Book 3 Chapter 22
I settled into my chair and began to read all my messages. Fortunately, Connie was putting them in order of importance. I turned on my JBG desktop and my White House laptop so I could work on both. I also opened the appropriate text messaging on both.
Just as I did Jenny sent a text, ’’On our way home, be there in a couple hours. Everything went great, acquisitions are on schedule. Have lots of things to tell you when we get there.”
I went through the notes and dictated the necessary responses for Connie to type up and handle. Some of them I forward to the proper agency for follow up, after attaching a note of instructions.
I was nearly done when my mates came in back from their trip to Thimble Shoals. I listened as they gave me the short version of their meeting. Curtis Warren and several from his legal group were on their way back to Washington. They had flown to the Shoals with them.
Two G5s made the trip today to separate my mates, in case there should ever be an accident. They would have made the trip in one of the business jets, but both were gone on a two-week lease.
All the t’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted. All the acquisitions Marcy was looking at were on track to be completed by the time of the various stockholders’ meetings.
There was a change in plans. Marcy’s plan was to pay off the corporate debt of the companies as she took them over. After the meetings today, Midwest Bank was going to continue to hold the corporate debt allowing TSPBCIC – Marcy to go after several more of the large companies that were ranked as her second or third choice. I didn’t ask the names of the additional companies she was after.
On another topic, the gold coin sales to brokers were going better than expected. A lot more of the gold was being turned into cash deposited in the accounts, helping all the numbers look better.
They went to their offices to do the same thing I was doing and that was to catch up on all the notes that needed follow-up from the day they were gone.
The security at Polokwane was watching a large group – possibly three hundred – making their way from the south – southeast. The security team there under Andy’s orders had extended the range of the aerial group.
Andy sent an update on the South Korean embassy issue. The surveillance was getting more frequent and more obvious. Andy was concocting a plan to grab a couple of those who were watching. They would be sent to the Doc if they were not cooperative when they were grabbed. There was already a Cessna long range jet standing by at the Incheon Airport.
Vice President Harrison was in Germany working on improvements to NATO. Every two years there was an assessment of manpower, materials and response. Those who should have been at the meeting were not; nothing unusual there.
Special Agent Mickens arrived from Washington with the first reports on the newly discovered tunnels along with video, maps and pictures.
‘’The first tunnel was dug after the White House was burned in 1814 during the term of James Madison. Madison and family had escaped Washington just minutes before the British troops under Major General Robert Ross entered the city. During the twenty six hours the British occupied Washington, nearly all government buildings were burned,’’ Agent Mickens said.
‘’Madison, his government and military officials spent the night in the small town of Brookeville that is now in Montgomery County Maryland,’’ Agent Mickens said.
‘’The planners decided there had to be an escape route for the President in case such an event happened again,’’ Agent Mickens added.
‘’Coal miners from Shamokin Pennsylvania and Charleston West Virginia were brought in to do the job because they were experienced in rigging and building deep mining tunnels,’’ Agent Mickens said.
‘’The tunnel is twelve hundred and fifty four feet long and exited at the carriage house located at what is currently 15th Street NW and G street, at what is now the Old Ebbitt Grill. Both ends of the tunnel were sealed during the Arthur Administration in 1885. If one knew what they were looking for, there is evidence of the closed end in in the White House basement by the layout of the brick,’’ Mickens said.
‘’Not long after that, the carriage house burned and the Old Ebbitt Grill was built. There are some interesting artifacts that you can see after restoration. There was a lot of things put in the tunnel before it was closed, or it may have been used for storage,’’ Agent Mickens said as we were looking at the pictures of the investigation.
‘’They used heavy white oak beams for support, the floor and the roof of the tunnel. They were sealed with pitch and pine tar to keep the water out. According to the information we found, they even back tamped and packed heavy clay to also act as a sealer around the structure as the digging progressed,’’ Agent Mickens said.
‘’The second tunnel was much newer – dug in 1979 – and was intended to be a secret underground shortcut for the President and White House officials to get to the subway system and away from Washington.“
‘’All of that ended with the attempt on Ronald Reagan and the realization that in the event of natural disaster or riots, the subway system would be congested and unusable. The Secret Service decided it was too risky to have an entrance into the basement of the White House. The tunnel was abandoned before completion and the end at the subway connection was filled with concrete,’’ Mickens said.
‘’The people in charge of the grounds and the historians want to relocate the gate fifteen feet to preserve the 1814 tunnel, and fill the 1979 tunnel with concrete slurry,’’ Agent Mickens said.
‘’I agree with that as long as there are no tours for the next twenty five years or so,’’ I said.
Andy called on VCATS from Polokwane. The groups of rebels that were slowly making their way from the south, that Polokwane security had been watching, were indeed part of the violent uprisings that were happening in and with coordination from the rebels’ groups in the Sudan. I ordered Andy to extend intelligence flights a hundred miles further and add the photography package on one of the planes for further assessment and put in place the necessary response.
The picture was grim in the areas as they made their way north. They were operating under a scorched earth policy – killing everyone and everything and then burning it to the ground for grievances of the past. The collective was demanding total control and ownership of everything to give to its followers and soldiers.
At 1700 we went over to the house for supper. Dad and Jake were eating with us and Mom, Mindy, Vicky and Marcy were going to watch the kids as the rest of us tried to finish putting the rest of the gold in the basement.
We had finished and just returned to the house when Eric called with an alert from Hawaii. At 1800 our time – 1100 their time – the thought to be dormant volcano erupted moments ago after an 8.5 earthquake.
The combination caused a large section of the island to slide into the ocean causing a massive tsunami with an alert issued to all the Pacific. The affected island was Molokai, twenty miles from Honolulu and just a few more from Maui.
The erupting gas and ash were rising to fifty thousand feet and more. All air travel was suspended due to the dangers from volcanic ash that was covering the islands and spreading. Ash was settling over everything. Pearl Harbor was not spared from the ash, with it over a foot deep on everything.
I ordered the Navy to abandon the base and send everything to sea – men and ships – to escape the ash and rock fall, if it was possible to do so. They were then to begin a search for those that may be alive in the water, although I doubted there would be many.
I ordered all Navy ships at Washington, California and Guam to sail to Hawaii to participate in the recovery operation. They were to leave the docks immediately – they were not to wait on crew members on leave, if there were enough manpower to run the ship. They were going on a rescue mission and not to war.
By the time they got there the ash and the eruptions should be greatly reduced and sadly enough, everyone that went into the sea would be dead and it would be a recovery operation.
FEMA was mobilizing a response but was waiting on reports from the USGS and the FAA as to when they thought it would be safe for aircraft to fly into the area.
The entire Hawaiian island chain was covered in falling ash. In some places reports were saying it was over a foot deep – and still falling in places – and visibility was limited to feet. The volcano was still erupting with rivers of lava flowing into the ocean and lava fireballs shooting hundreds, if not thousands of feet into the air.
My emergency management team was on the way for the first meeting at 1900. There would be no gold stacked tonight and I was also sure it would be a long night.
I went to the command center and started entering the numbers to get various departments on the screens and to get updates from Hawaii. Information was trickling in. Many civilian communication systems were down from the heavy ash interfering with the wireless signals.
The military communications were better from the emergency bunkers – they were with underseas cables to the mainland. I wondered why the civilian systems were so bad to the mainland; they were using undersea cables.
Then it occurred to me that many civilian communications immediately went to wireless systems to eliminate poles in a state where trees were a scarcity and underground communication were quickly adopted. Power cables were underground by necessity. Now after such a massive earth quake many buried cables were ripped apart and useless.
I spent from 1900 to 2300 in the command center with every agency head that had a part to play in the tragedy. The military had their orders and FEMA was ordered to get everything loaded on air freighters and pre-stage them to California for delivery as soon as the air cleared enough for planes to fly.
All agencies were to be at their offices by 0600 and online at 0800 for a conference meeting and a news conference. Troy notified the media of the news conference. It would be held in our big meeting room and televised from there.
By 2400 I was freshly showered and snuggled next to Marcie, feeling the baby move.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.