Riding in black SUVs under a cover identity has become relatively normal to me these days. Boyer was driving again and we were, for the meantime at least, Agents of the Department of the Interior. Where we were was rural Wyoming and we were ten miles out from the town of Norrill, population 47.
We had just finished moving our operations headquarters from Fort Bragg North Carolina to Fort Meade Maryland. Our training facilities at Camp Mackall were still in operation, but now that we had enough personnel we needed more space. Dutch and I and Colonel Haviland along with two strike teams were up at Meade. Fossey and his light infantry were out at Fort Lewis Washington, along with the Stryker section that we had kind of borrowed. Harrigan had become our training chief and our recruits went through the course down at Mackall before being assigned to either of the two US bases or to the satellite op centers in Honduras and Iraq.
Meade had been a good choice as it had basically been shut down except as a National Guard training post and it had the NSA and its private security army watching it for trouble in the center of it. I liked being back in the DC area so I could see Sam, Willow, and Oz more often.
Anyway I had just finished unpacking my office when the phone did its buzzy thing.
"My office Summers...Now!"
I headed towards Dutch's new lair, dragging my helpful Sergeant with me. Stopping at his secretary's desk we were unceremoniously waved in."
"Summers. Boyer. Sit." Dutch was behind his desk playing with an unlit cigar. When we slid into the pre-offered chairs he handed me a folder with a number of photos in it. The pictures were of skeletonized cattle.
I passed them over to Boyer Then asked, "Hunter sir?"
"I'm not sure. This took place in Vyoming unt average temperature there is about 18 Celsius right now, 68 to you Imperial measure types. That is far colder than they like. Also, they normally don't kill unarmed creatures. Only after ones that vill give a sufficient challenge."
"So why don't you think this is wolves?"
"That picture is taken uff one animal out uff two hundred that vere killed last night. There are not enuff wolves in Vyoming to do that kind uff damage. Also SpaceTrac picked up a unusual meteorite heading towards earth three days ago. It vas classified due to its 'unusual' low radar cross section unt low surface temperature."
Boyer spoke up, "Spacecraft?"
"So what's the plan Dutch?"
"Vell, Captain, you unt Boyer are going out as Department of Interior investigators. I vill arrange for the Vyoming National Guard to 'secure' the area to protect the populace against a pack uff rabid wolves."
"This doesn't sound exactly like our standard mission profile," I said, puzzled.
"It's not. Take your big toys vith you. Your team vill be on stand-by as back-up. Vhatever it is that started on cattle, might decide on a side-order uff human in the near future and ve vill not let that happen. Am I clear?"
"Yes Sir! Oh. Can you get Sergeant Lehane to join us? We may need the muscle."
"I'll see vhat I can do. Here are the details uff the area. Dismissed."
Boyer and I left the General's office.
"So, I think it's open season on the Hunters. No bag limit. Get us on the first available commercial flight to Wyoming, as close to Norrill as possible and arrange for a vehicle. I'll get our IDs made up and backstopped and then swing by the armory and sign out some extra ammunition," Boyer smiled at that.
"On it Buff. Would that be belts of extra ammunition?"
"You heard the General. We're supposed to take our big toys."
Now we were in Wyoming and arriving at the hasty perimeter. A roadblock of National Guard hummers and State Patrol cars was turning a station wagon back. After they were done the Trooper walked over to us.
"Sir, Ma'am. I'm sorry but there's been an outbreak of rabies. This area is quarantined."
"I'm Agent Boyer and this is Senior Agent Summers. We're from the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and I think we're expected," Boyer handed over both our ID cases.
"Let me call this in..." The Trooper stepped away from our vehicle and in a minute or so returned, handed the badge folders back and waved us through. As we were pulling away he called after us, "Guess it's getting to be a regular Department of the Interior convention in there. With you guys and the others..."
Boyer looked over at me and I shrugged, "Well I didn't invite them."
"How do we handle this?" Boyer looked worried.
"It's a bureaucracy...Who knows everybody in their own Government Department? I mean honestly."
"Okay then, you're the officer."
"Yup! And don't you forget it."
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