Kim and Rob Reynolds’ home
Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA
Wednesday May 19, 1999
It had been raining. Jess, Tom, Beth, Rob, and Kim with baby Alice were sitting at the kitchen table discussing how to approach the US government. They did not have contacts high enough in the government to cut out the days of delays that they expected to get to the president. Tom and Beth son-in-law’s sister Sandra was a first term congresswomen, but she had been unable to supply a contact. With all the levels of government that would be involved, they knew that word would leak out.
When Tom had contacted TI about again increasing production of the controllers, he had found that it was already underway. The engineering samples had caused a number of companies to realize the breakthrough that the AJ Power Generator was. There were also requests from half a dozen government labs for small orders. TI would start production at two of their other fabs. It would take a while to get up to speed but the two fabs would be in production in less than a month. Tom mentioned that the UK and Australian government were expected to be very interested in procuring the controllers and that S-I and MME would be working with them. He stated that he expected that the orders would be larger than even the increased production could handle so he suggested getting fabs in Europe and SE Asia setup to build the controllers. Steve Cole, president of TI and Tom’s boss, had asked if he had known that the demand would be this high. Tom said that Jess and his expectation was that it would be even larger which is why Jess had bankrolled the special equipment that would be needed without which they would have been even further behind. When Tom had told Steve that he would not have believed them if they had said that sales would be this high, Steve had laughed and said that he still found it hard to believe but there were plenty of PO’s to show him differently. Tom then mentioned that they were looking to meet with the President or some other high-ranking official and he expected that they would then be having orders from the US government. His boss had said he would see what he could do but he did not like to push business through his political contacts.
Everyone else but Edna was in the garage. The Australians have gone out to exercise and practice hand to hand combat. The Steeles had decided to join in. The boys had insisted on watching.
Rob answered the phone. “Good morning, Tom Reynolds. The White House. Yes, he is right here.” Everyone was looking at him. He handed the phone to Jess. “Brad Henley, the President’s chief of staff.”
“Good morning Mr. Henley. Yes, Tom is here. Yes, we would look forward to meeting with the President at 10 on Friday morning. Yes, the AJ Power Generator is a revolutionary product. Yes, we understand that it will impact industry. In fact, we have been looking for a way to discuss with the US government another invention that will have an even larger impact. Yes, we would be able to discuss this on Friday. We would like to bring some additional family members. My cousin, William Maclaren, and his wife Leslie Macphater Maclaren of Macphater Mining Equipment. Yes, the Australian company. MME has been doing work with the power generator for the last seven months. Yes, they are one of the three companies that we had licensed preannouncement to do development. The last person is my daughter, Doctor Kim Reynolds. Yes, she is a geneticist. Yes, her expertise is related to the other invention.” There was a long pause. “What is happening? God be with them.” Jess hung up the phone.
“Turn on the news. The president’s daughter has been kidnapped.” Jess went to the garage to inform the others.
Rob turned on the kitchen TV. The regular news continued on for several minutes, but then it was interrupted by a report on the kidnapping of the president’s daughter. Armed men had entered the school and killed her Secret Service detail. Claire Clarke and another unidentified girl had been taken. There were others wounded and possible more were dead. Police were looking for a white van. There was also a report of an attack directed at the president’s son Tommy. Luckily, the kidnappers had been killed. An off duty detective who had a meeting with his daughter’s teacher had seen the men enter. The kidnappers had been caught in crossfire and killed. A second white van had been seen leaving the school.
Everyone was watching the TV. Robert noticed Jason staring in the direction of the house with the men. “Jason, what is going on over there?”
“While we were in the garage, three men left the house. They had the Uzis and left in the van. They took the bombs with them. Now all the men over there are excited. They are also watching the TV when they aren’t at the windows.”
Will had heard what Jason had said and realized that the men in the house had something to do with the kidnapping. Their van was dark blue so they were not the kidnappers.
The news anchor announced that both vans had gone to the Jordanian embassy. There had been gunfire as the men and hostages had entered the building. The police had arrived and a hostage situation had developed. Claire Clarke had been seen entering with the men.
Jason was looking at the TV and saying “No … No … No …”
“What is wrong, Jason?” Will walked over to where the young boys sat before the television.
“Claire is not there. She is in the van with the three men. She is heading back here.”
“How do you know Claire?”
Rob interrupted. “He met her at the White House at Easter.”
“Everyone get their guns. David, breakout the tactical radios. Rob do you have four rifles.”
“I have six.”
Jerome, do you agree that two of the bombs are still in the blue van with Claire. Robert sends a mental message to his cousin.
Yes. The other two are in a building with a lot of cars. Jerome, Eric, and Jason had joined hands as they had last night when they taught him. Their thoughts and abilities had strengthened as they now worked together as one.
Will looks at Robert who had told him about the bombs leaving with the van. “Two bombs are still in the van. I believe they are using the others as a diversion.”
“Robert worked with the boys last night. They were able to figure out that one of the men in the house had made some bombs. The boys have been tracking them.” But they did not just give him an update. Robert could hear his father’s thoughts as they look at each other. Robert gives a slight nod.
Will starts to issue orders. “Rob, Tom, Jess, and Linda should have one of Rob’s rifles.” Kim shakes her head no when he looks at her.
“Edna, take the boys and hide in the basement. Mary Steele and Beth, take one of the rifles and a couple of handguns, you will be with the boys in the basement but come back to the kitchen first. Kim, get your medical kit in case anyone is injured. All of you will be in the basement protected from the gun fire.”
Edna grabbed some snacks for the boys before taking them to the basement. Kim and Mary Steele gathered Kim’s home medical bag and other medical supplies.
The rest of them went to get their guns. A while later they had gathered in the kitchen.
“I am glad I brought these headsets for TDI. Everybody take one and put it on. The earpiece goes in either ear.” Will and Nev handed out the headsets.
Jess had seen these radios when Will has given John a box of them for S-I. They were intended for exploring the other worlds and would come in handy here.
“OK, everyone will be on channel one. On-Off switch and volume control.” Will pointed to each as he mentions it. “Dave’s in the next room. Listen to him talk and adjust your volume. Any problems? There are three things to remember. One, you talk only when you have important information to give. We are all on the same channel and if everyone is talking then no one can be heard. Two, keep what you say short. And three, do not let the radio distract you from the men out there with the guns.”
“Any questions? No. Good! From Robert and around say your name in order so we make sure you are transmitting and to help us recognize your voice.” They sounded off in order.
“OK, now your assignments.” He looked at Beth and Mary Steele. “The boys will be able to give us information about what the men are doing. Beth will work with Jason. Let us know where the men with the president’s daughter are and when they are getting close to the house. We will time our actions to that information.” He looked at Mary Steele. “Mary will work with the twins. Get Edna’s help. They have RPG’s, a rifle with a telescope, and an Uzis in the house. We need to know when they may be brought into play. Don’t worry about the guns in the van or the pistols and rifles in the house. We will be expecting them to be in use. Ok, go talk this over with the boys. Listen over the radio to what I tell everyone else.”
“Jess and Tom, I want you to go around the garage on the left. You are the left flankers. Brenda and Linda, I want you to flank from the right. Go around the building in the back of their lot on the right. Flankers, the most important thing to remember is not to go so far forward as to shoot at each other. You have three jobs. One, you look for armed men coming around the house. Two, you fire at the house and the men outside from the sides so they cannot hide behind things. Three, you keep an eye out for anyone that wanders into the field of fire. Let us know if they do. That is the order of importance of your jobs. Linda?”
“What do we do about the non-combatants?” she asked.
“We don’t know that they are non-combatants. They might have someone else nearby that we don’t know anything about. It could be a young girl with a grenade. Use your judgment but don’t assume that they are a non-combatant.”
“Leslie, I want you to take your rifle and Mary. Go to the second story window in the end of the garage. You are to take out the man holding Claire. No scope. Mary, you are her spotter as well as guarding her. You are primarily not a shooter.”
“Rob, your job is to grab Claire as soon as the men in the van are down. She has met you and you don’t have a foreign accent. The rest of us will attack from up the middle. David and Kevin, you have the driver. Nev and Robert, you have the third man. I’ll watch for problems and back you up on the takedowns. Flankers start shooting at the house when Leslie shoots. We all stay back out of sight until we are told the van is pulling in the driveway.” Will looks around and sees no questions. “Then let us go people.”
Behind Kim and Rob Reynolds’ home
Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA
Wednesday May 19, 1999
Beth gave Jason’s first report as the rescuers exit the house. “The van is coming but it is not close. In the house, no one is at the back windows. They are at the front windows or the TV.”
“Copy” Will replied.
They took up their positions. A minute late Beth reported that the van has turned down the road towards the house. They made ready to move out.
“The van turning in”
“I see it.”, added Mary.
Beth tells Kim to call 911.
As the van pulls up, the side door slides opens. The first man stepped out and reached back in as the second man handed Claire to him. Leslie fired as he took hold of Claire. The first man’s head exploded splashing blood on Claire as he fell down with Claire on top. This exposed the second man that Nev and Robert both shoot. The driver had started to get out of his door but he turned around. This allowed David and Kevin a good shot at him. The flankers were shooting at the house. Will waved Rob forward then shot a man at a back window. Rob gathered up Claire and carried her behind the building.
The flankers had killed the first two men that had come out of the back door of the house.
“RPG, backdoor!” reported Mary Steele. Eric had sensed the man with the RPG moving towards the door.
“He is going to shoot through the screen door.” Mary tells her mom. Leslie tracked over and killed him.
Claire had recognized Rob. She had almost become hysterical but then her gaze turned toward Robert. Rob saw the fear leave her and a smile come to her face. He kept her low behind the building as he wiped blood from her face. The rain helped by wetting her face. He wrapped her in the blanket that they had brought to keep her warm.
Sirens were heard in the distance.
Robert found that being able to track the men the way Jason could, allowed him to shoot just as one of the men appeared at a window.
Mary Steele reported that the sniper rifle was at the middle upstairs window. Brenda and Leslie both shot. It was so close that they both though that they killed him.
Beth reported, “The last three men are by the back door.” Everyone took aim at the door. The men rushed out firing but they were cut down immediately.
Kevin had been shot in the shoulder.
“No one is alive in the house.” Beth reported.
Dave was looking at Kevin shoulder.
Will checked over the men outside. They were all dead. He looked over to Dave and Kevin. “How is he?”
“Minor flesh wound.” Dave said with a smile.
“Everyone else come on out. Tell Kim than Kevin is wounded but it is minor.” Will ordered as he looked up at Leslie in the window and shook his head no.
“The twins say that the only guns nearby that are moving are ours.” Mary Steele reported.
Claire and Rob stood up and joined the group growing in the driveway. Mary brought some water and a towel from the garage and helped to clean up Claire.
Robert had been staring at the men he shot. His face was pale, but that was his only reaction to his first human kills. His father had put his arm around him and turned him around. Robert clearly saw Claire for the first time and a smile came to his face.
Will saw Linda start towards the backdoor. “Linda, leave that for the police. I don’t want to mess up the evidence. Everyone put on the safeties and but all the rifles and pistols over there on the pavement. Put the earpieces in your pocket.”
Claire combed her hair with her back to the van and the men that had recently held her. She was thinking about one of her rescuers. Had she really heard him in her head, telling her to be calm? He was just a boy only a couple of years older than she was. He was big enough to play either football or basketball. “Who is that?” She asked Mary as she nodded towards Robert.
“My baby brother.” She answered with a twinkle in her eye. Yes, she could see where Robert would have all the young girls after him. “Robert, come here.” She called out.
Rob did the introductions. “Claire, this is my wife’s cousins Mary and Robert.” Mary shook Claire’s hand. When Claire and Robert shook, they stared into each other eyes.
I am glad that you were not hurt. Claire again heard Robert’s thoughts in her mind.
I can hear his thoughts. Claire thought.
I can hear your thoughts when you think like that. We can continue this without holding hands. They will start to wonder about us. Robert replied mentally.
Claire looked around and they dropped their hands.
Hi Claire. Jason thoughts followed by his brothers also entered her mind.
Robert turns to his three cousins that had just run up to Claire. “Claire, these are my cousins, Jason, Eric, and Jerome that you met at Easter.” Robert then switched to mental communication. They taught me the mental communication last night, but it is much easier with you. Boys, say hi verbally.
“Hi Claire.” The three said in unison.
Boys, let Robert and Claire communicate alone. Another’s thought was heard by all five of them.
Yes, Grandma Alice. Eric’s thought surprised Robert.
I am your sister now, not your grandmother. Claire welcome. Robert will explain what little he knows.
Alice is the baby that my cousin Kim is carrying. Kim is the mother of these three as well as Alice. Alice in her last life was Kim’s mother. She died Monday in an accident. Baby Alice was born at the same time. Please do not tell anyone. We are only learning about all of this.
Who would believe me? Nevertheless, I know that all of this is true. Can you lie mentally?
The grass is orange. Claire and Robert started to laugh. That just felt wrong. I don’t believe that I could lie to you verbally either.
I think that we need to keep this between the six of us, or are there more that can communicate mentally? Claire asks.
I don’t know yet. So much is changing. Let Rob finish the introduction and we can communicate when we have time.
This happened so fast. Do the others notice?
I don’t know. Robert answered. He noticed that their laughter has just started. They both started to stop laughing and realized together that that would draw attention.
We are thinking in synch. Robert and Claire thought as one. Their thoughts separate.
Rob continued the introductions.
The first police car rolled up with the lights and sirens going. The officer jumped out and drew his gun, but all he saw were dead bodies and people including kids being introduced to the president’s daughter. He reported in that he has found the president’s daughter. Will came over and helped him answer the questions that everyone on the radio was asking over top of one and other.
Kim tended to Kevin’s wound, which was just a deep graze. She reassured him that the wound would not keep him from flying.
A police supervisor had arrived. Will explained what happened but did not explain how they had all these people here ready to rescue Claire as the van drove up. The sergeant asked who everyone was and Will explained. That all were family or employees helped only a little. How they knew was not being explained and the sergeant was starting to get very annoyed.
Jason, tell your Grandmother Beth about man 12. He is over by the sidewalk. Just tell her that you recognize him as having been at that house with the others. Let her know the he is armed. Robert mentally directed Jason.
After Jason talked to Beth, she came over to Will and the police supervisor. There was a crowd out by the road that the police were keeping back. She put her back to the crowd. “Jason recognized someone that has been at this house. He is the Middle Eastern looking man in the dark coat. We believe he is armed.”
Will realized that he has to take control before the sergeant starts to ask questions about how they got their information. “Sergeant, let us take our discussion around to the front of the house. He will watch us. That will allow your two men here to come around behind him.”
The sergeant looked over the crowd. If they just walked up to the man, he could draw his gun and bystanders could be hurt. He looked at his men’s eyes. “Yes, let us do that.” They nodded. He took Will’s arm and moved him towards the front of the house. Their discussion got louder.
The other two officers had no problem coming up behind the man with guns drawn. He could offer no resistance but it had been in his eyes. They found two guns before putting him handcuffed in one of the police cars.
The first of the Secret Service Suburbans pulled up.
Jess and Rob had joined Will and the sergeant.
“Sergeant, let us go over and talk to the Secret Service. There are still more of these people at large.” Will suggested.
They walked over to the secret service agent that appeared to be in charge.
“Sir, I am Sergeant John Lewis of the Montgomery County Police Department. I am turning this investigation over to you. My men and I are ready to help.”
“Thank you, sergeant. Who are these civilians?” The agent asked.
“This is my cousin Jess Maclaren and his son-in-law Rob Reynolds. I am William Maclaren, former major in the British SAS. I am head of security for Macphater Mining Equipment in Australia. We are here visiting Jess’s daughter and Rob who lives over there.” He points at the Reynolds’ house. The first matter you need to address is the prisoner that the police have captured. He wasn’t at the house but came up after the shooting. I believe that he is one of their leaders. The Jordanian embassy was a red herring to give them time to get both of the president’s children into hiding. I believe that there is a second house to which the President’s son was to be taken. You need to ensure that they don’t have the time to mount an attack here.”
The agent laughed. “That sounds almost like orders Mister Maclaren. Or should I say Sir William. I recognize you from the news reports after the Falkland War. I believe we were very lucky to have you here. I am Senior Agent Bruce Maclaren. Call me Bruce.”
“Please call me Will. This investigation is all yours. I would like to get my people out of the rain and inside. How we found out about this I would like to keep secret. In fact, I wish we could keep our involvement unknown but that camera crew has ended that.”
The senior agent turned around and saw the camera crew setting up. “Jim, make sure the camera crew is just recording not broadcasting. Tell them that there may be more gunmen and that we don’t want them coming here and start shooting.”
“Les and Bill, assist the agent.” The sergeant tells two of his officers.
“Will, have your people give their names to agent Sanchez over there and we can discuss the rest.”
Rob volunteered, “I’ll get them moving. Alice needs to be out of the rain. My daughter was born Monday.”
“Yes, get her indoors.” Bruce agreed. “There are other things that we need to do first, but we will need to know how you found out what is going on.”
Jess interrupted. “Sergeant, if you will excuse us, I can supply some information that Bruce needs.”
Bruce nodded his head. The sergeant turned and walked off shaking his head. He had heard about how the Secret Service would cut out the local police who then never really learned what was going on. He had not expected civilians to be able to do the same. Still the Secret Service did have lead here. He had better call in an alert the captain that there may be another house with armed men out there.
“What is this information?” Bruce asked Jess.
“This morning, I was talking on the phone with Brad Henley, the president’s chief of staff, when he was told about the kidnapping. He had requested that we meet with the president on Friday. I had stated that we had other information for the president and he had agreed that we could also bring that up. What we were going to discuss with the President is related to how we found out what was going on here. I submit that you present this to Mr. Henley and let him decide if we should tell you before the president.”
“Jess, you really have me curious. I hope I find out what is going on. I’ll contact him, but first, I now have the manpower to transport Miss Clarke back to the White House. Let me get that organized then we can contact Mr. Henley.” He walked away to see to Claire’s safety.
Edna joined Will and Jess. “Kim called Marie after the shooting stopped. She was afraid that she might have noticed the excitement. I had no idea that the girls had that type of range.”
Jess laughed. “We are finding all kind of things about our family.”
Edna continued. “She also asked Marie if John could have PM Blake call President Clarke. She told her to tell him that we had rescued the President’s daughter and that he might want to talk to us as soon as possible.”
Now Will started laughing. “Jess was just pushing the same thing through the Secret Service.”
“Bruce, I would like to introduce my mother-in-law, Edna Farwell. Edna this is Senior Agent Bruce Maclaren.”
“Glad to meet you Bruce. I hope these boys are not causing too much trouble.”
“Yes they are Edna, so you don’t need to join in.”
They all laughed.
Bruce took Edna’s hand. “I am sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. I have enjoyed reading about what she and Jess have done over the years. It is nice to have such famous people in the family no matter how distant.”
“Bruce, relatives are only as distant as you make them. And Alice is not really lost if you know where to look.” She smiled and headed back to the rest of the family.
Bruce looked at Jess and Will. He saw that they were not going to explain her comments. He knew by looking at them that it was not the ramblings of an old lady. She had meant exactly what she had said and they agreed with her.
“I hope that someday that we will be able to sit down over some beers and you can explain what is going on.”
“Bruce, I expect that we will be working closely with the White House. I’ll personally ask President Clarke to assign you to what we will be doing. This will affect how the secret service protects the president.” Jess replied.
“Or if you want, I can hire you. I’ll need a lot more good men. Hiring family is its own reward.” Will added.
“Enough. Come with me while I call Mr. Henley.” He headed over to one of the Suburbans.
“This is Senior Agent Bruce Maclaren. I am at the location where Miss Clarke was rescued. I need to talk to Mr. Henley.”
He looked back at Jess and Will. Both men were on guard. They did believe that there were more of the gunmen out there and that the danger was not over. We will have to move them to a safe house. Houses? It would be better to make that Quantico or one of the CIA places.
“Yes, Mr. Henley. I am here with Jess and Will Maclaren. No, I am a distant relation. My branch of the Maclaren fought in the civil war. Jess said that he was talking to you when news of Miss Clarke’s kidnapping broke.” He paused. “They and their family rescued her. The Reynolds home is behind the gunmen’s house. No, they didn’t say how they knew about what was going on. They said it is related to what they were going to talk about with the president. One second.” He turns to Jess. “Jess, Mr. Henley wants to know if it was the other thing that you wanted to talk to the president about.”
“It is related, but it is something else that I feel the President needs to know about. I don’t know which one is the biggest world changer.” Jess replied.
“Mr. Henley, did you hear that. Yes, sir. I agree that they were not involved with the kidnappers. Sir, I believe that there are still a number of the gunmen loose. Major Maclaren theorized that the President children were going to be kept in separate houses. That would mean that we could have another dozen, armed men in the area. I would like to get all the people involved in the rescue to a safe location. It would be bad if they terrorist attacked them. Yes, sir. I’ll arrange for a bus to transport them to the White House.” Pause. “If they are going to be presented to the press, they will need to clean up. They were in a firefight in the rain. Let me check.” He looks at Jess and Will.
“Two hours.” Jess answered. Will nodded agreement then turned away and started talking.
Bruce realized that Will was using a radio headset that was less detectable that the one the presidential detail used.
“Yes, sir. I’ll have a bus here in two hours.” He hung up the phone.
Bruce turned back to Will and looked at his ear.
Will was again facing him and knows what he is looking at. “I have a very generous budget, especially for protecting the family. I have a good working relation with the company that developing them to my specifications. This is the first build. I’ll give you information on them while we ride in on the bus.”
“You are making the Secret Service look like the B team.”
“Well, I cannot help you with everything we got, but I’ll share what I can.”
Jess thoughts were about the government’s idea of sharing. They were going to have to get established in the other worlds before the government came after the children. They would have to show that they were an ally not just a subject.
Jess and Will headed back to the Reynolds’ house.
It was decided to go causal, not everyone had dress clothes. Mary and Linda Steele at first had not realized that they were included.
Edna talked to them. “Girls, you were part of the rescue. You are just as much a hero as anybody else. Besides, you are family. Not blood but that is the easy way to become family. You did it by being who you are.”
Jess brought everyone together to discuss what would be happening. Will, Leslie, Tom, Rob, Kim and Jess would meet privately with the President. The boys were not to answer any questions unless it was repeated by one of the family. Edna and Robert would stay with Jason. Mary Maclaren and Linda would stay with Eric. Brenda and Mary Steele would stay with Jerome. Beth would be in charge while they met with the President.
Kim, Beth and Leslie conferred then took the Steele sisters aside. “Linda and Mary, we would like to thank you for your help today. You will both get a bonus of fifty thousand dollars as a way of saying thank you. This is way beyond being a nanny to the boys.” Kim informed them.
“Thank you, you didn’t have to do that. Edna said that we were family. That is the way that Rob and you have treated us since we came to work for you.” Linda replied.
“Family deserves thanks also.” Leslie commented.
“I believe that Rob and I’ll have to move from Maryland. It will most likely be to Texas, but it could be to the United Kingdom or Queensland, Australia. We want you to come with us. We will personally guarantee your schooling and even a better salary. That includes medical school, Mary. We have the connections to get you into top schools at all three locations.”
“Brenda mentioned that your mother may also be joining us. Give her a call and have her join us here with some clean clothes for the two of you. She should also accompany us to the White House. The terrorist may go after her if she isn’t under protection with us.” Leslie tells Mary and Linda. “Tell her to take a cab. I’ll pay for it.”
They had time for a quick lunch before they left. Beth had taken over to ensure that Kim and Alice got all the rest they could. They had clothes for a few days stay. Martha Steele had arrived, she was both excited and worried for her daughters. She was a widow that had struggled to see that her daughters had a better life than she had. Leslie and Beth talked to Martha about joining them. She had thought it was so that the girls would have more time for school. When she found out that they might go to United Kingdom or Australia to live, she was floored. When she heard the salary and benefits, she was completely lost. After talking with her daughters, she realized it was real and that these people really cared for her daughters and her.
Bruce arrived with the bus and uniformed secret service officers who would be guarding both homes.
Rob showed the officers the house and told them to make themselves at home. He was unsure if his family would every call that house home again. He was amazed how fast things were moving.
Will told Bruce that Martha could be targeted to retaliate against her girls. He agreed that she should go with them.
As the bus started off, Bruce got up and explained what the plans were. “First, you will meet the President and his family where the President would personally thank each of you. That is scheduled for a half hour. Next will be the press conference. The president will speak. Will and Jess, if you are willing he would like you to answer a few questions. After that, those that would have met with the President on Friday would meet with him. The First Lady will entertain the rest of you. The first lady and her son were eager to talk with all of you especially Robert. Claire has been talking about Robert non-stop.”
Robert blushed as everyone else laughed.
“I believe that we need three additions to the last meeting for probably fifteen minutes to convince the president of what happened today.” Jess said.
“Jason, Jerome, and Eric.” Jess responded, pointing to his three grandsons.
“They will meet with him in the first meeting.”
“I believe that the President may want to keep this secret from his own family. Wait until we get there. This shouldn’t be mentioned over the airwaves.”
“This is getting really hard to believe.”
“Wait until you find out.” Mary Steele laughed. “My head is still spinning.” The Maclaren and Steele girls had been discussing many things. It was almost as if they were all sisters
Bruce shook his head. He did not want to say anything else. He was afraid of what else he might almost learn.
Bruce and Will sat together and talked about the tactical radio. It had some features that would be useful for the secret service but it was obviously made for another use than a protection detail.
Washington DC, USA
Wednesday May 19, 1999
The White House was new to all of the Australians and Edna. Even the others had never seen it from the front entrance. They seemed more like they were tourists than guests as they looked around and pointed out wonders to each other.
Only Edna, Jason, and Robert were not caught up in the sightseeing. Edna had seen Robert staring fixedly at the White House when they got off the bus. She knew Claire was in the direction that he was looking.
“Jason, is Robert looking to where Claire is?
“Yes, Great-grandma Edna.”
“We will have to keep an eye on Robert.”
Jason had glanced at his cousin and smiled.
“Hold my hand and grab a firm hold of Robert’s hand. We are going to have to guide him.”
Jason had laughed and agreed.
Bruce had seen the way they had been caught up in the experience of the White House. None of them had expected to be here today. The Reynolds should be the least affected. As he moved towards them, he called one of the ushers over. “These are the Reynolds. Tom, Beth, Rob, Kim, and the baby is Alice. Guide them to the reception. The others will follow.” Bruce said.
The four Reynolds realized that everyone has been acting like tourists. Their faces reddened. Kim looked back over the rest of the family who had then turned towards her. She turned and smiled at the usher. “Please, would you show us the way to the reception.” The usher was surprised how with a look she had gotten everyone’s attention.
Bruce had hurried on and had not seen the private interchanged that had got everyone moving. When he got to the door of the reception room, he found the head usher with two of his assistants. When he checked with them, he founds that they had the list that he had sent on ahead. He informed them of the addition of Martha Steele and that the four adult Reynolds would be first. The head usher thanked him; he was glad that this agent was considerate of the effort he and his staff took to keep things running smoothly. Bruce entered the room and saw the cameras and reporters at the side of the room. This was definitely not private but the press was not being given a chance to talk to them now. That would come at the press conference. That members of the Maclaren family would later be attending the Cabinet meeting was a secret. Bruce was not sure why Jess wanted the young boys to meet with the president but he knew that Jess understood the different nature of that meeting. Across the room, he spotted Brad Henley and went over to talk with him.
The usher introduced the first group, “President David Clarke and First Lady Susan Clark this is Mr. Tom Reynolds and Professor Elizabeth Reynolds.”
Tom smiled as he shook the Presidents hand. Someone had done some quick research. No, the President had known about the AJ Power Generator so they had already checked them out.
“Thank you for rescuing Claire. I understand that after the rescue that there are three things that you wish to discuss with me. After the reception, there will be a short news conference. The cabinet and others that Prime Minister Blake suggested are on their way and we will meet as soon as they arrive.” President Clarke said.
“Prime Minister Blake contacted you?”
“Yes, he was following Claire’s kidnapping. As soon as he heard that the Maclarens had rescued her, he called. He left it to you to tell me what the secret is. I mentioned the AJ Power Generator and he laughed. He said that was secondary. I would have skipped the press conference but it will take a while to get everyone here.” President Clarke explained.
“Yes, the kidnapping has rushed everything. Have the meeting sooner is one of the two good things to come out of the kidnapping.” Beth said.
“What is the other one?” Sue Clarke asked.
Beth smiled and nodded over towards Claire who was standing beside her brother. The two of them were not paying attention to the adults. They had moved forward so they could see Robert.
Sue Clarke turned to her children, “Claire! Tommy!” She said in a soft voice. They looked around and Claire’s face reddened. They moved back with their parents.
Tom and Beth moved on.
The usher introduces Rob and Kim, “President David Clarke and First Lady Susan Clark this is Mr. Robert Reynolds, Doctor Kimberly Reynolds, and Alice Reynolds.”
As they shook hands, President Clarke said, “Kim, I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I had looked forward to meeting her when I heard about the AJ Power Generator.”
Kim replied, “Mother would have liked talking to you. For her, family is always the first consideration.”
Sue Clarke wondered at what Kim has said. “I understand that your baby was born the same day and that you named her for her grandmother.”
“Alice has continued in our family for some time.” Kim said.
Sue Clarke again was taken by Kim’s wording, but the next group was edging forward as much as Claire was at her side.
Rob and Kim saw what was happening and move on.
The next usher introduces Edna, Jason, and Robert, “President David Clarke and First Lady Susan Clark this is Mrs. Edna Farwell, Mr. Jason Reynolds, and Mr. Robert Maclaren.”
As they shake hands, President Clarke says, “Edna, I am sorry for the loss of your daughter.”
Edna looked down and shook her head no to Jason. She then returned her gaze to the President. “Thank you. My other daughter Margaret informed us that she had determined that Alice had a brain tumor and was dying. This was the best way for her to move on.”
Sue Clarke was again confused by the wording that Dame Alice’s family was using about her death. They did not even seem that sad. Her further thoughts on the subject were interrupted by Tommy.
“You killed the men that kidnapped Claire.” Tommy moved towards Robert.
Robert squatted down to be closer to Tommy’s height. “Yes, I helped kill the men that had Claire. It was the only way to keep her safe. Sometimes you have to do things that you would rather not because not doing them is worse.” He looked Tommy straight in the eye. Robert knew that Tommy should not see him as a hero for killing the men.
“Thank you for saving my sister.” Tommy said.
President Clarke realized that Tommy admiration for Robert had changed from him having killed the men to that he had saved Claire. Robert had seen the problem and handled it. It is very impressive for a teenager. Who was this boy who had so caught their daughter’s attention? The president had a little knowledge of MME, but not of the family that owned it. The Macphaters were the second wealthiest family in Australia, only Murdoch was richer. They were located in the north of Queensland, far from the big cities, so they did not get much press. He was a good-looking young man that could catch any young girl’s eye, but it was not something he sought out or did consciously. He looked like many of the special forces troops that the President had met, but they were years older.
“Robert, thank you.” President Clarke said.
“You’re welcome, sir” Robert replied.
As Edna, Robert, and Jason moved on the President took one more look at Robert. Well they had a lot to learn about the whole family not just the one with which Claire was infatuated. He also seemed to be taken by Claire.
The next usher introduced Mary Maclaren, Linda, and Eric, “President David Clarke and First Lady Susan Clark this is Miss Mary Maclaren, Miss Linda Steele, and Mr. Eric Reynolds.”
As they shake hands, President Clarke says, “Thank you for rescuing Claire.”
Susan Clarke had thought everyone was family. Linda’s black skin and hair contrasted with Mary’s and Eric’s pale complexion and red hair. She looked at Mary “I had thought that only your family was responsible for Claire’s rescue.
Mary Maclaren said with a laugh, “We are adopting Linda, Mary, and Martha Steele.”
The boys had not heard that their nannies were to be part of the family. They broke free and hugged the sisters. The sisters were overwhelmed that they would be so publicly acknowledge. The first family was at a loss that this family would accept these women into the family so readily.
Mary saw the looks and understood. Her family would be turning the world head over heels in a number of ways in the next few years. “Of our pilots, Kevin is family.” She waved to him and he waved back. “He is a second or third cousin, but straight down through the mothers as the aborigines figure things. The other two aren’t family, but the week isn’t over yet.” Everyone laughed.
The introductions continued.
Claire and Tommy drifted off to talk with the younger Maclaren family members, just before Will and Leslie were introduced. The usher introduced them, “President David Clarke and First Lady Susan Clark this is Sir William Maclaren and Mrs. Leslie Maclaren”
President Clarke looked at Roberts parents. He saw in both the qualities he had seen in Robert and in his sisters. As he shook their hands, he noticed that like he and Susan they communicated without words. In fact, it was very noticeable as if they were showing it to Sue and him. President Clarke said, “Sir William, I understand that you are responsible for the organizing the rescue of Claire.”
“Sir, I have never had such a perfect situation fall into my hands. I feel that we should thank God for setting things up.” Will replied.
President Clarke was shocked to realize that Will believed that more than chance was at work here. Dave Clarke was a religious man but he had never encountered a situation where it was obvious that chance or preparation was not the cause for what happened. Yes, these people had quickly prepared to rescue Claire, but how had they known. That had to be the third thing that they wanted to discuss with him.
Susan Clarke said, “Leslie, I would like to entertain you and the rest of the family while Dave has the meeting.”
Leslie smiled and said, “I look forward to talking with you. I feel that we have a lot to talk about.” She glanced over to where Claire and Robert were talking surrounded by his sisters and Edna. “It will have to be later, since I’ll be in the meeting. You should have a talk with Edna. She will be able to enlighten you.”
Will added. “David, Kevin, and Nev will be meeting with the Secret Service.”
President Clarke asked, “I thought they needed me to make a decision before they wrapped the report up?”
“Agent Maclaren thought that it would be useful to learn about our training. He realized that I have Robert and our pilots trained near to the level of your Secret Service agents but that we could also pull off a rescue like your FBI hostage team. I know that the Secret Service cannot be as up front on their training but I felt that we could still learn a lot.” Will said.
“You must have really impressed the Secret Service. Where do you find pilots with combat skills?” President Clarke asked.
“The ADF has air squadrons, both active and reserve, stationed at Townsville. We draw much of our security force from them and the local army brigades. All three of the pilots have worked supporting ASAS. Many of our regular workers are also in the reserve.” Will replied.
“Doesn’t having your workers in the reserve cause problems at times?” Susan Clarke asked.
“Dad has been working closely with the military since he left active duty. All of my brothers were in the ASAS. We have a very good working relationship with the military. One must make sacrifices to ensure the protection of the people.” Leslie said.
President Clarke noted that she said the people and not the government. He called Jeffory Wilson, the head of his security detail, over and requested that the Secret Service have a very open discussion with Will and his people on Secret Service training or any other subject where it would be mutually beneficial.
Jess had been waiting to meet the President. Will motioned for him to join them.
“President David Clarke and First Lady Susan Clark this is my cousin Jess Maclaren.”
Jess shook hands with the President and his wife.
President Clarke looked at the two Maclaren men. He would have taken them for brothers. At an earlier age, he suspected that they would have been mistaken for twins.
Jess knew what the President was thinking. “Our fathers are identical twins as well as our mothers. We also have the same birthday and lived next to each other growing up.” Jess explained.
Susan Clarke said, “You certainly have an interesting and unforgettable family.”
Jess looked at Claire and Robert talking and then at President Clarke. “More than you can guess. I would like to ask a favor. Can you have Senior Agent Bruce Maclaren as one of the agents present when we meet later? He will need to know what happens so that he can fill out the reports on Claire’s rescue in the way that you feel they should be done.”
“As I feel they should be? Does this have anything to do with why the boys will be at the meeting?”
“I see that you have an idea of what to expect.” Jess said.
“Yes, I do. I look forward to seeing if I am as close as I suspect.” President Clarke replied.
“Oh, you may soon find yourself closer than you might expect.” Leslie added.
“Well, let us get the press conference over. This will be a Cabinet meeting that I look forward to holding.” President Clarke replied.
As the President led them to the press briefing room, he was thinking that he might have some things to look forward to when he was out of office. It had been hard bringing up Claire and Tommy in the White House. They all looked forward to spending more time together. It looked like some of that time might be spent visiting Australia.
He was not sure what he felt about the upcoming press conference. It would be good for the country and the world to see this family and learn about how they jumped into help. He did not want to see them questioned and attacked the way the press did to him. They had risked much to save Claire. Prime Minister Blake had said that he should have a long personal talk with them. He said that there were important things to learn beyond what would be mentioned in the meeting. He also mentioned that Australian Prime Minister Hunt had been meeting with Ian Macphater. Charlie had mentioned that all three countries should work together. What was the secret? No, there was another secret that he felt that Blake did not yet know about.
Before entering the press briefing room, the President turned to Will and Jess. “It would be best to have only the two of you answer questions. I don’t trust how the press may treat some of the younger ones.” President Clarke said.
“Let us include Tom so we have someone from the US. I also would like to have Robert available for questions. I expect he may be getting a lot of press attention in the future.” Will replied. He knew that Robert though not familiar with talking to the press would not have a problem with them.
The President realized what he is referring to with Robert. Yes, if Claire and Robert were as serious as it appeared, having him talk to the press now would be helpful. More importantly, it would give him a measure of this young man. “Ok, including Tom is a good idea. I also see where you are going with Robert. If you feel he can handle it, I agree that it would be a good idea.” He said.
Will just nodded his head. He turned and called Tom and Robert to join them.
Anthony Raines, the White House Press Secretary, was standing there listening to the conversation. He was used to the President calling the shots for the press briefings and to his making last minute changes. He wonders at how the President is treating the two Maclaren men as equals. He has always admired the President’s ability to control meetings even with senior Senators. Who were these two men?
The President turned to Raines, “Tony, go ahead and announce me. The family will stand to either side with Will, Jess, Tom, and Robert together in front on the far side. Agents Lui and Cortez should be in front on the near side.”
Raines was surprised at the President using the four men’s first names. Well three of them are Maclaren so it would be hard to refer to them as Mr. Maclaren.
After he was announced, the President entered and walked to the podium. He waited to begin speaking as the others entered and took their places. President Clark began without a preamble.
“This morning there were simultaneous attempts to kidnap both my children. The attempt on Tommy was foiled by the quick action of a DC police officer. The officer followed the kidnappers in the school and confronted them before they had reached Tommy’s classroom. When the kidnappers opened fire, the two secret service agents guarding Tommy also became involved. The kidnappers were under fire from two directions. Two of the kidnappers were killed and one was seriously wounded. Secret Service Agent Patricia Lui received a minor gunshot wound. Agent Roberto Cortez and the police officer were not wounded. The DC Police Department has requested that information about their officer not be divulged. Susan and I have already expressed our thanks to the officer.”
“With Claire’s kidnapping, things did not turn out so fortunate. Both Secret Service agents, Maria Alverez and David Gold, Claire’s Biology teacher Jean Koenig, and classmates Martha Lawler and Maxwell Watson were killed. Claire and Bridget Schmidt were kidnapped. One of the four kidnappers received a minor wound.”
“During their getaway, the kidnappers switched Claire to another van. At the time, we did not know this. The van with the original kidnappers, Bridget Schmidt, and another girl was spotted on Embassy row. They fled to the Jordanian embassy where they are still held up. Ambassador Prince Talal Al-Hussein was killed. Two of the staff remained as hostages after everyone else was let go. A standoff exists there. We were focusing all of our attention at the embassy while Claire was being taken to a home in Chevy Chase.”
“We had lost track of Claire and the kidnappers were free to take her elsewhere.”
“Luckily, members of the Maclaren family became aware of the switch. They along with friends and employees were able to rescue Claire. All twelve kidnappers were killed at the house to which Claire was taken. Of the rescuers, only Kevin Gilbert was wounded. I understand that in addition to being one of their pilots that he is a cousin to the Australian branch of the Maclarens.”
“We have not heard from the kidnappers. The FBI with the assistance of the DC Police and the Secret Service has surrounded the Jordanian embassy where a standoff exists. The State Department is talking with the government of Jordan about how to handle the situation.”
“Four of the family members have agreed to answer a few questions. Let me introduce them. Tom Reynolds of Texas. It was at his son’s house at which the family was gathered when they found out about Claire’s kidnapping. Jess Maclaren of Scotland. He was visiting his daughter Doctor Kim Reynolds, who had given birth to his granddaughter on Monday. Sir William Maclaren and his son Robert of Queensland had flown Jess and his mother-in-law Edna Farwell from Scotland.” Each took a small step forward as they were introduced.
President Clarke pointed to the NBC reporter.
Transcript of the questions and answers.
- NBC: What is being done to free Bridget Schmidt?
President Clarke: The embassy is Jordanian territory. We have the building surrounded. We are working with the Jordanian government to settle the situation. The death of the Jordanian ambassador is hampering our efforts, as we need to talk directly with the government in Amman.
- Fox News. Have you identified who is responsible for the kidnappings?
President Clarke: We have not determined that though we have heard that a number of claims of responsibility have been received both by the state department and the press.
- Boston Globe: Sir William, do you have a permit for all the guns that were used?
Will: I am head of security for Macphater Mining Equipment. We are legally armed to protect our property and employees. I choose to extend that protection to Miss Clarke. Other guns are the property of my cousin’s son-in-law who with we were staying. All the guns were stored in locked containers. There were young boys in the house.
- ABC: How could you let your son go out there with a gun?
Will: My son, my daughters, and my wife were all out there with the others and me. We accounted for all the gunmen with only one small wound. The only thing that happened to Miss Clarke was that she was scared. She had been scared since she was kidnapped and her Secret Service detail was killed along with three other people at her school. We didn’t stop shooting because they didn’t stop shooting. They were more heavily armed than we were.
- LA Times: Why did you not wait for the police?
Will: We had less than fifteen minutes from when we learned that they were taking Miss Clarke to the neighboring house until they arrived. I came up with a plan using the people available, armed them, briefed them, and setup in that time. The police took thirteen minutes to arrive on the scene. The kidnappers had a red herring at the Jordanian embassy that had law enforcement attention.
- Wall Street Journal: We hear rumors of an AJ Power Generator. Is it a big of a fantasy as the Adjacent World Theory?
Jess: Neither my wife nor I had ever said anything to discount the Adjacent World Theory. As with everything we did, we let it prove itself. I intend to continue that way.
- NY Times: Wern’t you endangering Claire Clarke’s life by including poorly trained young people in your plans.
Will: Linda Steele was a MP Sergeant in the Army. She participated. Her sister did not have her training. She stayed with the young children. I have trained my family to be their own defense. My son has just completed a two-month training course that we run for our private security force. He ranked third out of twenty five. His classmates include mostly NCOs that have served in the special forces of several countries. The ranking was a combination of the trainers’ evaluation and a peer evaluation among the trainees. He ranked slightly higher in the peer evaluation.
- Washington Post: Why were so many of you at the one house?
Jess: My wife was killed in an accident on Monday. My daughter gave birth to my granddaughter on the same day. I wanted to talk with my daughter about her mother’s death. Will was picking up his daughters who had just graduated from Edinburgh. His wife offered to take my mother-in-law and myself to see Kim.
- Washington Post: But why was everyone staying there?
Jess: I appreciate good luck when it happens.
- CNN: Robert, how did you feel after all the killing?
Robert: After the shooting stopped, I felt like throwing up but I did not want to do that in front of Miss Clarke.
“That will be the last of the questions.” President Clarke had not liked the question that Robert had been asked, but Robert had handled it well. The reporters started to call out questions but the President and everyone on the stage turned and left.
Bruce and some other Secret Service agents had been watching the new conference on a TV in one of the Secret Service rooms. His thoughts were about the questions that had been asked. They got away without the press asking how they knew about the men in the house and that Claire was on the way. The press was so interested in attacking someone that it had not asked good questions.
Larry, one of the two other Senior Agents in the room turned to Bruce. “Will Maclaren pulled off a perfect rescue with only fifteen minutes lead time using civilians? FBI Hostage Rescue would be lucky to do it with ten times the time to prepare.”
“Will said that he was lucky that the bad guys did what he was setup to handle. If they hadn’t, he said he could have retreated instead of risking loss.” Bruce has his doubts about that. Would he have retreated and could the bad guys have done something that he had not anticipated. Grandpa always mentioned Maclaren luck. I have thought I have had that a couple of times in my career. What I saw here today speaks of more than luck. As the old saying went, ‘You make your own luck’, but more than that happened today.
Lynn the other agent said. “How did they know that the van was bringing Claire to the house, especially fifteen minutes ahead of time? There were no windows in the van. The Maclarens were all in the house. Could they have had someone following the van, but then how did they know it was going to that house? Everything he said indicated that he had perfect intelligence on what they were doing.”
“I hope to be finding that out in a few minutes. I‘ll be at the meeting that they will be having with the President.” Bruce answered.