Saturday, 4th February 2023 - 2:03:39 am

General Trinh is delivering papers

That was the message on the answering machine. The caller had hung up, not waiting to see if anyone picked up.

It was a message that would reverberate in several countries and cause many deaths.

The message was left on Steve Kincaid's answering machine. He went quickly to push the ‘Save' button so it would not erase automatically. He stared down at the machine for a few moments as if expecting it to explain further. It did not.

He didn't recognize the voice. It didn't matter. He knew it was true. There was a hint of accusation in the tone. That didn't need to be there. He felt guilty enough. He had let everyone down.

Damn! Damn! Damn! All he had wanted to do was disappear. All he wanted was to work anonymously at an anonymous job and be left alone. No chance for that now.

He had to do something, but what. All he had was the respect of his people and he was losing it.

Calm down. One thing at a time. He had to think. While he was thinking he had to sharpen his skills. This was going to call for some kind of action, that was certain. That thought came almost as a relief. He could feel the restrictions of civilization falling away. He could almost feel again the freedom he had felt in the jungle.

He went to his favorite place to relax. An arcade nearby had a booth in which he could shoot an air rifle that shot BBs. It was fifty shots for a dollar. He never went to regular firing ranges because they kept careful records of who was firing. They even required identification.

Anyway the BB guns were more challenging. There was nothing more difficult than a snap-shot at a moving string with a BB gun. Some of the targets were on hooks at the end of strings. Kincaid's goal was to get the target bouncing so violently that it came loose and fell. Hitting the string caused the most radical bounces. Hitting the string while the target was already bouncing often made it come loose.

The girl at the booth hated to see him come. It meant work. Kincaid did not like to leave while any target was standing or hanging. She had to cleanup after him.

This time, when he finished, he had the beginnings of a plan. He had the weapons. He had the manpower. He knew where the money was, the big money.

General Trinh would not be delivering papers for much longer.

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