Honor Thy Mother & Thy Father Ch. 11byProlonged_Debut10©
Note: This is a work of FICTION! Although the areas this story takes place in are real; all of the landscapes depicted, the people described, and everything else this story uses to make it enjoyable reading for you are NOT REAL. As you read this story, try to remember:
The building was not fully cleared, but the service elevators were full with polystyrene to cover the desks, chairs, cabinets, lamps, and anything else could not be moved from the ravages of splattering paint. The best it could be called was controlled confusion, because more men were bringing up the covering, then were covering the furniture. The deadline was midnight, and the contractor stood to lose tens of thousands of dollars per hour if he went over. The big job started in the morning. Thousands of cans of paint were being shaken outside to make the color consistent, and then they were loaded onto pallets, numbered, and readied for the morning.
There were two men that had a special job ahead of them. They had to get into the Attorney General's office, open the safe, find the package, destroy it, and slip back out, without being seen. They knew the chances of this operation going off, without a hitch, were highly improbable. However, the amount of money they were offered, to attempt this job was $10 million, and they could not turn it down, one way or the other. They had worked out two scenarios and if they did not have a chance at the first one, they could try the second. Either way, they were not to leave the building, without destroying that package. As long as that part of their job was successful, their families would get the money.
Painting began on time, and the work crews went to their assigned areas. Computer alarms in the basement of the building started going off immediately. Something had gone wrong with the identification implants in the painter's vests. Every one of them malfunctioned. When they were tested everything was fine. All work had to stop. Every painter had to stay exactly where they stood so they could be identified by the guards through their identification badges. It was a long and tedious process. The problem was not with the vests, the problem was in the protocol of the computers. Everyone went back to work, but three precious hours were lost.
The painters lived up to their reputations. They were professionals; they were meticulous, and they did their job extremely well. However, there was a trade-off, "time." You cannot paint the Mona Lisa haphazardly; nor can you paint an important office building and leave drips on the walls and areas uncovered. It has to be done right, and these people did it right the first time. Thankfully, they did not have to do the ceilings. The non-smoking rule in federal buildings kept the ceilings from turning yellow. Painting the ceilings would have added three days to the job. Rooms would have had to been evacuated, scaffolding brought in and the ceilings spray-painted. The mess would have been abominable.
During the first hour break, the painters ate their food quickly and then lie down to get some rest. When the second seven-hour shift started, they continued working well for the first three or four hours but then they started to lag until they barely could move, towards the end of their second seven-hour shift. The contractor knew that he had bit off more than he could chew. He decided to change the work schedule. He told his crew, as they were leaving the building, not to show up until 9 o'clock the next morning. There were cheers among the rank and file. There was no way they could work 15 hours, eat, cleanup, sleep six hours, and come back to work refreshed at 6 o'clock the next morning. They needed more time to recharge their batteries, and he gave them that time.
Their performance the next day showed it worked. They completed the third floor and moved up to the fourth floor. The two men strategically put themselves close to Fred's office door. While doing the trim around the doors, one of them cut the seal around his door, with a thin surgical blade that barely left a noticeable mark, picked the door lock, and moved slowly on to the side of the frame. The other man was on a ladder, doing the area above the door, and looked around to see if any of the guards had been looking in their direction. No one was, so he continued painting. He walked down the ladder to refill his bucket with paint, when he returned, he nodded to his compatriot. They slipped through Fred's door, and locked it. They took off their vests and kept them by the door to try to fool the computers that they were painting on the other side.
They checked the Attorney General's door for an alarm, and found none. One of them took out a device that looked like a cell phone. It was the listening device that could hear the tumblers of a safe clicking into place. They already knew what the combination of the safe was, but they had to attach this to the safe to protect the informant, whose name they did not know.
Clark Atwater insisted that Fred, Sharon and the girls spend the weekend at his mansion. He wanted to get to know Sharon and her daughters much better, find out how he could help the girls get in to college, and if they had any preferences. He also found out that he could not keep any secrets from them.
"Fred, these children of yours are dangerous. They are dangerous to themselves and to others. I am not saying this lightly. They could hear something they are not supposed to hear, and wind up in trouble because of it. We have to find a way to protect them."
"Sir, I have been their father for one week. I am just getting used to them. I have not even thought about the ramifications of their being telepathic. If you have any ideas on that subject, I am all ears."
"Annapolis, "The Naval Academy," not as midshipmen, unless they want to be, but at least someplace where they can be guarded at all times."
Sandy said "Sir, with all due respect and thanks for the offer, but there is no way I am going to the Naval Academy. Cindy and I can keep a secret. I am sure that you have agents that are young enough or look young enough that could guard us as we go through college. They could even play our boyfriends if you want. I would rather go to Georgetown, or the University of Maryland in College Park. If there is a College closer to where Fred and Mom are going to live we would not mind that either."
"Where are you going to live, Fred?"
"We have not gotten that far, Sir. It has only been one week, and we are still working on the divorce. I will work on the Nevada end this week, and also Virginia's marriage laws. If we can work both simultaneously, that will save us some time also. Sharon will start house shopping, but we do not know if we should look for a five bedroom, a four bedroom, a three-bedroom, or an efficiency apartment. Depending on where the girls are going to go to school, we will either have a house full of children, or be empty-nesters, before we know it."
"Fred, take my advice; if you can afford it, buy the biggest house you can find. Children have a habit of always coming home."
"Sir, do you remember what you told me about not spending all my money spoiling the ones I love?"
"Yes Fred, I take it back. I know there goes your nest egg."
"A new car, and a big house, thank you sir, your advice has led to my downfall."
"I did not tell you to go to Philadelphia to look at all the historical sites, and fall in love."
"I thought it was going to be a cheap weekend, sir. It was supposed to cost me $337.27."
"You wanted the director of the FBI to shoot you. Should I tell him to do it?"
One day Fred will remember to be out of arm's reach from Sharon hears something he says like that. The pain he felt in his left arm made his hand numb for several minutes as his friend and mentor laughed.
Sharon yelled, "You chased me. I wanted no part of you. I thought you were a stalker, do you remember. You had to show me your identification for me to even talk to you."
"Yes dear, I remember, but do you have to hit me so hard."
"I told you Fred, it is all the fury I have left over from my husband. If I had hit him, he would have killed me."
Julia Atwater walked into the room with a telephone in her hand. She said, "Clark, it is the President's office."
"This is Clark Atwater. Yes, I will hold for the President."
"Good afternoon Mister President, how might I be a service?"
"Yes Sir, it is completed, and it is in my vault. I can have it on your desk tomorrow morning if that is convenient, or I can have it on your desk this afternoon."
"Yes Sir, I will have it couriered over this afternoon."
"Fred, the opinion on the CIA's overseas camps, we did finish it."
"Yes Sir, but is not in your vault it's in mine, awaiting your signature."
"Well, you will never guess where we are going this afternoon?"
"Sir, I cannot go in. I am not allowed to work on weekends, and I will exceed my 55 hour workweek."
"Get your ass in my limousine, before I shoot you."
"Can I take Sharon with me, so I can show her where you keep me prisoner?"
"Of course you can, I will take Julia, and we will go out to dinner. The girls can eat here."
"Sandy and her sisters walked into the room and said, "Why do we have to miss all the fun?"
"Sir, we are going to have to learn sign language when they are around. Is there a college at Norfolk, on the naval base?"
"No, but I can ask the President to build one. Come on girls, you can come too. Our Secret Service guys are going on a field trip."
The entourage drove to the Justice Department building and parked in the underground parking lot, much to the surprise of the guards stationed there. The General never worked on Sunday, unless it was an emergency.
The General told them 'No', he was just showing his guest around, and the guards reminded him that the building was being painted.
They took the elevator to the fourth floor and when they got out, it looked like a typhoon had hit the place. Painters were everywhere. Paint, plastic, forklifts, and everything needed to get the job done were on this floor.
Fred turned and said, "Sir, everything looks just the same as we left on Friday."
"Fred, let us get this done, before the fumes knock me over."
They started the long walk towards the General's door.
The two men took off their white painters clothing in Fred's office, and exposed their opalescent blue garments. They covered their heads so only their eyes showed, and put on their matching gloves and booties. These items have proven to fool many black and white, and most color cameras. However, they knew once they moved the picture they had less than 90 seconds to do their job, redress and get out of the room.
They opened the door just enough to slip through and walked very slowly to the painting. So far the tiny black-and-white cameras had not picked them up.
Fred did not notice that the seal had been tampered with, as he sliced it open. He walked into his office, went to his vault, dialed in the combination, and opened it. He took out the file in question, and handed it to the Attorney General.
Clark Atwater read the document, and signed the original. He handed it back to Fred, who put it into a manila envelope, and into a courier bag, and placed it on his desk. He put the copy back into the folder; put it into his vault closed it, spun the dial, and made sure it was locked.
As soon as the picture moved, all hell broke loose in the computer room. Agents ran to the elevators, and cursed that it was so slow. They wanted to catch these people, in the act.
The vault was opened in 14 seconds. They pulled out the file, ignited it, and threw it back into the vault. They ran back towards the door to exit the room.
Clark said, "I may as well show you my office." He turned and started walking towards it.
Sandy yelled, "Dad, someone's in there."
Fred grabbed his boss by the neck and threw him to the ground. He turned and yelled, "Girls, get down." Before he could react himself, the door to the Attorney General's office opened, and he was face to face with the two men. One of them had a Glock 17, which is nearly undetectable by metal detectors, because it is made of space age polymers and plastics. He shot Fred in the head and chest. The bullets lifted him off the floor, and he fell backwards, hitting his desk, before landing on the floor.
The outer door to Fred's office burst open, the FBI agents opened fire, and killed both men.
The girls were crying. Sharon was hysterical as she climbed over Fred and saw his wounds. She saw the blood flowing from his body. The Attorney General got up from where Fred threw him. When he saw Fred's bloody body, he screamed, "Get Help Now!"
He pulled Sharon away from Fred so the agents could check him.
An agent put his cheek by Fred's mouth and yelled, "He is still breathing. We have to get him to a hospital, now."
They put Fred on a pallet, and as carefully as they could, ran to an elevator and down to a waiting SUV. They rushed him to George Washington University Medical Center to see if they could save him. Sharon and the girls went to the hospital with the Secret Service.
The Attorney General went in his limousine, because he wanted to be alone. He thought he had just lost his son.
Michael Free, and all the FBI agents involved wanted to know who broke in to the Attorney General's safe. None of them worried about what happened to Fred Hastings. They wanted to know who else was close enough to the Attorney General to wipe his ass. Fred was no longer a suspect. He took two bullets to protect his boss, but as far as they were concerned that was "in the line of duty" and was expected of him. The people, who broke in, would have known better than to shoot a high profile mole.
When the criminalists uncovered the faces of the two men, they instantly recognized one of the two men: Lewis Montrose, the number two man in the US Attorney's office in New York. They thought he was still in Columbia. How the hell did he get back here, without the embassy notifying them? Stephano's words did not fit. Lewis was never in the Attorney General's office. Lewis could be the right person, because he saw everything that came into the New York office concerning the mob. The Director still had serious doubts, and there was only one way to find out if someone was piggybacking his computers. As much as Michael Free hated to use this word, he needed help from Patricia, and her merry band of computer security specialist. He had two ulcers, what was two more. She could even see his wife face-to-face and maybe that could help her with her problem. He had to make a phone call, and his hands shook, while he dialed her number.
She answered, "Michael did you do something illegal?"
"I guess I deserved that Patty. I need you and some of your friends here in Washington as soon as possible. I have a problem that my people can't help me with, and one of them may be the problem. We may have a mole in our computer room. We thought it was one of the people working for the Attorney General, but we just ruled that out. I can't use my own people, to rule out one my own people. I want you guys to give us a hand."
"How many of us would you like Michael?"
"Two exactly like you Patty. If not, you, plus 99 of your most talented friends. We want to find out if someone is using a carrier on our computer lines and stealing everything we know."
"I will want my usual fee, per day."
"Yes Patty, we will pay usual fee; $1.4 million a day."
"I am going to spread it around to my friends. I will call them and get them ready to go.
"I knew you were going to do that Patty. You can stay with me, and you can talk with my wife all you want, while you're here.
"I would really like that Michael, I would like that a lot. Michael, I will have my friends ready. Most are still in the Boston area, some are in New York, and others are scattered around the country. It might be easier if they flew in and you reimburse them."
"Patty, just get me their names and where they are; I will make a decision on the traveling arrangement."
"I will get on a private jet tonight and fly in tonight."
"You stay put; I will send someone to get you."
"Michael, are you telling me what to do?"
"Patty, I almost lost a friend today, I may still lose him. It is touch and go, and I want to get to the hospital to see if there is anything I can do. Please stay put, I will send an aircraft for you. I need you safe."
"I will pray for him Michael. I will pray for you also. I will wait to hear about the aircraft coming to get me."
"It will be soon Patty, it will be very soon."
"Goodbye Michael, I will see you soon.
Joe Lombardo screamed, "How stupid was Montrose? He shot Fred in the head. He may never be of any use to us again. Shit, he may not live according to the last report. Do we have anyone in the pipeline to replace him?"
Jim Calabrese said, "Calm down Joe, he is not dead yet. Let's wait and see what happens. The report is gone, that is the big thing. They cannot use it against us, so they have nothing new in their arsenal."
"Thank God for small favors. We were just getting ready to start dropping hints about Atwater running for president. It's only three years away, and it would have been nice to have Fred sitting on his shoulder."
Nick said, "Yeah, even Chicago in their heyday did not have anyone sitting that close to the president. We would have had the president's ear every minute of the day."
The hospital tried to make the Attorney General and his guests as comfortable as possible, but tension was so high, the slightest thing started an argument or crying. Sharon had both arms full with her girls.
The General wanted to know why they were not informed someone was in his office, before anything happened. With all the agents on the fourth floor, why did the group from the basement have to come up to make the arrest? He promised Michael Free that heads would roll over this.
After 11 hours of surgery, the chief surgeon came to speak to everyone. He said, "We will know in 72 hours. He lost a tremendous amount of blood before he got here, and his heart stopped four times, while he was on the table. He must have wanted to live very much, because he fought for life desperately. We were very lucky with the head wound. Either that or he has an extremely hard head. The bullet hit him 2 inches above and slightly left of his left eyebrow, on the frontal bone. It went under his skin, caused a groove in the bone, and came out above his left ear, without penetrating the cranium. He has a severe concussion, his brain is swollen, and is in a coma, but his brain is intact. We will know more about the brain injury as time as goes by.
His big problem was the chest wound. The bullet entered through the chest wall, threw his lung, and pierced the Inferior Vena Cava. How he made it here, without bleeding out, is a miracle. We gave him 14 units of blood, until we ran out of his type and then we gave him plasma and platelets until more arrived. The man is a medical marvel. If he lives, and it is a big if, it may take him six months to a year, or more to rehabilitate. He has none of his own blood left in him, and as I said, we will not know if he is going to make it for three days. If I was a betting man, and I am not, the way he fought to live on that table, I would say he has better than a 50-50 chance, because he has someone, or something to live for."