Man, I'm swept up in a stream of consciousness. I've got Star Wars, Star Trek, CSI, and now, 24 running through me head. Gotta go with it. With Jack Bauer going incognito at the end of the last season, I'm having a new agent move in. Here's a little bizzaroness from my imagination.

24 – A new beginning

Heat roiled up from the dusty ground around me in this foreign land. I could feel the warm sweat running down my back, soaking my sand-colored BDUs beneath my heavy body armor. My M-4 assault rifle pointed low, into the dirt, impotent…as I stared at one single object ahead of me.

How did I get into this mess?

It was all to have been so simple – fly in…pick up a source…fly out. The trip to Bagram AB was easy. Once the aircraft was stored in the old Soviet hangar, I was suppose to just hang out until the team returned with the target. The food there was pretty decent with the contractors and all and I heard they play a mean game of poker. Plus, it would have been exciting to watch the resurfacing of the runway.

Simple, huh?

Somehow, I was talked into coming on the expedition and I changed from my khaki flight suit, known as the bag, into desert BDUs and was handed weapons and ammo. After checking the selector to ensure it was on safe, I loaded my magazines with 5.56mm rounds and then put the muzzle of my M-4 into the clearing barrel like I had been told a million and one times. I popped in a mag, hearing the click, tugging once, and then pressed the bolt catch with my left hand.

A round chambered…rock and roll.

For good measure, I took along a SiG-Sauer, 9mm pistol and shoved it in a thigh rig, clasping the plastic ring over the slide. I then threw on my thick body armor and Kevlar, happy to be part of this exciting expedition.

We jumped into the Hummer, which mounted a machine gun on the roof to deal with any trouble, and drove into the countryside to rendezvous with the source, who was suppose to be reliable…suppose to be.

Famous last words.

Upon our arrival into the village, I dismounted from the vehicle and fell in with the squad. All seemed quiet with various farm animals milling about, making quiet animal noises. A chicken here…a goat there. Smoke from cooking fires rose from homes as we began to approach the hut of the source.

It was hot and I foolishly removed my Kevlar to wipe my moist forehead.

Rookie move.

It was then, that I heard the cocking of the hammer of a pistol near my head.

How did I get into this mess?

I turned to look down the barrel of a black pistol, aimed between my eyes. I swore I could see the round, gleaming copper at the end of that deadly tube. All around me, friendly rifles rose in retaliation, pointing back at my would be killer.

How did I get into this mess?

I am First Lieutenant Claire MacGregor, United States Air Force and soon to be CTU agent. This is how my story unfolds…