The Reluctant Admiral, Fourbyamicus©
*** Four ***
من هو المسؤول؟ معرفة! يفعل شيئا أن يشكل تهديدا الله يكون معك؟"
(Who is responsible? Find out! Do something that poses a threat God be with you!)
JCS, DOD, FBI, Admiral Paine, who and why? Ts sitrep
"You had a little excitement the other evening, eh, Paine?"
My eyes went wide and I know I blushed.
"Someone took a shot at you, didn't they, did something else happen?"
I tried to recover. "Yes, Admiral Clemens, I discovered I was being followed and under surveillance myself, found out I had a driver assigned and right away some bullets fired. What is behind all this? Why do I need a driver and a guard?"
"The protection is standard procedure, I don't know, son, there is an investigation, I have private feelers out, maybe something will turn up. We have another outing for you this Saturday evening, big time affair, lot of brass, lobbyists, more DC people and many young ladies all waiting for a shot as the most eligible
bachelor making the rounds."
I felt my shoulders slump all by themselves. The last party was painful and forgettable.
"I may have an idea to keep you from being torn apart by the anxious ladies in waiting...we need to fix you up with a date, someone to escort you, hang on your arm, keep the hungry vixen at bay."
" don't know anyone, Sir, aside from my driver and she's well, not the type, I think."
"How about Annie? She's attractive, shows well and is devoted to you?"
"Annie? She works for me, I can't have her on my arm, it would be wrong."
"Employer, employee, oh, I think she would understand, what say we ask her?
Before I could object, he had pressed a button and called Annie to the office.
I stood there tongue tied and dumbledorfed as Admiral Clemens explained.
"We need to have Tom out there,
before his peers, but he needs a way
to avoid the dilettantes that buzz
"Well, Admirals, this girl has nothing to wear to such a classy event, not even close."
"Then you'll do it?" Admiral Clemens was quick on the draw.
"Well, some clothes to wear and if Admiral Paine wants me to accompany him?"
It all got settled somehow and I later heard the five thousand dollars worth of party dresses and accessories was paid for by the CIA S&A division. At least that was first class, at least I think so.
I had noticed cattiness and envy among others during my naval career, but never was I at the center of any of it.
Annie handled it as if she had been doing it all
her life. She swept into the ballroom of the mansion and virtually took over the place, guiding me expertly through the traps and obstacles but making sure the service men I needed to meet were at hand with a moment or so before the onslaught caught up with us. I sense it is a fine game for Annie who seems to greatly enjoy herself. Talking, daintily sipping, eating and gossiping right up therewith the best of them. I even began to enjoy the event with her at my side.
The shooting incident was the main topic of conversation; I wondered how the word spread so fast, so far. I escaped the girls and Annie with a group of young servicemen in uniform smoking on a veranda overlooking a well tended garden area.
"Sir, you probably don't want to be seen with us, smoking is not approved and we, well, must attend but are not functional."
I lit the unfiltered Pall Mall long and inhaled. What do you mean, 'not functional', what are your assignments?"
Momentary confusion as the young men milled around until a Navy Lieutenant stepped forward and guided me towards a secluded area on the veranda.
"Sir, Lieutenant Hobson, SecNav, ah, middle management I guess you could call my job, flunky to the upper echelon, a least with this administration in power."
"I'm not sure...no, I just don't get what you mean, Hobson, can you be more clear?"
The young man, a good looking boy, took my eyes and changed the balance on his feet and shoulders. "You, Sir, are an unknown factor. If you are part of the Administration, my Naval career is done.
"I, we, don't have all the information, but you are in Command of a division within the CIA?"
"Not by choice, but, yes, Surveillance and Analysis is my assignment."
"Not by choice, Sir?"
I feel like I am on the verge of understanding something that I hadn't even formed a question for. How much could I, should I expose?
"I went to a nightclub a while back; I wanted to relax, have a few drinks, eat something other than cafeteria food and soak up some sounds. I discovered, the hard way, that I was being recorded, audio, visual and still pictures taken of me. It all came as a mystery to me. I have not yet taken command of the Division, just learning the procedures. Why would anyone be interested in me?
"Lieutenant, are you recording this conversation, does someone have a camera on me?"
"Sure as hell not, Sir! That is near what we are curious about. You were not put in place by the White House? You don't have an agenda to support whatever they want?"
I would have tried to answer, even to better understand it all, but Annie moved quickly to my side, motioned me to dump the cigarette and hustled me towards the entrance to the veranda.
"Hobson, Sir, Secretary of the Navy office, please mention my name to Admiral Clemens, Sir, thank you."
We moved into a group of high ranking officers and their ladies moving towards the open air veranda. As they passed though the doorway, several ladies began to fan their noses and look angry.
Annie moved into action, "I'm sorry, Ma'am, this is a designated smoking area, here, let me show a better place for fresh air, and it has a much better view."
She did her thing of smiling and touching shoulders and doing 'girl speak' I guess, and it seemed to work. Smiles all about as Annie led them away with a glance back at me to stay put. I shook my head with a wry smile on my lips; I am being handled managed, guided and led in about every way possible. Am I really that naïve and backwards?
Annie returned shortly, but she had Jenny, my driver, in tow.
I offered up a puzzled grin. "Here for some dancing?"
"No, Sir, message from the Admiral, he asks that I return to you based asap, so here I am."
"So, here you are. Can't say I am disappointed, although Annie is having a good time."
"Am not! I hate all this phony crap!"
Jenny did her thing of handing us into the back of the Black Limo and fastening us in. I could barely hear the engine running, but I felt it when she started it up.
"So, Ms. Jensen, you didn't enjoy the evening? I would have bet otherwise."
"Crap! Double Crap! Came from the driver's seat. What chance in hell is there that three black suv's decided to leave the same time we do?" She pulled out into the street but kept glancing through the rear view and side mirrors every few seconds. "Computer...camera ahead, license plate, focus, take and save..."
"I really apologize, Sir, Ma'am, but you need to get on the floor and belt in. I got some padding and blankets for the Admiral, but I didn't plan for two. It is going to be close and friendly for you, but I ain't getting shot at again! Once burned, twice shy.
"Alley cat, Alley cat, boot up Charlie, execute on my mark, coordinates 32 by 123, gimme a rog...?"
Two audible clicks came over the speakers, "Hold
on back there...Alley cat, execute in five, four, three...two.....execute!"
With that, the limo screeched sideways and came completely around roaring in the opposite direction. "There was one tailing us!" Jessy hissed as she extended her left hand and middle finger towards the passing traffic.
Jennie drove it hard, pressing the yellow lights, cutting off to a side street when a red appeared.
She continually punched keys and buttons on the middle console.
"On station, intersect, in three minutes...mark, thirty seconds mark, roger?"
"Alley cat two, roger...Alley cat three, roger...:"
"Make me a sandwich, guys..."
Before I could ask...
"That means two leads, three follows and we are in the middle, standard, but not always the best move..."
"You smell good, really good."
"You have your nose in my hair, silly, of course you can smell it."
"Ah, I didn't plan this, you know."
"I wouldn't put it past you, Admiral, anything to feel up a girl."
I had to laugh out loud, "Not me, I plead innocent, Annie, besides that, it's not all that comfortable."
"Speak for yourself.." she giggled as she snuggled almost on top of me rather than the hard flooring in the back.
"Alley cats, head for the barn..."
"What, no detour this time?"
"Didn't get shot at, just pissed me off, who are these fuckers anyway?"
"Jenny, slow down a little. Annie, where do you live?"
"Oh, I drive home from work, Sir, no problem."
"I share an apartment with two girls; it's expensive anywhere near DC."
"I imagine so, Annie, if they are gunning for me, you are in danger too, and I can't leave you out in the cold."
"I don't know what you mean, Sir, that's where I live."
"Not anymore. Jenny, call the Admiral, have him arrange quarters for Annie, near the work space and tell him, now, we are on the way in."
"Yes, Sir, ah, Admiral, might you ask Annie about this first?"
"Annie, I will ask for patrols around your apartment for the other girls until it is known that you aren't there any more. Is that good with you?"
"Admiral, do you think we could get up now?"
"Yeah, go ahead, get back in your seats, but use the belts, okay?"
"Yes, mommy, we will. Annie?"
"Do you thnk I am really at risk, really?"
"Yes, I do. You know as much as I do about the operation of S&A, and if is information they want, we both have it. So, yes, I think you need protection. But...I guess I can't order you to move on Base..."
"Anything you say is like an order, Sir, you made that clear when you hired me. I love my job, I am happy working for you, it is all so important and crucial, it seems."
"Sir, I am twenty sixe years old and single because I can never make up my mind. I will do what you want me to do, but, Sir, can I get in the Navy so you could just order me what to do?"
I had to pause and consider that. "Yes, you could, I could probably make you a Captain, but, then, you work for the Navy, not me. They could send you anywhere at any time and I would have no influence."
"Annie, I think you should move on base and stay with the Admiral, he needs you; he really does."
"Okay, I guess. What about all my things, and the girls, we share the rent and stuff?"
"Jenny, can I talk to the Admiral from back here?"
"Yes, Sir, let me get him on line."
"Annie, I feel like I have bulldozed you into this, I will understand if you change your mind. I am concerned about your safety; I don't understand just what is going on, but I believe now that I have to be alert and so do you."
Annie looked around, at me, away from me, at her shoes, "Jenny, you never say anything, right? This car isn't bugged is it?"
I could hear the blush in Jenny's voice, yes, everything is video taped, even me, so they have a record of what goes on."
"Can you shut it off?"
Jenny slowed the car handed back a cloth and pointed. "Whisper..."
It took a while to fine the tiny aperture for the camera's two of them, one pointed to each side of the back seat.
I blocked them off and nodded with my finger to my lips.
Annie unbuckled and scooted across, unbuckled me and climbed onto my lap and buckled us both in.
"I felt protected when we were huddled together
on the floor. I never really felt that way before, dependent on someone else. I like the feeling. Working close with you, on call all the time, would make me feel the same, I think. Am I making any sense to you?"
No, she wasn't, but I am not going to say that. Even as a boy I was responsible for myself in all things..."I don't know how to answer than, Jenny, I guess, as your employer, I am responsible for you, but, you kinda went above and beyond a normal job by all this dressing up and showing off stuff, so, I will do everything I can to make certain you are safe and protected twenty four hours a day...is that okay?"
She took her time, rearranging herself on my lap, purposely letting her lips drag across my cheek as she whispered in my ear.
"Yes, I am such a baby, I know, but, it all became very real there on the floor, bouncing all over the place, thinking maybe we would be shot at any time." She slipped her arms behind my back and squeezed, snuggled her head on my chest and sighed. "If I say anymore you might fire me..."
"Yes, Sir, I want her on base and her roommates under our protection for as long as necessary. And, would you send a crew to collect Ms. Bjorn's belongings, please, tonight, she is shook up enough as it is, having her own things around might make it easier."
I listened, nodded and said, yes, okay, and yes Sir, before hanging up.
"All arranged, Annie, thank you Jenny, let's get back."