Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cockroach Hunt in AZ

Now this appears to be heading for some serious feces:

AZ Sheriff Authorizes Lethal Force Against Cartels, Bandits
Drug smugglers and border bandits have been threatening citizens and law enforcement in southern Arizona for long enough and one county Sheriff is taking a stand.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has announced his police department plans to use deadly force, if necessary, to finally drive the dangerous criminals out of the area.

Wonder how long it will be before the scumbags from the District of Criminals stick their noses into this situation.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry... Aw Shit!

This time of year many of us gather together to celebrate the birth of Christ. It is a season of sharing gifts and love for one another, and it is no different for my little family. Mom and Dad live on the other side of the state, big sis and her family live in Kalifornia, and other big (little) sis lives in upstate Washington. So it will just be my young men and I celebrating together.

I am the Santa, since no one else is employed. I don't really care that much that I get no gifts. I buy stuff for myself all year long as I please. My Family stopped with the gift giving years ago as none of us could really afford to buy them. I still get gifts for my boys as I love to give them.

My presents for Christmas are: 1 Terabyte SATA Hard Drive, SATA expansion card, 500 Watt power supply and a new video card for my Dell Optiplex GX260. I have already maxed out the RAM earlier this year and replaced the P4 2.4ghz processor with a P4 3.06ghz. This will extend the life of this PC for another five years... I hope!

Yesterday I went out to buy "Stocking Stuffins" as I call them. We haven't done the stockings thing for the last 2 years but I still buy the stuffin's and hand them out on Christmas Eve. I drove around "Tijuana on the Sky", stopping at various stores spending my hard earned cash. Too many people and too much traffic drove me to leave before to long.

Just as I was pulling into my yard, intending to back into the driveway to facilitate the unloading of goodies, my clutch pedal stuck to the floor! Thru careful maneuvering I was able to get the truck into the yard, but it will not be going anywhere for a while. I am currently thinking that either the clutch slave cylinder or the clutch master cylinder has gone out!

Oh yea!
Merry Frickin Christmas.

Luckily the slave cylinder seems to be the likely culprit and is not all that expensive to purchase. I do not relish the thought of lying in the wet and muddy yard in 48 degree weather in the rain and wind, replacing said object, when I actually get one! Since the truck is nearly 24 years old, I am not surprised that something has finally wore out. I have had this truck for over 15 years and had minimal problems other than replacing the engine some years back. It is a 1986.5 D21 Hardbody 4x4 Extended Cab w 3.0 L v6 (Nissan).

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a safe New Year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

B.O.B.'s And More

Many Blogs have posts on what a B.O.B. should contain, why you should/shouldn't have one, and the contents of the authors own bag.

Over at FALIA PHOTOGRAPHY Freedom Journal there is a good post on BOBs with lots of links to other articles on the net. Hop on over there and compare notes on what your packin'.

Here's some more goodies for you:


I added a link to the Appleseed Project in my sidebar

The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
This part of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School. There are other important documents there also. Go explore our founders minds. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

Want to see what the "Only Ones" are up to?

In my sidebar I have a link to Alternative Nature Online Herbal. This site has pictures of many common wild herbs, including that one that is growing by your backsteps to your house.

Now might be a good time to explore my sidebar links if you haven't done so or have not been paying attention. I will occasionally add links without announcing the fact.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Night: What I'm Listening To

I like a broad range of music but I prefer Rock and Trance:

Homegrown music for me...

Reply to Mike, and those who wondered but did not ask.

Hi Mike. Glad you find what I post to be useful. Be assured, when I am not posting, I am searching and educating myself so that I may share with others those gems that I find.

I have been currently hanging out on some of the forums and taking the temperature of fellow netizens. There are lots of  "Newbies" coming on board, asking lots of questions of the old timers and bringing some news themselves.

I have also been collaborating with 3oEight on his "Tales of Theanor" stories, editing his content and discussing possible pathways to take, generating ideas such as origins of the inhabitants of his planet, Cyon (shortened by the inhabitants from Procyon III) and how they got there. I can see that the entire project could encompass more than one novel, and the research could be very educational.

I am also "visualizing" Chapter 14 of  "The Cache", determining how I want that to go. In it, you will get to spend some more time with Dusty, after he and the main character parted ways.

Last but not least, I am a practitioner of the art of procrastination (Expert), so I have a lot of Dr., Optical and Dental appointments between now and the 1st of the year.

All This has delayed my own story some as I wanted to have another chapter posted by now. Perhaps I will before the end of the year as I will have some time off from Christmas until Jan 3rd.

So, as you can see, I am not being idle, just busy. I have have also revamped my Blogroll page, go take a look! Those readers who use it to read other blogs may notice some that are missing. I removed those that had not been updated for a very long time and added a few new ones. I have more I would like to add but am considering creating a second page instead as there are so many out there.

I am coming across many new blogs by reading others blogrolls, and that all takes time. There are some further changes I would like to make to my blog, but it takes time and experimentation.

So be patient with me and I will try not to disappoint you all.

Here is a new link I added to my sidebar: Bartleby.com - Great Books Online
One of the featured books is Gray's Anatomy. Check it out!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Useful Info

I would like to introduce to my readers a new website that I discovered while doing a search on a plant. It is called Montana Plant Life and it is a valuable resource to Survivalists and Preppers, and anyone looking to find uses for that weed that keeps coming back every year!
I am going to add it to my sidebar links.

Check it out!
You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Link Request Policy

Over the last few months I have had quite a few link requests, some coming in my email, others being posted in the comment sections of my posts. Many of these come from sites which have nothing to do with the subject matter of my blog.

Because of this, I have decided to implement a link request policy. If you wish to have me link to your Blog or Website, you must meet the following criteria.

Your subject matter must be oriented to the following:
1. Preppers and prepping for adversity
2. Survivalist
3. Outdoor oriented activities such as Foraging, Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
4. Woodscraft
5. Current political events of interest to all of the above
6. Four Wheel Drive content (BOV)
7. Any other content that upon reviewing, I determine of interest to myself or my readers

Any requests for links, or comments containing links will be deleted at my discretion.
Form letter requests will be be deleted automatically or simply denied. If you want me to give your site consideration for exposure on mine, take the time to write me a personal note requesting that I do so.

Existing links will stay as they are for now, but may be removed in the future if they do not continue to present value to me or my readers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quote of the Year

I don't normally do quotes as a main post but I found so much truth in this that I couldn't resist.

Jeez these Liberal woman are nasty and ugly people. It’s no wonder why Americans are so turned off by this breed of human. The men of this breed are whiny limp dicks with no spine, and the woman are just plain nasty, mean, and in most cases they are really ugly to look at.
Keemo on November 26, 2010 at 8:57 PM


So there, take that you whiny, ugly liberals!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

EMPact Radio Talking Survival this Week

EMPact America, the foremost electromagnetic pulse (EMP) education and advocacy organization in the world, has an entire radio network dedicated to EMP and national security. Join EMPact Radio this and every Wednesday to listen live to Dr. Peter Vincent Pry. Dr. Pry is a ten-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and has served on the House Armed Services Committee as well as the EMP Commission.

They are focusing on survival this week.

EMPact Radio is a production of EMPact America.  Located in N.Y. (USA), EMPact America is the country’s biggest non-profit organization for citizens dedicated to protecting America from a man-made or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) catastrophe and other threats.

Episode 23, dated 11/24/10 (today) features our very favorite survival guru, Jim!

No, not Jim Dakin, the other guy, Jim Rawles!

Give it a listen!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Still Falling!

It's snowing again today, much harder than yesterday. AccuWeather.com says it is 28 degrees and is predicting 18 degrees for the low tonight. Expect accumulations of 2 to 6 inches with winds increasing to 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.


I am glad that I am on vacation this week!

3oEight has a dentist appointment at 4pm so it looks as though I will be driving in this crap after dark. I am not so awfully fond of that!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sky is Falling

The Sky is falling. I know this to be true because as I look out my window, I can see small flakes of it falling to the ground, covering everything in a white blanket. The thermometer on the deck says it is 28 degrees outside. Inside it is warm and I am sitting watching it fall, drinking a another cup of coffee, listening to some "Oldies" (music I grew up with).

I have been busy of late, what with getting ready for winter, Dr. appointments, Dentist appointments, appointment appointments, blah blah blah...

I got new tires for my truck a few weeks back from a company on the internet out of Kalifornia called Tire Crawler. Great prices and fast shipping. I got 4 of the Dunlop Radial Mud Rovers. They are priced at $138.98 each. I had them shipped to my place of work by a common carrier that we use at work for another $63.00. No sales tax for me!

I wanted to replace the aluminum wheels on my truck with steel black spoke (cheap) wheels but when I started looking around I got sticker shock! I ended up putting them on my aluminum wheels anyway. I will keep looking for some wheels, perhaps at some of the local area boneyards. My pickup is a Nissan D10 (Hardbody) 4x4 that I have had for over 15 years. A good truck!

After I got home from having the new tires installed, I stepped back to admire my new tires. WTF! The left rear tire had a large fist sized bulge in it, and it was pulling away from the rim! It turns out that the bead was torn when they installed it, so it will be replaced at not cost to me. They ended up mounting one of my old tires back on the aluminum wheel at my request as I didn't have a spare tire the same size. The ones that were on the truck were going to serve in that capacity.

So, my replacement tire should be here this coming Tuesday and I should have it installed no later than Wednesday. I wanted to be prepared for a cold front that was coming down out of Canada this week but it looks as though I am only three-quarters prepared!

The local grocery store sells a holiday meal (you cook) that I have been buying for several years. It is starting to get kind of sparse these last few years. No more cans of olives, Butter biscuits, cans of corn or green beans. You still get a Black Forest Ham (4lbs), a Hen Turkey (up to 10lbs), a 5lb bag of potatoes, a package of gravy mix, a box of stuffing mix, and your choice of Apple or Pumpkin pie. I usually add a couple of bottles of sparkling cider to add some pizazz to the meal.

That is a pretty good meal, usually prepared without the ham, as the rest will fill us up for some time. The bird seldom lasts more than the evening so any hopes for cold turkey sandwiches the next day are doomed to disappointment! The leftovers are gone the next day, and the turkey carcass ends up in a lrge pot and is simmered for hours until the remaining meat begins to fall off the bones. Turkey Soup is the order of the day for the next several days until it is all gone.

The temperature has fallen 2 degrees since I began writing this post, and the flakes are getting larger. The ground is getting whiter where the flakes have found a colder surface to adhere to, and it looks as though we have accumulated about an inch or more of the frozen water.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving, even those readers who live in other countries, as we all should have a day of thanks to reflect on all of our blessings, especially our families!
God bless you all, even those of you that don't believe in him!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Have you ever met a man who can eat his own head?!
Defeat a dragon with his pinkie finger?
Kill twenty Samurai warriors with a towel!!?
Destroy a tank by flipping it the middle finger!?
Cause a seizure with a deathstare!?
Strike fear into the heart of a nation by shouting "Rowrooraw! Rowrooraw!"?
Take on a grizzly bear with a plastic fork!?
Make a plastic spoon rust?
Turn lights on and off with his mind!?
Move over Chuck Norris, 3oEight is comin' to town...

Bloggerville that is!

3oEight has started his own blog to publish the “expulsions of thought and creativity” that he is plagued by. It is the new home of the "Tales of Theanor" and his new post named “Phantoms” is up for reading!
So head on over to Reloaded With 3oEight and read the new post. Don't forget to bookmak it while you are there!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Burst

More from 3oEight.

Theanor-City, 0100 [1:00 AM]

The charging handle clacked as it slammed forward, the first of many rounds entering the chamber. Both hands were wrapped around the ST-61. The stock of the rifle was pressed tightly against his shoulder. He kept his back to the low wall of dirt. Silently, he thanked his dear and fluffy lord that it was not raining. He would've found himself standing among a constantly rising pool of mud and blood were that the case. He was among many men low in the trench, all with rifles similar to his own. Bullets whistled all around, gunfire crackling in the distance. Close by, a tank cannon roared as it sent forth a powerful shell that impacted with its target. The result was a fiery explosion. The target happened to have been Cironian infantry who were tossed about like rag dolls and ripped to shreds by the blast.

Slowly, he turned around and peered over the top of the ditch. Beyond the X-shaped metallic tank traps and garrisoned buildings he could see them. Cironian Infantry moved between wrecked vehicles and rubble piles. They stopped their rush only to exchange gunfire with himself and his comrades. Occasionally, somebody would throw a grenade that would land too short of the ditches before detonating and hurling mounds of dirt and shrapnel in all directions. He rose just beyond the wall of earth and flicked the switch of his rifle near the trigger from 'safe' to 'semi-automatic', his eyes searching for a target. His left elbow was against the dirt acting like a makeshift bipod, the index finger of his right hand resting away from the trigger.

Nearby, a mortar shell slammed into the ground. Its detonation hurled mounds of dirt high into the air and sent a painful ring to his ears. It was followed by a second and third. The blasts were only a few yards apart. They may as well have deafened him. The Cironians had been shelling them since they had begun the assault. Fortunately, it seemed as though their mortars weren't that accurate. He had even spotted shells slamming into the ground without detonating. He guessed that this was the direct result of efforts perpetrated by a resistance movement growing within the Cironian slave labor based work force. Still, he and those around him were beginning to grow tired of the mortars.

He caught sight of one Cironian soldier attempting to sprint through a short distance of open space. It didn't take him long to predict the Cironian's path of movement and lead him a little, squeezing the trigger as the man crossed paths with his sights. The Cironian soldier ran directly into the bullet, the force of the blow knocking him off of his feet. His body hit the pavement with a heavy thud and became a slowly cooling corpse, a pool of crimson forming underneath. As he had gently squeezed the trigger he felt the recoil of his ST-61, a mere push with very little muzzle jump. The next Cironian that attempted to cross through the open was gunned down by a Machine Gunner somewhere on the battlefield.

"Tims!?" A voice somewhere in the ditch called out to him. He could barely hear it over the sounds of the battle around him and the slight ring in his ears. "What!?" He called back, ending the life of another Cironian with a well-aimed shot. "Get with Neeley and go take out those sons o' bitches dropping the mortars on us before they get lucky!" Tims had heard half of his orders. As his Commanding Officer had given them out, one of the garrisoned structures a couple hundred yards from their position suddenly collapsed shortly after the sound of a roaring explosion. A thick cloud of dust covered the street alongside an avalanche of rubble. In the distance a man screamed, "Fall back! Everybody fall back to the bridge!" This had drowned out what had been said.

A great white thick cloud of smoke puffed outward from cylindrical devices that had landed in the centers of the streets. As a third and a forth structure collapsed Theanorian Soldiers sprinted through the open towards Tims' position. Occasionally, a few soldiers would drop to their knees and watch for Cironians, shooting first and asking questions later if they spotted them emerging from the smoke. They vigilantly covered the escape of their comrades until they had all reached the bridge. M-70 "Demons" began to emerge from the slowly dissipating smoke screen. As they slowly rumbled toward the bridge a Mortar shell slammed into the ditch opposite of Tims', hurling a mound of dirt and gore into the air.

"Tims! Neeley! Take those Mortars out now! Use the tunnels to flank them, go!" His commanding officer screamed just as a red beam of energy arched upward into the air from somewhere on the island behind them. It stopped just above the tanks before splitting into three separate beams, each of them impacting with three different tanks. They exploded into fiery balls, the resulting blast killing soldiers that had been using them for cover during their advance. Tims opened up a man sized hatch concealed in the wall of earth, he ushered four men through the hatch before joining them himself. Neeley and the five men under his command were soon to follow.

The two of them were Sergeants in the Theanorian Army. Rather than joining a Militia or forming their own fire team at the age of eighteen they had joined Theanor's small standing army with the mind set of assisting in retaliation against invaders. When they had joined they had been issued ST-61's, a weapon that the Theanorian army had made their standard infantry rifle to allow the them to use ammunition interchangeably with the Militias. Tims had a wife and a pair of offspring who were all affiliated with the Defiance Valley Volunteer Militia. Neeley on the other hand was without any immediate family.

They and those under their command had been assigned the task of defending the bridge and the island it lead to. A large amount of Anti-Aircraft weapons and Evaporation cannons were on the island alongside a weapon known among the soldiers simply as the "AC". To most of the Theanorian soldiers the science behind the weapon was unknown. The Annihilator Cannon ["AC" For short] tended to cause large armored vehicles such as tanks or armored personnel carriers to explode. It had some much more...interesting affects on human beings. Many of the unlucky Cironians who had been hit by it were...melted.  The weapon was automated and was capable of locking on to radio signals. It came equipped with IFF; allowing it to distinguish between friendly and unfriendly radio signals. While Tims & Neeley were moving through the tunnels the Cironian infantry had figured out that they needed to turn their radios off to avoid being melted by the weapon.

The area that surrounded the bridge was composed primarily of suburban neighborhood. Many of the homes had once been garrisoned by soldiers of the Theanorian army. Now, a lot of those same buildings had collapsed in on themselves from shelling done by tanks at a distance. The roads leading to the bridge had been fortified with X-shaped metallic tank traps. Sandbag bunkers had been erected around the area surrounding the ditches and concrete bunkers with stairways leading to fortified rooftops were on either side of the bridge behind the ditches. A trio of H-90 "Dragon" tanks [Theanor's main battle tank] were positioned in the area as well.

H-90 "Dragons" truly were a piece of work. They had quad 120mm smoothbore auto loading guns capable of firing a multitude of different types of rounds at ranges a little beyond 1.9 miles. Its armor [called 'dragon hide' by the Theanorian army] could truly take a pounding from other tanks. It also had a secondary armament of twin fifty caliber machine guns in front of the commander's hatch, a coaxial 'Evaporation Cannon', and a thirty caliber machine gun in front of the loader's hatch. In the case of the M-70 "Demon" the H-90 had met its match. Although the M-70 had one 120mm cannon instead of four it sometimes came equipped with a round capable of inflicting some heavy damage on the H-90.

Quietly, Tims' popped the hatch at the other side of the tunnel. One hand held the concealed hatch up slightly while the other gripped a ladder. His eyes scanned the area before his line of sight thoroughly while his rifle hung freely from around his neck. He spotted them just beyond the view of the hatch. There were three of them crouched around a Mortar tube. One man steadied the tube, the other loaded in shells, and the third appeared to be spotting targets. They were in the center of a backyard lobbing mortars over a ruined home. He could just barely see a second mortar team in a backyard just beyond them across the street. "We're going to have to do this quietly" he said in a low tone, closing the hatch.

He looped the hand that had been holding the hatch open around a part of the ladder, reaching around and grabbing the barrel of his rifle. With his other hand he let go of the ladder and withdrew a suppressor from his vest, fixing it to the barrel of his ST-61. After a quick magazine change to Sub-Sonic ammunition he was ready to exit the tunnels. There was a series of clicks and clacks as the men below him changed out their ammunition and fixed silencers to their barrels. Once they finished he flipped his weapon to the 'fully automatic' setting and opened the hatch once more. Slowly, he rose from the abyss below. Over the sounds of the battle around them the mortar team didn't seem to hear the hatch open and weren't paying enough attention to spot Tims rising from the darkness.

When they did finally notice him it was too late. They were staring down the barrel of his ST-61. As they dived for their weapons he riddled them with bullets, the loud gunshots of the ST-61 turned to mere whispers. Crimson splashed across the ground and the mortar tube as the bullets pierced their bodies. Their corpses hit the ground with a heavy thud. His men emerged from the hatch behind him shortly afterward. They only had to watch as the other Mortar crew was gunned down by Neeley and his men. It didn't take them long to figure out the positions of the other crews and sneak in for the kill. They used the homes as cover---cutting down the other crews very quickly and very quietly before falling back in to the tunnels.

When everything seemed to be going so well...something went wrong. As Tims turned away from a window after finishing off the last remaining Mortar crew a Cironian Zealot lunged out at him from the darkness with a blade. Tims had just barely survived the attack by blocking the blade with the metallic stock of his rifle. Before the Zealot could swipe the blade at his fingers he gave him a swift boot to the crotch and shoved his blade backward; knocking him to the floor. Tims lined the sights of his weapon up with the Zealot who lay seemingly disabled from that boot to the crotch. However, the Zealot recovered within seconds of his impact to the floor and kicked the barrel of the rifle out of the way. This threw Tims' shot off, causing him to spray the last of his magazine's ammunition into the floor instead of the Zealot. The Zealot then knocked the rifle out of his grasp, kicked him directly in the face, and jumped back to his feet. He attempted to bring the blade down through the middle of him in the hopes of splitting Tims' in half.

Tims' trusty tactical sling had saved his life. Thanks to it, he had been able to whip his rifle into action and block the blade a second time. The lightweight and highly durable polymer that most of the rifle was made of seemed to absorb the blows from the blade with relative ease despite the fact that the blade was made of the same material. This time, Tims booted him directly in the stomach causing him to stagger backward. He used the time that this had bought him to fix a bayonet to his rifle before charging in for the stab. The bayonet plunged into the Zealot's chest. Thick crimson flowed forth from the Zealot's mouth. He dropped his blade; both hands wrapping around the stock of the rifle that now protruded from his chest.

Had Tims' been several seconds faster he would've been able to boot the Zealot off of his bayonet, reload, and then finish him off with his pistol. However, he was not fast enough. The Zealot ejected the empty magazine of the rifle and hurled it into Tims' face; pulling the bayonet out of him and picking his sword up off of the floor. For a brief second the Zealot's eyes flashed gold before returning to their normal color. He spat out a wad of crimson and then lunged at Tims' once again. However, he had quickly recovered from the previous blow and had evaded the attack. Maintaining stamina, the Zealot swiped his sword at Tims’ directly after the previous attack had been evaded. He was able to defend against the attack with the stock of his rifle; however, the blow sliced away enough of his rifle’s tactical sling to make separating him from it plausible.

When Tims' attempted to stab the Zealot in the throat with his bayonet the Zealot disarmed him with a fast and highly painful maneuver, kicked him directly in the chest, and brought his blade in to behead him. Tims' staggered backwards into a cooking stove. He had quickly recovered from the Zealot’s disarming maneuver. At the moment the burner grates of the stove were red hot, and a pot filled with boiling liquid sat on top of one. On a counter directly beside the stove was a rack of kitchen knives. Predicting the incoming blade he ducked under the swing and rose just in time to withdraw a knife from the rack. Deftly, he hurled it at the Zealot before he could swipe the blade at his head a second time. The knife nailed him directly in the forearm, causing him to drop his sword and stagger backwards. While the Zealot was distracted with the knife sticking out of him Tims' grasped the handle of the pot with both hands, stepped within range of the Zealot, and dumped the searing hot contents of the pot on to the Zealot's face.

The Zealot did not scream, he roared. Even as the hot liquid ran down his flesh and left it burnt he stood his ground, wrist blades retracting from the sleeves of his uniform. In the hopes of keeping the fight evened out Tims' retrieved the Zealot's sword. He took a swing at the Zealot's neck, who blocked the blade just in time and brought his right wrist blade up into Tims'. The wrist blade plunged into Tims' chest, crimson flowing forth from his mouth. Slowly, everything began to darken. Once the Zealot withdrew the blade Tims' staggered backwards. He fell into a seated position against the stove and watched helplessly as the Zealot concealed the wrist blades within his sleeves once more and retrieved his sword.

The Zealot ripped the kitchen knife from his forearm and tossed it aside carelessly before bringing his sword in for the final killing stroke. The end was near. He felt that he was going to die. Thoughts of his wife and young children surfaced into his mind. An image of his wife popped into his head. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she seemed to stand by helplessly and watch the onslaught. She pleaded with him to survive and ordered to him to kill the Zealot. It was enough to cause him to withdraw his sidearm during the last crucial seconds. First, he fired from the hip as he felt he did not have the time to truly take aim. Three lucky shots spelled the end of the Zealot. The powerful pistol slugs all struck him in the dead center mass. He dropped the sword for the final time and staggered backwards, Tims' finishing him off with the rest of the contents of the pistol’s magazine.

Finally, the Zealot was dead. Tims' vision grew darker by the second. He used his remaining energy to retrieve his first aid kit and treat his wounds, setting his pistol down on the floor. From the depths of the kit he pulled a pair of needles, medical gauze, large bandages, and a thick cloth. One needle was filled with Medical Nanites programmed to go in and temporarily repair damaged tissue as well as clean the wound itself, the other was loaded with pure adrenaline. First, he injected the Nanites into his body at the site of the wound. He let them do their thing, wiping away the blood from his mouth and the wound with the cloth. He covered the wound with a large bandage and reinforced it with medical gauze. Afterward, he stabbed himself with the needle containing pure adrenaline.

Every Theanorian soldier carried his own personal med kit containing gauze, a nanite injection, bandages, a cloth for wiping away blood, and pure adrenaline. The Nanites went in to the body and did the work of a field medic: pushing bullets out of the body, cleaning wounds, temporarily repairing damaged tissue, stopping bleeding, and sometimes negating the use of the bandages with some kind of protective hardened shield. Some of them could even be programmed to replace a field hospital, stitching wounds up in the same manner that the protective shields were erected and permanently repairing damaged tissue. Since they were not always programmed to form the shield the bandages had been added to every soldier's standard kit. With these items every soldier could be a field medic----even soldiers who themselves had been wounded.

He picked up his pistol and ejected its empty magazine, pulling a fresh one out of a magazine pouch on his tactical vest. He loaded it into the weapon and then pulled back the slide, letting it slam forth with a satisfactory clack. Expecting a Cironian soldier to round the corner he executed a quick sweep and then crawled over to his rifle, loading a fresh magazine in to the weapon and worked the charging handle.

The Nanites inside him were nothing compared to the ones inside the Zealot. An autopsy had surfaced a few hours ago. According to its published report those who had conducted the autopsy were in question of weather or not Zealots were still human. Various implants inside their bodies regulated their abilities and the Nanites swimming around all over their bloodstream kept them in the fight. Based on the autopsy they had abnormal speed, endurance beyond ridiculous, abnormal strength, abnormal hearing, and sometimes an ability to see in night or thermal vision [although that was a new feature that had yet to be implemented into some Zealots. The report had simply stated that the possibility was there.]

He and just about every soldier stationed in the city had had a chance to review a copy of the report on the Theanorian battle net, a highly encrypted nearly impossible to hack virtual military communications network that every Theanorian citizen had access to. Every citizen was given their own set of codes at birth. The codes were attached to their birth certificate.

A separate virtual communications network with a similar set up existed to keep citizens updated on elections and other political events. They could also vote from the same communications network and stay updated on world events. This network was under the oversight of an Artificial Intelligence nicknamed the 'Watchman'. If politicians running for office attempted to rig elections or hack the system for political gain in any way the AI would infect their access terminals with viruses and revoke their access codes. Afterward, it would publish their attempts at hacking or rigging elections on the same network and let the people deal with them accordingly.

A similar artificial intelligence maintained the battle net. It was nicknamed the 'Warrior'. Both networks were completely independent of the outside world. Theanorian access terminals and codes were required to gain entry. To other networks in the world it was like they simply didn't exist. The Cironians had their own version of a battle net. However, only Military and Government personnel had access to their version and a lot of the soldiers' radios were tied in to their virtual network.

Sergeant Tims staggered to his feet. "Friendlies coming out!" A voice shouted from around the corner. As they rounded the corner Tims identified them as squad-mates. They had run into some misfortune of their own and had been unable to assist the Sergeant in his close-quarters battle with the Zealot. There were now two men left in his squad. One soldier helped him through the door while the other covered them, the three of them limping toward a more easily accessed entrance to the tunnel network inside the house. Using a brick of plastic explosive they sealed the entrance behind them. After a long walk they emerged on the beach behind where their friendly fortifications had been. Waiting for them there was Neeley and what was left of his squad.

"Fall back across the bridge!" Someone in the distance screamed. The defense of the bridge had been a hard fought battle. However, there were simply too many Cironian soldiers and armor to fight; even with the energy weapon inflicting heavy losses on them. The H-90 crews had valiantly fought the Cironians, holding their ground and covering the retreat of the Theanorian infantry. The tank crews knew that they would not leave the neighborhood alive. Their cannons roared, blasting infantry and M-70's into oblivion as they rounded the corners of the streets and rushed the remaining defenders. The last remaining H-90 was attacked by three M-70's from three different directions. The resulting blasts spelled the end of the tank and lit up the darkened neighborhood. The M-70's and the seemingly endless waves of infantry started their push toward the bridge. At this point the others had already made it across and they were simply waiting for the Cironians to reach the center of the bridge.

Tims & Neeley and what was left of their squads found a pair of quiet-running transport boats hidden on the beach. They quickly pushed them into the water, started their quiet-running motors, and guided the boats across the river. As they crossed the river they could see them. Scores of Cironian Infantry men and tanks slowly crossing the bridge and exchanging fire with the Theanorians on the other side. As they came ashore on the island they were greeted with one hell of a fireworks show. A B-66 "Hammer" bomber flew overhead and unleashed hell upon the Cironian forces crossing the bridge. The resulting blasts caused the bridge to crumble into the wide river below, taking the Cironians to their watery graves. "That'll slow their advance" Neeley said, a smile across his face.


"Lets give em' hell, boys!" The lieutenant barked, the charging handle of his ST-61 slamming forth with a satisfactory clack. He was the last commanding officer present in the "OSO" building. Currently, he commanded a full strength Platoon, the last one remaining of an entire Battalion of soldiers that had been essentially wiped out defending the building against relentless attack. The Colonel who had commanded the battalion had died during their retreat to the last defendable positions in the building after the Cironians had breached the entrance. They were all that was standing between the Cironians and 'the central computer' a false computer center designed to fool the Cironians into thinking they could access to the Theanorian battle net so that they would download the malicious software and be fooled into assassinating their own Generals.

To his right was a man operating a fifty caliber machine gun with thick metallic shields. It was positioned behind a low wall of stacked sandbags. To his left was another fifty caliber machine gun with the exact same set up. He stood behind another wall of sandbags in the direct center of the two, his own fortifications and those to his left and right standing between the Cironians and the hallway behind him which lead to what would appear to be an empty room at first glance. Behind a secret door was the fabled communications center. All over the room that the Lieutenant was in defenders had overturned thick metallic tables and stacked crates on top of each other for cover. For the most part they were positioned out of the Machine Guns' paths so as not to be hit by friendly fire.

Everyone was on their last batch of ammunition. The machine guns had one belt left before they would be dry. Many of the soldiers had two or three magazines for their rifles, a few cylinder-shaped fragmentation grenades, and one magazine for their sidearms. Some men were down to only their sidearms. Every man had fixed a bayonet to his rifle in preparation for their last stand, even the men who had run out of ammunition for their rifles. They stood ready, prepared to fight the Cironians with everything they had right down to their last dieing breath. They did not save ammunition for themselves, for each man knew that the Cironians would not take them alive. At the moment they were not interested in taking prisoners.

The Lieutenant's name was Jones. He was a thirty-five year old soldier who had been selected for a command position based on leadership abilities shown in training at a much earlier age. He had no immediate blood relatives or family. The only real family he had were the men that stood beside him. Some of the men under his command had other family. They spent their free minutes leading up to their final stand gazing at pictures of wives and children. Those photos and the bodies of those who grasped them would all be buried under rubble in a short time span. Each of them knew that there were only mere moments between them and the final fight, a fight that they could not possibly win. They could hear the Cironians on the other side of the large electronic door. They struggled to figure out how to get past the great obstacle that was the large metallic door. After explosives had failed to clear the obstacle they had finally decided have their engineers cut their way through the door with condensed particle beams.

Within their hearts the Theanorians knew the last seconds were at hand. They pocketed the photos of their wives and children and brought their rifles back into action just in time for the beams to cut through the last of the door. As the beams ceased melting and slicing through the door, there seemed to be a thousand clicks. Many safety switches of rifles had been flicked off. A powerful boot knocked the metallic slab that was once the door over. Bullets whistling out of the gaping hole. A few Theanorian soldiers dropped dead before they ever had a chance to fire a shot. The defenders retaliated with a volley of gunfire from their rifles that dropped the first Cironians to rush past the hole, crimson splattering across the metallic walls as every man fired a three-round burst.

The defenders lobbed several activated grenades into the doorway, the resulting blasts followed by an echoing score of blood curdling screams. However, the Cironians tossed grenades of their own through the doorway. These grenades had been cooked and had resulted in the deaths of several Theanorians who had been grouped up behind cover. Again, the Cironians charged in through the gaping hole with their weapons blazing. Once the Cironians began truly pouring in through the doorway the fifty caliber machine guns began spraying out rounds, the powerful slugs tearing into the Cironians and splattering gore across the walls as they ripped them in half. Even as well-aimed shots nailed the gunners between the eyes they still fired the machine guns, their fingers seemed to be wrapped around the triggers of the weapons for all eternity.

Overwhelming amounts of Cironians poured in through the doorway. Five Zealots lead the charge. As the Theanorians reached the last of their ammunition and the machine guns ran dry they swung the butt-stocks of their rifles and jabbed at the enemy with their bayonets. Up close, they slaughtered the Cironian infantry. However, they were no match for the Zealots who made short work of them. As the scene fell silent the Cironians moved from corpse to corpse, stabbing them with bayonets to ensure that they were dead. One Theanorian man who still lived crawled toward a picture of his wife. It had been knocked out of his hands by a grenade blast that had killed his comrades and badly wounded him. As he crawled towards it a Zealot came up behind him and stabbed him through the back with his blade, kicking the photo away from his grasp before pulling the blade free of his slowly cooling corpse.

Lieutenant Jones had been shot. He had given himself a nanite injection and had drawn his sidearm. As the first Zealot rounded the sandbag wall he gave him two rounds to the chest and one to the head, shooting another Zealot in the throat as he scooted back into the hallway and hid behind the cover of some crates that had been stacked against a wall for the last soldier alive. He fired several more rounds, dropping several Cironian infantrymen as they attempted to push through. While one hand ripped a grenade from his assault vest the other fired the handgun blindly. He pulled the pin of the cylindrical fragmentation grenade away with his teeth just as the magazine of his handgun ran dry.

The lead Zealot rushed through the hallway and rounded the crates. As he came around the corner he separated Jones from his head with his sword. His enhanced reflexes and speed did not save him from the grenade that rolled out of Jones' right hand and out in-between the Zealot's legs. The grenade detonated before he could react, knocking him backwards into the wall and riddling him with shrapnel. The remainder of the Zealot team seemed to move passed the scene through the hallway as if nothing had happened. They breached the room with the 'central computer terminal' and assigned a technician with the task of accessing it. A Zealot stood guard while the technician carried out his necessary tasks, finding the information and uploading it to the Cironian battle net.

In a nearby vent a spider-cam watched as the information was uploaded. It had been waiting for them to make their entrance to the room since the battle over the "OSO" building had begun. It waited until it received a signal informing it that the false data had been uploaded. As the Spider-Cam scurried away down the ventilation shaft it sent signals to hidden explosives rigged all over the building. The Zealot whipped around toward the sound of the Spider-Cam making its escape and unloaded a few rounds from his rifle into the vent. However, his efforts were in vain. He merely startled the technician who spent the last moments of his life wondering what the hell the Zealot was shooting at. The explosives detonated and the building collapsed in on itself, the Spider-Cam just barely escaping the blasts.

Cironians who had died at the "OSO" building had died in vain. However, the Theanorian defenders had not. The technician unwittingly uploaded a virus on to the Cironian battle net. The Virus was essentially an Artificial Intelligence programmed to: fool the Cironians into assassinating their own Generals, monitor Cironian communications, cover up the events that had transpired at the "OSO" building as best as possible, and disable Cironian communications when the timing was right.


It was all over in a matter of seconds. The satellite aligned perfectly with the signal of the beacon exactly when it had been predicted to shortly after its activation. The Nuclear weapon shot through the atmosphere toward its target and never stopped. It detonated directly above the city, frying everything electronic that wasn't shielded. Zealot squads all over the city were literally killed by the burst. Tanks were turned to worthless hunks of metal and the crews were forever trapped inside thanks to the wonderful advances of electronic hatches. Night-Vision and Thermal optics failed all over the city. Cironian battle net access terminals were fried. Energy weapons simply failed----the burst had fried their circuitry and made them useless. Only the Cironian vessels in the harbor survived the burst. Long after the nuclear weapon had detonated above the city they were still shelling parts of it still held by Theanorians with the biggest guns in their fleet. The soldiers on board would continue pouring into the city until they had taken every square inch of it.

A few moments prior the message had gone out all over their tactical channels. The Theanorian soldiers & Militia forces still present in the city were to retreat to EMP shielded bunkers or activate personal EMP shielding immediately. In the end the Theanorians would be the only ones with working electronics until those on the ships moved in to reinforce their comrades already in the city. Artillery began to rumble in the distance. The 5th had arrived late and had begun shelling the hell out of the Cironians. Smaller guns pounded their positions into the dust while the MOAC began sinking ships in the harbor with singular shots.

The massive MOAC round detonated as it impacted with a Cironian Destroyer. The resulting explosion roared as it rocked the land and sea, the flash from the explosion temporarily turning night to day. The Theanorians began their retreat from the city. For the most part the battle in Theanor-City was over.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Cache – Part 13 – C1

The area which he would be traveling through for the next couple of miles had a lot of housing development outside the city limits, and so moving through it would be best conducted during early morning hours before daybreak, or later at night after 10:00 PM when people were readying themselves for bed. He seriously doubted that there would be much activity in the way of patrols on these back streets. Nevertheless, he would need to remain cautious. There was also the possibility of encountering the youth of the neighborhood, as they roamed about at all hours of the night. Perhaps the enactment of martial law had abated that, but it was still a possibility. He wished to remain unseen by any if at all possible.

C1 was not that far away, and he would be able to travel in the woods along the riverbank to avoid the checkpoints set up on the highway that had put him upon this detour. From this point onward, the path turned away from the stream and skirted a marshy area through which the stream flowed. He was thankful that it was not late summer, as the mosquito’s would probably be thick in here. As he was resting, he heard what appeared to be voices coming down the path. He quickly moved off the path and silently settled as low as he could to the ground. He pulled some brush over him and spread the poncho out to just cover his feet, then pulled the hood over his head and waited.

He did not have long to wait for within a few minutes two young men meandered down the path, talking in low voices. Foolishly, they had a flashlight with an unfiltered lens and the light was bright enough to be seen at quite a distance. A red or blue filter would have given them enough light to see the trail but not be as easily detected.

"Tell me again why we need to go get some weed now after curfew?" said one youth. "Because dawg, if we were to get stopped and searched during daylight hours they would haul us off and that would be it! Poof! Never seen again!" said the other. "Hey look over there! It looks like a camo tarp covering up sumpin! Lets check it! out" said the first youth.

His heart jumped up in his throat and he quietly slid his knife from its sheath. He tensed up, ready to deal with the two in a permanent manner when the second youth responded to his friend. "Forget about that garbage! We can't be foolin around with crap like that during curfew.  It’s probably got some homeless person sacked out under it. Besides, Ole' Dawg is waitin for us and he won't be happy if we keep him waitin too long. Sides, you can check it out later on the way back!"

They passed him by, the first youth grumbling about having to be in a hurry all the time, and then they were out of his hearing range. He relaxed and slowly let out his breath, unconsciously having held it as he prepared to strike. He needed to get off this pathway as it would seem to be used heavier than he thought it would be.

As he followed the path, he saw that it skirted the edges of the developed area and he would be somewhat exposed if he followed it. Reluctantly, he moved off of the comparatively easy pathway into the brushy area that had grown up on the opposite side of the development. He had hoped to make better time but remaining undiscovered was more important. A sheltered place to lay up for the coming day was needed as he was not willing to travel openly during the daylight just yet.

The path skirted a partially inhabited cul-de-sac, sprinkled with split level McMansions and empty lots. A golden light was growing in the east, threatening to break out into full blown daylight soon. He must traverse this area and get into some dense undergrowth before dawn revealed his presence in the neighborhood. To the left of the development was a greenbelt mandated by county building codes. Within this quarter mile wide swath of trees was a large bioswale created to catch and hold runoff from the housing developments on either side.

This area was not well explored by any of the inhabitants of the area except perhaps a few of the more adventuresome youth. Most others were glued to the idiot box in the living room playing on their game consoles or ensconed in front of their computers playing games or surfing the internet. Whichever the case, it was to his advantage as he could remain hidden from sight comfortably with little chance of being discovered. Few residents even knew of the fact that the bioswale existed, which in the absence of human interference had turned into a small lake perhaps as long as a football field, but much, much narrower.

The greenbelt had been in place for over fifteen years, giving nature the opportunity to take over management of it. Cattails had found their way to the area and had heavily populated both sides of the small lake. The water level would drop some in the summer, but it would refill soon in the fall as the rains came. The lake drained into a swampy area which in turn drained through a large culvert that ran under the main highway and found its way to the river.

Sometime during those first few years, a older retired gentleman who had a penchant for fishing had released some smallmouth bass into the lake. A large frog population created a decent food supply and the bass population had taken off. Since no one else fished the area, the population was quite proliferate, as much as the food supply would allow anyway. It was into this area that he burrowed unseen by the slumbering residents, as the edges of the greenbelt were guarded by the ever present blackberry vines.

The area inside the trees was somewhat clear of underbrush allowing for freer movement as he moved to the center of the wooded area. It was there to his surprise that he discovered the narrow little body of water at the center, over shadowed in many places by the branches of the trees surrounding it. He had used Google Earth to explore all this area when he was planning the caches, at least as much of it that it showed. Once outside of the heavily populated areas, it’s coverage was sparse and he had to fall back on his topographical mapping software. He used the Delorme Topo USA software on his home computer and laptop when he was scouting out the locations he had picked for his caches. Combined with his handheld GPS, he was able to pinpoint the exact areas he had selected at home, and update them in the field as necessary.

He explored the greenbelt on the west side of the little lake and soon found a perfect campsite under a large cedar tree. The cedar's branches would breakup and help dissipate any smoke his small fires would produce and made it easy to set up his poncho shelter. It would also help keep the rain off him as the branches formed a natural umbrella above him. He set about digging his Dakota Fire Pit as it was the most effective way to conserve fuel and remain relatively stealthy while being warmed. He then began to gather fuel for his fire, and soon had a pile which might last several days if used with care. He was very weary from the constant battle with the blackberry vines, and his pack was heavier with the treasure he had found at the old farm house.

He had not eaten anything since leaving the treed area in the middle of the field the evening before and was feeling a little weak with hunger. He knew he was not getting enough calories on a daily basis nor enough fats and carbs. He was leery of cooking anything that might have an aroma this close to human habitations, but chose to boil some water to replenish what he was using no matter what he later decided about cooking a meal.

He started his fire and once it was well established, took his cooking pot down to the lake’s edge to fill it. The shore was marshy in most places and he had to hunt a bit to find a firm place on the edge of clear water instead of the dirtier water amongst the cattails. He wondered if there were any fish in the lake but saw nothing to announce their presence. He returned to his comfortable little encampment and set about boiling his water. After he finished eating, he was going to bank the fire as best he could with a few larger diameter limbs he had collected with just that purpose in mind.

He pulled out a handful of the coon jerky and began to chew on that while he decided on having tea or hot cider to go with his meal. He decided on the tea and soon was steeping a bag of it. Off in the distance he heard the muted blast of an approaching train. It made an ominous rumble that grew stronger as the train grew nearer, no doubt it being a freight train rather than a passenger. As he sipped on his tea and listened to the train draw near, he felt his eyes grow heavy. Sleep was overtaking him now that his basic needs had been met. He struggled tiredly to his feet and stumbled off to take care of his bodily functions away from where he was camped.

Having finished with natures call, he rolled up in his meager bedroll and was soon asleep. While he caught up on his much needed rest, the wind begin to pickup and soon had brought a slow drizzle to the area. He had chosen his camp well and only a few drops found their way down to drop on his poncho. The wind sighed gently through the tops of the trees while he slept, as though reluctant to wake him. He slept the sleep of the truly exhausted, unbroken by dreams or nature calls as is the wont of some unfortunate souls.

He woke refreshed, but with the familiar dull ache of hunger in his belly. As he sat up, his stomach let out a large rumble, voicing it’s discontent over the lack of sustenance it was receiving. “Ok, ok!” he grumbled in answer. He poked the remnants of the fire around until he had it roused and then added more fuel until he had it healthy once again. He put the half empty pot back to where it would heat once more and retrieved another handful of the jerky. It was disappearing fast and he would have to be on the lookout for something to replace it again soon. He had access to plenty of the bland tasting cattail roots that he could eat, but he would fast tire of that for a staple diet. Modern civilization was spoiled in that respect. But hey, variety is the spice of life, right?

He noticed the soft hiss of falling rain, but observed that the area under the cedar was remarkably dry. He smiled smugly at his choice of a campsite and decided he would spend more time in the area, perhaps a day or two. There were plenty of cattail roots for him to harvest, bland as they were and he had a notion to try his hand at catching a fish or two, if there were any to be caught. It was hard to imagine a small body of water such as this without any fish of some kind.

Looking at his watch, he determined that he had slept for over 6 hours, it now being 12:30 PM. Considering the ever present chill of winter and the uncomfortable ground upon which he had lain, it was a quite a feat to sleep for that length of time without waking at least once. His stomach rumbled once again, not to be silenced by merely ignoring its needs. He sighed and dug out the bag containing the cattail roots. He selected several of the larger pieces and began to peel them while chewing on the jerky. Once peeled he sliced the roots into bite sized pieces and then ate them one by one while staring off into space.

After he finished the last bit of the roots, his stomach seemed to be satisfied for the time being and he directed his attention to the task of rigging up something to fish with. He could use a small piece of the Mylar blanket for a flasher type lure, and he had over 100 yards of high strength dental floss he could use for a line, but he was lacking material to fashion a hook. If he were back in town he could most likely find enough discarded material to fashion several hooks, but isolated here in the greenbelt, he didn’t see any of the usual signature of the human race.

He cursed himself soundly for not including a small package of hooks and sinkers in his get home bag. But who would have thought that it might be needed just to travel 5 miles home from work? He gave up in disgust and put everything back into the pack. Since he wasn’t going to be fishing, there was no reason to stay another day regardless of how comfortable a camp he might contrive in this hidden refuge.

He sat sipping on a cup of hot cider that he made with the now heated water, considering his next movements. He was about a half mile from the county refuse collection site, and beyond that another mile or so to C1. He got a bit excited as he thought about reaching his cache and replacing all the worn and damaged items with fresh equipment. The thought of warm clothing made the task of deciding to break camp all the easier.

He decided that he would pack up just before dusk and position himself near the edge of the greenbelt on the eastern side where it joined the next development. Once night had fallen, he would leave this refuge and cross the relatively open but short distance to the woods on the other side of the street.


It was just about 7:00 PM and he had been traveling for an hour or better. He decided to make camp for the night as it was too hard to see while moving through the brushy areas that were interspersed within the woods on either side of the road. Up ahead he could see the county refuse collection site. It was located about 500 feet off the highway and screened by the trees. It was only open during the day on weekends, so there was no nighttime activity. He set up his shelter and settled down to wait until daylight. After eternity had faded away, daylight made its appearance with very little fanfare as the sky was heavily overcast, threatening to rain in the near future. He settled in to wait until 8:00 AM, when the site would open if it were going to that day. Opening time came and went with no unwanted activity.

The site was enclosed with a 8' chain link fence with barbed wire on top. It only had a very flimsy looking lock on the gate, and it was no great feat to pick it. Inside the fenced off area was the shack from which fees were collected and some various recycling bins. There was also a port-a-potty which he immediately checked for toilet paper. Since this station got so little use, the paper dispenser was full, about 2 rolls worth of paper. He removed all of it and stored it in some of his empty Ziploc bags. Next he went to examine the shack.

The shack was a 8'x10' construct with a pitched roof to shed any snow load. It had a standard entry door lock and so within moments he had it open also. Normally, he did not approve of this type of conduct, having been victimized by tweakers and other dishonest persons in the town where he had lived. But this was survival, his survival! And the powers that be all seemed arrayed against his making it. By picking the locks as opposed to breaking them, he hoped to make it seem to be an inside job.

Within the shack he found a case of bottled water, a bag of Gardetto's snack mix, a pack of Big Red chewing gum, a box of Gatorade Drink mix and a bag of Snickers small size candy bars. He drank one bottle of water and refilled his water container with another. Everything else but the bottles of water went into his pack. He drank a second bottle of water to be sure he was fully hydrated. He had read that it was easy to become dehydrated in the winter and by the time you started to feel thirsty, you were already well on the road to severe dehydration.

Nosing around a bit more, he found several cans of ready to eat soup and added them to his pack also. He knew that when it was discovered that these items were missing, there would first be some confusion over who did it and when it happened. In a drawer under the window, he found several types of batteries new in blister packs. He thought about taking all of them, but ended up taking the only 4 pack of AAA's. He did not need the extra weight of the rest for possible use in the future, remote as that was.

He had no doubts that eventually it would be determined that it was the work of a fugitive rather than a disgruntled employee of the county who perpetrated the liberation of the missing items. He felt a twinge of guilt taking them, but quickly buried it under the rationalization that no one was going to be seriously discomfited by the lack of these items, except maybe the toilet paper, and they could well be his means of survival. He wiped down the surfaces that he had touched, just to leave no trace should it be looked for.

Since it was midweek by his reckoning, he felt that he would have plenty of time to clear the area before his trespass was discovered. As he readied himself to leave, a pang of conscience hit him and he fished around in his pack until he found and withdrew the pouch that held his silver dollars. He hesitantly took out one and after wiping it down, laid it on the counter. He realized he was overpaying for what he had taken, but he couldn’t very well wait around and ask for change. Feeling better, he left the enclosed area the same way he entered, snapping the lock closed as he exited.

He entered the woods skirting the highway and began heading east, towards C1. 200 yards or so ahead of him was a space that was almost clear of cover, so he stopped just short of it to study his surroundings. He spent about 10 minutes surveying the road in both directions, looking for hidden surprises, but not seeing any. Finally convinced that there was no danger, he left the concealment that was his safety and crossed as quickly as he could manage. He then moved on through the brush until he came upon a trail leading down to the river bank. He needed to take a leak after drinking all that water at the refuse station and this spot was as good as any.

He leaned the shotgun against the nearest tree where it nestled into a crotch formed by twin tops and then took off his pack and leaned it against the same tree. He then took several steps to the left of the tree so as not to splash on his equipment as he was doing his business.


Sergeant Russo sat in the comfort of his cruiser, sipping on his cup of coffee, hot and fresh from his stainless steel vacuum bottle. He had parked his patrol car on a side road that gave him a good view up and down the highway while being nearly impossible to detect unless you were almost directly on top of it. The absence of a light bar on top helped to further blend into the brushy road as well as the brown color of the car.

He would be able to see better if he were in the established position out near where the road entered the highway, but he would be damned if he was going to sit out there in this miserable weather. He had been here since before dawn and was getting tired of this duty. He always seemed to get these shit jobs since he was investigated for corruption several years ago. Then there were the charges of excessive force and the matter of that punk whose head he had split open during a takedown. The little asshole was still in a coma, and he chuckled at the memory of the event. Overall, Sergeant Russo was a walking talking piece of shit with a gun, uniform and a badge.

Russo scanned the highway to the east, and seeing nothing of interest, turned his attention to the west. Just as he was taking a sip of coffee, he noticed what appeared to be a man crossing an area that was exposed to view for a short space. The man disappeared into the brush on the other side of the exposed area and was lost to view. Russo missed his mouth and poured the hot coffee down the front of his shirt. He burst into a tirade that would have turned anyone listening ear’s blue.

He brushed the coffee off the front of his shirt and piled out of the cruiser. He reached in and slid his baton into it’s holster and quietly closed the door. He was going to bounce this character as hard as he could to make him pay for his scalding! He ran across the road to the place where he saw the man disappear and began to follow the same path his quarry had taken. Once upon the path he slowed to a quieter pace so as to come upon his target unannounced.

There! Just a few yards away the asshole stood, apparently taking a leak. Russo readied himself for the take down, just as soon as the man had finished his business!


"Stop right there!" came an angry sounding command! He spun around to face the voice and was just in time to see a uniformed man with a badge launch himself at him, intent on taking him down. They hit the ground with a force that drove the wind out of him, rendering him momentarily unable to counter the violence of his attacker!

The LEO grappled with him like he was a Greco Roman wrestler, using his free hand, the LEO punched him repeated in the side of the head. Semi-stunned, he feebly fought off the other hand that grasped wildly at his throat. He returned a punch that caught the officer off guard, hitting him square in the nose and bloodying it. Snarling viciously, the enraged officer redoubled his attack and head butted him, temporarily rendering him incapable of responding further.

The LEO took this opportunity to grasp him by the throat with one hand, and began punching him again with the other. Slowly choking, he flailed at his foe with his right hand while fighting off with his left the hand that was stealing his life ever so slowly. The LEO ceased punching with his free hand and began to use it also to choke him with. Weakened as he was by days of substandard nutrition, his ability to respond to the 230 pounds of his assailant was severely diminished.

Blackness gathered around the edges of his vision as he slowly began to loose consciousness  from the lack of oxygen. His hands slowly fell away from his attacker’s arms one by one and dropped to his side as the blackness began to blot out his sight. As his right hand dropped to his side he felt a small fist sized rock under it with a roughness to one side.

He knew that he was going to die, almost welcoming the end of the struggle to survive. Then the face of his youngest son appeared in the place of the savage visage of his attacker. " Dad! Don't go, don't leave me!" it cried out! With dwindling energy and fading consciousness, he spoke. “ I won’t leave you!”, almost silently as his wind was cut off. He then used the last of his strength to grasp that stone and bring it sharply against the head of his would be killer.

The rock smacking upside his head was effective in stunning the LEO, feeble as the impact was. The attacker's grip loosened enough to allow sweet oxygen to flow once more into his victims lungs. He again swung the rock with more force and connected with the head of his attacker, knocking him nearly off his position of straddling his body. Severely stunned, the LEO made a weakened effort to get away from his victim. Again the rock struck as he regained strength lost from the lack of oxygen. It was a glancing blow, as the LEO was moving away from his reach, but the rough edge opened up his cheek with a gash to the bone, releasing a cascade of blood.

Now the LEO was down, groaning and retching as he tried to recover. He weakly crawled to the side of the LEO and struck once more, producing another gout of blood as the scalp peeled away, torn by the ragged edge of the rock and eliciting a sharp groan of pain from his downed foe. As strength flowed back into his body, a growing hatred of all those that pursued him welled up and was focused on his erstwhile tormentor. He lashed out again and again with his rock, not noticing when his enemy passed beyond all resistance and the skull gave way.

Slowly, through a red haze of rage, he saw that the conflict was over. He had survived, but barely. He crawled over to the nearby tree and wearily leaned up against it, severely drained by his ordeal. He looked over at the nearby product of his rage, what had once been a human being, and promptly threw up the little food he had in his belly. The rage faded away quickly now, replaced by remorse which flooded through him as the reality of what had happened sank in.

Then the truth hit him.

He was now a cop killer!

It didn’t matter that he was only defending himself against a murderous assault!

He would now be hunted mercilessly and most likely would never survive his arrest if he were identified and apprehended! Everyone “knew” that cops considered themselves above those that they were supposedly serving. Hah! You could hardly call it serving when you heard everyday of some LEO or another arbitrarily killing someone and being exonerated of all charges. People everywhere were becoming distrustful of the police, preferring to be victimized by the criminals rather than call Law Enforcement to deal with the problems. In some cases, the people dealt with the thugs in their own manner, and a body would be found that later would be identified as a "perp" with a police record.

All these thoughts raced through his mind as the adrenaline that had flooded his body slowly dissipated and the shaking began. After a time the shaking ceased and he begin to get cold. It was time to get moving and take stock of his current situation. He needed to hide the body as best he could to delay it’s discovery for as long as possible. He knew they might possibly bring in dogs to find the body and to pick up his trail.

He slowly rose to his feet and staggered over to the now cooling corpse. He checked the body for useable items and soon had a small pile to add to his collection. The most important was the .40 cal Glock 22 and 2 full magazines. He dragged the body down the riverbank and slipped it into the sluggish current. The river obligingly took the body and carried it slowly away from the bank into the faster current in the center. It soon disappeared from sight, further helping him delay it’s discovery for a while.

He gathered up the few items in the small pile, placed them in a Ziploc bag and stowed them in his pack after retrieving it from next to the tree. He also reclaimed his shotgun from where he had left it leaning against the tree. He needed to put some distance between him and this location before dark and it was looking like it would begin raining soon, fortunately for him as it would diminish his scent in the area and wash away the bloodstains. He threw the rock he had used for a weapon as far out into the river as he could, and then washed the dried blood from his hands and face. Looking about for any stray evidence of what had happened here, he saw none except the pool of blood seeping slowly in the earth. He kicked some loose sand over it and then moved off into the darkening underbrush along the river bank. C1 was close now, only half a mile away as the crow flies. Too bad he wasn’t a crow...


It was not far now, just behind those trees ahead and in the small clearing. An adrenalin surge flooded his body and he grew excited at the prospect of re-supplying his food and consumables! New boots and fresh wool socks! He smiled in anticipation and quickened his pace a bit. As he stepped into the clearing he received a horrible shock!

The ground had been tore up and several tattered and empty buckets that had held his supplies were scattered about the clearing.

His cache had been discovered!

It appeared as though C1 had been destroyed!

Friday, October 22, 2010

So It Begins

John lowered his binoculars and let them hang from around his neck. A grimace formed across his face. He almost didn't need the binoculars to spot the thousands of enemy planes and paratroopers in the sky. He had only used them to get a clearer view on the scene; they came equipped with night-vision. The black arrow-shaped blotches that almost blocked out the moon and stars and were darker than their surrounding environment contributed to their visibility. He could also clearly spot the blinking lights on the wings and noses. Their shields flashed as anti-aircraft missiles slammed in to the energy barriers and detonated far too early; having next to no affect on the planes themselves.

Anti-Aircraft tracer fire didn't seem to have much trouble penetrating the barriers. The high caliber rounds passed through the barriers and pierced the hulls of some of the planes; causing enough damage to knock them off course. Occasionally, the end result would be one plane passing through the energy barrier of another and slamming directly into it; causing both of them to take nose dives far down into the city below and explode into fiery balls. For every two that crashed into each other and exploded on the ground four more seemed to emerge from the darkness.

There were many brightly lit parachutes; almost too many to count. Fortunately; they made easy targets for the AA guns which began targeting groups of paratroopers instead of the planes dropping them to conserve ammunition. Streaming beams of blue light shot into the sky; connecting with some of the paratroopers. The resulting effect was beyond nasty. He recognized the weapon that was firing the beams; it was known as the "Evap Cannon". Cironian intelligence had suggested that the weapon was a myth; a piece of disinformation designed to deter Cironith from launching invasions involving paratroopers. The effectiveness of Theanorian espionage operatives seemed to know no bounds.

The cannon was a modified microwave beam that operated in the forty megawatt range and was narrowly focused and used to evaporate all of the water in a human being's body; essentially dehydrating the cells and "melting" a person in a single shot. The name “evaporation” was shortened to “evap” by the Militia and Military; they were all aware of what it did. The Cironian paratroopers struck by the weapon became slowly floating bags of minerals---they were dead long before they hit the ground. At sea level far beyond the city he could see the silhouettes of ships emerging from the stygian darkness. After spotting the ships he quickly put the pieces of the puzzle together.

For the moment, John was seated at the top of the hill with his back to a thick tree. It overlooked the scene far below. His Militia unit---five hundred to a thousand well trained men and women between the ages of fifteen and fifty---were directly behind him and all over the hill. They hid amongst the brush, trees, recently dug and fortified foxholes, and well-concealed sandbag-bunkers, weapons at the ready.

They each carried rifles similar to John's own rifle. They were known as "Type-47's" and "Type-46's"; rifles designed, built, and distributed by the lowest bidder and for the lowest bidder. They both had wooden stocks with receivers that were made of a lightweight yet incredibly durable polymer. The Type-47 was magazine fed; it's long curved magazine holding up to sixty rounds of thirty caliber bullets. The rifle was selective fire and had a lesser effective range than her cousin; the Type-46. The Type-47 could even be fitted with an under barrel 40mm grenade launcher. The Type-46 was clip fed, held less ammunition, and had a greater maximum effective range. The rifle could also be fitted with a red-dot sight.

John and his unit had been training for this day for most of their lives. At a very young age their parents had taught them basic marksmanship with small caliber rifles. As they progressed from their childhood into their teenage years they learned to shoot larger caliber weapons. Throughout their teenage years their parents would then teach them hand-to-hand combat, small unit based tactics, Guerrilla warfare, and pitched battle tactics. At the age of sixteen they could legally join existing units or form their own Guerrilla battle group. If they so chose they could even operate alone. Manuals were available for purchase that detailed the tactics behind operating as small units, recommendations for training, and instructions to burry weapons and gear. The manuals even instructed those who so chose to form small units to exercise heavy secrecy in regards to names of unit members and locations of buried equipment. A year or so before hand they were required to purchase their own rifles, handguns, ammunition, and equipment. If they joined an existing unit they were required to muster for training at the end of each day.

The city that the gigantic transport planes were dumping paratroopers into was thought a highly valuable piece of real-estate. It was both positioned on the coast and around a river. Supposedly, the city was home to a factory that produced ballistic ammunition, a seaport, an airport, and a fuel refinery. The funny thing was the Cironians believed it to be more valuable than it actually was. Many Cironian Generals were under the belief that the city was home to the "Offices Of Special Operations", the non-existent high command building for Theanorian espionage and Special Operations. The rumor was that the building supposedly contained documents and electronic data pertaining to the identity and whereabouts of Theanorian espionage units that had gathered a wealth of tactical data on Cironith and its standing army.

In reality, the building was a pentagon shaped tower falsely labeled as a communication network station that was completely useless to the Cironians. It contained documents with false information that held the identities of alleged espionage operatives and a ring of Generals in the Cironian high command that were supposedly plotting the assassination of the "all mighty one". To further solidify the illusion that this building was anything but false it was rigged with explosives and defended by a dedicated Militia unit made up of five hundred combat ready personnel. In addition, the refinery and the ballistic ammunition plant were both false structures---ambush sites constructed days before the invasion.

John pulled away his camouflage uniform's left sleeve. He glanced at the watch that occupied his wrist. It read "12:30" or "0030". He overheard a lot of tactical chatter over his radio headset. A lot of the chatter seemed to focus around "The Device". Hidden in the interior of a structure directly in the center of an island in the middle of the river the city was built around was the fabled device. "The Device" was a beacon that the "Weaponized Satellite Network" was designed to align with.

Once aligned, the specific satellite that had lined up with the device would fire a nuclear weapon that would detonate at a high altitude above the exact position of the beacon, generating an electromagnetic pulse. The network of weaponized satellites that the Theanorians had in orbit had other functions: they could shoot down incoming nuclear missiles and objects with a defensive particle beam, fire very destructive focused beams of ions capable of destroying entire cities, deploy a device into the planet's atmosphere over a specific target nation that would blanket it in radiation, and fire a much larger variant of the “evap cannon” that was capable of vaporizing either entire populations or bodies of water.

The network had many drawbacks. In order to fire the satellites had be lined up with a beacon positioned at desired target coordinates. They could not be activated remotely and to design a device that could activate and fire them remotely without the use of a beacon was illegal. To attempt to repeal this law was considered an act of treason that tended to result in those responsible finding themselves subject to being drug out by the people to be publicly hung. This was done so that the power of the network did not end up in the hands of any one person. In addition, the public had to vote on the use of the weapons. The Theanorian Government could not use the weapons without the consent of the public. Shortly after their creation and mass production the plans in regards to their construction had been destroyed. In an act of patriotism the scientists who had built them and worked on the network erased the details of their construction from their memories. In preparation for failure of satellite[s] or the loss of any one satellite spare plans were archived and hidden.

Theanorian politicians were consistently reminded that one such beacon was positioned directly under the building that housed the highest levels of Government and that if they did not Govern by the consent of the people or if they began to violate the rights of each province or even the individual rights of the people there would be hell to pay. Most of the other beacons in existence were issued to the Militia commanders and were given to espionage operators sent in to Cironith and in to other nations for swift and destructive retaliation in case of invasion.

At exactly 0130 one of the satellites would align with the beacon on the island and would fire a nuclear weapon to be detonated at a high attitude, sending every plane in the sky crashing down into the ground or directly in to each other. The theory was that it would also turn the enemy ships into useless floating hunks of metal. However, one thing the Theanorians hadn't counted on was the fact that they were EMP shielded. The burst would still put a huge damper on this part of the invasion. Which---based on what John was looking at----appeared to be a "Matthews" Scenario.

The "Matthews" scenario had been named after the citizen that had thought it up. A teenager by the name of Frank Matthews had suggested the scenario and how to prepare for it while training with his unit. He had suggested that Cironith----their closest neighboring country and one of their most bitter enemies---would attempt to invade Theanor using many different methods from many different directions at once. He had suggested that first stealth transports would drop Special Units behind their lines. The units would be dropped in as far as the center of the country where the central sensor network station was located. They would infiltrate the facility, destroy it, and disable the sensor network.

Once the sensor network was disabled they would send a signal back to their headquarters. Afterward, shielded transport planes would fly over the city believed to be one of Theanor’s most important port cities. They would drop in airborne divisions that would secure the city and then fan out into the countryside; securing and occupying the province town by town. In order to gain access to the entire nation the Cironian Paratrooper and Marine divisions would need to secure "Defiance Valley" and "Defiance Pass". Currently, both were under Theanorian Militia control. Due to rivers with destroyed crossings and mountains that seemed to go one for many miles the divisions would have to go through the pass and valley to reach the interior of the nation.

At the same time Cironian sappers would insert along the Theanorian/Cironian border and disable the EMP and Anti-Personnel mines. It was at that point that waves of infantry and armor would cross the border and begin securing valuable pieces of real-estate one by one. Boats loaded with infantry would also begin crossing River-Theanor. While that was happening waves of ships carrying waves of infantry and armor would attempt to make amphibious landings on the coasts. The only details Frank had missed in predicting the invasion was the fact that the vessels were EMP shielded and that the Cironians would be invading in waves. However, he had developed a plan to foil the predicted invasion that had circulated throughout the Militia units and had eventually caught the attention of the Theanorian Government and Theanor's small standing army. The plan was to: heavily fortify everything along River-Theanor, station units along the border, station units at the central sensor network station, position a weaponized satellite network beacon at Theanor-City, and position artillery units and units to cover them at the hills to the flanks of Theanor-City. Frank was now twenty-four and one of the five commanders defending River-Theanor.

"We've got tanks!" A voice frantically reported over the tactical channel belonging specifically to the 83rd "Wolf Men". John brought the binoculars back up to his eyes after looking toward the direction of the scouts who had made the frantic report over the channel. There were two of them. They were positioned in a tree stand about one thousand yards from the hill itself. The sounds of the battle raging in the city had almost drowned out the noise generated by the tank treads rumbling toward the hill. He recognized the massive tanks rumbling toward them; they were known as M-70 "Demons". They were Cironith's main battle tank. As they rumbled passed the scouts and towards the hill several missiles suddenly arched upward out of the canopy on the hill and slammed into a few of the tanks; turning them into smoldering hunks of metal. The resulting fiery explosions lit up the fields around them. Several of the tanks fired their main cannons; blasting the hillside. They never touched the Theanorians positioned on the hill. John stood up from his seated position against the tree and disappeared into the thickets; the battle had finally reached his neck of the woods.


Both hands gripped the machine gun. The barrel was long and cylindrical and had many holes for air cooling purposes. The weapon’s back was a rectangular box shape; belts of ammunition could be loaded into the weapon here via a top-opening hatch that provided direct access to the chamber. There was also the front and rear sights on this part of the gun; both of which seemed to be a part of an aging sighting system that had somewhat confusing equipment for making necessary adjustments. The bolt protruded from the right side of the gun. The trigger and handle to pull down on while she was being shot all protruded from the back. One of the greater features it had was that after a simple barrel change the weapon could fire 40mm grenades [with a slower rate of fire]. They say that she is heavy and she spits but she packs a punch. This particular machine gun was attached to a tripod; raising it from the ground a little and making it more controllable. Directly beside it was a multitude of steel ammunition cans; a belt of ammunition running from the closest all the way into the chamber of the weapon. One hand gripped the handle; the other grabbed the bolt, pulling it back and letting it slam forth with a satisfactory clank.

He could hear the rumble of their tracks and the roar of their engines in the distance. However, he could not see them. He was positioned in a sandbag bunker close to the base of the hill. It was among more than a few fortifications that protected the 83rd's flanks. Long grass, thick underbrush, and the occasional cluster of thick trees surrounded his position; the tree clusters getting thicker and thicker as one traveled up hill. A narrow dirt road ran right through the center of it all; passing in-between his sandbag bunker and another one concealed at a position directly across from his. Both bunkers were built around and in box-shaped holes in the ground; putting the barrel of the rifle that extended passed an opening to shoot out of at ground level. They were concealed by nets filled with grass, moss, and brush. A material that masked their IR signature lined the walls and ceilings of the bunkers. In the more open fields ahead of the bunkers there were anti-personnel mines. The road itself had more than a few EMP or "pulse" mines rigged in the center of it. There were also deep pits of thick sharpened wooden stakes among the anti-personnel mines.

His name was Billy. He wasn't very high ranking---just another team leader. His team consisted of four members counting himself. A teenager known by the name of Michaels helped reload the machine gun and held up the belts while Billy actually aimed and fired the weapon. One man in his late twenties named Simon stood off to the left with a pair of binoculars and a Type-46. The last man was named Mark. He was seated off to the right; his back to the sandbag wall. Both hands were wrapped around a pump-action shotgun with a tactical sling, rifle-like sights, and loops all over the sides holding shells. With the stock pressed tightly against his shoulder and both hands clutching the shotgun he kept it trained on the back entrance of the bunker. The massive hulking metal beast of an M-70 "Demon" emerged from the darkness. It rumbled up the road just as human silhouettes began to emerge from the darkness on either side of it. At that exact moment a missile shot straight up from the top of the hill and arched downward; slamming into an M-70 off to the right of Billy's bunker. The resulting explosion lit up everything that surrounded it on the road that it traveled along and killed a few personnel following the tank a little too closely.

The M-70 on the road directly in front of them came to an abrupt halt. The sound of the engine ceased. Inside the tank nothing worked. The crew struggled to figure out what was going on, banging some pieces of equipment with a wrench in a feeble attempt to get them working again. It was no use. The tank had ran over and triggered a pulse mine; the detonation of which was almost silent and invisible. It was now a useless hunk and would soon become a burning metal coffin for the crew inside; somebody with a rocket launcher hiding within the wild beyond the booby traps got off a lucky shot and nailed the fuel tanks.

Billy quickly lined the sights of the Machine Gun up with a group of five men. As the soldiers caught out in the open whipped toward the direction the rocket had come from Billy cut loose: fifty caliber slugs ripping the Cironians apart. The machine gun seemed to kick like a mule as he fired; recoil causing the weapon to rise. He maintained control over the weapon and accurately gunned the Cironians down with short controlled bursts.

When the slugs suddenly came flying down range the Cironians dived for cover. One Cironian soldier wasn't paying attention to his footing and fell feet first into a pit of sharpened stakes. He died slowly and painfully. Another triggered an anti-personnel mine while diving for cover. The explosion lit up his surroundings and he was riddled with shrapnel. As others triggered mines there were little pops and thumps and flashes of light throughout the field that most certainly were not the result of muzzle flare. By the time Billy had chewed through one hundred rounds a large amount of Cironians lay strewn in pieces all over the field. He then began to disassemble the Machine Gun while Mark slung his shotgun over his shoulder and uncovered a hatch hidden in the dirt. Simon kept watch with his rifle; scanning the darkness for silhouettes. Meanwhile, Michaels opened up a pouch on his assault vest; withdrawing an explosive charge. He set it on the back of a small stack of ammunition cans crammed with explosive materials in the corner of the bunker; rigging it to go off via remote.

Michaels then withdrew a small spider-like robot from the upper right pouch on his vest. He pressed a small button on top of it and set it down in the opposite corner of the room. As though it were a real spider it then began to crawl up the wall and build a web although it seemed to do it three times as fast as a live spider. There were miniature cameras all over the spider-like bot.

Equipped with their own night-vision and thermal sensors; the arachnid bot sometimes referred to as a "spider-cam" would have no trouble seeing in the dark. It also came equipped with "fangs" [they were more like pop-out miniature surgical syringes than "fangs"] that were capable of injecting the body with very deadly poisonous compounds or anesthetics. In the darkness you could barely tell the difference between a "Spider-Cam" and a true arachnid. If the Spider-Cam's "web" was disturbed it would send a signal to the explosive charge behind the ammo cans. While it sent the signal it would probably kill whoever disturbed the web, jump off of them out of the opening, and seek cover before the detonation. It was rigged to return to its "master" shortly afterward and was set up with IFF.

The web itself tended to automatically wrap itself around whoever disturbed it. Sometimes, the web would be something nasty; like razor wire or an acidic substance that would pour out upon disturbance. A map of the area with false depictions of their defenses was folded up on a small stool behind the Spider-Cam's "web".

Afterward, he stepped over to another corner of the room and picked up the parts of another machine gun; assembling them where the other machine gun had been and loading the new gun. When compared to the other machine gun there were many differences about this weapon. First off, it was operated by an Artificial Intelligence. Human intervention was only required to reload the weapon and activate/deactivate it. The weapon was fed via a large one-hundred round box magazine and it had a targeting system that tracked infrared. Unlike the Spider-Cam this weapon lacked IFF; if it detected heat it would open fire regardless. The best "IFF" was to either be behind it [because the targeting system didn't scan everything in its surroundings and the weapon generally didn't swivel beyond a half-circle] or to have one’s thermals well-concealed. The weapon looked almost exactly the same as the previous machine gun and was the same caliber.

While Michaels rigged the bunker to explode and set up the auto-sentry turret Mark very quickly loaded ammunition cans into a back pack and hoisted it on to his back; making haste down the hole with the others in tow shortly afterward. Billy had loaded the parts of the machine gun into a pack similar to the one that now carried a majority of its ammo while Simon carried the tripod on his back. The last man down concealed and closed the hatch behind him; locking it from the inside before climbing down. Carrying hundreds of heavy rounds on one's back seemed like an impossible if not highly challenging feat to accomplish. However, Mark was one strong son of a bitch.

The four of them then advanced through the underground tunnels toward their next position; a camouflaged ditch off to their right of their former bunker. Upon arrival Billy had already spotted the Cironians rushing in to both bunkers through their backs. Sixty seconds later the bunkers exploded into fiery balls. "You weren't expecting that, were you?" Muttered Billy under his breath as he erected the Machine gun and loaded a one-hundred round belt into the weapon.


The Cironian Sergeant executed a left-to-right sweep; scanning every inch of the bunker. To him; it seemed like your average defensive sandbag structure. It even came complete with empty shell casings on the ground! The only thing that struck him as odd was the fact that the Machine Gun was not manned and there was some odd machinery on top of it. This machine gun had given his comrades plenty of grief while the operators of the original machine gun had been moving through the tunnels below. The Cironian Sergeant and his squad had been forced to come at the bunker from the side under the command of a Lieutenant leading a platoon [which had been mostly slaughtered by booby traps and mines and ambushes]. When the bunker appeared to be clear after he and his men had stepped further inside he give the order for his men to look around for anything useful. It seemed, the Sergeant was the first one to spot the map and consequently the man to reach for it.

He had not spotted the web during his left-to-right sweep and he had not seen it once inside; it and the spider-cam seemed to blend in quite well. In a cocky manner he stepped forward; reaching for the folded map. The Cironian Sergeant cursed as he struck the web face first; both hands swiping and swinging to get the stuff off of him. As he stepped forth into the web it seemed to buckle inward and wrap around and stick to him. As the web buckled inward the Spider-Cam leaped off of its original position in the center of the web and landed directly on top of his head; very quickly crawling to the back of the neck.

The Spider-Cam's "Fangs" easily pierced the skin. It took mere seconds for the compound to travel through his blood stream. He fell over into the table with the folded map; his arms still swinging wildly as he hit the floor and knocked the table over. The Spider-Cam leaped off of his neck. It cleared the opening and scurried away just as the Sergeant's buddies whipped around to see what was going on. As they turned a red light on the explosive charge flipped on. It illuminated the wall behind the stack of ammo cans crammed with explosives. For a few seconds the charge let out a series of high-pitched beeps; giving one of the men just enough time to utter "Oh fu-" right before it detonated. The resulting fiery explosion tossed the sandbags of the bunker high into the air like rag dolls. The remaining men inside were killed instantly.


A gloved hand slowly lowered a small pair of binoculars. The hand's index and middle finger wrapped around the form of a rifle's charging handle. They pulled the charging handle backward and then let it slam forth with a satisfactory clack, the gloved hand wrapping around the rifle's stock once more. The thumb rested on the safety switch while the finger rested ahead of the trigger on the stock; the very end of which was pressed tightly against the shooter's shoulder. His name was Brian. He was a Theanorian Militiaman of the 83rd "Wolf Men". Twenty-four personnel were under his direct command. He and his Platoon hid among the cover of a creek bed; which was two miles to the north west of the hill.

Conveniently, the creek bed was three hundred yards directly behind the exact position that the enemy had been using as a staging area. During the last hour of fighting a scout had backtracked the tanks and had located where they were coming from. Large amounts of enemy armor and enemies on foot had been moving along a dirt road through the wilderness around to the backside of Theanor-City after having established a beach head thirty miles to the south of the city. Thankfully, that dirt road was miles away; if that hadn't been the case than they would have no chance of engaging the enemies ahead.

According to the scout the enemy had initially been five hundred strong and had been supported by a few groups of tanks. However, ambushes and failed attempts to assault the hill had caused their number to drastically dwindle; the latest report stated that they were down to fifty men and four tanks. Unfortunately, all of them were M-70 "Demons". The binoculars that hung from his neck were an interesting piece of technology. The pair came equipped with a built-in digital camera for taking recon photos, a range finder, and the ability to switch between various modes of vision [white-hot thermal, black-hot thermal, colored-thermal, and night-vision]. He had easily spotted the multi-colored blobs of the enemy past the trees through the binoculars. The rifle that his hands were wrapped around was known as an ST-61. The weapon was mostly made out of a light-weight yet incredibly durable polymer; the same stuff that other firearms and some of their parts had been manufactured out of in recent years.

The rifle’s performance was generally good. Although, she would occasionally show up to battle drunk---figuratively speaking. Essentially, the weapon had a lot of small parts in her that could very easily be lost while the rifle was being cleaned. Some of these small parts were not made out of the same polymer as some of the rifle's larger parts. Therefore, they would occasionally break although they were not highly prone to it. In addition; the powder would sometimes cause the ammo to jam up inside the rifle. However, the weapon was cheap to manufacture and so was it’s  ammunition which was a little smaller than thirty caliber. There had been complaints about her ammo from nations friendly to them that Theanor had sold these rifles to. The big complaint was that the round wasn't lethal enough. Brian had been in firefights using the rifle all night-----the ammunition seemed pretty effective to him. These complaints didn't necessarily hold water. Her parts were also capable of firing different sizes and types of ammunition after simple barrel changes. She was a long black rifle with flip-up sights, a rail that scopes or holographic/red-dot sights could be fixed to, a threaded barrel for suppressors [which also had a bayonet lug], a rail under the barrel that grenade launchers could be attached to, a receiver that could accept Type-47 magazines, and ambidextrous controls. The rifle's sights could also be very easily adjusted for windage, elevation, and distance. The case was the same with most scopes that could be fixed rifle's rail.

Brian's own rifle had a grenade launcher under the barrel and a telescopic sight. The telescopic sight itself was electronic and could switch between various reticules at the press of button. He had felt that those had been the only accessories he really needed. Out of the Platoon that he commanded he was the "odd man out" when it came to rifles. Everyone else had Type-47's and Type-46's and were shooting a completely different size and type of ammunition. But really, all he would have to do is swap barrels and he would be able to use their ammo. Slowly, he slid open the rifle's under barrel grenade launcher. From a pouch on his assault vest he withdrew a launchable EMP grenade and carefully loaded it into the launcher; quietly sliding it closed. He thumbed a button on his rifle's scope and fiddled with a few knobs; adjusting the grenade launcher’s sights for range.

Brian took three steps back; his right eye going straight down the scope. He angled the rifle upward with the stock still pressed tightly against his shoulder. His trigger finger eased toward the launcher's trigger while his thumb disengaged the safety. Those under his command knew the plan of attack. He had formulated it and briefed them a few moments prior. It would commence the second he fired the EMP grenade. He had zeroed in a trio of tanks. When he pulled the trigger he caught them completely off guard. The grenade detonated in mid air; the pulse raining down on top of the tanks and frying them. At that exact moment he switched modes on his scope and threw himself back up against the cover of the creek bed. His thumb flipped the selector switch to "semi-automatic" as he lined his sights up with the target that seemed the most important as those under his command had begun to fire launchable grenades of their own. They slammed into the ground near groups of enemies; riddling them with shrapnel and tossing them off of their feet.

By the time the Cironians had actually figured out where the grenades had been coming from the bullets had begun to fly. Those that had survived the initial barrage had sought cover behind the worthless hunks of metal that had once been called tanks or had just plain gotten lucky. They dropped to their stomachs or crouched on their knees behind whatever cover they could find and returned fire; the darkness beyond the trees lighting up with muzzle flare. Most of their rounds flew harmlessly over the heads of the Theanorians or turned thick trees ahead of them into Swiss cheese. Several fragmentation grenades even detonated far ahead of Brian and his men; giving them a nice fireworks show. A few Cironians got off some lucky shots that ended the lives of three of Brian's people. However, they seemed to be missing for the most part. That EMP grenade had disabled their night-optics and had essentially made them blind.

Satisfied that enough them had been killed he waved his personnel the signal to cease fire; flashing them a signal to fall back out of the creek bed. One Theanorian turned over the corpse of a fallen comrade on to a fragmentation grenade after removing its pin. It didn’t take the Theanorian long to catch up with the rest of Brian’s people. They had positioned themselves about one hundred yards from their original position. Each person under his command now hid behind thick downed logs or were prone close to very thick trees. They watched and waited; crimson flares lighting up the creek bed. After the shooting had stopped the surviving Cironians [fifteen men] had reloaded their weapons---some men fumbling to reload their weapons in the dark---and had checked themselves. They had withdrawn glow sticks and flares and had advanced into the creek bed only to find a trio of bodies and a lot of spent shell casings.

The flares and the glow sticks messed with Brian and his Platoon's optics for a bit. However, it wasn't enough to stop them. After a few adjustments the enemy could be seen as clear as day. With a fist held high Brian kept his men from opening fire; waiting for the opportune moment to engage the remaining enemies. It seemed, each Theanorian’s trigger finger itched. The time between then and the moment when Brian finally gave the order to open fire seemed like an eternity. They watched as the Cironians scanned the creek bed; going over the amount of bodies and shell casings in confusion and searching for foot prints. Finally, somebody turned over the booby-trapped body. The grenade rolled out in-between the man's feet and detonated a few seconds later; the blast killing him and knocking his corpse over.

As the other Cironians turned to investigate Brian gave the order to open fire. It was over before a minute passed. When the last man dropped dead Brian's people emerged from the darkness and stepped into the creek bed; bayonets protruding from some of their rifles. Occasionally, gunfire would roar into the night. Those in Brian's platoon without Bayonets that had discovered Cironian soldiers still slightly among the living had given them a single round to the throat and moved on to the next corpse; kicking it once before checking it for pulse. Those who had bayonets simply stabbed bodies, stepped on them in order to more easily pull the bayonet free from the corpse, and moved on to the next body. When they reached the enemy staging area they found a series of tents which they burned with controlled fires and a very important person among a pile of bodies. He was an unconscious Cironian Colonel. It only took one of Brian's men to restrain him and blindfold him.

An empty supply truck protected by a tank and a pair of armored transports arrived a few moments later. Brian and his men gathered up the extra weapons, ammunition, and gear loaded them into the truck. They then piled the bodies up and burnt them; covering the corpses of their dead comrades up and sending them back up the hill with the supplies. The Cironian Colonel was loaded into the back of one of the transports. For a moment Brian was lost in thought. He was seated on a downed log. His rifle hung from around his neck; both of his hands free for other tasks. The weapon's safety had been engaged and the muzzle was pointed away from his comrades. His right hand was wrapped around his canteen; the canteen resting on his knee. The cap was unscrewed. He had taken a swig shortly after sitting down.

Tonight, three men in his group had died. It was nothing compared to the casualties that the enemy had suffered just in the first hour of the invasion. However, to him it felt like three thousand men had died. Each man lost was a close friend or a relative. They were all brothers, sisters, close friends, husbands, wives, fathers, sons, and daughters. Words couldn't describe how hard they had been hit by the deaths of those three men. Yet it seemed they sucked it up and drove on as if nothing had happened. Brian couldn't quite wrap his mind around that phenomena. It confused him more when he called the wives of those three men over to offer them a chance to opt out of the rest of the fighting and they refused. Of course, he could see hurt in their eyes a mile away...and even spotted one burst into tears while seated at a different downed log. He interrupted their session of tears to move the Platoon out before hostiles moved up on them; falling back up the hill.

However, while he had been seated on that log the thought had occurred to him. The Cironians had kick-started what very well might've became the second world war---it wouldn't take long for the allies of both sides to attack each other and join in on the fighting going on in Theanor or launch strikes against Cironith. They were seeing the beginning hours of what could end up a very long and bloody war with a great cost of human life on all sides. Of course, the alternative was slavery which the people Theanor would refuse no matter what. However, in the back of his mind he wondered if it all could've been avoided. The answer to that unspoken question came very quick. It seemed to be a solid, hard "No!" The Theanorians knew they were in the right. They knew they held the moral high ground. This did wonders for morale; keeping their spirits higher than ever.

"So it begins..." Brian thought, stepping into the darkness of a tunnel that would take them uphill.