The interior of a Transall C-160 was spartan, pure function, green and grey in the day but at nighttime the interior was a dull green from the cargo bay lights. It seemed especially spacious since it was empty, save a single soul waiting quietly in the green shadows. This aircraft was French, and its pilots spoke English with a crisp accent “2 min-oots to ze drop.” came the voice in her ear. Popping loudly, the sound bit into her sinuses as the pressure was allowed to drop.
“Merci. Ouvrez la porte quand vous êtes prêt”. She was alone in the cargo area, and found herself standing once again gripping a handhold with white knuckles under thick gloves.
“You speak french, Madam? I am impressed.” came the voice in quick reply.
“Entre nous, s’il vous plait, so that the next French pilot is equally impressed…” and a moment later the door seal cracked open and the shocking rush of air hit her all at once.
“Avec plaisir, bon chance”.
As the doorway moved slowly down the darkness of the night poured in and seemed like it would flow like black water. Double checking her watch she was satisfied with her pre-breather O2 saturation time and disconnected the cables connecting the comms in her helmet to the interior aircraft system. She was on her own now, radio silence during the drop. No ELINT or signals intelligence could be allowed to show that this flight had ever taken place. She carefully ran through the procedure to switch from the pre-breather hose to her portable bottle of O2. Usually a qualified operator would help with this and any final checks, but she was more than competent, and insisted on being alone.
She made her way to the open ramp that finished lowering below her and listened to the air scream in the night outside her helmet, eyeballing the red light and gripping a handhold. The light turned green, and she carefully walked to the edge of the ramp, turned and fell almost casually back, and watched the plane sling away in the darkness. She watched as it banked left into the carpet of stars.
Many who did these kinds of jumps use night-vision goggles during the jump; it was standard procedure for most special forces the world over, but she stood apart. 30,000 feet didn’t hold anything to see after exiting the aircraft, and within the airplane there were dull green lights to move about without being completely blind. She had insisted that the plane’s running lights be disabled during the clandestine portion of their flights, so she didn’t lose her night vision to them as she left the airplane.
She gently flattened herself out, and started to count to herself, focused on each slow breath. It was at this point that she became more consciously aware of her body, every joint and extremity, was she feeling any decompression pain? Prior to the jump in the pressurized aircraft she took in only pure oxygen, to drive out the nitrogen that would bubble out at this height. Normally this was a problem only when diving, and she suddenly realized that she hadn’t actually done any diving in decades. It just wasn’t very expedient. HALO, high-altitude low-oxygen insertion jumps were far more essential, get anywhere you want to be in the world as fast as an airplane can get there.
Aside from the issues with pressure and air, the other big problem with this type of travel was the simple fact that falling out of the sky is unpleasant, even if exhilarating. “My sinuses are so freaking dry right now, I better not get sick from this”. The O2 in her portable bottle was 0% humidity. As the ground crept closer she looked at the altimeter on her arm and thought about how close she was in her count to a safe opening for her main chute. In what seemed like a moment she was pulling on the release, and felt the familiar strength of the straps pulling hard to slow her fall. With her legs dangling below, she at the distant lights and considered how far she’d be walking before reaching the “city”. She was discouraged by how bright it was, probably would be hard to even find a good cup of coffee. She finally clicked on her night-vision goggles and lowered the body over her mask
She pulled the straps to take her a bit closer, and glided nearer to the ground for several satisfying seconds. Pulling down on the parachute handles she flared it and slowed her downward descent, and started to churn her legs and managed to meet the ground and avoided twisting her ankle on any rocks on the hard packed clay. In her first jump she remembered trying to do the training move of flopping onto your side like a dead fish. It didn’t work. It never worked. If the wind was right, and you were lucky, you could run along the ground with the chute. Tonight she was lucky.
She started to work at her gear, removing straps, gathering the parachute. She cut pieces with her K-bar to stuff it effectively back into the pack, taking an extra length of paracord to tie together a neat package with all of her jump gear. She finally unscrewed a small water-bottle, and smelled the strong odor of gasoline as she soaked it all, deftly turned off her night vision and lit the pyre with a bic lighter, and backed away as it caught. She gave the bic a glance; like usual she had removed the “babysitter” spool of metal that made it difficult to strike. Normally she would keep something like this, but she considered her plans and tossed it into the fire. Tonight wasn’t an ordinary night.
She took an inventory of her pack in the dancing firelight before slinging it on her back, and turned on a flip phone she pulled from a pocket on her black cargo pants. Walking a few meters from the fire as it started up she used the light from the screen to see the area before turning it back to light up her face. The phone finished connecting to a tower with a single bar, it was far away but the land was fairly flat. She went into the text message function and quickly tapped out a message with the familiar old T-9 key system. It felt sort of fun after she’d gotten used to the Blackberry keyboard. Today that was left behind. The message was sent, and the Feb17 Martyrs Brigade would be alerted to her arrival.
[HRod17 is 3 miles from Benghazi] it said simply. She loved imagining how surprised they’d be reading that, it would be an electric bolt through their entire soul to see it – to the person who would know her codename, she was famous for it by now, her 17 kills, now legendary. She could feel it in the air. She was bouncing along with a spring in her step. She nodded to herself confidently and drank in the cool night air.
“Tonight is the night!” She said to herself. “After all these years I’ve finally got him. I’m finally going to kill Vince Foster.” Hillary Rodham gazed hopefully at the remaining lights of Benghazi and started walking, in such a good mood she chuckled and thought if only they knew.
I’ve been sitting on this for a while, and have a broader outline and a huge amount of research, but I’ve lost the wind in my sails on it. My other projects are taking up more of my time, and I feel like the punch of this story is going to slip away long before I finish it. I decided to shift more focus to the remainder of “Drone War” as a kindle-direct piece to test the waters, and my main project, and dump this on the blog for if I ever feel like adding parts to serializing it. It’s quite fun so that seems likely.
In the meantime, hopefully you can see that this story has a lot of fun possibility, imagining hillary as the cold-blooded super spy that all the little propagandizing anecdotes paint for her in tiny pieces, innuendo and winks. Stay tuned for more, in which we learn the real reason she’s in Benghazi, which has to do with the origin of AIDS, and I’ll we’ll see how she goes from being hrod17 to hrod22.
The “featured image” used on this post, which is visible if you look in reader or fb or whatever, is here is of a “Jotunn”. In Norse mythology, Hroðr (Old Norse “famed”) is a female jötunn (giantess) friendly to the Æsir and the wife of the jötunn Hymir
To the Norse, the gods were seen as being the powers that held the cosmos in order. The Northern races imagined as beings who were opponents and rivals of the gods. They sought to bring the cosmos back into the uninterrupted reign of darkness and chaos. Because of this the homelands of Jötunn were often depicted as remote, barren and desolate. Their homes consisted of locations such as the bottom of the ocean or in impenetrable forests. Just as the gods were the personifications of all that is good and lovely, the Jötunn were seen as all that was ugly and evil.