Chapter Twenty Five-Invitations To The Party
The sapphire blue Ford pick up truck slid into one of the many available parking slots. The driver, Troy Graham exited the vehicle and slammed the door behind as he took long quick strides to the front of the Sonar Testing Facility. Entering the building Graham glanced at the signed reminders to turn off cell phones and any other electronic devices, Graham complied as he walked into the control room.
Inside the control room the sailor turned as he felt more than heard the door open. Looking up from the beginnings of his daily routine and turning down the volume on his massive boom box. “Morning Graham, what’s up dude?”
“Good morning Willy, did I get a fax?” Graham said to Petty Officer Second Class William “Willy” Jackson, Sonar Technician.
“Yeah, it came through a little while ago; check the pile on your desk.” Willy pointed to the small space Graham was using.
Graham had occupied a small desk next to the huge control panel, which if you didn’t know where you were, would resemble the control panel of a recording studio. Graham read the fax from Jonathan and took a deep breath and nodded his head silently in understanding. Graham sat down, unlocked the Pelican box where his goodies were stored, removed then connected his laptop and began to check email and look for any news that would influence their task. Graham looked forward and saw inside the glassed main studio a MK48 ADCAP torpedo lying on a covered cart. The MK48 is huge, almost 20 feet long and weighs slightly over 3,400 pounds with 650 pounds of the total weight being the explosive warhead. The studio itself was covered inside with gray sound deadening material similar to foam egg crate material. Graham felt a little uneasy at being so close to the defective green tipped monster inside. Rising, Graham closed his laptop computer and replaced it in the aluminum case, then started to leave.
“Where you off to today, bro?” Willy asked
“I’m heading over to the Nebraska…” Graham looked at Willy’s boom box “…nice toy you got there Willy.”
Willy grinned at Grahams compliment “Set me back almost two months pay. This is the closest thing to being there. It plays not only CD’s but also MP3’s with almost exact reproduction…” Willy looked at Grahams dull olive green aluminum Pelican case “…you got some nice toys in there too don’t you, bro?”
“SEAL’s get the best toys Willy…” Graham said smiling “…what are you doing with the MK48?”
“Just routine stuff; sonar check, pump jet check, guidance wire check, that kind of thing...” Willy paused for a moment “…you know how Popeye is with his MK48’s; besides anything more complex than this then it will have to go back to the contractors.”
Graham smiled at the mention of Popeye. “You be careful with that bang stick, ok?” With that said Graham left the building and remembering to turn on his cell phone started the truck. Graham’s phone buzzed with a message indicating a voice mail message. It was from Jefferson asking him to bring a couple Iridium Satellite cell phones with him to the Nebraska. Graham made a quick return trip to the control room and took out two cell phones and their portable power connectors, then left for the Nebraska after placing each one in the trucks power port for a quick recharging.
The Miller house was buzzing with activity as April and Lauren packed and the SEAL’s finished their showers. Gary sat at the kitchen table writing out what he thought the missions would be, everything was pretty straightforward until he came to the role Jack and the Nebraska would play. This mission stopped Gary dead in his tracks, pausing to think it through, he penned his thoughts. Taking each mission profile and his available maps, he folded and pocketed them. Finally, Gary took another sheet of paper and began to write his speech. Gary went through five or six sheets of paper before he had what he felt was an acceptable message.
Jefferson also thought about what they would need “We need to head to the base, Suh.”
Gary looked up “To the Nebraska?”
“Fust we need to go to the armory…I need to pick up a few things…” Jefferson smiled “…then we’ll head over to the Nebraska.”
Gary sat with his hand on his forehead as if he had a headache. “We are not going to be able to get this done JT…” Gary looked at Jefferson “…we need more guys…plain and simple.”
Jefferson also knew they were severely undermanned, yet he put his best SEAL face on “Suh, we will do the best we can…we won’t fail.”
“Jefferson don’t give me any of that rah-rah-cis-boom-bah bull, ok? We need shooters…so let’s think about where we can get some, ok?”
Jefferson nodded reluctantly “Aye Suh.”
The team used two cars on the drive to Kings Bay Submarine Base; the drive was short and uneventful. As they were checked and passed through the gate Gary asked “What about some of these Marines?”
Jefferson acted as if he ignored the question and continued the drive to the other side of the base where the Armory was located. The Armory was a non-descript concrete blocked building that had a buzzer on the front door, similar to a pawn shop or gun store. Jefferson and the others pressed their ID’s to the front glassed door and were buzzed through. Entering the Armory, the smells of paint and weapon cleaning solvents permeated the air. Gary smiled as the familiarity of the aroma hit him. Standing behind a chain link counter Gary saw the largest man he had ever seen. Todd Williams was a large man, but this Marine was huge. The Marine started at the SEAL’s with distain and especially the civilian Troublemaker.
“Your ID…sir” The unsmiling Marine asked Gary
“I don’t have any ID.” Gary said
“He’s with us Marine” The SEAL’s chimed in. The tone of their word ‘Marine’ was strained and Gary felt that it wouldn’t take too much for a fight to start.
Gary turned and looked at the team with a stare that said ‘Back down’. The men did just that. Now the Marine was confused at this civilian giving SEAL’s unspoken commands, and they obeyed.
Jefferson spoke first as he handed the Marine Sergeant a slip of paper that amounted to a gun lovers fantasy list. “Sar-ghent we need some supplies.”
The Marine Sergeant looked at the list and repeated the items “2,000 rounds 5.56 ammo, 100 twenty round magazines, 2 cases each frag and incendiary grenades, 20 pounds C-4 and detonators, M-21 rifle with 400 rounds match ammo and 20 magazines...”the Marine paused “…I can do everything except the M21. All of the M21 sniper rifles are being rebuilt now.” The Sergeant left to retrieve the items on the list.
Gary looked at Jefferson and the team “What about them?” ‘Them’ meaning the Marines; which he didn’t receive an answer after asking the same question previously.
“Suh…they-ah Mah-rines.” Jefferson said Marine in a condescending manner, as the others nodded in agreement.
“Look you guys, you better put this crap behind you, understand?...” Gary stared at his team “…unless I miss my guess, they are still Americans, and this country is as much theirs as it is ours…” Gary looked each member directly in the eye and got their reluctant agreement.
“It’s your call, Suh…you try to convince him.”
The Marine Sgt had returned and picked up part of their conversation, he stood behind the counter stone faced. “Convince me of what?” The Sgt said coolly.
Gary stepped forward “Sergeant, we are in need of some able bodied men. There is a ton of crap coming down the pike, and frankly we need some help…” Gary looked at the Marine and pressed on “…what I’m going to do Sergeant is give you a five minute briefing on what’s going on, alright?”
The Marine nodded yes
Gary talked to the Sergeant and after about three minutes it was apparent that there was no emotion at all from the Marine. Gary couldn’t tell whether this man understood the situation or was just paying dumb; as there was nothing at all coming from the man. Gary stopped his explanation and looked him in the eyes “Do you understand what I am saying?”
The Marine nodded yes
“Aren’t you going to say anything?”
The apathetic Marine looked at him and took a deep breath. “What do you want me to say?”
Gary looked at the massive Sergeant “You know something, you’re attitude tells it all…”Gary was visibly angry “…I’ll tell you something pal, if you’re married and have kids, you better tell them its time to take a trip and get away from this base…” Gary turned to Jefferson and the others “Fuck it, let’s get out of here.” Gary was pissed at the seemingly unconcerned attitude of the soldier and led the group as he stormed out of the armory. Williams and the others signed for the ordinance, picked up the gear and followed.
Once outside the armory and in the parking lot Jefferson said “Suh, do you see what I mean? Dem Marines, even though they is good fightin men, they just don’t think like we do.”
“They bleed like you…don’t they?” Gary was unmoved by Jefferson’s explanation. The crates of ammo and grenades were fairly heavy and the men started loading them into the weapon and gear filled trunks. As they were rearranging the trunk space two other cars pulled into the lot carrying Rob and his four SEAL’s. They needed to do a little shopping also.
Rob walked up to Gary and handed him a foil packet with their Encompass chips in them. “Well, how’d it go inside?” Rob asked
“Good from the standpoint that we got re-supplied, but I tried to explain the situation to this Marine and got nowhere with him.”
“That’s not surprising. I was thinking the same thing…” Rob took a deep breath “…we need more men.”
“I drew up separate plans for the missions; this is as I see them. After you get your supplies, why don’t we meet at the Nebraska and go over them?”
Rob nodded yes and as he began to walk to the front door of the armory, they all noticed two soldiers coming towards them. The two soldiers were text book examples of physical fitness. The larger of the two was the Sergeant from inside the armory and the slightly smaller one was an officer. The pair looked like the military version of Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dee.
The officer who was a Major, spoke looking at Gary “You must be the old man that’s spreading fairy tales, and trying to cause trouble with my men.”
“Old man?!” Gary started to step forward and was immediately snagged on the left by Goldberg and on the right by Williams, who pulled him back as the other SEAL’s stepped forward blocking him and taking an intimidating stance towards the Major and his Sergeant.
“Major! I guess I didn’t get the memo...” Rob stood in front of the team and stared directly at the Major. “..You know the memo that says it’s OK to address a superior officer without a salute.”
The Major looked at Rob and complied with a reluctant salute.
Rob returned his salute and continued “Commander Rob Toland, SEAL Team 2…or what’s left of it…” Rob looked at the Major’s name tag and continued “Major Simmons…this ‘old man’ is here to help you. Let him talk.”
Major Simmons and the Sergeant looked at Gary who elbowed his way through Williams and Goldberg. “Major…Sergeant, I’m Gary Martin…”Gary extended his hand and the Marines half heartedly shook it “…I am going to give you a five minute summary of what’s going on. At the end of this summary, if you want to help…or walk away, that’s your choice.”
“Fair enough” Major Simmons said
“Before I start, where are your men Major?”
“My men?” The Major paused “They’re here.”
“That’s not what I mean…where are the men you trained with?”
Major Simmons looked around and hesitated.
“It’s ok Major…where are they now?”
Major Simmons took a deep breath “They are in Kazakhstan, Somalia and Zimbabwe.”
“And just what are they doing there?” Gary asked a question he knew the general answer to.
Major Simmons paused and answered somewhat quietly “I don’t know what the exact mission is for Kazakhstan or Zimbabwe…but in Somalia, they are distributing food.”
Gary continued “Distributing food…fine job for Marines, huh?” Gary looked at the Major and then to the Sergeant, whose name tag read Boltz. Using his thumb, he gestured over his shoulder to the SEAL’s. “These guys are split up all over the world too. Special Forces being used as game wardens and God knows what else they were trained NOT to do.” Gary paused “Major…Sergeant, this has been set up from the beginning…” Gary took a breath “Here’s the story…” Gary spent the next five minutes briefing both men on the recent past. Using his fingers to emphasize, he enumerated the UN assimilation and take over, mass graves and murders, the Encompass chips, the Predators, the sabotaged torpedoes on US Subs and the poisoned food. Gary left out the nukes temporarily. “Any questions?”
Sgt Boltz spoke up “Yeah…why did you say that I should have my wife and kids leave the base?”
“Because they now have nukes and Kings Bay is a target.” The paused silence was deafening as the two Marines tried their best to process all of the information. Gary continued. “Now, my four guys and I are headed over to the Nebraska…we’re going to have our chips removed…” Pausing as he looked at each soldier “…if you want to help we need ten good men. That’s ten shooters…men that have ‘been there and done that’…”
Goldberg spoke to the Major “Major, you look familiar…where have I seen you before?”
“I’ve been in a number of places…”
Goldberg interjected “Were you ever at the Ivory Coast?”
The Major nodded yes. “I ran a blocking force for a joint SEAL and Marine hostage rescue operation.”
“I was one of the SEAL’s in that operation…”Goldberg looked at Gary “…Mr. Martin, the Major has definitely ‘been there and done that’.” Turning back to the Major. “The Ivory Coast was a real bitch wasn’t it sir?”
The Majors eye grew wide as he remembered that operation “It sure as hell was.”
“Major, I know what I’ve told you is really hard to take in. I would love to explain all the details to you, but we are running out of time…you should meet us at the Nebraska too…” Gary paused then added “…By the way, we leave at 3pm today. Tell your men to wear civilian clothes…pack their cammies and have everything in their packs or bags, so that if any civilian, or Blue Hat, sees us they won’t get suspicious…”Looking very serious “…Major there won’t be any re-supply…no air support…no naval support…just us trying to save 300 million Americans…” Gary smiled “…can we count on you?”
“I’d be really pissed if I wasn’t invited to your party.” The Major smiled as did Sgt
Boltz. “You SEAL’s aren’t going to keep all of the fun to yourselves this time.”
The teams and commanders laughed at the Majors comments. Joining up with their two Marine comrades Robs group started towards the armory. It was evident as they walked and talked that the two Marines were asking questions. The Sgt stopped after receiving an answer to one of his questions and turned to look at the Troublemaker. The SEAL’s detailed Gary’s recent past…the Marine was impressed.
The Command Center at World Naval Force Headquarters, formerly known as Norfolk, was a large room filled with multi-national UN officers reading and monitoring computers, electronic messages and printed communications for the surface, air and submarine fleet in the Atlantic. It is here that COMNAVSURFOR, COMNAVAIRFOR and COMNAVSUBFOR combined and became simply the World Naval Forces. The command from The Sullivans to the Seahawk helicopter was monitored, noted and passed on.
Antonio Baroni and Pierre Martinique looked over the shoulders of the officers monitoring surface communications. The pair of UN Naval Force Officers were detailed to examine, investigate and report on the disappearance of the West Virginia, even though their conclusion was preconceived. Both were concerned with the delay of receiving the Rescue Buoy.
“Why did he order the helicopter back?” Baroni spoke quietly to Martinique
“I don’t know…” Turning to one of the UN soldiers “…Get The Sullivans on the line.”
The UN soldier turned to his screen and speaking through his headset started the communication to The Sullivans.
Moving southeast at top speed The Sullivans sliced through the rolling green sea easily. Destroyers are nicknamed, the greyhounds of the sea and The Sullivans truly lives up to that moniker as she was making almost 35 knots and wasn’t even breathing hard.
Still on the aft deck and trying to process the information given to him by the Nebraska’s Captain, Commander Benson saw in the distance the approaching Seahawk. Opening a small box that was attached to the wall next to the aft deck, he took out a phone and called the bridge “Prepare for Helicopter arrival.” The command was broadcast throughout the ship and passed down to the engine room who reduced power; slowing the sprinting greyhound to approximately 15 knots. Sailors who had responded to the command started filling the aft deck to prepare for the Seahawks landing.
The phone rang and Ensign Adams answered. Turning to Commander Benson “Sir, you’re needed on the bridge”.
Commander Benson left as the helo flared for it’s landing with Ensign Adams following. Arriving on the bridge, Commander Benson was greeted with questioning looks as the Communications officer held out a handset for him “Sir, it’s Norfolk…I mean…it’s The World Naval…” He didn’t get the entire title out before Commander Benson took the phone.
“Commander Benson, who am I speaking to?” Dick Benson’s tone wasn’t insolent just abrupt.
The voice on the other end of the phone paused as he patched his connection to another phone. “Commander Benson I am Commander Baroni, World Naval Force Investigator…’ pausing to allow for the communications to pass through the satellite system “…what is the problem with the Helicopter?…we need that Rescue Buoy.”
Dick Benson looked at the handset, surprised and yet somewhat expectant. “Commander, when the helo left, there was a large pool of hydraulic fluid on the helipad. I made this decision, as we all know the importance of that Rescue Buoy…” Pausing momentarily “…I want as much as you do…for the Rescue Buoy to arrive safely.”
The handset was quiet as Baroni conferred with his counterpart. “How long do you think this will take, Commander?”
“If it is a minor problem, then we should be underway in about an hour. If it is more than that, then we’ll have to get parts flown over from the Reagan…you do know that we don’t carry parts on this ship?” The last part of Commanders Bensons statement was insolent.
“Very well Commander…we will trust your judgment.”
Commander Benson handed the phone back to the Comms officer and spoke to the now staring sailors. “I want a closed Bridge and I want the Wardroom here, NOW!” The ‘Wardroom’ is a term used to label the top officers on a ship or submarine. The enlisted sailors stepped off of the bridge as the officers and the top enlisted man, Chief of The Boat Simonowski entered. The bridge was now off limits as this impromptu meeting started.
The sailors standing on the deck outside the bridge saw the officers through the green tinted glass. They saw their officers faces go blank and then saw the same men get visibly angry. Muffled voices which only could come from yelling in anger came through the enclosure…the enlisted men knew that something was up…and it didn’t look good.
Standing in the Command Center, Baroni finished his conversation and handed the phone back to the technician. Looking over at his UN counterpart “They’re playing games with us.”
“Do you think they know?” Pausing momentarily “What do you want to do?” Martinique asked
Baroni rubbed his chin in thought, it was as if they were playing a chess game with an unknown opponent. “Let’s look at who we have in the area…” Baroni and Martinique went to another computer screen. This monitor showed four green egg shaped symbols off of the Mid Atlantic coast past the edge of the Continental Shelf “…we have four Kilo’s here; however, they are not in a position to do anything to The Sullivans…for now.” Pausing and turning to the French Naval officer, Baroni spoke very quietly “After they deal with the Nebraska…then they can have The Sullivans...and the rest of this emasculated fleet.”
Martinique nodded and smiled “General Santana will need to know this.” Martinique went to another telephone in a corner of the Command Center and placed a call to the General.
In the West Wing of the White House and sitting in the same chair that Presidents of past administrations used, Secretary General Santana was deep in thought and pleased with the success of their plans. His personal Aide Kendai Obama answered the buzzing phone and placed the caller on hold as he introduced him. “General, it is World Naval Force Investigator Martinique, for you sir.” Obama handed the phone to the General.
“Pierre, is everything ok?”
“General, there have been some developments regarding the device from that unfortunate submarine accident.” Martinique didn’t know if there were others listening and spoke in generalities.
“The destroyer has recalled the helicopter that was taking the device to the carrier Reagan. I spoke with the Commander of the destroyer and he said that there was hydraulic fluid on the flight deck and that’s why he recalled the aircraft.”
The General paused momentarily to process this information. “What are your thoughts Pierre?”
Martinique paused as he searched for the right words. “Sir, I think that the Commander is not being honest…I am concerned about this development.”
“I see…” pausing again “…what are our options?”
“At this point not much sir…” Martinique didn’t want to be on the receiving end of the Generals anger “…our assets are positioning themselves for our ‘friends’ arrival tomorrow…after that, they will be free.”
“Very well, thank you Pierre. For now let’s stay with the original plan, once our ‘friend’ has been dealt with; then you can free up our assets to deal with our other ‘friends’. If there are any changes I will be in contact with you.” General Santana hung up the phone and turned his attention to his trusted aide. “It seems that we have some potential problems.” The General went over to a large world map and pondered his move.
“Sir, is our ‘test’ still on for tonight?” Obama asked
The General thought for a moment. “Obama, if you were to bring a group of aircraft across the ocean, where would you bring them in at?”
Obama traced his finger across from Europe to the Mid Atlantic states. “Here sir.”
“Right, and that’s where they would also be expecting us…so let’s change the flight path…” The General thought again “…lets have them fly southwest to Nigeria and then across to Venezuela. Once in Venezuela they can refuel and come up through the Gulf of Mexico…” Pausing and then looking at his aide. “…How many Global Hawks do we have that are fully armed and ready to go?”
“Four sir, not counting the Global Hawk we have ready for tomorrows mission…as you know General, that Hawk isn’t armed with nuclear weapons, just air to air missiles…” Obama looked at his General “…Sir, this detour will set our ‘test’ back for tonight.”
“I know it will Obama...” The General smiled as his plan wasn’t thwarted, just slightly postponed. “…I would rather have them arrive safely; rather than run into one of the Reagan’s fighter aircraft…” Again with the smile “…by the way, what do you estimate the Reagan’s Battle Group strength at?”
Obama smiled at the brilliance of the previous six months preparation “Sir, I would estimate they are at less than 50%. Since we…um…’convinced’ them to dispose of ‘expired’ ordinance, and haven’t re-supplied them, I would say that the Reagan and her whore fleet…is ripe for the plucking, sir.”
“Excellent…call the air base and let them know of the plans alteration.” General Santana was now in a very good mood. The plans for his enemy were almost completed, and he moved his game pieces at will. He thought to himself that within a week it would all be over.