Tales of the Mongrel
The Alter-Ego of Ralph Arata
A gentle whispering breeze could be heard through the tall pine that lined both sides of a gravelled country road. The night also brought the sounds of small forest creatures going about their natural business of life and death. There was only a half moon, its light casting ghostly shadows as trees swayed in the summer wind.
Suddenly all the creatures of the night went silent as the heavy sound of an US Special Forces double-deuce troop carrier lumbered its way forward. The truck’s 12-liter Detroit Diesel DD15 power plant easily bearing its load. The big truck carried less than a ton and only a single soldier.
The weight was from a 1972 race prepared MGB. Its traditional English-roadster shell covering a high technology suspension and turbo-charged V-6 delivering 4 times the horsepower of the original British Leyland product. The car was a wreck….bullet ridden and the front end almost blown away! The soldier, who was not in much better shape, also carried scars of the previous mission.
The double deuce approached a large barn with its 2 large doors automatically opening to greet the new –comers. The truck was expected at the “farm”. Scanners had told the residents everything they needed to know about their guests – and they were ready and waiting to greet and care for both man and automobile.
The truck entered the barn, the 2 large doors immediately closing. The floor gave way and lowered the vehicle to the sub-ground levels of the “The Farm”, a super secret anti-terrorist command centre known to no-one but the President himself. Its brain child, James Evans, was the top fed in the US Justice Department. He had constructed the “Farm” as an oasis of last resort when all else failed and the President needed action fast for the purpose of countering unthinkable threats to the civilized world.
The platform carrying car and soldier stopped at sub-level three which was the automotive pool and infirmary. The soldier was helped from the truck’s cab as the Farm’s automotive technology expert Tom “The Doctor” Josefek examined car and driver. Josefek approached the soldier! Ralph Arata a.k.a. the Neutralizer sequinted at Josefek with his one unswollen eye. “Hi Doc, how’s business!” Josefek sighed at the Neutralizer saying “I don’t know which looks worse, you or ‘my’ car?” “As far as business, I think it is going to pickup!” “Now get yourself to the infirmary and I’ll get the car to the shop.”
The following morning the soldier reported to the Farms’ war room…….an intimate meeting with its quorum including the “Big Fed” i.e. Evans, Josefek, the Farm’s senior computer specialist, Reinout Vogt (the Bear) and the Farm’s highly intelligent and beautiful mission controller, Susan Simpson.
Evans quickly brought the meeting quickly to order. The fact that his much favoured 6 inch, 50 ring, double maduro, Ashton pyramid cigar was already perched between his lips spelled trouble. Evans never lit up but the cigar gave him focus during times of high stress! “Ladies and gentlemen….we have a situation”, said the Big Fed!
“At 2AM two days ago, reactor #2 of the Yankee Nuclear Facility in Maine went into pre-meltdown”. “It occurred without any warning or manipulation at the plant site”. “If it were
not for a quick thinking control room technician, we would have had a fallout situation”.
Evans looked about the room. “I was briefed earlier this morning by the President!” “CIA Langley reported an unauthorized military satellite access at the same time of the incident!!” “This is why I have asked Rienout to join us!” The Bear was a former member of the Belgium Special Forces Anti-terrorist Unit and had hands-on experience in combat that matched the Neutralizer himself. The fact that the Bear was also a brilliant computer software expert, able to hack into any program, was absolutely invaluable to the Farm but more important to save the lives of millions of innocents globally.
“Langley also reports from one of its spooks in Novisad, Serbia a number of high power transmissions carrying Sir William’s electronic signature.” The name Sir William “Hedrick’s” immediately perked up Reinout and the Neutralizer who knew him as the British former SAS former hero. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth, he had turned rogue in ’98 using his global contacts and high tech arms expertise, then amassed millions in trading with terrorists and dictatorships world-wide. Both the soldier and the Bear had previous encounters with Sir William and bore the scares of those battles. Josefek had raced against Sir William in a previous life with the European Grand Prix, and knew driver as well as his car affectingly called “Mr Bill”. The car was a supercharged red MG Midget which was capable of unholy speed and handling.
Evans looked at the Doctor and said “Tom, we need to get Arata and the “B” to Belgrave in 4 days – can you get the car in shape?” The Doctor, with both hands calmly folded over his stomach, simply smiled and nodded! The Neutralizer, anticipating the next question said, “I’ll be ready with the car.” Evans then turned his attention to the Bear. “Reinout, we need to find out how the satellite is being hacked, who and where it is coming from and then shut it down.” “Sir William’s electronic signature from Serbia is our only lead.” “Arata will coordinate ground activity through Susan and I want your team on the hunt electronically.” “Langley will be sending us more information before departure.”
That night, inside one of the Farm’s apartments, the Neutralizer prepared his favoured weapons, the Beretta 93-R 9mm and the Israeli Dessert Eagle 44 magnum auto hand guns. His thoughts wondered to distant battles and the many ghosts he now carried from them. His mind then drifted to Susan Simpson, his mission controller, with whom his private affair was forged from love and combat necessity.
There was a soft knock on the door, barely distinguishable. The soldier stirred but did not move. A second knock, louder this time…….and a voice. It was Susan outside the door. “Ralph, can you hear me – are you OK?” The soldier broke his contemplation to come to his senses and answered. “Is that you darling?”
The answer was immediate! “Darling??” “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY DARLING?” “You have been in that bathroom 20 minutes now.” “What did you do – fall asleep on the toilet?” “You promised me you would fix the gutter on the back of house today!”
Oh, oh….I had done it again. A short nap in a warm place and a dream dominated by my fantasy alter-ego! Yikes!
“Susan, I will be right out and fix the gutter right away!” Oh boy, what an idiot…again!