Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
A super yacht, hosting some of America’s top generals, sat anchored just south of the Chesapeake Bay. General Haze’s need for secrecy resulted in a skeleton crew and a small unit of men with no histories, men who didn’t exist in any government database.
Aboard the floating palace, the twelve generals sat comfortably in the conference room. They represented every branch of America’s armed forces. Such high level meetings rarely took place outside the Pentagon. But this was a conspiracy, and in a conspiracy concealment is to be maintained at all cost.
The generals were seated around an antique table, once favored by Napoleon Bonaparte at his most frequented palace at Corsica. The room contained a single computer, one unplugged, cut off from the outside world. The only other piece of technology was an anti-bugging scanner. Even the walls were fortified against electronic entry with heavy lead plating. As the general rose to speak, all discourse lulled into silence.
“Napoleon once said: ‘In war there is but one favorable moment; the great art is to seize it!’ Those around this table are the product of generations of American military tradition. And like those before us, we serve at the behest of the Executive Office. Like our predecessors, we serve our country proudly, ever watchful, ever vigilant. We have taken a solemn oath to protect this great nation against her enemies, foreign and domestic.
“Generals, I submit to you, we are faced with a history-altering decision. If we stay the course and continue to support this president, then our nation is doomed. Inglorious will be our demise, and shame will follow us to our graves. Therefore, it is our duty to oust the current president.
“The barbarians are not at our gates, they are within our gates. Terrorist cells have infested our towns and cities. The attack on Washington is proof. Our borders are pathetically porous, illegal immigrants are allowed to roam the land, while the White House sits idle. Is this not proof of her incompetence?
“Like the rest of you, I have long seen the need to seal the borders and to hunt down the terrorists in our midst. The Patriot Act, and its added provisions, has provided us with the means. If the skirt in the White House doesn’t have the guts for the job, then it is our duty to replace her with someone that has.
“It’s time, my fellow patriots, to rally around the red, white and blue. When my leaving the Joint Chiefs was announced, I know what you all thought. You thought that I was handed my hat. On the contrary, this specious demotion was of my own doing.
“What the president did was deliver me the nation on a silver platter. Under highly classified Executive Orders 927772, in times of nation crisis, I have the power to temporarily suspend the Constitution and institute marshal law. In addition to handing FEMA considerable military and police powers, the executive order gives the agency control over the mechanism of the economy, power grids, transportation, and communications hubs.”
“But, General, to invoke Executive Order 927772, the nation must be faced with a national disaster of unparalleled proportion,” General Douglass reminded him. “In the face of all that has happened, the people remain firmly behind the government, if not the present administration. What makes you think that the American people will stand for a FEMA takeover?”
“General Douglass, you are correct,” fired General Haze. “Maybe not now, but let’s see how they feel after a nuclear attract in the Middle East, where U.S. casualties total in the tens of thousands. It is unfortunate that our boys will be asked to make such a sacrifice.”
“This is treasonous, Sam, and I won’t have the blood of our brave soldiers on my hands,” fired General Douglass. “I was willing to follow you until now, but this is where I draw the line. It is mass murder, no matter what you may call it!”
“I’m sorry you feel that way, General. I won’t try to change your mind. The work ahead of us demands a shout heart and resolute certainty. But, let me caution you, General. If you’re thinking about bringing this meeting to the attention of the NSA or anyone else, without proof, they will see you as quite mad. General Douglass, my staff will radio your transport; they should be here within the hour. But, now I must insist that you wait outside.” As the general neared the door, General Haze called to him.
“Oh, and General Douglass, kiss that granddaughter of yours for me when you see her. What is she about thirteen now? So young; so full of life.” General Douglas toddled out, a signal that the threat had hit home.
With the general gone, the meeting resumed. “He is going to be a problem,” growled General Dunston. “Perhaps, it would be prudent to shelve the operation for the time being.”
General Haze shot out of his seat. “If you or anyone here doesn’t have the balls necessary for this operation then follow that coward out the door!” Fingers pressed hard against the tabletop rendering his knuckles white, he scanned the faces around the table. “Leave that gutless traitor to me. I assure you the good general will not be talking to anyone about what he knows,” said the general, confidently.
Calmly taking to his seat, “Now, then, let’s get back to business. Twenty-four hours after the strike against our forces, we’ll launch ‘operation stars and strips’. Once Washington is under our control, we’ll deploy our forces to all major cities. I don’t have to remind you to chose your executive officers carefully, and brief them on a need to know basis.
“It is imperative that this doesn’t look like a takeover, but a police action. The American people are used to policing the world, so it won’t be such a stretch for them to believe our story. God speed, gentlemen. Meeting adjourned.”