Patriot Acts Part Three
June 6, 1995 1:58 p.m.
“The Two minute window is closing.” The operative reported perched high up inside a bombed out building in Ramallah, Palestine that had once been filled with families who had been forced to flee Israeli tanks, mortars and laser-guided bombs. With an uninhibited view, he looked out at the indescribable ruin and carnage that had already been inflicted on this people whose leaders had passed up every opening for peace.
“Copy that” the operative’s base contact affirmed.
There, with his precision fully automatic .50-cal. Barrett M82 ready to accelerate the conflict into a full-blown war, Colonel Fisher Harrison took in the complete and utter destruction of a society literally crumbling around his location. He looked to the left and saw the barricaded windows with camouflage material shrouding the soldiers posted there, ready and willing to fire at anything that moved.
Fisher raised his eyes and looked straight out ahead. His view was good enough to look into the Calandria refugee camp. It was a cauldron of vicious plots and miniature bomb making factories, which made ad hoc missiles and jackets designed to be used only once. He glanced downward and saw a mother with her scarf removed and wrapped around her three small terrified children’s eyes. Hoards of terrified city dwellers were crouched down, never glancing upward, and fleeing through the streets; trying to stumble on a loaf of bread and a few bottles of water during a lull in the barrage of attacks.
The world had condemned Israel for its attacks, but Fisher had determined it was justified and obliged, just like the validation screaming in his head for the killing of the evil terrorist he was about to blow away. Every street was strewn with blown up cars, dead bodies and silence, only cut short by the frequent short volley of gunfire in every direction.
Smoke rose high into the sulfur-ridden darkened sky. Throughout the capital city of the land of a people without a country, old men, young women with children in their arms and in their wombs hid and prayed to the god in whose name they were fighting. Fisher doubted they deserved a country. Then he realized that his job, his own people deserved scarcely more than these who had been constantly lobbing missiles and sending suicide bombers into the heart of Israel.
Inside the so-called governmental zone, every building belonging to the Palestinian Authority was flattened except Arafat’s own presidential headquarters, but Fisher knew that the only reason the structure was still there was because Israeli forces had allowed it to remain. Arafat had been allowed to live, but with stipulations. The former leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization who had carried out and ordered the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of people was now the only hope for peace and survival for this war-weary people.
Arafat only left his compound twice a day to greet his followers and to speak with the press, which Fisher knew was now and which was why he had placed his very steady eye peering through a chamber that would place a beam of light, invisible to others, but very clear to Fisher, in the center of the President of the Palestinian Authority’s forehead. As soon as the clock struck two o’clock; as soon as the clock signaled the last breath for an elected leader who Fisher Harrison regarded as a terrorist, it would be time to unlock, pull back on the trigger and then get the hell away.
Fisher glanced constantly at his watch and thought about the SPU superintendent’s words before boarding the El Al flight to Tel Aviv in Chicago. He had travelled as a civilian and when he arrived at O’Hare Field, he was not allowed to board the flight until the next day. He knew that wasn’t a problem and that the SPU was impeccable in its ability to cover every base.
“It’s only a shaky finger or a call that can stop this murderer from meeting his 70 virgins.” Fisher quietly amused himself. “And the recall is almost over.” Fisher told himself.
Almost every mission had left him in a kind of obtuse, morose feeling of remorse and sorrow, but not this one. For Fisher Harrison, this was simply code enforcement. He was cleaning up the neighborhood. He was doing what he was trained to do, and he didn’t even have to convince himself, this time.
“Hey Yasser, here’s hoping that all them virgins are men.” He almost laughed out loud. Then he remembered the superintendent’s orders and outrageous words. “What was it again?” he asked himself with his eye still staring out the end of a scope at the extremely exposed head and face of one of the twentieth century’s most ruthless terrorists.
“The war’s not getting the attention it needs, Colonel.”
“War; what war?” Fisher truthfully didn’t know what the superintendent was talking about.
“The war that your new mission is going to start. There’s never been a conflict that the SPU hasn’t had its hand in starting, since the founding of the nation. Now, I need you to get your ass over to that cursed place and blow the bastard away.”
“Blow him away; which one? That could be any number of bastards’, as you call them. Could even be you … sir.”
“I don’t care; just kill’em, Arafat, I mean. I want him dead, dancing with those virgins. I need a war, Colonel!” Fisher Harrison turned slowly with an unconcealed scowl poignantly stretched across his face.
Without ever taking his eye away from the scope attached to his M82, Fisher touched his face as he realized that his thoughts had produced the same expression of unbelief and anger in the present as in the past. He returned to the present mission at hand and glanced down at his watch. Only fifty-two seconds remained. His palms felt uncharacteristically wet and he wasn’t certain if he were afraid of the result of a successful mission or if he was exaggeratedly gleeful at once again meting out a guilty killer’s just recompense.
“What you need is to be shot on sight, Barlowe.” Fisher recalled telling his boss. “And, I hope I’m the one who gets to do that too.” The superintendant looked puzzled at first then his face took on an expression that told Fisher that his SPU superior knew Fisher would do it. “I can’t wait till that directive comes down …sir!”
“Colonel Harrison, I think the odds are more on my side than on yours. Just stay useful and you won’t have to forfeit your retirement plan. Anyway, it’s always been this way, and it won’t be changing anytime soon.”
“Then the country’s nothing but a lie and never existed at all.” Fisher blurted out.
“Well, Harrison, one day it is going to be just you and me, mono et mono. We’ll see then who has the biggest package, don’t you think? Anyway, we both have a boss. So, give me my war, Colonel Harrison.”
March 9, 2011, 3:23 p.m.
Outside Washington D.C.
Suddenly, Fisher felt himself shaken by explosions erupting in the distance and very close, and President Fisher Harrison felt his whole world start quaking. He leapt forward from his bed, but he was forced right back down on the mattress he was strapped to around his wrists and feet with a needle forcing a steady stream of sedatives into the veins of his left arm.
Fisher felt a throbbing, stabbing pain shoot through his head each time he tried to recall how he had gotten where he had suddenly awaken.
“I was speaking … yes, President Tate’s funeral…yes that’s it. Then …” He shook his head as the throbbing in his head became almost unbearable. “… then all hell broke loose.”
He could barely recall it, but he could still hear what had to be the most deafening sounds even he, a man who had been battle tough, had ever heard in his life. He began to mouth the words to himself. “The sanctuary shook, the ground seemed to pound and then it all came down and … Margaret … Nate? Oh my God, Margaret! Nate.” He screamed. “Where are they? I can see it in my head. It just came tumbling down on all of us. Yes, I remember”
Fisher tried to get a hold of his fear and rationally wondered where he was. He lifted his head off the bed and looked around the dark room. It had a musky odor and seemed damp. Slowly, he brought all his skills to bear and tried to understand where he was. He recalled the dream he had just had. One set of words he had heard in the dream filled his mind.
“Well, Harrison, one day it is going to be just you and me, mono et mono. We’ll see then who has the biggest package, don’t you think?”
“Yes,” Fisher told himself. “He wasn’t there! When we took the Falls Church facility, he wasn’t there! It had to be Barlowe!”
“Bravo, bravo, you are a tough one, President Harrison. We knew you had been inoculated many years ago. So, we thought you’d not be under for too long. We needed just enough time to get you out and under control.”
“And my family, where are they?”
“Well, let’s talk about that a little later, why don’t we?”
Fisher began jerking at the straps and shouting and trying to rip his arms and feet loose. “You will tell me now.” Fisher screamed.
“Mr. President, though that title hardly fits you any longer, we have to bring some sanity to the situation, as it is right now; so, first things first. I did notice that you recalled my words, mono et mono. That was impressive, to say the least that you remembered them and even in a drug-induced stupor, those words, from so many years ago, rang out in your mind. You either have a very well-tuned mind or I made a mighty impression on you. It’s probably a bit of both, don’t you think? We had you plugged in Fisher. We saw everything you saw, and I was proud of you. You haven’t lost a bit of your style, Mr. President.”
“Barlowe, if you hurt my family, I’ll kill you.”
“Now, Fisher, you’ve said that one before, but just as I told you in nineteen hundred ninety-five, I have the upper hand. It seems easy to conclude that now, don’t you think? But then, how could you know? The cat was away and mice did play. Fisher, you guys made us invisible and more lethal than ever. Did you think we put all our eggs into just one basket? Fisher, you know us better than that. You were one of us, and now, you are nothing; not SPU, not a father, not an operative and certainly not a president. You don’t need to get used to it, actually. You won’t be alive long enough to worry about it.”
“What have you done Barlowe? The nation can’t take much more right now.”
“Nation, what nation would that be? The new one or the old one? The one you never got a chance to lead, you know, the one I just destroyed? I do understand you, though. It will take some getting used to by the … what were they called before? Ah yes, the American people? So, stop with all the threats.”
Barlowe walked over to a door behind Fisher’s bed where he was secured. He waved his hand and closed the door and watched through a window as a mist filled the air and President Fisher Harrison fell back silent and motionless to the bed.
“Mr. President,” Barlowe said. “Don’t waste your breath. You don’t have too many left anyway. There will be more than enough time for killing later.”
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