Morning came soon enough. I woke up wishing the crows had come to me. I would have liked to have seen Night. We had slept a hundred yards from the truck under a tree. We had too. The damn dog shit in the back was still pretty rank. I had opened the cab, grabbed the M-16 and our bedrolls, then we walked upwind until we were good.
Zane was already awake. He asked me "What are we going to do for breakfast Gardener?"
I had spotted a real nice diesel crew cab truck with a light bar and all the other goodies parked down from us. I had a feeling I knew who it belonged to. We sat there watching the sun come up and I amused myself for awhile trying to match cars with their owners in the lot. I was pretty sure that Sherri drove the Subaru with the COEXIST bumper sticker. The location of the graduation ceremony was no mystery. We were about a thousand paces from it. It was going to take place in front of the main building next to the shrine. From the number of chairs that had been setup it was not going to be packed. I watched some camo clad unfortunates do the setup and wheel a podium out while what had to be an NCO supervised.
"All right people, lets mount up."
Zane looked at me puzzled and said "G. It's just me and Woof."
"Yeah. I know. Just go with it kid. Okay?"
He muttered "Okay."
I stood up and looked around. "Okay Zane. This is what I want you to do. You see the tree line across from us?"
"I want you to take the 16, Woof, and your gear and find a place to sit just inside it." He opened his mouth to say something and I cut him off "No. We do it like I say." I dug into various pockets and gave him all the gold, silver, and script I had left. "Here hold on to this. If something happens to me find Sherri. She will look out for you. Tell her about Freya. My guess is she might know some Burners."
"You're coming back...right?"
I was touched. He actually looked worried. I laughed and told him "Oh yeah. I'm coming back. This is just standard operating procedure." I cuffed him lightly upside the head. "Don't worry. Now go." They went and I forgot about them.