Tuesday morning just three Suburban’s made the trip to Washington. To put it plainly, we were short on people. With the men and ladies moving towards the PAC countries and the OPS team drafted as trainers, there were simply not enough people to go around.
There were two hundred scheduled to be in training before the end of next week. They were coming in stages based on skill level, class size and the number the doc could run through his system in a day with the physical we had chosen. Jason, Mischief and Mayhem and all of HR had been busy.
All that meant that Robert’s group had several members dedicated to doing background investigations. To hell with all the new employment rules telling us we could not look at criminal, court, medical records or social media. I had told Robert to find all of it.
Even the shrinks group was having a chat with the applicants on the couch. There was no way we could tolerate someone who was marginally unstable being assigned to the PAC Countries.
One of the first things they were told is they had to close all social media accounts – period. If we found them accessing social media they would be terminated.
All social media companies lied. Opting out of tracking and other information collecting did nothing. Even though you opted out, the companies turned it all back on with updates. You were still tracked and monitored with apps used to collect data and information and then they sold it to anyone, anywhere.
It would be highly dangerous for our company if a terrorist were able to use social media to get a list of employees and where they were assigned by using social media data.
I met Axle James at the office before I left for Washington; he had been away for a family emergency. Today was his first day back.
“Here are the pictures you asked for from Harrisburg. The three CDs are from my cameras. I was working with Robbie to develop something we could use for training.”
“There was one on each mini-gun and one aimed straight ahead that captured the Stingers. All three became active when the arm weapons switch was turned on. Ah, I’m sorry about the back ground music; I forgot to turn it off. You may want to look at them before you show them to anyone,” he said.
“Did you make copies?” I asked.
“Yes. If you want me to destroy them just tell me,” he said.
“Just hold on to them for a while, I’ll let you know. Thanks, you may have been more help than you know,” I said.
I watched the CDs with the sound turned off. I wanted to be able to hear the company radios and the JBG aviation channel.
At 1600 every reporter with a White House grounds pass was crowding the fence yelling questions. They must have had someone watching the roads. I waved as I went inside, ignoring the questions.
Some things never change and it was a good thing. Both percolators were brewing fresh coffee. I noticed the cans were marked USN, Ben had found himself a source when my supply ran out.
I had only been in my office a few minutes with Anne and Andrew, long enough to give them Axle’s pictures for the investigation, and then we went out to the big table. Shortly after that, the parade started.
The parade was the President, Troy, Art Cummins, Frank Love (who had been too busy to attend most meetings lately) and the AG. It was followed by General Ingram and the Air Force chief of staff.
“Couple more and we could have a trial,” I thought.
The AG started, “I need the names of the FBI ladies you used. Just for the record, of course. The House has said they are going to subpoena all records related to them,” he said.
“I already publicly said that no records were made or kept. I forgot long ago who they were or what they looked like. So you are SOL, don’t bother asking anymore,” I said.
“Is the Intel source still active?” the President asked.
“Yes, I believe so, we just need to verify and double check the data for a while,” I replied.
I cherry picked pages from my folder and handed them to the President; the ones with the orders from the General.
” Pass them around, read only, no copies,” I said.
“This is the one that is the most discouraging. It leads me to believe there are ten more sleeper cells in the country similar to Harrisburg. Here are the replies to Tiam that Robert came up with and found US IP addresses for,” I said as I handed the papers to him.
“Looks like your gamble may bear fruit after all,” Troy said, “Damn you have big brass pair. I never would have the balls to make that kind of decision, let alone execute it so perfectly.”
“Troy, that could be considered a sexist remark,” the President said.
“Hey, I was within arm’s reach and I am still standing and not bleeding, so it must have been OK,” Troy replied.
I gave him a thumbs up.
We beat the communiqués to death for an hour until there was nothing more to say other than the fight goes on.
I handed the three DVD discs to Bobby, “Play the one that says box truck first.”
That disc was from the right side mini gun camera. The cameras were live and recording after Axle flipped on the weapons switch. He had turned that switch on when he observed the SWAT teams entering Avon Heights.
That gun was the one Axle used on the box truck and in the first sweep on the barn. Bobbie had the volume up when it started to play; I recognized Hank Jr’s. ‘All for the Love of Sunshine’. A few seconds later the mike on the camera picked up my order to Firebird 1 to stop the box truck and the men in the back of the truck and then to cover the barn.
The camera showed the box truck cab and engine compartment being decimated by just a few second burst from the mini-gun. Then there were the wild swings as Axle positioned the helicopter to bring the mini-gun to bear on the rear of the truck.
The camera showed the four men raising their guns to fire on the helicopter only to be riddled with another burst from the gun. I was glad I didn’t work with the bomb squad getting the bikes out of the truck.
The camera picked my orders to attack the barn because we were taking heavy fire from it. My order to empty the racks and tubes was clear and plain as day. The camera picked up the swoosh and flash of the Stingers being fired. They did pick up the damage the rockets did to the barn as Axle flew along the side of the barn so the mini-gun could be fired into it.
I noticed the song had changed to Johnny Cash and Folsom Prison Blues. I now knew what kind of music Axle liked to work with and motivate him when he had to do difficult things.
The cameras on the left mini-gun recorded the same action on the other side of the barn; rockets and then gun fire.
The last disc was the camera that was looking out of the front of the helicopter. It did not record anything on the sides but it had first rate shots of the Stinger missiles doing their thing on the barn and Axle’s aggressive flying of the Blackhawk.
“Well that’s that, as if we needed a reminder,” I said as Bobbie handed me the DVD’s back, which I then put into my portable office.
“The pilot certainly follows orders to the letter,” General Ingram said.
“That’s why I hire them, and I believe in the use of overwhelming firepower, especially when we are fired on first,” I replied.
A discussion lasted a few minutes before the General asked “How are you coming on the property thing you were looking at in South Africa?”
“It’s coming along, why do you ask?” I replied.
“We would like to have another land based radar installation that would be able to follow some things down that way. You work with us frequently, I’m hoping we could work out an agreement,” he said.
“I might be able to find you a small spot to place one there,” I replied with a grin.
Troy being nosy, “How much land are you looking at?”
“Just a little under a thousand square miles – six hundred and thirty thousand acres. It has a gold mine, a diamond mine, an abandoned mine and an airport with a terminal and a 200 by 6000 foot concrete runway.”
“The airport has some hangars and a small fuel farm that will have to be upgraded. There is a reliever gravel runway a couple miles away, also a one hundred room hotel and a town with about a thousand houses are part of the property.”
“The sale was completed yesterday. There are issues – a lot of issues – to deal with; water, sewer, electric, roads, keeping enough fuel there and a million other things. Nothing is even close to modern standards,” I said.
I handed the General the communiqué passed among Russia, China and Iran. “This was the reason that a rush was put on the purchase. And this is why we bought the adjoining property. I did not want the IRG as a neighbor.”
“We had been looking at the property for a few weeks. The gold and diamond mine was described as being no longer productive, but I think that was misinformation. Lorrie has a company doing a survey of the mines to see if they would be profitable. The preliminary report has been very encouraging,” I said.
Troy still had not gotten his jaw to close yet.
“That’s bigger than most of the national parks and you’re going to use it for training?” Troy said.
Training was my cover story; I really had no intentions of building a training facility there unless circumstances created the need for it. I wanted the hotel brought up to acceptable standards and then a slow process of upgrading the town.
I wanted enough surplus military equipment there to be able to patrol the property. That would hopefully discourage any of the lowlifes connected to the Prince or Iran from trying anything. This would be important if the mines should prove to be productive.
If they were productive then there would need to be a rush on the town upgrades to house the miners who had drifted away when the mines closed. It would be the best way to get them back and keep them in line.
‘Company town, company store’ came to mind as a necessary evil, I was sure. When the mines closed the miners went back to the villages that were scattered throughout the national forest, surviving by poaching and whatever.
“General, when is the next lot of military equipment going to be available? I need a lot of things like thirty HumVees, a dozen MRAPS, more helicopters, two or three more C130s, along with trucks, trailers and support equipment. If I’m going to have two more training sites to equipment, one in South Africa and one in Portugal, I may need a lot more,” I said.
In for a penny, in for a pound, ask for a lot and see if I got access to anything.
“Get me a list and I will see what is available and when,” the General replied.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.