Red Sun Over Mexico
Washington, DC. The country is slowly recovering from the shock of Pearl Harbour. Everywhere, everyone is ramping up for the coming conflict. Recruiting centers are flooded on a daily basis as men and women rush to enlist.
Sergeant Paul Jarvis, newly married and returned from his last assignment in Panama, has been informed that he and the rest of CIC has been assigned to California where they will be working with the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Intelligence has reported that the Japanese are settings up radio posts and possibly submarine bases in the Gulf of California. They have also indicated that they are doing this with support from a splinter faction opposed to the government and with strong anti-American leanings. It is rumoured that these operations are being run by a Tokeitei agent. Jarvis believes this might be Haito Toshi who led the attacks in Panama.
Jarvis and a young ONI agent are ordered to Mexico with orders to capture Toshi...if possible. Problem is, Jarvis still remembers the dead naked body of a young American woman on a bed.
February 1942, Washington, D.C.
A cold north wind blew all the way from the Atlantic Ocean and over Chesapeake Bay making the gray overcast day even more miserable. The sidewalks were full of people huddled inside heavy coats and boots against the biting cold. Everywhere you looked all you could see was a sea of uniforms from ratings to all levels of brass. Most were wearing one type of military uniform or another from the various branches of service; clerks, administrators, aides or just those awaiting their orders to report somewhere.
America had been at war now for a couple of months and was caught up in that period of shifting from a peacetime country to one in full mobilization for war. Not long after Pearl Harbour we had also declared ourselves against Germany. Pearl Harbour had the effect of galvanizing the country silencing any isolationists or those who opposed involving us in what was considered to be a European war. The attack on Pearl Harbour was a serious blow to our naval forces in the Pacific. The resulting fear and confusion was mounting that the Japanese were staging for an invasion on the west coast and cries were coming almost hourly for army and air force resources to establish coastal defences. Hence the confusion in the capital.
My name is Paul Jarvis. I am a Staff Sergeant with the newly created Counter Intelligence Corps, formerly called the Counter Intelligence Police. We are part of the Military Intelligence apparatus with our primary function being, in part, the security of our bases at home and abroad.
In January of this year we underwent a change in name and function. Like I said, we are now called the Counter Intelligence Corps and have taken on a more direct role with counterespionage and other intelligence operations. Like Major Dobson once said, we’re not just another cog in the machinery. We have something the others don’t have—extensive background and experience in the Pacific, especially, Japan.
We had been waiting at Area Command in Puerto Rico where we were sent after my last assignment in Panama where I played a major role in stopping a Japanese attempt to sabotage the western canals. It was just pure luck that we stumbled onto their plot. I was actually there to investigate a murder on one of the bases. This happened just days before the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbour.
We had arrived back in the States two weeks earlier. The ‘we’ I refer to is Major John Dobson, my boss, and Lieutenant Carol Jarvis, my new wife. The major and I have been together since 1930 stationed in the Philippines.
I was heading to our temporary offices just off from the Georgetown University campus. Since Washington was in a state of confusion as it made the transition to a war footing, everyone was clamoring for office space. Our office was located on the fourth floor of an old office building that had been taken over by the Army. I was on my way back from the FBI with their latest reports on a variety of activities that might be of interest to us. I was stopped at the entrance by one of two large armed MPs who asked for my ID.
When I reached our assigned space, I saw Carol Jarvis sitting at her usual place: a desk outside Major Dobson’s office.
Carol Jarvis has been with Major Dobson for almost five years as his personal assistant. She joined us as a young lieutenant from the Women’s Army Corps as an administration clerk. She is a very attractive woman in her mid-twenties, five foot four with a svelt figure but don’t make the mistake that’s all she is, because she is very good at her job and completely loyal to Dobson and, of course, me.
Over the years she and I became very close and ultimately fell in love. It was just after the Panama mission that we decided it was time so we got married. Major Dobson was delighted. He stood for us gave her away. Carol was happy he did this since her parents were both dead and she thought of him like a father.
Today she was dressed in her regulation uniform, as usual. She always wore her uniform when on duty. The only identifying items on it were her lieutenant bars on the epaulets and shirt collar, and the new shoulder patch identifying her as being with Military Intelligence.
“Hi, baby,” I said, as I removed my overcoat and hat. One of the advantages of our little operation was not having to always wear uniforms when on duty.
“Hi yourself,” she said back with a gorgeous smile. “He wants to see you. Go right in.”
I gave a quick rap on the door then opened it and went inside.
“Sir. You wanted to see me?” I asked, stepping to his desk.
Major Dobson was sitting behind his desk as usual. A heavy set man in his forties with graying hair. He wore a dark blue single breasted suit, shirt and tie. One of the first things you notice when meeting him for the first time are his eyes: clear, bright and penetrating.
“Yes, take a seat,” he said. “I just came from a meeting over at headquarters. Looks like we’ve got our marching orders.”
He passed a sheet of paper across to me. I scanned it quickly.
“San Diego?” I looked up and passed the page back to him.
“Uh-huh. Looks like it’s going to our main base of operations for the near future, and we’re getting some help...new agents.”
“That’d be nice. When do we have to go?”
“Soon. I just wanted to give you a head’s up. Oh, and be available for a while. ONI is sending someone over later today for a meeting with information relevant to San Diego. Anything I need to know from the Bureau?”
“Not really. Just the usual traffic.” I put the file I had on the desk.
“Okay. Thanks. That’s it for now.” He looked back at the documents on his desk. “Leave that with Carol. Thanks.”
“Yes, sir.” He wasn’t big on a lot of chatter. I stood and headed for the door.
About an hour and a half later Carol stood in the door of my office.
“You’re being summoned. They’re waiting.”
“Uh-huh. A really cute naval officer,” she said with a grin.
“Okay. Cute? Good thing I know you prefer the rugged he-man type. By the way, any chance of a coffee?”
“There’s a fresh pot inside.” She turned away giving me a great view of her spectacular backside.
“Okay, thanks,” I said.
Yep. Good thing I thought as I stood and followed her. When I reached Dobson's office I knocked on the door, opened it and went inside.
A man wearing a naval officer’s uniform bearing the rank of lieutenant was sitting on one of the two chairs in front of the desk. He looked to be in his mid to late twenties. He had a deep tan which accentuated his blond hair and blue eyes in a way that he would guess women loved. I figured him to be at least six foot and looked to be very fit. He looked like he should be on a beach and a surfboard instead of in a uniform.
He stood up and extended his hand to me.
“Paul. Meet Lieutenant Mark Collins. Lieutenant, this is Special Agent Paul Jarvis,” Dobson said without standing.
“Lieutenant,” I said, accepting his hand. He had a firm grip.
“Agent Jarvis,” he countered.
“Grab a coffee and sit. The lieutenant is from the Office of Naval Intelligence,” Dobson said, as I went and poured a coffee.
“Sir?” I said, holding the coffee pot up.
“No thanks, I’m good,” he said.
“No, I’m okay too and, please, it’s Mark.”
“Okay. Paul,” I said, as I came back and sat down. “So. The major says you’ve got information for us?”
“Lieutenant,” Dodson said, turning the floor over to him. I turned and looked at Collins.
“Sir. As you may or may not know, we’ve had a very active interest in Mexico since the early part of the thirties. Our government has been negotiating to allow us to build a defensive line down there. Mostly airfields and radar stations. Looks like we’re going to get the go ahead now because of Pearl Harbor.” He paused for a moment then continued.
“We’ve known for some time that the Japanese have been operating small fishing fleets up and down the coasts of South and Central America as well as North America. However, they appear to have stepped up their activities off the coast of the Baja California Peninsula. We suspect that these fishing operations are a front for and are in fact run by the Tokeitai, their Naval Intelligence branch. We’ve also learned from a reliable source that Japanese submarines have been seen in an area around a place called Isla Santa Margarita in Magdalena Bay. There have also been reports they’ve been in contact with an extremist political group in the area called Sinarquistas who are also suspected of collaborating with the German secret service, the Abwehr, on the Caribbean side. Our agents in Mexico learned that there have been contacts between some Japs and these Sinarquistas and have been spotted in Puerto San Carlos. They think one of them is a suspected ranking officer with JNI. We know that they are very interested in setting up their own bases in Mexico for their submarines. We think that they also learned of our talks with President Camacho to build there. Our people down there think that they’re there for some sort of meeting with the locals with plans to create a fifth column or some other subversive operation.”
I nodded briefly, then asked, “And you think this is something for us here at CIC?”
“Like I said, we know that the Japs have been busy the last couple of years paving the way for some kind of military operation, maybe even an espionage network. We think they may already have some people in place to set up their submarines operations from and, well, since Pearl Harbor, we aren’t taking any chances,” Collins said.
“Okay, I get that, but what do need from us?”
“San Diego has been fully mobilized for the coming conflict. That means a massive reorganizing of resources and new construction. You should know that the headquarters for the Pacific Fleet is now there and Washington has approved plans to develop at least two major training bases there. This will, as I’m sure you already realize, involves a large number of civilian contractors, and since recruitment demand is high and that means a labor shortage. Washington has solved this by making a deal with President Camacho allowing for Mexican labor to be hired. Bottom line; this has put tremendous pressure on all our security resources.”
“Yeah, I see the headaches already. I’m beginning to see why you’re here,” I said.
“Right. Remember I mentioned the Sinarquistas? We have known for quite some time this group is pro-Axis and definitely anti-American. They also have a strong following in the area and even here in the southwestern states. They have supporters in the Mexican government as well and have been trying to pressure the government of President Camacho to sever ties with us.”
“And the Japs are connected with these people?” I asked.
Collins nodded. “That’s the general view at ONI. We have a report of sightings of their subs and some surface ships in Magdalena Bay. We think they’ve been using the area as a refuelling spot and maybe other activities. For now, they’ve been operating completely on their own, but if they hook up with the Sinarquistas then...who knows. Our real concern is the influence and connections the Sinarquistas have within the community, remember, I said they are anti-American and have a large following reaching even into the States. We think there may be as many as ten thousand spread over the southwest mostly in southern California and many of these supporters will make up part the labor force the navy plans to hire.”
“So why can’t we put pressure on Camacho to shut these people down?”
“It’s not that simple. Like I said, they have a lot of support down there with enough of it coming from some very influential sources. In fact, it gets worse, they have been pushing the government to grant them land rights so they can set up a colony and port. We think somewhere in the Magdalena area. However, we have it on good authority that their petition will be defeated.”
Dobson raised his hand as I was about to say something.
“That would explain why we’re being posted to the coast and getting additional manpower. By the way, how solid is your information about the Japanese using the area?”
“Pretty good. A former Texas Ranger with strong connections in the Yaqui Indian population and experience with the area, has been working with our intelligence people keeping his eyes and ears open for anything that could affect us.”
“A Texas Ranger you say?” Dobson said.
“Yes sir. Been around for a couple of decades they say.”
“So, if your intelligence is correct about the Japanese using the bay as a staging area, then it would make sense that they'd have agents on the ground both there and even in San Diego. And that would be part of our mandate.
“Yes sir. That's our thinking as well,” Collins said.
Dobson cast an eye at me and said, “You thinking the same as me?”
I nodded. “Yes, sir. It’d make sense if he has the background we figured on.”
“I agree. Looks like we might have a chance to clean up some unfinished business,” Dobson said.
“That’d be nice. I’d stake my pension that he’s still operating in this area, so it’d make sense that he’d be involved. The bastard’s still got one to pay for,” I said, remembering a young American woman’s abused body tied to a bed in Panama City.
Collins looked a bit confused as he switched his eyes from Dobson to me.
“Haito Toshi. He was the Tokeitai agent in Panama. It’d be a good guess they’d continue to use him here. He murdered a woman before we lost him. An American.” That was all I would say about it.
“I understand,” Collins said. “I’m here because we need your help. First, this falls under your mandate because of the U.S. Naval base in San Diego and the related security matters and second, because of your history with the Japanese, specifically the Tokeitai and, if you’re right, then this Toshi.”
“You think there might be a security issue on the base that involves Japanese Naval Intelligence?” I asked.
“Maybe not directly, not yet, but yeah, we think something’s cooking out there and we’re worried because of the close proximity to Mexico, especially with what seems to be happening in the Magdalena Bay area,” Collins said.
“And CIC has been tasked to do what?” I asked.
“A joint task force is being set up with us, the FBI and ONI,” Dobson interjected. “You’ll be working with us for now dealing with the Mexican side of things,” Collins added.