Mallory’s skinny frame shivered in the predawn chill. In her hands she grasped a ‘liberated’ British rifle. The band of rebels had been hunkered down since the wee hours of the morning. They entrenched themselves into positions amongst the sparsely-forested hillside that flanked a lesser-used paved road that wound through the mountains. Beyond the hillsides were vast spruce forests and rugged mountain peaks that jutted high into the sky.
While their comrades acted as sentries, Kevin and Jake had planted an improvised explosive device inside of a hard plastic culvert located at the intersection of where the road met three other roads. To construct the improvised explosive device (IED), Kevin installed wires into a smartphone, which were then inserted into a brick of C4. Jake and Kevin placed the C4 on top of a tightly-packed barrel full of a volatile mixture of diesel fuel and fertilizer. Once the IED had been packed inside, they sealed both ends of the culvert.
Calvin crouched down amongst the undergrowth as best as he could. Neil was beside him. The best friends and fellow freedom fighters positioned the light machinegun that had been taken from the British supply truck. Jake was situated twenty meters away. He grasped a LAW Rocket. Sarah Jane stayed close to Mallory. The generally peaceful environmentalist and social activist was beginning to realize that she may have no option but to fight. A lone NAP armored personnel carrier drove into view. It was headed east. Kevin grasped a cellular phone in his hand.
The head of the driver was barely visible. The gunner was very well protected by an imposing turret.
Kevin steadied himself. The APC appeared as one of the thousands of ‘surplus’ military vehicles that had been donated to law enforcement agencies across Canada and the United States in the years preceding the North American Union. It looked like a former Canadian Forces Cougar. The APC slowed down as it drove toward the four-way stop. Kevin kept his fingers inches away from the cell phone’s keypad.
As the APC got within three meters of the stop sign, Kevin dialled a number. Four seconds later, the ground underneath of the right side of the road erupted following an ear-splitting explosion. The robust, heavily armored vehicle was lifted a good ten feet into the air before being promptly tossed violently onto its head into an adjacent ditch. Jake’s ears strained to hear what sounded faintly like helicopters. Fearful adrenaline overcame his body. All of a sudden, two Apache attack helicopters appeared over the mountains.
“Retreat!” Jake yelled.
As the insurgents scattered to the safety of the heavily forested mountains, the Apaches unleashed a torrent of gunfire into the hillside. Neil was cut down instantly.
“Neil!” Calvin yelled as he went to assist his fallen comrade. Kevin grabbed his nephew.
“Calvin, he’s dead! Come on.”
Sarah Jane quickly found her fine motor skills going instantly out of whack. She dropped the AR-15 and fled up the hill, her heart pounding wildly. Suddenly, bullets slammed into the dusty earth all around her.
Paralyzed with fear, the young woman couldn’t move. Calvin sprinted further up the hillside and took cover amongst a cluster of ponderosa pines. He grasped the light machinegun. Before the feisty youth could even aim the machinegun, a Hellfire missile swooshed out of the rocket pods of one of the Apaches. It struck the ground barely a foot away from Calvin, blasting his body to bits.
Kevin quickly scooped up the light machinegun. As if it was nothing to him, the bear of a man aimed and fired a succession of 7.62 rounds into the helicopter’s cockpit. The heavily-armed chopper swerved crazily in the air for a minute before crashing into the hillside and exploding into a ball of flame.
The pilot of the second gunship hovered in the air as he observed a panicky Mallory moving as fast as her legs would take her. The gunner sat in the front.
“Roger One Niner…got one of them in my sights now,” the pilot said into the headset on his helmet.
Mallory was out of breath by the time she reached the crest of the hill.
“Oh my God, Sarah Jane!” Mallory watched her best friend clinging to the ground further down the hill. Although she desperately wanted to help her, there was nothing she could do.
The M230 chain gun of the second Apache focused on Mallory.
“I got you now you little bitch!” the pilot said through gritted teeth.
Without warning, Jake appeared from behind a cluster of trees. He raised the LAW rocket. The pilot and gunner looked on in terror as a missile was thrust directly at them. In no time at all, the powerful air beast was reduced to a shower of sparks and thousands of tiny pieces of burning metal that cascaded to the ground below.
Kevin, Jake and Mallory took advantage of the small window of opportunity to retreat further into the mountains. Two NAP Bell 412 helicopters flew over the mountains and landed on the road. Eight NAP troopers got out of each of them, including Major Toombs. While half of the troopers struggled to get the back hatch of the upside-down APC opened, the others searched the hillside. Two of the troopers, their faces obscured by masks, came upon Sarah Jane. It took a lot of effort, but the troopers were finally able to get the hatch open. Eight shaken, bruised but otherwise unscathed colleagues quickly made their way out of the wrecked vehicle.
The troopers brought a struggling Sarah Jane over to Major Toombs.
“Sir, this is the only one we were able to capture,” a corporal stated. “The remaining enemy combatants are either dead or have fled into the mountains.”
“I can see that, corporal,” Toombs snapped back. Toombs looked upon Sarah Jane, who glared at him with eyes of contempt.
“What is your name?”
“Go to Hell!”
“Take her directly to the detention centre,” Toombs ordered. He surveyed the vast, awe-inspiring wilderness laid out in front of him like a painting. “And as for Jake Scribner, his days are numbered.”