The lively discussion lasted an hour before the President and Troy joined our group. The group wanted the heavy vests if I could spare them. No problem with that; Vicky had plenty and in assorted sizes. They were going to follow me when I left.
Then the conversation turned to armored SUVs. Troy called the GSA (General Services Administration); they were responsible for all federal automobiles.
“The GSA does not have any extra; all they have are assigned and the few that are not, are reserved for visiting dignitaries,” Troy said as he hung up the phone. Then he was staring at me with a strange look on his face.
“You lost four a few days ago; today you show up in eight. Where did you get them on such short notice?” Troy asked.
“You forgot about the contract JBG has with the State Department? We have to supply two for each of the eighty embassies and replace twenty percent every year with new. The best ones that come in get rehabbed for our own use,” I replied.
“We have twenty four new ones in a hangar awaiting shipment overseas and now six of the rehabbed one awaiting reassignment internally. If you can get the State Department to waive the twenty percent requirement for this year, I am sure Marcy would lease them to the GSA – but only on the standard five year State Department contract terms. We cannot get any more this year,” I said.
“Consider it waived, I will send the Secretary of State an email to that effect. Just replace forty percent next year to get on schedule,” the President said as he stood to leave.
It took another hour before their security teams and drivers were assembled; a mix of DHS, FBI and Secret Service agents made up the security; basically anyone they could find. A much bigger convoy made the trip east.
The media helicopters were so thick it was a miracle there were no midair collisions. They followed the convoy all the way to Morton Field.
The first stop was to Morton so they could get the SUVs. Marcy and three of her administrators along with their clerks met us there. It was cold and they wanted the lease paperwork and temporary tags completed fast so they could get back to the office and heat. It was so cold, they was quickly decided to move the proceedings to the Morton meeting room.
I was going to look out the window when this group was ready to go to the office. It should be a comedy when they went looking for their SUV when all twenty four were exactly the same and parked together.
While that was going on, my security and I went to the airport restaurant, the first time I had been there in days. Since it was in between meal rushes, the crowd should be light.
The customers who were there were mostly farmers who were bored with no farm work to do as their ground was frozen, also some local delivery drivers getting hot coffee and late lunches.
Lorrie joined me and my men who scattered around in different seats to give coverage of the seating. At the table across from me were Duke Justice and Clarence Hallworthy – two of the county commissioners – and several drivers from local oil delivery company. They were flipping a pile of papers and debating.
“You look stressed out, has the cold gotten the best of you?” I asked.
“You mean after you threw us under the bus Sunday or this pile of stuff,” Duke replied.
“I did not throw you under the bus, I gave you a bull to take by the horns to use against the opposition; you haven’t been paying attention to what they are saying. I am surprised you aren’t taking advantage of it already. Do I need to supply a strategist and a speech writer to get you moving?” I said.
Duke looked around and said, “How about we pay you a visit later today or tomorrow and you can explain your line of thinking. I am having trouble finding the positive out of all that. ”
“Do you think I want that bunch of lost sheep to be commissioners? They fit the description of too dumb to pour piss out of their boots with directions on the heel. Stop by the gym; they will know where to find me. What is all this mess?” I asked as I pointed to the pile on the table.
“Energy assistance program; winter has been so cold we have used all the funds for the month and the allotment for the winter. Feds are saying additional funding may come at the end of next month. May and not will does not install confidence in the suppliers.”
“To make matters worse- with most of the bay frozen over – no tankers or barges can get in to the Baltimore terminals. Number two heating oil is in tight supply, most of the companies are limiting deliveries and picking deliveries so you know who is going to be last,” Duke added.
“So we are picking who is going to get a few of the gallons we have left. We are hoping to have enough to keep people from freezing along with their pipes for a couple days while hoping every day that Annapolis or Washington does something in a hurry. We have four trucks and a thousand gallons between them and we need a lot more than that,” Duke said.
“How many request for aid do you have in this mess you have spread out?” I asked.
“There are eighty here, ” Duke replied.
“Jet A is glorified K1, I think we can help with a little of that; it should burn just fine,” I said as I was looking at Lorrie as she was nodding to the affirmative.
“Follow me, I will have the fuel guys meet us back at the fuel farm,” Lorrie replied as she and they stood and left.
I sent Lorrie a text to fill all four trucks to the brim and then continued with Duke.
“Duke; Lorrie is going to fill all four trucks. If I read the numbers right on the side of them that should give you 16000 gallons, 200 gallons for each of your needy. Marcy would like to have copies of the delivery tickets to account for the fuel for our tax man,” I said.
Duke started separating the papers for the drivers when they returned.
I finished my coffee and was carried to the house, then made my way to command center for a planning session with Andy, Ed, Bill and Robert.
I was relieved that Hamas had made the threats public; that would keep hidden the fact that Robert had broken some of the codes they were using.
Ed, Robert and I took turns bringing Andy, Ed and Bill up to speed on what we knew about the Prince’s planned trip.
Using the State Department’s fancy Google Earth, we looked at Polokwane South Africa along with everything we could find on it and the surrounding area.
With all of us searching we determined that there were six different groups of poachers working the area also posing as legitimate hunting guides for big game. All of them were using the same scheduler for the hunting parties. The ads made it pretty clear that the game laws meant nothing.
When Robert cross-checked the Prince’s satellite phone, all six were regular callers. The noose just got a little tighter on the Prince.
“Robert, find out if those two hotels use computers systems for their operations, if so hack them and monitor them. I want to know if and when the Prince sets up his visit. You may also want to notice if they seem to be holding a floor or suite around the time the Prince is supposed to visit,” I instructed.
“Andy, get with James Clown at the gun club; he books all the international hunts. Find out what’s involved, how much lead time, licenses and permits; that kind of thing. Get the process started,” I added.
“What’s the direction with that?” Andy asked.
“Book hunts that take them out into the field when the Prince is there. That reduces the men available to him if things go wrong. Feed them to the wildlife and destroy all their equipment, end their support for terrorism for good. They will always go to the most money, no matter how bad the cause,” I said.
“I want anyone there connected with the Prince dead,” I said.
Things were set in motion; my guys had plenty to do tomorrow. The map of Polokwane was still on the big screen when Cindy brought Ben and the group down. I was still looking at empty streets and dilapidated buildings and wondered why the Prince had picked this place to meet.
Ben walked in, sat in the chair next to me and studied the screen.
“More embassy problems?” he asked.
“More terrorist problems and a good place to die,” I replied and closed the screen.
It took an hour for the group to decide on the heavy vests and proper fitting they wanted. There were thirty DHS, FBI and Secret Service agents with them and they were inquisitive.
It did not help that they could look into the glass door of Vicky’s store room stash of equipment and hardware. There was plenty for them to gawk at.
Finally a couple of the ones I had dealings with at the White House could contain their curiosity no more; “Can we walk through and look if we promise not to touch?”
“Sure, but your bosses will not allow you to have any of your own to play with,” I replied with a grin as I unlocked the door.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.