The Sacrificed by Shlomo X
Chapter One - Buenos Ares
Aside from sleeping bags and some simple personal gear, there was very little in the room: a Jerry can of tap water, perhaps 20 kilos of dehydrated food whose wrappings had all been wiped blank with acetone, and 29 little bags of feces inside a larger plastic bag, signaling the extreme regularity of the six men waiting in a room for five days. As darkness fell the group of men left the room to assume their positions.
The room that they left was basically a void on the top floor of an abandoned warehouse in a neighborhood of dead and dying warehouses.
This was the fourth night the men had briefed and then spread out to their positions. What they intended to do tonight was the same as they had intended to do the three previous nights. The timetable was completely outside of their control. There was every possibility that, once the hour of rendezvous had passed, they would return to their sparsely furnished room and wait until the next night. With less food, and more bags of feces. There was a limit to how long they could stay.
Plumber and Spice moved to the northern position, taking up an excellent vantage point on the roof of the warehouse. From where they were, they could see almost to the bus station. Each of the pairs needed somebody who could talk Spanish, and Spice had some very basic Spanish.
Seven and Ears took up position at the southwest corner. Because it was overlooking the shore patrol building, they stayed off the roof and took a room on the top floor. Ears had pretty good Spanish, from a short stint advising a team of Spanish Special Forces in a NATO joint project.
On the ground, on the east side of the building, between the building and the canal, were The Captain and The Boy. The Captain would talk to Theatre, should he show up tonight. The Boy was paired with The Captain because he had the best Spanish of the group; and could actually produce a fair Portneo accent.
While everyone else was dressed in old Argentinian Football and Ruby jerseys jeans and sneakers, The Captain and The Boy had on almost perfect Argentinian Shore Patrol uniforms. In the scramble to outfit this mission, it hadn’t been easy to find suitable gear and clothing. Luckily, at least four friends of friends had had some sports jerseys, and somebody, for some reason that was never understood, had some old uniforms. The remainder of the gear on the six men was a hodgepodge – some of it bought, some of it captured from the Egyptians in ‘73, some of it captured in Afghanistan. Some old, some new, some borrowed, some blue. By design, nothing at all was British.
In April in Buenos Ares, night falls relatively early, so the men had been in place four hours when Spice broadcast “I need a pickup at the theatre” on his radio. It didn’t sound too bad, but in the unlikely event that somebody had been listening to the conversation, they might wonder where this taxi dispatcher was from. He sure as hell didn’t sound like a Porteno.
Everyone tensed – this was what they had been waiting five days for. This was the core of their mission
Captain used English when he gave instructions softly into Boy’s ear, but when Boy spoke into his radio his Spanish was much better, perhaps not flawless, but certainly as good as any taxi dispatcher in town, “I can pick up. The north side or the south side of the theatre?” Spice answered, “North side.”
Theatre walked briskly, but from the time he first came into view until he rounded the corner on the alley between the warehouse and the canal, almost five minutes passed. Named for a local landmark, Theatre was the mission. Pick up his intelligence product, and drop off the supplies to allow him to remain in the field.
Two minutes into his walk, Ears came on the radio “We need five taxis by the gelato place. Wait. Seven cars by the gelato place”
Everyone tensed – since they’d arrived, there had not been so much traffic at the same time.
Ears struggled to find the words to communicate his message – “Two taxis for gelato, five rapidly for Pizza.” The Captain looked at The Boy and looked away. Obviously, this wasn’t good.
On these missions, using codes that related to delivery trucks, or taxis, or ambulances, was not an uncommon system. The important codes that they used would be something that you might hear from a taxi dispatcher or driver. The risk wasn’t so much the authorities as it was the chance that some bystander would overhear tactical discussions in English on the radio, and might call the police. The marker of success in a mission like this was that nobody ever found out it happened.
In this case, the captain had decided that the directions would be gelato for south (the direction of the closest icecap), pizza for east, steak place for north and Chinese place for west. What he has just understood was that two cars were coming from the south and five more were going rapidly towards the east. This may be nothing, or it may be something very troubling.
“…theatre right now” – spice was trying to find a way to say that theatre was turning the corner, from the north side of the warehouse walking down the alley that was between the warehouse and the canal.
Two cars pulled up at the southern tip of that alley, parking nose to nose and eight men got out. They didn’t look like they were out for a casual evening. They were all wearing a dark uniform that neither the captain nor the boy had ever seen before. Four of them had shotguns, and they all had side arms. It was at that point that The Boy realized that some of their team, if not all, would not be making it home.
The eight men in uniform conferred briefly, and decided who was to die earlier and who was to live a little longer, and then split into a group of five and a group of three, with the three staying with the cars. The apparent leader and four others walked north, to intercept Theatre.
Ears on the radio: “There are a lot of people, walking by the steak place and the Chinese place, who might want a taxi. Maybe 30 people on foot. They seem to be walking toward the pizza place”
At this point the captain completely broke protocol and spoke in English on the radio, “Gentlemen, remember what we are here to do. What we need to do is get Theatre to where he is supposed to be.” The Captain looked at The Boy, “Get him out. Whatever else happens, get him, or at least the product, out”.
The Boy and The Captain approached the three men standing by the two cars, with The Boy standing in front holding a large flashlight. “Hey, what are you doing here? Are you looking for whores? You can’t be here at night! We’re the shore patrol, this is off limits, get out of here.”
The three turned to look, then looked at each. None of them looked concerned or suspicious. The spokesman said “Hey, sailor, none of your business, get back to what you are doing.”
“What do you mean? What are you doing here?”
“This is official business, sailor. Get back to chasing drunken whores.”
As The Boy stepped to the side, he kept the light in their eyes, and The Captain started shooting an Uzi equipped with a suppressor longer that the stock and as big around as a coke can. The three died quickly and quietly, still laughing at their joke. None of the car windows were broken, and several pieces of the unusual uniforms were not bloodstained.
The boy got on the radio “We are hot.” The Rubicon had been crossed.
Quickly, the three bodies were pulled to the side and one complete set of unstained clothing was pulled off and put on The Boy. The Boy also emptied all the wallets; like clothing, finding Argentinian money had been a huge problem. He also took a handgun and all the magazines.