Chapter Twenty Two-Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight
The warm Georgia evening that was accompanied with a gentle sea breeze reminded Gary of other places, places where he savored the quiet times with his family. It was during the quiet times that Gary thought about Cathi, Ruthi and the life they once had. Gary smiled to himself thinking about the past, wondering how Ruthi would have looked at her High School graduation, or Cathi with the baby in her lap sleeping. These were manufactured memories that existed on the same level as Disney World; fantasy. None the less it felt good to dream. Looking up he saw the sky filled with stars, and he realized for the umpteenth time that he was really insignificant in the ‘Big Picture’…he was just one guy, on a small rock in space. Bowing his head, “God, I want to thank you for bring us down here safely. God, I need your help…we all need your help. Ruthi says that she has a ‘friend’ that’s helping us…maybe you could send a ‘whole bunch of friends’ to help us; God.”
As Gary was praying in his unorthodox manner, a thought came to him; he turned and went inside the house and to the back bedroom. Opening up one of the packs, he found what he was looking for and went back to the Living Room where the team and Rob were.
Gary had interrupted them in the midst of some conversation, where they all seemed in agreement about something. When Gary finally got their attention, the four team members and Commander Toland had strange looks on their faces; like a group of kids caught in the midst of some sort of deviousness.
All heads turned to him “What are you guys up too?”
“Nuthin Mistah Martin…nothing at all” Jefferson said
“Jefferson, you’d make a lousy poker player” Gary said as he smiled to his friend and then continued on his business. “Guys, I’ve got something I want you to see, let’s go to the Dining Room.”
As they were waling into the room Rob grabbed Gary by the sleeve and said “So, when did you plan on telling me?”
“I was going to tell you after this.” Gary looked at him and “There are so many unanswered questions Rob, I am hoping that we can make some kind of sense out of it all.”
Rob nodded and went into the Dining Room with the others. When everyone was in the Dining Room Gary motioned for them to sit. Gary turned and spoke to Lauren in the Kitchen “Lauren could you come here, please?”
Lauren came out wiping her hands with a cotton dish towel, and was followed by April.
“Lauren, I need your help...please have a seat.” After she sat with the SEAL’s, Gary set the letters and the snipers notebook he had taken from the dead spotter on the table.
“What’s this Martin?” Rob asked looking at the rubber banded stack of letters and the green wire bound small notebook.
“Rob, you look hungry…have some more elephant.” Gary said smiling to the unsmiling Commander. “Here are some letters that I got off of the spotter that I killed. You’ll see that they are from this Officer’s wife in Pakistan. What I would like for you to do is to read each one, pass it along, and when you have read them all…let’s talk about it. There is also the snipers record log of his kills.”
The group started to read the letters and snipers log as Gary went with April into the kitchen to make some food for everyone. April turned to Gary “You know they like you, don’t you?”
“What’s there not to like?” Gary shrugged his shoulders and made a cocky face at her, then wrapping his arms around her shoulders and turning serious “Are you doing alright?”
“I’m fine…” April looked at Gary “…can you believe that it’s only been a few days since this thing with us started…it seems like we’ve already lived a lifetime.” April kissed Gary “Come on let’s get this food out for these guys.”
“Not so fast, Miss Finney…” Gary held April and hugged her, no words, just a comforting physical touch. Speaking softly into her ear “…so, when this is over…if it ever is, will…uh…you…ah…”
April pulled back and looked at Gary with questioning facial expression “Will I...”uh”…what?” Emphasizing his inability to communicate clearly.
“…still want me around.” Gary asked sheepishly
April reached up and whispered back into his ear “forever…and not one day less.”
Gary and April smiled at each other knowing that they would, if they could get through this, have some sort of future together. It was still anyone’s guess as to what that future might be, but it would be a future.
Gary brought out a huge tray of steaming hot dogs with warm buns, April followed with condiments and glasses for ice water. Walking into the Dining Room they found everyone pouring over the letters and making mental notes as to what they read or suspected. As they were ready to start discussing the letters, Jack and his two Officer’s arrived along with the three man SEAL security team. The six men walked briskly into the house and met up with the others in the Dining Room.
“Welcome back Jack…so? Rob looked up at the Captain as he put down a letter he had just finished reading.
All eyes were on the Captain and his two Officers. Lauren put down her letter and got up to give her husband a hug. Gary and April stood behind the table as they just set the trays of food down for the ravenous SEAL’s. Jack looked at Gary “You were right, Martin…the West Virginia’s down.”
Gary looked at Jack and solemnly nodded, no words spoken.
Rob said “Sit down Jack, what did Admiral Brown say?”
Jack sat down as his Officer’s stood behind exhaling deeply “The Admiral didn’t sound enraged, if that is what you are looking for. I also met the two World Naval Force Investigators who will be heading up the inquiry, one is an Italian and the other is French.” Jack paused, grimaced and continued “They say that they’ll try to have some info for us before we leave, but Admiral Brown admitted that transiting the Rescue Buoy to Norfolk will be delayed due to weather.”
Gary who was standing in the background behind the table asked “What information would the rescue buoy have on it?”
“The Rescue Buoy is like the black box on an airliner. It has speed, depth, location and in-boat communications that type of information…” Jack thought for a moment “…the Admiral said that ‘The Sullivans’ is doing the pick up…”Jack looked at Arlen White and Ralph Stevens “…do any of you know anyone on ‘The Sullivans’?”
They both shook their heads no.
“What are you thinking Jack?” Rob asked
“I’m thinking that if we knew someone onboard that Destroyer, that maybe we could get a copy of the information that’s on the Rescue Buoy…” Jack thought again and continued “…if we could get that information, then we could have Popeye test a MK48…” Jack paused “…I just don’t trust them for the truth.”
“Why would you need to test the torpedoes Jack? I mean, if you know that they are sabotaged, why don’t you just take them off of the sub?” Gary asked
“It’s not as simple as that Martin. First of all, if we remove the MK48’s we remove any ability for self defense or option to attack another sub or surface vessel. It’s like the saying “Bringing a knife to a gun fight.” Jack continued “Our main defense is stealth. Heading out to sea without any other defense capability other than stealth, completely changes our mission profile. Now, the torpedoes themselves are pretty big, so it takes time and manpower to remove them…not to mention the fact that it will raise all kinds of red flags because no sub leaves port unarmed.” Jack thought for a moment “If they are truly sabotaged, and I believe that they are…” Jack paused for a moment “…then I can deal with that later…but I need to know now.”
“I think I know how we can get The Sullivans crew list…” Arlen said “…it’s probably on their ships website or at least on the Internet somewhere...” Arlen looked at Jack “…it’s worth a try”
“My computer is in the Rec room…” Jack looked at Gary “…I’m sorry let me introduce you to Gary.” Jack made the introductions with Arlen and Ralph.
“So you knew that the West Virginia was sunk, right?” Ralph asked
Gary nodded yes, but it was Rob that answered “That and other things…” Rob looked at Gary “…well Martin, don’t you think it’s about time?”
Gary, knowing what the Commander was referring to, looked at Rob and nodded yes. He then turned to Jack “Jack, these guys have nukes”
Jack didn’t think he heard Gary correctly, he thought he heard Martin say that they had nukes “Excuse me?”
“They have nukes…and they’re going to use one…” Gary paused “…at least I only saw one.”
Everyone in the room was stunned. The fear of nuclear weapons going off over you own cities is what our countries deterrence is based on. Mutual Assured Destruction or MAD. Drop a nuke on us and we incinerated you; that had worked for the past fifty years, it wouldn’t work now. Rob broke the silence. “You didn’t say anything about them using nukes Martin! You just said that they HAD them!”
Gary took a deep breath “Yesterday on our way down here, I was shown a nuke strike…” Gary paused as he began to recall as much information from the dream as he could “…it was on a town in the mountains out West somewhere. In the same way that I saw the attack on the Chinook helo, and was inside the West Virginia when it went down, I was there.” Gary paused again “It happens like this, a Global Hawk launches a Cruise Missile that has a 5 kiloton warhead. The town was completely destroyed.”
“Why didn’t you say anything before about this?” Jack asked while Rob, Arlen, Ralph and the SEAL’s nodded.
“Because you wouldn’t have believed me.” Gary looked at the group “The reason why I am here is to give you enough information, so you can believe, and by believing then maybe you can act.” Gary looked at Jack “Jack, Rob and his malevolent boys have made their choice as to which side they are on…whose side are you on?”
“What do you mean?” Jack recalled the conversation with Admiral Berkshire “I…hadn’t thought about it…” Jack stammered “…it’s different with us.”
“Well you need to think about it, because the people of this country are depending on you to think about it, and to choose…”Gary looked at Jack and the two Officers “…they’re murdering people Jack and dumping them into mass graves, and for whatever reason…and I haven’t figured it out yet, they want control of this country…” Gary paused and then continued “…they already have control of the population and control of the government…but they don’t have control of you…or us.” Gary looked at Jack as the SEAL’s and their Commander nodded yes along with Gary.
Jack nodded as he had just internally made his decision; he looked at Lauren; smiled and said “I’m with the people, Martin.”
“So are we, Jack…so are we” Rob said as the SEAL’s nodded in agreement.
“Now I’m glad that we are all on the same page, but we’ve got to find someone that can get us that Rescue Buoy information” Jack said as he turned and went in to the Rec Room with his two Officers. A quick moment passed and a loud voice came from down the hallway “ROB...what the hell happened in here?!” Jack stormed out to confront whoever busted up his personal space.
Rob’s eyes burned at Gary and then to Williams; the look said it all, he was pissed.
“Jack…it was my fault, I got a little carried away…” Gary started to explain as Jack came into the room.
“No sir, it was my fault…we were just…” Williams started to explain
Jack didn’t know who to rip apart, Williams or Martin.
“Suh…it was neith-ah Williams nor Mr. Martin…I was showing Jose…”
“Dohn you lie Cornbread…Sir it was my entire fault, no one else…”Jose spoke up
“Rob?” Jack admired the camaraderie between all of the SEAL’s and with his anger dissipating “We can’t take you guys anywhere can we?” Jack turned and went back into the rumpled Rec Room, as the brothers smiled at one another.
Arlen had logged onto Jacks PC and found many web sites on Destroyers and in particular The Sullivans. It took all of five minutes for XO White to retrieve a crew listing, which he printed. As the three men were looking at the printed crew listing, one name looked familiar, Bert Adams Jr., Ensign. “Do you think that’s Popeye’s son?” Arlen asked no one in particular
“You mean that old coot actually has family?” Ralph Stevens asked
“We’ll pay Popeye a visit in the morning, that’s for sure…”Jack said “…let’s see if we can find any information on their Skipper.” Jack moved Arlen out of the way and minimizing the screen, he opened another one, found the site he was looking for and logged on. Reading the list of names, he found the profile of The Sullivan’s skipper, Commander Richard Benson. “It looks like Commander Benson has an Iridium phone also.” Jack said as he saw the familiar prefix identifying the Iridium Satellite Cell phone. Opening his own Iridium phone and dialing he said “I hope he’s still up” I was getting late as Jack looked at his watch. The cell phone rang once and then went immediately to voice mail “Commander Benson, this is Captain Miller of the SSBN Nebraska, I need to talk with you immediately…it is of vital importance…when you receive this message, call me.” Jack left his number and hung up.
The others had made their way to the Rec Rom and stood by as Jack finished his one way phone message.
Ralph looked at Gary “Tell me about the nukes” Ralph Stevens was the Nebraska’s Weapons Officer and knew the Trident D-5 missiles and the MK48 torpedoes intimately.
“I was at an airbase in Pakistan somewhere. I know it was a military base because of the F-16 fighter jets that were on the tarmac. The Global Hawks were being refitted with cruise missiles. Evidently the original cruise missiles were conventional, but they were replacing those warheads with nuclear warheads. The guy that was doing the talking said that they had to run a test on the 5 kiloton weapons, as they were new. The 150 kiloton weapons he said were good to go, as were the 1 kiloton Enhanced Radiation weapons.”
Ralph took in the information “How many weapons did you see?”
“I saw three of the New Global Hawks; they each carry three cruise missiles…so that gives us nine missiles that can be in the air at once. I saw some of the cruise missiles on carts that were being worked on by the technicians; I couldn’t really say how many they have. He also said that they had another three Global Hawks being built for them.”
“Do you know where they got the weapons?”
“Iran, Pakistan and India” Gary answered
Jack looked at Ralph “ Well Skipper, the 150 Kt’s are very bad boys, you know that is the same throw weight that we have on the D-5’s…each one of those can knock out a decent sized city. The 5 Kt’s are more tactical, in that even though we are talking about a nuclear blast; they would be useful for taking out a military base or a smaller area.” Ralph paused “The Enhanced Radiation weapons, which we used to call ‘Neutron Bombs’ have incorrectly been portrayed as a bomb that kills people but not buildings. That’s just not true, there is a substantial blast, most likely it is an air burst, however, it is the heavy dosage of Neutron radiation that is what makes this weapon very tactical in nature. With this one, you can explode it over a base and return in a few months and go about your business, however it doesn’t’ have very large foot print.”
“The man doing the talking had said that it would be useful for taking over a submarine base…” Gary added
All minds were working as they realized that it was Kings Bay that was one of the prime candidates for this type of takeover. Rob broke the silence “Captain, it might be a good time for Lauren to take a trip”
“My guy ‘NASCAR Larry’ is at a motel right now, I’ll call him first thing in the morning. April, I want you to go with Larry to someplace secure.” Gary said and looking at Arlen and Ralph “…your families should go too.”
April and Lauren started to protest “We’re not going anywhere…we’re staying here with you guys.”
Jack responded “Not this time sweetie…remember you’ve got the baby.”
April and Lauren started their appeal. The Lower Court of Jack ruled no, as did the Appellate Court chaired by Gary, finally the SEAL Supreme Court shook their heads no in unison…the decision was final. April’s eyes filled with tears as she did not want to be apart from Gary, Lauren did the same for Jack.
As the group was starting to formulate the beginnings of a plan, the Miller’s house phone rang. Although their phone was a basic cordless model, the base was in the Rec Room while the handset was in the Kitchen. Lauren wiped her eyes and turned to get the handset. Returning to the room she answered it and held the phone out “It’s the Geek”
Gary and Rob walked over to Lauren and both held their hands out for the phone. Gary looked at Rob “It’s The Geek…my Geek”
Rob answered “Don’t play games Martin, it’s my Geek, although I don’t know why he’s calling me on this phone.”
“Whatever…” Gary stood back as Rob took the phone and “Toland” The voice on the other end spoke, Rob rolled his eyes and handed the phone to Gary “It’s your Geek.”
“Jon…I mean Geek, what’s up?” Gary realized that he was not on a secure line and needed to use the code phrases for security.
“Good evening Sir…I have some news, on that subject you asked me to research.”
“Hold on for a second” Gary looked at Jack “Does this thing have a speaker phone?”
“Yeah, sure, hold on” Jack went over to the base unit and pressed a button, allowing everyone to hear the conversation.
“Ok, Geek I’m back. We are on a non secure speaker phone…and there are lots of friends here.”
Jonathan’s voice came through the speaker “Sir, I found some information on the subjects…you asked me to research.”
“Well Sir, you were right on with your suspicions. It seems that there is more to this…ah product…than what they are telling us.” Jonathan paused to gather his notes. “This product has been in development for a number of years and was turned down for human consumption by the FDA five years ago.”
“Ok, let’s start from the beginning.” Gary said
“Yes Sir. The original product was developed by Applied Genetics Research as not only a “super food” with massive yields, but as a birth control device.”
“What!” Gary exclaimed as the majority of the group didn’t know what was taking place.
“Yes Sir, the genetic make up of the food is actually a birth control device…” Jonathan paused “…however, the actual results from the tests made this product unusable for human consumption.”
“You have the test results?” Gary asked
“Oh, yes Sir, I was able to…um…access certain areas of their computer system. The test results Sir, are quite revealing…” Jonathan paused “…out of all pregnant female animals tested, there was a 100% birth termination, and the males had a 75% sterility rate, which appears to be permanent.”
Gary hung his head down and took a deep breath; the group looked at each other, not really understanding everything what they just heard.
“What’s this on Jon?” Gary at this point didn’t care about the security issue, he wanted to talk plainly.
“CP-501, 502 and 503. By the way, Sir…the CP stands for Controlled Population.”
“Do you have hard copied proof of this?” Gary asked
“Oh, yes Sir.”
“Ok, listen…in a little while a guy is going to call you, he has the same name as you, understand? You are going to fax him those documents…” Gary paused “…you’ve done a damn good job son…I think this ties it all together” Gary said as he started to sever the phone connection.
“Sir…that’s not the whole story” Jonathan interjected
“No Sir…you see the product that’s in the…um…stores now, this was last year’s harvest...a seed crop, do you understand?”
“Yeah, I understand that”
“Well, that seed crop was so huge that the excess was sold off as food…it is in the process of being shipped, even as we speak.”
“It was bought by China and Russia Sir…” Jonathan paused as Gary put his hands on his head to calm down the pounding of the incredibly horrific news “…this is the worst, isn’t it Sir?”
“By far the worst” Gary took a breath “Thanks Geek…”
“Sir…I have some other information for you”
Gary closed his eyes as he didn’t think he could handle any more “Go ahead”
“That purchase you asked me to make Sir…well, I did it.”
Gary’s mood and demeanor changed instantly “You did...that’s GREAT!”
Jonathan continued “Sir, I hope you don’t mind…but I acquired some other funds and have started to make more purchases of the same type as well. Knowing who you are with and knowing what they might need, I purchased the place where they used to live.”
Gary tilted his head up and laughed “That’s great, it really is…it really is good news.” Gary smiled and looked at Lauren “Geek, I need you to acquire as much funds…by the way, exactly how much are we talking about?”
You could hear Jonathans smile through the speaker phone “Seven figures Sir”
“Wow!...ok, I need you to get together with your Mom and buy…” Gary looked at Lauren again “…diapers, formula and stuff like that for babies…as much as you can, ok?”
“Yes Sir. Oh, Sir?”
“Boys or Girls?”
Gary looked at Lauren who wide eyed thought that maybe Gary had some premonition as to the sex of their child. Gary shrugged his shoulders and said “Both” Lauren looked somewhat dejected. Gary changed the subject “What’s it like there now Geek?”
“Sir, there have been a lot of trucks moving into here, it seems like some sort of a unit moving in…maybe more…uh…Predators?”
“If you get a chance, maybe you can research that too.”
“Right Sir…hope to see you soon.”
“You will, stay safe ok?” Gary’s joy with the purchase of the Finney’s property blew out like a candle in the wind as the reality of the deadly crops came into his mind. The entire group was silent and on the verge of talking at once, Gary spoke first “It seems that our ‘little problem’…just went international.”