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Day 2: Assignment – Jim Gray

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Captain John Wesley Sutherland was in Afghanistan with his special forces unit when he met Richards. Richards just seemed to show up one day at Forward Operation Base Camp Chapman in the Khost province. At first glance, Richards had “spook” written all over him. There were a lot of “ghost” types in the field those days. Sometimes it seemed like they were all living out of a Tom Clancy novel.

Richards was a contractor at the time for a large defense conglomerate based in the states. Richards and his two associates specialized in mobilized tracking of individuals through a proprietary software the corporation had developed.

John was introduced to Richards by his commanding officer, Simmons. Simmons was an old-school veteran of multiple operations, conflicts, and wars. He didn’t necessarily dislike Sutherland, but he didn’t show much interest either.

“Captain, you’ll be going on search missions with Mr. Richards here from H Corp. We need you and your team with him for method learning and additional security. You and your unit were chosen because you have the necessary security clearance for this assignment. I didn’t want you to think I was giving you special treatment or anything. I can’t tell you how important this is coming from JOTC,” Simmons instructed John.

In Afghanistan, John noticed that everyone and their brother had a mobile device, even though they were living in houses with no running water or electricity. Richards’ technology was using classified methods developed for them by a former NSA analyst. Sutherland and his unit were acting more like babysitters to Richards and his team. He doubted anything would happen other than battling a more powerful enemy, boredom.

John Sutherland and his unit were part of a secret team known as Task Force 373 based in Khost, Afghanistan. He had been deployed for far too long — away from his home and family. Sometimes, the meaning of the word home became blurred and distant to him as the days passed. It started to seem that the military was his new home. But there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t think about being back home on his grandparents’ farm in California. His family, though spread out and disconnected, was still as important as the soldiers he served with.

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