The weather was even colder with a brisk wind on Tuesday morning. The students were wearing heavy winter clothing as I drove to the security building at KCC.
It was nearly 10 by the time Bob Jackson and Chancellor Nobles strolled into my office. I had expected them to come in much earlier. They had been making the college rounds, verifying that everything was running at a smooth college pace for the first day of the new semester. It saved me a trip to find them.
It did not take long to figure out they were both itching to know the latest details with JBG and me. Both of Hanna’s reports made the 6 and 11 PM newscast and again this morning.
Bob Jackson opened the conversation asking if there were any problems that the security department has to deal with today. Then Chancellor Nobles’ ask the questions that went right to the core. Why they really came.
“Well, you have been one busy beaver over the holiday. I see that you have new contracts with the government, a shootout in South America and now you have your own college-style police department. I can’t remember how many times I have seen you on TV in the last month. How do you have time to do all these things?” he said.
“I am going to have to better manage my time and delegate more of my work onto others,” I replied. Then I added, “I am going to have to discuss some changes to my work schedule here with you. Seeing that you are now aware of my new government contract, part of that contract states that I have to visit all of the embassies that JBG has security employees at”
“How many embassies do you have employees at?” Bob asked, “I did not see a number in Hanna’s reports.”
“Eighty, out of 180 embassies, I have been to four so far. The contract states I have to visit all of them. I also have to be available to deal with any emergencies 24/7, that’s why I have to carry all of this around with me every where I go,” I replied.
“One of them is not in Riyadh Saudi Arabia is it? My son is stationed there, he is the Air Force,” Bob asked.
“Why yes, that is one of my stops along the way. Get your passports up to date and if we have a couple empty seats on that trip, you and the Misses can pay him a surprise visit for a day or more,” I replied.
“We keep them up to date,” Bob replied.
“I and one of the other girls are leaving late in the afternoon on Wednesday and flying home on Sunday night. The first trip Vicky went with me, as you saw on the shootout. I think she had a blast,” I said. To a couple of shaking heads and moans followed by “The plan is to try to make 4 embassies on each flight,” I said then added.
“When we get there we do the meet and greet with embassy staff including the ambassador and his/her family and then do the same with rest of the people there, then deal with our new employees. Sometimes we sleep on the plane, sometimes we stay in a hotel, and other times we sleep in the guest quarters at the embassy – it all depends on the length of the flight to the next stop and the available accommodations,” I replied.
“Where I am leading with this is I am going to need Thursday and Fridays off for an extended period of time. Vicky is going to do some trips for me but some I have to do. My contract states that I could set my own schedule. I would like to try working three days a week here hoping that still meets the contract requirements? Or do we need to discuss other options?” I asked.
During our discussion, you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet, even Patti’s office was deathly quiet. We had ridden together this morning and talked about a lot of things, but not talked about this topic.
“Just for conversation, what options are out there?” Bob asked.
“I could resign and you would have a position to fill. You could contract JGB to handle security, the same as the other 10 colleges we have. Or I could work a three day schedule meets the requirements,” I replied.
After a quick glance at each other Mr. Nobles said, “Bob and I have expected this conversation was coming for a while now. We are open to a security contract with JBG after the second dorm is completed. Right now we don’t want to rock the boat; things are going too smoothly for that.” He continued by saying.
“The contract allows you to set your own schedule; three days is acceptable to us as long as everything goes smoothly as it is now. There may be a few Thursday or Fridays that we need you here for staff meetings and the like. We will put the schedule out a month in advance to allow you to plan around them,” he said.
“Good, I was hoping we could work something out, at least until the last dorm is finished,” I replied.
I had my secure laptop and secure phone with me. They went everywhere that I went; now both were heavily encrypted. I had copies from each of the Bogota cameras from the shootout – even the footage from the front – in pass-worded files. Well, it took my right thumb print, a password and my left pinky and another password to log in to the computer.
The secure phone was not quite as bad; just a single thumb print and password to make an outgoing call and a password to answer.
“Patti, can you come in here a minute and close the door behind you?” I asked.
I knew that most likely she had not been privy to seeing the video footage with the girls. I opened the files, connected to the plasma and played the video.
The first video started as we exited the vehicle and started taking rounds near us. The State Department computer geeks had connected all the various camera footage into one long clip from all the different angles of the shootout.
They watched quietly. The video also had audio; it had captured the orders to surrender before they turned to fire on us, then all the shooting took place. Patti gasped a couple of times once when the two intruders went down, and when Vicky said, “That hurts like hell; I think I’ve been hit.”
“That was a close call there! If they had gotten in without being seen, it could have been very messy. That was some nice shooting for a handgun,” Bob said, “I could have never made hits that far away.”
I played the next file of the mess that happened in front of the embassy with the Suburban getting shot up with us in and behind it. It had all the pieces with us returning the Molotov cocktails back at the building and finally the inferno with it finally disappearing from sight.
“That was great, that’s one way to take care of two problems at once,” Bob replied.
The third clip was of us inspecting the bruises from the hits on the vests inside the embassy communications room and of the interview with the Columbia police.
Patti was the one to perk up, “So that’s how you two got those nasty bruises that no one at house would talk about. They were that bad even with your vest on, WOW!”
I was just about ready to close down the computer when the VCATS pinged. It was Amy Lockerman on the other end. “Can you step to the side, out of view of the camera for me please?” I asked? As soon as they did I accepted the page.
“Good morning Director Lockerman, how are things in the world of the State Department these days?” I asked.
“Things are good here thanks for asking. I have a couple of items on the agenda first. First off you may not like this one, but here goes. You know this is a presidential election year and if you’ve watched the news lately, you have seen that conservative candidates are having problems with their joint campaign stops and debates. The special interest liberal groups along with a supporting liberal media are giving them a run for their money, they are trying to disrupt them at every turn and doing a good job at it,” she said.
“Normally I would stay a mile away, but several of the senators who are running are helpful to the department when we have special needs. The campaigns are trying to find a company to provide security for joint debates independent of their party. They no longer want to go it alone,” she said. Then Amy added, “I suggested they contact you, “With a smile.” Just talk to them if you would. They would like to do it soon; in fact they are in Washington today for a planning session.”
“Now for the important stuff, the schedule shows that you are visiting more embassies this week. Have you made a schedule yet?” she asked.
“Yes – the plan is to visit the embassies on long weekends – Thursday’s, through Sunday’s is the scheduled to visit the embassies. But I have not planned which embassies to see next; that was a topic for tonight’s meeting,” I replied.
“You have made a presence in South America with a memorable visit, and Africa with the chopper transfers. I suggest that this trip be to the Middle East or Asia if possible,” Amy said. “We don’t want any area to feel left out.”
“Ok, that makes sense. I will plan the trip tonight and send you an email after the meeting. We are having a short meeting tonight. I hope I wont regret it, see if you can get them to come to our meeting and try to convince me that JBG should work for them, otherwise it will be put off another week,” with that I signed off VCATS.
“Bob you may want to make sure the Misses has pant suits with long sleeve blouses and several scarfs’,” I replied.
We were going to have an abbreviated meeting tonight. Ching Lee, Mark, Jason and Roseanne had flown to the M&M colleges for the first day of the new semester with Jason, Vicky and Mark at Michigan, and Roseanne and Ching Lee at Minnesota.
The next trip was the longest yet. For this next group of embassy visits the first leg was 7000 miles. They were coming back Wednesday morning. One of them was going to have a bad case of jet lag. I was going to let them decide who was going on the conference call tonight.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.