The Star Luncheon

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


The administration is chaotic, or is it? Is there really a deep state, and what exactly is their agenda? I modified the ending which required a couple of new characters and more depth to a couple
of existing ones. Let me know what you think. And no, I DON’T know anything.

Submitted: September 10, 2018

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Submitted: September 10, 2018

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The administration is chaotic, or is it? Is there really a deep state, and what exactly is their agenda? I modified the ending which required a couple of new characters and more depth to a couple of existing ones. Let me know what you think. And no, I DON’T know anything.

“Come in, Mike. Take your usual seat,” the tall man said, motioning to the empty chair.

“Thank you sir,” he said, nodding and walking around the small white draped round table, set with two ornate place settings, opposite each other. Mike’s place was with his back facing the window. He preferred this side of the table. The sun wasn’t in his eyes and he could see the other man’s face, fully illuminated, nothing hidden.

They both sat, unfolded their napkins in unison and laid them on their laps with near military precision.

As Mike had hoped, the sun struck him from behind, casting a misplaced halo around his short white hair.

“Good job on the judge, Mike. Good job.”

“Thank you, sir. He is exactly the candidate we need. Now just a few more select positions to fill with the correct people and we will be complete.”

“Let’s not be hasty. We haven’t raised any suspicion so far. We can afford to be patient.”

“I don’t want to be patient, Sir. I have been waiting for years. I am ready. We are ready. Our time is almost at hand.”

“Don’t call me Sir, Mike. Somehow it doesn’t seem right.”

“There is no sense in taking any chances, not now. Is the scrambler on… Sir? We can’t afford to be overheard.”

“Better than a scrambler, Mike. We installed a computer program that converts anything we say to a simple, unrelated conversation. The office recording system will hear our discussion of the weather, or fishing, or golf.”

“Excellent, Sir. When have you ever gone fishing?”

“And have you ever hit a golf ball, Mike?”

They broke into quiet, mirthless laughter and turned their conversation to innocuous topics as they were served their lunch. There was no meat and no alcohol on the table. Fresh caught Alaskan salmon, flown in on Wednesday, as usual. They kept a small fleet of private jets just for this purpose, along with other “private” requests that either of them may desire on a whim. Mike knew there were two cases of Bordeaux being flown in tonight in time for a private soirée he was hosting.

The servers refilled their crystal water goblets, left a full pitcher of ice water, and left, sealing the heavy door behind them as the two men returned to their real business.

“Do you expect a vote on the judge this week, Mike?”

“The committee knows we are anxious to complete his confirmation, so we can move our agenda to the next level.”

“How much do they know of the agenda, Mike. We can’t afford any leaks. Not now, not ever. The only leaks we can have are those we put out there. There is too much at stake for us to be exposed at this point.”

“No one knows everything. I organized them in cells. Each cell only knows a minor part of one step of the plan and no cell knows anyone in any other cell, or anyone else’s assignment.”

“Well done, Mike. Well done.”

“Of course… Sir. I have been working on this plan since I came to town many years ago. You may have set the stage, but I wrote the play. Now, you have done well with all the minor judges. We have filled more benches with our people than anyone in history. You have undermined the Bureau the Justice attorneys and their agents. When will you remove the rest of their leadership and appoint our kind in their places?”

“I have to time it correctly. Most of the positions require approvals and I need to be sure the chamber is on our side. I don’t want anyone to obstruct any of my choices.”

Mike looked at “Sir” closely. “Are you sure you are able to control the chamber? You have made a few mistakes reading some of them. We NEED this to work, first time. We won’t have another chance. If we don’t succeed this time it will be years before we have another opportunity.”

“I’ve got this, Mike. Don’t worry.”

“I worry about everything, Sir. You don’t know the pressures being exerted here. You simply have no idea.”

 

A waiter returned to clear the luncheon dishes and refill the two water goblets. He was tall and muscular. He didn’t look at either of the men in the room, keeping his eyes averted and downcast. He never questioned why they were silent when he entered the room. He did his job quietly, efficiently and so unobtrusive as to be barely noticed, then he left.

“I want that servant removed, Sir.”

“Him? He is a long-time staffer and was here before me. Why would we remove him?”

Mike looked at Sir and raised his left eyebrow. It was the same pure white as his hair, making him look more ghostly than angelic. “Because I said I want him removed. Don’t question me… Sir. Just do what I say, no questions. Is that clear… Sir?”

“Yes, Sir… I mean Mike. Very clear,” Sir said, using his napkin to pat some sweat from his forehead making sure not to disturb his hair.

It was obvious to Mike that Sir’s temper was rising. This was not good. So far, he had been able to control this idiot but now he was becoming worried. He had to be careful here. He had recommended selecting and promoting this person to the others and they, with some trepidation, agreed with his choice. Mike knew there was a limit as to how far they would go and how long they would support him. They set the agenda years before and nothing or no one had better stand in their way, not Sir and not even Mike. Everyone was expendable, and Mike knew it. They play the long game and they will win, and they will make the changes in the government that they believe will set the country back on the right path, their path, no matter how long it takes and who falls or is sacrificed along the way.

“What further diversions do you have planned, Sir?”

 

“The media continues to work for us, although they don’t realize it. As long as we continue to be bombarded by insignificant negative articles to keep the people mesmerized and incited, no one will notice as we implement the plan.”

“Don’t tell me what I already now, Sir. What new items are being released this week?”

“We have a new book about to be published and an editorial in the Big One. Both are trashing me,” smirked Sir.

“That’s good, but not enough. We need to be sure the press and the people are chasing rainbows and not paying any attention to what is up our sleeves. Fire the AG. Today.”

“I am not sure that is a good idea, Mike. That could really fire the chamber up against me.”

“I don’t care. You can be replaced, Sir. In fact, I am almost ready to make that move. You don’t seem to be able to remember who is really in charge here and if you keep losing your cool, you will be replaced. If you keep questioning my orders you will be out.”

Now Sir was really sweating. He knew Mike could have him out of office in no time. One phone call and he would be finished.

Mike sat back in his chair, tenting his fingers in front of him. He looked across the table, weighing his options. “If I dump him now would I have enough time to settle the administration before November?”, he mused to himself. “No, probably not and I cannot make any moves that aren’t calculated and perfect. He could have an accident, then I could take over. Hmmm, that could work and wouldn’t leave any loose ends. Maybe I will think on that for a day or so.”

“Get out, Sir,” Mike said aloud. “I need to sit and think, alone. Get out.”

Hearing his cochlear implant click softly in his ear, Mike knew someone was listening.

The device was implanted in a private Argentinian clinic over ten years ago. This ultra-secret device combines sound sensation to his auditory nerve, and sublingual vocalization from electrodes implanted in his articulatory muscles.

The organization provided him an untraceable alias, a pilot and the first of their fleet of private jets. There were no records, no documentation and no way for anyone able to discover he has the device.

“Do it, Mike. He is unstable and has to go. Do it this week.”

“Yes, sir. I will take care of it tonight. Do you want it to be permanent, or just out of office?”

“We may need him again. Keep him alive but keep him quiet and under wraps. Just do it.”

Another click, and Mike was alone again. He wiped his brow, took a sip of water, and tried to calm his nerves.

John Knox, a.k.a. “Sir”, left his private dining room and quickly retreated to the residence wing. He climbed the Grand Staircase, turned left into the Sitting Room and closed the door behind him. Reaching behind the wet bar he pressed a hidden panel which opened revealing a half empty bottle of single malt whiskey. Taking two quick hits directly from the bottle, John then stashed it back in the secret cabinet, left the Sitting Room and headed towards the President’s Bedroom. He thoroughly rinsed his mouth and gargled removing any odor of alcohol. It was important to keep his teetotaler reputation intact.

Mike turned off the video feed on his phone, seeing that Sir was secure in his second-floor residence. He pressed a series of numbers and buttons, waiting a second for an answer and said, “Pick me up. I need to make a jump.” Then he put the phone in his suit coat pocket, stood and walked through the heavy door, leaving it open behind him.

Sir told his PA he wanted to see the Head Chef in his sitting room in 5 minutes. His assistant walked over to the desk phone, dialed the kitchen and relayed Sir’s order, hung up the phone and turned back to to his boss.

“How long have you worked here, Tom,” asked Sir, looking at his assistant.

Tom answered, “Almost 10 years, Sir.”

“And what did you do prior to working here?”

“I was in private industry, Sir. For a security related NGO.”

There was a light rap on the door and Tom stepped briskly across the room and opened the door admitting the Head Chef.

“Good afternoon, Sir. How may I serve you?” asked the chef.

“You know that waiter you have who always keeps his eyes down, looking at the floor? I want him removed. Today.”

“Stephen? He is a good waiter, Sir. Efficient, professional, never misses a day of work in the ten years he has worked here. Why fire him?”

“Did you hear me ask, Chef? I told you to get rid of him. Do it today. Now, would you like to question another of my orders?”

“No, Sir. I will see it done today. Should I move him to another facility, or just terminate him?” He instantly regretting his choice of words. “I mean, fire him.”

“I don’t care. I just don’t want to see him back here tomorrow.”

The chef nodded at Sir and backed out the room.

Tom watched the chef as he left the room. He heard a soft click in his ear and knew the entire encounter was safely transmitted.

The Head Chef returned to his domain and called Stephen into his small office.

“Stephen, I have a new job for you,” he said.

“But I like it here, boss. I like it here,” Stephen protested.

“Relax, it’s a promotion. I need you to go supervise member services at the Kentucky Colonels Tennis Club.”

Stephen’s eyes opened wide as he stammered, “Wow boss. That is one sweet gig. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. It was Sir who suggested it was time for you to move. But a word of advice. If Sir ever visits there, I would make yourself scarce. You will need to hustle to be ready to meet two senior members and their “guest” this evening. Now get out.” Stephen got. Fast.

Mike settled into his seat on the Gulfstream G650. Without being asked the attendant brought him a glass of Macallan 25-Year-Old Sherry Oak scotch. Knowing no one, outside the organization, would ever know he drank any alcohol, he accepted the glass and reclined his seat.

“Thanks. It’s been a rough day.”

“I know,” the attendant said, stone faced. “Relax for now. We will be at the club in just under an hour.” He then returned to the cockpit and resumed his copilot duties.

“It’s done?” Asked the pilot

“Of course. He will sleep at least six hours. Is everything ready on your end?”

“Events are moving fast now. I thought we were going to make the big “Idiot” gone.”

Neither of the men ever referred to John Knox by name, just as “Idiot.” They groomed him for fifteen years, molding him into what he is today, incompetent, ignorant and pliant.

“I decided to make the switch after the Star Luncheon today. It will be easier for Mike disappear for a few days. The “Idiot” is easier to control and not as smart. If all goes as planned, it will be over before the weekend.”

“I cannot believe it will finally be over. We have worked on this for nearly twenty years,” said the copilot.

“We have all of the judiciary and a plurality of the chamber. The military are staying out of it. There is no longer a reason to delay. “We pull the plug after the news organizations put their finals to bed Friday afternoon. The whole organization will be flushed, and we will step in and finally be able to set things right. Agreed?”

“Agreed.”

They were quiet for the rest of the flight. The copilot checked on Mike once during the flight. Still out cold. The landing was uneventful, as usual. They taxied up to the small hanger, opened the door and extended the stairs.

Halfway down the steps the two men heard, “Welcome, gentlemen.”

Stephen stepped from behind the hanger door and raised his military special issue Glock 19s. “End of the road, I’m afraid. Such a shame too. All your excellent planning going to waste.”

Stephen raised his empty hand to behind left his ear and gave his mastoid bone two quick taps with his index finger.

Both pilots yelled as the audio/visual implants squealed and heated before going dead.

“Every one of your clever devices were just destroyed. Don’t worry, the heat will cauterize any damage done to you auditory and vocal systems. Other than the momentary pain, neither you or your men will have any lasting damage.”

“Yours wasn’t a bad plan, although ultimately it wouldn’t have worked. Our system of government has too many fail safes to allow it to be corrupted from within, by such careful and patient planners as yourselves. I will say we had a devil of a time substituting our auditory devices for yours. Next time when you find and buy a Black-Market medical clinic you need to be sure it stays bought. Oh wait. There won’t be a next time for you two.”

Stephen subvocalized, “It’s done. Come clean up here and take Mike home. His head will be sore for a few days.”


© Copyright 2018 Dave Oney. All rights reserved.

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