Now the story is getting interesting for me. I feel like the end is near, but I’m not sure where it will take our yet unnamed hero. He’s facing his past and the people he was running from have caught up with him, but his fate is still unknown. Please enjoy this latest installment of Road Kill. I’m also throwing a cover on the series. I’ve started publishing pars on Wattpad and other outlets. If there’s interest, this might eventually be a book.
Road Kill Part 16
I let Donovan’s words sink in for a minute. He was recognizing my patriotism? He was offering me a chance to stop a historic mistake? I could go back to my boring life? The last option was looking very attractive, but his next revelation sealed my decision.
“I don’t think Rafferty was wrong about you. He’s seldom wrong about anything,” Donovan said.
This statement definitely got my attention and Ben Simpson’s as well proving that he wasn’t totally in on the plan.
The ‘Rafferty’ Donovan was referring to was U.S. Navy Commander Brad Rafferty. He was a bit of a superstar in the military intelligence community that I briefly worked with. His latest accomplishment was the takedown of a terrorist that orchestrated a devastating dirty bomb attack on the men’s college basketball championship. Despite this accomplishment, his name was unknown to most outside of the intelligence community.
“What does Rafferty have to do with this,” Simpson asked echoing my thoughts.
“I asked him who could help us with this. He’s too well known by leadership to get involved. I needed someone with a strong analytical mind that could help me definitively prove what was going on and remain discreet; someone with a proven track record. He mentioned you and Simpson.”
“Wait a minute. You didn’t tell me about this,” Simpson said.
“Everything was need to know. You didn’t need to know that Rafferty mentioned you since you’d get a swelled head,” Donovan answered. Then he turned to me, “I couldn’t tell you because you were truly in danger. The information we added to your backups was extracted about three hours before your flight. Someone inside The Mothership is a mole and whoever it is got word to the powers that be. If you hadn’t sat in the wrong seat, we wouldn’t be talking right now.”
I had to let the words that Donovan said sink in. I was almost killed. There was a mole in The Mothership. That impregnable fortress had been compromised. Simpson was in on the plan. Rafferty was more impressed with my work than I realized. Finally, I was one drowsy mistake away from being killed.
“It would have sucked if you had been killed,” Simpson said uttering the understatement of the year.
“It would have set the operation back significantly,” Donovan added not making me feel much better. “As for the operation, are you in or out?”
Saying no was not an option. Going back to my mundane life had two significant problems. There were people that wanted me dead because of what I’d allegedly done and I would never be able to live with myself. Turning my back on this might mean that the Middle Eastern countries would be attacked and pillaged like the intelligence indicated. That would be unforgivable.
“I’m in if you are,” Simpson said as looked at me in search of a decision.
Donovan knew my decision by the look on my face. I was not good at hiding emotion or playing poker.
“Okay. You’re both in. Now we need to debrief and figure out what to do next. It’s going to be a delicate operation. You should have everything you need on this ship to get ready for the next phase. Once we debrief, I have to get back to The Mothership keep up appearances. We’ll start with a debrief and plan our next move. Then we’ll take a tour of the ship. I need to show you how it’s equipped so you can tell me if we’re lacking anything.”
We convened in a well-appointed operations room. There were large screen monitors, secure network connections and the very latest audio and video equipment.
“Now, let’s talk about where we are,” Donovan started by addressing me. “You and Jones hacked into the State Department and you downloaded top secret documents that point to an imminent attack and recovery effort in select Middle Eastern countries. Let’s start by having a look at them.”
The encrypted thumb drive that contained all of the information was still in my pocket. I plugged it into the USB port of the high-end laptop and brought up select memos on the large screen along with my notes on the chain of events and the players involved.
The memos started nearly two years ago. They began with the scheduling of exploratory meetings and the minutes from those meetings. The military efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas of the world had spiraled out of control. The public was in an uproar about the lack of suitable equipment for the troops and the apparent endless engagement in those countries without resolution.
What started as exploratory began to gain traction. The motivation, however, was not due to support of the military or any moral obligation from leaders with integrity. The impetus behind Project OSCAR was money. It was apparent, once the potential financial gains were compiled and revealed, enthusiasm for the project grew exponentially. The potential revenue from the oil alone was in the trillions. There were presentations showing how much could be gained by seizing the oil and processing it in US refineries coupled with reducing oil imports. The military, social programs, infrastructure improvements, and the federal deficit could all be addressed. The financial position of the United States would improve overnight.
The only problem with the plan was that our country, which strove to be the caretaker of the world, would suddenly turn to outright piracy and thievery to solve financial problems like an out-of-work man that justifies robbing a bank to clear up debts.
We had established the what and the how. Now we needed to zero in on the who.
“A lot of the communication that you’ve uncovered is low-level analysis that has been stitched together to form Project OSCAR,” Donovan said. “It’s really brilliant and also very familiar. No one person had enough information to piece it together. It was only combined and shared at the highest levels.”
“So who are we talking about?” Simpson asked. “Is it the Secretary of State or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?”
I told Ben and Donovan that I didn’t think the military command had helped cook up the plot. It appeared, however, that the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense were in it up to their necks.
“That makes sense,” Donovan said. “They’re both very ambitious politically. Their party has been floating their names around as a possible duo for the presidential race. We need to be sure, however. I was afraid it would be some highly-placed individuals like an ambitious senator or congressman, but I didn’t think it would reach the cabinet level.”
I reiterated with Donovan that I was reasonably sure of this, but not 100% positive.
“Well, we need to be 100% positive. Once you are, we can plan our next move,” Donovan said as he looked at his watch. “I’ve got to get back to The Mothership before I raise any suspicion. Let’s take a quick walk around the ship and then I’ll leave you to it.”
The ship was an amazing vessel. The outside depicted a retired Coast Guard Cutter with a sloppy grey paint job. Below deck, it was a miniature version of The Mothership with technology that officially hadn’t been invented yet. The clear walls doubled as monitors. Donovan demonstrated how 3D maps could hover as holographic images in midair. It was like special effects from the latest Star Trek movie.
“Where did this ship come from?” Simpson asked. “It must have cost a fortune. How did you hide that in the budget?”
Donovan stopped walking and gave us a look that somehow made him look amused and scary at the same time.
“The Mothership is a black operation. This means that there is no official budget. When we need something, I ask for it and I get it with no questions asked. It is likely the most powerful agency in the government. I take that responsibility seriously. That is why we are on this mission. No one will corrupt the image of my country, not even our elected or appointed leadership and not even if we find out the scumbags behind this are at the highest level.”
I was convinced. My opinion of Donovan had come full-circle. The larger-than-life figure was living up to his hype.
When we finished the tour, Donovan went to the top deck where a waiting black helicopter whisked him away. Ben Simpson and I returned to the operations room where a very appetizing lunch was waiting for us. As we ate voraciously, Simpson paused his chewing.
“So what’s next? Where do we start?”
The answer was quite clear to me. We would start at the top with the Secretary of State, Susan Martin-Conway.