The lockdown remained in effect well into the next day. Only those residents with special permits were allowed to leave their homes. The intensive search of every occupied dwelling in Kamloops turned up over one hundred firearms-many of them family heirlooms owned by elderly people-as well as canisters of gunpowder, ammunition and other explosive materials. Robert Hunt sat quietly, his hands wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee. It had been days since he had spoken with Jeff and Ben Hinton, Marty Smith, Chris Templeton or Father Tuck. Hunt feared that one or more of them could have been swept up in the searches. Facing the prospect of torture, anybody-even the most mentally tough-would likely spill the beans. Should that happen, there would be no hope for an organized resistance movement now or in the future.
“Bob, come here now.” There was alarm and urgency in Barbara’s voice.
Hunt got up from the table and went into the living room. On TV, Frank Carragher’s all-pervading eyes and sagging jowls dominated the screen eerily reminiscent of Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984.
“Greetings, dear members of the proletariat. Since taking my post as administrator of your vast, very beautiful region, I have been a fair, objective and most importantly, a lenient ruler. I have permitted all of you a reasonable amount of freedom of movement, the right to assemble and even bring forth complaints and petitions to my office.”
The Hunts could tell that there was something genuinely sinister about the man just by looking at him.
“And this is how you repay my leniency, my generosity,” Carragher continued. “There are some of you hidden amongst a population of roughly 123,000 souls who have no respect for the law. You will stop at nothing to undermine the federal government’s presence here. You senselessly murder four North American Police officers and a captain in the federal department of corrections. Then you believe you can hide weapons from my troops. I cannot pinpoint exactly who is responsible, but due to your selfish and reckless actions, fifteen of your fellow citizens are about to die.”
The screen switched to the football field located on the southern edge of Kamloops. Major Toombs and Lt.-Colonel Mullen, along with a group of NAP and British Paras, stood about twenty feet away from fifteen city residents that were lined up about a foot apart. For the Hunts, it was almost surreal having to watch innocent civilians ranging from teenagers to old men, their faces terrified, about to die. A mother and her teenage daughter held each other as they cried profusely.
The fortyish man in the centre of the lineup was Gerald McCann. The woman and teenage girl to the left were McCann’s wife Laura and daughter Ilia. Hunt’s adrenaline shot up. His mouth was dry. Clear thoughts were quickly muddied. Among the condemned was Charles O’Brien. O’Brien had served for thirty-five years in the Canadian Army on a variety of peacekeeping missions. O’Brien, who was pushing eighty, was also an avid gun collector.
Brian Vance felt sick to his stomach as he gripped his assault rifle. The palms of his hands were oozing sweat. The novice paratrooper had been selected to be part of the firing squad. He stood alongside six of his fellow paras. There was no way in Hell he could bring himself to do this.
“On my command!” Mullen yelled.
The firing squad raised their rifles. Though it could very well result in a court martial or, at the very least, a severe tongue-lashing by his superiors-Vance decided to discreetly shoot at the ground behind the victims.
Hunt’s body contorted with rage. His blood pressure shot up like a rocket. Hopefully he wouldn’t have a heart attack. Her face as white as a sheet, Barbara slunk into the couch. Hunt was scared that his wife of four decades would faint. It killed both of them to watch Ilia fall to her knees begging for her life.
“Please…please…don’t kill us!” The young girl pleaded. Laura knelt down beside her daughter.
“Fire at will!” Mullen commanded in his booming voice.
The Paras unleashed a firestorm of bullets that ripped mercilessly through the bodies of the fifteen city residents. Vance shot around them. Barbara became weaker. She felt lightheaded as she got up off of the couch.
“Bob, I’m going to be sick.”
Barbara ran into the bathroom and shut the door behind her. Hunt shut off the television. He sat there, the life completely drained out of him. As soon as the lockdown was lifted, he would be meeting with the other members of the resistance cell. Hunt had just witnessed the government of North America, with the assistance of the United Nations, commit a senseless act of genocide. He hoped and prayed that the silver lining to come out of this horrific event would be a total insurrection by the city’s residents.