“I hereby declare that anyone who blatantly refuses to follow Federal law to be an enemy of the State. As God is my witness, we will restore the
rule of law unto this great country again.” The applause that came through the TVs speakers sounded tinny.
Mike put his beer down and stared into it. “Crap, I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means.” A shout came from across the bar. “Oh,
please change the channel of that idiot box! I’m sick of hearing his voice. Put a game on”. He turned his face to look at the source.
Bill McDougal looked back and raising his hands in an open way and said “What? We’ve been hearing the same stupid stuff for years now…I’m
sick of it. His term is almost over and the election madness begins again. Regardless of who wins, we’ll end up with the same type of loser who’ll
continue to screw us over. I would rather watch a game. Bread and circuses everyone!” He hoisted his beer to which those at his table did the same.
Laughter ensued, followed by the slamming of empty bottles on the table.
Mike pulled a rumpled ten dollar bill out of his pocket and tossed it onto the bar next to his half empty beer. “Keep the change Ted, time for me
to go home, otherwise the bitch will start getting all worked up.” He always tipped Ted well, as Ted often also gave him beers on the house.
Ted snorted laughter. He knew that the “Bitch” in question was Mikes recently acquired King Sheppard puppy, Tasha. At four months she was
already starting to show how big she was going to get and was quite rambunctious to boot. But when Mike and she were together, she never left Mikes
As Mike passed Bill he lightly punched him on the shoulder. “Bill, I need my tools back, Tasha trashed the kitchen yesterday.”
Bill blushed and looked at the table top, “Sorry Mike, I keep reminding myself to return them and then I always seem to get side-tracked.”
Mike smiled, “Bill was a good guy even if he was a bit of a scatter brain,” he thought. “I know where you live Bill, besides I have your
weed-wacker as a hostage.”
Bill nodded, “I’ll get ‘em to you as soon as I get home, I promise.” Chuckles broke out across the table.
“What?! Really, I will, I’m a man of my word.”
As Mike left the bar he could still hear Bill defending his honor amid laughter and good natured jibes. He didn’t notice that the President was
still addressing the Nation. Nor was anybody else in the bar paying attention.
Walking home from the bar Mike reflected that the weather was nice for a change. It had been a particularly humid summer, but with fall coming he
and Tasha could train together more often. He looked forward to that as the heat drained her. Smiling, he wondered what other shenanigans she had in
store for him when he returned. His cell phone vibrated, (he hated ringtones). Pulling it out of his pocket and looking at the caller ID, recognizing
it, he smiled as he hadn’t heard from his friend in a while.
“Hey Jake! You old dirtbag…I haven’t heard from ya for quite a while.”
“Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike! Was up buddy!?” Jake Dyson normally sounded upbeat, even hyperactive when he went through this spiel, but this time he
sounded deadpan. “How about we hook up at the Thundering Buffalo for some wings and beer this week?”
Mike stopped in his tracks. “Yea, that sounds good. How about Saturday at noon?” He realized that he was still rooted in one spot and resumed
walking, but at a faster pace. To an observer, Mike looked like an angry man on a mission, which he was. But Mike wasn’t angry, he was worried.
“No can do, Buddy. But I’m taking a half day Wednesday, but noon works. Will that do or have you found a new job yet? If you haven’t, I think
I have one for you.”
“Nope, no new job yet, so yea, I’ll be there.” Mike heard Jake tell him that he’d be there as well, followed by that he had a few more calls
to make and hung up. He didn’t say good-bye which was also unlike Jake. “Crap, I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means.” He thought for
the second time in less than an hour.
He was sweating by the time he arrived home. As the garage door opened, he was greeted by the excited yips and moans of a very large puppy. He
scratched her behind the ear and opened the rear door to let out the dog so she could do her business in the backyard. She bee lined to the large tree
and relieved herself immediately and came running back with a ball in her mouth. He rubbed her head saying, “Sorry buddy, but you’re going to have
to content yourself with your toys in the backyard for a bit longer, Dad has to go out again. I’ll be back soon.” She sat down and moaned at him
with her head cocked to the side. “Yea, I am worried, now go play,” he said closing the door behind her She immediately starting barking, letting
her unhappiness show, or maybe it was a squirrel. Mike got into the truck and pulled out of the driveway.
While driving, Mike pondered the previous conversation with Jake. It didn’t bode well. “Thundering Buffalo” was the code for an immediate call
up of his old Reserve unit when he had retired. The rest were a modified code that he and Jake had worked out. “Wings” meant the IceHouse which
was a bar & grill where they occasionally met and were known, and “Week” meant immediately. “This can’t be good.” he was thinking over and
over and he had to keep reminding himself to stay within the speed limit. He thanked God that he had only had one beer at the local bar.
Upon entering the bar, his ears were assaulted with Toby Keith’s “I Love this Bar” and was immediately greeted by Melissa who gave him a big
hug. “Mike! Long time, no see!” she yelled, “The usual?”
Mike grinned at her and put his best Thurston Howell the Third accent on, “But of course lovey, but do tell Kelly to keep the celery and Blue
Cheese separate from the wings this time, mustn’t have cross contamination you know. Oh, and one of those fancy Falkensteiners as well.” He looked
around the bar, “Have you seen Jake?”
“No, but then again I’ve been busy, he might be out on the patio.” She was scanning the crowd. “Be right with you!” she yelled at a couple
of raised hands at the bar. “Do you want me to get him his usual as well?”
“Sure and put it on my tab, cheeseburger with double bacon with a side of chili cheese fries and a tall Miller Lite. If you see him, tell him
I’ll be on the patio.”
Melissa grimaced, “That’s a heart attack waiting to happen, and I don’t know how he stays so damn skinny.” Then she smiled at Mike (who
thought that it was quite a pretty smile), “And you too you know, you can’t keep eating those hot wings all the time, we do have a menu, much of
which is healthier for you. You’re not getting any younger you know?” With that she strutted off to take care of other customers at the bar.
He grinned after her admiring the view, “To bad she’s married”, he thought, followed by a frown, “What does she mean “all the time”? I
have hot wings once a month nowadays; they’re my treat to myself.” He smiled again as he was also too much of a realist and knew that if he
wasn’t living on a fixed retirement income, he’d be here more often. He stepped out on the patio once again curious as to why Jake had called.
Jake stepped out onto the patio several minutes later accompanied by Major Peter Goodman. Both were in civvies and looked somewhat worried. Maj
Goodman was the newest Commander of Mikes old reserve unit and had assumed command right after Mike’s retirement. They knew each other through unit
events and were on good speaking terms, but that was about it.
Melissa was following them with the beers. Mike stood and shook hands with the two. “What would you like to drink and eat, Pete? My treat.” Jake
offered. Pete smiled and told Melissa that a tall Dortmunder and a Cheeseburger would be just fine. She then disappeared back into the bar.
The three men stared at each other in awkward silence until Mike couldn’t take it anymore. “So guys, what gives?”
Jake and Pete looked at one another, and then Pete spoke in a low voice. “Let’s wait until the beer arrives and I would prefer to move farther
back on the patio where there is no crowd.”
Mike raised an eyebrow at that and when the beer arrived Mike told Melissa of their new seating arrangements. When they reseated themselves at the
picnic table, he asked, “And once again, what gives?”
Jake looked at Mike. “I’ll let Goodman explain it.” Goodman gave him a “Really?” look, “Um, sorry Sir, I’ll let Major Goodman explain
“We have a situation developing.” Pete said looking at everything and yet nothing.
Mike snorted. “That’s right up there with “Houston, we have a problem”, and what does that have to do with me? I’m not being recalled am
I? You know I retired two years ago because I’m getting to old for that crap, right? What’s going on?”
Jake finished a long pull of his draft. “Relax man, you are not being recalled, yet…if at all. There is just some pretty hinky stuff that is
going on right now.”
Mike looked Pete in the eyes. “Well, Jake said you’d explain, spill it.” He noticed that Pete seemed to be not necessarily nervous, but rather
torn and somewhat annoyed by being spoken to in such a fashion.
Pete sighed and looked as if he had come to a decision. “I’ve been ordered to come up with a Contingency Operations Plan for the company for
CONUS operations under NorthCom. I’ve already seen Commands CONOP and it really doesn’t bode well in my opinion.”
Mike intentionally slouched further, but he acknowledged that Pete had his undivided attention. “I thought that mobilizing the Reserves took a
suspension of Posse Comititus, not to mention that it is against doctrine to use PSYOP on our own civilians.” Mike knew that was wishful thinking
though as he knew the Government would always do what they thought they had to do, regardless of the consequences.
Pete looked disgusted, “When we were redesignated MISO, Joint Doctrine pretty much tossed that out. Oh, there’s still channels that must be
gone through, but the higher ups don’t have to jump through those hoops.”
Mike smiled and threw up his hands. “That designator was also one of the smaller reasons I retired. Military Information Support Operations just
doesn’t have that bang to it, you know? It sounds like a soup company now. I saw IO taking over PSYOP a long time ago as did many others, but the
powers that be just didn’t want to tip the boat and ruin their evals did they?” The subject was a sore spot for Mike.
Pete looked at Jake, “Is he always like this?” He looked back at Mike, “Stay on track man, this isn’t about some flipping designation,
it’s a hell of a lot bigger than that. Me and Jake could end up in Leavenworth for we are about to divulge.”
That got Mikes totally undivided attention. “Sorry ‘bout that Pete,” he shrugged and grinned again, “Just trying to feel ya out and see
where this is going.”
Jake saw Melissa bringing out their meals and started telling a funny story. After she had left, a definite pall once again came over them.
Mike leaned over the table. “So you’re being mobilized for a CONUS operation? What’s going on?”
Pete swallowed a bite of his burger. “Governors across the States want to mobilize their National Guard and are requesting Federal assistance to
help police their cities. There are even Mayors involved as well. And it looks like they’ll get approval. Though the Mayors may be out of luck, who
knows? We’ve been tasked to provide Detachments to conduct Information Operations in the Chicago and Detroit area. LA, New York, San Francisco, etc,
all are now to be targeted for deployment. Fourth Group will be the lead element throughout every city with the Reserves providing the bulk of
Mike felt a shiver down his spine as he already knew the answer, but had to ask anyway. “Why would they want to mobilize the Guard much less ask
for Federal assistance? And what about here? Chicago and Michigan have their own companies and Battalions, why can’t they do it?”
“Mike, I see where you’re coming from, and believe me, so does higher. They don’t want local Soldiers patrolling the streets or conducting gun
grabs if they can help it. It would be too hard to control the troops involved.”
“Gun grabs? Is this what this is about?” Mike took a deep breath to calm himself. “This is insane.” It did fit with what he had been
thinking and talking about with a few close friends in the past few months, and he realized that it went deeper than just that. “Just how far is
this going to go though.” He thought.
“No units, even the National Guard, will operate in their local areas. The Reserves and a small portion of Regular Army will provide, Logistics,
MISO, Civil Affairs, Medical and MP units to support this op. You’re right though, as this is insane.” Maj Goodman rolled his eyes. “The CONOPs
I have seen have the Units pushing the locals buttons, seizing weapons, drug busts, etc, while IO is to conduct operations that tell them we are there
to help. It’s a mess. There aren’t riots right now, but I guarantee you that there will be after all is said and done. And it will be messy as we
are predicting that up to 25% of the forces involved in the call up will not show.”
Mike was taken aback by the suddenness of it all. “And where do I fit in with all of this?” He didn’t fancy being set up nor thrown into a
Jake spoke up and eyed Maj Goodman, “We think that this is going to get a lot bigger. A fallback plan is in order. We know of quite a few people,
some of who you know of as well, that could serve as a cell of sorts if things get out of control.”
“We have a plan.”
edit on 28-2-2013 by TDawgRex because: Reedit