Father Tuck spent the previous night with Jake, Kevin and Mallory. The rebels had ditched the jeep in the mountains. In its place they procured an old truck from an abandoned property outside of Clearwater. Jake, Mallory and Kevin huddled in the back of the truck, the bottom of which was covered by straw. It was an old Ford, built sometime in the early 1980s. Kevin assumed it had been used to haul swine.
The truck vibrated as Tuck drove into the outskirts of Kamloops. He slowed down as he approached the bridge that crossed the South Thompson River that connected Highway 5 with Battle Street. Four British paratroopers guarded the bridge. A sergeant, a slightly plump older chap with scattered wrinkles in his face and silver hair, motioned for Tuck to stop.
“Good evening,” the sergeant said as Tuck manually rolled down the driver’s side window. “Your travel permit, please.”
Tuck displayed the phony document.
“Where’re ya coming from, Father?”
“100 Mile House. Visiting a colleague of mine up there.”
“Don’t you normally drive a jeep?”
“Drove the same vehicle for ten years. It was some reliable. She just creamed on me last night. Didn’t give me any warning either. Engine’s gone. It will be cheaper just to get a new vehicle than fix this one. A local farmer sold this old beater to me.”
The sergeant peered over at his younger subordinates.
“Check the back.”
Jake felt his heart sink into his stomach at the sound of footsteps approaching the back of the truck. His right hand clutched a Beretta. There were five rounds in the magazine. A young private opened up the flap, unaware that three rebels were stowed away underneath of it. He was nearly knocked flat on his feet by the stench.
“Oh, I failed to inform you,” Tuck said. “The farmer used this truck to haul pigs. I’m terribly sorry.”
The sergeant shook his head angrily.
“Ah, the hell with it. Alright, Father, you may pass.”
Jake, Mallory and Kevin felt a tremendous surge of relief as the truck proceeded into Kamloops. All of them were itching to finally see an end to the brutal occupation and seek retribution against all of those responsible for violating their rights. Justice would be served but at the end of a gun. Mallory was elated knowing that her best friend had survived. Kevin continued to bellow in shock at having to witness his nephew being blown to bits in front of his very eyes.
It was promising to be another potentially lethal day. As thousands of city residents poured through Seymour Street, a large force of Norwegian soldiers and NAP troopers were waiting to put an abrupt stop to them.
The riot control squads had been issued full body armor, shields, helmets, batons, tear gas, guns that fired rubber bullets as well as water cannons and riot shotguns. NAP sharpshooters were posted on the roof of the Canfield Building as well as some other government offices. Extra members of the British Parachute Regiment were deployed to guard bridges, leaving only a skeleton crew to keep watch over Kamloops Airport.
While NAP and British operators were overwhelmed communicating with crews on the ground, Toombs, Mullen, Karlsen, Wynne and Brown gathered inside of Mullen’s office.
“I just spoke with Carragher,” Toombs stated. “He wants to have a few Apaches on standby.”
“I was really hoping that it wouldn’t turn into a bloodbath,” Karlsen said. “Unfortunately, I don’t see any way in which we can avoid that. I spoke with General Nilsson. Edmonton is awash with civil strife as well,” the veteran Norwegian Army officer explained. “It will be hard to get reinforcements for at least a day or two.”
“We’re not going to need any reinforcements,” Toombs said with confidence. “If I have my way, every one of those animals will be mowed down.”
“Major Toombs, that isn’t really necessary,” Karlsen said.
“Then what is necessary, Colonel? Do you think we should be coddling them? No more fucking around. The gloves are coming off.” Toombs turned to Mullen. “Colonel. That soldier of yours. Did he turn up yet?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Sounds quite insubordinate if you ask me,” Toombs said.
“Private Vance is a decent soldier. He’s just a bit unruly at times. Personally, I don’t believe that the kid is cut out for military life, at least not the life of a para.”
“I’ll tell you one thing though,” Wynne said with anger in his voice. “When that little shit does show up again, he better have a damn good explanation. Because if he doesn’t, he’s going to be court martialed.”
“He definitely will be,” Mullen stated. “I will personally make his life a living Hell.”