To my surprise we made good time; for some reason traffic was light even at the Bay Bridge. The G5 was still several miles out as we walked through the hangar to its entrance over looking runway 4.
It had been two years since I had seen Jake and had left the military. As planned Mom and Dad had met them at LAX The G5LR had made the trip without refueling. I’ll bet it was a sight to see when Jake and Mindy walked through customs. I would have given anything to see their faces when they found out who the business clients were.
I know Mom and Dad had been keeping them up to date on things at home. I was sure they still there was still plenty to catch up on. Lucky for us that the flight from Tokyo to LAX had been delayed in takeoff and they had flown in rough weather, adding an hour to the 11 hour flight.
They were to arrive at eight, instead it was close to ten and then it would still take another hour or so to get through customs with their luggage. That was why we were able to get to Morton after our long meeting to greet them.
I met Jake at the bottom of the steps with a bear hug and a kiss along with lots of tears. It had been a long time, too long for me.
After the long hug and kiss, the rest of the girls each gave Jake and Mindy their greetings and a hug.
While Jake, Mindy and the girls were engaged with greetings, Dad and Mom took the opportunity to corner me. “Business client, huh, you knew Jake was coming home and have known it for a while and kept it a secret from us. You know there was a time I would have spanked you for something like that,” Mom said.
When the girl’s attention had turned to Mindy, it was Jake’s move me off to the side by my arm. “The girls are even more beautiful than in the video chats. Jenny is so radiant; you chose well for your special family. I felt the babies kick when we were hugging. I cannot wait to hold them,” he said.
Then he added “Mindy and I want to be here when they are born. All Mom and Dad could talk about was having grandkids, they are so happy. Oh, by the way Dad says he is going to get you back for the surprise.”
“I think Mom plans to pay me back too,” I replied.
Jake continued by saying, “Tony was right, you do have great planes. I want a plane just like that one if you can find me one. We are going out to supper at the inn as a family – I hope all of you can come. We are going to spend the night with Mom and Dad. Mom would not take no for an answer,” Jake said with a grin.
“Tomorrow Mindy and I want the grand tour of the gym, on Wednesday afternoon we are going to the company party and plan to be back on Thursday,” he said.
An hour later we were at the Inn as Jake wanted. The place crowed so we had to wait in the bar until they made room for the 14 of us: Jake, Mindy Lisa, Jason, Joey, Mom, Dad, Crash, Jeanna and her girls and the six of us.
While we waited we pulled several tables together in the bar. The local news was on with Hanna’s report. I had to admit it was good being the lead in the news without having to discuss a tragedy this time.
As the Hanna’s piece finished Dad looked at me, “Two secrets in one day; you are starting to worry me,” he said before he broke out into a smile.
We only had to wait ten minutes before we were seated. The meal was great as it always is. We all ate our fill and Jenny as usual ate for three. She was the last one to finish and even passed on desert.
Several other business people and family friends we knew stopped by the table. Some of them stopped to see how Jenny was doing and others because they recognized Jake and wanted to say hello.
Frank Rustone and his family came in and Frank made a turn as soon as he saw Jake. They were old friends from high school, plus Jake had used QT banking as his business bank for years. All of my extended family knew Frank from the initial gym loan at the beginning of our business.
Jake and Frank made plans to get together after Christmas and go goose hunting and late season deer hunting. Jake was going to use one of our suburbans and Mindy one of the pool cars while they were visiting.
Duke Justice and his wife came in to eat next. It was one of those evenings where an evening out turned into a reunion of everyone you knew.
Even though there had been the issue with Duke’s son, we had become friends the best of friends and he and Jason went way back too. I had never met Duke’s wife until tonight. He stopped to say hello which led to a round of introductions that led to a round of introductions.
After the introductions Duke extended his hand and said, “Congratulations on your newest business expansion, it was on the national news before I left the house.”
As I shook his hand I asked, “Which one was on the news? There are a couple in the works this week,”
“The State Department contract,” he replied. “Eighty countries, that’s a big one.”
“The other announcement is that we are adding two more huge colleges to the security umbrella in January,” I replied.
“All the contractors you have had working for the last six months are anxiously waiting for you to build something big so they will have work to carry them until spring,” Duke replied.
“They need to look elsewhere, we are done for a long time,” I replied.
It was nearly 10 by the time we walked out of the restaurant to call it an evening and midnight before we finally made it to bed. The family all together sparked family time of our own on the couch. Things were getting close enough that baby names were being discussed while holding hands and being affectionate.
Tomorrow was going to be another busy day for us and it came early.
At seven, Lorrie, Sabrina and Carson left for Morton Field. The rest of us went over to the office The entire group of Bell 407’s were to arrive early this morning. The factory inspectors were to arrive at 9 to begin certifying the condition of the choppers.
Marcy had the certified check already made out for each one if there was nothing found defective.
One of our jets was leaving at 7:30 to the Marine base in N.C. with six pilots on board. Lorrie thought it would be fun leaving them in the dark about the flight. All they were told was that they were needed to shuttle aircraft around. They were in for a surprise when they saw what they were bringing back.
Frank had arranged for them to be fully fueled for the trip. He also said there was some freight coming with them that I need to lock up as soon as they landed. He emphasized that I personally needed to supervise the unloading and storage.
I wondered what that was all about. I guess I would know before dark.
I was waiting in my office for Jake and the folks to show up to give Jake and Mindy the grand tour. But as usual, all great plans get suddenly changed.
After the announcement yesterday, the powers to be at all 80 affected embassies started demanding more information. The information packet that was to be mailed the day after Christmas – 20 days before we were to officially take over – was sent out last night.
That packet had all the contact information including the newly upgraded video communications system that we had named VCATS – short for Video Communications and Telephone System that was installed and tested last night.
The system was secure and compatible with the MTEC that the military, NSA, FBI and CIA used and with the DETC that the State Department used and it was only in my office. It required an ID card and a palm print to activate it.
My office now held both video communication systems, VCATS and SVOL Sysco Video Office Live that we used with the MAAR sites and the colleges. VCATS was used for secure communications.
I had to rearrange my office, I had to move furniture and lighting so that when the systems were on only my desk and the wall behind it was shown during the video link.
I along with Cindy and the girls were the only approved users for the new system.
Cindy had passed all the security and background checks. I had promoted her to Senior Security Director, my number 2 after the girls. I had asked if Ching Lee or Vicky wanted to step up in a security position full time and they both declined. They were busy and happy with what they were doing.
The VCATS started going off announcing incoming request before I had finished my first mug of coffee. Cindy and I were both working at my desk trying to get our heads wrapped around new scheduling and what we needed to do to get a handle on things.
The calls all went the same way, ‘Seasons Greetings’ then the introductions. Then they asked what changes were coming their way.
Thank God for Cindy, as soon as they introduced themselves Cindy displayed the site information on one of my many monitors that were out of site of the camera. It included the equipment that we were to supply at the site, the manpower and their names. Cindy made me look in control and ready to run with the change.
The most important thing for me at the moment was what part of the world they were in and the second was the time zone they were calling from. That was going to be an adjustment for me to make. Eight to five here may be 10pm to 6 am there. I guess a bank of clocks on the wall with a location card was in order. I needed something to keep that one straight in my mind.
The first 10 calls were from the embassies that we were supplying choppers to. They wanted to make sure we understood the condition of their current unit’s and wanted to know what plans we had to make repairs and how soon? I listened to the recent issues they had with Black Water.
I asked that they forward a list of needed repairs to the aviation units as soon as possible so we could get things in the works, and to do the same with the Suburbans we were supplying them.
I was sad to learn that two of the Bell 407s and one of the Blackhawks choppers were out of service and had been for a week or more. Cindy wrote down the airport where choppers were at and what the current problems were.
I spent the next two hours on VCATS calls, one site after the other. I needed a bathroom break and another mug of coffee, and then I needed to ask questions and start giving orders.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.