Although a military dream, the aspect of nines being repeated struck me more.
The perspective was interesting. I was up above the scene, looking down on everything, following ‘me’ around. I was in the military again, young again, a young NCO again, at a new command post again, and I was nervous. I knew an exercise was kicking off. I worried about being up to it. Being led around the console areas by a young, nervous officer, I was being shown dozens of things simultaneously. Several other controllers were already on duty, tracking aircraft, on the phones with the squadrons and theater headquarters, or on the radio with aircraft or ground operations. A lot was going on and I was a little dizzy with it.
Per standard procedure, the command post was a secure area. A cypher lock was on the door. I’d been given the combination and was walking around repeating it to myself as I took in everything. The numbers were six three one eight. I kept saying them to myself under my breath, “Six three one eight, six three one eight.” Meanwhile, others had come in, taking up positions up in the battle staff and over on the reports console.
Then, as I was listening to the officer, following him, repeating the numbers, I thought, six plus three equals nine. One plus eight equals nine. I looked at the clocks. The local time was almost six AM but it was almost nine PM GMT. The officer said, “It’s going to start at nine Zee.”
That’s nine Zulu, aka, nine GMT. I acknowledged that but thought, “Six plus three equals nine and one plus eight equals nine, and nine plus nine equal eighteen. If you break that down, one plus eight equals nine.”
Looking around, I realized, there were nine people in the sprawling command post now, including me. Then the officer said, “It’s nine Zee, time to begin.” Emergency Action lines began ringing. As controllers turned on the red lights, secured the console zone, and put the EAL on speaker, the officer looked at me and said, “Let’s get started.”
I replied, “Okay.”