The district government had mobilized the NAP to carry out an aggressive campaign in which any and all potential insurgents living off the grid in the vast region would be rooted out and killed. Heavily-armed strike teams dressed in camouflage fatigues, Kevlar vests and toting an array of weaponry penetrated deep into the rugged wilderness. The recent attacks carried out by the still-unknown band of insurgents had sent shockwaves through the control and command structure in Kamloops. To date, the campaign had uncovered a family of five who’d been barely getting by on a diet of roots, berries, nuts, fish and wild game. Fearing for the safety of their children, the parents surrendered as soon as their ramshackle cabin was surrounded by an NAP strike team.
Major Toombs knew that many more were in hiding. Just as the Thompson-Nicola District was beginning to experience its first guerrilla attacks, the fighting was growing fiercer in parts of Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In just one week alone, over one hundred of his colleagues had met their deaths. The resistance were like a cancer that had to be eradicated before it festered and grew out of control. The long-serving, cruel-hearted army and paramilitary officer knew better than to underestimate these tough-as-nails Western Canadian good ole’ boys. They were very similar to his freedom-loving, gun-toting kin in the South. The same kin that would certainly hang him as a traitor should be ever show his face back there again. Toombs sat in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter. The pilots had recently dropped off a strike team in a remote area not far from Pinantan Lake.
Sergeant-Major Bill Remple led an eight-member strike team up a rock-strewn hillside. The non-commissioned NAP members, their faces obscured by black ski masks, gripped their MP5s, M4 carbines and Franchi SPAS-12 combat shotguns. All were a bit winded by the time they reached the crest of the hill. All of a sudden the strike team was alerted by the indistinct sound of dogs barking. Big, loud dogs that would pick up the scent of approaching intruders and give their masters a heads-up.
Their adrenaline pumping, the troopers double-timed it toward a cabin hidden deep within the woods. It was rustic in every sense of the word, like a hastily-built trapper’s cabin of yore. Using hand signals, Remple directed his men to move stealthily around the perimeter of the trees surrounding the cabin. Two large Rottweilers barked loudly as they spotted the militarized cops.
The strike team’s sniper, a corporal named Charles, his entire six foot frame clothed in a gillie suit, fell into a firing position roughly fifty yards away from the cabin. Without warning, a man with a bushy, unkempt beard rushed outside waving a .30-30 rifle. Charles breathed deeply as he peered through the scope of his Remington M24 rifle. A hornet buzzed around his body. He lay perfectly still but the insect persisted in his efforts to harangue him. Then the hornet stung the sniper in the leg.
“Ah!” he yelled in pain.
The wild-eyed woodsman aimed his rifle in the direction of the noise. He fired two shots, one of which struck Charles in the head.
“Fire!” Remple yelled.
The strike team members unleashed a torrent of lead into the man. His body jolted as it was enfiladed with bullets. In less than a few seconds, he looked like a bloodied piece of Swiss cheese.
“Move it out!” the commander barked.
Just as the strike team was getting ready to move toward the cabin, another man armed with an AK-47 starting shooting at them from an upstairs window. In the confusion, as the troopers scrambled to take cover, one of them was struck in the abdomen area. The voice of Major Toombs came through the radio attached to the lapel on Remple’s bulletproof vest.
“Ground team, what is your situation? Over.”
We’re taking heavy fire!” Remple braced his nerves as a bullet struck a tree inches from his head.
Working in unison, the strike team strafed a hail of bullets into the upstairs window. The second shooter fell onto the ground. Their boots pounding the earth, the strike team members burst inside of the cabin only to find it empty.