The following is part of an incomplete manuscript for a novel in progress:
The jolt of the landing gear woke me up.
I was the sole civilian aboard an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport with a load of Marine reservists and several pallets of ground crew gear for a Marine Corps Harrier-II squadron.
And if the jolt of landing at Gibraltar had not awakened me, the half-company strength chorus of “HOORAH” would have.
Regular or Reservist, a Marine is a Marine.
The Air Force pilot, of course, had to make her customary announcement on the aircraft’s speaker system.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived at the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and will be disembarking as soon as possible. And thank you for flying Air Globemaster.”
Male or Female, an Air Force pilot has the ego and sense of humor of an Air Force pilot.
I thanked the pilot and the flight crew for their utterly boring display of professional competence. Believe me, in old school aerodynamic aviation back on Earth in those days, a boring flight was a really, really, really good flight. And they got the joke.
After stroking the egos of the Air Force folks I met the head of British Forces for Gibraltar at the forward door of the aircraft.
Yes, was a civilian, but I did return the salute, it would have been rude for me not to, I thought at the time.
Okay, I admit it, it was an old reflex.
I will leave the argument over whether or not an executive order from President March constituted a proper commission to run a military operation to the professional historians.
So how did the British get involved in the rescue expedition?
It’s a long story.
Apparently during her weekly chat with the Prime Minister, a fellow from the Labour Party at the time, Her Majesty the Queen very clearly expressed her distress about the French attack on the State of Israel. She couldn’t directly issue a command to the current PM, but she did ask him if something could be done about it.
The sitting PM said that he would look into it.
Unfortunately, the line taken by Labour Party at the time was that former President Null’s refusal to relinquish the office was legitimate due the claim of having a majority of the votes cast in the election.
In order for the Labour Party to do so they had to ignore the fact that many of those votes, in places like Chicago and other strongholds of the other party, were attributed to persons who were already dead or did not otherwise exist.
And of course they had to completely ignore the actual rules laid out in our actual Constitution and the actual outcome of the actual vote of the actually existing Electoral College.
And on top of this the now former President Null, now known as the Big Zero, had openly stated his support for the destruction of the State of Israel.
Again, I will leave the question of whether the Zero’s position on this was due to his well documented tendency towards moral nihilism -- or his other well documented tendency towards politically felliating his Muslim supporters -- to the professional historians.
In the meantime the sitting Prime Minister of the United Kingdom definitely had a problem.
And because I was in the process of organizing the evacuation of Israel I caught the phone call.
“Tom,” I said to the PM, “the first thing you need to do is to withdraw your government’s recognition of the Zero and his crew.”
“That will be difficult.” The PM replied.
“But not impossible.” I said.
I thought for a moment.
Then I resumed the conversation.
“What I would suggest is that you read to everyone in the House the section of our Constitution that governs the rules for our presidential elections, and particular you’ll need to explain how the Electoral College works and why it was adopted. That should get everyone but the hardcore Marxists to go along with the change in policy.”
“But,” replied the PM, “there will be those who will claim that your Electoral College is undemocratic.”
Never mind all of the dead and otherwise nonexistent voters in Chicago and the other urban cesspits ruled by the other party.
“Tom, let me ask this question.” I said. “Does Her Majesty’s Government want to deal with an American federal government that is subject to a written supreme law? Or do you want to deal with an unrestrained mob state which was empowered by false votes and subject only to the will of the leader?”
There was silence on the phone line.
I broke the silence.
“The last time you had to deal with that was called World War Two.” I said. “And I can’t imagine that Her Majesty, or any other remaining veteran of that conflict, would want to see that happen again. Especially with nukes.”
“No.” Said the PM. “Of course not.”
And with that I was going to let the PM deal with his own internal political issues.
I moved on to the next subject.
“The other problem is the question what you’re going to send on this mission.” I said. “If I recall correctly, you’re down to one escort carrier in commission, and you don’t even have a proper air group for it.”
Of the three Invincible class carriers built for the Royal Navy only the Illustrious was still in commission. The Ark Royal was in storage awaiting disposal, and the lead ship of the class had already been stripped of useful parts and sold for scrap.
On top of this all of the Harrier jets built for their Navy and Air Force had been retired and placed in storage due to cuts in the British defense budget.
To an outside observer like myself it would appear that the worst enemy of the British Armed Forces was the British politician.
I spoke again.
“Quite frankly, sir, I wouldn’t send the Illustrious out without at least a squadron of Harriers from our Marine Corps.”
“We would appreciate that, sir.” Said the Prime Minister.
That caught me by surprise.
“Just a second, sir.” I responded. “I need to make a note.”
On a notepad I wrote a reminder to myself to talk about this to the Marine Corps liaison officer in our temporary headquarters in Omaha.
[Days later on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN75)]
A master chief led me out across the flight deck to the Seahawk helicopter. The Navy has strict rules that even very important people like myself have to follow. And I had absolutely no desire to be decapitated by a main rotor or generally shredded by a tail rotor.
Once I was aboard and my headset was plugged into the intercom, the Seahawk lifted off from the deck of the Truman and flew east towards the remains of the State of Israel.
As soon as I thought it was safe I spoke to the pilot over the intercom.
“ Lieutenant?” I practically shouted over the noise of the main rotor. “ How far east can we go?”
“ Did you want to see Jerusalem, sir?” He replied.
“ Yes!” I shouted.
“ Me too!” He shouted back.
The Seahawk flew over the beachhead set up by the Marines as one of the evacuation points for the survivors. The pilot chose to fly low as he approached the hills to avoid hostile MANPAD missile fire from the damned Arabs.
And then we saw it.
In the final hours of the Six-Day War in 1967 the Chief Rabbi of the IDF desperately searched for some engineers and some explosives. He wanted to remove the abomination, the Al Aqsa mosque, that the Arabs had built on the Temple Mount.
Forty five years and a few months later, his wish was granted.
The abomination was gone. The Temple Mount was for all practical purposes cleared of all but the smallest pieces of stone.
Of the city of Jerusalem all that remained was ashes and rubble. There were no living things, plant or animal, to be seen.
“ I think we've seen enough, Lieutenant.” I shouted.
“ Aye, aye, sir!” He replied.
He turned the Seahawk back toward the beachhead.