We were in the RV at Texas Steel waiting. We listened to the company aircraft radios and had both ZNN and the one of the major independents that contracted with channel 34 – Hanna’s station.
After France, several major networks decided a contract was in order. The majors were desperate to compete with ZNN. Hanna with her inside connections to JBG and being always in the news was the ticket.
At 06:30 the majors went live. ”Breaking News.”
”This is Hanna Page, Channel 34 news. Today I am imbedded with JBG battalion Red 1, we just crossed the Texas/Mexico border at Brownsville. The immediate goal of Red 1 is to secure an illegal aircraft runway designated as Apple 1 used by the Central American terrorist organization known as the Cartel. This runway was an important waypoint for the cartel to fly drugs and high level cartel individuals into America.”
”This will be a jumping off point to patrol over one hundred miles of pipelines and Cartel trails into America. The cartel is stealing over thirty thousand gallons of fuel a day from the pipeline to supply additional funds to their operations.”
”This runway will become the staging area for three battalions of aviation, mobile armored infantry units and logistics,” Hanna said just as machine gun fire erupted off screen. The camera panned to the men clearing the area between the runway and the pipeline.
”I just received a text from Jim Jordan, commander of Red 1. ‘Apple 1 is secure, start the logistics, on the way’,” Andy said.
The green logistics and the orange security battalions would be on the way in a few minutes. With good luck a secure camp would be set up by nightfall.
The independent news anchor was trying to contact Hanna, ”Are you still here?” He had some audio but no video.
“Yes I am here,” as the video returned.
”What was the shooting?” Chuck Dodd the anchor asked.
”I just heard we now have prisoners. I guess they needed convincing that surrender was the right thing to do,” Hanna said.
”How many battalions are you with?” Chuck asked.
”There are four at this objective, with more coming in a few days,” Hanna said.
”Let me send you some film taken Saturday during operation’s planning and objectives selection,” Hanna said.
”You have been with JBG operations since Saturday? Did I understand you correctly?” the news desk asked.
”Yes, I got the call to be at Morton Field JBG’s aviation central operations center late Friday night,” Hanna replied.
”How do they handle that?” the desk asked.
”The caller directed me to pack a go bag, my passport and be at Morton Field at a set time if I wanted to go on a trip, no questions asked or allowed,” Hanna said.
”And you just went?” the desk said.
”Why not? The mystery is exciting and there is always action,” Hanna replied.
A few minutes later the stations were running filler from the barracks and archway Hanna had taken. Hanna had agreed to send a little every day. The news cycle for the rest of the day and in Washington was set. Every politician in Washington was going to get interviewed even though they knew nothing.
Ten minutes later ZNN went live. ”This is Melinda Schaffer of ZNN imbedded with JBG battalion Red 2 air cavalry unit. We are deep in Mexico to capture Baker 2 runway. This runway was actively used last night by several cartel planes to deliver drugs and terrorist destined for America – but no more. The cavalry has landed in force.”
”WHAT did she say, I didn’t know we had designated an airborne cavalry unit?” Vicky asked.
”I think some of the men on the helicopter were giving her pointers or answering her questions on the flight. That will no doubt raise some more eyebrows in Washington,” I said.
”Hundreds of JBG security forces are descending on this illegal airfield today,” Melinda was in front of several Blackhawks with rotors turning while unloading men as she was giving the report. There was active gunfire in the distance, some of it from the 802s; the mini-guns were distinctive sounding.
Twenty minutes later Green 2 and Orange 2 were on the way. Larry Thor had declared the Baker 2 runway secure. We could breathe a little easier.
The girls were ready to go to the north runway and spend another evening in a converted bus, but I would not allow it on day one. We needed to be here looking at maps, marking progress and ready to change plans and have immediate access to MTAC and VCATS.
An hour later reports start coming in from Apple 1. They had started the pipeline inspection teams – they were working both ways. One team working north to the border and back – checking both sides of the pipeline – and another working south.
They were told to confiscate all tools and equipment and mark the pipe in reflective paint so it could be checked. The location of the tap was to be logged on GPS.
Someone would send a report to Mexpo every day so repair crews could repair the pipes.
One 802 or Blackhawk was going to fly the pipeline every hour with night vision equipment to catch tappers. Both aircraft had orders to shoot anyone they saw working the pipeline in the dark.
I walked over to Texas Steel’s office to see if Bob had answered all their questions and to look at the blueprints myself.
I was too late; the prints were being transferred to the CNC computer that controlled the bending brakes, formers and shears. When they were finished there would be twenty sets of forms to make the prison we were going to need in the security zone.
Bobs Construction would put it all together once I decided where it was to be built.
A thirty foot wide concrete slab would be put down by a highway leveling machine, for as long as we needed. A 4” PVC pipe would be placed in before the cement was laid every place toilets needed to be. The forms had shapes for the walls and the correct angles for the concrete roof section. Holes in the precast sections would allow large anchor bolts to hold everything together.
The cells would be eight foot by eight foot with two foot concrete past the cell doors that Texas Steel was going to build. The concrete roof slabs would end at the end of the concrete wall sections.
Two rows facing each other would allow twelve foot trusses in the middle to cover the open section with a clear corrugated roofing panel to let in natural light.
A welded steel bed, stainless steel toilet and sink would finish out each cell. Texas Steel was making the cell doors to fit holes in the precast walls.
I was satisfied with the design. Bob assured me that once the pad was poured and pouring process started in the forms, his crews and a crane could install ten cell sections a day just like an erector set. Plumbers and electricians could follow.
I went back to the RVs to begin the chore of being a politician.
I first called President Martinez and Prosecutor Inez to inform them we had secured the first two objectives. They had been watching the operations unfold on TV.
The conversation lasted an hour as we talked about prisoners. I was going to hold them in makeshift jails until they could be interrogated. I also told them that under part D I was constructing a permanent prison that would be theirs at the end of the contract.
As per the contract Marcy was expecting the check for Phase 1 – control of the two runways.
Then I called Juan Pedro Garcia, president of Mexpo. That call lasted only a few minutes. Essentially I told him he could start repair crews at the border removing the illegal taps. I also reminded him his men needed to notify us their location and each time they moved and to include GPS coordinates. My aircraft and men had orders to shoot anyone around the pipeline and ask questions later.
Then it was Washington’s turn, starting with Ben.
”Are things quiet today?” I asked.
”You know damn well they are not; headhunters are coming out of the woodwork looking for you. I have a stack of subpoenas delivered today, they are wasting no time,” Ben said.
”Send the headhunters to me with them. My men are disappointed they don’t have enough targets to shoot at,” I said.
”No. You would do that – make a game out of it and not lose any sleep over it,” he said.
”You know it,” I replied.
”We have finished the interrogations of the five terrorists you brought from France. The two new men you supplied are good – not as good as you, but close. We did not question the other leaders as you requested. What are you going to do with the terrorists?” Ben asked.
”I would kill them but now I need to wait until I deal with the leaders, that international politics thing you know, ” I said.
”The leaders are screaming mad,” Ben said.
”They will get over it in time or carry it to hell with them,” I said.
”The President and his group are on the way down. I will warn you, they are antsy,” Ben said.
Troy was the first to speak. ”Did you take more lessons on how to piss people off? After France I didn’t think there was anyone left. I was wrong. You found a lot more,” Troy said.
”I was in a bad mood this morning, I guess it rubbed off on some people that far away,” I said.
”Is Eric there?” I asked.
”I will call him – he is upstairs – while you talk to the President,” Troy said.
”Good afternoon Mr. President, how are you today?” I asked.
”I’m good but it looks like you are going to be spending a lot of time in the hot seat in Congress. It looks like – from the reports – that you have made good progress for the first day.”
”Yes, we have made great progress. I was just told both airfields are under our control. Logistics are on the way to set up the temporary camps at both,” I said.
”I think some Generals might be jealous – they have been watching in the situation room, wondering how you are accomplishing so much with so little so quickly. One of them said you are already one hundred miles into Mexico,” the President said.
”I pay better is the answer. We are over a hundred miles into Mexico,” I said with a laugh.
”BJ, I’m here. What do you need?” Eric said.
”Do you have aviation assets in Brownsville?”
”I’m sure I can get some quickly if I don’t. What do you need?” Eric asked.
”Get it and a DEA agent on the way to Baker 2 ASAP. My men there seized a shipment of cocaine and fentanyl. They are saying about 1500 pounds. I want it gone, you can have it.”
”Have your aircraft contact Baker 2 on one thirty niner niner – our air command frequency – before they get close. Today would not be a good day to drop in unannounced. Do it before dark,” I said.
”Did you seize any money?” Eric asked.
”Plenty of it but I get to keep all that to keep Marcy happy. All this money going out, some has to come back in from somewhere. That brings to mind, where is your commitment on funds?” I asked.
”We’re working on it,” Troy said.
”While you are at it, work on that statement you are going to need to give when I close your border in a week or so if we keep moving. I am sure Congress will be wanting one,” I said.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob w.