Monday, June 14, 2021
A Dispatch from the Rear
Rene sent an email…
Hola, y'all. We're here, wherever that is. Well, we have a pretty good idea we're somewhere in Saudi, but I couldn't tell you where. Major Shevchuk would prefer nobody knows. We've gone through our evac route, not that we'd live long enough to march to anywhere from here, but there you have it.
I can tell you this much: we're in a little hollow spot in the desert. They choppered our gear in, with a big backhoe, and it dug enough to flatten out a spot for our inflatable caisson and got our cooling pipe laid. We blew it up, attached the heatsinks and re-bars, and buried the whole thing after letting it harden. The latest in desert computing technology, I guess.
So once it hardened up, the backhoe pulled enough sand off the surrounding dunes to bury it good, and we stuck an Arab tent up on top of it to hide the satellite dishes. We've got a gennie and solar panels to run air conditioning and our equipment, and the caisson has enough room for all of us to bunk in. The fan noise makes everyone sleep pretty good. So from the air, we look like some desert nomad out in the middle of wherever. It took us a day to get operational, and it's been eat, work, sleep ever since.
There's just a few of us out here. Major Shevchuk, who's our commander, I think he’s from Michigan like Farf-Dad. Cpl. Manny Velasquez, from “by God Texas,” works our comms. He’s got the attitude for Texas, alright. I think he’s trying to forget any Español he ever learned, seems to think he’s not Mexican just because his granddad slipped across the Rio before my dad did. But he knows his stuff, and he’s OK as long as you don’t try talking politics with him. Sammy T is the other grunt here besides me, he's a black guy from DC, pretty quiet but a good guy. Sammy and me swap between day shift with the Major, and evening shift. Manny takes night time. 'Course, all of us are on 24-hour call if we're needed and kind of back up the posted shift when we're not sleeping. Not much else to do out here besides study, read, or listen to music. We can pipe in whatever music we want off the satellites, and download ebooks off the Army library, but Major Shevchuk wants any of us to be able to run the whole post if we have to, so we spend a lot of time with that. The major is a wizard on a computer, way better than Farf-Dad. But by the time we get home, we'll be able to rebuild a diesel generator in our sleep without having to stop cracking enemy codes or debugging a program, jejeje.
Really, though, the post runs itself now that it's set up. Manny checks the satellite dish alignment every day, me and Sammy T inspect the EMP bomb (which we'll set off if it looks like the post is going to get captured, it will fry every chip in the bag) once or twice a week, and all of us try to keep the dust and sand swept up and out of the filters. The gear's all raised off the floor, so it would take a lot of sand to clog things up, but Major Shevchuk is used to computer labs being clean. We also inspect our arms… not like we have much, just the usual sidearms and a couple of RPG launchers, but it all needs to be kept clean and ready for action. Basic was far too easy, shower-wise. We don’t get a shower out here, we just get a “French Bath” (wipe the sweat off with a damp cloth or wet-wipe). We don’t notice the smell, but I’ll bet it makes the barracks seem like a flowerbed by comparison!
And that's about it from here. Love you guys.
I'm sure glad he's out of the main action. The news was all over the Iranian sea invasion getting repelled last week; they must have decided the best defense was a good offense and got their war on. I suppose the overland route through Iraq is coming next, especially since the south is pretty friendly with the Iranians anyway, although they’ll likely get bombed into the sand going that way. The Russians and Chinese are threatening the junta with “an attack on Iran is considered an attack on us,” with the junta responding, “if that’s the case, then you’ve attacked us first — stop it or we’ll make it stop.” But the only way you would know that the Iranians sunk a couple of their rented tankers in the Straits was that gasoline is suddenly becoming unobtanium. The SPR is probably wide-open for business now, but if the junta has any sense they'll focus on producing enough diesel to keep the farmers and trains going. The gas they'll grab for themselves and their cronies, as always. There are rumors that the Saudis have a pipeline running clear across the country to a mothballed terminal on the Red Sea, and they’re supposedly opening it up now, but I’ll believe it when the imports start coming in again.
Serena and Kim lucked out — she’s now an MP at Ramstein in Germany: vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but you could say that about anyone. Kim is still stateside, and he got the job Rene wanted, teaching English to Hispanic recruits. Seems that the junta extended the service-for-citizenship plan to anyone south of the border, they’re signing up in droves, and the junta wanted a white guy who is fluent in Spanish. When Rene found out about it, he demonstrated his abilities in Standard Military English (nod to David Brin on that one) and laughed his skinny butt off. Kim gets to call Christina a few times a week, and Christina says she’s working on a hormone that can be dispersed over a wide area to make people rational for a change and put an end to this war and junta nonsense. I think she’s joking… I think. But if anyone could pull off a stunt like that, it would be Christina.