Somewhere over the Rockies: 2:36pm
“Hello, Guenther Chiles? This is Bob Morrison calling. I know this is a bit out of order, but these are extraordinary times. I'm on my way to Destination 35. The Vice-President, ... ahh, President has asked me to give you a call to get things rolling. I know you don't know who I am. Well, I'm Deputy Director and Head of the San Francisco office of the FBI. As you know, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Mildred Chase is dead, so is the FBI Director Bob Johanas. President Knox has asked me to pull together all the branches for a summit to began as soon as we all can get together. I know you're sitting on a beehive right now, but Knox wants her heads to be thinking in the same direction. Bring your best strategist, put your second-in-command in charge, and join us.“ Morrison then gave Chiles an opportunity to speak.
“I don't know who the hell you are, or how you got through to me--but the cell phone isn't going to cut it. I'm too busy right now to be talking to crackpots!“ Chiles' voice was raised and brusque. He was about the hang up on this intruder….
“Pearl Harbor 41.“ Bob Morrison uttered the code that Homeland Security had issued for just such an eventuality as this--as horrible as it was.
Guenther Chiles changed his tune. “OK, you're legit. I'm on my way.“ He made a few phone calls, gathered up his essentials, gave a few notes to his secretary, and headed upstairs to the waiting helicopter.
Morrison had a few more calls to make. It was risky using the cell phone, but he had no choice. All emergency lines were jammed and he didn't have time. He just hoped that all the numbers would be good and that he'd get through.
Destination 35 was one of those played-out mines that permeate the interior of America like caves. There are so many that it was easy for Homeland Security to select a few for short or long term use in the event of nuclear war, widespread terrorism, anarchy, or natural disaster such as a meteor hit. They were chosen for qualities that would make them safe and secure for long-term activity, whether it was the protection of citizens or military action. They were also chosen for their inconspicuous entry and ready access to the supplies and tools needed for long-term activity.
The selected mines all had at least three outlets to the surface, underground water, a good ventilation system, and stand-alone power units. the rest was easy. Sealing all entrances that were easily accessible to the public , say those in the center of town, by making the entrance look abandoned, locked, and unused for many years. From inside, the entrance would be easily accessible and open at the flick of a switch. A remote entrance would be used as the main entrance. Every effort was made to make it look abandoned and locked too. Small teams, disguised as Sears repair trucks, regularly maintained the mines. When they were being used, access to the entrances were maintained by FBI, State Police, or National Guard. If high ranking U.S Government officials were present, the Secret Service stepped in.
Destination 35: 21:30pm EDT
Bob Morrison spoke to a group of about 30 gathered around the conference table in a nicely appointed room deep underground: “Hi, I'm Bob Morrison. Until this morning, I was head of the San Francisco office of the FBI. At about 10:00am this morning, President Knox called me and asked me to lead this mission. Ladies and gentleman, we have until Friday morning to complete it. In the meantime, the President is spearheading the formation of the Emergency Task Force to deal with the terrible crisis at hand. Nothing we do or say here will leave this room, except under the explicit orders of the Commander in Chief.
“A study was conducted two years ago by a group of strategic scholars from major universities under the auspices of Homeland Security. The study determined that many of the government's efforts underway--the war on poverty, the war on drugs, and the war on terrorism, were not working. Military strikes gave the appearance of decisive action, while undermining the strength of cultural stability worldwide. The United States has become both a savior and villain to the rest of the world. We are saviors to those with money, connections, and guile to get past the INS and enter our population. We are expected to open our arms and accept all those who hunger for a better life. The fact is we can't and aren't doing it. The animosity is growing among those who wish to come and will never have the opportunity. It is those we must worry about, and their numbers are growing by the millions each year.
You know of the debacle in Somalia and the mess we're in in Afghanistan. In the 21st century, the study shows, and President Knox believes, that military action is no longer viable or acceptable for solving our problems. It is the very same patriotic force that drives us at a time like this to select a target for our grief and anger and send the military to excise it. The fact is that we're losing the battle. Most wars fought in the last century did little to solve problems deep-seated in the culture. Military action in this century may have consequences far greater than we can imagine. A new kind of war must be waged. Ladies and gentleman, we have four days to map a plan for that war.“
The formation of the Office of Homeland Security and the subsequent investigations after 911 revealed that the key branches of security, the CIA, NSA, and FBI were not communicating and cooperating very well. Those in the room now knew that the stakes were now much higher and that cooperation, not guarded suspicion, was in order. There was little bickering over protocol as they set to work. It took every bit of those four days, but they came up with a plan. By the time they emerged, the investigation of what had happened was well underway.