The hijackers are a handful of ultra right wing Japanese nationals who are seeking revenge and retribution for the shameful mini-war with the United States the year before. The defeat has festered and now there is to be sweet revenge. They have decided that the ransom for the ship and passengers will enable them to show the world that the gaijin (barbarians) are vulnerable and all those who hate the Americans should rise up and create terror against the Americans.
There is a bonus for the terrorists as onboard is two principals from the earlier hostilities. Mike Ellison (a CEO of a major aerospace co.) and Art Colfax (FBI) were the catalysts for the events that led up to the military catastrophe for the Japanese a year before.
The hijackers are asking for a five hundred million-dollar ransom and safe passage to an undisclosed site. They plan to fly out of a deserted World War Two airstrip near the coast of Alaska. They intend to take hostages from the crew and passengers and use a ships' boat to go ashore.
The failure of a joint Delta-Seal team attack at sea is a disastrous failure and the world now waits for the drama to unfold. The Japanese terrorists make a successful getaway and are tracked to an Iranian airfield where they land with the ransom and hostages. However, they are betrayed and in a surprise attack are massacred by the Iranians.
The U.S. president states that there will not be another Iranian hostage affair. We demand that the hostages be released immediately. Iran procrastinates and says, in a day or two.
The U.S. throws down the gauntlet and attacks one of Iran's oil refineries. The Indians are livid at the attack and vow revenge. The hostages are petrified.
An eye-for-an-eye Iran proclaims and terrorist fanatics attack the New York City subway system at rush hour with nerve gas. The carnage staggers the country. There are over a million dead; the disposition of that many bodies alone creates a mind-boggling problem.
A nuclear strike is ordered by the President and sanctioned by the congress. The U.S. and its people hunger for revenge. Armageddon is close!
Los Angeles 2005
Who can control his fate?
. . . William Shakespeare
John Donovan, a tough forty-two year old lieutenant in the LAPD, was crouched behind a retaining wall in a rough East Compton neighborhood. Donovan was over six feet tall and had a hard body, he was part of that new breed of cop; he worked out continuously and kept himself fit. In today’s environment he, like others, spent a good deal of time on the pistol range-he could shoot! His face was craggy; his short hair was coal black with a touch of gray here and there. His eyes were cobalt blue and when he was on the job, seemed depthless.
He looked like a cop! He was a damn good one!
The house he was looking at was a typical post World War II LA bungalow. It was set about three feet above the sidewalk behind a cinder block retaining wall. Like many older neighborhoods in LA, time had not been kind to it or its people. Most of the current residents felt no pride of ownership or sense of community. Hell, they were scared, poor and mentally and physically beaten. The police knew it as a fallow ground for crime.
Where in the fuck is the backup, Donovan thought while gripping the nine-millimeter Browning in his big sweaty fist. Shit, all they needed was for these two pricks to make a run for it. The bastards already had them outgunned with what he believed to be a UZI and an M16.
He and his sometimes partner, a black sergeant by the name of Jenkins, aka ‘the Beast’ to his colleagues and the bad guys, had been doing a surveillance job, and now it had become a siege.
Some nice neighbor had apparently called the perps and told them they were being watched; in any event the surveillance was now a confrontation. Shit, he and the Beast were only there to relieve the surveillance team for a short break.
Lieutenants and sergeants didn’t normally do surveillance work, but the LAPD had their backs to the wall with the officer shortage. Seems like the potential young recruits didn’t like getting shot at, an increasing occurrence for the thin blue line.
There were two male perps, ages twenty something, one black and one white. There was also strong evidence that they were the ones that had been terrorizing the Compton area with holdups, rapes and finally a murder. They had vowed never to be taken alive, and so far it looked like they were going to get their wish. Donovan hoped the cavalry would arrive before the two made their play.
“Beast, how you doing back there?” Donovan asked speaking into his hand-held.
“I’m going from scared to really pissed off,” the Beast replied. “I wish I had a fucking bazooka: I’d show those little pricks some real action. Where’s the backup John?”
“Should be here momentarily, Beast-a full blown swat team,” said Donovan.
“Shit! They’re coming out,” shouted the Beast, and the radio went dead.
“Damn it,” said Donovan. He could hear the unmistakable chattering sounds of an M16 and a UZI and then the sharp crack of a Browning. The Beast was still alive.
Donovan was on his feet instantly moving cautiously to the back of the rundown bungalow, “Beast, you OK?” he bellowed as he reached the corner of the house. The Beast was lying on some tired brown grass behind an old wreck of a car in a littered backyard.
Next to the back steps lay one of the perps, the black one.
“I’m hit but OK. I got one of them; the other is headed up the alley to your left. Get the son-of-a-bitch! I’ll shoot this prick again if he moves!”
Believe it pal, thought Donovan and he started moving up the alley cautiously yet rapidly. He thought, Christ, I even move cautiously to the crapper now.
His adrenaline was up and all his senses were acutely turned on. He was absolutely livid, the little prick had shot a cop he knows his ass is grass. The alley was a Goddamn junkyard, plenty of places for that little prick to hide.
“In that garage mister,” said a wide-eyed little black lady, peeking over the fence. “Around the fence over there the honky went in there. Careful he’s got a rifle.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” He thought, isn’t civilian cooperation wonderful, particularly black on white and vice versa?
“All right, asshole,” Donovan bellowed toward the garage, “come outta that garage, hands on your head.”
The SWAT team had arrived; the black van was turning into the alley and the team was pouring out of the back, willing and able to kickass.
“All right tough guy, the SWAT team is here and these cops won’t screw around; they’ll blow your head off”, said Donovan.
“I’m coming out. Don’t shoot!” and with that the perp opened the garage door and burst out firing his M16.
He was a scrawny white kid in baggy gangsta clothes, wild eyed, tattooed, dirty and unkempt. He’s on something, thought Donovan. Shit he’s got enough metal on his face to set off an alarm.
He was referring to the hoops and rings in his ears, eyebrows, nose and other facial protrusions.
Donovan started shooting; he was all ready in a full combat stance behind some trashcans. Simultaneously the lead SWAT team member coming up the alley opened up with his M16 on full automatic.
The young gunman was lifted completely off the ground and landed on his back. Not a twitch did he make!
Jesus, I’m tired, thought Donovan, lowering and safetying his weapon. There was no doubt about the perp’s condition.
He turned to the SWAT lieutenant as they walked over to the dead youngster and asked, “How’s my partner?”
“He’s fine, John. Caught one in the shoulder, but it’s not serious. He nailed the other prick; so I guess the case is closed.”
“Yeah,” Donovan replied, “just a week of paperwork remaining. The only good deal is a little admin leave for the shooting.” He was referring to the placing of an officer on administrative leave after a deadly shooting.
It was three days later and his boss called him into his office and asked, ”John, you and Carla still a thing?”
“Yeah, captain, why?” John knew the LAPD was not crazy about its male and female members being close, so Donovan had his guard up.
“Settle down, John. This last shoot-out was a bear and it’s also been a helluva year for you in particular. You should know that I spoke to Carla’s boss and we believe the two of you should take a week or so off. She’s also had a tough month working vice, as I’m sure you know.”
“Yeah captain I did. Thanks a helluva lot, I appreciate the thought and the timing, let me talk it over with her, okay?” replied Donovan.
“Sure John, but don’t wait too long another big case pops and you’ll be tagged again,” and he walked away.
John was meeting Carla for dinner that night. They lived together but rarely cooked, both generally too exhausted for anything but frozen dinners in or a quick dinner at one of the local restaurants. They both agreed laughingly that the kitchen was the least used part of their house.
That night in bed after a non-too-successful attempt at lovemaking John said, “honey let’s us two tough cops take a cruise and we’ll let the captain of the ship marry us.”
She rose up and the sheet slipped down from those glorious breasts and she said, “are you okay John?”
“Hell yes, that was a proposal, not very good timing but none the less a proposal.”
“Oh John” and she put one arm around his neck and with the other fondled his limp dick laughing and crying said, “I accept.”
He grew hard, she giggled, raised up and then slid down on him, “okay copper I gotcha covered, your move.”
He grasped the hard mounds of her ass and as he later put it; they rode off into the night.
The news spread like a wildfire in the homicide and vice squads. Two favorites were doing the right thing. They were both highly respected professionals. Carla was part of the new breed of female cops, she was a female, yeah, tough but not hard, bright and still optimistic, the job had not destroyed her outlook nor her upbeat personality. Her success in vice after a great job in patrol cars had marked her as a comer. That the two were together made the cops feel great.
The Beast, looking better after a few days in the hospital said with a smirk, “we’re all feeling like cupids.”
John laughed and said, “Jesus Beast, hearing that from you scares the shit out of me.”
Laughing the huge black Sergeant grabbed his elbow and said, “excuse us Carla, come along Lou (the cop diminutive for lieutenant) we have a hydraulic lunch (a favorite cop expression for a mostly liquid lunch) ahead of us. A few of us in the squad believe that this event needs to be celebrated in the proper fashion.”
“Since when have you guys ever needed an excuse to get shit-faced?” said Carla.
The two strolled off together, a black man and a white man content with each other’s company.
Captain Steve Elias USN had just left the Hill and returned to the Pentagon. He walked into his office, a little alcove he shared with three other senior officers and said, “shit.”
“That good, huh Steve,” said his friend and colleague, Captain ‘Buzz’ Busby and the others laughed.
Steve had been briefing congressional staff members of the House Armed Services Committee on a new aircraft. The Navy was trying to get funding for additional flight tests. It was to be another attempt at a joint USN\USAF fighter. The two services had paid lip service to the idea for years until the Navy’s F4 Phantom came along in the sixties. It could be done but each service needed and had different requirements to fulfill. The big incentive now for both services was the budget or rather the lack of it.
“God, I’m frustrated,” he said to the other three officers. “Now that the USSR has gone tango uniform (teats up) the need for new equipment is passé’ on the Hill. The Afghani operation supposedly proved that our equipment would last for another decade or so.”
“Yeah,” said Buzz, “while eminently successful there were big drawbacks. Air Force Tacair couldn’t get there and the Navy carrier aircraft needed extensive tanking to make the targets.”
They were no longer laughing, they all had at one time or another shared his frustration. Their job was Navy tactical aviation requirements, airplanes and weapons. Each one had a weapon or airplane system that he was responsible for; that is the definition of an, ‘action officer’ in pentagonese.
“Christ, Steve,” said his friend Buzz, “you know how it is, we fight internally in naval aviation for funds, then Navy-wide, then with all the other services. We finally take the budget to the Hill and get beat up some more by the congressional staffies, who out-number us, and then we face the full House committee in-session. Hell it’s a wonder we’re not flying biplanes and using sling shots.”
I know Buzz, but shit, worst of all is that after all that sea duty, you get a little shore duty and end up in the Pentagon with God awful hours and a large portion of bullshit, hell it’s worse than sea duty.”
They all nodded, they knew that a Pentagon tour was called, delta sierra (dog-shit) for a reason.
“Buzz I had an offer from the Boeing fighter division last week, damn sight more money than I’m making now, Joanne believes I should take it. After all my flying days are over, and this is sure no way to live.”
“Yeah I know, Steve, they don’t call the Pentagon the house of coronaries for nothing.” Buzz was referring to the electric golf cart type ambulances that seemed to be always on the move in the corridors of the Pentagon to pick-up another heart attack victim. It was a major work place for the study of heart attacks on middle-aged men in high stress jobs.
“Hell they’ve documented our shitty medical histories to support the studies and conclusions. After all take a lot of middle-aged men and stir well with vast amounts of stress and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a coronary. But what the hell Steve, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”
They all grimaced at the time worn cliché, the laughter and camaraderie kept them all sane and working together. They agreed combat flying was not as tough as certain Pentagon tours.
That night Steve and his wife Joanna were having their ritual one drink before dinner.
“Joanne I’m thinking about pulling the plug and taking the Boeing offer, what do you think?”
She replied, “you know how I feel Steve, the flip side of your statement is, can you leave the Navy and be happy six months after you retire? If you find out or realize you made a bad decision it will be too late.”
“I know and you’re right, but my future is office type work and if I’m going to do that then, why not in industry?”
“Steve, I agree, put in your letter and let’s take a cruise, you know that’s a ship without a flight deck. It also has excellent food, entertainment and a lot of bars. And finally your roommate can be a lot of fun.”
“Damn that would be a change of pace from carrier operations.”
Steve and Joanna had been married twelve years, no children, she couldn’t. They both came from solid middle-class families. He had attended the Naval Academy and then gone to flight training. He had been a hell-raiser and some said the profile for Maverick in the movie Top Gun.
Joanna had become a leading computer manager and also had led a fast, ‘good time’ life style.
They were both ready for marriage and had settled down happily, the only real problem had been the lack of children. Adoption is tough for an on-the-go Navy couple; most agencies were very clear in their belief that they couldn’t provide a suitable home environment.
That of course was a lot of bullshit, but alas bureaucrats are not known for any great depth of knowledge or common sense.