Connie, Troy and the rest of my staff had been in the outer offices taking phone calls and making notes. When Frank and the generals left they came in with handfuls of notes and a fresh mug of coffee. It’s going to be that kind of morning, I thought.
Connie grabbed all the notes from everyone and began to put them into their order of importance. On the top – needing immediate attention – was our UN ambassador; he was between a rock and a hard spot wanting guidance.
Iranian aligned countries were screaming mad and were immediately pressing for a resolution condemning the US, but Ambassador Hinson vetoed it when it came before the executive committee – effectively killing it.
When that failed they tried passing a resolution to force a cease fire and open negotiations; Russian Ambassador Diorama vetoed that one.
I talked for thirty minutes with Ambassador Victor Mason making it clear he was to stop all UN actions detrimental to our military operation.
I made other calls; one to President Orbatch, another to Prime Minister Attenborough. Then I followed up with Mexican President Martinez and Canada’s Prime Minister Turpin.
At noon the first pictures out of Iran were published by a foreign journalist from Pakistan. They were of the destroyed IRG complex. There were others of the parliament ruins with fires still burning.
After lunch the joint chiefs were back in with the latest pictures and updates. Everything was going as planned, with a few exceptions. The B52s and B21s had made more bombing runs on selected targets this morning.
The carrier planes had destroyed another two hundred military trucks, twenty portable radar trucks and SAM missiles that were in transport. They also destroyed twenty hardened aircraft hangers. From all appearances all of Iran’s aircraft had been destroyed when the seismic bombs were dropped on the main air base. There were fifty very large hardened hangars there and all of them had collapsed.
The days were busy and going by way too fast, too many meetings and too many critical decisions about too many little fires to put out that kept reigniting. Before I knew it – it was Friday afternoon and I was going home in an hour to spend a quiet weekend with my mates – I hoped. I was having the last meeting with the joint chiefs. The bombing campaign had been going on around the clock for three days.
General Ingram began discussing ground operations. His argument was that since the bombing campaign was going so well that Iranian IRG units would be ill prepared to deal with a ground invasion.
This morning’s targets for the MOAB had been four IRG bases and weapons storage sites, including the ones we had seen them stockpiling materials in the last few weeks. Two districts were now free of any military bases, warehouses, military posts or any workable military equipment. The Air Force was aggressively working in two more above 30N. For all intent and purposes the intelligence looked good.
”There are now one hundred additional A10s and that many more assault helicopters in Saudi Arabia and there were now ten amphibious landing ships with equipment waiting to be pressed into action,” he said to reinforce his position.
”That would be moving a lot faster than we had anticipated. That is in your ball park so it is your call. If you are comfortable with that, then do it,” I said.
”Has the State Department been working with you on the humanitarian needs after the fighting ends? If you are moving that fast, they better get on the ball,” I said.
”Yes they have. I think they maybe a little ahead of us in planning,” General Ingram said.
At 1400 the news broke from NASA; the first manned flight to Mars had safely landed after the many months long trip. The six astronauts were to spend two weeks on the surface. Besides looking for alien life and water, they were to perform a series of test and work at completing several assembly tasks.
For six months NASA and Space XXX had been soft landing components for a simple Mars structure. For the lack of a better explanation it was a simple cross, a center section with four tubes to be bolted together. The site NASA chose was a nearly flat plain of hard rock.
They were space age insulated and if the assembly plans worked in the near 1/3 gravity, they were to be part of the first permanent Mars station. The tubes had removable end caps so each tube could be extended and other sections added.
The NASA news overshadowed the next piece of news out of Iran by the Pakistani news agency that the Supreme Leader Awad, Iranian President Marwan, the Vice President, the complete cabinet and the command structure of the IRG were all deceased. They were in a bunker under the parliament building when the MOAB was dropped on it.
It was a known and tested fact that a MOAB was so powerful and consumed so much oxygen when it exploded that anyone in caves, bunkers or an underground facility with atmospheric vents would die an instant and horrible death from no oxygen and the effects of the massive pressure change. That was if the explosion didn’t get you first.
That pressure change was like being thrust into the deepest ocean and then propelled instantly into outer space. It simply destroyed all the internal organs in a millisecond.
To add insult to injury, a seismic bomb was later dropped leaving a crater one hundred feet deep, confirming where the bunkers were thought to be.
That set off a political storm in several countries; Canada, France, Greece, the United States, the European Union – just to name a few countries that were home to exiled dissidents. Dissidents leaders and political expatiates that had left Iran to stay alive over the years suddenly thought it was time to claim their place as the leaders of Iran when the reconstruction started.
They would soon get the message that there was no place for them going forward in Iran. But the most immediate threat was from Iraq.
One of those was Imam El Afiad La Suder. He had played a major role in Iraqi politics for years and was the leader of Sunni tribes in Iraq. He had studied for years under Iran’s Supreme Leader Awad with the hopes of joining the Iraqi and Iranian Sunnis into a powerful coalition and replacing Awad when he died or stepped down.
The rumor that Awad was dead was his ticket into power. By the end of the day he had convinced ten thousand die hard Sunni pilgrims to make the march to Tehran, form the new government and put him in place as the new supreme leader and be part of his rein.
There was only one problem – the satellites had been spending overtime over Iraq and for good reason. The caravan headed from Baghdad to Tehran made its start at an Iraqi military base in the Sunni controlled sector. The diehard pilgrims were made up of mostly soldiers preparing to resist any political change and install their man as head of the Sunni’s.
The drone cameras showed them loading cars and trucks with weapons, rocket propelled grenades, ammunition and IEDs
I was packing up my portable office when General Ingram answered my call about the caravan headed to Tehran. I listened closely as he presented the options.
”I chose the second and third options together. As soon as the caravan is entirely in Iran, send two AC130J Spooky ll gunships to destroy the caravan then drop MOABs on it. Dead men tell no tales and make up no lies,” I said.
”Understood Ma-am,” the General said.
The Spooky ll gunships were the latest upgrades on the original Spooky gunships used in Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Iraq war. The 7.62 dual mini guns and single 105 mm howitzer had been replaced with dual 105 mm howitzers and two Mark 44 Bushmaster ll 30 mm chain guns. They were the updated chain gun JBG fast ships had but 5 mm larger round. There were thousands of rounds on the plane for the guns.
Marine One delivered me to Morton field – the Secret Service thought it would be better if I was seen making the location change in public. The Beast took me to Summers Lane where my family was waiting for me to join them for a seafood supper.
I did not go to the public eateries now because the media was staking them out, trying to get pictures and maybe a question or two answered.
Friday night and Saturday were great family time. My mates and I celebrated that Vicky and Marcy were both pregnant. They had both caught on the first try. Our family would soon be complete, our planning done years ago fulfilled. We would wait one more month and then announce it to the rest of family and the world.
Saturday was relaxed and easy going. At noontime I received a text from General Ingram, ”It’s on and going according to plans. If something changes and you are needed I will call you.”
Air Force One was going to pick us up at Morton at 1600 and then fly to Phoenix for the fundraiser. Andrew had written a new get them excited speech. It was after midnight when we arrived home.
Sunday morning I read the updates from General Ingram, the CIA and the DHS. The DHS was picking up more illegals coming across the Canadian border. I logged into the JBG site and looked at the activity logs for the security zone. Activity was on the increase there as well. I was willing to bet it was trouble makers responding to Tiam’s last messages.
The former communications airways from Iran were now dead. Terrorist locations were still trying to contact Tiam and the General without getting any response back. I wondered if we were to setup a quick tower with all of the information we had collected for the last months, if we could make them believe that Tiam and the General were alive. Would it be possible to send them into a trap?
Robert and the CIA were back tracking all the sites trying to reach Tiam and the General. It would only be a matter of days until several declared themselves to be the new leaders.
The real leader would be the one who provided funding for the satellite fighters. That meant a new round of kidnappings, hi-jacking, robberies and blackmail.
Hopefully they would be negligent, stupid and dumb – allowing them to be found in the early stages.
I finished just in time for breakfast. It was a great breakfast with all my immediate family. The talk across the table was about family and family events and the fundraiser last night.
We finished up just in time to watch Washington Sunday live. As expected they had former generals and White House officials pushing disaster for any troop operations in Iran. Some even said the retaliatory attack was foolish. I guess they forget about all the terrorist attacks that Iran had sponsored. I guess the fact that Iran had bounties on all my family was of no concern.
The last ad for the show had just finished and cameras went to Arthur, ”And now for the story about two letters, we go to Melinda Schaffer aboard the USS Fordson. Are you there Melinda?”
”Yes Arthur I am here. On the bulletin board in the ships Recreation Area there are two letters posted side by side. The first letter was written by Chief Petty Officer Stanley Hastings and was signed by the entire crew to President Jones.” She read the letter to the viewers.
”The second letter was the President’s response to Chief Petty Officer Hastings. I will read that letter.”
”Dear Chief Perry Officer Hastings,
I have received your letter and understand your desire to avenge the attack on the USS Hammann. I have the same desire X one hundred. I have been informed that your ship – the USS Fordson – may be past the builder’s bugs and ready for another sea trial. This one will be under fire – a real chance to prove the USS Fordson is ready to take her place on the high seas. A warship earns it worth at sea. The orders are being prepared as I write this.
Duty calls me in a different direction now but you must know that if I could I would be standing beside you and your shipmates on deck, but I will be there in spirit instead. Those words that you hear whispered, ‘One more launch, one more missile, one more bomb,’ that hand on your shoulder will be mine, let’s go, we can do this. Know that I am standing with you.
A quick summary of the orders The Fordson will receive are:
Fill all tanks with fuel, fill all stores with provisions, and fill all weapons magazines with the latest most advanced bombs and missiles in the US arsenal.
The Fordson is to depart Norfolk Navy Yard in three days receiving her aircraft and then proceed east at flank speed.
The USS Fordson and escorts are to join up with the USS Thomas and USS Stennis as part of task force 67 under the command of Fleet Admiral Scott.
Task Force 67 will then proceed into the Mediterranean then transit the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean and assemble with other elements of the US Navy.
Task force 67 will make a footnote in Navy history for having the oldest active aircraft carrier – the USS Thomas – and the newest aircraft carrier – the USS Fordson – in battle. May history look favorably on their performance together.
Sincerely Roberta J. Jones
President of the United States of America.
Arthur cleared his throat and said, ”Thanks Melinda. How is life aboard a carrier treating you?”
”It’s definitely different and noisy but when you get tired enough, you can sleep through it,” she said.
”I want to read that part of that again.”
” Duty calls me in a different direction now but you must know that if I could I would be standing beside you and your shipmates on deck, but I will be there in spirit instead. Those words that you hear whispered, ‘One more launch, one more missile, one more bomb,’ that hand on your shoulder will be mine, let’s go, we can do this. Know that I am standing with you.”
”That has to be the most powerful motivating statement to our military I have heard in a long time. One other note – there have only been four fleet admirals in the history of the United States Navy; William Leahy , Earnest King, Chester Nimitz and William Bull Halsey in World War Two.”
“The fact that Admiral Montgomery Scott was given that title and that fifth star shows the confidence that President Jones and the Joint Chiefs have in him to kick ass as President Jones herself has a reputation for.”
”We close today with those words.”
”Know that I am standing with you,” from President Jones.
I spent Sunday afternoon and night with my mates. Marine One carried me back to the White House lawn at 0600.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.
what a hell of a chapter!!
Only one problem that comes to mind, the chapter is over too soon.
Dying to read the next chapter!!!!!
Thank you, Jack
Pretty sure the humor I took from the “Space XXX” reference was not intended, given the solemnity of the mideast context, but I guess that doesn’t matter. I stalled for a minute before I realized you had to use something ELSE anyway and, though extreme, this was probably as good as anything.
At that realization I had a brief flash of Wade Wilson (Deadpool) euphemistically “breaking the fourth wall” to make really bad puns. Of course, after that, the rest of the chapter gave me a couple more minor Deadpool moments. Nothing questionable too seriously, but picture it as MST3K having Wade Wilson as their captive human reviewer while commentating the movie of your saga. 😉
With triple x It was the soft landing that counted. LOL.
Thanks , Jack
That works. It’s a bit late but I had a thought about alternatives without the suggestive overtones and it may lead to learning something about your sites….
I started by assuming (probably not the case) that the stylized “X” in the company’s logo is meant as a multiplication symbol, which provides the basis for a theme of possible alternatives; Space2, Space² (using a Superscript “2”), Space+, Space⁺ (using a Superscript “+”), etc.
Of course superscripts can be tough to insert, but a number of them are available as Unicode characters and can be copied and pasted from several sources. One of my favorite sources is the rather exhaustive compendium at “en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Unicode”
I’m left only wondering whether WordPress or SoL support Unicode characters generally, hence that couple of examples above. If nothing else, we may learn something interesting if those supersript characters display properly above in posting this response. 😉
Fair disclosure, it’s not really an original thought on my part. I’ve seen a number of authors of Potterverse stories on FFN (fanfiction.net) who have hit on this trick of using Unicode symbols, representing the “magical” currencies with highly-stylised versions of the G, S and K characters to represent Galleons, Sickles and Knuts. 😉