o one within the confines of the Virginia Bunker could understand why Corporal Benjamin Stodges stood outside of the entry pinging for permission to enter.  He was supposed to be on the front line with the Tanks, General Sherman Randolphs contingent.

The outer guard scanned the whole perimeter for signs of body heat or images.  One of the pigs they'd just released with the trackers was seen a good hundred yards off, but other than that, the area proved clean.

"Step up to the camera and identify yourself soldier" the guard said as he opened the heavy door.

Corporal Benjamin Stodges sir.  He rattled off his service number and stood while the scanners did their work.  "Stand forward to the retina scanners and thumb prints."

The Corporal snapped to at every command.

"Password?" the guard said.

"Password?  They didn't tell me nothing about no password" he responded stupidly.

"You will turn around and exit the outer foray soldier!" the guard said sternly.

Corporal Stodges stood his ground.  "Wait a minute" he said loudly.  "Do my scans confirm?"

"You will stand down and exit the area soldier or be shot!  Last warning."

Benjamin just stood there.  He heard the little door flip down at his side and saw the mounted mini Gatling slide forward on the mechanical arm to have range of the full confirmation area.  The icy finger of the Grim Reaper traced and up and down his back.  He slowly eased away in the direction of the door.

But the outer door did not open to allow him egress.  Commander Overton stood watching the ordeal and said "Gas him."

In less than five seconds of him standing there he slowly crumpled to the ground.  "Get in there and get him to fresh air immediately" Tony ordered.  "Sequester him in the airtight brig and let Doc. Wainsboro examine him."

The guards wore masks as they lifted him onto the gurney and wheeled him into the air tight hospital cell.

Doc. Wainsboro in hazard duty suit and respirator approached the still drugged man and placed a mask on his face and an oxygen monitor on his finger.  He was breathing fine.  He set up the X-ray machine over him and stepped out of the room carefully sealing it and locking it from the outside.  He stood monitoring him on camera.

Ginger and Amy had walked into the hospital section of the Bunker and watched.  The X-ray machine was nearly through when they noticed something unusual in the anus of the man lying on the table.  It wasn't metal . . . could be glass.

Quickly Doc. Wainsboro entered the room before the man regained consciousness and removed the portable X-ray machine then sealed the room again upon leaving.  He reported his find to Commander Overton.  Corporal Ben Stodges was going to have a lot of explaining to do.

The would learn the whole story by daylight.  The ladies went to their assigned temp quarters to freshen up and catch some shut eye.  By dawn communications with the Texas Bunker had been re-established.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Chapter XVII