Chernovsky announced that lunch would be delayed. This was met with a huge moan.
Chernovsky called out Quinn. “I need to have you pick the three fastest men. You can pick from all squads.”
That was easy: Zak, Ngandu and Wolde. Quinn used last names for fighters who were not in his fire-team.
Chernovsky said, “I have intelligence that a person is heading north on the paved road. They are carrying materials that cannot fall into the enemies hands. Time is of the essence. You are to proceed south down the paved road using all due precautions as quickly as you can. You are to intercept the courier and relieve them of their cargo. Then you are to return with all due haste back here. Do Not, I repeat, Do Not open the package or let it fall into hostile hands.
Even with boots and heavy winter clothing the young men churned out eight minute miles with ease. They were helped by the fact that much of the snow had melted off the road.
Quinn spotted the courier three-quarter mile out. The runners left the road and angled into the woods. Half popped out in front of the courier and half behind.
To their eternal surprise, the courier was a young woman. She was pulling a sled behind her.
“Oh my.” she exclaimed.
Cupid interposed. Neither Dysen or Quinn realized they had met before. It is ironic that popular culture has Cupid shooting his targets with arrows. It would be more accurate to picture him with blind-folds than a bow-and-arrow.
Dysen had a chest cooler in the sled.
“Son of a bitch! What is in this?” Zak exclaimed as he lifted it out.
Quinn said, “Watch your mouth. There is a lady present.”
Except for the surly, spoiled child Quinn had seen three days earlier, none of the men had seen a young woman for a month and a half. Chernovsky ran a tight ship and nothing would lose support among the Dimondale natives quicker than his men dallying with their daughters. That, and it would break quarantine.
This young lady’s eyes sparkled and her blushed cheeks dimpled when she smiled. Quinn was smitten.
“No worries.” Dysen said. Every woman enjoys the attention of healthy, young men. And these four men were prime, if undernourished specimens.
The first two guys hoisted the cooler and started north toward Chernovsky and the camp. The best pace they could manage was a ten minute mile. The other two spelled them after five minutes…
Staggering into camp, they found Chernovsky near the kitchen. “Here is your package.” Quinn said.
The rest of the crew had just finished eating. Chernovsky said he would open the package after Quinn, Zak, Ngandu and Wolde had eaten. They were famished and it took three minutes for them to vacuum down their stew.
With great ceremony, Chernovsky undid the ratchet straps holding the cover on the cooler. Popping open the cover, the three squads were met with the smell of fresh peanut butter cookies.
Chernovsky handed them out. They were still warm from the oven...thanks to the hot water bottles Dysen had placed beneath the cookies.
The cookies were technically more like frosted brownies than cookies. They were ¾ inch thick and generously frosted with peanut butter frosting. Each fighter received a five inch by six inch slab. Dysen had tweaked Kate’s peanut butter cookie recipe.
Dysen had originally be VERY resistant when MT suggested she could make cookies to support the effort. Dysen worshipped Hillary Clinton and Dysen had memorized Hillary’s statement:
"The work that I have done as a professional, a public advocate, has been aimed . . . to assure that women can make the choices whether it's full-time career, full-time motherhood, or some combination. I suppose you would have preferred that I could have stayed home, baked cookies, and had teas."
Dysen had no idea what the future held but she knew two things to be facts, she would never make cookies or serve tea.
MT asked Dysen why Dysen thought Hillary Clinton was a hero. Dysen answered automatically, “Because she is a ball-buster.”
MT had winced at that and automatically said, "That will be a quarter for the swear jar."
Then MT said “I think Hillary Clinton is heroic and a person to emulate because she was among the first to recognize that the rules for women had changed. She recognized that America had changed and needed women lawyers, women judges, women politicians. Then she threw her whole being into making that reality happen.”
Dysen was shaking her head “No.”
MT then added “Hillary recognized opportunity when it knocked on her door. If it hadn’t been for Hillary, Bill would have been a second-rate lawyer who boffed every real-estate agent in Little Rock.”
MT stuck to her guns. “You can look at the superficial things about Hillary, about her being a ball-buster and model that. Or you can look at the things that really made her heroic, that she had the clarity-of-vision to see what had changed from yesterday and that she had the intestinal fortitude to throw herself completely into the new reality.”
“Your choice.” MT said.
It took Dysen two days to digest that information.
Two other things came together for Dysen in her cookie making venture. Gabby was extracting soy oil so there was no longer a shortage of edible oils.
The other thing she learned was that Chernovsky’s guys were struggling to keep on body weight between the physical work and the cold. The answer was obvious. Dysen increased the shortening by 50%, as much as she could sneak in. She also bumped up the vanilla.
It took her a while to process that nobody had prevented her from joining the squad. It was simple physics and biology. She could, however, support the squads.
Her plan was to make and deliver a batch every three days...