Ever and Always
Chapter 32: We need clarity – July 2024

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

Rick drawled, "I don't know about you folks, but I am getting confused about where we are going and what to do next." "I agree," said Marsha. "It's getting hard for me to hold it all together also," added Rob.

"Let's adjourn to my office where I have a white board. I just hope it is big enough." "Sounds like a plan," Rob agreed. "I will freshen up our coffee. I think we will need a lot," put in Marsha. "At least someone remembers that an Army moves on its stomach," laughed Rob. Marsha said tartly, "I don't know about an Army, but I do know about men!" Rick took his life in his hands when he asked, "Could you also bring some more cookies, the General here ate them all." Marsha gave him that look only a wife can, "I saw who ate those, and it wasn't the General." The General wisely kept his mouth shut.

When they were settled in the office and started to put items on the white board, some order began to appear. "Okay, Bill Wigle being a spy or not isn't really an issue, and we have a solution," said Rick. Since it was his whiteboard, he had automatically grabbed a marker and started making notes on the board. He didn't give any thought, but it made him the leader of the discussion. This also made him the leader of the group. General King very well versed in group dynamics gave an internal smile; he had Rick right where he wanted him.

"DHS is prepared to provide us ample resources; we just need to bridge between them and The Valley Group. How are we going to explain your sudden appearance?" "Rick I am wounded," said the General, "I would think when you had a knotty problem you would turn to your old commander, who you had heard was working with DHS, thinking he might be able to help. One can only guess at your wonderment and surprise when you found out we were going in your direction." "You even kept a straight face, well played," said Marsha with a smile in her voice.

"Yeah, well played, I walked right into it didn't I," added Rick. "I also noticed I am the one at the front right now. I bet I am going to be your fall guy." "Now Rick, how could you ever think I could be that devious," said Rob as innocently as he could. Unfortunately or not he didn't look innocent at all or even mildly repentant. The fact that he was smirking when he said it was a dead giveaway.

"On a more serious note Rick, you are established in the area, and you have the youth and energy needed to pull this off."

"Youth?" Inquired Rick.

"Well more the middle age competent appearance required by the people you will be leading. Mature enough to instill confidence and young enough to have the required energy. Face it; I look like I may not be here next week. Besides I have to work inside the DHS to protect our backsides."

Marsha who had been keeping notes all along spoke up, "Here is an outline of what you will need to present at the next Valley Group Meeting. The high lights will be how the General and DHS have become involved. What they are bringing to the party. This includes a base of operations at the old Watkins place, a power supply which will be good for the foreseeable future. We have support from major universities and think tanks for specific needs of a CSC, and our own Congress critter to watch out for us in DC."

Rick and Rob exchanged glances. Rob verbalized their thought. "Rick you may be the front man, but I can see who will be running the show." Marsha looked at them and said, "Where do you think the saying came from, 'Behind every good man, there is a better woman." Neither Rick nor Rob remembered the saying going quite like that, but you pick your battles and this was not one of them. By training they knew you only fought when either forced or when you knew you could win. Neither case applied here.

"Change of subject folks," said Marsha. "I have been thinking of the makeup of The Valley Group. By natural inclination, they will be uncomfortable with the DHS or any other Federal group being involved. How can we counteract that?"

"Good point," said the General.

Rick thought for a moment, "Why don't I put on an act that the DHS is the devil, and we need to sup with a long spoon; that could be why we want Bill Wigle in Congress. Actually, it wouldn't be acting. I don't entirely trust what is going on, no disrespect General."

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