At 0500 the overhead chime went off. I was cat napping anyhow, ready to get up. The red light was flashing on the com phone as I picked it up.
“BJ, you asked that we notify you when we were an hour out from Bogota; we are just a little over that. The controllers called and asked that you log into mobile VCATS immediately,” Vance said.
I slipped on yesterday’s blouse over my shoulders, not bothering to button it and said to Vicky, “We are an hour out; get dressed. I have an emergency VCATS to make then I will get dressed.” A stop by the head for a quick tinkle and a towel to sit on then made my way to the main cabin to sit in front of the plasma and logged in.
I was looking at a chat request from Victor Edmondson when the screen came up.
“Good Morning BJ hate to start this early but we may have a situation developing in Bogota this morning. The Columbian government hit several drug kingpin compounds and manufacturing sites last night using Chinese made drones. They missed their targets; either had bad information or they were set up. They hit two orphanages, in the process killing a lot of kids.”
“They had kept their drone purchase a secret so naturally the general public is blaming it on the US because of our drone use in Africa and the Middle East. There are protesters outside the embassy complex. Stay at the airport with your plane and as soon as the government clears the area they will send one of the armored Suburban’s for you,” he said. Then he added, “The Columbian ambassador is expecting no more than an hour.”
“If you want we can divert to Quito Ecuador today and return tomorrow,” I replied.
“Do not make that decision yet; you still have plenty of time. I will update you in 45 minutes,” Victor replied as he signed off.
I stuck my head into the cockpit, “Vance, did you hear that conversation?”
“Yes, what do you want me to do?” Vance replied.
“Slow us down to give them more time and plot a course to Quito as a backup for today, if we have enough fuel to make the change,” I said.
“Sure enough boss, I’ll have the info by the time you get dressed,” he replied.
I knew he had seen all there was of me to see, so I just winked at him then turned and returned to the rear of the plane.
Today was full dress up, bra, panties that I never wore a little make up, bullet proof vest under the blouse and form fitting slacks topped off with my shoulder holster and jacket. Vicky was already dressed, looking through the snack bag for a breakfast bar.
Vicky had coffee done by the time I finished dressing. I filled two of the spill proof mugs plus my own and went forward to the pilot’s cabin and handed Vance and Charlie each one with packets of sugar and cream.
“Boss, Quito is 600 miles away and we have plenty of fuel if you want to divert there,” Vance said.
“I will call in 30 minutes for an update then decide,” I replied as I sat back in the fancy chair in front of the plasma again. Vicky took the one beside me. I filled her in on the events as I was logging into the real time Google feeds to see if they had one for Bogota.
There it was, in living color on Google, mobs of people on the surrounding streets of the embassy. As I moved the image on the embassy, the streets were less crowded because the embassy was on a narrow side street.
The entrance to the embassy grounds was on one side of the narrow street and on the other was a row of old wooden three story buildings. At one time they may have been middle class apartments; it was hard to distinguish from the Google map but the condition of those buildings did not look very good.
We were almost to the decision point when Ambassador Dorsey Ransum sent a page on VCATS to chat.
“The unrest is almost over, go ahead and land but stay with the plane. I will send one of the Suburban’s to pick you up as soon as ii is safe to pick you two up,” he said.
We landed and were directed to park in one of the general aviation spots away from the main terminal complex. It was an hour later that one of our Suburban’s finally showed up to pick us up.
Thortan Garrison, Owen Myers, Roberto Kline and Ralph Abbott – all former Black Water who joined the JBG team were in the Suburban. All the embassies where JBG was now part of had at least four employees, some with 10 or more.
“Hi Boss, I’m Thortan Garrison. This is Owen Myers, Roberto Kline and Ralph Abbott – it’s great finally to meet you. Sorry you had to come in the middle of this mess,”
“Sounds like it is under control to me,” I replied.
Owen laughed at that statement, “It is never under control here; there are just days that there is less to deal with than others. We had to leave out the back gate; they are still protesting out front. In this part of the world the US is getting blamed for anything and everything. But then, the Russians thru Havana are pushing things hard behind the scenes.”
“Nothing ever changes in the world arena, just the players,” I replied.
On our way to the embassy, the guys pointed out all the places of importance and those that made the travel brochures. As we drove to the embassy they warned us of the places that you only went in groups of three or four, even though we had no plans or time to sight see.
They drove past the main street in front of the embassy planning to go in the front entrance, only to find the street still full of protesters. Thortan continued down the street, and around the corner to the rear entrance. The sidewalks were full of protesters but no one was blocking the street. As we made it to the rear entrance Owen and Roberto jumped out to make sure no one made a mad dash to get onto the grounds as the gate opened.
As we walked from the parking area towards the front entrance, Thortan and the guys began pointing out weaknesses in the security of the compound. The weaknesses had been reported to their Black Water supervisors for months, yet never passed on to State Department officials.
“Before I leave get me your documentation and I will look at each item so I will know what I am talking about and I will forward the issues up the ladder,” I said then added. “What are your counterparts from State saying about those issues?” I asked.
“We are assigned perimeter security; they stay with Ambassador Ransum,” Owen replied, “for them it is a non issue.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.