Chuck and Noah Meet the Enemy–Or Do They?
When we last left Noah and Chuck they were standing on the Konduz Airfield in Afghanistan: man and dog alone on a remote Afghanistan airfield with about 20 Afghan Army soldiers. The sun had completely disappeared behind the dark brown jagged mountains. Time was running out for the nine-year Army veteran.
Sergeant Noah Carpenter watched a few of the Afghan soldiers looking at him curiously. A bone-thin older gentleman spat a tobacco-stained wad of spit on the dusty tan ground. He wiped the spit dribble that was rolling down his lip onto his tightly cropped beard. He nodded at Noah and stepped towards him. Two other soldiers followed.
“He must be in charge,” thought Noah. He looked behind him, hoping for reinforcements. There were none.
Chuck the Natural began to growl, his lips curled, and Noah could see white foamy saliva beginning to form between his teeth and gums.
The older Afghan, flanked by AK-wielding men, confidently approached Noah. Noah bit his lower lip and swung his M4 Carbine rifle forward so he could grip it with both hands. His shoulders tensed and he stared intently at them three men. He wanted them to know he meant business.
The hair on The Natural’s back was sticking straight up. He began growling menacingly at the three approaching men.
The Afghan soldiers must have realized this as well because when they saw Chuck leap to his feet they stopped dead in their tracks. They eyed the 65-pound Belgian Malinois who was now franticly bouncing up and down on all four paws. He was growling and whining at the same time. He head was on a swivel from the Afghan soldiers to Noah and back to the Afghan soldiers. The Natural was begging for the bite.
The older man looked away from Chuck, turned towards Noah, and smiled.
He put his hand out and placed his hand on his heart. “Good day, Sir. Are you in need of some assistance?” asked the toothless soldier in a perfect British accent. The man’s sun-stained and deeply creased face broke into another smile.
Noah noticed that none of the Afghans had magazines in their weapons. The pounding in his heart slowed as he removed his hands from his M4 and allowed it to hang from his body.
Noah couldn’t help but chuckle. He had been worried about this toothless grandfather? He could break him in half with his own hands.
“Chuck, heel,” he said.
Chuck let out a short whine as he lay down next to Noah. He sighed and placed his head on the ground. He continued to stare at the Afghan soldiers. The Natural was disappointed. He was itching for a good fight.
30 minutes later Noah learned that the older man had lived in England for many years. He had returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban to help rebuild his country. The man had returned to defend his country against the Taliban.
Noah sighed with relief when he saw the white pickup truck come bouncing up the dirt road that led to the airfield. The truck skidded to a halt in front of them and Noah closed his eyes as the billow of dust passed around them. His ride had finally arrived.
Two days later Noah and Chuck were buzzing over the mountainous countryside in a Blackhawk helicopter. The two crew chiefs manned their M240 automatic machine guns and eyed the ground dutifully for enemy threats. After 20 minutes the chopper lurched downwards and Noah could feel the blood rush to his brain. Through the dirt streaked windows he could see a small Afghan village. The village couldn’t have had more than 30 small walled compounds. The colorless compounds were the size of his backyard back home in Arizona. There was one road that passed through the village and continued into the steep mountains they had just passed over.
They were met at the landing zone by men who appeared to be soldiers. They weren’t just average soldiers though. Their hulking size, beards, and non-regulation uniforms gave them away. They were Green Berets.
Later than night Noah lay in bed but couldn’t sleep. He was going on his first mission tomorrow. They were headed right into the fire.
He laid his hand down to feel Chuck’s back rising up and down. He had Chuck though. Chuck could do this, couldn’t he? He was now The Natural. Or was he?
What happens on their first mission?
Does Chuck maintain his new form or revert back to being his once stubborn puppy self?
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