How Deep Is Too Deep?
Thomas Calabrese….Five Toyota pick-up trucks filled with high grade heroin were being escorted by ten Cadillac Escalades down a dirt road. Five SUV’s were in front and five were in back, and in each vehicle were four heavily armed guards. The convoy stopped in an isolated area fifty miles from the United States and Mexico border. Forty armed men got out of their vehicles and made a circle around their valuable and illegal cargo with their fingers flexed around the triggers of their weapons, ready for any type of confrontation.
Two minutes later, another convoy came driving up from the other direction, this one had five Chevrolet Suburbans and a large van. This group of vehicles stopped twenty five yards from the first one and these individuals got out and faced off against the other men. One man from each side slowly walked toward one other in measured steps and when they got within five feet, they signaled to their perspective groups.
The van pulled up and the driver got out then opened the back door of the vehicle for inspection. Several men walked up and began unloading large boxes while men from the other side walked over to the Toyota trucks and began testing the quality of the heroin.
A man walked over with an electronic device and scanned each box to make sure there were no hidden tracking devices, “All clear.”
“Count it,” Armando Torres ordered.
Ten men walked over and began counting the contents of the twenty boxes and after adding it up, “Fifty millions dollars,” One man called out.
Another man called from the Toyota trucks, “All good here.”
The two men facing each other smiled in approval.
“Looks like we got a deal,” nodded.
“Looks that way,” Ron Mercer agreed.
“Just in case you have any notion about following me to get your money back, “I’ve got men positioned along the road.”
“Right back at you, in case you have a change of heart,” Ron replied.
Ron Mercer’s men took control of the five pick-ups and two of Armando Torres’ men took the van that was loaded with cash and each group went back the same way that they came.
Ron Mercer got the radio, “The deal is done…tell me you have them under surveillance.”
Two thousand feet above Torres’ convoy was a drone and it was transmitting video footage to a control center.
“We got them,” Drone operator responded.
Five minutes later, a helicopter landed in an open area, “Get the drugs back to the border, I’ll meet you there,” Ron instructed, “ Bill, Gary…come with me,” The three men boarded the chopper while the convoy headed to California.
The helicopter met with three others while it was in flight. The convoy with the money had driven fifty miles deeper into Mexico and Torres felt confident that he was back in safe territory. Imagine his surprise when he came around a bend in the road and found it was blocked by a pile of rocks and brush. When Torres looked up he saw four hovering helicopters in front of him and his head spun around like it was on a swivel. Everywhere he looked, there were armed military personnel with their weapons pointed in his direction.
Two of the vehicles tried to escape by turning off the road, but were met by machine gun fire from the helicopters and they crashed into a ravine. Several other men chose to engage the military force by exiting their vehicles and opening fire, but they were quickly neutralized.
Armando Torres knew that the situation was hopeless so he sighed in defeat, exited his vehicle with his hands in the air and his remaining men followed his lead. The captured drug dealers were handcuffed and placed on one of the helicopters and taken away.
Another chopper landed and Ron and a group of men got out and walked over to the van. They began unloading the boxes and dumped the cash into a large pile then poured gasoline all over it. Treasury Agent Duane Morton commented, “The federal depository was going to burn these old bills anyway, one place is as good as any,” He flipped a match onto to the pile of currency and watched it burst into flames.
“Before anybody beats me to this obvious assessment of the situation,” first time that I’ve had money to burn,” Ron quipped, “Thanks for the temporary loan, Agent Morton.”
Several other Treasury agents stirred the burning embers with sticks to make sure that every bill was thoroughly destroyed as Ron boarded a helicopter and he was gone in less than a minute.
The helicopter landed at Miramar Air Station and when Ron stepped off, he was met by Eleanor Kelly, a woman in her mid-forties with an air of self- confidence about her. She was Ron’s immediate supervisor, but their relationship was much more equal than their official job designation indicated. They had a mutual respect and a deep trust of one another that had been earned over twenty two missions.
“Mercer,” Eleanor Kelly said.
“Kelly,” Ron responded
“The street value of the heroin was four hundred and fifty million,” Kelly stated, “That’s a lot of smack that won’t be hitting American streets. Good job.”
“Things worked out,” Ron said simply.
“There’s somebody that wants to talk with you,” Kelly stated.
“That’s out of my job description. The protocol is, you talk to the people then talk to me. Let’s keep it that way, the less anybody knows about me, the better.”
“Make an exception this time,” Kelly retorted.
As they walked across the tarmac, a black sedan with dark tinted windows pulled up alongside them and the back door swung open. Eleanor nodded and Ron got in, she followed and closed the door behind her.
An older white haired gentleman was sitting across from them. “This is…” Eleanor started.
“Lieutenant General Jim Hardy,” Ron interrupted, “I recognize you, sir.”
“Former Captain Ron Mercer, I appreciate the meeting,” Lieutenant General Hardy said.
“You are welcome, sir. What can I do for you?”
“What do you know about the ‘Deep State’? Eleanor asked.
“Enough to know that I don’t like those who reside in that zip code. They’re a bunch of sanctimonious and pompous individuals who believe that their distorted view of righteousness supersedes the rule of law and the American Constitution.”
“How would you feel about going to war with them?” General Hardy asked.
“Politicians fight wars, Marines fight battles. I remember hearing that somewhere,” Ron replied simply.
“You’re quoting me, I’m flattered.”
“General Hardy and our team believe that Camp Pendleton is in imminent danger from an attack. He wants the best to help him stop it,” Eleanor interjected
“If you’re looking for the best, then I’m probably not your man, but I can give you my best effort, does that qualify me?”
“That’s good enough, it’s not that I don’t trust the Marines under my command, but I don’t want to ruin their careers or needlessly endanger their lives if things go south. That’s why I’m willing to go outside the chain of command and take the heat and the fall,” General Hardy explained.
“That makes sense,” Ron smiled, “You could also end up in Leavenworth.”
“Possibly, when this is over, you’ll disappear and I’ll play the plausible deniability card like a stone cold riverboat gambler,” General Hardy nodded.
“Now that we’ve established the parameters of our partnership, let’s put the Devildog in the details,” Eleanor said.
“I’ll let Kelly handle it from here, General,” Ron said, “Drop me off anywhere.”
General Kelly tapped his driver on the shoulder, “Pull over.”
The car stopped and Ron got out and was gone in a few seconds. General Hardy turned to Kelly, “Is he really that good?”
Kelly answered, “Mercer has infiltrated ISIS, drug cartels, arms dealers, crime syndicates and human trafficking organizations. He goes deep undercover and he doesn’t come back out until he has the bad guys’ scalps hanging from his totem pole, their hearts on a stake or their bodies rotting away in a high security detention center. To answer your question, is he that good? Yes he is.”
Eleanor and General Hardy met for several hours that evening and when Eleanor was confident she had everything she needed, she contacted her team, with orders to immediately begin working on the plan. Pacific Global Exports was the name that the covert agency used and their headquarters was located in a warehouse at the Port of San Diego.
Ron Mercer was a graduate of the Naval Academy who majored in foreign languages and linguistics. His uncanny ability to learn and speak foreign dialects fluently made him a valuable asset in military operations.
When he was an officer in the Marine Corps, he often went behind enemy lines with Force Reconnaissance Marines or Navy Seals to act as an interpreter or to interrogate prisoners. He later served with a joint task force that included CIA and NSA agents and it was while he was there that he met Eleanor Kelly. When she was offered her own hand- picked unit, Eleanor asked the Marine Corps Captain to join her. It was a tough decision for Ron to make because he knew that if he accepted the offer, that he would be operating outside normal military protocol and his rules of engagement would never be condoned by the Geneva Convention. The mission of protecting America was always his first priority so he resigned his commission, and had been with Eleanor and the team for the last eight years.
When Ron arrived later in the day, Eleanor called him into her office, “The difference between this mission and your own other ones is now you will be taking down some very important Americans.”
“Is that supposed to give me second thoughts about carrying out my duties?” Ron asked.
“Terrorism is terrorism and I don’t care if John Q. Public or Abdul the Tentmaker is the perpetrator, my bullets are equal opportunity.”
“Affirmative, I had to ask,” Eleanor smiled.
“Anything else?” Ron questioned.
“They have unlimited resources and manpower to complete their agenda, but you already know that.”
“When I have more targets of opportunity, then I’ll just get more bullets,” Ron stated matter of factly.
“I’ve always like your simple approach to complex problems.”
“Where did you get your Intel on this impending breech?” Ron asked.
“Algorithms, we’re always surveilling persons of interest and when we put their conversations, texts and e-mails together, our computer program came up with this,” Eleanor replied, “I approached General Hardy and he also he had his suspicions.”
“I know that Camp Pendleton has a variety of weapons, but they can get those anywhere. They must have another objective in mind.”
“Only a very few people with the highest security clearance know that there is a vault beneath Marine Corps Installations West Headquarters,” Eleanor said.
“Let’s make a deal, Do I want what’s behind curtain number one or what is inside the vault?” Ron quipped.
“Take the vault, it has security codes, lists of covert operatives throughout the world, gold bullions, and millions in currency and enough incriminatory information to destroy or severely embarrass several administrations. It was placed there as part of a redundancy program and in case there was an attack on Washington.”
“What is my cover?” Ron asked.
“You are Major Ben Allison, an analyst sent by the Pentagon to evaluate security protocols at the facility. The team is working on your credentials and background as we speak. You need to meet with McNulty, he’ll tutor you on computer cybersecurity and programming so you can give the impression that you know what you’re doing.”
Ron got a Marine Corps regulation haircut and was fitted for his uniform. He met Lieutenant General Hardy in Area 25 of the base at 0500 hours the next morning, behind the base animal shelter. General Hardy smiled in approval when he saw Ron in his uniform, “Looking sharp, Marine, you should consider coming back in when this is over.”
“I appreciate the offer sir, but I’m carrying too much baggage to ever wear to this uniform for real again,” Ron’s voice had a hint of sadness to it.
“I have a company of Marines ready to go whenever we need them,”
“Keep them on standby, here is what I’d like to do,” Ron explained his plan to General Hardy.
“Are you sure, sounds risky?” General Hardy was surprised.
“I remember one other thing that you said.”
“What was that?”
“This is the wrong business to be in if you want to play it safe,” Ron said.
“I don’t remember ever saying that.”
“I’m giving you credit for it anyway,” Ron smiled.
General Hardy and Ron Mercer showed their identification badges to the sentry and the driver was allowed to enter the top secret compound of Marine Corps Installations West Headquarters. Once inside, General Hardy introduced Ron under his alias to the staff, “This is Major Ben Allison, he will be evaluating our security protocol and I expect you to offer him any assistance that he may require, understand?”
“I’ll do my best to stay out of your way, just go about your assigned duties, just as if I wasn’t here,” Ron addressed the seventy five military personnel which consisted of military members and civilian personnel.
During his first day at the Headquarters, Ron did nothing but observe everyone, hoping to get a clue on who might be involved in the elaborate scheme. After leaving Camp Pendleton that afternoon, Ron drove off base and met Eleanor at a picnic table beneath the Oceanside Pier.
“Find out anything?” Eleanor asked.
“Not really, the one thing that most people in security and intelligence have in common is that they all look paranoid. What about you, find anything in the background checks?”
“We have our suspicions, but nothing definite,” Eleanor answered.
While sitting together, Eleanor’s cellphone rang, “Yes,” then listened for a minute, “I’m with Mercer, I’m going to put you on speaker.”
“Hey Ron,” McNulty called out.
“Got something for me?” Ron replied.
“Somebody is checking up on you, my computer is lighting up with hits.”
“Is my backstory going to hold?” Ron said.
“I profiled some of the most notorious spies in American history and put their character flaws and red flags into your fabricated background; addicted to pain killers, gambling debts, anger management issues, passed over for promotion twice, divorced, alienated from your children. It should be like dangling red meat in front of a hungry lion,” McNulty outlined, “Get ready for company.”
Five days later, two men arrived at Ron’s hotel room at the Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort.
“We are part of a new global order that is emerging and growing stronger with each passing moment. Those who believe in boundaries, borders and countries are a vanishing breed,” The man said with great enthusiasm, “We are looking for men with vision to join us in a noble quest to correct decades of abuses against the underprivileged. Why are you loyal to America, Major Allison? You are being used to further the agenda of the elite. They do not care about you,” The man rambled on with a manifesto that was equal parts delusional and dangerous.
Ron tried to look interested, weak and confused all at the same time, but deep inside his heart, he just wanted to reach over and twist the man’s head off and spit down his throat.
After ten minutes, the other man set a briefcase on the bed and opened it, “One million dollars and this is just a small part of what you can expect.”
“What you want from me?” Ron asked.
“You are currently evaluating security at Camp Pendleton Headquarters,” The First Man stated, “There is information inside their vault and if you can get us for us, you’ll be part of our international family and history will remember you as a true patriot of the human race!”
Ron had a lot of experience with radical organizations and it was always a big mistake to accept an offer too quickly, it made people too suspicious, “I’m going to need some time to think about this.”
One of the men left a card, “Call this number if your answer is yes.”
“What if I decide to report this meeting to the authorities?” Ron asked.
“We are the authorities,” The Second Man laughed, “We are in every part of the government and by the time we get done with you, the whole country will think that you came to us, not the other way around.”
The two men turned to leave, “You forgot your money,” Ron called to them.
“You keep it for the time being,” The First Man’s voice had a threatening tone to it.
Ron was glad that he was not just a regular Marine Corps officer because he would have been stuck between a rock and a hard place, but he wasn’t, he was a deep cover operative and he knew how to play the game.
One week later, Ron called the number and made them a counteroffer, “Five million more and I’ll get you whatever you want. I’ve already got a couple of countries in mind that do not have extradition treaties with the United States. Once I get my money then I’ll decide if I want to join up with your band of merry men.”
There was a long hesitation on the other end and Ron knew that the man was conversing with his superiors. Finally he responded, “You got a deal, we’ll be in touch.”
Ron knew that once he put a very high number on his traitorous act, it would add credibility to his actions. If he bought their sales pitch of a new world order too easily, it would have scared them off.
Ron met with Eleanor, General Hardy and McNulty for the next step in the plan. Once he received the instructions from the two men on what they wanted from the vault, McNulty created an alternate set of Intel that was close enough to the real information to be believable, but was only of minimum strategic value.
They also wanted the list of covert operatives operating around the world so McNulty took the current list of suspected foreign agents and switched it for the American ones.
In order to add credibility to the plan, Ron took out his cellphone and videotaped General Hardy being held at gunpoint outside the vault, “Open it.”
“You’ll never get away with this,” General Hardy responded as he used his fingerprint and optic scan to open the top secret room.
“Let me worry about that,” Ron smiled.
Once the vault the door swung open, Ron pushed General Hardy inside, who protested, “I’m not going to help you, you’ll have to kill me first!”
“If that’s what you want,” Ron started to viciously beat General Hardy as fake blood sprayed everywhere and screams echoed through the room. The special effects were worthy of a Hollywood movie and when Ron got everything he needed, he tied up General Hardy and gagged him. Since he was holding the camera, nobody knew that he winked at General Hardy.
When he met with the two men at the Oceanside Marina, Ron exchanged the ‘so called’ classified Intel and the cellphone video for the five million dollars and disappeared into the darkness.
The two Deep State operatives used their extensive connections inside the Intel community to verify that the security breech had actually occurred. General Hardy played his part perfectly testifying in front of numerous committees on how Major Ben Allison forcibly obtained the sensitive information. International warrants were issued and the ‘Deep State’ never suspected that they were being played.
One year later, and Ron had ingratiated himself to the leaders of the New World Order and was now considered a valuable asset to their organization. He used every one of his highly specialized skills to find out how extensive their tentacles of evil stretched across the globe. When high ranking men and women in this secret society decided to have a rare meeting on a superyacht off the coast of Monte Carlo, Ron decided that this was the right time to make his move.
This last year had been a long and aggravating one for the battle hardened Marine Corps warrior as he bantered with politicians on Capitol Hill. General Hardy was notified of the impending meeting three days earlier and was currently waiting below deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan with a detachment from the highly trained Marine Counter Terrorism Strike Force when he received the text, “Now!”
“Let’s go Marines!” General Hardy called out.
When the stealth helicopters were in the air, Ron received confirmation that the Marines were inbound and began eliminating the guards aboard the yacht as he made his way from stern to bow. The Marines faced minimum resistance when they fast roped down from the choppers.
When General Hardy saw Ron Mercer exchanging gunfire with two guards, he rushed to his side with a group of Marines and they quickly neutralized the shooters.
“Good to see that you’re still alive,” General Hardy exclaimed.
“At least for the time being,” Ron replied, “I didn’t want to go anywhere until you were around to help me finish this.”
In the background, gunfire could be heard around the ship as the Marines went about their business.
“I appreciate that,”
“Are you ready, sir?” Ron asked.
“Damn right, let’s do this.”
Ron, General Hardy and a group of Marines fought their way below deck to the area where the ‘Deep State’ leaders had barricaded themselves. These men and women were too powerful and dangerous to ever be taken alive because they would only buy their way out of any criminal indictment and use their influence to escape justice. While some Marines searched the yacht for hard Intel, another group that included Ron and General Hardy breeched the barricaded door. Using various means of enhanced interrogations techniques, they extracted valuable information from the captured leaders. When they were done, Ron communicated with Eleanor, “We’re out of here.”
“Affirmative,” Eleanor replied.
Ron, General Hardy boarded a helicopter and were airborne in less than a minute. Both men knew that while this action dealt a serious blow to the ‘Deep State’ it would not end the existence of the global threat. That was the bad news, but the good news was that they were still alive to fight another day. In the distance, screaming jets headed toward the yacht and unleashed a barrage of missiles on it. The superyacht exploded and sank to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.
“Status report…the deep state is currently finding out how deep is too deep,” Ron radioed in.
Eleanor turned to her team and called out, “Congratulations, chalk up another successful Mercer Mission!”