Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chapter Forty-Three

Oh, this is it, the moment where it all comes together! Or not. I dunno. Something definitely happens, so that's good, I guess.

Wherever they were going, the ride was awfully rough. Danny was holding on tight to a cargo strap near the open door at the rear of the moving truck, the only place in the metal compartment with a signal solid enough to make a call on Kearns's satellite phone.

From the back of the truck, Bailey calls 911.

Now, I have no idea why The Man Named Randy (or one of The Other Men Probably Not Named Randy) never stopped long enough to close up the back of the cargo truck. It seems to me, if you're going to drive around with one, maybe two, nuclear weapons in the back of your truck, along with a dead body, you'd not want to attract attention to yourself, and maybe you'd close the back of said truck so everyone thought maybe you were just hauling flat pack furniture or something. Because a giant bomb? Yeah, people are going to camera phone that shit all over Facebook.

"My name is Danny Bailey, I'm out in the desert somewhere northwest of Las Vegas, and I'm with FBI Special Agent Stuart Kearns. I'm in the back of a truck that's on the move, and this truck belongs to a terrorist organization that might have their hands on a nuclear weapon."

"What's your location, sir?"

"Listen, I know what you people can do. You already know where I am better than I do, you know whose phone I'm calling from, you know the route I'm on, and in about ten seconds you'll be sure who I am because you'll have verified my voiceprint, so stop wasting my time."

The irrepressible Danny Bailey, everyone! "Some odd noise broke onto the line for a time; not interference, but a series of electronic clicks, tones, and dropouts." See? Big Brother is everywhere! Especially at the 911 dispatch office. Danny tells them Operation Exigent is underway. Hold that thought, I'll come back to it.

Kearns was near the front wall, kneeling next to the tarp-wrapped bundle they'd both seen earlier, before the shooting had started.

It was a body, of course, and the face of the dead man had been uncovered. When Kearns turned to look at him, Danny didn't have to ask who it was that was lying there. He'd already known who it would be.

Do you know who that is? I don't. Really, I've no idea. I guess it is supposed to be obvious. Which is strange. The one thing that is supposed to make sense to us, supposed to be clear to us, is really a mystery. Oh, okay, then.

Agent Kearns had said that after these last few years of working this operation undercover—all the while doing his best to appear to be a raving militant agitator who'd turned against his government and was openly calling for a violent revolution—he really had only one remaining contact in the FBI. His frightening online persona was well-known to tens of thousands of fringe-group wackos and law enforcement personnel alike, but only one person alive could have credibly testified that Stuart Kearns was actually a loyal American doing his duty to protect and defend the United States. And here was that person, dead.

Oh, that guy! Whoever he was! The one guy who knew Kearns was still undercover! What about HR? And payroll? They knew, right? I mean, I bet Kearns still got paid, even if it was through some secret account to pay undercover agents, right? So there'd have to be like records of that, I'd assume. Because no one goes so far undercover as to be completely fucking alone, no matter what Beck wants us to believe. Given, Beck wants us to believe the UN is some sort of Islamofascist front, and if we're willing to accept that, we're probably willing to accept every stupid thing he lays out in this novel.

All of which is to say, I wasn't expecting him (whoever he was) to be in the bodybag. Hey, why is he in the bodybag? Let Bailey explain!

"So your guy over there on the floor: he brought them this one, and you brought yours. You both got managed so you didn't know what the other was doing, and we all got set up at once."

Oh! Okay, that makes perfect.... Wait. Whut? How many spare nukes does the FBI have? And why did Kearns' boss (whoever he was) sell one to Elmer/el-Amir at the same time Kearns sold them one? I understand Kearns was supposed to be really, really, really, really deep undercover, but ... Come on! This is just fucking stupid!

Nevermind. Let's look at the bomb.

"This looks like an old Mark 8 atomic bomb," Kearns said, "from the early 1950s." He pulled the light down closer and ran his hands over the surface, stopping at a series of seals and stickers that carried dates and the initials of inspectors. "It's been maintained all these years."

"So this is a live one, then?"

"Sure looks that way to me." A line of heavy metal conduit ran from the rear of the thing and Kearns followed it with a finger, pointing. The tubing went across the floor and through the wall to the driver's compartment. "And it looks like they've jury-rigged it to be set off from the front seat."

It's been maintained all these years? A 60 year-old nuclear weapon? Okay. That seems unlikely, but hey, what do I know?! I'm not alone in that thought either. Kearns doesn't know what's going on either. Bailey, ever helpful, explains:

"It's like I told you before. Whoever's behind this needed a patsy for a false-flag domestic attack, Stuart, and that's you. And they needed to make my people the enemy, and that's why I'm here."

"Based on your file, they could have had you picked up anytime they wanted, but they picked you up Friday night, to make you a part of this. And me, they've just kept me in cold storage—"

"Waiting for the right time, when they needed a couple of fall guys," Danny said. "The crazy Internet conspiracy theorist who incited these thugs into violence, and the lone nut ex-FBI man who helped them pull it off."

Ah, okay, got it. This is all an inside job! The FBI set up Operation Exigent to help them usher in martial law? I guess. No? Wait. If the FBI is behind this, what was the point of Bailey calling 911 to let them know there was a live nuke about to be exploded? Back during the Powerpoint, it seemed Darthur had a hand in Exigent. Right? Right. So Darthur has control of the FBI? And Kearns' boss (whoever he was) too? But he's dead. Because the nukes were real. Which the FBI maybe already knew, but Kearns' boss (whoever he was) didn't know? What? WHAT!

I don't understand.

Who is running Exigent? Who supplied the live nukes? Who is Elmer? And if right-wing extremists set off the bomb, is it fair to say right-wing extremists are patsies?

Obviously, this book seeks to paint right-wing teabaggers as the heroes. But, regardless who supplied the nukes, regardless under what circumstances, the right-wing teabaggers, led by Elmer and The Man Named Randy, are the ones, when all is said and done, carrying out the terrorist act. I am getting the distinct impression no one really thought this thing through.

The truck slowed briefly, made a turn onto what felt like a much smoother roadway, and then began to pick up speed again.

"I've got an idea," Danny said, "but I don't know if you'll like it."

He walked toward the tailgate, where the package they'd brought was strapped against the side of the compartment, and motioned for his partner to follow. When Kearns had sat and situated his injured leg, Danny crouched down and pulled off the tarp that was covering the device. He peeled off the keys that were taped near the arming panel and handed them to Kearns.

If one of these bombs was real, then it stood to reason that they both were real. And there was really only one way to find out.

Uh oh, what do you thing Bailey's plan will be? Something Youtubey and teabaggery and IN YOUR FACE. Like Miracle Whip. Oh, and a cargo van with a tailgate? Okay! Here’s the plan:

They fire up their nuke, which, if you remember, was modified with a TomTom so it would detonate when it got to the right coordinates, and change the proximity trigger.

Once the device had gotten its bearings, it was simple enough to reset the final destination on the touchscreen of the GPS detonator. It wasn't an address they selected, of course, just an empty point on the deserted road they were traveling, a little less than three miles ahead and counting down.

Not sure how they did that, but let's just suspend belief here for a moment. They got it changed, and the nuke will blow up in a few miles and not in Vegas. Whew! This would be the perfect time to jump out of the truck. Or not.

The older man lit up a cigarette, and he shook another one up from the pack and offered it across.

"Nah, I told you," Danny said. "I quit five years ago."

"Aw, come on. Special occasion."

"I took an oath to an old friend, Stuart, and if you met this woman, you'd know why I can't break it."

Even in his last moments, Bailey keeps his word to Molly. What a guy! What a woman! "When you put it that way, I guess I see what you mean," says Kearns? Really? You do? Because I don't. I don't see how putting it "that way" means a damn thing!

"Hey," Danny said, and he waited until his partner looked over. "The other night when you were telling me about your career with the FBI, you said that after all they'd put you through, you wondered sometimes why you stuck it out."


"This is why, man. Tonight is why you stayed on."

To get blown up in the back of a van? He stayed on the get used by the FBI and framed as a terrorist? To help usher in the NWO? Yeah, good plan, Kearns, good reason for sticking with the career well past your prime.

Bailey and Kearns go on about oaths on the Bible and sacred honor and whatnot, and for some reason are basically acting like best buddies even though they hated each other just moments ago. Good writing. Character development! Kearns laments that their sacrifice will go unknown, but Bailey assures him "somebody'll figure it out. Somebody like me." Whew!

The device next to them issued a loud tone. A bright red light illuminated on the panel, under the word Proximity.

"Nice working with you, kid," Kearns said.

He reached out a hand and Danny Bailey took it in a firm clasp of solidarity.

And then:

I guess that's the end of their story arc.


  1. Bzuh?

    I think this book demonstrates a companion concept to fractal wrongness - fractal non-sense.

  2. So smashing the GPS, or the device itself, was not an option? These things aren't nitroglycerin -- they don't initiate if you take a slegehammer to them, and a relatively small amount of damage is more than enough to ruin the fairly delicate workings of the device. Or hell, drive it into the desert, hide it somewhere, walk back and call the FBI for them to come collect it?

    The only option is to blow yourself up? Come on now.

  3. On second thought, they both qualify for Darwin awards.