Jake Reynolds leaned back in his seat, thinking that it was going to be a long night. These types of trips didn’t happen too often, but they were the entire purpose for which the 25-year-old former Ranger had been employed. Another nine contractors sat with him in the back of the truck’s cargo compartment. They had served in various special operations units, and a few of them were still in 19th or 20th Group, the Special Forces National Guard components.

Highway 70 was long and lonely at three in the morning, which was exactly why the convoy was traveling on it. Five blacked-out SUVs surrounded a tractor-trailer truck that cruised along just over the speed limit. The Department of Energy vehicles only traveled in the dead of night when transporting highly sensitive cargo. Just behind the convoy, and several hundred feet up in the air, a Little Bird helicopter provided overwatch.

The contractors were locked in the back of the truck with the cargo, the last and final line of defense. They wore OD green flight suits, body armor, and had HK416 rifles slung around their necks. The reality of their job was that it was boring as hell. Mostly just qualifying out on the range and the occasional long-distance transport job. Despite the mundane nature of the work, the cargo was so sensitive that the U.S. government hired the best to ensure its safety.

The highway they were on cut straight through the state of Missouri as they drove from one secure DOE facility to the next. The ex-Ranger chugged some more water and sat patiently. It was times like this he missed the excitement of rolling out on midnight raids with the 2nd Ranger Battalion.