A Day in the Life of Marine Captain Cross before the Zoastra Affair Part Nineteen
The pilot pushed the button and the back door opened. In formation the men left and found their way into the forest. No one greeted them. The place felt empty. Something felt off. He’d been poised for a fight.
Arash indicated the direction. Cross nodded, and they stayed on schedule, following the map. Goosebumps formed on Cross’s arms when they cleared a mile. Someone was watching them. A trap seemed imminent. But Cross realized that they’d found themselves in a perfect spot to defend.
The position of their shuttle landing was the strongest point to launch an attack on them. If the battle started here, the rock formation would keep their backs safe. If someone attacked them here, then amateurs were leading the enemy.
Someone was probably watching them from the rock caves. Out loud Cross said, “I don’t think it’s a team. Might be one person.”
“A tracker, then?” Newman asked.
Major Nelson walked up next to them. “Could be…I’ll lead some men into the cave.”
Cross rubbed his chin. “It might be a trap.”
Newman smiled grimly. “My wife always tells me to ask for directions. For once, I want to listen to her. It’s better than letting someone follow us.”
Nelson outranked him. And he didn’t have a missing wife. “Let me go. You stay here. If something happens to me, you still have a chance.”
“No, Captain Cross, you stay here. You’re one of the best at strategic thinking. I’ll get whoever is spying on us.”
Cross didn’t like missing the fight, but he did as he was told. He set up a makeshift camp with the men while they waited and scouted. He sent three men ahead to see if the structures were populated as the map showed, and to report back what they saw. Details mattered. Whatever information he gained on the enemy made making choices easier later on. He checked with the pilot and gave him a channel to contact them at all hours.