In December I was handed an opportunity to come out of retirement and participate in a real world mission again. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to be a super hero, travel great distances, spend tons of money to support a critical national security mission? Before I knew it the mission was out of control with twists and turns, soon the mission didn’t resemble anything of the original task. But, I am getting ahead of myself, I will start from the beginning…
In mid December I was texted a request by a member of the mission team.
“What are you doing in February?”
This is a secret code for “We have a mission for you. Can you perform?”
After several less than clear text messages (my fault as I have been out of mission support for several years and unable to key in to the implied tasks with very minimal information) and a phone call, I chose to accept the mission. Details, names, and locations have been redacted in order to protect those at the highest of command levels. (Why the hell I would protect the highest command levels is near insanity!!! But, I guess I have my reasons.)
MISSION: Travel to undisclosed location in Georgia to provide supervision to a large untrained team member who is unable to be alone for 30 days. When I say large, I mean, very large! Horse size. While another younger team member was relocated for duty to Las Vegas where they would play Xbox and collect $100 extra per day along with their normal daily duties.
- Purchase of airline tickets without clear dates of mission. Guess work is a key intuition skill and with all my past mission experience I could pretty much guess when I was to “show up and participate”.
- Purchase of hotel room in undisclosed location but still within reach of mission control until mission date. Limited contact with other mission member as they trained for this critical security mission to take place. Key here is to keep everyone guessing what the hell is really going on.
- Cash is king. Make sure I had plenty of cash on hand for pay offs and bribes if anyone asked questions about the mission. This is called
hush money. This was redacted as we can no longer officially call it by that name.
- Silence about the actual mission.
- Rent black expensive vehicles with darkened windows so that everyone knows I am special and working for the very top echelon of our command. OMG!!!! I was so excited at this point.
- All costs for this trip were to be absorbed by the team members as the top brass have had to relocate money from “pots” toward some wall construction.
- Coordination of all medical care was the responsibility of individual team member.
- Sneak into the country. As I am a US Citizen this should be no issue, but recently several US citizens were stopped and questioned for hours about their normal activities. I had to be prepared with my travel story just in case. Luckily for me I know several of the agents at the port of entry.
At this point I was so excited to be part of the hero team again. I wrapped myself in my hero cape made of self knitted purple wool material and sat at my computer to complete the needed implied tasks being very very careful not to tip anyone off to my actual mission. I was just taking a nice January holiday in a sunny warm undisclosed Georgia location.
“How nice to be able to escape the Dutch winter weather for vacation.” I could hear the jealousy in peoples voices when I told them I could not participate in my normal routine of coffee dates, social events and writing and publishing of my weekly blog.
“How lucky you are to travel all the time.” was another comment when they found I was escaping even the cold of Minnesota along my path to Georgia.
Focus on the mission!
As the weeks went by and I got closer to my departure date I had brief updates from the team members in Georgia. All was on track, planning was going well. But, mission was hard to focus on due to some shift changes and sleep schedules by the Georgia team. The continued training of one team member in GA was in doubt. Logistics such as coordination of airport support arrival and lodging once mission transpired still hung in the planning stages.
You can imagine my disappointment when I realized I was not staying in a 5 star hotel while I was on this mission, but that I would be sleeping for a month on an air mat on the floor with the untrained team member “L” breathing in my face to insure I was awake and alert at all hours of the day and night. That I would also be required to patrol the area for unseen threats with this untrained beast! All this at zero pay or incentives!
By the way, did I mention that my team member “L” for the entire 30 days, is scared of anything in the outside world?
I had my work cut out for me. I trained for this mission by hiking, I researched local establishments where I could obtain support for my mission and thus maybe get some sleep. I looked into activities I could participate in while I had down time (I was in some sort of fantasy world at this point).
A week prior to mission initiation, the commander at the highest level decided that he wanted to see what it was like to be a mafia boss by taking out another high level thug on the other side of the world.
This is where my initial mission, I am guessing, went out the window. Although not given any details but having worked for this organization long enough to know that all other missions would instantly be eliminated.
I was so far away from the GA team members I was not informed that our mission was cancelled until only a couple days prior to my fly date. As you can see above our communication system is not real fast or reliable.
Yup… What would you do?
I had un-refundable plane tickets. I had hotel rooms I had already purchased. I had support items for GA team members packed in my only piece of luggage, a carry on suitcase.
At this point, I informed the Georgia Team members that I was traveling to Georgia anyway. We could plan for the next future mission in the 30 days I was going to be there at their location. Silence and shock was heard from through the phone line. I could hear in the background a small “grrr” sound as team member “L” listened to the conversation. Not sounding like GA team members were enthusiastic of my now impending visit to their undisclosed team location without a mission to complete.
Note: when the senior team member visits without a mission plan you are in deep crap!
With all the planning behind me I proceeded to Georgia via Minnesota on my way to visit with the Georgia team members to sort through future plans. Since the Georgia team is more of the “fly by the seat of their pants personalities” all my suggestions and wisdom of future preparations fell on deaf ears.
Hummm… what to do?
I did what would any normal person would do when they had just spent $3000.00 dollars on a busted mission. I took off my hero cap made of wool, put blinders on my eyes and headed out to enjoy some peace and relax.
Ahhhh… Georgia sunshine!
I would then return to The Netherlands where I would make my point very clear with my elected and appointed officials.
Seriously, there needs to be a top level command change!
What do you think my chances are of being accepted to attend the US Dutch Ambassador Town Hall Meeting on February 10th?
More to follow in this crazy 2020 election year.
Look for my next blogs of my time well spent in Georgia.
Until then you can link to my other Georgia adventure.
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