Book 2 Chapter 86

At 0400 we were in the mess in line, today with better food that was more appealing and a dozen chefs working to keep up. They must have used Google because eggs, sausage, bacon, and stacks of pancakes were coming off the griddle.

The grumblings from the French OPS drivers only increased as they saw the food we were getting. They walked past the pastries and asked if they could get in line with my men.

”Sure, you are working with us for the next day or so,” I said.
Andy, Louis and I fell in line behind them.

”Aren’t you worried that all this food is going to make the men lazy and slow?” Louis asked.

”In full gear in today’s heat and the adrenalin rush plus the 14 hour day they will put in, they will burn three thousand calories or more,” I said. ”Just wait until you see what they eat for dinner.”

At 0600 all the men were in the conference room and the details of the raids began for everyone.

Louis passed out the routes to the French drivers. Then the video was played of the tactics the cell had and were using against the police attempts to make arrests and restore French law. Those tactics involved blocking the roads then crowds rushing the police in an organized fashion.

Then I explained everything we knew about the cell and the plans for mass attacks against all Europe in three days with suicide bombers, vest explosives and shootouts with automatic weapons. I emphasized the importance that this had to be a successful mission.

The drivers were told they were to not to stop and let nothing get in way of getting their vehicle to the assigned position. They were to push blocking automobiles out of the way and run over anyone trying to block the way. Collateral damage today would be nothing compared to the mass casualties we were expecting if we failed.

”I know these are difficult orders to follow and if you cannot follow these orders, you need to stand and asked to be replaced. Our hope is that the size of the force and speed at which it will be moving will surprise and confuse them and these blocking tactics will be minor. I will allow you ten minutes to discuss the issue,” I said.

Ten minutes later I asked if anyone wanted to leave. No one stood up.

”OK, final instructions, pick up a face mask from the box. They are to prevent your identity from being plastered on the net, prevent facial scans and being photographed. French drivers, pick up a JBG security vest to identify you as part of the raid. Friendly fire incidents are un-acceptable for any reason of stupidity.”

”Everyone is to pick up a couple black hoods with the draw string and flex cuffs – all prisoners are to be hooded and cuffed. No, the draw string is not to choke them with though I know you would like to.”

”There are two video news units imbedded – one in each battalion – they have strict instructions not to film your faces, the faces of anyone captured or of any dead. They have been instructed they are to stop filming when directed to do so by an officer. See to it they follow those instructions in a nice way. They have worked with us before,” I said.

I passed out the pictures to the majors and captains of the four terrorist leaders, ”Look at these faces – we believe they are the leaders. I want these four people alive for advanced interrogation at Fort Smith.”

‘‘Let’s gear up the works, full body armor. Red battalion 1 – you know who you are – we have the last 14 armored vehicles. Each of you are to get six thirty round clips, do not ride with one in the chamber.”

We headed back to the barracks to gear up. I pulled my duffle bag off the storage rack. As I opened it, I instantly became mad.

My helmet had five stars on it. My shirt I was to wear had five stars on the upper arm sown permanently to the Velcro rank line. On the right front were five stars over my name ‘General Jones’. Andy had made me a freaking primary target.

With the helmet and shirt in hand I started towards Andy, this was his doing! No wonder I had not seen the gear until now, it was already packed for me in the duffle bag.

He put his hands up and started backing up. ”Wait a minute, I was following instructions. Your mates told me to have five stars put on your gear. They said the big boss at the top always had five stars and that was you,” Andy said.

”And I suppose you didn’t argue with them?” I said.

”I was outnumbered and the tone said it was not a debate,” Andy replied.

”I have three stars on mine for snipers to home in on so don’t feel too bad about it,” Andy added.

”What happened to four stars?” I asked.

”I have no comment, you will have to take that up with them. I refuse to incriminate myself,” Andy said.

”OK, I get the picture, double wet noodle treatment when I get home,” I said.

I pulled on the light vest, shirt, pants and boots then the military grade body armor with five stars painted on it and a Red horizontal patch.

I went over the instructions with Melinda and Hanna and the camera men one more time. I gave them a general idea for a news breaking story as soon as we the stopped at the sites and the operation began.

I received a text from Max Grover, he and Toby Nash were at the Bagnolet Air Force base in my G5. I wanted it there to spirit away any important prisoners before the French lawyers and courts could get involved.

At 0830 Andy with Blue battalion 1 was the first to pull out with the twenty four armored reinforced personnel carriers and the two hundred and five men. Louis was ordering the various intersections closed to allow us to make a fast approach to the training center and mosque.

The drivers sped through the intersections. We turned off at the mosque and Andy’s group continued on to the training center a block away.

The first four vehicles turned to block the east and south streets that bordered the mosque, the next four north and west streets. Once stopped the men exited the vehicles and some faced the mosque and others the opposing streets.

The next five vehicles crashed through the gate onto the court yard, the men crashing through the doors. I was in the last vehicle and the last group to enter the building. Ziva, Farah, Abra, Sanaz – the four former Mossad – and Jack Winslow were with me, with Melinda and Nick Cote following.

I heard a muffled explosion in the distance and gunfire.

The men that went in ahead of us were separating into smaller groups checking rooms. Abra and Sanaz had just started into a side room when a door flew open from a room straight ahead, then six Arab men ran out firing.

I took a round in the armor but kept shooting. It hurt like hell and I knew I would be bruised, but it was not the first time. I heard the thud of a round hitting another vest behind me.

”Oh god I’m hit,” and then – “Keep filming, I’ll be OK,” it was Melinda.

I wondered how she knew she would be OK.

I was firing my MP5 hitting the first two on the left. Ziva shot the first two on the right. The last two were firing as the bodies were falling. Farah and I each took another one.

When the firing stopped there was yelling from inside the room in Persian, ”We surrender – stop shooting, we surrender.”

I yelled at Nick to kill the camera.

”Come out with your hands in the air,” I ordered.

Six men came out, ”Turn, face the wall, hands against the wall,” I said.

Ziva and Abra searched them, recovering documents and anything else while Jack checked the room out for more. They quickly put the bags over their heads. Then they turned them and installed flex cuffs.

I turned to Melinda, her face described the pain she was in.

”Let’s get this gear off you and see how bad it is,” I said.

”Film it Nick – the two of you will get a Pulitzer for her taking the hit,” I said.

With the gear, her shirt and bra off Melinda had an ugly bruise on the sternum; I was sure it was broken. The shooters had been trained for heart shots.

Nick was filming as we talked and evaluated.

”Put the gear back on, you won’t be wearing a bra anytime soon but you will live. We can get the bullet out of the gear and have someone make a necklace out of it for a keepsake. I will try find you an ice pack and will get you to a doc for an x-ray as soon as I can,” I said.

”You have the brother of the supreme leader of Iran, Aman Awad and his son Fawzi. You have son of the supreme leader Bahri Awad and the son of the President of Iran, Karem Marwan. The other one is Fatin Bashir, brother of the General and Abdul Jamil, the other Iranian operative you were looking for,” Ziva said.

Andy called on my radio, ”we have Butros Tayfur, Omar Alhalmi and Maged Alsabahi. The others are dead.”

”What was the explosion?” I asked.

”Suicide vest, a dozen are dead. There are more than a hundred vests here – possibly two hundred – and more than a hundred AK47s and thousands of rounds of ammo,” Andy replied.

”Do you have the three prisoners bagged and cuffed?” I asked.

”Yes.”

“Get them in a vehicle and send them back to the air field, the G5 is there. We have six prisoners here I will send to the field – the pilots will have orders to leave for Morton as soon as we get them there,” I said.

”How many other prisoners are there?”I asked.

”Two hundred by the first count,” Andy said.

”Damn!”

”Cover the bodies where they are – they are Louis’s problem as are any other prisoners. Safely get all the weapons displayed on the floor and have Hanna film them. We will do the same here. I will call Louis and tell him to bring the media for show and tell and vans for the prisoners,” I said.

“Any count on collateral damage?” I asked.

”Ten cars were destroyed, several dead,” Andy replied.

”Bad but not as bad as we thought,” I said.

Louis was shocked at the information I gave him on the counts. By the time I had finished talking to him my inside men had collected all the weapons and had them in the hall. There were only twenty vests here and fifty rifles plus the six machine guns from the dead.

I looked at all the film that Nick had recorded and gave the OK for it to be sent after he had filmed the captured weapons found here. He had done as I instructed and instantly stopped recording. There was no evidence of the prisoners we had taken. He did have excellent film of the firefight with some good audio.

I did get to look at the first piece that Melinda had sent, ”This is Melinda Shaffer imbedded with JBG Red Battalion 1 on the first JBG Pact anti-terrorist raid in Europe. Hanna Page is imbedded with ‘Blue Battalion 1’, I will see if I can get a report from her later. Gun fire and explosions are going off all around us. More to come in a few minutes when it is safe.”

The film showed my hooded men and me as we were getting out of the armored vehicle, entering the building and the sounds of battle with the firefight where the six had died. Oh joy was about to start and it was only 1100.

Melinda even sent the recording of her evaluation to the ZNN office.

”Tell them they can blur out my parts and run it,” Melinda said to Nick.

Louis showed up with an army of French media and the French President along with dozens of police to take the prisoners and their wounded. A media tour of the mosque and all the captured weapons was live for the European community to see.

Then there was the big impromptu news conference that I nor anyone else was prepared for, carried live for the world via ZNN and channel 34 on unaffiliated media links. Hanna was making grand-dad lots of money with the normal linking fees and she was the free lance star of the European media, helmet and body armor included.

There were hundreds of questions in a several languages about the raid, the intel, how did we know. I was still trying to preserve our intelligence link but I was sure that it was gone.

”JBG has had operatives in this cell for months; in fact one of our operatives was to wear a suicide vest in an attack in the next few days. JBG has some of the most dedicated people of any organization – military or civilian – in the world in the fight against terrorism. Anyone who will agree to wear a suicide vest to gain information is a hero. A hero who will never be recognized outside of our organization,” I said.

“Ambassador Jones, when did you become a general? Is that a new job for you?” a reporter asked in German.
”A little over four hours ago is when I found out about it. Certain individuals in my organization planned it behind my back, they know who they are. I know I am going to get ribbed badly for it,” I said.

”How many men participated in the raid?” Melinda was asked.

”We came over in a 400 passenger 747 jumbo jet and it was full. There were at least two more aircraft involved. I don’t know how many men are in two JBG battalions,” was her reply.

It was 0500 in Washington and Washington was alive and screaming. My phones had been ringing through the news conference. I looked at the missed calls. Let the fun begin!

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Book 2 Chapter 85

Wednesday morning Andy and I reviewed the latest communiqués from the General and Tiam. Things were heating up with all kinds of plans under discussion. The General was being a general. He was suggesting specific areas in France, Germany and England that he wanted suicide bombers placed for better political impact.

After saying goodbye to the girls and boys, the next stop was Morton Field. Many of the men were already there with their gear. I got there just as the customs agent was setting up a table to stamp the passports of the men and ladies.

It did not take long to stamp the seventy five passports but the 200 was going to be a mess. The 747 was 15 minutes out when I finished.

The fifteen minutes gave me time to hunt down my gear. Andy had taken all my gear along with all the girls’ gear to have the Velcro sown on the upper arm. Andy said since we all were in the field or had the potential to be in the field, our gear should be marked.

It was in the traditional big duffel bag. I put it on the top of the baggage cart. They were keeping the Morton group in a separate storage bay for easier unloading and sorting. That gave me three bags to control, one with the gear, my go bag with four days of camo, panties and socks and my portable office.

Andy’s group had found several seamstresses who brought their industrial sewing machines to the new offices and had all of the men’s uniforms altered over the week. The Velcro was put where the new unit and rank system was to be attached. The ranks were to be painted on helmets and safety gear.

On the shirt was the only permanently attached name and rank. It was on the right front – over the pocket – the same as the military used. My gear was camo but all of the security people were issued brown as it was not as hot as black uniforms. In the sun black uniforms cooked you – good in cold weather, not so much in hot.

All the other parts were also sewn to Velcro so they could be changed as needed.

There were six from customs who went up the stairs into the 747 with Lorrie and me. They started down the aisle first, stamping passports as they went and we followed. Thirty minutes later we were done and the seventy five from Morton were finding seats. All the gear had been stowed in the baggage compartments, including mine along with Malinda’s, Hanna’s and their camera men.

There were the final hugs and passionate kisses for my mates at the bottom of the stairs; all of them had shown up even after the goodbye at home and pecks on the cheeks for two little boys who were pouting because they could not go.

Ten minutes after that I walked up the stairs with a handful of notes from Eric and Dick James that had arrived by special messenger for the final time.

After we leveled off at 40000 feet I walked through the plane talking with men I had never seen before. They seemed like a good group of men, none seemed like I needed to worry about turning my back on them. My first impression was that Andy had chosen well.

After four hours of making the trip through the plane, speaking with everyone, I finally settled into my seat and read the notes Eric and Dick James had sent. There was nothing in them that I had not known about yesterday.

We were flying back in time; it was 1400 in Paris when we took off, it would be 2000 when we landed. Louis was going to have buses pick us up on the tarmac and carry us to the barracks a mile and a half from the runway.

I leaned my seat back and went to sleep. I doubted there would much sleep after we arrived. If there was, it would be a short night.

I was awakened by the landing gear going down and a few minutes later the screech of the tires contacting the runway.

There were ten buses carrying us back and forth to the empty section of the humongous barracks. France – as all European countries – had been downsizing their military for decades saving the money to pay for social programs.

This barracks was half empty. The airmen occupying the other half had spent the last three days cleaning it. It smelled of disinfectant and chlorine and the windows were opened to air it out. It was a good thing France was having an Indian summer like Maryland or this place would be cold.

The bunks were not made but there were clean sheets, blankets, pillow case, a towel and a face cloth stacked on the mattress. We had to make our own bunks – not a big deal, five minutes max.

The bunks were six rows wide and twelve long with storage above them – a piece of plywood. Then there were the open bathrooms; twenty four thrones with doors – that was a surprise – and open showers. It was a room with hooks on one wall to hang clothes and a dozen shower heads stuck out of the wall with 1940’s controls below them. A lot of chlorine had been used in here.

On the other side of the bathrooms were another seventy two bunks and building – a repeat of the other side.

Ziva, Abra and Sofia had picked six bunks in the corner for us girls. Andy and a bevy of his officers took the bunks around us. For now I threw my three bags on the upper storage. It was time to find something to eat; the plane food only went so far.

There was another building fifty feet away that doubled as a cafeteria / conference room center. There was plenty of coffee and the chefs readily obliged with whatever the men wanted.

It was too late for me to eat a big meal. I made a sandwich that made me want to laugh; German bologna, Italian ham, Swiss cheese and coffee in a French military barracks. There were French soldiers at other tables drinking coffee and eating pastries. I wondered if any of these were the drivers for the raid.

We headed back to the barracks where I made my bunk and found a gym tee shirt and shorts in my go bag and then I emptied my pockets into my go bag and headed for the showers with my men.

At 0700 all my men were in the cafeteria for breakfast. Pastries just was not my kind of food to start the day. I managed to talk the chef into making me eggs and bacon. I wasn’t alone; he ended up making several more.

At 0800 Andy announced the team leaders were now called majors, the unit leaders called captains and the squad leaders called lieutenants. I went over the general outline of why we were here.

That was new information for most of all of them – they knew they were all part of a mission that require French and Persian speaking men. They also knew we had chosen special ops persons who would follow orders to the letter and not let conscience or morality get in the way.

At 0900 Louis and several of his closest aides came for a scheduled meeting and to compare the latest intel for a final decision. I wouldn’t have the latest from Robert for a couple more hours. But yesterdays was enough for now.
Louis had updated info from the subway system and the transit traffic had picked up into the training center blocks. The transit buses had counters and so did the subway stops. Traffic was up thirty percent yesterday in the two block area where we were going to conduct raids.

Robert sent today’s translated intercepts at noon; it was 0530 at home. Robert and his group had come in early to get us these intercepts.

A final review locked in the raid. It was now 1300. Now for the final prep work.

Andy and I laid out the route we were going to take to get to the training center and the mosque. The mosque was assigned to Red Battalion 1 code name ‘Red 1’ under my command with fourteen heavily front end reinforced vehicles, one hundred twenty men and the Mossad ladies plus Melinda Schaffer and her camera man.

The remainder, two hundred and five men, were assigned to Blue Battalion 1, code name ‘Blue 1’ under Andy’s command with Hanna Page and her camera man using twenty four more armed vehicles.

The forty heavily front reinforced vehicles were outside the barracks with the drivers that were going to drive them.

We began the process of installing JBG decals on them, covering the French Army logos. The French drivers were not happy. The only thing Louis and a French one star General could tell them was that all would be explained tomorrow morning at 0500 when the mission was to be detailed. Breakfast was to be at 0400.

Their orders were that they were temporally assigned to JBG and were to bunk in our barracks. The second part of that order was a communications blackout. From this time until the mission was complete there were no phone calls – cell or otherwise.

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Book 2 Chapter 84

The weekend was quiet. We ventured to the truck stop several times each day just to check on things.

I looked over the intel intercepts several times a day. General Bashir was still posting so much I began to wonder if they knew we were listening and feeding us misinformation. But then there were the other sources we were using to double check as much as we could, said the same.

One of those things was the Paris subway system. Louis Boucher – the commander of the French police we were working with – was sending the EIT group the daily surveillance videos from the subway stops in the area of the training compound. Robert was running all the pictures through the facial scanners and comparing them to Interpol and our other sources.

Robert and Tom were getting hits from the video; some were from Germany, England, Spain and Italy and they were apparently staying in the training compound. They were seen getting on and off the subway stop by the training center.

They made a trip every other day, always carrying large boxes and bags when they returned. Louis had undercover agents getting on and off at different stops trying to put together a map of the subway rides.

It had taken two weeks to put the map together, plus some connections from General Bashir and his brother in the Paris mosque helped.

In one of the communiqués the general had asked if several people by name had arrived as scheduled. Omar Alhalmi, Fahd Samaha and Maged Alsabahi were the names he had asked about.

Timely research showed they were from the Halabjah area of Iraq that bordered Iran, which was the notorious smuggling route through the mountains during the never ending wars. It was through this smuggling route that the deadly IEDs made their way to Iraq.

Then he asked another time if the materials were showing up in a timely fashion. In another General Bashir implied there may be special guests to the send-off on the 23rd.

On Monday we had an early meeting on the truck stop weekend that left the girls on an emotional high – sales had been exceptional. There had been over fifteen hundred applications for the discount gas credit card backed by Midwest Bank; those would be regular customers.

I warned the girls to be prepared for a letdown, that the gang – buster sales would not continue. The gas discounts and curiosity had brought a lot of people to look who may not end up as regular customers.

Next up was the meetings with Andy and Robert – it was crunch time. Wednesday was the 21st. We spent three hours going over reports, the subway video and messages from the General. Also Tiam was back, handling part of the communiqué transmissions.

Tiam had disappeared from the postings shortly after Harrisburg. The number of postings to different cells had picked up. I was ready for the lunch break and another mug of coffee.

After lunch we decided the Paris mission was a go and Andy began issuing final orders to put everything together.

The 747 was going to pick up two hundred men and their equipment from Fort Dean on Wednesday morning of the 21st. The 747 was then flying to Morton to pickup seventy five more including Andy and myself with gear. It was then flying on to Paris and would land just after dark at the French Air Force base at Bagnolet.

Bagnolet was just ten miles from the Muslim section where the compound and the mosque was located.
Another fifty men from Fort Adams at Loures Portugal were to arrive around the same time. All of us would spend the evening in the base barracks.

The French Air Force had cleared out one of their barracks at the base for the JBG personnel to use for the two days we would be there. The base was operating at 50% staffing so there was little problem.

Thursday the 22nd we would orient the entire group to the mission and the French armored personnel carriers and other vehicles we were going to use.

Maps of streets would be studied closely and the few drivers Louis was going to supply were going to meet their right seat commander and work out any last minute details. Thursday evening was early to bunk for everyone.

Friday morning the twenty third the raid would begin 0900. 0900 because according to the communiqués Robert had pieced together that all the lone wolfs to be were in either the training center or the mosque, receiving final instructions and blessings to carry out mass carnage of the Infidels.

Saturday morning the ones that had to travel the greatest distance were to leave through a variety of methods; train, automobile and buses. The plan was to have them all in place to begin their vile acts on innocent people throughout Europe on the 26th.

The other planning was for the Oklahoma State College. Ching Lee, Vicky and Paul Drake were running the show in Oklahoma.

Ching Lee had pulled a total of fifty more security guards from the college system who were shuttling in and out of the college at night.

The communiqués were still showing that Sabir and the General were firmly sticking to their plan. We were still desperately trying to find out where they were using as a base of operations and better yet, where they were storing the weapons.

Oklahoma City had sections that were modern and filled with surveillance cameras and sensors – the latest gadgets in law enforcement. Other areas were far behind because of pressure from special interest rights groups.

Those groups fought tooth and nail to have cameras and routine police patrols removed from the college block as they called it. The college block incorporated the college and dozens of city blocks around it that were dedicated to student dormitories and subsidized housing for students. The argument was the cameras and police invaded on student privacy and the ability of the students to freely assemble without possible government surveillance. The presence of police and cameras stifled freedom.

With threats of lawsuits and marches by students, the city gave in – police came only when called and no cameras. I had no doubt that the weapons were stored in the rentals off campus. Just finding out which ones was the issue.

I gave up thinking about where the weapons may be stored as not knowing ended the possibility of an early strike off campus to eliminate the threat.

I called Melinda Schaffer, ”Hey girlfriend, what are you doing for a few days at the end of the week, say starting Wednesday, then be home Sunday late? You do have some vacation to burn don’t you?” I asked.

”Where are we going?” Melinda asked.

”I can’t tell you. But you will be strictly limited on what you can film and I will have to approve before you send it, at least in the beginning,” I said.

”Let me call Nick Cote, he is still my cameraman after all the changes that ZNN did. I will go – it will still be an inside scoop. Is Hanna and Jed going?” she asked.

”I’m getting ready to call her next. You won’t be together all the time. Be at Morton around 0600 and pack a go bag for four days. Jeans would be in order with full shirts. We are not going to be among friendly people at times,” I said.

I called Hanna and repeated what I had told Melinda. Both were going, even with the restrictions they might face.

I called Dick James, ”Dick, I have a problem and want to know if you can assign a lot of extra personnel to the Morton customs station.” I explained what I needed and how fast it needed to be. I just needed their passports stamped then I was going to stamp them with the Pact stamp that all the Pact countries had agreed upon. That stamp gave JBG employees the fast track through the Pact countries customs. France was a member of the Pact.

Tuesday was busy packing and getting everything ready to go. I was going to France while Ching Lee, Vicky and Paul Drake were leaving to Oklahoma. They decided to be there early in case the raids in France set things in motion at the college early.

Tuesday night was family night, spending time with boys and after they were in bed, intimate time together. With the three of us gone Marcy, Lorrie and Jenny had all of it to look after.

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Book 2 Chapter 83

Wednesday quickly became Monday and then Wednesday again and the fourteenth; seven days left before we had to go the France. I spent more time in my office and Andy’s office looking at maps and plans in those days than I had in weeks – or so it seemed.

Updates were a continuous chore. Tomorrow Marcy, Andy and I were flying to Port Arthur Marine Works to inspect the two fast patrol boats and go on the shakedown run.

I had found out why Black Bear had wanted them. There were ongoing negotiations with five OPEC producers to supply bulk oil terminal security and escort tankers into and out of the Strait of Hormuz. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Qatar were the five.

The negotiations started at the height of the pirate attacks on tankers and merchant ships kidnapping the cargo and the crews two years ago. Those attacks were still going on occasionally and because of other world events, were not making the headlines any more.

They had dropped off in the last couple months and that had taken the urgency off the negotiations for a while, but the attacks were on the upswing again. The negotiations were still active until the court award. Charles had asked that the talks be put on hold until the JBG transition was complete and there could be a discussion with the new owners.

Charles Black, Milton Bear, Andy and I talked a couple of hours about the arrangement. Then Andy and I talked some more about it before telling Charles to aggressively pursue the contract talks.

With so much manpower on the payroll and available to work, I didn’t think we should turn down any possibilities without thorough investigations. I knew Marcy would feel the same way and didn’t have to ask.

I had to wonder why those countries did not come to an agreement on their own to patrol the waters and protect their livelihood. They had bought hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment over the past decade. They also had marvelously massive military parades with all the pomp and circumstance at the drop of a hat.

After some thought it hit me. The officers were cronies, political elite and princes. Being an officer in the military was an ego trip and notch up the ladder. It looked good in all the portraits hung everywhere. Of course there were the prestigious parties and events they all went to.

The marching soldiers were the low end of the social ladder; they weren’t entitled to be called princes or other prestigious names. But they were not going to work in the oil fields; that was nasty, hot, dangerous work so the military was the place for them.

They spent days cleaning equipment, barracks and practicing whatever. Of course they looked good all decked out and lining the routes when important visitors came.

They didn’t want their own sailors and soldiers to do it for fear of failure so they hired it out to foreigners. The same as they hired out ninety percent of everything done in those countries for construction, house building and road building. Practically every household had foreign servants from China, Indonesia, Japan, and a variety of African countries.

There was no one now other than JBG that would do that kind of work. It was going to be expensive for them.
Thursday morning Marcy, Andy and I boarded N297A for Fort Dean then a couple cars to Port Arthur’s ship building and marine services area.

One boat – if you can call an eighty foot ship a boat – was setting high and dry in the dry dock. They wanted us to be able to do a walk around to look at the hull and drives.

The other was tied up at the dock waiting for the shakedown cruise. But first was the walk around sales pitch.

Eighty foot long with a special hull design to maintain a dry deck and stabilized handling at all speeds. The hull was hardened aluminum with titanium reinforcements. Critical areas were surrounded with honeycomb titanium similar to the pilot tub in an A10 warthog, tough – just unbelievably tough. It was painted in an ocean camouflage scheme.

For power they had twin Detroit Diesel MTU 12V-4000 with 2750 horsepower, each driving Arneson Surface Drive-16 articulating propulsion systems drives allowing thrust control for mind boggling tight turns. The combination gave the boat speeds of fifty knots under most conditions and sucked fuel at that speed like a dry dog at a water bucket.

On the forward deck was two independently controlled M230 30MM chain guns. On the stern were two twin mount 12.7 MM machine guns – better known as 50 cal. Mounted over top the cabin on a rack were four tubes for Hellfire missiles. On each side of the missile rack was an eight tube launch system for Hydra 70 rockets. Over top the Hellfire tubes was mounted a radar and a sensor array. This thing could be loaded for bear – a lot of them.

It could travel 1700 miles on a fuel load at ten knots; over that all bets were off. It required a crew of twelve with berths for six. There was a small shower with waste tanks, a fresh water tank and a microwave.

We boarded the one at the dock for a shakedown run. While we were gone the dry dock crew floated the other one and fueled it up.

The thing was more than impressive, as there were 5-point harnesses to keep us seated in the boat. From idle to full throttle was a white knuckle experience; so were the high speed turns. I could just imagine Jason docking this thing at the travelers dock next to the seafood restaurant to impress his friends.

I was amazed that it had the latest control systems and laser sighting by Raytheon for rockets, Hellfire missiles and advanced sensors mounted in the array – even more, it seemed all of them were operating.
After testing the other one we accepted the delivery and Marcy paid the bill.

Before we left the commercial sales section and engineering, ”Just for shits and giggles work up a price on twenty two more with the same engines, drives and outfitted the same. I also want to know when we could expect the first delivery and how often they would follow after that.”

”I also will tell you that we know of another offshore manufacture that builds a very similar patrol boat that we will be getting prices from and comparing the product,” I said.

The question of what to do with these two boats was the question that would only be answered after more negotiations with the oil producers. One thing for sure – there – was no need to send them back to Fort Dean. There could be no tanker escort training in the lake or the bayou there.

Charles Black had texted me twice since we left Morton; three of the OPEC countries were serious – dead serious – about continuing the negotiations. Somalia pirates had tried to hijack a freighter and an oil tanker off the coast of Oman this morning, for the second time this week.

The only thing that had saved the two ships were the crews had violated international law by carrying small arms allowing them to repel the attack by a small raiding party. If it had been a larger party with RPGs they would have had two ships and crews.

Just one more thing to fit into our expanded company, if there was any value in it for us.

We were back at Morton by late afternoon and back to the planning and double checking.

Friday all of us spent the day at the truck stop getting ready for the grand opening at 1500. With all the work that had been done there were still little things to do to suit Lorrie.

The nearly one hundred men and women that were going to staff the site had started on the payroll on Monday. It was going to take that many to give the 24/7 coverage that we wanted. They had spent the time learning what their jobs were and how everything worked.

By 1500 all the dignitaries we expected were there and more. The three news stations were there; Hanna’s channel 34, the Delaware station from Dover and Melinda with ZNN. I wondered why this was a news worthy event for them. Elmo Cartwright was there for the local papers.

The five county commissioners were lined up with Lorrie and Marcy with the big scissors and at 1500 – to cheers – the ribbon was cut into multiple pieces. The flashing signs out by the highway said ”Open for business”.

The tall pricing sign was flashing ”Regular gas for two dollars, low sulfur diesel for two twenty five and off-road diesel for one seventy five.”

With all the advertizing that had been done, trucks and cars were waiting in lines for the pumps to be turned on. They were as soon as the ribbon was cut.

The parking lot was full of cars as customers filled up with gas and then went inside to see for themselves if the things that had been in the ad pictures were really there.

I stayed back so Lorrie and Marcy could be interviewed; after all, this was their dream project.

After the cameras were gone we walked into the truck stop to see the action and how things were on the inside. The place was packed and there were short lines at the cash registers with almost no waiting. I was glad to see that – nothing pissed me off more than to wait in a slow moving line to spend my money.

Stores that were notorious for having one register open when they should have had four did not get any repeat business from me. I had walked your store and spent time looking, just quickly take my money and let me get on my way.

The fast food restaurant were busy as was the convenience store. Things looked promising as we left to get the boys. We were coming back to have supper in the sit down truck stop restaurant and then do a final walk-through for the evening and surely answer ten thousand questions from the boys!
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Book 2 Chapter 82

Wednesday I worked out hard in the gym after I spent several hours with Andy and Robert, then spent my daily hour at the firing range.

My MP5, my Glock and M16 got a workout each day and a good cleaning after. Another thing I did was to make sure all the buckles, straps, and attachments were in good shape on my military grade body armor. With so much riding on the outcome of both France and Mexico, I was going to be there.

I worked with Ching Lee, Vicky and Frank Hammonds on the Oklahoma College plans to thwart the attack. We decided to reduce the number of security employees who made a daily appearance at the college and then bring them back at night after dark, starting a few days before the planned attack. Then we could slip them out in the mornings.

Sabir Mahmoud and General Bashir were communicating daily. They were doing as we were doing – planning. Sabir was counting the number of security employees. That was the reason for the apparent reduction in manpower.

Frank Hammonds sent out an email to students and administrators that recurrent training for the security department would be over in the next few days and staffing would return to normal levels very soon, thanking them for putting up with the inconvenience.

It was a see what kind of response Sabir would send to the General kind of an idea.

The school bus conversion was not going as planned. It took three days to get the armor plate completed on the first one. At that rate only half of them would be ready in time. Texas Steel had the latest fabrication equipment, but it still took a day of CAD programming to get it set up to form the roll above the windows.

Andy’s design called for plate from the floor past the ceiling curve. That curve had to be done by a roll forming machine. The plates were four foot by eight foot and a half inch thick – they were heavy. The lower plates were easy, with the holes to bolt it through the wall pre-cut with a plasma cutter. It was the upper plate that was two and a half feet wide that was giving them fits getting them right. With the machines finally set they were able to do two buses a day. The good thing was Marcy had only purchased buses with Bluebird bodies so the shape and upper curve were all the same.

The three day delay had allowed the RV dealer to get a head start on mounting the roof heat pumps. That installation was easy – pick a spot, lay the template on the roof, cut the hole and apply heavy dose of sealer to the gaskets fastening it down. They were doing three buses a day. The wiring was going to be done after the generators were mounted.

The generators were another issue. The intent had been to install them on the front. The buses had flip front hoods so a bracket to hold the generator tray needed to be devised to allow them to be lowered so the hood could be opened. The front bumpers went into the iron pile.

After trial and error on the first couple, it became routine. Pulling two pins allowed the whole assembly to be tilted down by two people so the hood could be opened.

While Texas Steel was working through all those problems, there were others.

All the MRAPS were made by Navistar Defense Division; half of them did not run and had to be pulled off the lowboy trailers which were delivering them. I wondered if I had bought piles of junk. The only good thing was in the spare parts and tool kits the General sent were several laptops with the programs and cables.

With so much of the equipment not operating, the mechanics we had sent there needed help – a lot of it and soon – and we could not send it from here with the dealership opening on Saturday.

I called General Ingram and explained the situation, ”Can I post on the bulletin boards of the Army post near Brownsville for short-term part-time MRAP and Humvee techs?” I asked.

”Tell me what you want to say and I will have it posted for you,” General Ingram’s replied.

” MRAP and HumVee repair techs needed for short term project that must be completed within the next twenty days. Have some leave coming up? Extra days to use up? Wondering what you are going to do with them? How about making extra money?”

”Rooms, meals and tools supplied – work up to sixteen hours a day, fifty dollars an hour with overtime paid after working over eight daily,” the post said.

I was sure I was going to get flack over the posted wage. Lorrie was paying thirty at Morton and the truck stop for techs with full benefits added. The benefit package we furnished cost twenty dollars an hour – thus the fifty number. They were not going to get any benefits and when the job was done they were gone. I desperately wanted everything running, ready to run over the border.

I hoped the rate would entice experienced techs to come for the quick buck.

All I could do now was wait to see if there were any results. If there were none, the last resort would be to see if the international dealers in the area had mobile techs at over one hundred an hour or else look for independent truck and equipment techs.

Each night we girls moved gold from the crates and stacked it in the basement room. But we had it down to a science now and occasionally Dad and Jake helped. We would have all the crates empty and a few days to spare before the C5 made the next round trip.

Fort Polokwane was moving along. Both mines were fully staffed with a total of fifteen hundred miners. There were that many working on the construction side; six houses a day were being completed. The word had been put out that we were no longer hiring.

Putting the crusher plant at the abandoned mine was a stroke of genius. The mining trucks filled with aggregate made several trips to the concrete plant each day building the reserve pile bigger.
The main road was now concrete instead of stone, mud and ruts. With all the extra manpower, as concrete became available more streets were going to be done.

The grocery store had been finished and its shelves were kept stocked by women who had never worked a day in their life other than to forage for food and water and try to survive. They were considered by western standards to be dumb and un-trainable. They were trainable and they were by no means dumb.

They were getting a paid on Friday just like the husbands. They were working in the grocery store, painting in the new houses, final yard work, setting up the furniture and making the houses ready. Above all they were attending classes, learning to read and write and basic math.

The small hospital, doctor’s office and dental office were finished and the women were painting them as well. I had wondered how and if they would ever be staffed. But with almost twenty five hundred people at the site, they were a requirement.

Doc Burns helped with that, he thought all doctors in the modern age were forgetting the basics, getting cocky and too dependent on technology. He believed that the poor people in desolate places were getting left out.

With help from JBG he would expand his practice and require all his doctors to rotate two months a year at his new satellite clinic in Polokwane. He would also solicit the big medical universities to send nurses and med students there for additional real world experience and for credits. He had a plan – if he could get it to work.

Another thing that Andy and I talked about was a command structure problem that we were going to encounter that we had not had before.

Normally when we did an OPS mission it was less than one hundred people with a small group of team leaders. They had men assigned to each of them. It was easy to keep their groups together with their leader.

The Paris mission was three hundred spread out at two locations. One location was two city blocks square, the other nearly a city block. This was not going to be easy.

Andy and I decided – with the acquisition of Black Bear and joining our two groups together – with the types of operations we were going to be involved in, it was time to establish a military style chain of command. One thing that was a driving factor was in the French operation our men were going to wear black masks.

A style of command and control was first noted in ancient writings around 500 BC and all armies and police departments used the system in some version.

We decided we would use an abbreviated structure; private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, colonel, major and general. We also decided rather than unit numbers or insignias we would use color stripes on the gear to quickly identify what command group the individual belong to. Red, Orange, Green, Yellow, Gray, Blue and Black and if necessary, double stripes.

The reason the men were going to wear masks and eye protection was to counter the possibility of chemicals being thrown in our faces. That was a growing tactic that was being used in Europe by triple digits.

Battery acid was the favorite. It was easily available with no questions. Auto repair shops had stacks of junk batteries that could be drained to get it. In many places new batteries were shipped dry and the acid sold in five gallon plastic lined boxes.

The mask was also to thwart images of my men being plastered on various hate groups web sites and being added to hate lists for family harassment.

I hated the command structure and the mask but I saw no way around it. One plus, we could use it in Mexico as well and anywhere else after that.

I was responding to several inquisitive calls a week from countries or major companies about security arrangements.

Andy was going to meet with his group leaders and finalize the command structure and unit colors in the next day or two. Once that was done patches could be special made with Velcro so the men could be reassigned to another unit depending on the skill needs. The rank insignia would be sewn, glued or painted on hard items. A name tag was also to be sewn with the rank on the right front of the shirt.

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Book Chapter 81

At 0700 I was in Section Twelve planning on how to address the group of intelligence experts coming for the 0800 meeting. They were all coming.

This time I blacked out the signatures on all six files and put Roxy’s through the copier, making ten copies total.

I needed commitments that everyone would work to contain leaks for at least for thirty days. At 0745 they started filtering in. Attorney General Dunne, Art Cummins Director of the NIS, Eric Roberson Director of DHS, Frank Love Director of the CIA, Marty Coeburn Director of the FBI, Bob Smith Director of NSA and chair of the task force. I had Andrew and Anne at my side.

After coffee and a plate of donuts was on the table I started the conversation.

”You told me to investigate Black Bear, I did with a fine tooth comb and we are not through yet. We have found things that were usual and some downright infuriating.”

”Accounting found there were routine deposits made to ten numbered accounts at Thimble Shoals Pirates Bank,” I said.

”They are dead ends then,” Frank said.

”Five of those numbers are held by Senators, one held by a Representative and four by Iraq political figures,” I said as I noticed I had everybody’s attention.

”Here is where it gets dicey, I could give you all the information and let you run with it. But and it is a big but, I need thirty days of calm. In those thirty days JBG has three Major events happening on two continents involving terrorists and I don’t want to cause any of them to get cold feet and change their plans. That would be catastrophic because they plan a flood of lone wolf attacks in Europe and a terrorist attack in Oklahoma City on the same day.”

”I considered holding the information for those thirty days because at the time I thought it would make little difference in the final outcome, but with continued investigation that has changed.”

”One of them cannot be put off. I am afraid that it may involve the sale of classified materials to our enemies.”

I passed out the copies of Congresswoman Roxy Granger’s account.

”Page one is self explanatory. Page two lists the account numbers and the details of the account holder. Pages three through eight are the account details with forty lines to the page.”

”Page three is the current cycle. The very first line can be traced back to Chicago Investments LLC. It is an insider trader scheme. In the five pages they made thirty deposits to the numbered account.”

“Black Bear made twenty deposits. Line item twenty one and fifteen others were traced back to the Moscow International Bank. Line thirty eight and six others were from the international Bank of Hong Kong owned by the Chinese.”

“Line item seventy eight and ten others were traced back to the Iranian National Bank of Tehran.”

“Line item ninety four and four others are on the Bank of Thailand and it looks like it is a North Korean account.”
”I believe Roxy is a traitor as well as a common criminal,” I said.

The conversation was hot, very angry at times and loud. So loud Secret Service knocked on the door asking to tone it down. I called for a break to allow heads to cool.

”Who are the others?” AG Dunne asked.

”Senator Ruth Gavin, Senator Gilbert Howell, Senator Rose Pearlman, Senator Hope Emerson and Senator Sherman Ballard. None of these accounts showed any foreign deposits to them,” I said.

”Damn. I just attended meetings where several of them were in attendance,” Marty Coeburn said.

Shortly after that Marty’s phone rang. I refilled my mug while he carried out his conversation.

”Roxy has been arrested – she sent a text to a Russian diplomat to meet in Veterans Park. She had thumb drives with classified information on them in her possession,” Marty said.

”Well you won’t need any of this then – her phone logs and the material will be enough to jail her for a long time. You will just have to get her to confess to see what she sold. Although you may be able find out what she downloaded onto the House computer. It is almost a sure thing that is where it was put on the thumb drives,” I said.

”As soon as it breaks that she has been arrested, the others may try to get their money and flee to some country that chooses the money over them, by looking at the sums of money in Roxy’s account,” Eric said.

”The CIA can get the money under normal circumstances, but Pirate Bank won’t cooperate with us,” Frank said.
” I can say with certainty that they can’t get at it either,” I said.

“How do you know that?” Eric asked.

”Because I know that it is locked down,” I said.

”How can you know that?” Ag Dunne asked.

”Remember that old Garth Brooks song ‘Friends in Low Places?’ I know some people in lower than low places. There are times that I have to speak their kind of language. I have high confidence the accounts are locked,” I said.

What I didn’t say was that it could only be unlocked by the Director who had locked it – me.

”She will lawyer up quickly and we will learn nothing,” Frank said.

”If you want, in three hours she can be in the Mexican desert stripped and staked out with a dribble of honey on her. In a couple hours of 120 degree heat and after wasp, flies, mosquitoes and an occasional reptile munching on her, she will be glad to tell you everything,” I said.

”Or there are other places with options,” I added.

”I like your line of thinking but I don’t think we had better do that in this case,” Eric said.

”All of you have agreed to keep this out of it then,” I said as I held up the papers I had passed out.

”Yes for the time being. If we need it, I know you will let us have access,” Art Cummins said as he and the others passed the papers back to me.

I had one more committee to appear in front of today. It went quickly because the media was filled with Rep. Roxy Grainger’s arrest and every time two or more got together, that was the topic of the conversation.

The media was hounding every politico it could find who would stand long enough for questions.

I was in the Senate hall headed for an exit to make my way back to the White House when I met Senator Hope Emerson, Senator Ruth Gavin and Senator Gilbert Howell. They motioned me towards the elevator for another conference.

”I thought you were going to wait before you took any action?” Senator Hope Emerson said.

”I did with you. But there was a difference with Roxy; she expanded the business by selling classified information to the Russians, the Chinese, Iran and everyone else she could find that would buy. I only hope that you did not supply her with any of it.”

”If you did, sooner or later grief is coming your way so you may need to lawyer up early. You would probably want to go the FBI and bargain for a lighter sentence by turning state witness when they do.”

”The other possibility is that when the pressure is applied she is going to trade names for a lighter
sentence of her own and throw you to the wolves anyhow. I doubt that it will help with as much as she has sold – and there was a lot of it.”

”She had four thumb drives on her when she was arrested. You are going to have to go it on your own to save yourself at some point. The decision is one only you can only make,” I said.

My phone dinged a text. It was from Frank Love, ”Can you meet us in fifteen minutes on the Capitol steps for a news conference about representative Grainger’s arrest?”

”No problem, I will have a couple capitol police walk me to meet you when I see you there. What do you need me for?” I said.

”We just thought we should present a unified group as the intelligence community,” they said.

”No problem, I can stand with the rest of you and look pretty,” I said.

I listened while Frank Love, Eric Roberson, Marty Coeburn and Bob Smith told of the arrest of Roxy Grainger and the amount of classified material she had in her possession. The arrest was made in sight of the foreign agent she was to deliver them to. He was on a plane back to his home country.

I avoided all the questions but one and that was how the task force and the oversight committee fit into this case.

”It’s going to take all the intelligence agencies working together to access what and how much information she now gave our enemies. Then the monstrous task of countering the damage will begin and of course – build a case that will put her away for life,” I said.

The news conference was over. Bob informed me that I was to attend an expanded meeting with intelligence community this time including the various military intelligence units as well as including the President, Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate as well as the minority leaders.

The meeting lasted two hours with new restrictions on Congressional ability to access classified information. Those restrictions were formidable – essentially read only, under guard and in a six by six room allowing no notes, copies or cameras.

I wondered why I needed to be in that meeting – all I did was sit and listen. I was glad when the Suburban door closed behind me and we headed east on Rt. 50. I would not be back in Washington until after the France, Oklahoma and Mexico issues were settled, unless I was summoned by the powers that be.

We were nineteen days from France – twenty two days from Oklahoma.
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Book 2 Chapter 80

We stopped by the cafeteria and the three of us got a loaded salad on a carry plate, from there we went to the big table in Section Twelve. The conversation over lunch was about the elevator meeting.

”You wouldn’t really do that? Would you?” Anne asked.

”Do what?” I asked.

”Dry?” she asked.

”No but don’t tell anyone – it’s not going to happen, I wouldn’t give them the pleasure. I just wanted them to worry a lot, hopefully not getting a good night’s sleep any time soon,” I said.

”Can you document everything you said in there?” Andrew asked.

I opened my portable office and pulled the six folders out, putting the three I had just confronted on the table. The top sheet was the Pirate Bank Logo and had the account number with the copy of the paper index card with all the real information on the account owner. The paper card was one of the only two places that information could be found at the bank.

The next sheet was the request to search the account and authorization. My name and signature was on it in two places. One as the bank officer requesting and as bank director authorizing. The next sheets were the accounting pages on which I had written notes where the deposits had come from.

Anne had Senator Hope Emerson’s account and Andrew had Senator Ruth Gavin’s. Anne picked up on the signatures right away. I could tell by the eye cut she gave me and then by the finger tap on the paper after she nudged Andrew under the table.

Sly girl but not sly enough I thought – you need training or more practice.

They looked while we were eating then swapped papers and I read the Senator Howell file.

”Very profitable business,” Andrew said.

”Yep, if they hadn’t been so greedy they may have gotten away with it for a very long time,” I said.

”Did you notice the dates? There were six accounts started the same day, within minutes of one another,” I said.
”There are more?” Anne asked.

”This one has a committee meeting after lunch. We shall go see her. The other two are having a committee vote on funding for the grants today or tomorrow. I will wait until after the vote. I would hate to influence the outcome. Doing things like that tend to bite you in the ass,” I said.

The others started to return from lunch, I tapped the papers and motioned to return them and then I put them away.
”The real question is – what else are they willing to sell and to who?” I said.

”That’s a good question,” Andrew said.

”What can be done about it?” Anne asked.

”Nothing without a major restructuring and chaos in the Senate and House. I cannot get any more information from the source or allow this to go public without major repercussions. You have no idea the difficulty and expense in getting these,” I said as I put the papers away.

”Oh, I can just imagine! Everyone in the world has been trying to get information from that bank without success,” Andrew said.

”I would like to get their access to classified documents canceled but that would start a fire storm. But on the other hand, none of the deposits so far are – although I am not finished – from any foreign banks. If there were, they would be in jail already,” I said.

”I need thirty days of quiet and then I will hang them,” I said.

”Why don’t you talk to Dick James – as Secretary of State he is the one that has to cancel their security clearances, and Art Cummings as head of NSA – he may be able to have all their systems watched. They do work with you a lot and you are always bailing them out it seems. Also they were instrumental in the Black Bear takeover,” Anne said.

”I could do that in the morning, which would give me time look at the rest of the data I have. They were the ones that encouraged me to investigate everything at Black Bear so maybe they knew or suspected something,” I said.

I decided not to see the other three – unless they gave me more trouble today – until I had more time to review all the data and meet with Art Cummings.

After lunch we went to the House set of committee meetings. Congresswoman Roxy Granger of the House Foreign Affairs committee avoided me at all cost- never looked at me during the whole presentation and made sure she was on the opposite side of the room. She was texting the whole time. There was no doubt she had been warned. The minute the gavel struck she was gone like a bolt of lightning.

The Senate Appropriations committee passed the funding request for the college security bill. Senator Rose Pearlman railed against it and voted against it as did Senator Sherman Ballard.

I wondered if Roxy was running – she was scared. I was willing to bet there was more in her file than was in the others plus the dollar amount was a lot higher than the others, as I glanced through it again. I looked at all the deposits closer and where they came from. I then compared the bank numbers eliminating those from Black Bear, the defense industry and the broker.

I called Robert and read the bank numbers. It only took him fifteen minutes to call back. They were from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China and Russia. That was the only motivation I needed.

I placed a conference call to Art Cummings and Eric Roberson, ”Put a tag on Representative Roxy Grainger, travel, phone the works – do it today, she may be trying to run. If she tries to get into any foreign embassies or a flight out, arrest her. It’s important; I will fill you in on the details tomorrow.”

Tomorrow I would have enough answers to decide the fate – or what was left of it – for the others.
The trip home was a beast. We left just as the rush hour was underway. There were big meetings tonight, also Andy was back and putting his people together. Black and Bear were moving into their offices and the employees from McLean were setting up their new offices – they had been there all day. The movers had started this morning bringing the things we owned and not leased over from the western shore.

Marcy and Lorrie were excited; this Saturday was the grand opening for the truck stop and the truck dealership after all the months of work. Rows of diesel pumps had to be checked out and operational. There was a lot of them!

Rows of gasoline pumps were ready to go with four lanes for RVs with fresh water, sewage dumps and for pickups pulling big trailers. They were big and long enough with clear access for even the novice driver.

It had two fast food restaurants and a Country Kitchen run by the people who had the excellent restaurant at Morton.

There was a convenience store with everything a traveler and anyone else could want.

The trucker’s section had thousands of accessories for trucks of all kinds. For the drivers there were showers, plenty of bathrooms, a laundry and rooms set up for brokers.

The overnight parking could park over three hundred trucks and had a section away from the trucks for overnight RV parking with electric hookups.

The dealership shop was going to do service and repairs as needed. The parts bins were stocked, oil tanks filled and display areas set up. Forty new trucks were arriving this week for the opening.

Marcy had been pulling the best of the trucks from the utility auction to put on the used truck lot. There were pickups, dumps, bucket trucks and other special equip she thought would sell and draw customers.

There had been dry runs verifying the gas and diesel pumps all worked with credit cards at the pumps. Lorrie said there were over fifty national fleet credit cards that truckers used as well as normal cards. All of them were checked to make sure they worked.

The county finally relented and allowed a big tall electronic sign with prices that we could control from the fuel control terminal.

Lorrie was going to offer a big discount price for both gas and diesel. Fifty cents off local market price – two dollars for gas and two twenty five for diesel – for the grand opening from 1500 Friday until midnight Sunday.
Local businesses could get a gas card backed up by Midwest Bank that offered a twenty cent a gallon discount on fuel if the card was kept current.

The ribbon cutting would be at 1500 Friday by the county commissioners, Marcy and Lorrie. Maggie Hayes and her group had been making ads for TV commercial spots that were going to start running Thursday night. Hanna Page with the channel 34 crew was going to run the cutting live with a short piece on the truck stop. The major Delaware station was going to be here as well. This was to be the largest truck stop in the three state area.

The overpass was not done and would not be done for months. The state allowed JBG to widen the road, add turn lanes from both directions and a stop light, all of which had to be removed when the overpass was completed.

At our meeting the sleeping plan that Lorrie and Andy had been talking about was reveled. Lorrie had bought thirty used sixty five passenger school buses for practically nothing. Once a school bus gets fifteen years old, they cannot be used for public schools in most states. There are plenty of them on the market.

The buses were taken to the Texas Steel site where our mechanics stripped the seats out of them. The Texas Steel fabrication shop was going to line the walls with half inch armor plate bolting it to the sides, front and back and cutting an entrance and an emergency door. They were also going to make a carrier on the front of the bus to mount a ten kW generator on.

Lorrie had found a large RV dealer that was going to supply two roof mount heat pump units and wire up the generators to them with thermostats on each bus.

Texas Steel was also to mount a waste tank in the left rear corner and a gray water tank on the right rear. Also a fresh water tank and pump were at the mid-section. A RV flush – because they used little water – was to be mounted above the waste tank and a sink and mirror over the gray tank. Just three feet at the rear was needed for that. Most people needed a bathroom break in the middle of the night. Those additions would eliminate the need to go outside.

Several portable bath trailers had been rented with real showers and home-style fixtures. All that meant that fresh water trucks and sewage trucks were needed and just added to the logistics nightmare.

Carpenters had been found to build bunks in place, thirty inches wide and three high. When completed each bus could sleep eighteen men if they were close friends and there were no heavy snorers. But at least they would be safe from drive by shooters. Another fear, another problem solved along with others.

Several tractor trailer loads of bottled drinking water were acquired. The food trailers were at the site waiting. Tractor trailers of frozen foods were to arrive the day before M day.

When I went to look at Andy’s office, on the wall was a big map of Mexico with pins on the prospective sites. There was a list of things needed and a check off if and when they were acquired. On another wall was a map of France, Fort Polo, Fort Dean and Oklahoma with the same things.

All of the cubicles in his office had someone in them. Andy had filled half of them with experienced logistics people from the Mclean office. The rest were his trusted people from the OPS team.

Andy had chosen Forest Singer as his second in command. Forest was from the original Special OPS team.
I breathed a sigh of relief, good things were happening and I felt better about everything seeing maps and lists that I could walk over and look at any time.

Marcy passed out the new credit cards to Andy’s team – they needed them. Logistics were expensive and the cards had high limits and a pin number for each transaction. Andy’s limit had been raised again – like the girls and mine, it now had no limit. The bank would automatically text all of us if anything looked suspicious.

But first things first and that was France and Oklahoma.

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