Upon securing the airport, the rebels had cut the fuel lines on all of the helicopters, save for three, an Apache, a Blackhawk and a Bell Huey. It took Marty Smith about fifteen minutes or so to figure out all of the controls of the Apache. A bit nervous, the experienced pilot started up the attack helicopter and flew off into the night air.
Robert Hunt kept a pistol trained on Hochner’s head as the captured NAP pilot started up the gears of the Bell Huey. Once everyone was inside, Jake lit a match and dropped it into the highly flammable gas that was seeping all over the pavement. Then he ran toward the Bell Huey. As Hochner was taking off, the entire fleet of patrol and attack helicopters erupted in a succession of loud, fiery explosions.
Major Toombs peered through the window at the end of the corridor on the seventh floor of the Canfield Building. Far below, NAP troopers and Norwegian peacekeepers were in a vicious clash with the ever-growing mob of furious Kamloops residents. Toombs’ heart felt heavy. They were safe, but for how long? Frank Carragher rushed out of his office.
“Major, I just got off the phone with General Meers in Vancouver. We can forget about reinforcements arriving any time soon. The airport has been destroyed.”
“Goddammit.” Toombs stewed angrily. Deep in his heart, he knew Jake Scribner was very much alive. “Any response from Mullen or Karlsen?”
“I’m afraid not,” Carragher answered.
Nicole and Arielle sat restlessly in Carragher’s office. Nicole held Arielle in her arms. Lately, she’d begun to notice the child coming around, slowly warming up to her again. Perhaps the months of brainwashing were coming undone. The joy Nicole felt about her beloved hometown finally being liberated was almost overwhelming. As much as he had his delusions, Frank Carragher would never have Nicole Clare as his own.
It had been relatively easy for Chris Templeton and Mallory Hutchinson to gain access to the eight-storey Metrolife Financial building in downtown Kamloops. She grasped a captured British Army sniper rifle while her comrade-in-arms held onto two MBT LAW antitank weapons. As was expected, the entire building was deserted. Since the elevator was out of service, they had to climb eight flights of stairs to reach the roof.
Down below on Seymour Street, the violent clashes continued. A NAP sharpshooter positioned on top of the Canfield Building fired, striking down a demonstrator who charged at a line of riot police with a machete. All of a sudden, over one thousand rioters removed glass liquor bottles and flammable liquids such as lamp oil and turpentine from their bags and began constructing Molotov cocktails.
Five minutes later, the wall of NAP troopers and Norwegian peacekeepers found themselves assailed by a storm of flaming bottles. They were forced back as the Molotov cocktails erupted into bright orange fireballs as they smashed into the pavement or against their hard plastic shields. The smell of noxious fumes permeated the air.
Toombs watched from the window. He spoke into a radio.
“Strike down every one of them,” he ordered.
The machine gunners atop the MRAPs fired off a volley of .50 calibre bullets that tore into the heavy mass of humanity. The crowd retreated in a panicked state as their colleagues lay dead or severally injured on the blood-soaked pavement. Body parts were strewn everywhere.
Chris Templeton and Mallory Hutchinson were slightly winded by the time they reached the roof. Wasting no time, Templeton flipped up the LAW’s sight. He focused it on one of the APCs. A missile swooshed through the air and hit the turret dead-on. The armored fighting vehicle exploded, resulting in a flaming, burning hulk of steel. Like a bolt right out of blue, a bullet flew out of nowhere, narrowly missing them.
Templeton and Mallory quickly ducked. Mallory peered through the sight of the sniper rifle. She caught a glimpse of a NAP sniper embedded amongst the heaters and pipes of the Canfield Building roof. She breathed as she placed the crosshairs on the masked man’s underbody, took aim and fired. He fell over onto his back, dead. Templeton raised the other LAW. Quickly, he arose from his hiding place and fired a missile into the second APC. The rocket struck the heavily-armored vehicle underneath. A massive explosion ensued, knocking the APC over onto its side.
From where Marty Smith sat in the somewhat uncomfortable cockpit of the Apache attack helicopter, the entire city appeared as though it was an enormous soundstage for the big-budget Hollywood production of a post-apocalyptic blockbuster film. The night was dark and cold. There were fires everywhere. Smith steadied the chopper’s controls as he flew in the direction of the bridge the traversed the South Thompson River where Fortune Drive connected with Victoria Street.
Smith used his helmet-mounted display, the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting, to aim the M230 30mm chain gun exactly where he wanted it. Five British paratroopers standing on the bridge appeared to take little notice of the Apache helicopter flying in their direction. All of a sudden, they were assailed by a punishing volley of 7.62 rounds from the 30mm cannon, which cut all of them down. Smith continued flying in an easterly direction. He was bound and determined to take out each of the bridge checkpoints.
Hochner’s nerves were frayed to the max as he flew the North American Police Bell Huey helicopter into the warzone that had become downtown Kamloops. Robert Hunt, sitting in the cockpit next to Hochner, kept the pistol levelled at his head. In the back, Jeff Hinton sat with his son. Ben’s wound had at least stopped bleeding. Tuck sat amongst them. Kevin manned the chopper’s M240 heavy machinegun. Jake had a cable attached to the belt around his waist. The plan was for Hunt to lower Jake onto the roof of the Canfield Building-that is, if they weren’t all killed in the process.
“Are you ready, Jake?” Hunt asked.
Jake was psyching himself up to make his move.
“As I’ll ever be.”
From inside of Carragher’s office, the district administrator and Major Toombs watched as the helicopter hovered in the night sky a few feet from the roof.
“Thank the maker we’re getting out of here in one piece,” Toombs said contentedly.
Four NAP snipers perched on the roof of the Canfield Building watched as Hochner lowered the Bell Huey. One of them, a corporal named Dobson, thought it somewhat peculiar that one of his colleagues would be manning the M240 dressed in civilian attire. Dobson flinched as he heard Toombs’ voice come through the radio on his helmet.
“Dobson, get your men to stand down. We’re being evacuated. I’m sending a team up to the roof. Mr. Carragher, myself, his fiancé and her daughter are coming up next.”
“Roger that, Sir,” Dobson replied.
Lieutenant Dwight Hawkins, a long-serving member of the Arkansas State Police who’d joined the North American Police not long after its inception, ran through the hallway with the NAP troopers. They ascended the stairs to the penthouse and ran out onto the roof.
Dobson and the three other snipers were waiting as Hawkins reached them. Suddenly, Kevin unleashed a hail of 7.62x51mm cartridges into the nine NAP members. Hunt turned around.
“You gotta go now, Jake.”
Jake hung on tightly to the cable. Controlling the wench, Father Tuck lowered him slowly onto the roof. It was something the former Special Operations soldier hadn’t done in years and he was quite nervous.