From the Inside Flap
Oddly enough, it was turning out to be something of anoccasion. Originally, they hadn't planned to bring her along on this trip butshe'd just turned eighteen and was due to fly back home to the states in just afew weeks. In less than a month she'd start her first year at PrincetonUniversity with a major in international studies. As it happened, Princeton waswhere both her father's boss, Tony Gallegos, and the man from the StateDepartment, Phillip Reeves, had attended college. Once her father mentioned it,both men insisted on bringing her along so they could fill her in and tradestories of their time there.
There were several vehicles in the expedition into thejungle where the oilrigs were located, a truck with some of the oil fieldworkers, cars with guards both ahead and behind, another truck carryingsupplies and their own Hummer.
Except for the presence of Mr. Reeves, it was a fairlyroutine trip. Tensions over the oil were rising among some of the more radicalgroups in the area so he'd come to try to negotiate with them to see if hecould smooth the waters a bit.
First, though, he wanted to visit the oil fields. A lot ofpeople were pretty pissed about it and some of them would be even more so ifthey knew about this trip. Some of them thought that statement said too muchabout his priorities, that like in Iraq the oil fields were more important tothe U.S. than the negotiations. It was the oil that Reeves really cared about.
Callie had even heard some of that kind of talk on thestreets among the people she hung out with there, her parkour and free-runningfriends.
Listening to him on the way out, she couldn't really arguethe point, it was all he talked about, the importance of the oil fields. Thatwas, when he wasn't talking about Princeton and the bars she had to visit inthe towns near the campus once she was there.
So far, though, the trip had gone pretty quietly with thetwo men trading stories of their days at college. Callie caught an amused andresigned look from her father when the other two men weren't watching. He gaveher a wink and she smothered a grin.
She glanced out the windows at the thick undergrowth thatran so close beside the windows here along the road where the sun could reachand then up at the trees that towered high above them. Branches clattered andscraped against the glass. The sky was cloudy and dark above them, the sunlightof the morning vanishing as the rainy season clouds rolled in. To those whodidn't know the rain forest it was surprisingly cool, the clammy air thick andheavy with moisture. Some folks thought the humidity at home was bad but they'dnever been in the jungle in the rainy season.
Both Mr. Gallegos and Mr. Reeves were reminiscing again overtheir days at college. Callie restrained a sigh, listening with only half anear. A part of her longed for the book in her backpack. It was a long usuallyboring trip, broken only by the appearance of an animal or bird erupting out ofthe brush but now she couldn't even read or she'd look rude.
The sudden chatter of automatic weapon fire shattered theboredom, the quiet.
Instantly it became a green and scarlet nightmare as bodiesshuddered with the impact of bullets, blood sprayed, screams and cries rang outas men fell amid the shouting and confusion.