Semper Femme Fatale
Thomas Calabrese …Part I
Catlin Forrest and Camille Reubens were relaxing at the San Onofre State beach not far from their San Mateo base housing quarters when their Marine Corps pilot husbands flew low over them in their Cobra helicopters on their way back to the Camp Pendleton airfield. The two women were in their mid- twenties and waved when they recognized the numbers on the aircraft.
Ten years later, Catlin and Camille lived next door to each other in Leucadia, a small beach town twenty two miles south of Camp Pendleton. Catlin was cooking breakfast for her two children when her husband, Brock called her cellphone, “We’re having a rough time with this fire, do you think that you and Camille can help us out, our other pilots are working another blaze in Riverside.”
“Roger that,” Catlin said, got the kids off to school then picked up Camille and headed to the Carlsbad airport where two Bell 212 helicopters were fueled and ready to go. Catlin and Camille did quick pre-flight checks then took off. A raging inferno fueled by Santa Ana winds and low humidity was burning in the hills between Fallbrook and Rainbow. Catlin and Camille landed near Interstate 15 where a water tanker filled their buckets. They were directed by radio to a ridgeline where they made their drops. They made ten more passes to protect structures in the area before the winds died down enough for crews to make their way into the area and get the fires under control.
After landing back at the Carlsbad airport, Camille turned to Catlin, “We’ve got three hours before the kids get out of school, feel lucky?”
“Luck is the residue of skill,” Catlin smiled.
The two women drove over to Master Chung’s Self Defense Studio on South Coast Highway in Oceanside and Catlin changed into their workout gear and headed for the mat. Catlin and Camille both held sixth degree black belts in Jeet Kune Do and went through a strenuous workout that included an intense sparring session.
“Now that I taught you how it is done, ready to go home?” Catlin panted.
“If you think that… then I must have hit you harder than I thought,” Camille responded as she wiped the perspiration off her face.
On the way home, Catlin and Camille each received a text, all it said was; Must meet.
Their husbands were already sitting in a car when they turned down the street to their homes.
“We got an emergency call from Homeland Security; they have a job for us,” Brock said, “They have some kind of security threat along the Santa Barbara coastline.”
“Don’t know how long we’ll be gone, but we’ll get in touch as soon as we know something, “Steve added.
The two men drove off and as soon as they were out of sight, Camille sent out a text; Clear.
A few seconds passed before a cable company vehicle drove up and Miguel Montero got out, “We got a lead and as usual we’ll keep your husbands busy until the mission is completed.”
While living on Camp Pendleton, Catlin and Camille answered an ad in the base newspaper; Excellent part time job, high pay, great benefits, must be athletic, adventurous and willing to learn.
During the extensive interview process the two women were initially told that Premier Point was an international agency that specialized in extreme sports and were looking for a special breed of woman to represent them at events around the world. They would have to complete an intensive program to become proficient in a variety in athletic endeavors and skills before being offered full time positions with the company. It was six months later and only two per cent of the women who began the grueling training regimen were still in it.
Catlin was first in the class and Camille was number three and it could have easily been the other way around if Camille had not suffered a badly sprained ankle during her second month of training while rock climbing and base jumping at Yosemite National Park. After graduation Catlin and Camille were then informed that Premier Point’s primary mission was actually counter terrorism and not sports promotion and were offered the option of staying in Southern California and becoming part of an elite team. The two young women were fiercely patriotic, so when the issue of national security was put before them, they did not hesitate to make the same commitment to protect the country as their military husbands while maintaining the highest level of secrecy.
Premier Point’s influence was so expansive and powerful that Catlin and Camille’s husbands were never transferred from Camp Pendleton and when their enlistment contracts expired, high paying positions in a flight service were offered to both men to keep them located in Southern California. This allowed Premier Point the capability of calling Catlin and Camille’s husbands out of town whenever a mission for the two women came up on short notice. On longer pre-planned missions, the two women merely said it was work related when they had to leave the area for extended periods of time. At first, Catlin and Camille were hesitant about deceiving their husbands, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was for their own protection. They also came to the realization after their few missions that it was easier to do the dangerous things that were asked of them if they didn’t have it in the back of their minds that their husbands were worried about their safety and survival.
Catlin, Camille and Miguel stepped into the back of the truck which was outfitted with state of the art computer and surveillance equipment. Miguel was ten years older than the two women and was highly proficient in computer technology, mechanical and chemical engineering and provided intelligence and technical expertise, “We’ve been monitoring a yacht that has been docked in Acapulco for the last two months. Our Intel is that terrorists have been paying the Armendariz Cartel for protection while they’ve been planning a major attack on American soil. The fact that the yacht has just left Mexico and is headed in this direction confirms our initial assessment of the situation,” Miguel said
“Have you been able to intercept any of their communications?” Camille asked.
“Only bits and pieces, they’ve got a new guy that has been re-configuring and encrypting their computers and cellphones,” Miguel put the photo of Saleem Mustafa Mansoor on a computer screen, ‘This is Saleem Mansoor, alias Big Sandy, who is about four hundred pounds and is their star player when it comes to social media recruiting, fundraising, cyber-terrorism and security.”
“Is he better…,” Catlin began.
Miguel quickly intercepted, “Better than me, that still remains to be seen. Our government released hundreds of billions of dollars to the Iranians during the nuclear negotiations and they took two billion of it and funded a “state of the art” floating command center for global terrorism.”
“So what is our mission?” Camille asked.
“It’s a tough one,” Miguel responded.
“If it was easy, why would you need us? Catlin smiled.
“Here’s the plan and as usual it is subject to change once you get eyes on the target,” Miguel reminded the two women.
The three operatives went over their plan then boarded a high powered ocean motorboat at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas and raced to a designated location several miles ahead of the yacht where they stopped and waited.
Catlin pulled out her cellphone, “Tango, Poppa, Sierra, November, Kilo,” which was code for Top Priority, Short Notice, Kids
The female voice on the other end responded, “Charlie, Alpha, Foxtrot, India,” which was; Confirmed, Awaiting, Further, Instructions.
“Roger that,” Catlin disconnected and turned to Camille, “The kids are taken care of.”
“This antidote will protect you when you get aboard,” Miguel explained as he injected both women in their forearms with syringes, “You’ll be using a fast acting paralyzing agent and sleeping gas to neutralize the crew on board. You’ll need to be quick because I need to get access to their computers before they can delete any pertinent information,” then set several items on the table.
Catlin picked up one of the energy bars and a plastic bottle filled with a liquid setting nearby, and carefully looked at them, “Should I assume that these are more than what they appear to be?”
“You have such a suspicious nature,” Camille teased
Miguel responded, “The blueberry energy bars have a plastic packet inside them and when you break them in half, it releases a potent gas into the air. The peanut butter bars have the same toxin inside a mini syringe and if you inject someone the effects are instantaneous paralysis. The water bottles contains the same agent, you can pour it in their drinks dump it on deck or splash it on them. In liquid form, it remains active for up to ten minutes depending on climatic conditions. These are the only weapons you’ll be carrying and there will be no communications because they’ll be able to detect any outside radio transmissions.”
“How are we going to let you know when the mission is completed?” Catlin asked.
Miguel pulled a three foot brightly colored flag and held it up, “This will be in your fanny pack, if you run it up the mast and we’ll be there in less than a minute. And if we don’t get a signal within fifteen minutes, we’re coming on aboard regardless of the situation.”
“How are we supposed to get on board?” Camille asked.
“This is your cover; you were training on paddleboards for an endurance race and had almost made it from Catalina to Carlsbad when one of you got sick. Right now you are directly in the path of the yacht so all you have to do is get them to stop and pick you up,” Miguel said.
“At the risk of sounding repetitive, how are we supposed to do that?” Camille reiterated.
“At the risk of sounding sexist, this yacht has twenty five men on it and my next statement is purely an objective observation from a man who has been professionally trained to notice details… you are extremely attractive, bordering on beautiful and please do not ask me to elaborate or specify beyond that point.”
Miguel scanned the area to the south with the high powered range finder and found the yacht, “Eighteen hundred meters and closing,” Both women took off their shorts and tops and were wearing brightly colored bikinis underneath which greatly accentuated their femininity and athletic muscularity. They put their clothes in their back packs and slipped the straps over their shoulders then put their paddleboards in the water and got on them.
“It’s a good thing that it’s a warm sunny day; I also want it on the official record that I don’t normally paddleboard in a string bikini.” Camille commented.
The two women began paddling toward the yacht as Miguel called to them, “If anything goes awry, abort the mission. Don’t forget!”
End Part I