CONTROL THE DOC – 14

14

West with the Night.

~ By Beryl Markham

1215 Hours, 13 July 2013, US 15/29 Lee Highway, Warrenton, Virginia:

ana drove southwest from Haymarket. As she approached Warrenton, she kept to the right and took the US29B business exit onto Broadview Avenue. Broadview ran west then turned south, around the old town area. God, I feel dry. She turned right into the Exxon gas station and parked by the ice machine at the corner of the building. She noticed a bronze Chevy Suburban behind her that drove in and parked at a pump under the canopy.

After a wait in line inside the market, Dana bought a bottle of water. She tucked the bills and change into a front pocket of her jeans. The bronze suburban was still there.

On Broadview Avenue south, she turned to the right to continue on the Lee Highway US-211. This would take her all the way to Newmarket at the I-81 along a winding highway. Before Newmarket there was Luray where she read the sign and laughed. It read Jelly Stone Recreation Park.

“Who would have figured,” she said out loud.

She was still laughing when she came to the turnoff for East Main Street in Luray. Just across the intersection of Reservoir Street, she saw a statue on one corner and restaurant on the other—a Hardees.

“Damn, now I’m hungry,” she mumbled to herself.

She pulled into Hardees and parked. After another wait in a line, she sat at a table for two and ate. Getting a refill of her drink, she went to the parking lot and noticed the statue again on the opposite corner. The walk to the statue corner was short. The sign read Confederate Soldiers Monument. She studied the monument for a while, remembering what a California historian and reenactor had told her once as she’d been observing a similar statue in Pasadena. “There were over twenty-five thousand of those statues made after the war,” the fellow had said.

It does look like the one in Pasadena. She turned around to walk back to Hardees. In the parking lot, she noticed a bronze Chevy Suburban.

Is this a coincidence? Have they been following me? I can’t take that chance. Sorry, Jim. I can’t go on right now. This is going to have to wait. She reached her car and returned to Alexandria the same way, on the Lee Highway.

The same Suburban followed here to Alexandria. When she parked under a tree, the Suburban drove past and appeared to drive out of the neighborhood.



1450 Hours, 14 July 2013, Dana’s Apartment, Alexandria, Virginia:

Dana wrote a letter to Hank about the plan she had developed since she discovered she was being followed. She sat in a chair in her room with a pen and a spiral note book. The letter was hand written because she didn’t want any of it on her computer, in case her place was searched again. That included not having a deleted MS Word file that could be recovered by any skilled techy.

Dear Hank,

You are getting this hand-written letter because I don’t want to talk on the phone or in emails about this. I need you to do me a big favor. Meet me half way, literally, at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on August 1. As you know, American Airlines has direct flights out of Mudford to DFW, Texas. Meet me at the food court nearest the American Arrival gate on that date, August 1. The gates can change, so I’ll arrive earlier and locate yours. Chances are it will be in the same wing of the terminal. We won’t have to go through the TSA checks. We can catch departing flights out of there easily.

I’m not coming home this summer at all, as I need to work, but this is too important to wait. And I can get the day off on August 1st. Call me after you get this. In the call, tell me two things. Tell me, “the plan is on” and the “arrival time” of your flight. I’ll assume it’s for Thursday, August 1. Do not mention the flight number as those can change, and the information could be picked up by surveillance. I need to tell you something important and I need your advice. Please!

Always, Dana



2345 Hours, 20 July 2013, Civil War Event, Casa de Fruta, California:

Matt was at Casa De Fruta where there was a night battle scheduled on the Saturday Orders of the Day. It would be a spectacular sight with the muzzle flashes and length of the flames visible in the dark.

After the second afternoon battle that day, the men only had an hour to rest and get a bite to eat, before the night battle was on. Matt removed his shell jacket and hung it on the corner of the command tent. He needed to cool off.

Linda took a wet cloth and wiped his face. “Your face is red,” she said. “You need to lie down before the next one.”

“I think I will,” he said. “I wish Dana was here. She loved these night battles.”

“I think you better get used to the fact that she may be taking a different turn in her life.”

“I suppose.”

Linda helped him recline on his cot in the tent. “I miss her, too,” she said then left him alone.

The night battle was always the third battle on a Saturday. There were a few minor complaints, but these were generally considered the finest night battles anywhere in the nation. A huge spotlight hung from a light pole at the corner of the walnut orchard and would not be shut off until the night battle was over.

It was still dusk when the brigades were marched out to their locations and, therefore, not really dark when the battle got going. The confederates were on the side of the hill and behind a wall. The artillery line below and to the right began laying down their fire.

With tremendous flashes, the flames shot out thirty feet in front of the gun barrels. When the guns went silent, the smoke and cooler temperatures created an eerie, floating fog that drifted across the landscape, lending a ghostly ambience to the scene and diminishing the glare of the spotlight.

The advancing union line marched forward to attack the confederate hill. They stopped to fire and the only thing visible was their muzzle flash. This created more smoke and fog. The confederates were ordered to fire.

The noise, the fire, the yells, grew in a crescendo of sound as the union line approached, nothing but dark shadows in the fog and smoke.

The visiting actor in the confederate ranks stepped forward with his black-powder pistol drawn, aimed at the approaching union troops.

“Take this you damn Yankee sons-a-bitches,” he yelled then fired all his rounds from the Remington forty-four caliber.

“Here,” a reenactor nearby said. “Take my musket, sir. It’s loaded and ready to fire.”

The actor holstered his empty pistol and took the Enfield from the confederate soldier behind him. He fired at the Yankees who fell at the base of the hill. A young man holding the colors went down on his knees as if hit, but kept the colors high.

The orders had been to fire by company. This night the Third Confederate kept the fire hot, firing volley after volley. At the end Matt was hoarse from yelling the commands above the noise.



1230 Hours, 21 July 2013, Cafeteria, FAO Building, Washington, DC:

While Dana was at lunch with others from her office, her cell phone rang. She looked at the screen. It was Hank.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hi, Dana, it’s good to hear your voice.”

She laughed. “Yours, too,” she said. “It’s been awhile.”

“I’m sorry. I know. Is this a bad time?”

She stood, excused herself with hand motions to her friends, and walked away from the table. “No, but I’m at lunch with friends,” she said. “It’s okay.”

“I just wanted to let you know that the plan is on. At nine-thirty in the morning.”

She breathed out a sigh of relief as Hank confirmed meeting her on the first of August at DFW Airport and that he was arriving at 9:30 a.m.

“That’s nice,” she said.

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I am just relieved to hear this news.”

“Good. I have to see another patient, so I have to cut this short.”

“That’s all right. Thanks for calling.”

“Bye.”

“Bye, Hank.”

She shut the phone and returned to the lunch conversation. Her fear was just as strong as the day she returned to her trashed apartment. The plan was simply to meet him at the airport and tell about the drive he now possessed. She had to tell him what Jim had told her.

Give the drive to the senator.

Dana had no way of knowing if she could actually find Jim’s other drive and follow through with Jim’s request. She closed her eyes. God, I’ve made such a mess of things.

At the table, Paula smiled. “Who was that?”

“A family friend back home. He’s trying to plan a surprise party for my folks’ anniversary,” Dana lied.

“Wow. That’s nice.”

“Yeah. But it’s sort of hard planning from my end here,” Dana said.

The others nodded in sympathy.



0900 Hours, 24 July 2013, in a Cessna 182, over San Joaquin Valley, California:

In the single engine airplane, Hank adjusted the left earpiece of the headset and briefly scanned his instruments. Jenn looked out of the right window under the wing of their Cessna. The patchwork image of farms and roads on the valley floor below them stretched out toward the horizon.

“That was nice seeing Scott,” she said. “He never drives up to see us these last few months.”

“He’ll find his way. You worry too much,” Hank said.

She looked out at the landscape again. “When are you going to Dallas?” she asked.

“Next week, on the first.”

“Why?”

“Dana has something to tell me.”

“What is she going to tell you?”

“That’s just it. I don’t know.”

“Why can’t she tell you with a call?”

“I don’t know that either,” Hank said.

“That’s strange.”

“Yes, it is. But I trust her.”

“You’d think she could talk to her folks.”

Hank shrugged. “For some things that’s not so easy.”

He noticed the huge shadows on the earth below, cast by the white, billowy cumulus clouds, which were scattered above their altitude. He knew the flight service station had updated the information and that the weather report had included the passing of the low pressure cold front. It looked like the clear weather cumulus clouds, to him, behind the cold front. It was ideal flying weather. Nice calm, dense air.

Jenn pointed to a shadow on the ground. Hank scanned the sky and saw a huge towering cumulus in front of them.

“It’s way above us,” he said.

Jenn nodded. “Are we going around it?”

“No need,” Hank said. “We’ll just fly right under it.

“It’s beautiful and even awesome,” she remarked.

He nodded.

Jenn continued to gaze at the towering cumulus as they kept on course. She noticed that it was flat on the bottom and darker there.

“We might get a little rain under it,” Hank said. “But we’re almost home. Twenty minutes.”

“I know. We’re doing over one-hundred thirty knots,” she said. “But when we’re at this cruising altitude, the ground below slips by so slowly, that it is really quite boring up here.”

Hank chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right. Why do you think I told you to bring something to read?”

The small Cessna flew closer to the large cloud, which was about two thousand feet above their plane. Jenn leaned forward to glance through the windscreen. As she looked, she could see the concave bottom of the cloud. It was not completely flat. She had not taken the pilot’s meteorology class, so she did not realize the significance of her observations. Hank looked forward toward the patchwork of farms, which extended miles before them. Soon they flew under the cloud, into its shadow. It grew darker in their cabin. They could see, beyond their position, the dazzling sunshine of the terrain below.

Jenn swallowed. “I just had to clear my ears,” she said. “Are you descending?”

“No,” Hank said. “I’m straight and level.” Then he scanned his altimeter again. He found they had risen about five hundred feet. And the altimeter was still showing that they were climbing. “Oh, now that’s interesting,” he said.

“What?”

“There is an updraft under this cloud,” he explained. The warm air under it is rising up from below, is cooled, expands, and keeps rising into the formation of the tower.”

“Oh, that’s interesting.”

“I’ll just nose over a little and get lower that way.” Hank pushed the column forward and the plane angled downward, as if in a glide slope, only Hank kept up the cruising power.

“Great,” Jenn said.

Hank checked his altimeter again and this time he became concerned. “Well, it appears we are still rising.” He pushed the column forward again, then back, and the plane was now at a steeper angle almost a diving angle.”

“Hank, what is going on?”

“That updraft is stronger than I thought,” he said. He looked at the altimeter again and they were still gaining altitude.

“Hank it’s raining now,” Jenn said.

Through the rain, they could see the sunshine still on the horizon, but they were higher also. They could also see, through the rain, the bottom of the cloud getting nearer to them. At this time Hank was becoming very alarmed.

He nosed over more. Now they were in a dive attitude looking straight down at the ground. When Hank looked at his altimeter, it was still gaining.

“Hank, what is happening?” Jenn yelled.

“We are being pushed backward into the cloud,” he said.

“What?”

“We’re being pulled into the cloud.”

“We’re flying straight down,” she yelled. “How can we be going up?”

“That’s how strong this updraft is,” he answered.

His mind was racing. If they went into the cloud with no ground references, even if he was flying on instruments, he would not be able to control the plane in the turbulence higher up. He risked getting vertigo. The plane could get beat up with hail and torn apart, more likely than not. If drawn up into the cloud, they likely wouldn’t survive it.

“Hank, we’re going up into it.”

The darkness enveloped them. The ground and sunshine disappeared. There was the light from the instruments and that was it. Flashes of purple lit the sky when they felt the first bumps, Turbulence. It could flip them over, or stall their wings. Hank thought fast. The prevailing winds carried the storms easterly. I should have turned west, while angled downward, while under the cloud, instead of maintaining the northerly heading.

Hank checked his compass heading. He pulled back on the column and, watching the instruments, turned the wheel to the left, and pressed the left rudder. He watched the compass. There. Bring it to 270. There were more bumps now, and Hank saw they were gaining more altitude, but now he was trying to fly west, and out of the morass they were in.

There was a patter of noise, besides the bumps. Jenn yelled again, “That’s hail.”

Hank saw it but didn’t speak. It was small stuff. He knew it could be larger balls of ice higher up. He scanned his instruments as more buffeting and bumps rocked the plane.

“I’m going to be sick, Hank.” Jenn groped for a bag to vomit into. The cabin became darker, then there was a greenish flash. “Was that lightning?” she asked.

“Probably,” Hank muttered.

Then it was blackness, again, purple again, and green again, all around them. From the altimeter readings, Hank estimated they had gained over a thousand feet inside the cloud.

There was a huge flash in the darkness and a jarring bump that pulled them up hard in their seatbelts and then slammed them back down. Hank was pretty sure they were going to disintegrate very soon. He thought they might be inverted also. Nothing happened immediately, only more bumps and flashes. He kept the heading on 270. Then a lighter purple surrounded them, then a green glow. He scanned his instruments but the attitude didn’t seem correct.

“Hank,” she said. “I feel like I’m hanging toward you sideways.”

Hank felt his own weight pressing his arm to the left window. What he didn’t realize was that they had been tossed in such a way by the turbulence that the right wing was straight up and the left wing straight down. Hank was heading west still but the attitude of the plane was such that the updraft had less lift. Then a yellow–green light surrounded them, and the bumping ceased. It was then they flew out of the darkness and they were out of the side of towering cloud at eleven thousand feet. The Cessna was on its side angling forty-five degrees toward earth, with the right wing up and the left wing down. Hank kept in the dive as he turned the wheel right, to bring the wings horizontal, then pulled back on the wheel to level out.

Jenn looked back, but she could not see that the cloud top reached forty-eight thousand feet. Hank checked the instruments and fuel gauges. The engine behaved as if nothing had occurred. Neither spoke for a long time. Jenn was very shaky and drank some water from a plastic bottle. Hank held her hands to steady them. He was shaking also. There was no need to speak. In twenty minutes they landed at their home airport. Both felt relieved to be on the ground.

As they left the plane, Hank couldn’t help but wonder if it had been tampered with. His instruments had not acted the way he’d expected them to. Was it just a freak of nature, or was someone trying to kill him? And did this have anything to do with what Dana wanted to talk to him about? Her missing boyfriend was an agent for the DHS, after all. And with all the shit that the NSA was pulling these days, one could never be too sure.

No, now you’re just been paranoid, he told himself as he and Jenn headed for their car. Even so, he couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that things were not as they seemed.



1545 Hours, 24 July 2013, SRI Office, FAO Building, Washington, DC:

SRI Director, Phil Press, called for a meeting with Terry, Cullman, and Bill Gander. They sat in a circle around his desk.

“I just had a call from our staff man in Bastain’s office,” Phil said.

“Calder issue again?” Terry asked.

“DHS doesn’t like what’s transpiring. Calder knew all the classified ops we’ve done plus had access to even more at DHS.”

“What’s the problem?” Terry said. “Jim’s gone now.”

“The senator is asking DHS what happened to Calder. Apparently the senator wasn’t spooked enough by our man to let it go.”

“Maybe Jim told the senator more at that meeting than our guy knows,” Cullman said.

“It’s possible. But I think the senator would have called a hearing by now, if that were so,” Phil said. He paused for replies. When no one responded, he continued. “Cullman, I liked how the Calder solution went down with the first-phase rapid biological, followed by the second team ID stripping the body and taking care of disposal.”

Cullman nodded as a thank you. “What’s DHS want?” he asked.

“DHS wants any of Jim’s informed contacts taken care of,” Phil answered. “We had someone screw with that Doctor Houston’s plane in California. Almost brought it down, but apparently he was a better pilot than we gave him credit for.”

“Why?” Terry asked. “He represents no threat. Calder never made contact with him.”

“No, but Dana has, though whether she’s told him anything or not, we don’t know. So we’re putting him on the back burner for now. There’s a more immediate threat that needs to be taken care of first.”

“And that is?” Bill asked.

Phil looked at Bill. “I want you, Cullman, and Harold to take care of Dana Sweet. The guys following her say she showed up at Calder’s house this morning. She didn’t stay long, but now they aren’t sure where she’s going. If she goes back home, you can make contact with her there. If not, then you can ‘bump into her accidentally’ wherever she ends up tonight.”

“Not a problem. That’s all?” Cullman asked.

“For now. Terry and Glen will take care of her father later if the need arises,” Phil said. “We’ll have our guy in Bastain’s office tell us if things settle down with the senator.”

“How do you want it to go down?” Cullman asked.

“Make it look like a suicide.”

“No problem. Anything else?” Cullman repeated.

“Yeah, give me the op details in person when you finalize.”

“You got it.”

“Remember, nothing written as usual.”

Control The DOC – Chapter 13

13

…Duck and cover…

~ 1950’s Civil Defense Education Film

2030 Hours, 2 July 2013, Mudford Community Hospital Cafeteria, California:

Hank was in the hospital cafeteria, getting a bite to eat and a coffee, hoping to do a little quiet reading. Another doctor came over to his table. “Hi, Hank. Mind if I join you?”

“Hey, Jamie,” Hank said as he looked up. “Please. Sit.”

“Haven’t seen you for a while.”

“Yes, it’s been a while.”

“What’s new?” Jamie asked.

“Same old. How about you?”

“I had to fire one of my docs in the ER this morning.”

“Jeez.”

“Yeah. You didn’t hear about it?”

“What?”

“I’m surprised you haven’t heard. He beat up one of the RNs the other night.”

“Oh, right. I did hear something about that.”

“Nurse Tony Hoyle was a Vietnam vet. He’s always talking about the war—what he did there—lots of stories, lots of shooting stories. My doc, Bernie Honer, came in as usual. The other nurses said Tony began one of his stories as he sat at the station and Bernie just blew up. And started beating him up.”

“My God.”

“Evidently Tony’s hurt pretty badly. He was so shocked by the attack that he didn’t even try to defend himself.”

“What was the thing with Bernie?”

“He was a vet in Vietnam also. He’d told the nurses after a shift with Tony last week that he’d heard enough of the lies and crap from Tony.”

“Unbelievable.”

“Bernie just snapped.”

“Good man, too,” Hank said.

“I hated to let him go.”

“Where’s it going?”

“Really don’t know,” Jamie said. “Legally with Bernie, I haven’t heard. I’ve got my own problems with the administration here. I’ve got to cover my ass. I have seven other docs to keep working.”

“I understand,” Hank said.

Jamie swallowed a bite and then asked, “What’s the latest with you?”

“Just trying to educate a patient on midazolam, you know the conscious sedation thing.”

“Oh?”

“He’s having a colonoscopy and is anxious.”

“I know the type.”

“I suspect he’s got a case of diverticulitis,” Hank explained. “Had a couple bouts of abdominal pain and flare ups over the past six months.”

“Who’d you refer him to?”

“Kearn. Best in town.”

“Came across a thing on the internet, by accident really. I was looking up a site on midazolam,” Jamie said. “On this guy’s blog site he was writing about his experiences. He wrote about the things that he’d heard were done to him without his knowledge or consent. His angle was that he could have been tortured and would not have remembered it.”

“Like it couldn’t happen with any general anesthetic,” Hank said.

“Exactly.”

“If it’s not the people being alarmed by what’s on Oprah, it’s what’s on the blogs. There was one whole show on patients waking up under the general, who can’t talk because of being trached but can hear and can feel the cutting and the pain.”

“I know. It’s one thing or another these days.”



2000 Hours, 19 July 2013, Doctor Henry Houston’s Internal Medicine Office, Mudford, California:

Hank sat at the computer in his office. He searched for the sites on conscious sedation and the medications used. He found the site he wanted. The main drug was midazolam. He wrote a few notes from the screen then printed the pages.

MIDAZOLAM

Pronunciation: (mid-AZE-oh-lam)

This medication is used in children before a procedure or anesthesia to cause drowsiness, decrease anxiety, and cause forgetfulness of the surgery or procedure. It should be used while the child is under the care of a health professional. It is not for home or long term use.

Midazolam belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines, which produce a calming effect on the brain and nerves (central nervous system). It is thought to work by increasing the effect of a certain natural chemical (GABA) in the brain.

Conscious sedation

Start an IV line and titrate midazolam. I give 1-2 mg at a time, watching the patient’s response. Older patients are very sensitive to midazolam. Therefore, 1 or 2 mg may suffice.

Never push 10 mg in one stroke. Midazolam makes the procedure go smoothly and provides amnesia. An excessive dose can induce respiratory depression.

Hank read the other doctor’s comments in a few short paragraphs.

In the past, I used Valium with good results. However, I find midazolam to be better. Let me share an anecdote with you. I once got into trouble with Valium. One of my patients stopped breathing after only 2 mg of valium.

I had removed his hearing aids and he could not hear my commands to breath. I quickly intubated and bagged him for a few minutes. He started respirations on his own and I was then able to complete the procedure.

Valium-induced respiratory depression can be overcome. The patient will respond to your instructions to take a deep breath. Where I got into trouble was in removing my patient’s hearing aids.



1130 Hours, 13 July 2013, Shell Minimart, Alexandria, Virginia:

Dana walked out of the minimart with a Virginia state map. She thought it might be more detailed than her United States road map. She was excited as she sat in her car at the pumps reading her printout of Jim’s after action report. Her next move was to drive west to Haymarket, as she assumed the directions started from Jim’s home.

It took longer to get there than she had expected. She was not prepared for the shock of seeing the real estate broker sign posted in the yard. She parked and went to the door. There was a foreclosure notice posted on it. She attempted a look inside a front window but could not see inside. Walking around to the left side, she searched for a gate into the back yard. She had no idea what she was doing, but felt compelled to see more of where Jim had lived. A lot things bothered her. Were his things still inside as he’d left them? Was the house empty? Did he have relatives that might have claimed the property?

She swallowed past the lump in her throat as she realized how little she had known him. Yet, the thoughts of him still hurt.

She walked through the side gate to the rear patio. Grass of St. Augustine was overgrown everywhere in the back. She looked in the windows and the glass of the double french doors at the patio. Nothing inside was visible.

It was time to get on the road and see where the directions took her. She walked back to her car in front and looked back at the house. She could not stop the tears as she opened the car door. Sitting behind the wheel, she took a tissue from the center console, blew her nose, squared her shoulders, took a deep breath, and headed back to the highway.

Control The Doc – 12

12

It was not, I think, that he “put his trust in God,”

but that when something had to be done he did it,

and entirely disregarded logic or economics or force.

~ James Stephens, Regarding P. H. Pearce

in the 1916 Dublin uprising.

1400 Hours, 19 May 2013, Civil War Reenactment, Duncan Mills, California:

It was Sunday morning. It had happened before, but not this badly. Matt had awakened from his bedroll feeling nauseated. He knew he only needed something in his stomach. He hadn’t had more than three drinks last night and those he had nursed over a four-hour period. He slipped on his brogans, put on his sack coat, and brushed the tent flap aside as he stepped out. The morning light was still dusky. Down the company street George was lighting a fire.

Matt grabbed a coffee pot and small kettle from the hooks on the cook irons and walked toward the end of the grove for the water faucet. Few others were up. Reveille was an hour away.

As he walked he felt worse. At the edge of the camp near the three port-a-potties, his stomach rebelled. He bent over behind one port-a-potty, vomiting.

This went on all morning. He tried to keep some soda crackers and a flat cola down. It was no use. He slept between bouts of vomiting. Two paramedics came, took his blood pressure, and checked his vital signs. Matt felt chilled. He handed the company command over to First Lieutenant Gig Marand.

Matt missed all that day’s battles. Later when it was time to leave, the boys packed his pickup. Bob Townes drove Matt’s pickup to Matt’s house. Richard made a pallet in his van and drove Matt home.

Matt was grateful but was sick at home for two more days.

Linda scolded him. She was genuinely worried. “I told you,” she said. “You can’t do things like when you were twenty.”

“I didn’t do anything,” he said.

Linda wiped his face with a wash cloth.

“I feel like I’ve been poisoned.”

She kissed his forehead.

“Is Dana all right?”

“She’s fine. She just called.”

“Good.”

“She’s more worried about you. You need to be more careful.”

He was too sick to argue.



1800 Hours, 19 May 2013, Interstate 81 South, Near Lexington, Virginia:

After calling home to check on her dad, Dana called her boss and took a couple of days off from work, traveling to Tennessee. She had spent four years at the University of South Central Tennessee at Leoma. Leoma was a small town south of Lawrenceburg. If there was anywhere else where she felt at home, it was there while she was working on her degree. She drove to Centerpoint, where a church and a cemetery still occupied the quiet ground amid the new buildings and broad landscaping built up by the university development. At the cemetery, she walked through the quiet stones and old board grave markers, as she looked for her kin on her mother’s side. She had never known these folks, but knew she felt at home there in the area and terrain where her mother had played as a child of four years of age before migrating to the farms of California in the 1920s. Dana found the graves of Justice and Yeager, placed flowers on them, and went back to her car.

She drove down the road called Rabbit Run, which ran into Mockerson another road to the south. She parked and walked to the empty foundation of a house now gone. Pushing saplings aside, she heard the leaves rustle under her feet. The place was thick with growth. The smell of musty oak leaves mixed with cedars and small pines were strange to her. She tried to imagine the noises of the life that had once been here. And she tried to imagine the sadness that must have been felt there with the death of the infant brother of her mother, born in 1924. For some reason the small baby boy had taken an infection and did not survive after a couple of days. Her mother had never remembered that, of course, but once, a great aunt had told her, “That is where you lived when your baby brother was born. I saw him there.”

Those were haunting words to Dana. Now, she was in the area where her great aunt saw her infant uncle. She said a prayer and laid another small handful of flowers on the old rock foundation.

It occurred to her that this would have been a good place to hide the thumb drive that she had slipped into Hank’s haversack. Under that rock foundation. It had a familiar feel. It wasn’t a deja vu moment but close, reminding her of Jim’s after action report. That captain had buried something at an old grave site marker.

“Oh, my God,” she said. “He buried a ‘thumb’ of that soldier after a ‘drive’ on the Yankees. Is it possible that is a real place? Where Jim hid another drive? Is that what he was trying to say?”

If that was true, this was far more serious than she’d thought. Perhaps she should try to find it and give it to Senator Bastain after all. “What was I thinking, not trusting Jim?” she muttered. “He was right. I should have listened to him and gone to the senator three months ago.”



1700 Hours, 7 June 2013, Mudford, California:

This was Matt’s favorite time, at least a major favorite thing about a reenactment weekend. He took off early on Friday. For some events he took all day Friday off. The first person there usually had the job of setting up the company street. The actual location of units or batteries and company streets was determined by the host organization. On an infantry street, the captain’s command tent was set up at one end, facing down the street, which was lined by two row of canvas A-frame tents. Campaign bedroll locations continued as an extension at the end of the tents. In front of the command tent was a tent fly of broad raw canvas canopy supported by two wood center poles under a two by four ridge pole and four corner poles. These were all held tight by ropes from the corners to steel ground stakes.

Matt unpacked and set up fairly quickly since he had help with the canopy. It was getting dark and Linda held the corner poles while Matt swung his three-pound hammer driving stakes for the corner ropes.

Down the street three campfire pits, dug and being lit, began to burn. Small piles of wood were stacked nearby. Wrought-iron fire irons and rods were driven into the sod. Hooks and chains hung from the cross rods.

The first sergeant had his tent set up off the corner of Matt’s command fly. He was setting up a company stove. This stove was of rusted steel plate in a roughly fifteen-inch cube, open at one end with a grate at the top.

Linda set up a pine table, made by Matt, under the canopy. The pine table was stained by wax, lamp oil, and lampblack smudges. Matt lit his lanterns and hung them on hooks at the corners of the canopy. Linda lit candles in period holders and placed them on the table. She set out her bowls crock ware. As the setting-up chores were getting done, some folks were bringing their chairs to the fires.

The reenactors with tents were often referred to as “mainstream” reenactors. Campaigners traveled lighter. They walked into camp with their bedrolls and knapsacks. Five campaigners had arrived already and laid their bedrolls at the end of one tent row. There were six other campaigners expected to arrive later.

Two other wives pulled their chairs over to a fire. Linda took her chair there also. They all wore period dresses. The air was getting cooler and they wore either jackets or a shoulder wrap.

“Aren’t you going to cook?” a lady asked Linda.

There was laughter all around.

“Not tonight,” Linda said. “There’s fried chicken, beans, and coleslaw, already done,”

“All right,” another said.

“I’ll get it out in a minute.”

“We ate hamburgers on the way here,” the lady said.

“Well, you’re all welcome to eat what we brought. There’s plenty,” Linda said.

Matt came over. He stood at the fire, held his tin cup, and sipped his whiskey slowly.

“But on the cooking,” Linda said. “I need Dana here to help me with that.”

“Oh, I miss her,” the other lady said.

“I miss her, too,” Matt said.

“How’s she doing?” one woman asked.

“Very well, so she tells us,” Matt answered.

“We heard she’s in Washington, DC. Is that right?”

“Yeah.” Matt wanted to brag about her but hesitated as he answered. Hell, all these folks knew Dana, anyway. “She’s also working on her Master of Arts Degree.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. She’s doing too much,” Linda said. “I worry about her.”

“I bet you do,” a woman responded.

“Dana has always had a way of keeping herself together,’ another lady said.

“But she’s having a great time, too,” Matt said. “She’s taking in all the historical sites back there.”

“That has to be awesome,” one of the ladies said.

Linda was thoughtful, listening, but then she had to jump into the conversation with more information. “She’s gone to a Revolutionary War reenactment and also to Gettysburg.”

“Did she do the Gettysburg event?”

“Yes, she did,” Linda answered.

“Wow.”

“When she called,” Matt said, “she said the confederates she fell in with were really nice.”

“All right!”

“Dana said they were happy to have one more musket in their unit,” Linda said.

“She didn’t have any problems?”

“No. In fact, they said her impression was very good, that she looked like a young lad in a slouch hat.”

“Good for her,” a gal said.

“I miss her in the line with us,” a man said.

“Yeah,” Matt said. “Me, too.” He got quiet then and sipped his whiskey.

Linda rose. “Anyone hungry?” She walked to her table to get the food out. “Chicken and coleslaw coming up.”

General Chuck “Stonewall” Hansen walked into camp and up to the fire.

“Officer in the camp,” a man said.

Some rose in a mock salute.

“Evenin’, evenin’,” Chuck said.

He was an exact likeness of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, with the full brown beard and cadet forage cap. He was accompanied by Colonel Archie Hall. Arch had been an infantryman in the Third Confederate in the past. He was currently a surgeon with Twentieth Tennessee Field Hospital.

“What’s the special at your drive through, Stonewall,” Matt asked.

Everyone busted up in laughter, knowing he was referring to the previous year at Mooney Grove, Visalia, when Chuck had a fire in his wall tent. The stove he had set up caught the wall of his tent on fire and burned a three-foot hole in the roof near the edge. When it was out, he had inspected the damage, and stood with his head sticking out of the burned hole. A reenactor hollered over to him if he was taking orders for pecan pie and lemonade.

“I know, I know,” Chuck nodded. “I deserve that. Truth is I’ve sewn up the hole already. So you’re on your own.”

More laughter.

Chuck caught Matt’s eye and jerked his head toward the area away from the fire. Matt followed him until they were out of earshot of the group.

“What’s up, Chuck? Something wrong?”

Chuck hesitated. “I don’t know. I had someone from the DHS asking me about Dana. Said they knew our families came to these reenactments together, and they wanted some background on her. She’s not in trouble, is she?”

Matt sighed. “No. It’s probably about her boyfriend, Jim. He was a DHS agent and he’s been missing since January. I imagine they’re just trying to make sure that Dana wasn’t involved in his disappearance.”

“Dana? She wouldn’t hurt a fly!”

“You and I know that, Chuck. But I don’t imagine DHS does. I sure hope they find him soon. Dana’s not been the same since it happened.”



1800 Hours, 15 June 2013, Almond Grill Restaurant, Mudford, California:

Hank and Jenn went to dinner at a restaurant on the river bank east of town. The Almond Grill had originally been a family-style Basque restaurant. With the natural-rock façade it still retained a rustic charm, but the menu, new owners, and chef created a place fitting in with the new money and growth of Mudford.

Hank held her chair while she sat, and others in the restaurant watched. He thought that the other patrons must wonder at someone still being a gentleman.

“I’m worried about Scott,” Jenn said.

“He’s all right,” Hank said. He picked up the wine list as he spoke. “I think he’s still trying to get somewhere with the music and the band.”

“I don’t know why,” she said.

“He’s a good musician. Plus, he likes it.”

“But he isn’t getting anywhere,” Jenn said almost in a whine.

“I know.”

“I still think he’s into drugs,” she said.

“I know you do.”

“You don’t?”

“I don’t know,” Hank explained.

“You are so blind,” she said.

“He doesn’t confide in me. And I don’t ask.”

Jenn was quiet when the waiter came and they ordered a bottle of Cabernet. When the waiter left, she spoke again. “All those band guys do coke.”

“Maybe,” he said. “But I don’t want to believe it.”

“That’s just it with you,” she said. “You don’t want to believe it.”

Hank knew she was right. He really didn’t want to believe it. And he worried. But what could he do? Scott was a young adult. Hank tried not to interfere.

“If it’s not coke, it is probably worse, like meth or some bad pills.”

“You shouldn’t believe what you don’t know for sure. It’ll drive you nuts.”

“It’s too late.”

Hank was quiet when the bottle of wine came. He smelled the cork, sipped the sample, and nodded to the waiter.

“Scott broke up with that nice girl he introduced to a while ago. Is he seeing anyone new?”

“He didn’t say.”

“And you wonder why I worry.”

“I worry too.”

They sipped their wine.

“Are we still going to the AMA Convention?” she asked.

“Yes. I made reservations already. And Dana is expecting us now. She plans to show us around.”

Jenn sipped her wine. “I don’t think I’m going this time,”

He set his glass down. “Why?”

“I’m thinking of going to visit Scott instead. Besides, at the conventions, all you do is go to break-out sessions while I wait for hours in the hotel.

“We’re supposed to see Dana.”

“You can still see her,” she said.

“I wish you’d go with me.”

“I know. But I find the trips more exhausting. We get there, spend two or three nights, then back to the hassles at the airport.”

Hank looked at her and nodded in understanding.

A waiter came to the table.

“May I have some coffee?” Hank asked. “Jenn?”

“None for me,” she said.

Hank turned to the waiter. “Just one, for me.”

The waiter nodded, turned, and left their table.



1300 Hours, 22 June 2013, Getty Museum, California:

Despite his assurances to Jenn, Hank worried about his restless and temperamental son but he knew Scott had to find his own way. He drove the distance to the Getty Museum parking facility on the 405 South, past the 101 interchange and toward the North Sepulveda Boulevard exit. He’d agreed to meet Scott there. Hank and Jenn had been there before and Hank wanted to see it again.

They rode the people mover tram up the hill to the museum grounds and wandered through the exhibits and rooms for an hour. Then they went outside and wandered around the exterior admiring the architecture and landscaping. The Research Center Building on the west side of the museum area was spectacular.

“It never ceases to amaze me here,” Hank said.

Scott took in the view to the south and west. The coastal morning fog had burned off and now it was clear with a few clouds floating lazily overhead.

“I had no idea it was this beautiful,” Scott said, “Even though I had heard about it.”

They became hungry. There were food and drink vendors on the grounds outside, but they went to the restaurant inside the main building.

During lunch Hank looked for any sign the Scott was using drugs, but he found none.

“How’s the job going?” Hank asked.

“Pretty good, really,” Scott answered.

Hank ate and waited for Scott to elaborate on his answer. He was about to say something else when Scott spoke again. “I’m getting a new press to operate,” he said. “It’s a big difference from the older machines.”

“How’s that?”

“I’ve only been a screen printer for a short time, but the technology is changing all the time. They still use a four-color screen machine on some jobs, but if the material being printed on is flat, they’re using inkjet printing systems. Much like larger versions of your desk top inkjets.”

“Sounds interesting,” Hank said.

“It is.”

“So, you like what you’re doing.”

“It’s all right. I’m still playing in the band.”

“How’s that going?”

“It’s going. Still playing rhythm guitar.”

“Uh-huh.”

Scott was quiet as he chewed for a while and sipped his drink. “I’ve been practicing more guitar leads, but the band leader mostly has Carl doing the leads and solos.”

“Why don’t you get into another band?”

“I would, but Carl says we are going to get a new contract and a possible tour in Europe. He has a new production company interested.”

Hank got excited for Scott. “That sounds great.”

“Yeah, it does. But we’ve heard it before, and then things fell through.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

They finished eating and went to some exhibit rooms that they hadn’t seen in the morning. Then they rode the tram down the hill, parted to drive their separate ways home. Hank frowned at the man who drove off after Scott, heading in the same direction. Where have I seen him before?

Control The Doc – Part III Escalation – Ch. 11

11

Even to criticize Lincoln is to sound like a sorehead.

~ Joe Sobran

1930 Hours, 21 March 2013, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland:

In a weak moment, Dana accepted Cullman Green’s latest offer of dinner. He had asked her to go out before, but she hadn’t been interested. But she hadn’t heard from Jim since January, and she knew Cullman worked for the same agency. Maybe he’d know something.

He picked her up at her place in Alexandria then he drove back north and across the river into Maryland, then east to Chesapeake Bay. She had heard from others that it was the best seafood in the world. It was. It was also a quiet and romantic place.

“Thank you for a nice dinner,” she said.

“It was good, wasn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Want to get out of here now,” he asked.

“Sure. Where?”

“Some place with a bed?”

She laughed. “Oh, God. No, I’m sorry.”

He smiled and finished his wine in a gulp. “Why not?”

“I’m in love with another guy.”

“Who might that be?”

“Jim Calder.”

“Jim?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?” Cullman asked.

“I don’t know. He hasn’t called in weeks. He may be out of the country.”

“Strange, if he’s in love.”

“I’m worried about him.”

“Want me to check with DHS?”

“Would you?”

“Sure.”



1340 Hours, 5 April 2013, Restaurant in Museum of Modern Art, Washington, DC:

Dana hadn’t received any information from Cullman about Jim’s disappearance, but he persisted in asking her out. She wondered if he was even trying to find out what happened to Jim. Was it just her, or were Cullman and his associates acting strange? Cullman never even noticed her until Jim disappeared.

Uneasy with his interest, she suggested to her friends from work that they have lunch at the art museum. She needed advice and didn’t want to discuss it at the office.

“There’s something strange about these security guys,” Dana said after they’d all placed their lunch orders.

“We all know that,” Paula confirmed.

“Have any of them asked you out?” Dana asked.

“Golly, no,” Paula said in mock disappointment.

“Oh, you guys,” Dana said. “I’m serious. One of them is…” She trailed off, embarrassed.

“It’s all right, Dana. We know that that Cullman guy wants to ask you out.”

“I guess.”

Dana didn’t push the issue. The security guys had camaraderie between them. They were a team and worked well together. But there was more than that. They reminded her of the Third Confederate guys that she and her dad reenacted with. Perhaps, that was why she was drawn to them. She liked them. Torn between her feelings for Jim and the fear he wasn’t coming back and she would have to get on with her life, she tried to be objective about Cullman. But that was impossible. She loved Jim.

Dana sighed and ate her Greek salad while the others chattered.

Paula looked at Holly. “Cullman said they often flew out together on business.”

“Did he say they caught a plane out of Reagan National or Dulles?” Holly asked.

Paula chewed a bite then swallowed. “It was Dulles,” she said. “Yes. Cullman said they have their own jet parked at Dulles.”

“What sort of security company has their own jet?” Holly asked.

“Probably all of them,” Dana said. “You two are crazy. They’re just nice guys.” She hoped.



1900 Hours, 9 April 2013, Mudford Library, Mudford, California:

Back home in California, Dana walked past the old white sycamore tree near the granite steps, turned, and hurried up to the doors. She wanted to search the thumb drive one more time before giving it to Hank during the coming weekend. She had no idea how to hide the drive without Hank’s knowledge, but she prayed she would think of something when the time came.

At a library computer she sat down and took Jim’s thumb drive out of her shoulder bag. When the icon popped up on the screen, she clicked on it to open the flash drive.

The list of encrypted files appeared. She tried, again, to access the files using passwords that Jim might have used. It was no use. But this time the computer asked if she wanted to search the web for a way to open the files. She clicked Okay, wondering why this option had come on her home computer. Then she remembered that when she tried it before, her internet was down due to the snow storm. After a few minutes, the computer came back with, No programs available to open file. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Scrolling down the list, she opened Jim’s after action report. She read it again and was just as fascinated as the first time. It meant something. But what? She was glad that she had saved it in her Civil War reenactor’s journal. This weekend she could see Hank and then hide the drive in his reenacting gear. Just reading Jim’s words in the after action report made her miss him all the more. A wave of nausea churned in her stomach. She had a salty taste in her mouth and saliva was building. Frantically searching for a restroom, she spotted one at the end of the hall and ran for it. She barely made it in time and bent over the sink, retching until her stomach was empty. She rinsed her mouth and coughed, the sound echoing in the empty room.

Back at the computer she pulled the drive from the port. Her hands shook as she dropped it into her bag and searched for a tissue. She wiped her mouth and, with the damp tissue clutched in one hand, made two fists. With her elbows on the computer table, she placed her forehead on her fists and sobbed. Oh God, Jim. I need you.



1900 Hours, 9 April 2013, SRI Communications Office, SRI Center, Maryland:

An SRI agent was working late, scrolling through a document, when a notification window popped up on his screen.

“We have a hit,” he yelled.

Two other staffers appeared at the entrance to his cubicle. “Who?” one asked.

“Don’t know who, but the files they are trying to access appear to be ones copied from Jim’s Calder’s computer.”

“Where?”

“IP address is a Mudford Library machine, California.”

“Great work,” the first staffer said, turning to his partner. “Notify the team.”

“Right,” the other said.

The first guy turned back to the agent and stared at the screen. “Phil is going to want to get someone there ASAP.”

But by the time someone got there, whoever had tried to access the files was gone.



0530 Hours, 15 April 2013, Mudford Airport, California:

Dana was checked through the TSA line after her week at home for spring break. She took the escalator to the second level gates. After buying a bottle of water, she settled into a seat in the Gate 12 area. Other passengers came and sat across from her. The area was filling up. She took a soft cover copy of McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes out of her bag. Before opening the book, she observed that most of those around her were texting or playing with their phones.

A fellow sat next to her and took out a smart phone. “I hope you don’t mind,” he said. “Getting crowded here now.”

“Quite all right,” she said.

“Going to Salt Lake?” he asked.

“Washington.”

“Oh, small world. Me, too,” he said. “I’m Jesse Brown. I’m a legislative analyst for Congressman Raborg. You?”

“I’m a student at George Mason, and I work at the FAO.”

“Oh, that’s great. A small world,” he repeated.

“Apparently,” she said.

She did not want to continue the conversation, but now she was curious. “What brought you to Mudford?”

“Congressman Raborg had a district fundraiser event out at the Menkes Ranch. Huge. It was in the news. I was tasked with a few chores. Being a staffer can take strange turns.”

Dana listened and nodded. She had no reply.

He fumbled with the wires and headset for a moment. “It was a good time. I did a little shooting out at the range near the ranch.”

She wanted to end the chit chat, but remained polite as he rambled on.

“Bought some ammunition from a fellow I met there,” he said.

“I heard it’s hard to get these days,” she said.

“You can say that again.” He put on the head set. “Have a nice trip.”

“Thanks,” she said.

The man closed his eyes as he listened to his device. Dana picked up her bag and moved to a seat in a different gate area nearby, where she could observe when Gate 12 boarded.

I wonder when, or if, Hank will discover the thumb drive I hid in his bag. I sure hope I have a chance to tell him about before he finds it.



Jesse looked down at his phone and tapped the call icon. He waited. “Phil?” he asked.

“Hang on,” a voice said.

“Phil here.”

“Phil, this is Jesse Brown.”

“What’s up, Jesse?”

“I’m on a flight with the Sweet girl. We’re coming to Dulles.”

“Good work.”

“Where are you?” Jesse asked.

“Over Denver,” Phil said. “We’ve already been to her place in Virginia. And we’ll be in California in a of couple hours, to check out Houston and her other contacts there. You stay on her tail.”

“Got it. Will do.”



1900 Hours, 15 April 2013, Dulles International Airport, Virginia:

Dana was tired. She threw her bag into the back seat of her Honda and drove out of the airport parking lot. It felt good to be on the ground and to drive. When she arrived at her apartment, it was just getting dark. She entered her room, trying not to disturb Opal, and gasped. Her room had been trashed. Her hands shook as the fear gripped her heart and she called Hank at his office.

“This is Doctor Houston,” he said.

“Hank, this is Dana.”

“Hi, Dana.”

“I just got home and my place has been trashed.”

“Oh, no.”

“Yeah. I’m really scared.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I need to tell you something.”

“All right.”

“Not on the phone,” she said. “You’ll hear from me in a couple months.”

“Okay. If you say so. Are you all right?”

“I’ll be okay after I talk with the police and calm down. This has me shaken.”

“Okay, I’ll await your word.”

“Thanks, Hank.”

“Take care, Dana.”

“You too, Hank.” And take care of the thumb drive until I can figure out what to do.

CONTROL THE DOC – 10

10

“The Navy captain who headed the STOC

[Special Technical Operations Center]

from 1982 to 1989 had to be cleared out of 235 special-

access-compartmented programs when he retired.

 ~ Bob Woodward, 1992

1700 Hours, 22 December 2012, Winter Quarters Dinner, Fairfax Restaurant, Virginia:

Jim missed Dana. She did not attend the dinner, telling him that she needed to work on her thesis. She said that she had a meeting with her professors on Monday morning.

Jim sat in and played a guitar with the band in the beginning. They had started as the Reenactment Society Music Academy. Two Union musicians came at first, sat in with a practice, then never returned. After that the group degenerated into an all-Confederate band, with both infantry and artillery guys. The regular guys were Gig, Vince, Ray, Casey, Stan, and Les. They then settled on playing mostly Southern tunes. Once in a while they’d play and sing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

This Saturday night they began by playing and singing “Lorena,” “The Vacant Chair,” “Bonnie Blue Flag,” “Goober Peas,” “Old Dan Tucker,” and “Rose of Alabama.” They then moved on to “Dixie’s Land” which they started slow, picking up the tempo as they went. The very last song was one they all did without accompaniment.

It was called “Hog Calling Time” and was sung to the tune of “Red River Valley.” It was hilarious. This was the tune and song from which the band took their name. They were the Whiskey Mountain Hog Callers. As he listened to the music, Jim was gripped by a fierce longing for a simpler, more honest life than the one he had been living, working for the DHS.

When it was over, Jim said his goodbyes. He wanted to go home and get a good night’s rest. He decided to retire from the DHS. After putting in thirty years, it was time. He was excited about the prospect and wanted to tell Dana about his decision. He had it all worked out. He’d retire in February. That was a month after his meeting with Senator Bastain. After all, timing was everything.

Laughter floated to him from hangers-on in the banquet room, as he walked to his car to drive home.



1700 Hours, 22 December 2012, Opal’s Boarding House, Alexandria, Virginia:

The reenactor’s dinner in Fairfax was only twenty-five minutes away, and Dana hated to miss it, but she needed to work on her thesis. Outside a storm raged, the wind and snow slapping against her windows. Probably just as well that I didn’t go to the dinner, she decided. She hated driving in this stuff.

Dressing in soft pink, cotton sweats, she sat at her computer and opened a file entitled Journal – Civil War Reenactments. The journal file was one she had started in 2004. She had kept a hand-written journal during her first two years of reenacting. She knew she should spend the time working on her thesis, but she wanted to get the journal up to date and feared she’d forget once she got started on the thesis.

She typed in a segment about the Fredericksburg event, writing it in a style that could have been written by a private from that era, not worrying about the correct grammar of the present. Pausing, she sipped her tea. As she studied the screen, she scratched the corner of an eyebrow, her elbow dislodging a yellow Post-It note stuck to the edge of her monitor.

She sighed, retrieved the note, and looked around at her workstation. Pasted and tacked notes were everywhere around her desk, computer, small bookcase, and near walls. She paused as she read a few. Some of the sources for her thesis she had carried with her from California and from her college apartment in Tennessee. Other notes were new, from when her master’s work began at George Mason University in Fairfax. The university was a lucky find. She had mentioned to Jim that she was looking for a master’s program and he suggested she look into George Mason.

As she read a few notes, she thought of movies where the cops and FBI profilers walked into the room of a criminal and found a similar scene with notes, or pictures of proposed prey, pasted all over a room. My God, they’d think I’m a nut case, too. How long before they break in here and find me?She shook off the paranoid thought.

Some of the notes were about the things she was learning at the FAO and about the people she was meeting there.

Her ideas had gelled, and she put away the journal to work on the abstract of her paper. She thought that might keep her focused. It was easy to go off on tangents with her searches. Everything was fascinating. She saved some items she found, and filed them to be used or tossed later.

When she’d finished as much as she could of her thesis, she was exhausted. Deciding to take a break and surf the web, looking for some confederate gear for the next reenactment, she discovered that her internet was down. “Not again,” she muttered. “That’s the trouble with having satellite internet. Every time it snows, we lose it.”

She leaned back in the chair and rubbed her eyes. The thumb drive that Jim gave her was there on her desk. She didn’t want to send it on to Senator Bastain, even if something should happen to Jim. She didn’t trust a Yankee senator from Ohio, even if he was a Tea-Party-leaning Independent. But, being a woman and naturally curious, she picked it up and plugged it into the USB port.

A list of files came into view on the screen. She had no idea what they were. She highlighted a file and tried to open it, but it required a password and said “encrypted.” She changed the file extension and tried to open it in another format. But nothing she tried work.

She scrolled through the entire list. All of the files were encrypted except one, which she was able to open in MS Word. It was an after action report of a reenactment at Piney Woods, Virginia. The encrypted stuff she knew was important to Jim, but useless to her. The after action report, even though it was there in plain language, must be important, too. But she couldn’t imagine why.

She copied the after action report and pasted it into a new temp file. She then closed Jim’s document and removed the thumb drive from the port. Opening her journalfile, she pasted the after action report at the end of her last journal entry. She then deleted the temp file.

She smiled to herself, knowing that Jim had written that report for a reason that had nothing to do with reenactments. He was not a company commander and would not be writing after action reports in the normal course of reenactment business. Yet here it was, even with a fictional captain’s period salutation. She debated mentioning it to Jim, but decided against it. He might not be too pleased with her for prying. But no matter, she had faith that she would find the answer.

The report was pure fantasy, so Jim must have written it in code for some reason. She grinned. Whatever a man could hide, a woman could uncover. She knew reenactments and she knew Jim. Now she just had to figure out what the report really meant. With a deep breath, and another grin, she settled down to study it, her thesis forgotten.

Piney Woods, VA

21 – 23 Oct. 1864

Co. B After Battle Report

To: Col. C. Raw, Commanding

      Confederate Brigade

Sir:

The Co. B of 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment was mustered into service at dawn on the morning of the 22 of October. We were supported by units of the battalion Commanded by Col. D. L. Ells and his staff, which included Lt. Col. S. Roddy and Major D.M. Haire. These other units were a company of Mosby’s Rangers, 1st Virginia, 7th Virginia, another dismounted cavalry company and another infantry company.

The members present for duty and listed on the enclosed Morning Reports comprised the largest company that I have ever had the pleasure to command. This amounted to 39 effectives, comprised of two officers and 37 rifled muskets. It was a fine show as we formed with the battalion. All other units were so heavily depleted by this summer’s campaign, that we were the largest single unit there. It paid off, as we learned later from some Yankee captives that they were trying to overtake us in the battle, but could not, because the 3rd kept the rate of fire so hot on them.

From where I considered my home in winter quarters, the general had driven hard to the west, to that early battle spot in New Market. We followed the battalion on Old Carolina Road, some thirty-nine miles to Sperryville, then on the Sperryville Pike to Old Cross Road another thirty miles to New Market. They stopped us for water several times. We rested and were told that this was where the Yankees first came and were stopped by the VMI cadets. On Old Cross toward Congress Street, we continued onto Old Valley Pike north for about two miles. At Quicksburg Road we turned west again toward Forestville.

About a half mile before Forestville there was gun fire from skirmishers in front of us. Then Major Johnstone had us turn north on Pine Woods Road. It was rapid then. After another half mile the major drove us in a flash to woods on the left. He actually ordered, “Move in a flash, boys,” not at the “double quick.” We’d never had an order like that before. He was excited. He was trying to flank the Yankees on their left of their line. We were pushed left through woods and thicket and past an old house and at Holman Creek which ran east and west. We were lined up to fire across the clearing at Yankees about two hundred yards out.

The first day was not without the Co. B. It was a sorry sight, and a sight for a circus, for surely those strange looks could have drawn a crowd willing to pay to see the bazaar and the weird. Private E.L. Player fell first. Then many others, but we held our ground. When it was over, we held the field. We were ordered to bury our dead there. The major got killed also. We buried old Johnstone about two yards south of the creek. Next to him was Jasper and Player and others.

Jasper was the saddest. He had a hand shot off and we tried to find it, but could only find a thumb and buried that on top of him after. It was sad diggings. A list and location are with this report.

After the first day our numbers were down but we also received some replacements along with our “fresh fish,” and all performed well in the fight. None of them wavered—they all behaved properly. That evening was the miracle of getting hot food from our regimental mess. Many gathered for singing around the fire. Then the corporal on provost reminded all that it was time to get some rest. Six others traded guard mount duties until 7:00 a.m.

There was more, but must now see to the ammunition and supplies for the next engagement.

Respectfully Submitted,

I Remain Your Obedient Servant,

Brevet Capt. Henry Allen, Commanding

Co. B 3rd Arkansas Inf. Rgmt.

Longstreet’s Corps



2230 Hours, 22 December 2012, Jim Calder’s Home, Haymarket, Virginia:

At home, Jim locked up the house and poured himself a glass of bourbon over ice. He sipped his drink as he walked to his office, out of habit, and turned on the computer to check his email.

Several items were spam that got through. Other items he saw were from DHS, office business that could wait. He shut down the computer and took his drink to the bedroom.

As he sat on the bed he became aware of a new feeling. He tapped the contacts icon on his cell phone, then the call button by Dana’s name. She answered after a few seconds.

“Did I wake you?” he asked.

“Oh. Hi. Yeah, almost,” she said.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. I just turned out the light. Are you all right?”

“Yes. But, no. Not really.”

“What is it?”

“I have this feeling that is new to me,” he said.

“What feeling?”

“I think it must be what others call loneliness.”

“Don’t you know?”

“Not really. I’ve never been lonely,” he said and hesitated. “Until now.”

“Oh, I see.”

“It’s better now that you’re on the line.” There was a long pause. “I miss you,” he said.

“Oh, Jim, I miss you too.”

“I have something to tell you, before you fly home to your folks for Christmas,” he said.

“I wish you were going with me.”

“I told you it’s impossible. I’m scheduled for alerts then. Holidays are crazy times for us at DHS.”

“Okay, tell me.”

“Not on the phone. I’ll be over in the morning to take you to breakfast.”

“All right. I’ll be ready,” she said.

“Sleep tight.”

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Jim laughed. “Goodnight.”

Dana giggled. “Goodnight.”

He placed the phone on the night stand, finished the bourbon, and reached for the light switch. He smiled as he thought of his plans and of Dana.

He was still smiling as he fell asleep.

CONTROL THE DOC – 9

9

If you aren’t doing anything wrong,

you have nothing to worry about.

~ J. Edgar Hoover on wiretaps

1300 Hours, 14 November 2012, SRI Office, FAO Building, Washington, DC

Phillip Press, Cullman Green, and Doctor Terry Graff met in Phil’s glass cubicle.

Phil spoke in quiet tones. “Our man Casey over at Bastain’s office has just sent some news over,” he said. “It appears Jim Calder has set up a meeting with the senator.”

“When was this?” Cullman asked.

“Calder was there a month ago to make the appointment.”

“Jesus, Phil,” Terry said. “Why didn’t he tell us sooner?”

“He didn’t know,” Phil said. “Casey was just transferred to Bastain’s office. But Calder hasn’t met with Bastain yet.”

“When?” Terry asked.

“January sixteenth,” Phil answered.

“At least we have a couple of months,” Cullman said.

“Yes.” Phil pointed to Cullman. “You keep track of him. If he has any damaging information, find out what and where it is. Also, who he talks to.”

“That’s it?” Cullman asked.

“No. I want you to contact NSA and request a specific target update on Calder. But, for now, keep DHS out of the loop. Calder gets everything over there.”



1645 Hours, 25 November 2012, SRI Office, FAO Building, Washington, DC:

Phil, Cullman, Terry, and SRI pilot Larry Cole discussed the intelligence information that had been revolving around the Jim Calder case. The several reports and sources included Dana Sweet and other Virginia reenactors that Jim was in contact with.

Phil ran his fingers through his hair. He placed a file down on the table. “Who are Dana’s contacts outside of Virginia?”

“There’s her family,” Cullman said. “Her father and mother. There’s probably also her friends and co-workers.”

Larry thumbed through a file. “Here is a phone record with a call to a number listed in Mudford.”

“Who?” Phil asked.

“Henry Houston, MD.”

Terry perked up and reached for the file from Larry. “Let me see that.” He scanned the record. “Well, I’ll be damned.”

“What?” Phil asked.

“I went to med school with Houston.”

Cullman snorted. “Small world, huh?”

“We need to know if any of these people have any information on us,” Phil informed them. “Computers, emails, blogs, phone calls, files on her work account here at her desk computer in this building, anything. NSA has given us a lot to follow up with. Get to it,” he said, bringing the meeting to a close.

As the men began to file out of his office, Phil put a hand on Cullman’s arm. Cullman stopped while the others kept walking.

“Hang with me a minute,” Phil said.

Cullman closed the glass door and walked to back to the cherry wood desk. “What’s up?”

“I want you to work up the plans to take care of Jim Calder. Then get back to me with for a final go,” Phil said.

“I thought I was going on the jet with you.”

“Oh, we’re all going to California. But you’ll have time for the plans, too.”

Cullman nodded and left the office. Phil tossed a pen on top of the files on his desk.



1900 Hours, 8 December 2012, Confederate Camp, Fredericksburg, Virginia:

Jim’s seven-by-nine foot A-frame tent was set up on the Slaughter Pen Farm on Tidewater Trail, south of Sylvania Heights in Fredericksburg. It was one of twenty white canvas tents, all in two rows, which formed a street between them. He was as thrilled as Dana to be at the one-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the battle which was fought there in December of 1862. It was the first time for both of them. There was a lot of media attention. Film and TV crews were spotted everywhere.

There was not always a full reenactment in the years between major anniversaries. During some years only Living History Events were performed—without the battle. And some of those were not done in December, but at other times before the holidays. This year, the event was close to the real dates in history. But the one-hundred-fiftieth occasion was important. Maybe it was more important to the confederate reenactors. Fredericksburg had been a confederate victory.

Jim’s tent was one of several. The Company B street seemed long. Camp fires glowed in the early evening darkness. Jim and Dana sat near their own fire. The smoke wafted near, then rose as the wind calmed. There was laughter from others on each side of them. There was no music. The air seemed somber. It was cold. He puffed on his pipe. Dana stood and took her chair to the side of the tent.

“Are you coming in?” she asked.

“In a minute,” he said. He smoked a minute more then knocked the ashes out of the clay bowl of the pipe into the embers of the dying fire. He checked the fire and then turned to the tent. Inside, he tied the flaps closed by tying them to the ridge pole. A candle in a tin holder glowed on a small table at the back pole. He turned and saw Dana on her knees, fluffing two pillows on top of two quilts spread on a canvas ground cloth. The ground cloth was spread over a layer of straw from bales supplied by the organizers. She stood and faced him.

“Do you need a minute?” he asked her.

“No. Not at all,” she said.

She then slipped her suspenders off her shoulders, slipped a pull-over cotton shirt over her head, and did the same with a tight V-neck shirt. Before she finished with her sports bra, Jim put his arms around her and pulled her to him. He held her tight and then let her go. While he undressed, she blew out the candle and they both curled up together in the quilts.

In the morning she asked him, “Is that all you’re giving me?”

He laughed. “That’s it.”

She laughed too.

He reached for his gray wool trousers and put his hand in one of the pockets. “Oh, I almost forgot.” He gave her a thumb drive. “I created this drive. I want you to keep it as a sort of insurance.”

She had a puzzled look on her face.

“If anything happens to me, I want you to give this to Senator Bastain.”

Dana looked shocked. “That bastard Bastain?” she said. “He’s a Yankee. I can’t do that.”

He laughed. “That ‘bastard’ is on the Oversight Committee. Now, promise me.”

“Okay. But nothing is going to happen to you.”

“Just the same, you hang on to it.”

She kissed him. “I will.” The event went on for the next two days. On the last day it was easy duty as they were on the wall at Maryes Heights. They fired all day at waves of Union troops assaulting the wall.

CONTROL THE DOC – 8

8

True power comes from the end of a gun.

~ Chairman Mao ….. [Or was that President Lincoln?]

1130 Hours, 4 October 2012, Everett Dirkson Senate Office Building, Washington, DC:

Jim’s first trip to Ohio Senator Gary Bastain’s office, was to make an appointment. He knew he could not get an impromptu meeting. On entering the building, he noticed the scent of hot wax. He wondered if a staff member had lit candles. Then he spotted the security cameras. He twisted as if looking at the art and décor on the walls. Realizing it was stupid, he searched for the directory near the elevators. He found Bastain’s office location and smiled as he remembered that the senator’s political enemies referred to him as that bastard Bastain.

The cameras in the elevator were unavoidable, and Jim could only hope no one from DHS had occasion to view the tapes. He entered the senator’s office. The receptionist in the large anteroom informed him that she did not make the appointments or do scheduling. She referred him to another staff member’s office. After an hour’s wait, he was invited into a staff secretary’s office. He decided not to lie about who he was, but he did not give a reason. DHS business was all he said. He figured that, since the senator was the chairman of the DHS Oversight Committee, it would be enough, even if it was vague.

“The nearest opening we have is January sixteenth,” the secretary said.

“I was hoping for sooner,” Jim said.

“That’s the best I can do, Mr. Calder.”

He was disappointed. A lot could happen in three months.

Half the day was gone now, he thought. No point in going back to work before lunch. Instead, he gave Dana a call.

“Hello, this is Dana Sweet.”

“Hey. I’m in town.”

“Jim! That’s great.”

“Can you get away for lunch?”

“Sure.”

“I’m five blocks away,” he said. “Meet you downstairs in ten minutes.”

They went to a nearby bar and grill. At lunchtime it was crowded and busy. He decided against telling her his entire plan about his whistle blowing scheme. The less she knew, the safer she would be. He worried that that may not be enough precaution, considering the ruthlessness of the DHS and the SRI, and debated giving her one of the drives. Because of his reservations, he decided to tell her now and give it to her later.

Finishing a bite of Reuben sandwich, he took her hand. “I have something to give you.”

She set down her iced tea. “Oh, how exciting.”

“Not right now,” he said.

“Now I am curious.”

“My timing isn’t what I thought it would be. We are going to the December one-hundred-fiftieth Fredericksburg event still, aren’t we?”

“I’m planning on it.”

“Should be a huge one,” he said. “Maybe not as big as Gettysburg, but still a big one.”

“True.”

“I’m taking my tent,” he said. “It may rain, and if it does, that will make it nicer for you.”

“Aw, how sweet.”

“Anyway, that’s when I can give you what I was mentioning.”

“Only six weeks. I can wait.”

Jim grimaced. “It’s not something personal. It’s work related. Sorry.”

“Bummer.”



1530 Hours, 4 October 2012, Haymarket, Virginia:

Jim placed his cell phone on his desk, grabbed a jacket, went to the garage, and got into his gray 2002 Chevy Impala. He could have traded it in for a later model, but he liked that it did not have the factory installed “Star” locator system. He knew that if he had that system that he could have unsubscribed from it, but he still felt better about not having to bother with it. He did not like being tracked, even as a civilian.

He drove on US-29 West to Warenton then picked up the US-211 West, through the pass and all the way to New Market. From New Market he drove on the I-81 North and took the exit west to Quicksburg, then to the Virginia Route 42 North to Forestville, constantly checking his rearview mirror to make sure he wasn’t being followed. He wasn’t.

The main highway turned west here, but he drove through town and down a county road that wound past several farms before turning east again. At a fork, he turned north on Pineywoods Road. This curved into a wooded area with a dirt road to the left. He came to a clump of overgrown vines and saplings. Above the clump was the angle and one peak of a roof of a small house, mostly rotted away. Behind the house was Holman’s Creek.

He stopped, got out, and walked past the old house toward the creek. There was another smaller thicket that surrounded a rusted metal fence. He went through an opening to a grave headstone. The weathered engraving, barely legible, read Jasper Calder, infant, 1921. This was Jim’s uncle, his mother’s oldest brother. Jim had always heard of this place, but he had been there only one other time in his life. It had first been settled by John Calder, a Revolutionary War veteran, “John of Piney Woods.”

Jim knelt by Jasper’s headstone. He pulled a small a hand spade from his jacket and dug a hole. From his breast pocket he brought out a plastic container that held one thumb drive of The Documents. He buried it in the hole next to the stone, then he drove home.

CONTROL THE DOC – 7

7

In essence we used Nazi science to kill our own people.

~ Linda Hunt

1400 Hours, 7 May 2011, Near the Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia:

Senior DHS agent Jim Calder stood in the line of Confederate soldiers at the reenactment of One-hundred-forty-ninth Anniversary of Battle of Chancellorsville. The present day battlefield being developed completely by homes and businesses, the reenactment was staged in open fields west and in undeveloped area south of Spotsylvania. The line was composed of two ranks of two-hundred-thirty-five infantry men representing a battalion of General Jackson’s forces. The color guard with their two flags stood in the center facing the front. The red-and-blue battle flag and the mostly white Second National Confederate Flag rippled slightly in a warm, humid breeze. In front of the flags, an officer faced the battalion. He was dressed in the dark, Richmond-gray frock coat, with blue collar and the blue-piping trim of the infantry. The major had a single gold star on his collar. A colonel and staff officers stood behind him.

“Unfix bayonets,” the major barked.

The men placed their rifles in front of them at an angle, removed the bayonets, and sheathed them in their scabbards.

“Prepare to open ranks,” came the next order. Two sergeants took five steps backward. When the sergeants stopped, the major continued. “March.”

The entire rear rank stepped backward, half a step behind the sergeant guides, and then forward to dress the rear rank line.

“Inspection, arms,” yelled the major.

With this command the men pulled their ram rods, shoved them down the rifle barrels, and opened their leather cartridge boxes which hung on their left side. The First Sergeants of each company stepped forward to begin with the inspection of each man’s rifle, cartridge box, and canteen.

As he went to each man, he took the rifle, pulled the hammer to half-cock, and pulled the trigger. The half-cock was also a safety, and the hammer was not supposed to drop. He looked at the cleanness of the nipple, lifted the ramrod, and dropped it, listening to the sound of a clean breech—a clean one would ring.

Confederate Army private Jim Calder stood at attention, looking straight ahead. He was dressed in the dark Richmond-gray wool of the First Virginia Regiment.

When the First Sergeant got to him, Jim snapped his rifle up and slapped it into the man’s hand. The ramrod rang as it bounced in the clean breech. Jim was a veteran U.S. Marine, and nobody’s rifle was cleaner.

When the Sergeant reached the end of his company, he went behind them, and in the other direction, checking for full canteens and for the cartridges in open leather boxes. When that rank was completed, he went to the rear rank behind and repeated the process. In some reenactments and groups, the soldier had to show a safety card which was signed by his company commander.

One company to his left stood another private. Dana Sweet. She was dressed in medium-gray, wool trousers, shell jacket, and a kepi cap. She was tanned and tall and stood in the middle of the front rank.

When the inspection was over, the major ordered for the ranks to be closed. The colonel in command gave an update on the time to reform the battalion for the scheduled battle time.

The major then dismissed the battalion to the commander of each company. The captains marched their companies back to their camps.

After the battles, campfires were lit in the company streets. The orange glow and smoky odor created an old scene. In Jim’s camp the men were eating supper in small groups around the fires. He heard music from another camp. Captivated, he walked over to that street and sat on the ground near the other company.

Dana’s fellow soldiers were eating in small groups also. Dana sat near a fire and ate stew from her mucket, a tin cup with a hinged lid on it. It held about sixteen ounces. Near her, two fellows were playing music around their fire. Tom played a harmonica, Rick an autoharp. After one instrumental song, they began singing Angeline Baker. Dana moved her canvas camp stool near the stranger who had just come over from another company.

Between songs, Jim introduced himself. As the singing went on, more soldiers came around, bringing their wood chairs or sitting on the ground. Jim lit his pipe as did a few others. “This is like being in a time machine,” he said.

“Yeah,” Dana replied. “Reminds me of my dad. He plays in a group like this in California.”

“They do these in California?”

“Oh, Yeah,” she said. “My folks have been doing these for ten years there.”

“Had no idea these things existed before a friend told me about them and convinced me to come to this one. I’m planning on making this a habit. How about you?”

She studied him, smiled. “Definitely.”



1330 Hours, 20 February 2012, Washington, DC:

Dana had been to other large cities, before taking up her position at FAO, but never to Washington, DC. Her one thought was that it was different. She’d had jobs before, part-time.

This was her first full time position. She was excited about working in the nation’s capital.

While her co-workers complained about the traffic and the beltway commuting problems, she would laugh them off. She was happy, even if, or when, she was stuck in traffic.

In a matter of days, she had found that she could avoid the traffic by staying in the city later or going in earlier. The Alexandria address was a convenient location.

Her landlady, Opal Tilson, did not seem to mind when she left or came in. Dana found Opal to be a real trip as a character, anyway. She was very nice, though.

Opal was a retired government worker and a widow. Dana felt that she was giving up some privacy by rooming at Opal’s, but she felt more at home there, compared to living anonymously in an apartment building.

The people at the office were standoffish at first. The cubicles isolated everyone’s workstation. It was easy to ignore co-workers in an office environment like that.

The first person to befriend her was Paula Sims. It was an invitation to lunch, out of the building, where it was just the two of them, getting to know each other.

“What got you here?” Paula asked Dana.

Dana held up the college brochure she had pulled out of her purse when she was looking for her wallet.

“This college,” she said. “George Mason University in Fairfax. My boyfriend recommended it. It seemed small, and it’s highly rated. I’m working on my master’s.”

“Makes sense,” Paula said. “I’m envious of you, really.”

“Don’t be silly.”

“You have your bachelor’s degree, and I’m still working on mine.”

“You’ll get yours,” Dana encouraged.

“You seem to have it so together,” Paula said.

“It’s all an act. I found out how little a bachelor’s degree means when trying to get a GS rating.”

“Oh, yeah,” Paula said. She gulped down a bite of her sandwich.

“The jobs I was going for required that I earn a Ph.D. degree.”

“Can I ask you what your major is?”

Dana swallowed first before answering. “Two, actually. One in Math and another in History.”

“Wow.”

“Well, I was still pretty discouraged,” Dana explained. “Then I received a call from the San Francisco Federal Office, where I had applied when I had been home briefly after graduating.”

“What did they say?”

“A guy there told me that if I came up there for an interview, a position would be mine at the National Archives. That position was for an Archive Technician.”

“That’s interesting,” Paula said.

“Yeah, so, I went to the interview, and I’m glad I did.”

“How’s that?”

Dana swallowed another bite and sipped her drink. She hesitated, wondering if she was being too open with Paula. She decided not and continued.

“While I was at the interview, the men there were interrupted and left me briefly. When they returned they said they had just learned of the FAO opening. That was how I got here.”

Paula nodded her head and smiled.

“How about you?” Dana asked.

“Similar, actually,” Paula said and sipped her ice drink. “I wanted to get to State?”

“State?”

“The State Department.”

“What happened?”

“I took the examination for the department.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I think I blew it. It had a lot of business questions.”

“That was a problem?” Dana asked.

“Yeah. My major in Government Studies didn’t really cover that.”

“Too bad.”

“I learned later that they really need, and want, MBA type people,” Paula summed up.

“Well, I’m happy with the way this has turned out,” Dana said.

“That’s good.”

“I can’t help soaking up all the history here,” Dana said. “It’s fascinating.”

“Yeah, but we better get back.”



1300 Hours, 17 March 2012 Mudford, California:

Hank stood near the built-in barbecue grill in the rock-walled outdoor kitchen. The stainless steel cover was tipped back and he stretched out his arm with his palm down to feel the heat of the grill. He pulled his hand back and rubbed some of the singed hairs off. The odor reminded him of the smell of branding cattle when he was younger and helping out on a ranch.

He sipped beer out of a long neck bottle and turned to see his friend Matt, emerge from the shallow end of the pool. He stood on the steps a moment. “You better open me one of those,” he told Hank.

“It’s right here,” Hank called out.

Beyond the open rear yard, the grounds sloped downward toward a gorge. The fence was not visible. Across the gorge were farms and orchards. To the right sat the white cone tower of the VORTAC station for the airport seven miles away. A farther distant glint of reflection flashed for an instant on the horizon and caught Hanks eyes. A jet turned onto final approach. It was barely visible.

Matt was toweling himself dry. Hank opened the small refrigerator in the rock counter and opened a beer for Matt. Matt wrapped the towel around his waist and red bathing trunks as he walked. Hank handed him the beer.

“Thanks,” Matt said.

“I think the grill is ready to throw the steaks on,” Hank said.

“Great.”

The women came out of the main house kitchen slider door. Both were carrying bags of salad makings and side dishes.

“Do you have room in the fridge for the potato salad, Hank?” his wife Jenn asked.

“Yeah, honey,” Hank answered. “I do.”

She approached with an armload. “I don’t want it to sit in the heat until we eat,” she said.

While eating during the sunset, Hank asked the Sweets about their daughter. “How’s Dana doing?”

Linda spoke first. “She is doing great. I don’t see how she does all she is doing.”

“How’s that?”

“She’s working on her master’s while working almost full time at the FAO in Washington. Plus, she’s spending a lot of time with Jim.”

“Wow.”

“She’s taking a little time off this weekend to go to a Civil War reenactment in Virginia.”

“Why Virginia?”

“That is where she is doing the master’s program.”

“That makes sense.”



1530 Hours, 20 April 2012, Mariposa, California:

Dana and Jim had flown home to California for a reenactment event at Mariposa. They formed up and had a safety inspection. Then the rear rank was “about-faced.” They capped and fired at the ground to clear their rifles.

Dana was tall, but half the men in the company were taller, which put her in the middle of the line. Her hair was a soft brown which she had in a bun, tucked under her dark-gray slouch hat. She preferred the slouch hat instead of the kepi. It hid her hair better, shaded her face better, and ran the rain off better. The slouch hat was of a good, soft felt with a ribbon binding around the brim edge.

She marched in the middle of the company. They had been “right-faced” into doubled lines of four abreast. They wore a mixture of butternut-dyed wool, medium-gray wool, gray jean wool, filthy linsey-woolsey, and some stained and faded sky-blue wool trousers. Over their shoulders were black leather straps for the cartridge boxes hanging at their right sides. Canvas straps crossed over and held the haversack on their left sides. A wide, black leather belt was on their waist holding these straps down. It also held a small leather cap pouch on the front, to the right of their Arkansas buckle. A canteen, on a canvas strap, hung on the left side and remained loose, in order for them to have easy access. It was a safety violation to go on the field without a full canteen.

They were marched around the walnut grove and then in front of a reviewing stand in a grand parade. The promoters had microphones and loudspeakers. They announced each unit as they marched past the stand of dignitaries.

As they neared the stand, the announcer said, “Next, is the Third Confederate Company E, commanded by Captain Matthew Sweet.”

Matt gave his company an order.

“Eyes left,” he yelled out.

With his sword up, he swung it to point at the ground on his right as he marched past.

When they had marched past the review stand Matt yelled out, “Front.”

Once past, they were given a new arms position for carrying the rifles.

The paying crowd stood along the road in awe.

“Right-shoulder shift.” A pause of one beat, then, “Arms,” the major yelled out.

The men brought their rifles very high on their right shoulders. The rifle trigger guards were at chin level and the glistening bayonets made them look extremely high. There was a ripple of chuckles among the men marching. The major had pronounced the word shift as sheeeeee-iff.

“I thought he was going to say shit,” the guy behind Dana said.

“Me too,” another said.

There were more chuckles.

They marched past the corner of the walnut orchard. Ladies in large hoop skirts waved. Other event patrons stood near. One was a well-endowed young woman, stretching out her scoop-neck, pink T-shirt, who stood with her husband or boyfriend. The first sergeant spotted her and yelled out to Company E.

“Mercy.”

“Lord have mercy,” came the resounding chorus from the company.

Dana even yelled, “Lord have mercy,” with the others. She didn’t smile but thought, Men will be boys. And the guys were right. That girl was hot.

“By files left,” came the major’s command then a beat. “March.”

They marched west now, all the way around the orchard, and then east along the road with the Confederate camp on their left and a white fence along their right. Below the fence was an irrigation ditch. On the opposite bank were the huge trunks of tall eucalyptus trees. This gave some shade and cooled them, as they were hot by now.

Their arms ached by the time the command came. “Shoulder.” A step. “Arms.”

They dropped their rifles to their straightened right arms, with their first finger around the trigger guard and the muzzles nestled into their right shoulder. Their shoes crunched on the gravel road in a uniform cadence.

“One.” One step beat. “One.” Another step beat. “One, two,” the sergeant major yelled.

“By files right.” A step. “March.”

They were marched across the bridge, across the ditch, and along a dirt road on the south side of the eucalyptus trees. They were in the full sun.

“Halt. Front.”

The lines left-faced into a long battle line of two ranks. The companies were begun and ended by their captains and second sergeants.

“Stack.”

A long pause ensued while a front, number-two man grabbed another rifle from behind him, and the number-one man placed his bayonet in the cross of the bayonet elbow of the first two rifles.

“Arms.”

The number-two man swung the second rifle through the angle of the first and third rifles. They lowered the rifles to their triangulated stack with bayonet elbows locked.

“Rest,” came the command from the major.

The lines broke as men headed for the shade.

“Stay in the area,” Matt reminded them.

One man pulled out his 1860s-period novel, sat, leaned on trunk of a eucalyptus, and began reading out loud to any interested parties nearby. The others in the company sat or lay around the reader. It was a dramatic story of the Civil War era.

“Her husband had left home to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California. He was supposed to return and they would carry on their lives with a new fortune. He never did return. Her problems were compounded with troubles in raising the children, preparing meals, running low on her savings, and keeping up appearances. Soon she was running out of money and food and was feeling quite desperate.”

“Oooh,” one soldier said.

“Oooooooohhh,” came the chorus from the other listeners.

Dana laughed then too as she sat on the ground.

The reader continued. “The unthinkable had come. She could sell her valuables, which did not help her feelings. She decided that she could take in boarders. She had the room.”

“Form battalion,” came a yell from the major down the road.

“Form company,” Matt hollered to his men.

They walked to their positions behind the stacks of rifles.

Dana watched her dad. Matt stood on the far right of the line, in the front rank. She bent forward and looked at him. He caught her eyes and winked at her. She smiled and then straightened up.

“Take.”

“Arms.”

“Unfix, bayonets.”

They all did so and brought their rifles to the “Order Arms” position, rifle butts on the ground at their right foot, the muzzle on the right shoulder.

“Shoulder, arms.”

“Right face.”

“Counter march by files left.”

“March.”

They were marched back across the bridge. Booms in the air signaled the start of the artillery battle. This went on for ten or fifteen minutes, then cavalry units rode out from the hill orchard on the east side. They clashed with Union Cavalry that rode in from the walnut grove. Skirmishers of dismounted cavalry spread out in thin lines and traded fire. Artillery kept up a sporadic fire also with ground charges going up.

They were marched down the road to the north and into battle. As the entire confederate infantry battalion reached the edge of the plowed field, the major commanded the column to halt.

“Front.”

The battalion left-faced and un-doubled the files into a long battle line of two ranks.

“Load.”

Rifles came from the shoulders to the ground as they all reached into their cartridge boxes. They tore the cartridges with their teeth and dumped the powder down the muzzles. They raised their rifles, fished for a cap in their cap pouches, and placed the caps on the nipples.

Dana watched Matt step out in front of the company while the first sergeant stepped from the rear rank, one forward step, to fill the captain’s place. There were companies on each side of the colors.

“Forward,” the major yelled.

The color guard stepped out six paces.

“March.”

The long line stepped out across the field.

“By the right oblique.”

“March.”

The line stayed straight, but the men marched at a forty-five degree angle to the right. At least they were supposed to. The line bowed in the middle. The gray-bearded man on Dana’s right was a stranger the company had taken in. He stepped in a rut and almost tripped in front of her. A gap formed on his right when that company began to run. The man on Dana’s right then began to run to catch up with that company. Dana grabbed his left elbow and pulled him back into position.

“Go slow men,” the first sergeant yelled.

“Halt.”

“Front.”

“Dress on the colors.”

The artillery fire filled the air. There was about to be more fire.

“Fire by battalion.”

“Ready.”

“Aim.”

“Fire.”

A loud roar of muskets and smoke erupted from the entire line.

“Load.”

“Fire by company.”

The captains, in the rear now, began to give orders to alternating companies. The first company fired. The second company waited. The third company was Dana’s.

“Third company, ready,” Matt yelled from behind the line.

“Aim.” He paused. “Fire.”

It was a clean volley for their first one. It sounded like one loud cannon, yet it was only muskets. The men let out a wild cheer of triumph.

“Good firing, boys,” Matt told them. “Load.”

The other companies fired in turn, down the line.

Matt was getting ready to give the order when their turn to fire came again. “Ready,” he shouted.

“Aim.”

“Fire.”

Another clean volley exploded from Company E of third confederate line. The men did not yell out. They all knew it was a fine volley.

“Load, load, load,” Matt ordered.

When the battle was over, Dana looked for Jim. Shunting through the camps, she thought back to the reenactment last year when she’d met him. He had been so sad-eyed and sweet…



1600 Hours, 20 April 2012, Mariposa, California:

When she spotted Jim, sitting by himself at the tent at the edge of camp, Dana sighed and jerked her thoughts back to the present. He’d been acting strangely lately and she was worried. They’d become lovers and, though she didn’t know him well, she could tell that something serious was bothering him.

She took a deep breath and approached him. If only she could get him to talk about it, maybe it would bring them closer. Or maybe it would break them up. But at least she’d know where she stood.



1200 Hours, 24 April 2012, DHS Office Building, Maryland:

Jim spent Tuesday morning reviewing the weekend field reports at his desk. He was still tired from the reenactment, but excited. He couldn’t get Dana out of his mind. Last Saturday night’s music kept going through his mind, too. The two re-enactors singing were as good as the entire Second South Carolina String Band.

He chuckled as he thought of the black powder smudges on her lips and chin. It happened to all of them. A private in the line could not help it. If powder residue was on your hands, it transferred to your face as the paper cartridge was placed in your mouth and torn with your teeth.

God, she did great on the line. She knew Hardee’s commands. She fired clean volleys, even when clearing rifles at the end of the day. She slept on the ground with the campaigners. What a woman!

A young man in a shirt and tie stopped in Jim’s open door. Jim was startled by Manny’s voice.

“Hey, Jim. You going to lunch?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“The cafeteria here all right? Couple of the guys are tired of going out.”

“Okay. Give me a minute.”



At a cafeteria table Manny sat across from Jim. Other agents in their group sat near. There was a rattle of trays behind the food court buffet bar. Jim was Manny’s lieutenant in the structure of the office. If Manny had a title it would have been Deputy Director Domestic Operations. Manny saw everything that came to the office.

“Did you read that finding from NSA?” Manny asked.

“The one with the FBI connections and the Yemen calls?”

“That’s the one. They want to take this guy out.”

“What’s the rush?” Jim asked. “They usually follow those a while.”

“FBI wants us to take the lead and for us to use SRI teams,” Manny said.

“Why doesn’t FBI handle it?” Jim asked.

Manny looked at Jim. “What’s wrong, man? You never questioned an action before.”

“I don’t know.” He paused. “It smells.”

Manny nodded.

Jim did know what’s wrong. He was questioning the job he had been doing for years. He’d done some bad things to some bad guys. No courts, just actions. He knew he should have his mind on the job at hand, even if it smelled. But he kept thinking over and over, Who is this girl, Dana? Who is this girl? Then when he did get his mind back on his job, he thought of all the things he had done in his service. It was a long list through the years. Almost all of them were black operations. It was exciting work. There was travel and he enjoyed that. He had been on assignments all over the world until he came to DHS.

Now he began to question his role. He had worked for several different agencies. First with Defense Intelligence Agency, DIA. That came naturally after working cryptology in the US Marines and at NSA. He had worked with FBI and CIA, but that was when they were involved with his other black ops units. DHS wanted him after 9/11 because he knew how it all worked. Now he worked in the states, domestic ops only, and on very black operations.

He had this new desire, now. He wanted to tell Dana what he was feeling. But he couldn’t tell her about any of his past—none of it. If he told her, her life could be in danger. The thought sickened him.



1030 Hours, 15 September 2012, DHS Office Building, Point of Rocks, Maryland:

It was dark when Jim drove out of the underground parking lot. It was a fifty-minute commute from his office, south on US-15, to his home in Haymarket, Virginia. South of the Dominion Valley Country Club, he took the exit to Old Carolina Road, South, crossing the I-66, and across the John Marshall Highway. A left turn at Somerset Crossing Drive took him to his neighborhood of a new development.

He closed the automatic garage door, went to the kitchen, and pulled a bottle of beer out of the stainless-steel refrigerator. He walked past the second floor stairway to the office—an office with a window facing east into the back yard. Jim often worked in the dawn light and watched the sun rise.

The desk had a computer screen and keyboard. These were attached to a desktop computer tower under the desk. This computer had no online connection. Jim used a laptop for going online. The desktop computer had Jim’s own encryption program. He’d written and installed the encryption program himself. This was where he’d written his “blowing-the-whistle-files” and encrypted them. He called them The Documents. He could not think of a more suitable title.

There was no way that he could have written this at his DHS office computer. Every computer there was connected to the Ethernet, and to the White House, too. He had worked on this the past three months.

He turned on a CD player and Mozart music filled the room. Sitting at the computer, he pulled up the document file and typed. It was nearly finished and he added a few last points. Seventy thousand words long, it detailed sixteen years of heinous unsolved crimes. These operations and actions were done in the name of national security. The Document also contained the classified structure of the departments, agencies, and units, as Jim knew it. This included the SRI, the Safety Research Institute, along with other agencies that were never acknowledged publically. Some were obscure government departments. Others were private companies, none of which had high-profile visibility—like Blackwater.

The compartmentalization amazed Jim. The complexity was astounding. Even with all he knew, he wondered what he did not know. He was compartmentalized himself.

When he finished typing and saved the file, it converted to the encrypted format. Within the document, he copied and pasted another file. This non-encrypted file was a Civil War reenactment “After Action Report” which was in plain English. However, Jim had placed a secret meaning in the report, in a different code. He then plugged a 16-gigabyte flash drive into the USB port and copied the entire encrypted file over to it. He repeated that process with a second thumb drive.

He then deleted everything from the hard drive. He knew any really good tech could retrieve the deleted information, so he unplugged the computer, removed the shell and pulled out the hard drive. He then grabbed a new hard drive from a side drawer and installed it.

The next day he drove into the nearby Stonewall Golf Club and disposed of the removed hard drive, tossing it into Lake Manassas. It’s ironic that so many departments are now shredding documents after Benghazi.

Next, he had a plan of what to do with the two thumb drives. One he would give to Dana as insurance. For the other one, he needed a free day to take another drive to a small town west of Haymarket.

CONTROL THE DOC – 5 and Part II with Chapter 6

5

We’re good, but we can’t candle a man,

like candling an egg, to see what he’s made of.

~ Marine Corps Colonel, Treasure Island, January 1974

1830 Hours, 19 April 2013, Mudford, California:

Hank was in the patient’s room reading the chart of 93-year-old Patrick Butler. Family members were also in the room—two daughters and two sons.

“His kidneys have shut down completely, now,” Hank said, almost in a whisper.

“Oh, no,” one daughter said quietly.

Someone gasped. One son shook his head with his eyes closed, as if not wanting to believe what he just heard.

An RN in the room was checking the morphine pump—the IV line ran to the infusion site on the top of Patrick’s left hand.

Hank ushered the two sons and one of the daughters out of the room and into the hallway. One daughter, Jeanne, remained by her father’s side, while the RN did her work.

In the hallway, one son began, “I thought Dad was getting discharged today. He’s been here three weeks.”

Hank nodded as he listened. “I know. This renal function problem has been going on for the past eighteen months,” he said and went on to explain Patrick’s condition.

Inside the room, Jeanne stood watching the nurse work then turned her gaze downward again to her father. “Do you want me to pray with you, Dad?”

The nasal canula was in place and snaked around his head and to the meter on the wall with the ball set on two liters of oxygen.

“All right,” Patrick wheezed. He was raised Catholic and he had raised the kids in the Church. Daughter Jeanne later went through a divorce, which lead to her leaving the Catholic faith. With the influence of the evangelical movement, she had become a born again Christian. She took out a vial of oil, dabbed a bit on his forehead, and said a prayer out loud.

Patrick closed his eyes, then, opened them again. “I’m not ready to go,” he said. He appeared frustrated and his worried eyes searched the room.

“I know,” she said. She had thought that her dad had been comforted until he said that.

He closed his eyes briefly then opened them, appearing more relaxed. It comforted her to anoint her father. She didn’t think to ask him if he would like a priest to visit. It didn’t occur to anyone to ask.

One son came back into the room. Patrick became agitated and yelled at his son, “Now we have here two catastrophes.”

“What?” the son asked.

“Do you like what you’re seeing here?” Patrick yelled and raised his head. His whole body shook in his anger.

“No, but—” the son began.

“Why don’t you do something about it?”

“I would if I knew how.”

Patrick rested his head back on the pillow, apparently thinking on the son’s answer.

The son patted Patrick’s shoulder. “It’s going to be all right, Pop.”

Patrick’s facial expression relaxed and he closed his eyes briefly.

Jeanne, still in shock at the outburst, pulled her brother aside. “What was that about?”

“I have no idea,” he answered.

“It’s been three years since Mom died,” Jeanne said.

“Maybe his own condition here is one of the catastrophes, the other maybe a business thing.”

“He’s been retired for ten years.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Jeanne rubbed her brother’s arm and then leaned on his shoulder. Patrick opened his eyes again and looked around the room.

He hung on into the night and the next morning. Jeanne and the other family were hopeful that he would turn this around, and perhaps his kidneys would begin working again.

An elderly man, with buzzed off white hair surrounding his bald spot walked into the room. The family nodded a greeting to 93-year-old Wayne McCoy. Patrick recognized his childhood friend and gave him a crooked smile. The two men shook hands. Wayne stayed a while. They spoke some but then Patrick’s breathing became labored, and he took shorter breaths.

Jeanne walked to the opposite side of the bed from where Wayne was standing. At some point she noticed her father’s breathing had stopped. Wayne had continued to hold Patrick’s hand. A nurse was checking the IV line and pump.

“Nurse, I think he’s gone,” Jeanne said quietly.

The nurse put on her stethoscope and listened to Patrick’s chest. Patrick’s eyes were fixed and open in a stare at the ceiling. She checked her watch and then went to get Doctor Houston.

Hank came in and also listened to Patrick’s chest. “What time did you say?” he asked the RN.

“Ten-fifty,” she replied.

“All right,” Hank said. “Use that time.” He turned to the daughter. “I’m very sorry, Jeanne.”

Jeanne nodded. The other sister and a brother cried. One son remained somber and stoic. Hank took the chart and left them with their father. Lost in his thoughts, he barely noticed the man standing in the shadows by the elevators. Probably dealing with his own grief, Hank thought and dismissed him.

At the writing desk, Hank watched Wayne McCoy walk toward the nurses’ station and turn for the elevators. Wayne glanced at Hank as he walked by. There goes a true friend, Hank thought. He was there at the end.

Hank had seen a lot of death through the years, both as a physician and from the loss of older family members while growing up. He didn’t want to think that he’d gotten used to it. Yet, professionally, he admitted to an aloofness, a detachment, and an emotional distancing of himself from the death of his patients, or even the death of a colleague. It seemed like a lot of his physician friends had been dying lately. Hank was empathetic. He could feel others’ pain, but he had a job to do. He had other patients to care for, and most of them were fairly healthy. But some were not so healthy.

It wasn’t as easy to identify as Hemingway suggested. Hank was sure that the odor of gangrene, the stench of rotting human flesh, was a good indicator of approaching death—especially in the 1920s and 1930s. Maybe it was more difficult to smell gangrene in a hospital setting with the clean, aromatic chemical odor of ether diffusing throughout the corridors, than it had been in the hospitals and clinics of his youth. And there was less gangrene after they started using penicillin in the early 1940s. So now death was harder to detect, more difficult to smell—in a sense, more insidious than in the past.

And there were a thousand ways to die.

PART II

DEATH & QUESTIONS

6

Pete Shields, Brady’s predecessor as HCI head,

in the book titled, Guns Don’t Die,

advised victims never to resist rape or robbery:

“Give them what they want or run.”

~ Wayne R. LaPierre

0645 Hours 8 October 2013, SRI Center, Maryland:

Hank was moved to a different cell without explanation and was then left alone. As he waited, he wondered if his patients had ever felt like he did now. Why hadn’t they walked out of his office during their long waits? The sound of a bolt being turned snapped him back to the present. He blinked, walked to the door, and tried it. Unlocked? Surprised, he opened it to reveal a corner intersection of two hallways. The halls were empty. He walked out and down the corridor on the left, experiencing a thrill of freedom. It felt good.

Closed doors lined both walls. He tried a door, which was not numbered, but had the letter K above the header. It was locked. Other rooms were lettered from A to J. It looked like any and every hospital he had ever been in. He searched for a utility room. He opened an unlettered door and entered. He looked for scrubs or other clothing a worker might wear in the building. Perhaps he could walk out, disguised as a worker.

He had made it into a utility room. It was like many hospital supply rooms. He looked for green scrubs, like he’d seen the attendants wearing.

He stripped off his mauve-colored scrubs and pulled on blue bottoms and tops, the only color he found stacked on the shelves.

He left the room in search of a stairwell. This hall appeared to be a dead end. He returned to the corner to search the other hall. An attendant appeared. Hank didn’t wait to be taken. Instead, he punched the man in the face.

God, it felt good to hit someone. Where had that thought come from? The fist fight degenerated to a wrestling match.

Hank was on the floor, getting winded. In the struggle, the attendant’s ID badge ripped off. Hank received a blow to his gut. He landed a blow to the guy’s head. The attendant collapsed, unconscious.

Hank took the ID badge. He noticed the letters, SRI.

The dazed attendant rolled over and groped the floor. Hank ran down the hallway. There were two elevator doors. He hit the call buttons, but did not wait finding the stairwell door nearby. On the first lower landing, he stopped and clipped the attendant’s badge onto his scrub top pocket.

At a door on the next lower floor, he looked into the intersection of three converging halls. This was busier. Workers, dressed in scrubs, carried charts and entered and exited what appeared to be a nurses’ station on the right. He opened the door, walked that way, and sat at a small work desk at the station. He pulled a chart off the wall and flipped through the pages as if he worked there.

Hank studied the patient chart at the work desk. Rising from the desk, he carried the chart with him. He avoided eye contact with the other workers and they appeared to ignore his presence. As he walked down the hall, half way to the elevators, the alarm went off. The open, automatic fire doors between hall sections began to close, as if during a fire drill.

“Code two in SRU,” came over the loud speakers.

Two sets of fire doors locked and blocked his way. An attendant from the nurses’ station yelled at Hank, “Doctor, help us check the rooms.”

Hank instinctively waved back and began opening doors. They were unlocked. He looked in. Patients were in bed, sleeping. He turned and two attendants stood behind him.

“Doctor Houston,” said one.

The other attendant raised what Hank thought was a Taser.

An electric shook surged through his body, rendering it helpless. He collapsed to the floor. The shock was over, but another blow hit him on the back of his head. Then there was nothing but blackness.

When he came to, the two men flanked him. They jerked him to his feet, dragged him into the hallway, and led him down to another room. Then they left and closed the door behind them.

This was an interrogation room. One table and three chairs were placed in the center just like the many rooms seen on all the televised crime shows. Two different men came in.

“Sit down, Doctor Houston,” one man said. He and the other one sat at the table opposite Hank.

Hank sat and looked across the table at the men. It was then that he noticed the mirror on the wall behind the two guys.

“We’d like to have you answer a few questions,” the man said. “Is that all right?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Well, yes, Doctor, you have a choice.”

“I’ll tell you anything you’d like to know.”

“Good.”

“Tell me, Doctor, do you pleasure yourself?”

“What?”

“Do you pleasure yourself?”

Hank did not respond.”

“Do you do that with a digit in the rear?

Hank still did not answer.

“That way you can put pressure on your prostate and have a greater effect.”

Hank did not say anything.

“Gays do that, did you know that?”

“Get off of that, Gene,” the other man said. “Let me handle this.”

“I was just—”

“Get out,” the other man said.

Gene threw his chair under the table and left the room.

“You’ll have to excuse Gene,” the man said to Hank.

Hank did not respond to this, either.

“We’d like to know about this girl, Doctor Houston.”

“What girl?”

“Dana Sweet.”

“What about her?”

“Anything you’d like to tell us,” the man said.

“She’s the daughter of a friend.”

“A friend?”

“Yes, a friend. They’re a nice family.”

“A nice family?”

“Yes.”

“Give me an example.”

Hank thought a moment before continuing. “They are a reenacting family.”

“Reenacting?”

“Yes. Civil War.”

“I see. Tell me more.”

Hank began with some of what he knew…

CONTROL THE DOC – 4

4

Slavery was legal under the Stars and Stripes

for more than seventy years, far longer than

any confederate flag flew. ~ Ann Coulter

1500 Hours, 12 April 2013, Mudford, California:

Matthew Sweet pulled his suspenders over his loose print shirt and put on his butternut, wool-sack coat. He knew he was getting a little pudgy for the Civil War reenactments as an infantryman. It bothered him. He had a thirty-eight inch waist. But as a successful accountant, he didn’t get a lot of exercise these days.

There was a nip in the air as he loaded some things into his pickup, getting ready to leave for the Civil War reenactment at Casa de Fruta. He went back inside to get something. Linda went out the open garage to get a newspaper that had been thrown onto the driveway apron. As she walked into the garage, Matt had not come back out.

“Hurry up, Matt,” she yelled from the garage. “You’ll be late.”

He came through the service porch door, knowing he dawdled, but it was from making sure he didn’t forget anything. Even when he wasn’t in a hurry, he forgot things. Loading for a previous reenactment, he’d forgotten his canteen. That cost him a trip back home, which was cheaper than buying a new thirty-five-dollar canteen. It was a safety violation to not have a full canteen in the field.

At another reenactment, he’d forgotten his frozen chicken for his Saturday night dinner. He’d gotten away with that because he always took plenty of food. But they wouldn’t be driving home for any forgotten items this time. Casa de Fruta was two hours away. He’d tried to explain the reenacting to his employees at his office many times. He knew he had overdone it when he first began. Joshing with the guys was part of it. The eeriness of living as if in the past was another part of it.

As he had heard from Gig Marand, and it had been repeated many times, being at an event for three days was the closest thing to being in a time machine. Matt was also happy with reenacting being a family thing. Linda didn’t like regular camping, but she liked reenactment camping. She only went to the range a couple times to shoot her personal .380. So she wasn’t part of Matt’s shooting world. But reenacting? Yes, she liked that. Even if she’s too wimpy to come with us this time.

“Dana,” Matt called. “We’re late. We need to go. Now”



Dana had come home on spring break, as she was able to take the time off from her job at the Federal Accounting Office or FAO as she called it. She planned on going to the Civil War reenactment event at Knight’s Ferry north of Modesto and was anxious to talk with Hank, in order to get his advice about Jim. Her mom was disappointed that Dana was not going to spend more time at home before going back to Washington, DC.

“None of my old high school friends are even in town,” Dana had told her mother.

Linda Sweet had raised her eyebrows. “No one?”

“Not any of them,” Dana said. She thought of elaborating on whom she had called, but decided not to bore her mom with the details.

“How about calling Sheila Oliver?” Linda paused for Dana to answer, but when she didn’t, she added, “I saw her at a store. So I know she’s home.”

“I gave up trying to be her friend years ago, Mom. Sheila never really liked me.”

Well, that conversation got old fast, Dana thought. “Why don’t you go with me to the reenactment?”

“I don’t want to go there. It always rains there.”

Dana laughed. “That’s true. It has, on one day or the other.”

“See what I mean?”

“They changed the date there to this weekend, so maybe that’ll be better than it has been in the past,” Dana offered.

“You and Dad go,” Mom said. “He’s looking forward to it. He’s been telling everyone that you are going.”

“That’s because they always want an extra musket with their company. Not many of the guys make it to this one.”

“That’s because they all know it always rains there”



Dana read a novel while her dad drove the pickup north on Highway 99. Music from a Southron Anthology CD filled the cab. Matt sang along with some songs, out of key. Dana smiled, knowing her dad thought he was harmonizing. He didn’t think of himself as a good singer. Still, he couldn’t resist harmonizing with some songs in the Civil War band.

What is that one?” Dana asked.

“You like that one, too?” Matt turned up the volume. “I’m trying to get Richard to use it with the Whiskey Mountain Hog Callers.”

“Is the group still together?”

Matt smiled. “Yeah, but we need to practice more often.”

“What are you smiling about?” she asked.

“I still remember that time us Hog Callers were on the porch of the mansion at Kearney Park, Fresno,” he said.

“And?”

“And when we had finished this guy came up the steps and asked us if we had a CD he could buy.”

At Modesto, they turned off and found the road north to Oakdale, then at the corner of State Route 108, Matt turned east to Knight’s Ferry. It wasn’t long before they turned on the road that wound to the modern bridge, crossed the river, and turned right into the parking area by the park office. She could see the Confederate flag flapping in a light breeze above the brigade headquarters. She smiled. They were in the right place.

Dana helped her dad set up her A-frame tent. Matt slept on his bedroll on the ground with other campaigners. The captain was already there and had set up the company street. That night others kept coming in. Around a single fire between the four tents, the men joked, smoked their pipes, and generally visited quietly. Gabe Buell rolled his tobacco and regaled the group with details of different firearms and when they were used. After a while, they all turned in. Morning reveille would come soon enough. Dana read on her cot by candlelight, then got tired and blew the flame out. She fell asleep easily. At two a.m., she heard the raindrops hitting her tent. It was a soft patter. Then the patter became a deluge. She got up, peeked out of the tent flap, and saw that the men on the ground were picking up their bedrolls and heading for the covered bridge. Soon the camp was empty. Steam rose from the rain hitting the coals of the fire.

Then she saw a man in the company street with a sack coat pulled over his slouch hat. He looked familiar as he approached her tent. It was Hank Houston. He reached her tent and knocked on the pole above her head.

“Anybody home?” he asked, grinning. Water dripped from his hat brim.

“I was beginning to think you wouldn’t show up,” she said.

“I couldn’t get away earlier,” he said. “The office was crazy today.”

She sat on her cot. She could smell his wet wool as she lit a candle.

Hank sat in a wood chair. “You feeling any better?”

“Not really. I am so worried that I can’t sleep,” she began. “I’m in love with this great guy I met at work. His name is Jim and he works for the Department of Homeland Security.”

“Wow. What does he do there?”

“He’s a senior agent and I don’t know all that he does. Probably leads investigations teams. None of those guys really talk about what they do.”

“Why are you so worried?”

“I haven’t heard from Jim since January fifteenth. We had been talking every day,” she explained. Her eyes began to well up.

“Have you gone to where he works, or called there and asked about him?”

“No. And this is the thing. I’m afraid to call there or contact anyone there,” she continued. “Jim told me only a little, but he said one thing. He said that I had changed how he viewed his own past life and some of his past actions.”

“That says a lot about the guy.”

“Now he’s missing.” She began to cry and could not stop.

Hank waited a moment before speaking again. “He’s probably all right. Doesn’t he deal with security stuff?”

“Yes, he does.”

“He probably was sent some place and couldn’t tell you,” he offered.

She nodded, wringing her hands into invisible knots. “I hope that’s all it is. You know a lot about how the government works from your friends in high places. Do you really think he’s okay?”

“I do,” Hank said. “It’ll be all right.”

“I’m so worried. Jim told me some things that he was concerned about.”

“Like what,” Hank asked.

“I can’t tell you.”

Hank nodded in understanding. “You really do love this guy, huh?”

“Yes, I do.”

Hank rose and started to turn toward the closed flaps.

“You going to sleep out there?” she asked.

He looked back at her. “Nah. I’ll go to the bridge and find your dad and the guys.”



The next day the rain had let up and the two battles went on as scheduled. The Third Confederate Infantry Company of fifteen members marched back to their area. Matt dismissed the men, and Hank fell out of the line with others. He removed his canteen, leathers, and haversack. He placed these on his bed roll he had made on the ground at one end of the row with other campaigner’s beds.

This was near Dana’s tent. Even with the rain, Hank was warm in the wool. He hung his sack coat on the top corner at the rear of Dana’s A-frame tent. He then hung his canvas haversack over his sack coat.

Dana watched Hank take his musket to clean it with the other men. She walked behind her tent and opened Hank’s haversack. She fished with her hand inside, around a housewife sewing kit, an 1860’s Bible, a knife, a sergeant’s tool, and pulled out a small cotton-print bag with a drawstring. She opened the bag and checked inside. There was a Bible tract and 1860s wooden dice.

She had never seen Hank play with them, so perhaps he wouldn’t look in the bag for a while. Reaching into her trouser pocket, she found the thumb drive that Jim had given her. She slipped the drive into the cotton bag and replaced the bag in the bottom of Hank’s haversack.

I’ll tell him about it later, she thought and prayed Jim wouldn’t be too angry about her for not sending it to the senator. But he’d told her to keep it safe until he told her to send it on—or unless something happened to him.

If she sent it to the senator now, it would be the same as admitting that Jim was never coming back, and that she couldn’t bear. And this way the drive would be safe until she heard from Jim. Satisfied she’d done the right thing, the only thing she could do, she grabbed her musket and cleaning kit and went to clean her rifle with the men of Company E.

As she approached them, she yelled, “Did someone boil the water?”

“That’s women’s work,” one guy said.

“So you got it done, then?” she asked.

The laughter went on for long time.