Robert Hunt fidgeted nervously as he watched the front door of the house. The retired Mountie understood that he was taking an enormous risk simply by hosting this illegal gathering. He knew these men quite well. There was almost zero chance that any of them could be informers. Still, one had to keep his guard up. Ding. Ding. Ding. Three rings of the traditional doorbell chime. Hunt got up from the recliner in the living room and opened up the door. Marty Smith, along with Jeff Hinton and his son Benjamin as well as an incredibly-built early thirtyish man named Chris Templeton, were outside. Hunt had never met Templeton before. Jeff Hinton was in his early fifties. He worked as a computer technician. Benjamin was in his early twenties.
“Good evening Bob,” Hinton said. He could sense his friend’s uneasiness.
“Hi Jeff. Marty. Ben. You must be Chris Templeton.”
“Yes,” Templeton replied quietly.
“Well come on in then.”
The visitors entered. Hunt checked his watch. 7:30 p.m. Curfew came into effect at 11:00 p.m. sharp.
Hunt and Templeton shook hands.
“It’s great to meet you,” Hunt said to the broad-shouldered, muscle-bound man. “Marty tells me you were in the Canadian Army.”
“I was in for ten years. Special Operations group,” Templeton explained. “I got out just before the world war started although I was involved in some NATO missions in Eastern Europe.”
“We need a man with your skill set on board this mission,” Hunt told him.
There was a rapt knock at the door. Hunt opened it. Father Tuck was standing on the doorstep. He was dressed in a light jacket, cotton pants and sneakers. Jeff Hinton and Marty Smith looked to Hunt as if wondering ‘what is he doing here?’
“Good evening, Father. Let me take your jacket.”
Tuck removed his jacket, which Hunt hung up on a hook.
“Let’s go down to the basement fellas,” he said.
The six men descended the stairs into the basement. As Benjamin, Tuck and Templeton sat down on couches in the rec room, Hinton and Smith took Hunt aside.
“Bob, why is that priest here?” Smith asked. “Look, although I have no use whatsoever for organized religion, I have nothing against your faith or anybody else’s. But considering that he’s a clergyman, and most have disappeared from the city, there’s a strong probability he’s working for the government.”
“Yeah,” Hinton added. “You’ve potentially jeopardized this entire operation just by telling him about it.”
“Now just hold on a minute here, guys,” Hunt shot back. “In case you’re not aware, Father Tuck knows more about what’s going on than we do. He’s at the former provincial jail at least three days a week. He’s more or less the de facto chaplain there.”
Smith calmed himself down.
“We just can’t take any chances. That’s all I’m saying Bob.”
“Don’t worry. We’re not. Now let’s get this meeting started,” Hunt stated.
Everyone sat down except for Hunt.
“Gentlemen, the time has come for us to reclaim our city. This is our land for crying out loud! Now while it’s true that these occupying forces may have the capability to control the perimeter of the city, they cannot watch every one of us twenty-four seven. And we are about to become a real thorn in their side.”
Benjamin half-raised his hand.
“We need to cut off the head of the snake,” Benjamin proclaimed. “That piece of shit control freak Carragher. I know exactly where he lives too.”
Hinton turned to his son.
“That’s too risky, Ben.”
“It is too risky,” Hunt continued. “Carragher’s home would be under round-the-clock surveillance. Another reality we have to keep in mind is that once we start launching our attacks, the local authorities will most likely retaliate against the population.”
“We have to target some of the bigwigs,” Smith stated. “If not Carragher, then how about that British colonel? Better yet, that sadistic thug Toombs. That animal shot Arnold Hooper after Arnold refused to allow a squad of those NAP goons to enter his home. Oh, believe me. I’ll be the first to put a bullet in his brain.”
Hunt lowered his voice.
“I won’t say any names, but I have a man on the inside at the re-education facility. He’s an acquaintance of mine. I assume you know who the commandant of that place is now.”
“It’s not Raymond Johnson, is it?” Hinton asked. “Oh no, he took early retirement.”
“Ron Storey.” The tone of Hunt’s voice was sombre.
Just hearing that name infuriated Jeff Hinton.
“I remember when that power-tripping brute was in charge of the group of police and UN disarmament officers who went door-to-door seizing firearms. Thank God I had already buried mine in the ground. Soon as I can sneak out of town they’re getting dug up.”
“Storey is operating a sex trafficking ring out of the facility,” Hunt stated.
“Come again.” Templeton was shocked.
“Storey, along with a small group of officers, sells female prisoners to government officials as well as NAP and UN troops. Son of a bitch has been doing this for months. He lives close to downtown. My source tells me he often works late, sometimes past midnight.”
“Bob, all of this sounds wonderful in theory, but looking at reality, how are we supposed to sneak around without getting caught?” Hinton asked. “Anybody caught out after curfew is guaranteed a one-way trip to the gulag.”
“Or the grave,” Templeton added. “We should be focusing on destroying basic infrastructure such as bridges, buildings, vehicles…whatever.”
“We’ll just have to work all of this out over the next week or so,” Hunt stated. “In the interim, carry on as if nothing is happening. And whatever you do, do not let another living soul know what is going on. I cannot emphasize that enough.”