*This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. *
The Ghost Ch 02
June 15th, 2019
Washington D.C. Oval Office
President Conklin stared out the window overlooking the rose garden. He remembered the first time he and Madelyn walked through the green lawn surrounded by the beautiful roses planted by a multitude of first ladies. She was so excited about picking out her very own and designing the pattern herself. He also remembered her smile that quickly disappeared during his first year of his Presidency.
His reflection in the window showed an older version of him. The hair by his temples turning grey, wrinkles forming on his forehead and near his eyes from worrying. He could tell he was developing the dark eyes that most politicians always talked about. He asked himself if power was worth everything he had lost.
He thought about the warning his dear friend Jack Simmons had given him. He told Andy that he would regret running for President, that he was doing good things in the Senate. Now he and Madelyn were gone, his two youngest children still in the hospital recovering from assassination attempts. Lisa, his oldest daughter, the apple in his eye, was so distant.
His thoughts were interrupted by the intercom by Pam, his secretary. "Sir, your counselor is here to see you."
He did not turn around, he just nodded. "Send her in Pam."
Dr. Kaminski walked into the office confidently as the door closed behind her. She had not been asked to the oval office, so she stood across from the big hickory desk where the important decisions of the country were made. She respected the position, but also feared it.
He finally spoke, still staring out the window. "Dr. Kaminski, thank you for meeting with me here in the oval office."
"Yes sir Mr. President."
"Let's pretend I'm not the President right now. Andy or Andrew would be fine." He turned, looked at her and moved his hand gesturing for her to sit. He then walked over to the chair next to her instead of the one behind the desk.
Speechless, she had to think, "Uhm, Mr... Andrew, sorry." He smiled at her. "Formalities seem so natural when you are so close to the most powerful man in the world."
He hung his head with a frown. "Today I don't feel so powerful."
"Pardon, something wrong?"
He looked into her eyes, "What do you honestly think of me. Not only as a President but as a person."
She looked down at her hands and rubbed them together. "Sir, I'm not at liberty..."
"Stop bullshitting Dr. Kaminski. I am asking you because you are the only one who won't blow smoke up my ass, and I trust you."
She was surprised by his brash tone but smiled and closed her eyes collecting herself for a second. "When we began our sessions, I thought of you as a brash individual with no emotions or empathy toward human life. I now know that to be a complete charade you put on to fool many people, including yourself. I also know you have blamed yourself for events in the past three years yet to reveal why."
He nodded his head and again hung his head in shame. "I can explain, and I know you will find it damning and will want to judge me. Don't worry, I have already been judged and there is a special place in hell for me." With a deep sigh he continued, "While we were starting our campaign for the Presidency, one of our first stops was in Texas. It is our home state, and we were predicted to win, but our campaign manager thought starting on a high note would be good publicity for our image."
He reached for his water bottle and offered one to her, she refused it. He took a sip and continued. "We toured the state and had a great time. I had my good friend Jack and his wife with me for the duration. He had become the Assistant Director of the Dallas FBI office with my help." He took a huge breath, "We were in El Paso and had been on this tour for six weeks. Jack and I wanted to go out and just unwind, so my campaign manager took us out. The wives stayed behind and did whatever girls do." He smiled as he said that.
"We went to a club and of course they gave us the VIP treatment. We were getting drunk quickly, feeling good about ourselves. The next thing I knew we were in a private room where there was an older Hispanic man and half a dozen young beauties."
Dr. Kaminski felt uncomfortable at that moment, "Sir, you really don't..."
"Yes, I do, please let me explain." She nodded, as he looked to be unraveling. "This guy started to send these girls to us and buy us more drinks. We were so drunk by then; I don't remember very much of what happened after that. The both of us were in our own hotel rooms the next morning, so we didn't think anything of it."
He took another drink from his bottle of water. "The rest you know, I became President, and everything seemed to be going great, until about two in a half months after the inaugural. I scheduled a post meeting with my manager, and he brought the same older Hispanic man to the meeting."
"They showed me pictures of the night we spent in El Paso, then proceeded to tell us that they would go to the press and tell them we raped them. They had statements and all other kinds of evidence, and I believed them."
"Andrew who were they, what did they want?" Dr. Kaminski was eager to find out.
"Chavez Tejada was the man sitting in this very office. He told me to turn the other way when it came to the border. Jack was told the very same thing, with both our reputations and families being threatened."
She slightly shook her head, "Andrew, you should have gone to someone on the staff to help you with this."
"With Tejada, you knew what to expect, and he was a man who kept his word. The one that took over is ruthless and unpredictable. I know they are responsible for what happened to Madelyn but can't prove it."
Dr. Kaminski leaned forward and touched his hand, "How can I help you through this?"
He shook his head, "I want my family back, and I need a way out of this mess I've created."
She pursed her lips together, "It won't be easy Andrew, and you will have to open up to people around you. Letting them in will free you from the burden that you are carrying with you."
"Who should I confide in?"
"If I were you, I would start with your daughter, Lisa." He knew she was right, as he nodded. He walked her to his office door, letting her out. "Pam, call my daughter, ask her to join me."
"Yes sir, Mr. President."
"Pamela, could you also ask the Vice President and the Speaker of the House to join me tomorrow morning. Then ask my Press Secretary to call for a press conference tomorrow afternoon. I have an announcement to make."
June 20th, 2019
Area 6, Nevada
"Colonel, I think she's ready for action. Her training has been spectacular because of what she learned from him."
"Is she mission ready?"
"Y-yes Colonel, but shouldn't we be mindful that Lawson is still getting his strength back?"
"Ms. Harris, I brought you on to train and to lead. Remember, just a few months ago, you were begging for work after the collapse of Tanque. What would you have said if I hadn't brought you on because the other surviving members weren't coming along?"
She frowned, "I apologize for speaking out of turn sir."
"Tomorrow she will leave to find Juan Guijosa. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sir." The woman turned on her heels and walked out of the room. Her thoughts were tainted with events that had happened months ago. Her bosses had been killed, the agency disbanded, and dropped in her lap were so many documents that were damning to so many officials. Her and Jessica didn't know what to do with them except reach out to authorities.
That is when Jessica was mysteriously killed in an automobile accident. Monica ran after that, and later went to the only person she could trust, her friend Rosa Mora-Cruz. She was the one who contacted the military, and Colonel Dickenson. He is the one who hired her from Tanque as the first agent under his command. Yet to see action, she was pleased with what the plan was.
She heard the unmistakable sounds of gunshots echoing from a distance as her student once again hit the small arms course. If Kelsey kept up at this rate, she might make expert level. That thought brought a smile to Monica's face.
As fast as the gun sounded the targets fell, as the woman went through the tactical course. Determined and focused, she hit center mass on all but one target so far. There were only two more turns to go, and the instructor always changed the targets around.
She reloaded her Rugers SR45's and made her way to the first turn. Controlling her breathing, she watched each window, door, and car placed on the course. She maneuvered through the last two phases with ease, shooting the last ten targets, all kill shots.
Walking over to the table where her bag was located, she placed her hearing protection back in their case, and took off her glasses. Wiping her brow, her thoughts on the day before. She knew coming here to this place would put a huge hole in what she had built with Mark. She just didn't realize how far they would go to separate them and do it so quickly.
She reached into her bag and pulled out the worn picture of Mark, his wife and kids. She had taken it from Scott and Lories when she returned to get a shower one day before Mark recovered from his coma. Every time she missed him; she would pull it out to look at the man she was in love with. She cursed in her head to whomever wanted her to be alone and suffer for the rest of her life. Every punch, kick, and squeeze of a trigger was her release from the despair, and frustration she felt.
Colonel Dickenson watched the young girl on the course safely from the observers' deck. Beside him was Mark, leaning back against the railing, wondering why he was there with the Colonel. "I'm glad you talked me into bringing her here. She is such an asset Mark, you trained her well."
"I can't take all the credit sir; most was her and the instinct for survival."
Mark watched Kelsey finish the course. He looked at his watch, noticing she finished in record time. Mark leaned forward on the railing, watching the woman below him go through the routine of cleaning her Rugers. Little did he know that the Colonel had plans for her already, that did not include himself.
Mark went down the stairs into the weight training room. Taking his shirt off he noticed the new scars once again, but also found he was more defined and toned since all he could do was work out. He felt good, and his mobility was much better than before. He was itching to get back into the field, and he felt the urgency to get back with Kelsey.
Las Vegas, NV
Juan Guijosa's United States Mansion
Armando Caudillo, Vladimir Sokolov and Juan Guijosa were sitting in the parlor drinking and smoking cigars while talking business. The small victory Juan felt over the President was enough for him to bring in more supply per month than any of his rival cartels could ever imagine.
His area of operations had expanded now from the Appalachian Mountain region to Vegas, and from New Orleans to Chicago. His modes of transportation were plane, automobile, trucks, and boats. The revenue from his drug, gun, and sex trafficking were triple what Tejada was making in a year.
"Mi amigos, I promised you that if we joined forces, we would rule this nation, did I not?"
Caudillo, the most reluctant of the three, still liked the quiet approach. "Yes, you did Juan, but do you have to flaunt your prosperity around so much?"
Vladimir laughed at the older man. "To be the man, you have to show you are the man. These are different times Armando. Even I have to change some of my methods."
Juan looked at the two men, not liking the doubt being displayed by the older man. "Armando, I know you think that I should be more like my predecessor. I commend you for that but look where it led him. He was like you, always looking at the past, and traditions are made to change. What I am building is a new tradition."
Armando asked the young cartel leader, "What is that Juan?"
"Taking over the world one nation at a time." He laughed loudly as Sokolov joined in.
"You laugh now, but you know the Italians aren't going to go for you treading in their territory."
"Armando, I will simply make them an offer they can't refuse."
"You have never dealt with these people; I know how they work. They are just as ruthless as you Juan."
He smiled, "I am sure of that, in fact I count on it. They will be our partners soon mi amigo. They will hear of my victories against the government and want to be a part of this new trend setter."
Vladimir asked, "I know the President stepped down, but the Vice President seems incorruptible."
"Yes, she is Vladimir. In fact, Refugio is waiting for a surprise she sent me in Mexico right now. We will send her a message just like we did Conklin that we will not be messed with."
"Juan, I do not understand." Armando was curious.
"I have eyes everywhere amigo. I will not be like my friend Chavez, and blindly put my guard down. As the old saying goes, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."
June 23rd, 2019 - 0400
Juarez, Mexico - known residence of Juan Guijosa
Kelsey watched the front gate, noticing that it was unguarded. Cameras scanned the front part of the property every fifteen seconds from five different angles. She noticed in the courtyard two armed guards smoking and laughing while looking at a magazine.
She was unsure if Guijosa was even in the house. The intelligence was not clear, but at the last minute they gave it a green light. Something just did not seem right to her, and Mark always said to follow her gut. She looked at the three men behind her, she signaled them to fan out to their positions.
Once in her position at the east wall of the compound, she hit the com button twice to signal that it was time to commence. With two climbing the wall in back, one on the west wall, and her on the east, they hit the ground about the same time. There were no other guards except the two in the front courtyard.
She was about to abort the mission, when gunfire rang out from the unlit windows of the small villa. From every direction, gunfire pinned her down behind a tree and boulder. When one reloaded, another fired at the same spot. She called out on the coms for the others to retreat if they could.
"Ma'am, I'm pinned down, I can't move." the one on the west wall yelled out.
"Rines is gone! I got hit in the shoulder, I'm pinned down behind the pool house."
She switched channels, "HQ, this is team one, we are pinned down by gunfire, one known casualty, one wounded. We need extract!"
Rosa looked over at the Colonel then at the other intelligence officer. "What the hell is going on? You said it would be routine, that nobody knew we were coming!"
The Colonel responded on the coms back to Kelsey, "Hold on, extract is thirty klicks out."
The silence from the coms were frightening to Rosa. She was there for intelligence only, and she had been telling the Colonel she felt someone could infiltrate the operation due to the number of personnel in the facility. She heard Dickenson over the headset several times asking for any confirmation, but there were none.
Rosa was looking at the screen in front of her. The images of several people holding weapons overwhelming three different areas of the compound. She asked for them to go to thermal imagery and noticed five cold bodies lying on the ground. She left the room and contacted the President to update her on the mission while Dickenson ordered more men to the area.
Rosa came back into the room after her conversation with the President, asking where the evac was located. "They are two klicks from the target."
She went to another screen and watched, noticing a lone vehicle leaving the compound. She asked the UAV pilot to keep watch of the vehicle but was asked to stand down by her superior who was in the room. Director of Intelligence Adam Wesley had been a prick to her from day one, and today was no exception.
When the three helicopters arrived, the two apaches covered the Blackhawk as special forces ran through the compound. Within five minutes, the Staff Sergeant came over the radio, "All targets are down, searching for friendlies."
Rosa and Dickenson watched the movements of the soldiers spreading throughout the villa to the outside of the home. They waited for a few minutes before hearing the man's voice once again. "Three friendlies are down, one missing. I repeat three down, one missing."
June 24th, 2019 - 0700
Area 6, Nevada
Mark was practicing firing with his right arm, as his shoulder felt healed, but still a slight twinge of pain would surface occasionally. Firing rapidly, he emptied the clip, feeling relieved that he hit center mass consistently now. He noticed he had an audience, and as unusual as it was, it wasn't unwelcomed.
The woman standing behind him reminded him of his Maria. Her cheeks were high, her lips thin, her hair black as coal, and her skin was a light mocha. Mark figured she was of Hispanic descent. Her figure was nice and reminded him of Maria after she had their children. Her breasts were slightly more than a handful, hips spread slightly, and an ass that Shakira would die for.
As he walked over to the table with his bag on it, he took one of his earplugs out. He then looked over to the target, and hit a button, the pulley bringing it to him. "Do you like to admire from afar?"
As he checked out the target, she was surprised and did not hear exactly what he had asked. "Pardon me?"
Turning to look at her, "I asked if you were admiring from afar?"
She blushed slightly, "No, I'm sorry. I-I need to talk to you and wish this was under better circumstances."
He laid the paper target on the table, taking out the other ear plug, and his safety glasses. "So, you say. I'm listening."
She stuck out her hand, "I'm Rosa Mora-Cruz. I am part of the intelligence team here at the facility."
He returned the handshake. "Nice to meet you Rosa. I'm sure this is not what you needed to talk to me about."
"No, it isn't. I need to talk to you about Kelsey."
He smiled, hearing her name made him feel good. He had only been able to see her in passing, but he hoped he would be able to spend time with her soon. "What's that hellcat done? Did she rip someone's eyes out for looking at me?" He chuckled.
His smile disappeared when she did not smile back. "Mark, let's sit down."
"What the fuck happened to her."
She touched his arm, "She went out on a mission two days ago..."
He interrupted her, "By herself? I'm going to kill..."
"Please let me explain Mark, this is serious." He nodded and sat down on the stool in front of him. "She and three others went to Juarez Mexico looking for Juan Guijosa. The intelligence was good, but somehow they were tipped off and the team was ambushed."
Mark's head hung low, as he wiped his forehead. "Is she dead?"
"We aren't sure, she's MIA."
Mark's head snapped upward, "Did you not have a UAV overhead?"
"Yes, we did, but we lost contact for two minutes. You know yourself so much can happen in that period. We did notice a vehicle leaving the premises with two persons in it. We have been trying to get witnesses to cooperate with us."
Mark stood up and started to load his bag with his equipment. He looked determined and mad. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going after her, that's what I'm doing."
She stood and went to him, grabbing him by both arms. She felt his biceps flex as she held on. "Let's think about this rationally. We have no idea where they would have taken her, or if she is even alive. Let's take one step at a time and let me try to find her first."