Book 3 Chapter 24

Due to a death in my immediate family the writing and posting schedule has been affected for a while. Please bear with me.

Book 3 Chapter 24

            I left the news conference and went to my office followed by my aides. I was disappointed with the news conference, there was so much said and so much unsaid, but only time would correct that.

            How many of the one and a half million residents of Hawaii were dead and how many were still going to die was anybody’s guess. I knew we had done a lot in a short time, but there was a lot more that needed to be done.

            I started on the pile of notes that was waiting on my desk. Kitty, Connie and Troy were putting them in order for me to look at and making calls. I called Eric back and told him I wanted every cruise ship on the west coast commandeered and sent to Hawaii.

            Then I called Secretary of Defense Scott and told him to make it a priority to get supply ships loaded with food and supplies and headed towards Hawaii.

            FEMA was still hunting for more cots and supplies across the entire United States. There should have been ten times more tents and cots in warehouses than there was available in the reports. They had surplus money in the last four years budgets; where was it and what was it used for, if not to build up the inventory of emergency supplies? That would be a good question to ask Eric – FEMA was under his agency.

The pile of notes on my desk was growing instead of getting smaller for the two hours that I had already put in on them. Various aides were getting information ready for the next news conference at 1300.

            I went over to the house with my mates for lunch. We were scheduled to go to the Cay next week for a vacation that was to last for ten days. The debate was – given the circumstances, should we cancel?

            ‘’No,’’ we decided. Short of going to the Hawaiian Islands and shoveling ash, there was nothing I couldn’t do from the Cay that was different from being at Summers Lane or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The vacation was on.

            This was to be the last vacation before Marcy and Vicky were to deliver the additions to our family in two months. Marcy was having a girl and Vicky a boy, rounding out our children at four boys and two girls. Jeanna was elated that she was going to get a granddaughter to pamper and spoil.

            After lunch my staff began putting the 1300 news conference together. All the agencies were to do video reports as before. The only difference was the media personalities. The six media personalities were different because of the lottery selection they liked so well. Troy forced them to choose another group.

            At 1300 we did as before – we had everyone on the video monitors for an update. The update was not good news. There had not been any decrease in the eruption – if anything, it had intensified.

            Yesterday I had ordered all emergency warehouses be opened and staffed 24/7 in all 48 states. This included all state and federal emergency warehouses. The order also contained instructions to crate up fifty percent of their emergency supplies and ship it to the Naval base at San Diego. From there it would be loaded on supply ships and sent to Hawaii.

            The ash plume was over a thousand miles wide and spreading. In places it was sixty thousand feet high and was now being picked up by instruments on the coast of Europe.            

            Seismic equipment was picking up intensifying earthquakes on Hawaii and Oahu. What had been minor tremors were now registering in the 4s and 5s on the scale – and there were a lot of them. According to the experts, the earthquake activity should have been diminishing instead of increasing.

            There was some good news. Some communications had been restored in addition to the Naval Pacific command that we used for the first news conference. Underground communications had been restored to Fort Shafter. Fort Shafter was the 25th Infantry command center.

            Army General Mitchell had ordered that the chemical warfare suits be distributed to all soldiers that were in bunkers. They would be breathing air filtered free of contaminants, ash and gases. This would give them some level of protection when they were ordered to rescue civilians.

He also ordered all Army equipment be set up for desert/chemical war operation as soon the ash started falling. That order meant extra filters were installed on the engines and the passenger compartments sealed – recycling the air instead of bringing contaminated air in.

The downfall in all of this was the heavy ash would act like sand blasting on the cooling systems of the equipment. The huge fans sucking in the ash would destroy the soft copper radiators and plastic turbocharger after-coolers in a matter of hours. I knew that unless other precautions were taken that all this equipment would be out of service in just a few days.            

I called for a meeting with General Ingram – ASAP – he needed to get people involved quickly.

            The Army had huge inter-connected self-sufficient underground bunkers for soldiers in case Hawaii was ever attacked with nuclear weapons at several sites. The Marine base was equipped with the same type bunkers.

            General Mitchell and Marine General Emory – commander of Marine Corp Base Hawaii (MCB Hawaii) and Naval Pacific command – were able to communicate through a buried communications cable to be used during nuclear war. After a conference call to the Pentagon they agreed they could begin joint civilian rescue operations.

Two hundred Humvee and MRAPS from the Army and two hundred from MCB were working the streets, rescuing people and carrying them to the bunkers.

There were millions of N95 mask in the warehouses stored for the next pandemic. Cases were loaded on the rescue vehicles to be given and worn by civilians as soon as they were seen. It was an effort to reduce respiratory damage.

            Admiral Petty, Sectary of the Navy Bramble, General Mitchell, General Emory, Troy, Eric and I were on a secured ink. For an hour we debated and discussed hundreds of possible scenarios. With the increasing earthquakes the bunkers could become unusable.

            Several aircraft hangars had already collapsed from ash and possibly the earthquakes – two at joint base Hickam and two at Wheeler Army Airfield. Ten F35G models were in the Wheeler Hangar – most likely total losses.

            At joint base Hickam a C17 that was in the hangar was a loss that would hit the materials command hard. It was unlikely any large cargo planes would ever be built.

            After the cameras were off, the bad news kept coming in. Ash had started falling on the west coast. There was enough that it was causing havoc in several areas. Flights were being cancelled canceled and the utilities were experiencing outages.

            The west coast had gone off the deep end with solar and wind energy. The ash was coating the solar panels; output from the panels had dropped to nothing. Hundreds of thousands of panels were going to have to be washed to get the ash off.

            The wind towers were another thing all together; ash was an abrasive – think pumice like in many heavy duty hand soaps industry used. The ash was grinding the gel coat off the blades as they were rotating. The gel coat was harder and protected the Kevlar and fiberglass spars that were the main strength ingredients of the enormous blades.

Those wind power towers that had been turning showed visible damage and they had only been subjected to the ash for less than twelve hours. The owners and utilities wanted them shut down immediately to save them. Their argument was that it would be better to be down a few days than to be down the months it would take to repair or to replace all of them.

The west coast had closed many of its fossil fueled plants. Rolling blackouts was now the reality. Not only had the environmentalists forced closure of the power plants, they wouldn’t allot the transmission lines to be replaced, built or up-graded. They had laws passed that only clean energy could be sold in their state.

States, communities and utilities caved to the new normal and that was local solar farms, local wind generation and battery farms to store a day’s worth of energy for your local area. The sun shined and wind blew every day. Blackouts and rolling blackouts were starting today.

At the 1800 update Admiral Petty and General Mitchell reported the winds had picked up from the west, increasing the visibility around Oahu. Short wave emergency radio broadcast was now being picked up. Civilian pickup points were being broadcast and other emergency instructions were being broadcast from the ships. At noon Oahu time, eighty landing craft from assault carriers started coming in.

The three assault carriers had eighty landing craft and they started picking up people who had made their way to the pickup points on the beaches.

Six thousand people had been rescued by the time darkness fell, when the operation had to be shut down. By sunrise two fleet carriers would be in the area to receive transfers for the smaller assault carriers. The MRAPS and Humvees would start moving people to the beach for transfer to ships.

Progress was being made.

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Book 3 Chapter 23

Book 3 Chapter 23

            At 0630 I had a mug of coffee and a plate of eggs, scrapple and one slice of toast with grape jelly, with another mug of fresh squeezed orange juice as per orders of the White House doctor. I put in enough ice cubes that the juice would be well diluted by the time I got around to drinking it all.

            Troy was sitting with me; we were looking at satellite photographs of the island just moments before the ash cloud blocked the satellite view.

            I had two sets of photographs; one from the CIA’s Space Eagle 4; a super top-secret intelligence asset that was on an orbit that carried it over Hawaii, southern United States and Mexico, North Africa, India, Southern China and Taiwan.

            The other was from Land Sat 4. Both were close to the same, but the CIA ones were much clearer and there were more of them, plus I had live video.  After, that Frank pulled from the receiver in Texas. Frank did not want the CIA’s released to the public; the agency did not want anyone to know the quality of the intelligence it gathered.

            By the timestamp, at 1104 Honolulu time the earthquake hit. At the 1114 timestamp every building on the island was leveled including all the hotels, motels and tourist traps.

At 1120 a fissure could be seen opening up ten miles long and a mile from the shore. As the fissure opened, lava and ash were ejected from the exploding volcano. The land south of the fissure began its slide into the ocean.

Six thousand acres of resort hotels, motels, buildings, tourists and residents disappeared under the waters of the Pacific. Two large tourist ships tied to the longest dock in the world capsized and were sucked into the void left by the landslide, to be quickly covered with thousands of tons of water and lava. Moments later all visibility from the satellites was blocked by ash.

I had a list of questions for every agency that was to be on the video conference. With Troy and Connie’s help, the list soon became multiple pages long.

I reviewed all the orders I had given yesterday and all the attached reports that had come in overnight related to those orders. Together we began writing an outline for the news conference. I had an hour to interview the participants off screen and to allow them to gather the necessary information to answer my questions onscreen.

At 0845 the lottery chosen representatives for the medias were brought in. There were six of them; two were from radio, two from print media and two were from broadcast media. There was a link to the White House media room where the rest of the media was located.

Harry was here with a plate of donuts on the table and his assistant was at the White House. At 0900 I walked to the podium; yeah, we had one of those now with the Seal of the President on the front of it. Behind me were big flat screens with twenty individuals from various agencies waiting to answer the questions.

‘’At 1104 Honolulu time an 8.5 earthquake struck the Hawaiian Island of Molokai. The quake shook the island for sixteen minutes. On the center screen is a PowerPoint made from the satellite images. As you can see by the time stamp, not a building was left standing ten minutes after the quake started,’’ I said.       

‘’At 1120 a fissure can be seen opening up on the south side of the island where all the resorts, motels and hotels were. That fissure was ten miles long and a mile back from the ocean,’’ I added.

‘’Six thousand acres of the island began a dreadful slide into the ocean. Moored to the docks were two cruise ships. The ‘Mystic Princess’ was reported to be carrying thirty-five hundred passengers and a crew of fifteen hundred. The ‘Jewel of the Pacific’ was carrying four thousand passengers and eighteen hundred crew,’’ I said.

‘’The photographs show both ships capsizing and sinking into the whirlpool created by the sinking section of land. The has been a tremendous loss of life. It will be weeks, months – possibly years before we get firm numbers, if ever,’’ I said.

‘’Director Robinson will give us an update on the FEMA response. Eric, you’re up,’ I said. Eric Roberson was Director of the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA was under his agency.

            ‘’From the outline of the response developed at the emergency management meeting yesterday afternoon, all the emergency disaster relief supplies in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have been flown to California. Thousands of cots, blankets, bottled water and emergency rations were loaded on assault landing ships and aircraft carriers destined for Hawaii,’’ Eric said.

            ‘’Those ships departed shortly after midnight; at maximum speed they will arrive in two and a half days. I know that is a long time, but the distance is two thousand miles. The ash situation is so bad that it will be a while before there are any flights into the area; it will be weeks before the airports are clear enough of the ash to allow aircraft operations,’’ Eric said.

            ‘’Last night President Jones requested that cruise ships be contracted that could be used to house residents of the islands until it is safe to return to their homes. I can report that as of fifteen minutes ago three are under contract and as soon as they are filled with supplies, they will be en route to the area.’’

            ‘’Those ships are ‘The Golden Nugget’ and the Silver Spoon’ From the Alaska Cruise lines. The other is the ’Oasis of the Seas’ from the Royal Caribbean cruise lines. Talks with others are progressing,’’ Eric said.

‘’Thanks Eric, that is good news,’’ I said.

            ‘’I think here would be a good time to get an update from the Navy at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Felix Petty is in commander of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, ‘’ I said.

Admiral Petty was on one of the flat screens from the underground command bunker at a secret location near Pearl Harbor.

            ‘’Admiral; you have the floor,’’ I said.

‘’Following orders, all ships departed Pearl for the open seas to escape the damaging ash. All but two ships were able to depart. Those two ships were in dry dock undergoing repairs.’’

‘’Once at sea and clear of the ash fall, those ships began the process of clearing the desks of ash to begin rescue and recovery operations. Communications this morning indicate that the ash was shoveled or washed overboard, and those ships are now fully operational with only minor damage to equipment,’’ he said.

‘’The Lincoln, Roosevelt, Carl Vinson, and others are all en route – minus their aircraft wing – from various locations to aid in the search for survivors. Without an air wing aboard, the hangar decks can be set up with cots,’’ he said.

“It’s here that we should talk about those that survived on Honolulu and Oahu and the problems they are going to encounter. For that we turn to the National institute of Health and Dr. Victor Campbell, and also from John Hopkins Hospital, Emory Davidson via video,’’ I said.

‘’Aside from physical injuries – broken bones, burns, dehydration and exhaustion – you are going to encounter tremendous respiratory damage. Everyone is going to suffer from ash inhalation. You’re are going to need thousands of respirators,’’ Dr. Campbell said.

‘’I second that and will add there will be long term health problems, especially for the very young. John Hopkins has done extensive research on the effects of ash and have developed extensive successful treatment procedures,’’ Dr. Davidson said.

‘’Dr. Peter Schwartz is considered one of the leading volcanologists at the University of California. Dr. Swartz, I know we are not quite at the twenty-four-hour mark into this tragedy and the eruption shows no signs of weakening. In your expert opinion; is this unusual and how soon can we expect a decrease in the activity?’’ I said.

            ‘’Normally there is a decrease after the initial eruption, but this is a different acting volcano. Based on available shared data it has shown no sign of weaking weakening ,’’ he said.

            ‘’There are multiple volcanos in the ring of fire – are they showing increasing or decreasing activity? Should we be expecting eruptions from other volcanos volcanoes or has this massive eruption reduced the pressure in them?’’ I asked.

            ‘’There has been no change in activity so far. The university has been polling all the monitoring stations. A new report should be available later today that may provide a better answer to your question,’’ he replied.

            ‘’I think everyone in the Pacific awaits that report,’’ I said.

            ‘’Dr. Baker – as the leading volcano volcanoe seismologist at the University of Alaska in the volcano volcanoe group – does the lack of seismic activity give us any indication as to the duration or continued strength of the eruption?’’ I said.

‘’Normally there are weeks or months of underground seismic activity that increases, indicating that an eruption may be imminent. None of our instruments placed at multiple locations in the Hawaiian Islands showed any potential pending activity. The University is scouring months of recorded data for anything that could have been missed,’’ he said.

            ‘’Dr Baker, have the final reports come in on any damages caused by the tsunami?’’ I asked.

            ‘’Johnson Atoll received heavy damage while the Marshal Islands received moderate damage, as did Kiribati and Melanesia. The death tolls are unknown,’’ he said.

            ‘’In internal conversations with other experts, they all seem to agree that there is no life left on the island of Molokai after all the damage from the earth quake and the lava and ash that is expected to be ten feet or deeper. Does everyone here agree that all recovery and rescue efforts need to be directed to the other islands?’ I said.

            There was a lively conversation but agreement in the end that it was best to put the resources where they had the best chance to be successful. As long as the eruption continued at its current strength, there was no safe way to conduct a search of the island by land or by air.

            ‘’The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora caused what is known as the year with no summer. It led to the great potato famine in Europe by dropping the temperatures in the norther hemisphere by an estimated five degrees. Are we in danger of that happening again or it too early to tell?’’ I asked the experts.

            ‘’It’s too early to tell – but every hour that the eruption continues at its present pace increases that likelihood. Ash has already been detected in central United States in the jet streams and is detectable on the radar images. The ash is high in metallic properties and is causing interference in television and radio broadcast over the airwaves. Currently, it is not affecting the cable systems,’’ Eric said.

            ‘’I think we have covered about everything for now. I will remind everyone that we are to do this again at 1300,’’ I said. With that I closed the conference.

As soon as I did Connie handed me a wad of notes that I needed to read and react to. But I knew I would not escape a few questions by the media.

            ‘’Madam President, why are so many ships being sent to the islands? Wouldn’t it be better to send people and get the infrastructure back operational?’’ one asked.

            ‘’It will take months to get the roads and utilities back to anywhere near normal. In the meantime, there are going to be thousands of people needing medical attention, food and a place to stay.’’ I said.

‘’If I remember correctly, each carrier has twelve operating rooms and all the equipment. The smaller assault carriers also have a large medical facility. They also have the ability with landing craft to immediately shuttle people from shore to the ship,’’ I said.

‘‘I envision the landing craft picking up survivors, carrying them to the assault troop carriers and being transferred to the carriers for medical checkup attention and then transferred to the cruise ships for temporary housing. Helicopters can shuttle the people between ships. If I remember correctly, the cruise ships have helipads on them,’’ I said.

‘’Given what we know, I believe this is the fastest way to help the victims of this disaster. Will it be enough? Sadly, no. This is just the beginning of what’s needed. Until the eruption subdues and the ash lessens there is little we can do but stage, plan and prepare to give it our best effort. That effort will be led by the Navy, I said.

‘’Make no mistake, this is going to be a herculean effort. Once they are on the ships, providing food, clothing and the basics is going to be another massive undertaking,’’ I said.

‘’According to the last census, Hawaii came in at a million and a half people. As of yet we have no tally of the people visiting there yesterday,’’ I said.

‘’There are no words that describes the size and scope of this tragedy or the necessary effort to overcome it,’’ I said.

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Book 3 Chapter 22

Book 3 Chapter 22

            I settled into my chair and began to read all my messages. Fortunately, Connie was putting them in order of importance. I turned on my JBG desktop and my White House laptop so I could work on both. I also opened the appropriate text messaging on both.

            Just as I did Jenny sent a text, ’’On our way home, be there in a couple hours. Everything went great, acquisitions are on schedule. Have lots of things to tell you when we get there.”

            I went through the notes and dictated the necessary responses for Connie to type up and handle. Some of them I forward to the proper agency for follow up, after attaching a note of instructions.

            I was nearly done when my mates came in back from their trip to Thimble Shoals. I listened as they gave me the short version of their meeting. Curtis Warren and several from his legal group were on their way back to Washington. They had flown to the Shoals with them.

            Two G5s made the trip today to separate my mates, in case there should ever be an accident. They would have made the trip in one of the business jets, but both were gone on a two-week lease.

            All the t’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted. All the acquisitions Marcy was looking at were on track to be completed by the time of the various stockholders’ meetings.

There was a change in plans. Marcy’s plan was to pay off the corporate debt of the companies as she took them over. After the meetings today, Midwest Bank was going to continue to hold the corporate debt allowing TSPBCIC – Marcy to go after several more of the large companies that were ranked as her second or third choice. I didn’t ask the names of the additional companies she was after.

On another topic, the gold coin sales to brokers were going better than expected. A lot more of the gold was being turned into cash deposited in the accounts, helping all the numbers look better.

They went to their offices to do the same thing I was doing and that was to catch up on all the notes that needed follow-up from the day they were gone.

The security at Polokwane was watching a large group – possibly three hundred – making their way from the south – southeast. The security team there under Andy’s orders had extended the range of the aerial group.

            Andy sent an update on the South Korean embassy issue. The surveillance was getting more frequent and more obvious. Andy was concocting a plan to grab a couple of those who were watching. They would be sent to the Doc if they were not cooperative when they were grabbed. There was already a Cessna long range jet standing by at the Incheon Airport.

            Vice President Harrison was in Germany working on improvements to NATO. Every two years there was an assessment of manpower, materials and response. Those who should have been at the meeting were not; nothing unusual there.

            Special Agent Mickens arrived from Washington with the first reports on the newly discovered tunnels along with video, maps and pictures.

            ‘’The first tunnel was dug after the White House was burned in 1814 during the term of James Madison. Madison and family had escaped Washington just minutes before the British troops under Major General Robert Ross entered the city. During the twenty six hours the British occupied Washington, nearly all government buildings were burned,’’ Agent Mickens said.

            ‘’Madison, his government and military officials spent the night in the small town of Brookeville that is now in Montgomery County Maryland,’’ Agent Mickens said.

‘’The planners decided there had to be an escape route for the President in case such an event happened again,’’ Agent Mickens added.

‘’Coal miners from Shamokin Pennsylvania and Charleston West Virginia were brought in to do the job because they were experienced in rigging and building deep mining tunnels,’’ Agent Mickens said.

‘’The tunnel is twelve hundred and fifty four feet long and exited at the carriage house located at what is currently 15th Street NW and G street, at what is now the Old Ebbitt Grill. Both ends of the tunnel were sealed during the Arthur Administration in 1885. If one knew what they were looking for, there is evidence of the closed end in in the White House basement by the layout of the brick,’’ Mickens said.

‘’Not long after that, the carriage house burned and the Old Ebbitt Grill was built. There are some interesting artifacts that you can see after restoration. There was a lot of things put in the tunnel before it was closed, or it may have been used for storage,’’ Agent Mickens said as we were looking at the pictures of the investigation.

‘’They used heavy white oak beams for support, the floor and the roof of the tunnel. They were sealed with pitch and pine tar to keep the water out. According to the information we found, they even back tamped and packed heavy clay to also act as a sealer around the structure as the digging progressed,’’ Agent Mickens said.

‘’The second tunnel was much newer – dug in 1979 – and was intended to be a secret underground shortcut for the President and White House officials to get to the subway system and away from Washington.“

‘’All of that ended with the attempt on Ronald Reagan and the realization that in the event of natural disaster or riots, the subway system would be congested and unusable. The Secret Service decided it was too risky to have an entrance into the basement of the White House. The tunnel was abandoned before completion and the end at the subway connection was filled with concrete,’’ Mickens said.

‘’The people in charge of the grounds and the historians want to relocate the gate fifteen feet to preserve the 1814 tunnel, and fill the 1979 tunnel with concrete slurry,’’ Agent Mickens said.

‘’I agree with that as long as there are no tours for the next twenty five years or so,’’ I said.

Andy called on VCATS from Polokwane. The groups of rebels that were slowly making their way from the south, that Polokwane security had been watching, were indeed part of the violent uprisings that were happening in and with coordination from the rebels’ groups in the Sudan. I ordered Andy to extend intelligence flights a hundred miles further and add the photography package on one of the planes for further assessment and put in place the necessary response.

The picture was grim in the areas as they made their way north. They were operating under a scorched earth policy – killing everyone and everything and then burning it to the ground for grievances of the past. The collective was demanding total control and ownership of everything to give to its followers and soldiers.

At 1700 we went over to the house for supper. Dad and Jake were eating with us and Mom, Mindy, Vicky and Marcy were going to watch the kids as the rest of us tried to finish putting the rest of the gold in the basement.

We had finished and just returned to the house when Eric called with an alert from Hawaii. At 1800 our time – 1100 their time – the thought to be dormant volcano erupted moments ago after an 8.5 earthquake.

The combination caused a large section of the island to slide into the ocean causing a massive tsunami with an alert issued to all the Pacific. The affected island was Molokai, twenty miles from Honolulu and just a few more from Maui.

The erupting gas and ash were rising to fifty thousand feet and more. All air travel was suspended due to the dangers from volcanic ash that was covering the islands and spreading. Ash was settling over everything. Pearl Harbor was not spared from the ash, with it over a foot deep on everything.

I ordered the Navy to abandon the base and send everything to sea – men and ships – to escape the ash and rock fall, if it was possible to do so. They were then to begin a search for those that may be alive in the water, although I doubted there would be many.

The ash falls and earthquakes were expected to continue for several days. I suspected that many of the aircraft would be junk at the Navy and Air Force bases.

I ordered all Navy ships at Washington, California and Guam to sail to Hawaii to participate in the recovery operation. They were to leave the docks immediately – they were not to wait on crew members on leave, if there were enough manpower to run the ship. They were going on a rescue mission and not to war.

By the time they got there the ash and the eruptions should be greatly reduced and sadly enough, everyone that went into the sea would be dead and it would be a recovery operation.

FEMA was mobilizing a response but was waiting on reports from the USGS and the FAA as to when they thought it would be safe for aircraft to fly into the area.

The entire Hawaiian island chain was covered in falling ash. In some places reports were saying it was over a foot deep – and still falling in places – and visibility was limited to feet. The volcano was still erupting with rivers of lava flowing into the ocean and lava fireballs shooting hundreds, if not thousands of feet into the air.

My emergency management team was on the way for the first meeting at 1900. There would be no gold stacked tonight and I was also sure it would be a long night.

I went to the command center and started entering the numbers to get various departments on the screens and to get updates from Hawaii. Information was trickling in. Many civilian communication systems were down from the heavy ash interfering with the wireless signals.

The military communications were better from the emergency bunkers – they were with underseas cables to the mainland. I wondered why the civilian systems were so bad to the mainland; they were using undersea cables.

Then it occurred to me that many civilian communications immediately went to wireless systems to eliminate poles in a state where trees were a scarcity and underground communication were quickly adopted. Power cables were underground by necessity. Now after such a massive earth quake many buried cables were ripped apart and useless.

I spent from 1900 to 2300 in the command center with every agency head that had a part to play in the tragedy. The military had their orders and FEMA was ordered to get everything loaded on air freighters and pre-stage them to California for delivery as soon as the air cleared enough for planes to fly.

All agencies were to be at their offices by 0600 and online at 0800 for a conference meeting and a news conference. Troy notified the media of the news conference. It would be held in our big meeting room and televised from there.

By 2400 I was freshly showered and snuggled next to Marcie, feeling the baby move.

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Book 2 Chapter 21

Book 3 Chapter 21

            The waiter held the door open; in walked Frank, Eric, Ben and Marty.

            ‘’Well, we get to see one more of your secrets, you do have a bar. I’m impressed,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’There are lot more, there a few that you will never see,’’ I said.

            ‘’They said at the desk that your mates are away, they are not filling your spot on a clandestine special operation, are they?’’ Frank asked. But, before I could answer, ‘’Then they said Andy was away and that raises more questions?’’ Ben said.  

            ‘’My mates are conducting business at Thimble Shoals and will be back later today. Andy is somewhere in Africa then to the Middle East for the next week and after that, on to Portugal,’’ I said.

            ‘’No, they are not filling my spot on the OPS team today, although they have several times recently,’’ I said.

‘’With Marcy and Vicky expecting, Ching Lee, Lorrie and Jenny have stepped up to the plate on the OPS team,’’ I said.

‘’Marcy and Vicky are expecting?’’ Frank said.

‘’That’s not for public knowledge yet,’’ I said.

            ‘’Marcy was to leave some items for me for an operation in Asia. It was a last-minute thing this morning, did she have time to get them before she left?’’ Frank asked.

            ‘’She was in the air when you called but she filled me in. They are across the hall in the walk-in vault. I’ll get them before you leave,’’ I said.

            ‘’How are you coming on the special projects?” I asked.

            ‘’Making steady progress – as soon as we decode the work Robert has done we need to plan a raid. Andy is scheduling the people for the specialized mission requirements,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’Our hope is to catch the trainers all there. These are the people that were initially paid by the prince and are now being paid by Pakistani factions and China,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’Robert has been monitoring the traffic and comparing the satellite photos. When are you going to replace that crappy satellite with something that is the best we have?’’ I asked.

            ‘’I know there was money budgeted for ten new ones in the budget two years ago. Where are they in the launch schedule?’’ I asked.

            ‘’On top of those, money was budgeted last year for ten more to complete upgrading the surveillance systems,’’ I added.

            ‘’I don’t know but I will find out. I have sent several requests to NASA and have gotten no response for the five they were to launch. Vandenberg has one a month starting in July.

            ‘’Are the satellites completed and just waiting on NASA for the launch vehicle?’’ I asked.

            ‘’The packages are complete and ready to ship to the launch assembly site,’’ Frank replied.

            ‘’Troy, get me a list of all scheduled launches from NASA for the year. I also want to know what agency the launches are for and the what functions the satellite are to perform and for whom,’’ I said.

            We talked about intelligence that was affecting the agencies and where the experts thought it was leading. I questioned the group aggressively.

After an hour, ‘’Gentleman, my meeting with Frank, Ben and Eric is going to last a while. If there is nothing else we need to talk about now, I will talk with you tomorrow unless there is an emergency,’’ I said to the military men, sending them on their way.

            ‘’Frank, you seem to be having more trouble with some of your secret connections. Are there new issues developing?’’ I asked.

            ‘’No, they are not new, but they are growing with a lot of help from China, now that Russia is out of the picture. They started with the Obama administration. President Clinton had made many promises to the western European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union to get them to join the nonnuclear nations and give up the nuclear weapons under their control,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’They did. The agreements were called ‘The Budapest Memorandum’. Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as non-nuclear-weapon State also happened,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’Great Britain, Ireland, the United States and the Russian Federation agreed to respect the sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine. They also agreed to immediate United Nations security council actions and to aid Ukraine in the event of aggression against them,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’France and China also issued similar agreements with Ukraine if it would to give up its nuclear weapons, although the wording was not as strong as in the Budapest Memorandum,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’The agreements were solid under Clinton and under the first President Bush. The second Bush was distracted by 9-11, then with all the military in the Middle East, things took on a new meaning with intelligence after the failures that led to 9-11,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’Then Obama became president and things in the intelligence agencies changed again and our longtime adversaries were now the good guys. The situation became terribly worse with Obama’s support for the spring uprisings in the Middle East and Africa. That distraction led to the Benzi incident that cost the ambassador and his staff their lives, then came the distractions of the cover up, with Obama allowing China to build islands for military use with only a whimper in objection,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’While all that was going on, Russia attacked Ukraine then withdrew with the US hardly raising its voice, when it should have been the leader and very vocal about the implied guarantees in the Budapest Memorandum. Shortly thereafter came Russia’s problems and Putin’s mysterious death,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’Then came the Trump administration which was mired in conflict and controversy from the very beginning. His domineering aggression and at times abusive demeanor, over-use of social media and what would have been helpful was not. All the while China was growing in power and influence,’’ Frank said.

            ‘’Then came Biden with the COVID fiasco, crashing economy and massive unemployment. There was an obsession with anything green, all kinds of bans on fossil fuels that drove inflation out the roof, plus the attacks on parents and massive new taxes. In the process of all that, Biden was going senile with his aides doing everything.’’

‘’Russia took advantage again and destroyed the Ukraine without a whimper from those that pledged to come to Ukraine’s aid from the Budapest agreements. Biden had been a Senator and ranking member of the Foreign Relations committee and had debated them at the time agreements were signed,’’ Frank said.

‘’As for President Biden, he even denied ever knowing anything about the American, Britain, and Irish and Russian part in the agreement. China defended Russia’s actions at the UN,’’ Frank said.

‘’Weeks later China began the military attack against Taiwan – again the US did nothing but make a little noise,’’ Frank added.

‘’Thomas was elected and tried to restore our good standing with our allies, but the damage was done. The US was no longer viewed as a dependable ally, especially in third-world countries. There was a string of failures – Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, add to that Ukraine and Taiwan.”

“Fledgling governments and groups avoided the US. Intelligence and sources dried up. That was why your group was so successful finding out about the terrorists’ attacks before we did. China is driving that point to potential allies,’’ Frank said.

‘’To make matters worse, China is now working aggressively for the Yen to replace the dollar as the benchmark currency. By using the monster US debt to leverage the change to the yen, many countries and groups we need to work with don’t want the dollar, fearing it will be worthless,’’ Frank said.

‘’I knew a while ago that you were losing official channels for intelligence. I could see it in the reports when I compared them to Robert’s. The debt was the reason I am pushing so hard to get a balanced budget without using the gimmicks,’’ I said.

‘’For clandestine operations and to support various groups, they are demanding something other than American paper money and I know how you feel about the drugs. Neither one of us wants our gonads put in a jar in your office,’’ Frank said.

‘’We have been told your mates feel the same way and may be even more aggressive than you,’’ Ben said.

‘’That’s why the deal with Marcy – we have an important connection that wants gold to conduct business. We can’t go to a brokerage house and buy it. The Post would have the story in hours and the subpoenas would be flying, nor can we get any from the gold reserve. To run around and buy that much on the market would be problematic and soon be public,’’ Ben said.

‘’We know the mines you bought were still somewhat productive and if anyone had a private stash, it would be Marcy. If anyone could pull strings, we knew Marcy could – if there were any to pull,’’ Frank said.

‘’Marcy said that since it will be just a funds exchange, no need to do the add-on numbers,’’ I said. 

‘’How much do you want?’’ I said.  I knew Marcy said eight million, so I was just checking them out.

‘’Its an eight million transaction over three months so that’s how much I need. I can take it all at once or split it up if Marcy needs to,’’ Frank said.

‘’Are the three of you going to carry it out, or do you want a cart?’’ I asked. Eight million was fourteen 12.5 kilo bars – with change left over – or eight hundred coins.

‘’There should be a cart by the elevator,’’ I said. Troy went to get one.

I took the two keys needed to open the lock that secured the grade eighty hardened chain that was wrapped around the handles to the double doors. The glass in the doors had been painted to keep the contents from being viewed by prying eyes.

With the chain out of the way, I swiped my card, entered my pin and then the retina scan so the door would open. I held the door open for Troy to push the cart in followed by Frank, Ben, and me.

‘’I guess the mines are more than somewhat productive,’’ Frank said.

‘’I think coins would be easier for you to deal with than the bars,’’ I said.

The bags of coins were stacked on the side. Frank, Ben and I placed eight bags of coins on the cart. Each bag was one million dollars and held one hundred of the ten thousand-dollar Thimble Shoals gold coins.

Troy and Eric were motionless, staring at the bars stacked to the ceiling. I snapped my fingers to bring them back to life.

‘’What you see or what happens in the basement stays in the basement – or death shall quickly follow,’’ I said.

‘’Would you like to hold one, just so you can always say you have?” I asked.

I walked over, picked up two of the bars and then handed one to Troy and the other to Eric.

‘’It’s a lot heavier than I thought it would be,’’ Troy said.

‘’Hold it up Troy,’’ I said. I took his phone and took a picture after making sure there was nothing incriminating in the view.

‘’Do you want a picture, Eric?’’ I asked.

‘’No, I think I will pass,’’ Eric said.

‘’Just send Marcy a check,’’ I said to Frank.

I closed the doors and locked it all up again.

Frank, Eric and Marty left, Troy and I went upstairs to my office to address all the messages waiting for a response.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 20

Book 3 Chapter 20

            Eighteen crates were emptied into the gold room tonight. Dad and Jake helped again – a couple more nights and we would be finished and then Lorrie could start using the secure hangar for other things.

I wondered what those other things where – she had never said. Neither had any of the others. Then the crates could be sent somewhere with freight in them. The Toyota pickups from the Mexican operations were all gone now.

            The repair shop had pulled all the engines, transmissions, doors, and beds from them and sold them online. The bodies were used in the hostage training setting at Fort Smith. They were now burned-out scrap metal hulks, destined for the scrap yard when Andy decided he was finally through with them.

            I slept very well in my own bed; Vicky was snuggled tightly against me all night. Morning came much too fast. Marcy, Jenny, Ching Lee and Vicky were flying to Thimble Shoals for the directors meeting, then returning in the afternoon. Lorrie, Mom and Lisa were boy and babysitting.

            At 0700 I was reading updates – at 0800 I was in the meeting room in the basement with my new Secretary of Defense Scott and all the Chiefs. Today’s discussion was on the list of base closings. The GSA and the GAO were also at the meeting with estimates and they were going to be compared with the DOD cost estimates.

            The cost was figured several ways; first was the cost to just close the named base. The second was the cost to transfer assets from that base to another – in other words, relocation cost. The third was the savings based over a ten-year span – there was that infamous government ten-year budget worm hole. The fourth was cost to the local community in lost wages and fees associated with the base and fifth was the return on the sale or disposal of the base.

            There were all kinds of endings for closed bases. Some were given to the community or states with the hope and promise they would be turned into industrial parks or other revenue generators. Parts of some previously closed bases were used to create recreation area or parks.

Others were eventually abandoned to grow up in weeds; some were sold to be repurposed into developments or factories. Many times, Navy bases became port facilities or marinas. Sometimes, those turned into developments that came back to bite the government in the ass.

Home buyers were always told that hazmats and other contaminates had been cleaned up when really, only a minor portion had been. Many times, misleading or forged paperwork was supplied by crooked contractors.

Then people started to get sick and a thorough investigation was done. At the end of all the publicity, lawsuits and politicians’ grandstanding, the federal government always ended up responsible and ultimately paid dearly.

            Many times, bases that were slated to be sold were only sold after years of petty politics by the state’s congressman and senators, each trying to get special favors and promises from their many special interest groups.

            Each scenario had its pitfalls, there were always cleanup cost for hazmats and environmental issues. A number of bases were going to a reserve status – closed but kept in a condition to be used in thirty days. The grass would be cut, utilities kept on but pipes drained and buildings closed up but lightly maintained.

            There were thirty bases in Europe and the Middle East slated for stand- by status, consolidation or closed. There were twenty-five minor bases and ten major bases that were to be shuttered was the term the Pentagon wanted to use. It was more palatable to the public. There were ten bases that were scheduled for reductions in operations. Dover Air Base was in the list to be shuttered-closed.

            I spent all morning in the meeting and on MTAC with officials in the Pentagon. At 1100 the GSA and GAO people left. They had been trying to leave for the last hour, desperately wanting to get out of the hot seat.

            Shortly after they left, Troy and the waiter brought over menus of the things that were available for lunch today as a ‘take an order’ from the chef. I guess the Secret Service agents were going for broke, assuming most of the staff could get a first-class lunch and supper without objections. Whatever, but I knew who the bill was going to be sent to.

            Troy, Kitty, Connie, Secretary of Defense, the Generals and I placed our lunch order with the waiter and I told him to bring it down to the first room on the left when coming through the tunnel when it was ready. We would have a working lunch in that room.

            To make things interesting, I decided that I would have our meal in our private bar. After all the kidding with Frank, Ben, Marty and the General about my private bar whenever JBG carried out our clandestine operations, I decided that I would have one built.

            The first bay next to the tunnel towards the house had been filled with all those things that were too good to throw away. Because – you know – someday they may come in handy. In other words – junk- which was thrown away and the room cleaned out.

            I had Bob’s Construction build me a private bar. A bar with bar stools and coolers for beer – the most popular ones under the counter – and a refrigerator. There were wine coolers and canned drinks.

There was the traditional mirror behind where any bartender would stand with a variety of hard liquor in front of it on the back wall. The one that always got broken in a bar fight.

Across from the bar were three crescent shaped booths and a couple of small tables and chairs. I opted for well-padded ones, not the hard wooden ones.

            Bob even found a company that made replica jukeboxes and there was one in the bar with old time bar room country music ballads, truck driving and drinking songs for conversation topics. Bob found some classic collectible bar room signs to place on the wall. He also found a pool table, every bar had to have a pool table. There were a couple TVs, one in each corner.

            My mates weren’t much enthused while it was being built but when it was finished, they were happy with it. It became a place where we could sit and talk or whatever to get a few minutes peace when we were over here. It was quieter than our offices and allowed us to be able to debate work related issues in private.

My mates went through my old photo albums and picked out some photos of me from my Marine days. There were some with me dirty, dusty and just beat or worn out. Dad had asked me time and time again for pictures of me on duty. I finally promised that I would and I did. There was always someone in the unit willing to take pictures, no matter how bad they were.

There were some with me marching in the desert with full gear and pack, others in the barracks – if there were any available – or in the tents. There were others with me carrying an injured soldier.

There were a few with me standing over Taliban dead with my M16 – those were a no-no, but I had a few of them. There were several of the trucks I drove, a few with them burning and a few of the destroyed villages we had been through.

There were a few from the Kampala attack, the one with me on the roof at the refugee camp and one of me in the Blues along with pictures of my mates. I was opposed to so many pictures of my hard times in life on the wall, but my mates won out on that one.

On the wall with the pictures was a poster, ’Never piss off a lady with a knife, a gun and an attitude. There are no second chances.’

We did have a phone, internet and wireless installed so our laptops would work on that end of the basement. It was locked and only our cards, along with Dad, Jake and Crash’s cards would open the door and of course, the cleaning people.

            I called up the refreshment center and had them send down a bucket of ice. The bar had no ice maker, there was running water with a pump under the sink to pump the waste water into the sewer pipe and a small electric water heater.

The glasses had to be taken to one of the dishwashers – either in the lunch room, refreshment center or over to the house – and then brought back; some inconvenience but not much.

            When the ice was brought down, ”Let’s go to the other room, a lot of people use this room for lunch. We can have a more controlled conversation over there,” I said as I picked up the ice bucket.

            I unlocked the door and held it while they went in. ‘’So, you do have a private bar and it’s a nice one. Ben, Frank, Eric and Marty have never said anything about it being here,’’ General Ingram said.        

            ‘’That’s because they have never been in here,’’ I said.

            ‘’They will be here before we finish. There are some updates they want to go over and explain as they have been working on some projects for me. They had a meeting at the hangar this morning. I would imagine they are eating lunch at the restaurant in Morton,’’ I said. Then I added, ‘’We can wait for them here. I need to find the ball carriers and let them know where I am.’’

            ‘’Admiral Holt, please pick up the com phone,’’ I said.

            When he answered ‘’I am in the last room on the right at the tunnel if you need me,’’ I said.

            ‘’What gets discussed in the bar stays in the bar. This is my ultimate private sanctuary,’’ I said.

            ‘’The waiter is bringing down tea, water and soda, does anyone want anything else?’’ I asked as I pulled a cold mug from the refrigerator and a cold beer from the cooler.

            Everyone else chose a beer as I did, except for Kitty and Connie. I chose a few selections on the jukebox and turned the volume down. The reason I did that was if anyone was trying to record anything, the music would interfere. Then I started with conversation.

            ‘’Looks like I over valued Dover Air Force Base property based on the numbers presented by the GSA,’’ I said.

            ‘’I think Congress will say the numbers from the GSA are low and I don’t think anyone will beat the accessibility sweeteners that you placed on the bid,’’ General Ingram said.

            ‘’Well, there is still a long way to go; the forces must sign off on the process, the Secretary of Defense must sign off on it, Congress must approve the process and then the GSA will go through a process. The best-worst case scenario would be for Congress to force it to a public auction but then the Air Force will lose all those things that would help the Department of Defense,’’ I said.

            ‘’Mr. Secretary, there needs to be a push on all the processes. Without getting all the changes made, the budget numbers will not work. Programs will have to be cut and systems put on hold, as I won’t sign for additional funding to the Department of Defense to cover for delays,’’ I said.

            ‘’I have looked at all the proposals and today’s meeting added more information. I will further review with the planners tomorrow for the final recommendations to Congress. Madam President, you will have an advanced copy to review before it is delivered to Congress.”

            The waiter and the chef brought the food on a rolling cart. Mine was a salad with soup and a grilled sandwich with sweet tea. I had finished my beer and the sweet tea hit the spot with the meal. The Generals had all kinds of cold sandwiches and soup. Connie, Kitty and Troy elected for soup and a hot sandwich.

            As the waiter was leaving, I heard, ‘’Is President Jones in there?’’

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 19

Book 3 Chapter 19

            It was a short walk through the tunnel to the house. All the visiting aides and staff were politely told to be gone by 1630, unless there was an approved reason for them to stay.

            Dad had loaded six more crates from Polokwane earlier today at Morton. The farm truck was backed up to the loading dock waiting for the forklift. There were still sixty crates in the secure hanger that needed to be moved into the basement storage. War, campaigning, elections, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and inauguration had interfered with our work to move it down into the basement rooms.

            Lorrie wanted the hangar cleaned out to use for other things so there was a push to get it done. Jason, Jake and Dad were going to help so we were hoping to do twelve tonight. I was glad it was being sent directly to Pirates Bank now, eliminating that work for us.

            We had thirteen days before we were leaving for Deep Water Cay for two weeks of vacation. We wanted to go on vacation before Marcy and Vicky were due to give birth. Marcy and Vicky were both having girls.

            I thought for sure we should be able to get all of them moved in by that time. What we didn’t get moved we would stack in the hall – two high – by the gold room doors and finish it up when we came back from vacation.

            After the cameras were turned off we started on the crates. We had all twelve done in two and a half hours. It was a good night; supper was a little late, but all in all it was a good night. We planned to do the same thing tomorrow night.

            I checked with Robert’s night duty man in the command center and the agents that were there with him monitoring all the cameras around the house and in the guard. Then I turned back on the cameras for the tunnel. We ate a light supper and then we spent time playing with the kids before sending them to bath and bed. We spent a few minutes in the hot tub before Crash and Troy came out to the refrigerator for a cold beer.

            Crash sent Troy over with a tray of drinks for us. Troy was startled but didn’t drop the tray; I knew Crash had set Troy up. As soon as the tray was empty, they retreated into the house. We only stayed in fifteen minutes – that was all the docs wanted Marcy and Vicky to stay in even with the reduced temperature settings. It was a great evening and better night spending it with Lorrie in my arms. We went to sleep listening to Sara breathe.

            We were up early; I smelled the coffee at 0500. The cook must have started a new pot. At 0600 we were dressed, and I had put on my camo – by luck I had brought the ones the Guards give out with CIC Jones on the name line. I was at home and was not expecting visitors that I needed to influence today – the fancy clothes could stay in the closet.

            My staff was in early. Harry came and brought a dozen boxes of donuts from the Hut. He was going to gig the White House reporters today. His plan was to do the White House news today on the VCATS link to the press room and have the donuts on the table in front of him – if there were any left. Who said he didn’t have a sense of humor.

            I read the intelligence reports after breakfast while sitting at my desk. Still not good, but no worse than yesterday. At 0900 I was doing a video meeting with my research group that was getting the data together so that Andrew and I could work on my State of the Union address that was coming up.

            By 1000 I had a general outline for Andrew to work on and sent it to him. It was a good thing I was finished because Dick James came in unexpectedly, wanting a meeting with several topics.

            One of them was the upcoming general election In Iran. Even though I was not keeping a close eye on things there, I knew things were moving along. The numbers of candidates were greatly reduced after the primaries. Several candidates had to be eliminated because they had held offices in the previous government that they tried to hide.

            Dick James had dealt with dozens of expatriates trying to force their way back into Iran, so they could force themselves into positions of power. There were a dozen or so from Europe that had the aggressive backing of the UN and the European Union. There were also several from Canada, Cuba and Central America. They were told they were not welcome back.

            All of them that arrived at the borders were sent back. They tried the border crossings of Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those that tried to get in by caravan through the mountain trails met a violent death along with the smugglers they hired. So far, the Army, Marines and Air Force had ended all the smuggling operations through the mountain trails, especially the trails from Pakistan.

            Hanna and Melinda had left Sunday with four more groups of reporters. So far the feedback had been fair and that was all I thought we could ask for. Hanna and Melinda were getting plenty of air time with their reports. At the rate they were going, they would be done with all the White House news groups in four more weeks.

            China was still buying oil even though they complained about the price with every payment. The funds were being deposited in Pirates Bank and payments to the reconstruction fund were being made. Reconstruction was on schedule and progress was visible on multiple fronts.

            At 1100 the GSA called with more problems from the gate relocation project. Not one but two tunnels previously unknown to them had been discovered by the ground penetrating radar that was being used to locate buried cables and pipes. Both were leading to the White House. Why they had not been discovered before was a mystery.

            Now there was big debate on how much of the grounds to dig up to find out information on them. Both were being tracked by the radar to determine where they started and how close they were to the White House.

            Radar and other tools and devices were being used in the basement on the walls. They were trying to find out if either had an entrance in the basement that had been covered up in all the previous renovations and upgrades in the history of the White House.

            It was beginning to look like it was going to be a lot longer than two weeks before I would be going back to my housing quarters. I wondered why they had not been found when the massive underground addition was added? I guess it was by luck they constructed that section on the opposite side of the White House. Or – did they know about the tunnels and elect to avoid them by using the opposite side where there were none?

            The GSA had opened a Pandora’ s box by exposing then. The historians were called as were the archaeologists. They were going to be entered – if they could find any entrances – to look for clues. If not, they were going to have access holes drilled and cameras lowered into them. One appeared to be very old and the other very recent.

            I ordered a complete media blackout on the tunnels once they started the entry process. I also ordered Frank and Eric to be involved. I wanted a complete report before anything was made public. It would be bad news if one of the former presidents stored bodies down there.

            My best guess was that the older one was a secret entrance for presidents to escape through or to allow special visitors to get in and leave unseen. After all, the British had burned the White House and the Capitol in August of 1814.

            There were plenty of conspiracy theories involving early presidents, mistresses, harems and various bootleggers and other activities that would have been political suicide or caused public hangings.

            The recent looking tunnel was anybody’s guess. Hopefully there was evidence left in both of them to answer the questions. It would be a riot if Jimmy Hoffa’s body was found in there.

They were already sifting the dirt looking for artifacts – the construction was halted for no one knew how long. The lawn was going to be dug up and whatever else needed.

            The servers were going to be removed from the basement to a more secure location for the time being. So were all the top secret records and communications.

            There was just going to be too many people wandering in the basement and around the White House. Security was going to be a problem and many things at risk.

            If my mates and I did not have so much going on, we would go the Cay and stay for the next few months just to piss everyone off.

            After a great lunch with my mates and boys, Connie, Kitty, Troy and I discussed and made plans to move more of the staff here – the Secret Service was adamant I was not going back until the area was completely secure and security upgrades were established and they could guarantee everything else was secure. MTAC screens and controls was going to be added to more of the JBG basement offices.

            I was going to change the way I was doing things. I started with the item veto Bill that Congress passed; there was much more that needed doing to make it official. It had to be added to the Constitution as an amendment. Legal scholars had debated the issue for decades; the Supreme Court ended the debate years ago by saying that the President did not have the authority for item or line item, that an amendment was necessary.

            Congress had done its part and I had done mine by signing the bill; now it was up to the states. Thirty-three needed to pass a companion bill for it to become an amendment. When the bill was introduced in the House a companion bill was introduced in each of the fifty states. Fifteen had already passed and been signed, eighteen more to go. It needed two thirds.

            Today I was calling the leaders of the remaining states to give them a little push. I could have aides do it, but the personal attention may be more helpful. Those that had video conferencing would be by video.

            Troy had done the preliminary steps by setting up a time for me to call so all the right people could be in the room. I spent three hours on the phone and video and would do the same tomorrow. Progress is important.

            At 1600 I was back in the meet room on MTAC with my investigation group getting updates for tomorrow’s MTAC meeting with the director of the EPA, Shep Hollingsworth. He was the current EPA administrator and was leaving tomorrow. My new administrator had been ratified by the Senate today and would be sworn

            Shep knew since the election that he was going to be out. He wanted to leave his legacy on the agency. He was appointing dozens of die hard  in tomorrow. environmentalists into all kinds of jobs, creating new departments for them and with hundreds of new rules, regulations and powers.

            Many of the things he was doing were illegal and unethical and some were actually criminal. The agency was required to post all new regulations in the Federal Register and provide a comment period for the public and affected industries. None of that was being done.

            His argument was that he was upgrading existing regulations and departments and not writing new ones; therefore, he was within the law.

            The last dozen EPA administrators had been environmentalists. I chose an industrialist to put the brakes on the agency and begin the process of eliminating the thousands of EPA agency people agreed to in the budget cuts.

            Along with the people, there were thousands of regulations that were going to get looked and any that Shep installed into the agency’s rule book were to be removed.

            Harland Maxwell was scheduled to be sworn in at the White House tomorrow, now he was coming here and would be sworn in my media center. Yes, one of those was completed today. The classroom by the tanning room had been remodeled.

            Ching Lee and Vicky wanted it inside; they had been using the loading ramp in the past for all the press conferences. That was too dangerous for them to do it that way now.

            Harry had given today’s White House news conference from it. Shep was going to lose out on his final venting at me, which he said he was going to do to my face on camera, but he had no invitation.

            The White House media group was going to be unhappy because it was going to be broadcast live to the White House media center.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

            On another sad note due to an unexpected death in the my immediate family delays in postings of future chapters may be necessary.

Jack

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Book 2 Chapter 18

Book 3 Chapter 18

            Monday started early with the smell of fresh coffee from the kitchen. The new agency chefs quickly learned how I liked coffee. I wondered why there was such a turnover in agency chefs.

            There had been a procession of agents attempting to be quiet while getting food and coffee since 0500. I was contemplating ordering the visiting agents to eat elsewhere or at least over at the refreshment center.

            I was surprised that places at the dining room table were not filled when we dressed and went down. The kitchen had gotten disposable plates and utensils; there was a stack of them that had not been here last night. But, they had taken over the garage though.

            The tables and chairs that we used for cookouts had been set up in the garage – our Suburbans parked outside. The chefs – there were two of them this morning – had food prepared buffet style in the kitchen. The agents were getting plates full and carrying them out to the garage.

            The garage now had a heater in it. I wondered when that had happened – something to ask my mates about.

            My family – the boys and the two little ones in high chairs included – were being served coffee, tea or orange juice while the chef was getting a breakfast order.

            ”I have most of what you normally eat in the kitchen buffet style if you would like to look at it, or we will cook it fresh if you like,” Master Chef Pierre Diodore said. ”With so many agents here, we decided it would be faster to do things that way.”

            ”I understand from the manager of the refreshment center that you get a wholesale food delivery from Sysco Foods in the afternoon if it is placed before 0900. If I get an order together, will you allow it to be placed and delivered over there? We are going to run out of a lot of things with so many people here for the next few days. I will put on the government card,” Pierre said.

            ”Sure, get it together. You may want to order a lot extra, especially coffee. I don’t know how many will be here today and you may want to have the manager to do the same over there,” I said.

            The chefs did not have that much food left on the buffet after the agents had raided it, so the food we got was just coming off the griddle.

            Troy came down and I invited him to sit at the table with us to eat. Agent Carter came in and handed me the early morning intelligence updates to look over at my leisure. A courier had delivered them to the Secret Service guard at the gate.

            Pakistan was drawing down the troops on the Pakistan – Iran border. They had been there three weeks. In that time dozens of villages had been destroyed – leveled with artillery and finally bulldozers. Some of the inhabitants were moved by military trucks hundreds of miles to villages to the east. Satellite photographs showed many Taliban being executed by firing squads and many graves.

            The civil wars in Africa were ongoing – the hot spots just moved from place to place. Libya was boiling again, rattling sabers against Algeria near the border with Tunisia. Also, Sudan and Chad were at it again.

            Ethiopia and South Sedan were in the cooling off phase again. There had been costly battles on both sides. They were licking their wounds, rearming and recruiting, many of the new recruits were considered to be child soldiers.

            I was going to meet with Andy when he came in to meet with the girls at 1000. I would get his assessment where we had men and compare it to the agencies.

            At 0700 it was time to get everything started. My mates needed to attend to JBG things, Lisa had arrived and was getting the den ready for the boys’ school day. My mates and I went through the tunnel followed by Troy and more agents than I needed.

            Connie Hines and Kitty Winn were both just entering the lobby escorted by a couple agents who were wearing an ear wick in one ear and a cell phone ear piece in the other. They were asking where they were to go. I wondered just how they could keep any conversation going and not walk into the wall. I had them sent to the elevator and then to the basement level. I walked them down to where they were going to have office space.

            ”See if you can get logged into your e-mail and White House systems with the links the GSA gave you,” I said.

            After seeing that the systems worked I settled into my chair in the command center with Connie to my side. Kitty stayed at her desk and began sorting through the hundreds of emails that came in every day, assigning them a level of importance and where they needed to go. This morning – as in every morning – they were printed off and put into piles.

            Troy went to his desk and started through his emails and appointment list and making calls.

            The ball carriers were in the meeting room with links to the Pentagon. I gave Tom the numbers to make the connection for MTAC with the task force in Section Twelve.

            I went through the list of items from this morning’s updates from NSA with Ben. I had questions and he had more work to do about the NSA items. Then I had more questions about the terrorism task force investigation into Jabil Faisal – the truck driver. Our conversation lasted thirty minutes and really answered only a few of the questions I had.

            Ben and I spent a while on the North Africa alerts and memos of interest. There were a lot of them today. So many that I went to Robert’s office for a copy of the reports that EIT generated for Andy.

            Frank and Eric sent a text – they would be here in an hour along with the rest of the Security Council for the scheduled national security meeting. General Ingram and the chiefs paged for the next spot on MTAC.

            MTAC had gone more modern with its last updates. They thought they were streamlining, but it was wasting time and was leading to more open mike gaffs.

            If the terminal of the office – or person in my case – was on a secure scrambled transmission, it transferred the incoming call to a queue like a busy office and assigned it a number. That meant that you were waiting for the conversation to end.

            That was fine if all conversations were short and you were number one in the queue, but many of my conversations could run on and on leading to delays and frustration. Now everyone was texting if they were in the queue, adding even more distractions.

            I ended the call with Ben and paged General Ingram. There had been a training accident early this morning at Fort Macon Army Base. Two Black Hawks with sixteen aboard each had collided over an infantry unit on the ground in high gusting winds. The helicopters were disembarking the troops close to the ground. Over fifty Army soldiers were injured with ten – possibly more – dead. It was not a good way to start off a Monday.

            If there were high gusting winds, why were we doing a training exercise with helicopters carrying troops hovering over troops on the ground? Training was something that had to be done. Now ten were dead – never to fight – and many more on the ground would never fight again or would be months before they could.

            So, what was learned from this training? Something that we already knew – high and gusting winds with helicopters hovering near the ground was a big no-no. I could see corrective action coming swiftly for some officers in charge.

            Investigators were on the way to the site. The Chiefs and the Secretary of the Army would be here after lunch to personally update me and then I would decide where the ax was going to fall.

            Troy had left to take a call in the middle of the conversation. He ended up taking several calls. First the GSA person in charge of the White House fence and repairs from the dump truck had bad news.

            The damage caused by the truck to the main gate and supporting heavy structures had done serious damage below ground to them below ground. They would not support the gate when it was operated – they moved, and the gate was hitting the ground when it swung.

            They were going to have to be completely ripped out and replaced, which would create even more problems. Near the area where those heavy supporting structures were buried underground was close to buried electric and natural gas lines along with water and sewer. They were within inches of the gas pipeline. Now the gas lines were going to have to be dug up and checked for damage. The few days needed to do repairs was now two weeks, possibly more.

            I ask Troy if the entire fence and access gate could be moved in closer to the new White House grounds boundary, since the city had dropped all opposition to the street changes. Now was the time to do this since the gate and supporting structures were going to have to be completely rebuilt. Why not just build the new in the new position and move the fence while they were at it?

            The GSA had contracted the work to change up the streets, so I suggested they step up to the plate and do it now or find a contractor who could.

            Troy and I spent the next hour on various calls to the GSA, finally convincing them to make the changes now.

            Kitty brought me a fresh mug of coffee and a handful of emails and notes that needed my input before she could reply to them. The GSA tech team succeeded in transferring my primary White House phone to my cell phone.

            The red and green phones were another issue to the GSA all together. Prime Minister Attenborough and Russian President Orbatch both had my cell number, so it was a non-issue to me.

            At 1000 Andy texted that he was in the Horsey building and ready to meet anytime I was ready. I told him to come on over, that I would meet him in the girls’ meeting room.

            I listened while Andy gave detailed reports on the growing menace that was in Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and the Sudan. Yemen pirates and hostile groups were using the Red Sea to traffic weapons to the African coast.

             The pirates were the new middle-men in the arms trade from Pakistan and North Korea to the area. Saudi Arabia was looking to increase JBG fast boat presence in the Red Sea, wanting a base for operations and another base near Jizan. That would make five bases for the JBG coastal patrol boats. Black and Bear were back scouting for a suitable site.

            Andy had sent Paul Drake and the fifteen man ops team to the Korean embassy to further investigate the suspicions of being watched –  that the videos confirmed. They were carrying a lot of new surveillance equipment from Robert to install.

            Marcy had bids for another twelve boats to order as soon as the papers were signed by the King. I learned from this meeting that several more wells in Nigeria and Cameroon had started producing – the refineries were soon going to be running at one hundred percent of capacity.

            I learned that there was now a contract to send two finished product tankers a month to the US from our refinery in Nigeria. One was gasoline destined for Baltimore and the other fuel oil for New York; both were with Shell Oil USA.

            Another contract was for two finished product tankers a month to Russia, both fuel oil. It was a short term contract – just two years – until the Russian refineries were producing enough again.

            The revenues for these sales was deposited directly to a JBG account at Pirates Bank for Marcy’s expansion ventures which was moving ahead and picking up speed. I still did not know what companies she had her sights on, except that everything was going according to her plan.

            The National Security Council made their appearance at 1100. There were more than enough places to sit at the big meeting table. We had plenty of things to talk about, most of them being in North Africa. The meeting lasted till lunch. It was great to sit at my own table with my mates and kids to have lunch.

            After lunch a messenger from Congress sent over several bills that had been finished by the conference committees. One of the bills was historic; it gave the President – me – item and line item veto, a new budget control item.

            I was surprised that Congress would give up a piece of the control they had. But then, while they could still override my veto, it took two thirds of each to do that.

            Another bill moved things further along on base consolidation and closings. Before I was going on my own with it, now Congress was on board. The DOD would generate a list with help from the State Department and White House with the desired action and then the defense over site committees would debate and either approve or deny. Then I would approve or veto the actions. I guess they failed to realize what the new item veto could do to the process.

            I was going to sign the bill at 1600 for today’s news cycle in the office meeting room, allowing two of waiting news teams and White House photographer for the official record. Politics as usual – the game I hated – I was learning to play.

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Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 17

Book 3 Chapter 17

            The Secret Service chefs planned a great meal while we were working in the gym basement, so we were well fed. After supper I played with the boys for a while and held Sara and Takeo.

            I spent the evening in the living room with my family after the kids were in bed. It was finally quiet enough for us to talk about upcoming events. We were going to Deep Water Cay and Low Island for vacation for the last two weeks of February. On Low Island we wanted to see all the improvements that Marcy was paying for and to look at the two new rental units that had been built on the Cay.

            The first Thursday of March we were going to Texas for another fundraiser for the party. I was applying pressure on the party chairman to find and fund quality candidates to run against the remaining liberals in the congressional race in two years.

            When we returned from Texas, we were stopping at Cleveland, Tennessee. Jason had set up a wild hog hunt for all of us on property owned by Glenn Gibson. It would be the fifth time that Jason had hunted wild hogs there, the first four had been with Dad.

            Glenn’s daughter Shannon had been shot in the terrorist attack at Warrington College. In discussions at the hospital the topics had turned to bootlegging and wild hogs in the area.

            We were sending the four RVs that JBG owned along with the four that the GSA owned. Previous presidents had used the GSA supplied RVs for cross country campaigning. We were staying four days at the Gibson farm in the RVs. With the bootlegging, hog hunts and farming, Glenn had several acres turned into a full service RV park. We would be the only group there those four days.

            Commercial wild hog hunts had turned to be as profitable as farming and bootlegging for Glenn. He was smart by continuing bootlegging and now was dumping some of the mash out to attract the wild hogs and limiting the commercial hunts to no more than one a week. He was still selling excess corn to the markets and the dried mash – eventually called brewers grains – to feed mills to be mixed with cattle, chicken and hog feeds.

            The second week of March I was going back to Russia to celebrate another milestone in the disarmament treaty we had worked out for three days. President Orbatch was then coming to Washington to do the same for our end of it.

            Marcy and our legal group had a dozen days in March and more in April scheduled to go to stockholders’ meetings of the companies she was looking to take over. Without a doubt, it was going to be a wild media month.        

            Saturday morning started off with tons of interruptions. The Secret Service was moving into the area in force. I learned they had twenty rooms in the Island Hilton. There was a steady stream of them coming and going with more than one meeting in the garage along with a steady parade for coffee and goodies from the kitchen.

            Special Secret Service Agent Earle Gardner was over the Secret Service detachment assigned to Summers Road for the day shift today. He assigned an agent to be in the guard shack with the JBG guard, another to be inside the gym and another to act as elevator operator. That saved me from assigning more JBG to do the same thing.

            I really wasn’t concerned until I looked out the window to see a 48 foot Coast Guard patrol boat tied up to our dock behind our boat. If I didn’t know any better, it was looking like it was going to be way longer than Wednesday before I was back at the White House.

            Verizon was back at 0700 working on the bugs in the added phones. By 1000 they had everything fixed and working. I guess they needed the Saturday overtime to motivate them. They got a day’s overtime pay for working three hours. They did install several more wireless routers and wireless boosters in the basement.

            Baltimore Office Supply was done by noon, taking care of loose ends. The temporary offices were ready for Monday. My mates met me at the refreshment center for a light lunch. After lunch we went to the gun club for a couple hours to practice with our Glocks; it was the first time I done any shooting in over a month. I was rusty with the first clip, putting rounds everywhere but where I wanted them, but quickly improved. By the end of the two hours I was back to putting the rounds in the center of the bulls eye as well as I always did.

            It was a good thing the pistol range was indoors – it was getting colder and the wind was picking up, a storm was blowing in off the coast. We rode back to the office in the Beast and into the garage. When we were out of it the driver drove it back to the gym and into the garage where it was kept under lock and key and guarded.

            The chefs were working on supper, but it was still a couple hours away. My mates went to take care of the kids and I went to the command center to get updates from the Pentagon group, NSA, and CIA. It would take an hour to go through all the intelligence. Troy followed with a handful of notes.

            ”You know you are off today and I’m sure there are plenty of ladies looking good in the gym,” I said.

            ”You are right! There are plenty of ladies over there but there is plenty of competition, every Secret Service agent not on duty is trying to impress all of them,” Troy said.

            In the command center Troy was beside me and Vicky was taking notes for me. It was one of the things we forgot; I needed someone to take notes for the official record. Those people would not be here until Monday. I would have Connie transcribe Vicky’s notes into the official record.

            Another thing that was forgotten was the White House media group. There needed to be a couple of them here, at least during the day. Where in the heck was I going to put them all? Oh well, I would deal with that on Monday.

            Sunday morning the Secret Service chefs cooked a big breakfast. I started smelling fresh coffee percolating at 0500. Before they were finished Mom and Dad, Jason, Lisa, Troy, the foot ball carriers, about a dozen agents and my JBG security made their way to the kitchen for a plate and coffee, then showed up for breakfast.

            With everyone going their different ways after breakfast, my mates and I spent the morning in the living room playing with the boys and Sara and Takeo.

            The boys were into more games that were challenging now. They were past the building block things and tearing them down. They got plenty of those types of games for Christmas and we worked/played with them while they were learning.

            The sets of square numbered and lettered blocks and toys were hand-me-downs to Sara and Takeo. It was a fun morning with the kids. A light lunch and then my mates and I were walking to my office to discuss some JBG business Marcy wanted to talk about.

            I listened while she filled me in on the progress of things she was trying to do. I asked questions about an intended purchase in the Dutch Land. After she explained her intent and reasoning, I nodded OK.

            Marcy had been more involved in the behind the scenes negations than I knew. While I was negotiating with the Russian politicians, Marcy and Jeanna had been having long talks with the industry people.

             President Orbatch had brought representatives from the major Russian industries in case they were needed. Marcy and Jeanna were picking their brains on things needed to help bail the sinking ship and how they could make a profit in it.

            Alik Radimir Sobol was the new head of the Russian Petrol industry and apparently a likeable likable fellow as well as a womanizer, I gathered from the conversation. With both Jenna and Marcy getting heavily in the oil business, they had a full day of listening to his problems and what was needed to fix the problems.

            I didn’t know it at the time, but that pair was negotiating a deal to supply several finished tanker loads of heating oil and gasoline from our refinery in Nigeria in the winter months until the Russian refineries could get production up.

            A copy of the equipment Sobol needed and wanted was exchanged. Marcy wasn’t beyond being an equipment broker if she could make a profit. But then Marcy was looking for equipment for the Cameroon refineries.

            I listened and asked a few questions on how the oil fields were producing but I should have realized they must have been doing better if they could sell ship loads to Russia.

            I wondered why there hadn’t been any information on this from Frank or Eric. It was another question I needed to ask, surely there should have been some permits or reports that should have crossed my desk in exports.          

             Updates on the Jones Towers was next; they had finished driving pilings for first tower and the equipment had been moved to the second tower location. The basement tub for the first tower was in progress.

            Then there were updates on the rest of the business ventures. The girls asked if there was any way I could help stack gold bars in the basement room for a couple nights. There were still a lot of crates in the secure hangar that had not been moved there yet.

            ”I should be able to do that,” I said.

            For a while all the gold bars were being shipped directly to Pirates Bank. Marcy and whoever went with her to the board meetings brought back one thousand gold coins for us. The bars were being deposited to TSPBCIC account.          

            Andy was flying back from the Fort Dean operations center in the morning. He would be in Marcy’s office to cover a range of topics tomorrow. I would sit in on that meeting.

             I had questions that needed answers. I wanted a different view on several things in Africa other than Frank’s. Just a double check to make sure I was getting told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and not a watered down view.

            An hour later we were in the gym working out. Three different Secret Service agents worked with me. They were all out of shape and swapped off when one became exhausted.

            Kathryn came in at 1500 with Ty Deshields. Kathryn was a great workout partner on the mats; we worked together for two hours before we were too exhausted to continue. We had an audience of agents, Troy and several staff who were trying to find their way around those who were going to be here tomorrow.

            While we were resting I found out another group of spooks was starting covert mission training next Wednesday. Ching Lee, Kathryn and Ty were the trainers for the group with a couple of Andy’s best people to help. Hell, I might be able to help after hours if I was still here.

            At 1800 we went back to the house through the tunnel. Supper would be finished in thirty minutes, then I was going to the command center to check in with the agencies for the last time tonight.

            My mates, the kids and I had a great evening again. When the little ones were in bed, time in the hot tub with them was wonderful – even if it did embarrass a few gawking agents.

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Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 16

Book 3 Chapter 16

            Friday morning started out early at 0500 with a bang. A terrorist tried to drive a dump truck through the White House security gates. The Secret Service assigned to the roof put a Stinger missile into the engine after it crashed through the gate and over the tire busters and was still moving. All the alarms were ringing; agents were running everywhere.

            0500 was when there was a shift change. The agents’ shift change was done in two parts an hour apart so there was always a full staff on duty watching all the monitors and guarding the President. The result was that there were more agents on the grounds.

            The driver must have had experience from the battlefield or maybe was just lucky or chickened out. Seconds before the missile hit, he jumped from the truck and tried to run – only to run into a dozen agents. Fearing the truck was loaded with explosives and with the driver in hand, everyone moved quickly away. That the truck’s load was covered with a canvas only added to the fear.

            My family and I were ushered into Section 12; the underground bunker that housed the terrorism task force among other agencies. It had separate fresh air inlets and a power supply that was filtered multiple times for all kinds of threats. The other White House staff were down here on other levels.

            After 9-11 the White House had gone through many secret upgrades and renovations – many disguised as normal maintenance. All the windows had been replaced with reinforced bulletproof glass. The original wooden window frames had been replaced with steel. The storm shutters were made operative and also bulletproof.

            There were boxes on the roof designed to look like duct work – they were actually storage for Stinger and Tomahawk missiles and machine guns. The roof had been replaced with armor plating and titanium covered in a rubber coating making it waterproof in the upgrades.

            When the bed cover was pulled back, it was found that the bed of the truck was filled with twenty and forty pound propane cylinders. The wiring leading into the truck body had been burned off and whatever they were using for the trigger was destroyed, improperly set or a delayed timer.

            Equipment was brought in to unload the cylinders one at a time, then they would be robot inspected before being hauled away. It was an all day job.

            ”Eric, who has custody of the driver?” I asked.

            ”The FBI and DHS are trying to interrogate him now but the lawyer is refusing to allow him to answer any questions,” Eric said.

            ”What nationality is he, what language does he speak?” I asked.

            ”He is from Somalia we believe, he has a heavy North African accent,” Eric said.

            ”Does he have a green card or is he a citizen from some of the previous programs?” I asked.

            ”Not that we can find,” Eric said.

            ”Finger prints?” I asked.

            ”Not in the system,” Eric answered.

            ”Before you ask, facial scan is negative,” Eric added.

            ”What is the information on the truck?” I asked.

            ”No tags; everything in the cab was burned, no names or phone numbers on the cab or the body,” Eric replied.

            ”The VIN number is deeply stamped at least four places on the frame; one on each side by the front axle and one on each side of the frame between the rear cab mount and rear axle. Depending on the year, there may be more – sometimes under the cab on the inside frame rail,” Marcy said.

            ”I run into that all the time when the body up-fitters paint over the VIN number stickers or mount equipment over them. I even had to threaten some up-builders because the information and scan bar are required for warranty work and DOT roadside inspections. The cab sticker has the Maximum front and rear axle weights limits as well as Gross vehicle weight,” Marcy added.

            ”Tell the lawyer that the suspect has been designated as a foreign terrorist and is being transferred to Gitmo for a tribunal investigation and trial. Bag the suspect and take him to Morton; I’ll call the Doc to do a medical. Call Frank and Ben to meet you there – or do you want me to do it? Every minute you lose before he talks allows any accomplices to get further away and destroy evidence,” I said.

            “The Secret Service will have a team pick you up at the Capitol steps, you can use the tunnel to get to the Capitol building. When we get over there, we will call for the pickup time,” Agent Gardner said.

            ”It’s too risky to land the chopper here until they get the truck empty, the Beast will pick you up over there at the Capitol steps when the Suburbans arrive,” said the Secret Service agent in charge. Like it or not, I was in for the convoy ride to Summers Road unless I wanted to go to Andrews by car then transfer to Marine 1.

            We went back to the White House and picked out things that we would need. I would be home a half a day early. I also gave most of the staff the rest of the day off.

            I didn’t get through the Congressional Hall without an impromptu news conference that I ended quickly – as soon as the Secret Service agent said the Beast was at the steps. It took almost two hours to get home, but we were home at lunch time.

            With the traffic in Washington a nightmare, by the time we got home Frank, Ben, Andy, and Eric were at Fort Smith with the Doc, watching a very upset prisoner getting wired up.

            The prisoner was not the only one upset, his lawyer was livid that he had lost his meal ticket on the government tab for years.

            It was near supper when Ben, Eric and Frank came to the house to fill me in on the information they had gained. The prisoner was on his way to Gitmo – unconscious – in one of our C130s.

            ”The truck had been stolen six weeks ago from a construction site in West Virginia. It had been carried – covered by canvas – on a lowboy trailer to a warehouse on the outskirts of DC where the propane cylinders had been placed in the dump body,” Frank Said.

            ”The propane cylinders had been acquired from a recycling center. They were originally sold as scrap because of rust pitting or out of date certification. Some of the cylinders had been filled with gasoline, others diesel fuel, some were refilled with propane and four were filled with gun powder,” Eric said.

            ”The ones with gun powder were the ones that had blasting caps in them to start the explosion,” Eric said.

            ”Why didn’t it blow up then? With all that gasoline and diesel, it would have a great fireball,” I said.

            ”They had it wired to the truck batteries. We think when it hit the first barricade the batteries weren’t fastened down and were ejected, shearing all the wiring. The force of the impact may have caused the driver to be too disoriented to find the trigger or else he chickened out at the last minute,” Eric said.

            ”This must have been a new group without connections since they did not have any C4, RDX or ANFO – or else we have tightened up the tracking and controls enough that it is not easy to get,” I said.

            ”They have got all the tanks removed and the truck will be removed tonight. The impact with the gate and the barriers shifted everything in the truck, pulling the wires and detonators from the tanks with the gunpowder. The detonators went off but ignited nothing but air,” Agent Gardner said. He had just received an update from the ATF agents working on the truck.

            ”With all the threats that have been placed against you in the past, the Secret Service doesn’t want you to go back to the White House until the security gate is repaired and the changes you wanted to the streets will be done at the same time. GSA and the contractors will work around the clock. They think enough will be done by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest so you can return,” Agent Gardner said.

            ”By the way, the DC city council has dropped all opposition to the changes you wanted,” Agent Gardner said.

            ”OK, I will call the staff and have the ones I need report to the JBG office here on Summers Lane on Monday,” I said.

            ”The crash pad is clean and empty. Get a list of the people you want to stay close and they can stay there. It’s a lot more secure than staying at one of the hotels. They can get cars from the airport for travel,” Marcy said.

            ”Come up with the number of spaces you need and I will get Baltimore Office Supply to bring desks and cubicles and the rest of the equipment to finish out the bays in the basement as office space today,” Marcy said.

            ”I was in the process to do that before all the April takeovers happen. I already ordered everything. They have it all and are waiting to deliver it. The cleaning crew is finished the cleaning,” Marcy said.

            I called Troy and Connie on a conference call. Between the three of us we picked the staff we thought we needed for a few days. Troy was going to notify them.

            ”My wife is visiting her sister in Nashville for a few weeks. She is fighting cancer and needed my wife to help while she is getting treatments. I can get a motel room to be close,” Troy said.

            ”We have a couple extra rooms at the house; you can stay in one of them if you want,” Marcy said.

            ”I can do that,” Troy said.

            Marcy was going to make a few changes in the office for the people coming. The last office expansion also included a new larger Verizon phone bank expansion.

            Marcy had reserved a bank of an additional of one hundred phone numbers in case there was ever a decision to expand the office even further before the Jones towers were completed. There were still ninety five numbers that were not used.

            When Bob’s Construction finished out the electric in the basement, they also ran and installed phone jacks and internet cables into each bay at Marcy’s request. She was planning on a lot of the offices down in the basement if necessary.

            Marcy called Verizon and Baltimore Office Supply to come today and start putting the offices together and Bobs Construction to be on hand if there were any difficulties and to assist with installations.

            Robert’s group began programming desktop computers and laptops with standard office programs and connectivity to our internet. Marcy instructed them not to put any access to our secure office programs on them.

            I felt sure that anyone that came would have their government laptop with them anyhow.      

            Troy showed up at 1400 with several suitcases. We put him in the last upstairs room. Crash had one, the Smithfield’s had one, one had become our in-house beauty salon and Troy was in the fourth one for a few days.

            There were still the six rooms in the basement if they were needed. They were routinely cleaned and dusted.

            After he carried his bags to his room, I gave him the tour and gave him a JBG ID card so he could go from the house to the offices in the basement and second floor and work the elevator.

            I had Robert do a facial scan, finger print, DNA swipe and retina scan to give him the card.

            ”Do you want to run him through Genie?” Robert asked.

            ”Sure, just so we have a record,” I said.

            ”What’s Genie and why did you do all those things?” Troy asked.

            ”You are going to be with me in a setting other than the White House and I am still a target. If it happens and there is nothing but damaged pieces, this information will help identify all the pieces,” I said.

            ”Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Troy said.

            ”Verizon and Baltimore Office Supply say they will both be finished by tomorrow afternoon. I’m having Bob’s men do a few things while they are here. Bob is going to stop in a couple hours to give updates on the construction projects,” Marcy said.

            ”BJ, Barry Simms from the Korean embassy paged for a VCATS in ten minutes if you want to sit in on it,” Vicky said.

            ”Sure, I can do that,” I said.

            I was going to show Troy where the offices for those coming from Washington were going to be but a detour to the command center that was only a few feet away wouldn’t take long.

            Vicky, Cindy, Troy and I were sitting in the command center when Barry paged for the call.

            ”Morning Barry, how are things going with the new housing?” I said.

            ”The housing is great; the guys are really happy. What I paged for was there seems to be increased surveillance of the embassy in the last few weeks. Nothing that really screams at you, but I have noticed the same people killing time three or four times a week on the street across from the embassy,” Barry said.

            ”I have logged them six times on my shift and the evening and night shift have logged a different individual at least that many times,” Barry said.

            ”Barry, send the video and stills to Vicky, the alphabets are going to stop by in a while; we will discuss it with them. In the meantime, do you want Vicky to send you some extra men? There should be room in the dorm for them if you think you want them,” I said.

            ”Just look at the film, run the pictures and then decide,” Barry said.

            ”Be careful Barry, we will be in touch soon,” Vicky said.

            ”I’ll get Robert to look at them too,” Vicky said.

            ”Do we need an antenna on the housing unit and embassy so Robert’s team can monitor local radio traffic?” I said.

            ”I’ll ask him,” Vicky said.

            The next few hours was spent working in the basement with the contractors. It seemed the crew from Baltimore Office Supply was made up of new people who needed constant supervision to get things the way Marcy had it on paper. Three men from Bob’s Construction jumped in to help the Office Supply crew.

            Without the cubicles in place, Verizon couldn’t place the phones and Robert’s group couldn’t get the computers and associated equipment working. We had boosters installed long ago so cell phones would work in the basement.

            By 1700 three bays were set up as offices with seven office cubicles in each one. The crews were coming back tomorrow to finish out one more bay. I didn’t think it was necessary. I could use my old office upstairs or the command center with the meeting room across the aisle.

            Verizon was running tests on the phone lines and associated fax lines and machines before they left. With all that finished, we girls and Troy went back through the tunnel and home. It was time for supper, kids and then the hot tub and bed.

            Verizon was coming back Saturday morning to fix the bugs in the phone lines – and there were plenty. Several from Roberts EIT group were coming to watch over them. They wanted to make sure Verizon’s techs did not do anything to our intelligence systems.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 15

Book 3 Chapter 15

            By the weekend there would be two hundred and fifty resignations on my desk. Troy brought me the list of federal judges who were scheduled to be retiring this year – that alone that was another one hundred positions and there were more of those to come. The search began for judges who I would nominate. The first and major requirement was they had not tried to legislate from the bench.

            Next came investigations into things that I was not supposed to do. All the social media of prospective candidates were thoroughly searched, including any organizations they belong to. Also included – their politics, including who they supported, who they donated to and any campaigns they had endorsed or worked on. I also wanted all papers they had written and all speeches they had given.

            Every case they had ever decided on, commented on, or if their ruling was appealed was to be investigated. Those where an appeals court deemed the ruling to be unconstitutional would be doubly investigated. If they made it to the interview sessions, they would be questioned deeply about their decisions and rulings associated with the case. My researchers had plenty to do.

            General Ingram had decided he was going to stay on as chairman of the Joint Chiefs; he had two more years that he could serve in that capacity. However, I needed to replace the other Chiefs. Troy and I worked the rest of the afternoon on that part of the puzzle because they should be the first nominees that I sent to the Senate for approval.

            I settled on General Richard Irons for the Army Chief; he was the general over the army troops in the invasion of Iran. I chose Marine General John Downs for the Marine Chief position. For the Air Force Chief, I chose Air Force General Glenn Armstrong. For the National Guard Chief I chose General Randolph McVee and for the Secretary of Defense I chose Fleet Admiral Montgomery Scott.

            Because of political rules, Congress would have to issue a waiver for Admiral Scott to serve as Secretary of Defense. My staff who polled the Senators before a final decision assured me that Scott would pass muster in the Senate.

            I reappointed Frank Love as director of the CIA. He and I had worked together just so well, I couldn’t see anyone else in that position. I did the same with Marty Coeburn at the FBI and Eric Roberson at the DHS.

            After lunch I spent the rest of the afternoon on calls to various leaders, starting with Mexico’s President Martinez and then many more of the Central and South American countries.

            The speech I had given in response to a reporter’s question in Mexico City about the war on drugs had started small but was growing. Now there were only a handful of countries in the America’s that were not on board. Even Australia was on board as an associate member of the ”International Antidrug Enforcement Coalition”.

            The meeting for all the countries to sign on was finalized today. That meeting was to take place in Washington on the first of February. The coalition members would vote on the charter and bylaws. We would then work on the final rules and laws that in some cases had already been passed or were in the process of being passed by member countries.

            All were designed to put the screws on illegal manufacture, transporting, sale and possession of illegal drugs. The members had a hodgepodge of laws but in the new coalition, those laws would be uniform and harsh for those in the illegal drug business.

            It would require lengthy sentences, confiscation of property and wealth with a real search for hidden wealth of those profiting from the misery of the drug trade. The death penalty would be the only penalty and it would be aggressively used for those convicted of manufacturing, distribution and trafficking in illegal drugs.

            It would require isolation of countries that were involved in the drug trade by the member nations including ending air travel, cruises and trade embargoes. This one was a tough one to negotiate because the United Nations did everything it could to interfere.

            In fact, the UN tried to derail the process at every step. They wanted control and funding to carry out the antidrug coalition goals. Everyone knew how worthless the UN would be. China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Thailand and several more were the biggest non-America producers of Illegal drugs. China would block any actions at the UN that interfered with its grand plan.

            The lab that JBG had built in the old shopping center had been operating for four months and already had tested eight thousand samples of illicit drugs. The DNA test was narrowing down the where the drugs were coming from.

            Cocaine samples were showing that it was coming from lower Central America and South America now. With the JBG security zone working, most were from shipping and air travelers. People were being paid to bring drugs to the US in their body cavities.

            There were a few submersibles that had tried to make the trip from El Salvador and Nicaragua, but the majority broke apart or were sunk by the Coast Guard or the JBG fast ships that were patrolling at the ocean ends of the security zones. Both of those countries were not in the anti-drug coalition.

            The tests were showing that the pills were coming from China, India, Pakistan and Thailand. Codeine, fentanyl, OxyContin and other prescription medicines were coming in shipping containers mixed with legitimate freight.

            The DHS and DEA had made a bust the first week of January at the San Diego port of over ten million pills packaged with flour in General Mills bags. Shipments like that had to be sponsored by the governments.

            Whoever packaged the shipment didn’t know that General Mills didn’t import flour. It was produced in the states and was not imported.

            The factories making medicines were tightly regulated and the only way that amount could have been produced is with the knowledge and blessings of people in high places.

            Another tipoff was the ingredients in the pills were of the same DNA and formula and the press equipment markings were the same as pills being shipped to the major US pharmacies through official channels. It was only one bust of many taking place at the ports on both coasts.

            The security zone and the JBG fast boats were having an effect on the supply. That and the extra resources I had ordered the DEA and homeland to commit to the ports. The street price of drugs had doubled in the last four months. That drove up street and property crimes from addicts trying to support their habits. For every intended action, there is an opposite and unintended reaction.

            I was ready to go to the living quarters, I was talked out and suffering from gray matter overload. Relief from the overload was coming over in a few minutes.

            The rest of my family was coming over in one of the bigger helicopters and would spend the rest of the week with Vicky, Ching Lee and me. I was ready to spend some time with the kids.

            Some of the Christmas presents for the kids had been left here for them to play with. Every time they came, it was like they were getting new toys.

            After the playtime, JJ, RJ, Sara and Takeo were in bed and asleep, piled up on the new bed in my master bedroom. It was a super king size, bigger than the one we had at home.

            Being pregnant, Marcy and Vicky were horny all the time now. They had even brought more of our toys from home and added a few. I asked how they had gotten them because I knew they could no longer go to the adult store without being recognized.

            ”We ordered them from Amazon with the house address for delivery to the house and not the office. UPS delivered to the gym anyhow. The boxes were carried to my office where one of my clerks opened them,” Marcy said.

            ”I never saw Tabitha blush so red before,” Marcy said. ”The other girls kidded her all afternoon about it, wanting to know what caused it,” Marcy said.

            Marcy had bought a complete set of new play toys to be left here, including several strap-on harnesses and toys to go on them.

            It was a fun play evening, even though we had to be quiet. Luckily one of the drawers in my dresser had a lock on it. At least that would keep the maid from finding them.

            Thursday morning the director of the Secret Service and I met with the representatives from the DC roads and streets committee. My request/orders to block off more streets to the Secret Service around the White House had finally hit the DC government and didn’t sit too well with them.

            They had a variety of arguments against closings the streets but basically all came back to their opinion that the public had a right to protest and do anything else they wanted near the White House.

            After two hours of putting up with their ranting, ”Those identified streets were going to be closed, even if I had to have Army tanks and troops brought in to do it. Go back to your map and figure out how you are going to redirect non- White House traffic around the new fencing and restrictions that the Secret Service has contracted to be installed,” I said.

            Thursday night all my mates worked out with me in the newly updated White House fitness center. New exercise machines had been installed, including the marathoner tread mill like we had in the gym. It was beginning to feel like home.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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