A Special Agent Emily Dahill Story
The drive had been long, longer than expected. But Emily knew the result would be well worth the effort. Four days with old friends from 3rd Stryker out of Fort Lewis.
It had been after midnight when she and her partner finally pulled into the campsite. Ten minutes later, she had their campsite set up. Another five minutes and she was snuggled down in her sleeping bag, Dakota, snoring softly, curled at her feet.
Except for the washed out bridge, which had caused the delay in arriving, everything had gone according to plan. Her friends would meet them the next morning. What Emily didn’t know, or much less realize, was the timing.
As the sun started to crest, the distant mountain peaks, the birds started in on their morning songs. Squirrels and chipmunks shook off the cobwebs of sleep. Everything and every animal started to wake; all except Emily and Dakota. He’d resettled himself, some point during the night, so now he was leaning against her back, on his back-paws in the air.
The first to notice anything awry, Dakota cracked an eye open at the sound of approaching footsteps-combat booted footsteps no less.
He rolled onto his belly. Then with a grace only a collie could achieve, he rose to his paws, stretching his muscles, front and back, as he went. Normally, Emily would have made sure there was room on the air mattress for him but she’d been too tired when she went to bed. So, he’d had to sleep dog style-on the ground.
After a good shake, nose to tail, to resettle his fur, he glanced down at his still sleeping partner. With a frustrated head shake, he crept slowly to the front flap. Carefully, he took the zipper in his teeth when someone banged on the tent side.
“Hey, wake up in there.”
Not recognizing the voice, Dakota immediately went into alert mode. The hackles on his mane spiked, his upper lips curled back baring his teeth and he half closed, for protection and he hoped a menacing look, his eyes. A short deep low warning growl rumbled in his throat. With a quick look behind he saw Emily stirring so he repeated the growl, only louder and deeper. That he knew would wake her. It did.
Emily awoke with a start when she heard Dakota’s growl. Her first thought-intruder. From under her pillow she withdrew her Beretta M9. She pulled the slide back just far enough to confirm a round seated in the chamber. Leaning forward she gave Dakota a pat letting him know she was moving.
She reached for the flap zipper when the voice called out again, “Come out of that tent right now, with your hand up and empty.”
She and Dakota looked at each other and shrugged. With her gun leveled straight ahead with her free hand opened the tent front. Only to come face to muzzle with an M4 carbine. Shit. Emily kept her pistol trained on the soldier before her. Slowly she raised her hand, letting the soldier see her badge “Soldier, if you don’t want trouble, you’d better safety your weapon.”
At first she couldn’t understand the bugged-eyed look the soldier was giving her. Her gut told her it wasn’t the sudden, unexpected sight of her ID. Then she realized she hadn’t put any clothes on. She was still in her panties and a t-shirt.
She started to backpedal deeper into the tent when the man started to reach in. Before he knew it he found his wrist in a collie’s jaw grip.
Frozen in terror, the soldier was about to call for help when Emily said, “If you know what’s good for you, first set your weapon on the ground then smile at my dog.”
As she wiggled into a pair of jeans, which wasn’t easy one-handed, the other still in possession of her pistol, she tried not to laugh as the poor soldier did as he was told.
When the man’s wrist was released, after laying his rifle on the ground, Emily indicated with her pistol for him to back up. Dakota slipped out first to keep the harried soldier from trying to get his rifle. Not quite sure what to do, Dakota did the only thing could think of-he peed on it.
Once free of the tent she cast her eyes toward the distant mountains and the sun which barely crested over the peaks. She straightened, capturing the soldier with a piercing glare. “Now, do you mind telling me what this is all about? Unless you’d rather be arrested for waking me up. And trust me, I can and will.”
The soldier stared at her, never having run into a CID Special Agent before. Nervous at being confronted by Emily and Dakota, he started to answer her. “Ah, well..it’s like this…” Seeing he was nervous she held up her hand to stop him so he could take a relaxing breath. “This area is scheduled for a war game in a little while. I was sent to make sure everything was secure, which should have been done last night.”
“And what idiot was suppose to make sure of that?”
From his body position, now closing up, she knew he wasn’t sure how to answer her query. His actions were confirmed when he began to fidget, shuffling his feet in the dirt and nervously rubbing his hands on his trousers.
From the corner of her eye, she saw Dakota stand, which since she hadn’t released him was totally out of character. He started to dance around like he saw someone or something familiar.
“Ah, it was Sergeant-”. He never finished his scattered thought.
“Deveral.” A female voice from behind her announced. Emily spun at the sound, her pistol still at the ready. When she saw who had spoken she lowered the weapon. “Got ya Dahill. Now we’re even.”