Saturday, 4th February 2023 - 3:33:27 am
"My orders are to bring you back," Bob Douglas said.
"Dead or alive?" Kincaid grinned. Now that he had made up his mind what to do, all the pressures of the last few days had lifted. "They can't order you around, anyway. You're a goddamned civilian. Don't they know that?"
"It's the end, I'm telling you. It's all over. Kaput. We're all leaving. This isn't a phase out. This is an evacuation."
"Well then what the hell are you doing here? You better get back. You might miss the bus."
"Listen Steve," Douglas continued. "You can't do them any more good here. The war is over. We lost. You understand? Now we all go home and try to figure out what the hell happened."
"I'm not leaving."
Douglas kicked a pebble with his Wellington boot. "I figured something like that was going down when you wouldn't answer the old man on the radio. You're still going to have a price on your head, you know."
"We all do. That's the point. Lou and I talked it over. We're not going to bail out on them."
"Gorski's staying too?"
"I hear they're making room for a lot of Vietnamese on the planes going out. Maybe they"ll take some of your people."
"Yeah," Kincaid said, "and kick off some lard ass Vietnamese Colonel and his family" These are only tribesmen, moi. They're on their own."
"So what are you going to do" Stay here and try to pass for Rhade? Get lost in the crowd?"
"We can't stay here. They"ll be looking for General Trinh and Minh and Hao and Nguyen and all the rest of the leaders. We're going to walk out. Whoever wants to come. We're walking out through Laos, Cambodia and into Thailand."
"Families and all?"
"Think you"ll make it?"
"Then what? You goin' back to the States? And don't say 'yep' again for chrissakes."
"I thought you might be crazy enough to try something like that. Just in case, I brought a present for you. A going away present. Wait here a minute and I"ll get it."
"You wait now. You promise?"
Douglas went back to the waiting helicopter. He pulled a small canvas bag out of the back. He had a brief but heated discussion with the copilot before he came back to Kincaid with the bag. The engines on the chopper raced and the aircraft lifted off.
"What's going on?" Kincaid asked.
"It's me," Douglas said. "I'm the present. I'm going with you."