Morning had barely broken when the heat became too intense to remain in one position for an extended period of time. The team allowed Kraybold the pleasure of the final cigarette. Instead of rationing it out, he sucked it down all by himself until he was inhaling part of his fingernail, as the machine rolled cigarettes were filterless. If skies could predict the future, it was surely an ominous one, as the sun had barely crested the horizon and the haze was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Commander Rogers tried to poke his head through the slit, but it closed as quickly as it opened.
The satellite receiver that had been silent until now sprang to life. Kraybold had been awaiting further instructions and was becoming worried that his waiting had been in vain. The small receiver the military had been testing was only capable of small, encrypted textual transmissions. It was the first of its kind and could only receive and store a total of 500 characters. After reading and deciphering the text he informed his troop that they now had a time and a target. Execution of the plan would be challenging, but achievable.
“Officer Kraybold, due to the extreme risk of fatality in this operation, I would suggest you stay behind and allow the four of us to enter the stronghold from four different sides.”
“Commander Flowers, that is optimal, as I can keep lookout and watch for any danger signs.”
The Festival of the Orchid was set to begin in 64 hours. The first float, a shrine to the Buddha, was said to contain the gem. Surely it would be hidden in plain sight, i a halo of orchids placed right on top of the statue’s head. Kraybold asked his team to remain silent for the next 36 hours which he devised a strategy to hone in on and recover the long, lost treasure.
To be continued…