Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Secrets Within Secrets

"Colonel, heading back to Baltimore?" Jackson was surprised that Ramirez was in so early. Either he was stopping in to say goodbye, or something else was afoot.

"I wish that was the case. But I'm here because the President, the one in Martinsburg, wants Johansen brought in. Yesterday."

"Damn, is he good to travel by road? We were planning on ..." Jackson began.

"Cancel that idea, Leroy. We can helo him to Martinsburg from the hospital."

"Uh, look boss, there are militia units out there and they've got man portable heat seeking missile launchers."

Ramirez nodded, "I know. Say, did you know I've got a cousin in the Marines?"

Jackson looked puzzled, he didn't see the relevance, "No, I didn't. What's that got to do with ..."

"He's a Lieutenant Colonel, flies Marine attack helicopters. He's coming to visit."

Jackson shook his head, as if to clear it. It was early and he was confused. "Sir, I don't get what ..."

"He's bringing friends with him, flying Johansen, Choe, and Chapman to Martinsburg shouldn't be a problem."

Seeing the look on Jackson's face, Ramirez relented. "Cousin Oscar is bringing three Marine attack helicopters with him. He has orders to provide an escort to Martinsburg. Seems as if he's thrown his lot in with the state of Maryland. Said state already having acknowledged John Nakagawa as being the President of the United States."

Having the fog cleared for him, Jackson grinned. "How soon?"

"They should be here by ten this morning. So cancel your convoy, can you have your helo take Choe and Chapman?"

"Sure thing, Chapman already volunteered to fly left seat, she's seen combat you know, my second pilot and Admiral Choe volunteered to be door gunners."


"Yes, his promotion came through late last night. President wants him and Chapman in Martinsburg."

"I didn't think our AW-139s mounted door guns." Ramirez pointed out.

"One of my pilots flew helicopters in the Army, he showed us how to rig things up. Some parachute cord, two M60s we got back in the 90s, and presto, the Maryland State Police has an impromptu gunship."

Ramirez checked his watch, "We've got a few hours, rig your bird, get over to UPMC and we'll see about moving Johansen."

"Copy that, boss."

Ephraim Johansen was groggy, the medical staff had been keeping him pretty doped up. His missing leg ached, which freaked him out, in fact, his entire situation freaked him out. He had heard snatches of information during his brief moments of clarity.

John Nakagawa was now President, the FBI Director was dead, half the Congress had fled the area, his own situation looked dire. He'd been formally arrested two days ago and had been charged with seditious conspiracy under 18 U.S. Code § 2384.¹ He could be facing twenty years in prison!

Homeland Security claimed that they had no idea who he was, which had really pissed him off, FBI was in such disarray that no one was answering the phones in DC. The State Police had tried the Baltimore office, they had referred them to the DC office.

Johansen wanted to tell the police that he was actually CIA, though he had nothing to prove that, there was a number they could call. Whether or not the people manning that line would acknowledge him was another question.

He felt that his career was finished anyway, what use was a one-legged spook?

"Can I help you?" the receptionist didn't even look up, he continued to type at his computer.

Jackson cleared his throat, "Look at me young fellow. Now."

The receptionist looked up, saw the badge, then became instantly more attentive.

"Ephraim Johansen, where is he being held?"

After a few keystrokes, the receptionist looked up and said, "We have no one by that name in the hospital, Sir."

"Good answer, call your head of security and have him meet me here in the lobby."

"Your name, Sir?"

"Leroy Jackson, Captain, Maryland State Police."

"Very good, Sir."

"He's in here, Captain." The head of hospital security, a retired Baltimore cop, led Jackson to Johansen's room.

Jackson looked around, "Where's the trooper on duty?"

"We sent him home, trust me Captain, this guy's not a flight risk."

Jackson turned to his security team, "Get the prisoner down to the helicopter pad, and take this asshole into custody." He nodded at the retired Baltimore cop.

"Whoa, now hold on, what the hell do you think you're doing?" The cop cried out as two State troopers grabbed him, cuffed him, then pushed him against the nearest wall, not so gently.

Jackson turned to the man, "Don't know how you morons do things in Baltimore, but up here we follow orders. You were told that this involved national security, and you still f**ked things up."

"Look here, Captain ..."

Jackson snarled, "Take this idiot to holding, read him his rights, then arrest him for obstructing justice."

"You can't ..."

"Gag him." Jackson snapped at one of the troopers.

Johansen tried to sit up, he was still too weak. People were coming into the room, he recognized two of them, Choe and Chapman.

"Beth, what the heck is going on?"

Before he could answer, Choe stepped up and said quietly, "You're going to see the President. We're going by helicopter, any funny business and you're going flying all by yourself. Are we clear on that, Mr. Johansen? If that's even your real name."

A sudden chill went up Johansen's spine, he could tell that Choe wasn't kidding.

"Captain Choe, believe me ..."

"It's Rear Admiral Choe now." Chapman snapped at him.

"Okay, okay, Admiral, listen to me ..."

"Shut your mouth, you damned traitor." Jackson looked as though he was about to hit Johansen, he was thinking of his dead trooper, Corporal Maria Campos. He knew that Johansen hadn't been there, but he believed that her killer, Jack Morgan, had been working for Johansen.

Johansen's eyes looked desperately around the room, then realizing that it was his only hope, he said, "Admiral, lean in close, no one else can hear this."

Jackson, suspecting some trick, drew his service pistol and placed the barrel within an inch of Johansen's head. "Any funny business and I'll paste your brains all over the wall."

Johansen nodded and murmured, "I understand."

Choe looked at Jackson, who nodded. He leaned in, his right ear close to Johansen's mouth. What he heard nearly drove him to his knees.

Johansen whispered, "Hakunetsu no ikari.²"

"Captain Jackson, we need to get this man to the President, immediately."

"Well Admiral, that's what the President ordered so ..."

Choe turned to the others in the room and ordered, "Get Mr. Johansen down to the Medevac helo immediately, Beth go with them."

Jackson nodded, then watched as his people moved Johansen out of the room. When he and Choe were alone, he asked, "What's going on here?"

"Johansen just told me the name of an operation so secret, that maybe ten people in the world know it. I'm one, I'm assuming President Nakagawa knows now as well, I worked for Admiral Whalen, he's with the President and he's in on the operation. It's extremely vital that we get Johansen to the President as soon as humanly possible."

Jackson wanted to ask questions, but he held his peace. Saying simply, "Let's go."

Choe was shaken to his very core, how could Johansen know the name of the operation, he also was stunned that Johansen knew to say the name in Japanese. If intercepted, suspicion in Asia would fall on Japan, not the United States. Choe thought that a rotten thing to do to an ally, then again, his great-grandparents had suffered under Japanese occupation when that nation had sought to eradicate Korean culture and make Korea part of Japan proper, not just a colony.

Not all Koreans hated the Japanese for that, the new generations thought that hatred of Japan was ridiculous when their fellow Koreans to the north wanted to enslave them. Even many of them were willing to appease the North. Choe and his generation thought them fools and cowards.

All that aside, Choe shivered as he stepped into the open and watched the Medivac lift off. He hurried over to the State Police helicopter and climbed in. As he strapped himself in, he heard Chapman shout something at him as she tapped the headset she was wearing.

Choe nodded, donned his headset and heard Chapman say, "What's wrong, Admiral? You look like you've seen a ghost?"

Choe shook his head and said, "I'm terrified of helicopters."

As they lifted off, Choe felt that he'd left his stomach on the helipad, which was true. But more to the point, he was distracted by what he knew and what seemed now to be operational.

For "Incandescent Fury" was the Top Secret War Plan detailing the U.S. reaction to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Nuclear weapons played a prominent role in that plan. Something must have happened in the Pacific to trigger this. Perhaps Johansen was somehow involved in causing this. He keyed his microphone.

"Trooper," Choe nudged the man across the cabin from him, "what's the news from the Pacific? Anything going on out there?"

Trooper Kurt Wagner nodded, keying his microphone he answered, "We've heard that a shooting war has started over the Spratly Islands. A Philippine Navy ship was sunk, a Japanese destroyer was heavily damaged, and two Chinese ships were destroyed. Some say one, but other reports say two."

Choe went pale, "Chinese ships? Communist Chinese?"

Trooper Wagner nodded.

Choe stared into space, then Wagner barked at him, "Jesus Admiral, is this how you stand a bridge watch? Watch your damned sector, will ya?"

"Right, right, sorry."

As Choe recovered his senses and began to watch out his side of the helo, Trooper Wagner grinned, looking towards his own sector. Former Fire Controlman Second Class Wagner had always wanted to yell at an officer. Then he too paled, guys who had held command at sea seldom showed fright, Choe looked like he had peered into the abyss.

Wagner had been in the Navy long enough to know that when the brass hats looked worried, the shit was about to hit the fan.

¹ If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. (Source)
² 白熱の怒り- Japanese for Incandescent Fury.


  1. Yesterday Chapman was going in the Left Seat

  2. The spider web thickens

    Did Chloe smell smoke?


  3. Yah, the plot sickens. Hey Sarge, DIY gun stations!

    1. Just need something to hang the gun on, of course, there's gonna be brass everywhere if they have to use those guns!

    2. Bungee cords work better than paracord.

    3. True, but they didn't have any of that. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

  4. Just as the silt was starting to settle, Muse gives the bucket a stir. With an industrial immersion blender. Bravo Zulu!

    Hmmmm.....18 U.S. Code § 2384- the way that reads it seems that the entire California Legislature, and most of the senior elected officials could be indicted under that. Of course, so could the legislatures of those states that have told the feds where to stick their anti-gun laws.

    1. Ah, but Federal gun laws are unconstitutional, ALL of them. So the Feds are not only not following to the Constitution, they are also in violation of their oaths to support and defend the Constitution.

    2. California, Michigan, New York, New Jersey.......................

    3. It is a reality, that reality reflects on how much "they" care about the Constitution. Seems to be more of a guideline than solid rules.
      Then again "we the people" let them do this over the years...

    4. You see the main problem. It really is on us, we don't hold them accountable.

  5. I love when a story takes a hard turn into a new direction!!!

  6. 白熱. Literal translation is "White Hot".

    Johansen just became valuable again. Which is both good and bad, depending on where you sit.

    I will be interested to see where the connection between these two seemingly unconnected events lies.

    1. はい、先生 😊

      (For those of ya who dinnae ken Japanese, I said "Yes, teacher.")

  7. I'd forgotten about the Pacific stuff...

    1. Which is why it was time to tie that in with the main story.

  8. Oh my. Act 2 starting in chopper rides (and a huge promotion!)

    1. Well, he had already been selected for promotion, he's just putting it on earlier.

  9. And who here doesn't think the ChiComs would use political instability in the USA to get frisky in areas they consider theirs (but others do not)?

    Same with The Middle East. Perfect time for Hezbollah to kick off another wave of terror in Israel. Which, considering their track record of failure, will mean they will actually do something once the situation in the US settles down. Because there's nothing certain about Hezbollah (and Hamas) except they'll choose the exact wrong time to do something.

    Though Iran, through various other puppets might try stirring the pudding.

    Then again, wouldn't be surprised if the ChiComs got frisky in the Himalayas towards India again. They've been itching for a rematch after losing the international slap-a-thon during #44's presidency.

    Oh, so much could be going on. What, no armed Texans finally tired of the Cartels' garbage deciding to fortify the border? Or more communist takeovers of city blocks in California, Oregon and Washington and the free people of those states finally get tired of the lefty trash and...?

    So many things could happen during a period of federal government instability. Yes, the action is centered around Washington DC, but people will know when the US government is unstable in a very unstable way, which factional infighting involving weapons is.

    In other words, enjoyed this.

    1. It's already happening with China and in the Middle East.

    2. Under Potato-Salad Joe and the Cabal of bureaucrats, senior military cadre, and others, I don't think very many nations have confidence in These United States.

    3. They trust us at their peril.

    4. Our friends don't trust us. Our enemies don't believe us.

    5. All is relative , as a Pole I would trust US over UK and France any day, and over Germany pretty much every second.
      Hell, in event of war I expect more help from collective Scandinavia abd Finland than from Germany. LOL.

  10. I can't wait for the hard copy (that's not to be construed literally)
    Yeah! I'm old-school; I like to flip back a chapter or so every so often just to refresh/reweave the threads in my head - y'know, like a Klagetoh.

    1. Oh I get it. I keep a copy in Word (updated when I get three or more new posts,) just so I can go back and check something (or refresh my memory).

  11. Even if Johansen was just following orders, they were illegal as hell, and not just because the CIA isn't authorized to operate within the country.

    1. We might find that guys like Johansen inhabit the gray areas in law and in life.

  12. The way thing are shaping up now, 20 years hard in a max federal pen might sound like a pretty good gig.

    1. (Previous anonymous comment was Don McCollor)

    2. Not sure if that would ever be a good gig. But ya never know.

    3. better than ending at large in fallout LARP

    4. Good point.

      If it comes to that.

  13. give me details on how the situation is developing in the WestPac dammit!
    (maybe even a snapshot of Beijing side of the game with Xi and co reacting to events)

    1. I figured you'd be one of those drooling over that situation. I'm updating my knowledge of the area over at at CDR Sal's!


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