Sneak preview of my dystopian thriller/paramilitary TEOTWAWKI novel.
D PLUS THREE
LAS ANIMAS COUNTY, COLORADO
It was determined some years ago that 0300 was the ideal time to raid a home.
That was when normal people enjoyed their deepest sleep. They would be slower to wake. When they did wake, they’d be disoriented for a few crucial moments.
The assault transports, which looked like unmarked SWAT vans, rolled up on the gate at 0245. The gate was simply a cable hanging across the driveway, suspended from trees on either side. Hanging from the cable was a metal sign which read: “NO TRESSPASSING.” An officer hopped down from the van, unhitched the cable and let it fall across the road, taking no small satisfaction that the sign would be run over by multiple vehicles momentarily. He jumped back into his seat and the small convoy rolled onto the rough snow-covered dirt drive.
The DomTer’s house was a ways up the mountain from the road, and isolated enough that it made surprise more difficult than normal. The sound of engines straining to pull heavy vehicles up the steep drive could potentially give warning to the perps. Helicopters would be faster to put boots on the ground, but were even louder than their assault transports. Helicopters were also of limited availability, and in high demand these days. In any event, somebody high up had decreed this operation go in on wheels.
The assault transports and the supporting armored vehicle and communications van arrived at the end of the drive at 0303. Doors flew open and a full platoon of federal agents burst out of the transport to deploy.
It was supposed to be an especially cold winter this year, and up here it already was. Thick white clouds hung overhead, threatening more snow any time now. Their black uniforms stood out in stark contrast to the white landscape.
All was quiet. No lights were on. Good–likely the perp was still asleep or only just stirring–if he heard the truck engines at all. Either way, there was nothing he could do now that wasn’t suicidal.
Satellite imagery of this property hadn’t been a terrific help, as the buildings were well-camouflaged. It took a few confused moments for the agents to locate the house–a dome-shaped structure back in the trees.
Funny though—no sign of the dogs. They’d been worried that shooting them would also tip off the perp prematurely, but that seemed to be a non-issue. Everything was working out in their favor today.
The breech team went forward, bristling with weapons, explosives, armor and night vision devices. The blocking team circled around to close off any escape routes in back. The other teams dispersed to search the barn, sheds, and the rest of the property. The breach team leader got confirmation via his radio headset that the blocking force was in place. His team stacked on the front door, primed and chomping at the bit. The ram was passed forward.
The two agents closest to the door swung the ram back, then forward with all their strength, at the door.
The door didn’t give way, but they never had a chance to wonder why, or batter at it a second time.
From a distance the explosions didn’t seem that impressive. There was no fireball, and though the blasts all occurred simultaneously, the report was loud but not ear-splitting.
Up where the breach team stood, however, it was hell on Earth for a split second that would forever alter their lives permanently…and end some of them.
Big bore armor-piercing rounds tore through them from the front, sheering the bone of one agent’s arm, passing between armored sections of another and punching through his torso. But the worst of it was underneath them.
The very ground they stood on erupted. White-hot shrapnel streaked upward all over the kill zone. It ripped through boot soles and feet, through legs, buttocks, and at angles through their bodies, blowing tunnels through vital organs allegedly protected by their state-of-the-art body armor.
Other blasts sounded around the property as agents evidently stepped on mines or tripped booby-traps.
The commander, sitting in the passenger seat of the communication van, surveyed the scene in wide-eyed horror. “Ambush!” he cried. “It’s an ambush!”
Y MINUS ONE
Jimmy and Bill stopped by the game warden’s office, went through the usual routine, then headed for their favorite diner with the eight-point white tail gutted and wrapped in a tarp in the back of Jimmy’s pickup.
At the diner, the two ravenous hunters ordered coffee and lunch.
Jimmy and Bill knew each other from high school, but hadn’t been especially close friends. After 9/11 Bill joined the Marines and Jimmy became a medic in the Army. After returning home they ran into each other at the V.A. Since agonizingly long waits were standard at veteran’s hospitals, they had plenty of time and nothing better to do than talk.
It turned out they had a lot in common. Both liked to hunt. Both were firearms enthusiasts. Both were disillusioned about the “war on terror.” Neither of them liked the way V.A. doctors were trying to classify them as PTSD. Nor did they like nurses and doctors asking them if they owned firearms. And both were pissed off about what was happening to their country.
A strong friendship developed after that, and many of their conversations centered around speculations on what kind of country America was going to be in a few more years, how the transformation might take place and what, if anything, they could do about it.
They hunted together; went to the range together; introduced girlfriends; invited each other over for Superbowl parties. Now and then one of them met others who shared a lot of their concerns over the state of the Union. Sometimes those others made it a habit to join them at the range and at bull sessions in the diner. Sometimes they brought wives and/or sons. A few times they asked Bill to talk about what he’d done and seen in the Sandbox. He obliged by explaining small unit tactics at length. A few quizzed Jimmy on combat medicine, and techniques he’d used in Ass-Crackistan. A lot of those folks bought weapons and gear, showing it off to the two veterans, or sometimes seeking advice and approval before buying. All of them bought ammunition with every available dollar, including Jimmy and Bill.
When the two friends entered the diner, they left their cellphones in the truck–even though both phones were rooted, and they had removed the hidden backup batteries which allowed third parties to remotely turn the microphones on.
As they discussed the hunt, the buck, and what Jimmy would do with the hide, the meat, and the antlers, a Toyota Titan swung into the parking lot and pulled up right next to the GMC. They sat facing each other in the booth, but both noticed the new arrival through the window.
Arden Thatcher exited the Toyota’s cab and wandered up to lean over and look into the bed of the GMC, flipping up the tarp to snoop under it. He was a little below average height, thin and bowlegged, but compensated with cocky swagger for what he lacked in stature. With clod-kickers, a cowboy hat and a Rebel flag on his Levi jacket, he was the poster boy for Texas rednecks.
Arden had come upon Bill engaged in a conversation with some other folks at a survival expo, and jumped right in. He talked like a gun enthusiast, who hated the present administration. After that first meeting he bumped into one or the other of them by coincidence–like the way he just happened to show up at the diner just now.
Jimmy and Bill watched him turn from the GMC and saunter toward the diner’s front entrance.
Arden Thatcher didn’t leave his smartphone in the truck. Nor had he taken it apart and removed the hidden backup battery. He stepped inside the diner and swept his gaze over the patrons until he found Jimmy and Bill. Jimmy was dark-haired, with a big crooked nose. Bill was a redhead with Scotch-Irish features. Both still wore woodland cammies with matching baseball caps.
Arden smiled and nodded before heading their way.
Jimmy nodded back. That was a good sign. Maybe they were warming up to him. They still hadn’t invited him to go shooting with them or otherwise hang out with their local gang.
He felt sure he could earn their confidence in time.
“Hey Jimmy,” he said. “Howdy Bill. Mind if I pull up a chair?”
“Howdy Arden,” they mumbled, neither of them scooting over to make room on their booth seat.
Arden found an unoccupied chair at a nearby table and slid it over to sit perpendicular to the two veterans. “About due for a bad winter, I hear.”
Jimmy and Bill nodded, chewing their food.
“Who bagged the eight-pointer?” Arden asked.
Bill chinned toward Jimmy, who grinned. “We knew it would be winner-take-all,” Bill said. “That first shot would scatter all the game for 20 grid squares.”
“I hear the mating cry of the sore loser,” Jimmy remarked, smirking.
“Grid squares,” Arden repeated. “Does that mean you had a military topo map of the area?” He seemed to be a little proud that he knew about military grid, and had shown them he knew his stuff.
“Naw, USGS,” Bill said, blowing on a spoonful of soup. “Gotta use latitude, longitude and minutes. It’s just habit to think in military grid.”
“Oh,” Arden said.
Silence fell over the table for a moment. The waitress came over and asked Arden what he’d like. He ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie.
“Y’all hear this latest thing about the illegal aliens?” Arden asked.
Both men grumbled in the affirmative.
“More and more people are rejecting the mass media brainwashing,” Jimmy said, finishing off his enchilada. “The globalists have to bring in more illegals to cancel out their votes.”
“Ain’t enough that the sheeple get to vote five or six times every election,” Bill added.
“Elections are a total sham anymore,” Jimmy said. “And what choice do we get every time? Communist or Communist Lite.”
“Tastes great!” Bill blustered, drunkenly.
“Less filling!” Jimmy blustered back, pounding his fist on the table and adding a hiccup for effect.
Arden’s coffee arrived and he took a big gulp, oblivious to the once-famous beer commercial referenced. “It ain’t just about elections,” he said. “It’s genocide against white Europeans.”
Jimmy and Bill both raised their eyebrows, shared a glance and looked back to Arden.
“Genocide?” Jimmy asked.
“Sure,” Arden replied. “It don’t always take gas chambers—if that even happened. They’ll breed the white outa’ the world if they have to. The whole country’ll be one shade a brown or ‘nother, it keeps goin’ the way it is now.”
“What ‘they’ are you talking about?” Jimmy asked.
“You know,” Arden said. “The NWO. ZOG, or whatever you wanna call ’em.”
“NWO are lily-white Europeans themselves,” Bill said. “Why would they want to ‘breed out’ their own race?”
Arden shook his head. “Most of ’em are Jews. Don’t you know that? Besides, even the ones that are truly white protect their own blood lines. They just want the rest of us to lose our racial purity.”
Jimmy fidgeted, visibly uncomfortable. “What is ‘ZOG,’ anyway?”
“Zionist Occupational Government,” Arden explained. “Our government is controlled by the Israelis. Ain’t it obvious?”
Bill set his coffee cup down, leaned back in his seat, and wiped his face with a napkin, exchanging another glance with Jimmy. “Arden,” he said, “We got nothin’ against you. But it’s fairly plain there’s some matters we don’t see eye-to-eye on. If you’re lookin’ for like-minded people to hang out with, you should go on and look somewhere else.”
Arden looked crestfallen, his jaw slack. “What? What’s the matter?”
“Nothing’s the matter,” Jimmy said. We believe what we believe. You’ve got different opinions, and you’re welcome to them. We’d prefer not to argue with you or anybody who believes like you do. We just want to do our own thing.”
“What are you?” Arden demanded, blushing. “Jew lovers?”
Maybe Jimmy was a Jew. He sure did have a big nose. The dark hair might mean he had a Mex somewhere in his family tree. Arden had determined to let that slide. But if they were going to cop an attitude just because he was fed up with the Z.O.G…
“No offense, Arden,” Bill said, staring hard into Arden’s eyes. “But it’d be best for everybody all around if you just left us alone.”
The waitress arrived with the slice of pie. Jimmy smiled at her and said, “If you would, please, serve that to him at a different table.”
Many miles away in a secure commo room, Jason Macmillan, along with the comm tech on monitoring duty, sat listening to the conversation via the microphone in Arden Thatcher’s cellphone.
McMillan’s power and fortunes had increased significantly over the last 20 years. Too bad his health hadn’t prospered proportionately. He had most of the ailments common to men in their middle age now, including a degree of obesity, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction. What hair hadn’t fallen out all turned gray. But people respected him more than ever. He had the power to step on just about anybody from 95% of the population, should he need to. And even if he retired today, he’d be set to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Not that he wanted to retire. Ever.
Macmillan tore off his headset and swore. “More candy-asses,” he declared, shot to his feet, and marched to the door. He turned back to tell the comm tech, “They wouldn’t even let him eat a slice of pie at their table. When he gets far enough away, tell that stupid redneck the assignment is terminated.”
“Should he report to his handler for a new assignment?” the comm tech asked.
“No. Let him cool his heels for a while. Tell him we’ll be in touch if another assignment comes along.”
“Yes sir,” the comm tech said, and Macmillan shut the door.
Macmillan cussed under his breath as he made his way to his own office-away-from-home. They had wasted months working their informant into the confidence of that DomTer cell, and Thatcher blew it over the course of a few minutes.
Every potential target city had its challenges. Around Amarillo it was infiltrating the organized groups. Not the racially motivated gangs–those were easy, and conventional departments already had informants planted. But the groups that posed a real threat were proving tough nuts to crack.
The problem this time was, Thatcher had a long enough leash to improvise. But he wasn’t smart enough to improvise. He didn’t know the marks as well as he should have. Plus he actually believed in all that Jewish conspiracy business; so he assumed others would, too.
Macmillan didn’t care whether there was a Jewish conspiracy or not. It didn’t change the parameters of his job. But it occurred to him how he might be able to turn Thatcher’s belief in it from a liability into an asset. He would work on it with the handler before they attempted to give Thatcher another assignment.