Vicky, Ching Lee and I met Andy and Robert in the command center.
”Is our encryption technology we use in the big black book still secure? Secure enough that the FBI or CIA cannot break it? I’m going to need a way to communicate with you that doesn’t show up on the White House systems. Every phone conversation is recorded and transcribed into official records that can be subpoenaed. The same is done with official computer traffic. I’m still going to need to communicate with you and not be recorded,” I said.
”If you use a hotspot it may set off alarms. I assume the CIA is going to scan your State Department phone often. You may be able to stop them from scanning your JBG phone by digging in your heels and insisting that our IT scans and maintains that phone as well as your JBG computer,” Robert said.
”Yes, the black book is still secure and frequently updated using new larger volumes. I have another set of thumb drives to give you and your computer to update in a day or two. Same setup as before – it takes a minimum of three in the right sequence to make the book work,” Robert said.
”I’m going to insist that part of my security detail will be my personal JBG bodyguards – the Mossad ladies – and that they report strictly to me,” I said letting Andy know they would no longer be available for him to use.
That was the one thing that had happened on the flight home. The girls laid the law down to me. I was to go nowhere without the Mossad girls at my side.
”Now we have to get down to real business,” I said.
For the next hour operational responsibility and plans were changed. Mexpo and Mexico were discussed, more authority would be given to Andy’s top people as needed.
We then went into a discussion about the illegal drug processing operation. Andy and Robert had joined forces to make sure they were interpreting the data correctly. Using satellite photos, the corporate Google tracking and mapping system we had access to and the CIA thermal satellite images, they were sure we had found one of the cartel’s major manufacturing sites.
Andy and I talked in depth about how to destroy the operation. Currently aircraft was the only way given its location. But the Air Tractors didn’t have sufficient range to do the job from our existing staging sites. They would when the last southern pipeline was finished that ended at Veracruz.
”When you reach Veracruz you can launch an attack on the site. It must be a decisive attack to completely destroy the plant and the manufacturing shops for making the submersibles. The last of the additional Air Tractors should be in by then. Use every Air Tractor we have in the raid. Plan the timing so most of the chemists would be there.”
The Blackhawks would be in range too so you will be able to saturate the area with the mini guns. I want the chemists mixing the junk dead and all involved in the manufacturing dead to send a message.”
”I will call our supplier to get some 500 pound napalm incendiaries to make sure it all burns. I want it to be the message of what is to come if they don’t get out of the drug business,” I said.
The conversation was the same for the Pact country agreements and our management leaders there. Vicky was the contact for the political component. The people were under Andy’s group and promotions were at Andy’s discretion.
Charles and Milton would report to Vicky because of the legal limitations and Andy with operations on the port and support facilities. The people to run and control the coastal patrol ships were being hired as we were speaking.
Surprisingly many strong former navy officers and navy seals had put in for the jobs we had posted. The first fast boats were to be delivered to Israel in thirty days. According to Andy’s reports, the first base of operations would be operational by then.
To add more issues, Mexico had asked Andy about adding offshore patrols in the Gulf like we were going to do in the Middle East. The reason being the cartel was now getting into the pirate business.
Oil platforms and support vessels were now being hit by the cartel. I would bet it was because of pressure we were putting on them over the pipelines.
To Andy’s credit he had put Paul Drake in charge of a negotiating group with Charles Black to work on the contract and port faculties and logistics. Marcy and Jenny would need all of those things to work up a profitable contract.
I had an hour to VCATS before we needed to be at the restaurant. I was chatting with all embassy security groups. I did a blanket broadcast by region. Everyone was supportive.
It was too late to call Louis and the other Pack leaders as well as the five OPEC links and other ministers. I would do that in the morning.
It took four Suburbans to get us to the Seafood Inn now with the additional security that the girls decided I needed.
When the doors to the large banquet room were opened I was surprised. On the back wall was a big poster, ‘Congratulations Vice President Jones.’
The room was filled with friends local and from Washington. Frank Love, Eric Roberson, Marty Coeburn, Bob Smith, Andrew, Anne, Troy and Senators Harrison and Whitby were the ones from Washington. Duke Justice, Clarence Hallworthy, Hanna and Melinda, Elmo and many friends from JBG along with all our families were also there.
Everyone wanted a picture with me, secretly I was hoping all this was not premature. The House and Senate could easily reject the President’s choice.
It was a festive atmosphere; there was champagne on all the tables and two glasses filled with apple juice for two little boys that only barely understood what was going on.
It was 2000 when we tucked the little ones into bed. In the living room there was another discussion before we called it a night. It was a restless night; I still wondered if I was doing the right thing. Only time would tell.
At 0600 I was on the phone with Louis then the other heads of state from the Pact countries. Then I called the OPEC five to reassure them that everything was in good hands and that nothing had changed.
At 0930 my convoy stopped at the Capitol steps. I was met by Maryland representative Randy Butler. A few minutes later – surrounded by my security detail – we walked up the steps. Randy was going to be my guide through the maze that was the House of Representatives.
The media had been tipped and there were thongs of them taking pictures, recording video, speaking into microphones and trying to ask questions.
Inside there were limited reporters from the major news outlets. They were restricted where they could go with live cameras but they were there recording every handshake and greeting.
Randy steered me to the friendly ones for long photo sessions and questions in front of the cameras. The cameras made sure the ones that may have been trouble played nice.
Juanita Waco came out of her office as we neared. She made sure she got her picture taken with me and shook my hand.
”Next time you say you have a meeting I will be sure to listen, wait to talk and not be fool hardy,” she said.
”The invitation to come to my office and talk still stands, we may have our differences but I’m sure we have some things we can agree on and expand,” I said.
It was 1100 when Senators Harrison and Whitby walked up.
”Has anyone invited you to join them for lunch?” Senator Harrison asked.
‘‘No, no they haven’t. Is this an invitation?”
”Yes it is. Then we will escort you through the Senate chambers to meet the rest of the Senators, although I’m sure you know most everyone. Would you like to join us for lunch?” the Senator asked the several Representatives standing with me.
I ordered from the menu as did all of group; a small cheese-steak sandwich and small fries with a soda.
While we were waiting for the food to be delivered people were walking to the table to shake hands and make small talk.
After lunch I walked the halls of the Senate with Senator Harrison going through the political process again. Everyone wanted pictures and handshakes and my hand was getting sore.
The House was scheduled to vote at 1500 and the Senate at 1530. I met the girls, Mom, Dad and Jake and Mindy at the White House a few minutes before 1500 to wait for the outcome of the votes. The folks got another tour of the White House while I talked with the President and his staff. They were as nervous as I was – or at least I thought they were.
What I didn’t know was there had been straw votes in both the House and Senate at 1430. If the tally were too close, the voting would have been put off until later when horse trading and other political favors could be exchanged to influence the outcome. More of that part of politics I loved to hate but would quickly have to master.
The margin may be close but everyone thought I would be confirmed.
The House did not vote until 1515 – the final nail biting vote was 290 for and 145 against; half the battle was won. The senate voted at 1530 as scheduled; 70 for, 30 against. Like it or not I would be the new Vice President as soon as the Chief Justice made his appearance.
I was to be sworn in the Capitol rotunda – for security sake – at 1630. I was sure it was to make the evening news cycle!
With the world watching and my family around me, Chief Justice Hamilton Burger the third read me the oath.
”Repeat after me,” he said.
“I, Roberta Josephine Jones, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
Hand shakes again, hugs and kisses from my family. It was Jake who brought it into prospective for my family, ”We knew you were going places but we didn’t think you would take it this far. Congratulations! You always said you wanted to put Queen Anne county on the map. You certainly have done that and more.”
With the congratulations over and the cameras off I was relieved and worried at the same time. Was I ready for this venture?
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.