Ursa Non Gratis

Part V.

Gran TwoBears - Teaching old dogs new tricks

I woke up this day, as I have every morning for the last two weeks. Every morning, the same dream. A mother bear calls to her cub, she can hear him, but he is out of site and in danger. As she crests the hill she sees him, cornered by hunters who are taunting him with sticks. She is helpless as they tanq him and skin him alive. I awake, crying for the cub, for the mother bear, for my grandson.

I pull myself out of bed and look at the clock. 0730, it has begun. I check the house systems and verify, the utility light in the washroom is on. Duck is on her way, with her team. I tell the others.

"What can they do, that we can't," my sister's grandson Carl asks.

"Handle this without causing trouble between our people and Quebec," Niki, Danny's sister, answers before I can say a thing.

"Children," I chide. "The enemy knows us and is watching, we need outsiders."

"If they're watching, why bring them here? Won't that tell the enemy who we have?"

"Only that we have somebody training," I explain. "They will be TwoBears once they are here."

"This is our battle," Carl objected.

"Carl," I start, then give up. The argument is older than time by now. "Treat our guests with respect."

"Yes Ma'am," he answers. I know in his heart it is not true, but he will not argue with me. Not while Danny is in trouble. I also know that he will not cause Duck anymore grief on the matter. She is family, and he respects her too much. It will have to do.

"Let me get you some breakfast," Niki urges as she guides me to a chair.

"I am not so old and frail that I cannot make my own breakfast," I object, but Niki is laughing.

"Sit," she states, her tone borders on an order and I am taken aback by her insolence. When I look I can see the twinkle in her eyes. Sometimes I wonder if the child is truly a fox, instead of a Bear.

She brings me fruit and toast. A light repast before the days work begins.

0900 - I get another message from Duck. This time the light in the kitchen blinks on and off four times. After 2 minutes, I turn the lights on and off twice. The lights flicker and I concentrate on translating the flickers of light into words. Its hard for Duck shifts between traditional and morse codes. I'm annoyed at first, but then I realize, she is doing it on purpose, not to annoy me, but to confuse anybody that might be monitoring the system. That is the wolf in her, cautious, cunning.

She signs off and I begin my preparations. Three men and one woman will be joining us. The Dorm room is setup, six bedrooms two baths and a kitchen. I send Niki to the PX for provisions. Ten uniforms, fifteen sets of underwear, I even throw boots in, although I doubt any will need them. Duck's gotten some of the people she really wanted. The rest had 'other' things to do.

Also in the order, eight name tags, all to read 'TwoBears' and two that read 'Wjowski'. Sweaters for the night. Toiletries, cleaning kits, temporary ids... it is a busy morning, but by lunch time, the rooms are stocked and we are ready for our guests.

The final task, Chili. Duck didn't ask me to make it, but I know she's got Rudy doing her driving. That man loves his chili. It keeps me busy, keeps me from thinking about the dream, about Danny, about the cub...

2300 - I get a call from Michael at the border. "We've got the machinery you ordered," he states. "Should be able to plow the back 40 tomorrow morning."

"Thank you dear," I answer. In one hour our guests will be arriving.

I start reheating the food and setting the table. Niki joins me and we finish our preparations. They arrive a little after mid-night. The warmth of the day has faded, stolen back by the night. The sky is crisp and dark, the stars, bright. We welcome Duck and her companions. They are not ready for what awaits them.

I should have known, really, Duck had warned me that they were all former military. 'You were expecting a cold barracks and an ice cold drill instructor, but instead you get an old woman serving you chili,' I thought to myself with a laugh. 'Time for old dogs to learn new tricks.'

They settle in and I go home for the night, as I lay down, the light in my room flickers.

'Good night and thank you,' its from Duck.

I rest, and dream of a pack of wolves, attacking the hunters. It is a good dream.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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