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"Assassin Nation"


Prologue
Aftermath

By Bill Schott

Samantha Anthra, special advisor to President Sullivan, entered the oval office with great apprehension. The message she had for him was not good and would require quick and quiet resolution.

"What is it, Sam?  Any word from Connor? Where's the Vice-President? How's your mom?"

"Good morning, sir. Something has come up."

"Your mother alright?"

"Yes, sir. Thank you for asking."

President Sullivan turned to face the woman. She had been his adviser since the first election and had been one of the best at keeping him informed and ready to meet and interact with people on a daily basis. Her mother had known Sonny Sullivan in another life. Their friendship had eventually led to Samantha's introduction, interview, and selection as personal adviser to the President.

"What about Happy Mc  Happington?" he asked.

"Sir?" she asked, not recognizing the name.

"The VP. Red Appleton. Where is he right now?"

"Vice-president Appleton is at a senate vote right now, Mr. President." 

"Fine. Whatever.  Where's Connor?"

Samantha paused and sought for the words to use.

"Sir, Mr. Connor has not returned from the training area. There has been some trouble there and we have no joy with communications."

"Get me Rusty Pipes. Now!" he snapped.

"Sir, Mr. Pipes has been out of contact since yesterday. C.C.-- uh -- Mr. Connor went to the training area explicitly to deal with an urgent situation there."

"What do you know of it?"

"Nothing other than he took twenty armed soldiers with him and told me to tell you that if he wasn't back by now -- he wouldn't be back."

"Get General Keller on a secure line. Whoever falls in the chain of command after Rusty Pipes needs to be in this office ten minutes ago. Find a bottle of Johnny Walker and ten glasses."

"Ten glasses, sir?"

"I don't want to pause to pour, and drinking straight from the bottle is reserved for World War III."



 









 

Author Notes Thanks to cakemp55 for use of the image


Chapter 1
Posse

By Bill Schott

At the conclusion of the novel, Baker's Dozen, Ben Baker, a government worker / cryto assassin was in the optimum range of a grenade blast, along with the President's Chief of Staff, C.C. Connor, and another assassin, G.I. Joe. 
------------------------
In this sequel's prologue, Aftermath, the President has been told that Connor is missing and that there is unknown trouble at the secret training area in upstate New York.
------------------------

From the previous chapter:
"Sir, Mr. Connor has not returned from the training area. There has been some trouble there and we have no joy with communications."
"Get me Rusty Pipes. Now!" he snapped.
"Sir, Mr. Pipes has been out of contact since yesterday. C.C.-- uh -- Mr. Connor went to the training area explicitly to deal with an urgent situation there."
"What do you know of it?"
"Nothing other than he took twenty armed soldiers with him and told me to tell you that if he wasn't back by now -- he wouldn't be back."

------------------------


The sound of chirping birds began in the ear of Assistant to the Undersecretary of Cabinet Affairs, Manuel Kontroz. The hearing implant in his ear received the incoming call alert from his cellular device. Looking to the hockey-puck-sized disk on the wall he spoke.

"Kontroz here."

"Sam Anthra."

"Give me directions only, please," he said.

"Posse."

"Green," he replied, followed by, "Clear." With that, the connection was severed.

Kontroz rose from the military cot he had been lying on. It was in one corner of the small space in which he was living. He took two steps to the deep sink and a two-foot by one-foot mirror suspended from a wire on the opposite wall. Reaching down to a small gym bag by the sink, he felt inside and removed a smaller, shaving bag. From this he withdrew a straight razor, a three ounce bottle of astringent mouthwash, and a pocket-size New Testament. Looking into the mirror he smiled and whispered, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."

Having hung up with Kontroz, Samantha pressed four numbers on her device and waited for another ring.

"Government Accounting Office?"

"Hello, sir. My name is Samantha Anthra. Do you know who I am?"

"How may I help you, Ms. Anthra?"

"Holiday weather," she said.

After a brief pause, the male voice on the line said, "The climate is in transition. Storms detected, but current conditions are partly cloudy."

"Be expectant."

With that advice, she terminated the call and walked straight to the President's reading room. She was startled, though not showing it in any way, when she found President Sullivan speaking with Manuel Kontroz.

"What's going on, Sam?"

"The area has been very active, but is now quiet and inspectors are moving in cautiously to sort out what has happened."

"Manny is here to check it out and make a report to you. How soon can we get him there?"

"We've an ultra light for him," she replied.

Kontroz' eyes moved to make contact with hers. He formed what some might describe as a smile. "Show me the plane."












 

Author Notes Kontroz' quote is from Matthew 5:17

Image of the Ultralight is from Google


Chapter 2
The Throne

By Bill Schott

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.


Characters:
Sonny Sullivan, President of the United States
Samantha Anthra, Adviser to the President
C. C. Connor, Chief of Staff, assumed dead
Rusty Pipes, Under Secretary of cabinet Affairs assumed dead
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to Rusty Pipes

----------------------
From the previous chapter:
What's going on, Samantha?" asked the President.

"The area has been very active, but is now quiet and inspectors are moving in cautiously to sort out what has happened."

"Manny (Manuel Kontroz) is here to check it out and make a report to you. How soon can we get him there?"

"We've an ultra light for him," she replied.

Kontroz' eyes moved to make contact with hers. He formed what some might describe as a smile. "Show me the plane."

--------------------

The ultralight sped down the truck access trail, behind the GAO loading docks, and became airborne in seconds. The trip would take five hours so the craft had to carry twice the gas normally used. It was a top-of-the-line one-man plane. 

As he approached the firebreak area, Manuel could see a downed helicopter and a couple severely disrupted bodies.  It looked to be wolf activity. 
The thermal scanner in the tiny plane was able to defeat the military camouflage netting's anti-thermal monitoring properties and reveal that there were no living beings under the concealment.  That being the case, he landed his aircraft in a suitably flat area and taxied to within a hunded feet of the apparent entrance to the covered compound.
Pressing a crypto-scrambled radio button, a digital message was sent to Samantha Anthar's device.  "LLAD".

Hearing the ping in her ear, Sam looked at the message. She walked swiftly to the President's ensuite, where he was enjoying a Swisher Sweet while vacating a bowel. 


"Word from Kontroz, sir.  It looks like everyone is dead."

Unfazed, the President drew a final mouthful of smoke from his cigar, then shoved it between his legs, letting it drop into the bowl.  He reached between his legs and removed a nicotine patch. Smiling, he sent the circular, adhesive pad through the same gap as the stogee.

"I'm not surprised that everyone is dead, except for Connor. I will hazard a guess that he is either out of the area, so as not to be observed, or has found yet another way to become invisible."

"I’m not certain it matters at this point, sir, but Mr. Connor sent an icon to my device last week with instructions to not press it unless he was dead, and you were present.”

“Well, dear, I will take the chance that, whatever it is, we’re supposed to hear it together. Go ahead and press it while I finish my paperwork.”

Producing her device, Sam found the icon and pressed it. The phone vibrated, as if a call were coming through.  Then, in her earpiece, the gentle sound of waves could be heard. She immediately smiled. 

“So what’s on the thing-a-ma-bob?” asked the President. 

Looking to the President, who was still riding the commode, she wanted to describe the sound of the ocean. Instead, when she saw his face, she reached into her blouse, under her arm, and ripped off an adhesive patch, similar to the one the President had jetisoned into the toilet. Removing the protective outside papers, she stuck the round pad on the President's bare thigh.

"What the hell are you doin --"  Grabbing his chest, the leader of the free world fell to his knees and gasped. Samantha grabbed the patch and removed it just as the man fell dead to the floor.

Tossing the disk into the bowl, she flushed the contents of the porcelain privy and watched the patches, cigar, and final stool of President Sonny Sullivan swirl into virtual oblivion.




 

Author Notes LLAD = Looks Like All Dead
Swisher Sweet = a brand of cigar

Thanks to Neilnap773 for use of the apt image.


Chapter 3
Among the Dead

By Bill Schott

Characters:
Sonny Sullivan, President of the United States
Red Appleton, Vice President
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Adviser to the President
C. C. Connor, Chief of Staff, assumed dead
Rusty Pipes, Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs assumed dead
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to Rusty Pipes
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
G.I. Joseph, old assassin
----------------------

From the previous chapter:
Looking to the President, who was still riding the commode, Samantha reached into her blouse, under her arm, and ripped off an adhesive patch and stuck the round pad on the President's bare thigh.

"What the hell are you doin --" Grabbing his chest, the leader of the free world fell to his knees and gasped. Samantha grabbed the patch and removed it just as the man fell dead to the floor.

Tossing the disk into the bowl, she flushed the contents of the porcelain privy and watched the patches, cigar, and final stool of President Sonny Sullivan swirl into virtual oblivion.

----------------

As Samantha stared at the dead President, the sound of the ocean returned to her earpiece. She looked at her phone and deleted the icon which the Chief of Staff had her use. With that, she seemed to awake from a sleep and saw the President on the floor of the bathroom. Calmly, she placed her index and center fingers on the man's artery to detect a pulse. Finding none, she punched two numbers on her device and followed those with 'PUSdd!'.
Her phone rang immediately for a verbal confirmation.

"Yes," she answered to the voice on the other end. "Evacuate the wing, send a press memo stating he has come down with flu symptoms, find the veep and get him here now, and send an oh shit emoji to the senate majority leader."

Switching her focus, Samantha sent the PUSdd! code to Manuel Kontroz as well.

--------------------
Kontroz had left his plane and advanced on the covered area, passing a body which looked like a big meat pie.  Inside he discovered five more bodies.  One was a virtually rotting corpse lying over a wooden box with a crossbow still in his hands.  Another had taken a round to the back of the head; he had a rocket launcher lying at his feet. Manuel did the math and figured the mess outside had caught the rocket. Another dead man had his chest blown out.  Then, he found two more bodies on either side of the enclosure at the far end. Both looked as though they had been at the center of an explosion. Pieces and parts were missing and both were held together only by their leather belts and harnesses.

He was about to send a confirmation of his 'Looks like all dead' initial assessment, when he heard a barely audible moaning.  His eyes went to the direction of the sound and he moved toward it.  It was female and approximately fifty yards ahead. Moving at a determined pace he reached a stump and found a woman lying against it. She had been shot in the chest and abdomon a half dozen times. Her moaning was using up what was left of her life.  

Sending a message to Samantha, Manuel wrote straight text:
'Sending plane back remotely with one passenger. Witness. Save her.'

He then dragged the bloody but still breathing body to the ultalight. He grabbed a number of socks from one of the crates and padded all of the bullet holes. Then, he slipped a body bag over her and zipped it up to her neck.  Finally, he placed her into the small plane.  Quickly accessing a hidden fuel container, which was beneath a sod-covered trap door at the corner of the compound, he refilled the tank on the ultralight.  Then, before securing the hatch, he pulled the vehicle around one hundred and eighty degrees, and pressed a toggle switch on the dashboard that allowed pilotless flying. He started the engine and typed in a code on a small key pad that would take the plane back from whence it came.

Watching as the vehicle pulled away and became airborne, Manuel spoke softly to himself,

"He bound up his wounds, set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Go and do likewise."

Then, his device buzzed and the message from Samantha saying the President was dead appeared. He looked up at the small plane flying into the clouds.

"Well -- poop-a-diddle!"











 

Author Notes Luke 10

Image from Google.com

PUSdd! = President dead


Chapter 4
Assorted Sordid

By Bill Schott

Characters:
Sonny Sullivan, President of the United States, deceased
Red Appleton, Vice President of the United States
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Adviser to the President
C. C. Connor, Chief of Staff, assumed dead
Rusty Pipes, Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs assumed dead
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to Rusty Pipes
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
G.I. Joseph, old assassin
Phil Rupp
, Speaker of the House
Ryan Deere, new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs

----------------------
In the previous chapter:
The President's assistant, Samantha Anthar,  has killed him and made it look like natural causes. Manuel Kontroz, a secret operative, has been dispatched to find what has happened to the President's Chief of Staff. He found a female near death and sent her to Washington in his trick plane.

------------------------
Having received the message that the President was dead, Manuel realized that he would need to speed up this operation and find a way back to Washington. Reaching into the butt pack, he had coveniently attached on his waist, he withdrew a small device which resembled a pack of gum. It was olive drab in color and had no writing or marking on it at all. He had chips implanted in his index fingers for use with certain devices. This made the access of these items possible for him alone.

Also, from the pouch, he pulled a single framed lens which attached with a clip to the bridge of his nose. The lens hung in front of his right eye and became a screen for video input. By touching the small 'gum pack' with his left index finger in a certain way, he could work with data, control similarly programmed equipment, and a myriad of other wonders. For now, he would be identifying all the corpses here.

Touching the device and sliding his finger down a centimeter, a list of likely personnel to be found here appeared in his spectacle. Now, on a trot, he went to each of twenty fallen soldiers near the enclosure. A quick press of the device on a finger revealed the person and eliminated him/her from the list, to be stored elsewhere. The capture of fingerprint data and transfer of information was fluid and quick. He finished with these twenty within a minute. A passing look determined that they were all killed by experts in target selection, as they each had slashes and cuts in the most lethal areas on their bodies. Done with them, he proceded to the netted area.
---------------------------
Meanwhile, back in the White House, the Vice President was sworn in and a train of advisers were lining up to fill him in on the world he now controlled. President Appleton immediately appointed Ms. Anthra as his Chief of Staff. Soon, Speaker of the House, Phil Rupp, and Senate Majority Leader, Connie Highland appeared on the scene.  After several meetings, a speech to the American citizens, and a quick call to all the global allies and adversaries, the new President, his Chief of Staff, and the Speaker of the House were gathered alone in the Oval Office. 

"Hell of a day!" said President Appleton. "Almost over for me, but just beginning for you two."

"We have another helicopter available, sir," said Sam.

"Who is involved?"

"We'll be taking St. John Johnson and the Speaker tonight. There is a man at the scene who will organize whoever is there and, if necessary, handle it alone."

Phil Rupp looked on in confusion. "Are you referring to me? I'm not going anywhere."

"What happened to Phil, Sam?" asked the President with a smile.

"He took his private jet up to visit his father in the Virgin Islands; he disappeared."

"Why Johnson?" asked the President.

"Why Johnson?!" shouted the Speaker. "What do you think you're doing!? I'm not going anywhere with you or flying anywhere else!"

Ignoring the outburst, Samantha explained that St. John Johnson had made inquiries about some other staffers who have gone missing.

Within thirty minutes, the Speaker of the House, Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs, St. John Johnson, Samantha Anthar, and the new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs, Ryan Deere were on a helicopter heading to a secure location. Speaker Rupp and Johnson were given instructions, the appropriate weapons (pistol and knife), boot string, and parachute; both were stripped naked and escorted to a helicopter.

As the helicopter approached the regular jump point, and Deere had opened the loading door, Johnson made a move to attack the Cabinet Affairs Under Secretary with his assigned fighting knife. Samantha intercepted him and quickly disarmed him by snapping his wrist in a move which looked like a handshake gone wrong.

Picking the knife up, Samantha said, "You'll need this," then jammed it into Johnson's upper left leg.

In a panic, Learp ran through the opening and fell screaming. Whether he knew how to deploy his parachute was unknown.

Samantha took a static line, which was attached to sliding rod on the ceiling of the helicopter, and connected it to Johnson's rip cord. This would ensure his chute opened. With that done, she kicked him in the face and sent him tumbling out of the hatch.
----------------------
Below, Manuel, who had already identified every body, including those by the crashed helicopter, and an arm he had found where a body may have landed coming straight down from the drop position, stood waiting for whoever was being dumped here to appear. He was only slightly surprised when a body slammed to the ground only a few meters from him. Whispering to himself, "Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; I cast thee to the ground; I lay thee before all, that they may behold thee."


He texted Samantha:  XC in BC.  Woman?  BL new.

Reading the text on her device, she saw an exception in the body count, an inquiry about the female in the plane, and an onsite observation of the Speaker of the House's final move in the game of politics.

Texting back: XC?  Following that with: LZ now.

Samantha got Ryan Deere's attention and then vigorously pointed to the deck of the vehicle. He, in turn, walked to the pilot and told him that they were landing immediately.


------------------------------
At the provisional landing strip behind the Government Accounting Office building, an ultralight makes a perfect landing and taxis to spot a few hundred feet from the building. The vehicle is approached by two figures who open the hatch. One places a zip gun to the head of the female passenger. The sound, similar to a hammer hitting a nail, ensures a bullet is lodged in the now dead woman's brain. The body is removed and, soon after, destroyed.











 

Author Notes XC in BC = Exception in body count

BL new = Bad landing for new person

LZ now = landing zone immediately

Thanks to kpsmiles21 for use of the image.


Chapter 5
Missing in Action

By Bill Schott


Characters:
Sonny Sullivan, former President of the United States, deceased
Red Appleton, former Vice President of the United States, now President
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, former Adviser to the President Sullivan, now Chief of Staff to President Appleton
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan, now assumed dead
Rusty Pipes, former Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs, assumed dead
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to Rusty Pipes
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin, presumed dead
G.I. Joseph, old assassin, presumed dead
Phil Rupp, Speaker of the House, assumed dead
Ryan Deere, new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs
St. John Johnson, Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs, at the facility

----------------------
In the previous chapter:

Speaker of the House, Phil Rupp and Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs, St. John Johnson were sent to the helicopter to be dropped in the training area. Learp was killed and Johnson dropped injured.
Manuel Kontroz checked all the bodies he could find and eliminated all possibilities from his list with two exceptions.
Finding that Kontroz had a discrepancy in the body count, Samantha Anthar had the helicopter land in the training area.
--------------------------------


As the evening rolled in, the pilot could still see the landing area well. He was shocked at the sight of another helicopter crashed on the deck.

Landing, Samantha jumped out of the side hatch and shrank into a crouch.  Behind her, Ryan Deere hit the deck, M-16 at the ready, silencer attached. 


Kontroz walked past Deere, sliding around him from behind and outside the reach of Samantha Anthra as he appeared to her left. Seemingly unstartled, she smiled as Manuel used his thumb to dislodge bullets from an M-16 magazine. When he got to nineteen, the clip was empty. 

"You've a round chambered, Mr. Deere. Eject it."

Looking down at the weapon, Deere saw that his magazine was missing; purloined by the passing Kontroz with the stealth of a trained thief.

"It's empty," said Deere.

"He knows you're lying, Ryan," said Samantha. "He figures you speed loaded the magazine with twenty rounds. One's missing."

While deciding who to trust and what action to take, Manuel made it easier for Deere by quickly disarming the man, taking him off his feet with a sweep, pulling the bolt back on the rifle, and ejecting the lone bullet. He then released the holding pin and separated the weapon, throwing the halves to the ground.

Smiling at Deere, Manuel said, "I cannot trust you, Mr. Deere. We shouldn't meet again."

"What's the discrepency, Manuel?" asked Samantha, witnessing, but unconcerned over Kontroz and Deere.

"The number of bodies expected is correct, but one identity is missing and an unknown is present."

"Explain."

"At the far end of the enclosure I have remains of a man who is not on my list. Additionally, his DNA sequence doesn't register with any records kept by the government."

"How the hell would you know that?" asked Deere, picking himself up and injecting into the conversation.

"I have that capability," he said, directing his answer to Samantha.

"Assuming he's a ringer, and someone C.C. knew about, who is missing?" asked Sam.

"Connor."

Samantha smiled. "That is an amazing revelation, Manuel."  She then turned to Deere. "Ryan, take off all your clothes."

"What?!  I'm not doing that."

As the words were barely said, Deere's lungs were emptied by a kick to his chest.  On the ground, attempting to breathe again, he was barely conscious of his clothes being removed. When he regained his oxygen flow, he realized he was naked.

"You have an M-16 and some rounds over there on the ground somewhere," she said, pointing out the two areas.

"You can't do this this to me!" shouted Deere in anger and disbelief.

"Ryan, I am doing this for the betterment of all.  You will be part of training that is paramount to the survival of the United States and its allies."

Manuel, who had picked up the M-16 and reconnected it, tossed the weapon several feet away.  

"There are only a few obstacles here for you, Ryan, but there will be more shortly."

"I have a wife!" he shouted.

"We'll get her for you."

"No!  I'll stay." Then thinking above his contained hysteria,  "There's just Johnson here anyway. He's a gimme.  What then?"

"Maybe Mr. Connor will help you train, she answered.  "Then there are some wolves, I hear."

Deere ran to where the bullets had been dropped and fell to his knees searching the ground.  Meanwhile, Samantha and Manuel boarded the helicopter, which lifted off immediately afterwards.

"I would be happy to return to find Mr. Connor," said Manuel.

"We'll give it a day." she said. "Sometimes these things work themselves out."

"What about these bodies?"

"There's a procedure in place. This isn't a new situation. Besides, I have a lot to do back at Washington, beginning with finding another Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs."

"Isn't that the Secretary of Cabinet Affairs' job?"

"That's my weekend post." 

As the helicopter flew on a path back to the White House, Manuel whispered to himself,
"
Be sober, be vigilant; because a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom -- she may devour."



















 

Author Notes Image from Google

Peter 5:8 paraphrased


Chapter 6
Before the Next Chapter

By Bill Schott

There has been a bit of a break in the action, so before continuing I will bring readers up to date.

The original story,
Baker's Dozen, involved a low-level White House assistant, Ben Baker. He had apparently been dropped into a secret training area in the midwest where he was required to kill a dozen people or be killed. He was naked and given only a pistol, knife, water bottle, and a boot lace. This was a punishment-with-a-purpose devised by the president's chief of staff, C.C Connor.

Others were also sent to this location and worked together to battle whoever might be found. Baker ends up killing them all. He then meets a new person, much older, who explains that Ben is not who he thinks he is. This older fellow is called GI Joe.

In a backstory we learn that GI Joe was an assassin working for a covert organization paid by the U.S. government. He and a Vietnamese soldier, An Do, who met during the war in Vietnam, had spent years acting as killers for the government. He informed Ben Baker that he is, in fact, Bobby Do, a trained assassin. He has been brain-washed and exists with two identities which can be suppressed or brought out by C.C. Connor.

The story ends with all three, Joe, Do (Baker), and Connor, apparently killed by a grenade.


The next story,
Assassin Nation opens at this point. Samantha Anther, the President's assistant, believes something bad has happened to Connor and sends Assistant to the Undersecretary of Cabinet Affairs, Manuel Kontroz, to investigate and take whatever action is needed. She also murders the President and makes it seem like a heart attack.

Kontroz flies an ultralite plane to the area and finds many dead bodies. He is bewildered that there is an unidentified corpse on one hand, and that Connor is missing altogether on the other. He sends a woman he found still alive back remotely in the ultralite. When she arrives, shadowy figures kill her.

Two more players, St. John Johnson and Ryan Deere are marked for punishment and are left in the training area to either help or kill each other.

We should be left with the idea that the Vice-president has ordered the death of the President, both Anther and Kontroz are working with and against each other, both are sociopaths, and something big is about to happen.






 


Chapter 7
Where We Are Now

By Bill Schott


Characters:
Sonny Sullivan, former President of the United States, deceased
Red Appleton, former Vice President of the United States, now President
Jason Marr, President pro tempore of the Senate
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, former Adviser to the President Sullivan, now Chief of Staff to President Appleton
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan, now assumed dead
Rusty Pipes, former Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs, assumed dead
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to Rusty Pipes
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin, presumed dead
G.I. Joseph, old assassin, presumed dead
Phil Learp, Speaker of the House, assumed dead
Ryan Deere, new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs
St. John Johnson, Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs
----------------------
In the previous chapter:
Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs, St. John Johnson, and
Ryan Deere, new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs, have been dropped into the training area to survive. Manuel Kontroz reported that there was an extra body and that C.C. Connor was missing from the dead. Anthra and Kontroz leave the training area and fly back to D.C.
--------------------------------


President Appleton finished with his cabinet meeting.  The burial of President Sullivan, installation of the President pro tempore of the Senate, Jason Marr, in lieu of the  investigation into the disappearence of the Speaker of the House, and lesser known inquiry into the missing Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs were discussed. Now a smaller meeting with both Samantha Anthra and Manuel Kontroz was happening in the oval office,

"Tell me the worst of this before I have my meeting with Chairman Fat." said the president.

"I will be brief, Mr. President," replied Anthar. "C.C. Connor is likely alive, but in seclusion. Operation Switchblade is ready to green light at your conveinence. Two more disgruntled employees are working out their differences in the woods.  We found an unknown player at the site. He was likely a hidden asset of C.C.'s who was taken out of action. End of report."

"What about the woman I sent back on the ultralite?" asked Kontroz.

"Dead on arrival, I'm afraid."

"I'll check the plane for what happened."

"What do mean?" blurted Anthar. "I told you she was dead!"

"The plane has a bevy of cool applications. One is a camera that runs constantly like a squad car. It records both interior and exterior five minutes before and after the hatch opens or closes. It also monitors lifesigns. My device, of which I am still finding new features, has a pulse for, uh, 
Feather Waites, all the way to the landing. I can check what was recorded when whoever opened the hatch removed her."

"The ultra lite crash landed and burned. The body and plane are all gone."

Manuel looked at Samantha for a second. She was unlike other people; inscrutible. She was either telling the truth, or was cold as an iceberg. He smiled.

"Unless there is more, I will go to my quarters and wait for further instructions."

"Where do you stay, Manny?" she asked.

He smiled again, then left through a side door.

"Is there anyone else we need to send to the site, since we seem to be using it?" asked the President.

"No, Mr. President," she replied.  "I feel we can begin the Op now and use the facility as a dumping ground."

"My meeting with Fat will cinch any loose ends there might be."

"Yes, sir."

Meanwhile, back in his space, Manny lay upon his cot and meditated on all he knew and suspected. Many scenarios of what had occurred, what will transpire, and who would be involved in all were viewed in a mental
kaleidoscope of possibilities and probabilities.

His eyes snapped open. Pulling his small device from his pocket, he attached an even smaller tip to one end. This adapted the device for insertion into his hybrid smart phone.  The screen brightened and the data from the ultralite began streaming.   A smile crossed his face as he whispered, 
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen."


 

Author Notes 2 Corinthians 4:18


Chapter 8
Clean Up

By Bill Schott


Characters:
Red Appleton, President
Jason Marr, President pro tempore of the Senate, now VP
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan, currently missing
Manuel Kontroz, acting Undersecretary of Cabinet Affairs
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin, presumed dead
G.I. Joseph, old assassin, presumed dead
Phil Rupp, Speaker of the House, assumed dead
Ryan Deere, new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs
St. John (Snjohn) Johnson, Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs

----------------------
In the previous chapter:

Assistant to the Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs, St. John Johnson, and Ryan Deere, new Under Secretary of Cabinet Affairs, have been dropped into the training area to survive. C.C Connor is assumed to be alive. Manuel Kontroz is aware that Samantha Anthra is lying to him about the survivor he sent back whom he knows was killed.
--------------------------------
Snjohn Johnson limped away from the body of Phil Rupp, which he'd found face-planted within a group of bushes. The body had crumpled into a space-saving ball of old flesh and bone. His pistol was still in his dead hand, but the knife was not. Johnson had recently removed it from his own leg, where Samantha Anthra had placed it, before literally kicking him out of the helicopter.  His landing was severe, but he was managing to keep ambulatory.  His wrist, snapped by Anthra as well, was swelled and useless. A boot lace served as a tourniquet for now as he moved towards the location of an enclosure. He moved forward, after relieving the corpse of the weapon, which he had to pair and hold in his one good hand.

Across the two-hundred meter firebreak, Ryan Deere was following Johnson's movements. Armed with a M-16 and a dozen rounds he could find in the grass, he watched from within the tree line. He had no magazine, so he carried eleven rounds and had one in the rifle chamber. Allowing Johnson to lead, he could let him meet obstacles first. If there were provisions or weapons, he could then eliminate him. The thought of teaming up never crossed his mind. He knew a way out of the compound, so keeping Johnson at a distance would work well.

Within an hour, Johnson was at the opening of the shelter. All the boxes and bodies were there, as no clean up had taken place. He held both nine millimeters in front of him, one precariously in a swollen and aching grasp, prepared to kill whatever moved. All was still until the sound of a single stick cracking made him spin one hundred and eighty degrees.  Nothing could be seen.  Again, behind him, another crack; he spun to face an empty scene.

"Hey!" came a call from his rear. As he turned clockwise, his right hand was jabbed with a blunt crossbow bolt, causing it to release the pistol. It fell to the ground. The same bolt was then shoved through the trigger guard of the other pistol and yanked from Johnson's weak grip.

The swift-moving man before him had disarmed him with an arrow, waved about like a conductor's wand.  Johnson looked into the man's face and realized who it was.

"C-C-Connor!"

"My friends call me me C.C. not ca ca."

"You're alive!" 

"Nothing gets by you, I see. It's Snjohn Johnson, right?"

"You know me?"

"Well, certainly, Jon Jon.  Your fame is spoken of in all the wooded areas of the Northeast."

"Wha-?"

"Your sin is being too cozy with the Department of Justice. Samantha was watching you and, I see now, decided to dispatch you."

"She was wrong. I never mentioned Switchblade to anyone."

Connor flashed a toothy grin. Taking a step towards Johnson he noticed movement on his left periphery. In another second, Ryan Deere stepped into view, rifle pointing.

"Connor?!" said Deere, startled to see the supposed dead man.

"Ryan Deere. I guess you are here for the beer too."

"That bitch Anthra and the spooky turd Kontroz left me here.  When I get back they'll both be at the bottom of the Potomac."

"Your being here is a sign from her to me that all is well back on the hill. By this time, Red Appleton is President, and Jason Marr is Vice."

"How can you know?" asked Deere. "The President had a heart attack or something."

"Yes, well, as much as I'd like to tell you two all my many secrets and machinations --"

A mushy thud was heard as the right quarter of Ryan Deere's head followed a .357 caliber slug on its mostly uninterrupted path through the forest. His body dropped straight to the ground. 

From the darkness of the tree line, a figure emerged. The man walked with a limp and signs that he had recently been either dragged through a rocky thorn patch or near an explosion.  The Desert Eagle .357 automatic was slightly lowered, smoke still rising from the barrel, but definitely aimed at St. John Johnson.

"Do you recognize this fellow, Snjohn?"

Johnson recognized the face, but not in this situation. The man appeared to be a low-level grunt who worked for someone at the White House. A face that one passes in the hall, but never generated a need for him to interact with or even acknowledge. Still, a name did come to him. It was his final utterance.

"Baker?"











 

Author Notes Image from Google. darpanmagazine.com

All will be caught up and explained in the next chapter. :)


Chapter 9
Flashback Annie Connor

By Bill Schott

In order to move forward, I will need to go back a bit and quickly fill in some background to clarify the thrust of the core story line.

Annie Connor was a war widow with two newborn infants at the close of the Korean Conflict. Her children were still unnamed; born in a secluded hospital in Northern California. Her husband had worked as a geneticist for an Asian research company that had established a laboratory in the United States. Delivery had always been planned to happen here, but the situation after the birth had never been shared with her.

Commissioned and deployed to South Korea, 2d Lt. Robert Connor almost immediately went missing in action and was included in the 416 sets of remains never identified, of the over four thousand returned after the war.  His records had been strategically lost and forgotten.

As she lay in recovery, an IV in her arm, a man in hospital scrubs entered the gray, otherwise empty, fifteen square foot room.

"Good morning, Mrs. Connor. I am Dr. Wu."

"Them babies all right?"

"Both in excellent health."

"I ain't got the means to care fer 'em. My Bob and I wasn't married too long before I was going to be a mother."

"You were actually artificially inseminated a few weeks prior to your marriage. We did this while you were kept sleeping one evening at Robert Connor's apartment."

"Artificial what?" The woman tilted her head to one side. The doctor made a half smile and continued.

"It is a procedure where we injected semen into your cervix. In this instance you produced two eggs which were both fertilized."

Annie was on the verge of fainting as the doctor gave his emotionless explanation.

"Joe and me, well, we already had been, uh, love-makin'."

"Yes, and there was a fertilized egg present. It was eliminated."

Blood drained from her face and she felt a knot tighten in her stomach.

"We introduced genetically enhanced semen into your womb. This is the stuff of miracles and pulp fiction. You carried and delivered what are the genesis of the future population of the Earth."

"My -- babies," she mumbled.

"Yes. I have named them Cubic Centimeter and Milliliter. C.C. and Millie."

"Wha-?" Annie's vision was blurring.

"Oh good. The relaxing agent in your saline has finally come through. You will soon feel no pain at all."

"My babies--"

"Yes. Millie and C.C. Connor."

The doctor watched as the woman grew limp and ceased breathing.











 

Author Notes In the 1940s and early 1950s, experiments pointed to DNA as the portion of chromosomes (and perhaps other nucleoproteins) that held genes. A focus on new model organisms such as viruses and bacteria, along with the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA in 1953, marked the transition to the era of molecular genetics. Wikipedia.


Chapter 10
Flashback Millie and C.C.

By Bill Schott

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.



Characters:
Red Appleton, President of the United States
Jason Marr, Vice President of the Senate
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin, in hiding
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan, child in flashback
Millie Connor, twin sister of C.C. Connor, child in flashback
Dr. Wu, genetic engineer, guardian and mentor to the Connor children
Amps, Bolt, Watt, and Edison, training facilitators for Dr. Wu
----------------------
In the previous flashback chapter:
Dr. Wu had artificially inseminated Annie Connor, who delivered twins, Millie and C.C., circa 1953. The mother was euthanized.
----------------------------------------

Millie picked the fifty cent piece off the floor with her two smallest toes.  Holding a stork pose, one leg bent, coin in between toes, she began rolling the minted, silver disk from digit to digit. She smiled as the tiny Benjamin Franklin portrait flipped through her toes as she quickly moved each nimble appendage to that end.

Her brother C.C. watched with admiration as his sister performed.
"Flip it!" he shouted. "And call it!"

With that, Millie snapped her big toe and sent the coin towards the ceiling. She planted the formerly bent leg on the floor, raised her other to form a figure four with the bottom of her foot facing up.

"Heads!" she proclaimed, standing straight, eyes locked on her brother's, as the rotating four-bit coin landed on the pad of her waiting foot.

"Heads it is!" shouted C.C., leaping up to grab the coin from her foot.

"Not so fast, Cube," she said, flipping the coin to be grabbed by her toes.  She then moved her leg to a right angle in front of her body.

With the toe-clutched coin in front of his face,  C.C. asked, "What must I do?"

"Name and define the final word on page 330 of the Funk and Wagnall dictionary in Dr. Wu's library."

"Do I get the fifty cents then?"

"You'll get a chance to spar for it."

Smiling, with a toothy grin he had developed over time, C.C. said, "I can tussle with any of the others and it costs me nothing."

"You've never beaten me though. This is an opportunity to try. You may even kill me if you can. Of course, you won't, but, how often do you have a chance?"

"All that AND a half dollar.  This is a splendid tenth birthday present."

"The word?" she said, reminding him of his first requirement.

"The word is INDURATE. Verb. To make or become hard or unfeeling. From the Latin, to harden."

"Too easy, I see." she said, smiling.  "Next time it will be from the Oxford."

"Yes, but you'll be dead, so -- shall we meet on the field."

"The kitchen, I think. Cooky is baking a cake for us. When she steps out to fiddle with Professor Smiles-a-lot, we'll duel to your defeat."

"To the death, you mean."

"As you wish, Cube."
--------------------------------------------
Out on the playing field, Dr. Wu and four of his facilitators discussed the day's events.

"The President has been assassinated in Dallas, Texas." he began.

"When will the public know?" asked Amps.

"He was apparently killed in full view of spectators and while being televised."

"Amateurs?" asked Bolt.

"Likely retribution from the communists for Cuba.  We are not involved, obviously."

"Will we be called though, from others?" asked Watt.

"We'll see.  I expect, since, in confusion there is profit, we'll be interjecting some equalizing actions throughout the world."

"Do you feel any of the students are ready?" asked Edison.

"Yes. The Connors are both ready. They are only ten years old, but I know them to be strong, nimble, intelligent, fearless, and, most importantly, totally detached from sensibilities. I could ask them to do anything and both would risk their lives to complete the task."

"Where are they now?" asked Amps. "I am looking at fifty teenagers on the field, but the two youngest are absent."

"They are very likely trying to best one another in some game. I dare say that either is unbeatable in any competition. They are unable to do one thing, however, which is why they will be our best instruments."

All smile and walk over to the other children, who circle around and listen to the facilitators.
----------------------------------------

In the kitchen, Millie laid out four cutlery selections on the three-foot butcher block. 

"Here are a butcher knife, pastry knife, cleaver, and a nut pick."

"Nut pick?"

"Choose one to start. If you're disarmed you can only use what's on this board."

C.C. ran to the board and grabbed the meat cleaver. With a quick hand vault over the island counter, in mid air, he hurled the heavy chopping knife directly at his sister's head.

Millie dodged the potentially head-splitting tool and moved closer to the cutting board.

Before getting there, C.C. grabbed the pastry knife and jabbed the twelve-inch blade at Millie's face and chest. The blade was a hair off her throat on the left, passed between her arm and ribs on the right, and kept missing the target as C.C. furiously continued his seemingly fruitless assault. Finally, attempting a slashing movement across her body, Millie blocked his downward thrust and stepped in for a palm punch to his face. When he moved forward again, she hooked his shoulder and threw him across her hip and onto the tiled, cement floor. 

Bouncing once, the boy leaped up in time to catch the butcher knife, which had been playfully tossed to him from across the room.

"You've used up all the big utensils, Cube. I guess I'll have to kill you with this nut pick."

"That's the weapon a nut would pick, certainly.  Come and get me, nut."

Millie waited a second. She knew what her brother's moves would be if she went forward. She would parry, then blind him in both eyes within two seconds. That was, of course, if she actually wanted to injure him. The rule was always kill. Injuries were only used to assess options before the killing blow. If it were anyone else, that person would already be dead. She wanted her brother tested and given the greatest opportunity to improve, which required keeping him alive.

"C'mon, Millie!" he shouted, grinning like a skull in a thin bag of skin and hair. "Show me your guts!"

Millie reached down to the floor and retrieved the long pastry knife. She then stood erect,   raising the knife in one hand and the nut pick in the other.  When C.C. stepped forward she threw both projectiles. The knife hit his right foot, splitting it beween his second and third toe.  The pick pierced his artery in his neck. Blood spurted from the pin prick in the vein.

C.C. stood confused. He still had a knife, but felt great pain in his foot and knew the bleeding had to be stopped immediately or he'd die.

"I never really thought you'd kill me, Millie."

"You're not dead, Cube. Just smarter. Place pressure on the neck wound until you can get it fixed." 

He wanted very much to slash her throat as she helped him out of the kitchen and down the hallway to the infirmary. Something kept him from doing it, though; if it were anyone else, he'd have killed them in order to complete the activity.  He didn't know why he spared her. It wasn't in his nature or training. The inability to act on his need hurt almost as much as his foot.















 

Author Notes Images from Google


Chapter 11
In Country flashback

By Bill Schott




Characters:

Red Appleton,
President of the United States, Army private in flashback
Jason Marr, Vice President of the Senate
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin, in hiding
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan, seventeen-year-old in flashback
Millie Connor, twin sister of C.C. Connor, seventeen-year-old in flashback
Dr. Wu, genetic engineer, guardian and mentor to the Connor children
Amps, Bolt, Watt, and Edison, training facilitators for Dr. Wu
----------------------
End of the last regular chapter (Chapter 9)
The man appeared to be a low-level grunt who worked for someone at the White House. A face that one passes in the hall, but never generated a need for him to interact with or even acknowledge. Still, a name did come to him. It was his final utterance.  "Baker?"

End of last flashback chapter (Chapter 11)
He wanted very much to slash her throat as she helped him out of the kitchen and down the hallway to the infirmary. Something kept him from doing it, though; if it were anyone else, he'd have killed them in order to complete the activity.  He didn't know why he spared her. It wasn't in his nature or training. The inability to act on his need hurt almost as much as his foot.
---------------------------------

June 1970.  Officer Candidate School was complete. Second Lieutenant C.C. Connor was commissioned and deployed to Vietnam.  Being a college graduate at fourteen, and surpassing all physical requirements, Connor was allowed to enter the Army training at seventeen years of age.  Twelve weeks later, having been made the candidate company commander, he graduated with a rare, accellerated promotion to 1st Lieutenent.

One week later, C.C. Connor arrived at Firebase JAY, and was assigned as commander of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.  They were in mid-country and five kilometers from the Cambodian border.

Almost immediately, the base was attacked by the 272nd Regiment of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) with mortar and rockets. The battalion commander was seriously injured, and 1st Lt. Connor found he was now in charge.

"Private Appleton!" he yelled, as his armor and uniform were sluffed off onto the ground.

"Yes, sir!" responded the the cherub-like soldier, smile stretched across his pimply face.

"You're the only turd I trust in this shithole, so listen up. I'm going out to settle this thing down. While I'm gone I want you to kill a few folks for me."

"VC, right?"

Connor smiled; his toothy grin shone like death and the private knew it would be friendly fire casualties. 

"I read people well -- Red, is it?"  You are a born killer and I don't think you care who it is. Take out a dozen of the higher ups HERE for me."

Private Appleton's eyes were electric and his smile tested the limits of his mouth's flexibility.  

"Where are you goin', L.T. ?!"

Now naked, with a fighting knife, canteen tied around his waste with a bootlace,  and a .45 Colt, he pointed to the perimeter wire fencing. 

"Just taking a stroll, Red. This kind of combat gets old fast.  See you in the funny papers.  Now, get busy."

The lieutenent ran quickly and passed beneath a break in the fence that was almost unnoticeable to the casual observer.  He sped into the jungle like a scorpion, staying close to the deck and keeping both hands acting as weapon-holders and feet.

As the night blasted on, the enemy weapons fire relented. American soldiers had launched a counter attack, but were amazed at the seemingly weakened state of the once aggressive assault.

The fighting ended by midday with fifteen losses on the American side, and seventy-four for the PAVN.  No investigations were made to classify the modes of death of the fifteen casualties beyond having been killed. Knife wounds and back shootings went unreported.

Of the seventy-four Vietnamese dead, many had been riddled with bullets, or blown apart by artillery. Many, however, were found to have been killed in hand-to-hand combat. This peculiar observation never made it to official reports, which favored numbers of dead over how death occurred.

1st Lt. Connor went missing in action. A lone witness, a Private Red Appleton, reported that the officer had "Taken the fight to the enemy."

Later, having sliced his way to the Vietnamese commander, C.C. Connor offered his many skills to the local Chinese adviser. Being a trained assassin and expert in military movements in country, his offer was quickly accepted.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, at the age of seventeen, Milliliter Connor made inroads in the world of politics. Her goal was to insinuate herself in any and all power bases and become the indispensible resource for all things. Her teenaged voice had penetrated the many sub-elements of the local and regional governments, which reached the White House at one point, and helped initiate President Nixon's plan to begin talks with Communist China for normalization of relations.  Millie's mentor, Dr. Wu, would have been proud of both her and Cube's accomplishments. The eventual emplacement of the Switchblade assets, within a decade or two, would be as smooth as placing the decision-makers in every corner of the world.




 

Author Notes Firebase Jay was real and the actions there accurate as far as the year, occupying commands, and the losses on both sides during the actual assault. Everything else is fiction.

Image from Wikipedia.org


Chapter 12
Reunion

By Bill Schott

 

Characters:
Red Appleton,
President of the United States
Jason Marr, Vice President of the Senate
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan
Millie Connor, twin sister of C.C. Connor
Dr. Wu, genetic engineer, guardian and mentor to the Connor children
Amps, Bolt, Watt, and Edison, training facilitators for Dr. Wu
----------------------
End of the last regular chapter (Chapter 9)
The man appeared to be a low-level grunt who worked for someone at the White House. A face that one passes in the hall, but never generated a need for him to interact with or even acknowledge. Still, a name did come to him. It was his final utterance. "Baker?"

Summary of last flashback (Chapter 13)
1st Lt. Connor went missing in action. A lone witness, a Private Red Appleton, reported that the officer had "Taken the fight to the enemy."
Later, having sliced his way to the Vietnamese commander, C.C. Connor offered his many skills to the local Chinese adviser. Being a trained assassin and expert in military movements in country, his offer was quickly accepted.
------
Milliliter Connor made inroads in the world of politics. Her goal was to insinuate herself in any and all power bases and become the indispensable resource for all things. The eventual emplacement of the Switchblade assets, within a decade or two, would be as smooth as placing the decision-makers in every corner o
f the world.
-----------------


Manual Kontroz had stayed busy the last ninety days researching and compiling data about the President and his cabinet. During this time he had witnessed the return of C.C Connor, who was reassigned as the American Ambassador to the United Nations. 
Ben Baker had returned as well and was promoted to Vice President Marr's senior assistant.

-------------------------------

The Left Wing halls were well peopled and many small pairings of staff and visitors peppered the main hallway passage. C.C. Connor saw Bobby Do, who had been resubmerged into his Ben Baker persona, and flagged him down.

“Ben! Good to see you, Butchy Boy.” 

“Good to be seen, sir. I must say, I don't think you've ever spoken to me before. I wasn't aware you knew my name.” 

“I have my eye on you, Ben. How's the VP treating you?  Don't let him grab your ass.” 

“Vice President Marr is a great man to work for. I have to admit, I don't even know who recommended me for the job, but it's going well.” 

An aide appeared behind the men and cleared his throat.


 
“Mr. Baker, the Vice President needs your notes on the Congressman from California.” 

 “You mean Congresswoman Manowitz?”

  “Congressperson?”  said Connor, offering another possibility.

“Let's settle on the Honorable Ms. Manowitz.” 

“Your notes?”  asks the aide. 

“I have some notes on that old skank if you need help, Ben.” 

 “That's neat, Mr. Connor, but I do have a lot on the Congressma -uh - wo -er - per - uh - man.” 

“By Jove, I think he's got it!” 


All grin and depart to their next appointments. 

-----------------------

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Manowitz arrives from the airport and is escorted through the White House to the Vice President's reception area. 

“Good morning, Representative Manowitz.   I am Ben Baker, the Vice President's assistant. I would like to take a few minutes, if you will, to go over my notes to assure a productive meeting between the VP and yourself.” 

“Certainly, Mr. Baker. I'm sure Jason can get his pants on by the time we're done.” 


Baker smiled  imagining  that Mr. Marr might indeed have a page bent over his desk. It wouldn't be the first.     “ He has simply asked that I double check all that there is to discuss to streamline both of your schedules.” 

“Go ahead, Mr. Butcher.” 

 “It's Baker, Ms. Manowitz;  Ben Baker.” 

“ Of course. Your questions?” 

 “Yes. Well --“ 

Manuel Kontroz steps up.  “ Mrs. Manowitz! What a pleasure to see you. I was just on my way to a meeting with you and the Vice President.” 

“Hello, Manny.  I'm so glad to see you. How is your assignment here going?” 

“Your endorsement sealed the deal.”

"I see you know the Congresswoman, uh, Manny? Why don't I know you?" asked Baker.

"I operate independently from the machine, uh, Benny?"

"Well, I'm happy I could come from Sacramento to introduce you two."

"So sorry," said Baker. "Let me just go over these few items."


As Ben Baker utters a few words, they are only recognizable as noise when the Congresswoman from California sees Samantha Anthra coming out of an elevator at the far end of the hallway. 

"The VP was unsure if your first name was Mildred or Milicent, since it is listed as Millie," said Baker.

"It's Milliliter."


The young woman walks down the hall, unaware that she is being observed, until she reaches Baker and sees the politician who had been blocked from her view.

"Hi, Sam," said Manowitz, smiling.

Samantha Anthra stares at the woman for a second.  "Mother?"








 

Author Notes Image from Google


Chapter 15
Secret Investigations

By Bill Schott

Characters:
Red Appleton, President of the United States
Jason Marr, Vice President of the Senate
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan
Millie Manowitz, twin sister of C.C. Connor

----------------------
End of the last regular chapter:

As Ben Baker utters a few words, they are only recognizable as noise when the Congresswoman from California sees Samantha Anthra coming out of an elevator at the far end of the hallway. 

"The VP was unsure if your first name was Mildred or Milicent, since it is listed as Millie," said Baker.

"It's Milliliter."

The young woman walks down the hall, unaware that she is being observed, until she reaches Baker and sees the politician who had been blocked from her view.

"Hi, Sam," said Manowitz, smiling.

Samantha Anthra stares at the woman for a second.  "Mother?"
--------------------------------------------------


Manuel Kontroz sat on his cot and pondered all that he had been researching. Moving mentally into a zen state, he called upon his guru, Guninder. 

"Guninder, my investigation at the training area has led to my declaring Ben Baker deceased, but his return has not been explained. 

"
If you have identified the corpse as Baker, then you have matched only what is recorded as Ben Baker's identity.  Common sense dictates that either the corpse is Baker, and the records are correct, or the records have been aligned to match whomever the unrecognizable body is supposed to be representing."

"So Baker is NOT alive and the body left at the training area was indeed his. The man who is now accepted as Baker, and always has been, is obviously a deep state sleeper who is essential to some ungoing and clandestine operation.  Both Connor's and Baker's survival have not been explained. Their return to the White House has been accepted and made to seem business as usual."

"
Your memory of the visual record from the aircraft, which brought the female survivor from the training area, shows two men, both known to you and whom are associated with the Senate Majority Leader, Connie Highland. Following that connection, she would have wanted the survivor silenced only because she already knew what this person knew."

"Now I know that Manowitz and Anthra are mother and daughter. The Congresswoman's maiden name had been Connor, a likely relative of C.C. Connor. Her age and Connor's are the same, and therefore likely twins. That would explain, as best as genes can explain anything, why she is so obviously vital and youthful for a person in her seventies."


"Since all of the physical evidence you have seen has been eradicated, whatever exists serves only you. No one else is looking for answers. They know the answers and are not sharing. Something huge and highly classified is being undertaken. The President of the United States and everyone connected to him is in on whatever it is. It is of a global nature and will likely be initiated soon. Your curiousity will only be seen as a reason to eliminate you."

Kontroz leaves his zen state and stands. Walking to the mirror he stares at himself.  At his feet he sees a six inch length of two-by-four left from from some work project. Picking it up, he raises it to his chest and holds it with both hands.  Losing all expression in his face, his hands clench the piece of wood and it snaps in half.  Staring again at his face in the mirror, he smiles and whispers, 

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also -- I am known."




 

Author Notes I Corinthians 13:12

Image from Google


Chapter 16
Review of Story Up to Now

By Bill Schott

Red Appleton, President of the United States
Jason Marr, Vice President
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan
Millie Manowitz, twin sister of C.C. Connor
--------------------------------
I want to continue with the novella, Assassin Nation, but it has been a while since the last chapter (October 2019) so I'll need to prep readers to allow re-access to the story.

It begins in the previous novella, Baker's Dozen, where we see a secret government program training assassins in the mid-west. Baker is a low-level White House staffer who is dropped naked into a wooded area with a gun, knife, boot lace, and a bottle of water. He knows that he must hunt down and kill twelve other people who he understands are hunting him as well.

This operation is run by the President of the United State's Chief of Staff, C.C. Connor. We learn as others are dropped into the same area that Baker is a flat character with no background. This makes sense as we learn that Baker isn't who he thinks he is, but a trained assassin programmed to think he's someone else.

Eventually, by the end of that story, Baker discovers he is Bobby Do, the Butcher of Baghdad, and faces down his creator, C.C. Connor.

Now, in the next story, Assassin Nation, most of the old players are back and all are at the White House. New characters like Samantha Anthra  and Manuel Kontroz work both together and against each other. Sam, to further the nefarious plans of C.C Connor, to emplace assassins within other's governments, and Manny, to discover just what those plans entail.

Some character quirks are that Samantha Anthra or Sam, is somehow programmed to kill at the drop of a hat, but is otherwise normal. Manuel Kontroz or Manny, is a highly spiritual genius who is also a trained killer. What is especially true in the story is that no one can be trusted.






 


Chapter 17
Planning a Weekend Getaway

By Bill Schott



Red Appleton, President of the United States
Jason Marr, Vice President
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan
Millie Manowitz, twin sister of C.C. Connor


Millie and Sam sit across from each other in the back booth at Taqueria Habanero on 14th Street. The Mexican food aromas slice through the atmosphere as the two converse. The shock of seeing her mother has worn off and the catching up is in full swing.

"How is Doctor Wu, Mother?"

"He passed away suddenly," she answered smiling as she perused the menu.

"Natural causes?"

"Brain hypoxia. How is the entomatodas de queso here, Sam?"

"Muy bueno. Isn't lack of oxygen to the brain the way we'll all go?"

"Yes. dear. Of course, it's not the destination, but the journey that's important."

"Was there prejudice?"

"Extreme."

"Who is responsible? By the way, the tacos de pescado is la mejor de la ciudad."

"Debemos hablar estrictamente espanol aqui?" (Should we be speaking strictly Spanish?)

"No, not at all. I will be taking a weekend trip to the coast. Just testing my Spanish."

"Do they speak a lot of Spanish in New England?"

Samantha looked at her and smiled. "Other coast. La venganza es una perra." (Revenge is a bitch.)

"You should take Manny with you."

"This is personal."

Millie takes a menu in her hand and raises her right arm. From the kitchen area two servers hurry out with trays filled with various food items.  Samantha can only smile.

"And I thought I brought YOU here."

"You did. I've never been here. There are people, however, who straighten roads and lower hills for me. Manuel Kontroz can be that for you. He is brilliant, intuitive, energetic, and lethal."

Sam stared at the butter knife she had setting in front of her.    "Manuel Kontroz is a silver steak knife used on special occasions when the one in the drawer isn't enough. His everyday use would require his knowledge of sensitive materials to be enhanced. Unfortunately, his keen abilities are joined at the hip with moral sensibilities that may dull his edge."

"Well, dear, I think this metaphorical debate can end with the resolution that Manuel  Kontroz is the diamond-edged scalpel you will need for this operation."

"He's also a two-edged sword," Sam said, reaching for a tortilla.

"Fine. Have some pozole."













 

Author Notes Dr. Wu, the initiator of the Connor twins has apparently been murdered, and Sam will avenge him.

Taqueria Habanero is a Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC.


Chapter 18
Flashback Manuel Kontroz

By Bill Schott

Red Appleton, President of the United States
Jason Marr, Vice President
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan
Millie Manowitz, twin sister of C.C. Connor
==========================================

San Francisco, California. Summer, 1978

Doctors Amp, Bolt, Watt, and Edison arrived together at the compound for the latest revelation from their leader, Dr. Wu.

"Any word on the twins, Dr. Wu?" asked Amp.

"I understand they are both deep in the political sea," he replied.

"Still so young. Only twenty-five, right?  It has been a quarter century. Difficult to believe when I think of those two," said Watt. "They always appear to be half their ages."

"C.C. emerged from the conflict in Vietnam as a war hero," said Dr. Wu. "Millie has spent her time becoming a fixture in Golden State law-making. She is an oracle to many powerful people."

"Is this meeting to do with them?" asked Edison.

"No.  I want you to meet a new child I have produced. He has been living here near Fisherman's Wharf.  His name is Manuel."

Dr. Wu brought the other scientists into an open gymnasium area that was also a greenhouse, astrological observatory, and makeshift living area. There they saw a young man, gaunt and quiet, standing in the center of the mostly glass-enclosed structure.

"Manuel," called Dr. Wu to the slender, caramel-skinned man. 

A blur appeared before the doctor that stopped suddenly with the young man practically breaching space and time to present himself before the doctor.

Dr. Amp, visibly stunned, asked, "Is this the invitro fertilization experiment?"

"Yes," replied Wu, grinning. "They are just now waiting on an infant in mainstream  medicine. Manuel was introduced a decade ago."

"A decade?" questioned Dr. Watt, observing what looked like a twenty-year old man. "He doesn't seem to be a progeria sufferer." 

"He's not, Doctor.  Manuel has rapidly reached this state of maturity and I fully expect him to maintain it for another half century."

"This is incredible, Dr. Wu," said Dr. Edison. "I trust your research and lab notes are available for us to read?"

Before he could answer, a spitting sound and breeze passed Dr. Wu's head and became a bloody hole in Dr. Amp's chest.  Another bullet zipped by Dr. Watt and zapped Dr. Bolt, who dropped dead to the floor. Two more silenced lead balls stopped in both Dr. Edison and Dr. Watt, silencing them as well.

Dr. Wu, who had dropped to his knees, now looked around for Manuel.  One more shot smashed into the far wall with no apparent target. There were no more.

On a roof top seven hundred meters away, a sniper had been preparing to shoot the last scientist when a blur appeared in his peripheral vision. His curious death followed.

Manuel, who had triangulated the path of the bullets by noting the doctor's fallen angles, deduced the azimuth to the source of firing. He sped as fast as he could run, to the location and found access to the roof by way of the industrial down spout on the back of the building. Once on the roof he raced directly to the shooter and struck him twenty-two times. Each blow strategically hit a pressure point, ripped open a pocket, removed a sensory ability, and searched for weapons or identification.

When the killer fell dead to the tar and gravel roof top, Manuel had in his hands a small pistol, a flat Gerber rib-sticker, one hundred and four dollars in Canadian currency, a roll of Certs, and a standard cyanide pill that had been in a coin sleeve within a wrist band on the dead man's left forearm.

He quickly ran over the man's features, looked for important unnatural markings that may have been present, then hurried back in the same direction he had come from.

Dr. Wu had found a chair and was sitting slumped forward between his knees when Manuel returned.

"Are you injured, Dr. Wu?" he asked.

"Not at all, Manuel. I am unharmed. What of the shooter?"

"Neutralized, sir. I have also identified him as a Russian operative."

"Really! How do you know that, my son."

"He had the exact bus fare for Sacramento, in Canadian dollars. One can get a non-stop flight there to Vancouver after six p.m.," Manuel said matter-of-factly.

"Vancouver, British Columbia?"

"Russian hub for west coast business."

The doctor nodded his head in agreement. "You learned these things from whom?"

Manuel looked at him with a slight smile. "Common knowledge, sir."









 

Author Notes
Progeria is a premature aging disease.


Chapter 19
Seeking Information

By Bill Schott

Here are some of the characters and situations:
Red Appleton, President of the United States
---long time buddy of C.C. Connor
C. C. Connor, former Chief of Staff to President Sullivan and mastermind of Assassin project
Millie Manowitz, twin sister of C.C. Connor, mother to Samantha Anthra
Samantha Anthra, Chief of Staff to President Appleton/she murdered Pres. Sullivan
Manuel Kontroz, Assistant to the President/he is investigating what everyone else already knows
Ben Baker, aka Butcher of Baghdad aka Bobby Do, assassin
Jason Marr, Vice President
Connie Highland, Senate Majority Leader

+++++++++++++++++++
From a previous chapter:

Millie said, "There are people, however, who straighten roads and lower hills for me. Manuel Kontroz can be that for you. He is brilliant, intuitive, energetic, and lethal."

Sam stared at the butter knife she had setting in front of her. "Manuel Kontroz is a silver steak knife used on special occasions when the one in the drawer isn't enough. His everyday use would require his knowledge of sensitive materials to be enhanced. Unfortunately, his keen abilities are joined at the hip with moral sensibilities that may dull his edge."

"Well, dear, I think this metaphorical debate can end with the resolution that Manuel Kontroz is the diamond-edged scalpel you will need for this operation."

"He's also a two-edged sword," Sam said.

-------------------------------

Manuel and Samantha drove to a private hangar outside of the D.C. area. Once there, the two walked over to a retro-looking airplane designed for limited passengers.

"This is a bit of a throwback, Manny.  Did you inherit this from your granddad?"

He smiled at the implied suggestion that the plane was a relic and possibly not safe to fly.

"I have actually had it since I was ten. Over the years the analog instruments have been updated so as to make the plane as modern as needed. It was a gift from Dr. Wu."

"How do you know Dr. Wu, Manny?" 

"He was essentially my parent. He arranged for my birth, raised me, and trained me."

"That's amazing that I am just now hearing this. My mother must have known this all along. She and my Uncle C.C. were raised by the doctor too."

After boarding the plane, Manuel did all the required checks and started the engine.

"This is a Beechcraft G36 Bonanza. It was new in 1946. As you can see it has all of the original equipment on the panel, though much of it is ornamental at this point. I can actually fly this aircraft with my smart phone."

"You are certainly sharing a lot of information with me, Mr. Kontroz. Am I that disarming?"

"Representative Manowitz suggested that I treat you as if you were her. The meaning being that I should feel confident with sharing all I know and suspect with you, as I might with the congresswoman."

Manuel taxied from the hangar area out to the old, clay runway. Making last minute checks he throttled forward and the plane was soon in the air.

"When I get to our cruising altitude I'll place it in autopilot. Our trip will actually require a couple of hops before we arrive in California. "

Samantha presented a pained smile.  "Why would we take this plane if it couldn't get us to our destination in the most expedient manner?"

Manuel gave a combination sigh and smile. "I have full confidence in my plane and my ability. The government tends to restrict what I can do when I have their equipment. This way I can do what is necessary without approval, and I am free from covert monitoring by entities within the White House."

"Entities?" she asked, smiling. "Are people spying on you, Manny? Are you that important?"

Checking the elevation dials, Manuel moved a toggle switch and placed the plane into autopilot. He then left his seat and walked to a position behind them and in the center of the aircraft.

"Ms. Anthra, I am positive that you have knowledge about President Sullivan's death, the training at the compound, and other related facts that would help my understanding of the many investigations I am involved in. The reason that you and I are together on the plane is for me to discover all you know."

"Am I to believe that my mother placed me into a situation where you are to interrogate me? Do you feel that I have the kind of secrets that would require enhanced methods to access?"

"Your relationship with your mother is between the two of you, of course. There is, however, no doubt that we are here, in this plane, so that I might glean useful knowledge from you that would otherwise be impossible to extract."

"Listen, Mister Kontroz. On your best day you might make me break a sweat, but if you want to try something right here, right now -- you will fail."

"There is no need to resist. I am not here to judge or punish. I only require the truth."

A soft vibration occurred in Samantha's jacket pocket. A message on her smart phone.

"Seems like you have a call, Sam. You may need to respond," said Manuel.

Samantha reached into her pocket and looked at the screen on the device. There was an icon which had been sent as a message. She touched it. 

Manuel stared at her with both curiosity and a sense of intrigue. Her demeanor changed immediately. Emotion left her face and she quickly spun around and hit the toggle switch to release the plane from autopilot. Her next move was to pull up on the steering sending the plane on a steep trajectory to the ground.

Kontroz dove to the panel, but was stopped by a kick from a sensible, size seven, Fendi high-top sneaker with an added steel toe inserted for just such an occasion. The well-placed kick cracked his lowest rib.

Instinctively, Manuel spun a roundhouse kick that was uncommonly deflected by the woman. She simultaneously landed a jab in the center of his scrotum, which caused the expected reaction.  That move was quickly followed by successive flat-hand spearings to his throat, solar plexus, and already fractured rib.

A piece of metal trimming was grabbed and broken off by the woman and became a makeshift knife. She attempted to plunge the sharp piece of aluminum into her opponent, but Manuel was able to counter each thrust with a block. He ultimately was able to grab her carotid artery and cause her to fall backward. 

Now able to seize the controls, he pulled the plane up to horizontal and flipped on the autopilot. He turned expecting another assault, only to find Samantha Anthra kneeled and looking up at him.  Both stared at each other for a moment, until her phone buzzed again. Manuel reached out his hand, indicating that he wanted the device. She looked at the caller ID and pressed the name. Lifting the phone to her face she said, "Hello, Mother."













 

Author Notes Image from Google.


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