Rising Tide: CATU Book 3 Ch. 06byJoeBarnosky©
White House Press Room
Reporters file into the noisy room looking for their respective seats. The White House Press sent out an announcement that President McKinsey intended to make an emergency address to the public. Once the news agencies received the message they didn't waste any time assigning reporters to the event.
With the elections on the horizon and all the recent events with terrorists and attacks on America, every moment was a critical one for President McKinsey. Senator Rustlin stirring up trouble didn't even began to help matters any. It was time for McKinsey to take control of the situation.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States," a calm female voice announces.
The room quiets down almost instantly at the announcement. Seconds later President McKinsey enters the room and makes his way to the podium. He wears a mask of grin determination on his face. "Thank you for joining me this evening. I would like to get right to the matter; I will then take a few questions.
"There has been quite a bit of controversy over the events these past few months. The FBI has been charged with investigating these events along with the organization of CATU. I am to announce that the FBI has not found any evidence linking these events or any like them to CATU. Even with CATU being exonerated from these charges, I am officially shutting the program down. They are just one of our many programs used to protect us from terrorism, but they are also the most targeted, both by terrorists and America.
"It is with great reluctance I make this decision. The current members' names will not be released and they will be given the opportunity to be reassigned to other organizations. Most of you are aware of the current situation in Africa with both the Chinese and Russians. As a nation that protects the innocent from the threat of terrorists and dictators, we have set back for far too long. As of earlier this afternoon, I signed an order to send our Armed Forces to aid Africa.
"NATO has cautioned us not to infringe on this coalition and its movements. We cannot stand back and watch helpless nations be overrun. If we listened to every caution or looked over our shoulder at every possible fear we would not be here today. There is a call for our help just as there has always been and it is a call we will no longer ignore. I made a promise to protect not only America from terrorist threats but every other helpless person and nation."
McKinsey stands silent looking over the crowd that is gathered before him. Every television in the nation is tuned into this address. Even for those that aren't interested in viewing what the President has to say have no other choice. Every network is set to broadcast this speech. It was a little difficult, but McKinsey made sure he had hired the best people for his administration. Right now he is glad he did so.
"I ask all of you out there for your support. Right now I know many of you have answered the call brought by Senator Rustlin and many of you do not wish to see another conflict rise up and turn into a war. I cannot make you see my way of thinking for we are a free nation. I also cannot force you to view my decision to sent aid to countries in conflict beyond their own accord. But I as a leader cannot allow tyranny in any form or in any country to take shape.
"Most of all I cannot let any one person or any one country or any multiple amounts of the two decide that it is alright to abused their power. I cannot sit back and allow them to believe they are greater than any one person or country. And I certainly cannot allow innocent men, women and children to be slaughtered or persecuted. I cannot command any of you out there to view my actions for your own. I can, however, ask that you take the time to put yourselves in the situation and ask if America will not help then who will? Thank you. I will take a few of your questions now."
Shouts of questions erupt from the mouths of all the reporters in the room. It is if the opening bell of the stock exchange had been rung.
"Mr. President! Mr. President!"
"Yes, Janice," McKinsey says pointing at a reporter in the third row.
"We are all glad to see that you are still alive after the attempt by the mysterious assassin, but he has left two of your cabinet members dead. Is this assassin linked to the events happening now or from those of the months previous?"
"At the moment both National Security and the FBI are working on finding this assassin and well as any link she may have," McKinsey replies.
"You said she?" Janice asks.
"That is correct. The assassin is a woman and should be considered very dangerous."
"Rumor has it this assassin is of Chinese descent. Can you confirm this Mr. President?" a man from the second row asks.
"At the moment, that cannot be confirmed."
"If the assassin is indeed Chinese, how likely is it that she can be linked to General Wei?" the same man asks.
"Like I said the investigation is under way. Right now I am not able to confirm anything in linking the assassin to anything."
The reporters were taking him into waters he either wasn't prepared for or doesn't want to tread in. The whole point of the message was to rally America together for one focal point and instead these reporters were more concerned with a story than anything else.
Carly, the woman that announced him sees the situation unfolding into something the President doesn't want. Thinking quickly, she walks briskly onto the stage and whispers into McKinsey's ear. His expression changes into shock.
"I'm sorry but something has come up and that is all the questions that I am able to answer at this time. Thank you for your patience and I urge you all to consider my words tonight."
Reporters begin shouting questions as McKinsey leaves the stage. He puts his hand in the air as a sign of goodbye and quickly walks off the stage.
"Thank you for the save out there," he says to Carly as soon as they are in the privacy of the hallway.
"Not a problem Mr. President," she replies with a smile.
"Are the members of CATU being released yet?" he asks.
"As we speak sir. Shall I have Director Nichols meet with you?"
"Yes and make sure he has Director Cornelius with him as well."
"Yes Mr. President."
A knock raps at the door causing President McKinsey to turn his attention from the view outside to the door of his office. "Come in," he says just loud enough for his voice to carry through the door.
The door opens and his secretary walks through with a notepad in hand. "Excuse me sir. Both Director Nichols and Director Cornelius are here to see you," she says briskly.
"Thank you. Please send them in."
Moments later both men walk through the door carrying a neutral expression. "Good evening gentlemen," McKinsey says with a solemn expression. He stands up and walks around to the front of his desk.
"Evening sir," Roger replies. Director Nichols nods his head then turns to close the door to the office.
"Please have a seat," McKinsey says a moment later.
The men take seats on the couch as McKinsey takes his on the opposite couch. "I'd offer you drinks, but this really isn't the time for pleasantries," McKinsey says with a grin.
"As much as I could use one, it's not necessary," Roger says.
"Yes, you have been through quite a bit. Senator Rustlin sure did stir up quite a nest," the President replies.
"To say the least," Nichols smirks.
"By now I'm sure you've heard about the decision I announced earlier this evening," McKinsey says directing his attention to Roger. Roger nods his confirmation. "What you have not heard is CATU has once again become a government secret. The only people that will know of its existence are in this room and of course those in the organization. I am working on a way to move funding in a way that it will remain hidden and give CATU all the funding it will need."
"If you'll let me handle the funding problem I can ensure the program will stay operating and no trace will be linked to you if something ever arises that my compromise us or you," Roger offers.
"In that case, do what you need to and I won't ask anymore about it. From what Todd and Mike Grines have told me, you have sources not even I, as president have access to."
"I'm glad to hear that Mike was able to successfully meet with you."
"It was unusual circumstances," McKinsey says with a bit of irony hinting in his voice.
"Hopefully he tracks down this assassin before she strikes again," Nichols adds.
"While we're facing that threat, we are facing another on a different front. We're on the verge of war and it's a place I rather not put ourselves in unless it is absolutely necessary," McKinsey says sternly. He leans forward looking both men in the eyes demanding a sense of command. "What have you for me Todd?
Nichols stands and pulls out a PDA from his jacket pocket. Brandishing it to the President and Roger, he walks over to a mahogany cabinet placed against the wall. Opening the door reveals a small control panel containing buttons and switches. Nichols operates the panel as if he were a professional.
In an instant, the ceiling gives way to a small projector that is lowered down from unseen gears and pulleys. From the opposite side of the room, a large screen drops from the ceiling in the same manner as the projector. He opens a drawer inside the cabinet and pulls out a small USB cord and plugs it into the PDA then into a jack on the control panel.
Instantly the contents on the screen of the PDA are sent to the projector then onto the screen on the opposite wall. Within moments Nichols has filtered through several menus before finally producing a satellite image of Africa.
"As you can see this map was taken earlier this afternoon. From what we have gathered, the Russian front seems to have pulled back focusing both their troops and main fleet at the island of Madagascar. There is another portion located here." Another push of a button brings up an image of Antarctica. The map has a small island off the main coast labeled as White Island. "Unfortunately we don't have any information as to why they have pulled back to the island or have an interest in White Island."
"It could have something to do with the incident a couple of months ago," Roger offers.
"Yes, but didn't your agent blow the place when she left?" McKinsey questions.
"The place was thought to have been destroyed but as you see something must have remained intact," Nichols answers for Roger.
"What's there?" McKinsey asks.
"It was a small operations base used for the Coalition's attempted attack," Roger explains.
"Obviously there is something there the Russians have an interest in. But why not the Chinese? Other than your agent didn't one of the scientists survive?"
"Alvar Dahlin was the scientist. He confirmed everything my agent reported," Roger replies.
"Where is he now?" Nichols asks.
"Relocated by Witness Protection. My guess he and his family are someplace nobody will find them. Due to the level of security, everything was deemed classified with very few knowing what really happened with the incident."
"Okay fine. The Russians obviously have something special that they are hiding from the Chinese, but why maintain control of Madagascar?" McKinsey asks raising his eyebrows.
"Strategically there isn't any reason to hold onto it." Nichols pushes buttons again causing the map of Antarctica to disappear and once again be replaced with a map of Africa. "There aren't any significant resources either. Unless there is a connection between White Island and Madagascar we can't see the point in it."
"So let's send a team into Antarctica and find out what the hell is going on," McKinsey offers.
"Actually two special forces teams have been sent in. The first was to investigate and bring back Intel. The second was to bring back the first. Unfortunately both teams went off the radar and the military is at a loss as to what happened."
"Whatever it is has to be big," Roger replies.
"Other than a full scale assault against the Russians, which we can't afford right now, what are our options?" McKinsey asks.
"What assets do we have military wise?" Nichols asks.
"That's a good question considering I appear to be outside the loop about what's happening in Antarctica," McKinsey says solemnly.
"I only found out about it by doing some of my own digging and it wasn't easy. Whoever is running the show on this situation doesn't want anyone else to find out about it," Nichols states.
"I have an idea," Roger offers. The other two men looked at him giving looks of curiosity mixed with confusion. "There is a program I became affiliated with several years ago before CATU was formed. It was ran by the CIA and eventually closed. I thought that was the end of it until recently. The program is now running again as a joint project between the Army and the Navy. I'm not all sure what they do, but I do know they are good at what they do. It's called DEP Six and it may take a day or two, but I can find out if they have any Intel or plans for White Island."
"Do so. It's time we start pulling in these secret organizations and create a network of resources. I hate to say but the wheels of our government move at a slow pace," McKinsey declares.
"But at least they move," Nichols says jokingly, hoping to ease some of the tension hanging in the air.
"Not fast enough," Roger says with a chuckle.
All three men look at each other and get a hearty laugh before the seriousness of the situation took back over.
"Do what you are able to and as soon as any information is found, get it to me. Right now we have a war we need to stop before it gets too out of hand. As long as the Russians stay out we should be able to put China back in their place. If not, there will be hell to pay," McKinsey says taking on a serious tone once again.