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© 2012 by Reason McLucus

1 - President Brewster


On the earth (Earth3) in the following story, President George H. W. Bush was reelected in 1992 with Ross Perot taking enough votes from Democrat Bill Clinton to prevent Clinton from getting more than 36% of the popular vote. On Earth3 Ross Perot never dropped out of the race and Bush pursued a different campaign strategy. Bush directed his campaign against Perot creating confusion among less informed voters about who the Democratic candidate was.

In 1996, Senator Bob Dole had locked up the Republican nomination, but was injured in a fall and felt he could not continue running. Party leaders convinced his wife Elizabeth to run instead. She was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2000. The Democratic Party ceased being a major party in presidential elections after the 1996 election. Many members of Congress stayed in the Democratic Party, but new members were mostly either Republicans or Reform Party members.

Without Bill Clinton in the White House, the U.N. inspectors remained in Iraq and there was no reason to invade Iraq even if President Dole had been inclined to do so. A significant change occurred in Iraq when a disgruntled individual killed Saddam Hussein and his sons. Iraqi officials covered up the deaths to prevent a civil war and used Hussein’s clones to give the appearance he was still alive. Only Russia and Egypt (both of which had different leaders) knew they were dead, but most western governments suspected it and were afraid to publicize their suspicions.

9/11 occurred as on our earth and NATO invaded Afghanistan.

The Israel on Earth3 had kept its provisional capital in Tel Aviv instead of moving it to Jerusalem. As the story opens in early 2005 Israel and the Palestinians have reached a peace agreement with both planning to establish their capitals in Jerusalem later in the year.

The 2004 election marked the first victory for Ross Perot’s Reform Party, although he wasn’t the candidate. Both members of the winning ticket had helped Perot make a strong showing in 1992. The vice presidential candidate had been elected to Congress in the same election. The presidential candidate was a political science professor who had helped divert a portion of the black vote to Perot. He subsequently wrote a novel about the first black president and was persuaded to play the central character in the movie based on the book. His students convinced him to run for governor of California.


Some other events also occurred differently and some countries have different leaders. One important minor difference is that all Christian groups observe Easter at the same time as the Jewish Passover. Readers should be alert to other differences mentioned in the story.


                                                  The 50 Minute War

Physicists talk about the possibility of alternate or parallel universes. In such universes one or more events that happen on our earth might happen differently in another universe. For example, on another earth Richard Nixon might have been elected president in 1960 or Al Gore might have moved into the White House in January, 2001. On one earth a man named George Bailey might have been born in the town of Bedford Falls. On another earth no such person would be born in the town in the same location named Pottersville.

On the earth in the following story, President George H. W. Bush was reelected in 1992 with Ross Perot taking enough votes from Democrat Bill Clinton to prevent him from getting more than 36% of the popular vote. In 1996, Senator Bob Dole had locked up the Republican nomination, but was injured in a fall and felt he could not continue running. Party leaders convinced his popular wife Elizabeth to run instead. She was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2000. The Democratic Party ceased being a major party in presidential elections after the 1996 election. Many members of Congress stayed in the Democratic Party, but new members were mostly either Republicans or Reform/Progressive Party members.

9/11 occurred as on our earth and NATO invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. did not invade Iraq because the U.N. inspectors had never been removed among other reasons.

Some other events also occurred differently and some countries have different leaders. For diplomatic and military reasons the Israelis established a provisional capital at Tel Aviv instead of a permanent capital in Jerusalem. One important minor difference is that all Christian groups observe Easter at the same time as the Jewish Passover. Readers should be alert to other differences mentioned in the story.


                                    C. 2035

This narrative is being published on the 30th anniversary of what the media dubbed the “50 Minute War”. I have been granted unprecedented access to many of the archives containing documents about the war. However, access to most was granted under the condition that I not attribute any information to a specific document or archive, even if that particular archive had no objections to such attribution. I have chosen to focus on those who played a major role along with some representative individuals who were affected by the events of that day. The names of some Palestinian villages and individuals remain classified.


                                    1 - President Brewster

President Willard Xavier (Brew) Brewster kept hoping someone would wake him up from his nightmare. But, he was reasonably certain he hadn’t been dreaming. World War III, or at least a regional version of it, had just occurred.

Brew had never wanted to be president. In high school he had planned to enter the “family business”, as they called the steel industry, after graduation. The Brewsters didn’t actually own any steel mills, but they had been making steel essentially since there had been a steel industry. Brew’s great-great grandfather and great grandfather had made steel for Andrew Carnegie himself.

Brew’s entry into the steel business had to wait for his military obligation to be fulfilled. Military service was another Brewster tradition. His great-great grandfather had helped stop the “Johnny Reb’s” at Gettysberg. Brew volunteered for airborne training, a more recent tradition. Brew’s father parachuted into France on D-Day with the 101st Airborne.

Brew was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam just in time to participate in a combat jump during Operation Junction City. He later participated in major battles like Dak To and Tet. As a newly promoted buck sergeant Brew earned a silver star and a field commission as a 2nd lieutenant. .

His platoon, which was participating in a battalion sized operation, encountered a larger than expected enemy force. Brew, although slightly wounded himself, risked enemy fire to pull the lieutenant and platoon sergeant to safety. He then took charge of the platoon because he was the highest ranking member in the field who was still able to lead. His first priority was to evacuate the wounded, but the nearest clearing where a helicopter could land was a mile away. Part of the lieutenant’s map had been damaged when he was wounded, so Brew initially had to rely on his memory of the area they had already passed through.

As he was retreating to the clearing, some men who had been cut off from other units joined them. Brew was concerned about staying ahead of the VC because movement was slowed by having to carry the wounded. Brew remembered a position the platoon sergeant had remarked earlier would be a good place for an ambush. The location was on a mound in the jungle next to a slight clearing (too small for a helicopter to land). Two trails entered the clearing from the other side. A single wider trail left the area running below the heavily vegetated mound.

They reached the location far enough ahead of Charlie to set up a successful ambush. He sent a small group of men ahead with the wounded. The last men in his column then followed the trail making sufficient noise to convince Charlie that all of his men were still moving. Brew and the others stayed behind to delay the VC.

By this time there were about 35 men all together with 4 M-60 machine guns and a mortar. Brew was surprised at the number of VC. They were still coming from the other two trails when the beginning of the column reached the end of the area covered by his men. The ambush with the machine gun fire directed into the clearing and the two trails convinced the remaining VC to break contact and withdraw. Brew and his men quickly checked the 53 dead VC for documents, weapons and ammunition. Subsequent analysis of the documents indicated one of the dead was the VC equivalent of an American colonel.

After the wounded were evacuated Brew and his men approached the edge of an old rubber plantation. They noticed VC moving through the tall grass on the other side of the stream that separated the trees from what looked like an area that had previously been farmed. Brew had his men spread out at 10-15 foot intervals along the high bank of the stream. He told them to fire short bursts and then roll over a few times to the right or left before firing again to convince Charlie they were a larger force. Part of the lieutenant’s map had been damaged when he was hit. The portion of the map showing this area was undamaged so Brew was able to call in an artillery strike to further disrupt the enemy attack and convince them to withdraw.

Brew’s performance in the field and the shortage of officers convinced the general to give Brew a field promotion to second lieutenant in addition to recommending him for a Congressional Medal of Honor. He didn’t think he deserved an MOH even though he had several wounds that needed to be bandaged. He felt the wounds weren’t significant because they didn’t prevent him from walking or firing an M-16. .

The idea of a full time military career didn’t really appeal to Brew because of the spit and polish world of military bases outside Vietnam. In fact he extended his tour in Vietnam until his three year enlistment was over to avoid such service. He left Vietnam a captain and continued to serve in the National Guard, partly because of the National Guard’s assistance after natural disasters. He convinced the state to pay National Guard members to live in rural areas and supplement volunteer fire and EMS units.  

His efforts to improve the Pennsylvania National Guard’s response to disasters lead to a full time job helping the National Guard in other states improve response. His company was downsizing anyway and he accepted a severance package. In 1988 he was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He retired in 1992 to run for Congress.

Brew had been an above average student in high school, but not far enough above to qualify for any significant financial assistance. Savings from his officer’s salary and GI Bill money made a college education possible. He decided to study metallurgy to find better ways of making and using steel. The company decided to move him into a management position because of his military record.

The steel industry’s financial troubles late in the century caused Brew to decide to run for Congress to try to help. Brew ran on Ross Perot’s Reform Party ticket in 1992 because he didn’t care for the Republicans and felt the Democrats had abandoned labor in favor of other interest groups.

Brew had been a staunch Democrat in his younger days. He supported President Lyndon Johnson even when his administration’s handling of the Vietnam war had been criticized. Brew believed LBJ was just getting bad advice from the generals at MACV in Saigon who didn’t know what was happening in the real war out in the boonies. However, by the 90's the Democrats had started taking the same positions on the important [economic] issues as the Republicans.

His drawing power helped Perot carry his district with Democrat Bill Clinton receiving only a handful of votes. Clinton’s poor showing in Brew’s district helped President Bush carry Pennsylvania.

Brew won in spite of having to devote part of his time to heading a task force set up after Hurricane Andrew. The National Guard called General Brewster out of retirement to investigate the response to Hurricane Andrew and suggest ways to improve the response to major hurricanes.

He had previously developed the proposal that led to a realignment of reserve and National Guard units with groups primarily involved in combat or overseas assignments such as artillery and postal units becoming reserve units and most units with disaster applications such as infantry, engineers and Military Police being Guard units.                                                  

As a result of the Task Force’s recommendation, the National Guard took over the function of the Federal Emergency Management Agency because the National Guard reached disasters first and its personnel could be expanded to cover any size disaster. Military officers had experience in moving personnel, equipment and supplies over a broad geographic areas. Military units were designed to be able to work together including adding other units as needed. For major hurricanes or flooding, regular military units could be assigned to the National Guard commander.

Brew suggested that the National Guard should treat “Mother Nature” as the equivalent of a military adversary. The Guard couldn’t prevent Mother Nature from attacking, but in many cases it could anticipate attacks and be in position to respond. Moving personnel into position to respond to a disaster was similar to moving personnel into position to attack an enemy or prevent an attack.

A special National Guard hurricane command center was established at Fort Benning, Georgia. When a hurricane threatened the U.S. coast, officers would develop appropriate strategies for the areas where it might make landfall and position troops, etc in the appropriate locations. As in a possible combat situation, troops could be repositioned as estimates of the site of landfall changed. Marine and Coast Guard/Navy National Guard units were established for hurricane prone states.

In tornado prone states, the National Guard replaced spring weekend drills with storm mobilization exercises. When storms with the potential to produce tornadoes developed nearby National Guard units mobilized and moved into position following or paralleling the storm’s path so they could move into an area hit by a tornado.

The California National Guard gained fire fighting equipment, including more helicopters all capable of helping to fight fires. The equipment including a special helicopter carried tank sprayer system that Brew had invented. Groups of helicopters flying in formation would produce an artificial rain storm along a fire line.

As a member of Congress, Brew initially focused on helping the steel industry. With the full support of both labor and management, he persuaded Congress to enact legislation that would shift the financial burden of supporting steel industry retirees from individual companies to the industry as a whole. Congress enacted a tax on steel products sold in the U.S., including products manufactured outside the U.S. Exported goods were not taxed. Other manufacturing industries eventually decided to switch to a similar approach.

He reluctantly agreed to run for vice president in 2004. Party leaders felt he would attract labor and veteran support that would give the party a chance to be the first new party to win a presidential election since the Republicans accomplished that feat in 1860. Brew didn’t really consider the possibility of succeeding to the presidency.

Presidential candidate Jackie William McKenzie was young and seemed to be in very good health. Jackie was a political science professor at UCLA when he wrote a novel about the first black president. Some of his students, who were also studying film, persuaded him to let them make the novel into a movie when him as the title character. The movie was a surprising success and was even nominated for a couple of Oscars, including the professor for best actor.

In early 2000 some of his students persuaded him to run in a recall election of the California governor. One of his former professors who, as a student at Oklahoma Baptist University, had helped his political science professor, David Boren, become governor of Oklahoma, encouraged Jackie to run for California governor. Jackie won easily. The Progressive Party, formerly the Reform Party, decided he would be a good choice for its presidential candidate in 2004. He was only slightly older than Abraham Lincoln was when he was elected president.

Jackie had been with the party from the start and had helped Perot do well in California in 1992 and 1996. He convinced California black voters that the Democratic Party was taking them for granted and the Republicans were ignoring them. They needed to vote for a third party to convince both parties to notice them. 70% of them responded by voting for Perot. Jackie also picked up support for the Reform Party from California college students.

Jackie inadvertently helped President Bush win reelection in 1992 in a couple of other ways. In late April he had lunch with former classmate Jules Anderson who worked for a firm that sometimes did political ads.

Jackie suggested that Democrat Bill Clinton’s different explanations for how he avoided military service could be used in a comedy type ad. A cartoon Clinton would use the old Maxwell Smart phrase “would you believe” and then give the first explanation. Then he would say “well, would you believe” and state the second reason and so on depending on how many explanations Clinton had provided by the time the ad aired.

Three months later a Political Action Committee supporting Bush hired Jules’ firm and decided to use the ad. The ad began appearing in late September and became popular. The PAC even used the concept to mention other Clinton statements.

As a graduate student at the University of Texas, Jackie had answered a question on a final exam by suggesting that an unpopular president might be able to use a popular third party candidate, especially an issue-oriented candidate, to improve his chances of reelection. In speeches and campaign ads the President would refer to how he agreed or disagreed with the third party candidate and largely ignore the other major party candidate. By 1992 the professor had become one of Bush’s campaign advisors and he persuaded Bush to use the strategy. A late poll indicated that 6% of voters thought that Ross Perot was the Democrat and Bill Clinton the third party candidate.

Who knew that a month after taking office in 2005, Jackie McKenzie would die of a previously undetected heart condition. The autopsy indicated an aortic dissection resulting from Marfan’s Syndrome. He lacked the obviously long slender arms and legs that often characterizes Marfan’s Syndrome, a disorder some historians believe Abraham Lincoln had.

                                                2. - Have a Good Night’s Sleep

Brew as usual went to bed about 11:00. He had a meeting scheduled for Good Friday morning with the Israeli ambassador, but then would be leaving to celebrate his in-laws 65th wedding anniversary on Saturday. The celebration would provide the first opportunity for Brew to see his new granddaughter.

Brew was still adjusting to the presidency. He had served as a volunteer firefighter for many years, much of the time as a fire chief. In the 80's volunteer fire departments began having trouble attracting volunteers. Brew developed a program for Pennsylvania, later adopted in other states, to encourage National Guard members to serve as volunteer firefighters and rural EMTs.

Brew’s experience as a firefighter had helped him win votes. He was driving to a campaign rally in his old Suburban when one of the cars involved in a collision just ahead of him caught fire. He used one of the big CO2 fire extinguishers he always kept in his Suburban to put out the fire and then helped free the occupants from the vehicle.

The police officer who arrived shortly after the accident radioed her dispatcher to make sure the people who were waiting for Brew knew why he was delayed. He got a standing ovation when he arrived. As often happens in such situations, a motorist at the scene had a camera and sold the video of Brew’s actions to CNN.

The man who had no trouble pulling up to a fire and issuing the appropriate orders, was uncomfortable in staff meetings. He understood military matters, but wasn’t sure about economic and social policy.

Fortunately, the economy was going along well. The situation is Iraq was still unclear, but it was virtually certain that Saddam Hussein and his sons were dead. Examinations of photos and sound recordings indicated the man who appeared in public as Hussein was one of his many doubles. In fact, it wasn’t always the same double who appeared as Hussein. Brew felt it was best not to make a public issue of the situation. Knowledge of Hussein’s death could cause Shiites and Kurds to revolt and start a civil war.

The Israeli peace process was on track. The governments of the two states, Israel and Palestine, would move into their offices in their shared capital of Jerusalem in October. Some of the other Muslim states were not happy with the prospect of peace in Israel , but it didn’t appear they were in a position to do anything about it.


Potential problems involved apparent efforts by Iran and North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons. Libya was still apparently working on building nukes, but was rumored to be about to end the program. Iran was a worry because it was unhappy with the Israeli peace agreement. Most people were concerned about North Korea using nukes to attack the U.S. or its allies. Brew was more concerned about North Korea selling nukes to terrorists or other countries.

Pakistan and India confronted each other, but were beginning to withdraw their troops from Kashmir. There were still occasional conflicts among ethnic groups in Africa and elsewhere, but they tended to be local. Remnants of al Qaeda remained, but hadn’t done anything significant recently other than fight allied troops in Afghanistan. The war didn’t appear to have an end in sight, but didn’t involve large battles.


                                                General Duncan

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dwight Delano “Triple-D” Duncan went to bed at about 11:00 in his apartment in the Watergate. He had planned to spend the weekend at the ranch near Vinita, Oklahoma, that he had recently purchased from his uncle and fish from his dock on the Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees. However, the forecast of severe weather for the weekend changed his plans.

He thought it might be better for him to stay in town anyway. Nothing was likely to happen, but the Army Chief of Staff was at NATO HQ., the Air Force Chief was planning to give a speech at the Air Force Academy and the Marine Commandant was going to inspect marines in San Diego. The Navy Chief had been at Pearl Harbor, but had been expected to fly back earlier that evening.

The death of President McKenzie had forced Triple-D to delay his planned March retirement for six months. President Brewster had asked him and other high ranking generals and admirals to delay retirement to maintain continuity in the military in case someone decided to try to take advantage of the unplanned change in presidents.

Triple-D and his second wife Ginger were leasing the Watergate apartment so they would have a place to stay when they visited the District. They had moved in shortly before President McKenzie died.

Triple-D had meet Ginger about a year after his first wife died. She was a JAG major at the time. Fortunately, she wasn’t under his command. As he moved up in rank, she decided it would be better for her to retire before a conflict developed. Ironically, Triple-D’s first wife had been named Mary Ann, so he could claim to have married both Mary Ann and Ginger.

Ginger worked as a legal consultant and was making more than their combined retirement checks would be when he retired. She couldn’t participate directly in cases involving the military, but she did provide technical information about procedures to civilian attorney’s dealing with the military. She had gotten involved in the Internet and could perform most of her work from Oklahoma just as easily as in the District. Triple-D’s retirement would allow her to participate in military cases.

Triple-D’s father had wanted a military career. He was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne in WWII and suffered wounds that forced him to give up the idea. His father had been Brew’s father’s commanding officer until the injuries. He didn’t try to force his children to serve in the military, but did encourage them. Triple-D’s sisters had had brief military careers.

Unlike many members of his generation, Triple-D had wanted to serve in Vietnam. However, the war ended a few months before he graduated from West Point. Triple-D missed out on Desert Storm because he was part of a different command.

The closest he had come to a combat assignment was during the Kosovo operation. He had helped persuade President Elizabeth Dole to include an airborne assault in the effort to prevent genocide in Kosovo. Three companies of infantry and an artillery battery from the 82nd Airborne had jumped into Kosovo a few hours after the air assault began. The paratroopers had taken control of an airstrip, ambushed a couple of small tank convoys and started shelling Serbian positions before dawn. Rumors released to the press convinced the Serbs that the initial invasion force was much larger than was actually the case.

He and then Rep. Brewster used the success of the operation to increase funding for airlift capacity for airborne units and reactivate Brew’s old unit the 173rd Airborne Brigade which had been deactivated shortly after the end of the Vietnam War. The Brigade would be based in Italy for quick response to conflicts in the region.

The team of Triple-D and Brew had persuaded President Dole and Congress to transfer responsibility for dealing with foreign terrorists from the FBI and CIA to the military after the two organizations failed to prevent the 9/11 attack.

The Pentagon took over the entire military related intelligence operations of the CIA. Part of their argument was that those who might be called upon to conduct commando operations in foreign countries would be better able to prevent such attacks in the U.S. The important consideration with terrorism wasn’t prosecuting terrorists, but preventing them from carrying out their plans.

 In the event an 9/11 attack was anticipated, the military could place martial arts trained personnel on hundreds of planes and wouldn’t have to correctly guess which planes might be used or who the hijackers might be.

The military had a lot more “warm bodies” available for emergencies then did either the CIA or FBI. As part of the transfer, a position was added to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a officer representing special ops and intelligence.

The new military SPACE suits were another of Triple-D’s accomplishments. The suits designed to protect against biological, radiological and chemical weapons had originally had another name which everyone had forgotten. The suits so closely resembled space suits that they were quickly referred to as such. Triple-D secretly decided to accept the name and posted an anonymous message referring to them as Special Protection Atomic Chemical Etc. suits and the name stuck. The suits included an air conditioning system making them more desirable than the equipment they replaced.


With the situation in Iraq stabilized because of the U.N. inspectors it looked like he would avoid a significant war during his career. The inspections hadn’t exactly cleared Iraq. Inspectors had trouble accounting for some supplies and equipment that might be useful for weapons of mass destruction. There had been a few suspicious explosions at possible storage sites for chemical or biological materials and some mysterious truck fires.

Triple-D wasn’t enthusiastic about keeping troops in Saudi Arabia to contain Hussein, but didn’t see another alternative. He felt that the presence of “infidel” American troops in Saudi Arabia had been a major factor in al Qaeda’s decision to launch the 9/11 attack.

Triple-D and other American and British military leaders believed Iraq had decided to sacrifice their existing weapons in hopes of being able to start a new program after sanctions were lifted and the inspectors left. Iraq had never officially announced a change in leadership, but the intelligence community believed he and probably his sons were dead.

There was even a rumor that he, his sons and some top military leaders had died under unusual circumstances. According to the rumor, a doctor involved in biological weapons development had arranged to infect them and himself with some type of “germ” for unknown reasons.

If Saddam wasn’t in charge, whoever was had decided to use Saddam’s clones to give the appearance he was still in power. They apparently hoped the appearance that he was still in charge would discourage any attempt to overthrow the government. Neither his advisors nor members of the State Department could come up with a plan to use the situation to get American forces out of Saudi Arabia. Iraq without Hussein posed no threat, but knowledge of his death could start a civil war with unknown consequences.

The situation in Afghanistan was likely to continue for many years. The rugged terrain and independent nature of the population precluded any quick end to the conflict. Triple-D didn’t regard the conflict as a war. It was more a matter of keeping potential terrorists on the defensive to minimize their ability to launch attacks. The trick was to keep sufficient troops there to keep the terrorists off balance without putting so many troops in that the civilian population considered them a threat to their independence.

Triple-D was worried about the situation in Israel. Previous attempts at peace had met with disaster. Too many Arab leaders needed an atmosphere of violence between Israel and the Palestinians to maintain their positions. Those leaders didn’t necessarily want to get rid of Israel. They needed an enemy. They wanted a perpetual conflict kind of like the situation in an old Startrek episode in which an entity had trapped the Enterprise crew and some Klingons in a perpetual fight that neither side could win..

He was also worried about the situation in Iran. The Iranians were pursuing nuclear energy and possibly hoping to build a bomb. They appeared to be many years away from developing their own bomb, but might they be able to use their oil wealth to purchase one from North Korea which needed money desperately. If a Muslim state did make the mistake of using a nuke on Israel, Israel might respond by destroying the rest of the Middle East.

                                                Ambassador Goldman

At the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Ambassador Moshe Goldman went to bed as usual at eleven. He had scheduled a meeting with the American President in the morning at the request of his government. The message he received indicated additional information would be sent overnight. Goldman knew that meant the government hadn’t actually made a decision yet, but would be making one while he was sleeping.

All he knew was that the Knesset would be meeting in about three hours even though it was normally in recess for Passover. He thought it unusual that something major was happening during Passover, but suspected the government felt journalists would be too preoccupied to notice.

The fact that the government wanted him to meet the President right after the decision implied that the decision could involve purchase of war equipment. Ambassador Goldman had helped negotiate the purchase of a used aircraft carrier and two used submarines the year before. He knew the government might be interested in another sub or perhaps some of the new American bunker buster bombs which could be mounted on sub launched cruise missiles and used to attack underground Iranian nuclear facilities.

The government might be wanting him to ask the U.S. to take care of the problem. Goldman believed the Iranian facilities had to be destroyed before the country developed nuclear weapons that could result in a nuclear war. He realized destroying Iran’s facilities would be harder than the destruction of Iraq’s facilities which he had participated in.

Whatever the government was considering must be important because the request was coming during a holiday period for both Christians and Jews. After World War II Christian groups had agreed to schedule the Easter Holiday during Passover week to show solidarity to the victims of the Holocaust. Tomorrow morning would be what Christians called Good Friday. It was the middle of Passover week.

Holidays had made the Ambassador nervous since the Yom Kippur War. He was a secular Jew, but as ambassador felt he had a duty to observe all the Jewish holidays and restrictions. He wasn’t really familiar with all the aspects of the different holidays. One advantage of being ambassador was that he had a rabbi available to keep him informed of what he should or shouldn’t do.

He was pleased with the peace process. He was aware that Saddam Hussein was dead, but his government had told him not to pass the information along even to the U.S. because of concern about it being leaked. His government didn’t want an Iraqi civil war at this time. The government had ordered him to be friendly to the Egyptian government because it apparently had helped weaken the violent Palestinian groups. However, he was to pretend his government knew nothing about the Egyptian role.

Moshe Goldman wasn’t sure he was qualified to be a diplomat. He was a career air force pilot and astronaut. The government felt he would be a good choice because Americans considered him a hero for saving the shuttle he flew on from certain disaster.

He felt the current American President was more responsible for saving the mission than he was. Then Rep. Willard Brewster was on the committee that oversaw NASA. He had been watching a video of the launch provided by a NASA engineer and noticed a large piece of insulating foam fall from the fuel tanks and hit the shuttle. Brewster pressured NASA into inspecting the craft for damage.

Goldman volunteered to make an unscheduled space walk and discovered damage that could cause major problems on reentry. Goldman had a reputation for being able to come up with makeshift repairs and found a way to repair the hole that barely worked.


                                    3. Morning in the Middle East 

At 8:00 A.M. Egyptian time the new Egyptian President Abdul Takamen was preparing to meet with some foreign investors that afternoon to discuss enlarging the Suez Canal. He was very pleased with the way things were going in Israel. Takamen had a vision for Egypt that required peace in Israel. He knew that Egypt’s primary economic hope was in trade.

The Suez Canal could provide the country even more benefits if the area of Israel and Lebanon became a major manufacturing center. The Canal would be the route for manufactured goods headed toward the Far East. Takamen wanted to encourage Israel to continue developing technology for growing crops with limited water so that Egypt could take advantage of the technology.

Well paying university positions were available for those interested in the areas of solar technology, particularly using solar energy to remove salt from sea water. Solar energy and sea water were about the only natural “resources” Egypt had.

Takamen favored the Israelis, but kept his feelings secret. He and his scholars considered the Israelis as the descendants of Egyptians who left because they were religious dissidents. He didn’t think much of his mother’s people, the Palestinians. He had done everything he could to cover up the fact that the mother who died when he was a small child was a Palestinian.

Takamen believed the Palestinians were descended from the dregs of society. Many of their ancestors were people who had been left behind when the Israelis were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Others stayed when the Romans forced the Jews to move or moved in later. The Palestinians had never had their own nation. They had always been ruled by others. Only the Egyptian descended Israelis had been able to establish a nation.

Takamen had to cover up who his father was for a different reason. His father was a very successful criminal who helped his son establish an independent identity so his father’s criminal associates could not interfere with his son’s political career.

Apparently, no one knew or even suspected that he had arranged the deaths of some of the more violent Palestinian leaders through accidents or “illnesses” while buying off others. Investigations indicated that members of some rival groups had apparently killed each other in gunfights. One of his scientists had found a way to make Hezbollah’s ammunition deteriorate and become unstable. A few explosions of defective rockets had encouraged Lebanese citizens to report any Hezbollah ammo dumps they knew about.

Egyptian agents had discredited Hamas by arranging for a couple of suicide bombings to kill mostly Palestinians. Agents had also planted evidence implicating a few Hamas officials in a bribery scandal. Some munitions were sabotaged so that they would blow up if moved into Gaza in tunnels below a certain level.


Takamen’s efforts to reduce violence included covert attacks on Somali pirates. Egyptian marines would travel on apparently defenseless slow moving Egyptian ships and kill any pirates who attacked. The Egyptians took no prisoners and shot holes in the pirates’ boats, leaving any survivors to swim to shore.

His special forces infiltrated pirate bases and sabotaged boats and contaminated fuel. Boats would be ten miles or more from shore before they began to sink from damage or their engines quit because of the fuel.

Takamen would have liked to take over Somalia, but realized Egypt could not afford such an operation. He was unable to convince other nations to do anything more than complain about the treatment of refugees there.


Takamen was somewhat of a mystery man to the world. Foreign intelligence services had checked his biography and discovered part of it seemed to have been faked. The information they were able to discover indicated he might not really be an Egyptian. They suspected that he was covering up Palestinian ancestry because of concerns Egyptians would be less willing to accept a Palestinian as their leader. Takamen told everyone he had changed his name to connect with the days of the pharaohs when Egypt was a major power. Intelligence analysts believed the name he changed it from wasn’t the one he was born with.

Takamen’s predecessor had designated him as a potential successor because Takamen had such a strong vision of the country’s future and an ability to communicate with the Egyptian people. Takamen used the assassination of his predecessor by radical Muslims to discredit the radicals.

One of Takamen’s first projects was improving Egyptian intelligence gathering capabilities. He believed he had succeeded in making Egyptian intelligence second only to Israeli intelligence. One of the steps he took was to develop an intelligence sharing relationship with the U.S., particularly regarding watching the Palestinians. Egypt maintained diplomatic relations with Israel in part because it allowed Egypt to gather intelligence in Israel, including intelligence about the Palestinians and the countries that had encouraged them to engage in violence.

He felt the shift of American intelligence gathering to the military from the CIA was beneficial to Egypt. His military attaches could share intelligence through American military attaches in other countries at social functions.

Egyptian agents had found an interesting way to share intelligence in Israel. A female Egyptian agent had developed a romantic relationship with a Marine security guard at the American embassy in Israel. A military attache talked to the Marine’s commanding officer Captain David Lawrence who agreed to share intelligence through the two of them. Any Muslim state that knew she was an agent would just figure she was trying to spy on the Americans.

Takamen was one of the few outside of Iraq who knew for certain that Saddam Hussein and his sons were dead. The details were still unclear, but his intelligence people had discovered that they had died from a disease that might have been connected to a biological weapons program. Apparently one of them (it was unclear which one) had become infected and passed the infection along to the others. One report indicated that the person responsible might have been suicidal.

Takamen thought the situation in Israel was a little too quiet. Egyptian intelligence indicated that Iran and Syria were very unhappy with the Israeli peace agreement and might try to find a way to sabotage it. He was concerned that the quiet situation meant they were waiting for something. Egyptian agents had infiltrated the larger Palestinian organizations, but some very small ones appeared to be existing as sleeper cells.

Takamen represented the new Egyptian nationalism. He argued that Egypt should stop viewing itself as subordinate to the Arab world. Egypt was an empire while the Arabs and Israelis were wandering around the desert and should be the leading nation in the region. Egypt had been a major economic power in the ancient past and could be again. An economic empire wouldn’t have the maintenance costs of a traditional political empire.


Publically these nationalists argued that Moses was actually an Egyptian religious dissident who found acceptance of his teachings among the Israelites. Under their teaching, Moses persuaded Aaron to call him brother in exchange for making Aaron his priest. The Israelites were primarily an Egyptian group because the small group that arrived originally could not have become so numerous without marrying Egyptian women. The Israelis weren’t too enthusiastic about such claims, but did welcome the closer relations that followed.


 The State Department viewed the change in Egypt as positive and contributing to peace in the region. Intelligence analysts were concerned about the implications of what was going on in private among the nationalist academics. They were trying to develop approaches that would have Egypt compete for control of Islam. They were looking for ways to interpret the Koran that would suggest that other Muslims had moved away from the true teachings of Allah through his prophet Mohammed. If the Jewish religion was an outgrowth of a minor Egyptian religion, then the same claim could be made for Islam.

The Egyptians were urging a nonviolent version of Islam. [Some in the Pentagon called it a kinder, gentler Islam.] They believed that the violent version discredited the Islamic world and kept it in an inferior power position to the rest of the world. The more advanced nations considered Islamic nations to be primitive and prone to barbarism. Takamen wanted Egypt, if not the entire Middle East, to become the center of learning that it had been when the Europeans were the primitive barbarians. Actually, he thought the two world wars indicated the Europeans had never stopped being barbarians.

Takamen considered himself a Muslim, but it felt that clerics of all religions misrepresented Allah or God. He believed that Allah wasn’t as picky about what people should believe as the clerics claimed. Allah didn’t really care whether people believed in the ancient prophets like the Jews, the prophet Jesus like the Christians or the prophet Mohammed like Muslims believed.

He had studied other religions. He was particularly interested in the Christian book of “Revelation” which he believed they misunderstood. The book suggested that Satan would disguise himself and mislead people into following him. Takamen believed Christians were wrong when they suggested Satan would disguise himself as the prophet Jesus. Takamen believed the prophecy was coming to pass and Satan was disguising himself as the prophet Mohammed and leading groups like al Qaeda and Hamas. He had decided to keep this belief to himself because he wasn’t sure how it would be received.  


                                    Ambassador Sanderson

In Damascus, Syria, American Ambassador James Allen “Sandy” Sanderson was preparing for the upcoming Easter holiday. He still used the nickname his current boss gave him when they served together in Vietnam. Sandy, like Brew, couldn’t afford college so figured he’d go ahead and get his military service out of the way. Unlike Brew, Sandy hadn’t had any plans for a career. Vietnam gave Sandy a career, or perhaps more accurately, a mission in life. Sandy decided to pursue a diplomatic career to try to prevent future wars.

He thought he was succeeding here in Syria. He had persuaded the Syrian government to support the Israeli peace agreement, at least in public. He wasn’t completely sure they would be satisfied with Israel turning over the Golan Heights to a Palestinian government instead of returning it to Syria. Then, there was Syria’s continuing desire to dominate Lebanon. 

Sandy thought one of the his favorite protest songs from the 60's could be modified to fit the situation in the Mideast. The original included the line “the French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles...and I don’t like anybody very much.” The Middle Eastern version might go: “the Sunnis hate the Shiites, the Shiites hate the Kurds...and everybody hates the Jews.”

Iran’s apparent attempt to develop nuclear weapons could make the next line come true. “But we can be thankful and tranquil and proud for man’s been endowed with a mushroom shaped cloud. And we know for certain that some lovely day, someone will set the spark off and we will all be blown away.” The world had survived other rival nations having nuclear weapons, but Iran’s leadership might be irrational enough to actually use such weapons and bring destruction to the entire region. 

Sandy disagreed with those who blamed the Muslim religion for the situation. Religion didn’t cause such problems, it was the way politically ambitious individuals used religion that caused the problems. Those who wanted to make trouble emphasized issues that encouraged violent acts. Ambitious politicians or clerics with political ambitions could find issues to fight over even if it was something trivial like the Lilliputians and their dispute over which end of the egg to eat first.

The Europeans had fought numerous wars over the centuries and had only abandoned the idea of war among themselves after the devastation of WWII. The various peoples of the Middle East had been fighting each other since Biblical times. War hadn’t imposed sufficient costs on them to convince them to stop fighting. Sandy also believed that the hot dry climate likely contributed to their inability to get along by making them more irritable. .

Sandy had helped design the current American embassy in Syria. The building included a large basement, part of which was accessed through a concealed door. He proposed the hidden area to allow embassy personnel to hide in the event of a situation like the takeover of the embassy in Tehran years earlier. Food was stored in the area. The area had a tunnel that could be used to escape from the building.

The plaques on Sandy’s desk that his children had given him years earlier stated his philosophy. One quoting M*A*S*H*’s Hawkeye Pierce stated:

“War Is War and Hell Is Hell

and of the Two War Is Worse...

There Are NO Innocent Bystanders in Hell.”

The other quote he believed had been made by Dr. Martin Luther King:

“True Peace Is not the Absence of War

But the Presence of Justice.”

                                                President Karpananov

In the Kremlin it was 9:00 A.M., President Vasili Petrovich Karpananov was contemplating the Easter holiday. He had inherited the presidency just before Easter three years earlier. President Vladimir Putin had died of what was officially described as a heart attack. Actually he had been poisoned by someone with a long standing grudge.

The assassination had been covered up so that no one would know the old ways had not completely died in the modern Russia. Vasili was not concerned so much about the response of the Russian people. He didn’t want the rest of world to believe that Russia was a backward country. The assassin was taken care of in the old way, with the death disguised as a traffic accident.

Vasili had been known as Peter the Great when the 6' 8" forward led the Soviet basketball team to an Olympic gold medal. He decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to use that name when he decided to work in the government. He didn’t want to appear too ambitious and thus a possible threat to those higher up in the government. He wanted to lead the nation, but felt it safer to keep his ambitions secret.

At one point he seriously considered defecting, but he decided he would rather try to change the Soviet system from within. He believed that the Soviet system needed to change or it would eventually collapse. He felt that trying to reach a position to change the system would be an even bigger challenge than defeating the U.S. in basketball in the Olympics.

He knew that Tsar Peter the Great had been a tall man with athletic ability. The original Peter the Great had sought to modernize the Russia of his day. Vasili wanted to follow in the original Peter’s foot steps, but not let anyone know his goal so he told everyone to call him Vasili.

Before entering government service, Vasili studied leaders of the past and current political and economic theories. As a government employee he always acted as a team player as he had as a member of the basketball team. He always made sure that his supervisors and others in whatever office he was working in received credit even if the ideas were his.

After being transferred to other positions or promoted above his supervisor, he would always make positive comments about his old boss to his new one. Personnel in the bureaucracy appreciated such loyalty. His bosses were glad to recommend him for promotion to higher levels because they knew he might be able to help them advance later.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Vasili allowed others to persuade him to run for elective office. Older voters remembered him for his basketball playing even though he insisted they call him Vasili rather than “Peter the Great”. He started out in legislative offices and later accepted cabinet appointments before he was given the number two job. Once Vasili got the top job he vowed he would do everything he could to make democracy work in Russia. He continued to use the name Vasili, but didn’t object when the media revived the nickname “Peter the Great”.

Democracy had its flaws, which he would try to correct in the Russian version, but the bureaucratic system of the old Soviet Union was much worse.

Not long after Putin’s death Vasili had helped the new Iraqi leaders cover up an assassination of Saddam Hussein and his sons. A deranged scientist in the biological weapons program had infected himself and them with a fatal disease. His reasons were unclear, but apparently involved one of Hussein’s sons doing something to a female relative or friend of his.

Vasili realized that the death of Hussein would likely trigger revolt by both the Shia and the Kurds which would end the oil for food program that Russia was using to its advantage. Vasili suggested to the generals that they continue to use Hussein’s clones to make it appear he was still alive. The generals would then benefit financially from the oil for food program. Russia had a good position in the region with its association with both Iraq and Iran.

Vasili was uncomfortable with the Iranian nuclear program. He would have preferred that Iran purchase enriched uranium from Russia for economic reasons. If he had been in charge he never would have approved helping Iran start a nuclear program because he didn’t trust Muslims with nuclear anything. Unfortunately he didn’t see any way to end the program.

Russia couldn’t afford to offend Iran, but Vasili hoped the United States would be able to discourage the Iranian enrichment program or at least find a way to prevent development of weapons grade material. He had instructed Russian technicians in Iran to try to find a way that would allow remote control of a self destruct button on nuclear facilities that Russia could use if the Iranians looked like they would operate the nuclear program in a way that threatened the peace of the region.

Vasili didn’t trust any of the Muslim countries. Muslims suffered from a degree of irrationality that could cause explosive situations. Some of the Muslims in Chechnia were infected with the same mental disorder.

He understood why the Jews might want to live in the place they called “Israel” because of Hitler. He didn’t understand why they and the Palestinians were so willing to die for what Vasili considered a largely worthless piece of real estate. The area had no significant energy resources and its water could not be expected to serve much more than the current population.

The North Korean nuclear program had concerned Vasili until the Chinese assured him that the Koreans were just trying to con the United States into paying them money like they had once done to the old Soviet government. Vasili wasn’t concerned about North Korea using nukes against Russia, but was concerned they might provoke a war with the United States or sell weapons to radical Muslims, possibly including those in Chechnia.



In Hutchinson, Kansas, 1st lt. Michael Alexander “Max” Lucas went to bed about midnight CDT. His friends had given him the nickname because of his habit of wanting to do everything to the max. Max was the executive officer of Charlie company 1/504th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. He had come home on leave a week earlier for his parents 30th anniversary. He planned to stay another two weeks. He was taking leave now because his unit was expecting to be sent to Afghanistan in September. He would rather take leave in the spring than in the late summer because of the cooler weather and a fascination with thunderstorms.

Max was unsure what he wanted to do with his life. He didn’t think he wanted a military career, but couldn’t decide what he would do when he got out.

He had spent the early evening monitoring severe thunderstorms in the area with a high school classmate who was a volunteer firefighter and storm spotter.

                        4.          Friday Almost 2 A.M. (EDT) 

                                                Padova, Italy

1st Lt. Jesse Martin “Wichita” White, Bravo Company 2/503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade had just finished breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel in Padova, Italy, at 7:45 A.M. local time. Wichita White was an Air Force brat. He spent a significant portion of his childhood in Wichita while his dad was stationed at McConnell AFB. His mom moved back to Chicago to be near her family after his dad was assigned to Korea. Wichita’s mom and her sister had had their sons within a few hours of each other and hadn’t discussed possible names before hand. They both named their sons after their dad. An uncle on Wichita’s father’s side who had died in Vietnam also was named Jessie.

After they moved to Chicago the two Jesses resolved the problem of the same names by naming themselves after their hometowns Wichita and Chicago. Their grandfather, Jesse King, had told them how men in the old west had sometimes used city names for their own. They liked to hear stories about his grandfather who had been a buffalo soldier and a cowboy. The moms weren’t too sure about the nicknames, but their grandfather was overjoyed.

Wichita was at the hotel on an unusual assignment. About 150 members of the legendary “Herd” of Vietnam War fame had been assigned to stay at various hotels in cities near the Brigade HQ. at Caserma Aderle near Vicenza, Italy. A mobilization exercise was scheduled for later in the weekend. The call could come any time, but wasn’t expected until Sunday evening or even early Monday morning.

Wichita would be expected to take charge of arranging transportation for those who happened to be in Padova back to their base at Caserma Aderle. He wouldn’t be told how many would need to be transported until the exercise began to simulate a situation in which personnel were dispersed around the area at the time of an unexpected emergency. As an officer he would be expected to anticipate such a call in any city he might be visiting and be prepared to help others return to the post quickly.

Personnel in Padova would most likely be taken back by helicopter and get on planes as quickly as possible to jump into a simulated trouble spot located in one of the other European countries whose soldiers would play the role of the enemy in the war games.

HQ. would notify Wichita and the others using their Personal Communications Devices (PCD’s) - sophisticated satellite cell phones issued to each member of the armed forces. The PCD’s allowed use of a computer to send specific messages to each member of a military unit, to only selected members, to personnel in a specific area or even to all military personnel at one time. A headset included in the small bullet proof carrying case allowed hands free communications in a combat situation as well as making it possible for soldiers to whisper messages into the device.

Officers and NCO’s could carry a larger viewing screen that could be attached to the PCD to display maps or the latest recon photos. The PCD could also be connected to a computer. The design allowed its camera to be replaced as better cameras became available. Soldiers on recon missions could send back pictures of enemy installations or documents immediately.

In this operation, the PCD would play the song “Rawhide” which was the theme from the tv series of the same name to notify Wichita and the others that they needed to return to the post. Several members of the “Herd” had relatives who had served with the brigade on Okinawa when Ltc.Richard H. “Rawhide” Boland of the 1st Battalion of the 503Rd Airborne Infantry had used the song in place of reveille in the mornings. They suggested adopting the song to connect to the original Brigade.

                                                            Tel Aviv, Israel 

At Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, U.S. Marine Captain Robert David Lawrence was waiting for El Al flight 1203 to arrive with his fiancé Michelle Schwartz, the woman he called “Ebony Eyes”. David, as he preferred to be called, and Michelle had been rediscovering their Jewish heritage before they met and were glad to find a potential spouse of their own religion. David’s grandmother was very happy that he had found “such a nice Jewish girl”.

David’s and Michelle’s parents would be flying in a week later. Their parents only nominally followed the Jewish religion. The parents were much like those Christians who attended church only on holidays like Christmas and Easter.

David decided to pursue a military career because of Operation Desert Storm although he was only a freshman in high school at the time. He believed the United States needed to do something about the Middle Eastern situation. He initially favored the Marines because his grandfather had been with the Marines in the Pacific in WWII and his father had been at Khe Sanh in Vietnam. As a kid he thought they had better looking uniforms. When it came time to make the final decision, the Marines provided more opportunities for travel, including being stationed at embassies in countries like Israel where the U.S. had no other troop presence.

David realized that he was an hour early, or maybe two, but he wanted to be there early in case the plane got a strong tail wind. David and Michelle had considered emigrating to Israel until the colonel told David he was likely to be promoted to major within another year or two.

As he waited he remembered when he first met Michelle at LAX a little over two years earlier. She was going home after the fall semester at the University of Southern California She had gone to the University of Southern California in part to have a chance to live somewhere other than New York City for a few years. The possibility of an acting career also appealed to her, but only if the right opportunity came along.

David had been stationed at San Diego. He had spent a few days in L.A. with a friend who had received orders for Korea. David was going home on leave to New York City before continuing to a dream assignment at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Michelle approached David and thanked him for serving in the military. He was immediately attracted by her shoulder length black hair and her dark “ebony” eyes. As they talked they discovered that they both had become more interested in their Jewish heritage after 9/11. Both had researched their family histories which indicated that some of their ancestors had arrived in New York City on the same ship from Germany shortly after the Civil War and lived in the same building for several years.

They discovered that they both had developed a taste for Mexican food from living in Southern California and hoped they could find a place in New York City that sold Mexican food that was also kosher. Their parents had never been very strict about kosher food. They usually purchased it for home use, but ate whatever was available elsewhere. David and Michelle both liked film noir movies and jazz music, from early jazz to contemporary jazz.

They spent a lot of time together in New York City until David had to leave for his assignment in Israel. Michelle decided to switch her major to business administration. She learned languages easily. For a time she considered becoming a translator at the U.N., but gave up the idea after attending a few U.N. sessions. Translating boring political speeches didn’t sound like a very interesting job.

A business career would allow her to use her linguistic ability so that she could follow David where ever he might be stationed in the world. She had graduated in January and found a job with an American company with offices in Israel. They wanted her to work in their New York office for a short time to become familiar with the company before moving to Tel Aviv. She would arrive in Tel Aviv two weeks before she would start work. David was glad that she could arrive in time to attend a Seder at the residence of a second cousin in Haifa who had immigrated to Israel 20 years earlier.

                                    Above the Mediterranean

On flight 1203 Michelle Schwartz had made friends with two American couples and their granddaughters who were making a pilgrimage to Israel. Retired American Air Force Colonels Jonathan Berger and Nathan Johnson had begun taking their grand kids on a pilgrimage to Israel after the grand kids graduated from college as a rite of passage for many years. The two men had barely made it into WWII. They had reached the Pacific theater just in time to watch the bomb being dropped on Nagasaki. They stayed in the Air Force through Korea and Vietnam. They usually tried to arrive earlier the week before Easter, but one of the granddaughters couldn’t get off early enough. 

                                    The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt

On the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt in the Eastern Mediterranean Commander Shirley Nguyen was emailing her cousin Elva Lewis who was touring the Holy Land with some other nurses from the Chicago area. Shirley thought she might be able to make it to Israel the next week to see her cousin.

The visit would depend on the tests of the new computer coordinated radar system that would begin within a few hours. Among other benefits of the system was the ability of planes to use radar images received from other planes instead of drawing attention to themselves by activating their own radars.

Commander Nguyen was due to become Captain Nguyen in three weeks, although her first “command” would be a desk at the Pentagon rather than a ship at sea. The assignment meant that for all practical purposes she would be grounded, but it had the benefit that her husband, Marine Col. Juan Gonzalez, whose mother was also Vietnamese, was stationed at the Pentagon. They might consider having children because they would be stationed there for several years and the Pentagon had an excellent day care program..

They had met while both were junior officers on the same ship. Their mothers had each taught their children the Vietnamese language. Initially, they met to practice their mothers’ language. They later discovered that their fathers had briefly served together in Vietnam. Nguyen also had some knowledge of other Asian languages.

Nguyen’s real father, Jesse Abraham White, was an American killed in action three months before she was born . The father who raised her had been a Viet Cong who defected and was serving the unit Jesse was in as a Kit Carson scout. He felt marrying Shirley’s mother, My Nguyen [Note: Nguyen is a common Vietnamese last name. The two weren’t otherwise related], and raising Shirley as if she were his own daughter was the least he could do for the man who saved his life.

My could speak and write some English. She had been a Viet Cong when she met Jesse. His respectful treatment of her and the other residents of her village along with his willingness to help them convinced her to defect and fall in love with the chocolate colored GI. Jesse had told her his grandmother was named Shirley and My decided to give his daughter this American name.

Jesse’s commanding officer, Ike Martin, had helped Jessie marry My before his death and made sure My had documents establishing Jesse as Shirley’s biological father. Captain Martin was the son and grandson of generals and knew how to arrange such matters. [On Earth 3 children of military personnel were automatically granted American citizenship if the military parent was a citizen.]

After Shirley’s family moved to the U.S., Major Martin along with a Special Forces major, whose life Jesse had saved that day, and several enlisted men personally visited the INS office to make sure Immigration officials recognized Shirley as the daughter of an American hero. The documents would eventually insure her admission to the Naval Academy as the daughter of a Medal of Honor winner.

Charlie Nguyen, as he chose to call himself after becoming an American, had profited from the ending of American involvement in Vietnam by facilitating the sale of various GI owned items like small refrigerators, fans, etc. to Vietnamese civilians. Unofficially he also helped transfer some weapons, ammunition etc. from American forces to Vietnamese forces so American commanders wouldn’t have to worry about moving them out of Vietnam. Charlie had been involved in the black market before being “drafted” by the VC.

Early in 1975 Charlie became concerned about the possibility of a North Vietnamese invasion and arranged an extended vacation in the United States to thank American veterans for their sacrifices and to give his adopted daughter the opportunity to meet her American relatives. When asked why he chose winter, he replied he had heard so much about this thing called “snow” he wanted to see it for himself. They had been in the United States about a month when the invasion started. My had kept in touch with Jesse’s family and sent them pictures as Shirley grew up. Initially, Shirley and her parents lived with Jesse’s sister, Elva’s mom, and her family until they could afford their own place.

Shirley’s desire to feel closer to her real father caused her to choose a military career. The idea of flying at high speeds also appealed to her. She was more likely have a chance to visit the land of her birth in the navy then in one of the other branches of military service.


Her career had included helping the Israeli navy learn to operate the used carrier they had purchased from the U.S. Navy (although no money actually changed hands). The Israeli pilots initially trained on the Roosevelt to learn how to take off and land on a carrier. The carrier Moshe Dayan was acquired primarily to provide an additional air base without the need to clear land for an air base. No one mentioned it, but the carrier might also provide a way for Israel to move planes into range to attack Iran should that be necessary. The transfer of the carrier wasn’t a secret, but there wasn’t any effort to publicize it either.

Commander Nguyen sent her email and headed to the Combat Direction Center (CDC).    She noticed that the clock she had set to Washington time showed 2:00 A.M.. She and her husband always tried to keep a clock set to the time zone the other was living in so they would know when it might be practical to call.

                                                5. A Cloud in the East

At 2:00 A.M.(EDT) on Good Friday morning Col. Rufus Bernard “The Panther” Trevina was in the Pentagon’s space station, the newly designed room used to monitor images from the most recent generation of spy satellites. Pictures from the various satellites and some military planes were displayed on the wall screens of the otherwise unlighted room. The screens could hold separate images or combine for the blow up of a single image. The display could extend to the edge of each screen to provide a seamless image.

The decision to use multiple screens rather than single large screens for a wall was based on economics. The Pentagon could save money by purchasing the same equipment used by consumers. The image on each screen was controlled by a separate computer.

Models used in homes often were programmed to display a user selected border around the regular picture area. When they weren’t watching tv they might have the screen display an image the same as the surrounding wall or display a picture of the area outside the residence as if the screen were a window. Some people placed them over windows that otherwise would just show nearby buildings and displayed landscapes on them.

 The Panther enjoyed being in the space station especially when no one else was there. It was like being alone watching the earth below, without the weightlessness of space.

The Panther expected an uneventful morning of watching the scenery “below”. The Israeli-Palestinian fight seemed to finally be over. Yasser Arafat had died and the new leader seemed committed to peace. In the fall Jerusalem would become the capital of Israel and Palestine. Each government would have a separate sector. A third sector would be devoted to religious sites as well as provide space for the embassies of foreign nations. The larger nations would have separate ambassadors for Israel and Palestine. Many of the smaller nations would rely on one ambassador for both nations.

Some in the Pentagon thought that things were going too smoothly, but the Panther didn’t share that sentiment.

His pleasant morning soon changed.


 A computer alarm sounded as one of the images expanded to cover the entire wall. It only took the Panther a moment to recognize the rapidly growing mushroom cloud where the superimposed legend indicated Tel Aviv should be. He immediately hit the panic button and picked up the secure phone to the White House in one motion. The secure phone used a line that ran underground from the Pentagon to the White House without going through the phone company. The call would also be answered in the Crisis War Room.

The panic button would sound an alarm at all American bases and ships as well as at NATO headquarters – even though NATO had its own space station and someone there was reacting like the Panther. Somewhere else in the Pentagon someone would be entering the message “NUCLEAR EXPLOSION IN ISRAEL” into a computer that would be sent with the alarm.

The CDC of the USS Theodore Roosevelt quickly became very busy.

Pilots had the option of communicating with the Roosevelt using their PCDs or using digital radio with encrypted transmissions. Communication using the PCD was directed to a satellite making it more difficult for an enemy to detect the aircraft’s location, but such transmissions wouldn’t normally be monitored by other navy aircraft. The digital radio allowed the pilot to push a button or say a keyword to contact the ship or send routine messages. The computer would add the appropriate words. The computer would store multiple transmissions sent at the same time and play them sequentially. In combat situations both the PCD and radio could send communications as very short bursts making detection more difficult.

Navy pilots could communicate with civilian aircraft using standard radios although rarely did so except to warn civilian aircraft away from military operations.

“Rough Rider, this is 317.”

“317, this is Rough Rider, go ahead.”

“Rough Rider, this is 317, a nuclear explosion has just occurred in or near Tel Aviv, Israel.”

“317, this is Rough Rider, are you advising a nuclear explosion?”

“Rough Rider, this is 317, a nuclear explosion has just occurred in or near Tel Aviv, Israel. I’m transmitting video now.”

“317, this is Rough Rider, we are receiving video. Pentagon also reporting the explosion. Attempt to contact Israeli military for additional information. We’ll be monitoring your conversations to speed communications.”

“317, roger. I believe an airliner might have gone down over the water just after the explosion. Can you check my video and radar?”

“Rough Rider, we’ll check.”

On the Roosevelt an alarm sounded and an ominous message came over the PA. “Battle stations. Battle stations. All Personnel battle stations. This is not a drill. Repeat this is not a drill.”

Commander Nguyen quickened her pace to the CDC to a near run.

“Israeli air command, this is U.S. Navy 317 . Can you copy?”

“Israeli air command, this is U.S. Navy 317 . Can you copy?”

“U.S. Navy 317, this is Israeli Air Force 100. We are very busy.”

“Israeli Air Force 100, this is U.S. Navy 317, understand. Can we be of assistance?”

“U.S. Navy 317, this is Israeli 100 , did you observe any suspicious aircraft in the vicinity of the explosion?”

“Israeli Air Force 100, U.S. Navy 317 negative but our computers will be reviewing video and radar images. There may have been an airliner down offshore.”

“U.S. Navy 317, Israeli 100 , we are closing our air space to all civilian aircraft, including El Al. Our civilian air control is down, except in Jerusalem . Can you divert incoming aircraft?”

“Israeli Air Force 100, U.S. Navy 317, affirmative. We will begin diverting aircraft.”

“Beirut air control, this is U.S. Navy 317.”

“U.S. Navy 317, this is Beirut air control, go ahead.”

“Beirut air control, this is U.S. Navy 317, Israel has closed its air space to all civilian aircraft. Can we divert aircraft to your facility?”

“U.S. Navy 317, Beirut air control, advise reason for closing air space.”

“Beirut air control, U.S. Navy 317, there has been a nuclear explosion in or near Tel Aviv.”

“Beirut air control to U.S. Navy 317, stand by.”

A few minutes passed.

“U.S. Navy 317 this is Beirut air control, negative. Believe our airport will be unsafe if Israel has been attacked. Foreign aircraft may wish to leave here. Will they be able to do so safely?”

“Beirut air control this is U.S. Navy 317, contact our embassy about outgoing aircraft. Believe they will need to clear with NATO HQ. We will stand by to escort if approval granted.”

“Cairo air control, this is U.S. Navy 318.”

“U.S. Navy 318 this is Cairo air control go ahead.”

“Cairo Air Control this is U.S. Navy 318, Israel has closed its air space to civilian aircraft due to nuclear explosion at Tel Aviv.. Can we divert to your facility?”

“U.S. Navy 318 this is Cairo air control, standby.”

“U.S. Navy this is Cairo air control, we prefer not to accept, but will do so for aircraft that cannot reach other destinations. Planes will have to fly under fighter escort. We will be closing our airspace.”

“Rough Rider to all aircraft: Various countries are closing their air space due to nuclear explosion in Israel. Check for civilian aircraft in your area and prepare to divert. We are monitoring traffic and contacting NATO about location that will accept inbound aircraft from this area.”

“Rough Rider to all aircraft, NATO advising all aircraft in our area to be diverted to Athens. You are to escort until relieved by Greek Air Force.”

“Rough Rider, this is 321, moving to intercept El Al flight 1203"

“321, this is Rough Rider, roger that.”

“El Al flight 1203 this is U.S. Navy 321.”

“U.S. Navy 321, this is El Al 1203 go ahead.”

“El Al 1203, this is U.S. Navy 321 Israel has closed its air space. We will escort you to Athens.”

“U. S. Navy 321 can you advise reason for closure.”

“El Al 1203 this is U.S. Navy 321, I regret to inform you that a nuclear explosion has occurred in or near Tel Aviv. Exact location and extent of damage unknown at this time.”

“El Al 1203 understood, diverting to Athens.”

As the big 747 began its turn, Nathan Johnson recognized the same type of cloud he had watched 60 years earlier, even though this time it was farther away. He nudged Jonathan Berger, who looked at something he had hoped he would never see again. Jonathan’s granddaughter saw it too and glanced at her grandfather with a question in her eyes. Jonathan slowly blinked his eyes to say yes that was a mushroom cloud. They all said a silent prayer that Michelle’s Marine was okay, but thought it unlikely.  

As the 747 completed its turn, the pilot said, “This is the Captain speaking. A warning light has come on in the cockpit and we are diverting to Greece to check it out. We are not experiencing any problems, but we don’t want to take any chances.”

Michelle asked the men behind her, “Does that mean we might crash?”

“It’s isn’t likely,” Jonathan replied. “Most of the time the problem is the warning light itself is defective or just overly sensitive.”

“Is that navy plane out there in case we crash?” Michelle asked.

“Well, that is a possibility,” Jonathan replied, happy that Michelle did not yet know the real reason for the change of course. He decided to play along with the pilot. “The navy pilot will be watching our plane for any indication of something wrong. I know I always appreciated having a ‘wing man’ when my plane told me something was wrong. I remember one time when the plane was telling me my landing gear were still up. I was very glad when another pilot told me the landing gear were actually down.”

Passengers who overheard their conversation passed along the information that a couple of pilots flying on the plane didn‘t think there was any danger. Their pilot was just playing it safe. If any of the others noticed that the cloud over Tel Aviv probably wasn’t a thunderstorm, they kept it to themselves.


                                    6 Duck and Cover

At Ben Gurion Airport, Captain David Lawrence heard a baby cry and started to get up. His first thought was had he been unconscious for seconds, minutes or hours. As his recent memories became clear, he decided that he had merely been stunned.

He had been looking out the window at a plane that was taxiing when he saw an extremely bright flash. He wasn’t sure why he recognized what the flash meant, but he had acted instantly.

“EVERYBODY GET DOWN. EVERYBODY GET DOWN”, he said in his command voice as he pushed a woman and her baby to the floor and covered them with his body. Then he added a phrase he remembered his father had told him. “DUCK AND COVER. DUCK AND COVER.”

He remembered a blast of hot air coming through, but couldn’t recall if there had been any type of noise with it. He did know that the shock wave a nuclear bomb produced traveled faster than the speed of sound. Paper and other debris were scattered around the area and the windows had been blown out.

Outside the air reminded him of video he had seen of the area around the World Trade Center after the Towers collapsed on 9/11. He recalled part of the words from a song his parents used to play. He wasn’t sure if he remembered the words correctly, but thought it went something like. “Now the sun has come to earth. Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death. Twisted, helpless wrecks of men...” The people near him were slowly getting up and seemed unhurt.

For the first time that morning he hoped that Michelle’s flight had been slowed and was too far away to be affected by the blast. She would probably think he had been killed, but he wouldn’t be able to correct that impression until later.

David was glad his shirt was already dust colored. He looked down and noticed the front of his pants were still blue. He wondered what color the back of his pants were. His recently cleaned white hat was missing and probably wasn’t white anymore. But, that wasn’t important right now.

David noticed there weren’t any security people in the vicinity. Then he remembered he had seen several security people run through the area just before the blast. They were obviously aware an emergency existed, but probably didn’t know how serious the threat was. He waited for a minute or two to see if there would be an announcement. The area still had lights so the building’s emergency generator was obviously operating.

He had studied behavior in organizations and realized those in charge might be reluctant to say anything on their own until they could talk with someone outside. The area David was in wasn’t significantly damaged except for the missing windows, but David realized that other areas, particularly those on the same side of the building as the explosion might have more damage

The building itself had opened a few months before David arrived in Israel. It had been built as part of a long-term process of shifting the airport to the southeast to maintain some distance between the airport and the more densely populated areas of Tel Aviv.

He was familiar with the terminal because he helped with security for visiting American VIP’s. It had been designed so that even if a truck bomb went off next to the building, only the area immediately surrounding the truck would be damaged.

David didn’t know the size of the bomb or the altitude at which it exploded. He doubted that it was delivered by plane or missile, but some bombs were supposed to be small enough that they could be placed on top of a building or hilltop. Detonating above ground would increase the area of damage. The bomb could also have been detonated in a moving vehicle.

Perhaps those in charge of the terminal were injured. The administrative area had been placed on top of the building. They felt that those in charge, including security officials, could better keep track of what was going on outside if they could step out on the roof and look for themselves. The placement also allowed them to restrict access by using a secure stairway and elevator with access controlled from the “Penthouse”. The location on top meant that the offices didn’t need to be as well protected from the typical suicide bomber as the rest of the building. The only need was that the building supporting it be well built.

That placement could be a disadvantage in a nuclear explosion. A shock wave moving along the ground would dissipate some of its energy by hitting low structures. At higher levels the wave would retain more energy. Low structures would block or absorb some of the radiation, including extremely high UV radiation. A higher level structure might be more susceptible to damage from an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that nuclear bombs could produce.

He had been trained as a Marine officer to act in such situations because waiting might lead to a worse situation. He walked over to the nearest counter, identified himself and asked if he could contact those in charge about making an announcement.

“Ma’am, I’m a U.S. Marine Captain with knowledge about nuclear weapons,” David said. “Why hasn’t an announcement been made about the nuclear explosion that just occurred?”

“I’ve tried to contact the director, but communications says something has happened in the admin area,” she replied. “I’ll connect you with communications.”

“I’m U.S. Marine Captain David Lawrence with knowledge about nuclear weapons, “David began. “I believe an announcement needs to be made to those in the terminal about the nuclear explosion that just occurred several miles from here.” David knew he couldn’t be sure about the distance, but the time lag between the flash and the shock wave indicated the explosion was some distance away.

“I’m not sure that is possible, sir,” the clerk replied.

“I am also Jewish which means under Israeli law I am a citizen of Israel,” David informed her. “ I work at the American Embassy and occasionally work with Israeli military officials.” These contacts primarily had to do with Embassy security issues, but the person on the other end of the line didn’t need to know that. David didn’t hear a male voice in the background tell the woman it was okay.

“Ladies and gentlemen I am Captain David Lawrence,” he began over the PA without mentioning what organization he was a captain in. “We have just experienced the shock wave from a nuclear explosion in the vicinity. The worst is over, but we must stay inside until rescuers arrive because of the danger of radioactive fallout outside. The emergency generator is running which means they will be able to keep the food from spoiling until help can arrive. We need to stay calm and see if there are people in other areas of the terminal that we can help. We also need to prepare to help survivors who may come here from outside. Anyone with medical training, including advanced first aid, should notify the nearest service desk.

“Regular phone service and cell phones will probably not be working, those of us who have satellite phones will be able to contact people outside once the atmosphere settles down. The United States, Russia and other countries will have observed the explosion with their satellites. The rest of the world knows what has happened and will be sending help.”

The clerk told David he had a phone call. David picked up the phone wondering if someone was about to complain.

“Glad to hear the Marines have landed,” Mike Russell said. “This is the Mad Russian. How did Lawrence of Israelia [his nickname for David] get here so quickly?”

Mike Russell, a.k.a Rasputin, the Mad Russian, had been one of the first Russians to immigrate to Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union. He told people he had chosen the name “Mike Russell” (the first name was “Mike” not “Michael” ) for three reasons: he didn’t want to have to teach people how to pronounce his Russian name, he had had one of the longest names in the former Soviet Union and he hoped people would think he was a rich American instead of a poor Russian. An old girl friend had given him the nickname “Rasputin” because she claimed he looked like the legendary “Mad Monk” of Russian history when he got up in the morning.

“Rasputin,” David said. “Actually I came in early to wait for my fiancé’s plane. What’s the situation here?”

“I’m not sure,” Mike replied. “We’re kind of isolated here in the bowels of the building. We wouldn’t have had any idea that something that big had happened if it hadn’t been for the images from the exterior security cameras we used to have.”

“Used to have?” David interjected.

“That’s right,” Mike continued. “First was an extremely bright flash that temporarily blanked out the pictures from the northwest cameras. When the picture came back on, we saw a science fiction like blob racing toward the building at warp speed. Then we got pictures like someone was twisting each camera around before we lost the pictures from all the cameras.”

“We may have a problem in the Penthouse,” Mike added. “We had a temporary temperature spike which triggered the fire alarm. The alarm then reset with the temperature returning to a more normal level, but with the air conditioning off . The alarm system reset its sensors indicating they have taken care of the problem themselves. The area has a separate electrical line and whatever happened blew the big fuse that the current flows through. The alarm system wasn’t affected because it has its own separate power supply. However, the security cameras in that area get their power from wall outlets.” 

“That sounds serious,” David commented. “I’ll head in that direction to check it out. What about the security people?”

“Their radio system is down,” Mike replied. “They had a call just before the bomb went off saying that a suicidal person with personal psychological problems was headed in this direction.”

At Athens International Airport the following announcements were being made.

“Attention all passengers, pilots and air crews: Effective immediately all outgoing flights are suspended indefinitely.”

“Will any rabbis, priests, imans or persons with similar occupations please identify yourselves to the nearest service desk.”

 At a heavily protected secret military installation in Israel a voice said over the loud speaker:

“Operation Jawbone will commence in 40 minutes.”


            7. - Mr. President, Tel Aviv Is Missing


Brew kept a pager by his bed that if necessary would sound the tone that once woke him for fire calls. It sounded now. He automatically dressed as Captain Charles Willard Roper, ironically the son of the lieutenant whose life Brew had saved in Vietnam, ran up the White House stairs to brief the President as he moved to the remodeled White House War Room.

Actually the new War Room wasn’t part of the White House. It was somewhere underground between the White House and the Pentagon with tunnels connecting to both. A third tunnel led to an alternate exit in case of an emergency. Technically it was known as The Crisis War Room(CWR). The location was chosen particularly for an immediate crisis in which there might be a threat to The White House or Pentagon and leaving Washington might also be risky.

The elevator car that took people down to the tunnel also carried them at high speed laterally along the tunnel. Only the military engineers who built it and some top officials knew the exact location.

Construction of the CWR had been camouflaged by construction of an underground parking garage. Both had been built by tunneling underground instead of digging up the area from above. The official reason for this approach was that they didn’t want to interfere with the appearance of the White House. The project included a secret exit away from the White House.

The garage contained a fleet of white vans in a secure area. In an emergency the President could leave through the alternate exit in one of the vans with the others acting as decoys. The vans had movable panels that could be changed to show different business names..

As soon as Brew found out what happened he touched his com badge and told the White House operator, “notify emergency services in the D.C. metro area to prepare to provide emergency transport for military and other personnel called to work early. We are now under a Red Alert.”

The com badge was part of a computerized communications system that allowed the president to reach other staffers without the need for everyone to carry special cell phones. The President could reach any staffer directly just by mentioning the name. Subordinates usually had to go through a human operator to reach the President unless he was expecting a call, such as a request for information to be provided ASAP.

 Captain Roper relayed that information to those at the Pentagon responsible for notifying the Joint Chiefs and other VIP’s.

Area police dispatchers quickly announced a similar message: “Dispatch to all units. All units not on assignment go 10-8. ALL UNITS NOT ON ASSIGNMENT GO 10-8. Authority President of the United States Willard Xavier Brewster, WE ARE UNDER A RED ALERT. All units are to prepare to provide emergency transportation for government VIP’s or to block traffic for units providing transportation.”

Fire dispatchers activated the alarms for all fire stations whose trucks were not out on a call. “Dispatch all listening stations we are under a Red Alert, the President of the United States requests all units to assist PD units with traffic control for units transporting VIP’s.” This procedure had been established after 9/11.

Brew also told the operator, “try to get the Israeli ambassador. He needs to know about this and his government may not be able to communicate with its ambassadors. Inform our ambassadors in the Arab states to contact those governments, inform them of the situation and that I am willing to talk with them about it.”

The night supervisor of Brew’s Secret Service detail, Velma Medeiras, was waiting for him.

“Are you ready to leave?” She asked.

“I’m not going any where,” Brew replied.

“But, Mr. President,” she said. “What if someone sets off a bomb here.”

“I can reach the White House shelter much faster,” he replied. “If I step outside to board a helicopter and someone sets off a bomb there would be no way to survive. Someone might even be waiting for the helicopter to land and take off to detonate the bomb, if there’s a bomb here at all, which I doubt.”

“Notify the details protecting the vice president designate, the Speaker of the House and others high on the succession list to get them out of town to secure locations in the middle of the country,” he continued. “Make sure they are kept a couple of hundred miles from each other.”

“Operator,” Brew said after touching his com badge. “Contact congressional leaders and suggest they convene as soon as possible with the two houses meeting in different cities, maybe Baltimore and Richmond. They can ask the Pentagon for transportation. We’re likely to need an emergency appropriation. Also ask is they can speed up the confirmation process for the vice president and Secretary of Defense.”

At the Watergate, General Triple-D Duncan woke to his PCD sounding reveille.

Triple-D got the message at the same time as the President. He immediately hit the respond button to talk to the Pentagon. He informed them he thought he could drive himself to the White House quicker than a staff car could arrive. As he dressed quickly the Pentagon notified him the DCPD would be providing transportation and a car would be waiting from him when he got downstairs.

Generals around the country were also being notified. At Fort Bragg, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne, Major General Charles Brandenburg (Brandy) Gates got a wake-up call. Brandy’s dad had chosen the middle name “Brandenburg” for his son because it sounded impressive. Brandy felt the same way. After he began moving up in rank he began signing his name “C. Brandenburg Gates”. The nickname “Brandy” also indicated his favorite beverage.

One of the advantages of the PCD from the perspective of enlisted personnel was that when an officer called using the PCD, the name was listed on the recipient’s end. When Sgt. Amber Smith answered the phone she knew to say, “82nd Airborne Headquarters, Sgt. Smith speaking General. Is this about the alert?”

“Sgt. Smith go ahead and call out all field grade officers,” Brandy said, then reconsidered. “Hell, I’ve had classes with Israeli officers. Call out everyone E-8 [1st Sgt.] and above. Israel is likely to respond by sending the rest of the Mideast to Hell. Check with the local police to see if they can help our personnel get through traffic. This might be a good time to test the GPS location ability of the PCD’s. See if there are enough people to monitor the locations of those heading toward the base and notify them if two are approaching the same intersection. Probably better call out the MP’s too.”

“Right away, General,” she said.

“Is that night helicopter exercise still going on?” Brandy asked.

“I believe it’s just finishing up, General,” Amber replied.

“Go ahead and have them refuel if necessary and pick up those who live farthest from the post,” Brandy added. “They might go ahead and pick up other crews as well. I don’t think anything will happen here, but air cover is always nice to have. Get the gunships up and keep them flying above the post..”

“Right away, General,” she said.


In the Washington metro area, those military personnel living off base who weren’t needed at the Pentagon or other installations were receiving calls ordering them to go to major intersections to replace emergency service personnel for traffic control. The plans had been developed after 9/11 for such emergency situations. Officers and senior NCO’S would move into designated regions to monitor the situation.

Triple-D finished buttoning his shirt as he walked to the elevator. He used his cordless razor to shave as he rode down. He had learned to shave without a mirror many years earlier. Normally, he didn’t like clip-on ties, but in this situation he used one to speed things up. He buttoned his jacket as he walked to the door, all the while talking to the Pentagon to check on the situation over his PCD.

Rookie officer Jim Mallory and veteran Pete McReeder had only been a block away from the Watergate when they got the call to pick up a VIP. Reeder moved to the back seat of the patrol car after they drove up. Reeder recognized the General as he came out the door. “You’ve got your work cut out for you, Jimmy me lad. That’s the whole military you’re going to chauffeur.”


“The White House, and don’t spare the horses,” Triple-D said as he got into the patrol car.

Officer Mallory took the General at his word and burned rubber leaving the Watergate. Mallory’s hobby was driving race cars and he used that experience as he sped to the White House.

Triple-D seemed oblivious to the thrilling ride he was getting as he continued to receive information from the Pentagon through the headset. His occasional utterances of “un huh” or “go ahead” were the only indication the officers had of what he was doing. As they approached the west entrance to the White House, he told the Pentagon, “I’m about there, so I’ll break contact for now.”

Triple-D didn’t even wait for the patrol car to come to a complete stop before getting out. “Great driving officer,” he said. “I’ll notify your department of your efficiency.”

 The officers stopped briefly after they got back on the street so McReeder could get back in the front seat. As they drove away he said, “you ever see the movie ‘Patton’ Jimmy?”

“Yea,” Mallory replied.

“That General reminded me of Patton standing in the middle of the street as bullets hit either side of him,” McReeder said. “To look at old General Triple-D Duncan you’d think he was on a Sunday drive in the country the whole way.” 


                                                            8 - The CWR

Military personnel staffed the Crisis War Room at all times. The world’s trouble spots were seven or more time zones away. Trouble was more likely to occur at other than normal business hours in the United States. The United States often favored nighttime attacks, but problem nations used different time schedules.

Keeping staff in the CWR was considered preferable to the Pentagon War Room because of the remote possibility of another attack on the Pentagon. There was also concern about an unintentional plane crash due to the proximity to Ronald Reagan Airport such as had happened decades earlier when a plane had crashed into the Potomac. .

The CWR had its own power supply in the form of a biodiesel powered fuel cell. Biodiesel had two advantages. Diesel is much less volatile than other fuels. Biodiesel allowed independence from foreign fuel sources as well as helping keep farm prices higher.

The White House, Pentagon, etc. used similar technology to supplement solar cell and wind generators that gave them independent sources of electricity. Separating such buildings from the power grid was considered better for security. Connection to the power grid could make such buildings more vulnerable to Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons.

Personnel assigned to the CWR were expected to stay there the entire 8-hour shift. Restrooms were designed to be used by one person at a time. The break room had a microwave as well as a regular stove and oven. The pantry and freezer always contained enough food for a month, just in case conditions forced personnel to stay there. Fresh coffee was always available. A convenience store style soda fountain was available for those who preferred carbonated beverages.

In recent years the night time and weekend staffs in particular had been drawn from officers taking classes in the DC area. The duty allowed them time to study while waiting for an emergency that might never come. The duty was considered an honor because those officers chosen were considered to have a bright future in the military. Officers who might some day report there as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Security and technical duties were handled by NCO’s with the equivalent rank of an army staff sergeant or higher and officers army captain or higher.

The Pentagon tried to have at least one female officer present at all times. Scientific research indicated women’s and men’s brains worked differently. Women might notice something men would miss.

The CWR had wall screens like those in the Space Station. One wall was set up as a potential virtual window showing the Pentagon War Room. A similar window in the Pentagon improved the ability of personnel in both rooms to work together. The window could also be used to communicate with NATO, personnel at the State Department or even distant command centers. Other screens displayed satellite or other images, including screens set aside to display the various news channels. Personnel on duty there could watch entertainment programs if they wished. The “window” was often used during major sporting events.

Although an officer was usually assigned to watch NATO HQ operations, communications with NATO were commonly conducted through written messages via computer. This arrangement simplified parallel operations in NATO and in the various different countries. It was easier for officers to monitor local conversations and written messages than to follow two oral conversations. Oral NATO communications were in English, but individual officers could choose which language to receive written communications in. Messages could be routed from one country directly to others with a single keystroke.

Work stations were arranged in a semi oval away from the wall and its screens. The ends could be moved in to enclose the interior if desired. The interior included two tiers which could be raised above the outer ring to provide a better view of the screens for those inside.

The President’s chair was in the center on a track that allowed the President to move to get a better view of individual screens or to talk with a group of officers without disturbing the others. The chair had a computer screen and keyboard that normally hung on one side. Buttons on the arms allowed him to control screen images. The screen could be swung up and locked in position in the front if the President wanted to use it.

The Joint Chiefs and other high ranking individuals, including the Secretary of Defense, sat between the President and the outer ring.

                                    9 - What’s Happening?


As Brew entered the war room one of the officers announced, “Attention!”

Brew had never been much on ceremony, but under the circumstances appreciated the gesture. “As you were,” he said giving the traditional reply.

“Any new developments,” Brew asked of no one in particular.

“The Roosevelt’s pilots have made contact with Israeli pilots,” the naval aide, Captain Gwendolyn Jeanette “Tiger” Morales, said. “The Israelis advise that no plane or missile was detected in the vicinity of the explosion. Israeli air space is closed to all non-military aircraft including El Al airliners. The Roosevelt’s pilots are attempting to contact neighboring countries to see if civilian aircraft can be diverted.”

Tiger’s high school basketball teammates had given her the nickname because of the tenacious way she played defense. The Navy considered Tiger its leading computer expert. Some even compared her to computer pioneer Admiral Grace Hopper.

“Correction, they’re now advising that they’ve contacted other nations in the region. Local air space is closed from Turkey to Morocco,” she added. “The Roosevelt has launched additional jets to escort all civilian aircraft to Athens.”

“Clarification, the Roosevelt is handling the situation in the far eastern Mediterranean,” she continued.. “They advise a British carrier is handling the situation farther west.”

“This just in from NATO,” Marine Col. Wallace Edgar (Wally) McWalters announced. “They are grounding all civilian aircraft in Europe. Those that have departed to the Middle East will be allowed to return. Those aircraft and others arriving from outside will fly under military escort.”

“Various air bases are wanting to know if they should scramble their fighters,” Air Force Col. Kirk Tiberius Jamison stated.

“Roger that,” Brew said.

“Should we ground civilian air craft?’ Jamison asked.

“At this time there shouldn’t be too many planes in the air, Kirk” Brew said. “We should be able to temporarily ground them without disrupting things too much. Those that have just taken off should return. Others should continue on their routes and land at the nearest major airport. Once we get the fighters up, we’ll consider allowing them back in the air. Advise the pilots to barricade themselves in the cockpit and land at the nearest airport if they have any trouble from passengers. Also have airport security check around for bad guys who might want to shoot down planes.”

“Kirk, make sure the planes in the no-fly zones in Iraq are directed to stay where they can di di out of the AO if the Israelis attack,” Brew said.

“Yes, Sir!” Kirk said.

The operator called Brew through his com badge, “Mr. President, I have your call to the Israeli ambassador.”

“I’ll take it here through the chair’s com system,” he replied.

“Mr. President, what’s happened?” Ambassador Moshe Goldman asked.

“Mr. Ambassador, I have some terrible news for you,” Brew began. “One of our satellites and two of our navy pilots have observed a nuclear explosion in or near Tel Aviv. Our pilots have talked to your pilots who confirmed the explosion and advised that Israeli air space was closed to all civilian planes including El Al.”

“I appreciate you letting me know, Mr. President,” the ambassador replied. “I ‘ll attempt to contact our other embassies and some of our government agencies outside Tel Aviv.”

“Mr. Ambassador, I hate to ask the following question, but believe I must,” Brew began. “If this is a terrorist attack rather than an accident, what will your government do?”

“I don’t have a specific answer to that,” the ambassador said. “There are contingency plans, but only a select few know of the specifics. I don’t know if this would activate what you might refer to as a doomsday response, but I hope it will not.”

“If you are able to contact your government,” Brew began. “Inform them we would take a dim view of any attack on our friends such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia without very strong evidence that the governments of those nations played a role in any attack on your country. Those countries have some radicals who might do something like that, but the nations shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of radicals they may have already expelled.”

“I’ll inform my government if I can,” the ambassador replied. “Those countries haven’t been posing a threat to Israel. If a counterattack is launched it would be most likely be against Syria, Iran and Iraq.”

“Can you tell me what we were to discuss at our meeting in the morning?” Brew asked.

“They didn’t tell me,” Ambassador Goldman replied. “They told me I would receive details in the morning. My guess would be that they were going to make some kind of decision early today.”


“Thank you, Mr Ambassador,” Brew said. “If there is anything at all I or my government can do for you or your government please let me know immediately.”

“I will,:” the ambassador replied.

“Tiger, are the Roosevelt’s pilots still in contact with Israeli pilots?” Brew asked.

One of Brew’s skills that helped him in politics was his ability to quickly learn names of people including their nicknames. He had made it a point to learn the names of all personnel assigned to the CWR. Protocol allowed generals and admirals to call him “Brew”. Lower ranking officers were expected to call him “Sir”. He preferred “Sir” to “Mr. President” in crisis situations because “Sir” had fewer syllables.

“If not, I’m sure they can reestablish contact quickly, Sir,” Tiger replied.

“Have one of them ask the Israeli pilots to pass along what I just told the Israeli ambassador about not attacking our friends,” Brew said. “Tell our pilots to try to keep the contact as secure as possible. Send the message to the Roosevelt by encrypted fax.”

“Yes, Sir,” Tiger replied.

“Looks good,” Brew said after viewing the message she wrote on his computer and signing the message with a stylus. “I’ve heard those faxes come out as something like the Lincoln Memorial for those who don’t have the right key.”

“The ones going to the Middle East use SI swimsuit pictures,” Tiger said. “The woman who suggested it thought Muslim men receiving such pictures might be punished for using the equipment to obtain ‘dirty’ pictures.”

Brew recalled the reason the colonel had given for offering him a battlefield commission in Vietnam in spite of Brew’s lack of anything more than a high school education. The colonel had said that Brew had two of the most important qualifications of an officer. First, his men had confidence in his leadership. Second, the enemy only follows the script in Hollywood. In actual battle an officer must be able to adjust to what the enemy is doing. Brew had demonstrated that he could ad lib in a combat situation. Brew hoped he could ad lib his way through this situation.


                        10 - Deliver the Message

Commander Shirley Nguyen was in the CDC of the Roosevelt when the President’s faxed message arrived. Shirley knew the Israeli aircraft carrier was minutes away by air so she said she would take the message to the captain of that ship if they would let her land. She activated the camera in her F-14 Tomcat which allowed Tiger to monitor the flight back at the CWR. Shirley was familiar with the Israeli captain and ship because she had helped train them.


Shirley was more concerned about the Israeli situation than most of her shipmates because her cousin Elva was visiting there. Her tour group was primarily interested in the area around Jerusalem, but Shirley wasn’t sure of their exact itinerary.

“Sir,” Col. Kirk Jamison said. “The Saudi and Kuwaiti governments are requesting us to provide air cover.”

“Do it,” Brew replied. “The same for Jordan or other friendly nations in the region.”

“Jordan just asked,” Kirk noted.

“Kirk, Jordan is between Israel and Iraq,” Brew noted. “Do they wish us to shoot down war planes from these two nations if necessary?”

“Yes, Sir,” Kirk replied. “They particularly want both those nations to keep their planes away.”

“Very good,” Brew said. “Tiger, I’ve got another message...”

“Already on it, Sir,” Tiger said.

“Sounds like you’re busy,” Triple-D said.

“Welcome to the party, Triple-D,” Brew said. “Sorry to get you up so early. There seems to be a problem in Israel.”

“That’s what I heard, Brew,” Triple-D replied. “I wasn’t really sleeping. I was lying there cursing the weatherman for making it storm around my ranch in Oklahoma. I guess I’ll have to thank him for keeping me here.”

“Have you been able to contact the Israeli government?” Triple-D asked.

:”I’ve talked to their ambassador here,” Brew said. “He’s trying to contact someone. We’ve also sent a message through the Israeli pilots our pilots were able to contact. What do you think their military will do in this situation?”

“When I served with those who potentially faced that situation, we would have responded according to the last orders we had received,” Triple-D said. “If we could have determined who was responsible we would have retaliated in kind.”

“What, if you couldn’t discover who did it?” Brew asked.

“Attacked the most likely suspects,” Triple-D replied.

“What will Israel do?” Brew asked.

“There have been rumors for years that Israel would destroy the Arab states if it was threatened with destruction,” Triple-D answered. “This action may not provoke that drastic a response, but they’ll probably nuke someone. They’ll probably also launch a conventional attack to force the Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,:” Brew said. “Can we do anything to prevent a massacre?”

“Depends on how quickly they act and whether the military supports an all out attack,” Triple-D replied. “I’ll alert the Herd just in case we can put them in between the two factions.”

“I can’t think of a better unit,” Brew said. “I think they refer to themselves as Europe’s 911, don’t they?”

“That’s right,” Triple-D said. “Incidentally, we may never know if your message reached the right people. They wouldn’t want anyone to know if their commanders could be reached in such a situation.”

“That’s what I figured,” Brew said.

Lt. Wichita White was surprised when his PCD played “Rawhide”. He had expected the alert to come much later in the weekend. He pushed the “Message” button and received the following message: “All personnel are to return to post ASAP. The planned exercise has been cancelled, but we are under a red alert condition. Return according to exercise procedures.”

Wichita noticed a nearby police car and flagged it down. Fortunately the officer spoke a little English. Wichita got in and they sped off for a location he had determined a helicopter could land at and personnel in the area could reach relatively easily. It might not be the best location, but it would have to do for now. He activated the preset message for those in the Padova area to respond to the location he then entered.

Meanwhile in the District and its suburbs, dispatchers were more frequently providing messages like: “Dispatch all units on Georgia Ave., block traffic for unit southbound in route to White House, Pentagon, etc. Reopen intersections after unit has passed.”

In locations throughout the country dispatchers were also advising law enforcement officers of an emergency situation. In Hutchinson, Kansas, an alert tone sounded on police and sheriff’s department radios: “Dispatch all units PD and SO. Effective at zero 1:05 hours CDT the United States is under a Red Alert condition authority President of the United States Willard Xavier Brewster. Further information will follow. No acknowledgment necessary. Dispatch concluding zero 1:15 hours.”

“Dispatch any unit in the vicinity of U.S. 50 - K 96 junction.”

“437, two miles west.”

“Dispatch to 437. Respond to Best Western Motel. Pick up Senator Sam Brownback and his aide and transport them 10-39 [lights and siren] to McConnell AFB.”

“437, 10-4.”


“We’re showing increased military aircraft aloft over Syria, Iran and Iraq,” the Panther announced. “So far they seem to be fighters assuming a defensive mode.”

Brew noticed that CNN anchor Noel Coates was commenting on rumors of some type of explosion in Israel as well as what was happening on Washington streets. “We’ve received an e-mail from Israel claiming a nuclear explosion has occurred in Tel Aviv, but we cannot connect with anyone there to determine the extent of the damage. Now we have a report that firefighters are directing traffic in Washington. Apparently something major is happening,” she said.

“Does anyone know how to work the equipment to put me on tv from here?” Brew asked.

“I’ve had experience with such equipment,” Capt Roper replied.

“Good, “ Brew said. “Then get ready to put me on tv. Notify the networks I will be making a major announcement that even the pay channels may want to carry.”

“Brew, do you think it’s wise to go on the air before we know more about what’s happened?” Triple-D asked. .

“I don’t want to Triple-D,” Brew replied. “But, right now we don’t need rumors of impending disaster to start spreading. We may get a disaster if Israel retaliates, but rumors might imply a bigger problem.”

“Somebody make sure NATO is notified I will be making a statement,” Brew said.

The Panther still had an open line to the War Room and said, “I don’t know if this is important or not, but our eavesdropping equipment picked up a communication of an Israeli patrol we believe was near Tel Aviv. The report was cut off in mid word, but apparently they were chasing a suspicious vehicle. One of our technicians believes the last sound picked up is the sound a microphone might make if vaporized by a nuclear explosion.”

“Are there any secrecy problems with feeding the networks with the shots of the explosion from the navy jets that we’ve just received?” Brew asked. “I know we cannot feed them the satellite images.”

“No problem,” Triple D replied. “The electronic transfer system is new, but those particular cameras are off the shelf equipment.” 

At the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Elva Lewis was wondering what would go wrong next. First, some type of mechanical problem had delayed their tour bus. Then the tv they were watching had lost the program being received from Tel Aviv. Someone had switched the tv to CNN as Noel was talking.

                                    11 - The President Speaks

Shortly, Noel announced, “I’ve just been notified that the President has requested air time. Maybe we’ll find out what’s going on.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States,” Noel and the anchors on other networks announced.

The President could raise a panel behind his chair that allowed use of the same technology meteorologists used on television so they could stand in front of weather maps. Brew chose to have a picture of the Lincoln Memorial displayed behind him as he spoke. Brew hadn’t dressed for television because he didn’t expect to be on. He was wearing a black sweatshirt with the unit crest of his old unit, the 173rd Airborne – a white dove’s wing holding a red sword on a blue background with the word “Airborne” in white letters on a blue background above it.

“My fellow Americans and citizens of the world,” Brew began. “The unthinkable has happened. At approximately 2:00 A.M Eastern U.S. Time a nuclear explosion occurred in or near Tel Aviv, Israel. We don’t know the cause of that explosion, but our technicians have ruled out the possibility of a device delivered by a missile or airplane. There is some evidence that the explosion may have been an attack, but we cannot rule out an accident at this time.

“Our navy pilots have contacted Israeli Air Force pilots. We are also in contact with other governments in the region. At this time all air space is closed from Turkey south around the Mediterranean through Morocco. NATO nations have decided to ground all aircraft. Here in the United States we are temporarily grounding civilian aircraft, but hope to have normal traffic later in the day.

“The first time we visited some of my wife’s family in tornado alley in Kansas, they had a severe thunderstorm move through the area. I dutifully followed them to their basement just in case the storm might produce a tornado. They didn’t expect it to, but sometimes such storms produce tornadoes without warning. We are doing something similar now. We don’t expect anything bad to happen here, but we’re taking precautions just in case. I’m talking to you from a secure location.

“Israel is a popular tourist attraction. Many of our fellow Americans like to visit there this time of year in particular. Thus, it is very likely that some of your friends and relatives were in Tel Aviv at the time of the explosion. If you know of someone visiting Israel at this time, we would appreciate it if you would contact your local police using their administrative number rather than 911 so we can compile a list of people to check on. If your acquaintances are able to contact you, once again notify the police who will then notify the State Department of their situation.

“Those of you watching this from the Middle East need to be aware that Israel may retaliate against whomever they think is responsible for the explosion. Those in nations with poor relations with Israel are particularly at risk.

“I’m sure that those who have suffered non-fatal injuries or who’ve lost loved ones will appreciate your prayers. I also ask that you pray for me and other government leaders as we attempt to deal with this disaster.

“I need to get back to working with our military and diplomatic officers and leaders of other nations. If any significant developments occur, I will notify you. As I leave we will shortly be transmitting pictures of the explosion taken by U.S. Navy pilots in the Mediterranean. I suggest that news people will be more likely to get information from the European countries for now because their public relations people are already on the job.”

As soon as Brew left the air, he noticed a call was waiting from the Israeli ambassador. Brew said to put it through.

“Mr. President, I’m going to take you up on your offer of assistance,” Ambassador Goldman said. “I’ve talked with some of the other ambassadors and we believe some of us should return to Israel as soon as possible. Could you help me find transportation?”

“One moment, I’ll check with my Chiefs of Staff,” Brew replied.

“Do we have a Mach 2.5 plane in the area that could carry a passenger?” Brew asked.

Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Wendell Everett(Windy) Alverson, who had just arrived, replied, “We have one at Norfolk that can fuel on one of the two carriers in the Atlantic before it reaches a tanker from Europe.”


“Are you still physically capable of flying in a Mach 2.5 aircraft?” Brew asked.

“If I’m not I’ll sue the doctor who conducted my last physical,” the ambassador replied.

“We’ll have a police escort take you to Andrews Air Base,” Brew said. “They’ll fly you to Norfolk to pick up a carrier capable Mach 2.5 jet. May God fly with you.”

“Thank you, Mr. President,” the ambassador said.

“We need to get tankers in the air to refuel the ambassador’s plane,” Brew said. “Have the Roosevelt contact the Israeli Air Force for instructions of the final leg of the trip to Israel.”

“They’ll probably want to pick him up themselves, Brew,” Windy said. “They’ve got their own carrier so they have pilots who can pick him up on the Roosevelt.”

“I believe it would be advisable to check all incoming ships at least 100 miles from the coast just in case someone wants to smuggle in a weapon,” Windy suggested.

“That would be a sound precaution,” Brew replied. “We should also check ships already in port. Have whatever types of military units are closest work with local law enforcement.”


In Hutchinson, Kansas: “Dispatch 437.”

“437 approaching Crupper’s Corner.”

“Dispatch 437. McConnell AFB now advising they are dispatching a helicopter to meet you in route.”

“437, 10-4."


                                    12. Message Delivered


“Pentagon advising Israeli helicopters have been flying over southern Lebanon for several minutes,” Triple-D announced. “They haven’t been firing. No artillery has fired yet, but they may be looking for potential targets. Some suspect they may be using loud speakers to warn civilians to leave the area before attacking.”

The state department phoned, or rather spoke through the computer used for secure communications, that President Abdul Takamen of Egypt wanted to talk to the President of the United States.


“President Brewster, I’m worried that Israel might retaliate against us even though we didn’t have anything to do with the attack,” President Takamen said. “A wounded lion may attack anyone who is near.”

“I share your concern President Takamen,” Brew replied. “I’ve informed the Israeli ambassador to my country that we would view such an attack very unfavorably, but I don’t know whether he will be able to communicate with whoever is in charge in Israel.”

“Thank you, Mr. President,” Takamen said.   “I also appreciate your ambassador’s willingness to meet with us along with his military attaches to keep us informed of what’s going on.” 

“Mr. President, are you in a safe location just in case the worst happens?” Brew asked.

“Yes, I’ve also told my people to take shelter,” Takamen responded.

“Do your intelligence people have any idea who could have set off the bomb?” Brew asked.

“Nothing specific,” Takamen replied. “We’ve been worried for some time that Syria, Iraq or Iran might attempt to sabotage the peace process, but we didn’t believe they were capable of this, much less that they would consider it. We believe Iran would be the most likely to propose this type operation, but they would need help to get such a weapon into Israel. They would probably have to smuggle it through Iraq and Syria and then Lebanon. We don’t think they could have brought it in by sea because there’s too much sea traffic on the Israeli coast.”

“Thanks for the information, Mr. President,” Brew said. “We’ll notify you of any further developments.”

The American ambassadors in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and a few other Arab states were taking similar actions to keep those governments informed.

In the Mediterranean, Shirley Nguyen was calling the Israeli carrier: “Moshe Dayan this is U.S. Navy 300, request permission for an emergency landing.”

“U..S Navy 300 this is Moshe Dayan, advise the nature of your emergency.”

“Moshe Dayan U.S. Navy 300 , I have a faxed message from my CIC to be forwarded to your CIC ASAP.”

“U.S. Navy 300, you are cleared for emergency landing. Someone will meet you on deck to accept the message.”

Tiger was monitoring the conversation and moved the image provided by Nguyen’s plane to one of the main screens.

“Sir, Commander Nguyen is about to land on an Israeli carrier to hand deliver your fax,” Tiger announced. “I’m putting the image on the main screen.”

“Tiger, would that be Shirley Nguyen?” Brew asked.

“Yes, Sir,” she replied. “Do you know her?”

“Yes,” he said. “I met her several years ago. She came to one of our unit reunions to see if she could meet some of the men who served with her biological father in Nam. I was his first CO. I told her how to get in touch with his CO at the time of her father’s death.”

They watched as a man wearing an officer’s uniform, but no rank or name tag, accepted the message from her after climbing up to the cockpit.

“Tiger, could you make sure the visual record of that officer’s face develops a glitch so it’s not recognizable,” Brew asked. “He apparently wants to remain anonymous.”

“Yes, Sir,” she replied.

The message read: “From the Commander in Chief of U.S. military forces President Willard Xavier Brewster to the Commander in Chief of Israeli military forces:

The United States would take a very dim view of any attack on our friends Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. I realize there are some outlaw states in the Middle East but our friends are trying to live in peace even though some of their citizens disagree.”

“Commander, there are differences in our cultures that might affect our interpretation of this message,” they heard the Israeli officer say. “If you were to receive such an order what do you think it would mean? Particularly, what about the nations that aren’t named?”

“Sir, I would conclude that the nations named in the order were off limits,” she replied. “Action against the other nations might be accepted if a good reason were provided. There might be some public disclaimer about an overreaction or something for diplomatic reasons, but I wouldn’t be disciplined for the action.”

“That’s my interpretation,” the Israeli said. “But, I wanted to be sure. I’ll pass this along to my superiors ASAP.”

“Sir, the telemetry from Nguyen’s aircraft indicates the Israeli carrier is headed west, ” Tiger reported.

“If that Israeli carrier is headed west from its current position it’s likely headed toward Libya,” Windy noted. “It’s already far enough west to attack Egypt.”

“The Pentagon is reporting substantial activity at Israeli bases,” Triple-D announced.


At the American embassy in Damascus, Syria, everyone was busy moving food and records into the basement. Ambassador Sandy Sanderson had reacted immediately when he heard about the attack. He had encouraged dependents of embassy employees, including Syrians, living near the embassy to come in to stay in the basement. American citizens who called were told to hurry over if they were already close or to leave town or find a basement if they were farther away.

Sandy decided to place a quick call to his boss to make sure he would receive immediate notification if Israel appeared ready to attack.

“LT, can you send some helicopters to pull us out of here?” Sandy asked.

“I tried to get Scotty to beam you out,” Brew replied. “But, he claimed the transporters were down due to some problem with the dilithium crystals. Are you moving everything to the basement?”

“We’ve got everyone working on it,” Sandy replied. “I need to leave my Marine guards at the doors until the last minute. Could you let me know if, or I guess I should say when, Israel decides to attack?”

“I’ll set up an open line to your place,” Brew replied. “I’ll use the phrase we were taught in school, ‘duck and cover’.”

“I tried to get through to the Syrian president,” Sandy said. “His office said they didn’t need to worry because Israel had been destroyed and they didn’t have anything to do with the attack. They apparently think destroying civilian government would prevent retaliation or maybe they were expecting more than one explosion.”

“That’s an interesting possibility,” Brew remarked. “Perhaps they sent more than one sabotage team and the others failed or simply haven’t acted yet. Did you tell him the Israelis might not wait to find out who was responsible for the attack?”

“He didn’t think that would happen,” Sandy replied.


                        13        Message Received

“We need to plan what we’ll do if Israel retaliates big time,” Brew said. “Also, will those who suffer from such retaliation respond in kind?”

“Iraq is the only one likely to be able to respond after an all out Israeli attack,” Gen. Ulysses (Snake) Lee, the Special Ops Chief of Staff, answered. “Israel can pretty much eliminate Syria’s ability to counterattack. Iraq still has Scuds and some of us believe may have WMD capability and larger missiles in spite of what the UN inspectors say. They may even have aircraft disbursed enough to have some survive.”

Snake got his nickname from his ability to crawl along the ground to observe enemy activity. He served as a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne arriving in June, 1968. LRRP’s or Rangers infiltrated enemy territory in groups of 3 - 12 men to determine enemy positions and strength, capture prisoners or set up ambushes. His slender build also allowed him to get into tight spaces many others couldn’t get into.

After Vietnam he applied for officer training and was later accepted by the Special Forces. He switched to the army reserve in 1989 and then became a covert CIA agent. He served in Africa where his cover was a mercenary who occasionally served various groups, both rebels and governments, as a technical advisor on guerilla warfare who also trained officers and NCO’s. Veteran soldiers occasionally became mercenaries so those aware he had been in the U.S. Army would consider his actions to be normal. He also occasionally assisted local guides on hunting expeditions. As part of his duties he listened for statements that the identity of other covert agents had been discovered.

When the CIA was switched to control by the Department of Defense, the military and civilian leaders felt he would be the natural choice as the Chief of Staff of Intelligence and Special Ops. The army called him back to active duty and Congress agreed to a promotion to 4-star general based on his combined army and CIA service. 

“What about Iran?” Brew asked.

“Iran’s effective delivery systems are more oriented toward fighting its neighbors,” Snake said. “Their Shahab missile which might be capable of reaching Israel has been unreliable in tests. If their guidance systems are as unreliable as the engines, they may pose a bigger threat to the Palestinians because Israeli areas tend to be narrow and on the edge of the Palestinian territory. Thus they lack a reliable ability to attack Israel other than to provide weapons to their proxies among the Palestinians. Since Hezbollah developed problems with their ammo in Lebanon, they haven’t been able to maintain ammo dumps there.”


“By the way welcome to the party, Snake,” Brew commented. “Any ideas about the source of the nuke that blew away Tel Aviv?”

“The Palestinians were almost certainly the delivery boys,” Snake replied. “But, they would have to have obtained it from someone else. We don’t think Iraq or Iran have produced nukes yet. We believe Libya has just about given up its efforts to build nukes. Pakistan isn’t sufficiently committed to the Palestinian cause to give away nukes it might need against India. Someone, possibly some al Qaeda group, might have obtained an old Soviet nuke. Iraq might have helped obtain it or move it to Israel. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the possibility someone bought one from North Korea.”

“Do you have any idea when the Israelis will retaliate?” Brew asked.

“No,” Snake replied. “Normally retaliation would be immediate, but considering the nature of the attack by someone apparently sneaking in the bomb, they may be wanting to take their time to make sure they hit all the targets they want to hit. With just one bomb they may need to decide how big a response to make. Keeping bombs in reserve would discourage further attacks. Waiting could lull their enemies into thinking they won’t retaliate without finding out who was responsible first. It would be easier for them to publically justify retaliation if someone took responsibility for the attack first. It doesn’t seem likely the explosion could have been an accident, but they may want to make sure.”

“Maybe I’ve watched to many old spy movies, but might al Qaeda have detonated the devise to provoke an Israeli attack on Muslim states?” Brew asked. “I know bin Laden wanted us to attack Afghanistan after 911.”

“They seem more interested in attacking us, than the Israelis,” Snake suggested. “But that is certainly something they would consider doing, particularly if they thought they could use an Israeli attack to get Pakistan to support them.”


“Brew, Russian President Vasili Karpananov wants to talk to you,” Triple-D said.


“Mr. President, I wish we could have had our first conversation under better conditions,” Brew said.

“As do I, Mr. President,” Vasili said. “Do you know how the explosion happened? Have you been able to contact the Israelis to see if they’re going to take any actions?”


“Some of our pilots have talked to theirs,” Brew said. “I’ve talked to their ambassador to the United States. Our pilots indicate there weren’t any planes or missiles that could have dropped a bomb. They were flying close enough so that their radars would have detected something big enough to deliver such a bomb. So, it was probably taken in using some type of vehicle. Their ambassador isn’t sure what their plans are.”

“Could it have been one of the old Soviet suitcase nukes?” Brew asked.

“Some of my technicians aren’t sure if the so-called suitcase nukes ever existed at least in workable form,” Vasili said. “If there were some that actually worked they wouldn’t have been able to produce that big an explosion if they still worked. They required continued maintenance. My technicians believe it was a nuclear bomb [fission or A-Bomb] rather than a thermonuclear bomb [fusion or H-Bomb] which would eliminate our other bombs as a possibility.”

“Could the Iranians have provided the weapon?” Brew asked.

“They don’t have any of their own,” Vasili replied. “However, if they could have acquired one from another source they might have provided it to whomever took it in. We’ve told our friends in Iran they need to take shelter or get out immediately just in case. They don’t seem worried about retaliation. They say there is no evidence to link them to the attack. They believe eliminating the Israeli government would prevent the military from being able to act. They’re afraid to trust their military with access to such weapons. Some of our intelligent experts believe the Iranians sound like they believe the explosion was bigger than it was or they anticipated more than one bomb. ”


“Maybe whom ever they acquired the bomb from misrepresented its size,” Brew remarked. “They don’t realize that one of the things our countries had in common during the Cold War was a willingness to trust the generals to act properly with nuclear weapons.”

“That’s right,” Vasili said. “And our governments knew that if they attacked, there would be retaliation. Of course, we trusted our generals not to attempt to overthrow the government. Middle eastern nations are more concerned about military coups..”

“My generals believe knocking out the civilian government might cause a stronger response. The military is more likely to treat the attack as a prelude to an invasion and decide to destroy the capacity to launch an invasion, ” Vasili added.

“My generals are nodding their heads in agreement,” Brew noted. “Some of the Israeli’s I know have told me they believe that if there is another attempt at a Holocaust, they want to make sure their attackers die too.”

“By the way,” Vasili added. “You are aware that Saddam Hussein and his sons are dead, aren’t you?”

“We’ve suspected it for some time,” Brew said. “But, were afraid to seek confirmation.”

“I urged them to keep it quiet,” Vasili said. “I was worried the news would bring civil war in Iraq.”

“That’s the same reason we didn’t press the issue,” Brew said.

“When we were young everyone thought a nuclear war would be fought between our countries,” Brew said. “Now, we’re just sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what will happen next.”

“I just hope there is something left in the Middle East when it’s over,” Vasili said.

“As do I, Mr. President,” Brew said.

As their conversation was ending an alarm sounded in the CWR and a picture of a mushroom cloud expanded to cover an entire wall.


“Screen indicates its in Russia,” Snake replied. “Specifically, make that their new military base in Chechnia.”

“Mr. President, what was that alarm?” Vasili asked. Then to someone in his war room: “What was that radio message?”

“Mr. President, I have some very bad news for you,” Brew said. { On his computer he entered “Can we send them a video of the explosion?” } “Our satellites are showing a nuclear explosion near your new military base in Chechnia.”

“Thanks, for the information,” Vasili responded. “We’re getting some radio communications, but they are somewhat confused.”

{Tiger: “We can’t send it over the line we’re using because it can only handle audio and text. But I can post it on one of our websites and send them the URL, if there are no security problems with sending satellite photos.”}

{Snake: “I think we can risk it. They probably know our capabilities anyway.”}

“Do you have any more information about the explosion?” Vasili asked.

{Brew: “What about others viewing the video?”}

{Tiger: “The Russians will be the only ones outside this room who know the pictures are there. I’m sending the URL now.”}

“One of our computer experts is going to put a copy of the video on the Internet and will let you know where in a text message,” Brew replied.

{Brew: “Snake, what about letting their attaches in the space station?”}

{Snake: “Under the circumstances, it would be the best course of action.”}

“Mr, President,” Brew began. “Would you be interested in having the military attaches of our two embassies view the satellite images we are getting of each other’s countries?”

“I believe that would be a good idea,” Vasili agreed. “Isn’t it ironic. For most of our lives our countries have been spying on each other because we were afraid of each other. Now, we each need to use the pictures the other is taking to protect us from somebody else.”

“Yes, it is,” Brew replied.

“Mr. President,” Vasili said. “Some of my generals believe we may need to respond by using a nuclear weapon on the Chechnian rebels. I don’t like the idea of using such weapons in our own country, but it may be the only way to discourage anyone else from using such extreme actions. We may also need to retaliate against whatever country gave them the weapon.”

“I understand your situation,” Brew said. “You must act in the way you feel is best for your country. If you decide to attack the rebels, please let us know in advance so we will know it isn’t another terrorist attack.. As for any country that would supply such a weapon, the world might accept punishing that country if we both acted together.”

“Thank you for your support, Mr. President,” Vasili said. “We will let you know what we decide to do.”

In the Israeli headquarters, Gideon said, “Samson, we have a fax from the President of the United States that the captain of the Moshe Dayan has forwarded. I think you should look at”

“Can it be authenticated?” Samson asked.

“The captain states that it was hand delivered by American carrier Theodore Roosevelt’s top pilot, Commander Shirley Nguyen, to our carrier. The captain included a comment and video of the delivery..”

“I see,” Samson said after looking at the fax. “Cancel border operations along the borders with Jordan and Egypt. We wouldn’t hit Mecca yet, anyway.”

“Gideon,” Samson said. “Where is your family now?”

“My husband always visits his older brother in Jerusalem for Pesach [Passover],” Gideon replied. “And your family?”

“My husband should be in Tel Aviv for the Knesset,” Samson said. “Fortunately, my children are studying in the United States.”

                                                14. If the Worst Happens

Joseph Lawrence had trouble sleeping through the night. He found that he had a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night and then have trouble getting back to sleep. Sleeping for a couple of hours and then getting up and getting on the Internet for 30 minutes to an hour allowed him to go back to bed and sleep the rest of the night.

On this night he woke up as usual. He checked his email and found that a couple of the threads he was following at had received a response since he last visited them. He checked the first thread and then as usual checked the list of threads to see if any interesting ones had been started. At the top of the list was “Tel Aviv nuked”. Joseph clicked on the link to the Fox news site and discovered what had happened. He went ahead and turned on the tv to make sure.

After 9/11 his family had decided that each member would buy a cheap cell phone that would be kept by their beds and only used in the case of an emergency. Joseph immediately called his uncle Abraham Lawrence to tell him the bad news.

“Hello,” Abraham Lawrence said half awake.

“Uncle Abraham,” Joseph said. “I have some terrible news. Someone has used a nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv. I know David is stationed there. Right now they don’t know how big it was or where ground zero was.”

“David isn’t the only one who might be there,” Abraham said. “His fiancé is due there sometime this morning, but I don’t know what time. He would probably be at the airport, but I don’t know how far that is – or maybe that’s where the bomb was. I have a house, so maybe everyone should come over here until we find out more.”

“Okay,” Joseph agreed. “I’ll go ahead and call the rest of the family and tell them.”

“I’ll call Michele’s parents,” Abraham said with a sigh.

                                                                        In the CWR

“Brew, what were you contemplating when you mentioned Israeli retaliation?” Tripled-D asked. “You’re obviously not thinking of stopping them?”

“I doubt that would be possible,” Brew said. “I was thinking our response would be more likely to be a relief mission to help the survivors and reestablish some degree of order.”

“Most of it would have to come from here,” Triple-D said. “We don’t have too many troops in Europe now and the NATO nations don’t have large active duty forces. I believe the 82nd Airborne should be sent first because they can jump in if necessary. Most of the airports are likely to be contaminated with radioactivity.”

“The 82nd would probably be able to respond the quickest particularly to the interior of countries,” Brew said. “A significant Israeli response might require relief forces to drop in rather than travel overland, especially initially. The local airports are likely to be contaminated at best. I don’t know if helicopters will be able to fly over the radioactive clouds. I suspect we would have to rotate units in and out of the area if Israel launches a major nuclear response.”

“I’ll notify the 82nd and other units to begin planning just in case,” Triple-D said. “Too bad this happened when we only have caretaker forces in the region except for air support. There’s enough Marines in the Gulf to begin moving into the southern parts of Iran or Iraq, but not enough to go very far.”

“Am I right that we mostly just have transportation equipment and armor in Europe?” Brew asked. “Very little construction equipment.”

“That’s right and the transportation vehicles aren’t enough to move the supplies we have over there,” Triple-D replied.

“Go ahead and have the Pentagon establish liaison with DOT, HHS, etc. to have them contact civilian organizations to acquire relief supplies,” Brew said. “We’re going to need all the help we can get if what I’m afraid will happen happens. “

“Roger that,” Triple-D said. “Some of those personnel who can handle such matters should have arrived by now. We may want to have reserve and national guard personnel using their civilian skills like truck driving. The National Guard units from the southern states are going to get a chance to use their disaster relief training.”

“What’s the status of delivery of the new SPACE suits?” Brew asked.

“We have some in Europe, particularly with the 173rd,” Triple-D answered. “We have some in Afghanistan as a precaution. Naval and Marine units in the Middle East have them. Some of the units most likely to be sent abroad such as the 82nd have some, but not enough for all their personnel.”

“We would probably have to rotate personnel in an out frequently anyway,” Brew commented. “Are the old suits still available if needed?”

“Yes,” Triple-D said. “We don’t plan to get rid of them until more of the new suits are available.”

Triple-D was doing double duty. The Army Chief of Staff was in Europe and was still in route to NATO HQ.

“Sir, one of our planes in the southern no-fly zone reports an Iraqi pilot says he wants to defect,” Col. Kirk Jamison reported. “Our pilot says the Iraqi has his radar turned off.”

“We’ll let Kuwait or Saudi Arabia make the final decision, Kirk,” Brew said. “Have our pilots keep an eye on him all the way and be prepared to fire at the first indication of hostile action. Same thing if it occurs in the north, provided Turkey will accept the pilot. Some Iraqi pilots may be seeing the handwriting on the wall.”

At this point Brew noticed a CNN reporter attempting to talk to an American soldier waiting for a helicopter to land. “That’s a Herd patch on that lieutenant’s shoulder!” he exclaimed as he turned up the sound. “Triple-D can you get in touch with him and have him invite her and her crew along. We may want coverage if the troops go to Israel.”

“Should be able to,” Triple-D replied. “They probably don’t have too many lieutenants about to get on helicopters. If they go in we definitely want the Arabs to know we’re helping the Palestinians rather than the Israelis.”

“General,” Tiger commented. “They are showing a dateline of Padova, Italy. I’ve replayed the video, his name tag appears to say ‘White’.”

“Thanks,” Triple-D said. “That should speed things up.”

Shortly Lt. Jesse “Wichita” White answered his PCD. “Lt. White speaking, General. What can I do for you?”

“Lt. White invite that reporter and her crew to go with you,” Triple-D ordered. “Tell her you can’t give her a specific destination, but you will probably be going east.”

“Right away, General,” White replied.

“Ma’am, the General invites you to accompany us,” White said.

“Can you tell me where you’re going?” Katrina Ibrahim asked.

“I’m not authorized to give out that information, ma’am,” he replied. “But, I can tell you we’re probably headed east.”

“Well, Noel, looks like I’m getting a free trip,” Katrina said. “I guess I’ll let you know later where I am.”

“Brew, I had them transfer the lieutenant to the Public Affairs Office,” Triple-D said. “He’ll accompany them all the way to Israel.”



“Brew, we should consider canceling leaves if we need to send large units to the Middle East,” Triple-D suggested.

“Go ahead and have units prepare to do so,” Brew replied. “Only cancel non-emergency leaves. A lot of airliners are going to be on the ground anyway. Have units check for possible available flights. Then notify troops to contact their local 911 for emergency transport to the airport.”

“Looks like our new computer programs are going to get a real test,” Triple-D said. “We’ll see if we are keeping track of the location of each airliner, its empty seats and intended destination.”


As Brew watched the scene of Palestinians dancing in the streets of Jerusalem he remarked, “The fools don’t realize they are downwind from the explosion. The fallout could kill them. And, they would die a slow painful death unlike the people killed in the initial explosion.”

“Brew, I’m enlarging the Israeli map,” General Russell Martin “Goldy” Eagle, the Air Force Chief of Staff, announced.

He was known as the Golden, or “Goldy”, Eagle because of the “golden” hair he had inherited from his Scandinavian grandparents. His dad was half Lakota and half Norwegian. His mother was half Cheyenne and half Swedish. His Indian relatives called him “Yellow Hair” in a reference to the loser at the Battle of Little Big Horn. In recent years some had started calling him “bald eagle” as his hair started to change color. Goldy had planned to fly to the Air Force Academy that afternoon, but a plumbing problem caused him to delay his trip until morning.

“There are a large number of Israeli planes in the air, including bombers,” he continued. “They don’t seem to be going any place yet. They’re probably waiting for something.”

“I’m afraid I know what the something is,” Brew said.

“Brew, we might want to contact the Chinese about using their SST’s to move our troops in the U.S. to the Middle East if necessary,” Goldy remarked. I believe they land on the west coast a little after midnight local time. They don’t usually leave until about 8:00, but they may have to perform maintenance during that time.”


“Sounds like a good idea, Goldy, ” Brew replied. “Go ahead and check on it. If we can use them the first troops could leave after the equipment was sent and still arrive in drop zone at the same time even with having to land to change to the 173rd’s planes. Authorize them to travel at hypersonic speed if you think it would help.“

“Early in my career I was stationed at a couple of missile bases,” Goldy remarked. “We were always worried that if we had to launch on short notice some of them would malfunction because we wouldn’t have time to run a checklist. Perhaps the Israelis are delaying their response so they can insure the missiles they launch will work.”

“Makes sense,” Snake added.

In Damascus, Ambassador Sandy Sanderson had just noticed the desk in his new basement office. Two plaques were on it. One said:

 “War Is War and Hell Is Hell

and of the Two War Is Worse...

There Are NO Innocent Bystanders in Hell.”

The other said:

“True Peace Is not the Absence of War

But the Presence of Justice.”

The situation had seemed to be under control with everyone but a handful of Marine guards still outside. At the last minute two large buses containing orphans had arrived. The Marines already in the basement had rushed out to help move the babies to the basement. Other staff members had set up a relay to take the first babies to the basement while the Marines ran back for the others.

                                                15 Another Bomb

DOT has a message. They have been contacted by Collins Industries asking if we can use small buses and ambulances.

Brew’s computer indicated Egyptian President Abdul Takamen wanted to talk to him.

“Mr. President, what can I do for you?” Brew asked.

“My intelligence people have been watching a suspicious freighter that had stopped for at least a couple of hours and is now under way again,” President Takamen said. “They believe it may have picked up a passenger.”

Before Brew could reply, Snake commented, “Pentagon analysts have been reviewing tapes of the Gaza region and the Negev Desert. They’re also suspicious of the ship and its passenger.”

[Notifying Russia – Tiger]

[Thanks – Brew]

“They’re now saying they have a close-up,” Snake continued. “I believe we can share it with the Egyptians via the web. We may need their help to identify him.”

“Our agents recognize him,” Takamen announced. “No one knows his real name because he uses too many aliases. Our agents simply call him ‘The Syrian’.”

“We’re getting more from the Pentagon,” Snake interrupted. “They’ve looked at the tracking video from the area and connected him to a van that is now in Gaza. The video indicates the van was involved in an accident and is on its side. They’re trying to adjust a camera to get a better view.”

“President Takamen,” Brew commented. “I suggest you try to contact any agents you have there to get away.”

“Thank you, President Brewster,” Takamen replied. “Fortunately, Allah is apparently watching over our agents and none of them are close to that location.”

“Our agents believe they might have been heading to the garbage dump,” Takamen commented. “Some of the Muslim states think the security in that area indicates an underground Israeli base. We’ve allowed them to continue with that theory. The track the computer is showing supports that because they had to go through Gaza City to get to the road to the dump even though they came up from the south ”


“Sir, President Karpananov wants to talk to you urgently,” Tiger interrupted. “You can put both presidents on speaker if you want to.”

“President Takamen, we have a call from President Karpananov,” Brew said. “My advisors say we can all talk to each other.”

“President Brewster, thanks for your notification,” Vasili said. “It allowed my technicians to focus on the van. The side door is open and they believe the object inside could be a b—“

The bomb detonated before he could finish the sentence.





                                                16. H-Hour

“Brew, the U.N. has announced the Security Council will meet in 45 minutes to consider a resolution assuring Israel that the U.N. will assist in finding those responsible for the bombing of Tel Aviv,” Juarez said.

“I hope Israel waits that long,” Brew said.

Snake remarked, “satellites now indicated Syrian and Iraqi aircraft are landing.”

“Probably running out of fuel,” Goldy suggested.

Minutes later the Panther’s voice came over the speakers: “Israel is launching a missile. Correction, we now have multiple launches.”

“I guess Israel won’t wait,” Brew said. On the audio link to the embassy in Damascus, Brew yelled, “DUCK AND COVER. DUCK AND COVER.” The Marines with the last of the babies were running at top speed before he finished saying “duck” the first time.

The image on the wall showed ten missiles going east and, more disturbing, two headed west.

“Open a channel to Egypt,” Brew ordered.

“It’s open.”

“President Takamen, we’ve detected a missile launch from Israel heading west,” Brew said when the communications were established. “They’ve also launched missiles toward the northeast.”

“Have you determined exactly where?” Takamen asked.

“One moment,” Brew replied. “The trajectory information is coming in now. They should land in Libya rather than your country, but you will probably have to worry about fall out.”

“Thanks, Mr. President,” Takamen said. “The whole world is going to get some of the fallout I’m afraid. Now, I must prepare my people for what will happen.”

“Unfortunately, I believe you’re right, Mr. President,” Brew said. “Please, let me know if there is anything we can do to help your country.”

“Snake, does Israel have MIRV technology?” Brew asked.

“That’s our understanding,” Snake answered. “But, we’re not sure how many warheads they can handle. There has been a report they are working on or have developed a limited ability to reprogram the distribution of the warheads after launch. They have decided to go with the smallest warheads possible so they can hit more targets. They would use multiple bombs on large targets like major cities.”

The trajectories of the east bound rockets indicated two rockets headed toward Syria, five toward Iran and the other three toward Iraq, although two of those were on a trajectory that might allow warheads to hit both in Iraq and its neighbors Syria and Iran. The satellite images indicated Israel had also launched cruise missiles toward Syria and Iraq.

“The people dancing in the street in Damascus don’t know they’re doomed,” Brew said as he watched the images from that city on CNN and waited for the warheads to explode. “I hope our staff in the embassy can survive.”

Other networks were showing pictures from Baghdad and Tehran.


“We don’t have time to try to establish contact,” Brew replied. “The U.N. will be passing along knowledge of the attack. The missiles would be there before we could establish contact. Besides unless they’re near a shelter, it’s too late for them to do anything. They should have moved to shelter when they first heard about the explosion in Israel.”

“Triple-D, I think it’s time to have our forces get ready for a the biggest relief operation in the history of the world,” Brew said.

“Already on it, Brew,” Triple-D said. “They’re preparing to call back those on leave.”

“I’ll be going back on the air soon,” Brew said. “I’ll make the announcement, then they can call out the troops. Besides we need to notify local emergency dispatchers about what’s going on first.”

They watched the screens without talking until The Panther started the countdown, “2 warheads to hit Damascus in 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.”

Shortly Brew noted, “they’re gone” as the screen went blank momentarily before Noel Coates came back on to say they had lost the feed but would try to reestablish it.

“Notify the networks I’ll be talking in about 10 minutes,” Brew announced.

“Counting down for Baghdad,” Panther announced. “We’re detecting three warheads. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, impact.”

“Any significance to the three warheads other than the fact it’s Baghdad?” Brew asked.

“Looks like they wanted to make sure they got multiple targets in the area,” Snake commented.

“Israeli aircraft are dropping bombs on the other side of their borders with Lebanon and Syria,” Goldy announced. “Pentagon is indicating conventional explosives...anomalies...they’re dirty bombs.”

“Probably want to seal the borders to keep hostile ground forces out,” Snake suggested.

“Bombers now entering Syria en mass,” Goldy said. “Some breaking off to go north. Most seem to be heading east, probably to Iraq or Iran.”

“Counting down to impact in Tehran,” Panther announced. “10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,impact.”

“Three warheads appear headed toward the site of Iran’s underground research facility,” Panther announced.

“Note the separation between the warheads,” Snake observed. “They will hit at intervals. Looks like they will create successively larger craters in hopes of destroying the facility.”

“Israeli Air Force 100, this is U.S. Navy 317.”

“Go ahead Navy 317.”

“Relaying communications from Jordanian Air Force. Five mobile missile launchers heading west in southwestern Iraq. Jordanian Air Force moving to intercept. Missiles launching. Cannon firing, still out of range. Now in range, five missiles launched, two missiles destroyed, two possibly damaged, all launchers destroyed.”

“Roger, anti-missile battery notified and activated. Thank the Jordanian Air Force for us.”

“Iraqi missiles now crossing the Israeli border,” the Panther announced. “Two appear to be having problems, possibly damaged. The Israelis have knocked down the other missile. The two damaged ones are going to pass out of range. Now Palestinian territory. The first would have landed in a Palestinian area several miles from Israeli populations.”

“I believe it would be better if we said that the missile that the Israelis shot down was one of the damaged ones,” Brew announced. “The Jordanians might feel bad if the one they missed was the one the Israelis destroyed, particularly considering that they hit Palestinian territory.” 


                                    16. The Israelis Make Contact

Before Brew could go on the air, Captain Roper announced, “Mr President, we’ve established communications with an Israeli officer named Samson.”

“Mr, President, “ Samson said. “I understand you’ve been trying to get in touch with me. We’ve been very busy here.”

“How should I address you?” Brew asked. “I’ve been informed your name is Samson, but I don’t know your title.”

“‘Samson’ is what you would call my code name,” Samson replied. “I’m what you would call the acting commander in chief of Israeli military forces.”

“Why have you launched such a large attack?” Brew asked. “Have you determined who’s responsible for the attack on your country?”

“We don’t know yet,” Samson replied. “Those countries have been our enemies. We don’t know who attacked us or whether they have plans for additional attacks. If we did not destroy our enemies’ capacity to make war, they would take advantage of our weakened condition to attack us. We had to destroy them first. Iraq and Iran may have nuclear capability and we had to destroy any potential nuclear arsenal.”

“We’re also in the process of creating a radioactive barrier between our country and Lebanon and Syria,” Samson continued. “We will spare the other Arab countries so long as there are no more attacks. Any more attacks and we will destroy Mecca. If European nations intervene on behalf of the Arab states we will destroy the oil fields.”

“Don’t you think there has been enough destruction?” Brew asked.

:”If Israel is destroyed, we will take our enemies with us,” Samson said. “My grandparents died in the Holocaust. We will not die alone this time. We will not spare the Europeans if they don’t help us this time.”

“The other countries pose no threat to you,” Brew said. “However, they cannot completely control their populations. We didn’t attack Saudi Arabia simple because some of their citizens attacked us on 9/11.”

“Mr. President,” Samson began. “”We have notified the Palestinians to vacate the West Bank and Gaza within 24 hours. We can no longer risk having them in our midst.”

“Isn’t that a little drastic,” Brew said. “This attack may only involve a very few. Most of the Palestinians have been peaceful.”

“They’re dancing in the streets with glee at our pain,” Samson said. “This action is partly for their protection. We’ve already had incidents of our citizens firing on Palestinians. We’re not sure how long we can even control our military forces in view of what’s happened.”

“Understood,” Brew said. “Would you consider allowing us to send forces to provide a buffer between your people and the Palestinians and to help them move out over a longer period. The rest of the world would be more likely to accept such an action, if it were made by a reestablished civilian government.”

Out of the corner of his eye Brew noticed Triple-D talking to someone through his computer.

“A moment while we consider it,” Samson replied.

While waiting for the reply, Triple-D said, “The Herd’s advance units can be in route from Vicenza, Italy, within the hour. They can begin transporting the remainder within an hour and a half. The commanding general wants to know if they should jump into the area.”

“Can they do that wearing SPACE suits?” Brew asked.

“Yes, the new suits allow them to jump into a radiological, biological or chemical battlefield,” Triple-D replied.

“Okay, they should jump so they can take control as quickly as possible,” Brew ordered. “Have the first ones out in each area take American and NATO flags. Oh, and UN flags if they can find any or make any. Make sure those near Israeli areas point their weapons toward the Israelis to indicate they are trying to protect the Palestinians.” 

“Goldy, what’s the status of our planes near Iraq?” Brew asked of the Air Force Chief of Staff General Jason Daniel (Goldy) Eagle.

“They’ve been staying along the borders to avoid being too close if the Israelis attacked,” Goldy replied.

“Better move them into Iraq and hit any Iraqi military planes or anything that looks like it could launch more scuds,” Brew ordered. “The Iraqis are likely to counterattack if they can.”


“Mr. President,” Samson said. “We’ve decided to accept your offer if you can get your troops here quickly.”

“Members of my old unit the 173rd Airborne will be headed your way from Italy within the hour,” Brew announced. “Do you prefer to escort their planes in? They will be equipped to parachute in if that’s acceptable to you.”

“We would like to escort them,” Samson replied. “It would probably be better if they did jump. It would be easier for them to reach the right areas quickly. We don’t know how easy it would be to travel by road. ”

“Mr. President,” Samson said. “I hope you will not tell the world, yet, about the degree of damage here in Israel other than what is already known. We believe the bomb that went off was in a suspicious vehicle being chased by our security forces. They contacted us just before the explosion. We hope there are no more bombs, but don’t know for sure.”

“Are you aware a bomb detonated in Gaza City?” Brew asked.

“One of our scientists reported a seismic disturbance of some kind from that area,” Samson said. “But we have no communications with that area right now.”

“Our intelligent agents detected a suspicious van from satellite photos shortly before it detonated after being involved in a traffic accident,” Brew said. “The Egyptians suggested they might it might have been headed for your waste processing site that Muslim states mistakenly believe is a major military base. We also spotted a suspicious subject boarding a freighter that the Egyptians have identified as a Syrian agent. They plan to take him into custody by pretending to be a Palestinian rescue group. The rescue party will then a phone call that they will say is about the Gaza City bomb which they will then blame on him.”

“Israel wasn’t the only target of a nuke, “ Brew continued. “What appears to be the same type of bomb was detonated near a Russian base in Chechnia. Let us know if we can provide any addition assistance. Please accept our condolences on your losses in the attack.”

“Thank you for the information and the offer, Mr. President,” Samson said. “I fear many countries lost citizens in the attack.”


“Brew, I believe the Israelis may be wrong about the bomb being in the vehicle being chased,” Snake interjected. “It may have been involved, but was probably trying to get out of the area. Pentagon analysts believe the bomb exploded above ground, probably on a building or hill. They cannot be certain of the location because the cameras are too slow to catch the actual explosion. However, some of the images indicate light hitting low areas that the light wouldn’t have hit if the bomb had exploded at ground level.”

“Did those in the vehicle misjudge the time they had to get away, or were they just leading the Israelis away from the bomb?” Brew asked. “Do they have any idea about the approximate area of the explosion?”

“They probably were told they had more time than they did,” Snake answered. “Whoever provided the bomb probably didn’t want them around as witnesses. The bomb appears to have detonated south and east of the government buildings, but we won’t know how far away until we can get analysts into the area. It may be far enough east to have caused blast damage to Palestinian villages in the vicinity.”

“Incidentally, we should have some survivors in the basement of our Tel Aviv embassy,” Snake noted. “The Marines bunk down there and have their office in the basement. They built the new embassy when the Israeli government constructed new offices on the northeast corner of Tel Aviv in the 80's. They constructed our embassy so the basement could double as a bomb shelter. The embassy admin offices like personnel are in the basement. If any of our spooks (covert agents) are visiting they will be in the basement.”

“I heard that,” Brew replied. “They get there through an underground tunnel.”

“That’s right,” Snake said. “We have a clothing store with an entrance to the tunnel that connects our embassy to the British and German embassies.”



                                                17. “911" Ordered to Israel

“Triple-D, I believe we can let the reporter with The Herd know where she’s going,” Brew said.

“Already done,” Triple-D said as Katrina Ibrahim appeared on the CNN monitor.

“Noel, I’ve just been informed that we’re going to Israel to help protect the Palestinians,” Katrina said.

“That’s good,” Noel Coates said. “We’ve had reports of shots fired from Jewish settlements into Palestinian areas. Although they apparently haven’t hit anyone yet. You’re with an airborne unit, aren’t you.”

“That’s right,” Katrina replied. “We’ll be jumping in with them.”

“Have you ever done that before?” Noel asked.

“I did a feature story on parachute clubs when I worked at a local station,” Katrina answered. “I jumped as part of my research and became hooked on it. Sara’s had experience taking pictures of large groups as they jumped together. Joe has jumped a couple of times.”


“Mr. President,” Samantha Juarez said. “The U.N. has directed its units in Israel to support our troops.”

“Sir,” Capt. Roper announced. “The networks are ready for your address.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Noel Coates and the other announcers said. “The President of the United States.”

“My fellow citizens of the world,” Brew began after being informed he would be speaking to an international audience. Brew’s wife had sent down a dress shirt, tie and sport coat for him to wear on tv. He put them on over his sweatshirt. “The unthinkable has just occurred. During the last hour much of the Middle East has been devastated by a nuclear war. The capitals of Israel, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria along with various other cities and military bases have been destroyed. A nuclear device has also been detonated in Chechnia. [Russia had already made an announcement] .

“We believe millions have already died and millions more are injured or suffering from radiation sickness. The remainder of us face the threat of fallout over the coming weeks as the radiation cloud moves around the world. It will be some time before we know the extent of the damage because much of the area is shrouded by remains of mushroom clouds.

“The conflict began when someone smuggled nukes into Israel and set one off in or near Tel Aviv about 9 A. M Tel Aviv time or 2 A.M. here in Washington. A second bomb detonated in the Chechnia region of Russia. Our satellite analysts spotted a suspicious van in Gaza a half hour later, a bomb in the van detonated in Gaza City after the van was involved in a traffic accident. We don’t know who is responsible for this, but the Israelis are interrogating individuals who were caught before they could detonate their bomb. Shortly after the Gaza explosion, Israel retaliated against various countries that Israeli leaders felt posed an immediate threat of a follow up attack. Israel has threatened to launch additional attacks if there are any more attacks against its citizens. [Brew hoped that mentioning the fact that Israel hadn’t retaliated until after the Gaza explosion would cause some to wonder if that bomb caused the retaliation even though the Israelis didn’t know about that bomb until he told them.]

“For those of you who don’t remember the Cold War, American generals or Soviet generals would have taken similar actions had either of our countries been attacked and the civilian leaders killed.

“The United States, along with the U.N. , is dispatching troops to the West Bank to protect the Palestinian people from Israeli retaliation.

“This situation will require the biggest relief effort since the end of World War II. Those of us in the more developed nations will need to provide financial assistance, food and other necessities. We will need to recruit workers from the less developed nations for the labor to rebuild these nations.

“We have immediate need for medical personnel to treat those who have been injured by the explosions or subsequent fallout. I will shortly be issuing orders calling all American Reserve and National Guard personnel, particularly those with medical skills, to active duty. All military leaves other than those involving an emergency situation like death or illness are canceled and personnel should prepare to contact local law enforcement for immediate transportation to the nearest military base or civilian airport as soon as they are contacted by their units.

“I previously requested those of you who know of friends or relatives visiting Israel to notify local law enforcement of their names. I extend that request to cover people who are visiting the other nations that have suffered nuclear attacks. You should contact the administrative number rather than 911.

“I will close now to return to the task of developing a relief response. I ask now as I asked earlier that you pray, in whatever manner that you pray, for those who are suffering in the Middle East or have lost relatives and friends,” Brew concluded.


 “We’ve got some analysis on the Scud warheads,” Snake commented. “They appear to have contained some type of chemical. Either an insecticide or a nerve agent. Some insecticides function as nerve gases in sufficient concentrations.”

“That’s right,” Brew agreed. “They produce the same symptoms and require the same treatment.”


“Sir, I did a computer analysis of Samson’s voice,” Tiger said. “Samson’s voice had been altered by a computer which would prevent using a voice print to identify the speaker. There is also indication that the range itself was altered. The voice came through as a tenor but could have originally been either a bass or an alto.”

“In other words Samson could be a Delilah,” Brew noted. “They apparently want to make sure if there’s any international outcry the person responsible cannot be identified. Probably the only people outside the military familiar with Samson’s identity were killed when the nuke went off in Tel Aviv.”

Elsewhere in the country others were preparing to play a role in the future relief effort in the Middle East.

                                    18 Damascus

In the basement of the American Embassy in Damascus, Syria, American Ambassador James Allen “Sandy” Sanderson was assessing the situation. They never really heard any explosion. The only indication something had happened was a shaking of the basement. Actually the basement had shaken a couple of times. The consensus was that the first strong shake was a bomb that detonated nearby. The others were more distant bombs. A couple of the military attaches had said that American intelligence indicated Israel had chosen to use small bombs and for major targets would use multiple bombs.

Sandy wasn’t a particularly religious individual, but he had asked the chaplain to make a thank you prayer because the Israelis had delayed their response long enough for him to get all his people back to the safely of the embassy basement before the bomb, or bombs, went off.

They hadn’t actually attempted to get out of the basement to check to see if anything was left upstairs. Someone had rigged a camera on a pole and stuck it through a small opening, but there was so much dust or smoke or something in the air they really couldn’t see very much. The embassy did appear to have been obliterated though.

The embassy radios were still intact because they were in the basement, but the antennas were gone. Some of the military personnel had attempted to use their PCD’s without success. Sandy remembered reading somewhere about a concern that the impact of a nuclear explosion on the atmosphere might hamper communications, particularly with satellite phones. Some of the communications specialists were attempting to find material that might be used for a makeshift antenna.

One of the stronger Marines had tried a door to what had been the upstairs and was able to push it, although it appeared their might be some debris on the other side. The door itself was below ground on a landing in the stairwell. Sandy didn’t allow the door to be completely opened because of concern about radiation. He decided he would wait several hours before allowing someone to go out using one of the spacesuits.

The basement had sufficient provisions to provide food and water for a couple of weeks, longer if they limited their use. The emergency generator was in the underground parking garage and was functioning properly.

                                                19 Top’s Smoke House

In Fayetteville, N.C., retired army 1st sergeant Charles Alexander (“Top”, “CAT”) Trevina was engaged in his usual early morning ritual. He always got up between 2 and 2:30 to start the first batch of biscuits at his restaurant Top’s Smoke House BBQ and to put some fresh sausage meat in the smoker.

His biscuit sandwiches with the smoked sausage, ham or bacon were very popular with the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne, the last unit he was assigned to. He even had sandwiches with specially seasoned buffalo and scrapple. His biscuits were so popular he sold them by the package. CAT also made his own buns and tortillas.

CAT had four large smokers with sophisticated electronic controls of his own design to insure the meat was cooked just right. The controls would add wood if the temperature dropped or spray water on the wood if the temperature was too high. Having multiple smokers allowed him to vary the type of wood used for different types of meat. During hunting season he would smoke meat in exchange for some of the meat. He had tried hunting when he was younger, but gave it up because he wasn’t a very good shot with anything other than automatic weapons. The biscuit ovens also had electronic controls.

CAT’s primary ambition when he joined the army was to eventually become an army mess sergeant. He had been assigned to the mess hall serving the 2nd/503rd infantry 173rd Airborne Brigade at LZ English north of Bong Son, South Vietnam, in early September, 1969. When he went to the post office to purchase a money order at the end of the month, the clerk noticed his name and told him that he had the same name as the 1st sergeant of the post office. He later met the 1st sergeant who told the young enlisted man that he called himself CAT because of his initials. Soon there were two CATs in the 173rd.

Vietnam wasn’t too bad other than the heat and humidity...well there was that morning when a B-40 rocket exploded in the officers’ section of the mess hall. He heard stories about previous attacks, but there were only occasional limited rocket and mortar attacks while he was there. One afternoon someone began firing a recoilless rifle at the base. One of the LRRP’s(Rangers) spotted the VC from his guard tower and opened up with a .50 cal. The firing quickly stopped.

Then there was the practice the army had of serving things like beans or wieners on the same day soldiers took the malaria pill that could produce diarrhea as a side effect. Of course, he had to listen to the complaints. CAT didn’t know who was responsible but was convinced whoever it was must have been a communist.

On a visit to some of the men at the hospital at Quin Nhon, CAT met a WAC who worked there named Kathleen Isadore Jones. They started writing to each other regularly and exchanging cassette tapes. They married shortly after they both returned from Vietnam and CAT gave her the nickname KIT.

Several years later a young Captain Dwight Duncan told CAT that there might not be much of a future for cooks in the army and CAT switched to electronics. CAT and KIT both retired as 1st sergeants in 1998 and took advantage of an opportunity to purchase an old motel with a large restaurant in Fayetteville. They also purchased an old warehouse. Army engineers helped dismantle it and rebuild it on their own time next to the restaurant for added space when needed.

Various other military personnel participated in the deal which turned the facility into a non-profit operation that provided room and board to the children of military personnel attending the local university. The students in turn would work in the restaurant and keep the motel in good shape. CAT wanted to name the place Top CAT’s but the attorney for a cartoon character objected so he just called it Top’s.

Top turned on the tv as usual to see what if anything was going on in the world and found out WWIII might have just started. An experienced 1st sergeant he quickly assessed the situation and realized that the 82nd might have to go in and rescue anyone who might survive. CAT was one of the few civilians who knew the phone number of General Gates and called him.   CAT always notified the general when he had special items available on the menu. 

“Brandy, this is CAT” he said. “I know you’re busy and I expect you’re going to have to wake the troops early. I’m opening up now and I’ll provide sandwiches or wraps to them at no charge. I’ll also talk to the fast food places. I’ll get some to you and your staff ASAP. I know a lot of your troops have kids and I’m going to see if some of the churches will look after them until other family members can get here to pick them up.”

“Thanks, Top,” Brandy Gates replied. “You always were good at anticipating the administrative details. That’ll be one less thing I have to worry about. Looks like the Middle East is going to hell and we’ll have to jump into the middle of it.”

CAT had already used the building intercom to wake the students and tell them they needed to get to work.

CAT’s next step was to call Father Benjamin McMahon whom CAT had nicknamed Father O’Malley when he was an army chaplain. CAT thought McMahon sounded a lot like Bing Crosby who had played Father O’Malley in a couple of movies.

“Father O’Malley, the 82nd has a big problem,” CAT said. “Someone has nuked Israel. I talked to General Gates and he believes the 82nd is likely to be sent in to help those who survive when Israel blows up the rest of the Middle East. Some of the paratroopers may not have anyone to leave their kids with and I was wondering if the churches could help out.”

“I’ll start calling the other churches now,” Father McMahon replied. “I’ll also go ahead and open our school.”

CAT had never been too enthusiastic about using a headset with his phone, but found it very convenient now as he called the managers of the various restaurants that served breakfast. Soon hand made signs began appearing outside fast food restaurants announcing free sandwiches for soldiers.

Twenty minutes later a helicopter landed at Top’s to pick up several Styrofoam containers of sandwiches.


20. A Short Leave

1st Lieutenant Max Lucas was walking across the sandy beach toward a shapely, long-haired, bikini-clad blonde. She was just turning to look at him...when the sound of reveille woke him. Like generations of soldiers before him, his first thought was to kill the bugler. Then he remembered he was home in Kansas in his own room in his own bed. He had come home on leave a week earlier for his parents 30th anniversary. He had planned to stay another week. Max couldn’t see all the numbers on the clock radio, but could see the first number was a “1" and considering how dark it was he realized it had to mean 1 A.M. rather than 1 P.M.

The executive officer of Charlie company 1st of the 504th Airborne, 82nd Airborne Division, wasn’t sure why his PCD had gone off, but figured it must be something important. He activated the request for message button and heard General Gates voice saying, “I apologize for interrupting your leave. However, the unthinkable has happened. Someone has nuked Tel Aviv, Israel, and Israel has responded big time. The 82nd has been ordered to assist with the relief effort ASAP. The President has cancelled all non-emergency leaves. You are to immediately contact your local 911 to arrange emergency transportation to...” [Here the voice changed to a computer created voice providing a specific location for each soldier], “Wichita Mid-Continent Airport...” and then back to the general, “for transportation back to Ft. Bragg.”

Max clicked on the tv as he dressed and threw his things into his bag. Fox was replaying the President’s message. When the message ended a computer simulation of the location of the nuclear strikes appeared.

“Looks like I’m headed to hell,” he said to himself as he finished dressing.

Max’s mom had heard his PCD when it went off. She knocked on his door and asked, “Is anything wrong, son.”

“I have to go back right now, mom,” he replied. “Looks like somebody declared World War III in the Middle East.”

“You mean at this very minute, or in the morning?” She asked.

“I’m to call 911 and ask them for a ride to Wichita to catch a plane as soon as I’m dressed,” he replied.

“I’ll microwave you something to eat on the way,” she said.

Meanwhile one of the Hutchinson, Ks., emergency dispatchers hit the alert button that would sound a tone on all radios and activated his mike, “Dispatch all units PD and SO. Effective immediately, the President has cancelled all non-emergency military leaves. Law enforcement officers are directed to assist those currently on leave to return to their units ASAP. No acknowledgment necessary. Dispatch concluding, zero 153 hours.”

Shortly a female dispatcher called, “Dispatch, 208.”


“208, 6th and Monroe,” Police Sgt. Bruce Lucas said.

“Dispatch, 208, reference previous message pick up your one quarter at your 10-42 and transport him 10-39 [lights and siren] to Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.”

“208, 10-4 in route,” Bruce replied.

By this time he was crossing 5th Street. He turned his top lights on, made a right turn into the parking lot of the old service station that now was the home of the Sacks hamburger place and headed his white Crown Victoria with the blue lettering back north to his home.

“208, dispatch, 10-23,” Bruce radioed as he pulled up in front of his home.

“Dispatch, 208, 10-4.”

Max was waiting on the front porch with his mom as his dad drove up. “I’ll see you sometime,” he said as he kissed his mom goodby.

As Max was walking to the car, Bruce turned off his lights and stepped out to wave to his wife.

Nadine waved back and said a silent thank you prayer because her husband would be able to see their son before he went to wherever the army decided to send him.

“How did I rate the city’s best sergeant for a chauffeur?” Max asked his dad as they started off.

“Probably an answer to one of your mom’s prayers, “ Bruce replied.

Then he picked up and keyed his mike, “208, Dispatch.”

“Dispatch, go ahead 208.”

“208, Dispatch, 208 10-14 in route 10-39 to Wichita Mid-Continent.”

“Dispatch, 208, 10-4."

Bruce decided to use his siren sparingly because of the time and the residential nature of the area. He used it briefly as they approached Monroe. He turned south and quickly accelerated to 45 mph.

As they sped south Max wondered when he would see the sights of home again. As they approached 5th Street Bruce briefly used his siren even though they had the green light. Max noticed the large Kwik Shop convenience store on the northeast corner and Sacks on the southwest corner. He had stopped in that afternoon after his run for his favorite the Pierre Carlos Rap, or, as his mom called it, a chili dog cheeseburger which was a fairly accurate description except that it used a flour tortilla instead of a bun. He would probably soon have to be content with 2-year-old sandwiches. Max wondered how many other soldiers, marines, etc. were speeding past familiar landmarks as they headed for the hell the Middle East had become.

They sped under the 4th Street overpass and south across both sets of railroad tracks. Fortunately no train was coming so Bruce didn’t have to slow down until they approached 2nd Street.

Max could see the reflection of the squad car’s red and blue lights in the plate glass window of the 2-story Jim’s Water and Woods building that sat where Monroe would have been if it didn’t make a dog leg turn to the right. Max had purchased a hot tub there when he was in high school. His mom thought it was a waste of money, but she and his dad eventually decided they liked it.                                   

Bruce hit the siren and slowed almost to a stop because the old manufacturing plant on the northeast corner of the intersection blocked the view of west bound traffic on 2nd until the car was almost at the intersection.

He sped up as he made the right turn, then the left to continue south and accelerated back to 45 mph. They went under the flashing yellow light above the wide 1st street with the office building on the northwest corner where Max’s sister worked.

Two blocks later Bruce turned left. They went past Avenue A elementary school (which had become associated with Max’s 82nd Airborne Division because the “All American” Division shared the double A logo) on the south side of the street. Max had visited the classrooms in uniform earlier in the week. The car then went up onto the half mile long Woody Seat Freeway. Max noticed the city’s large light blue water tower off to the left.

Bruce quickly accelerated to 70 mph. As they passed over Avenue B, Max thought about the Anchor Inn Mexican restaurant where he had planned to visit the buffet for lunch later that day. Maybe he would get there next visit.

As they passed over the Arkansas River, Max recalled that the river was usually a bunch of sandy areas separated by some streams. However, when he had come in he noticed that the water covered the sand between the dikes.

Bruce activated the siren as they crossed the river into South Hutchinson. The four lane street with center turn lane was a lighted commercial strip. The vehicle lights wouldn’t be as noticeable.


Bruce slowed to 55 mph. The light at 6th and Main was green so he didn’t have to slow for it. Max noticed the Bank of Kansas there on the southeast corner and the Dollar General Store at the south end of the strip shopping center on the west side of the street with the Alco discount store to the south of it.

:”Dispatch, 208.”

“208 5th and Main in South Hutch.”

“Dispatch, 208, South Hutch 1 will be assisting with traffic at the Blanchard intersection.”

“208, Dispatch, 10-4, thanks.”


As they passed Orrin’s Pitstop service station, Max recalled working there while he attended the Hutchinson Community College. He quit midway during his sophomore year. He enlisted in the army to participate in ROTC at the University of Kansas after 9/11.

As the South Hutch officer waved them through the intersection, Max noticed the Casey’s convenience store on the northeast corner and the Collins school buses on the southwest corner waiting for delivery to a school district somewhere.

“Dispatch, 208.”

“208, Dispatch, C and Main.”

“Dispatch, 208, for information, Pentagon advises you are participating in Operation Immediate Response.”

“208, 10-4.”

As they approached the U.S. 50 overpass, Max noticed the Best Western Sun Dome Motel with the big McDonald’s restaurant in front. There weren’t any trucks about to pull out of the truck stop south of the overpass, so Bruce began speeding up to 110 mph. He slowed briefly as they went around the big curve north of the Crupper’s Corner appliance store where Max’s parents had purchased their new washer and dryer.

A series of tones played on the radio. Then, “All units stand by. Dispatch all listening stations. President Willard Xavier Brewster has activated all National Guard and Reserve units. All personnel except law enforcement officers, fire fighters and EMS personnel are to report to their armories at zero 600 hours local time this morning. Law enforcement officers, fire fighters and EMS personnel are to continue their regular duties unless specifically directed otherwise. No acknowledgment necessary. Dispatch concluding.... ”

“Do you think they’re going to send everybody to the Middle East?” Bruce asked.

“Probably not,” Max replied. “There’s going to be a huge need for food and other supplies over there. The Guard and Reserves may be needed to send it over there. They’ll probably only send engineer and medical Reserve units.”

As they passed the small town of Yoder, Max noticed the Carriage House Restaurant where he had taken his parents for their anniversary. Then, “Dispatch 208.”

“208 to Dispatch, just east of Yoder.”

“Dispatch, 208, 10-43 Haven 1. He has a 10-14 going on the same plane as yours.”

“208 Dispatch, 10-4.”


As they pulled in behind the Haven police chief, someone got out of the passenger side and started walking briskly toward them. Max recognized her face in the light from the headlights. The Haven car backed onto the driving lane of the highway behind their car and set there blocking traffic.

Max and Rhonda Yoder had been next door neighbors when they were children, but had gone their separate ways in high school. Her family had moved to her uncle’s farm after he had been injured and needed help running it.

As she got in she noticed the silver bar on his uniform, but couldn’t see his face clearly, and said, “All the way, sir.”

To which he replied, “Airborne!” He continued, “help me, Rhonda.”

“Hi, Rhonda,” Bruce added.

“Max, I didn’t recognize you at first, and Bruce, ” Rhonda said. “What a time for a reunion.”

“I heard you had joined the army, but didn’t realize we were in the same division,” Max said. “Is that an engineer’s insignia I saw?”

“I wanted to serve my country and do some traveling,” she replied. “Becoming an engineer allowed me to use my experience operating farm equipment and working on the county roads during the summer. When I got to the engineer’s training, they made me an assistant instructor instead of a trainee.”

Bruce briefly interrupted the conversation when he keyed his mike and said, “208, Dispatch.”

“Dispatch go ahead 208.”

“208, Dispatch, leaving Reno County and switching to Sedgwick County frequency.”

“Hutchinson PD 208 to Sedgwick County Dispatch.”

“Sedgwick County Dispatch, HPD 208, go ahead.”

“HPD 208 Sedgwick County, entering your jurisdiction on K96 at Mt. Hope en route 10-39 to Wichita Mid Continent reference Operation Immediate Response.”

“Sedgwick County, 10-4.”

“I thought you got an engineering degree,” Max said.

“I did, but I soon found I didn’t really like working in an office,” Rhonda replied. “It was just too boring. In the army I may have to jump into an unfamiliar area and set up an airstrip or construct a replacement for a bridge.”

Bruce honked the horn for luck as they passed the old cottonwood on the west side of the highway. They rode in silence for a few minutes. They could see the lights of farm houses in the distance. Max saw the towers for channels 3 and 10 and the Westar generating plant on the south side of the highway. Then they heard the radio.

“Dispatch, HPD 208, your 10-20.”

“HPD 208, Dispatch, 3 miles west of Maize.”

“Dispatch, HPD 208, do you have room for another 10-14?”

“HPD 208, Dispatch, 10-4.”

“Dispatch, HPD 208, 10-43 Sedgwick county SO just south of the Maize on ramp. He’s coming in from the west with a 10-14 for your plane. We need him to go north to pick up a soldier returning to Fort Riley.”

“HPD 208, 10-4.”

Max looked toward the southwest and could see the flashing lights of the Sedqwick County sheriff’s car entering Maize from the west. By this time they were passing the Ark Church on the south side of the highway. The church was shaped like what people believed Noah’s Ark looked like.

Shortly after they stopped on the shoulder of the highway, the Sedgwick County sheriff’s car pulled in behind them. A woman got out and started walking toward them. The sheriff’s car then turned across the median and headed north. In the side mirror, Max could see the officer’s insignia on her uniform indicating she was at least a major.

As she got in, Max said, “All the way ma’am.”

To which she replied, “Airborne!”

As they started up again, she said, “I’ll start the introductions, I’m Major Margaret Burnside 82nd Airborne Division.”

Max was surprised to learn the new passenger was General Gates’s aide. He replied, “1st Lt. Max Lucas Charlie company 1st of the 504th Airborne.”

Rhonda replied, “2nd Lt. Rhonda Yoder, Alpha Company 307th Engineer Battalion.”

Bruce keyed his mike, “HPD 208, Dispatch, 10-24 en route to Mid-Continent.”

“Dispatch 10-4.”

Major Burnside said, “I talked to the General. Nothings definite yet, but he’s hoping the lead elements will be in the air by noon. The 82nd will be going to Iraq, but the actual destination probably won’t be known until we’re in the air. Our planes will be taking equipment and supplies. Personnel will be flying on commercial airliners to some Middle East location. We’ll use the 173rd’s planes for our jump. Lt. Yoder, we’re going to need you engineers to construct some airstrips as quickly as possible to we can fly medical personnel and food in and take some of the casualties out.”

“We’ll do it ma’am,” Rhonda replied.

The Wichita dispatcher interrupted the conversation. “Dispatch HPD 208.”

“HPD 208 approaching Ridge Road exit,” Bruce replied.

“Dispatch HPD208, Wichita PD is set up to help you through intersections. They suggest you travel at six zero miles per hour.”

“HPD 208, 10-4, six zero miles per hour,” Bruce replied.

As they started south on Ridge Road the Major continued, “I also found out that there was a weak low pressure going ashore in Israel at the time the bomb detonated.”

“Uh oh,” Max commented. “That means the fallout will be spread out over all of Israel.”

“That’s right,” she replied. “And the Palestinians aren’t going to realize it until it’s too late. Hopefully the low won’t produce enough wind to keep the 173rd from jumping in between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

“The tv said something about that,” Max said. “They’ll need to move quickly if they’re going to stop a fight.”

“Fortunately, they had a mobilization exercise planned for the first of the week anyway,” she said. “All they’ll really need to do is get the personnel on the planes and ready to jump.”

Dispatch called, “Dispatch HPD208.”

“HPD208, a half mile north of U.S. 54,” Bruce replied.

“Dispatch HPD208, airport security will be waiting for you along with a couple of other units going to the same plane. They’ll wait for KHP coming in from Pratt, and then lead you to the plane at the end of the runway.”

“HPD208, 10-4 and 10-23,” Bruce said.


Shortly Max saw the highway patrol car coming up behind them. He noticed that it was one the Mustang “muscle cars” used to chase speeders. The airport security car was already moving. They pulled on to the runway and headed toward the airliner waiting at the end. The cars quickly accelerated to 100 mph. When they arrived at the plane a portable stairs was in place for them to use boarding the plane.

Major Burnside knew she would be the highest ranking officer in the group and took over getting everyone on the plane. She had already arranged with the airline for the seats nearest to the exit to be vacant so they could sit close to the door and be able to get off quickly when they reached their destinations. She told every one to get on quickly and hold on to their bags until the plane was in the air. She would rearrange the seating once they were in the air. Max noticed the group included a couple of sailors and at least one Marine. One of the other soldiers had the screaming eagle patch of the 101st Airborne.

The passengers cheered and clapped as the military personnel boarded the plane. The plane was moving as the door was being secured.


                                                Chapter 21 H-Hour + 1:45

In Tel Aviv, Captain David Lawrence had gotten into the administration/security center on top of the terminal with the “Mad Russian” and his maintenance crew. The area was a mess with all the windows blown out and papers and equipment scattered. The smell of fried circuit boards hung in the air.

Most of the people were stunned. Fortunately no one had been killed. However, several had required defibrillation after they had been shocked by what they said seemed to be a lightening strike or some other electrical discharge.

People had been coming into the terminal from the surrounding area. Many had broken bones or radiation injuries. Security personnel had made limited forays into the parking lot and found several bodies that would have to be left there until later.

At Top’s Smokehouse in Fayetteville the rush was over. Some of the soldiers’ older children were waiting to be picked up by friends according to plans their parents had made just in case of such an emergency. Some retired military personnel had come in after being informed of what was going on by CAT or others who woke them up. They were all intently watching the news programs on the big screen tvs around the room.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East Egyptian President Takamen had assumed the role of spokesman for the Muslim world. Within 30 minutes after the Israeli counterattack he had contacted the various networks and other journalists in Europe to arrange for them to fly to Egypt on Egyptian airliners whose regular flights had been cancelled. The first plane left an hour later escorted on various portions of the route by Italian, American and Egyptian military jets. The airlift of journalists continued for the rest of the day. Once in Egypt, some journalists joined Egyptian units moving into Libya. Others flew on Egyptian military aircraft to Jordan for entry into Syria and Iraq with Jordanian and Saudi troops. A few went to Kuwait for transportation into Iran, but most of those going to Iran came in from the north.

 For the first 72 hours Egypt served as the main entry point for Israel. Most journalists who wanted to visit Israel had to fly to Egypt and then travel overland to the Israeli border. A lucky few managed to fly in with American military personnel, but they were the exception. A limited number of Israeli citizens, particularly civilian government officials and military personnel, with advance clearance from the Israeli government also entered Israel via this route.

Egyptian President Takamen was working on a speech he planned to give later. He planned to blame the situation on what he called the servants of Satan who falsely claimed to be serving Allah while using one of Satan’s nuclear weapons. He would urge Muslims throughout the world to reject violence and adopt his peaceful version of Islam.

Members of the 173rd Airborne in Italy had started boarding planes to fly to Israel.

In Akron, Ohio, employees of the Glenn Spacesuit Company were preparing to go to work early. Within a few hours employees who had been laid off when production had been reduced would receive phone calls asking them to return to work so the company could run two or even three shifts. Sen. John Glenn didn’t have a financial connection to the company, but it had been named for him because of his efforts to have the suits manufactured in Ohio. The company sold suits to some European governments as well as Israel. Egypt had purchased a few thousand suits.

Earlier General “Triple-D” Duncan had informed President Brewster, “Brew, I’ve gotten some updated figures on the spacesuits. We’re in better shape than I thought. The 82nd has 10,000 suits. The other divisions have at least 5,000. We’ve checked with the Glenn Company and they have about 2,000 suits ready to ship. They’re going to start full production as soon as they can get their employees to work.”

Brew replied, “We’ll need to get those suits on the way to the Middle East as soon as possible.”

Triple-D asked, “Are you going to send then ahead of the troops?”

Brew said, “I don’t know who will be using them. I’m hopeful to have some civilian medical people volunteer to go. The ones who go into the areas that have been bombed will need suits.”

General Goldy Eagle, the Air Force Chief of Staff commented, “I have an empty C-5A coming from the west coast that could pick up the suits and the trucks carrying them so time wouldn’t be wasted loading and unloading them several times. Everything could be taken to the Middle East.”

“Sounds good,” Brew said. “Contact the Glenn company and tell them to find whatever trucks they can in the area. Tell the drivers from other companies I will talk to their employers if necessary to get an ok for them to participate.”

The Glenn company had no trucks of its own so it asked to Akron police to try to find some. Truckers passing through the area soon heard the following message on their CB’s.

“Break 19 for a 10-33. This is the Akron police. The Glenn Spacesuit company needs 15 trucks to take some of their protective suits to the Middle East. The President of the U.S. is asking for volunteers to pick the suits up at the company, take them to the airport and fly on a military transport to a yet to be determined location in the Middle East. The President will clear the action with your employer if necessary.”

“This is the Rubber Duck. I just emptied my load and was going back empty to Pittsburgh. I guess I can make a slight detour to wherever.”

“Are we going to be sending any helicopters to the Mid East?” Admiral Windy Alverson asked. Windy was qualified as a pilot of both helicopters and jets.

“Sending them by ship would take too much time,” Air Force General Goldy Eagle replied. “And flying them would be at the expense of other cargo.”

“There’s a third alternative,” Windy suggested. “I’ve been looking at the spacing of aircraft carriers in the Atlantic including those of NATO countries and Russia. It might be possible for at least some of the larger helicopters to fly themselves to the Mid East. It could take a couple of days, but the atmospheric conditions may limit their use for a few days anyway. The choppers that cannot refuel in air could land on carriers to refuel. A few of the carriers would need to move, but they could get in position before they were needed. The carriers would also be available for the choppers that develop problems on the way. I’ve talked to the Russians and they are willing to cooperate. Once they reach Spain they could use land bases”


“Sounds possible,” Triple-D said. “We would need to space out their departure so they wouldn’t overwhelm the carriers when they made their pit stops. I don’t know how much they might be needed, but commanders in the field should have the option of using them.”

“Sounds good,” Brew said. “Let’s do it. Windy you might have the other ships in the area spread out to help in case any of the choppers go down. Check with civilian ships in the area to see if they would stand by also.”

“Sir, I’ve been contact with NASA,” Tiger commented. “They are adjusting the orbit of their atmospheric gas analyses satellite so it will pass directly over the war zone hourly. Also they are having one of the shuttles from the space station head to that area.”

“Thanks,” Brew replied.

The space station shuttles were normally used to study hurricanes and some land based storms from above. They carried meteorologists and other atmospheric scientists.




                                                Chapter 22 More Bombs

“Mr. President ,” Samantha Juarez of the State Department said. “We have an incoming message from Egyptian President Takamen.”

“Mr. President,” Takamen said. “We’ve decided to allow your aircraft to use our air space and bases for your relief efforts if you need them. I’ll let my generals work out the details with your generals.”

“Thank you, Mr. President,” Brew responded. “It would be easier for our aircraft to go around Israel and Syria to reach Iraq. Is there anything we can do to help your relief efforts?”

“We could use some more space suits,” Takamen said. “Can you spare a few hundred?”

“Certainly,” Brew replied. “We’ve contacted the company that makes them. Trucks are going to pick them up and one of our C-5A transport aircraft will be flying the trucks to your area. You can have the trucks deliver the suits to where ever you need them.”

“Thank you,” Takamen said.

“Sir, Samson is contacting us again,” Captain Tiger Morales announced.


“Mr President,” Samson began. “We have captured two groups of terrorists with what our technicians believe are Russian suitcase nukes. Fortunately, they appear to be inoperable. Mr. President, we have questioned those we captured and have discovered the bombs passed through Pakistan. We are now preparing to retaliate.”

“Are you sure that the government of Pakistan was involved?’ Brew asked.

“How could such weapons pass through Pakistan without government help?” Samson said.

“Pakistan is a large rugged country that contains many religious fanatics,” Brew said. ”Smugglers have been operating in Pakistan for centuries. Pakistan lacks the security forces that you have to prevent passage of nuclear weapons through the country. [Brew diplomatically avoided reminding Samson that someone had smuggled nukes into Israel anyway.] You should consider that the person you have questioned may have simply mentioned Pakistan to get you to stop questioning him.

“Remember earlier when you said you had to attack Syria and the others because they might take advantage of Israel’s weakened condition to attack?” Brew continued. “Pakistan and India have been in conflict for decades. If you attacked Pakistan, Pakistan might feel it had to launch a preemptive attack against India. What have the people of India done to deserve to be in a nuclear war? We’ve had enough killing already. Let’s wait and conduct a thorough investigation to determine where the weapons came from. Then let the entire world act against those responsible.”

“We’ll agree to delay a response for now,” Samson replied. “However, we reserve the right to act on our own if the world doesn’t follow through as you suggest.”

Brew asked for a connection to Russia.

“Mr. President,” President Vasili Karpananov said. “What’s going on?”

“I just talked to the Israelis,” Brew replied. “They have captured two other teams of terrorists. Each group had one of the old Soviet suitcase nukes. Both were inoperable. I don’t know if there are any more out there, but thought you would want to know.”

“Thanks,” Vasili replied. “Our records aren’t reliable as to the number that might be missing. I’m glad they were inoperable. That probably means any others would be too, but we won’t take any chances.”

“I’m glad you called for another reason,” Vasili continued. “We will be dropping a small nuke on the rebels in about 30 minutes. It’s more for symbolic purposes, but we believe terrorists need to realize they will receive what they give.”

“I understand,” Brew replied. “We don’t have a situation with rebels in our own country, but if terrorists or another country attacked us we would feel we had to respond in kind.”

For a time there were no significant developments in the Middle East. There were only occasional reports from American planes over Iraq of destruction of radars and trucks that could have carried Scud launchers. A rotation was set up so that individual planes didn’t spend too much time in the vicinity of the radioactive clouds.

Satellites still were unable to provide visual coverage of the damage and weren’t expected to be able to do so until the next day for Tel Aviv. Pictures of the other areas might have to wait until later for the rest of the region because of the number and size of explosions. A new “shuttle” recently assigned to the International Space Station was dispatched to make radar images of the area. The images indicated the various cities had likely been flattened. The equipment hadn’t been tested in an area hit by a nuclear weapon, so they would have to wait for confirmation.

A plane capable of functioning with satellite phones had been dispatched to the area in advance of the deployment of the 173rd Airborne to Israel. The use of such planes allowed the PCD’s to reduce power use by sending a weaker signal. The shorter distance to the planes would overcome the affects of the atmospheric conditions.

Brew and his advisors worked with leaders of other governments to develop relief plans. They decided to rely on American and NATO forces to move supplies to where they would be needed. Moslem states would provide troops to deal directly with the people in the various Moslem areas affected by the war. The Egyptian army had already begun moving into Libya along with whatever supplies that were available in Egypt.

Medical supply companies and some food companies were already loading trucks that would be flown to the Middle East for the relief effort. Personnel with the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne were loading planes with equipment and supplies that would be flying to the Middle East later in the day. International flights had been cancelled with the planes diverted to transporting supplies and troops.

The United Nations had begun the process of determining what to do with the populations of the Syria, Iraq and Iran area in the event substantial areas should be determined to be so contaminated they would be unlivable for years to come.

At the National Guard’s Hurricane Response Center at Fort Benning, Ga., was very active. The HRC had been set up after Hurricane Andrew. A Task Force headed by retired National Guard Colonel Willard Brewster had recommended the National Guard establish a special regional command to deal with major hurricanes. The National Guard took over the role previously handled by the Federal Emergence Management Agency because the National Guard could easily increase its personnel (regular army units could be assigned to the National Guard if necessary) to cover any emergency and because military officers had experience coordinating the movement of large numbers of personnel, equipment and supplies to the point of greatest need.

The center stockpiled supplies and 200 specially designed ambulances. Additional ambulances were assigned to individual National Guard Armories. The ambulances were slightly larger than ordinary ambulances and could be used for emergency surgery. The top of each ambulance had a special structure allowing it to be picked up by a flying crane helicopter and remain stable in flight to protect the patient. A special pontoon system was available for each ambulance that would allow it float through flooded areas.

b                                              Chapter 23 Brew Addresses the Nation

At 6:00 Brew once again spoke to the nation. The cable and broadcast networks agreed to rotate repeating the speech so that it would be broadcast on at least one station as individuals got up and turned on their tvs and radios.

“My fellow Americans,” Brew began. “Everything is not good on this Good Friday morning. The world you are waking up to is not the same as the one that existed when you went to bed last night. Between 2 and 3 this morning Eastern Time a nuclear war devastated much of the Middle East. The capitals of Israel, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria have been destroyed along with various other cities and military installations. Terrorists also exploded a nuclear weapon in Russia and Russia retaliated against one of their bases. American forces are already in route to the area to assist with the relief effort.

“The conflict began with the explosion of a nuclear weapon in or near Tel Aviv, Israel. Forty minutes later Israel responded with attacks on Iran, Iraq, Lybia and Syria. Israel has created a radioactive barrier along its borders with Lebanon and Syria.

“Units of the 173rd Airborne have begun deploying to Israel to stand between the Israelis and Palestinians and prevent further violence. Members of the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne are preparing to assist the forces of friendly Muslim governments with the relief effort. Other units are preparing for deployment. The other NATO nations have troops preparing to assist in the relief effort.

“I have cancelled all military leaves other than those involving such things as death or medical emergencies. Those who are on leave should contact their local 911 for transportation to the nearest military base or airport. I have ordered the mobilization of all military reserve and National Guard units. Some units, particularly medical units, will be going to the Middle East. We don’t expect any terrorist activity here, but we need to be prepared anyway. Some personnel will be used to load supplies

“Guardsmen and reservists who have their own trucks should inform their commanding officers. We’ll be willing to rent their rigs for the going rate plus provide the fuel and maintenance and pay you the salary consistent with your rank. The government will replace any rigs that cannot be decontaminated after the mission is finished.

“I have contacted Congressional leaders to request that all of those who serve in the Middle East during the coming days be paid $400 per month hazardous duty pay in addition to their regular pay. I also want them to be guaranteed medical care for life because radiation caused disorders may not appear until years after the exposure.

“We will be accepting a limited number of volunteers with medical training. However, those currently employed in the medical field shouldn’t apply. The widespread destruction of medical facilities in the Middle East will mean many of those with more serious medical problems will have to be moved to facilities in other countries including here in the United States. I have ordered the immediate reopening of all military and veterans hospitals that have been closed in recent years and are still useable. To the extent that it is practical we will be assigning patients to hospitals near any relatives they might have here in the United States.

“The need to mobilize troops quickly and begin moving them and various supplies to the war zone will disrupt many businesses. The process could be slowed if there is too much local traffic. For these reasons I am closing all federal offices other than those such as the military or law enforcement for today. If you’re not sure whether you should report for work check your department’s web page. The Public Broadcasting Stations in each community will be broadcasting the list of offices that are open or closed. I understand some other stations will be running this information along the bottom of the screen. The Postal Service will operate and deliver mail today.

“I request that state and local governments follow this example as well as most non-retail businesses. Retailers should probably remain open to provide for the needs of their customers. If possible you should wait to do your shopping until later this afternoon, particularly here in Washington and other major cities. We’re not in danger of any shortages and the administration will be monitoring retailers and wholesalers to insure that they don’t try to create a panic so they can raise prices. The Middle Eastern oil fields remain in operation and will continue to produce oil. The only inconvenience you are likely to suffer is difficulty in flying during the next few days. The airlines will need to assist us in moving personnel and supplies to the Middle East.

“Many of you have relatives or acquaintances visiting the Middle Eastern areas where the conflict has occurred. I request that you contact your local police or sheriff’s office through their administrative number, instead of 911, so that we can begin compiling a list of those who may be missing. They will compile lists of names to forward to the State Department. If those individuals subsequently contact you, notify local law enforcement so that we can remove their names from the list.

“Those of you who are from the Middle East should contact local law enforcement if you still have relatives living there. This information will allow us to notify you if we find information about their status. I have directed the State Department to prepare to expedite the process of allowing people in the Middle East who have relatives here to temporarily move to the United States.

“Although the war occurred almost half a world away from us, the fallout will eventually reach here. NASA will be monitoring the movement of the radiation cloud and keep you informed of its location. If portions appear likely to pass over the United States, you will be warned in advance and encouraged to stay inside as much as possible on the days it is over where you live.

Brew never was a particularly religious man. He attended church regularly, but rarely did more than listen to the sermons and contribute money. However, he chose to conclude his speech with a prayer.

“I request that you pray in whatever manner is appropriate for you for those of us who will making decisions about the relief effort, for those who have suffered injuries and for those who have lost loved ones,” Brew said. “I will close by asking you to join me in prayer. Our dear heavenly Father, we ask that you help us as we make decisions to help those who have survived the recent war. Please, heal and strengthen those who have suffered injuries in the attack and comfort those who have lost loved ones. We ask these things in Jesus name, Amen.”



Takamen’s willingness to work with journalists insured his ability to speak on international television. In his opening address directed toward Muslim areas he said: “The most grievous event in Muslim history has just occurred. Four Muslim nations have been destroyed. Many are asking how Allah could allow such an attack to occur.

“The religious leaders I have just consulted with believe the attack occurred because these nations have been defying Allah. The Jews have occupied Palestine for over half a century despite the effort of Muslims to force them to leave. We believe the Jews could not continue to live there if it weren’t the will of Allah. Those who have tried to dislodge them have failed because Allah willed them to fail.

“We believe it is no accident that the four nations which have been destroyed were lead by those who advocated a violent version of Islam. They have been punished by Allah because Allah wants us to abandon the use of violence to spread the teachings of the Koran. Allah wants us to spread the message that Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood, not one of violence and hatred.

“Allah has blessed many Muslim nations with oil reserves that could be sold for money to turn those nations into a new Garden of Eden. However, the leaders of some of those nations ignored the will of Allah and squandered the money the oil provided on massive military forces that have now been destroyed. Money from the sale of oil should have been used to benefit those who follow the will of Allah instead of being used to purchase military equipment from infidels. More often then not that military equipment was used to kill other Muslims.

“Allah has destroyed these nations to tell us we should follow a different path from the path advocated by the leaders of those nations. The actions of those nations has caused many to have a negative view of Islam. We need to show the world a positive view of Islam if we want to convince others that Islam is the one True Religion,” Takamen concluded.

Chapter 24 Mr. President, Tel Aviv Is Calling

Captain David Lawrence had been periodically checking his PCD to see if he could call out. About 15 minutes after President Brewster’s appearance he tried again. The PCD had a feature designated as “call command”. This feature allowed individuals or units cut off from their own unit to be directed to the nearest unit. David expected to be connected to an embassy in another country or one of the ships near Israel. He didn’t expect to be connected to the Commandant of the Marines General Ira Hayes “Night Hawk” Wykowski.

Night Hawk’s maternal grandfather had been on Iwo Jima and knew Ira Hayes. His grandmother was part Pima. He earned the Night Hawk nickname from his ability to fight at night.

Night Hawk had been in San Diego when the attack occurred. He borrowed a supersonic jet and pilot from the navy to fly back to Washington at Mach 2. The plane flew over sparsely populated areas as much as possible. Radio and television stations along the way warned area residents when the plane approached. As they flew along the Mexican border, Night Hawk wondered what any of those sneaking across the border might think when they heard the sonic boom. He piloted the plane near populated areas so the navy pilot couldn’t be blamed.

The general received the call through his computer. The computer indicated an incoming call. The general pushed the button on the keyboard that would notify the caller to start talking.

“Captain David Lawrence reporting, General,” David said.

”Very glad to hear from you, Captain,” Night Hawk replied. “The computer is indicating you are calling from Ben Gurion Airport. Is that correct?”

“That’s correct, General,” David said. “I was waiting for my fiancé to arrive when the bomb detonated.”

“Captain, to save time I’m going to have you make your report directly to the CIC,” Night Hawk remarked. “In situations like this he requests you refer to him as ‘sir’ rather than ‘Mr. President.”

“Thank you, General,” David said.

“Good afternoon, Captain Lawrence,” Brew began. “I understand you are calling from the airport.”

“Yes, sir,” David replied. “I came here early to wait for my fiancé who was due to arrive on El Al flight 1203.”

[“checking on flight” Tiger sent to Brew’s computer screen]

“Sounds like your fiancé may have saved your life,” Brew commented. “What’s her name?”

“Michele Schwartz, Sir,” David replied. “She was going to start a job using her linguistic abilities and we were going to get married in a few days.”

“Go ahead and make your report, Captain,” Brew directed.

“Sir, I was looking out one of the windows at approximately 0900 local time,” David began. “I noticed a very bright flash of light hit a plane on the runway. I don’t know why, but I immediately realized that the flash must have come from a nuclear explosion. I began calling for everyone within earshot to get down on the floor. I even recalled a phrase my dad had told me about and said to ‘duck and cover’. I discovered later that one of the airline clerks heard me and repeated what I said over the intercom. Then a blast of very hot dirty air blew threw the terminal blowing out most of the windows.”

“Captain, do you know how long the interval was between the flash and the shock wave?” Brew asked.

“No, sir,” David replied. “I was preoccupied with watching to see if others heeded my warning, but it couldn’t have been more than a couple of seconds. The airport may have a security video of both the blast and the approaching shock wave, but the equipment is currently inoperable so we cannot tell for sure. The recorders will probably have to be dismantled to get to the disks.”

“Do you have any idea what direction the blast was from?” Brew asked.

“Yes sir,” David replied. “The security people who were outside say it came from the northwest, apparently from the direction of most of the government buildings. Sir before I forget, if you have any contact with the Israeli government, I wish you would pass along what civilians who were outside at the time of the explosion told me. They said the security people, who also recognized what the explosion was, acted with total disregard to their own safety to actually knock people down and push some of them inside the building to protect them from the shock wave. Several security people suffered broken bones and concussions as a result.”

“Sir, I don’t know if it’s connected or not, ” David continued. “ Security personnel told me that minutes before the explosion they had received an anonymous phone call saying that a suicide bomber might be in route to the airport. That’s why most of them were outside or near the outside doors at the time of the explosion. They do have occasional false alarms about suicide bombers.”

“Captain, do you think there is any significance to detonating the bomb during Passover week?” Brew asked.

“Sir, it may be more related to it being Good Friday,” David replied. “Christian tourists would be more likely to visiting cities like Jerusalem. Friday is the Muslim day of worship, so there might be fewer Muslims in Tel Aviv. Some of the security supervisors had expressed concern to me that their personnel might be becoming complacent because of the peace agreement. They had been worried about incidents designed to harm the peace process, although they didn’t expect anything on this scale. We learned late last night the Knesset would have an emergency meeting early this morning but our sources didn’t indicate what they would discuss. At 0700 local time the Israeli government requested that the Ambassador meet with their Foreign Minister at 0900, but didn’t indicate what the agenda would be. ”

“Good analysis, Captain,” Brew said.

[El Al flight 1203 landed safely Athens, Greece – Tiger]

“Captain, I’m going to interrupt your report for some good news,” Brew said. “We’ve checked and El Al flight 1203 has landed safely in Athens, Greece. Incoming flights to Israel were diverted under escort immediately after the explosion. We will be sending you a data file of the flights we know landed safely. Some flights might have landed in Israel or Lebanon that we are unaware of. There are also unconfirmed reports that one of more planes might have made forced landings in desert areas.”

“Thank you, sir,” David replied. “I have some files to send you listing flights that arrived or departed from here during the last two hours before the blast, and providing information about those who are here in the terminal including whom to contact in their home countries. We lost one plane that was taking off at the time of the explosion. I borrowed a suit from one of the fire fighters and examined it. It appears the shock wave may have flipped it, breaking off the wings and producing an explosion. There were no survivors. ”

“Sir, we have food and water to last for several days and the emergency generator is functioning,” David continued. “However, we are running out of medical supplies and have numerous patients who need more care than we can provide them. People have started coming in from the surrounding area with broken bones and some severe radiation burns. We have conducted a limited check of the parking area and found several injured and a few fatalities.”

[“Contacting the Roosevelt,” - Windy]

“Captain, what’s the condition of the building?” Brew asked.

“Sir, the main floor of the terminal is intact, but virtually all of the windows have been blown out,” David replied. “We’ve put plastic sheeting over the openings. The administrative and security center on the top floor has been badly damaged. There was some type of electrical explosion at about the same time the shock wave hit. Several of the people in the center had heart stoppages, but the remaining personnel were able to revive them. A few of them appear to have concussions and the rest are just badly shaken up.”

“Do you think the explosion was caused by the shock wave?” Brew asked.

”Sir, I asked a physics professor who was here in the terminal,” David replied. “He suggested three possibilities. One possibility would be an Electro Magnetic Pulse generated by the bomb. The facility has hard wired connections to government buildings in Tel Aviv and an excessive electrical signal could have arrived over that wiring. The shock wave carried very hot dry sandy air into the room which could have generated a large buildup of static electricity which could have set off a spark if it contacted any exposed wiring or circuits. They’ll have to examine the wiring to tell for sure.”


Off the coast of Israel U.S. Navy 317 radioed, “Israeli Air Force 100 this U.S. Navy 317 , do you copy, over?”

“U.S. Navy 317 this is Israeli 100 go ahead.”

“Israeli 100 this is U.S.. Navy 317, we have made contact with one of our Marine officers who was at Ben Gurion airport at the time of the explosion. He reports the terminal is functional but without windows. The admin center on the roof is out of commission. No fatalities among personnel there, but they are medically unable to function right now. We have medical personnel standing by on the carrier U.S.S Theodore Roosevelt to assist. Do we have permission to enter your air space?”

“U.S. Navy 317 this is Israeli 100. Permission granted. We welcome any assistance you can provide. Can you provide identity of Marine officer?”

“Affirmative, he is Marine Captain David Lawrence.”

Back in the CWR: “Captain, you mentioned the plane crash.” Brew said. “Is the runway usable?”

“Not at this time, Sir,” David replied. “There doesn’t appear to be any damage to the runway, but it is littered with debris, some of which is fairly large, that will need to be cleaned off first.”

[“personnel preparing to leave the Roosevelt. They want to know about visibility.” Windy]

“Captain, we have contacted the Theodore Roosevelt and the hospital ship Elizabeth Dole,” Brew said. “Medical personnel and evacuation helicopters will be in route shortly. They would like to know about the visibility, and do you need any equipment to help clear the runway?”

“Sir, we have some equipment,” David replied. “But, the runway could be cleared faster if we had more equipment. The maintenance personnel here would appreciate borrowing some space suits if that is possible. Visibility is about 300-400 feet at ground level. I talked to a pilot recently and he indicated the ceiling was probably about 200 feet.”

“We have the 173rd Airborne on the way,” Brew said. “They’ll be jumping into the Palestinian areas. We’ll have some of their engineers drop in to help. They’ll probably be bringing any evacuees near Tel Aviv to the airport.”

[“incoming message from Samson” Tiger]

[“Tiger, could you contact David’s finance” Brew]

“One moment, Captain,” Brew interrupted. “Yes, Samson, what can I do for you.”

“Mr. President, am I correct that the Captain David Lawrence at Ben Gurion Airport is the officer in charge of embassy security?” Samson asked.

“That’s correct,” Brew replied.

“He’s Jewish which means under our laws he can be considered an Israeli citizen. If you have no objections we would like him to take command of our security forces there.” Samson said.

“I will notify him immediately,” Brew replied. “He will also be our OIC.”

“Sorry for the interruption, Captain,” Brew said. “The Israeli military contacted me regarding the situation there. You should notify airport security that you will be the Officer In Charge of both American and Israeli personnel.”

“Thank you, Sir,” David replied.

In Athens airport Michele Schwartz was surprised when she heard a PA announcement for her to contact the nearest desk for a phone call.

[“I have her on the line” Tiger “NASA reports preliminary analysis of air flow around Tel Aviv. Wind should continue to move smoke from fires to the northeast and away from the airport. They’re concerned that the smoke may move into Palestinian areas but not be able to move out to the northeast because of the conditions created by the explosions in Syria. ]


“I don’t know how much of this you will want to pass along to those at the airport,” Brew began “Shortly after your explosion a similar bomb detonated near a Russian base in Chechnya. About 30 minutes later a bomb detonated in Gaza City after the vehicle it was in was involved in a collision. Our satellite analysts studied videos and were able to find a man who they believe brought the bomb into Gaza. The Egyptians have identified him as a Syrian agent and have taken him into custody. Shortly after the Gaza explosion, Israel retaliated with nuclear attacks on the capitals and other sites in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya.”

“Captain, we’ve received a report from NASA that the wind should keep the toxic smoke from the Tel Aviv fires away from your location. I guess I should let you get back to your work there,” Brew said. “But first I’m advised we have a phone call for you.”

“Thank you, Sir,” David replied.

“Brew, I think Captain Lawrence would have more clout if his first name were ‘Major’,” Night Hawk commented. “I don’t know if the situation would allow a battlefield promotion, but we could at least make him an acting major.”

“Sounds good,” Brew said. “Windy, you might check and see if the helicopters have left and have someone take him a major’s insignia.”

“Sir, if Ms. Schwartz is a linguist, perhaps we could hire her to help get through the language barrier,” Tiger suggested.

“Tiger, we need all the help we can get,” Brew replied. “See what you can do.”

“Brew, Samson provided some preliminary evaluations of the Iraqi warheads from the Scuds,” Snake commented. “Their experts say that the shells ruptured rather than detonated. They don’t know if the shells were damaged by the Jordanians or the Iraqis needed to arm them after launch and didn’t have time.”

“Go ahead and tell Jordan its pilots prevented the shells from exploding,” Brew suggested.


                                                Chapter 25 Reunion by Phone

“Hello,” David said.

“DAVID!” Michele exclaimed.

‘EBONY EYES!” David replied.

“Are you all right?” Both asked.

 David answered first, “my uniform got a little dirty, but otherwise I’m okay. We got a shock wave from the blast which blew out the windows and covered everything with dust. I was worried about where your plane would have been at the time of the explosion. I was relieved when the President told me your plane had landed safely. I guess you might say you saved my life because I would have been at the embassy.”

“We were far enough away that most of us didn’t realize that cloud wasn‘t a thunderstorm,” Michele replied. “The pilot said we had to divert because of a warning light. There were two retired Air Force pilots who had watched the Nagasaki bomb go off who recognized what had happened, but they played along with the pilot. They and their families have kind of adopted me. I don’t think I could have made it without them. They told me you might have survived if you were at the airport because the bomb was probably dropped far enough away. ”


“I wish you were here for more than one reason,” David said. “At times it’s been like one of those comedy routines where I need two different translators to talk to people. One person speaks English and another language. Someone who doesn’t understand English speaks that language and the language of the person I want to talk to. But, I guess we’ll have to postpone the wedding until this situation is cleared up.”

“I guess so,” Michele replied. “I’d like to be there to help you, but I guess it’s out of the question for now. I love you.”

“I love you too,” David said.

Abraham Lawrence prepared himself for the worst when he answered the phone.

“Hello,” Abraham said.

“Could I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Abraham Lawrence?” Night Hawk asked.

“This is Abraham Lawrence,” he replied.

“Mr. Lawrence, my name is General Ira Wykowski,” Night Hawk said. “Will you wait while I connect you to your son?”

“Certainly, General,” Abraham replied with a tear forming in his eye. Then he said to the others in the room, “EVERYONE BE QUIET. I’m getting a call from David.”

“Captain, this is General Wykowski,” Night Hawk said. “We have your dad on the phone. They assure me that your fiancé can participate in the call too.”

“Thank you, General,” David replied. “Dad?”

“David?” Abraham began. “Are you alright? Where are you?”

“My uniform got a little dirty,” David said. “Fortunately I was at the airport and I recognized the flash I saw was probably a result of a nuclear explosion and got down on the floor in time. I told everyone else to get down. I even remembered that phrase you told me about ‘duck and cover’.”

“Are you going to be staying there?” His father asked.

“For now anyway,” David replied. “I’ve got a new assignment. I’m the Officer in Charge of the airport for now. I’m even in charge of the Israeli security personnel.”

“Don’t they have their own supervisors?” Abraham asked.

“They had an electrical explosion in their admin center,” David said. “None of them are able to supervise right now.”

“Did Michelle arrive before the explosion?” Abraham inquired.

“They diverted us to Athens,” Michelle replied.

“It’s good to hear your voice, Michelle,” Abraham said. “Your parents are here with us and we’re using the speaker phone. Will you be coming home soon?”

“They’ve told us it might be a week before there will be any flights available,” Michelle replied. “They may need to use the planes for relief efforts.”

“Well, son, I guess I better let you get back to work,” Abraham said. “Be careful. Michelle, I guess we’ll see you whenever you can get back. Shalom.”

“Shalom,” Michelle and David replied.

Shortly after Abraham hung up the phone it rank again and Abraham picked it up.

“Hello,” Abraham said.

“Mr. Lawrence, I’m President Brewster,” Brew said.

“Thank you for calling, Mr. President,” Abraham replied. “Just call me Abraham.”

“Abraham, would you mind if I made a public statement mentioning your son by name?” Brew said. “I don’t want to surprise any of your family members with the news.”

“That would be fine,” Abraham said. “We’re in the process of phoning members of both families who aren’t here so I think most of them already know our kids are safe. I believe the public could use some good news right now.”

“I’ll be going on the air in a few minutes,” Brew said. “Abraham, I believe the word ‘shalom’ is appropriate isn’t it?”

“It is very appropriate, Mr. President,” Abraham said. “Shalom.”

At the same time, Tiger was calling Michelle Schwartz.

“Ms. Schwartz, I’m Captain Gwen Morales of the United States Navy,” Tiger said. “Your fiancé informed us that you’re a linguist. Do you speak any of the languages used in Israel?”

“Yes, I speak both Hebrew and Arabic as well as a few other languages that are used there, including Russian,” Michelle replied.

“We are going to need linguists right now,” Tiger said. “Would you be interested in a job?”

“Yes, I would,” Michelle replied. “I would like to do anything I can to help.”

“I’ll contact the carrier Theodore Roosevelt to arrange transportation,” Tiger said. “They will be getting in touch with you shortly.”

At Top’s Smokehouse in Fayetteville, N.C., the mood was somber. The early risers had come in as usual, but weren’t talking much. The crowd was larger than usual this morning. Retirees who had been woken up to babysit with their grand kids or their neighbor’s kids had called their friends to pass along the news the 82nd might be going to a war zone. They were staring at the television waiting for something new when President Brewster announced that he had just talked to the officer in charge of security at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“Captain David Lawrence was waiting at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for his fiancé to arrive when he noticed the nuclear explosion and directed everyone to get down to avoid the shock wave,” Brew began. “He reports that the people who were in the terminal at the time of the explosion all survived although some of them were injured. We have the names of the people who survived and will be notifying the appropriate authorities in their home countries to contact their family members. We are in the process of sending medical personnel to assist in treating the injured. ”

The audience at Top’s let out a cheer.

There were cries of “AIRBORNE.”

Then those with a little more military background began yelling the Marine motto: “SEMPER FI” which soon became a chant “Sem-Per Fi, Sem-Per Fi, Sem-Per Fi...”

Top found a DVD with a video of the Marine hymn and he put it in the DVD player. “From the Halls of Montazuma to the shores of Tripoli...”

Everyone joined in for the words they remembered.

They quieted down when reporters at the Pentagon began questioning the spokesman there.

“Do you know what happened to his fiancé?”

“The Navy diverted her plane to Athens a minute or two after the explosion.”

“What’s her name and where does she work?”

“Her name is Michelle Schwartz and she had planned to start a job in Tel Aviv. I don’t know the name of the company. ”

“Do you know how many Americans were at the airport?”

“We’re still examining the list and won’t know the exact number until later.”

“Is there going to be an attempt to evacuate people at the airport?”

“We have helicopters in the air now heading to the airport. They are taking medical personnel and supplies to the airport and will be evacuating the more seriously injured. The current plan is for the uninjured to remain at the airport for a day or two because of concerns about nuclear fallout in the area of the airport. They are safer inside than they might be if they attempted to leave.”

“Will they only be using helicopters?”

“For now they will be limited to helicopters. We will be flying Seabees in from the Persian Gulf and Europe with some equipment to help clear the runway so airliners can land to evacuate those at the airport and to take in supplies. The engineers with the 173rd Airborne will be diverted to the airport to assist. The 173rd will be bringing some communications equipment and some of that equipment will be assigned to the airport.”

“When will the 173rd arrive in Israel?”

“The last report we have is that the 173rd is within an hour of jumping into Israel.”

“Are they jumping in because of the conditions at the airport?”

“They could have landed in Jerusalem. They are jumping so they can get to the boundaries between Palestinian and Israeli areas sooner and because we don’t know the conditions of the roads. There is a concern that the bomb could have generated severe storms, possibly including small tornadoes, which could have blocked some of the roads.”

The last answer brought cries of “AIRBORNE” from those at Top’s. Those who had been sitting around unsure if they really wanted breakfast this morning decided they were hungry after all.

“300 this is Rough Rider."

“Rough Rider this is 300 go ahead .”

“300, we need to send a plane to Athens to pick up an interpreter. She is to be brought here for transportation by helicopter to Ben Gurion airport. Be advised, her fiancé Major David Lawrence has been appointed OIC there after reporting to CIC of survivors present at the airport.”

“Rough Rider, I’m coming in to change planes now. I’ll pick up an extra flight suit and head to Athens. Do they want this ASAP?”

“300. Roger that. Medical personnel are going to need help, particularly with the more seriously injured we have been advised are arriving there.”

“Rough Rider. Advise ships in the vicinity I will be flying at Mach 2.”

“300, roger that.”

Shortly after Commander Nguyen took off for Athens, Captain.( Rabbi) Michael David O’Brien boarded a helicopter for his trip to Ben Gurion Airport. He felt he would be needed there more than on the ship, and barely managed to find room to make the flight. As a chaplain he had experience working with members of all religions and could perform last rites for Catholics if necessary. Muslim personnel also felt comfortable asking him to assist with their religious needs.

Rabbi O’Brien claimed to be the only Irish Rabbi in the U.S. navy, if not the world. His grandmother was a Polish Jew who barely escaped the Nazis and traveled through Germany using the name Anna Klein. In Germany she met an Irishman, Michael Patrick O’Brien, who had escaped from a POW compound. By the time they were able to contact the French Resistance she was pregnant and one of the Resistance members married them. The grandfather later converted to the Jewish religion because he thought his son should be raised in his mother’s religion. Grandfather O’Brien had returned to France as a liaison to the French Resistance and later discovered one of the Nazi death camps. He wouldn’t talk about the experience or say which camp he had seen, but told his grandson the experience was one reason he converted to his wife’s Jewish religion.

Capt. David Lawrence had reluctantly made a decision about how to inform the others in the terminal about his conversation with his President. “Ladies and Gentlemen, “ David began. “I have just talked to the President of the United States and informed him of our situation. He has directed American naval forces including the hospital ship U.S.S. Elizabeth Dole off the coast to begin sending help immediately.”

There was cheering throughout the terminal.

“I also have some bad news,” David continued. “We are not the only ones to be affected by a nuclear explosion. Shortly after the explosion here, a bomb detonated near a Russian military base in Chechnya. Another bomb that the Egyptians believe as delivered by a Syrian agent detonated in Gaza City about a half hour later. Those of you familiar with the history of the Cold War know that had the United States or Soviet Union been attacked, the country that had been attacked would then have destroyed the other. After the attack in Gaza City the Israeli government retaliated against Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya. I offer my condolences to those of you with family or friends in one of the other areas that was destroyed in this war.”

                                     Chapter 26 The Herd Arrives in Israel

 Lt. Jesse “Wichita” White of Bravo Company 2/503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade, halfway expected to see Rod Serling floating beside him in the eerie gray nothingness that surrounded him. Wichita had become interested in the “Twilight Zone” through his Uncle Al. His experience that day had a “Twilight Zone” type quality. A few hours earlier he had been leaving a hotel in Padova, Italy. Then he received word about the nuclear attack on Israel. Now he was under a parachute as he drifted toward the ground a few miles outside Jerusalem.

The 173rd had been ordered to Israel to protect the Palestinians from retaliation by Israeli civilians. Wichita was escorting a tv crew embedded with the unit.

Wichita always enjoyed watching the ground seem to come up to him. But the ground was shrouded by the smoke or mist or whatever was in the air. There had been some concern there would be electrical activity in the clouds, but there was none in the areas where they were jumping. They had received reports the bomb had produced several tornadoes, but that activity had ended quickly. Wichita couldn’t even feel the air moving past him as he approached the ground.

The spacesuit he wore to protect him from possible radioactive materials in the air and on the ground further isolated him from sensory input. Like most of the others in his unit he had instrumental jazz music playing on his headphones that could be preempted by any communications from his commanders. The music helped keep them connected to reality.

Wichita thought of his grandfather Jesse King who had jumped into Normandy in the middle of the night on D-Day. Grandpa King told Wichita how difficult it was to see where he might land.

Jesse King bragged that he was the only descendant of slaves who jumped into Normandy. Jesse’s maternal grandmother was a Cherokee. His father’s family also was supposed to have some Indian ancestors. People had often told Jesse that “he looked like an Indian”. His hair was straight enough that it didn’t give away his slave ancestry and his skin was light enough that people assumed the color was due to his Cherokee ancestry. When he moved to Detroit from Vinita, Oklahoma, just before WWII he told everyone he was a Cherokee and his Cherokee name was “Red Elk”. The claim allowed him to enter the army without the restrictions placed on black soldiers. He encountered prejudice, but not the type he would have encountered if people had known about all his ancestors.


Wichita had an advantage over his grandfather. His visor provided pictures of the ground from the previous day’s satellite images, when the sky had been clear, with the pictures being adjusted using his GPS locator and an altimeter he wore. The pictures showed him where the buildings were, but couldn’t tell him if someone had parked a car underneath him over night. The infrared cameras strapped to his legs would help him spot any such obstacles before he could see them with his eyes. His CO told him the ceiling might be at 100-200 feet.

Wichita wore the new M-17 in a swivel holster at his side. Some called it a “buntline special” like the gun Wyatt Earp had carried. The M-17 remind him of the weapons he had seen professional killers carry in their briefcases. They would put them together just before using them.

During jumps it was essentially an oversized hand gun. He could fire it without removing it from the holster. It had a laser sight and a miniature television camera that could send a picture to his visor. If necessary he could fire at a target behind him with a high probability of hitting the target. He could even fire it from behind an obstacle without exposing himself to hostile fire.

In his backpack, he had a regular rifle barrel with a traditional sight that could be screwed into the barrel. He also carried a rifle type stock The older type sight had the advantage of being undetectable by an enemy. An enemy with appropriate vision equipment could detect an infrared laser.

He checked his external sensors as he descended. They indicated above average radiation that wouldn’t be dangerous unless unprotected individuals stayed outside too long. Sensors also indicated toxic gases from fires in Tel Aviv which could become a hazard if the concentration increased too much.

Wichita’s mission had changed in route to Israel. Instead of taking the tv crew to the front lines immediately, he would take them and a couple of humvees carrying extra spacesuits, of various sizes, they had brought as spares, or for use by civilians, to Jerusalem. Someone higher up had decided it would be helpful to have the tv crew get the story of the jump broadcast quickly. The Jordanians had offered the aid of several interpreters, but they would need spacesuits.

At the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Elva Lewis and the other American nurses were hanging around the lobby waiting to see what was next. She was surprised to see her cousin Wichita White come into the lobby. He had taken off his hood because of the low radioactivity in Jerusalem.

“Where did you come from cousin?” She asked.

“We just dropped in a few miles outside Jerusalem,” he replied. “We’re here to keep the locals from fighting each other. I’m also escorting a tv crew. Didn’t expect to find you here.”

“We were touring the Holy Land, “ she said. “I guess the tour is over. All 20 members of my tour group are nurses. Is there anything we can do to help?”

“I’ll check with my CO,” Wichita replied as he voice activated his PCD.

“Okay, you’re in,” he said after a short conversation with his CO. “My CO believes we may have enough spacesuits for all of you nurses. We’ll need to split you up.”

At Top’s Smokehouse someone noticed a familiar patch on a spacesuited soldier on the tv and yelled for someone to turn up the volume.

“This is Katrina Ibrahim reporting from Jerusalem. My crew and I have just jumped into Israel with the Skysoldiers of the legendary 173rd Airborne Brigade. The video we’re currently showing is of us preparing to leave Italy. I was very impressed by the professional way the members of ‘The Herd’ went about that task Incidentally, this is the same unit that President Brewster served with in Vietnam. Its current members are very proud of that fact.

“We are the first people to jump into a nuclear battlefield, but they acted as if it was just another mission. The atmosphere we jumped through had a surreal nature. It was like we were jumping into the middle of some old science fiction movie. We were informed before we left that a weak low pressure system had entered Israel at about the same time the bomb exploded. This system helped spread out the debris in the mushroom cloud over more of Israel than might otherwise have been the case.

“The protective suits that we are wearing are aptly referred to as spacesuits. They are equipped with an air circulation system to keep us from overheating and a computer that shows us the most recent satellite photo of where we are jumping with adjustments based on our GPS coordinates, as you can see in the video.

“The gadget this soldier is holding is used to adjust the descent of what they call a ‘skid’ that holds a humvee. The skid has canisters of compressed air on its corners. The soldier can release air to move the skid a little to keep it from landing in a bad spot. He receives GPS information from the skid and information from a camera he wears so he knows where it will land.

“We came into Jerusalem to pick up several Jordanian interpreters. We also are going to take another group into the field with us. I am here with Elva Lewis who is part of a tour group of nurses from the Chicago area. Elva why did you nurses volunteer to go into a hazardous area.?

“I guess it’s part of being a nurse,” Elva replied. “We feel an obligation to help people with medical problems. Perhaps, we were staying at the hotel you came to because we are supposed to help. I can’t think of anything more appropriate to do on Easter then to treat the injured. I may feel a little greater incentive to help because I have several relatives in the military including one of the officers in the 173rd.”

“Well I see our transportation is ready, so I’ll be signing off for now,” Katrina said. “This has been Katrina Ibrahim reporting from Jerusalem with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.”

As the tv crew and the nurses began getting in the vehicles, patrons at Top’s Smoke House were chanting “AIRBORNE! AIRBORNE!”

One WWII veteran remarked, “I wish we had had that video equipment when we jumped into Normandy.”

“I guess we were just born too early,” remarked another. “One of the guys in my company landed in a greenhouse he couldn’t see until it was too late.”

“Hey can someone rerun that?” Retired Sgt. Major Joseph White asked. “I think that Lt. was my nephew and the nurse was my niece.”

“You mean they’re brother and sister?”

“No, he’s my brother’s son, and she’s my sister’s daughter,” Joseph replied. “His mom’s father jumped into Normandy. I jumped into Vietnam.”

“What was his grandfather’s name?”

“Jesse King,” Joseph said. “He told the army he was a Cherokee and his name was Red Elk.”

“I know him. He saved my life. He spotted a German that I didn’t see and shot him.”

“If you jumped into Vietnam you must have been with the Herd during Operation Junction City. Did you ever meet President Brewster?”

“Roger that,” Joseph replied. “I was one of the men he picked up on the day he earned his Medal of Honor. When we joined them I didn’t pay much attention to his uniform. The way he was giving orders, I thought he was already an officer. I found out later I actually outranked him by about a month.”


Phone Call From the American Embassy

Major David Lawrence was pleased by the way things were going at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. It had taken about an hour for the first helicopters to reach the airport after he talked with the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Roosevelt had moved closer to both Israel and Cyprus and recently commissioned hospital ship the U.S.S. Elizabeth Dole had joined it. The Dole had been assigned to NATO and was heading toward Afghanistan after picking up medical personnel from various NATO countries including Turkey.

Marine Major Bradley Jefferson “B.J.” McIntire had been flying back to the Dole at the time Tel Aviv was destroyed. He was returning from an emergency leave due to his father’s death and had managed to get a seat in a Navy Tomcat heading in the same direction. He had planned to land on the Roosevelt and continue to the Dole by helicopter.

The helicopter trip had been postponed until such time as NATO made a decision about the Dole’s role in the current situation. Options being considered were stationing the Dole off the coast of Israel to assist there, sending the Dole immediately to the Persian Gulf to help there or having the Dole assist the Israeli’s for a day or two before heading to the Persian Gulf. After learning about the situation at Ben Gurion Airport NATO decided to keep the Dole in position for at least the next 24 hours.

When McIntire learned of the situation at Ben Gurion airport he volunteered to head the medical team being dispatched to help. As he was waiting to leave he received a call on his PCD asking if he had an extra major’s insignia he could give to acting Major Lawrence. He replied he did and would be glad to pass it along to Major Lawrence.

When Captain Lawrence saw a Marine major coming toward him he thought he was being replaced as OIC. He saluted Major McIntire and said, “welcome to Tel Aviv, Sir.”

McIntire returned the salute and said, ‘Thank you. Mr. Lawrence, I’ve been informed you are not wearing a proper uniform.”

“Washington has informed me that you should be wearing this,” McIntire said as he handed David the major’s insignia. “As I understand it you are the OIC and I will be in charge of the medical personnel. By the way I go by B.J.”

“Thank you, B.J.,” David replied. “Just call me David.”

The relief effort was slow at first because of the limited number of helicopters assigned to the Roosevelt. The operation sped up when army helicopters with supplies, equipment, medical personnel and engineers began arriving from Turkey. Most of the army’s efforts were being devoted to northern Iraq, but some could be diverted to Israel because civilian airliners had been chartered to bring troops and supplies from Europe to Turkey. Turkish forces would be going into Syria rather than Iraq because of the ongoing conflict between the Turkish government and the Kurds.

Major Lawrence now had contact with Israeli military personnel conducting relief efforts. They found it was easier for them to view the operation as a military operation in which they were attempting to save lives rather than take them. David was in charge of the “beachhead” at the airport. The other units were moving into the area of Tel Aviv from other directions

Unfortunately, the number of injured continued to increase as more people found their way to the airport. The severity of the injuries was increasing too as people who had been closer to the blast arrived. Many remarked that they had come to the airport because they heard the helicopters. Military personnel and some civilian volunteers who they had spacesuits for had been using vehicles from the parking lot to move closer to the city to pick up survivors.

Some extremely critical patients were being flown to Jerusalem for treatment, but most were being taken to the ships because Israel didn’t have sufficient facilities to treat everyone who needed treatment. They weren’t using overland transportation because the radioactive cloud was between them and Jerusalem. Detectors on the helicopters indicated no significant radiation more than a mile off shore.


                        Egyptian speech

Those governments who have used the weapons of Satan have been punished by Allah for their evil.

I have read the Christian prophecy of Revelation. The events of today indicate Christians have misinterpreted this prophecy. They believe that Satan masquerades as their prophet Jesus to mislead people into evil. In reality Satan has masqueraded as a prophet of Allah to mislead devout Muslims into believing violence is the way to lead the infidels into the true religion of Islam. Instead, Satan has mislead devout Muslims into evil and death. We must reject the use of violence and begin spreading the truth of the Koran to enlighten our brothers about the one true religion, Islam.

As many of you know, the Egyptian prophet Moses was the first to inform the world of the one True God.


Larry, Daryl and Daryl

Lt. Jesse “Wichita” White returned to the Palestinian community where he had previously been the next morning.

About an hour later, three Palestinian men came up to him. The spacesuits allowed display of a name tag as well as rank and unit. “Larry” said, “I’ll have to speak for my friends because they don’t speak English. We’re worried about another friend who we think may be an Israeli prisoner. He told us to keep it a secret that he was going to take a bomb to Tel Aviv but he would be back home before it went off. We’re afraid he’s an Israeli prisoner and he will tell them we knew. We saw you take his mom away from the Israelis and we would like for you to take us to.”

Wichita used his PCD to notify the Roosevelt he would have a message shortly. He would like to have encrypted the call, but thought it might arouse suspicions if the Israelis were able to detect it. “This is army Lt. Jesse White. I have three patients here who seem to have the same symptoms as the woman ‘Mary’ I brought in yesterday. I’ll call them ‘Larry’, ‘Daryl’ and ‘Daryl’. Could I have transportation for them? I’ll come with them for security [this could indicate to the Israelis that he didn’t really trust Palestinians not to pose a threat to the ship or helicopter ].”

Americans had already developed a reputation for giving nicknames to Palestinians whose names might be difficult to remember or pronounce. He hoped the radio operator would recognize the use of the names from the “Newhart” show of three brothers with Larry designated as the spokesman for the group.

“Roger Lt. White. Stand by.”

The operator recognized that Wichita was speaking in some type of “code” he didn’t know about, but someone else would. He figured that Larry, Darryl and Darryl was probably code indicating only one of the three Palestinians spoke English.

He entered the name Lt. Jesse White and the GPS coordinates along with the message into the computer which would likely distribute the message to those who understood the code.

At the CWR, Captain “Tiger” Morales saw the message along with a notation from General Snake ????????? “you better handle this so it looks routine” and activated her phone link after checking current helicopter missions, “Lt. White this is Navy Captain Morales bring them in ASAP. Sounds like we might have an epidemic there. We have a chopper with medical personnel. We’ll divert them to your area, it can bring you and your patients back on the return trip. They probably aren’t a threat, but no point in taking chances. Have you obtained any samples yet?”

Wichita replied, “yes, ma’am. I’ve found some very hot samples. The makeshift cases seem to be shielded enough to transport them without a theat to unprotected individuals. The debris is more noticeable today with the greater visibility. We’re going to need an evaluation to see if part of this area needs to be evacuated.”

“Good job, Lt.,” Tiger remarked. “We have equipment being flown from the states that can do a low level fly over to see how the radiation is distributed. We were going to bring in some of the 82nd to rotate you out for a few days anyway. We may have you stay a little longer in case evacuation is needed.”


She had checked the passenger manifests of the helicopters in the area and noticed that one of them had a couple of intelligence officers as well as medical personnel. Her message to the chopper mentioned Mary and suggested they check to see if others might have similar symptoms. She hoped that if any Israeli intelligence officers intercepted the message they would think the Americans overly concerned about high radiation or that someone had infected the Palestinians with a biological agent instead of some of them having information about the attack.

While they waited Wichita talked to Larry. Intelligence officers had told Wichita that they planned to use a “good American, bad Israeli” interrogation strategy. Engage individuals in friendly conversation and tell them that the U.S. was primarily interested in who supplied the bomb unlike the Israelis who might want to punish anyone associated with planting it. They gave him a recorder that would be separate from his PCD. Wichita had turned on the recorder as soon as they walked up to him.


                                    Rescuing the Egyptians

Cleopatra, as she was known, was frustrated. She had what might be the most valuable intelligence she had gathered as an Egyptian intelligence agent, but she couldn’t pass it along because she was trapped in the basement of the dry cleaning business that served as their cover.. Just before the explosion an Iranian agent had stopped by the dry cleaning business that served as the cover for her team. He informed her that Iran was playing what he called a practical joke on the Israelis.

He told her that his government had suspected a man of spying for Israel so they had given him information that caused the Israelis to call the Knesset into emergency session. He didn’t know what the information was and had just learned about the “joke”. He was going to the Knesset to find out what he could learn about what they were doing.

She declined his offer to go with him because other agents handled that function and her team was located to monitor foreign embassies.

Like many Egyptian foreign agents Cleopatra didn’t use her real name which she considered one of the attractions of being an Egyptian agent. She didn’t like her real name anyway. When pressed for a last name she gave “von der Nile”. She wasn’t sure if the name was correct German, but it did reflect the fact that both her grandfathers were Germans who had deserted and married Egyptian wives during WWII. At the time they said it was because they didn’t want to kill Egyptians. One of them confided to her they were both Jews who had pretended to be Christians. After they found out what Hitler was doing to their fellow Jews they decided they could no longer help the German Army.


The dry cleaning business was a good front because agents could bring in information and leave it in the pockets of the clothes being cleaned. Many suspected them of being smugglers, a suspicion they didn’t discourage. They didn’t engage in illegal smuggling, but they did help customers who wanted to appear strictly religious obtain products they couldn’t openly purchase. For example, they would slip a hip flask like those seen in old American movies filled with a favorite beverage into the pockets of Muslim men who liked alcohol. They would also provide pork products with labels indicating they were some type of beef or poultry product to Muslim and Jewish customers.

                                                The Wedding

People in the airport had quickly learned that the interpreter named Michelle was the fiance of the man they called “The Major” or “The Marine”. They learned the two had planned to get married the next week, but now wouldn’t be able to do so. No one knows exactly when the plan started, but within a few hours someone approached the couple about having a wedding there.

                                                The baby

Sailors searching for victims found a badly burned man carrying a badly burned pregnant woman. They picked them up but the man died shortly after they reached the airport. Michelle had difficulty finding a language to talk to the woman but eventually found that Yiddish worked. The woman appeared to speak a Slavic language. She went with the woman to the U.S.S. Elizabeth Dole. The baby was delivered alive, but the woman was very weak and asked Michelle to be the baby’s mother as she was dying. Michelle reluctantly accepted even though she didn’t have time to contact David. Neither individual had any identification.  

Change of Command at Ben Gurion

David receives a medal from the Israeli government

Prime Minister Goldman announces to the reporters. “An many of you know at the time of the explosion Major Lawrence was waiting for his fiancé’s plane and they were planning to get married. At the time he was officially on vacation. Fortunately for us he was willing to go ahead and take charge of the situation because the normal security and administrative personnel were medically unable to do so. They have recovered sufficiently to take over operation of the airport, so we are going to allow Major Lawrence and his wife to begin their honeymoon.”

Question: “Major Lawrence what are your plans?”

David replied, “My wife and I will be going to Bethesda Naval Hospital along with the Marines from the embassy for checkups. After that we will be going home to New York where our families are planning a wedding reception for us. Then we are going to take a short honeymoon in Hawaii where we plan to visit Pearl Harbor which now has a special meaning for us. In about two weeks we will travel back to Washington, D.C..

Question: “there is a rumor that you are dissatisfied with your wedding late yesterday and plan another.”

David replied, ‘My wife and I were very satisfied with the wedding. We are very grateful for the efforts of people who were strangers to us yesterday morning to help fulfill our dream of getting married in Israel that the bomb appeared to have prevented. However, I have been approached by a couple of attorneys who suggested there might be a problem with government recognition. They suggested we should go through the normal procedure of obtaining a marriage license and repeat our vows to insure government recognition. You may have heard stories about Jewish mothers. We have two Jewish mothers as well as a few Jewish grandmothers and aunts who would really like to attend a wedding. So we’re considering doing what some other couples do and repeat our vows with a government issued marriage license on our first anniversary.”

Question: “is it true you had to get permission from the President to get married?”

David: “I felt I should get approval to get married while I was on duty.” .


Question: “Have they determined why the Iraqi rockets landed in Palestinian areas?”

David replied, “We’re not sure if there was a target. Some experts believe that the drivers may have gone out on their own or were told to do so by an immediate superior acting on his own. They may have just fired in the general direction of Israel without any specific target in mind. The southern route indicates they were probably not attempting to hit targets in northern Israel. At the time the Jordanian pilots spotted them, they were already far enough west to hit Israeli targets so they probably would have already launched the missiles if that had been their goal. One theory suggests that the target might have been Jerusalem and they wanted to get as far west as possible to avoid the possibility of a defective rocket landing in Jordan.

Fortunately, the Jordanian pilots destroyed the launch vehicles before the drivers could arm the warheads. Although the warheads ruptured when they hit, they didn’t detonate which would have spread the contents over a larger area.”

 Question: “We have heard reports that American soldiers have ordered evacuation of some Palestinian towns?”

David replied: “Evacuation decisions are being made by local Palestinian leaders based on conditions in their own towns. Some areas have been evacuated because fallout has created a radiation hazard. Some of the towns closer to Tel Aviv have been evacuated because toxic smoke from the fires in Tel Aviv has reached them. Scientists are going to examine the radiation situation and will make recommendations about when, or if, some locations are safe to live in, but Palestinian leaders will make decisions about return to such communities.”



            September 15

President Brewster: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the world. We have determined that the nuclear weapons that detonated on Good Friday morning in Israel and Russia were manufactured in North Korea and sold to Muslim governments in the Middle East.”

“Two hours ago three nuclear warheads on American cruise missiles were launched against North Korea in retaliation for North Korea’s role in sparking a nuclear war in the Middle East. One of those warheads belonged to Russia and was launched by Russian officers against North Korea’s nuclear facilities. Another belonged to Israel and was launched by Israeli officers against North Korea’s missile facility. We gave the Palestinians a warhead to use against North Korea, but Palestinian officers were responsible for the launch which destroyed the principle North Korean military base.”

‘We didn’t go through the United Nations because we didn’t want to alert North Korea that we knew about its role in the Middle East War. We did consult with the government of the People’s Republic of China which concurred with our decision and has launched a full scale invasion of North Korea. We are supporting that invasion with conventional weapons including cruise missiles which we have used against various government headquarters. Our intelligence indicated that North Korean government leaders, including President were in some of those buildings at the time.”

“Neither we nor the People’s Republic of China have any desire to rule either North or South Korea. We have an agreement with the People’s Republic of China that we will both remove our forces from the Korean peninsula if the residents of the two Koreas each approve a reunification agreement in U.N. supervised elections.”


Katrina Ibrahim: “Since Good Friday I’ve been sitting on a story at the request of President Brewster. The U.S. government learned shortly after the 173rd Airborne arrived in Israel that the bomb that destroyed was probably from North Korea. President Brewster asked me not to make that information public because he didn’t want those responsible for the bombing to know what he knew.”

“I was with the 173rd because I was interviewing a lieutenant who was in the process of putting men on helicopters to return to their base when he received a phone call. He told me the general wanted to know if I would like to accompany them. I found out later that President Brewster and his advisors were watching my broadcast and he suggested to the Chairman of the joint Chiefs of staff that I be given an opportunity to accompany the 173rd if they were dispatched to Israel as they were preparing to do. At that time Israel had not yet retaliated and the United States had only limited contact to the Israeli military through someone known only as Israeli Air Force 100. President Brewster didn’t know if he would be sending anyone to assist or not.”

“Shortly after the Israelis retaliated the Israeli military contacted him and informed him that they were concerned their people would retaliate against the Palestinians. President Brewster offered to send the 173rd to form a buffer between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the Israelis accepted the offer.”

“Within an hour we were boarding planes for the flight to Israel. We jumped into Israel wearing the military’s new space suits. When we arrived the officer I was with was told to take some of the spacesuits to Jerusalem and pick up some Jordanian interpreters. I accompanied them so I could send an initial story about our arrival.

“The lieutenant happened to meet his cousin who was touring the Holy Land with a group of other nurses and she offered their services to help the Palestinian injured either by the initial shock wave and radiation from the bomb or the storms and fallout that followed.

“Later the nurse we met in Jerusalem was treating a Palestinian woman who had been injured as a result of the bomb. She has often been referred to as ‘Mary’ but that is not her real name. Mary was so impressed by the nurse’s friendly manner that she showed the nurse a document with Asian writing that she had found in her son’s room. Mary confided in the nurse that she had earlier been afraid her son had gone to Ben Gurian airport to commit suicide and phoned the airport to warn them.”

“The nurse had another cousin who was a naval officer who knew some Asian languages. The nurse phoned her cousin and the cousin then asked her to see if one of the army officers could fax her a copy. The nurse came to get us and the Lieutenant faxed the document to the naval officer. Although the officer wasn’t fluent in Korean, she recognized that the document appeared to deal with a nuclear device.

“She contacted her commanding officer and was quickly referred up the chain of command to President Brewster. He talked to Mary through the interpreter and told her the phone call to the airport had saved many lives. Security personnel who went outside to look for a potential bomber recognized what the explosion was and acted to protect people from the shock wave. He then asked Mary if she would be willing to leave the area to go to the hospital ship Elizabeth Dole and she said yes. He ordered the officer who had taken custody of the document to personally deliver it to Washington. I understand that the order was later modified to have him take it to NATO headquarters in Europe which was closer and more accessible to Russia’s experts on Korea. NATO and Russian experts subsequently established that the document related to a nuclear weapon and had a radiation signature implying it had been in proximity to a radioactive device. ”

“President Brewster then asked to sit on the story until they could investigate it. He didn’t want North Koreans and those who placed the weapons to know what the United States knew. He also informed me that Major David Lawrence had called him from Ben Gurion Airport. President Brewster suggested the situation there would make a better story. I recognized that the survival of people relatively close to where ground zero was thought to have been would have a human interest appeal. People could hope that others in the war zones might have survived.”

“Later that afternoon President Brewster reached an informal agreement with unspecified Israeli leaders who at the time did not have the authority to make a formal agreement. Under this agreement the United States would offer asylum to any Palestinians who agreed to provide information about those responsible for providing the weapon.”

“President Brewster explained the situation as a variation of the “good cop, bad cop” interrogation technique we see used on cop shows. The United States would tell those suspected of a connection with the bombing that they could cooperate with the U.S. and get a new identity or take their chances with Israeli antiterrorism investigators.”

“The next day the American lieutenant who had taken custody of the North Korean document met three Palestinians who were code named ‘Larry, Daryl and Daryl’. They were concerned that the Israelis might find out they were involved even though they didn’t realize at the time what they were involved in. He arranged for them to leave Israel. They provided information about the operation that implicated both Syrian and Iraqi agents. One of them told where he had thrown away a document that was also North Korean in origin. ”

“Egyptian agents informed their government that they had learned shortly before the explosion that the Iranian government had planted some type of unknown false information to trick the Israeli government into calling the Knesset into session.’


Egypt easily persuaded the United Nations to make Libya a protectorate of Egypt later that afternoon. The gradual movement of Egyptians into the former Libya eventually led to a popular vote favoring making Libya a permanent part of Egypt. Libya’s population was only about 10% of that of Egypt before the war, and it suffered very heavy losses, estimated at 25% of its population, in the attack or from radiation ailments. Israel asked Egypt to supervise the Palestinians remaining in the southern portion of the Gaza Strip who were later relocated to Syria. The area around Gaza City had been contaminated by the bomb.

Syria had suffered heavy population losses. The U.N. decided to give the Palestinians a portion of Syria to compensate them for the damage the Syrian supplied nukes caused to Palestinian areas in Israel and Gaza. The weapons Israel used against Syria were much “cleaner” than the ones Syria used so there was little residual contamination in Syria except in the immediate vicinity of ground zero areas and along the border with Israel where the Israeli military used “dirty” bombs to prevent a Syrian invasion. The Palestinians were guaranteed a portion of the oil revenues of Iran and Iraq as compensation for those countries involvement in the bombing.

A subsequent investigation determined that the suitcase nukes did pass through Pakistan from the former Soviet Union without the knowledge of the Pakistani government. The Iraqis and Syrians smuggled them through Jordan and into Israel. The reasons for the action would remain unknown because the individuals responsible and whatever documents they produced were gone.

Former Iraqi officers suggested that Iraq might have thought the smuggled weapons would cause the Israelis to retaliate against the Palestinians or might have thought they could sufficiently disrupt Israel so that Israel would not be able to act. Iraq could then force Syria or Jordan to allow its forces to pass through and attack Israel.

Israel’s attack on Iraq emphasized the Sunni areas along with military targets. The United Nations, with the agreement of the remaining Arab states, decided to divide what was left of the country. The northern Kurd occupied region suffered only limited damage and was separated as a Kurdish state that would include adjacent areas in Iraq. Turkey agreed to cede a portion of its territory to the new state in exchange for a substantial portion of oil revenues from the former Iraq.

The southern Shiite area was also established as a separate state. Iran was divided into two countries to keep it from using its much larger population to try to take over other countries.



Israel was able to reestablish a broad coalition government within a month after the loss of Tel Aviv. The country experienced a rebirth of religious fervor even among those who previously had largely ignored religious observances. A million Jews, particularly from the United States and the former Soviet Union, immigrated to Israel to help with the decontamination and rebuilding. The Israelis developed new decontamination techniques that were then adopted in other areas, particularly the former Iraq.

Iran was the only one of the nations damaged in the war in which some of those associated with the government largely survived. The more moderate leaders had immediately sought shelter or left Tehran as soon as they heard about the explosion in Israel. The violent clerics died while celebrating their “victory”. Iran lost its capital, its military and other cities, but its size allowed it to survive.

The following summer was one of the coolest on record in the Northern Hemisphere. Initially a visible haze limited the amount of sun light reaching the earth’s surface. As the material dispersed the individual particles continued to reflect sunlight back into space. Temperatures didn’t approach normal levels until late August.