Chapter 9 - Storm Clouds





Air Force Lieutenant Jake Morrow was just settling into bed after a few Saturday night beers. He could hear his “shack-mate” David Carver snoring away in the next room.


Suddenly a very large low flying aircraft passed overhead and rattled his BOQ like a dog shaking a chew toy.  Just as soon as it was over, it got quiet again and he could hear Carver snoring again. The pitch had not even changed.


Forty-five seconds later another large low flying jet passed over the house rattling Morrow’s teeth and causing white-caps in his aquarium. It too was gone almost as suddenly as it had arrived.


He looked around his room. The only illumination was moonlight coming through his window. The disturbance from the low flying aircraft has stirred up the dust inside and outside of his quarters.


Exactly forty-five seconds later another heavy jet flew over causing dishes to rattle in his kitchen. This time he heard through the wall snort, snore.


He pulled the pillow over his head and around his ears and said, “Good grief. What does it take to wake Carver up, artillery?”


This was one of the hazards of having quarters on the approach to one of Guam’s three big airstrips. Morrow counted thirty-six aircraft before he went to sleep.


Twenty minutes later another stream of aircraft began landing and it started all over again.


Morrow said, “Aw for the love of…” He went to his kitchen and got a beer out of the fridge. He turned on the TV and plopped down on the sofa because it was apparent that he wasn’t going to get any sleep.


Much to Morrow’s disgust, aircraft of all shapes and sizes continued to land at intervals throughout the night. Carver’s snoring was never disturbed.




Camp Castle 2nd Infantry Division HQ- Dongducheon, South Korea


Intelligence Specialist Martha Ingram collected all of her data onto a laptop. Her team had been operating one of the new SkyDrake class surveillance drones in North Korean territory for the past 36 hours. Her task was to prepare a PowerPoint presentation based on their findings and brief the Division’s senior staff on North Korean troop movements on the other side of the border.


Her immediate superior Lieutenant Raines stuck his head in her cubical and said, “Ten minutes Martha. Are you ready?”


Ingram said, “I need to get to the briefing room and set up.”


Raines said, “Follow me.”


She took her laptop and followed Raines. She got to the briefing room, plugged in her video port to an oversized monitor and readied her presentation. As she was finishing her preparations, General Jackson, his aide Captain Warren and six of the division’s Company Commanders entered the room and sat down at the table.


General Jackson said, “Specialist Ingram. I understand your group is using a prototype drone with some very special capabilities. Could you fill us on it?”


Ingram replied, “Well, I wasn’t really prepared to talk about SkyDrake but I can.”


Jackson said, “Please. If we are to trust the intelligence, we’ve got to know where it comes from. Please proceed.”


Ingram said, “SkyDrake is a new generation of drones. It operates using vertical lift rather than a jet or a propeller. It is very stable and operates at extremely high altitude between forty and sixty thousand feet. It has multispectral sensor capability and is able to stay on station for days. It also has remote laser designation capability so that it can paint targets with a coded laser for laser guided ordnance.”


Jackson said, “Thank you Ingram. Gentlemen please be aware that SkyDrake is a highly classified project. I decided that you needed to know because some of the imagery that this bird can deliver is unbelievable if you don’t know and understand how we got it. Specialist Ingram, you may proceed with your presentation.”


Ingram said, “We have been collecting data for the last 36 hours on what we call ‘the Citadel’. It is a huge complex of bunkers and caves immediately across our sector of the DMZ. When you look at the layout of the Citadel, you notice that it has four rail lines that feed the complex from the North: two tracks are southbound and two tracks are northbound.”


“Over the past 36 hours troop, munitions and tank carrying trains have arrived on the hour, entered the complex and returned on the north bound tracks. We estimate that while we have been watching, we have seen four armored divisions and four to six infantry divisions enter the Citidel.”


“On this slide are their artillery positions. Their guns are in fixed concrete revetments and range from 75 mike-mike up to eight inch guns plus various motors, rockets and spit ball launchers.”


“Superimposed on the last slide are the air defenses: SA-2 and SA-3 SAMs and ZSU mobile triple-A.”


Colonel Blake of Echo Company asked, “These trains, they are regular like clockwork?”


Ingram said, “While we have been watching, they have been sending in one an hour and one leaves empty at the same time.”


Blake said, “I’ve got an idea for our special ops guys…”




Eagle Rock


As soon as the wiring was ready, Brian and Tom set up a system to test it. They used a 12 volt bulb originally intended for brake lights. Once all eight of the firing circuits had been verified, Brian disconnected the power.


It took the boys most of the day to prepare the bombs. The first step was to drill a hole in the bottom of the big black iron pots and that was a chore in its own right. The old black iron ate drill bits like candy.


While they were working on the pots, Tom carefully taped five sticks of dynamite together with duct tape and set the blasting caps.


Once the iron pots were ready, Tom placed the dynamite in the bottom secured with duct tape. He then ran the detonator wires from the blasting caps out the hole after insulating them with electrical tape.


The next step, and most nerve-racking and time consuming, was mixing and placing the napalm. The bladders were a nightmare to work with and everyone cursed them at least twice. The twins started the process by blowing them up and filling them with shredded Styrofoam through a makeshift funnel.


The next step was poring gasoline directly into the bladder. This was supposed to be easy but it took time for the gasoline to dissolve the Styrofoam and each bag had to be filled in stages. With 24 bladders to fill they thought it would never end.


Jimmy looked at an exhausted Bobby and said, “It’s a good thing you’re smart. We’ve probably killed enough brain cells to just be average.”


Ronny replied, “”If I ever smell gasoline again, it will be too soon.”


Despite the danger and the difficulty, they finally accomplished the task and gave up for the evening.



Guam, Andersen Air Force Base


Air Force Reserve Captain Red Parks of the 7th Bombardment Squadron had gone to bed the night before in Abilene, Texas and now he and his B-1b Lancer were on the other side of the world. He looked around the auditorium and saw a large collection of Air Force and Navy pilots.


Well, there goes the neighborhood he thought as an Air Force General and a Navy Admiral took the podium.


“Gentlemen, I am General Holman commander of Andersen Air Force Base. Welcome. We don’t have much time so I’m going to get right to it. Admiral Simpson will brief you on our situation.”


Admiral Simpson took the podium and said, “Five days ago forces of Iran and Syria attacked our homeland with biological weapons and our ships and units in the Middle East.”


“What we didn’t know at the time was because we captured and identified their agents, Iran and Syria had to move ahead of schedule. It was supposed to be a unified assault with China and North Korea going at the same time but China and North Korea could not or would not advance their time table. We expect that they will go on their original schedule at 0000 Tuesday morning and attempt to conquer South Korea and Taiwan. China and North Korea think that our country and military are paralyzed by the epidemics and can not effectively respond. Our President has ordered us to respond violently and show them that they have made a very serious error. We have 36 hours to get our op plan in place and be ready.


General Holman stood next to the Admiral at the podium and took over. “We have devised a plan that we call Operation Spiral that involves our air and sea forces and those of the Republics of Korea and China. Japan will also be participating by defending their air space and providing bases. We have 36 hours to install that plan, prepare for it and execute it. We are going to break this assembly into small groups based on aircraft types and missions starting now… 



Eagle Rock


The next morning Tom and the boys placed the bombs on the Bobcat and took them to their positions. They placed eight of them at intervals of 15 feet along the path around the mountain. They finished them off by pouring white marble chips in on top of the napalm filled bladders and topped them off with a fake plastic cactus. Then they finished the final wiring. Their mines were now live.


Tom had very carefully chosen the spot to block the road. He picked a spot that couldn’t be seen from the road and there was no direct line of sight on the house and there was enough lose rock above that the road would be blocked too any vehicle. When the dynamite went off it would dump at least 100 tons of boulders on their access road.


Jimmy said, “Last chance to rethink.”


Tom said, “When things are safe we can use the Bobcat and the rest of the dynamite to clear the path but as long as bands of serial killing raiders are running around...”


Jimmy said, “Ok, Ok- I’m sold. I just have to keep you on your toes Big Brother.”


Tom smiled and said, “Keep it up Jimmy. I don’t want to get this one wrong either. Brian, are we ready?”


Brian said, “We’re ready.”


Tom yelled, “Fire in the hole!” and completed the circuit.


Six sticks of dynamite blew behind a mass of rocks causing them to come down across the road in a cloud of dust.


When the dust cleared, they had created the impassible barrier across the road that Tom had hoped for.


They were ready.



Center for Disease Control

Epidemiological Surveillance Division

Atlanta, Georgia


Doctor Thomas Ross, senior was running on caffeine.  Ever since the epidemics had begun he had slept very little. It reminded him of his residency at Johns Hopkins with one exception: he was twenty years older and had a vast responsibility.


Things were so ragged with the epidemics. In New York infections were confined to certain neighborhoods.  In Miami it was everywhere, and worse, many of the infected were illegal aliens who avoided everything and everybody in authority. In Los Angeles, it was scattered all over towns and across ethnic groups.


There were some theories about the differences in the way the diseases were acting in different cities. Ross knew that it had to be the method of delivery that the bioterrorists had used. It seemed that it was somewhat different in every city.


In New York it had been subway lines. In Chicago and Los Angeles it had been shopping malls. The brains behind the bioterrorists attacks had customized their attacks based on the culture of the various cities and their particular vulnerabilities. There was a paper in this somewhere but he would have to think about it sometime when his brain was working.


There was a knock on his cubicle wall. He turned to see the Lab Chief Frank Kramer.


Ross said, “Hi Frank. What can I do for you?”


The lab chief, Doctor Frank Kramer, grabbed a chair and sat down in his cubicle.  “Tom I need your help on something. CNN is asking to do an interview with one of our heroic germ hunters and they’re asking for you.”


Tom said, “Me?”


“Yes you. You’ve had one hell of a career to only be 45. You’ve fought bugs on five continents and you are one of the best regarded men in your field. I’m very lucky to have had your help with this bioterrorist mess.”


Doctor Ross looked for a quick route of escape and said, “Are you sure? I’ve never been that charismatic or brilliant with the press.”


Kramer said, “You’ll represent the lab just fine. We need some good press. The people need to feel confident that we know what we’re doing. With your background and credentials, you are just the guy we’re looking for.”


Tom figured there was no getting around it and said, “Ok. Where and when?”


Kramer said, “Thanks for doing this Tom. I’ll owe you one. Get eight hours sleep tonight. Come in tomorrow and sit down with Scott Philips with our Public Information Office. He’ll go over what you can talk about and what not to. The interview will be in one of our conference rooms and shouldn’t last over a half hour.”


Tom sighed and said, “That sleep part sounds good. I’m not a twenty-something resident anymore and these 36 hour days are killing me.”


“Go now. It’s late in the day and tired people make mistakes. I’ll see you in the morning.”



Eagle Rock


The next morning was Sunday and it proved to be a lazy day. The weather was cool and misty. After all the work that the boys had done preparing the defenses, they were ready to rest and play for a while.


Because most of the country was under martial law, the networks had done something pretty cool. They had limited their commercials to the top and the bottom of the hour and were showing their most popular series back to back. The Sci-Fi network was showing the new Battlestar Galactica from start to finish and the boys settled in to watch.


They had a light lunch but Bobby and Ronny out did themselves on supper. They cooked bread and had the whole house smelling good. Using canned roast beef, frozen onions and green peppers they made a stew that they served over toasted slices of sourdough bread with French-fries and ranch-style beans. After chili dogs and burgers, it was a feast.


After supper they decided to catch the news and ended up on CNN. Things in the Middle East were looking very promising. The shared misery of the biological attacks and nuclear bombings had the Arabs and Israelis working together like they never had before. Egyptians, Israelis and Jordanians and even Saudi and Iraqi volunteers were working side by side and even Hamas had issued a statement thanking the Israelis for their humanitarian assistance. Hope was rising from the radioactive ashes like a phoenix.


At 7:00 a thirty-minute special started. The boys looked at each other with incredulity and Jimmy said, “Dudes! That’s us!”

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