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    Thread: Zeus's Toy Box

    1. #11
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Chapter 21: Special Envoy


      While this was going on something strange happened. The base got a call saying that a Special Envoy from the UN was coming to see about their ‘resupply needs’ and Lt. Hayes was really surprised to hear it. Their supplies were usually bought by themselves from various merchants, but the man from the UN they always deal with said that a new deal was coming, and it would help them immensely.

      Of course that sounded pretty good and they said they’d be there early the next day, and he agreed and then sent a message to Tessa and her Team telling her what was going on.

      “No one mentioned any of this to me.” She admitted while he looked pretty bad thinking it. “Then why are they making a special trip to check us out? They never have before.” She mentioned as he looked seriously upset about it.

      “Get the ship and crew out of there, something is very wrong.” She said as he agreed, and as the call closed he turned and called for the remaining crew to get on board, and his docks were covered in UN soldiers, and he swore to see how fast they moved in.

      “The United Nations is taking control of this facility, effective immediately.” The Officer in charge demanded as Lt. Hayes asked by whose authority, and got pistol whipped for the question. “Throw him in the brig.” He declared and it was done.

      “Give me the Captain right now, I want to see Contessa Romani on this deck in 5 minutes or people will suffer.” He screamed as one soldier told him she was away on leave, and that pissed him off more than before.”Then call and get her back here...NOW!” he ordered and the call was made and Tessa asked who ordered this raid, and the officer laughed saying that she had no rights now, that the UN was in Command, and that she had 4 hours to get back there or the crew would be shot.

      “Just as I suspected...” She said with a grin, “you’re not from the UN at all, your nothing but filthy pirates.” She said and closed the link and made another call, to the real UN who was shocked that this was happening, or so they said.

      “I assure you Captain, we have no raids going on on your base. Please believe me, this officer is acting on his own and without our permissions at all!” She was told but it smacked of a setup to her and she left it slip that the base had a self-destruct unit, and if they didn’t leave in time, she’d kill them all and destroy the island itself.

      “You wouldn’t...” he whispered as she checked her watch right in front of him.

      “ 2 hours and counting,” and she closed the link and the man called the base saying what she had done, as the officer laughed saying she didn’t have the nerve, and just then all the lights went out and the ships reactor went on standby, and nothing would reactivate again, as Tessa shut down the base remotely.

      “What the Hell?” The Officer screamed as flashlights came out just to let them see to walk around.

      “One hour and 45 minutes...” Came on the PA system as he looked around and demanded she come out, as Tessa laughed...from hundreds of miles away. “Let me guess, President Akime gave you a huge payoff to get me to leave him and his country alone, and part of that was to stop me from bothering him, or his friends, ever again,right? And because of that this raid started, and you just accidentally tried it when I wasn’t there, so that means I can do whatever I want and wont even get hurt.” She said as the man screamed that he had the authority of the UN behind him, and she laughed saying she worked for them, and this was how they treated her?

      “Your mission is now over, release the locks on the ship and let us take it and we’ll let you and your crew live.” he declared as she gave him a counter offer...get out now and live, or stay and die...and he declared she had no such rights to order UN personal around, and she remarked...’1 hour’ and closed the link.

      The officer ran everywhere, trying to get the ship to restart, or to stop this countdown, which was now on every screen. He couldn’t find anything that worked and as the timer got to 45 minutes, he knew they barely had enough time to get away before the explosion that would level the island. If the reactor blew then this would be a radiation zone for years to come, and if the ship wasn’t destroyed in the blast, it would sit there, entombed in radiation until it became obsolete.

      “Damn it! Get those doors open, we’ll tow the damned thing out if we have to!” He screamed but they wouldn’t budge and the timer kept on going and soon he felt he had no choice but evacuate the island.

      “Put charges on every barrel and supply crate, if this is a farce then we’ll make it the real thing.” He said as they all ran out and quickly jumped into their evacuation boats and ran full speed away, and explosions could be heard even outside and the floor shook inside as the Second waited to see what would happen next.

      The explosions set the supplies on fire and hundreds of gallons of fuel lit up and rushed out the air vents, easily seen even from the escaping boats. Then the black smoke billowed out and a huge sound as one big explosion was heard even out on the ocean, and the UN team said it wasn’t nuclear but it was huge, and he smiled saying that if they couldn’t keep that ship no one would, and he called back saying that the base and ship was destroyed, as Tessa and her Team flew back to see what had really happened.

      Their helicopter circled the island and then landed,as smoke ran out every vent and crack. She called remotely and power was restored, and she had emergency ventilation running as even more smoke poured out, and they ran inside and saw the mess. Many of the crew were inside the base, well back from the docks and were spared, some that were being forced to work on the ship or doors, died in the explosion, trying to get away before all the fuel and warheads exploded.

      But everything on the docks or nearby was gone, exploded or on fire and only the special construction of the ship saved it from flying shrapnel or the heat of the fire. She got the emergency sprinkler running now as the fire started going out and many others ran in to help, as they got back into the docks from deeper inside. Lt. Hayes ran in, holding a handkerchief against his mouth and nose and asked if she was alright, and she agreed as they all ran into the ship to check things there and found that with a little TLC it would be fine again.

      “I cant believe the UN backed this raid.” Hayes said as the list of the dead slowly got longer and longer.

      “ They back us and we’re mercenaries, so why not? We thought that they’d be fair with us since we worked for them quite often, but then they are suseptible to bribes too like any other organization.” Tessa said as he looked tired just thinking it.

      “Well, you got back just in time to get the fire suppression system working, and they think the base is destroyed by now, but they might be watching by satellite, so they know you’re back again.” he hinted as she nodded it was probably true.

      “So...do we stay and fix the place up and wait on the next raid, or go and set up again somewhere else?” Tessa asked as he waited for her decision.

      “Can we afford to?” He asked as she smiled and nodded that things were not that bad yet.” but where would we go then?” He asked as she sat back in the Command chair and smiled wider than ever before.

      “To the one place pirates have visited for centuries...” She said as he looked surprised,” The Madagascar Islands.” She said as he agreed and the base was evacuated, and they gave their dead burials at sea, and as they worked their way there she called Mr. Francis to get replacements for all their supplies, and he was upset too, and gave her deals that no one on the planet could possibly beat.


      Chapter 22: Retaliation


      For two weeks they drifted around, silently looking for a new base, and decided on one small island pretty far from everyone else. The main island was a peaceful place, with good cities and trade going on, and she didn’t want to involve them in her troubles. So they started setting up on a little island, it had a small bay that helped protect the ship from storms and was just big enough to hide a small base and warehouse area, under the trees.

      A freighter came by late one evening, and the Toy Box got a good drink of fuel for the first time in a while, and Tessa looked pretty happy for a while after that. They also took a lot of fuel in barrels and stored it on the island and soon a shipment of missiles and torpedos arrived too and they were back in business again.

      “Now what do we do, Captain? Our usual sources of work are drying up from all this trouble with the UN.” Hayes mentioned as she reminded him it wasn’t really the UN that was bothering them, it was the Maldives, and he agreed to that.

      “Do you know how to make a rich man sad, Mr. Hayes?” Tessa asked as he just shrugged.” you make him poor, and let him see how badly he screwed up when he had the chance.’ She said, and a mission was set for the next Saturday night, and as the people sat at home and partied on their day off, every lab, storage facility and even some ships in the harbor were destroyed in less than an hour. The main base for the drug operations was burned to the ground, and fields were set afire, and by dawn President Akime knew that Tessa was still out there, and she had declared war on him, personally.

      His drug business was on the rocks and even the Cartel that he worked with withdrew, saying it was too hot there for them, and his dealings dropped to next to nothing. He saw now that he had made a mistake, Contessa Romani wasn’t about to let him get away with this, and now his entire economy was dropping into the toilet.

      He had stopped growing the things that used to be their livelihood, and changed over to drug materials, but now the fields were empty and scorched and his friends at the UN weren’t talking to him either, and he was forced to use a lot of his own fortune to give the country a new start, as Tessa sat watching him giving speeches and laughed to herself. It cost her a lot to do it, but his drug empire was through, and his old contacts saw that they would get hit too, if they continued to work with him... and so they left too... and now he was all alone.

      The Secretary of the UN was sitting watching too, and when he was asked if they wouldn’t be hit too he shook his head no as the other man looked surprised.

      “It was just politics and she knows it, we’ll wait a bit then call her again and offer her work. So long as someone as skilled as she is is out there, we can get a lot done, and this one incident shows that changes can be made...serious changes...if only someone cares enough to do something about it.” He said as people around him looked shocked he spoke so highly of a group like this, but he was a realist after all.

      The Cartels used force to make countries do what they wanted but many wouldn’t retaliate or only used police and small arms for it. This group used every weapon at their disposal and got results. No Cartel leader wanted a really serious force after them, they lived in houses and had families too, and they wanted them to remain safe no matter what, so bribes and deals were made everyday, and Contessa knew it. It might have cost her a base, but he was certain she’d get another, and the work he’d offer her would help to pay for it, as long as she was needed.

      A few days later and a special report was on all the news...a rogue agent commanding a unit of UN troops got caught running illegal operations... and got 20 years for his crimes. It was all BS of course, the officer got a quick retirement and he kept his mouth shut after that, but Tessa and her crew saw it for what it was...the UN’s apology for what happened to her base.

      She also got an official apology from the UN President, and a deposit that she was sure that President Akime helped to pay for. Now she just needed to be nice and quiet here at her new base for a while, and no one should feel threatened, or at least not anyone here.

      “So...” Carl said seeing the report on the last attack.”she survived again, and now the UN is back peddling to make her happy. I guess she’s got more nerve than I ever gave her credit for. 10.2 billion in damages in a single night, looks like she’s not the little girl that daddy spoiled anymore.” He whispered and he knew only being Family protected him too, and he was doing pretty well, considering he was a wanted man. Maybe he’d just leave her alone for a while, and see what she’d do next.

      By now the new base was taking shape.It was never going to be as nice as the first. This one was made from metal buildings and remodeled inside to make them more comfortable to live in. The new island was about half the size of the first with some small beaches with trees and bush patches around the island here and there,there were no big rocks to fish from, but Sam adjusted and soon was seen sitting under a big tree on his folding chair, enjoying his time off.
      He had a chance during one trip to the big island for supplies to talk to some anglers there and was surprised at the large number of big fish to be found around the islands. Several types of tuna as well as bream, some up to 2 feet long,bras, another form of bream, he was told, that can go up to 30 pounds, making them both good eating and fun to catch.

      “You cant catch tuna off the shores though, some are bigger than a man,” he heard and he took their word for it and seemed to specialize in Red Snapper, though he hadn’t caught anything very big yet. But it gave him something to do and at least once the crew had a nice soup, maybe a chowder made from some fish he caught, and everyone told him it was great, and he said he’d do it again when he got lucky some other day, and the cooks just laughed because his luck while fishing was getting well known.

      All this while time passed and things got back to a little more normal. The UN sent a message and another illegal weapons shipment got stopped, and the Captain of the ship was in shock to see something this big just appear in front of him when nothing showed on radar. He didnt even fight when they got boarded, and soon a UN ship drifted in and took them prisoner and towed the ship away.

      They could have done it themselves of course, but what if their info was wrong? It’s always possible, and being the largest ‘Law Enforcement Agency’ on the world made them look bad for every mistake. But let someone else make the mistake and it was just a normal day, and they stayed out of it.

      But any time you can stop some tyrant from getting half a billion in weapons, is a good day, and Tessa smiled as her ship drifted back into the little bay and her crew walked off to get some rest again. It wasn’t like they were over worked, she paid them even when they weren’t busy, and that cost her a lot. But they lost 8 people during the raid, and she hadnt hired any more for now. They were doing pretty well and with work being short it didn’t seem necessary at the moment, but she knew when things picked up...a sure thing...then she’d be looking to hire more men and women, but just not right now.

      And by now the locals had noticed some new people coming and going, people that hadn’t been seen on the islands before, but were around more often than not. The President had some intelligence watching to see , knowing full well that as a small island country it was his job to keep them safe, and the stories he heard made him consider...he got some reports and pictures and videos of the workers coming and going, and it surprised him that they were buying a lot of construction materials, but didn’t hire any local contractors.

      Construction materials, tools and even a few pre-made buildings that never seemed to get put up anywhere he could see. He finally got the info he had asked for from the UN and law enforcement agencies and many of these people were identified as professional mercenaries, and that shocked him.

      They didn’t have any bounties on them, none of them were wanted, they were just professionals, and after a while he decided that if they didn’t bother him, he wouldn’t bother them. His country had been formed from people like these, as far back as the 1600's, and he didn’t mind them spending their money here, so long as they left him and his country alone, and he had a message slipped into their next shipment of supplies saying that he knew they were out there, and he didn’t mind...under certain conditions.

      Then a day later the link he sent got used and he was shocked to see Tessa sitting there on the bridge of her ship, all smiles.

      “Mr. President, thank you for the message, I assure you we have no hostile intent towards you or your country.” She said and even at this angle it was clear this was a large and high tech ship, as he smiled and thanked her for the call.”If you should ever need me or my people please, don’t hesitate to call,” She said and her coms link flashed on the screen and he wrote it down, just in case, and now he had officially met the local mercenaries...or pirates...he wasn’t too sure, but he just smiled as the link went down and he decided that friends of this type were hard to come by so he’d keep it to himself.


    2. #12
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      WEEKEND EDITION

      Chapter 23: New Friends and Enemies


      President Carlos put that link away for a while. Even he had some problems they might help with later. The local island was safe and secure, most times, but the countries to the west were not always that way. There was a booming business in slave labor for mines and other industries, and he threw their people off his island more than once, telling them he would not stand for it here, and they seemed at least moderately intelligent and stayed out of sight for now.

      There was one small country in particular that seemed to make quite the living from it, and he didn’t approve, but when he and their ‘President for Life’ talked, he was warned to stay out of other peoples business.

      “Slavery has been around since Biblical times,” He was told as he agreed with that,” and with little else in the way of natural resources, a leader has to work with what he has.” he was told as he refused to admit to that, but then his country was done OK with the industry and exports he had so he couldn’t say much about that. But slavery was wrong, no matter, and he started thinking maybe he could help them find some other way to make a living, and every offer and mention of something else got a rude response.

      So to keep friction to a minimum, he left it go for now, and even his calls to the UN got little in the way of response. It seemed they agreed at least for now, that the little country had little choice, and so he sat back and watched as things there only got worse for the average person on the street.

      Their land was poor, their people hungry and many were dying from malnutrition and disease, so thinning out the population a bit was helping everyone, he claimed, as the President of the UN did mention that there were other ways to help his people, and they sent some help his way too, and he didn’t refuse it, he just kept right on going the way he was.

      And his wasn’t the only country with troubles either, Africa was well known for hard times many places, and the UN watched over them and sent help when it could. But there’s only so much you can do when many people don’t want the help, and they just sat back and waited for people to accept them and try something new.

      The UN President wanted more than anything to help all those that needed it, but just weren’t ready yet, and his dream of a United Earth seemed far from Reality.

      While all this politics played out nearby the new Base was finished. It was nothing fancy, but it gave them all a place to live off the boat, and some storage space for supplies. She threw it together on a shoestring budget, but it would last a while. And if they ever had to move again it wouldn’t be as expensive to leave it behind.

      “Not bad considering...” Tessa said as she and her Second toured the finished buildings.

      “Not very fancy but good solid construction.” He said and she nearly laughed at his military tone, so long as they had a roof over their heads he was satisfied, and she tried to make it just a tad better than that, and she was sure the crew appreciated it.

      “Alright then we can move in today, make the announcement.” She said and it was done, and people that hadn’t left the boat for weeks got a new bunk and seemed a little more happy with that.

      The ship had the best of everything, but it was small compared to the bunkhouse they built. Now they had many times the room and could just open a door and walk outside to see the sun or smell the fresh air. Moral was a bit better and soon little things appeared that people tend to make up for themselves. A set of poles out behind one building became a volley ball court, and games were played when they had time to themselves.

      Of course just laying out to get a tan worked too, and on nice sunny days it wasn’t unusual to see a few taking advantage of it also. Sam did a little fishing and one or two tried it for something else to do, and they started taking their time off on the main island, since they had been invited to stay.

      Work started coming in again, and soon things returned to normal, and Tessa wasn’t unhappy with it this way. They were making a difference, albeit a small one, but it gave her a smile to think no one else was even trying and her and her crew became locals around the islands after a while.

      But the World isn’t going to let people just sit back and relax, and soon something new came up and they got the call again.

      “Slave trading has been around for centuries,” The President said as Tessa agreed,” and we don’t hear a lot about it nowadays. But the truth is... they just got better at doing it. Its estimated that every country in the world has slaves, no matter who it is. Some even give out Visitors Visas knowing full well the organizations that use them will make the people into economic slaves by dropping debt on them that they can never afford. Its a new form of slavery, and technically its legal.” He said as she looked shocked to hear it.

      “Its been estimated that over 1 million people are actual slaves, mostly in the sex and drug trades,” He went on as she nodded she understood. “add another 2 million or so as economic slaves, and its a major problem worldwide.” He said as she agreed.”We’re trying to get countries to police their boarders better, and new laws are coming that make forced slavery of any kind illegal, but many industrial nations are fighting it, and for good reason, economic slaves have been around for centuries, and without them being forced to work for low wages, many companies would not be the powerhouses they are today. Guaranteeing a labor force at low wages forever has huge advantages, and they wont let them go easily.” He said as she nodded sadly.

      “Many people who were born and raised in countries around the world become economic slaves when times get hard, and never recover from it. Thats the countries problem, and we cant do much but put pressure on them. But if we can stop the sell of new slaves by the thousands then we can cut down on them at a base level. You might not think it, but some entire countries make their living breeding and selling slaves by the thousands every year, and we’re trying to put an end to that part, and had more pressure to stop forcing people into debtors contracts worldwide.If we stop some of their businesses from running, like we did in the Maldives, then slavery in those countries fall dramatically, and there are entire towns and cities where ‘training’ is done with slaves, and then they get sold to criminal organizations worldwide for their needs. Thats what we want to stop. I have a list of countries willing to take in ‘refugees’ from other countries, knowing full well what we’re going to do.I want these towns and trading facilities crushed and the people freed. If its far from a friendly country then we’ll fly them there, if its close by... just free them and let them run for it... but most importantly is we stop the organizations that are doing it, then slowly we can eliminate slavery all together.” He went on as she agreed that it sounded like a good plan.

      “But Mr. President, our costs for a mission are really high, is this the best way to go about this?” Tessa hinted as he smiled wide.

      “Taking on criminal organizations, or entire countries must be done by people like you who have the means to force them to listen, or die trying. I understand what you’re saying but remember, slavery is a multi-billion dollar a year business, so to stop or curtail it we must be willing to do what it takes.” He said as she agreed.

      “I will pay you for your services, and any and all compensation you find during a mission becomes yours instantly, is that clear?” He asked as she looked shocked.” I know for a fact some countries are allowing police officers to keep money they find during raids of criminal offices and factories, and have been for a while now since they too are low paid workers. Its the least we can do here to help supply our people with their needs as well.” He said as the link went down and Tessa got ready for a big fight, because turning around both the drug trade and slavery was a lifetime job, if it could be done at all.


      Chapter 24: Poking Sleeping Giants


      The next day she had a meeting and explained what was about to happen, as her people looked as surprised as she was.

      “We get to loot criminal factories and offices for equipment and cash?” Phyllis asked as Tessa agreed, and Mark gave a low, almost silent whistle as many laughed.

      “As I was told, its no different than Mr. Hines here grabbing the launcher on his way out..an expensive piece of equipment that we use now ourselves.” Tessa mentioned as everyone agreed.”So heres the deal...since this is new for us, anything you bring in will come directly to the base, then depending on what it is, either you get to keep it or it gets divided up with the Team. Cash of course is easy to divide up but other things will be at my discretion, and no..NO DRUGS, EVER!” She declared loudly as many just chuckled and nodded agreement.

      “Hmm...” Mark said softly as even Tessa looked his way,” some offices might have safes hidden in them and a few thousand more a month might be really nice.” he added as people whispered amongst themselves.

      “We aren’t criminals though, grabbing a gun from a dead soldier is one thing, taking the time to break into a safe in quite another. Keep it simple and get in and out safely, and I’m good with it, but don’t make us look like crooks, we aren’t going to set up a deal with some fence over this, we’re here to stop that type of thing.” Tessa added and walked out as people chuckled that being a crook was a relative thing, depending on how you look at it, and what you pick up, but she made it as clear as she could, and people understood that some things were still off limits.

      Their first job was simple enough, or so they were told. Find the ship, board the ship, get all the info you can, and get out. They came up within sight of a private yacht, and as they demanded their surrender, they got fired on by rocket powered grenades and machine guns, and men were seen running all over the decks getting even more ready.

      “It looks like they want a fight,” Tessa said as Lt. Hayes agreed. The weapons they were using wont even dent the armor on her ship but they didn’t know that.”Alright then, get two armor units ready fully armed, and have them stand by on the deck, move us close enough for them to get a good look, and open the top doors so our people can fire back.” She said as the big top opened and two armor units sprayed the side of the yacht with 20 MM cannon fire for a second or two, and that stopped that fight quickly enough, as men and women dropped their weapons and put their hands up screaming that they didn’t want to die.

      “Now that we have their attention...” The Captain said as many on the bridge got a good laugh at that.” Board her and get what we need.” She said and a team ran across in a rubber raft, forced their way into the main cabin and copied every file on the Captains computer.

      “This thing is really well armed for a yacht,” Phyllis added as they worked, and Sam held a gun on the Captain.

      “I don’t know what you mean...” he whispered but he was looking pretty bad about now, as Mark got a big smile.

      “What do you have below decks?” He asked as Phyllis looked around from doing her work and the Captain nearly cried that someone had asked. Phyllis was waiting for the download to finish and Sam was guarding the Captain, so Mark made a dive down below decks to see what they were hiding, and one cabin was stacked full of bricks of white dust, as Mark looked like he’d faint at the sight of it all.

      “Found it...” he whispered as Phyllis asked what ‘it’ was. “We interrupted a drug shipment, Coke I’d say, maybe a ton of it.” he said as even she looked surprised. “We better get the Hell out of here, they might have an escort , or be watching from a satellite by now.” he said as she agreed and she grabbed the info and they backed out and dropped back into their raft and and then ran back at full speed to the ship.

      “You’ll pay for this!” The Captain of the yacht screamed, as Mark left him know he was lucky they left him keep his stash, and he got a little quieter after that.

      “Don’t get bent out of shape Captain,” Phyllis yelled, as they turned their boat away and back towards the submarine.” we were only here for intelligence, so go on and make your delivery.” She yelled as they boarded the Toy Box and a minute later it disappeared under the sea.

      “Thats only partially true.” Tessa whispered, as she made a call and left her contacts know that a large drug shipment was approaching the US coast and less than an hour later the boat was seized and the cargo captured, and it was a big enough deal it made the news, as everyone just smiled and sent the info back and got paid for another job well done.

      But that deal wasn’t all they thought it was. It was just a payment, from one Family to another, and now that it was captured and taken away, both sides were more than a little angry about it.

      “A large submarine and armor units and commandos...” One older man said as many nodded agreement.”So, Contessa Romani just cant keep her hands to herself these days. It looks like we need to teach her a proper lesson.” he said as many men there agreed, and a full on Mafia War was started, with her as the first prize.

      The word got out and soon enough she got a message from some friends explaining what she saw and what she had done, and they weren’t too happy with it either.

      “A Mafia payoff and we intercepted it by accident?” She asked as the man agreed sadly. “I am sorry, but who owned it makes no difference to me.” She added while the man informed her that it should, these were not just common criminals, but she disagreed.

      “Who they are or what Family they represent means nothing to me.” She insisted as her contact looked sad even now. “Drugs and crime are our job, we are professionals and these people are too. It wasn’t done on purpose, but if I knew it was there, it might well have been, so tell them getting caught was their fault, and not mine.” She said and closed the link and went back to checking for damages to the ship, which was a joke in itself considering the toys they used against it.

      “She wont apologize then?” An older man asked as the other man shut down the link.

      “She said we’re all professionals here, losing one shipment was our own fault, she didn’t even know it was there.” he answered as the older man nodded and he turned to his subordinates and ordered the Toy Box found...and sunk.

      “We have existed for over a hundred of years, and no little twit is going to mess with us and get away with it.” He said and walked out and disappeared the way he had came.


      Chapter 25: The Hunter...or the Hunted?


      A week went by and Tessa got a call from the UN, and the President himself told her to be very careful from now on.

      “Some of the organizations they supply and support are as well armed as you, or close to it.” he said as she agreed.” With their contacts in the militaries of the world and with the cash they have to use, I think you better be really quiet for a little while, because the word is out that there’s a bounty on your head, and they want your ship sunk.” He added as she looked sad they had gone over the edge like this over one shipment.

      “Stopping that one ship was your call, and all we wanted was the information on their computer.” Tessa added as he agreed that they didn’t know about the shipment either. “We did the job and you got the info you wanted, so you better make sure everyone knows it wasn’t our fault to begin with.” She said as he looked very sad about that.

      “We have contacts too, all over the world and a hit on my people will get immediate retaliation.” She added as he just nodded he understood.

      “Don’t expect too much help, many of the top level people have deals and protection, so retaliation will get you even more pain.” He added as she nodded it was probably true.

      “I always went out of my way to save everyone during a raid, my people and their’s, they better not make me reconsider that stance from now on, or they might well regret it.” She said getting as upset as he was, as he looked away.

      “They have people who walk these halls everyday...thats all I’m saying.” He hinted as she just looked as sad as he was looking right now.” don’t expect us to step in if things get too bad.” He said and the link went closed.

      Even the UN was stepping back from this one, and she saw that just one little problem was hurtling out of control. Now she had to think twice about what to do. It was clear that she had upset powerful people, but she had done that before too, but now they were people that killed for a living, or had people under them that did. Real professionals would find her base eventually and then the real problems would start, when you don’t know where is safe and where isn’t.

      “Lt. Hayes...” She called on the PA system,as her second came walking into her suite and asked what he could do for her.”I want fuel and food hidden on several different islands starting right now, at least a weeks worth on each one.” She said as he looked shocked but he agreed and went to get the men running to get it done.

      If they ever got chased out of this base, then getting supplies might be a problem, and so this was one step towards that, and she had other ideas as well.

      It took her electronics specialist a week to get the link she wanted, and that was using every trick in the book, and some contacts he might not want to talk about. But on that evening she opened the link to talk to a man she knew was not happy to hear from her.

      “Miss Romani I presume...” he said, looking up from his desk, as she reminded him she was a Captain now, and he agreed.

      “I see that your people went over the edge after this last incident,” She hinted as he agreed, with a huge grin, ” I told everyone we didn’t have anything to do with the shipment because we didn’t know what it was for or who , so why the big stink?” She asked as he just laughed for a minute and she waited impatiently.

      “You did cost our people a lot of money before this, but that was not directly connected to us, so it was overlooked for a while.” He mentioned as she agreed.”This time you stepped on big toes and they aren’t the kind to let things go so easily.” He hinted as she asked why it was worth people dieing for.

      “People die every day so this is no different.” He added as she laughed this time.

      “But not your people, they pride themselves on being protected and safe, thats why they can get their nose bent out of shape for no reason.” She added as he reminded her to watch her tongue, and she laughed right back at him.

      “You have professional soldiers in your employ, and so do I, but the difference is: I wont waste my peoples lives fighting a street war. If I see that I cant deal with the problem any other way, I’ll cut the serpents head off...and hopefully some members of his Family wont be too close.” She hinted as his eyes actually popped there for a second. No one threatened them and their members, not even governments around the wold, but he did see what she meant. Using the very best in military hardware, she was a force to be reckoned with, and she was letting them know if they didn’t stop, she wouldn’t hold back either.

      “Are you threatening me??” he demanded as she returned the same question right back at him.

      “You have Families that sell everything from drugs to slaves to illegal medical research...” She hinted as he agreed.” “Maybe I’ll start a new Family, selling retaliation instead. I bet its a profitable business to get into.” She hinted, and after a minute he laughed, a good solid roaring laugh, and even she looked surprised.

      “A new Family...interesting idea...that hasn’t been done for a long time. ” he hinted as she smiled to herself. She wasn’t really serious, but he seemed to think she was. “I’ll talk to some friends and let them know what you said, then we’ll see.” he said and closed the link as she sat back looking serious and wondering if this call helped or not.

      The man was chuckling to himself pretty badly, but her comment got his attention. Their organization existed all this time because they gave each other certain rights, and some used them to excess. This contract had not been approved by the entire Organization, it was one man who got his nose out of joint, and Tessa could very well hurt even his organization very quickly if she wanted to. But she called and made a point to say she wasn’t after them personally, only doing a job she had started months and months ago, one that even they saw and stayed out of for now.

      He called a conference call and after 8 men and women were present, he smiled and told them about his call.

      “She has no right to say such a thing!” One man screamed as many just looked thoughtful.

      “She can, if pushed kill a lot of people, even us...” he hinted as many there didn’t like the looks of this at all,” but she doesn’t attack, she talks and shows respect. In that I feel we have common ground.” He hinted as many agreed.

      “Some of us started out as pirates way back when. She uses her power to hunt the troublemakers of the World, people out of control, people we too have tried to curtail from time to time,with some small success. We operate quietly, in the shadows, while the lesser groups scream from the top of their lungs...not a good thing for anyone. If she can stop many of them then I believe she serves a purpose, and should be left to do it.” He said as the room got quiet and many looked very thoughtful indeed.

      “She took away a huge paycheck and tribute to our American Brothers, that is unthinkable.” One man said seriously as the first man laughed and asked when they became so thin skinned.

      “We lose shipments everyday...” he said as many agreed,” so, Frank, why is this one so special you’d risk a war for it?” he asked and the man sat back and said nothing, but there was obviously something going on he didn’t want to talk about.

      “Yes...its not like you to go off like this for no reason.” Another added as Frank said it was nothing, but he refused to explain it, and a few others decided to look into things themselves.

      “I will pass a message to the good Captain,” the first man said as everyone waited to hear,” saying that the men and women on this list are open targets, if she agrees, then I see no reason to confront her personally. It’ll be her doing us a favor, so what do you say?” He asked as many agreed and the call ended with Frank getting checked into very silently, because something was definitely wrong with the way he was acting.

      Tessa got the return call a minute later, and with it a list of people that even these people wanted stopped.

      “Stay within this list, unless something very odd happens, and we’ll let it pass, but if you find something outside of this contract, pass that information on to us immediately.” He said as she asked what if she refused.”You get to keep doing your work and we keep an eye on you, thats all this is.” he said as she agreed, and when the call ended she smiled a little more freely. It wasn’t what she had hoped for, but then it was a start.


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      Heres an idea I'm working on: Post Apocalyptic Earth, year 3350. The areas between the cities are now wastelands, animals rule there. some areas are slowly getting better, other might never. Would you sit back in the city and wait, hoping someone found enough food for you all, or go out and search the Wastelands as a professional hunter or explorer? Its a life and death situation, and Humans aren't alone, they have Android partners a hundred generations more advanced that anything we can think of now...so...who will win in the long run? Humans or their helpers, in the fight for survival?


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      GRAND FINALE

      Chapter 26: Curtailing the Beasts


      She sent the list to her UN contact and even he was surprised. It contained people that they had been trying to stop from becoming a real problem in the world and had very little, if any, success.

      “So, even their betters are turning against them now,” he whispered as she agreed that they were hated far worse than even she was. “So to save themselves money and possibly getting noticed more than before, they handed this list over to you...or US..” He said as she agreed.

      “Well I have no problem with it, they need dealt with, thats for sure. So we might as well go along with it since its exactly what we were doing before.” he said as she agreed and he called his intelligence people who went into high gear.

      Three days later and Tessa and her crew were on their way towards the East Coast of South America, where a certain Dictator was making a move to shore up his failing military. He had been in a war with some neighbors for a couple years, but his funds were running low, and his military was taking a beating.

      So when he came running into a drug smugglers camp early one morning, he was very happy to see a major shipment sitting there ready to go. His men took control of it and then he set up a drop on the Texas coastline, and the deal was made. Now the little convoy was working its way up the coast, and Tessa was going to stop it well short of its destination.

      There were tons of the stuff, on three smaller boats that could dock or pull along the shore almost anywhere. But he had made a mistake, he took from someone who had been doing business there for a long time, and then refused to pay the ‘fees’ that went along with doing this business.

      So this time he’d be made a example of, and as the convoy was spotted on sonar, crossing the Gulf, headed that way,Tessa brought her boat up less than a mile away and called over demanding they surrender, but the men on board were armed and desperate, and tried making a run for it, but that was the fools play, as cannon fire sprayed around them and one by one they dropped to zero speed and begged for their lives.

      Tessa’s helicopter held them there while her call brought a Coast Guard Cutter a few minutes later and they took control of the situation, as the chopper disappeared into thin air and ran back the way it came.

      “The D.E.A. is scarey...” One sailor said as the helicopter disappeared right before their eyes.

      “No way that was the D.E.A.....” They were told as they looked surprised, as they brought prisoner after prisoner on board. “That must have been the Toy Box...I was told they show up from time to time.” The Captain hinted as people asked who they were, and all he’d admit to was they hated drugs, and helped when they could.

      “Some Super Heros at sea?” One man asked as many laughed, But super heroes or not, they just stopped hundreds of millions in drugs from hitting the coast, and they got big browny points with the Coast Guard for that one.

      “Its just a story being passed around Command,” The Captain told everyone, as they got some coffee on the bridge, and they followed their little convoy back to base,” but it says they are a Special Unit, not connected to any government, and they fight drugs and slavery all over the world with the most advanced technology anyone ever saw, up to 10 years more advanced than anything we have. There’s no way to prove any of this, and until today I would have said it was all a hoax...but the chopper was something to see.” he admitted as his crew agreed, and the Legend of the mysterious Toy Box started to spread even more.

      “We left the cloaking device be seen...” Lt. Hayes remarked as Tessa got a big smile.

      “But we gained respect for it with the U.S. military now...” She hinted as he got a big grin too. It was a calculated risk, but calculating was her specialty, and it seemed to be working.

      As a matter of fact, the D.E.A. was a little upset that the Coast Guard got this job before they could get it, but when they heard what happened, that surprised them even more.

      “Right in front of you, no mistakes?” The Major asked as the ships Captain nodded seriously and pointed out the front of the control room.

      “Not a hundred yards away it just...vanished into thin air...” he said as the older man nodded very seriously.

      “We’ve been thinking she had some special equipment... but this...” he said softly, as the Captain got a huge grin.

      “She?” He asked as the Major cleared his throat and thanked him for their help, and he too disappeared into thin air as fast as he could. “So...the Toy Box does exist...” the Captain whispered and got the biggest grin, like a man who just found Bigfoot standing right next to him. “wait until the men hear about this.” And he walked away humming to himself because he found out something that even the regular Navy didn’t know for sure...and he was happy to tell his brother he beat him to it when next they met.


      Chapter 27: Super Hero of the Seas


      The word got around pretty fast and the Coast Guard Captain got his brother alone over the weekend and bragged that he had seen something that he only dreamed about, and they laughed while he got blamed for not getting it on video.

      “You think that it can even BE videoed?” He asked as they both had to think about that.

      “Its becoming a thing,” His brother the Naval Captain hinted as they both smiled.” Like hunting for Big Foot, or the Abominable Snowman, people want proof they exist, and even though they do great things, they do step on a few toes doing it.” He added as his brother laughed saying that ‘she’ could call him for a favor anytime, and he got a dirty look for it.

      ‘Very few people know who the Commander is...or if they have one...their not Military, so what type of Command do they have? Are they all mercenaries? Or do they take volunteers from all over the globe? “ He went on having another drink as they both nodded seriously.”From the little things I’ve heard there’s someone backing them, no one can afford to build something like that, decades ahead of everyone else all alone, Hell the richest man alive would go broke trying to build a high tech Navy like that.” he added as they took time to consider it all in silence.

      And two tables away Phyllis sat having a drink too, and copied everything they said so Tessa could see how her little experiment was going, and she smiled to herself that their reputation was getting around, and people were not that upset that they were out there.

      After a few more minutes the discussion broke down into who would get the proof first, and bets were made, and Phyllis got a huge grin as she walked out of the club and an hour later was standing on the bridge of the Toy Box and handed the chip to Tessa who thanked her.

      “The Coast Guard is really happy we called on them, and the Navy is upset they didn’t get in on it, but no one is worried about us, or what we do.” She said with a salute, then left the bridge to get some rest.

      “Like Big Foot or the Abominable snowman huh?” Tessa asked as Lt. Hayes got a big smile.” Two of the most loved ‘hoaxes’ of all time. There have been interviews with people that claim they would give them their own place to hide forever, if they ever found them, because mystery is what makes them special.” She went on as he nodded seriously and stood by waiting.

      “And people and organizations spend millions every year searching for them,” He added as she smiled and agreed.

      “We aren’t upsetting anyone by doing our job,” She said as he nodded it was true. “So showing a little to our friends isn’t a bad thing, we just need to be careful when we do it.” She added and she felt like the Big Foot was playing games with the searchers, and maybe it was.

      They went home after that, got paid for the mission, and she sent back information about the U.S. military and their thoughts on the ship and its mission.

      “We have mentioned your missions to them here from time to time, and they seem to think that if you can make a difference, then they are all for it. Their own ‘War on Drugs’ was an abysmal failure, so seeing someone making a difference is making them smile.” The contact said as she agreed. “Just keep doing the best you can do, and things will work out I’m sure.” he added as the link went down and she sat back, smiling.

      “Let’s take a few days off, we have important things to discuss.” She hinted as Mr. Hayes agreed. It had been a while, and soon many of the crews contracts would be running out, and they weren’t at all sure which ones would go or which ones would stay.

      It might become a real mess, since letting them go would stretch their security to the max. If they were good people and they never mentioned it to anyone else, then fine. But one person who thought what they knew was worth a fortune, and their entire operation might be in danger.

      Of course some details were kept really secret, like people sitting in a room on a submarine cant see where they are going, or what country they are in. The base was just that, buildings on an island...somewhere..and only a select few that she knew they could trust, knew right where they were. Many would never know, and when they went for weekends off, the helicopter pilot flew them around for a while before dropping them where they were going, so anyone timing the trip would be sorely mistaken.

      But a crewmember from the Toy Box that went public would make a huge stir, and she knew it was only a matter of time before it happened. They were mercenaries after all, and well paid or not there’s always more money out there, and some might want it now rather then later.

      They had a meeting and only a few decided to go. Many were quite happy here, and so she gave them a speech about honesty and loyalty, saying that she might ask them to work for her again, if they wouldn’t sign up right today, and some agreed they’d come back, someday, but they needed time off for personal reasons, and she agreed and out of her 80+ crew members, 6 left that day and were dropped off in Japan, after a nice long flight, and as the ship returned she sat down to think about getting a few more crew members again. She had started out with 100, but through fighting and deaths it had slowly dropped to 85 that they had until today, so she decided that another 15 or so would be nice, and she left a few crew members go to see about gathering a few more while they waited for another assignment.

      Phyllis and her Team walked into a bar near Miami a few hours later. They knew the place well, many mercenaries stopped by here, getting jobs going and coming around the Caribbean. She sat down at the bar and they all got a drink, and after many there eyed them up and saw only another mercenary, she silently started asking if anyone was looking for work.

      It was slow going but she got a few nibbles and Mark wasn’t sure it was looking for work or looking down her sleeveless shirt she liked to wear on days like this, and she saw he wasn’t too happy with it either and smiled even wider.

      “What kind of work?” A three man team asked silently as she gave them a big smile.

      “Combat, mostly, we train if you don’t have the skills.” She added as the man in charge gave her a good looking over. “Nice warm spot to train, no winter weather,bunk space and lots of time off between jobs.” She hinted as he asked about pay, and she slid him a note and his eyes popped seeing it.

      “Who do I have to kill?” He asked with a chuckle and she didn’t laugh, and he saw she was no fool and he left that question drop.

      “One year contract, we train you, supply equipment and bunks for the duration, our medical is good too.” Phyllis added as he looked more than impressed. “If you need to tell anyone you’re leaving for a year, tell them now.” She hinted and stood up and waited and the men whispered between themselves and finally nodded agreement.

      “If you’re taking us now, better get moving, the guy at the end of the bar sent out a message on his cell about 10 minutes ago.” The man said as Phyllis looked around but no one would admit to doing it.

      “Then we go now...” She said throwing a 20 on the table and they all stood and went out the door as quickly as they could, and one man grabbed his cell and said they were leaving, as his contacts ran to get there in time. “Follow us...” Phyllis said as they ran down the street and into an ally, and then into a large black van and she called ‘go!’ and it pulled out, nice and slow and fell into traffic and became just another old van passing through the center of the city.

      “Tight security here,” One man said as Phyllis just smiled and pulled out her phone too and one by one she photographed them and asked if they had any problems she needed to know about and they said they didn’t. But within minutes as they drove around the truth came in, and she gave them dirty looks as the leader looked away.

      “You’re not mercs, you’re a Seal Team..” She said and the fight started right there, the driver kept going and after a little while the back door opened and they tossed them out into the street, as everyone fell back, exhausted.

      There was an almost silent buzzing noise as Phyllis laughed, and Mark held up a pocket Taser and hit the button.

      “Never leave home with out it..” he said and they knew that hand to hand in a van, they might not have won without the help.

      “Son of a bitch...” Sam said wiggling his fingers and gritting his teeth, as Phyllis asked if he was OK.” I think I broke a knuckle.” he added, as she looked sad and they took off, to get another rented van and try again.


      Chapter 28: Rehab


      It took them a few days but they got 6 men and women that fit the bill, and when they returned, Sam got some time to let his hand heal for a while as Tessa and Phyllis talked about the trip.

      “A partial Seal team, huh?” Tess said, looking at the pictures Phyllis had taken.” well, you do have a good eye for combat men.” She said as Phyllis just laughed.

      “How’s Sam’ hand doing?” She asked trying not to look worried.

      “Two broken bones, he broke it on a sailors jaw,” Phyllis added and pointed towards the picture,” that one...” And they both got a good chuckle as the Second smiled and looked away.

      “He never gives up, I’ll say that for him, wrapped his hand up and kept on going..” Tess added as even her Second agreed.

      “It’ll take a little while to heal but he’s doing OK, he’s more upset that he broke it on ‘one sad looking sailor’ “ Phyllis added as Tess got a good laugh and thanked her for her report and she saluted and went away.

      “He’s a strong young man, he’ll be fine.” Hayes mentioned as Tessa looked at him and smiled.

      “I know...” She added softly as he tried not to say anything else. He didn’t approve of her attentions towards a mere merc, but it had dragged out for a while now, and neither one had said or done anything, so maybe he was worrying for nothing.

      “If I were in a fight, I’d want him on my side.” he added looking away as she smiled a little wider,” He’s a fine young soldier, but men like him never stop being just that, he’s not a nester...” he said seriously as Tess could see his fatherly attitude sneaking back in since their last talk.

      “You don’t think a good woman can settle a good soldier down?” She asked as he agreed he did not, as she smiled wider still.” Maybe I should ask Helen then what her secret is.” And his eyes fell and he apologized for sticking his nose in again, and she knew that he had been a serious soldier for years and his wife, his old Commanding Officer, just grabbed him up and made him hers, and he was never as happy as then, according to all their friends.

      “How’s Jr. doing?” She asked as he stood even straighter.”How old is he now?” She asked as the bridge crew saw her getting her revenge on him for meddling.

      “He’s 12 now...” he admitted as she smiled.

      “Going to be a good soldier someday?” She asked, as he huffed and looked away.

      “Not on my watch,” he whispered as a few got an almost silent chuckle in as Tess tried hard not to notice.

      “See?” She hinted, and looked back towards her reading,” It wasn’t hard, was it?” She added as even he had nothing left to say.

      Phyllis went back to the barracks and saw Sam sitting there trying his best to put new line on one of his fishing reels as Mark laughed at him.

      “He wont sit still for a minute.” he added as Phyllis gave Sam a dirty look, and he ignored her.

      “I cant believe one crappy sailor cost me two bones though...” Sam said wiggling his fingers and gritting his teeth as Phyllis told him they were Seals and they were pros too, just like him.

      “Still...” he whined as everyone there laughed at him for it.

      “Be good for a while, the Captain was worried about you, but I said you’d be OK..” Phyllis added as Mark got a good chuckle in there for that.

      “I’ll be back on duty as soon as possible, so let her know I’m fine.” He said as Phyllis gave him a good slap across the head for saying that and Mark looked away to keep from laughing at him. “What was that for?” Sam asked as Phyllis gave him dirty looks.

      “Stupidity...” She said as he looked around with a blank look and everyone else tried hard not to say anything.

      “Come on man,” Mark said softly, as Phyllis tried not to say anything else.” Tessa likes you, I know it, she knows it, Hell, everyone here knows it, why don’t you?” He asked as the room got quiet and Sam looked mortified hearing it.

      “I know it too, but she’ll get over it.” Sam said as he went back to working on his reel, but Phyllis wasn’t going to let it go.

      “You mean you don’t like her at all?” She asked loudly, as Mark thought he might need to restrain her from hitting him again.

      “Of course I do...” he said as everyone got a big smile,” but I’m a soldier, a hired gun and a killer, we all are here...” he said with a wave of his hand,” she deserves better...” he said sadly and for a second even Phyllis got a huge grin, but it didn’t last.

      “That’s her choice don’t you think?” She asked as he just shrugged and people all around the room just shook their heads at his stubbornness.

      “What an idiot....” Tess whispered as she looked at the security feed, but she had a big smile, and Lt. Hayes asked what she said, as she shut it down and laughed,and said it was nothing.



      Chapter 29: Retirement Community or Home Base?


      Things went pretty well for a while and the bank account never looked better, and as they say... plan ahead... and Tessa was doing just that. She was a smart girl, and her work had put thousands of gangsters and drug king pins out of work, at least for now.

      The world was a better place, but she doubted it would stay that way. It needed constant monitoring, and she started to see that her wish to change the world was more than one woman’s plan and took more than one lifetime to get it done.

      But she had hired good people, many that stayed and stayed with her through it all and so, she decided that they deserved something special, their own place, far from the enemies that searched for them daily, and she spent time looking over satellite maps of the world and wondering what everyone would like, then finally deciding on a warm place where they could live happily and started her next plan.

      Since she owned more equipment than many small companies, getting a place made was more just finding a spot and settling in. She decided on a place in the hills overlooking the West Coast of the U.S. and made a few inquiries. The actual land was unclaimed, since no roads or airfields connected it to anywhere. It was a few thousand feet about sea level, and on a clear day you could see the ocean from the top of some hills in the distance.

      It had a small spring fed lake, nearly 5 acres wide, and she saw some good times there, since hunting, fishing and off road riding all were just out the front door. The nearest city was 150 miles away, and they could get there in no time for when shopping was needed or just for fun. But they would be hidden well here, in a little valley all their own, and would stay that way for many years, once she got things settled.

      “I’m not sure we can,” She heard as she gave her U.N. contact a good laugh and he looked away.

      “You have small places like this all over the world, retirement homes for spies,places for witness protection, and intelligence agents retiring from ‘active’ service.” She hinted as he looked sad she brought it up. “My place will belong to me, and I’ll watch over it and live there myself. No other agency or government needs to do a thing, but it WILL show up on satellite feeds, so that needs fixed.”

      “Explain ‘fixed’” he asked as she said that it would be a named place, on the satellite maps but the explanation for who owned it or why it was there needed to be strong enough that no one would bother them...or suspect that they were still in active service. “A false History and reason to exist, huh?” he asked as she agreed and after a few minutes discussing it, they agreed.

      “It’s not even there yet, so when will we need this?” He asked as she smiled wide.

      “ 6 months...” She added as he nodded and the deal was done, so now when anyone asked the U.N. had a retirement community in the mountains of the American West, and it was top secret and the U.N. itself stood behind it, and that was more than enough to keep rubber necks and sightseers out.

      Now for the fun part...Tessa went there herself and took a crew along. The little lake was nice, almost crystal clear, and animals could be seen around it watching them, as Sam,Phyllis and Mark all smiled and nodded that it was a nice place.

      “Clean water, fresh air, the land even looks good, growing a garden here wouldn’t be a problem at all.” Sam added as they all smiled at that comment.

      “How are you going to do it though?” Phyllis asked as Tessa pointed to the helicopter that brought them in.

      “The ship has large enough helicopters to lift tons, the armor suits weigh that much, so prefab houses should be bulky but not a big problem.” She hinted as Phyllis looked impressed.

      “And the concrete?” Sam asked as everyone looked at him.” Even prefab needs a slab to sit on or they’ll sink into the ground after a while.” he added as Tessa nodded she understood.

      “We can get armor plating cheap enough, 4x8 foot sheets should hold up to the elements pretty well.” She hinted as even he agreed that would hold the weight too. “Carry them in drop them in place and run a welder on them and bingo, slab for the houses, and we can dig out a pit big enough for building a septic system for a small place like this.” She added and everyone agreed.

      “First step...clearing out this side of the lake so we can put our houses here.” Tess said and the next day they were back, with amor suits, and the boulders and trees that were in the road went missing in no time, and a nice big bonfire did away with the remains after that and the big rocks were pulverized and used for filler or later would be used for drainage devices for the septic system. The cost of that would be low too, since they had tons of rock just laying around and units that could pick up and carry more than a ton at a time.

      In three days the first area was ready and in came a portable generator and welder unit and a large stack of 3/4 inch armor plates. The armor units laid them down where Tessa pointed, and Sam ran a bead of weld on the seems here and there, and in one day they had two sites set up, and Sam asked how they would put the houses together here, if it was going to be such a secret area, how could she guarantee secrecy when a construction crew was here, as Tessa just laughed at him for it.

      She had a deal going, she bought several prefab houses, all 2-3 bedrooms, single story ranch types, fully equipped electric homes. The man who sold them to her said he’d deliver wherever she wanted, and was shocked, and maybe a little frightened, to see where she chose...right in the middle of no where, along an old back road where he wasn’t even sure his trucks could go, but he agreed, and when they got there, there was nothing...literally...but a sign with an arrow that said ‘here’ and a few big beams laying on the ground, he shrugged and they slid the two halves off onto the ground and left for the day.

      An hour later the heavy lift helicopter was there getting straps on the first half and then away it went, right to the site where everyone helped line it up and set it down. The tools were ready, and when the second part got there, lots of noise from hammers and drills and screw guns, and in less than a day, the first home was complete, as they all walked through it and smiled.

      “Now if we just had Cable...” Sam said as everyone laughed and Tess said..’give me time’ and they all went away for the night.

      It was clear Tessa was trying to do her best while saving as much money as she could. She got a wholesale deal on the houses because she bought 12, and she already owned the helicopters and machines, even though it looked funny seeing armored units breaking up rocks by hand for the septic system, but it got done and soon 6 houses were lined up in a row and they started on the second set, right ‘across the street’ even though no street was really planned since no roads connected it at all. But at the one end they put a small warehouse and stocked it with food and supplies and right next to that was a pad, built from the same plates, and a chopper would be there full time, for when they were needed for work.

      It started coming together pretty well and when the 6 month time limit hit, there really was something for the satellites to see, and good as their word, the U. N. claimed the spot and no one else asked again.


      Chapter 30: Hidden Paradise


      Soon things were ready, and as people got asked, some volunteered to live there while a few were happy where they were.

      No one had really moved in yet, but the little ‘store’ was well stocked and there was sufficient fuel oil to run the furnaces when winter came, and so as the first group dropped in with their things, Tessa pointed here and there and some started putting their things away, as Phyllis, Mark and Sam stood by watching and waiting their turn.

      “OK then...” Tess said with a big smile as the others picked up their things and waited.”Mark, you and Phyllis in that one...” She said as Phyllis’s face went red.

      “And me and Sam in this one, right across the street,” She said as Sam nearly choked and they both started to stammer that this wasn’t right.

      “We never planned...” Phyllis started as Mark got a huge grin and she looked embarrassed by it.

      “Oh grow up, you two have been together for a long time now and everyone knows it,” Tess said as she turned to Sam,” and we both know we like each other, maybe more than that, and we cant make a house here for every single person you know, so I’m willing to live with you here, but only you,get it?” She asked as Phyllis’s mouth turned into a huge grin and after a second, Sam agreed, and it was settled.

      “The ship will always be within travel distance, and we found a few spots near here where it can actually set on the bottom out of sight for weeks on end. But that wont happen often, there is still a lot to do.” Tess added as everyone agreed.”We will live here peacefully, safe from wandering eyes and our children will live here too, and we’ll train them and see they get jobs... maybe working for us... and things will go on.” Tess added as everyone looked shocked she planned that far ahead.

      “The World is a stubborn and dangerous place, and they need us, and we’ll be there when we are needed, and soon even those fools that think they are above the Law will see its not true.” She said and picked up her things and started inside. As Sam just shook his head and gave up and carried his things inside too.

      “Now I need to think of a name for this place too...” Mark said laughing, as he too gathered his things.

      “No one said it was your job,” Phyllis added, as she opened the door and got picked up and carried in, and after a second she didn’t fight it and the door went shut on their little house in the mountains and a new Family group was formed, the Family Romani, living in the town of Olympus, now planning on being around and helping the world for generations to come. The End


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