Nadeesha smiled and the young NGO worker responded in kind.

            He was a young kid with one of the save-the-children type non-governmental organizations that scooted back and forth across the border everyday.  She had told him that she was a freelance journalist who had gotten trapped behind enemy lines for several days.  She had linked up with the western NGO and their two security contractors after coming across them doing a medical detail for children. She immediately struck up a rapport with the boy who was now sitting next to her in the car.  Chet was one of their medics.

She was filthy as everyone else in the third world hell hole, but a little field improvisation and showing some cleavage went a long way.  Chet wouldn’t shut up now and talked to her constantly.  She could put up with it if it got her a ride, a bottle of water, and helped her escape back into Turkey.

The overland route had been rough, but far better than staying in Homs.  When everything went pear-shaped she knew when to cut her losses.  Without a doubt, her team had been encircled and killed.  When she left they were trapped between some foreign mercenaries and the Syrian Army.  She knew the men would be executed, but as a woman her fate would be far worse.

Too bad about Deckard, she thought as she tried to ignore Chet’s blabber mouth.  He had been a nice ride, but now it was time to move on.

They drove into the village of Jarabulus near the border with Turkey.  While Chet couldn’t shut up about his graduate-school program, she had elicited some information from one of the NGO’s security men, a middle aged Australian SAS veteran.  The relatively moderate Free Syrian Army controlled the border checkpoints on the Syrian side.  Whenever the Nusra jihadist fighters took over a border checkpoint the Turkish military would push into Syria and kill them or chase them off, then the military would withdraw back into their own territory.  At least the Turks were not letting the crazies control the border, which made life easier for the NGOs to cross.

At the checkpoint, the former SASR soldier handled the FSA members standing guard.  The NGO had a fairly good reputation and had built some strong rapport with the FSA.  After a cursory inspection of the vehicle, which was really just a formality, they were then waved through the checkpoint.  The procedure was repeated on the Turkish side of the border, and then they were ushered forward.

Nadeesha breathed a sigh of relief.  They were in Karkamış, Turkey.  It was a small, quaint village where the NGO worked out of.