Andy was the first to speak. ”How do I address you now? BJ, Boss or Madam President?” he asked.
”It’s still BJ for you,” I said.
”Mexico captured one drug kingpin and a lot of packaged drugs and other loot when they took control of the area we raided.”
”The second kingpin ran when the first bomb fell and escaped. He made his way to Merida on the eastern tip of Yucatan. Most of his key people followed as best they could.”
”He is now setting up shop in the area. The gang war has started. Federal Prosecutor Inez is wanting our security group to shut down both gangs. The dead are in the streets every morning,” Andy said.
”I’m sure Marcy will want signed contracts with prices for starters. Has Mexico committed to the size and scope of that kind of operation? You are essentially going to have to cut the tip of the Yucatan; that is one hundred and fifty miles across. That is a tall order without pulling everyone off existing sites,” I said.
”We still have five hundred of the on call people we have not utilized,” Vicky said.
”And we can start pulling men from other Mexican locations as we need them,” Andy said.
”What about the logistics for those additional men?” I asked.
”We are working on them, it’s going to take a few weeks to put it all together,” Vicky said.
”I’m planning on coming home after the funeral service for President Thomas and staying for a couple days. I’m still planning on going goose hunting again on Monday. It will be the last week of goose season.”
”Chief Justice Burger, VP Harrison, Judge Faraday, Curtis Warren, Troy and Ben Smith will be in the hunting party on Monday. The hunt had been set up months ago. It will drive the Washington Sunday talk shows crazy, let alone the Secret Service and the US Marshals service who guard the court justices,” I said.
”I just got a message that the GSA and a moving company are moving Mrs. Thomas and her belonging back to her Kansas home on Monday. The Secret Service is assisting in the move.”
”Once that is done they are going to set up the living quarters to suit me. I’m having it set up so all of you can come stay weekends and more, if and when you want,” I said.
”We now have thirty fast boats in the Arabian Sea divided between the two bases on each side of the Strait of Hormuz. The base at Oman is still a couple months away. The UK still has not completed clearing the underground storage of the bombs and shells. They are working at it, but not very fast,” Vicky said.
”If you have to send Howie and a couple of men over there – just cart the stuff into the desert and set it off with plastics to get rid of it,” I said. ”Don’t let British get in the way of the progress you need.”
”We are having some problem with the Iranian speed boats,” Andy said.
”I expected that and more. Be prepared to be aggressively challenged by them. Don’t take any crap from them. I expect at some point you will have to put some on the bottom,” I said.
”They will try to set up traps for our boats to draw them into Iranian waters; make sure they don’t fall for one. Another thing you may want to consider is to draw the Iranian boats into a trap of our own. I would love to have a couple of their crews as prisoners as they would ours,” I said
”Are the aviation units on station there now for fast backup?” I asked.
”Four Blackhawks and four Air Tractors are there,” Vicky said.
”Charles and Milton are working on a deal to get four AH-1Z Vipers from the Saudi military, they will have a lot more firepower if we need them,” Andy said.
”Remember the contract limitations, including the financial ones,” I said.
”What about pilots and the materials to make them effective?” I asked.
”We have qualified pilots; Susie checked all the pilots’ records. Eight with the most hours in the AH are on the way to an Israeli training site for a refresher,” Vicky said.
”Also, Director Dorin appreciates our business, and said to tell you congratulations and thanks,” Vicky added.
”I haven’t called him or Ben David, I will make a note to do that,” I said.
”What is the progress on the two eavesdropping sites Robert was going to set up?” I asked.
”One of them has been running intermittently for a couple days. It will go full time on Monday. That is the one closest to the choke point of the Strait. The other is going to take about a week to finish.”
”Robert asked for authority to hire twenty more people to place there for the communications and monitoring. I approved it and sent it to Jason. Robert indicated he had good people waiting to fill the positions,” Andy said.
”Dad told me he had approved them this morning,” Jenny said.
”You may want to expedite that call to Ben David. They have been monitoring some channels in Iran that are troublesome since they found out you’re President. They were already planning disruptions in the fast boat operations as you thought, now they have intensified,” Andy said.
”That’s why I wanted the listening post. We just have to be careful not to fall for misinformation being broadcast,” I said.
”Robert’s gone home for the day but I think I can fill you in from memory. Tiam and the general stopped broadcasting for a week the day the family members were kidnapped.”
”He is back broadcasting again. Roberts’s group recorded the complete first broadcast and it was a dozy. Two hundred Megs of instructions and codes.”
Now they are changing to a different code every day. Part of the codes were in the book seized from the Pennsylvania raid. Some more of the codes were in the stuff from France. Of the ones missing Robert’s group have been able to break one and he feels all of them in a few days,” Marcy said.
”Check your JBG email – I just sent you the latest broadcast and intercepts from the two listening posts. One thing that may interest you is they have raised the bounty again – fifty million on us and one hundred million on you,” Vicky said.
”I expected they would knowing that now it would be nearly impossible and unlikely they would have to pay. It just bumps up their image that they are not willing to put limits on getting me now,” I said.
The kitchen notified that our supper was ready so I ended the call. We enjoyed a quiet supper.
After supper Jenny and I wrote down questions that we thought I should get the constitutional experts to answer. That was going to tie up four hours a day starting Tuesday. Jenny and Curtis Warren were going to sit in so I could get follow up on any questions at a later time.
I was going to ask Curtis if his law firm would be my White House official legal team when I needed one. I was sure that I would need one, given all the crazies in Congress and the special interest groups.
They were already demanding freedom of information (FOI) requests about the meetings I had since I was sworn in and all the Secret Service conversations the night President Thomas died.
Friday morning I talked to Mrs. Thomas for a few minutes before we went to the Rotunda in ‘The Beast’ as the presidential limo was known. I sat with Mrs. Thomas and her family while there was another short service.
When it was over we went back to the White House; she to attend to family matters and me to meet with the Navy brass.
At my desk in the Oval Office, I looked at the intercepts that Vicky had sent, printed them off and put them in a folder to carry with me.
Damn, they hadn’t backed down a bit, now the General was planning bigger terrorist operations and going to get aggressive against our fast boats, looking to sink them.
They were increasing operations against the tanker traffic in the strait, increasing their support for the Somalia rebels and finally, more direct attacks against US assets in the area including attacks on our naval force.
At 1100 I was sitting at the end of the big executive table looking at the Secretary of Defense, Chief of Naval operations, Admiral John Patterson in charge of ship building and the liaison between the Navy and Newport News Ship Building with Troy and Joan Patrone – my other personal secretary – taking notes.
”I want to know why are all six of the Navy’s East Coast assigned aircraft carriers are sitting at the Norfolk navy yard unavailable for service?” I asked.
After many rounds of double talk I got a few partial answers and a pie in the sky list of dates when the ships would be available. It stretched from possibly months to years with no firm date on any of them. Then there was the list of carriers under construction and when they would possibly join the fleet. Finally there were the ones in reserve.
I read down the list, ”First I want a list of what repairs are necessary to put the six ships listed as active at sea if I declare an emergency. I want a firm date when they could join the battle line,” I said.
”Are there enough escorts available to fill the task force?” I asked. I knew I was not going to get an answer so I continued.
”When is the Fordson going to be ready to join the battle line? It’s ten billion over budget and ten years since the first sea trials. In two more years it’s going to need it’s half-life overhaul and rebuild and it has not been on its first sea deployment yet,” I asked.
After another ten minutes of double talk and outright challenges, I finally got a response.
”I’ll have to have someone put the information together. It may take awhile,” the Admiral said.
I became pissed. These general questions were asked yesterday in the lead up to today’s meeting. There should have been some kind of answer!
”I have intelligence that we are going to be in a shooting war in nine months or less. I want to know what assets I will be able to respond with. It’s disgusting that all of our East Coast carrier fleet is at the dock at one time with no end in sight and no one can give a firm answer, ”I said .
There were two phones on the table. I picked up one them and threw it down the table in the direction of the Admiral. It bounced to a stop in front of him.
”Make the call – get me some damn answers I can depend on – NOW. I’m going to refresh my coffee and make a call. You better have some answers when I get back or you’re not going to like my response,” I said.
There were stunned faces at the table.
I stopped at Connie’s desk, ”Call Frank Love, Art Cummins and Bob Smith – tell them I want to see them ASAP, send them to the meeting I am in,” then I went to refill my coffee mug.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.