Four days in february, p.1
Four Days In February,
Four Days In February
By: Roy Diestelkamp
Cover Art By: CL Smith from www.goonwrite.com
Copyright 2013 Roy Diestelkamp
This e-book is a work of fiction. All events, characters, places, firms and institutions in this novel are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a ficticious manner. Any similarity to any persons, living or dead, or to any actual events, firms or institutions is coincidental or unintentional.
Table of Contents
About the Author
I dedicate this book to Mary, my wife, and the woman I love.
"Am I being kidnapped?" he yelled.
General Pinchon's hair was disheveled, his knee was sore, and he had a bump and a cut on his forehead. An SUV had just screeched to a halt in front of him, and two men had leaped out and seized him by the arms and shoulders, and thrown him into the back seat, banging his head and knee on the door frame. The grab had taken just seconds, and now the vehicle was speeding away. Pinchon didn't know why these men would want to kidnap him. It didn't make any sense. He had been retired from the Army for three years; he was comfortable but not rich. He didn't have any state secrets anymore. So why had these men jumped him? It sure wasn't how he had planned to vacation in Hawaii.
He had been standing outside his hotel, waiting for an Army staff car to pick him up and take him to a luncheon with Army Chief of Staff, William Yates. Yates was visiting commands in Hawaii and California and had personally invited Pinchon to lunch, because he said that he wanted the retired General's advice and strategy on some upcoming operations. He said there would be a few others at the meeting, too, but had not said who. An aide of General Yates had then phoned back and changed the pickup time to 01100 hours, an hour earlier than originally set by the Chief of Staff. Pinchon had been glad to hear from his old friend and protégé, who had served under him in past campaigns, and two years ago had been promoted to Army Chief. He had looked forward to hearing how things were going between the new President and Army commanders, during these turbulent times.
That was then, but this was now. He was a prisoner in the back seat of an SUV, with some uncommunicative burly guy sitting on each side of him. None of his assailants were willing to talk; he didn't even know what language they spoke. They obviously knew who he was, and where he could be picked up, but though he demanded, they didn't identify themselves.
The SUV sped quickly from the hotel, but not so fast as to screech tires or catch the attention of bystanders. The vehicle made some sharp turns at various intersections and then headed onto an expressway. They travelled at normal highway speed now, and there seemed to be another vehicle travelling in concert with them. Eventually both vehicles turned off the highway at the airport exit. Through the dark tinted windows Pinchon could see they were not going to the terminal, but headed down a long service road, then through a side gate that opened for them, and finally the SUV drove into a hangar. As they entered the hangar the General could see parked inside was an all white executive jet. The men again quickly hustled him out of the vehicle and onto the waiting plane, and moved him down the aisle and into a seat over the wing. There were other people on the plane.
"Am I a prisoner? I was grabbed and manhandled right off the street! Do you know who I am? I am retired Army General Bull Pinchon. Who are you? Where are we going?"
He had asked those questions before in the SUV, but had not gotten any answers. The man opposite him was clean shaven, short haired, and well dressed, in a black suit with some sort of a little pin in the lapel. He was wearing a headset and was talking on it to someone.
The man looked at Pinchon and said, "No, Sir! General, you are not a prisoner. I am a Special Agent, my name is Samuel Melman, and we are going to Washington."
General Pinchon shifted his eyes about, taking stock of his surroundings; it was some kind of a small luxury jet. Up closer to the front of the cabin, he could see two other dark suited men sitting on a brown couch in front of a long table. They were speaking to a man in a crisp white uniform, probably a pilot; but they were not speaking loudly enough for Pinchon to hear. Opposite the General, between him and the couch, and facing to the rear of the plane were two big empty executive leather seats, separated by the aisle. Another matching fourth seat was across the aisle, but turned perpendicular from the others to face towards him. Out of the corner of his eye Pinchon could see there were two more sets of chairs behind him facing the front. Two of his captors moved behind him and sat there, and one moved back up front to a seat opposite the men on the couch. Outside the plane's engines were starting up, and their high pitch whine was getting louder.
Pinchon raised his voice over the sound of the engines and asked the Special Agent, "Did you say we were going to Washington? ...Is that D.C.?"
"Yes Sir," D.C.," agent Melman replied back loudly. "Sir, I want to apologize for any inconvenience in the manner we brought you onto the plane. I hope it was not to unsettling for you."
The General snorted, "'Inconvenience,' you say! I was waiting for a pick up ride beside my hotel, when this black SUV roars up; two men jump me, and push me into the side door. We were driven through some back gate of the airport, to this hangar, and hustled onto this plane. I hardly call that an 'inconvenience.' That seems like a kidnapping to me."
"Yes, Sir, I am sorry for that, I hope it was not too unpleasant for you. I assure you again, you are not being kidnapped; as strange as it seems, we meant you no harm. Those men were following my orders. It was necessary for you to be picked up with as little commotion and witnesses as possible.
Oh, the pilot has just told me that we can roll out and take off. We have been moved up the queue of departing aircraft and have been given expedited clearance. We will be the next to take off. Sir, it's a twelve hour flight from Honolulu to D.C., so I urge you to relax if you can. After we get in the air, a steward can serve you some refreshments and lunch. Consider yourself our guest."
"Lunch! I was supposed to have lunch with some Army brass. That was where I was going when I met your friends. There are some powerful Generals that were expecting me to have lunch with them at the officer's club, not with you. You are aware that they are going to know something is wrong when I don't turn up."
"Yes Sir, Melman replied, I am sure they will wonder."
Pinchon thought for a moment and said: "I suppose this means that you are the one who phoned and changed my meeting by an hour, and that was not done by General Yates staff."
"Yes Sir, sorry again for that, but we wanted you to come to another meeting, not that one. So we arranged to pick you up an hour before they did."
"Do you really think that I am not going to be missed. I am a stickler for punctuality;
"Yes Sir, they will wonder about why you didn't show up, maybe even send someone out to look for you, but by then you will be at 35,000 feet over the Pacific."
Pinchon frowned and enquired, "When are we supposed to get to D.C.?"
"We will be getting into Andrews Airbase at around 0600, Sir."
"Andrews," we are landing at Andrews. Not Dulles or National?"
"No Sir. We are landing at Andrews."
"This isn't a military jet; it's private isn't it?"
"This is not a military plane, but 'private,' Sir."
"So how come we are able to land at Andrews?"
"We have permission, Sir."
"Are you military?"
"No Sir. I am with the Secret Service. I did serve in the Army. I was a captain, and fought in Desert Storm, Sir."
"Isn't it highly unusual for the Service to be involved in civilian renditions?"
"Sir, you are not under arrest. You are just going to a meeting."
"Well, any idea why somebody in Washington wants me there so bad that they couldn't just ask me to come and meet them?"
"No Sir, I just am following orders," agent Melman replied.
"Humph. There are lots of retired Generals, and half of them work for cable news companies; you haven't kidnapped me for some news organization have you?"
"No Sir. I was instructed to have you in Washington by 0600."
"So, you are a punctual man too!" Pinchon observes.
"Did you ever think of just asking me to go with you?"
"No Sir, we thought you would prefer the meeting with General Yates. My instructions were to bring you, quickly, and without you communicating with anybody else. If you had declined our invitation it might have been difficult.
"I am just taking you to Washington. In D.C. we will be met at Andrews, and you will be taken where ever you are supposed to go. That is my assignment." The plane's nose pulled up, and the aircraft shuddered. "We are airborne Sir, so again relax."
Pinchon retorted, "It doesn't appear that for the moment I have any other viable choice."
The General leaned back in the leather seat. The engines whined loudly as they climbed; he heard the thump of the wheels retracting; the plane hit a little turbulence and shook some more. Beneath were the rolling waves of the Pacific, and above were puffy clouds brought in on the trade winds. As he looked again around the plane he saw that just as the outside of the plane had been without markings, so also there was no identification inside, as to who owned this plane. He was going to Washington on a 'generic' no name plane.
"So if you are an agent in the Service, were you involved at Mobile?"
"No Sir," Melman replies. "I wasn't assigned to President Carr's detail."
"Were you involved in the manhunt for her killers."
"Yes Sir, everyone was, others still are. I was pulled off to go get you."
"Considering no one has been arrested yet, you had better get back at it."
Pinchon then mused, "How can a whole week go by, and nobody know who the assassins were, or who they worked for. Nobody has claimed responsibility, there seems to be no evidence trail to follow, and no one has been caught. How can that be? How can somebody kill the President of the United States and get entirely away, and no clues turn up. This could not have been pulled off by an amateur gunman or a loner. This took planning and organization, and almost certainly some help. Someone somewhere has got to have seen something. I don't understand how come no real leads have turned up."
"No Sir, I don't either. Someone is mighty good at covering their tracks."
Pinchon replied, "or someone is helping to cover up the tracks. A single bullet, to the head ...high powered ...military issue. That takes a real marksman. Only a few snipers can hit a target from such a distance ...have to allow for the wind, that's a marksman."
Melman sighs, "Yes Sir."
The General cut Melman off and interjected: "That should limit the suspect list. Armies train those kind of marksmen. Elite, special guys. But those kind of guys usually get taken by the agencies."
"Yes Sir," Melman agreed.
The General spoke gruffly, wincing at his own words. "Course ...other countries armies and governments train snipers too. We don't know who did it, a foreign assassin or one of us. But I tell you, the people are scared ...they have a right to be too! It's bad, a President, publicly gunned down, and on TV too! This may have been the most public murder in history. Brutus murdered Caesar, Booth did Lincoln. Both were killed in public places, but not on live TV. I can't believe how many times it has been replayed on TV."
Pinchon mutters on, "The people are scared, and nobody knows who did it. Nobody knows what the end of it is going to be. I tell you, the American people put her in office; someone else wouldn't let her be. It will be war if a foreign government had anything to do with it. Americans won't allow any rogue nation to get away with killing our President. But it could be worse if a home-grown extremist group did it, for political purposes, to prevent constitutional government. They would have done it to change the election. That's treason ...and that very thought makes my blood boil."
Melman softly agrees, "Yes Sir."
"I sure didn't vote for her, and am against about everything she ran on, but you change Presidents at the ballot box not with a sniper rifle. We have to find out who did this ...one way or another we have to get those who killed President Carr and attacked our people."
Again the agent softly agrees, "Yes Sir."
The plane's engines quiet down, and Pinchon says: "That's what a retired General thinks, but that's what average people think too. Right now Washington is in a mess. President Woods hasn't shown leadership enough for the people to have confidence in him and know that he can do his job. Nobody votes for the Vice President in our elections. You pick the person you want for President, but you get their side-kick too. It would be almost impossible to change, but we need to make the V.P. be elected separately. It used to be that way, well sort of. The guy who came in second in the election for President, became V.P. Washington came first, Adams in second place became VP. Adams later came first, and Jefferson came second; then Jefferson came first, and Aaron Burr came second, and became vice President. Of course that didn't work out too good either. Burr got in a gun duel with Alexander Hamilton, and killed him."
Pinchon goes on, "President Woods hasn't spoken to the nation in six days. The whole government has gone quiet and seems impotent. Even noisy Congressmen and Senators are shaking. They are afraid of what the truth might be. The TV shows the President and Congress barricading themselves in their offices. Nobody has a plan, nobody is telling the nation anything. Somebody needs to get out there and get things under control, and that somebody is the President. Somebody needs to tell President Woods that. I don't suppose you would hand me a phone, I would like to call some people! ...No I suppose not."
"No Sir." Melman says.
The General leans back in the chair. He still does not know much. Who sent these agents to get him, are they friends or foes? What is their purpose with him, is it for good or bad? Where are those who killed the President? When will hope return to the nation? Finally, why take him secretly to Washington? All these questions, and more, but no answers yet.
They are flying from the sun towards the dark of night, to greet the sun again on the other side of the nation. The nation too is travelling from the light of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, through the night of death, fear, and despair; looking and longing to see if the future will bring the return of the sunshine of hope and peace. Pinchon decides he might as well try to sleep a little; it will be a long f
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