The surprise of war
Sunday Morning, the fifth of May: 6:30 am Local time, In the Jackson kitchen
Jacob was taking the first sip of his first cup of coffee in his Sunday morning ritual when he heard the roar of large-bore V8s thundering past his house. “Good grief! The windows are rattling. What the heck is going on?” Jakob was accustomed to a macho truck or two heading up the road to see if they could go north along the mountains, but they always slowed when they saw the gate and the threats posted on it by Isleta Pueblo always made them turn around. This was much more than he had ever heard before. He ducked down to look south out the window in the kitchen nook and saw a stream of those black trucks diving down through the arroyo south of the house and racing past the house for the gate to the base. He watched for a second as they drove by at nearly fifty miles per hour—there were literally hundreds of those trucks.
Then he snatched up the phone and dialed his office. It was busy. He dialed Base Security—busy. He dialed every number on base he could think of before it became obvious that something was wrong. He grabbed the cell phone off its charger. He speed-dialed Security on the cell. After it searched for a signal for over thirty seconds, he decided there was a really serious problem.
He hurried out the north door of the kitchen into the atrium rushing for his office. As he headed turned the corner in front of his bedroom door, he called to his wife, “Rachael, it looks like what we feared has occurred. El Patron seems to have invaded us. Pray! I’m going to contact Ralph and see if he’s heard anything. I wonder how they got this far? What looks like an invasion force is heading up the back road to the base and all the phones are down or tied up on the base. It’s those trucks we’ve been wondering about. Turn on the news.”
Jacob went into his office and fired up his computer. He launched his satellite connection. Thankfully the old Iridium network was still up. He rarely used these satellites anymore—but few knew they were still active. Part of their preparation the past two days was to get this up and checked out again. They’d gotten lazy and a little sloppy. But the satellites were still working and more importantly were very secure and largely unused any more.
Lately much of his focus had been on the design of new weapons at the Lab. He was developing tiny electromagnetic (EM) grenade-sized 44 mm and 25 mm hand bombs that would take out the electronics for square yards or a few acres. He was concerned that something like that had hit the base. But the EM grenades were not ready for prime time yet. There were only a few test samples floating around.
All he could think of was to call Ralph at Black Sail East. He’d see what Ralph had to say. Ralph would have his ear to the ground. He’d spent the past week getting his network ready.
Jakob clicked on Ralph’s secure link. It was Sunday, but when excrement hit the fan, Ralph would be at work. He watched as the whirs, clicks, and random imagery of the digital security handshake began.
As soon as the connection was complete, the room was filled with the familiar verbal assault of rough staccato that was the voice of his friend. He could tell by slightly shrill edge that problems were worse than he thought. “Jake, what’s going on out there? I’m glad we got these old satellite links set up again. I would have let you know two hours ago but I’ve been dealing with the data stream.”
“It wouldn’t have mattered. I just got up. I’m calling you, remember? I have no idea what is going on out here. I assume that this is what we’ve been preparing for. The phones are all out. I’m watching at least 200 black trucks in a speeding line that crashed through the gate at the back of my property headed up the back road to the base through my back yard. What do you know?”
“Boy, that possibility slipped by me! Whoever we’re dealing with is sharp. But, there’s nothing we can do about it. We sent several planes over Albuquerque to check things out, but they were all shot down if they were flying under 20,000 feet. Now that the sun is up the high altitude shots and satellites show lines of vehicles moving throughout the state. Most of the base is covered with smoke, so we’re not sure what is happening there. We should have some infrared satellite shots in an hour or so. Basically, we know very little other than it is obvious that a major battle is taking place. There were a few calls saying Kirtland was under attack—but they were cut off. All cell phones in the entire metropolitan area are down. The landlines are all down.
“All we know for sure is that there have been many explosions in all of the passes through the mountains in New Mexico—Cimarron, Coyote Creek, Tres Ritos, Apache Canyon west of Glorieta, Carnuel, Hondo, Cloudcroft. Some are so remote we don’t have reliable intel yet. They missed very few and we have to assume that the rest are set to blow whenever needed or at least before we can mount a serious offensive. Guadalupe Pass just south of the New Mexico/Texas border and I-10 just west of Van Horn, Texas have been cut off also.
“Before the phones went down, there was a report of thousands of those friggin’ black trucks passing through Juarez into El Paso. We cannot contact Fort Bliss. Out West, San Diego and everything in that area are unavailable. Cell phones are generally unavailable throughout the Southwest—California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. What can you tell me?”
“Well, not much really. They appear to be the trucks we have been talking about. They’re beefed up new Dodge Ram 4x4s that have nineteen-inch wheels with tough flat black spoked rims, hemis, and plenty of ground clearance. Judging from the sound as they go by the house, the engines are far from stock.
“Wait, let me move to my window! I’m watching them head up through the base and several of them are blowing the camper shells off. Good grief, you won’t believe this, but under the tops are machine guns and missiles. The machine guns are swivel-mounted, double-barreled monsters, maybe 25mm. The missile launchers seem to come in two flavors: anti-aircraft mounts and infantry anti-tank mounts. I don’t recognize the weapons—though they look new.”
“I knew it! We assumed something like that. I’m guessing new Chinese weaponry. I’ll let the White House know.”
Jacob laughed, “The White House?”
“They don’t like it much, but I know more than anyone they have at this point. Like I said, I’m hooked up through Homeland Security. I’ll call back later and fill you in. Maybe we’ll have something to do in the near future.”
“Call as soon as you can. I’ll check the computer regularly. Let me get the rest of the team up here. Talk to you in a bit.”
“You bet—so long, Jake.”
Jacob clicked off, a grim look on his face, and sat in thought for a couple of long minutes watching the trucks that were still racing by the hacienda. He turned back to computer. While he was waiting, he swung back to the window and took some sips of his hot coffee from his stainless Starbucks mug.
His mind was racing like it hadn’t for several years. Things had ramped up a little since Thursday, but this was a whole new, higher level of thought.
He noticed the brain activity with a smile, “I’ve missed this. The work on the base is satisfying, but this feels better. It’s nice to be off the theoretical for a while.” He swung back to the computer and opened Mail. “OK…” he sighed. “At least the commercial satellites are still up and running.” He saw emails from several of his friends and acquaintances back East downloading. Murmuring to himself, he quickly composed three letters and sent them off.
Then he grabbed his mug and went in to talk to Rachael. In the large master suite in the northeast corner of the hacienda, Jacob sat down in the leather club chair in the corner. From the chair he could look east out the stained French doors leading to their private patio and up the mountains nearly three thousand feet through the scattered piñon and cedar trees. The peaks were too high to see. Looking left, he could see north to the clouds of smoke covering the base on the south edge of Albuquerque twenty miles to the north.
Rachael came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her chest, drying her hair. The vigorous scalp massage loosened the towel that gradually dropped to the floor.
As always, Jacob was stirred by his wife. This was no anorexic cadaver model, but a fully curvaceous redheaded woman from the mold of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Jane Mansfield. “Woman, you are gorgeous!”
Rachael giggled and blushed a little. She was very modest, but she knew what she had was all Jacob’s. “Come over here, big boy.”
Jacob stood up, walked over, and wrapped his wife in his long, Swedish arms. The smoothness of her back was intoxicating as his hands swept down in past her waist and out over the graceful curves. The kiss was long and deep. Finally Rachael gently pushed him away. “Enough… I’ve got to go to work.” She turned on her full, dazzling smile letting her beloved husband know how much she loved him. What a man… girl, God has truly blessed you.
Jacob relaxed his arms, leaned back forward, and gently finished the kiss. Heading back to his chair he asked, “Heard anything on TV?”
“Fox seems to be in full battle mode. I haven’t heard so many talking heads since we were driving to Baghdad going after Saddam. But there are no reporters from out here. Everything west of the Rockies seems to be down. The gist seems to be that they don’t know much, but it’s bad. The worst, as far as they are concerned, is that all the major stations throughout the West seem to be cut off. So far, they have really heard nothing. The local stations here that are still on the air have news departments playing canned reruns of shows from the past weeks. FoxNews is talking about explosions throughout New Mexico, Texas, and California.”
“No wonder Ralph sounded so chipper. The battle for Kirtland would be enough to get him going—the rest of this makes it truly sound like war. I sent emails to Denzell, Stones, and Bebe. They should be here after church. We need to pray about what to do.”
Rachael turned around and looked at her husband, “So pray, already…”
He did—as always asking for wisdom and guidance. When he had thoroughly covered the topic, he looked back at his wife and her amen. “Chorizo in your burrito?”
“Think I’d rather have ham, hon.”
“It’ll be ready when you are. I’ll be in the kitchen.” Jake left his wife to her prayers and preparation for the anointing needed for useful preaching. His conversation with the Lord continued also. Church would be interesting this morning, at the very least.