Inquiry (Final Days based tale)

(note- all locations in these stories are real. Just the events aren’t. -John)

(the following is partial transcript of an Official Inquiry into the events of Sunday Morning, 9 July 2023.  This interview was conducted at TF Lancaster headquarters, Lancaster Airport Lititz on 15 August, 2023)

Senior Investigator Lt Colonel Johnathan Colon, USAF:  Good Afternoon…  Before we get the proceedings started, I would like to assure the subject he is not under any investigation at this time.  This board of inquiry is being done to get a better picture of the events of the early morning of 9 July, 2023; no more no less.  Do you understand the reasons for this inquiry and do you have any questions?

Chief Petty Officer James Ganic, USN(retired):  Sir, I understand the reasons for this discussion and have no questions at this time.

LtC Colon:  Excellent.  Please state your name, rank and position with Task Force Lancaster for the record.

CPO Ganic:  Sir, My name is James Michael Ganic, Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer; currently, I am assigned as Acting Platoon Sergeant for Third Platoon of Delta Company, Second Battalion, One Hundred Twelfth Infantry of the Fifty-Sixth Striker Brigade, Twenty Eighth Infantry.

LtC Colon:  Chief Ganic, how does a highly decorated and retired naval special warfare chief petty officer become part of a national guard infantry unit in these times?

CPO Ganic: Sir… (a pause) I volunteered to help, sir.

 I learned about the Task Force through one of the HAM radio operators near my home in southern Schuylkill County who had functioning gear; he had been fortunate to have his equipment depowered and disassembled when the EMP blast hit last fall.  Can’t transmit but it can receive so at least our area up there knew some of what was going out outside of our area.

  Given my history and knowledge, sir, I knew that every able hand was going to be needed.  The largest question was where could I help and when would opportunity arise.  With the area I was in being pretty self-sufficient, I made the decision to go to wherever efforts to recover from the federal side of things were happening when the weather cooperated.

  When news of the Lancaster Effort reached me, I literally packed my horse with the proper travel gear and left my farm, riding south until I made it here.  It was rough going for the handful of days it took, being late winter… but having the experience I had from prior service using traditional means of travel, I had no major issue with the journey.

  I approached TF Lancaster in March and offered to re-enlist, as it were, because I felt my help was going to be needed.  After a period of time spent by the Task Force’s G-2 inquiring after my records from St Louis, my volunteering to return to duty was accepted and Colonel Leyland assigned me to take charge of one of his under-manned platoons.

  Considering it was made up of recalled to service augmentees from various branches, I believe it was deemed I would be best utilized in charge of them.  Sir…  I believe the phrasing used was “Chief, you speak Marine… and I need someone who speaks Army, Navy and Marine over there.”

  With all due respect sir, with a request like that I really could not refuse.

LtC Colon:  Indeed, Chief.  And it was rather selfless of you to leave where you were, considering.  But given your record of service which I have in front of me, it should not be a surprise.

  (a pause)

Now then… please explain how and why your platoon was in the area of the Pennsy Quarry of the night of 8 July, morning of 9 July.

CPO Ganic:  Sir…  When the news of pseudo-Governor of Pa more or less declaring secession from the United States, it made the events of a few days previous seem like a precursor to an attempt on this area.  So I requested from higher to be allowed to patrol the western section of our Area of Operations.  Given that the Windy Creek Area seems to have become something of an iconic location, I suspected an attempt to cause some physical issues was coming.  And I had a strong suspicion it would come from that direction.

LtC Colon:  Chief Ganic, why there?

CPO Ganic.: Sir… a few reasons.  One, its not a location that anyone would use for anything other than disposal; I mean… there is nothing important there other than some buildings and those… likely looted. Definitely nothing what I would call living space.

  Two, its out of prying eyes and if someone wanted to hide something close by, its fairly accessible and by means not visible to elements of TF Lancaster and its normal patrols.

  Three, if I was planning an op against Windy Creek or the airport, I’d want something capable of hiding my force and near enough to serve as a staging area or fall back point.

The abandoned malls along 283, like Park City which is just south of it and the strip malls on both sides of the highway, are too obvious a choice for hiding… and pose too much risk of discovery if your force is anything bigger than a dozen men.   There are people that still go poking through there… and I believe some of the stores are being lived out of, even now.

The Quarry seemed to fit the best for needs of such an attempt, were one to be made.  Decent Access from the west and southwest, proximity to here and defensibility if chased there.  Granted, it’s a bit close to the target location- perhaps too close… but anyone who performed a reconnaissance of the area would know it isn’t checked nearly enough.

 Because of its lack of importance to recovery operations, no real infrastructure use… what ever the reason, its not a high priority location for a dedicated patrol through other than the occasional looksee from the road.  The farms and such, which are usually something to be used by teams and the like looking to raid a place, are too well patrolled out here.  Any opposing force leader would reject it for fear of discovery too soon.

At least were it me planning an assault on here.  My opinion, sir.

LtC Colon:  I am not a ground combat specialist… but it would seem your reasoning does appear sound.  According to Task Force records, (a pause) you requested the use of Hummvee’s and horses, of all things, supplemented by a pair of Strykers.  Might I ask why horses?

CPO Ganic:  Scouts sir.  While Humvees are fairly quiet, horses are even more so…  and if you have skilled enough riders, darkness doesn’t matter too much.  We used them in Afghanistan… why not here?  They make for a good recon element- because you won’t hear them coming unless you are really looking for it.  And I was fairly certain anyone not from here would.  Turns out I was right.

LtC Colon: I see. (a pause) Now then… Where was your platoon leader?  He’s not mentioned as being involved in this incident.

CPO Ganic:  Sir, Lieutenant Wilson was not on the patrol.  He had gotten injured the day before when he slipped and fell off the top of one of the Strykers, breaking his arm.  He was aware of this patrol and he was… (a pause) he was disappointed in being unable to participate.

LtC Colon: Duly noted, Chief.  Now what did your recon element encounter upon their arrival at the area?

CPO Ganic:  What recon found was about thirty-five to forty men in among the buildings.  Their vehicles, mostly jeeps and blazers, were pulled into the building’s garages out of sight of easy visualization.  And this was bad news for the area if left alone and not dealt with.

LtC Colon:  Chief, I suspect that is an accurate assessment.  What was your reasoning for engaging them then?

CPO Ganic: Sir…  when the information from recon got back to me, I knew any delay in in order to try to bolster my numbers would probably tip them off and they would either scatter or make ready to hit any probe hard before retreating.   Worst case, they could drive out and into Windy Creek with weapons blazing or worse.

 The prospect of civilian casualties was far too high for my estimation.  With what I had available, I felt, as did my assistant platoon sergeant, that we could effectively neutralize them on our own- or keep them pinned until additional assets arrived.

LtC Colon:  Your assistant…. That would be Gunnery Sergeant Margaret Falkner, US Marines, correct?

CPO Ganic: Sir yes sir.

LtC Colon:  We have already spoken with Gunnery Sergeant Falkner and her account seems to agree with your assessment to engage.  Please continue, Chief.

CPO Ganic:  Sir.  Once I made the call to attempt dealing with them, I had my horse troops head out and make their way to the northern side of the complex and dismount, entering on foot.  Once they were in place about thirty minutes after I sent them out, I gave the order to move in, with strict orders to fire only if found or if it looked like they were about to bug out.  I made sure everyone understood to choose targets because of the north side element.  No fully automatic fire if possible, unless you were fairly sure of where your rounds were going.

I then notified higher of our discovery and that unless directed otherwise, we would be investigating and engaging as needed.  I requested supplemental elements at that point to be dispatched at that time for back up.
  It was about a minute or two after that call was made, we started moving in.  I believe it was about five to ten minutes- I’m not sure how long exactly- after I ordered our advance when the forces within the building complex began to move about like they were about to leave.  I do know we were in the positions I envisioned to be in or nearly so.  Given there was now no more time, I had a 203 gunner fire a flare at that point; as soon as it lit up, I called out to the subjects to stand down, that they were surrounded.

Sir, they chose not to.

LtC Colon:  Chief, it appeared they made a wrong decision.

CPO Ganic:  Sir…  the decision on their part to not stand down, I think, was possibly one of the worst choices to make in the history of bad choices.  I mean, there is more than a few pieces of famous media out there that depict the situation they were in… and how bad a choice it would be to try to run or fight it out, that it would be a blood bath. But they chose to do so and we did as we had to do.

(A long pause)

  While I take pride in defeating them and stopping an attack on our area, I am not…. Sir, I do not like having to do what I did.  Most of them were Americans; and well, they were being fu-…. They were being stupid. (pause) Sir. 

LtC Colon:  Understood, Chief Ganic, understood.  As I said at the beginning, no one is under investigation for actions and activities of the incident.  And as discovered, their group was not the only group in the area but it was the one that caused the others to be found, Yes?

CPO Ganic:  Sir yes sir.  When we were able to enter the complex, we found intel on two other groups in the area and their means of communications.  I had my radioman contact Higher to let the Colonel know what was found and how short time seemed for actions to be taken.  At that point, the backup arrived and I sent the intel back with them for Headquarters to utilize.

LtC Colon:  After that point, you eventually finished conducting your patrol?

CPO Ganic: Sir, that would be correct.  Thankfully, my platoon didn’t lose any one killed.  Six wounded and of those, one was serious.

LtC Colon:  I believe that is all that’s needed, Chief.  Thank you for your candor and time.  You are dismissed, Chief.

CPO Ganic:  Sir, you’re welcome.

Writers Notes for the Ganic Stories (Road to Harrisburg- A Final Days of America based tale)

Writers Note-

The main character in the following stories, James (Jim) Ganic, is a character I created a long time ago for a World Of Darkness Roleplaying Game I was part of back in 2006.  The stories I wrote around the character allowed me to flesh him out and give a thought pattern for role play responses in the game I was in; background psyche stuff as it were.  They also served as simple flights of fancy, allowing me to spin tales of deeds that in some cases, were fantastical yet possible….  I mean, truth can be stranger than fiction.  And as the last few years in real life have proved, somethings that actually happen cannot be made up as no one would believe them.

When events in my friend Mike’s Blog Story “Final Days of America” ( got to a certain point in the July timeframe, I got inspired to write a piece as filler for him using a non-WoD version of him…. And the piece helped inspire more story ideas… which resulted in a very long multipart story based upon the setting of Final Days.

  The first piece… the one I wrote initially, you may see there- its up to Mike if he’s going to publish it on his site as it details an event during a No Entry in the main Final Days character’s diary and would serve for a food-for-thought entry for his character. Said piece will be posted here shortly, as it sets up a few items for the stories I wrote.   And still am writing. 

The saying about how some ideas snow-ball… is not just a saying.

That said, for those interested, the following is a bit of info on our hero who refuses to be considered such…

 James Michael Ganic’s military career is a very unusual one.  He began it as a Seabee Equipment Operator when he joined the Navy in 1990.  He managed to qualify and make it through UDT/Naval Special Warfare School in 1994 and was in and out of the Teams for the next 22 years, ultimately retiring in 2016 as a Chief Special Warfare Operator.

  His fictional story is a plausible one, with the character performing both Seal operations as part of the various Seal Teams- East and West Coast.  At one point, he was assigned to the Hague as a part of a Nato-oriented unit tasked with hunting War crime-accused individuals in the Balkans late 1998 to 2001. 

The Unit was an Experimental one that eventually was dis-established just after their first official snatch mission.  (That mission is detailed in a series of stories here on my own blog).  When 2001 happened, he was back with the Teams, first in Afghanistan then Iraq.  Then back to Afghanistan like many Teams did during this time as well as the occasional mission dealing with Pirates near the Horn of Africa.

The very last mission he did was one where he and most of his team was loaned to the CIA for a snatch mission alongside a Russian Spetznaz team.  This mission did not go exactly as planned and while successful, casualties were not light and very few of both teams came away unscathed.

  Retiring not long after healing up from the mission, he spent the next few years between retirement and the events in the story enjoying his life on a farm in Rural Pennsylvania with a horse, some other animals and a good bit of land.

His life once the events of September 2022 in Final Days occurred, changed and what he did after that point has details within the short(?) stories about to be posted and there are pieces of his past that resurface in surprising ways within this series.

The stories ultimately did not fit with the overall timeline and framework of Final Days and its direction- but they have served as inspiration for some of Mike’s writing as his served for my own. Some of it may see light in his blog- its a matter of making the story fit what has gone on.

In any event, the stories have provided himself and a handful of folks who have read them enjoyment and entertainment. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Happy New Year!

-John T

December 31, 2021 (real date. 😊 )

happy new year- lets hope it ain’t like the previous one…

In parts of the world, it is now January 1… and one hopes folks are having a decent time in this age of insanity and plague.

There will be more stories and articles to come, I promise. Life has handed me a list of crap to do and not enough time/energy for it.

So until later, y’all have a good day and night… and may the new year find you happy and healthy.

Legends and Myths 3-

(Apologies- it took time to finish the battle for this story then RL had its way with my free time.)

The battle raged around the foothills of Ranger Pass between the Mechs of Delta and the invading machines of what was believed to be Wolverines.  Both forces were heavy weights and the firepower showed itself in the damage to either side.

Major Hartman, the heat manageable in his Atlas’ cockpit, steadied his machine after the last volley struck its hide.  A confusing battle, the opponent machines range of ages and the range of weapons- some Inner Sphere standards, some advanced versions of same and even some Clan Grade weapons.  None of it made a whole lotta sense but if these *were* who they were thought to be, there was a reason for it, he guessed.

Staff Sergeant Cyndi Lee, in her Catapult on the back line called over the net to him. [MAJOR!!  They be runnin’!!] Her excited radio call had him looking at his own sensor feeds as well as looking out his starred cockpit glass.

  “That they are, Cyndi…” he said and noted the Warhammer piloted by Corporal Kissinger chasing a retreating Orion. “Kissinger!!  Get back here- ain’t no one fast enough to get to you if you get bounced.”

[Aw man…  I know I can take him!] Came the expected whine.

“Jon, I will kick you AND your mech in the nutz if I have to come over there…”

Silence and then the sensors showed the heavy machine stop and retreat back out of pursuit.  [Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnne….]

But yes…  the assaulting machines were retreating.  And the three assault class machines left behind would be rather telling.  Not every day one drops a Highlander.  Scanning the wreckage, he noted the cockpit on the Crockett was intact.  “Jon, go check that Crockett; there might be someone still in its seat.  Tucker, go with him…”

Jon didn’t answer, he just started marching his machine towards the downed machine, followed by the Crusader of Tucker Stine.  If the machine was playing possum, the two heavy mechs should hand it a load of pain alright.  Scanning the feeds, Hartman still wasn’t convinced this was over.

[Mike Delta Six, Mike Alpha Six] The clipped tones of Major McCormack came through the Battalion Channel. She was back at base- her command getting repairs finished after she had tangled with these guys.

“Yeah Leslie…” DJ answered as he stopped his machine on a hill.

 [Decisions have been made.  Prisoners are being taken to the space port shortly; MIIO has gotten wind of all this and is requesting them to be transferred to their care.]

DJ stared at the side viewscreen, McCormack’s face present on it. “Yer fucking kidding?  Right?”

 She shook her head. [I wish I was.  The Colonel is not happy… but then, he wouldn’t be.]

“Fuck no…  He’s gotten fucked by shenanigans before with those guys.  Someone’s gonna spill.”

[Agreed.  And there is a plan to minimize local shenanigans,] She answered. [And I think it’s a sound one, Darryl.]

“Damn well hope so…  Tess’s Bolt is going to be in the shop for a bit as well as Dougan’s ‘Zerker. Everyone else is armor thankfully.   But a lot of it.” The Dragoon major groused.  How much time do we have and when are they being moved?”

McCormack glanced down at something- likely a note pad, knowing her, before replying. [A day, maybe two.  The MIIO message said soon… and the Colonel is thinking early movement. Colonel Warrington says he has just the thing for duty on the port… I’m inclined to agree.]  A grim smile. [I’m certain the deck is stacked, DJ.]

“The question is for who though?”

[I don’t have those answers…. I’m just the messenger.]

“yeah yeah…  ‘Aight, lemme get my crew sorted and ready.  We have one more to add to that bus and three more machines for the picking…  Thankfully, recovery won’t have my head this time.”

[Indeed.  Watch you backs… this is getting more precarious.]

“Tell me something I don’t know…  Delta Six out.”  DJ killed the comm-call.  “EDGAR” He then called with a roar over the company network.

[Boss?]  DJ’s exec, Dogrobber Ed, answered.

“Ed… make sure the salvage teams get EVERYthing.  I want to see if that Highlander or the Crockett have clan spec gear.  Time to update some machines after this is through.”

[Right Boss…]

DJ lit a cigar inside his cockpit.  The Colonel has something up his sleeve.  He knew it and he was betting that the Colonel was not even trusting the Regimental network for specifics.  That MIIO knew already..  yah, something was fishy.

But Warrington was providing Security for the port… which mean whoever showed up was dealing with a serious surprise.  Tread-based surprise…

A few minutes into his musing, Stine called over the company net.  [Major, the Crockett pilot is alive.  A bit messed up… but alive. The other two machines are empty.]

“Lovely,” Hartman said around his cigar.  “Get Medevac to take him too.  Dougan can sit on him while they are waiting.”

  DJ fumed a bit.  It was a lot closer of a battle than one might think- the other side had a King Crab who was sportin’ Class 10 guns, which was highly unusual.  Many of this batch of machines were classics as per the ThreatComp but some profiles didn’t fit what was observed.  Like the Spartan, also dropped by his troops.  That seemed to have all Clan-Spec but it wasn’t in the database.  Then again, neither was the Pulveriser that McCormack’s company put down.

Who WERE these guys?