Rising Tide: CATU Book 3 Ch. 07byJoeBarnosky©
Channel 5 News Studio, Washington D.C.
And now we go live to Tabitha Bowman who is just outside the White House," Cassandra Lopez announces.
A screen comes to life behind Cassandra of a blond woman wearing a light green blouse that matched her eyes. The woman stands outside the gates that surround the White House. National Guardsmen can be seen standing guard at ten foot intervals, their guns at the ready.
"Good Morning Tabitha. What is the scene like out there at the White House?" Cassandra asks.
"Good Morning. The scene isn't too much different than any other day here. An increase of National Guard was added last night shortly after President McKinsey gave his address."
"Reports of crowds forming and picketing are filtering in. Are these crowds for or against the move President McKinsey made last night?"
"From what I can see so far," Tabitha begins as the cameraman shifts the picture from her to a section of the crowd just outside the main gate, "the crowd seems to be divided between support for the President and Senator Rustlin. It seems many of the people are a bit angered about the disbanding of CATU while those supporting the senator are for it."
"Now we were talking about the recent attack on the White House from this mysterious assassin and when asked about it last night, the President seemed to shy away from the issue. From what you can tell has the White House beefed up security in response to another threat?"
The cameraman spans back to Tabitha capturing a fair portion of the White House lawn in the process. "Unfortunately Cassandra that is one of the issues any representative from the White House has been willing to give a response to. Besides the increase of guards, there doesn't appear to be a showing of more security. If there are any additional security personnel here, they are doing a great job of staying hidden."
"I see the window to the Oval Office has been repaired. It doesn't look like a horrific attack ever took place."
"That's right Cassandra. Workers were here all day yesterday and into the night working to repair the damaged window. According to sources, the would be assassin jumped through the window and made her escape."
"Well so far things seem to be looking up."
"That they are."
"Thank you for that report Tabitha."
Cassandra shuffles a couple of papers in front of her as the screen behind her disconnects from the feed from the White House to another feed of the ocean.
"We now go live to Brock Solis who is aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford in the South Atlantic. Good Morning Brock."
"Good Morning Cassandra."
Brock Solis stands on the deck of the aircraft carrier as planes are both launching and landing on the platform. The scene from the deck looks like an anthill with ants milling around busily.
"What is the current situation of the battle fleet as it heads toward Africa?" Cassandra inquires.
"The fleet was sent out early yesterday afternoon as soon as the President gave the order. We are currently less than one hundred miles from the intended destination now.
"As you can see planes are leaving and landing at a pretty steady pace. Now whether these are preliminary flights or routine maneuvers are unknown at this time. What I can tell you is every member aboard the aircraft carrier here is ready and able to do what has been asked of them."
"What is the mood of those aboard and what are their thoughts on President McKinsey's decision to send the fleet?"
Brock pauses and ducks slightly as another of the F-22 Raptors roars off the deck. "The majority of those aboard sees it as their duty and they carry on without complaint. Many of those that I spoke to agree with the President saying it isn't right this Coalition attack these innocent people. Still there are a few that are against the President and support Senator Rustlin."
"Speaking of Senator Rustlin we have to leave you Brock to go live to the Senator's speech. Thank you."
"Thank you Cassandra."
"We go live to Senator Rustlin who is giving a speech on the steps in front of the Washington Memorial."
The feed switches from the news studio to live feed at the Washington Memorial. Senator Rustlin is just taking the podium after being announced. The crowd is so large that the Washington D.C. police have to be called in for traffic and crowd control. Once the senator is announced the crowd roars with cheers.
Rustlin waves to the crowd until he finally takes the podium. "Greetings and thank you fellow citizens. I announced this meeting today in light of President McKinsey's rash decision to act against the Russian/Chinese Coalition. Now I'm not saying our president is a bad one, but rather he has been making bad decisions. First of all he should have never approved a program such as CATU only to keep it a secret. This past fiasco has exonerated the group, but if not for their approval in the first place it would have never happened. I sought the truth and the public was given that truth. But can we really take that truth to heart? I say the answer is no!"
The crowd claps and cheers. The senator pauses allowing his words to take root. He has spent the entire night rehearsing and perfecting his speech. "If CATU really is innocent then why get rid of the organization, especially if they were created to protect the American people?
"The answer is simple: they are guilty and rather than face public scrutiny the President did what he did to save face. We need a strong leader, one that will protect the people. What the President has done is not helping. Instead he is only hindering us and opening America up to these terrorist attacks."
The crowd claps louder. Rustlin was winning the support of those that stood here now. He only hoped those that watched from their homes or work were in agreement with him. He knew McKinsey still had many supporters, maybe even more than him, but he was willing to go that extra mile to have them see his view. No matter what the outcome was with any situation, he would be prepared to turn it right around. And if that meant blaming McKinsey for something that may very well not be his fault, then so be it.
Winning was the only thing important to Rustlin. Winning at any cost.
"Our military is once again being sent out to fight in a war that we didn't start, a war that wasn't instigated against us, a war that we will spearhead with little or no help. NATO told the President several times not to get involved and for good reason. What our President has done is not acceptable. He completely ignored NATO's advice and has put many of our young soldiers in the line of fire. These are your sons and daughters, your husbands and wives, your mothers and fathers.
"It is completely unacceptable. We cannot continue to support a president that is willing to put everyone's life at risk. As president I will reverse the mistakes of President McKinsey. As President I will not only secure our country but I will ensure the safety of every American before I worry about everybody else!"
Cheers erupt from the crowd to the point that every police officer tenses up expecting a riot or utter chaos to begin. The cheers go on for nearly a full minute. Senator Rustlin can't help but smile to himself at the expected turn of events.
"I urge each and everyone to think about what I have said and when you elect me as your new president together we will unite America as one great nation that no other country or terrorist will ever dare think about attacking!"
Rustlin at that moment simply leaves the podium. Without looking back at the crowd, he follows his escort to the secure area where his limo waited. The crowd continues to cheer with many yelling his name. The police work to keep the crowd at bay and keep any of them from overtaking the stage.
The senator smiles to himself the entire walk back to the limo. It is a good day and he has accomplished what he had set out to do. As he enters the limo still smiling, his head reels back suddenly. Rustlin's body instantly goes slack as brains fly all over the interior and exterior of the limo.
Confirmed kill," Warrant Officer Katie Matthews says as she looks through the Leupold telescopic sight of her Bor sniper rifle.
"Copy that," a reply comes over her earpiece.
She continued to view the seen through the scope. Senator Rustlin's aides and security detail mill around expecting another shot and are looking for any possibility to see who or where the shot came from.
Matthews isn't worried about an investigation leading to her or her team since the round used to kill the senator was a .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. It is a bullet that many military, law enforcement and hunters around the world use.
She watches for another few seconds before getting up from her hiding spot nine hundred yards away from the Washington Monument. This mission is over and it is not one she will lose sleep over.
How are our plans proceeding?
Maltaus casts his gaze across the large excavation pit that was the prison of the Demon Lord, Avyanna.
"As planned my lord," Natalya says bowing before Maltaus. "The Russian Navy has pulled back to protect both islands and we have reinforcements on White Island."
Excellent. We shall let the humans battle amongst themselves. In the meantime we will focus our energies on the tasks at hand.
Maltaus keeps his gaze not turning to regard Natalya. The time was coming closer as each day past. Soon it would be time to step off his throne and serve his new master.
"What of the humans Spencer and Samantha?"
What of them?
"The Black List is aiding them. What happens if they manage to find out what we have planned and decide to interfere?"
Maltaus spins around, his cape fluttering against the wind then landing gracefully back to the ground. Insolence! I grow tired of your insolence as much as I tire of trying to turn them to our cause. I've given you permission to deal with these minor details and yet you still ask me such stupid questions. Fire burns in his eyes as venomous rage seethes in every word.
"Forgive me my lord. I only ask because you have such a great interest in these two humans," Natalya says picking her words carefully. She knows she could push Maltaus but eventually even she would lose his good graces.
My interest has long expired. They both had far too many chances to join. Kill them and do it with some irony.
"What will you have me do?"
A smile crosses over Maltaus' lips. He knows the perfect death for them. Send Gravlis and summon Jennifer Maykov.
"It will be done my lord," Natalya says rising.
Maltaus turns his back to her and once again surveys the progress of the excavation pit.