You scramble into the Apache with the pilots help. Not much room to move. He gives you a thumbs-up and closes the hatch, entombing you in metal. You pull the helmet over your head and hear the radio squawking with fast comms and a background tinny hiss. The pilot swings into the cockpit and soon the aircraft vibrates with power. The whip of the blades increases and the whine of the engines step up your heart rate.
“ETA two-zero minutes to Palm Springs,” the pilot says in your headset.
You nod and feel yourself lift from the ground. It’s a quick ride. As the helo begins its controlled descent you see a figure standing in the empty lot.
On terra firma, the hatch is thrown open. “Glad you could make it.” Ed Saxton (Cracker) the newest member of Alpha Squad says as he helps you down to the ground.
Walking across the empty lot with Petty Officer Saxton by your side you ask, “Do you really think this threat is for real?”
He scans a look across his broad shoulder toward you. “Ya’ll gonna help us find out, aren’t you? And you don’t have much time. Whatever intelligence you gather make sure to report back to Base Command ASAP.”
You nod and your stomach torques tight as you near a parked car. A quick glance over your shoulder and you see the Apache is waiting, its blades whirling in slow motion.
“How many Tangos am I looking for?”
“Three of them. They’re staying at the Renaissance Hotel. Problem is there’s some author and readers conference going on called InD’Scribe con. We’re not sure if they plan to release the virus there or these bad guys are just waiting for instructions.
“Are we talking about a lot of people?”
“Place is jam-packed,” he says, hopping into the vehicle as you slide into the passenger’s seat.
“Are you coming with me?” you ask, thinking it might be better to have a six-foot plus SEAL as an escort. You quickly squelch your pulse from pounding because he’s so damn gorgeous and keep your mind on track.
Cracker parks the car in the rear parking lot of the hotel and turns his impressive torso toward you. “It’s your show. My orders are to wait for you. Keep your head down and your eyes open.” He snaps a quick wink at you. “Give me your phone.”
You hand it over and watch as he punches in a number.
“Why would I need this?” you ask.
He grins. “My number. When this is all over I’m taking you out to dinner.”
You swallow and stare at his blue eyes and roguish smile. “Um, sure,” you sputter.
Entering the rear entrance of the hotel and quickly walking down a hallway, you see Cracker wasn’t kidding. The place is full of people, mostly women. That’s why they sent you. Looks like you’re going to have to find yourself a covered position to watch the faces. Three Tangos should stand out like a sore thumb in this group.
Your task: Go to this link. Search the post which announces the hotel reservations. When you find the vial, write down what’s on it. https://www.facebook.com/pages/InDScribe-Author-Reader-Con/702276673188304
This is your password to the second tasking. Give the Facebook page a “LIKE” on your way through.