Friday, June 21, 2024

Annapolis Rock

Captain Choe parked his car a half mile from his cousin's house, no sense leading whoever was after him straight there. As he walked he began to puzzle out what Chapman had told him.

He and Chapman had both graduated from the Naval Academy, the alma mater part therefore was pretty easy. But the "rock" of Annapolis, perhaps one of the more famous graduates of the "Boat School," as some termed it. But that would be a person, not a place. Maybe he would get the place from the person, a home town, or perhaps somewhere the graduate had made famous. He had no idea, but perhaps a good night's sleep and things would be clearer in the morning.

He walked up the drive to his cousin's house, he could see activity inside and thought he recognized his cousin's wife, an American girl he'd met in college. He knocked on the door.

"Alex," his cousin shouted as he saw who was at the door, "what brings you here? Come in, come in."

Choe stepped into the house, it was nice, very good sized and nicely decorated, he had to assume that Carol, his cousin's wife, had been responsible for that. He remembered well what his cousin's apartment in L.A. had looked like.

"Hi Paul, hi Carol," Choe waved towards the kitchen where Carol was preparing dinner. She rushed out.

Embracing him in a bear hug, she said, "Cousin Alex, it's great to see you!"

He gave the couple a vague story of him being in the neighborhood and he thought he'd stop by. Neither asked how he came to be in the neighborhood when where he worked was sixty-five miles away as the crow flies. But they let that subject lie.

After dinner, Choe and his cousin went out to the backyard to have a beer. There Choe let his cousin know what was going on.

"I wonder if it had anything to do with the news we've been getting out here. Apparently some National Guard outfit ran into a militia ambush out by Hancock." Paul Kim lowered his voice, the topic of all the violence in the news lately really worried his wife.

Choe sat for a moment, in shock. "An ambush, the United States Army was ambushed by a militia unit? Any word on casualties?"

"One Guardsman was killed, apparently the army wiped the militia out, killed most of 'em, captured three, according to the news."

Choe shook his head, then he was reminded of why he was here by the thought of Annapolis. "Hey Paul, a friend of mine set me a riddle, something about the rock of Annapolis and I was wondering ..."

"Don't you mean Annapolis Rock? It's a great vantage point up on South Mountain."

Choe shook his head again, Chapman liked to hike, it helped with her back injury by keeping herself in shape. A few minutes later his cousin showed him how to get there using a paper map. He had wanted to Google it, but Choe pointed out that people might be interested in his whereabouts, he wasn't sure that the government knew about his cousin, but you could never be sure.

"Hey Alex, if you're that worried about it, take my 4x4 tomorrow. They won't know about that, they'll be looking for your car, right?"

Choe nodded, no wonder his cousin was so good in business, kid was sharp.

Close to noon, Choe pulled into the parking lot which gave access to the trail leading up to Annapolis Rock. There weren't many people around as it looked like rain, the forecast called for some pretty serious thunder storms in the area during the late afternoon. There were two other cars already there, both close to the entrance. He drove all the way to the back.

There was a car parked there, it wasn't Chapman's, Choe began to wonder if his cousin had struck upon the correct answer. Then the driver of that car looked up, it was Chapman. Choe pulled in alongside the car she was driving, police-style as he called it, driver's window to driver's window.

"Captain." Chapman looked terrible as if she hadn't slept in a while.

"Beth, where'd you get the car?"

"It's my aunt's, what happened to you in DC? I was following. When the cop pulled you over, I just kept driving. Sorry, Sir, I didn't know what else to do."

"It's okay, it was a set-up of some kind, a woman pulled in behind the guy who stopped me, not a DC cop, I think he was a Fed of some flavor. She yelled out to me, called me Skipper, claimed she was you. She shot the guy who pulled me over."

Chapman's face blanched, "Jesus. 'Skipper,' she actually yelled that out?"

"Yup, it's what gave her away."

"Who was it?"

"Beats me, I ran, went to my cousin's place in Hagerstown, this is his 4x4. Any thoughts on what we should do?"

"I haven't got a clue, I think that ... Oh shit." Choe saw three Maryland State Police cruisers pull into the parking area, blocking them in.


"Take it easy, at least they're not Feds."

The troopers were from Barrack "O" in Hagerstown, they'd received a call from Cumberland alerting them to a pair of people wanted in conjunction with a shooting incident in Washington DC two nights ago. A middle-aged Asian male, short hair, Naval officer, and a white female, blonde medium length hair, an agent with Homeland Security.

The senior trooper got on his public address system and asked the two individuals to come out of their vehicles, keep their hands in sight at all times, and face away from the troopers. These people weren't suspects, exactly, but they had been referred to as "persons of interest" by a source in Washington DC.

Chapman and Choe sat in the back of one of the cruisers, not handcuffed, but unable to get out of the car as the doors only opened from the outside. For the moment they were alone.

"Do you have any contacts in the FBI other than Johansen?" Choe asked.

"No, just him. Why?"

"I think the FBI is after me, you too probably."

"The coup?"

"Yup. I'm hoping these troopers are on the side of the angels, we're a long way from home. With Maryland and Virginia under martial law, it would be easy for us to be 'disappeared.'"

"Seriously, Sir? As in murdered and dumped somewhere?"


"Son of a bitch ..." Chapman stopped as she saw another police vehicle pull in to the parking lot. "What are we, Sir? Bonnie and Clyde?"

A very large black man got out of the SUV with Maryland State Police markings and walked over to the car they were sitting in. The trooper outside the car opened the door at a nod from the big man.

"Captain Choe, Special Agent Chapman, sorry for this inconvenience. Please step out of the vehicle."

They did so, the man extended a hand and introduced himself, "Captain Leroy Jackson, Maryland State Police commanding Barrack "C" in Cumberland, we have a mutual, let's say, acquaintance."

Choe, then Chapman shook Jackson's hand, Choe spoke, "And who might that be, Captain?"

"One Ephraim Johansen, we have him in custody at the hospital in Cumberland. He was in a wreck, t-boned by a drunk driver, lost his leg. Before surgery, and after, he was in and out of consciousness, but kept saying to 'contact the Bureau,' as in the FBI. We did, they denied he was one of there's. But he had FBI ID on him, and DHS as well."

Chapman shook her head, "We worked together, he was seconded to DHS from the FBI a few months back. He told me he had infiltrated a militia unit in Virginia ..."

"Who ambushed a Guard convoy yesterday, Guard cut them to pieces. One soldier died though, so the grunts were a little, shall we say 'rough' with the surviving militiamen, only three survived. We found a notebook with lots of details on one of the dead militiamen. Johansen's name was in it, just once, it was circled with a question mark next to it."

"So they suspected he was an infiltrator?"

"Maybe, the dead guy shot his own guys and blew the ambush. Otherwise the Guard would have been chewed up and spit out. They had a rocket launcher, two machine guns, and lots of automatic weapons. We're guessing the guy had second thoughts. Takes a lot for a Marine to betray his country, he didn't have that in him I guess."

Choe looked at the police captain and said, "There's a guy at the Pentagon, a Vice Admiral Washington, he was acting awfully sketchy last time I was at work. There were rumors going around about a "revolt of the admirals," over funding and budget issues, just like back in 1949."

"I read about that at the Academy." Chapman chimed in.

Jackson shook his head, "Does your service often revolt against their civilian bosses?"

"No, Sir, but this so-called revolt only involved three admirals and allegedly a Marine general. That's all I know." he turned to Chapman.

"I was going to tell you at some point, but, you know, need to know. I guess you both need to know about this now."

Jackson said, "Let me make a couple of calls while we're driving back to Cumberland. That's not a request, by the way. Just follow me, the other troopers will follow you."

Choe looked again at Chapman, "Don't see how we have much choice, do we?"

Chapman nodded, "If they wanted us dead, we would be. I want to know what Johansen knows, f**ker seems to be playing both sides."

"Fence sitter, trying to steer events for his own benefit?" Choe asked.

"Maybe, let's see if we can talk to him in Cumberland."

The trooper whose car they had been sitting in walked over, "Sir, Ma'am, you can follow in your own cars, I'll be right behind you."

Choe grimaced and looked at Chapman, "In for a penny, in for a pound?"

"If you say so, Cap'n."


  1. Seems I've lost track of the players in this scenario. A little confused but interested.

    Dislike SPAMMERS intensely. AI I suspect will make them worse.

    1. I made Spam Chips yesterday. Used a cheese plane to shave thin slices and deep fried like potato chips. Like crispy soft bacon. Might be my new "bacon" with the real thing being built back better at ~6$ to $7 per pound. Or more. Also the good old Spam Musubi, and the bedrock Spam Sandwich.

      Useful stuff, that Spam.

    2. Glad you deleted that work from home SPAM. I like my SPAM from a Can, sometimes in a Raman Soup, sometimes in a Frittata.

      I don't like my SPAM from a Robot Man. Hat Tip Green Eggs and Ham

    3. Please don't feed the spammers.

    4. Not much better than a fried Spam sandwich cooked when you're camping!

  2. Sarge, you make the rules of Fizzbin look straightforward and uncomplicated. Except on Tuesday after dark.

    It SEEMS to be clearing up. Maybe. But every other time I've thought that you throw another rats nest on the reel. Did you read a lot of Dorothy Sayers in your youth?

    1. I like to remain mysterious, but eventually I need to clear things up.


    2. SPAM! Earliest recollect of SPAM was during a tour “Down South”. In our initial area of operation, one company provided battalion-forward security while remaining companies ran operations in their defined area.
      During such rotations to the “Hill”, in addition to two hots per day supplemented by C-rations and an occasional 2-cans of beer per day - Hamm’s or Falstaff as I recall. An additional amenity of the “Hill” was a PX. Crafted from wooden 81mm ammo boxes, the prime offering of the PX was SPAM and 6-8 oz. cans of Welch’s grape juice concentrate. Gee, what MPC “funny money” could buy!
      In the years since, easy enough that I’ve more than enjoyed a range of ethnic “delicacies” yet despite bountiful varieties now offered, have only been able to open a can of SPAM perhaps 2-3 times. That said, I’m intrigued by SPAM Chips, it’s not on a to-do list but it’s under consideration.
      And by the way, Vietnam era wooden ammo “furniture” is near on an art form.


    3. Sigh, Spam, there's no escaping it.

  3. There is a pause in the affairs of man, said someone, and then, I've learned, that's the world's way of inviting me to be elsewhere, or to check that my return ticket from Hell is well protected and in my pocket.

  4. Well, that was unexpected - being discovered so relatively quick a time. Not surprising, given the world of modern technology.

    I like that quote Htom.

    1. It was Chapman's phone call, anyone familiar with the area, plus the fact that both were or had been in the Navy, made it a simple puzzle to figure out. Anyone monitoring Chapman's or Choe's phones would be able to figure it out. It's why we're trained not to try and "talk around" classified topics.

  5. I shall do my very best to refrain from commenting as Anonymous.
    I can tell you’re having fun with this.
    I shall continue to unpeel the onion as I read and follow.

    1. If you peel them underwater your eyes won't sting.

      Or so I've been told.

  6. Wheels within wheels within wheels...

    Well, at least some sense is beginning to be made of the mess you and your Muse have made. Maybe.

    1. Believe me, it will all come together in the end.

      But where does it end? Does it end?

    2. We'll only know after the inevitable counter-revolution, counter-counter-revolution, the pushback against both, some weird 3rd or 4th party rising up from within the US and several parties from outside the US is over. Judging by past history, maybe 30-60 years later. Or longer.

    3. Yeah, that's usually how it goes.

  7. Are those the droids they were looking for, and why?
    Only the Sarge knows. And his Muse.
    Another cliff hanger ending.

    1. The different threads are starting to come together, or prove to be dead ends. (Think of the militia's thread, slammed into a brick wall it did.)

  8. I'm glad you're getting along so well with your muse.

    1. She liked the trip to the beach, she's happy now.

  9. a minor quibble (hope y' don' mind)
    were I in Captain Choe's present situation (confirmed paranoid that I am and carefully perusing prior events), I believe I'd have been more comfortable meeting Beth Chapman at lunch hour in a busy local diner where newspaper reporters eat.
    Choe doesn't appear to be anybody's fool.
    Just me, I guess.

    1. I get that, but everything is happening fast now. Choe and Chapman are on the run.

  10. Nit to pick- Clyde's girlfriend was Bonnie, not Bonny.

    1. Heh, I'll fix that. (Maybe Chapman didn't know that?)


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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