Class assignment using "lies" we told about ourselves on day one. They are incorporated.
|“Ingles? No hablo Español. I. Don’t. Speak. Spanish,” Tom said. Frustrated with the inability to communicate with the Latino gas station attendant with the odd reptilian phone cover, he wondered if he would be able to fill the Limo. His government issued credit card wasn’t working in the pump and he was already running late. “I need to fill up,” he says again with a condescending tone. “Sheesh, at least the President is in a jovial mood.”
They had just come from skiing for the weekend at the South Park Tegrity Ski Resort. The fresh snow made for a great weekend, which was needed since they were scheduled for a fourteen-hour flight to Europe. His youngest daughter, Sasha, had just joined USA Olympic Women’s Volleyball team and they were playing in a tournament this weekend.
While he was President, Obama had his fill of traveling around the world and had hoped for a relaxing and mostly stationary retirement. Instead, as expected, he was in great demand for speeches and awards while at the same time trying to keep up his parental and husbandry duties by jetting off to various events for both of his daughters and wife. This weekend was just another in a long series of events on his schedule. Getting some time in on the slopes had improved his outlook for the trip.
As Obama was editing a speech, he peered over the papers at his daughter, “Sasha. Sasha, take your headphones off. You’re still upset?”
Sasha looked out the window. Her music had been off for at least five minutes. She fumed, “I wanted to travel with the team. I don’t get why I couldn’t, is all.”
“We talked about this. Your older sister and Mom had to head out early to check out the University. We’re going together,” her father said.
“That’s not what I mean dad. I wanted to go with the team. It makes me look ‘special’,” she did the air double quotes as she rolled her eyes. “I just want to be part of the team.”
“I understand. We discussed this. With the family already split up, another split would be hard for the agents. You know this already. I don’t know why I have to keep explaining it to you.” Satisfied that he’d made his point, the former President returned to marking up the speech with notes.
Malia, the oldest daughter, had been studying the German language during the vacation so she would be ready to start Heidelberg University in the fall.
Tom finally filled the beast and was buckling in to start the two-hour drive to Denver. As he pulled out, he noticed a light in the distance. “Surely we can’t see the flight path yet,” he thought. The light was moving steadily north, just like any plane would that was landing at the Denver International Airport.
One thing he missed about White House duty was the secure airspace. No planes could come within several miles of the President. Now, they travel in unmarked vehicles and fly on commercial or private jets not funded by the government. No special treatment. No checking the runway or setting up a secure perimeter except for a few feet around the family. Once both kids were adults, they would lose their protection, but for now at least the younger daughter was protected along with the both parents.
Driving north on I-25 towards Colorado Springs, Tom noticed the lights on the planes were erratic. At first, he thought they were flying into Denver, but now they seem to be flying in all different directions. Some seem to be going supersonic, almost like UFOs. He wonders if Peterson Air Force Base is having some night exercises and bombing runs for practice. The Army often has night drop practice. Basically, skydiving at night on steroids; usually it’s farther away from populated areas.
Just then a bright flash. His earpiece crackled and went dead. Was it a nuke? Had we been attacked? He didn’t see a cloud of fire rising. If it was a nuke the sky would like a mid-day sun on a hot summer day. Maybe an EMP blast. These are just like a nuke but without the fallout. Instead, they wipe every electronic device for miles. The limo was immune since it was the old “beast” presidential limo. It still had all the cool protective systems, including EMP and blast protection.
The intercom buzzed, “Tom, what was that? Did you see it?” asked the President.
“Yes, sir. I’m not sure what it was but my ear comm went dead, so it took out communication towers.” Tom was nervous. Being a former president, Obama received regular briefings, but the new guy, “Cheetos” they called him, had ordered his briefings stopped. He still got them on occasion, but not as often or up to date since it had to be on the sly.
“Mister President, I think I should find a payphone and see if we can contact Denver,” Tom said, “My cell isn’t working either since the towers are out. I think it was an EMP blast but I’m not sure what would cause it.”
“Tom, just try to get us to the base. We’ll be secure there and we can find out what’s going on,” said Obama. His daughter had her headphones on and was sleeping, so she missed it all.
Tom put his foot down on the accelerator until the vehicle hit 120 miles per hour. Though it could easily go faster, he wanted to be sure he could handle a turn should they run into trouble. He started to buzz the back but stopped as he glanced in the mirror. Obama was already buckling up Sasha and then himself. He knew the drill. Though they wouldn’t fly through a window, they’d definitely get tossed around in an accident or in evasive maneuvers.
As they approached the base, Tom began to get worried. Usually, there were bright spotlights, runway lights, and more lighting up the sky. But tonight, it was dark. Nothing. No lights anywhere, almost as if they were closed for business.
He slowed his approach and turned onto the base road. He expected to run into guards immediately, but he made it all the way to the gate without seeing a soul. No guards. No anything really.
“Tom, what’s going on?” asked Obama.
“Sir, I’m not entirely sure. There should be guards and lights. Maybe they’re in lock-down,” he nervously lied. Tom knew they would have even more guards in a lock-down situation. Even Obama would have a hard time getting on base in that situation, but tonight there’s nothing.
“OK, Tom, something is wrong. I’m getting out, we have to find someone,” said the President. “Sasha, stay in the car. Do not get out under any circumstances. Tom, secure the car, then give me a gun.”
Sasha cried out, “Dad, don’t go! I don’t want to be alone.”
“Honey, you’ll be safe in here. Look at the tracker. You can see me. You can watch that marker and see where I am,” he said. There was a special tracking system that worked with the GPS in the car, showing where each family member was located. This was for protection, but also so the security team would know when the Obamas were heading towards the car during events. Since they were in the car during the first flash, their personal protective trackers were still working.
“Look, there’s two markers,” he said as he pointed at the screen. “One for you and one for me.”
Sasha sat back and folded her arms in frustration, but she knew he was right. She wouldn’t be safe anywhere else. “Promise me you’ll come back,” she muttered.
“I promise. Just stay down,” he said.
When Tom opened the trunk of the beast, Obama gasped.
“Holy shit, Tom. I knew you guys had guns, but this is ridiculous,” said Obama. He knew they carried weapons in the car, but even he hadn’t taken the time to look in the trunk. There were FIM-92 shoulder-mount stinger missiles, anti-tank rockets, and several MP5 submachine guns.
Obama reached in for an MP5 and some ammo. Tom grabbed the same and then a Sig Sauer P229, which looks like a smaller Glock pistol, for the President.
“Sir, you’re going to need this for close in. Are you sure you know how to use these?” he asked, knowing full well that Obama had gone through several hours of weapons training in secret after entering the White House. He was one of the few protectees who did not want to be useless if things got bad. And tonight, they were bad.
“Sir, grab a flashlight and let’s head through the gate towards that hanger. At the very least, we should be able to find a landline in there. If you see anyone or anything shout it out,“ he instructed. This was no time to worry about being spotted.
As they made their way to the closest hanger, they noticed several fuel trucks and a hauler were strangely parked.
“Check that out,” said Tom. “It looks like whoever was driving them just bailed out and let them roll to a stop.” Tom pushed open the door on the office side of the hanger.
Shining their lights around, Tom said, “Sir, it looks like people were here, but they left in a hurry. The place almost looks ransacked, but not quite.”
There were some papers strewn about on the floor, a few other things were out of sorts, but the file cabinets were all closed except for a couple. It’s almost as if they just vaporized in place.
Obama grabbed the phone on one of the desks.
“Tom, you know who to call. Let’s find out what’s going on.”
Just as Tom reached for the phone, there was another blast of the pure hot white light. Tom grabbed Obama’s lapel, dragging him to the ground. Nearly blinded, they covered their eyes as it faded. Obama glanced in the direction of the gate, hoping Sasha was ok.
“The light came from inside the hanger, sir. At least it looked like it,” said Tom.
“What did you see? What is it?” asked Obama. If there was some sort of experiment going on, surely, he would know about it from his briefings.
They stealthily approached the center of the hanger, keeping to the shadows as much as possible. A large apparatus was sitting in the middle. Its shape seemed familiar to the agent. “It looks like— a giant spark plug,” he said.
“What the hell is it,” said Obama. Seeing no signs of movement, they closed in with darting eyes, seeking any movement. Huge electrical lines ran from the device along the floor. Floating his hand just over the wires, he could feel the electric build up.
Tom was studying the device when he noticed the hanger roof was opened above it. Looking back down with his flashlight, he noticed a deep, bored hole right below it. “What the hell—,” he began.
As the static charge hummed loudly, he threw himself at the President just as he was trained to do.
A flash. The sky was as white as a pure lightning strike on a stormy night. Sasha had been crouching in the car, peering through the seats and through the front window for nearly an hour. Twice now, the light had illuminated the sky. She’d lost track of her father’s movements when they entered the hanger. He said to stay down; to stay inside the car. Tom had secured the car, which could now only be opened with a code. No one in. No one out.
Sasha looked up at the GPS system. Only her marker was active.