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from Love's Critical Ground by L.K. Thompson, LTC (Ret.)

Copyright © 2017–2021 Lasrry K. Thompson

Chapter 12


Army Intelligence Detachment A

LTC Spence’s Mission, Over-Eye

City of Alpine, Brewster County, Texas

0900 hours Sierra



Comment of the Moment: “How much worse is this going to get?”



As Spence, Harvey and Williams drove into the city of Alpine, Harvey was pointing out different things about the city. He pointed, “Over there is the train station where the Amtrak stops.’

Spence said, “Wow, big city. Has an Amtrak station.”

“Well, sir, with a population of about 6,500, it is the regional center for this area. If you include Fort Davis, Marathon, and Presidio, it’s the population center of about 12,500 citizens.”

Spence raised his eyebrows in mock astonishment, and then asked, “Wait, is this main street?”

Harvey nodded, “Sort of. Entering Alpine from the west, this street is one way west to east. If you enter from the east, you’ll go one block north and turn west. That street will take you all the way to the west side of the city.”

“Peculiar little town.”

“Yeah, Murphyville has its peculiarities.”


“Yeah, that was one of its earlier names. I like to call it that because it reminds me of the old west.”

“Why? Did they have shootouts in the streets?”

“They may have. I don’t know for sure. I call it Murphyville because area ranchers used to drive their cattle through here. When this town first started, the guy who owned most of it was named Murphy. The town had about 12 houses and three saloons.”

“Three saloons? Kind of puts it on a par with Dodge City.”

“Sort of, but not nearly as rambunctious.”

Harvey looked at Williams. “Okay Williams, pull in to the Quick Stop on the south side up there, gas up, and we’ll take State Highway 118 south out of town past the football field.”

Spence’s phone rang before he could say more. The voice on the phone said, “This is Under-Eye one.”

Spence said, “This is Over-Eye One. Go ahead.”

Mungo reported, “We have found the first worm hole.

He concluded, “I have a situation where I cannot report further information due to our need to explore our current situation. Will report more later.”

Spence paused. Then he said, “Understood. Out.”

Spence related the substance of the call.

Harvey said, “That was quick. They are moving a lot faster than we are.”

“Well, they have definitely found a real tunnel. They are about to explore it. I’ve got to call our General right now.” He began dialing

When Harvey considered what Mungo had said, he said, “I’ll bet they have some major exploring to do.”

Spence mused, “Truly. I’ll be very interested in receiving a full briefing from him.”

Spence stepped aside to the curb and made his call. Then he returned.

Taking up their earlier conversation, he asked Harvey, “You always look up the history of towns?”

“I just absorbed Alpine while I was here. I had some friends here who had relatives who were generations-long-residents. But I can’t help myself. I read everything I can get my hands on. I remember nearly everything I read, and most of what I hear.”

The three were standing beside the pickup while Williams watched the gas pump.

Suddenly, Harvey yelled, “Look out!” He hunkered down.

The left rear tire of the pickup exploded.

Neither Spence nor Williams had time to move.

Spence recovered quickly and asked, “Hey! How did you know that tire was going to explode?”

Harvey sprang up and ran toward the street.

The sound of a pickup engine speeding furiously to the east began to fade away.

Harvey walked back to the pickup. He was shaking his head. He said, “It didn’t explode by itself. It was shot out by a man with a pistol in that truck that sped away.”

Spence cursed, “Damn! This is worse than L.A. I never heard the pistol.”

One of the local youthful residents walked up to the soldiers and said, “Dude, that was a gnarly sound when that tire exploded. Are you dudes okay?”

Cruz stepped in front of him and said, “Esse, we are fine. Thanks for asking. We can handle it.”

The local said, “Just trying to be helpful.”

Cruz said, “Thanks for your concern.”

The local left.

In a more hushed tone, Harvey said, “The sounds were so close together they sounded like one sound.”

“Who was the man in the pickup, and why was he shooting at us?”

“I’m not sure. He had a dark complexion and a beard, but I don’t think he was Hispanic. He had about five companions with him. I’ve seen that face before. I think I saw it in one of our Homeland Security briefings.”

He pondered, “But, what was his name?”

Spence grimaced and said, “We were lucky he didn’t hit one of us at that short of a distance.”

Harvey nodded and said, “To be aiming at us, he would most likely have to know one of us, but I don’t remember ever talking to him, so I don’t think he knew me. I don’t know if he knew either of you.”

He exclaimed, “Damn. This is as bad as the spy at Casey. How do they know about us?”

Williams shrugged, “Sir, I have no idea.”

Spence said, ‘Neither do I.”


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