7 - Clan Amir: The U MAMA War
Copyright 2007 by Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards
Patrick, Gina, and Shauna are very surprised to be walking up the stairs to the White House. Inside they’re formally announced, Gina is surprised to hear them announced as ‘General Mannheim and Miss Gina.’ Because no family name is given their announcement gets them much more attention. All there stop to stare at Gina in her new gown, very heady events for a sixteen year old girl. Shauna’s new gown isn’t quite as fancy, but she fits in well and she’s just as overcome by the situation.
The affair is a short formal sit down dinner followed by dancing and talking. Gerry leads Gina out onto the floor while Patrick dances with Vicky and Robert dances with Carly. For the next dance Gerry escorts Shauna while Patrick dances with Isobelle and Robert dances with Angie. Many of the other young men there take turns dancing with the girls and young women. Gina and Shauna make a point of getting their cards signed for each dance. Especially when the President of the USA asks them for a dance each.
Choosing a moment when all of the ladies are engaged dancing with other partners Gerry approaches a senator from the party opposite that of Madam Secretary of State, he’s the party’s leader in the Senate. After opening the conversation Gerry mentions some work done by RIS. Explaining the information on the donations he hands over the papers confirming what he said. The senator will find it easy to check, and easier to embarrass the woman into resigning.
Smiling at Gerry he says, “If you don’t mind, I’d rather tell her about this to have her withdraw quietly. We don’t need another corruption scandal at the moment.”
Gerry nods while saying, “I don’t care how she goes, as long as she goes. I detest U MAMA toadies. I also think the FTA will be easily resolved by the withdrawal of certain contentious points. If the Senate will agree to the changes.”
The senator nods as he says, “Yes, it will. They’re her pet ideas and they’ll go with her because her resignation will break her power group.” Leaving him Gerry dances the next number with Carly and he tells her of the discussion. She smiles at him and she tells Robert during the dance after that while Gerry dances with Gina again.
By midnight Gina and Shauna have very sore legs because they’d been dancing for the last three hours or more. Despite that they’re both walking on air. Everyone had a good time. A very good evening for all.
Gina and Shauna are sharing a room at the consulate so it’s easy when Gerry has Patrick join him to give both girls a good leg massage with a mixture of oils to relieve their sore muscles before they go to sleep.
Everyone takes it easy as they lounge about in the gardens. Especially Gina and Shauna, despite two more massages during the morning their legs are still very sore, and they’re not sorry about it, either. A quiet and relaxing day by all. Gerry, Carly, Isobelle, Robert, and Ambassador Shumra discuss how the political part of the dinner party discussions went. They expect things to go much better in tomorrow’s meetings. Gerry says, “During my talks with the business people around the country two issues constantly came up. I’m changing policy on those two items. We should discuss how to put forward the changes in the meetings.” At this statement Shumra, Gina, Shauna, and Patrick look at him in surprise. He continues, “We can change the law on foreign ownership to recognise an overseas owner with the local executive as an employee. That’ll satisfy their concerns and not require any significant changes to our laws. The extradition treaty, I think we can live without them having to give up the people we want, and I’ll personally deal with them. We can accept it and agree to it as being applicable from the first of March.” Robert, Carly, Isobelle, and Vicky think on this, and nod yes. “You can offer these two items up as a compromise for them to compromise on the other two. Essentially, they get their way with two issues and we get our way with two issues. But we need a strategy for gracefully changing our position.”
They discuss the various methods on how to present the changes. Eventually a position and process is settled on. The ambassador will suggest the changes to Lord Robert during the preliminary meeting tomorrow morning and he’ll dither about them. Other advisers will support the compromise and he’ll accept on the basis the other two issues are withdrawn from the agreement and are never raised again. That’ll put pressure on the US contingent to give some ground and to agree to compromise on the remaining two issues. After they reach an agreement Robert says, “Since they relate to business and trade you’ve the right to make the policy. But I think we should bring King Harold in on this to let him know what we’re doing. We don’t want him to get flustered by early media reports.” Gerry agrees. A speaker phone is brought to the table and the call is made. The connection is over a secure and encrypted circuit.
Ambassador Shumra is very surprised when Gerry is put straight through to King Harold, and by Gerry’s approach to the King. Once connected Gerry says, “Sorry to wake you, Harry, but we need to give you a heads up on some policy changes. Is Fran with you and listening in?” At the positive response he continues, “Tomorrow we’re going to give in on the extradition treaty issue, and I’ll deal with the wanted people through my personal network. Also, we’re going to agree to changes to our laws on foreign ownership. We won’t accept a non-living entity, but we will accept a foreign owner need only be a legal entity in their own country with the local representative as just their employee. The laws on foreign ownership will be changed so that both the local executive and the owner can be fined heavily. Also, local citizens and residents won’t be allowed to own or have shares in any business that’s registered overseas and it also operates in Berant. That’ll stop them trying to avoid prison by overseas registration. We’ll play some political games before agreeing to the new positions, but they’re the essential points. We’ll issue press releases from here with the fine details once it’s done.”
Queen Francine responds, “OK, Gerry, if you think that’s best we’ll do it. That’s why I insisted you go on this mission, because I felt you needed to get a feel for the pulse of the locals and review the policies.” Ambassador Shumra is very surprised this young man is the official policy decider on business and economics. She continues, “But won’t the new position on local ownership and involvement with a foreign registered business trading locally cause some problems for you?”
Gerry replies, “Not really. The agreement will include a date in a few months to allow us to pass the laws. In that time I’ll have to spend a few hundred million to finish taking control of the companies I want to control fully and convert them over, then I’ll sell the Berant side to other Berant citizens so they become importers and not foreign owners. Those I don’t want to control will require the sale of about one hundred million dollars of shares. Nothing major or important. Just some fine tuning of the portfolios, both mine and the clan’s. If I take too long getting things done then the King’s coffers get enriched by the fines.” They both laugh. Shumra, Patrick, Gina, and Shauna are staring at him because he’s throwing around such high figures as if they’re peanuts. After a bit more talking the call is ended, and so is the meeting. They all settle down to just relax for the rest of the day.
By 9:00 a.m. Carly, Robert, Gerry, Isobelle, and Shumra head off to their meetings at the White House. Vicky, Angie, Gina, and Shauna accompany the group to the White House then they split off to go on a shopping expedition with the President’s seventeen year old daughter and the First Lady, whom they met at the party Saturday night. They’re going to a few up-market malls, and both groups have normal sized security groups with them.
All goes as planned in the morning meeting at the White House. The change in position on the two points are welcomed by the advisers they meet with. The point on foreign ownership isn’t what they’d asked for, but it gives the same effect. They break for lunch at noon.
At 1:30 p.m. the next round of political meetings start, this time the President is sitting in as the senior member of the US group instead of the Secretary of State. Fifteen minutes later one of the Berant security detail bursts into the room. He shouts across the room, “Viper, my Lord, we’ve a Viper Black declared by Sabre Ten, my Lord.” The entire US contingent looks up in surprise as they wonder what’s going on. The entire Berant contingent goes white, except Gerry.
Gerry leaps to his feet, “Captain Danvers, raise the Shields, get my combat communicator and armour. Also call for my command car.” To the Guard who’d interrupted them, “Get the rest of B Company out here, now!“ They both snap off salutes and ‘Yes, Sirs’ before they start talking on radios. He turns to Robert, “Bob, you and Carly stay here with the rest of the group. Try and finalise these matters. I’ll deal with this. Issy, you know this city better than me, you’d best come with me.”
Isobelle stands and walks around the table with Gerry. When they near the door the first guard looks up, turns to Gerry, he’s almost crying, and he says, “It’s Anaconda, my Lord, Anaconda.” Gerry nods.
A Secret Service agent charges in and he rushes to the President. He whispers in the President’s ear and the President’s face goes white. Gerry looks at him while saying, “I know, they went shopping with my wife. The group’s been kidnapped, that’s what the Anaconda meant. I’ve a company of Shields on hand and we’re going after them. I’d like a liaison officer from your local police and military, please.” Turning, he strides out the door with Isobelle on his heels.
The President turns to look at Lord Robert, as he goes to speak Lord Robert says, “General Mannheim is the best tactical and strategic commander in the world. He has C Company of the Shields with him; they’re the Protector’s Own’s best at hostage recovery and urban combat situations. If they can’t find them and get them back, no one can. The question is: were they kidnapping your family or his?”
Gulping, the President asks, “Why would they kidnap his family?”
Robert says, “The General is the King’s adviser on economics and business because he owns and runs a billion dollar business empire he built from scratch after borrowing the initial money. He looks a lot younger than he is.” All at the table gasp. Robert pushes the point, “He’s the main person behind our economic recovery and growth. He was the chief economic adviser to King Herbert, and now to King Harold. His advice is based on what’s good for the country and the people, not what’s good for him. Some of his advice has cost him financially, so will the change on ownership. He has significant levels of ownership in US registered businesses that trade in Berant. Once the new law comes into effect, if it’s agreed, he’ll have a few weeks to rearrange over a hundred million dollars of shares in US businesses or face very heavy fines and possibly prison. He’s a Royal Guard first and a businessman second. The Guards’ motto is, ‘For the people.’ He doesn’t just say it, he lives it. It’s a core part of his being.”
The President slowly nods, and he speaks to an aide who leaves to carry out the orders. He says to Robert, “I hope you’re right about this. We can’t get any Delta Team people here for five hours.”
Robert says, “The Shields’ training starts where your Delta Team training ends, they’re better.”
All listening are surprised, and are hoping he’s not just bragging. Ambassador Shumra is sitting there while he wonders why a company of the Shields is in Washington, he knew about the extra company of 1st Claymore because they’re based at the consulate, but the Shields. He also wonders where they’ve been staying.
A US Marine Colonel walks into the room. Coming to attention she salutes the President and says, “You sent for me, Mister President.”
The President nods yes, “Colonel Walters, tell me about the Berant Shields.”
She grins, “Lord Robert can tell you a lot more than I can, Sir, so can General Mannheim, I’ve seen him around in civvies today. However, the Berant Royal Guards are elite troops; they’re a lot better than our Special Forces, almost the same as our Delta Teams. The Shields are ultra-elite; their training is so far ahead of ours they make our Delta Teams look like recruits in basic. They’re trained for all combat zones and situations with special emphasis on hostage and kidnap situations, Sir. When I was stationed in Berant I was given the honour of trying out for the Shields recruit testing, I failed the test by two points. I wasn’t too upset because out of the hundred odd Royal Guards who were tested only twenty-two passed the series of tests. They’re very good, Sir; - very, very good.”
The President leans back in his chair, “My wife and daughter have been kidnapped, along with some Berant citizens. Gordon Mannheim has just left here to lead some Shields to get them back. What’s your recommendation.”
“If General Mannheim is leading some Shields to recovery your family and Berant citizens, Sir, I’d tell the cook to set places for your family for tonight’s dinner. He’s not good, he’s damn good, he’s the best there is. I was privileged to see him in action in Berant, Sir. Get our people out of his way and let him go, that’s my recommendation, Sir.”
The President stares at her for a moment as he thinks. He reaches a decision, sits up, draws a pad to him, writes on it, signs it, and he hands it to an aide while saying, “Have that sealed and given to the Colonel.” He looks at Colonel Walters, “I don’t know Mannheim, but I know you, Colonel. I’m trusting your judgement on this. I’m giving you full Presidential Authority. You’re now my liaison with General Mannheim, he left here just before you arrived. Find him, stay with him, help him.”
The aide returns with the paper and Colonel Walters snaps a salute while saying, “Yes, Sir, will do.” Taking the paper from the aide she folds it while she departs - running. One of Lord Robert’s security detail speaks on his radio to inform the search team of the liaison person.
Colonel Walters finds Gerry waiting by a car near the front steps, he waves for her to hop in. They get in and the car drives off. They stop at the grounds entrance for her to speak to a policeman. A police car with siren going leads them to the kidnap site. In his car Gerry is changing into heavier body armour and combat fatigues. He hands the Colonel a set of body armour to put on. She doesn’t argue, she puts it on.
Fifteen minutes later they pull up outside a major mall. Half of the car park is roped off with yellow tape and thirty-four bodies are lying about all over the place. Getting out of his vehicle Gerry approaches the tape barrier and a policeman goes to stop him. Walters shows her ID when she tells him to let them through. The police officer does, and he points out the officer in charge.
Gerry walks up to the officer in charge and says, “Afternoon, Captain, please have all of your people draw back beyond the barrier tape.” The Captain starts to argue. Walters shows her ID and the Presidential Authority, so the police captain does as ordered.
Gerry walks toward the ambulance where medics are working on one of the bodyguards that had been part of the security team with Angie and Vicky. The Sergeant in charge is standing nearby. Seeing his approach the Sergeant comes to attention, salutes, and says, “Sorry, my Lord. We did what we could, but it wasn’t enough.”
Seeing the medic is doing the right thing and the Private will live Gerry turns to the Sergeant to say, “Walk me through it, Sergeant Chendar.”
Snakes in the Grass
Sergeant Chendar, says, “We’d two squads and a dozen Secret Service people. We split up into two groups, one squad of each on the outside. The rest on the inside with the party. There’s three exits, the outside party split up with one of each at each exit and the rest stayed with the cars. As we left the mall they hit us. About twenty came from our left. I deployed my squad and some of the Secret Service people to hold them off while the party withdrew to the vehicles. I gave the Viper alert while we deployed. Those at the vehicles stayed there to cover the withdrawal from that end. The other outside people were ordered back and were running back, but still well away. The party was almost at the vehicles when some Secret Service agents at the vehicles shot Swords Harding and Deslar as well as four of their own agents. Harding and two of the agents are dead, the rest will live. The rest of us were too far away to help when more raiders jumped out of vans near the vehicles and they grabbed the party. We shot as many as we safely could, but we couldn’t stop the vans, not without endangering the party members or the many civilians around here. Just before they pushed her into the van Lady Theresa gave us hand orders to stay and protect the people.” While he’s talking Sergeant Chendar is walking Gerry and Walters over the whole combat area as he shows them the places people were at.
Stopping near the vehicles the party came in Gerry bends down to pick up a small flat bottle, it has three capsules in it. He smiles because it normally has ten in it. Putting it in his pocket he says, “Show me the remaining Secret Service agents.” The Sergeant leads him to them. He walks up to the agents, “This was a well-planned kidnapping with some of the Secret Service agents in on the plan beforehand.” Taking each in turn he asks, “Do you know anything more about this?” They all say no. He points at two, “Secure these two liars.” They struggle when two Swords grab them and hold them fast.
Standing in front of them Gerry draws out his combat knife. Holding it in his right hand he rests it against the throat of one agent while he gets his passport out of his pocket with his left hand. Holding the passport open he says, “See this passport, it says, ‘Diplomatic Immunity.’ Do you know what that means? It means I can slice you into little pieces and all your government will do is to politely ask me to leave the country while they complain to my government. Now I want to know who was the target, who organised this, and why? Also, I want to know who else is part of your little group?”
The man fights as he says, “Do what you want, I’ll never tell you a thing.” Gerry can tell he means it.
Suddenly Gerry kicks the man’s legs apart, undoes the man’s pants, and he pulls them down with his shorts. Grabbing the man’s genitals with his left hand he says, “You did say do what I want. I want to cut your balls in half.” Moving his right hand he takes the knife away from his throat to place it against the man’s testicles. He quickly slices them in half. The man screams. The watching police gasp at his actions. At Gerry’s nod one of the Sword medics stops the bleeding. The man is taken off to the ambulance. Gerry turns to the other prisoner.
The man starts talking. He names almost two dozen people he knows to be involved. The targets were the President’s family who are being kidnapped for political blackmail. The Berant citizens were seen as a bonus by the organisers. The aim is to totally disrupt the current talks with Berant. He doesn’t know where the prisoners are being taken.
Gerry walks to the police captain and he says, “Thank you, Captain, there’s nothing else we can learn here. Your forensic people may find some evidence for use in court later. We now have to find the missing. The scene is now yours.” While Gerry walks back to his car the police people move over the scene again while they wonder about the man in uniform and his direct method of questioning prisoners, because it’s very effective and they wish they could get away with using it in some cases.
Reaching the car he came in Gerry says to the driver, “Take us to meet the command car and the rest of the company.” The driver nods yes while they climb in, and he drives away. Sitting in the back Gerry pulls out the flat plastic capsule bottle and smiles while he juggles it in his hand. Turning to Walters he says, “Today you’ll be seeing many things you never saw, understand?” She nods yes because she knows she’s about to see some really top secret stuff she knows she’s not to acknowledge it exists, ever.
About 1:40 p.m. the shopping party is leaving a large mall when armed men charge from the vehicles on their left. The security people start doing their thing. Vicki takes a bottle of special capsules out of the hidden pocket in her belt. She shakes some into her hand. Popping one into her mouth she hands one each to Gina, Shauna, Angie, the First Lady, the President’s daughter, and her friend who joined them while she tells them to be quick to swallow them. The Berant contingent don’t argue and they do as they’re told. Seeing this the three US members do the same. None of the security people or the raiders notice them do this while they quickly move to the cars. When the Secret Service agents at the cars shoot the Swords at the cars and start shooting the agents with the party the other Swords who’ve stopped to help with the raiders are too far away to help. Vicky drops the plastic bottle from her hand. She knows Gerry will see it and he’ll know what it means.
The women and girls are forced into a nearby van, their hands are handcuffed behind them, and their mouths are gagged. They don’t resist and the raiders don’t search them. Thus they miss the small concealed hand guns Vicky and Angie have on them. They don’t expect women on a guarded shopping expedition to have personal arms. The van drives out of the car park and it drives fast through the city. Twenty-five minutes later it pulls into a large warehouse. The captives are taken out of the vans and they’re pushed into a large room at the back of the warehouse. Their handcuffs and gags are removed. The brick room has a portable toilet in one corner. On the floor is a bag of plain hamburgers from a major franchise with some cold plastic bottles of soft drink. The door is shut behind them and they can hear two heavy bolts being pushed home to secure it. Entering the room the First lady starts to swear while the girls start to cry. Angie says, “Quiet, please. None of that will do us any good. Please eat the hamburgers while they’re hot and help conserve your energy for when we need it to escape.” She opens the bag and starts handing out hamburgers. Everyone eats and drinks. When she finishes her hamburger Angie says to Vicky, “I do hope those capsules were those new ones Gerry has been working on for us.”