False Flag: Daddy Lessons (Part 1 of 2)
Painting by Demar Douglas
Black Fury was, to be blunt, a very large man.
Six feet four inches tall and easily 210 pounds of solid muscle, his biceps rippled as he loaded ammunition into the W.A.R. Pig, his ridiculously customized matte black 1996 Chevrolet G20 that had more surprises than a gender reveal party in a minefield. From the outside there was nothing unusual about it; but inside, not a single part of this clandestine armored vehicle was recognizable from its Detroit origins. The bustle of DangerWatch's Sentinel Station motor pool, with a thin morning haze burning off around the Golden Gate Bridge visible outside, went on around him with no one seemingly interested.
Black Fury wore a loose sleeveless black tank top with arm holes that almost reached where it was tucked into his gold patterned sweatpants. His skin was a shade or two lighter than the van, but not by much. He grimly moved to load the van with an expression of determination on his face.
"Dressed like that, you're heading out for furlough, huh?" a voice behind him said.
Black Fury looked up to see Operator sitting a few feet away. Skin the shade of a bowl of bisque, he had a green Special Forces beret snug on his head and toned arms entwined across a black mock turtleneck commando sweater. He sat with his camouflage-covered legs hanging over the concrete lip of the motor pool loading dock, swinging his heavy, well worn combat boots to bounce off the black and yellow painted wall. He stopped to tighten the American flag-themed bandana that Nuance insisted he wear at all times and sighed at his friend.
"... yeah, Ramon, I am," Black Fury said tiredly. "Got a long drive ahead, so if you don't mind ..."
"That's what I don't get," Operator said. "You're loading America's van but leaving for your personal time off. What kind of vacation needs depleted uranium ammunition?"
Operator gestured at the vehicle and chuckled with mild amusement, "There has to be some kind of regulation against you doing this."
"Don't care much about regulations right now, Ramon," Black Fury said, pulling the van door closed. "Besides, Nuance and the boys in merchandising are always telling me, 'stay close to your vehicle in case anyone takes a video or picture of you,' right? I'm taking some of my time off and the W.A.R. Pig is coming with me."
"Speaking of Nuance," Operator continued casually, walking over to lean on the W.A.R. Pig, "I was passing by her office, and it seems some intel about Wrecking Ball popped up, somewhere north of here, but somebody accessed the data. Somebody who doesn't know how to hide their digital tracks."
Picking up a duffel bag, the last thing on the wooden pallet holding his things, Black Fury turned to look down at Operator.
"Nuance doesn't know about the file folder you copied from her desktop," Operator said. "You also didn't bring the Pig when we went to Oktoberfest in Cincinnati three years running."
Black Fury said calmly, "I think I learned that drinking and driving is a bad idea from all the PSAs we do. I'm stone cold sober. Stop worrying."
He then stood his full height and walked over to where Operator was standing. His bright hazel eyes looked coldly down at Operator. "I'm getting in my rig and driving out of here, Ramon," he said with a slight hint of exhaustion. "Am I gonna have any problems?"
Operator smiled, holding both hands up. "Whatever is happening with you, I'm not getting in it, but ..."
"Cool," Black Fury said, quickly walking around to toss the duffel bag in the passenger side and slamming the door shut.
Operator continued, "Just, you know ... go easy, okay? Nothing too ... public? Please? If you need anything, I hope you'll ask. Okay?"
Black Fury took a deep breath and nodded. "Okay, Ramon. Thanks. See you."
Operator stood back as Black Fury walked around and got into the driver's seat. The van's V12 roared into life and pulled the machine out of the door. Black Fury looked into the sensor mirroring the functions of a rear view, seeing Operator standing, arms crossed again, feet shoulder width apart, just watching him go.
Sentinel Station was hidden underneath the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and the motor pool was integrated into an elevator platform under the sand of the beach. Black Fury watched the motor pool ramp that led to the parking lot on Marine Road pull up and then the whole assembly recede underneath the sand, the clandestine roof seamlessly integrated with the sand of the beach. The W.A.R. Pig headed west on Marine and then cut south on Mason Street to head towards the 101 and relentlessly north.
Normally, Black Fury liked to get pumped up with music. He had a 256 MB iPod Touch hooked up to the custom stereo with every note of DMX, Onyx, M.O.P., Group Home and more. Security protocols prohibited him from installing a Clik or a SmartLink from Mathis-Matics, so he'd accepted this lower tech option. When he really got going, the rumble from the van's speakers could be heard from more than two blocks away when he was in the mood … but he drove in silence, letting the roar of the freeway and other vehicles wash over him.
The 101 wasn't terribly busy, and Black Fury found his way past Sausalito and further north, past Strawberry and even San Quentin before crossing the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. He drove through Richmond, only pulling off the freeway at an In-N-Out Burger in Pinole to order three Triple-Triples, a raft full of fries and two huge root beers without ice. The W.A.R. Pig could go almost a thousand miles on a charge and used solar panels and wind turbines in the grill to always pull in extra power, so he didn't even look at gas stations.
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