Plans and Counters
Duluth Dew Drop Inn
We had been watching the news coverage all afternoon in my room. I had called the eight other senior members of the Chapters that had arrived at the hotel into my room to talk. I was still in charge; there was one other Vice President from Houston, but I’d been in the Club longer. As far as I knew, I was now the senior Club officer in the United States. All told, we had almost fifty men, all armed and itching for a fight.
We felt sick about the losses our Club had suffered, yet lucky because we were still free. If we had stayed at the Clubhouse, the raids would have picked us up or killed us. If we had gone with our Presidents, our heads would be hanging on a border fence. The failure of the earlier attack on Chase and Rori’s home was a reminder of the price of stupid.
The helicopter shots of our frozen brothers as the Deputies chainsawed them off the frozen lake made me sick. They took insane risks going out in that storm, unprepared as they were. They didn’t respect Nature, and Nature killed them in their hubris. We would not repeat their mistakes. “The cops are leaving,” Blade said as he dug into his taco. We’d sent a few prospects out into town to bring back food for dinner while the rest of us laid low.
“About time,” I said. “Our orders have changed slightly since this morning. The Boss wants to make an example of them. All of these people in these homes along the Point and continuing back towards the beach? The homes are all owned by Rori, the occupants are her crew, and they all participated in the deaths of our men. We are to kill them all and burn everything to the ground, then get out of there before the cops can respond.”
“Fuck yeah,” was the consensus of the other leaders. You mess with the Sons, you’re DEAD. We will kill you AND your family. This Chase guy had fucked with us for the last time.
“I want eyes on them from every angle we can get.” I handed out the flip phones I had my man purchase after the roads opened this afternoon. “These phones have one number programmed into it, and that’s mine. Preacher, you and your men have surveillance, so I gave you three.” I showed him the satellite view of the lake and Chase’s land. “I want one car in this area, watching the main entrance to their development. Put the second car over here, covering the back entrance. Finally, drive one out on the lake and park next to one of the ice houses; that will give the best view of what is going on at the compound. Every group should have a spotting scope or binoculars. Stop and buy them on the way out of town if you don’t have them.”
“Drive on the ice?” The guys weren’t used to this, and the video had spooked them about driving on ice.
“Four-wheel drive truck, bring your GPS. You’re not doing this in the middle of a storm, it’s nothing like last night. It’s clear and fucking cold tonight, so don’t run out of gas or turn your truck off. The public boat launch is here,” I pointed at the map. “You can drive onto the ice there, and return the same way.”
Preacher put the three phones in his jacket. “They won’t go to the bathroom without us knowing about it,” he said.
“Good. Gather your men and head out now, make sure your gas tanks are full because you’ll be running the cars all night. I will talk to you when we are in position, should be around three-thirty.” I clasped his hand, and he met my eyes; his men would do their job. I waited until he was out the door before I continued.
“Ghost, take one man up here by the lighthouse with this phone,” I said as I handed it to him. I pointed at a map, a stretch of Highway 61 near Split Rock Point Lighthouse State Park. “Find a spot on a scenic overlook or something. When I call you, make a 911 call. Say your brother got drunk and fell over the cliff edge. That should get all the Lake County Sheriffs up there, well clear of where our attack will be.”
“No problem, we’ll head out a couple of hours early and scout out a good spot,” he said.
“Blood, your team will be sent ahead and posted down here by the exit from Highway 61. You are to block any police units that are responding to the calls from the compound. Set up cars in sniper positions; use explosives, trees, whatever else you can come up with. Stop them or force them to go around to the other side of the lake to get there. That will give us time to escape from the back entrance to their property and move west. Once we have the place burning, we split up and return to our hometowns. Take your time, use backroads, and expect the Police to be looking for us.” He nodded his head, thinking about who he’d put where. “Look for their people and the police and write everything down. They’ve got armed guards and dogs, so watch their movements, and look for patterns. Everyone else, get some sleep. We move out at three in the morning.”
The men moved out, and I grabbed a beer and some food. Everything was a mess, and the Club was without its senior leadership. Even the Oracle didn’t help, she just gave me my orders and couldn’t add anything to it. “Veep, we’re really going to do this,” Track asked quietly.
“Yeah. We haven’t been called off, so we go.”
“I have a bad feeling, boss. I don’t like this at all.”
I grabbed the ice bucket and pulled him outside the room; I didn’t need others to hear this. We went down the hall to the ice machine, and I made sure no one else was around. “What’s the problem, brother?” He’d always had good instincts, and I trusted him.
“It’s too soon. The guys hit last night, and we’re going to attack again about twenty-four hours later? Shit, the cops might still be there at the crime scene.”
“That’s why we’ll get eyes on,” I said.
“Well, those people are going to be more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. There is one good way in, and two bad ways out. If the cops get a helicopter in the air, we’re fucked.”
“It’s all about the timing. We roll in, take out all resistance, toss the Molotov cocktails, then get the hell out of Dodge. As long as we aren’t there for more than twenty minutes, we’ll be long gone before the cops arrive. The men will slow them down enough for us to get away, even on these back roads,” I said.
He nodded. “I just want to get the fuck out of this frozen wasteland and go home,” he said.
“Me too. It’s about a hundred degrees too cold for me, and the motorcycle rides suck.”
Captain Mark McCluskey’s POV
Duluth Police Headquarters
I was at my desk, down the hall from the room where everyone gathered when I got the email. I opened it up, my eyes bugging out as I saw the summary from my man in the hotel. Most of the remaining Motel guests had relocated elsewhere in town at our request. We took advantage of the empty rooms to move detectives into the rooms next to where the Sons were staying, and that’s how we got them on tape talking about the attack. I unplugged my laptop and carried it into the main area.
“QUIET,” I yelled as I walked to the conference table. “I just got this from the motel.” Hitting play on the attached audio file, we all listened for ten minutes as the Sons detailed their attack plan for tonight. I was taking notes as I listened in on their plan. When the file ended, everyone tried to talk at once.
“Enough,” I said. “Commanders with me,” I said as I pointed to the small conference room. FBI Commander Irene Lindstrom, FBI Hostage Rescue Team Commander Tim Needles, Duluth Police Chief Sven Lundgren, Lake County Sheriff John Carter, and DEA Agent Murdoch. I closed the door behind them as I set my computer down.
“Our plan won’t work,” Irene said. “We were counting on them all heading up together, but there will be four different groups and vehicles in six different locations by my count, all of which would have to be taken down at the same time.”
“We could go back to taking them out at the motel,” Needles said. “Difficult, but at least they are all in one place.”
Chief Lundgren shook his head. “It would be like World War 3 in my city if we did that. Just look at what happened in the Clubhouse, and we’d have that in twenty rooms. There’s no way we can sneak teams in to make all the breaches at the same time.”
“There is some good news,” I said. “With the search warrants we’ve obtained, we have GPS transmitters attached to all their vehicles. We’ll know exactly where they are. We should match up with each of the cars with individual units. Let Hostage Rescue take the ambush we planned on their main force as they come up Highway 61, while SWAT takes out the guys setting up the ambush near Two Harbors.”
“Timing will be critical,” Needles replied. “Everyone is going to have to wait for us to spring the trap on the main force before they move. If the Sons get any warning we are on to them, they’ll bolt.”
“What about the 911 call they make?”
Sheriff Carter answered. “We know it’s not real, so we don’t respond. I’ll ask Cook County to send one of their deputies down to arrest the two if they are still there. That car will be so far from the action that we can pick them up anytime.”
“That’s a good plan for any that escape,” the Chief said. “We track, regroup, and take them on the road when we’re ready.”
“Don’t take chances with these men, they tend to shoot rather than surrender,” Commander Lindstrom said. “Give them a chance, but be ready to put them down. I don’t want to go to more funerals.”
It sounded like a good plan, and we didn’t have better ideas. Commander Lindstrom was going to stay here in Duluth with the Chief and the Sheriff to coordinate their people. I was going to ride with the Duluth SWAT, covering the retreat with my unmarked patrol car. We broke up, the Chief telling me to try and get some sleep before it all went down. I went back to my office, pulled out my cot, and then remembered what I needed to do.
I went back to my desk and looked up the phone number. She answered on the third ring. “Hello?”
“Rori? It’s Captain McCluskey.”
“Uncle Mark! How are you doing?”
“I’m probably doing better than you right now,” I said.
“We’re doing all right, considering,” she said. “Are the Sons that were down in Duluth gone now?”
“No, they’re still a problem. It’s too risky to take the Sons down in town, but we did find out they are planning to attack tonight. It’s worse than we imagined; there are between forty and fifty of them, and they want blood. We overheard them planning to attack tonight, and not just you and your husband. They plan to kill everyone in your compound and burn the place to the ground.”
I heard her let a breath out, and when she talked, she sounded furious. “You’re going to stop them?”
“We’ll do our best, but if it goes bad, you need to be ready. I know you have people there who can fight. Get them ready, because the Sons are planning to attack sometime after three in the morning.”
“We’ll kill anyone who steps onto our property with a gun,” she said.
“If they have a badge, please don’t. Also, don’t do anything stupid or act like you know it’s coming. There are at least three cars that will be watching your homes tonight; one from the lake, one from the back entrance, and one at your front entrance. We are tracking them and will take them down when we hit the main group, at least that’s the plan. If you make it look like you’re waiting, they may change their minds and do it when you aren’t ready. I’m letting you know in case any of these bastards get by us.”
“Thanks, Uncle Mark.”
“Please don’t tell anyone outside your family that we talked about this. I probably wasn’t supposed to tell you anything, but I won’t fail you twice. Keep yourself and your family safe tonight, whatever it takes.”
“We will,” she said. “Thanks, Mark. I’d like to see you again when this all settles down, and you can see my babies.”
“I’m sure Lucy would love to see you again. We all missed you.”
“Goodnight,” she said.
“Goodnight, Treasure.” I hung up the phone and leaned back in my chair, knowing that I’d done all I could for now. I stripped down to my underwear and went to sleep on the cot.