Chapter Seventy Seven IV
I love it when you beat me up.
Susan reads the story off the New York Times online, NYPD Busts Major Drug Cartel.
“A Turkish drug cartel with Taliban connections was arrested in the process of setting up shop in an uptown apartment currently being renovated. The owner has been questioned and released. The unnamed company offered to lease the gutted space for six months, allegedly to store records and furniture near where they claimed to be opening new permanent offices.
How the NYPD uncovered the scheme is unclear, Detective Bryce Masters said only, “Hard work following up a tip from an observant citizen. We ask all New Yorkers to look for anything unusual or suspicious behavior. One New Yorker did, we are in their debt. Subsequent weeks of surveillance netted several million dollars worth of dangerous and illegal substances now impounded, saving who knows how many lives.”
Masters said he could not reveal the source of the tip, concern about potential retaliation. Nor would he elaborate on how the drugs got into the country and delivered to an upscale apartment building in Manhattan.
When asked about the Taliban connection he refused to comment specifically, “We are in constant contact with Homeland Security, the DEA, Immigration and the FBI. More detail could compromise security operations.”
“They did a great job,” I don’t mention that The New Jersey operation went with such military precision it didn’t even make the news. I also don’t mention that it was Nikko that started the ball rolling, or that we had anything to do with any of it.
Chris, “How do people with known Taliban connections get here in the first place?”
Janah deflects the curiosity, “Maybe they didn’t know about the connection until after the arrest. They were tipped off about a suspicious operation, they did what they were supposed to do, follow up, and caught some big fish as a result. We’ll probably never know. If they are Taliban related, the Turks will be in Guantanamo by tomorrow, maybe already there.”
Chris, “Scary that these people are wandering around the US. These can’t be the only ones.”
Janah, “It’s a new uglier world. I’d repeat the Thomas Jefferson quote that ‘the price of liberty is eternal vigilance,’ except I don’t grasp how having to be eternally vigilant is liberating. Sounds like justification for a big army to me.”
Susan, “Then how does a country protect itself and its citizens?”
“As long as there are nations, religions and so-called cultures, there will be some mullah, priest or politician trying to keep people scared. Then show them that only they, as political leaders or agents of God, can protect them.”
Chris, “That’s the way of it.”
Janah, “When we act out of fear, we get the consequences, anger and retaliation. You’re right, it isn’t going to change anytime soon. We send young men and women into wars we don’t need to be in, then use their deaths as a reason to continue the futility. How many times have you heard the illogical rationale that ‘our soldiers gave their lives for this, so we are obliged to continue so they won’t have sacrificed for nothing.’ That is the height of irrationality, keep getting people killed because it justifies the stupidity of sending soldiers to die in the first place?”
Chris, “People buy into it. They don’t want to believe their sons and daughters died for nothing.”
“Yet, that’s exactly what they did. Died for nothing.”
Susan, “You aren’t going to have many pals in the military community.”
“Many military families already know it, in their hearts. And, who knows, maybe I’m the biggest hypocrite of all. There’s plenty of blood on my hands.”
Chris, “You help people in trouble. You don’t start wars.”
“The government could make the same case. Saddam Hussein was murdering people left and right, and supporting terrorism. It wasn’t necessarily wrong to take him out, Daphne and Nikko take out psychopaths all the time. Unfortunately, the US government didn’t grasp the consequences. They knew there were ancient ethnic rivalries, but they didn’t stratagize the next step. They assumed the US presence would be welcomed as heroes, despite Bush’s father trying to tell him there was a reason we pushed Iraq back from Kuwait, but didn’t go further. Anyway, I don’t want to get into geopolitical stupidity. We have enough stupidity on our plate right here.”
Susan, “I take that to mean you are going to continue to deal with good old psychos right here in the USA.”
Janah, “My childhood incident, and the things I’ve seen subsequently, won’t allow me to just ignore it. I know it’s how life is. Some victims should have chosen better, or escaped, or gone to the police. I know all that too.”
Nikko, “Nikko is not ignoring any psychos. Daphne, as a Shaolin, has vowed to put herself in danger to protect life. Further rationalization is pointless.”
Susan smiles, Nikko has closed the discussion in her Nikko way, Susan changes course, “So, what’s new at the temple?”
“Running like an atomic clock. Master Kahn is still thriving as Gung Fu Master. He’s got three skilled masters helping, a strong cadre of disciples. It’s still intense and there are still more applicants than we can accept. We refuse to train part-time students. They must be accepted into the order and live at the temple, we are the only Shaolin temple left that doesn’t teach gung fu to non-residents.”
Janah, “It is the tradition at our monastery, all in or all out. No in between. Tradition is not a justification. We do it because total immersion is the best way for us. Daphne did the same thing with Nikko. I don’t think anyone can doubt her total immersion into martial arts.”
Chris, “Hardly. By the way, are you guys off for a while....from trips?”
Janah, “Yes. The Society is working on something, but it’s too soon to insert Social Workers.”
Chris, “So can I get a workout with Nikko and Daphne? I’m not allowed to fight my own students, You two aren’t students anymore, I can beat you up as much as I can. Which isn’t very much, but still, I’d like the challenge.”
Nikko, “Tomorrow then, what time? I have to do a few property items in the morning, but I can be done by eleven. By one you should be ready for hospitalization.”
Chris, “You’re on. Tomorrow, you’re MY bitch.”
“Delicate young children are present.”
Miyako spells ‘bitch’ in Japanese and wins.
Nikko says to Chris, “Beautiful niece has defeated her tutor because of you. Tomorrow, I will extract my price.”
Chapter Seventy Eight IV
This morning, Janah, Chan and I at the temple in the morning, lunch with Mrs. Fong. Chan is devouring a huge bowl of hot and sour soup, Janah talks about the children.
Mrs. Fong, “Where is lovely Nishiko?”
“Recovering from a battle with C-mom. Not quite so lovely today, but Janah is treating her, she will be unmarked tomorrow.”
“Mama Chris tries to fight Nishiko? Why would she do such a thing?”
“C-mom isn’t exactly a pushover, even for Nikko. Both of them took plenty of pain. Besides, you already know why.”
“Stay fighting ready, must fight.”
“There it is.”
“And what of Mama Susan?”
“Sis can hold her own, but, no, she doesn’t have the killer instinct of C-mom. Anybody fools with Susan, Chris hospitalizes.”
“And lovely Nishiko is a step beyond Miss Chris.”
“Lovely Nishiko wouldn’t give them the benefit of hospital time.”
“My precious Japanese, and so delicate, I like her even more now.”
“Hard to see how you could like her more, I’ll take your word for it.”
Mrs. Fong glares at me, “Go get Chan more food Shaolin, don’t pester old lady.”
I leave for the kitchen, “I was starting to get worried, she was being nice to me.”
“Make us something really good, and while you do it, think of how I’m going to make you feel really good when we get home.”
“Prepare your taste buds, horny slut.”
“I am that.”
I grin my way through Janah’s favorite, slightly grilled vegetables, tofu and a spicy garlic sauce to put Janah’s lust hormones into overdrive.
“It’s my duty as a sizzling babe to share my good fortune with the women-loving women in my life.”
I hear Janah giggling, “You bring self confidence to level unimaginable to the abnormally self confident.”
“If they can’t deal at my level, stay out of the game.”
I do. They eat. Then we says goodbyes to Mrs. Fong and flee to the apartment, where, after a long soak in the tub for Janah, and a hot shower for Nikko and me, we pile onto the bed and I enthusiastically submit to their enthusiasm.
Susan calls around five o’clock, “What’s everyone up to? I was hoping for a dinner invitation, since I can’t cook and C-mom is barely able to walk straight.”
“I have to call Ning, we’ll whip up something. Is Lacy coming?”
Susan, “Lacy James, Kara, me and Chris, I presume Chan and family since you’re calling Ning.”
“No sweat, six-thirty.”
I call Ning, who soon joins me in the kitchen, “Where’s Janah and Nikko? They’re usually busy keeping a close eye on you.”
“Nikko is doing unspeakable things to Janah, who can’t speak at the moment.”
Ning, “Which means they’ve dealt with you already.”
“I was the entrée, Nikko is having dessert.”
The doorbell rings, it’s the grocery delivery, the guys at the store usually argue over whose turn it is to deliver. Gorgeous women, long legs and big tips. Tips, not tits. None of us is much in the whazoom department. Doesn’t seem to trouble the delivery guys.
Breast-wise, I live by the axiom, 'More than a handful is a waste.'
The store delivers fresh fish, boiled lobster and king crab claws. Ning makes a Romaine and bleu cheese salad, chilling in the refrigerator, and, for Janah and Lacy, a fat pan of Mac and cheese, parsley, and a hint of basil.
I pull Ghirardelli walnut brownies from the oven, crispy on top, chewy in the middle, Hagen Daz vanilla bean waiting in the freezer.
“That ought to do them in. We have seafood sauce?’
Ning, “I made a ketchup, horseradish, lemon and pepper for the crab claws. We’ll have garlic butter for the lobster. What are you going to do with the fish?”
“Pan fry it in grapeseed oil and lemon, light dusting of flour and cornmeal, lots of black pepper, a sprinkling of cayenne.”
Lacy comes in, “Dang everyone has clothes on. I presume James and the children are coming.”
“I’m sure Sis will point out how overdressed you are when she walks you across the hall.”
Lacy has on sung short cotton shorts and most of a top, with knee socks and platform shoes. Her legs are creamy smooth and curvy.
“Creamy smooth and curvy legs. I don’t think Sis will be able to focus on her food.”
Lacy, “Mission accomplished. In the meantime, you could kiss me if you were so inclined,” I am, and do, Lacy is sooo adorable.
The moms and James appear, rounds of hugs and kisses, drinkers get wine or a cocktail, I start frying fish, the rest of dinner is ready.
They eat, and eat, then I serve the brownies and ice cream, they eat some more.
Susan, “Lacy, did you see the news about a major drug bust in an uptown apartment under renovation. Strange place to hide drugs.”
Lacy, “I saw that. Those guys must not be screwed together too tight. There’s a million places to park drugs besides one of the most active residential neighborhoods in the country.”
“Go figure. Maybe they tested a bit too much of their product. People get buzzed, they think they’re invisible.”
Lacy, “At least some New Yorkers are on heightened alert. The news said they were tipped off to suspicious activity by locals. They busted a bunch of Turkish guys and several crates of drugs. The story was a little vague, they usually trot out the guys they bust. All that was shown were some bags of cocaine, bricks of heroin, and a lot of pot.”
Janah, “Who knows? It’s likely they’re under wraps, hoping to get bigger fish up the line.”
Kara, “That must be it.”
James watches the exchange. Janah glances at him. He isn’t buying any of it. The conversation moves to the couch, chairs and the mat on the floor. Nikko plays Scrabble with Susan, Lacy and Kara, Miyako on the chair between her legs. They whisper strategy to each other in Japanese.
Susan complains, “Janah, I think Nishiko and her pal are using illegal tactics.”
Janah, “You’re just frustrated because they’re winning. Lacy will explain it to you later.”
Susan, “Oh, well then, if she’s going to instruct me, I mean, after all she’s the Headmaster.”
“Sis is on a roll.”
Janah, “For a Shaolin priest, you sure have a filthy mind.”
“Hey, I’m not the Abbess.”
“Don’t forget it.”
“I trust you are using your own filthy mind plotting something involving me having a gigantic orgasm later.”
“What do you think?”
Nikko says in the general direction of Janah and me, “Innocent children are present.”
Lacy giggles, I mental, “How in hell?”
Janah, “You’re the one who has been teaching her to be in our mind.”
“She’s already better than I am at kendo, now this. My self-esteem may be crushed.”
Nikko, “Cold day in hell.”
Janah and I burst out laughing.
Lacy, “What’s so funny?”
It is quiet for a minute, Kara says, “It appears there’s another mentaless in the family.”
Susan, opens her mouth, nothing comes out, then, “Don’t even tell me.”
“I won’t say a word.”
Chris, “Is there anything you three can’t do?”
Janah, “Not so far.”
“Mary, Joe and the baby!”
“C-mom. Do you teach your students to have limitations?”
“Yes. I encourage them to avoid confrontation, particularly when they are out muscled.”
“That’s not a limitation, that’s teaching them to use their heads.”
“Okay, you have a point. But you guys are on a whole different level.”
“We are the future, but not the distant future. Look at David Li and Miyako. One day, we will be to them what Nikko and Daphne are to your students. So, you are quite right to say that, as individuals, they have limitations in comparison to other individuals. However, much of their limitation is in their mind only, not in reality.”
Chris, “I’m not just buying into to that. When will I be able to mental?”
Janah smiles her gentle smile, “You already mental with Sis, you don’t see it, but you do. You can tell from a glance when it’s a good time to ask her a question and when she’s too deeply involved in a project to distract her. Sis can see the same thing with K-mom. Dad reads all of you. You don’t mentally exchange thoughts, in part because you don't think believe you can, and in part because it takes a great deal of practice.”
Chris turns to James, “Is she jiving me?”
James, “A dozen years ago, I might have said yes. Not now.”
Susan, “Lacy’s looking tired. I think Chris and I ought to see her home safely.”
Miyako, “She only lives across the hall.”
Nikko, “It’s a courtesy young one. They are friends. They probably want to go do silly girl stuff, watch a sad movie and brag about their children and grandchildren, David Li and Miyako.”
Miyako hops off Nikko’s lap and jumps into Chris’ arms, then hugs Susan and Lacy, “Too beautiful to be grandmothers.”
Susan sticks her tongue out at Nikko, “Grannies are going to say goodnight.”
By Sunday evening, we, the moms and Lacy had been sexed to the edge of climatic coma. No, not all together, Susan and Chris at Lacy’s. Janah and I play swap on Nikko, then Nikko anally abuses Janah for both their pleasure.
Chapter Seventy Nine IV
There’s brass, then there’s brass.
We have the most brass.
Janah leaves the temple to the herb shop to treat patients, I show up at three to help. It’s six by the time we get home; quickie shower and to the Epsteins at seven.
Mrs. Epstein, “Are you ready for a project?’
Janah, “Sure. Will we need Chan?”
Mrs. Epstein, “I’ll tell you a story. You can decide.”
She tells her story, Janah says, “We’ll need Chan, Black too.
Dr. Epstein, “These are dangerous men.”
Janah, “Don’t say that. It just gets Nikko excited.”
Nikko’s looking at something across the room that isn’t there. I see her pupils dilate, a sure sign of wild abandon.
Mrs. Epstein, “Hard to tell.”
“Trust me. She’s palpitating, we may have to leave for the job tonight or she’ll just get irritated by our fooling around.”
We say our goodbyes and back to the apartment, Janah’s head full of the Society’s report.
Killeen Texas may be the epicenter of the America’s collective neuroses.
First, it’s home to Ft. Hood, the army post with the honor of having the highest suicide rate in the nation.
Second, in 1991, a jerk-off named George Hennard drove his pickup truck through the window of a Luby's Cafeteria Restaurant in Killeen. He moved methodically past upturned chairs and tables, shooting people point-blank as they begged for their lives. Hennard killed twenty three and wounded twenty before turning his gun on himself. It was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history until Seung-Hui Cho killed thirty two people at Virginia Tech in 2007. Can’t outperform those Asians when it comes to math.
Third, another in the whack pack, an army psychiatrist, Nidal Hasan, killed thirteen people and injured thirty-two others on the Ft. Hood base. He was known (BOTH to the FBI, AND his superior at Ft. Hood) to be in regular contact with a Muslim religious leader, Al-Awlaki, who had strong jihadist and anti-American views. So far, the military has blown this off as unrelated to terrorist activity. The same military that we entrust the safety of the nation, and that teaches young people to go to other nations and kill people. Apparently some of them can’t wait, they join our army and kill people right here.
Why didn't anyone act on the obvious? I guarantee, they were convinced that Hasan was supplying them intelligence on Al-Awlaki, dopes. If a person is able to provide useful detail on terrorist activity, he would have to be tight with the terrorists. Tight as in, on their side. The idea that someone can infiltrate deeply enough, be trusted enough, to get meaningful information and trot it back to the CIA is movie magic. Or perhaps Awlaki was so stupid he couldn’t figure out Hassan was in the army.
Killeen has other endearing qualities as well. Wikipedia reports that in 2005, the city of Killeen suffered from burglary and larceny rates that surpassed those of both Houston and Detroit. In 2005, the national average of burglaries per 100,000 people was 814. Killeen reported 2107 burglaries per 100,000 people. The national average of larcenies per 100,000 people was 2734. Killeen reported 3698.
Over eighty percent of the employment is related to Ft. Hood. Fair to assume the base gets a pass on bad behavior.
In Killeen, thieves work in pairs, sometimes threes. Sometimes they commit burglary and sometimes larceny, and sometimes both.
The law makes a distinction between the two. In general, a burglary occurs when someone breaks into a building, with intent to steal something. Larceny is stealing something, but not necessarily after breaking into a building . If a man snatches a purse, he’s guilty of larceny, but not burglary. If he takes a purse after breaking into someone’s home, it’s burglary. If he breaks into a car, it’s larceny, not burglary. A car is not an immovable physical structure. If he breaks into a mobile home, who knows what they call it? Stupid, I guess. If people had anything worth stealing, they wouldn’t live in a mobile home. Different states hone it down to finer points, but essentially that’s the difference.
Okay, that's over, rest easy in the knowledge that you are smarter than your friends about burglary and larceny.
In Killeen, burglary and larceny are way out of line with national averages. Two and a half times the number of burglaries, thirty percent more larcenies. Since these are averages, somebody’s got to be above average. But there’s above average, then there’s waaay above average, right into what the hell’s up with THAT? Welcome to Killeen.
There could be lots of reasons. It’s a huge military base, people come and go. They can steal something, be deployed and gone. People tend not to know each other as well. There may be loyalty within a unit, but that doesn't mean it extends to the neighborhood.
Economically, the military is a source of income, by far the largest employer, buys a lot of goods and services from the locals. The coin might also be flipped the other way. The locals have no real allegiance to any particular person or family in the military.
As of 2009, there were 116,000 people in Killeen, 58,000 of which were employed by the military, exactly half. Bear in mind, a fair amount of the 116,000 are under sixteen, so military employment represents considerably more than half the adult population.
One might think the level of military dependence would insure at least a passive population regarding military activity. That would be wrong. To add to the dissonance, Killeen attracts a bunch of anti-war activists, some of whom are in the army.
The most one can say with any surety is Killeen is a mega incoherent population, with a wide divergence of views. These extremes make community cohesiveness virtually non-existent. The surface may appear calm, but underneath there’s plenty of boiling lava and substantial pressure. Thus the high level of theft and the occasional meltdown of an individual such as occurred in 1991 at Luby’s and again with Nidal Hasan. The Society has uncovered other, less notorious murders, rapes and property crimes that are swept under the military rug. Reverse carpet bombing.
Let’s remember, this is Texas, a macho state with a gigantic military base full of trained killers. The Society isn’t interested in fixing the crime statistics in Texas, or specifically in Killeen. What they are interested in is a special operations unit that appears to report to nobody, at least nobody in command at Ft. Hood. Twelve men who live in a separate barracks, perform no onsite military duties and appear on no roster of personnel at the base. They leave the base when they feel like it, they return when they feel like it. In the last eighteen months, they were deployed as a group six times, no record of where, then returned anywhere from two weeks to a month later.
The twelve aren’t invisible, people notice the coming and going. A few tech specialists tried to coordinate their absences with specific events around the world, uprisings, coups, assassinations, reports of increased or decreased terrorist activity. No correlation was found. For all anyone knew, they could have been on Mediterranean cruises or checking out twelve year olds in Bangkok.
The Society looked more closely at crime statistics in and around the Killeen area. While there was no massive spike in activity when the twelve were on base, there was a decline when they were gone. Not dramatic, but noticeable. The fluctuation would barely show up statistically, even if it occurred to anyone to match up crime stats with our targets’ presence or absence.
Nikko, “When do we leave?”
Janah, “Day after tomorrow.”
Chapter Eighty IV
Janah has a plan, this one her most interesting. She’ll be a special consultant hired by the Pentagon at the behest of the Secretary of Defense. Nishiko, Chan, Black and I accompany her as liaison. We’re in combat fatigues, ranks between Colonel and Major. Janah is a civilian, clearance from on high, the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of Defense.
The base commander takes a look at her papers, makes a couple of phone calls, “This is so far above my head, I couldn’t see it with a telescope.”
Janah, “That’s your protection, General. You have copies of our documentation. You’ve made the appropriate phone calls and noted verification, despite the fact that I know you received duplicate instructions from your superiors yesterday.”
The third corps command group is led by a Lt. General, “Lady, I’ve served thirty years, run this outfit for five. I know everyone who is everyone in the Army, the Marines and every General from here to Afghanistan. I have never, ever, seen anyone come in with the level of access described in these orders.”
Janah smiles, just a little, “And a female at that. Let’s be clear. I and my team have absolutely unrestricted access to any place, file, any goddamn thing we want. You have no reason to know whether I’m in the military, ex-military or the military that is special ops, the fucking CIA or NSA or any other combo of alphabet. You don’t know jack. You don’t know us. You don’t know and don’t care why we’re here. Be a good soldier, run your base and stay the fuck out of my way. If you don’t, you’ll be in a Humvee sucking dust in some shithole halfway across the world. I can have you there in twenty four hours. By the way, for the duration of our stay, if you should happen to run into me, my name is not Lady, it’s Ma’am, as in ‘Yes, Ma’am, No, Ma’am.’ Are we clear?”
The General tries to hold on to one last shred of dignity, “Clear as day.”
Janah looked over at Chan, who lifted one side of his mouth in a kind of sneer, then back to the General.
She cocks her head, he says, “I’m clear...Ma’am.”
Janah stands, “We’ll billet in the officer’s area. Nobody in or out. This afternoon additional personnel will appear. They will patrol the area, the entrances and exits, twenty-four seven. They will answer no questions, so make goddamn sure your people don’t ask any. Got it?"
He reddens, but replies, “Yes, ma’am.”
Janah stands, “Thank you for your cooperation. You will have a general assembly of every officer from NCO’s to your personal staff. You will explain the rules. You will explain that any interference will insure a long tour of duty in the shittiest rat-trap we can find. I suggest you let them assume you are fully informed as to the nature of our visit, and that you unequivocally support it. Or you can make up any other bullshit you want. We aren’t here to make you, or your garrison, look bad. But we will do the work we came here to do, and we will brook no stonewalling, no interference, not so much as a nasty glance. Understood?”
The corps commander is choking on his own bile, but he’s military and a good politician, not stupid, “Yes, ma’am.”
Janah, “We will supply our own rations. We will not be in the officers’ mess. We may appear and ask questions, or we may not. Depends on cooperation. We’ll get cooperation, easy or hard. Frankly, it’s preferable to my team to get it hard, but that can be avoided. Like you, they follow orders, my orders only.”
The General asks, “May I ask, Ma’am, how many others will need to be billeted on the floor you require? I see four with you now. You mentioned others.”
Janah, “There will be four additional personnel. One building is available, two stories, area 7. On any base, there’s always something available for visitors, distinguished or otherwise. This one has six rooms, three bathrooms and showers. That will be sufficient. Supplies will be brought in. They will not be inspected. Be sure to inform the sentries at the gate. When they see this pass, she hands him a copy, they are to wave the vehicles through. They will not engage in conversation. It will be as if they saw nothing.”
“Yes, I received the encrypted message yesterday, yes I checked you out, and yes, you are whoever you say you are. I don’t like it, but I’m out of options.”
Janah, “General, you don’t know why we’re here, and that frustrates you. I understand that. I’ll tell you this much. If we hadn’t shown up, your career would soon be over, and not with an honorable discharge. We are not the enemy. Do your duty, run the base, answer no questions, issue orders to your staff as I instructed. You’re no dummy. If you do it right, you’ll be perceived as being in the know about the whole matter. You’ll be even more respected by the soldiers that already respect you. The ones that don’t, well there are always the discontent, yes?”
“Been my experience.”
Janah, “Play your cards right, when we’re done, you’ll be in Washington getting a medal.”
General, “Good luck your mission, Ma’am. I’m not being sarcastic. I’ve been in this game a long time. I know bullshit when I see it. There’s something seriously ugly going on under my nose. I’m embarrassed not to have dealt with it already, that’s all.”
“Thank you. This is not your fault. The brass knows that. Your immediate superiors don’t even know what the problem is. Won’t do any good to call your buddies up the line and ask, but feel free to give it a shot. Doesn’t insult us.”
He nods. He’d been around long enough to know when persistent curiosity was more costly than finding out the answer. He is human though. And, as soon as his visitors leave, he jumps straight into dumb.
That afternoon, four men show up in a black panel truck. Flash ID, the gate opens, they are asked no questions, nobody asks to inspect the truck. They drive to our quarters. Unmarked crates and boxes are unloaded and hauled inside. The crew works quickly, checks for bugs, sets up an encrypted satellite computer system and phones, a jamming system in each room. Any external listening device will get static. The Shaolin run barbed wire around the base of the building, then electrify it. Anyone trying to crawl underneath would not have a happy experience. All the locks on entrance doors are rekeyed and bars set that fold down across the inside of the doors. It won’t do any good against a tank or shoulder fired missile, but it will do just fine against any curious soldiers.
For the first couple of days, we wander the base. Intentionally steer clear of the area where the twelve non-existent soldiers are billeted.
The General isn’t an idiot, just human. He was frosted that he’d had to accept twelve guys coming and going on his base that answered to no one he could uncover. Now he has eight more people housed in another building jammed down his throat, who also report to no one. That one has something to do with the other didn’t take a half dozen intelligence analysts to figure out.
His mistake is asking a friend at the Pentagon to find out what in hell was going on with these people. The next day, he gets a call.
“Sir, I’ve been stonewalled before. This time I wasn’t even stonewalled. I was politely told that there is a job available at Guantanamo inventorying rations. I could either go back to my desk here in Washington, or I could be on the next flight out with a clipboard. My contact, a ranking contact, said that you can join me if you aren’t happy with your current posting. He further said you have thousands of soldiers under your command. To spend time digging an empty hole out of misguided curiosity would be to directly disobey Pentagon directives.”
“I only want to….”
“Sir, listen, and listen tight. Any further insubordination will be treated as an act of treason. I will be counting cans at Guantanamo, you’ll be housed with the suspected terrorists. Am I speaking a language you don't understand? The only, I repeat only, reason you didn’t get pulled today is your unblemished record. Go to the OC, have a few drinks, tell vulgar jokes, go home and sleep it off. You have already been politely told that your best defense is to pretend you’re in the know and can’t discuss it. That is extremely good advice. Goodnight.”
The line disconnects. The General puts down the phone quietly. He’d stepped in shit, but is being given a pass….this time. He heads to the OC, gets a Turkey and water, tells dirty jokes, two more Turkeys, then walks alone in the dark to his quarters.