Chapter 460

At 16:45 I was sitting at the meeting table with the girls – my first this week – and listened to all the things I missed so far this week. There were a few things that caught my attention.

First thing, the elevator was gone and the floor covered with a tarp. I had to lug my portable office up the steps. Damn, I was getting soft and it would be Sunday before I could spend time in the gym, unless I made it a midnight trip.

Mischief and Mayhem had indeed jumped on Andy’s request. We had list of prospective ex-military employees. Apparently the posters I had sent to the General were still up in the military installations and HR was keeping the applications on file.

Mischief and Mayhem, with the keen eye of Jason and Jenny, had picked 25 ops people from the Navy, Marines and Army. Vicky had looked at them but wanted me to make the final decision before HR called them to see if they were still interested in a job with JBG, or had gained meaningful employment elsewhere.

Robert had already done his computer thing and had an impressive folder on each of them.

I looked through the folders, looking at the pictures of the individuals attached to top and was surprised to see they had included four women. I knew that they were not former US Special Forces. It was not that women had not tried to get in the US special ops units; none had made it.

Then I looked closer at the information inside the folder; they were Israeli Special Forces and not former – they still had three months active duty. How did we end up with applications from them?

They spoke four languages; Hebrew, Arabic, English and Kurdish. I had questions for these four. Since they were still active, it would have to be done by VCATS. Of course, I could take that trip to Israel as I had promised.

Ben-David and his tech person arrived on time and we made our way to Robert’s office. All I could do was watch and listen as the computer geeks spoke their special language.

Ten minutes after the programs were installed, the phone was unlocked and the pass code changed to a simple one 12345.

An hour later I had four copies of four printouts from Diya’s phone. One was mine, one was Roberts, one was for Ben-David and the other was for the task force.

The phone kept the call logs for days. One was all the incoming calls, including international calls. The other three were outgoing calls, the contact list and text that had not been deleted.

Based on the times of the last calls and text times, Diya made them and then turned off the phone and hid it seconds before the SUVs made the run toward the field house. The last calls and text were to his father and brothers.

Ben-David was reading down the list of numbers; Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Uganda, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

While he was doing that, I was reading the US calls to at least 40 states.

“These international numbers are going to connect a lot of things together,” Ben-David said.

“The big thing now is to find out how many are burner phones and lead nowhere; the task force will have plenty to keep it busy tomorrow,” I replied.

The girls were still waiting for me as I walked Ben and his tech people out. Things had been so busy, they wanted to go out for supper; no one felt like cooking.

They wanted to go to the new Texas Steakhouse in Middletown; that was fine with me. I could use a good steak – the salad I had for lunch did not last long.

We packed up the boys and made the 40 minute trip in my armored Suburban. It was just one more night that I was not going to be able to check on the progress with the gym basement.

I shouldn’t have been concerned. Marcy had made a passing comment in the meeting and it went right over my head. My head was partially still in section 12 at 1600 Pennsylvania.

That comment was that that 100 of Bob’s people and contractors were working night shifts in the basement. The other 50 plus contractors were working 12 hour day shifts. I had not paid any real attention to the yellow safety tape stretched between the house and concrete box.

It was the end of October; November 1st was Saturday; the day of Victor and Joni’s wedding. It was dark when I left home at 0530 and dark when I got home at 1730. There was always equipment and vehicles parked along there anyhow.

At the steakhouse we had to wait a few minutes, even though we had called ahead for seating. I had asked for a table in a corner for a little more control of our situation and it was not ready yet.

The place was busy even though it was after what I considered it to be dinner hour, but there was room for us to put the carriers on the bench seats and for the girls to sit; I stood.

Middletown was 30 miles from Dover Air Force base and home to many civilian employees and air force personnel who lived off base.

Middletown – like all of Delaware – was growing like gangbusters and had been for awhile. Delaware had no problem with growth. Houses, developments, condominiums, highways and shopping centers were building everywhere.

Delaware understood what the government of many Maryland eastern shore counties refused to accept. You can get tax revenue two ways; raise taxes to the point that people kill growth and leave or give growth a green light, increasing the property tax base and creating jobs that boost revenue through income and payroll taxes.

In the back of the waiting area there were six Air Force men in uniform; their patches indicated they were E3 and E4 rank. They were discreetly talking and looking us over and pouring over something on their smarter than smart phones. It did not surprise me. Since the Kampala party dress shopping trip for me, a lot of higher end business outfits and fancy dresses had become routine wear for the girls at work and when we went out. My mates just looked great all the time. It was cool enough that we were all wearing light jackets.

All of us were carrying, Vicky, Ching Lee and I liked the shoulder holster; Marcy and Lorrie liked the back pack that placed the holster in the lower back at the belt line. Those made jackets necessary all the time.

The Air Force men’s little box started flashing that their table was ready. I moved back so they could get by but instead they stopped in front of me.

In a loud and booming voice that drew attention, “Ma-am, when you find that SOB, you kill him nice and slow – over two or three days should be about right. As a former Marine in the sand box, I’m sure you know how to make it take that long,” he said.

“I hear you loud and clear soldier, thank you for your service,” I replied as I saluted and then shook their hands.

The food was great; salad, steak and lobster and the cold beer before the meal hit the spot.

We were not bothered but there were plenty of people who seemed to need to walk along the adjacent isle and of course there were the phone cameras.

Our days of eating out in public places were over. From now on it was to cook at home or go to restaurants with private rooms or places we could control, like the restaurant at Morton Field. Even going to the inn with private rooms offered no privacy. The last two times we were there, people were waiting for us when we came out.

The restaurant at Morton Field was nice and had a fair selection. I was sure I could force a menu expansion and change for the evening meal. I would take an open minded look over the weekend to see if some changes could be made to make a couple of private dining rooms.

With the open sitting arrangement, there would be no privacy as soon as media and people saw us there regularly.

The ride home was enjoyable; Marcy drove to give me a break. I played faces and little finger games with little Jacob. Little Robert was sound asleep. The ride home went fast and before I knew it we were pulling into the garage.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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