The story is reaching it’s end. It’s apparent that I have enough to turn this into a book, possibly a continuation of the series started with Blood Orange. I’ve enjoyed posting this as a weekly serial and will be doing it again with another story that will be quite different from this one just to test the waters with a different genre.
Now, without further delay, please enjoy Road Kill Part 31. If you want to catch up on the previous parts, there are links to them at the end of this post.
Road Kill part 31 – The Stadium
About two minutes after Donovan left the room to head to Miami, Rafferty nodded at one of his men that had been lurking in the background and he left the room as well. It went without saying that he had put a tail on Donovan and that he didn’t fully trust him. There was an inherent danger that Donovan would share what he knew with the Secretary of State, but that was a calculated risk and it would likely cause her to either shut down her plan or plan some kind of assault on the warehouse.
The possibility of an attack was the reason that, after Donovan’s departure, Rafferty ordered that we begin dismantling operations and set up for a more mobile command structure.
Teams would be heading to various locations around the stadium in Miami. A mobile command center would be run from a double-wide trailer at an abandoned construction site nearby. That would be my spot. I would be there with Jones and we would have eyes and ears on the the entire operation and we would be able to warn the team of any impending issues.
Rafferty would be leading the ground team. They would mostly be posing as spectators at the match. Jones was busy securing legitimate tickets for them in strategically located areas in the stadium.
Due to heightened security, it would be impossible to bring firearms into the stadium. Instead, the personnel blending in with the crowd would be carrying weapons fashioned from other materials and strategically hidden within their clothing. They also had extensive hand-to-hand combat expertise which they could use, if necessary.
Admiral Baker would return to Jacksonville. He would closely monitor the situation and be ready to react depending on the outcome. He and Rafferty had an agreement that, if the operation went badly, Rafferty would take the heat. This would allow Baker to remain at the head of the U.S. Navy Southern Command from where he could attempt to thwart the resulting military action. It was a safety measure with a low possibility of success, but at least it was something.
Everyone had their assignments and the plan was in place. Jones and I would head to the command center and get everything up and running while the other members of the team scattered to their designated locations. All of this would happen in the next four hours, a reasonable amount of time to disperse in case Donovan sold out the team.
Jones accompanied me, along with a computer tech named Bailey, on the trip to the command trailer. We had a nondescript Chevy pickup with some added equipment under the hood that helped us get their quickly. We took the Florida turnpike and exited on Northwest 199th Street and turned left on 27th Avenue and came to a stop near the double-wide that was on an abandoned construction site near a Walmart Super Center.
When we stepped into the trailer, I realized that it was not your typical portable construction office. It had an ultra-high-speed internet connection and lots of built in computing and surveillance equipment. We would be able to monitor things quite well from here.
We settled in and it was soon time for a scheduled video conference call with Rafferty. We initiated the call via a secure connection and could see from the background that he was in a small motel room likely somewhere nearby.
“Gentlemen, I see that you are settled into the command center,” Rafferty began. “I’m assuming that everything is in working order.”
“You could say that,” Jones said. “There is some pretty adequate equipment here.”
“That’s good. I’m glad you approve, Mr. Jones. I heard back from Donovan that Secretary Martin’s people are in place on the grounds crew and in the other positions. It appears that he is still on our side and is giving us good intel. With that being said, I need you guys to do a couple of things. First, I want you to tap into the stadium’s surveillance system so that you have eyes on every corner of the place. Second, I want as complete a list as possible of anyone working in the stadium leading up to the game. I’m talking every janitor, vendor, groundskeeper, etc. We need to know who we’re dealing with.”
I told Rafferty that we should be able to do this by combining facial recognition software with the stadium’s surveillance camera system. If they had a driver’s license or any other form of accessible identification, we would find out who they were.
Rafferty continued with a list of activities the team would be carrying out in the two days leading up to the game, but was interrupted by Jones.
“I’m in,” Jones said while Rafferty was mid-sentence.
Rafferty paused and I looked at Jones.
“I’m in to the the stadium’s surveillance system. Sorry for the interruption. I thought you’d want to know.”
The speed with which Jones could tap into allegedly secure systems was amazing, and a bit scary.
“From what we can tell, the Secretary and her entourage will be arriving at the stadium at about 4 P.M. on Sunday, just before the final match between Israel and the U.S. Her plan is to watch the first half of the match and then head out. Some time after she leaves, whatever mayhem she has planned will be unleashed. Unfortunately, we need to expect the worst.”
By the worst, I assumed that Rafferty meant some kind of nuclear or radioactive attack. Since an attack by conventional weapons was unlikely, some type of explosive or contamination attack was anticipated.
“What I need you three to do is, not only look out for potential dangers for the team and the attendees at the event, but I also need to know if you see anything that would indicate how the attack might take place.”
Rafferty finished with his briefing and instructions and we set up a time in eight hours to meet again, unless something new popped up. Jones, Bailey and I would be rotating in and out of the trailer in staggered twelve hour shifts. at a time with the third person catching some rest. This way, one person would be fresh at the start of each shift. Jones and I would work together for the first six hours, with me taking the first break and Bailey going off to a nearby motel room for a rest.
The first six hours, which stretched until midnight, were uneventful. We prepared some pizza in the small galley and watched the minimal activity at the stadium. At just before midnight, Bailey entered the trailer and I prepared to go off and take my break.
I instructed Jones and Bailey to contact me if anything significant occurred. Otherwise, I would return at six A.M. to relive Jones. I climbed into the pickup and went off to the small motel where a room had been reserved nearby. My Navy training had taught me to grab sleep whenever i could and I was quite good at falling asleep quickly. I settled in and drifted off mere minutes after hitting the bed.
After what seemed like five minutes, but was actually three hours, my cell phone rang. It was the command center.
“Sorry to bother you,” Bailey said. “I think we found something that you’re going to want to see.”
I didn’t hesitate. I jumped into my clothes and was in the pickup within five minutes. As I entered the trailer, Jones and Bailey were looking at a video feed external to the stadium. There was some kind of delivery taking place at the stadiums loading dock. Large bags were being unloaded on pallets.
I asked what was going on.
“It looks like fertilizer,” Jones said.
At first I didn’t think that unloading pallets of fertilizer into a stadium that used natural grass as its playing surface was unusual, but then Jones zoomed in on one of the bags.
“Based on the grass that they use in the stadium, this isn’t the right kind of fertilizer.”
At first I thought I was roused from my sleep for a gardening lesson, but then it dawned on me.
“Oklahoma City,” I said.
“Exactly,” Bailey agreed.
The fertilizer being unloaded, when combined with other common ingredients, could be used to create a very potent explosive. This is the formula that was used to level the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City back in 1995. The fertilizer being unloaded was ammonium nitrate based. This was an agricultural fertilizer and would not be used on grass.
I instructed Jones and Bailey to save the video footage and get closeups of the faces of those unloading the fertilizer. It was going to be a long few hours while we compiled the information and fed it to Rafferty and the team. If we were on the right track, we had found our method of attack.
Read the earlier parts and get caught up:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30