Death and Resurrection
"The next day, Joshua asked his father what he had planned for the day. 'I need to run into town and pick up some feed and things and I have a fence which needs repairing before the cattle discover the break.'
"'I think Sam and I might handle the fence,' Joshua said. They soon had a spool of barbed wire, staples, wire stretchers and a tool belt, mounted two horses and were headed across the pasture. The posts were fine, but the wire in a long section of the fence had, one way or another, been cut and most of it was missing. Joshua and Sam pulled on heavy leather gloves and Sam started learning how to stretch fence.
"The fence passed through a rather large patch of bushes and scrub trees, just higher than the two men's heads. Well into the thicket, Joshua pulled Sam to himself and kissed him, first tenderly, but with increasing passion. They started rubbing each other's cock through their jeans and finally, unbuttoned their lover's fly and began stroking each other. When Joshua said, 'I'm going to cum!' Sam dropped to his knees and took his lover's cock in his mouth. Joshua immediately filled it with his salty sweet cum. Once he came down from his high, Joshua returned the favor.
"The next day, the sheriff rode out from town to tell Sam he had a call from the forestry service asking him to report to Cache as they had a potential wildfire brewing from a lightening strike. He and Joshua risked a quick kiss after he was in his car and he took off.
"They got the wildfire under control after it had burned a large area, but the spring was dry and continued to be dry and the danger of fire great as thunderstorms became more common. Sam was on duty at least six days a week and used his free day to get caught up on laundry and other personal needs. He wrote often as that was really the only way he and Josua had of communicating. Joshua, of course, was back in school and spring baseball was in full swing. It was mid-May before they saw each other again.
"Joshua had a week before going back to BYU to begin work on his Masters in biology. He had managed to purchase a year-old car at the end of the school year and as soon as school was out, made the trip to Ashley. Sam had found an ideal camping spot, isolated and in a canyon which meant anyone coming or going would be noticed long before reaching the campsite. The first night they lay out under the stars with a full moon above and after they had been making out for some time, both were dripping precum like crazy. Sam kissed Joshua deeply and said, 'Joshua, I love you more than anything in this world and the next and I want you inside me. With liberal use of Vaseline Sam provided, Joshua entered Sam very, very slowly, pausing often, until his pubic hair pushed against Sam's ass. He didn't move for the longest time except for the tiniest moves to make sure he stayed hard, then he started slowly thrusting into his lover. Even stopping and resting often didn't prevent his having an orgasm so intense he blacked out for a moment as his body twitched and spasmed for ages after he exploded inside his lover. After Joshua had recovered, Sam entered him and as he shot into Joshua, Joshua had a second intense orgasm. The rest of the weekend, they made love in many ways, including being joined more than once.
"Joshua got back home early Sunday morning and packed to go back to BYU and left after Sunday dinner. He was starting work on his Masters in biology, but also taking an advanced math course to get certified to teach more than general math -- at his principal's request.
"As Joshua headed to Provo, Sam headed for nine weeks advanced training in Colorado and would be completely isolated for at least three of those weeks. Joshua told him not to to leave before he picked up his mail because he was working on something.
"Before he left for home, he wrote Sam that he would meet him in Denver Friday, after his training ended, at the Oxford Hotel. He made reservations for Friday and Saturday nights and as soon as he finished his noon class Wednesday, he headed home. He arrived in time to see Micah's team play baseball. Micah was a very good ball player in high school and continued playing with a local church league after high school and his two years as a missionary. Micah had no interest in college and had married a local girl a year after he got back from Chicago. After the game, Josh helped him and his father with the evening chores and enjoyed supper with the family. His father had never allowed a radio in the house, not that reception was much anyway, so after supper and devotions, he went upstairs with Micah following.
"Micah asked about Sam and Joshua told him Sam was in Colorado training and that he hadn't seen him for weeks. 'When are you going to see him?' Micah asked
"'This weekend,' he replied. 'I'm meeting him in Denver. He's finishing nine weeks advanced training this week. You like Sam, don't you?'
"'Sure, he's my other brother,' Micah answered, sounding as if Joshua had asked a very stupid question.
"'Well, I hope he can come to visit soon.'
"They talked about how Micah was doing and how he kept hoping for children but, so far, Miriam, his wife, had not gotten pregnant. He couldn't understand what Joshua was doing still in school and they talked about that and some other things before it was time for Micah to go to bed. Their father would never have approved, but the two brothers embraced and Micah said, 'Little brother, I love you.'
"'I love you too, big brother.'
"The family was, as usual, up early the next morning and Joshua was ready to leave before he was asked where he was going. He started to lie, but remembered he was twenty-three years old, earning his own living and thought it really was none of his father's business but, then again, decided he wouldn't pick an unnecessary fight. 'Sam's finishing nine weeks training in Colorado and we are spending the weekend in Denver.'
"'Joshua, I have warned you in the past about the time you spend with that young man. It doesn't look good especially since you are almost twenty-four and, to my knowledge, have never shown any interest in a young woman. Your two-year mission assignment has been completed, you have completed college and have a substantial job. It is time you were married and started a family. You are too old and independent or I would order you to forgo this trip and forbid you to see Sam again. This, however, will be the last time he is welcome in this house until you are married or at least engaged.'
"Joshua was stunned, but simply nodded, walked to his car and left. He drove to Salt Lake City and took the train to Denver.
"When Joshua arrived in Denver midday Friday after an uneventful trip, he checked in the hotel and made reservations for dinner for two at a very nice restaurant. Upstairs, he immediately headed for the bathroom. He had just finished when the phone rang. It was the front desk stating that a Mr. Samuel Smith was asking about Mr. Taylor's room. Joshua asked that he be sent right up. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door and Joshua stood behind it and opened it to allow Sam to enter. As he did, he kicked the door closed, grabbed Joshua and swung him around. In the process, the towel about Joshua's waist fell and Sam laughed, set him on his feet and said, 'Just the way I want you, Josh, bare.'
"'I'd like you bare as well, even better bare after a good hot bath.'
"Sam laughed, 'No doubt. All I have seen for nine weeks has been cold water, I am ready for a long hot soak. How about you washing my back, my hair and giving me a real shave?'
"It was two and a half hours later before the two, well-sated young men were dressed and ready to go out to dinner. After dinner, they returned to the room and made love again. The next morning, they made love before ordering breakfast and again after it had been cleared away.
"They were having lunch when Joshua told him of his last conversation with his father."
"Remember, Josh," Mr. VanWinkle said, "the world in which the two lived was not ours. Theirs was 'the love unspeakable.' Their church would not accept them -- and that has not changed -- nor would any other. Their only hope was to find a way to be together, but they could never have lived together as did you and Kelly."
"They made good use of their time together that weekend. Sam refused to spend any time at Joshua's and Joshua drove him back to Ashley, kissed him goodbye and drove on to Provo. "He was not going home until he had to.
"Micah's team was in the finals for the area and the championship games would be played over Labor Day weekend. It would be a busy weekend for Sam, but Micah was determined to have him see him play and when he asked Joshua if he could come down, Joshua told him he would have to speak to their father. There was no easy way for Mr. Taylor to explain why Sam couldn't come, so he told Micah it was Labor Day weekend and Sam would have to work. Micah asked Joshua for Sam's phone number, drove into town and called and asked him to come. Sam said he might not be able to get off, but Micah's father needed to call him and invite him.
"Micah had, only then, begun to see what was going on. Micah had one trait in common with his father; he did not give up easily. He would not stop asking his father to call Sam and Mr. Taylor finally relented, but made sure Joshua understood this would be the last time Sam was welcome. Sam managed to get the weekend when he found a college guy whose job was scheduled to end Friday who was willing to work through Labor Day. He left Ashley in time to drive to the Taylors', arriving half an hour before supper. After supper, Mr. Taylor asked Sam to walk with him and during the walk, he told him what he had told Joshua, namely that he would be welcome when he was engaged, but not before. 'Whether or not there is anything evil between you or not, you are setting a bad example,' he concluded.
"Since Micah's final, championship game was not until Saturday afternoon, Sam and Joshua got him to go riding with them Saturday morning, not only because Micah adored them and they him, but also to help him not develop a real set of nerves. When they reached a very large cattle watering tank fed by a windmill, Joshua said, 'When we were kids, we used to come here to swim.'
"'Let's do it!' Micah shouted and started stripping off his clothing. Joshua and Sam stripped as well and when they had, Micah asked why they were not wearing their garment. The young lovers had stopped wearing Temple garments after their first night on the way back to .Albuquerque and, in fact, they had hung them on a bush in New Mexico. They started wearing them again when they were at BYU, but otherwise had ditched them. 'Micah, it's a decision we have made and one day you'll understand, but let's go swimming.'
"Micah's team won and it was a very happy man and his wife they treated to ice cream Saturday night. Joshua's dad reminded him that the next day was Sunday and he and Sam would be expected to go to the meeting house. 'Dad,' Joshua said, 'You have forbidden Sam to be here again. After this weekend, we will see very little of each other. We will not be in church tomorrow. Instead, we are going camping and will be back Monday night. If you would like for me to find another place to live I will, but I am a grown man. I know this is your house and you make the rules, but I have a choice of living by those rules or moving out. Anytime you want me to leave, just say the word.' His father just grunted and turned away.
"After the family had left for church, Joshua and Sam packed their camping gear and rode toward the mountains. It was an hour and a half later when they reached a very secluded spot, deep in a grove of trees where they set up camp. They had packed a lunch, so they ate, then made love on a blanket spread in front of the tent. After making love, they talked about what they were going to do. Joshua knew it was only a matter of time before he was asked to leave his father's house. Sam had just been assigned to Cache National Forest for the following year. Joshua had signed a contract to teach the following year in his high school, but thought he might be able to get out of it if he could find a teaching position near Cache. They both held no hope of that happening before mid-term and agreed they'd make the best of their situation, camping so long as weather permitted when they could get together and traveling well away from both their work places for a weekend when they could get away and afford it. It was not to be.
"They made love several times during the night, finally from exhaustion, went to sleep and slept until almost noon. While Joshua built up the camp fire, Sam prepared to cook breakfast. When Joshua had the fire going he stood, took Sam in his arms and kissed him. Their kiss grew more and more passionate and Joshua was slipping Sam's shirt over his head when a shot rang out and Sam spun away from Joshua. Sam had been shot in the shoulder. Joshua expected another shot, but none came. He bound the wound as best he could and the two rode back to the ranch. By the time they arrived, Sam had lost a lot of blood and was not doing well at all. Joshua drove him to the doctor twenty-five miles away where he was patched up and sent on to Provo.
"The person who had shot Sam obviously had no intention of killing him or he would have shot him again. The doctor in Salt Lake believed the shooter coated the bullet with feces and while the firing of the bullet eliminated most of it, enough remained around the wound for the doctor to think it had been covered with feces and probably human. 'The shooter's intention was to infect the wound, to make the young man suffer,' the doctor said.
"The battle to control the infection was not going well when an envelope was delivered to Mr. Taylor with a photo of Sam and Joshua kissing. A duplicate was sent to the Taylors' stake president. In Provo, Sam was battling for his life when the Smiths' stake president showed up with a third photo. All three had been made within a minute of each other, the last one a minute or two before Sam was shot. No-one ever questioned the doctors' conduct, they kept treating their patient, battling for his life. The fact that he had kissed a man and was likely a homosexual did not figure in their efforts. The same could not be said for all of the hospital staff.
"Joshua was on constant guard to prevent a staff member from neglecting Sam or doing something to him, but he was not superhuman. After he had essentially been without sleep for three nights, someone entered Sam's room one night and tore open his wound and smeared it with feces while Joshua slept. No-one noticed or ignored his situation until one of his doctors made his rounds the next morning and found Sam burning up with fever and comatose. He was rushed to surgery, the wound cleaned and re-sutured and he was placed in the ICU, but the infection was given a whole new set of germs to deal with and it was too much. His bloodstream was infected and antibiotics were yet to be discovered. Sam died at twenty-four from what was then called blood poisoning. Needless to say, Joshua was devastated.
"Joshua's grief was not his only problem. In those days, a principal could pretty much hire and fire at will and Joshua received a letter from the principal's office the day Sam died telling him he was fired. He didn't bother to respond.
"Sam's parents had disowned him as soon as they saw the picture. In fact, Sam's body lay in the hospital morgue until Joshua managed to get paperwork giving him responsibility for it. He called the medical school which collected the body. He knew that Sam's body would finally be cremated and left instructions to ship him the ashes. He wandered, but until he received Sam's ashes, the medical school had a current address which, honoring Joshua's instructions, was kept in the sealed envelope in which it arrived.
"Joshua didn't escape with being disowned. The day Sam died, his father requested a hearing before a Council of Discipline and it was granted. Joshua thought about simply not appearing, but decided against it. When he was questioned, he refused to say more than that he loved Sam and hated the person who had taken him from him. The Council debated for a short time and pronounced Joshua excommunicated. His father asked the head of the council to inform that person he had an hour to disappear with whatever he claimed was his.
"When he went home and began to pack his things, his mother refused to acknowledge his presence. He was invisible. When he had completed gathering his things and packing them in his car, he walked into the living room where his father had the family Bible open and was blacking out his name. Without looking at Joshua, he said, 'I have only one son, Micah Zachariah. Joshua Elijah never was and that name will never to be uttered in this household again' and it wasn't."
"In fact," Mr. VanWinkle said, "your father had never heard the name, but when you were born, your mother had already made it very clear you would not be named Micah Zachariah. She never gave any reason beyond saying, 'Micah Zachariah Taylor is my husband, not my son.' Your grandfather, without ever saying why, asked that you be named Joshua Elijah and both your mother and father liked the idea, especially since your grandfather seemed especially pleased by their accepting the name."
"Not only did the family refuse to mention the name, on the opening page of the journal he began the day he left home, Joshua wrote, 'My world is empty and will be until I am united with my beloved in a better world. I am no more. From hence forth, Joshua Taylor is dead; only Elijah Taylor lives and he lives for someone yet unborn.'
"For the next six years, 1928 until 1934, Elijah wandered aimlessly, doing first one thing and then another, earning enough to live but little else. In 1934, he finally took a job as a teacher in a military high school for boys. It soon became evident he was not only a great teacher, but also a born leader of young men. The school had a tough physical fitness program and Elijah threw himself into it, along with a group of juniors and seniors.
"He saw a potential in the physical fitness and academic programs that were not being developed and for the next eight years, he worked on a program for a select group of twenty-five boys, young men, sent to the school as hopeless cases. The program involved rigorous physical training, survival skills, tough academic and leadership training. Seldom were young men dropped from the program. In fact, in eight years, there were only three. 'We are here to help you succeed and succeed you will!' he told each class. He believed it and soon they believed it. When WWII began, he saw many of those from the program were already officers or soon became officers.
"One evening in 1942 he was in his room -- he had an apartment in the senior barracks -- and there was a knock on his door. When he opened it, a man in a dark business suit stood outside. He asked if he could come in and Elijah invited him in. As soon as the door was closed, the man said, 'Major Taylor' -- major being the unofficial rank given teachers at the school -- 'will you please read the letter in this envelope?' Elijah read the letter which introduced the man and was signed by the Secretary of State. It stated that the bearer was on assignment from the Secretary of State and that his proposal was genuine. It further stated that if, after giving the bearer a hearing, he accepted the task, he would receive additional instructions.
"After reading the letter, Elijah burned it and crushed the ashes in an ashtray, then merely nodded. 'If you are willing, you will select fifty or so young men who have been through your program and give then additional training. In addition to an intensification of your usual fine program, they will receive weapons training, survival training beyond what you usually do, language and additional skills to make them stealth agents. They have two tasks. One will be to help destroy a secret Nazi laboratory. I say help because several other teams will have the same task using different approaches. It is crucial that the lab be destroyed. The second is to secure and return national treasures taken from the European countries Hitler has invaded. If you are willing, then I am prepared to tell you more, otherwise, you have never seen me.'
"Elijah, who was too old for military service, jumped at the chance. He had, after his years of wandering, found a purpose in life with the boys in his special group, but now some of those boys -- young men -- were bleeding and dying and he felt he should be with them. Before him was a way.
"'You and your group will simply disappear from the face of the earth. You will select men from lost boys who, for one reason or another, came to you as simply nobodies or those who can become lost. You and they will have no official status. Literally you are stealth agents, so stealthy you do not exist. Those of you who survive will be richly rewarded, those who do not may designate their share to whatever or whoever they wish.'
"He handed Elijah a legal document and said, 'Here is the deed to over twelve hundred acres in a corner of North Carolina. It is in your name. You are to go there, look over the property and decide how you will use it for a training facility for fifty to seventy-five men. At the end of their training, they will be smuggled into Europe and from then on, they are on their own. Last chance to say no.'
"'I would be very honored to take on the task, but with one condition: I go with my men.'
"'Not the way it was planned, but agreed.' He handed Elijah a bulky envelope. 'Inside this envelope is a large sum of cash to get things moving. A plane will pick you up at the airport named inside at midnight tomorrow. Once you read the location, destroy it as you did the letter. Also inside is a list of five radio frequencies. While the messages will be scrambled, never use the same frequency twice in succession nor in the same order. Use them to contact me or my agents concerning any needs. Within the next three days contact me regarding how you would like to proceed in selecting staff and potential members of the team. Questions?' Elijah shook his head. The man turned and walked out the door.
"That night Elijah wrote a letter of resignation, stating personal reasons, slipped it under the general's office door, packed and left. He simply disappeared. At midnight the next day, he was picked up at a tiny grass field and flown to another grass strip in the mountains of North Carolina. He found supplies and in a tent -- which so blended into the mountain side he almost missed it -- there was a sleeping area, a desk with a typewriter and a radio. Outside he found a Jeep. The mountainous land had a few old logging trails used to cut the timber at the turn of the century, but mostly he explored it on foot deciding it was perfect for what he had in mind.
"He could see a large rock overhang overlooking some of the large valley which comprised most of the twelve hundred acres, but knew it would take someone with mountain climbing experience to reach it. It could become a sentinel post, a perfect one. It was quite by accident that he discovered a logging trail on the back side of what he immediately named Sentinel Mountain and the rock, of course, became Sentinel Rock.
"Later, he made a trip to an Atlanta bank and took Sam's ashes from a lock box, closed the lock box and turned in the key. He returned to Sentinel Mountain and Sentinel Rock and cast Sam's ashes to the winds to watch over the valley.
"After struggling with which should come first, staff or team members, he concluded it was a chicken or egg question. He needed the team members to actually build the facility which would include housing, kitchen, etc., but he needed the staff to instruct and direct. In short, he needed both staff and team members at the same time. However, he needed a small crew immediately, before the others arrived, to set up temporary quarters and a kitchen. He decided he would select ten from men who had completed the school program in the past two years. He knew them and wanted them on the team anyway. Two from the group which graduated last year came immediately to mind. He had his contact send someone to find them, meet with them to explain in vague terms about the program to see if they were interested and available. Both welcomed the idea of working with Major Taylor, regardless of the task or project. Each was told to hitch a ride to the nearest town and pick up a ticket under the name Silvester Gato and take the train. They were coming from different directions, but would end up at the same train station. They were told under no circumstances were they to acknowledge each other should they actually meet at the station. They arrived half an hour or more apart over the next two and a half days, so that was not a problem. When each one arrived, a taxi driver asked if he was Silvester Gato and when he said he was, the driver told him to hop in. He drove to the same grass strip from which the Elijah had flown and they were soon meeting their old mentor after landing at Sentinel Mountain.
"Elijah made a list of a dozen others and called his contact and asked that the twelve be located and checked out as possible team members. He got a report back the next day and found that only nine of the twelve were possibilities. He asked that all of them be sent to Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago. Elijah was picked up by a small plane and flown to Fort Bragg where he transferred to a larger plane and flew to Chicago. All of the young men were overjoyed to see him and all except one, who was soon to become a father, were willing to disappear for an indefinite period. Those who had anyone who cared, told them they were being assigned to a secret mission and could not contact them or be contacted. The eight boarded the plane and landed somewhere in the dead of the night, where they immediately boarded a truck which took them to a rail car with blacked out windows. Those who were smart went to sleep and never knew when the train started moving. Two hours later the train pulled onto a siding in the middle of the woods and as they stepped out of the car, Elijah said, 'Welcome, gentlemen, to Sentinel Mountain, your new home. If you will board the truck, we will be on our way.'
"The two who had arrived early had ordered supplies which had been delivered to a siding some fifty miles from Sentinel Mountain. The first task was picking up the supplies. Four trucks, each with a driver and a team member, left at six in the morning after the men had eaten a breakfast of Spam and bread. They were back at noon, tired, and driving heavily loaded trucks.
"While the eight were gone, Elijah and the two remaining laid out the area for the temporary camp after setting up basic tents for the men. It was late March and, while there were occasional warmish days, it was still winter in the mountains and shelter was essential. They also set up a field kitchen. There was enough food for a meal when the men returned with the supplies, so Jason volunteered to cook for the day. Frank and Elijah laid out the area for the temporary camp, making sure it was well-hidden from anyone who might chance on either ridge looking down into the valley.
"After a hot lunch and an hour's rest, Jason asked, 'What next, Major?'
"Elijah had decided early on the members of the group would not use titles or surnames, although some had known each other for a couple years or more. 'I know it will take a while and you'll not be comfortable with it at first but, as of now, we have no titles and no surnames. In fact, if you wish to choose a new name, feel free. They are only eleven of us so we should be able to learn new names if we need to. I am Elijah.' He was called 'Maj...Elijah' for a couple days, but that ended and he was simply Elijah. Of the ten, only Frank changed his name saying he hated it and since his family had disowned him, he'd like a new name and chose Mark.
"Elijah showed the crew where the supplies were to be unloaded and in what order. 'We will probably be in temporary shelter for a month before we have more permanent shelter. However, this is where the permanent camp will be, so anything which will become part of that needs to be done well. The first thing we need to do is set up the assembly tent. It will be a major task as it is large enough to hold a hundred people. As soon as it is up, we'll set up the heaters in it and until we get other tents set up, we'll be sleeping pajama party style, so watch your manners. I know you don't like what comes out of a field kitchen, neither do I, but we'll make do until a cook tent is up and functioning.'
"The assembly tent was up, but not the heaters, when night fell. The shelter was welcome to eleven very tired men. Elijah knew when he selected them, Jason and Frank -- now Mark -- were a couple and had been in school. He was sure he was the only one who had known it then or they would have been hounded. They were not to be hounded here and he had told them that when, in their interviews, each had told him they were a couple. When they put their sleeping bags side by side, Elijah watched to see the reaction of the others. The two guys he thought most likely to create a problem looked at Jason and Mark, then at Elijah, grinned and moved their sleeping bags side by side. It was Steve, who he would never have suspected, who called out, 'Shit! We got god damn pansies here, Major.'
"'We have, Steve, including your commanding officer. That a problem?'
"'Think you can solve it?'
"'Yes sir, so long as I don't have to watch them kiss or fuck.'
"'I'm sure they'd have a problem fucking with you watching, but I guess you'll need to turn your head when they exchange a quick kiss but, guys, understand no french or prolonged kisses except in private. Can we agree on that?' There was a chorus of 'yes sirs.' That, to Elijah's surprise, pretty much settled the issue which was good because while there was only one couple among the ninety who arrived a week later, there were other gays since one of the reasons a lot of the young men were unattached was because their families and/or communities had disowned them when they were discovered to be gay.
"A few days later, the cook tent was up and functioning and by the end of the week, the temporary shelters -- tents -- had been erected, and heaters added and tested as there was a danger of fire. Each tent held eight men. The quarters were tight and cramped, but the tents were only used for sleeping. Water came from a spring up the mountain from the camp and was icy cold. Elijah had built in some issues to be resolved as a way of evaluating the problem-solving ability of the men. One of these was the question of water. They got their water from a clear stream running down the mountain, but Elijah knew that couldn't last once the full teams and staff were in camp. It was too easy for the water to become contaminated. To accent that, Elijah issued an order Wednesday night forbidding taking water from the stream. It had to be carried from the spring up on the mountain. After they carried water for cold baths and cold water for shaving Thursday and Friday, Elijah gave the crew Saturday off to explore, sleep, whatever.
"He was surprised to see Mark and Steve toss three fifty-five gallon steel barrels and some lengths of pipe on the back of a truck and head up the mountain. Jason, Levi and Jake started building a slatted platform about four feet wide and twenty feet long at the lower end of the camp. Andrew and three others started digging a ditch which began under where the platform would be and ending at the stream.
"At each end, and about every four feet down the center of the platform, others erected a post cut from trees they felled. The posts were about seven feet above the platform. There was a lot of pipe which had just been unloaded and left. Two of the men joined short pieces -- about three feet long -- together with T-joints and ran it along the top of the posts, Rory, who had more or less put himself in charge of the kitchen, had taken a lot of ribbing because he allowed no-one to open the gallon food cans except himself.
"He was also a welder and when Jason and the two guys had finished, he and Roger went to the cook tent and walked out carrying an armload of gallon cans. Jason, standing on a step ladder under the overhead pipe, was handed one of the cans, it had a pipe coupling neatly welded to the top of the can which Rory had not cut out, but managed to empty the cans though a small hole. The bottom of the cans displayed some elegant work by Roger, using an ice chipper, with each having a dozen sharp points.
"Up the hill, smoke started rising then more or less disappeared. Since Mark and Steve were in the area, no-one investigated. Jake had just attached a T with two short stubs to the end of the mountain side of the pipe while Levi capped off the other end. Mark and Steve walked down the mountain, laying pipe as they came. When they were a few feet from the platform, they waved, turned and started back up the mountain as Jake ran over and attached a valve to each pipe. Jason connected the valves to the T on the overhead pipe with a flexible hose.
"When Mark and Steve reappeared, they, with great ceremony, opened the faucets and water flowed into the cans and out the bottom. Beautiful, beautiful showers were now a part of Sentinel Mountain! The fifty-five gallon drums had been connected in tandem over a rock-and-clay furnace fired by lengths of logs. The men quickly agreed that they would rotate keeping the fire going and cutting wood for it during their off time. The whole group pitched in to erect sides and a cover for the showers from tent material they 'found.' A better morale booster was not likely to be found.
"The crew worked well together. Problems were discussed and settled among the men. Elijah never intervened unless asked. By the end of the second week, the crew had completed the work Elijah has anticipated taking a month. His contact reported that staff and potential team members were waiting. It was clear to Elijah that the ten who had built the camp had a good grasp of the task ahead of them and were natural leaders. The role of leader rotated as the task changed, problems were solved by discussion and the ten were a team. Thursday of the third week they had finished the last job necessary to have the facility ready and Elijah called assembly that evening.
"He praised the work and the speed with which the job was accomplished and finally added, 'I know you guys would like to stay together as a team and I wish that were possible but, at least for the next few months, each of you will be head of a group of those who will be arriving next week. Of course, as the leadership council, you will be working together planning and all, but on a day-to-day basis, you will be leading a group of seven or so who have never seen nor heard of Sentinel Mountain. And, by the way, beginning Monday at sundown, it truly will be our sentinel as we will be posting a lookout there.'
"'If you like, sleep in tomorrow and Saturday. I know you chose to continue sleeping PJ party style even after the tents were up, but this will be the last night for that. Each of you will move into one of the temporary tents tomorrow. Saturday night we celebrate and Sunday, there will be a religious service for those of you who are interested. Sunday afternoon, you are free. I recommend hiking because we need to really get to know this place. Also, we need to find a location for training tents. They need to be scattered as we have scattered the sleeping tents. Keep in mind the training tents will handle two groups -- that is, eighteen men -- and, while scattered, need to be close enough that it won't take more than fifteen minutes to move from one to another. Be sure to have someone with you, take a compass and map. By the way, we have been pretty lax about how we handle time around here. That has to change. As of now we are on military time. So, do what you please Sunday until check-in time which is 1800 hours. Dinner will be at 1900 hours and that is when you will be given your duty assignments for Sunday night as we will be busy.'
"'Yeah, guys, tomorrow night you have your own tent and if you want to share it, kissing with tongues and fucking are permitted,' Steve, of all people, laughed. 'Enjoy!'"
Editors: Jesse and Scott
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