Bob Hunt and his fellow patriots knew that it would only be a matter of time before the district government retaliated against the city’s population. The five men had been bracing themselves for this inevitable backlash. A total lockdown had been imposed upon Kamloops at eleven o’clock the previous night. All residents were under strict orders to remain in their homes until further notice. Over a dozen NAP and UN helicopters buzzed loudly in the sky over the sprawling central British Columbia city. Each one of Kamloops’ twenty-seven incorporated neighborhoods was sealed off.
Robert Hunt peered through the large window of his living room. An ATF Dingo 2 drove slowly down his street. An observant gunner whose hands gripped a .50 caliber machine gun sat in the turret. Soldiers were going door-to-door checking residences. All of a sudden, Hunt heard a rapt knock at his door. Barbara trembled in fear.
“Oh my God, Bob. What are they going to do?”
“Absolutely nothing,” Hunt replied as if he wasn’t all that concerned. “Let them take a look around. There’s nothing here that would interest them.”
Hunt opened the front door. Two UN soldiers dressed in heavy battle gear and grasping Heckler & Koch HK416 rifles stood on his doorstep. On their shoulders was the patch of the International Security Assistance Force as well as a small version of the Norwegian flag. Their nametags said Eriksen and Friedberg.
“Good day, Sir.” Eriksen spoke politely in a thick Scandinavian accent. “By the authority of the North American government, we are ordered to check every home in this city for weapons.”
Hunt had prepared himself for this exact scenario.
The young soldiers looked around. Barbara glared upon the intruders revoltingly. It was as if they were expecting her horrified reaction and merely wanted to do their job and get out quickly. The Norwegians conducted a quick check of the main closets and rooms of the house. To the relief of the Hunts, they did not go any further. Hunt couldn’t help but feel somewhat guilty for having to put his fellow city residents through all of this. But these were desperate times and in order to achieve victory, this had to happen.
Lately, those disturbing dreams that had been haunting Jake for months in his sleep decided to return. The memory of hearing Nicole’s traumatized voice-the last contact he’d had with her-tore away at him. Jake pulled the sleeping bag up around him. It was approaching September and although the days were still very hot, nights could get quite chilly. The rebels were doing more hunting these days. They also conducted reconnaissance missions on roads in the vicinity of their hideout.
Soon, they planned to ambush one of the NAP armored personnel carriers that frequently patrolled the roads. The more pressing issue at hand was the prospect of having to tough out a cold, snowy winter in the mountains.
It would be an insurmountable task for sure. In his head, Jake constantly devised schemes about how he would sneak back into Kamloops and rescue Nicole and Arielle-that is if they hadn’t been moved or, Heaven forbid, killed. Jake stared up at the ceiling of the dark, abandoned mine.
“God, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not a particularly religious man, but if you can hear me, my only request is that you watch over Nicole and Arielle and keep them safe.”