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“Set your will and welcome the cold unstoppable power of self-discipline. Eliminate the option in your mind of not doing what must be done.” – Mr. S

“Colin, what are you doing here?” Avery reached her hand to help pull Colin up. Without waiting for his answer, she said, “These people are very dangerous. I’m trained for this.” Avery noticed the NVG in Colin’s hand and then she turned to examine Miles and his NVGs and asked, “Wait, that’s Miles? What’s going on here? How did you guys get throat mics and NVGs?”

Colin examined Avery’s face. Both eyes showed bruising and swelling. There was blood on her face and all over her torn shirt. His heart burned with a mixture of feelings. Relief she was alive and here in his arms. Sorrow for the torture they put her through. Anger for those that did this to her.

“Laura, she thinks I’m going to lose.” Detective Lovelace said to Laura as he glanced over at Ms. Holman. “Let me know if I hit you too hard. I’m not trying to hurt you. No hard feelings – okay?”
With an unnerving coolness, Laura replied, “No hard feelings, no matter what happens – it goes both ways. Okay?”
Bob nodded, fist bumped Laura and returned to their respective corners.

Ty recalled the way Jerry, the llama, lost his temper at a crucial point during the mission and spit on one of the kidnappers.
“Matt, you need to teach Jerry to spit on command.” Ty said.
“I nominate ‘real stomach blast’ as the coolest phrase of the mission!” Miles said and the scouts howled with laughter. “But seriously, speaking of butt, do you guys think my farts smell worse when there’s worms in the broccoli?”
Colin spit his food out onto the plate while another round of laughter erupted at the table.

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The syndicate killed her parents. Fear and rage burned in her heart as she hid out in a wilderness camp. Starting as the youngest, her fierce determination to train jiu-jitsu made her the most dangerous – a weapon desiring vengeance.

He lost his freedom after a drunken joyride. Fighting in the juvi-jail gave him stitches and a purpose. A judge gave him a second chance instead.

Fear of failure and comfort in weakness, his longtime companions, became incompatible with his new friend, the warrior ethos. The splendor of the wilderness, a spiritual awakening, and his mentor’s voice shook him to the core, and he embraced the cold unstoppable power of self-discipline.

Masquerading as Boy and Girl Scouts led to a chance meeting in the Minnesota Boundary waters. He couldn’t resist her. She liked the attention. Each kept their real lives a secret.

Her dark past resurrected itself. All the training, all her prayers, all the sweat and spilled blood prepared her for this moment. She knew it needed to be her and her alone for this rescue. But not if he could help it.

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Colin knew if he made a move, it better be quick and unexpected. Miles knew his tells and he would be ready – as he always was. Miles toyed with Colin by showing his knee – almost begging Colin to try and grab it.
I’m not that stupid, Colin thought as he looked for the unexpected move.
Before Colin could find an attack, Miles committed. Like a wolf spider attacking his prey, Miles leaped up and wrapped his legs around Colin’s waist and pulled him down to the mat while attempting to leg-lock Colin’s leg.
Game on

An eagle sat atop a diseased and scarred white pine surveying its domain like a gargoyle looking down from an ancient church. He left his perch and dove to the lake and skimmed along the surface without touching the water.

Avery said goodbye and waved. She stood on the shore watching Colin and his canoe disappear into the darkness on the lake. The frogs and crickets drowned out the sounds of the boys’ banter and paddles dipping in the water as they made their way back to camp.
What have I done? He does not know what we do, and I can’t tell him.