Marine counterpart and punched him in the arm. "Dick. You nearly got us both killed," he whispered. "You need to calm down! We just got here!"
"Yeah, sorry, but you know that asshole had it coming," Cameron said and scratched at his beard. "Oh, I hate this thing."
"I agree Cameron, but this is about the mission, not your discomfort with your facial hair, or kicking any fascist asses...not yet, at least."
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