The building was totally secure, not an inch of space either airspace or physical was unaccounted for. It was one of the inner sanctuaries of the Chairman, one of the few places within the world where he could conduct his business without worry of electronic surveillance or attack from an enemy.
This part of the building was constructed in concentric circles, each with continuingly enhanced security. It was within the center of the building that the Chairman’s office was located. The doors on this level were made from with a steel core overlaid with layer of reactive armor hidden by a thin veneer of wood paneling. These doors separated him from the corridors which lead to his office. The walls were over engineered, over three feet thick, and two inch rebar spaced every six inches. The floor and the ceiling were the same.
The only way to access this floor was with an elevator key and a pass card. All the offices on this floor were empty save two. These offices were connected by concealed door hidden by faux bookcase filled with leather bound books. A man simply named Samuel sat at his desk positioned in front of the bookcase in the first office.
He sat positioned so he was facing away from the rear wall. His desk faced another set of secure doors that opened into the long hallway leading to the offices. On his computer screen he had access, through a well placed security cameras positioned above the hallway doors and along the hallway’s doors, to observe any visitors or appointments for the Chairman. The screen displayed an image of a lone man was walking towards his office.
Samuel calmly reached with left hand towards the camera control to zoom in on the man’s face, while his right hand reached under the desktop for the riot shotgun mounted there. When he could recognize the face of the man walking down the hall he took his right hand off the shotgun and continued working on the paper work in front of him.
When the man completed his long walk from one set of doors to another, he had to pause to swipe his id card through the card reader mounted on the doorframe near the doorknob. The card reader buzzed briefly, indicating that he had access to enter. He walked up to Samuel’s desk and placed a file folder in Samuel’s in box and turned to leave the office without saying a word. All the Chairman’s files were color coded so he could easily determine the level of urgency. The folder which now sat on the top of the in pile was marked red. This one was urgent; he wanted to preview the contents. Even the paper contained inside the folder was color coded along the edges. Samuel skimmed the first few paragraphs and then pressed a button for the intercom.
He closed the folder as he spoke into the intercom. “Sir a level one report has just been delivered,” he said clearly and calmly.
“Please bring it in,” said the chairman.
Samuel again reached under the desktop. This time he reached for the two switches in a recessed opening. He flipped both switches simultaneously; these activated the electromagnets in both doors at either end of the hallway, thereby locking the corridor doors. This was to ensure that no one came into the office while he was not present. He stood and walked to a door that now appeared from behind a bookcase that was sliding out of the way. As he reached the door he heard the door click as its locking device was deactivated. Samuel walked into the chairman’s office and handed over the file with Jack Boggs’s report. The Chairman slowly read over the report. When the Chairman had finished reading the report he walked over to the fireplace and tossed the report into it. The special paper flashed into flames.
The Chairman cursed. After a moment he directed his attention back to Samuel and spoke softly “Samuel. I would like you to contact the members of the committee and have them gather at our office in New York City for a meeting at 2 p.m. tomorrow. I’d also like you to call on Senator Miles and see if he is free to meet with me around 1 p.m. tomorrow. And last, I need you to have Mr. Boggs contacted in the morning. Have him investigate what the Marines are planning to do.”
Onboard the USS Jackson, General Woods got up and walked around the conference table. He picked up some of the aerial photos which were taken from the ill-fated XSR-28’s mission and looked at them. There were notes printed on the color photos. He sat the still photos down and then he took a long look at the maps. Some of them were topographical. Others were made from satellite photos taken prior to the outbreak of hostilities with China. Some were more recent. All had notes indicating certain items of interest. Eventually he reached for the Five Paragraph Order written by Captain Mclean. General Woods continued to walk around the table glancing back at the aerial photos and the maps of the area Captain McLean’s team would be possibly reconning.
Captain McLean had done an excellent presentation thought the general. His choice of entry and extraction points were in good locations; logistically the man’s plan made sense.
“Your men call you Diesel, right?” asked the general as he took a seat.
“Yes sir,” was his reply
“I hear it on good authority that you have turned down or had the paper work misplaced or rerouted on several citations and awards for yourself. Then I have also heard that you are a son of a bitch when it comes to getting something for your men.
“I also know your men admire you because you lead from the front. I have watched you push them and yourself beyond the breaking point, yet you and they keep going. I understand that’s why the men call you diesel. Do you mind if I called you Diesel?” asked the general.
The general picked up and quickly reread the Five Paragraph Order.
“That was a good brief Diesel. I see you want to use Operation Whirling Dervish as a cover to get your men in to the Chinese’s backyard. Why?”
“Sir, I want to use the confusion that Whirling Dervish will cause to cover the flight that drops the platoon off,” replied Diesel.
“I see,” stated the General. He continued “According to this you want to use just three squads, your entire first platoon plus one intelligence man. That’s what, 55 men, three of which are medics. Is that correct?”
Diesel looked to a point directly over the General’s head before answering. “Sir that is correct sir. I plan on covering the major traffic areas of the base and adjust accordingly sir.”
“How soon can you be ready to go?” asked the General.
“Sir, Third Squad is inbound now. We can be ready to go after they go through medical check. Sir, call it 24 hours from now.” Diesel did not like the delay they would encounter, but he knew that the new policy was to ensure the health and welfare of the men he commanded. He also wanted the men rested up in case they ran into complications.
“Understood,” replied the General.
The general took a sip of water from his glass before continuing. “I see you plan on humping in a lot of beans, bullets and band aids; do you think this is wise?”
“Sir, I do. There is less chance that the enemy will know we are there if we carry in what we need, than risk a re-supply flight giving away our presence do to some error,” stated Diesel matter of factly. He knew that it meant more for each man to carry, but the load would diminish over time and if they ran into trouble before extraction, the men could always forage from the land.
Big Rig was also present for the meeting and was standing to one side of the room. He spoke for the first time. “I noticed that you have selected six extraction points at this time, why?” he asked.
“I’d like to know your reason for that also,” added the general.
“I selected those sites due to the fact that we don’t know what the enemy has in place or where the men will be located should the need for us to extract should arise. Depending on where the men are they can head for the closest one. They reform and move out from there.”Diesel said to defend he reason.
“Okay. Thank you, I can tell you put a lot of thought into the brief and it shows. I’ll send this off to the boys and girls at the Pentagon,” The general said as he got to his feet with the folder containing Diesel’s plan.
“Thank you sir.”
“I’ll let you know if the mission gets approved. Now get the hell out of here.”
“Yes sir,” said Diesel as he took a step back and crisply did an about face. He left the conference room, quietly shutting the door behind him.
Diesel hoped that the folks at the asylum would approve the plan as it stood. He couldn’t help but wonder what the Chinese were up to with what may be ground penetrating radar. He hoped that he and his men would be finding out soon enough.