On the way home I called Ben. I wanted him to contact Lorrie to set up a delivery schedule for the choppers. The conversation naturally turned to the events of today and its potential conflicts.
I only had one response to that. “Let the chips fall where they may; life goes on,” I said.
What should have been a quiet supper was not. Moms, Dads, Jake, Mindy and a host of friends came to see the little one. We were proud as peacocks; Ching Lee was on cloud nine beaming so it was not a bother. Amazingly he slept through most of it, except when he was hungry. Like most men he had no trouble making the latch. Ching Lee had decided she was going to breast feed as long as Takeo wanted.
At 2000 the guard at the driveway called in, “I have a couple here who claim to be Lorrie’s parents,” he said.
Jonathan and Leslie Smithfield were a strange pair; the only time they had been to the house was when they came to check up on Lorrie after her ordeal to commit her to a mental hospital. We girls had quickly put an end to that idea.
Lorrie would send them emails and pictures; sometimes it would be weeks or months before they replied. Their excuse was they were always out of the country doing something. They were traveling the world; India, Pakistan, China, Tibet and other exotic places and unable to have access to internet communications.
The last two groups of emails , the one announcing she was pregnant and the one two months ago with pictures of her expanding belly had gone unanswered. Until now; they were at the guard post.
I had the guard direct them to park in front of the garage and I went to meet them.
“Well, it’s been a long time. Are you back in the country for a while?” I asked.
“We just got back a few days ago and found out Lorrie was pregnant. Has she delivered by now?” Jonathan asked.
“No, not yet – but any day now,” I replied.
“How long before you are leaving again?” I asked, expecting the response to be tomorrow.
“Quite a while, the Realtor finally sold our last house after 3 years. We got just enough to pay off all the debt and loans for all the traveling missionary work we have been doing and have some left over. We have come to the realization that it is time to spend time with Lorrie and her adoptive family and we are not young anymore,” Leslie replied.
It was a good reunion, better than I expected. The security men and we girls helped them place their things in one of the upstairs rooms. I was sure that long term details of their stay would be worked out over the next few days.
0500 came early. The baby had only awoken all of us one time during the night. We all sat with Ching Lee while she was feeding. There is nothing more precious than watching the bond between a new mother and her baby.
The family was coming to the White House at 1000 for the task force change and to sign the new contracts with the DOD.
Today was my last day as chairperson of the task force. I was going to hold the bible as Ben took the oath required for the position as chairman of the task force.
The President was going to hold the bible when I took the oath as chairperson of the oversight committee. The oversight committee would share an office with the task force in Section Twelve. I would have to report to Congress once a month unless called upon to testify before intelligence committees or appropriation hearings.
With that change I would no longer have a routine travel regimen for terrorists to target. I could review all the information I needed from the command center or use MTAC.
I could not say that for Ben and the rest of the task force members. They would still be targets of high opportunity.
One of things that the President and I needed to do was to select the other two members for my new committee. Much to Ben’s disappointment I had chosen Bobbie to be the secretary and coordinator for the new committee.
Bobbie, Dan, Cindy (with her husband), plus Eric and Joni were going back to East Water Cay in our place; the cottage we had reserved for us was now available. With Ching Lee delivering and Lorrie so close, we were not leaving the area for a few weeks.
When all the media details were taken care of a small cake and ice cream farewell was planned. After that we were meeting General Ingram and the Secretary of Defense to work out the final details and sign the contracts.
The more Marcy wanted to get away from government contracts to balance the revenue stream, the deeper we seemed to get.
The family was here at 0945, Ching Lee came bringing Takeo and Lorrie came with her parents. By 1030 the ceremony, press conference and announcement of my new position, the brief press conference by Art Cummings and a few senators was over.
The lunch and ice cream social was over. The girls and I went to meet with the Sectary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs. Jason, Lisa and the Smithfield’s were given a VIP tour of the White House while we were in the meeting and signing more long term contracts with the government; if there is such a thing.
Four hundred pages double spaced bold type; it was the biggest stack of papers for a contract that we had signed. It took two hours for us to go through, read, initial and approve all the modifications and changes.
Curtis Warren made sure none of the changes were a trap for us. He had read the original contract and compared it to this one while we were at this morning’s PR event. He and the DOD attorneys went through the thing again just to make sure nothing had been changed.
JBG employees and equipment would not be under DOD or any agency control; all orders would have to come from JBG’s command and control center through the JBG command chain; me, Andy and Vicky had the final decisions when it came to JBG team’s equipment and assignments. The generals were not happy with that but accepted it; they knew I had no problem doing distasteful things if necessary.
The most important thing they wanted was continued access to Robert’s intel and intelligence resources our embassy people could supply.
As long as both parties met their obligations this thing could run until we were all old and gray.
Changes were once again going to be coming to Morton Field and to the embassy security division. Change is good? Yes? No? Maybe? Change was always going to be a loaded question.
Tomorrow I would explain the coming changes to Crash, he was always so proud anytime things happened at Morton. He was failing fast; so fast that I did not expect him to be around another year. Members of the greatest generation were leaving fast. His memory was beginning to fail and I had kicked myself for not having recorded all his stories of the Great War.
I hoped his health would hold good for the air show we had planned in July. Nearly everything Lorrie wanted to happen for the show had been arranged. Only a few things needed to be finalized and then we could begin advertising the show.
I went to Section Twelve to retrieve the last few personal items I had there; a simple cardboard crate was enough to hold them. I said my goodbyes as I was leaving, I would see all of them soon; how soon was another unknown.
I walked to the door of the Oval Office to tell the President and Troy I was leaving. I heard a voice that was in a tense conversation that I recognized as Troy waved me in and the three men stood.
“Anton Pavlenko my friend! It is good to see you again. It has been far too long,” I said.
“Ambassador Jones it is so good to see you; I am not going to have to duck for cover am I?” he asked.
“No, not this time,” I replied. Troy and the President’s face expression read like a question mark. Anton sensed their puzzlement.
“The first time I met the Ambassador she looked like she had been through hell and the devil was listed as missing. The second time she blew up a building less than fifty meters behind me, debris was flying everywhere and her expression never changed. I think you do not want to make her mad; the outcome would not be good,” Anton replied.
The conversation lasted twenty minutes before I indicated that I needed to go.
“The offer for the private tour of the Kremlin still stands,” Anton said.
“I hope so. I would like to see all the history and secrets it holds. Can we plan on some time in August?” I asked.
“August would be great, just before the winter winds begin; I will be anticipating your call. Natalya is anxious to meet you; she wants to meet the lady that I consider to be as devious as she is,” he replied.
“My family and I will be there and it will be a pleasure to meet Natalya and compare notes,” I said.
At 1500 we were crossing the Bay Bridge on the way home. I had a feeling of relief and then one of fear. Sometimes knowing is a lot more comforting than the unknown.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.