Given the dire circumstances in which they found themselves in, life was slowly returning to normal for Jake, Mallory and Kevin. A blistering hot summer was giving way to a crisp, cold fall. With most of their food stores depleted, the three remaining members of the resistance group spent much of their days hunting and preserving meat for the incoming winter.
Under a slate-gray, cold late September sky, Jake smoked pieces of venison from a recently killed deer. Of late, the rebel leader had noticed that the cold was affecting his joints. He seemed too young and fit to be getting arthritis. This was the last thing he needed right now. Jake turned around as Mallory exited the small entrance to the abandoned mine carrying two steaming mugs of tea. She handed one to Jake. They sipped slowly, letting the hot beverage warm their insides.
“Thought you might enjoy this.” Mallory wrapped her hands around the hot mug. She could sense the sadness and hopelessness coming from within him. “I completely understand how you feel, Jake. I wish I could say something that would make it all better.”
“She’s the only woman I ever loved. Sure, I’d had my share of relationships before, but Nicole is everything I’ve ever wanted in a life partner.”
“Jake, each day I pray that Nicole and Arielle are alive and well.”
Jake set his tea on the small table next to the rack where the venison was smoking. Unable to hold it back any longer, he broke down crying. Mallory set her tea down as well.
She hugged him tightly.
“Jake, it’s going to be alright. I know how badly you desire to be reunited with them, how you want to get back into the city and exact retribution against every one of those evil people. And I truly believe that if it is God’s will, we will find a way to do just that.”
Although the district government had implemented a severe crackdown on almost all forms of dissent in the city, that crackdown was beginning to backfire. Each day, under the watchful eye of NAP forces as well as the contingent of Norwegian peacekeepers who’d arrived recently from Kamloops, residents took to the streets in large demonstrations. Food had become scarcer and, with winter just around the corner, the populace was in full-out panic mode. Frank Carragher was beginning to wonder if his little empire was starting to crumble. If it did, his future working for the North American government was gone.
Robert Hunt and the small group of rebels knew that this increase in civil upheaval was an opportune time to carry out another attack. It was a moonlit though chilly night. Hunt, Marty Smith, Jeff Hinton, Ben Hinton, Father Tuck and Chris Templeton gathered in the furnished basement of Hunt’s home. Over the past week or so, Tuck had been meeting secretly with Brian Vance. He enjoyed talking with the troubled young British paratrooper and believed that he could be swayed to the other side. At the same time, Tuck was still not one hundred percent sure that he could trust Vance. He dared not mention their meetings with his fellow insurgents.
As well, the veteran priest had been spending some time getting to know Sarah Jane Pierce. Although quite antireligious, Sarah Jane nonetheless enjoyed having somebody to talk to. As far as she was concerned, Tuck was not working for the authorities and most likely despised them as much as she did.
“It is time to carry out another attack,” Hunt stated rather bluntly. He looked over at Chris Templeton. “Chris, you’ve been doing a bit of scouting around lately. What have you found?”
“Couple of the downtown restaurants, you know, the upscale ones, they’re often frequented by NAP personnel as well as Norwegian and British troops. There’s one particular scumbag who’s a regular at the Café Monaco down in Sixth Avenue.”
“Yeah, who’s that?” Smith asked.
“Jean-Pierre Bisseau. To the best of my knowledge, he’s originally from Montreal. That piece of shit is complicit in the murders of at least fifteen city residents,” Templeton explained.
“What are you talking about, Chris?” Hinton asked.
“This isn’t a well-known fact, but on the day of the occupation, in addition to those who were deemed subversive and locked up either in the regional jail or sent to labor camps, a handful were simply executed. A couple of those individuals were Peter Rollins and Jack Hemphill,” Templeton explained.
“Peter Rollins?!” Smith was aghast in horror. “Ole Pete ran one of the largest gun shops in Kamloops for years!”
“I’ve heard,” Templeton said as he continued talking. “As I was about to say, they were all taken to the old landfill on the south end of town and shot.”
“Dad.” Benjamin looked at his father with great concern in his eyes. “We must avenge their deaths.”
“Don’t you worry son. We’re doing just that.”
“He often goes there with his family. Bisseau has two young daughters. I believe the family lives in the West End,” Templeton stated.
Benjamin’s eyes lit up excitedly.
“I say we target his family as well. The only way that we are going to win is by striking fear deep into the hearts of every one of those bastards.”
“No, we can’t do that,” Hunt stated. “We never want to lower ourselves to their level.”
“So how do you want to go about doing this?” Smith asked.
“The old Irish Republican Army used to employ a tactic that effectively struck fear into the enemy as well as their loved ones,” he explained. “Years ago, during the period known as the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, Provisional IRA cells would target members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as well as guards that worked at Long Kesh Prison in Belfast. To use an example, a target would be eating at a local restaurant. An IRA member, his face concealed by a ski mask, would assassinate the mark in front of his wife and children.”
“That does sound a little brutal but doing so would definitely send a message that we are not fucking around,” Hunt said. “I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but it certainly sounds like a plan to me.”