Hopefully you’ve enjoyed True History – Imperial Farce. You may remember the character of SSG Wesley (from part 2). He doesn’t play a major role but I began wondering what happened to him. So, I figured I’d dive into the deep end of fanboyism and try my hand at a bit of fan fiction. In what may be a reoccurring series* we’ll follow Mr. Wesley after his return from Afghanistan, demobilization and fortunes as a shiny new analyst in the civilian side of the war on terrorism.
*Depending on my motivation and your proclivity to tolerate my pretentiousness.
Peter Wesley looked out over his new kingdom. The cubicle had been filled with various notices, phone numbers, pictures and tiny mementos to his eventual satisfaction. Even though he’d been home for three months, he still took pleasure at how his things didn’t acquire a coating of dust if left alone for a day or two.
“Hey Pete, you got a minute?” Johnny Donivitz asked, popping his head out of his office. As the director of the Joint Emergency Regional Center (pronounced ‘Jer-See’ by management and ‘Jerk’ by everyone else) he merited four walls that went up all the way to the drop ceiling and his own flat screen TV.
“Sure.” Wesley replied moving to Donivitzs’ office. Virtually every inch of wall or shelf space was taken up with military patches, coins, scale models of tanks and books with titles like ‘Go! Go! Go! Leadership Secrets of the Navy SEALS’. This struck Wesley as a bit odd since as far as he knew, Donivitz had spent his whole career in law enforcement.
“You settling in alright? How’s everything going?” Donivitz was so full of energy he was practically bouncing in his chair. He didn’t even let Wesley answer before continuing. “Good. I’m really glad you’re on board here. It’s going to be nice to get another warrior here. We’ll have to do lunch and talk about Afghanistan. When were you there again?”
“Uh, I just got back a few months ago. Were you there as well?”
“Yeah. Back in ’08. Man, did we get in the shit.”
“I didn’t know you were in the military. What unit were you with?”
“Wasn’t in the military. But after all, we’re a paramilitary outfit so it’s the same thing. I went there for ten days as part of an employer appreciation thing. One of my subordinates was in the National Guard so he got me a trip to Bagram for a couple of days and then to Qatar for some R&R. It’ll be nice to have another Afghan vet here in the unit. We’ll be able to swap war stories. I’ll tell you, all these civilians don’t get what it’s like for guys like us when we come home.” It looked like Donovitzs’ lip began to quiver and his eyes began to unfocus. “That TCBY had the best yogurt I ever tasted.”
Oh god. Wesley thought. Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry. Got to get off this subjet.
“So, what can I do for you?” Wesley asked.
“Well,” Donivitz replied composing himself quickly and picking up a small green army man that was part of what could only be described as a diorama that decorated his desk. “Now that you’re all set up I’d like to talk about your assignment. We were really glad to get you on board as an intelligence analyst here since we’ve got some big projects coming up that you’d be perfect for. As you may know, cyber terrorism is the next big thing in homeland security. Al-Qaeda is sucking wind in Yemen or someplace like that and we haven’t really had any good domestic terrorists in almost twenty years so DHS has decided cyber is where it’s at. So, congratulations Mr. Cyber Analyst! Now, what I’d like you to do is start working on a full workup on all the threats that we might face in our region and who might commit them. How long do you think something like that might take?”
“Um, that sounds interesting. I hate to be a drag but I do need to tell you that I really don’t know that much about information technology though. The Taliban didn’t spend a whole lot of time hacking computer systems.” Of course a few did, but mostly it was to try to access porn sites for free. Wesley didn’t share that however, as that remained part of a highly classified project to determine if there was a correlation between terrorists’ porn preferences and attack targets and time. Terrorists viewing porn involving actors portraying pizza delivery men were four times as likely to detonate an IED near a delivery vehicle than those who watched porn without pizza guys. IARPA was still trying to determine how to actually use that information.
“Oh, that’s no big deal. I’m sure it’s won’t be that hard to pick up. Here’s a pamplet I picked up at a briefing I went to last week.” Donovitz handed over a wrinkled piece of paper with a heading that said ‘Mr. McRuff says: Don’t be a cyber bully!’ “So, what do you think? A day or two to familiarize yourself and then we can start expecting some products? I already promised the director we’d be unveiling a new cyber initiative newsletter to all the law enforcement agencies and private companies in the region. I’m thinking we’ll call it ‘JER-C Bits and Bytes’. Pretty good, huh? I’ve found some really cool clip art you can put on the front.”
Wesley began noticing a pronounced throbbing around his temples.
“Also,” Donovitz continued, lowering his voice conspiratorially, “we’re coming up on a new round of federal grant funding. I hear that fusion centers that have a cyber program are automatically going to get 20% more this year. So,” his voice returned to its normal volume. “there’s no time to waste.” He began to get out of his seat, giving the universal sign for ‘this meeting has ended’.
“But, wait.” Wesley said. “Can you give me any specifics? What kind of information are you looking for? Do you want this relevant to technical experts or laypersons? Executives or entry level? Who’s going to use this information and how?”
“Yep.” Donovitz replied. “Sounds great!” He moved around his desk and motioned Wesley up and out of the office. “I’ve got a meeting to go to but you’re asking the right questions. Try to get me a draft tomorrow.”
“But I don’t know what you’re asking for.” The pounding in his temples was spreading. “What format should it be? Can you even tell me what font you want it in?”
“Absolutely. This is going to be great. I knew we made the right decision hiring you. Go get ’em tiger!” Donovitz had shuffled him out of the office offered him a big smile with two thumbs up as the door shut.
Seconds later, from behind the door he could hear the faint sounds of someone impersonating the sounds of a tank driving, machine guns firing and explosions. “Hotel five, this is Tango two! Enemy at six o’clock! Pow! Boom!”
Wesley stood there with his head pounding and a crumpled fact sheet about cyber bullying designed for 5th grades in his hand.
All of a sudden he began to miss the Afghan dust that would cover everything if left alone for a day or two. He wondered if he still had the phone number for that recruiter.