“Well I have to say you’ve impressed me. I wasn’t expecting much today, but you have shown me that you are more than your resumé would suggest. Welcome to HELL,” said Dr. Jeremiah Richardson, Head of the Department of History Evaluation, Research, and Reenactment at the University of South Lake, extending his hand.
I met him halfway, firmly completing the handshake. “It’s an honor, and I assure you that you won’t regret it.”
He pulled away his hand and said confidently with a wink: “I don’t make mistakes.”
It was only two weeks after I accepted the position as a faculty researcher that I was given my first assignment. I would be traveling to Boston to meet with shirt professor, whose name had not been disclosed to me yet, and we would be travelling to Tel Aviv to travel to another yet-to-be-disclosed location in the Middle East. We were going to be scouting out some remnants of a former Nazi advancement into the region. There was a report that half a tank division was buried, recycled, or otherwise dismantled. It was a panzer chase, and an adventure.
I would say I felt excited, but really it wasn’t excitement. It was nervousness. This was the culmination of 9 years of schooling. The B.A. in History, M.A. in Military History History, and Ph.D. in Military History specializing in the Recreation of History through modern means, and even pioneering the 3D Printing aspects at Cal Poly. It was all happening too quickly.
I woke up at 4am to catch my early morning flight to get to Boston by 1 PM. I checked my email and, as promised, my boarding pass was there. I got to O’Hare early, ate a light breakfast, and got to my flight early. We arrived on schedule, and as I was looking around for someone with a sign to get me to the next leg of my journey, I had someone put their arm around my back and start moving forward. He spoke swiftly and with a thick Bostonian accent, almost a parody of Ben Affleck. “Grab the bags, in 28 minutes a black van will be pulling up with the name Farmers Deliveries. Go into the back, ask to go to ‘The End of the Liberty Trail’. Dr. Richardson sends his regards.” Just as quickly as he came up to me he was gone. Seamlessly slipping through the crowds, and I didn’t get a good enough look at his face to know what I was looking for.
That said, I knew better than to not go. Maybe if he didn’t name drop Dr. Richardson, but I was knee deep in this. No stopping now. Exactly 28 minutes after he came up to me, while waiting outside with my bags, a black van as described pulled up. I entered, and as instructed, I said the passcode. “I, uh, need to get to the end of the Liberty Trail?” A man who had a disturbing resemblance to Dr. Richardson, but about 10 years younger and with a thick Israeli accent, turned around and smiled at me. “Hello, Professor. My name is Benjamin Franklin, and from now on you are Dr. Paul Revere. Welcome to the least ordinary job of your life.”
Before I could even ask “Is your name actually Ben Franklin,” a felt black overcome my senses as a bag was put over my head from my behind and a hand stifled my screams. As I began to lose consciousness, I could only hope I made the right decision and wasn’t about to get kidnapped and held hostage. Truth be told, I was more excited now than I had ever been. It was time for what people in my field called “Hell Hunting”, and it was all about to happen.