Book 3 Chapter 35

Book 3 Chapter 35

            There were startled faces all around the table as I stood and walked out into the hall. I leaned against wall waiting for the complete conversation.

            I listened while Vicky explained that Marcy, Jenny, Andy and the Special Ops team – including the Mossad ladies for added security – had left for Africa on the 737. They were going to the Congo and then to Gabon.

            ‘’Black and Bear have been working with the leaders of those two countries on logistics for pipeline security, it was a rush contract request. They contacted us a couple months ago. The talks weren’t productive at the time. We thought it was a dead end and a waste of time at the time. They don’t produce a terrible amount of crude by OPEC standards, but have steady production that the majors count on,’’ Vicky said.

            ‘’Three weeks ago, Boko Haram blew up one of their pipelines in each country and then killed the fire fighters and repair crews. Now they want millions a month for insurance to guarantee safety for the pipelines and crews,’’ Vicky said.

            ‘’Apparently, they contacted Emir Bello of Nigeria about pipeline safety knowing Nigeria had problems in the past; they also contacted President Garcia of Mexico,’’ Vicky said.

‘’They are wanting the complete package after the attacks. Forestry, right of way clearing, security for the pipelines. They understand about the possibility of collateral damage and the need for legal exclusions, judicial exemptions and aviation authorization,’’ Vicky said.

            ‘’I don’t like it that Marcy went this late in her pregnancy, even though you two have had all the shots. As you girls like to say, we pay people to do these kinds of things,’’ I said.

            ‘’They wanted to talk directly – face to face – with the executives, plus Jenny and Marcy needed to be there to finalize quickly changing costs and contract language. Both Andy and Paul Drake went for logistics and the security end,’’ Vicky said.

            ‘’Call the embassy teams in both countries to make sure they supply transportation and secure hotels if they have to stay overnight,’’ I said. As an afterthought, ‘’Have the embassy teams supply extra security,’’ I added.

            ‘’So, it is just Lorrie, Ching Lee and you running the show for a couple days then?’’ I asked.

            ‘’Ching Lee and me, along with a couple of her VPs are going to Rochester tomorrow for updates and review with Mayor Dorsey, Police Chief Johnston and Captain Peters on the College police force. We should be back by 1700,’’ Vicky said.

            ‘’Where is the meeting taking place and what time? If I am free, I will do a VCATS call to say hello,’’ I said.

            ‘’We are to be there at 0900 its to be held at the college security meeting room. Ching Lee ordered a big fancy catered meal for everyone to be delivered at 1200. There is a VCATS screen in that room with a new fancy broadcasting camera,’’ Vicky said then added,’’ There is to be an afternoon session for follow up and to tie up loose ends.’’

            ‘’OK, keep me informed please,’’ I said.

            I walked to the Oval Office and logged into the State Department alert system and looked at all the active alerts for Africa. I felt a little better after reading them. There were the alerts about the pipeline sabotage that took place three weeks ago. But there was nothing that was flagged as urgent in the last ten days.

            Then I went to the CIA broadcast alerts, again there was nothing; it seemed out of the way in the area.

            Just as I was closing them out, General Ingram asked if there was anything he could help with.

            I explained the trip the group was making and my feelings that I was not too keen on it.

            ‘’I think we have a carrier task force making port call visits in the area. Let me check on it and move it closer to the area,’’ General Ingram said.

            ‘’That could lead to trouble if a few in Congress found about it. Just let it go, they will be alright; they should have enough security. It’s that family thing, I am overly protective of them, ‘’ I said.

            One thing was for sure. Tomorrow the communications group was going to widescreen TV in my living quarters with a camera so I could attend the nightly planning sessions with the girls. I would end my day an hour earlier so I could sit in. Then I would go back to the Oval Office if I needed to, if not I would go to the gym. To hell with the ethics rules.

            I sent the request to the White House building engineer and instructions that I wanted to see him immediately. I was going to have the screen put in the Presidential den in the private end of the White House.

            Troy came into my office with a handful of papers, they were from the Justice Department. The DOJ was representing the administration in the suits to gain access to Hawaii. The first hearings were this morning. The court ruled against the groups trying to get access to Hawaii.

            The UN had scheduled a full chamber debate at the request of its scientific and environmental section, they were trying to apply pressure to gain access, even to the point of petitioning the world court.

            I was expecting reports from the Navy later today, the fleet should arrive back there some time this afternoon. The reports should cover a second look at all the military bases and the effects of the storm on them.

            I looked at all the pictures again that the spy plane had taken yesterday. I didn’t like a lot of things they showed. For one thing – at Hickman field and other air bases – they were now leveled where before the storm just sections were collapsed.

            That meant that any aircraft in them was now destroyed for sure, as well as parts and equipment.

            There were fifty or so armored and blast resistant hangars that so far, I had received no information on their condition or of the aircraft in them. I wondered if the earthquakes had caused them enough damage that access into them was not possible.

            Another issue was that with no power and no fuel to run the generators, could they even be opened manually after the ash was moved out of the way? I was reasonably sure that the doors weighed hundreds of tons in order to be blast resistant. All this resulted in more written questions to ask in the 0800 staff meeting tomorrow.

            I decided not to put any more thoughts into this until the reports from the Navy were in. I suspected it would be here tomorrow. I headed to my next meeting and it was about the Hawaiian survivors.

            It was a short meeting. Ten thousand of those that bad breathing problems had been released from the hospitals in the last couple of days. There were a lot more to go.

            The Navy report came over MTAC from the command carrier station keeping just a mile off Oahu. Troy and I with General Ingram listened to the to the report. It was being recorded so Kitty could put it into paper tomorrow.

            General Mitchell and General Emory, along with their staff, looking at the pictures taken today made a bleak assessment of both Oahu and the big island Hawaii. The underground living bunkers had water damage, a few with marginal flooding.

            The nuclear weapons storage was still dry – it should have been because it was designed for the worst. The nuclear weapons stored there would begin transferring to the carriers in a couple days after clearing some roads and other changes.

            In more bad news, Pearl Harbor had lost ten feet of depth or more in places to ash. Before any major ships could dock, it would have to be dredged. The rain in some places had washed ash into the harbor. The ash everywhere else in the blistering sun was turning into concrete.

            I asked that they do a physical assessment of all the airfields tomorrow and follow up with me. I also asked when they thought the bases could be restored and how long it would take.

            I asked about the condition of the Arizona and the memorial.

            ‘’I will have divers check it out tomorrow, but we think both have collapsed,’’ was the response.

            What to do with the Arizona had been under debate since Dec 7, 1941. After much debate it was decided to make it a Memorial to those that had died. As the years went by the internals of the ship were left untouched. Remote cameras were sent in at times to check on the condition of the ship.

Those cameras also revealed that there were thousands of artifacts which were still salvageable, but the condition of the ship was deteriorating. Since it was considered a war grave, law forbade anyone to enter and remove anything.

In my mind, if archaeologists and the world had no problem with them digging up ancient Egyptians and any other people, we could recover the remains of the men and the artifacts could be recovered to be placed in a nearby museum for eternity. If the ship had collapsed, all was lost forever and everyone knew sooner or later it would collapse. Even the Titanic was now just a flat pile of rusting steel. It was one more debate I would start immediately.

After the report, the general consensus was no one would be going back to the Hawaiian Island chain to live for decades if ever. I just didn’t see spending hundreds of billions of dollars that would be needed to dump the ash in the sea, when the volcanoes there had been erupting almost continually for decades.

            I left the meeting after telling the experts to start work on a policy directive for the prudent agencies to move public opinion and awareness in that direction. In other words, begin the government’s normal unofficial propaganda campaign by starting various news leaks.

Along with that, a memo would be sent out to all the temporary camps that held the victims informing them that return was not looking probable for decades – if ever – and the need to begin thinking about finding permanent housing and jobs.

I went to the gym and worked out until my Secret Service agents were exhausted and forced me to quit.

After a light supper, I did a long video call with Vicky and Ching Lee. Marcy, Jenny nor Andy had called back to the office. I was tempted to take Marine One and land at Morton, but the wind was blowing a gale and the Secret Service wouldn’t allow it.

            I read reports until 2200 then turned out the lights and went to sleep.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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