Texas Wildfire

Chapter 24

By Dwayne MacInnes

President Ramirez stood in the dark room deep inside Malmstrom's Air Force Base. Officers surrounded him as he watched the sergeant at the terminal deftly move some controls. The image on the screen in front of the audience showed the interior of the old state governor's office in Austin.

"Amazing," Ramirez said fascinated by the image playing out before him. "You can pick up audio as well?"

"Yes sir," Captain Richardson answered.

"Don't they sweep the room for bugs?"

"Three to four times a day," Richardson replied. "However, our device, which resembles and acts like a fly has a very low electronic signature that can switch frequencies randomly. This makes counter-surveillance very difficult. In fact, only the very best sweeping devices have a slight chance of detecting it.

"The main source of power is in the internal battery. It is charged from the wings , which happen to be solar panels. The eyes are micro-cameras and the body acts like a microphone picking up any surrounding sounds."

"Impressive, very impressive," Ramirez repeated. "How many of these do we have in operation?"

The captain looked towards General Lowell who was in charge of the project. He nodded his head allowing the captain to answer the president's question. "Well, sir we only have the one."

"One, really?" Ramirez asked incredulously.

"Yes sir, this was only a prototype for testing before the whole war broke out. So, we received authorization to 'test' it out over in the governor's office."

Ramirez turned towards the general and asked him straight out, "What other little devices do you have like this?"

"I'm afraid at this time all other research is still highly classified, sir. I do not even rank high enough to know," he replied.

Ramirez arched an eyebrow as he studied the general. The man remained stone-faced so Ramirez dropped the line of questioning.

"Does this thing have any internal recording devices?"

"Yes, sir," Captain Richardson continued. "The fly can store up to 72 hours worth of images and sounds that we can dump later into the mainframe via the satellite in geosynchronous orbit above Texas. Once there, we can set teams working on the recordings and in a matter of hours have it broken down and readied for further intelligence work."

The president nodded his head in acknowledgement. "Have there been many cyber attacks on this installation?"

General Lowell smiled, "No sir. Very few people know of this. There have been some attacks on other military computers. However, we have been leading the hackers into false files allowing us to back track to their base of attack."

"You make it sound easy," Ramirez said with a smile.

"It is actually very complicated and involved, sir," Lowell continued. "However, this has allowed us to place some viruses into their network. When the word is given, we'll activate the viruses which will essentially shut down all communication in Texas. It is called Operation Whiteout."

"That is getting above my head, general," the president laughed.

President Ramirez continued his tour of the top-secret installation. As far as the world knew, Malmstrom's Air Force Base was the main hub for the nuclear missiles dotting across the plains of eastern Montana. As far as the world knew, President Ramirez was still in Washington, D.C.

With the recent bombing of Littleton, Ramirez's popularity soared to a 95% approval rating. Most people wanted Texas to pay for the deaths of the schoolchildren whose bodies the rescue workers were still pulling out of the rubble. The fringe elements of the right and left were the only ones who did not approve of the President. The right felt that Ramirez had orchestrated the bombing in order to gain approval for the war and the left thought the war with Texas was a waste of resources and lives.

After another half hour of touring the base, Ramirez felt it was time to leave. The president and his retinue left for the trip back to D.C. General Lowell, Captain Richardson and Sergeant Wilcox had the dark room to themselves. They continued to monitor the governor's office even though Tucker and his staff had long ago left.

* * * * *

Vice President Watson entered the president's office. She knew everyone was now gone and she and one aide had the room to themselves. She went over to Tucker's desk and activated the computer built into the desk.

"Ma'am, should we be doing this?" the young aide said with a slight quiver in his voice.

"Yes," she replied. "I need to find those raiders near the New Mexico border. I have a very important mission for them to perform." Watson continued to search through the president's files on the computer until she found what she needed. She then gave the command to the computer that in turn put her through to the raiders.

The holographic image of the cowboy with the .45 Colt Peacemaker came into view. "Yeah?" the man said in a slow drawl.

"Is this Cobb?" Watson asked.

"What if it is? Who are you?"

"I'm your vice president and I have an important mission for you," snapped Watson.

"Yes'm!" Cobb said forcefully as he regained his composure.

"You are to follow Plan Stampede," Watson said. "Repeat, Plan Stampede."

"Immediately," Cobb said.

"That is all!" Watson said in conclusion before shutting down the computer.

"Ma'am, what is Plan Stampede?" the aide asked.

"They are to cross the border into New Mexico and terrorize the populace."



Did you get canned? Or are you on strike demanding to give yourself a payraise? Happy birthday!!!

You know these temperamental writers, never satisfied with anything. Got the same deal you did, but still had to strike. Will be back soon...

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 22, 2010 8:35 PM.

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