As the fog began to lift and his mind cleared, ever so slowly, he heard the far-away voices.
"Hero...served his country........nobody.......public....brilliant.....proud"
Five minutes later he woke again. There were eight officers in the room,
some shaking his hand, others relaying their gratitude for what he and they had
accomplished. He shook their hands and smiled and thanked them as best as he could,
considering his still half-drugged state. It would be 30-45 minutes before he could
think with complete clarity.
He was somewhat surprised that they let him wake-up at all.
Because one never really knows.
The US Army Captain-hero of Gulf War I, patriot unsurpassed,
lover of freedom-was aboard a military transport traveling from
Wright AFB to Melbourne Australia, where he would spend the rest
of his natural life. He had served his country well. His reward being
one million six-hundred and eighty thousand dollars in a Brisbane bank account,
a one-hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollar per-year severance
and a beautiful ranch near the small inland village of Coonamble. Those
bastards at the NSA had a warped sense of humor. But at least they had kept their
promises to him. He was alive and the world was safer than before.....
at least in his, and their, warped perspectives.
His regrets were small and they were few. His greatest regret was the fact that he would
not being able to set foot in the US of A, ever again. He would never leave
this new home, in the land called Oz.
For the rest of his life he would be Philip P. Hogan, Retired.
No family, no relatives and most importantly, no past that could be traced.
True, at 36 years of age, he was very young to retire but, in this era of high tech stocks
and billions made in the market, many entrepenuers had retired
younger and richer than he. So with the proper paper trail, and the
secret backing at the highest levels of the Australian government,
he could foresee no way that anyone could trace his real identity.
And knowing the NSA, they would never let anyone get within sniffing distance of him.
Some had already tried.....and they died trying.
His plane landed at the international airport in Melbourne, where he would be
ferried by helicopter to his new home outside Coonamble. He didn't understand
why they didn't land in Sydney or Brisbane, both of which were much closer
to Coonamble than Melbourne. But one thing he had learned well was that you don't
question the men in charge. He knew he was lucky to be alive. The fact that they had kept
their promises served to further cement the notion that he was right
and justified in what he had done. In this age of international terrorism,
every free country needed laws to protect the citizenry from the ever
present terrorist threats. The US now had these laws in place, thanks
to the Captain, or rather, to Mr. Hogan.
Now that it was over, he knew that it was worth the nine years of his life that it had
taken to accomplish the job. The covert meetings with those dispicable, self-proclaimed freedom fighters.
Pretending that he too hated the US Government's infringement on the citizens right to privacy
and freedom. He had wanted to kill each one of the fucking disloyal, scum-sucking, para-military
phonies. They had no idea how the world worked. And every time one of them
had referred to themselves as freedom-fighters, it was all he could doto keep from slicing their windpipes open.
Before they could say another word against this great nation. His great nation. True, a nation now closed
to him but the greatest nation that the world has ever seen. And he had meant to keep it that way.
As the helicopter flew over the desert of southwest Australia, the Captain/Hogan continued to analyze
the past decade. He had spent nine years playing a role. The last four years were indeed the hardest.
But in the end, he had been convincing enough in his performance to fool everybody who needed to be fooled.
His mother and father would, hopefully, live through the guilt and shame of having conceived him.
He wished that he could tell them the truth, but he knew that it was impossible. His other relatives didn't matter.
They had shown their patriotism throughout the entire ordeal. That is, they too thought that he should die for his deeds.
He had been debriefed every step of the way. He had known about the secret ordinance, which would complete
the job that he would be credited, or rather, blamed for. He had known that all of the 'essential' personnel would
be away from the building that morning. All the remaining workers were disposable. They are all heroes and patriots.
Even though they were all unknowing and no doubt would have been unwilling, had they known.
To his knowledge, three persons had been too close to finding out the truth. Their bodies were 'found',
with the rest of the unsuspecting patriots.
Upon reaching his new home, he asked the pilot to fly over the entire 169 acre ranch. The ranch had originally
been intended to be only 168 acres. That was the NSA's weird sense of humor. One point six-eight million dollars,
one hundred sixty eight thousand dollars per year and a 168 acre ranch. Or better put, $10,000 cash, $1,000 per year
and 1 acre for each victim of the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing.
He had them throw in the extra acre in rememberance of the only living victim. His old friend Terry, who,
if you don't count the grief of thousands of friends and relatives of the bombing victims, was the only person to be punished.
As the helicopter landed on his new private estate, Mr. Hogan, who was better known in his previous life as Timothy McVeigh,
forgot about the past decade and wondered what the natives ate for dinner around here.