The Minhs reacted quickly to Jack’s request for some additional help to guard the house. They called upon some of their old comrades who had served under Minh in the Quang Tri Provincial Reconnaissance Unit that was run by the CIA during the Vietnam War. The two men who arrived the next day were skilled landscapers.
No one would suspect that these elderly landscapers were clearing lines of fire, laying out distance markers, installing remote cameras, motion detectors and manual switches for perimeter lighting. They also put in a pergola and plantings that blocked line of sight for long-distance rifle shots, especially at night. Inside, Jack and the Minhs positioned weapons and ammunition at strategic locations. Jack wasn’t sure there would ever be an attack, but he was taking Shadow’s and Kathy’s warning seriously.
If an attack happened or seemed likely, his plan was to slip on his old ghillie suit or black clothing and take out the attackers in the marsh grass that bordered the property. This time the only surprise was for the attackers. There would be no law and no quarter.
Jack, Kathy and Kelly were sitting around the breakfast table savoring the last of the morning coffee. Kathy was telling Jack about Kelly’s progress. Her Hapkido needed much more work but her shooting skills were good, and she quickly picked up the procedures and nuances of surveillance operations. Yesterday Kathy picked out targets as they were walking downtown Charleston and told Kelly to trail that person unobserved for one hour and report back to the starting location, prepared to brief her on what she had observed.
After Kelly followed two subjects, Kathy said, “Okay, now let’s have an afternoon tea while we talk about your experiences today. First, tell me what you’ve learned.”
“Following someone takes patience and stamina. Being constantly alert and finding a way to blend in, while waiting for your target to move on, is mentally and physically tiring. Several times I felt like I was totally exposed. A couple of bystanders came over when I was standing around and asked me tourist type questions. One guy was hitting on me. Acting normal, while you’re focused on an entryway or a subject getting into a car or meeting someone, is difficult. Once I convinced myself I had to go into a clothing shop after my subject. Not a good idea. The shop wasn’t crowded, and both the clerk and the target looked over at me. I said I was just browsing and left. From then on I was really careful that the subject didn’t see me again. I remembered you telling me the only way a target can spot a surveillant or a team of surveillants is by seeing the same person in two or more locations. In your world, there are no coincidences. My experience in the clothing store made an impression.”
“I wanted to start you out on unsuspecting targets before we complicated the exercise. Tomorrow Jack will be our subject. In real life situations, working against someone skilled in street operations, you’d be briefed on the target. Those types are always checking for surveillance. I was checking today while we were walking downtown. Jack is very good at surveillance. I’m better at detecting people trying to follow me. They are different skills. Learning what problems the followers have will help you detect people trying to follow you. Those skills involve discreet actions to make surveillants show themselves, and the really difficult task of losing the people following you, without their knowing you took evasive actions to get away from them.”
“Kathy! I had no idea this stuff was so complicated or serious. Will I ever be able to learn it all?”
Kathy laughed and said, “I felt just like that at one time. Like all skills some people are just better surveillants and intelligence officers. I’m not sure everyone can be taught to be exceptional at this skill. I think you’re a good student, and I like what I saw today. You see, I was following you the whole time.”
“You weren’t! I never saw you!”
“You weren’t supposed to. I’m glad you told me about your mistake at the clothing store. Not everyone would have. Remember, it’s not a matter of looking good but of being good.”