It was time to get to Saint Teresa. I knew that there was a staging area for persons designated to work on the construction of the complex. The complex was apparently in early stages, considering that my source in the government told me they were pushing for a mid April execution of the operation. The entire project was a preemptive strike at the heightened public disruptions being caused by uninsured civilians within the united states. There were several marches and none-violent protests in early March, I remembered seeing them on the news. I'd have to make it there if I was going to try and get in, or get near the construction site.
This staging area was north of Las Vegas, somewhere on the 95 between Las Vegas and Indian Springs. Apparently no one was actually aware of the specific location of where Camp Saint Teresa would be, but knowing what lay north of Indian Springs in the desert didn't leave much to the imagination. There was the obvious Area 51, and the testing grounds to it's south west, where nuclear devices were detonated through out the last half of the 20th century. A lot of people figured it would be somewhere in those areas.
Being in a stolen vehicle, and attempting to avoid unwanted attention I decided to get around Las Vegas the long way. I headed west along some back roads, passed by Bard and exited left to intersect with Blue Diamond road, avoiding the city center of the community of Mountains Edge.
From there I continued north westerly for some time before hitting the fork in the road. I had the choice to go left and continue on the 160, or go right and take the 159. I went right, passing Bonnie Springs and making my way into the Calico Basin. Turning north from there, I used what was definitely a seasonal path at the bottom of a dried out riverbed to go off road into the desert. The Jeep I had "procured" in Sloan had no issues with the rough terrain. I continued east, making my way around Red Rock Canyon. It was a pity that I had passed here at night, the canyon was a beautiful sight. I wasn't completely out of luck though, as I turned easterly on to a dirt track I could see the Las Vegas sky line shining like diamonds in the distance. It lit up the night sky a yellow orange.
The off road traveling was rather exciting, and I honestly believe that if it wasn't for the rough terrain, I would have fallen asleep considering the time. It was just about 3 in the morning when I finally made my way back around the eastern tip of the mountain range and was forced into residential outskirt of Las Vegas. There was a suburb under construction, mostly at the landscaping phase. I took advantage of the dirt roads in that area to avoid getting back on the busy Charleston boulevard that was only a stones throw away.
Driving north, I was eventually forced out of the development and onto Front Gate road. Luckily, only one side of this road was residential, the west side of it was an expanse of desert reaching out to the nearby Madre mountains. A few miles up this road, it veered to the right to intersect with highway 95 in a dense urban area. I avoided that intersection and continued north on a dirt road headed toward Kyle Canyon, where I more discretely entered on to the 95.
So far it had taken me roughly two hours and sixty some aught miles to get to the 95 without entering Las Vegas. The Detour was worth it.
From here on out it would be smooth sailing until I reached the staging area. I drove north west along the 95 for about thirty miles before I saw a penitentiary on my left. Only about a mile further down the road there was a gas station. I decided it would be best to fuel up. I wasn't sure how much further I'd have to drive. I got out of the Jeep and fueled up before walking into the station. It was a truck stop, open twenty four hours. The girl at the desk was young, probably eighteen, maybe not even. I got a few soft drinks and some potato chips. She wore a tight white tank top with spaghetti straps and was chewing on a pen, in that way that jail bait chews on a pen.
"Hi there mister." she said, practically batting her eyelashes. She was blushing, but I could tell by the sweat on her forehead that it wasn't because of me. For a short moment I thought maybe it was the flu, and I almost took a step back. Her eyes gave it all away though. Largest pupils I've seen this side of Amsterdam. She was high as a kite on who knows what. Most likely E or coke, or both.
"Hey." I said, trying to sound ten years younger. If she knew my age she would have crumpled over vomiting on herself. Somehow I wasn't so sure that was far from happening regardless. "What's been going on around here, anything exciting?"
"Nah, not really." She said, getting more "comfortable" in her stool.
"Nothing at all huh? Anyone around here get sick?"
Her eyes widened at the question. "Ain't no one around here sick mister. Maybe further down by the Casino in Indian Springs, lots of people 'round there. Not too many people passing this way. Mostly just people needin' gas. Then there's the choppers and military planes."
"Really?" I asked. Smiling a little.
She smiled back, "What, you like military planes?"
She was at least somewhat perceptive, with a bit of training I bet she'd be a decent spy. "Yeah I like that kind of stuff. Where've they been going?" I ask her, unintentionally adding on to her accent a little bit. Hopefully that wouldn't put her off.
"Well, there's always planes around here. Hear them pretty often. But there's been a whole lot of helicopters lately, big ones, goin' up north. You wanna come out back? I can show you which direction." She said, as she passed my items through and I paid for the gas.
"Sounds like a date."
She smiled again, putting the pen down and looking at a back door suspiciously before hopping off the stool. She was taller than I had expected when she came around the counter wearing a ripped jean mini-skirt that showed off her long legs. She walked over to the door and opened it as the bell jingled above her head. "Hey Dave, come to the front I'm taking a smoke break!"
"Ugh, Yeah yeah." I hear from the back room.
"Well mister, you comin'?"
"I hope so." I said smiling. How the hell was I going to get myself out of this one?
We walked around back, and as I walked behind her, the evil side of my mind thought about all the things I could do to her, and how many pieces I could leave her in. I pushed that part of me deep down where it belonged. It only got out once in a while, and today wasn't one of those days.
As we got to the back of the station she pointed out toward a valley. "That way there." She said, "Been coming in and out for about two weeks now." She got a little closer and rubbed up against me. "Beautiful view though ain't it."
She wasn't unattractive, and if my moral compass pointed a little further south I probably would have taken advantage of the situation. "Sure is." I said.
Her hand was wandering to my crotch when I grabbed her by the wrist. "That's probably not the best idea."
"What're you a queer or somethin'?" She said, still a smile on her face.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"Maybe." She said, popping a blue pill in her mouth and winking.
So it was E.
"How 'bout we take a look at your Jeep?"
I knew she didn't mean the Jeep in the front of the gas station when she knelt down.
Alright, so maybe my moral compass is a little south. Give me a break. A little more of my humanity got cut out of me for a guilty moment of carnal pleasure. Pity. I wondered what would happen when there was no humanity left. In any case, it wasn't the first time I fornicated with someone who's name I would never know, and it was certainly in a better part of the world than the last few times. So I'm a dirty old man. When you make your living in the darkest dens of human existence, the stains don't come off so easily. In a lot of ways you become what you're surrounded by. Slime.
When I got back to the truck I was feeling a little unimpressed with myself. The feeling peaked when she waved to me while going back to the cash. I waved back as I got in and turned the ignition with Captain Kirby's knife.
I drove north, into a valley where the road crossed over a dried lake bed. Several miles later the road curved with the mountains, following the valley floor and I found myself in another lake bed. At the edge of this lake bed, to the north, a complex came in to view. It was difficult to tell how large it was at night, there was the possibility that many of the structures didn't have electricity, or windows. There were many tents on the outskirts, this is where I decided I'd leave the jeep. I turned off the ignition, removed Captain Kirby's knife and got out.
At first glance I assumed the tents were for people, but they were for material; construction material. I walked for nearly twenty minutes before I found myself in what could easily be described as a temporary town. There were two dozen prefab bungalow homes stretched out before a town center that held businesses. This was a work camp for the construction workers. There was an area cleared on the right side, where several feet of dirt had been excavated, bulldozers and other equipment looming in the darkness. This was the location of the next set of bungalows no doubt. Single room apartments for the framers and general labor contracted to build the Camp Teresa.
A massive chain linked fence with barbed wire along the top and guard towers on either side of a large wheeled gate was only about fifty feet from where the town ended.On the other side of the gate, I recognized the structures immediately. Army barracks, corrugated iron Quonset huts lined one after another for a good length of the yard. On the far right, spilling out from behind some kind of administrative building, was a large empty space. The lights near this space gave it's purpose away. It was a helicopter landing pad, most likely for a Chinook considering the space allocated for it.
I knew I was in the right place. I made my way back to the truck, moved myself a ways off the road and into a dried out ravine high enough to conceal where I was. It was a quarter to six in the morning. I needed my rest.
Tomorrow, work would begin.