“Jones; Good afternoon General Walton, how are things at the Pentagon today?”
“Things are as usual, too many assignments, not enough soldiers, not enough equipment, not enough money, same as yesterday and same as tomorrow, I’m sure,” he replied.
“Today I can’t really offer a lot of help with all of that; how can I help you?” I replied.
“We were impressed with the reports from Major Culpepper and have put together a proposal for you to look at. The change in flight plans in Africa to meet our needs satisfied any doubters that your teams would go the extra mile for our mission requirements.”
“If you are coming to Washington area in the next few days, we will go over it and then you can have your corporate attorneys look it over,” he said.
“I have a meeting at the White House at 0800; if you think it is only going to take a few minutes to go over, I can be at your Pentagon office at 0700,” I replied.
“I have meeting at the White House at 0900 with the intelligence committee; I will bring it with me and we can grab a side office for a minute to go over it,” the general replied.
I looked up to see Frank and Eric laughing, looking at Frank’s phone. “Are you going to let me in on that joke?” I asked.
Frank handed me his smarter than smart phone, it was way bigger than the one I had. Men always seemed to be obsessed with anything that was bigger. Government must think the more important you are the bigger phone you need; he had sent the wimpy triplets a text, “I hear after tomorrow you are going to have call BJ, Boss Ma-am.”
“Oh no; it can’t be true! Where did you hear that from? Your sources please,” Smith had replied
My phone rang again; it was Marcy, “Turn on ZNN news NOW.” The G5 had satellite access; it was a matter of turning the receiver on auto, giving it a moment to lock on and the channel coming live on the flat screen.
The anchor was discussing the Arizona terror attack with their paid mouth pieces with a red banner running across the screen ‘White House report next; Breaking News’.
“And now White House reporter Melinda Schaffer,” the anchor said.
“An anonymous White House source has said the President has ordered an emergency Presidential task force be formed to combat the terrorist attacks against US colleges.”
“The task force is to bring the best terrorism experts from all government and non government agencies to bear. The source is also reporting that the White House was presented evidence today that a serial terrorist leader – thought to be dead – from the Middle East is in the US and behind the Minneapolis and Arizona attacks.”
“Melinda, have there been any names for the task force floating from your sources?” the anchor asked.
“No specific names about the make up or the members of the task force but those sources said the likely chairperson was former US Ambassador Jones. There has been a steady parade of officials coming and going all afternoon from the White House.”
“There has been no sign of Ambassador Jones and that name was only mentioned once along with several others. She has no real Washington experience and the opinion is that removes her from such a high level position. The pizza trucks just unloaded dozens of pizzas; traditionally that is a sign of things to come and a very long night.”
“Jesse, I was just handed a press release from the Presidents spokesperson; there will be a news conference and announcement at 11 AM on the East lawn. There you have it; Melinda Schaffer at the White House.”
“Melinda, I was just told that Ambassador Jones was in Minneapolis today testifying in the MSU attack and that investigation was called off after lunch after a series of communications with Washington. Her private jet is headed east as we speak. Reporters at Minnesota International Airport report that passengers on that jet include the directors of the CIA and Department of Homeland Security and former Federal Judge Curtis Warren.”
“They use anonymous sources as a sounding board for public opinion on various things including people. They will watch all the search engine hits as a gauge to how well their proposals go,” Frank replied.
We were in the landing sequence for Morton. It was going to be tight but I would be on time to meet Bob, but first I needed to see Lorrie.
Ching Lee and I met Lorrie in her office and had a quick discussion about our meeting with the General about the C5 tomorrow and that I would fill everyone in at supper about the events of tomorrow, as best as I knew them.
When Ching Lee and I turned into Summers Road, “What the heck is going on?” In our front yard there was a crane. Our front yard went from the four car garage at the end of the house to the hedge row and chain link fence next to the old railroad right-a-way that used to have the siding to what is now our gym and headquarters. Old man Summers received and stored paper rolls for his printing company.
In our front yard – not far from the chain link fence – was a concrete 8 by 8 structure that was 3 feet out of the ground with a solid concrete top on it. The crane boom was over that structure and hooked to it by cables and chains
I met Bob by his fancy diesel work truck. He rolled out a set of dingy dirty old blueprints.
“These blueprints were behind the fake panel that Ching Lee thought was insulation falling down. Behind that panel was an electrical box and a control box,” he said.
“I’m sure you remember when we lifted that huge concrete pad, there was that room with empty crates and hardware and you said to set the pad back in place and forget it,” he said.
“I did not think that the room had any value for us, versus losing the gym floor space,” I replied.
These blueprints indicate that the building has a 10 foot high basement as big as the floor plan of the building. That room was built to conceal the sizeable basement. There is a note on the print that the doorway out of that room was blocked up in 1934, four years after the building was built,” he said.
“I don’t believe there is any basement of that size and if there is, it has to be full of water and mold after 87 years with no pumps and vents,” I replied.
“I’m not finished; that room, by the way was dry if you remember, and there is forced venting. Those spinning vents on the roof that we thought were to pull heat out of the insulated ceiling actually vent the basement. The blueprints indicate that there is an 8 by 8 tunnel from the basement to this concrete box.” Bob replied.
“I thought that box was part of the counties sewer or drainage system to the bay,” I replied.
“Not according to the prints. We lifted the lid earlier; there is a big steel door facing the gym with locks and padlocks. If we don’t find any keys there, I have the stuff to cut it open. Do you want to go ahead and look or just forget it?”
“Go ahead – you have my curiosity up a little,” I replied.
With the lid off and to the side, Bob’s men threw the big hose of a manhole confined space air mover in and checked the air quality to see when it was safe to enter. To one side was a steel stairs. At one time this had a floor and a building above it with an access door for someone to get in and out of the tunnel.
When the air was clear, Bob’s men went down the stairs with lights to search for keys to the locks.
“We found the keys, one lock won’t open but the others did,” they replied.
“Cut it off,” Bob replied.
“OK, it’s off, but we need the pry bars to open the doors.”
After grunting and groaning and squeaking, “OK, it’s open.”
“What do you see?” Bob asked.
“A big tunnel,” one of the men replied.
“Move the hose into the tunnel, and then come up. In a bit, we will recheck the air quality,” Bob said.
“We need all the lights, there are lights in the tunnel but it is spool and tube with bare wire. We don’t want to touch any of it,” the foreman replied. “The tunnel is dry,” he added.
Half an hour later with air meters in hand, spot lights and a couple people with brooms to knock down the cobwebs, we made our way into the basement.
A basement it was, the blueprints did not lie. It was a full basement – 85 feet wide and 150 feet long – there was a 10 foot wide isle from the tunnel all the way to the block room where the access pad was to the gym floor. To the left and right of the ally were 15 foot wide 30 foot deep storage rooms. The walls of the rooms were 2 feet thick concrete from the floor to the ceiling to support the 12 inch thick floor above.
The very first room had several steel wheeled carts for moving products around the basement storage area. Some areas were empty and other still had crates in them.
In one room we knocked open a crate. It was full of pre-probation Jack Daniels liquor with Kentucky tax seals on the bottles and there were other brands that had been taxed from Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas.
Other rooms had other brands and there were at least 10 rooms that were definitely moonshine in gallon jugs with cork stoppers.
“Well, I guess we can put the gossip that Charlie Summers was big in black market liquor business as fact. The moonshine came in the rail cars hidden by the paper for his printing business from the south and west. The legitimate booze came in by truck or rail car to cover for the moonshine. When the finished paper products were shipped from the printing plant, the booze order went with it,” I said.
“My granddad worked for Charlie in the printing side as a salesman. He and Charlie were always away in New York, Boston, Buffalo, Harrisburg and Rhode Island. Granddad always thought something was fishy with Charlie’s business when he was away; he would disappear for hours,” Bob said.
“Charlie was often having dinner with the Kennedys, Rockefellers, and other big names in New York.”
“Bootleg connections I would bet, the Feds were not going to knock on their doors looking for bootleg,” I replied.
“I wonder if it is all bootleg. Charlie easily could have been printing labels and the tax seals. If we find any empty bottles that will answer that question.”
Sure enough, one of the storage areas was cases of empty bottles and on a cart in that room, was rolls of tax labels from different states.
“Let me get the girls and Jason down here for more opinions, but I say destroy all of it, those labels from all those states were the destinations for the shine,” I said.
After the girls were given the tour, they agreed with me – destroy it. We just did not need the headache or the attention that this would cause. We walked outside.
“Bob, here is what I want done. Clean it out; destroy all the booze. Thoroughly clean the interior and then epoxy paint the thing white to brighten it up. Then epoxy paint the floor; they make some good epoxy floor paints – used on the floors of shops – blue-gray or something like that. Assume we are going to make it office space. I would like to use the new Mitsubishi room heating and cooling units but I don’t think there will be enough fresh air circulation. You may have to go with duct work and get fresh air from one of the roof vents. Your engineers can have the final say on that.”
“Since we are not stacking tons of paper upstairs can two walls be removed leaving five feet at the end for support? I want a video conference command center if I can get it. Removing two walls leaving five feet of each for support would give me a room 50 feet by 25,” I said then added.
“I want to put the biggest plasma screen I can get and a lot of smaller ones on the front wall on both sides. Out EIT department can take care of that. Then four rows of theater seats in a half circle with each row rising 8 inches.. Block up the center opening and part of the other two. Then put double business entrance doors to each of the sides,” I said.
I hand drew a quick sketch, “something like this,” I replied.
“I will get the engineers to check all that out and let you know,” Bob replied.
“Have the utility company put a transformer out by the concrete box and bring the power in by a pipe attached the tunnel ceiling or wall. Do the same with fresh water and sewage unless you think you can drill holes in the laundry room floor for that? There needs to be several bathrooms down here.”
“Install plenty of lights. Use the new LED lights, put in plenty of outlets and put lights in the tunnel. Set the lights in the tunnel and alleyway to be on 24/7. Put the switches for each bay on the end of the concrete dividers,” I said and then added, “Lets get out of here and I will explain what I want out there.”
Out side of the box, “I want a tunnel just like that one we just came out of on this side of the box over to the garage. I don’t want any dirt piled in the yard; haul it over to the lot by the Horsey house. Dig it; get the concrete guys and do it in just as little time as possible. By the garage, make a box big enough for an emergency stairs and the elevator,” I said.
“Take the elevator out of the gym and move it over to the garage and put it in the box. When we got that one, it was the smallest of the three of that design. In the office cut a hole in the floor and install the biggest of the three that will do the three levels. I want it big enough to move office equipment down there with the elevator if we decide to. I want the work done on the gym floor and the new elevator after hours,” I said.
“This concrete box needs to have a built up room with a hand rail around the stairs so it will be an emergency exit from the basement. I do not want any exterior handles or locks on the outside of the door. I only want it to be opened from the inside and put in some old fashioned barn door brackets that a 4×4 can be dropped in for redundancy,” I said.
“How soon can you get started? Better yet, how soon can you be finished?” I asked.
“Wow, that is some kind of rush,” Bob replied.
“Bob, you have no idea to the scope of the problem. Some of it will become apparent tomorrow. Pay bonuses if you have to, to get your contractors to move the job to the front,” I replied.
“Leave the crane here. I want this hole closed off every time there is no-one here and no visitors go down there for anything – not even county inspectors – and make sure all your people know that. If I have to, I will assign armed guards. No permits. Strictly off the record.”
“Bob, I don’t care how many people you use, just get it done as soon possible; work around the clock. Jenny will write up a confidentially statement for all the people that go in the basement. One of those that threaten life in jail or death clauses,” I said.
“Bob, while you are at it, please research the names on those blueprints. There is still something odd with this basement. I want to know what, who and how they built that thing to stay dry and all this in late twenties. Make sure all that booze gets destroyed. I saw what happens to people who drink bad booze in Japan and Korea. Who knows the quality of the stills this came from and after all these years, what bugs have grown in it?”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.